Episode 195: Ketones, Insulin Resistance, Measuring Insulin, Alcohol, Resting Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Jan 10

Welcome to Episode 195 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

Today's episode of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast is brought to you by: 

LMNT: For fasting or low-carb diets electrolytes are key for relieving hunger, cramps, headaches, tiredness, and dizziness. with no Sugar, artificial ingredients, coloring, and Only 2 grams of carbs per packet, try LMNT for complete and total hydration. For a Limited time Go to drinkLMNT.com/ifpodcast to get a sample pack for only the price of shipping!!

INSIDETRACKER: Get The Blood And DNA Tests You Need To Be Testing, Personalized Dietary Recommendations, An Online Portal To Analyze Your Bloodwork, Find Out Your True "Inner Age," And More! Listen To My Interview With The Founder Gil Blander At Melanieavalon.Com/Insidetracker! Go To MelanieAvalon.Com/GetInsideTracker And Use The Coupon Code MELANIE30 For 30% Off All Tests Sitewide!

To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 


BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At MelanieAvalon.com/beautycounter, And Something Magical Might Happen After Your First Order!

LMNT: For A Limited Time Go To DrinkLMNT.Com/Ifpodcast To Get A Sample Pack For Only The Price Of Shipping!!

Listener Q&A: Sallie - Question for Gin

INSIDETRACKER: Go To MelanieAvalon.Com/GetInsideTracker And Use The Coupon Code MELANIE30 For 30% Off All Tests Sitewide!

Listener Q&A: Michelle - In Search of lower Insulin

The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #74 - Benjamin Bikman, Ph.D.

Why We Get Sick: The Hidden Epidemic At The Root Of Most Chronic Disease―And How To Fight It (Benjamin Bikman, Ph.D.)

The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #70 - Kara Collier (Nutrisense)

Go To Melanieavalon.com/nutrisenseCGM And Use Coupon Code MelanieAvalon For 15% Off Select Packages

Listener Q&A: Sara - HANGRY still - sometimes

DRY FARM WINES: Natural, Organic, Low Alcohol, Low Sugar Wines, Paleo And Keto Friendly! Go To DryFarmWines.com/IFPodcast To Get A Bottle For A Penny!

Listener Q&A: Kelly - Alcohol effects on Resting Heart Rate


Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 195 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting? Then this show is for you.

I'm Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ginstephens.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour yourself a cup of black coffee, a mug of tea or even a glass of wine, if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

Hi friends, are you struggling to lose weight despite fasting clean? Maybe you're even making healthy food choices, fasting more, shortening your eating window, ramping up your exercise, and yet the weight won't budge? Well, we actually just found a major reason for why that may be. As it turns out, there are compounds in our environment called endocrine disruptors. Meaning, they mess with your hormones. Studies show that a lot of these endocrine disruptors are actually obesogens. Meaning, they literally make you gain weight. They also make it hard to lose weight. These toxic obesogens are naturally stored in fat. When they enter your body, your body creates fat to store them in to protect you. Once they're in that fat, they then change the genes in your fat stores, so that you are more likely to store more fat and less likely to burn it. They can also affect your insulin signaling and boost your appetite, so you want to eat more and store more fat.

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Hi everybody and welcome, this is Episode number 195 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens.

Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody.

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?

Gin Stephens: I'm good. How about you?

Melanie Avalon: I am great.

Gin Stephens: You sound super great. What's super great? That was like more emphatic great than usual.

Melanie Avalon: I'm really, really fantastic. Are you aware of what happened this past weekend?

Gin Stephens: Well, no. I'm not aware. What was it?

Melanie Avalon: Taylor Swift released a surprise album.

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, definitely not aware of that. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: This is the second time she's done this in quarantine where she doesn't say anything, and then she releases an entire album. I always feel like I have to defend myself being a Taylor Swift fan. But her first album is the bestselling album of 2020, and I am obsessed lyrically with Taylor. Do you Spotify?

Gin Stephens: No.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, you know what it is though, right?

Gin Stephens: I mean, yeah, I do know what it is. I have Apple Music, so I listen to Apple Music. I'm an Apple girl. I listen to Apple Music and I listen to my podcasts through the Apple Music app.

Melanie Avalon: Well, Spotify, they give you a Your Year in Review thing and they show you like your top artists and your top song and everything. Well, obviously mine was Taylor, but the shocking thing was it told me I was in the 0.5% of her listeners. I feel like you have to listen to a lot of Taylor Swift to be in the 0.5.

Gin Stephens: Hmm. I'm probably in the 95.5 [laughs] or 99.5. I should say. There's one song I know that I've heard that I liked.

Melanie Avalon: Which one?

Gin Stephens: I don't know the name of it, but I know I liked it. If you'd like saying all of them, I'd be like, “Yeah, that's the one I've heard.”

Melanie Avalon: All Too Well?

Gin Stephens: No.

Melanie Avalon: Okay.

Gin Stephens: [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Sorry. Very few things just like light me up with the amount of excitement that I was lit up with.

Gin Stephens: Well, I'm so glad to hear it. You don't listen to Apple Music, you listen to Spotify?

Melanie Avalon: No. Yeah, Spotify. I've been in Spotify person since it came out, really. I remember when it first came out, and I was like, “Wow, how is this even possible?”

Gin Stephens: The idea of just listening to whatever you wanted, yeah.

Melanie Avalon: I was like, “There has to be a catch here.”

Gin Stephens: Yeah, there wasn't. Look, I'm old enough to remember the days of Napster when everyone was just giving away their music for free and illegally.

Melanie Avalon: And always wondering if you were going to infect your computer with, because on Napster, you could get anything you want, and it was all free.

Gin Stephens: Anything. Yeah, and it was all terrible. Now that I understand how we were all stealing music, it was bad, very bad, but I didn't know.

Melanie Avalon: They actually started suing people who had it, do you remember that?

Gin Stephens: No. I was probably off of it by them because I'm such a rules follower that as soon as I realized, “Oh, gosh, this is not just like listening to the radio,” because-- [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: I remember they brought out the scare tactics. I think they locked up a few. I don't know, they sued some people, like my age who were using it, I mean, it ruined their life basically.

Gin Stephens: Well, now that we are producers of content, like books, I completely understand. If all of the books we ever wrote were now available for free illegally, and people were just able to share them, that would be terrible.

Melanie Avalon: If people paid for this show, and then it was--

Gin Stephens: Right. As soon as I realized it was wrong, I was like, “Oh my God. [laughs] I'm breaking the law.”

Melanie Avalon: Get it off the computer.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, exactly. I like to follow the law. Anyway, but it was fun while it lasted. And now that we have Apple Music, everything really is there, or Spotify or whichever you like. It really is amazing because you used to have to buy them one by one. I mean, you don't even remember the day of like driving to the music store, I'm sure. Listening to 45, did you have a record player?

Melanie Avalon: Oh, no. Well, I do now, with my Taylor Swift albums.

Gin Stephens: On a record player?

Melanie Avalon: Uh-huh.

Gin Stephens: Okay.

Melanie Avalon: Vinyl.

Gin Stephens: That's so funny. We had vinyl everything, but we had little 45s. Have you ever seen a 45?

Melanie Avalon: I think I have. I think my dad has some.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, that was the way to do it. You'd go get the one little single and there was always something on the other side and you'd flip it over. Then you would play them over and over again. Good times.

Melanie Avalon: Good times. I remember cassettes.

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: Because Chick-fil-A had all the-- we talked about this before the-- What is it, the virtues, the--

Gin Stephens: The cassettes that you could get. I remember that. Yeah, the freedom with music now is just remarkable, though. So, I'm glad that there's another album. She's been very productive it sounds.

Melanie Avalon: I have one more really exciting announcement, actually related to the content of today's show.

Gin Stephens: Well, awesome. What is that?

Melanie Avalon: It's so exciting. You know what it is, though? I think it's really exciting.

Gin Stephens: Well, share the excitement. So, friends, listeners, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm about to give away completely free electrolyte supplements. That's not even what I'm so excited about, even though that is very exciting. Mostly it's because we are partnering with Robb Wolf's company, LMNT. As you guys know, Robb Wolf is my hero. He is the reason that I am in the whole paleo world. Like I read Paleo Solution, and then that's what happened. I think he is an amazing figure of information. I don't want to say authority figure, but I really get the sense that he doesn't cherry-pick that he's open to the science, the information and I really trust his information.

He recently started a company called LMNT, L-M-N-T. Tailored towards listeners who may be following specifically keto diets, because as you guys know, Gin and I are not keto. I go through times of keto. Gin had her keto phases in the past, but they--

Gin Stephens: 2014.

Melanie Avalon: She is no longer keto. I'm not currently keto. I flirt with it occasionally, but in any case, if you have heard of something called the keto flu, it is often posited that the keto flu is not actually a condition, but it may be for a lot of people due to electrolyte issues, and that is because when you go on a low-carb diet, your insulin levels drop, and we know our insulin levels drop off fasting, but when you're doing low-carb, they're significantly drops all the time, and that lowers the production of a hormone called aldosterone. Aldosterone is made in the kidneys. Aldosterone helps you retain sodium. When you have chronically low aldosterone on a keto diet, you are losing sodium at a rapid rate. That is why a lot of people may experience symptoms of keto flu. So, that's things like headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, insomnia, all this stuff. To address this, Gin, are you familiar with Ketogains?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Ketogains is probably, I would say it is the biggest keto community out there. The founder is Luis and I can never say his last name. It's like Villasenor. He and Robb actually developed-- I don't know if he would like actually developed it, but Rob worked with him to develop LMNT to have the exact electrolyte balance that you need to support your electrolyte status, especially if you're on a keto diet. Some people having carbs in their eating window and fasting might also benefit from the electrolyte supplements, but it really varies by the individual. In any case, they made LMNT, and it has no sugar, no coloring, no artificial ingredients, no junk. They have flavored and unflavored versions. The reason I'm also excited, the flavored versions, those are not clean fast friendly, obviously, because they have flavor. There is a raspberry, a citrus, and an orange flavor. The raw unflavored one is clean fast friendly. It's literally just electrolytes. If you feel like you are on the electric-like struggle bus, you can have the raw unflavored version during your clean fast.

I didn't realize this. This is not just like some small company. They're doing really big things. They work with three Navy SEAL teams. They are the official hydration partner for the USA weightlifting team in the Olympics, which is really cool. They've worked with a lot of other people, like five or more NFL teams. So basically, it's a really cool way to go. I'm so excited because you can get it, listeners, completely free. They weren't going to do this, they were just going to have our spots be educational and tell you about them, but I begged them for something. It's not even a discount, it's free. You can get their sample pack and that will include two raw unflavored. Again, those are the clean fast friendly ones. Two citrus, two raspberry and two orange. Again, the flavor ones you would want to have in your eating window. Apparently, the citrus one is a really great mix for Margarita, word on the street. I have friends who do that. It was actually in the information they gave us, I was like, “Oh, if this makes sense.” But you can just go to drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast. That's D-R-I-N-K-L-M-N-T dotcom, forward slash, ifpodcast. They will cost $5 for shipping only. That's the only thing you'll pay. If you don't like it, they will refund you the $5 for shipping. So, don't even worry about that. This free giveaway is only for January. So, guys, get it.

I'm just so excited because we're like working with Robb Wolf and I love this product. This is so exciting to me, and free things.

Gin Stephens: I'm so happy that you're happy.

Melanie Avalon: And free things for listeners.

Gin Stephens: Well, free things are always good.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. Everybody, go get it now. I think people on the keto diet who are experiencing these issues like this could be a game-changer for them. Even if you're not, get it for the flavors and get the citrus one and make margaritas and report back.

Gin Stephens: Eating window margaritas.

Melanie Avalon: Eating window margaritas.

Gin Stephens: It's like, “I heard Gin and Melanie say that you could have margaritas during the fast.” No, no, that is not what we said.

Melanie Avalon: Clarification. Eating window margarita with all clean ingredients

Gin Stephens: Fasting with Margarita, that's a joke. Do not fast with Margaritas. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Yes. All right. That's that. Shall we jump into our questions for today?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: To start things off, we have a super short question. The subject is “Question for Gin.” It's from Sally. Sally says, “Hi, Gin. What made you keep going at your second attempt at IF? When did you start seeing results and what results did you see?” Maybe you can tell us a little bit about your first versus second attempt.

Gin Stephens: Really, I did not keep going at my second attempt, nor my third. It was more multiple, multiple. I first heard about intermittent fasting in 2009, and I've talked about this many times over the course of this podcast and Intermittent Fasting Stories and even in my books, and in the Mindset chapter of Fast. Feast. Repeat. I tried it multiple times, many times over those years from 2009 to 2014. For anyone who has Fast. Feast. Repeat., I really get into why it didn't work for me in all those attempts, in the Mindset chapter. There were several things that were the problem.

First of all, I didn't understand clean fasting. In fact, no one did, because everyone really thought that intermittent fasting was only something that helped to “eat fewer calories.” We thought that anything that was zero calorie was going to be fine. Even if you had just a little bit of calories, that was probably also fine. Fasting was really, really hard. I was white knuckling it all the time, because I was not fasting clean.

Second of all, I didn't understand about the adjustment period, and that your body needed to get fat adapted and so I would start and stop. I feel like I was constantly trapped in the adjustment period, my body never got fat adapted, I just kept living in the hard part. Never got through to where it was easier. Plus, I wasn't fasting clean, put all that together, it was doomed to fail.

Third, I expected weight loss to be linear. I would do it for a few days, it would be hard, I wouldn't lose any weight, and then I would quit. The time that it finally stuck, I still wasn't fasting clean yet, because remember, this was 2014. It was well before The Obesity Code. It was before we understood the hormonal things that go in our bodies while we're fasting. I had been doing keto, that we just talked about, that keto summer that I had, the summer of 2014. I didn't lose any weight, but I was in ketosis. I had a ketone breath monitor. It was one of the early Ketonix models. I was doing keto and I would blow in the Ketonix and I would get red. I was making ketones, but the way I was eating, I wasn't tapping into my stored body fat. I think it was just all the fat I was consuming, putting me into ketosis.

It was at that time that I shifted to intermittent fasting, because I was like, “I'm not losing weight. I don't feel good. Keto is not working well for me. I am going to do intermittent fasting, and this time, it's going to work for me, darn it.” Amazingly, that was the time I never did quit. I think that doing keto for that whole summer obviously, my body was making ketones. I was fat adapted. Suddenly, intermittent fasting was easier than it had been before. I also remember, Melanie, this is how little I understood at the time. I remember a post that I had made on an intermittent fasting group I was in, it wasn't one of my groups. Obviously, I hadn't started one yet, but I remember, I had like a cheeseburger and fries. An hour later was blowing on the Ketonix and registering a red. I'm like, “I'm already back in ketosis. This is amazing.” Well, no, that's not what's happening. Those were ketones that I had made during the fast and I believe that obviously, I was excreting them through my breath. Even though I had just had a cheeseburger and fries. I thought I was back in ketosis. It would be amazing. I didn't know what I was talking about. It was before we understood that, or before I understood that fasting got you into ketosis as well. Now that we understand about liver glycogen, and glycogen depletion, and all of that.

Fasting was easier because I was fat-adapted, thanks to the keto. Also, I immediately started losing weight. Finally. After that whole summer of not losing weight with keto, and also, I was weighing daily and calculating my weekly average. So, I saw the weight loss. Even though my weight fluctuated day to day, I saw week to week, my weekly average was going down. Finally, I saw success. So that was why when I write Fast. Feast. Repeat., I'm emphatic about not expecting weight loss during your first 28 days. Even when you do have weight loss, don't expect it to be linear. First of all, your body has to adapt. And then you have to be aware of how weight fluctuates and that it's only the overall trend that matters. Once I made that shift and understood it was the overall trend, then I could stick with it. I wasn't looking for down, down, down, down, down because that's not what weight loss looks like. And I just felt so much better. After not feeling good doing keto for that whole summer, reintroducing carbs, and intermittent fasting at the same time, feeling better seeing the results I was looking for, that was when it truly over time turned into a lifestyle. I didn't understand it was a lifestyle still as I was losing the weight, it wasn't until later, when I started to understand the health benefits. Intermittent Fasting is more than just weight loss. It took me becoming educated. The more educated I got, the more I realized this is something I would do forever. So, there it is. Anything to add?

Melanie Avalon: Our experiences, we're complete opposite. I was like, “I'm going to do this for a week,” and then I never stopped.

Gin Stephens: You were eating paleo before you started?

Melanie Avalon: Low carb.

Gin Stephens: You were low carb. See, again, we both transitioned from low-carb and started doing it. I never quit again. See, that's the thing. When I started in 2014, I never quit again.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, mine was low-carb IF and then paleo. That was like the--

Gin Stephens: The transition. Yeah. Awesome.

Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends. I wanted to tell you about one of the most incredible resources for taking charge of your blood tests and lab work, ever. I am a huge fan of a company called InsideTracker. They are actually a David Sinclair partnered company. What they do is they provide access to the blood tests that you need to be testing, as well as interpretations, so that you can figure out what that all means.

Basically, we often go to our doctor, we get blood tests, we test things, but is it what we need to be testing? What does it even mean? That's what InsideTracker is here for. They've done extensive testing to figure out which blood markers can tell you the most about your actual health. These aren't necessarily all the tests that you might expect. They provide personalized interpretations of those results along with dietary and lifestyle recommendations, so that you can truly take charge of your health. Their inner age, for example, analyzes your blood work to determine your true “inner age” and how to lower it. I did it recently. Thankfully, my inner age was lower than my actual chronological age, but there were still some things that I could work on. InsideTracker has really helped me meet my goals in that way.

They've also got DNA testing, as well as one of my favorite things, which is their online portal. Guys, this online portal is a game-changer that includes your results from InsideTracker, but then you can upload all of your own data from any other blood results that you've had through your doctor, so helpful. You just go into the portal, you drop in your lab results, and then you have all their lab results all in one place. It's so easy to see how things have changed over time, and they interpret these lab results from other companies by their standards. It is so helpful. I cannot even describe how much I use this platform.

If you'd like to learn more about them, as well as all about bloodwork testing, definitely check out my interview I did with the founder Gil Blander. That's at melanieavalon.com/iInsidetracker. And InsideTracker also has an amazing offer just for my audience. It was 20%, I asked if it could be 30, and they said yes. They are so amazing. So, if you go to melanieavalon.com/getinsidetracker, you can use the coupon code Melanie30, to get 30% off sitewide. Yes, 30% off sitewide, melanieavalon.com/getinsidetracker, you can use the coupon code Melanie30. That’s M-E-L-A-N-I-E 30, I'll put all of this information in the show notes. All right, now back to the show.

Gin Stephens: All right, we have a question from Michelle, and the subject is “In Search of Lower Insulin.” She says, “Dear Gin and Melanie, thank you for changing lives. Gin's advice about not chasing ketone readings makes sense to me. As your body uses ketones more efficiently, your blood ketone level may drop. I'm wondering if I can use my blood ketone levels for a different purpose. So please bear with me. I would love to be able to directly test my insulin levels at home, but alas. As I understand it, a higher ketone reading should indicate a lower insulin level. For example, if ketones were 0.5 to 1.0, insulin would have to be fairly low. Is this true? Do we know if a certain ketone level corresponds to a certain range of insulin level? I accept that the converse doesn't indicate anything. So, I could have lower insulin without having high ketones. I tend to have pretty high ketones fasting around 24 to 22 with the occasional longer fast. I'd love to take my ketone readings as a good insulin sign. I am not diabetic or pre-diabetic, A1c 4.9. But I do wonder if I have some insulin resistance, and I'd love to have a gauge on how certain foods affect my insulin. Best wishes to you both, Michelle.”

Melanie Avalon: All right, Michelle. Thank you so much for your question. My initial thoughts are that there is most likely the correlation, with the exception of, I was just thinking that this follows up pretty appropriately to what you were just saying, Gin, because you had that experience where you measured ketones, but it was right after eating a cheeseburger. So, it really would depend on where the ketones are coming from. I don't think this is the case for Michelle. Especially if you're following like a ketogenic diet, you could, in theory, always measure ketones, but there would still be insulin release when you're in the fed state. You can be producing ketones and be producing insulin, but if you're in the fasted state, and you measure ketones, probably your insulin is low, but the whole issue is, with insulin resistance, people can experience higher baseline levels of insulin and not realize it. If you're generating ketones, that way it would imply that, hopefully, your body is fat adapted, and the insulin is working correctly, but I can't really make blanket statements about it, especially after reading, for people who want like the deepest dive into insulin ever, check out Dr. Bikman’s Why We Get Sick. I also interviewed him on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, that episode might be out when this show comes out. I'll put a link to it in the show notes.

I don't want to say correctly working body but if things are working the way they should be, there should be a correlation, but then there could also be lots of other factors that might finagle it. What are your thoughts, Gin?

Gin Stephens: We don't have a gauge. She said she'd love to have a gauge about how certain foods affect her insulin. I wish we could measure at home like that, but we can't. Minute to minute, you can't know what your influence doing. For example, a friend of mine is using a company called Walk-In Lab. I don't know anything about that company, she just mentioned that she was using it and they're able to order the test for you. I'm imagining that they have physicians on staff, they look at your request, and then they approve it or not. You can actually get that through companies like Walk-In Lab. I'm not endorsing Walk-In Lab, I don't know anything about them, like I said other than a friend of mine, just use them and mention their name to me. So that would give you an idea of what your fasted insulin level is. Obviously, you can't do that all day. I wish we had an at-home insulin test, or a way to know exactly what it was doing.

If you're interested in going down that rabbit hole of ketones and what's going on, there's somebody named Marty Kendall of Optimising Nutrition, optimizing with an S because he's from Australia. He's got some really great stuff. I've learned a lot from reading his blog over the years. In fact, some of his stuff on ketone levels actually is what taught me that our ketone levels went down over time. So, chasing a high-- I actually learned that from Marty Kendall. Go to OptimisingNutrition.com with an S for optimizing and dig in through there. He's a big proponent of measuring your blood glucose before you eat, to give you an idea of what's going on. That's just something there to check out.

I wish we could see how certain foods affected your insulin because proteins there. It's not just carbs that affect insulin. Thanks to the insulin index we know that proteins also affect your insulin levels, and even fats do, to a degree. The whole idea that fat has a zero effect on insulin is not true.

Melanie Avalon: Dr. Bikman actually talks about all of that in Why We Get Sick. Yeah, because actually protein I believe, it releases comparable or even more insulin than carbs, but it also releases glucagon, which has the opposite effect. It doesn't have the same effect on your overall blood sugar levels and state as far as the connection to insulin as straight-up carbs do. It's pretty complicated.

Gin Stephens: It's also complicated.

Melanie Avalon: I'm really fascinated by protein, and I found this one study that was looking at protein and diabetics, and it was theorizing or going through all of the research on protein and diabetics because protein can be turned into blood sugar, or sugar, carbs via gluconeogenesis. And it does, that does happen, but for some reason, it doesn't really seem to affect blood sugar levels. They don't really know why. There's all these theories like that the blood sugar that gets produced from protein gets used faster than it would into the bloodstream. There was like three different theories, but I find it so interesting that we know so much about the body, but then we still don't know really seemingly basic things, like we can't figure that out.

Gin Stephens: Which is why to me, that helps me to be like, “Why worry so much about it then?” If you're healthy, look, you're A1c is 4.9, so I don't know why it matters. If you're healthy, you've got a healthy A1c, you're wondering if you have insulin resistance? Well, do you have signs that you do? I just wouldn't worry about it is what I'm saying. If you're healthy and your health markers are good, you don't have to know what your levels are. I know it's interesting, and sometimes some of the things we don't even-- like Melanie just said, we don't even really understand all of it.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, when I found that study, it was so long. It was a review, and I was like, “This is the best thing I've ever read,” like eating protein and diabetic patients. Actually, I'm glad you said that, because I was just thinking, a good enough proxy-- she's measuring blood ketones, is she measuring blood sugar, though?

Gin Stephens: It doesn't look like it.

Melanie Avalon: Michelle, I think that's what you could measure at home.

Gin Stephens: There's a ratio that you can figure out with your ketone reading and your blood glucose reading. A lot of people are using, I think Marty Kendall’s--

Melanie Avalon: For autophagy.

Gin Stephens: I'm not sold on that. I won't get into that. To measure your fat burning, basically, they're using it-- I think he calls it Data-Driven Fasting, and there are a lot of people following his protocol where they are measuring their blood glucose and measuring their ketones and then doing some sort of ratio of that to determine your fat-burning state. People are finding great success with that. I don't want to measure all that. I know some people do, I actually interviewed someone recently on Intermittent Fasting Stories, the episode won't come out till February, I believe. But she talked about how she's using his ratio, and it's really been helpful for her.

Melanie Avalon: The last thing was I did just release the episode with Kara Collier, the founder of Nutrisense CGMs. I don't know anything about this. Michelle, if this is what you're looking to ascertain your level of insulin resistance, wearing a CGM, doing a round of CGMs could-- I mean, that, for me has been the most eye-opening thing as far as how are foods affecting me, you see how foods affect you. You see like, is your blood sugar level-- how is it rising? How long does it take to get back to normal? Rather than focusing on insulin, and we talk in that episode all about, like the implications of how it relates to insulin, but I think that would be the thing you'd want to do. I'm writing a guest blog post for Sunlighten, which is really fun. They wanted me to write a blog post on health and wellness trends for 2021. I had to decide what did I think would be the biggest health and wellness trends for 2021. One of them is CGMs.

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, I hope so because they're such a useful tool. They're not a toy. They're a powerful tool for figuring out how your body responds. But, really, Michelle, I would get a fasted insulin level. If you're a morning fasted insulin level, you'll have an idea. I mean, if it's five or something really low like that, or below five, then chances are you're not insulin resistant. If it's like 10, okay, that's a good signal that you're going to need to do some work. You don't need to know how it responds all day long. It's that fasted insulin level that'll really give you a good picture.

Melanie Avalon: The good thing about that is, I feel it's not as finicky is because wearing a CGM, the one thing I realized is, “Oh, your blood sugar could be changing a lot more than you realize.” But I think for a fasted insulin is pretty telling. I'll give you the ranges that Dr. Benjamin Bikman gives. According to Dr. Bikman, ideally your blood insulin levels should be less than six micro units per milliliter. Eight to nine is average for men and women, but he says it's not good to be average, you would prefer for it to be lower, a person with eight actually has doubled the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as a person with five. I guess anything over nine is above average.

Gin Stephens: In a way that you don't want to be above average.

Melanie Avalon: Right. He says you don't even want to be average, which is eight to nine. He would prefer that you are below six fasted insulin. Then on top of that, there's a secondary value that you can calculate if you want, it's the HOMA score. That one actually considers both fasting glucose and fasting insulin. It is even more telling for your levels of insulin resistance. At the time that you got your fasted insulin measured, you would also have to have had your fasted blood sugar measured as well. If you have those two, there's a mathematical formula that you can do that will give you your HOMA score, which is a number. It's complicated. It's basically glucose times insulin divided by 405. So, random for the United States, or glucose times insulin divided by 22.5 for other countries. That is so random. I don't know. I feel like we have provided all the potential data we can on this.

Gin Stephens: I think so too. That's a lot of data. Yeah. Also don't have coffee before you go because coffee can cause your liver to dump glycogen, your blood glucose can go up, and then therefore, you can have a little insulin urge, too. Go completely with nothing but water.

Melanie Avalon: Good call. One more last resource for you, Michelle. I will put in the show notes the link to the episode that I did with Kara Collier of Nutrisense. Then if you'd like to get your own CGM, or if any listeners would, you can get 15% off. The link for that is melanieavalon.com/nutrisensecgm. I will also put that in the show notes. Listeners, there will be a transcript of this episode in the show notes, so that will be at ifpodcast.com/episode195, which also I do need to plug. I don't know if any of the episodes have aired yet where we asked for questions for Episode 200 because we haven't received any questions, so I'm guessing not, but listeners for Episode 200, random plug, it's going to be an Ask Me Anything episode so you can submit any questions you want for that. They don't have to be health or fasting related. They can just be like, questions for me and Gin.

Gin Stephens: Awesome. I look forward to the questions.

Melanie Avalon: Like what is my favorite Taylor Swift song?

Gin Stephens: [laughs] Don't ask me what my favorite Taylor Swift song is. I'd be like, “That's the one I heard that time.” [laughs]

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Melanie Avalon: Shall we go on to the next question?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: The next question comes from Sara. The subject is “Hangry Still Sometimes.” Sara says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie, I'm a solid three weeks in of doing IF daily 18:6 to 22:2. Eating to satiety and I am still having days where I'm hangry in the morning.” For listeners, 18:6 is where you fast 18 hours and eat for 6, and 22:2 is where you fast 22 hours and eat for two hours. She says, “I've done one meal a day and IF for years without knowing it was a thing, just because I don't seem to digest well, and I feel better eating one meal a day. I've gone months and years not listening to my body and creating issues for myself. This is now my everyday life and I won't go back. Can be hangry be from eating late in the evening? It's weird and maybe a coincidence that it's worse on days that we ate late the night before. Thanks for all of the product recommendations. Can't wait to see if I can be headache-free of Dry Farm Wines and all that you do.

I just found out my aunt and uncle are following you, have read your books and are in love with IF and losing weight and having tons of non-scale victories. Someone told my aunt she is aging in reverse, ha, ha. And then was worried about her when my aunt told her about IF. Thanks for helping people live their best life. Sara. Gin, what are your thoughts for Sara?

Gin Stephens: Well, first of all, I love that your aunt and uncle are following intermittent fasting and aging in reverse. As people around her watch her continue to look fabulous, that won't look so crazy anymore. That's how it seems to work. Once you're successful and you show it, people are like suddenly believers. All right, so your question is, “Can hangry be from eating late in the evening?” Well, let's think about this. First of all, you're three weeks in so even though you've dabbled in intermittent fasting here and there, it doesn't It sounds like you've consistently done it. So, you're still probably in the adjustment period. Hangry is more likely during the adjustment period than it is, once you're adjusted. The question, can you be more hangry in the morning, if you eat late in the evening? Let's think about this. Why do we feel great and have lots of energy during the fast? Well, it's because we're tapping into our fat stores, as we go through the fasts, I actually feel better. I might have a little wave of hunger right around hour, I don't know, 14, 16, something like that. Then on the other side of that, I feel fabulous. If you eat late in the evening, to start counting from then, you're not going to be as far into the fast by the morning, depending on what time you stopped eating. If you stayed up really late and ate till like midnight, and now it's morning, you're only maybe seven, eight hours into the fast. So, you're really not in the fasted state yet. Yeah, you would be more likely to be hangry. Just count back and see how far you are into the fast that could really play a role in it. What do you think about that, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: Two main thoughts. One was that exactly, that you know you're quite into the fasted state yet. That said, I really associate the hangry feeling with blood sugar regulation issues, because I find people who-- if they are eating, and they don't have blood sugar regulation issues, they don't tend to ever get the hangry feeling. It's really the people who have difficulty transitioning into the fat-burning state, like the body's a little bit like hesitant to do it for whatever reason. I think that's when the hangry feeling comes in.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I think so too, which is why the fact that she's only three weeks in is also very important.

Melanie Avalon: It could be that the context of when she's eating late, it could correlate to meals, not-- well, she already said she has digestion issues. So maybe meals not digesting as well, maybe macronutrients not really working for her. It could be a combination of things, but it could possibly be something about the actual meal itself, like the contents of the meal itself, rather than the timing.

Gin Stephens: Or, those together. The factors together. If I'm eating really late at night, it's probably because I'm out and I'm off my schedule, and I'm eating different things than I would normally be eating. So, all that plays in, plus the fact that it's not as many hours since I stopped eating. It's just a lot of factors.

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. That's what I was trying to say. I'm glad you said that. It often correlates to a slight disruption in your normal eating pattern that might be something more suitable to your blood sugar regulation and your digestion and everything. Let us know if the Dry Farm Wines makes you headache-free. I'm going to give my mom a box of whites, and my dad a box of reds for the holidays. I'm so excited.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, by the time this comes out, the holidays will be over, but that's what I'm giving Chad. I'm making sure he's not like listening, the box of reds.

Melanie Avalon: That's right. For listeners, if you'd like to get a bottle for a penny, our link for that is dryfarmwines.com/ifpodcast.

Gin Stephens: Awesome. I highly recommend it.

Melanie Avalon: Speaking of, the next question. I did not plan this.

Gin Stephens: Oh, that's funny. Okay. Oh, I could definitely answer this one for with some data of my own. All right. This is from Kelly. The subject is “Alcohol Effects on Resting Heart Rate.” “Hello ladies, I've been listening to and following IF/One Meal a Day since January. I'm down 10 pounds. I'm loving this lifestyle. Thankful that my co-workers introduced me to this way of life before quarantine hit in March. I have a question regarding alcohol and resting heart rate. I noticed when I go for more than a week without alcohol, my Fitbit says that my resting heart rate can be as low as 56. When I go away to the beach on the weekends and have a good amount of wine and white claws, but all within good limits, of course, my resting heart rate can skyrocket up to 64. I also noticed on the beach weekends when we are less physically active with alcohol, that also makes the RHR go up. Just wanted to know your thoughts on this. Thank you for always having great insight and topics to discuss on the podcast. I truly learned so much from you both. It makes keeping this lifestyle maintainable and achievable that much easier.”

Melanie Avalon: All right, Kelly. Thank you for your question. Oh, my goodness. This is one of my recent obsessions, the resting heart rate. I talked about this before, but I actually did just interview the CEO of Oura ring, which I've been wearing for-- I don't know like a month now or so. It's so, so cool during the nighttime, it measures your resting heart rate, measures your heart rate variability, it measures your body temperature, it measures your activity levels during the day, it measures your respiratory rate. It gives you a really good idea of-- if you're recovering from your activities, how your body is doing, because basically, for some terminology here, so our resting heart rate is, it's the consistent rate of our heartbeat. Lower is typically considered to be better. It does go up when you're exercising, though. So that's why they call it resting heart rate is what you're looking at. Heart rate variability is the amount of time measured in milliseconds between heartbeats.

What's really interesting is you would think that you want your heart rate to be very consistent. I mean, that's intuitively what I would think, but what you actually want is it to be more erratic, because it shows that your body is adapting and reacting to stressors. A constant thumping on a pattern, that's actually signifies the stress state because if you think about when you're really stressed, what happens? It's like you're on alert and it's like--

Gin Stephens: [imitating heartbeat sound effect] Sound effects by Gin.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. [laughs] Thank you, Gin. It's like not changing. Compared to being more fluid and reacting to everything that comes at you, there's a time lag and a time difference in between heartbeats and that's heart rate variability. So, you actually want more heart rate variability, that was just some information for listeners. Things that affect resting heart rate, the cool thing about Oura, I'm just pulling out my Oura app is it gives you so much information and a lot of education as well surrounding everything. What’s really cool is when you wake up, it tells you based on how you slept because it measures your sleep cycles and your restfulness and your sleep efficiency and all these things. Based on how you slept, based on your resting heart rate during the night, which is what Kelly is referring to, based on your activity to the previous day, and some other factors, it gives you a readiness score, and it tells you like, “How ready are you to tackle the day?” It really makes it personal to you. So, it'll say like, “You're great. You're rested. Go hard today,” or it might say like your resting heart rate was raised last night, you didn't sleep, maybe you didn't sleep as well, maybe you should take it easy today. It makes it very, very specific.

I thought it was going to be a generic, maybe one of five options that it gives you. I mean, it literally gives you very, very specifics. Mine today said, I had a readiness score of 84. It said, your resting heart rate lowered late last night because it should lower or raise at certain times during the night. So, I guess the fact that it lowered late in the night wasn't as good because it says, “Your resting heart rate lowered late last night, but your overall readiness is still good. If you feel tired, how about taking a rest day, some light relaxing activity can help you get back on track.” Things that affect resting heart rate, what does she say that hers was, she said--

Gin Stephens: As low as 56 but it skyrockets to 64, which doesn't seem that high. That's pretty low.

Melanie Avalon: That's pretty low, I think. Mine is normally low 50s to mid-60s, like 65 is normally the highest that mine goes but I don't consider that skyrocketing at all. In their app, they say that the normal average is anywhere from 40 to 100. Slightly below your average is a good sign of readiness and exceptionally high or low resting heart rate indicates that an easier day maybe an order. It says, “An intense training day, a late-night workout, elevated body temperature, or a heavy meal just before bed can keep your resting heart rate elevated during the night.” Alcohol can also affect that, which Kelly is asking about. My thoughts on it, Kelly, are that, yes, alcohol affects resting heart rate, but I don't perceive yours as skyrocketing.

Gin Stephens: Right. 64 is still a really good number. Can I give an example from mine? I have not been drinking. I feel so much better, but I looked way back when I was doing my PREDICT study and wearing the CGM. I had a night where I drank a good deal of-- it was Dry Farm wine, and it was champagne. I wanted to see how it affected me through the PREDICT 3 study. I went back to that night on my bed, I have a Sleep Number bed and it measures things like heart rate variability, breath rate while you're sleeping. My heart rate skyrocketed to 81 while I was sleeping from alcohol. My heart rate variability went down. I do think mine skyrocketed, but alcohol 100% made my heart rate skyrocket and then I didn't get a restful sleep. That right there was such important data when I realized, when I got the Sleep Number bed and started tracking, that was when I realized, “Gosh, my body really has a different sleep when I drink alcohol.” Now I know that my body does not metabolize alcohol well. I'm a slow alcohol metabolizer. So, that makes more sense why that happens for me.

Yes, if you think that it's alcohol, yep. I mean, and you're seeing it from the data, you're drinking, it's up when you drink, but I wouldn't say 64 is skyrocketed either.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I'm just looking back through my data because I usually have half a glass up to a glass, probably a glass every night now. If I do that, I don't see appreciable effect on anything. But if I have a night where I did drink a lot, which I've had a few of those in the past month, I do see it majorly. I think the only time I woke up to a readiness score of like, 60, something was after that, I was like, “It knows.” It knows. It was really exciting to interview the CEO of Oura. The thing that I really liked about it the most was I was so hesitant to actually use Oura ring, because you know how I am. I'm going to overanalyze, there's going to be so much data, and I'm going to wake up and get my score, and it's going to ruin my day because I'm going to be like-- I'm going to judge everything by the score. We talked about this in the interview, they really don't want you to have that response. It never makes you feel you're failing, and it's very gentle in how it talks to you. It always makes me feel like, “Oh, this is the steps I can take to make--”

Gin Stephens: It's actionable.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. My favorite thing about it is, it determines your ideal bedtime, and it does it based on how you're sleeping and how you react based on different things. Guess what? If you're going to bed at 1:00 AM, it's not going to say, “Your ideal bedtime is 7:00 PM. It's not going to say that. Mine right now says my ideal bedtime is between-- it was saying between 1:00 and 2:00 AM. Now it's saying between 12:45 and 1:45. I think it's trying to nudge me earlier. It's never going to give you something you can't do. If it does think you need to be early, it's going to slowly get you there. It's not going to try to force early bird on late night owls. For Gin, it would like--

Gin Stephens: It's 9:00 PM, time to go to bed. Why are you still awake? [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Well, what I asked him was because my sleep score, to determine your sleep, how well you're doing it sleep, it looks at your total sleep, your efficiency, your restfulness, your REM, your deep sleep, your latency, and your timing. Your timing is the one where that does involve circadian rhythms. You can only have a good timing score if the middle midpoint of your sleep is between midnight and 3:00 AM. I'll have nights where I actually get really, really good scores on everything, except timing. Which is just a zero because I go to bed at 2:00. I asked him, I was like, “Does that mean it's impossible for me to get a really, really incredible sleep score because the timing is off?” He said I can still though get like a crown and an optimal score, but I won't ever get like a 99 if I'm going to bed that late. I would love for you to get it Gin and see what it says about your sleep.

Gin Stephens: Well, Sheri, my co-host on the Life Lessons Podcast has one. She's had one for a while and she loves it.

Melanie Avalon: It's so great.

Gin Stephens: But I love my bed that that does that. I don't know if I would like-- The ring itself on my finger, I would like to try one, I guess.

Melanie Avalon: I love it. Yeah. Love to get you one.

Gin Stephens: If I had one, I would wear it. But just getting one, I just don't know. We'll see.

Melanie Avalon: So, that was a lot of information. Any other thoughts?

Gin Stephens: No. I think that's it.

Melanie Avalon: I did take my heart rate while I was in the sauna because it doesn't measure your heart rate during the day, only while you're sleeping, unless you do-- it has this moment option where you can like take a restful moment and not move and check it. I did it while I was in the sauna and it got up to like 99 or something.

Gin Stephens: Oh, that's interesting.

Melanie Avalon: I was like, “I'm just laying here.”

Gin Stephens: One day, my sauna will be put together.

Melanie Avalon: I know. I was going to say-- did it arrive?

Gin Stephens: Oh, it's here. It's in the boxes.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, right, because you're redoing the garage first.

Gin Stephens: Hmm. Don't get me started.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, never mind. [laughs]

Gin Stephens: This is out of my control. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I will put out good vibes.

Gin Stephens: I'm a patient girl.

Melanie Avalon: I'm really excited for you to--

Gin Stephens: Yeah, me too.

Melanie Avalon: I hope it happens while it's cold.

Gin Stephens: Me too.

Melanie Avalon: Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you'd like to submit your own question for the podcast, you can directly email questions@ifpodcast.com. Or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. Remember, you can submit questions for Episode 200 Ask Me Anything episode. You can follow us on Instagram and Gin, how is Instagram going?

Gin Stephens: Well, I'm doing it, here and there.

Melanie Avalon: Are you enjoying it?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, when I think about it. I just don't remember it. I have to remind myself.

Melanie Avalon: Now I'm looking at yours, I'm looking at your freezer from Daily Harvest.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, love the Daily Harvest.

Melanie Avalon: It's a lot of Daily Harvest.

Gin Stephens: Well, it is.

Melanie Avalon: Is that a mini freezer?

Gin Stephens: No, that's a regular freezer. It's actually a big freezer. It's a old KitchenAid side by side built-in freezer and fridge.

Melanie Avalon: We just ordered my mom a chest freezer and then she said she doesn’t want it, so we're returning it.

Gin Stephens: She doesn't want it?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, she said she wants one that she can open so she can reach in. I think she doesn't want to like reach down--

Gin Stephens: Oh, that makes sense.

Melanie Avalon: --into it.

Gin Stephens: But, yeah, this is just one side of my freezer. Not one side of the freezer, but one side of my built-in. It's really old. They redid the kitchen. I don't know when they did it, but the appliances they're nice, but they've been around since, I don't know, at some point in the early 2000 era. Just from looking at the backsplash, that's when they redid the kitchen. But I love my kitchen.

Melanie Avalon: Everybody is now going to go to your Instagram and look at.

Gin Stephens: And look at my freezer. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Good times. So, you can follow us, I'm @MelanieAvalon, Gin @GinStephens, I think that is all of the things.

Gin Stephens: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. Anything from you, Gin, before we go?

Gin Stephens: No, I don't think so.

Melanie Avalon: Nothing?

Gin Stephens: Not a thing. Like I always have so much to say. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Well, I will talk to you next week.

Gin Stephens: All right. Bye-bye.

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Thank you so much for listening to The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember that everything discussed on the show is not medical advice. We're not doctors. You can also check out our other podcasts, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Theme music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week.


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More on Gin: GinStephens.com

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com

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