Welcome to Episode 230 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.
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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 230 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 Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay, Don't Deny Intermittent Fasting. 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.
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Hi everybody and welcome. This is episode number 230 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 am fabulous.
Melanie Avalon: Why are you fabulous?
Gin Stephens: Well, I'm at the beach but I haven't had a chance to enjoy the beach yet, because I've been working so hard, trying to move stuff from the house to the condo and the condo to the house. And Lord, it's like I'm moving. I mean it's moving. I've been working really hard. Such a good workout. I am, of course, doing it all in the fasted state. And, yeah, I've used all my muscles. Today, I had something funny happened here at the house. I was trying to change a lightbulb in the ceiling fixture in the bathroom because I had two lightbulbs in it and I noticed one of them was out and I was just going around doing things. You know how you unscrew like the little metal at the bottom of the glass dome and then the glass dome comes off, then you change the lightbulb and you put that back on and screw it back together?
Melanie Avalon: Yes, I always get scared when I do it.
Gin Stephens: Well, you should be scared because today, the beach, everything rusts at the beach. I was unscrewing, unscrewing, unscrewing, unscrewing, and actually, I wasn't unscrewing the little nut that holds it together. It was unscrewing the entire light fixture. So, the whole thing came out. It was just dangling there by the wiring. I'm like, “Okay, this is interesting.” So, [sighs] long story, I went all around, the people at Lowe's, they were great. The guys were like, “Alright, let's try spraying this stuff on it,” they went over-- and anyway, they couldn't get it apart. I was just going to buy like a new piece, but apparently you can't just buy a new piece. So, they sent me to this hardware store, and the guy had this vise and this equipment and he managed to unscrew the rusted unscrew. I came back and put it back together.
Melanie Avalon: Good job.
Gin Stephens: I know, I felt so accomplished. And I put in LED lightbulbs, and they're supposed to last for 10 years. So, 10 years from now, I'm just going to call an electrician to come and put a whole new light fixture in. This light fixture is now abandoned. [laughs] Anyway, I felt so good that I did it. But people are so helpful.
Melanie Avalon: I always get scared screwing in the light bulb because you don't know if it's on. So, I like screw it in and I hold it really far away. I know I could just unplug the unit, but normally I don't want to do that. Do you know what I'm talking about? I hold it really far from my face and I squint and I screw it.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I'm not even worried about screwing in a lightbulb to a light fixture because you're not touching the metal part.
Melanie Avalon: I'm always scared is going to pop or something because that's a good question. Maybe that's why I'm scared. Maybe it happened once.
Gin Stephens: I wouldn't worry about that.
Melanie Avalon: I've definitely had it pop while holding it in my hand and it scares me.
Gin Stephens: Okay. Well, I'm not scared of lightbulbs, but I'm now terrorized about-- and then the other bathroom, the light bulb in there, I can tell it's got two lightbulbs, and one of them needs to be changed because it's not on. I was like, “Well, let me just try to unscrew the bottom of this one just and see.” No, it wouldn't even turn on, I'm like, “Forget it.”
Melanie Avalon: All of them are like that.
Gin Stephens: Everything at the beach gets rusty. It is true. It is a different kind of place.
Melanie Avalon: Can I make a confession about lightbulbs?
Gin Stephens: Sure.
Melanie Avalon: In middle school, I think, probably my biggest crush of-- what's it called, like grade school years?
Gin Stephens: Elementary school?
Melanie Avalon: Like pre-college. What do you call all of it collectively?
Gin Stephens: K-12?
Melanie Avalon: Is there not a word?
Gin Stephens: I'm not sure what phase you're talking about, like what part of it?
Melanie Avalon: Kindergarten through 12th grade. What do you call that?
Gin Stephens: Just K-12. We just say K-12.
Melanie Avalon: K-12 means all of that?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, from kindergarten to 12th grade. We usually distinct it by what phase of it.
Melanie Avalon: You think there'll be one word that means elementary school, middle school and high school.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, we just usually say K-12.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, well.
Gin Stephens: I'm a teacher, so I'm like, “What is the word? There's got to be a word. Why am I not thinking of the word either?” I don't know. We just say K-12, because we usually just break it down more. We've got undergraduate, that's college, but I don't know.
Melanie Avalon: But I don’t want to break it down. My biggest crush from that entire K-12, yes. [laughs] I've never heard the phrase, K-12. Okay, my biggest crush from K-12, I'm just going to say it, his name is Jordan Watts. And me and my friend Emily Stock-- Oh, I don't know if I should say names. I know she listens to the show.
Gin Stephens: I think it's fun to say names.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. [laughs] I know she listens to this show.
Gin Stephens: I haven't heard the story yet, though.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, well, I know she listened to this show, because she wrote in once. And I was like, “Wait, Emily? Is this Emily?” Emily, if you're listening, I hope you don't mind me sharing this. We were obsessed with a boy whose last name was Watts, and we called him Lightbulb. And we would just call him Lightbulb and draw lightbulbs.
Gin Stephens: That was the code name for him, was light bulb?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Whenever I hear lightbulb, I think of that.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's funny.
Melanie Avalon: I think he's married now.
Gin Stephens: Good times. It's been a very lightbulb day. I also changed on all the halogen lightbulbs in the house because, Lord, they're hot, halogen. They're so hot. We had undercounter lighting that were halogen the you stick in with the little pins, and the plates in the cabinets were hot, because the halogen lightbulbs were so hot. I found these LED replacements that worked, also at Lowe's. Lowe's is amazing. I just wander around Lowe's and ask the people that work there to help me do things and they're great. I'm like, “Hey, I don't know what to do. I have this, I need something else, help me.”
Melanie Avalon: That's what I do.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. And they're awesome, they're so helpful.
Melanie Avalon: I really recommend that color-changing lightbulbs.
Gin Stephens: I don't want any colors.
Melanie Avalon: That's how I make my whole room red and pink at night.
Gin Stephens: I just like normal colors. I want it to just be light.
Melanie Avalon: But then, you can make your whole evening no blue light.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I'm not going to do all that.
Melanie Avalon: Honestly, it's probably one of the best changes I've made in my apartment for my sleep.
Gin Stephens: I've got a lot of rooms in my house, and we go from room to room. That would be a lot.
Melanie Avalon: Actually, I just put them into two of my lamps, and so at night, I just turn on those two lamps and they're pink.
Gin Stephens: Okay.
Melanie Avalon: And then, I turn on my Joovvs.
Gin Stephens: So, you’re lighting your way with the Joovv?
Melanie Avalon: Uh-huh. It's great.
Gin Stephens: I know that all your photos on Instagram are always pink. The light is glowing. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I like the glow.
Gin Stephens: Anyway, I'm like a home improvement girl. So, I could totally do that. I could do anything. I could put in--
Melanie Avalon: You could. I support.
Gin Stephens: It's amazing what you do when your husband is not here, because Chad would have handled all that. [laughs] He would have been the one, like, “Why is this broken?” Instead, it was me.
Melanie Avalon: I always get really proud of myself when I fix something that would have been fixed by my dad. And I'm like, “Oh, look at my new skill.”
Gin Stephens: Exactly. We can do it.
Melanie Avalon: Because when you're a kid, you're so in awe of how your parents know how to do everything, and then you realize it's just because you acquire these miscellaneous skills over the years.
Gin Stephens: Well, and watching the people that come, and when we're having the work done in our house and the people that work for the companies that are doing these things, I'm like, “They don't have a magical skill set. They had to learn how to do it.” I'm as smart as them. I can do it. If they can learn how to screwing a light fixture, I can learn how to screwing a light fixture. Although the guy at Lowe's was hilarious, the guy in the lighting section. I was talking to him about how I couldn't get it apart. He's like, “Well, I don't really know. I'm not an electrician.” I said, “I think unscrewing this from this nut is not really electrical work.” [laughs] Most of it is just finding the parts that go together and put them together. Anyway.
Melanie Avalon: Fun times.
Gin Stephens: It was. It's been fun, but I'm ready to be done. My friend, Michelle, is coming to visit me on Thursday. So, trying to get all the work part done. So, then we can relax.
Melanie Avalon: Very nice.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. What's up with you?
Melanie Avalon: Yesterday, I was on Brad Kearns podcast. It's always surreal when I go on those show. He coauthors all of the books with Mark Sisson, like all the Primal Blueprint books, and The Keto Reset Diet and all of those books, and he cohosts Primal Blueprint Podcast with Elle Russ, and I've been on that show. But I don't know, I feel it's moments like those where I'm just like, “I've come a long way.” The reason I really feel that is because I'm super excited to be on it, but it's not this huge thing. In the past, myself 10 years ago would have been freaking out about any of the individual interviews I have now. And it's just like, “Oh. I'm just showing up.”
Gin Stephens: Yeah. I was just on the radio, and I didn't even tell anybody. It's at the point where I'm just doing, it's just so routine. You're not like, “Oh, my gosh, I'm going to be on the radio.”
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I don't want to make it seem I'm complacent or that I take it for granted, I don't at all. I realize when I have these moments how far I've come and how the barometer has changed for my goals.
Gin Stephens: This is our job. Our job is talking to people on different media outlets. It's just making that shift to like, “Yeah, this is what I do. I talk to people for other people to listen to.” My elementary teachers, all of my K-12 teachers, in fact, to pull out that K-12 again, they knew I was going to do something with talking and here I am.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, here we are.
Gin Stephens: Talking for our living.
Melanie Avalon: Now, the goal is the TV show. I would like to be at a place in the future where I'm just showing up for my TV show, and I'm like, “Oh, just another day.”
Gin Stephens: Just another day on your TV show. Yeah, fabulous. I hope you get a TV show. I do not want a TV show. Although I do think that Clean(ish) would make a great TV show.
Melanie Avalon: I agree.
Gin Stephens: I've never wanted to be on a TV show, but I'm a teach her, I can do it. But I think it would be a great TV show like Marie Kondo went around and helped people, say, “I love you.” “Thank you for serving me,” to the things that we're getting rid of, or whatever.
Melanie Avalon: Or it could be a docuseries.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's true, but I would like to go into people's homes and help them. That's the way I was picturing it. See, I am more like, “Let me help you figure out your house.” I don't want to do a docuseries, that is a big no. Like an expose, kind of thing, like, no.
Melanie Avalon: No, docuseries is, it's like a documentary in a TV show format.
Gin Stephens: Well, I know. I know what it is. But we're talking about the issues, like the science behind it, I don't want to do that. You can do the docuseries, that's your boat. You go sail on the docuseries boat. I want to help people look at what's under their cabinets. I'm like in the nitty gritty. That's me. I'm at the application phase. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: We could do a lot of TV shows between us.
Gin Stephens: We could. You do the science part. I like the science part. I understand the science part, but I don't want that. I don't want to do docuseries.
Melanie Avalon: Well, I really want to do a talk show. That's what I really want to do. Like the podcast now, but as a talk show with a live studio audience. Oh, I’ll be so excited. I could see the audience.
Gin Stephens: I feel like I could do that because that's what teaching is.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I would just love that. Okay, can I make a brief announcement?
Gin Stephens: Please do.
Melanie Avalon: So, last episode, I said that I had only briefly read the serrapeptase COVID study. So, I actually sat down and read the rest of it. I'm just in shock because this is my first time sitting down and actually reading extensively the literature on serrapeptase. It really is a wonder compound. I'm shocked it hasn't been taken by the pharmaceutical industry and made into a drug.
Gin Stephens: Can they do that, though?
Melanie Avalon: That's why I'm not sure. This is the way I think that they could. I want to put this out to the universe. But I feel if the pharmaceutical industry finds something that they normally can't make into a drug, because there are the rules about--
Gin Stephens: Because it's unpatentable.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. But I think what they can do is try to make studies to show that it's unsafe as a supplement, and then get it regulated that way, and then turn it into a drug. There's a conspiracy theory out there that that's what's happening right now with-- There's some compound that normally would be a supplement, but now all of a sudden, there are all these studies saying that it's unsafe. What is it? Robb Wolf actually had an episode all about this. It's NAC, so that's something that used to be you could just buy, but now the FDA is turning it into, I think, requiring prescriptions. I think that's the route that could be taken. It's interesting, because the article I was reading about serrapeptase and COVID, they're basically proposing that serrapeptase be made into a pharmaceutical to help treat COVID and it's published in a clinical journal. I'll link to it in the show notes, but they go into all the mechanisms of action, all of the different things that it could do, specifically with COVID and inflammation and with the mucus, and there's so many things it can do, but then beyond that just its anti-inflammatory potential, its antioxidant potential, and it really doesn't have side effects.
From listeners, the biggest side effect I hear, some people get GI distress from it. It's hard for me to know if it's actually the serrapeptase or if it's the brand they're taking, but in any case, I am obviously a huge fan, but now I'm even more of a huge fan. For listeners, I will be making my own pretty soon. So, you can get on the preorder list and definitely get on the preorder list because the email list almost has the amount of people that we're going to do for the preorder. So, I anticipate the preorder is probably going to sell out. It's going to be a thing where like, when you get the email, you're going to want to jump on it. So, you can go to melanieavalon.com/serrapeptase, and that's how you get on the email list.
Gin Stephens: Very cool.
Melanie Avalon: Hi friends. I'm about to tell you how you can get free electrolyte supplements, some of which are clean fast approved, all developed by none other than Robb Wolf. Have you been struggling to feel good with low carb, paleo, keto, or fasting? Have you heard of something called the keto flu? Here's the thing. The keto flu is not actually a condition. Nope. Keto flu just refers to a bundle of symptoms. Headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, and insomnia that people experience in the early stages of keto dieting. Here's what's going on.
When you eat a low-carb diet, your insulin levels drop. Low insulin, in turn, lowers the production of the hormone, aldosterone. Now, aldosterone is made in the kidneys and it helps you retain sodium. Low aldosterone on a keto diet makes you lose sodium at a rapid rate. Even if you are consciously consuming electrolytes, you might not be getting enough. In particular, you need electrolytes, especially sodium and potassium, in order for nerve impulses to properly fire.
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Shall we jump into everything for today?
Gin Stephens: Yes. We have some feedback from Annie. And her subject line is “The Best NSV,” which stands for Non-Scale Victory for anyone who doesn't know that. All right, she says, “Dear Gin and Melanie. About a year ago, two different gynecologists told me that I had PCOS because I had various symptoms. They gave me different pills, but I always felt that there was so little information, and I started to read a lot about it on my own. When I searched for insulin on the podcast app, I found your podcast in January of 2020. I listened to your then around 200 episodes and started to fast. Sometimes only 16 hours, sometimes 40. I always did what felt best for my body at the moment. After some months, I stopped taking the pills since it didn't make me feel good. And since then, my period has been super regular. I haven't missed a month.
After a while, I told my best friend who is a medical student that I was fasting, and he has now become more hooked than me, and we've been doing it together ever since. I feel that I'm so incredibly in tune with my body more than I ever was before. I feel better, and I've learned so much during this journey.
I always thought that I wanted to email you with a thank you. And today, I got the best reason because I was just told by a gynecologist that I do not have PCOS anymore. Since I started, I have not lost any weight, but I don't really need to either. But this feels like the greatest success. All in all, I just wanted to tell you that you are amazing, and that I cannot thank you enough. Lots of love to you both, from Sweden.” And lots of love to you too, Annie, and that is amazing. PCOS is related to having high levels of insulin. It sounds like fasting has lowered your insulin enough to reverse your PCOS, which is incredible.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that is so fantastic. Thank you so much, Annie, for sharing. PCOS is one of the conditions that is looked at a lot in the clinical literature with fasting. This is often found to be the case that it can be reversed. If you'd like to learn more about insulin, I did an interview with Dr. Benjamin Bikman and his book, Why We Get Sick, is so good for understanding insulin. And he talks about PCOS. He basically thinks that insulin is the cause of PCOS always. I also love that she's sharing it with her friend who's a medical student.
Gin Stephens: I know, I love that.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it’d be nice if fasting could infiltrate the conventional medical system.
Gin Stephens: I think it's happening, really. I think that it is slowly but surely making its way.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think so too. All right. Shall we go on to our questions?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: We have a question from Laura, the subject is “Question about increasing body fat percentage.” And Laura says, “Hello. Thank you, ladies, for all that you do to promote intermittent fasting and provide us all with excellent information. You have both been a great support to me, and I appreciate your resources and continued education on IF. My question is this. I've been doing IF for about five months, not for weight loss, but it started as a structured way to fast for Lent. I liked it so much I kept going with IF. I started at 127 pounds, plus/minus 2 pounds, I had the whoosh effect and lost five pounds and a dress size after two to three weeks. I am 5’2”, and I now stay around 122 pounds plus/minus 2 pounds. I love how I look, and as a mother of four busy kids, ages 2 years to 14, I have more energy and time.
I fast for 18:6 most days with a 20:4 once a week. However, over the past month, although my weight is staying the same, my scale which also measures body fat percentage is trending upward. Each week, the body fat percentage increases around 0.3%, and the muscle mass is trending down at the same rate. Although I don't have my waist measurements, my honesty pants fit great. My diet has not changed. I eat clean and feel best with a high fat, low carb diet. My activity and sleep have not changed significantly. Any thoughts? Should I try to open my window more and add more protein, weight training? I'm also 40. Maybe this is age related, open to suggestions and ideas. Thanks again for all your efforts, Laura.”
Gin Stephens: Well, Laura, thank you for writing in. What I know about those scales, the home versions, is that they tend to be inaccurate, and they do a lot of measuring water, and your body is fat. So, they're not good at really measuring because the way they work with bioimpedance, they're sending an electrical signal through your body, and it really can't distinguish between fat and water. So, if your honesty pants are still fitting exactly the same, that's a great sign. I don't know that's really what's happening with your scale. Also, try changing the batteries, I had something crazy happening with my scale one time, and I changed the batteries and it fixed it. I would not say, “Oh my gosh, I'm gaining fat and losing muscle.” That could be what happening is happening. I don't know. But I would not just go by the fact that your scale is saying that just because I'm not sure that's accurate.
But if you really do feel like you're losing muscle, then you need to do muscle building activities, so weight training would be a great thing to do. I don't know that I would have a longer window, but you could certainly increase your protein if you'd like, see about that. Really, it's just hard to know if that's what's really happening. So, it's hard to say what to do. But if it is happening, then working on building muscle would be a great thing to do. What do you think, Melanie?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, you said pretty much the entirety of my thoughts. Those scales, I really wouldn't recommend. Especially the ones that you buy and have at home, they're so influenced by water. Even things how hydrated or dehydrated you are can massively affect it. If you did want to actually measure, I would instead do more of the old school measuring. There are formulas online you can do with taking actual measurements. Or if you go to a gym, they often can help you out more with that.
But basically, I thought Gin really nailed it in that it might not be actually happening. If it is, either way, it's not going to hurt you to focus on muscle. Age related muscle loss is a thing. We tend to lose more muscle as we age. So, focusing on maintaining or even building it is fantastic, so weight training, resistance training. I'm going to have an episode pretty soon with John Jaquish, he makes the X3 Bar system, and I'm very much a fan of that system now. That's resistant bands, and his protocol, actually, it's so short. You do it a few days a week and it's like 10 minutes. It's made to maximize all of your muscle maintenance, muscle gains with minimum stress. I should remember this after doing the interview, but it works with the range of motion to give all of your muscle the maximum muscle building stimulus without being limited by range of motion.
When that episode comes out, I'd recommend listening to it, but it's going to be a while. But in the meantime, his system is at melanieavalon.com/x3 and the coupon code, SAVE50, will get you $50 off. It's nice, because I don't think there's anything going on with your scale. I don't know that your scale is accurate, but it's nice that it tunes you into the importance of your muscle because it really can't hurt to focus on muscle. Adding in activities and also adding protein, definitely, I agree with Gin, I wouldn't lengthen the window necessarily, but adding more protein could be a nice thing.
Gin Stephens: Awesome.
Melanie Avalon: We are on the same page there.
Gin Stephens: Very nice.
Melanie Avalon: Shall we go on to our next question?
Gin Stephens: Yes. We have a question from Becky and the subject is “Question about blood glucose.” She says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie. I have a question about blood glucose.” [laughs] Maybe I shouldn't have read that part, because I just said that, all right. She says, “I started wearing a CGM two weeks ago, just out of interest. I'm not diabetic or prediabetic. And my A1c and glucose levels are normal. However, occasionally throughout the couple of weeks, my blood glucose has dropped into the very low range. This is not during fasting, which I tend to do for 16 to 18 hours per day, but it's usually during my eating window. And I've been trying to pay attention to things and it doesn't necessarily happen after I eat sugary foods, but more often seems to be after I have carbs. Usually during fasting, my glucose levels are 4.8 to 5.3.” Now, is that Australian or European? I’ve no idea what 4.8 to 5.3 is.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, 3.3, for example is 60. 4.7 is 85. 5.5 is 100. Normally, her fasting glucose is between around 86-ish to upper 90s. Normally, it's hers in the 90s, and it's dropping to the 50s.
Gin Stephens: To the 50s after she eats?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.
Gin Stephens: Okay. She says, “Do you know why this big drop happens and/or, if this is a problem? My thought is that my insulin response is too great and drops my blood sugar too low, and then it takes a bit of time for my glucagon to kick in and bring my sugars up again. What are your thoughts? Thank you, Becky.”
Melanie Avalon: All right. This is a great question from Becky. The first thing I would suggest, Becky, is if you have access to it, I would get a glucometer. Something where you can check your blood sugar with on your finger, and I would check the meter to see if the baseline correlates because occasionally the CGM can be off by 10 points, maybe even more. I would just do that to check. If the baseline is off, it doesn't mean, and we talked about this before, but if the baseline is off, the precision will be correct. So basically, even if it's off by 10, it'll always be off by the same 10. Check that just so you can figure out because it's possible, I could see how it would be off, and maybe that drop isn't quite as low as you're thinking it is. In any case, regardless, the job is happening. The precision is accurate. And, yes, this actually is pretty common. I experienced this.
I was wearing a CGM for months, then I took some months off. Now I'm wearing one again. I've been wearing one for about three weeks now. Right now, my blood sugar is 90. The pattern I've noticed in me is actually very similar to you, Becky. I have fasted blood sugar that's good throughout the day. Actually, when I do cryotherapy, it shoots way high up and then it goes down. After I eat, I get the same drop like you do. It doesn't go down to the 50s, but it does drop a lot and then it goes back up again. And I do think it is a basically a hypoglycemic response from over, I don't know, if I'm over producing insulin, but I mean, I guess so. And then finally, it raises again when your body makes the-- Is she doing a low carb diet?
Gin Stephens: She didn't say.
Melanie Avalon: She didn't say. If she was doing a low carb diet, then it would be probably things like glucagon or the liver producing cortisol to bring back up the blood. If you're eating a high carb diet, it could just be a matter of the carbs getting shuttled into the cells and then released back and then levels become stable again. So, is it a problem? Well, I'm not a doctor. I don't know how much of a problem it is. My question to you is, when this happens, do you feel starving and ravenous? Or would you not have had any idea this was happening if you hadn't worn a CGM?
Gin Stephens: I wonder if she's shaky, because I feel if your blood glucose is dropping down and you feel shaky and unwell, that's a problem.
Melanie Avalon: She says it doesn't necessarily happen after I eat sugary foods, but more often seems to be after I have carbs. Okay.
Gin Stephens: If she's not feeling shaky, what's so interesting is the fact that we're wearing these CGMs now, people who had no idea what their blood glucose is doing are like, “Hey, this is what my blood glucose is doing. Is it normal?” When really, we wouldn't even have had any idea. So, maybe that is totally what Becky's has always done, and it's normal.
Melanie Avalon: The thing, I think, is something to be more worried about, because if you're having these drops, but you're not experiencing them as a negative feeling in your body, I personally wouldn't be too concerned. I wouldn't be as concerned about the lows. It's more the super highs that people don't realize are happening. Those are what I think are pretty concerning. Either huge, massive spikes, so they don't realize are happening or baseline high resting blood sugar levels that they don't realize is happening. I wouldn't stress out too much about it.
I would check the CGM. What you could do is you could play around though and this is one of the great benefits of having a CGM is you can figure out what really works for you. So, there's no harm in playing around with your food choices and your macros, and seeing if you can find a type of diet or meal or combination where you don't experience that crazy low. Thoughts, Gin?
Gin Stephens: That was it. Also, if you're really concerned, you really do need to check with your doctor just to make sure. We don't know what's really normal for you or what's happening. Feeling good is always a good sign. And it's just interesting that we wouldn't even know what was happening if we didn't have these devices now.
Melanie Avalon: They're fascinating. I'll put a link in the show notes to the two episodes that I've done on CGMs. One is with Levels and one is with NutriSense. Then, if you'd like your own, the links for those are melanieavalon.com/levels, lets you skip their waitlist. They say their waitlist is 115,000. And then, melanieavalon.com/nutrisensecgm gets you $40 off with the coupon code, MELANIEAVALON, so you can jump on the CGM train for anybody interested. I heard back from ZOE, and I think I am going to do the muffins. They send a CGM, right?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, does it link to their practice, the app?
Gin Stephens: Yes. You don't see what your numbers are doing. It's the old school. It's not like Levels. It automatically sends it. Unless it's a new one.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, you don't scan anything?
Gin Stephens: No.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, so you don't even see the numbers. That's interesting.
Gin Stephens: You don't see the numbers, you just see your wave. Now I was able to see my numbers because I synced it. Maybe it's different now, but it was the old-style FreeStyle Libre, where you actually have a readout. It's like a little device.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, not on your phone, not on your app. Oh, interesting.
Gin Stephens: It might be different now, because technology changes. I have the Levels at my house to do, I'm going to wait till I get home from the beach, do it in September. They sent it to me to try. Thank you for having them do that. I'm really excited to try it, but it's really different. Since I'd done the ZOE, I feel like I'm missing, what is this? But you just attach it to yourself, but that's it, and then you scan that. So, it's different than that.
Melanie Avalon: I'll let you know if it changed.
Gin Stephens: It might have changed, but I was able to sync, you had to then get your little sensor reader and it would sync with the sensor reader. And then I was able to take the sensor reader and connect it to my computer, and then upload it through this third-party system and see what my numbers actually were.
Melanie Avalon: You know what made me so excited recently in this whole sphere?
Gin Stephens: What?
Melanie Avalon: Did you know they make HbA1c meters?
Gin Stephens: Nope.
Melanie Avalon: I was concerned because I got back my HbA1c and it was two points higher than it's been, and that did not make sense to me. And I was lamenting to my friend, James Clement, who I've had on my show. He wrote a book called The Switch. And he was like, “I'll send you a meter.” It was like a glucometer, but it tests your HbA1c. It was so exciting. Except the lancet to get the blood for it was very intense. It requires more blood and I was not anticipating the lancet being so effective.
Gin Stephens: Good luck with the ZOE test because you do have to squeeze out a lot of blood for that one. You have to drip it on this card, lots of it. That was the worst part. I did not like dripping my blood and squeezing, squeezing, squeezing to get all the blood out because it has to go up. Like on a pregnancy test, it has to go up, the liquid, you have to get enough blood that it goes up this little like--
Melanie Avalon: They send the lancet, right?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, they send you all that.
Melanie Avalon: If it's like the lancet that came with HbA1c meter, I was fine, because it was very effective.
Gin Stephens: Well, I didn't like it. I didn't like doing that part, but I did it. It was worth it for the data.
Melanie Avalon: Worst-case scenario, I guess I could go in any lab test now, do a blood draw. Yep.
Gin Stephens: Awesome.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Okay, so our next question.
Gin Stephens: All right, we have a question from Rebecca, and the subject is “Fasting Insulin Number,” which should fit in very nicely, because it talks about some things we just said. “Gin and Melanie, before I jump into my long email, sorry, thank you for making a difference in my life and countless others. I wrote a question last year and you read it in Episode 194. Thank you. It was in regards to my HbA1c.”
Melanie Avalon: Oh. Look here. Oh, wait, I just realized we didn't even say what HbA1c is. I'll say what it is after.
Gin Stephens: Okay. She goes on to say, “You mentioned about getting a fasting insulin test done, which I did via a walk-in lab this past May. Here's an observation and a question since in Episode 221, you both talked about glucose and fasting insulin possibly going hand in hand. Well, after fasting 12 hours, my glucose was 116, but my fasted insulin was 2.5. I can't swing a CGM, so I just have to rely on periodic blood work. Any thoughts on these very far apart numbers? I am 60 years old, 5’10” and 149.03, and an athletic build. My CRP, which indicates inflammation, a diabetes indicator as well, is 0.50, which is great. You two have become best friends in my head, and thank you and so sorry for this very long email. Obviously, I am not good at condensing.”
Melanie Avalon: All right, Rebecca. Well, thank you so much for your question. Well, first of all, bravo for being interested in all of this, and testing your fasting insulin on your own. That's so cool that she decided to do this. Both blood sugar and insulin, the tests can fluctuate a lot. I think that's one of the things with a CGM that people really realize is just how much blood sugar can fluctuate throughout the day, which can be pretty misleading for people getting blood tests, because there are so many factors that could affect your blood test. When you go into the doctor, you could get a blood sugar spike for something unrelated to your overall blood sugar levels, and it can make it seem like your blood sugar is either lower or higher than it normally would be. Insulin as well, we don't know quite as much about the stats on insulin but I did ask Dr. Bikman this, personally, not from this question, but from another question, wanting to know about fluctuations in insulin. He was saying that, yes, the tests could fluctuate, and they could also be off the same way that blood sugar can be.
I say all that to say it could have been misleading information. It would be nice-- I know, she said that she can't swing doing it a lot. It would be nice if you could do it again and see if you have that same pattern, because if you continue to have that pattern, that would be a little bit strange, but this is just my thoughts, I'm not a doctor. This was a fasted test, so 12 hours. The fact that the insulin was so low, I feel like that's a more stable reflection of how the insulin is while you're fasting, because it's unlikely that if you were that fasted, that you're fasting insulin would just spike up, compared to blood sugar, which you could have gotten nervous or had some coffee or exercise, or the liver just decided to pump out some more glucose, that can easily spike up. It's really nice that you had that low insulin number. What I'm saying is, it's very possible that you have low insulin and that you also normally have lower blood sugar, but it just spiked, but again, it's hard to know.
What I would do, is I know you aren't able to get a CGM right now, you could get, we mentioned earlier, a glucometer. Those are pretty affordable. And the great thing is they let you check your blood sugar all the time. It's like unlimited blood sugar tests, you just have to buy the test strip refills. Compared to the earlier things we were talking about large amounts of blood needed, tghere are tiny, tiny pricks that are required. I have a Keto-Mojo and it actually measures both ketones and blood sugar. I also have a Bayer blood sugar. I'll put links in the show notes to both of those. What I would recommend is if you really want to figure out what was going on, since you can't get the CGM right now, get a glucometer if you're open to it and start testing your blood sugar throughout the day just to get a sense, and then next time you check your insulin, see if it is again low.
What's really interesting is, I was just learning about the HOMA score. There's actually a calculation that you can do, and I want to go back and look at my lab test and do and you could do it for this. But it's a mathematical equation to determine insulin resistance based on your glucose and insulin. Although now having said all that context about how the numbers can be off, I do wonder about the implications of it if the numbers are off a little bit. It's the HOMA-IR formula. And it's actually fasting glucose times fasting insulin divided by 405, and you want that to be less than 2 for insulin resistance, ideally, like the lower the better. Rebecca, your HOMA-IR score is actually 0.71, which is really great. I don't know, I would not be too concerned, if you like I would do any of the things I said about continuing to monitor, but those are my thoughts.
And then, the HbA1c, because we didn't define it. It is a marker of blood sugar levels over three or four months, and that's because the turnover of the red blood cells is about that length. So, it shows overall level of glycation of your blood cells from blood sugar in your bloodstream. I always forget the numbers. You know what’s really interesting, Gin, I find this fascinating, and it I find it concerning. Did you know that-- I don't know when it was, I was just reading a book, they raised the level of HbA1c for diabetes, like an entire point?
Gin Stephens: No, I didn't know that.
Melanie Avalon: I just find it concerning that, we adjust our standards to a disease population, why? We have the standard population, but because of the rise of diabetes and metabolic issues, I just don't know that it's helpful to raise the standard.
Gin Stephens: Well, it's like I was talking to somebody yesterday recording the podcast, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and she was talking about her fasted insulin levels. She just got her number, and she said that she was told by her doctor that the range from, I can't remember something under 5, I can't remember the number that he said to 20 was normal. I'm like, “Well, 20 might be normal, but it's not healthy.”
Melanie Avalon: For insulin?
Gin Stephens: Yeah. But that's what I'm saying is-- and the same with the A1c, like you were just talking about, they've raised it to be normal, and that's not normal.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's very concerning. That's why we love-- on here, we've worked with InsideTracker before, and what they do is they do blood tests, but they look at it by their ideal ranges, rather than the conventional ranges, which I think is so, so important.
Gin Stephens: There's so much difference between 20 and 5, for example, with insulin. If you got an insulin of 19, that ain't good. it might be normal, but certainly not optimal.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I don't have it right now but I think the A1c had an increase from like 5.5 to 6.5 for diabetes.
Gin Stephens: I wonder what the reasoning is, is that they want to diagnose fewer people officially? What would be the motivation for doing that? Insurance companies doing it for some reason?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Because the reason you could say is, “Oh, well, more people have higher levels, so that's what's normal, so that's the standard.” But to change the definition of diabetes, I don't know. It's a good question.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I would like to know why.
Melanie Avalon: That would be interesting.
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Melanie Avalon: We have a question from Dana. The subject is “Meal timing during eating window.” And Dana says, “I currently do a 17:7 daily fasting.” Whenever people say that one, I always pause because I feel like it's -- like most people don't say 17:7.
Gin Stephens: [laughs] I don't know why, people just like even numbers? Well, what's funny is people do 19:5. People do 19:5 or all the other. So, I don't know why 17:7 wouldn't be a thing. If you could do 18:6 or 16:8, you could certainly do 17:7, or you could even do like 16.5:7.5. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Oh, goodness. Well, Dana is doing 17:7. She says, “I could easily do with just lunch, 12 to 1 PM, and dinner at 6 PM. But I am worried about getting enough protein and fiber and just two meals, so I have a chia seed fiber/protein shake that I tried to get in, in addition to lunch and dinner. What is the best timing to have that snack? Midpoint between lunch and dinner, or is it better to cluster it with either lunch or dinner to maximize the number of hours between meals and the eating window?”
Gin Stephens: Now, Dana, I would like to have you define the word 'better' for yourself. There's so many things, like which is better for convenience. What happens in the middle of the afternoon if you have it then? Does it make you hungry after you eat it because I know that if I have just something small random, in the middle of-- let's say I was going to eat two meals one day, and then lunch, and then dinner, and then I had something small in the middle, it would make me hungry or sooner. You just have to fit that in where it feels right to you. I'm not going to claim any of them is better. So, if it works better to have it with your lunch or with your dinner, do that. If you like having it in the middle of the afternoon, have it then. If it makes you feel weird after you have it, then don't have it then. But if you have it in the middle of the afternoon, and you look forward to it, and you love it and you feel great after you have it, have it at that time.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I agree. With me and my digestive issues, I would do for me, for example, what would feel the best digestively. I know she's asking about maximizing the hours between meals.
Gin Stephens: I try not to worry about all that, because once your window's open, your window is open, your body's digesting food, there's stuff going on. I just figure window's open, window's closed. I don't want you to really micromanage the window so much and worried about what's the best thing. I don't know, that's just my brain thinking. I know some people think differently than me and that's all right, too.
Melanie Avalon: To that point, exactly, depending on what you're eating, but it's highly unlikely in my opinion that you'd be able to eat at 12, and again at 6 and enter the fasted state in between. So, you're not going to be entering the state of turning on the epigenetic changes and the signaling pathways for the fasted benefits. So, there's really no point in trying to achieve that goal. You can just keep eating in between, but the thing is, that doesn't mean that, “Oh, I'm in the eating window, so it doesn't even matter if I just keep eating.” What I mean by that to clarify is just because you're not going to hit the fasted state, doesn't mean that eating more isn't eating more.
Gin Stephens: That's meaning we're not recommending overeating. I could make a case for that it's “better" to have it in the middle, just after going through ZOE, and realizing it takes your body a while to clear out, the excess glucose, the excess fat and then having too much in your body at one time. Marty Kendall even talks about this. Too much energy in your body at one time, so you want to spread it out a little bit. Having in the middle of the afternoon, I don't think is a bad thing.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I like your answer. Definitely a question where just do what feels right. I think people really-- [sighs] so much of this is self-experimentation and just finding a window that works for you. And that sounds like a cop-out answer, but there's not some perfect solution and some perfect answer that you're magically going to find. I think we will stress a lot about doing everything right, if that makes sense.
Gin Stephens: Yes. Well, there's got to be the best time to have this. There's so many things going on in your body. Like I said, when I went through the ZOE testing and understood, when I spaced my food, too close together, I got a lower score, because my body hadn't had time to clear out the last one. Also, the volume makes a difference. I've had a little bit and then later I had a little bit, that's different than having a whole lot, then having more. The way that you crowded them together can be a problem if you're having too much.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I think it's so freeing with fasting and diet as well. I think it's really freeing to-- okay, this is my analogy. I have an analogy, Gin. I feel it's like a coloring book with the outlines. When you're a kid, and you pick up a coloring book, and you're trying to decide which one to color, you find the picture with the outline that you like, and then you just really stick to that outline, and then you color it in however way that you want. With the fasting, you can pick a window that you're sticking to, and then just trust the process, trust the outlines, and color within that.
Gin Stephens: And you can color it however you want. Yes, that makes me think of when I was five, I entered--- I don’t know I guess my parents entered it for me, I don't know, but I won this coloring contest. And I looked back-- and my mother kept this, this picture of a Christmas coloring contest. I looked back at it years later, and I had colored Santa crazy. It was like the Santa, he didn't have on a red suit when I was done. It was crazy. Of course, this was like, what 1974? So, maybe they really appreciate it. Maybe I was the only five-year-old who entered, I don't really know. But I certainly did not color it in the standard way.
Melanie Avalon: You know what so funny? Did we talk about this? We're the same person. It's just funny how we have the same stories about-- When I was also around five, I did a coloring contest, but I had just learned-- what was that TV show with a guy and he teaches you how to color that Bob or something.
Gin Stephens: You mean the painting guy?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: On PBS?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I don't know. I forgot the name of it, but yeah.
Melanie Avalon: I learned the technique of how to do progressive shading. It was like this gymnastic coloring piece and I worked so hard to perfectly shade it so that it gave the depth to the-- what is it called? What do you--
Gin Stephens: Did you say you were about five?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: See, I didn't do it like that. I just went crazy and colored it all crazy.
Melanie Avalon: We did the same thing, but we're opposites.
Gin Stephens: The opposite of it. Yeah. My picture was crazy. But it was like, “Color, color.” I mean, Santa had green, it was just-- yeah. [laughs] I was not following the rules.
Melanie Avalon: I was implementing the technique. Oh, my goodness. That's so funny. I won so much stuff, I got to go see like gymnast, like the collegiate gymnast, and they gave me all this swag.
Gin Stephens: Well, I won a tricycle and I was already too old for a tricycle, so I remember being mad. I was like, “I am not a baby. I do not need a tricycle. Thank you.” [laughs] Anyway.
Melanie Avalon: Back to the analogy though, the point I'm trying to make was that, once you pick that outline, the outline is the fasting window in my analogy.
Gin Stephens: You can color Santa green, or you can do a technique. It's okay.
Melanie Avalon: But then on top of that, you might not like how you colored it. Just because there's a boundary doesn't mean that it's going to work for you. You can still color it however you want, and you can color it a way that you like or you can color it away that you don't like, but I think there's a freedom in having that boundary of the fasting window and just trusting that process.
Gin Stephens: Exactly.
Melanie Avalon: Alrighty, in any case, this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you'd like to submit your own questions for this show, you can directly email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. There is all of the stuff that we like at ifpodcast.com/stuffwelike. The show notes for today's episode will have a complete transcript and they will have links to everything that we talked about. That will be ifpodcast.com/episode230 and then you can follow us on Instagram. I am @melanieavalon, Gin is @ginstephens, and we are @ifpodcast.
Gin Stephens: Awesome.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Anything from you, Gin, before we go?
Gin Stephens: No, I think that's it.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this has been wonderful and I will talk to you next week.
Gin Stephens: All right, talk to you then. 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.
STUFF WE LIKE
Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!
Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine
Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle
Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle
Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Clean Fast Protocol for Health, Longevity, and Weight Loss--Including the 21-Day FAST Start Guide
Clean(ish): Eat (Mostly) Clean, Live (Mainly) Clean, and Unlock Your Body's Natural Ability to Self-Clean
The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Gin: GinStephens.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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