Episode 236: Non Scale Victories, BMI, Hip-to-Waist Ratio, Ketone Esters, BHB Salts, Endurance Athletes, Exercise Performance, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Oct 24

Welcome to Episode 236 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:

BUTCHERBOX: Grass-Fed Beef, Organic Chicken, Heritage Pork, Wild-Caught Seafood: Nutrient-Rich, Raised Sustainably The Way Nature Intended, And Shipped Straight To Your Door! For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get A FREE Holiday Turkey In Your First Box!

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 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! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quiz: Melanieavalon.Com/Beautycounterquiz
Join Melanie's Facebook Group Clean Beauty And Safe Skincare With Melanie Avalon To Discuss And Learn About All The Things Clean Beauty, Beautycounter And Safe Skincare!

Stay Up To Date With All The News And Pre-Order Info About Melanie's New Serrapeptase Supplement At Melanieavalon.Com/Serrapeptase!

Listener Feedback: Susan - Feedback about doing IF as and intense exerciser 

Listener Feedback: Megan - Finally my own NSV!

Listener Q&A:  Emilie - BMI chart says I am overweight - should I care?

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Listener Q&A: Jenny - Boosting ketones

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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 236 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. 

Hi friends, I'm about to tell you how you can get a 10- to 16-pound, humanely raised, free-range turkey for free. Yes, for free. We are so honored to be supported by a company called ButcherBox. It is so, so important to us to buy high-quality meat that you can trust. It tastes better, it's more ethical, it's more sustainable, it's truly what benefits not only ourselves, but the planet. Friends, I've been doing a lot of research on transparency in the food industry and it is shocking what goes down. What you see on the shelves at the grocery store can be very misleading with practices that are not benefiting ourselves or the planet. So, if you're tired of searching for 100% grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, wild-caught seafood, and more, you've got to try ButcherBox. Their entire sourcing is actually done holistically. They keep the farmer, the planet, the animal, and your family all in mind to deliver products directly to you, cutting out the middleman of a grocery store to save you money, and get you quality meat and seafood that you can trust. 

Plus, their products taste amazing. Oh, my goodness, friends, I am a steak girl. ButcherBox filet is one of the best filets I have ever tasted in my entire life. I recently gave my family some of their grass-fed, grass-finished beef, and my mom told me it was the best ground beef she had ever tasted. My brother also adores their bacon. Yep, if you want pastured heritage-breed bacon that is sugar and nitrate free, you can get that at ButcherBox. I'm also a scallop girl, and their wild-caught scallops are delicious, and I can finally feel good about the transparency with that because friends, the seafood industry is very, very sketchy. A 2013 Oceana study found that one-third of seafood in grocery stores and restaurants was mislabeled. Farmed salmon is often labeled as wild salmon, and other fish species are just complete lies. It's honestly very shocking. 

Every month, ButcherBox members can get a curated selection of high-quality meat shipped straight to their home. Those boxes contain between 8 to 14 pounds of meat depending on your box type and what you want. They're packed fresh and shipped frozen with free shipping for the continental US. And friends, with the holidays upon us, how hard is it to find humanely raised, free-range turkeys without additives. Just go look at those turkeys at the grocery store and look at their ingredient list. It should be just turkey, it's not usually just turkey. They often plump up those turkeys at the grocery store to make them weigh more and those solutions are full of additives that you do not want in your body. But we've got you covered. You can skip the lines for your Thanksgiving turkey.  This holiday ButcherBox is proud to give new members a free turkey. Just go to butcherbox.com/ifpodcast to sign up. That's butcherbox.com/ifpodcast to receive a free turkey in your first box. I'll put all this information in the show notes.  

And one more thing before we jump in. Are you fasting clean inside and out? Did you know that one of our largest exposures to toxic compounds including endocrine disrupters which mess with our hormones, obesogens which literally cause our body to store and gain weight, as well as carcinogens linked to cancer is actually through our skincare? Europe has banned thousands of these compounds for being toxic, and the US has only banned around 10. It's honestly shocking. So, when you're putting on your conventional skincare and makeup, you're likely putting toxic compounds directly into your body. These compounds can make you feel bad, can make it really hard to lose weight, can affect your hormones, your mood, your health. And ladies, if you're thinking of having kids, when you have a child, these compounds actually go directly through the placenta into the newborn. That means your skincare and makeup that you're putting on today actually affects the health of future generations. Did you know that conventional lipstick for example often tests high for lead, and the half-life of lead can be up to 30 years in your bones? That means when you put on your lipstick, 30 years later, half of that lead might still be in your body.  

Thankfully, there's an easy, easy solution to this. There's a company called Beautycounter and they were founded on a mission to change this. Every single ingredient in their products is extensively tested to be safe for your skin, you can actually feel good about what you put on. And on top of that, their products actually work. That's because they're not “all natural.” They actually combine the best of both worlds, both synthetic and natural ingredients, to create products that actually support the health of your skin and make your skin look amazing. They have skincare lines for all your skin types, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner that I love, antiaging and brightening peels and vitamin C serums, and incredible makeup. If you see my makeup on Instagram, that's all Beautycounter. You can shop with us at melanieavalon.com/beautycounter 

And if you're thinking of making safe skincare a part of your future, like we have, we definitely suggest becoming a Band of Beauty member. It's sort of like the Amazon Prime for clean beauty. You get 10% back in product credit, free shipping on qualifying orders and a welcome gift that is worth way more than the price of the yearlong membership, totally completely worth it. Also, definitely join my clean beauty email list at melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty, I give away a lot of free things on that list and join me on my Facebook group, Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare with Melanie Avalon. I do a weekly giveaway every single week for Beautycounter, people share their experience and product reviews, and so much more. And again, the link to shop with us is melanieavalon.com/beautycounter. All right, now enjoy the show. 

Hi, everybody, and welcome. This is Episode number 236 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: Well, I am looking at the ocean, so that is always a good thing. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: How is the ocean looking? 

Gin Stephens: It looks fabulous. I'm taking a really quick two-day trip, just two nights, which is never long enough. But our last renter of the season left, the renter that was here for a month, and so I had to come and like flip everything, get it ready just for us. So, that was exciting. Can I tell you something that I have learned about seagulls?  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, please do.  

Gin Stephens: When you're out on the beach and you see the seagulls, you just never really know where do they live? Do they stay in the same area? They do. We have this one seagull that lives right here by my house that has something wrong with his leg. So, when he flies one leg dangles down, and he can't use it. When he lands, you can tell he can't really bear weight on it. I have seen that same seagull all summer. And I saw him yesterday and I was so excited. 

Melanie Avalon: Is it possible because he has an injured leg that he doesn't travel far? 

Gin Stephens: Well, it is possible, but he's got his little friends and they're all together. I mean, they feel like they're a community. It's totally possible. He does everything the other seagulls do though. I mean, he flies with them, [laughs] they seem to be seagull friends. He's just right there with them. 

Melanie Avalon: One of my best friends was telling me how he had the epiphany recently that the bird that is outside his house is the same bird. He thought it was like a different bird for the longest time. 

Gin Stephens: No, I really think that they live somewhere. Like this bird, this is where he lives. I'm saying he, it could be a she, I don't know. [laughs] But I've seen him all season. I was so excited, I'll be like, “I got to see that bird. Where's that bird? I saw a whole group of them, and I walked over and there it was, and it just made me happy. I just want that bird to be okay, because when I first saw it, I was like, “Oh, no, I hope that bird's okay. I hope it doesn't die.” Nope. That's just how the bird lives. He seems just to be living his best life even though he's got, like, that doesn't work the same way.  

Melanie Avalon: It's motivational.  

Gin Stephens: It is motivational. Anyway, that bird makes me happy. That just tells you my life. [laughs] I'm out here communing with the birds. [laughs] So, what's up with you?  

Melanie Avalon: I had a moment, was it yesterday, I think. We're continuing production on my Serrapeptase supplement. I've been saying the brand name like when I talked about it on my other show and on the pre-order list. I'm formulating it with, was like, “You do have the trademark, right?” I was like, “No,” and he's like, “You need to take down everything and get the trademark now.” 

Gin Stephens: And that doesn't happen easily or quickly.  

Melanie Avalon: Because I was headed out to something. I was like, “I can do it tomorrow. “He's like, “You really need to do it now.” And I was like, “Okay.” [laughs] I learned really quickly. I think it's interesting how you can learn so much about like a niche topic really quickly if you have to. I got in the trademark registration government website and learned a lot really, really quick. I didn't know this. You probably know this because you've registered. You've registered copyrights or trademarks? 

Gin Stephens: Well, I have copyrights. They're two separate things obviously, you know this, but copyrights are for my books, I've registered those. Trademarks are different. I do have one trademark and it is for Delay, Don't Deny is as a title in a series. You cannot register a trademark for a title of a book in isolation. People don't realize that. That's why there can be a million books out there, all called Fast. Feast. Repeat. that are put out by those people that are the copycats and there's nothing we can do legally, because you can absolutely use a title, but Delay, Don't Deny because it's in a series, like Chicken Soup for the Soul. In order to trademark it, I had to produce several different things, and so I did and got a trademark, but it's not something that happens overnight. The process takes months. 

Melanie Avalon: I would have thought you register the trademark before having the product, but to actually have the trademark, the product has to be created and in use, like being sold. 

Gin Stephens: Or you have to show that you're actively doing it or something. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, basically. What I registered was intent to use, but it's not official until I have a specimen. 

Gin Stephens: Exactly. And if you never have a specimen, you lose it. Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: We'll have a specimen really pretty soon because we're really moving forward with the labels on the production and finalizing the formulation, so I'm not concerned about it. That was just so counterintuitive to me. I would have thought you registered before creation, but the officialness comes after. 

Gin Stephens: I guess it's to keep people from just registering all words. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, that does make sense. 

Gin Stephens: So, you can't just like grab everything good. “Sorry, you'll have to buy this from me because I have it registered." Right? 

Melanie Avalon: That completely makes sense, because otherwise you would just register everything.  

Gin Stephens: Exactly. And then you would be like the wealthy and you would hold it, you would hold it. Yeah, but you can't, so at least thank goodness for that. 

Melanie Avalon: So, that was exciting. Now I have the document and it's very exciting. Today's Sunday we should be getting back tomorrow hopefully like the final word on the formulations and we're lab testing other companies to see what's actually in them. I'm just so, so excited. So, I will say for listeners, my goal was to create a Serrapeptase with no fillers, but now we don't know if that's actually possible with the machines and that's why we're lab testing the other companies because we don't believe they're actually doing it with no fillers. There's only-- there're so many Serrapeptase brands, but there's two that make it seem like they don't have fillers, but we don't believe them. What we've learned from like things they can say on the labels, I'm just learning so much. So, rest assured, I promise my version of it will be the cleanest best version on the market that there is. I'm very excited.  

Gin Stephens: I am not surprised at all about that. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: So, yeah, I'm going to make this one and then I'm going to make all the other things like taking. For, listeners, just really quick. Listeners are probably familiar, but basically, it's a--Serrapeptase, it's a proteolytic enzyme, created originally by the Japanese silkworm. You take it in the fasted state, breaks down residual proteins in the body. So it can address-- there's so much research on it. It can address inflammation, brain fog, fibroids, that's what Gin originally took it for. It breaks on amyloid plaque and Alzheimer's. It reduces cholesterol, it reduces fatty deposits. It makes antibiotics more effective, so it can combat antibiotic resistance. It breaks down biofilms. It's literally just like a wonder supplement. And you can just take it for daily use as well. So, the link to get on the pre-order list because I do anticipate that it will sell out is melanieavalon.com/serrapeptase. S-E-R-R-A-P-E-P-T-A-S-E. Oh, my goodness, I'm so excited. 

Gin Stephens: Well, I'm glad. You've learned a lot, right? 

Melanie Avalon: I have learned so much. That's one of the funniest parts of it all. I just love learning.  

Gin Stephens: It really is. I love learning, too. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I feel very empowered now to talk more, not with authority because I don't want to say I'm an authority figure, but I can talk with more information and knowledge about the supplement industry. So, yes.  

Gin Stephens: Well, that's always good.  

Melanie Avalon: Yep. So, shall we jump into everything for today? 

Gin Stephens: Yes. Let's get started. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, so to start things off, we have listener feedback. It's from Susan. The subject is “Feedback about doing IF as an intense exerciser.” Susan said, “Hi there, Melanie and Gin. First of all, I know everyone says this, but I am so thankful for finding your podcast, and I've listened to every episode, and it has had such an incredible impact on my life. I am 49, soon to be the big 50 in November, and I've been doing IF with a clean fast, of course, since January 2020. I exercise five days a week, three runs, ranging from 45 minutes to two hours, and two intense one-hour cross training sessions a week. I also walk for about an hour on top of this most days. My feedback to you is that my window each day ranges from 16:8 to 23:1, depending on the day and how I feel. I never eat before noon and always exercise in the mornings. I just wanted to let you know that I feel better than I have ever felt exercising in the fasted state. I would never again eat before exercising.” I just want to jump in and say I agree so much. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah. Somebody in our community was just earlier this week was like, “Well, I was working out and I got really, really sick and dizzy and shaky. And I ate a salad right before I did the workout.” I'm like, “That's why, [laughs] you didn't have enough to fuel the workout.”  

Melanie Avalon: The idea of exercising with food in my stomach is just very unappealing to me now, it just feels heavy and-- 

Gin Stephens: Wrong. It feels so heavy. Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: She says, “I don't even feel hungry when I'm done. I just eat when I get hungry. Even after a two-hour run, I'm not experiencing any “need” for food. The funny thing is I used to always eat breakfast, I'm a whole food healthy eater, which was oats with milk and cinnamon before my exercise. There were many days in my past that I would experience signs of low blood sugar, trembling, sweating, weakness, fuzzy brain, etc. And would have to stop exercising and have a quick bite, so as not to faint.” I have to say something about this, circle back. 

Gin Stephens: I also did too, I just want to say that's exactly what the person said she experienced after eating before working out. It was that exactly. 

Melanie Avalon: That exact same thing.  

Gin Stephens: Yes. Trembling, sweating, weakness, feeling sick. Yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: She says, “I have not had one moment of this since starting IF, best thing ever. A side note, I started if because I had gained about 10 pounds and couldn't at the time figure out why, since I hadn't changed anything in my routine or diet. I have since learned it was likely hormonal, I lost that weight easily, have maintained it easily. And the health benefits of IF are incredible. So, I will never ever stop this incredible lifestyle. I read your books, listen to all the podcasts and I'm so thankful for you two.” 

Gin Stephens: Yay, Susan.  

Melanie Avalon: And I like this email a lot from Susan because, as listeners know, Gin and I are not regularly going on to our runs. We can't really speak to that. It's nice to hear from people who do and how they're performing well in the fasted state.  

Gin Stephens: It really is. 

Melanie Avalon: My little quick thing was I fainted this week, Gin. 

Gin Stephens: What? I've never fainted, not one time in my entire life. 

Melanie Avalon: And the thing about it is, remember when we answered that question about giving blood and I was really hesitant because I had fainted once before drawing blood? 

Gin Stephens: Yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: And that was 10 years ago. I have had my blood drawn so many times, so I thought I was over it. And I wasn't even having my blood drawn, I was getting an IV for glutathione and vitamin C for just health and wellness. And she couldn't get the IV in, like she kept poking me and it wasn't working. And then she kind of like, I don't know, poked me internally, and it really hurt. I thought I was fine. So, she wasn't drawing any blood, but something about it just psyched out my-- what's it called the vasovagal? 

Gin Stephens: I guess so. Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: A vagal response. I started feeling nauseous. I was like, I think I'm going to faint. What's funny is I don't even remember leading up to the fainting. She said she like tried to get me to drink water, and I was like not having it.  

Gin Stephens: So, you don't even remember it? 

Melanie Avalon: I remember feeling nauseous and I don't remember leading up to it. And then I just remember coming to when I was shaking, which is scary because then I was googling like seizures versus fainting. Apparently, you can shake when you faint. It doesn't mean you're having a seizure. It's so scary--. It's like really scary. The scary thing about it is it makes you realize just how not in control you are of your body with something. It's like if your body decides to faint, like there's nothing you can do. 

Gin Stephens: Well, that's true.  

Melanie Avalon: The equivalent if you haven't fainted, it's like when you're put under for anesthesia, it just happens, and then you just wake up, it's like that. So, you haven't fainted? 

Gin Stephens: Never. [laughs] Are you surprised? 

Melanie Avalon: No. Now, I'm really hoping it doesn't spark. I felt I'd gotten over my fear response about fainting again, ever since fainting 10 years ago. And I'm like, “Oh.” Now I'm going to be worried again every time I draw blood.  

Gin Stephens: Well, don't worry about it. Just go in there knowing it's not going to happen. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's the mindset I've been having. And thankfully it wasn't during drawing blood. So, wonderful listeners would like to write in with their experiences. So, I feel not alone. Yeah, it's the worst.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I can imagine. It does seem like it would be the worst. 

Melanie Avalon: It's just very scary. It's just very confusing, because you don't know what's happening. And then you feel like-- 

Gin Stephens: And you really can't control it.  

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.  

Gin Stephens: It was one of those things, like, I don't know, when I was growing up, and we'd be like on stage singing with the chorus and someone would faint. Everybody was like, you remember how that would happen? Like they said it was because you locked your knees, then you would faint? I don't really know. So, they're like, “Don't lock your knees or you’ll faint,” but people would faint on stage. And I'd be like, “That looks so dramatic. I would like to faint.” When you see someone's crutches, and signing their cast, you're like, “I want to do that, too.” You're like, “No, you really don't.” But when you're a kid, you're like, “That looks fun.” I don't know now, that sounds dumb. But you know what I'm talking about? 

Melanie Avalon: Well, I always thought it looks so dramatic in movies. When women would faint like, “Huh.” And it's like, “Oh, wow, that's so poetic.” [laughs] But, yeah, it's not fun. It's scary.  

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

Melanie Avalon: And, of course, my first thought was, “I want my mother.” That's always I feel like my first thought when anything traumatic happens. It's like the fear response. So, all is well. Thankfully, it was with a nurse obviously. And she said she knew I was about to faint. She was like-- she just knew, it just had to happen. There's nothing she could do.  

Gin Stephens: They know the signs, I'm sure.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's like, “Well, just got to let this happen.”  

Hi, friends. I am a huge proponent of getting our nutrition from food. When all else fails, I feel food is the way to go. That said, there are some nutrients that are super hard to get in today's environment. Did you know that 80% of the population is deficient in magnesium? Our soils are so depleted of magnesium today, that it's really, really hard to get enough of this crucial mineral. It's actually the number one mineral to fight stress, fatigue, and sleep issues. I've been doing a lot of research on minerals, especially the calcium magnesium balance, and I walk away from so many conversations I have with experts just realizing more and more how important magnesium is. I personally love magnesium for its stress reducing effects, as well as helping with my digestive issues. 

Yes, magnesium is the single most-studied mineral in existence. It actually powers over 600 critical reactions and our bodies. Did you know that there are multiple types of magnesium? That's why I am so excited to share with you, the magnesium product that I discovered, is called Magnesium Breakthrough by BiOptimizers, and it combines all seven essential forms of magnesium into one convenient supplement. Most magnesium supplements actually fail, because they are synthetic and are not full spectrum. But, when you get all seven critical forms of magnesium, pretty much every function in your body gets upgraded, from your brain to your sleep, pain and inflammation and less stress. 

With this one simple action, you can help reverse your magnesium deficiency and all of its forms. This is by far the most complete magnesium product ever created, and until or unless someone comes out with a better one, I highly recommend you give it a try. I can't tell you how many times I get feedback in my Facebook group, IF Biohackers, about people who have truly benefited so much from Magnesium Breakthrough, and we have a special offer just for our listeners, you can get 10% off Magnesium Breakthrough, if you go to magbreakthrough.com/ifpodcast and enter the code IFPODCAST10. That's M-A-G-B-R-E-A-K-T-H-R-O-U-G-H forward slash I-F-P-O-D-C-A-S-T with coupon code IFPODCAST10. Once again, that's magbreakthrough.com/ifpodcast with the coupon code IFPODCAST10. By the way that coupon code is good for 10% off any order. Definitely take a look around the BiOptimizers website for other supplements that might benefit your health. I'll put all this information in the show notes. All right, now back to the show.  

Shall we go on to our next listener feedback? 

Gin Stephens: Yes, this is from Megan. And the subject is, “Finally my own non-scale victory.” She says hi, “Gin and Melanie. I've been doing IF for a little over a year now, but still struggle to do this consistently. Mainly, I struggle with an all or nothing mentality, with a big dose of perfectionism thrown in.”  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's me.  

Gin Stephens: Well, I totally get it. When I was the gifted teacher and teaching the gifted endorsement classes to adult teachers who were getting their gifted endorsement to teach gifted kids, we talked about perfectionism. It really is true. In people-- Gifted kids are very likely to struggle with perfectionism. It really is like, “Well, I won't do anything if I can't do it right,” kind of a mindset. So being able to understand that was really important for teachers of the gifted. Anyway, yeah, that is a real thing. Kids will throw a project away rather than turn it in because they don't want to turn into something that isn't perfect. 

Melanie Avalon: I identify with that. 

Gin Stephens: I'm a good enougher. [laughs] I'm like, “I did my best. It's good enough. Here you go.” [laughs] Anyway, but I totally do understand perfectionistic kids because we saw a lot of them, over the years, I worked with lots of them. Back to Megan's feedback. She says, “I love listening to all of your podcasts and get so inspired by all of the success stories. But when I fail to have those same results, I get so discouraged. Am I the only person that struggles or for whom IF doesn't work? I've not been blessed with big weight loss results. And up until recently, I couldn't come up with a single non-scale victory and felt discouraged.” I want to jump right in there real quick. You know that saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It really is true, because we think everyone else is having better results than we are. We can be like, just so quick to throw in the towel. So, I get it--, I totally get it. And I'm not blaming anyone who feels that way because it's human nature to look around and see what everybody else has and thinks, “Well, they're all doing it flawlessly. And here I am over here.” Anyway, I totally get it.  

She says, “I am at high risk for type 2 diabetes due to family history. And besides wanting to look great in pictures. This is the main reason I'm drawn to IF. It just makes logical sense, and is what keeps me devoted to this lifestyle. However, I will not say that I don't struggle with what is “wrong” with me when I hear success story after success story, but I'm flying high today.  

I recently got blood work for a much overdue physical. Thank you, pandemic. I'm so thrilled with my results that I just had to write to you. Right before the pandemic in December 2019, my fasting glucose was 97. But now my glucose result was 86. I dropped 11 points. I can't stop smiling. This is the first non-scale victory that I can claim. I am currently 218 pounds down from 235 a year ago, and still have a long way to go with weight loss. My window is 18:6, and I struggle with bingeing if I tried to increase that to 24 or one meal a day. Until I got that test result, I would have sworn that I was broken, and IF just works for everyone except me, but no more. Keep up the wonderful work and I will continue to be listening to all of your great success stories, and knowing that finally, I have a victory to credit to this lifestyle to. Best wishes, Megan." 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, I love hearing that from Megan. I really do feel if people stick it out long enough, the non-scale victories will eventually come to them for most people.  

Gin Stephens: I think so too, but also know that there's still tweaking to be had. It sounds like Megan's been tweaking window length, but there's so many things you can tweak besides just window length. Like what you're eating. 

Melanie Avalon: What you're eating. [laughs]  

Gin Stephens: I know you were going to say that, weren't you? 

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. It's very exciting, because people can see changes with the fasting, but then there's this whole treasure trove of potential if they haven't touched at all the food choices. There's so much potential for amazing improvements. I think it's very empowering-  

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: -for people. Any other thoughts? 

Gin Stephens: No, I think that's it. I'm just really excited to hear about that wonderful non-scale victory with you're-- seeing improvements in your fasted blood glucose. So, that's huge. Just keep looking for other things and tweak those foods if you haven't. Shrinking your window is not always the right answer. Maybe a six-hour window, maybe even an eight-hour window and tweaking what you're eating, just to see what feels right to you. 

Melanie Avalon: With the fasting glucose, it's incredible that it went down 11 points. There is a lot of variability though in fasting glucose. 

Gin Stephens: I thought that and didn't want to say it because I didn't want to be a Debbie Downer.  

Melanie Avalon: This can go either way though, because it doesn't have to automatically be a Debbie Downer. It's just very important to know-- I would encourage listeners to not evaluate the entirety of their progress based on just a single snapshot of blood glucose, because if Gin and I have learned one thing with our, well, blood glucose test, but also our experience with continuous glucose monitors where we see our blood sugar, you basically continually for 24/7 for two weeks at a time is when you wear them. You really realize just how much your blood sugar can fluctuate from minute to minute even. It's crazy. The reason this could be a Debbie Downer or it could be the opposite is, it's possible that the Debbie Downer side of things would be that there actually isn't-- there actually isn't much change in your overall blood sugar levels, like your average blood sugar levels. Or it could be that last time when your blood sugar was 97, that that was actually lower than what it normally is. That this 86 is actually higher than it normally is.  

There could be an actually even bigger difference, or it could be the opposite. It could be the opposite, where actually yours is a little bit higher than 86 now, and actually was a little bit lower than 97 before. It's really hard to know, you could get a continuous glucose monitor to look at things. We'll put links in the show notes to companies that provide access to those. You can check your A1C, which-- it'll give you a three-month picture of the level of glycation of your hemoglobin, which is affected by your average blood sugar levels. There are thoughts out there about its accuracy, but I think it does give a pretty good picture. You could also look at other metabolic health factors.  

Since you are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, I would really, really suggest looking at the five markers of metabolic syndrome. If you have three out of the five, you have metabolic syndrome, so one of them is high blood sugar. The others are low HDL, high triglycerides, the high blood sugar, abdominal obesity and high blood pressure. So, that would be something good to monitor your progress. Like how many of those do you have now and how many do you have as you go forward? I'm surprised we haven't actually really talked about that before because I don't think we've talked about it much on this show. But that really is understood to be the marker of metabolic health.  

Gin Stephens: I thought of something I wanted to say and then I forgot to say it. When I suggested making your window even a little longer, that might have sounded crazy. But the reason that I said that I didn't explain why, is because Megan says that she struggles with bingeing, if she tries to increase her fast to 20 hours a day, or if she tries to eat one meal a day, which I'm assuming she means in a really short window, and increased urge to binge over time, is a sign that you are over-restricting for your body. If you tend to over restrict, in a four-hour window, or one meal a day, maybe you just are someone who is like a lighter eater, like Melanie, you and I talked about, we're not light eaters, we eat a lot of food. So, that's why shorter window--, five-hour window is okay for me. I don't get that urge to binge with a five-hour window. But if you do, that may be a signal that your body perceives, what you're doing is over restriction. So, for you, if you're a lighter eater, maybe an eight-hour window, not like eating solid straight for eight hours. But maybe you need two meals within an eight-hour window, one on each end of it, for your body to feel happy, and not send you the urge to binge.  

That's why every time someone asks me-- I just was interviewed for a podcast two days ago, and the person asked me, “What is the best approach for intermittent fasting?” I'm like, “There isn't one. There is no best.” This is an example of that. An eight-hour window is not right for me. I can eat too much in eight hours, I do, if I eat for eight hours, if I have an eight-hour window. But it might be right for somebody else. Even if a lot of people struggle to lose weight with an eight-hour window, that doesn't mean that it isn't the perfect window for somebody. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm really glad that you elaborated on that.  

Gin Stephens: Well, good. I hope that made sense.  

Melanie Avalon: It did. 

Gin Stephens: Good. It just people might be like, “Why did she say increase your window? That sounds crazy, if someone's not losing weight.” But if you're doing something that feels overly restrictive for your body, that can actually keep you from losing weight, because your body is like, “I'm just going to stay right here.” You can even vary it from day to day, maybe one day, two meals and eight hours. The next day, you lose up and down kind of pattern. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. And on top of that, too restrictive could be a problem. And then on top of that, if you do struggle with a bingeing pattern, it just exacerbates everything. So that could be a pattern that would really, really not be working for somebody. 

Gin Stephens: Right. “Tweak it till it's easy.” I've got a chapter called that in Fast. Feast. Repeat. And we are all very much a study of one. If you're feeling things like bingeing, that's a sign something's not working. If you're not losing any weight at all, over a long period of time, that's a sign that something is still going on in your body. Now, it might be something that you haven't got your finger on yet, like hormonal or something else. Maybe your body is pulling fat out of a fatty liver. There's so many things that could be going on. It doesn't mean that you're doing anything wrong. It just means that you haven't discovered your weight loss sweet spot yet, or maybe your body's working on something more important.  

Melanie Avalon: Exactly.  

Gin Stephens: All right, you ready to go on to the next one.  

Melanie Avalon: Yes. We have a question from, I think it's Emely.  

Gin Stephens: I would say Emely. 

Melanie Avalon: That's a very pretty spelling of Emely. And the subject is, “BMI chart says I am overweight should I care?” And Emely says, “Hey, Melanie and Gin, I've been IFing and listening to your podcast since the start of 2018. My health is great, and it's such a joy to no longer stress about gaining weight. I'm a lifelong athlete with a decent amount of muscle. I wear a size eight mediums and feel confident, healthy and strong. My waist to hip ratio is 0.72, which is low health risk. I eat well, mostly plant based, lots of Daily Harvest.” That's what you love, Gin, right? 

Gin Stephens: I do love Daily Harvest. Yes. 

Melanie Avalon: Are they a sponsor on your other show? 

Gin Stephens: They are, which is so exciting, because nothing makes me happier than when I love a product, and then they become a sponsor because that's the order that it happened in. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: We can put a link in the show notes. Do you have a discount code for them? 

Gin Stephens: Yes, I do. If you go to ginstephens.com, on the Favorite Things tab, you can find it there. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, perfect. “Lots of Daily Harvests with the occasional vegetarian pizza. I workout two to three times a week, cardio, dance, battle ropes, HIIT, and Barre classes. 

Gin Stephens: I don't know what battle ropes is, do you? 

Melanie Avalon: Is that like jump roping where you battle? I don't know.  

Gin Stephens: I don't know, but it sounds really fun. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: It's what I was sort of picturing. It's like-- I don't know what it is, but there's these people holding scary-looking ropes and they're attached to the wall and they're moving them aggressively. 

Gin Stephens: Okay. [laughs] Now I'm imagining it. Thank you, Emely, for teaching us something new. That sounds really fun. Like, I might like to do battle ropes. I don't know. 

Melanie Avalon: We're going to become battle rope champions. [laughs]  

Gin Stephens: I bet, you're going to really increase your arm strength. That's something that-- 

Melanie Avalon: I know. I want to do it. Okay. To-do list. 

Gin Stephens: I probably could not do it right now. I'd be like, “Oops, I'm losing this battle.”  

Melanie Avalon: You have different people focus on different parts of the body, for like, what is most aesthetically pleasing. I focus on arms. I am obsessed with arms. I think we talked about this before. 

Gin Stephens: I don't know, but I know what you mean. I like shoulders, yeah, I get it. 

Melanie Avalon: Maybe I should look into this. She says, “I don't count or track anything. And I would prefer to continue not tracking or counting. I'm 5’6”, and usually around 159 pounds. This puts my BMI at 25.7 technically overweight. Should I focus on losing five pounds in order to get my BMI at a healthy range? Or should I continue my maintenance plan, is BMI something to stress over? I'm worried that as an American, my idea of what “overweight” looks like eschewed. But according to the BMI chart, I am. Is this something I should focus on changing? If I'm content with how my body looks, feels, and works, should I try to change to get into that healthy range? Thanks so much, Emely.”  

Gin Stephens: I'm going to say, just ignore that BMI for yourself. [laughs] Here's why. We've probably all read articles about how Olympic athletes are classified sometimes as obese, based on their muscle mass. They have so much muscle, and they're lean, and they have a very low body fat percentage, but because the only thing BMI takes into account body mass index, is your relationship between what the scale says and your height. That is it--. That's it. If you are very low body fat, very high amount of muscle, you get on the scale and your relationship with gravity is that you have a lot of mass, more mass. So, your body mass index is higher. Thanks to all that muscle. It's not showing the true picture of your body and what your body composition is. So really, your body fat percentage is a much better indication versus BMI.  

BMI isn't like totally awful for everybody. It can be a good rough estimate for some, but if you are really, really muscular, it is not going to be very accurate for you. For you, though, your waist to hip ratio of 0.72 is a much better indication that you are lean. I would just focus on your waist to hip ratio and know that you are athletic and healthy and BMI is not accurate for you, because as soon as you see that Olympic athletes are obese and they're not because their body fat percentage is so low, you realize that it's very, very imperfect. There is a BMI calculator that, I just want to throw out there. It's not really as relevant in Emely's case, but have you ever gone to the Smart BMI Calculator, Melanie?-- smartbmicalculator.com. I think I may have talked about it before. 

Melanie Avalon: Is that where you add in measurements that go with it?  

Gin Stephens: It has to do with more like your age. and things like that. It's basically it's rethinking the BMI, smartbmicalculator.com 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, you don't put any measurements in? 

Gin Stephens: No, you just put your height and your weight and your age. It just gives you a more accurate calculation based on your age, and where you might fall within there. 

Melanie Avalon: Gotcha. Yeah, we can put a link to in the show notes. Gin pretty much said it. The important thing really there is what is that weight made of? So, is it fat or is it muscle. Even I was just mentioning before that the metabolic syndrome, it's not just obesity that is one of the factors. It's abdominal obesity. It's a certain type of fat, even that is correlated to the health issues. Ascertaining what your weight is made, of which I mean, we can't assume, but it sounds like from all of her activity levels, that it probably is muscle, and especially with her health factors, she could do something like a DEXA scan, which would more likely show your muscle composition. The only potential problem with that is that it can even be misleading if you are on a ketogenic diet. I was just reading about this last night, because it still measures based on water and things like that.  

Gin Stephens: Really? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, low carb diets can play around with that. The study I was reading last night was saying, the issues with the DEXA scan and what you need to do instead, which was--, I don't know if it was stuff that was available. They were doing it in the study. So, like in this study, for example, they talked about the potential issues with DEXA. In this study, they use DEXA as well as an MRI, that's not something that's really accessible. An MRI to assess visceral adipose tissue mass, and thigh skeletal muscle cross-sectional areas. They also looked at nitrogen balance and something called 3-methylhistidine, which measures, I think, the turnover of lean mass to look at protein metabolism in this study because I think DEXA is the thing that's most accessible to the lay people, but just a note that if you're on a low carb ketogenic diet, there might be a slight issue with that.  

I think there are formulations online that look at measurements to find out your body composition. So, doing those, I still would recommend the DEXA. Looking at your metabolic health and all of that should give you a much better picture of everything.  

Gin Stephens: Yep, I think so too. 

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

Gin Stephens: Yes, this is from Ginny. The subject is “Boosting Ketones.” Ginny says, “What do you ladies think about using BHB or exogenous ketones to get an energy boost and promote faster ketosis? I've been using them about a month now and wondered if there's any real benefit, and when you recommend using them? Thanks. Your show was awesome.” Gosh, it's been a long time since we've had a question about ketones. Also, in the communities, like for a while, that's all everybody was asking. I mean, I can't think of the last time someone has asked about them. I thought they were like gone for good. I was hoping they were. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: I got really excited because I had that exact response as you, Gin. I was like, “Oh, I haven't even really looked into this and forever.” 

Gin Stephens: I thought that everyone was like, “Alright, we're done with those. Let's move on.” But I think they're still there. 

Melanie Avalon: I went on a really, really deep rabbit hole research on this. And I went in completely open minded because I did have that same response as you, Gin, so I was like, “What is the latest research say? I don't know, maybe it's going to be super supportive and maybe I'll walk away being like I should take these.” I do not walk away thinking that. 

Gin Stephens: No, I've researched it before and always the answer is no. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: I will tell you what I found and I only looked at really recent studies. 2020 or 2021, I wanted to look at three things, actually four things. So, physical performance, mental stress performance, weight loss, and then health-- like specific health issues.  

Gin Stephens: Did it have health benefits, is that what you're saying?  

Melanie Avalon: Therapeutically, if you had a specific disease, would it be beneficial? 

Gin Stephens: That's what I meant. Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: What did she call them? Because are different types. She called it-- 

Gin Stephens: BHB. 

Melanie Avalon: BHB or exogenous ketones.  

Gin Stephens: Beta-hydroxybutyrate, is that what it is? Did I say it right out of my brain?  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Basically, with the ketogenic diet or fasting, we can create ketones endogenously, so our body makes them, exogenously is when you're just taking preformed ketones. This is different than MCT oil that we talked about before-- or that we talked about a lot, MCT oil, easily becomes ketones, but it's not like a literal ketone. If that makes sense. 

Gin Stephens: It's not one yet, it can be made in the one. It's a fat. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, exactly. The two forms that people supplement with are ketone esters and then BHB salts. So, she was asking about the BHB salts. The ketone esters seem to be what creates a higher elevation and ketone levels in the body. So, I looked at different studies. The weight loss study I looked at use salts. The exercise performance when I looked at, oh, it also use salts. I'm not sure if I looked at any specifically with the esters. But regardless what I thought was really interesting, some quick takeaways, and then I'll go into the specifics. So, it seems that there are some factors at play when you take exogenous ketones. In the beginnings--, in the weight loss study that I looked at, it was a six-week study. In the beginning, the people that took the exogenous ketones, and the setup of that study, by the way was they had people, it was a calorie-restricted diet in obese patients. They had people doing a ketogenic diet without exogenous ketones, a ketogenic diet with exogenous ketones and then a low-fat diet. And then all the participants ate the same amount of calories. 

Gin Stephens: The low-fat people, were there two groups for them as well, some with ketones and some not, or they none of them got ketones? 

Melanie Avalon: None of them got ketones. I wanted them to do that.  

Gin Stephens: I know. It seems just a little incomplete.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. But they were actually using the low-fat diet as like a control which is interesting.  

Gin Stephens: That's weird--, that's so weird--. So weird.  

Melanie Avalon: I know. I was like, “Oh, I thought that'd be really cool setup to have.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: Now I'll have to after this, I took so many notes, I realized I think I want to write a blog post on this because I spent a few hours researching this and I was like, there's so much so I'm just going to talk about the takeaways that I found. But I might do an even deeper dive into it because it was really, really interesting. But so in that study, for example, what they were trying to look at was, does taking exogenous ketones help preserve muscle mass. Something they started out with, by the way was they hypothesize that, because apparently, some studies show a loss of muscle on ketogenic diets, but they hypothesize that because those ketogenic diets don't have enough protein and/or don't have enough sodium electrolytes. 

Gin Stephens: Or maybe they just for a short duration, and the people weren't fat adapted yet. I think that could also be a factor.  

Melanie Avalon: I agree. In this study, they thought they would find that adding the exogenous ketones would help preserve muscle mass. What they found--, they did not find that. There was a non-significant trend towards better muscle mass retention in the ketogenic diet with the exogenous ketones, but it wasn't significant. So, basically, it was like a tiny little bit of a difference, but not significant. And then on top of that, and this is why I was saying at the beginning about the two weeks. So, interestingly, in the initial two weeks having the exogenous ketones did for the ketone group, it raised their body ketones higher, but by the end of the six weeks, there wasn't any difference between the ketogenic diet with the ketones and the ketogenic diet without the ketones. 

Gin Stephens: So, that makes me think that the reason it was higher early on, is because obviously they're taking ketones right. They're measuring the ketones that they're taking in, but the fact that they didn't stay higher means that the people that were on the ketogenic diet without the exogenous ketones, made their own ketones from stored body fat, whereas the people who were taking the ketones, it just stayed constant from the ones they were taking, rather than making their own. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, my thoughts were that something along those lines. And I need to look at the charts and see what happened with the actual ketone levels, but basically, their thoughts, which was my thoughts, which is a little bit different than yours, but I was like-- it's funny. My initial thought is what their thought was, but I had what you just said in the background, as the other idea, but I wasn't really thinking about it. They were saying that basically, there's just a very intense regulation of the ketone levels in the body. And so regardless of the factors that are contributing to it, in the end, your body is going to maintain a certain level. 

Gin Stephens: Think about it, though. That means that you're not making them. If you're trying to maintain within this small range, if you're continually taking them in, you don't need to make them. And the magic isn't in having the ketones, it's in making them from our stored body fat. We want to do that.  

Melanie Avalon: So, that's actually the question like where's the magic because the reason other people researchers are really interested in exogenous ketones for therapeutic benefits is-- Oh, this is perfect because I have a perfect quote about this. 

Gin Stephens: Oh, and by the way, I wasn't talking about therapeutic benefits like Alzheimer's. Yeah, I was talking about for fat loss.  

Melanie Avalon: That's why I was going to say. I wanted to clarify the magic. When our context of what we were just talking about, the magic of them would be from burning body fat. This is why I needed to break it down into different categories. There are people looking at exogenous ketones for therapeutic health effects, and that's where the question comes in of, is there an extra benefit there, but there's this amazing quote. So, this is from a study, appropriately enough called exogenous ketones as therapeutic signaling molecules and high stress occupations, implications for mitigating oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction, and future research. It's a 2020 study.  

Okay, I feel the vibe, I'm going to get really casual in my words, but the vibe of that article or study was basically I feel it really encapsulated the way, I think, exogenous ketones are because it was a lot of theory. It was basically, like, we see all these benefits of the ketogenic state. So, there should be-- there's this potential that taking them exogenously would have all these health benefits. But then they just don't have any studies. They had like one study, and they were saying, like, in the future, we would like to see more studies, but there's not a lot of research on it. And then they even said, and this is what we were just talking about. They said, “Current speculation suggests that it would be incorrect to assume that exogenous ketones mimic the robust mitochondrial environment induced from an adhering to a ketogenic diet.” 

Gin Stephens: Boom. [laughs] Or, ketogenic lifestyle with fasting.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so basically, all the benefits you're getting from this mitochondrial state of a ketogenic diet is not the same thing as taking-- Yeah. And everything that happens from that is not the same thing as taking them exogenously. But then they do say, however, data are limited and human trials, specifically as it relates to the effects of ketone bodies on inflammation and oxidative stress markers. They basically say there's not really research on it. 

Gin Stephens: By the way, can I clarify, when I said that I know I didn't say very clearly? When I say a ketogenic fasting lifestyle, that doesn't mean that you're necessarily eating keto and doing fasting, because fasting itself is ketogenic. I just wanted to clarify that. Anybody who's fasting long enough, is going to get into ketosis, even if you do not eat keto style in your eating window.  

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. To clarify more that quote about the mitochondrial state, basically, when you enter the ketogenic state, it's not even just that your body is creating these ketones. And this is me, I'm not a scientist or anything, but just from what I've read, I don't think it's so much that that there's this extra magic to an endogenously created ketone versus an exogenously created ketone. It's just that the entire context that leads up to an endogenously created ketones, like making the ketones yourself, the whole system in your body is working differently.  

So, you're changing-- It's like if you had a factory that created ketones. In one situation, you have changed the entire workings of the factory to create those ketones all by itself, compared to a factory that actually isn't that good at creating ketones, and you just come in and put ketones on the belt, like, it's not actually making them. You're not getting all of the benefits to how that factory is working. There's so many other benefits from what leads to the creation of those ketones. 

Gin Stephens: Can I share my analogy that I haven't said in a long, long time because we haven't had a question about it? To me, the very best way of thinking about it is taking exogenous ketones is like spraying yourself with sweat and thinking you worked out, because working out is where the benefits are, not the fact that you're sweating. I mean sweat--.  The actual act of sweating is a detoxification thing. The working out that caused you to sweat is good for your body. But the sweat itself is not the goal. And the same can be said with the ketones. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and like an extension of that analogy was because I think-- I don't know, but there might be a place for exogenous ketones, but I think it would be very specific health conditions. 

Gin Stephens: For example, epilepsy.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Where due to that health condition, it's like with a sweat analogy, maybe there's a person who can't really produce sweat or can't produce enough sweat and they're in the desert and it's like this-- 

Gin Stephens: And you're really hot and If I spray you with sweat, you'll have a bit of it. [laughs] But it's not the same as if you worked up a sweat yourself.  

Melanie Avalon: Exactly.  

Gin Stephens: Can I say one thing about Ginny's question? She said that she's using them to get an energy boost. Well, it's because it's energy, you're taking in energy. If you ate a cookie, you'd have an energy boost too, but it's not what you want.  

Melanie Avalon: I'm glad you brought that up, like to that point, the weight loss study for the group that took the ketones, I think they said it added around, like 120 calories. So, they had to adjust for that, for the other-- they didn’t just add it, they had to reduce the calories of-- 

Gin Stephens: Of the food that they ate.  

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.  

Gin Stephens: Bummer. They also had to eat less because they're taking in energy.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. 

Gin Stephens: That should tell you something. [laughs] Ginny, we have good news and bad news. The bad news is-- 

Melanie Avalon: And I'm not even done.  

Gin Stephens: You don't need the ketones. But the good news is, you don't have to pay for them anymore. You can get them for free. That's the good news. The good news is, we are saving you money. Right now, stop buying ketones, make your own ketones. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, exactly. 

Gin Stephens: I thought you were done. I'm sorry. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: No. Just one more thing, I want to talk about the exercise performance, which relates to what you just talked about. So, this is perfect. One last thing about the weight loss study. The title of the study was the “Effects of a six-week controlled hypocaloric ketogenic diet, with and without exogenous ketone salts on body composition responses.” But something I did want to pop in there, just because it dismantles something we talked about occasionally on the show, and that's with the whole ketogenic diet. There's this idea that you have to be in ketosis to lose weight, which is not true. So, the low-fat diet in this study, they all lost around the same amount of weight, and the low-fat diet never went into ketosis. 

Gin Stephens: Although you could go into ketosis on a low-fat diet. 

Melanie Avalon: You could, yeah. you could. I'd have to look at it again. They definitely didn't go to the level of other two of the ketogenic diet.  

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Melanie Avalon: The last thing I was going to talk about was exercise performance, which relates to Ginny's question. This is a study from 2020 called “Effects of an exogenous ketone supplement on five kilometer running performance.” This study looked at recreational runners and their endurance running and the effects of taking exogenous ketones. And these people were not on a low-carb or ketogenic diet. They were eating a normal diet. They took either exogenous ketones before a five-kilometer run, or they took a placebo drink that tasted the same, but didn't have any ketones in it. And they wanted to see if it affected their performance, if it affected their perceived exertion, if it affected their energy levels. What I liked about the study was they also summarized all the other research to date. So, this was 2020, and they talked about all the other studies to date that also looked at this general concept. And in their summary, they said that to date, so this was up until 2020. One trial showed exercise improvements. Three trials showed neutral effects. And two trials showed negative effects with exogenous ketone supplementation. So, that is not looking good for exogenous ketone supplementation and performance. 

In this study, they found basically no difference between using the ketones or not using the ketones. Eight people who took the ketones had a non-significant faster time, but it wasn't significant. So, there wasn't that much of a difference, and two of them had a slower time. And then the perceived exertions, like how they felt was-- there was no difference in really anything. So, it really, really looks like exogenous ketones. 

Gin Stephens: If they were really magical and amazing, they would not have petered out like they have. People would just be taking more and more and more and having amazing results. And they wouldn't be speaking for themselves, kind of like fasting is doing. How fasting is continuing to grow and grow and grow. 

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. They're complete opposite.  

Gin Stephens: Right. I haven't heard-- But neither of us have heard of any questions about these for a long time because pum, pum, pum, it was just another thing they could sell you.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I already said it, but I'm restating, their summary of all of the studies to date that looked at basically athletic performance and exogenous ketones. Up until 2020, there was six of them, only one showed improvement, three showed neutral, and two showed negative effects. That is not a good rate. The very last thing, I don't know which study it was in, but I thought this was really interesting. One of the studies found that it was-- I don't even remember what it was testing. But I found that how people responded to exogenous ketones depended on their metabolic health. If people who had issues with their pancreas and their blood sugar regulation, all of that, did not have the same beneficial effects when they took the exogenous ketones, which to me, and this is just my thoughts on it. But to me, it says it's that whole energy toxicity thing. If your body's not handling energy well and you have too much energy, the last thing I think you want to do is be putting in pure energy. Not that it's the same thing as sugar. 

Gin Stephens: I mean, it's energy--. Its energy for the body.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. 

Gin Stephens: I just have one more final thought that I wanted to say. The main people who are super big fans of exogenous ketones are the people who want to sell them to you. So, always think about that. If the person who like is extolling the benefits, also wants to sell them to you, then they've got a reason to tell you they're awesome. You don't hear people who are not trying to sell them to you talk about how great they are. That’s all I'm saying. 

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. I think it was-- I don't want to misquote, but I have to go back and look, but it was definitely something about the metabolic health. I wrote a note that said “high blood sugar” that they had less of a beneficial response to exogenous ketones, but it was definitely the idea that if you're in a state of high energy, you want to make your own ketones, you don't want to be taking them. 

Gin Stephens: I'm so glad that you did that deep dive on the most recent information because it's been a long time since we talked about it, maybe like 2019 or something. 

Melanie Avalon: I was like, “Oh, this is going to be fun.” 

Gin Stephens: But it was even out yet.  

Melanie Avalon: I know. 

Gin Stephens: I'm so glad you didn't find the other and prove that they're amazing. [laughs] But they're not, so. 

Melanie Avalon: If I did, I went in completely open minded. 

Gin Stephens: You would have told the truth--. You would have told the truth, I know you would have. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, honestly, if it said that they're great, I probably have been like, “Hmm, maybe I will make my own ketones.”  

Gin Stephens: There you go, and you would start taking them.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, it was almost shocking how much there's just not support for this. The only caveat, and to be honest, I didn't even go down this rabbit hole because there's just too much there. And the studies are so like niche. So, it might be for very specific health conditions, there might be a place for it. I encourage listeners, if they're interested in ketones, and they have a very specific health condition, epilepsy, even I don't know, I didn't research for the cancer connection, I probably will, because I want to do a blog post on this. But some cancers, I don't know, but I would encourage you to go on Google Scholar and look up your health condition and look up exogenous ketones and see if there's research on it, because there might be a benefit there.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah, what really shaped my early thinking about it was hearing a podcast, and I don't listen to very many podcasts, ever. But it was Dr. Mark Mattson from Johns Hopkins and he's neurological expert brain stuff. I could not pull out who he was talking to, or find the source. But I remember, when I was still teaching. So, it was probably 2017 to 2018 because I remember listening to it on the way to school. I was like, at bus duty, trying to secretly keep listening to it. While no one could tell that I was listening to this, while also doing bus duty, [laughs] because I was so interested in it, because people were asking all the time, and I really wanted to learn the truth before I just started giving out advice, just like you just did. And he was like, very skeptical of taking in ketones in that way, just because that's not something we ever naturally do. They do not exist in nature in a way that you can consume them. He's like metabolically, we don't even really know what they're in there doing because that's not something you can go out and have some. He said he could imagine some biological pathways that made them actually harmful in the body, not just not helpful, but harmful. 

Melanie Avalon: I've even thought that a little bit about the MCTs, and this is the next step from that.  

Gin Stephens: It's not something you're naturally ever going to take in, in your daily life. It's like what are you going to do? I mean, drain someone's blood and drink them? I mean, no, don't do that. [laughs] I don't know how you would accidentally take them in. But there's no source of them around you naturally occurring, is my point. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I'm glad we had that conversation.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah, me too. 

Melanie Avalon: It was fun. 

Gin Stephens: I'm glad you did that deep recent dive and came to the same conclusion that we came to a long time ago. 

Melanie Avalon: It's almost funny reading, like I said, the one that was looking at using it for stress. I don't know what's like driving it because they clearly really have a lot of hope for the therapeutic potential, but they're just not finding that in studies. So, I don't know.  

Gin Stephens: Well, you have a theoretical-- this could be so great, because and then you want to find support for that., and then it's disappointing not to. 

Melanie Avalon: So, yes.  

Gin Stephens: So, Ginny, save your money, woo.  

Melanie Avalon: I know, yay. 

Gin Stephens: Everyone save your money. And if someone wants to sell you something that say for fasting, tell them no on that too. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. All right. So, this has been absolutely wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own questions for this show, you can directly email questions@ifpodcast.com, or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. You can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast, I am @melanieavalon, Gin is @ginstephens. The show notes will be at ifpodcast.com/episode236. And they will have a full transcript and they will also have links to all of the things, all of those studies we talked about. Everything. All right, anything from you, Gin, before we go? 

Gin Stephens: No, I think that's it. I'm going to go out and walk on the beach some more. And my biggest question for the rest of the day is, do I eat the food I have here in the fridge or do I go out to eat? I haven't decided. There's a place that has like a really good steak. And for some reason I'm craving a steak. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh. I think that's very telling. There's probably a nutrient in the steak that you-- 

Gin Stephens: But then I'm like a little feeling lazy. I don't want to get in my car and drive down there. I need a steak but you're right. You just answered my question. I'm glad I asked it. [laughs] I'm going to go eat a steak and a baked potato. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I would eat the steak. 

Gin Stephens: I know. That's where my plate went different from yours. [laughs] I'm going to drink a nonalcoholic beer and look at the water and eat a steak and have a baked potato. Now I'm really excited.  

Melanie Avalon: I would drink wine. Yeah, well, see, I'm driving. So, I won't.  

Gin Stephens: Well, have a fun time.  

Melanie Avalon: Thank you. Oh, the next episode for listeners, teaser, is special. 

Gin Stephens: And I'm not going to be on it, which is weird, because I'm going to be out of town. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. Should we say who? Actually, listeners probably know, I think I mentioned it. Yeah, we're going to have Robb Wolf. 

Gin Stephens: This has only happened one other time before when I was out of town and we had a special guest coming on, and I couldn't be there for it. But this is another example of that. And so, yeah, Robb Wolf. 

Melanie Avalon: Melanie fan girl person, I'm such a fan. So, we're going to do a deep dive into electrolytes and anything else that you guys want to ask Robb. 

Gin Stephens: Love it. And I'll be in Arizona, and I'm so excited. 

Melanie Avalon: I know, I'm excited too. I will talk to you week after next. 

Gin Stephens: I know, two weeks, and I'll tell you about my trip to Arizona.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I'm excited.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: Alrighty. Well, I will talk to you then. Safe travels. 

Gin Stephens: Thank you.  

Melanie Avalon: Bye.  

Gin Stephens: Bye. 

Melanie Avalon: 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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