Episode 239: Melanie’s Zoe Results, Burning Fat & Carbs, Blood Types, Personalized Nutrition, Low Insulin & High Glucose, Diabetes, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Nov 14

Welcome to Episode 239 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 239 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 239 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with, Gin Stephens. 

Gin Stephens: Hi everybody. 

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin? 

Gin Stephens: I'm so excited because our screened porch furniture came this week. Now, I can actually sit on the screen porch. We've been eating dinner out there every night. I'm so happy. 

Melanie Avalon: I love that. 

Gin Stephens: I know. It's a lot of porch. It's a big, big porch. So, [laughs] yeah, the furniture didn't go in like I thought it would. It looks way better than I thought it would, because of the way that we tweaked it, and I ordered a couple of rugs today, because it needs to be warmed up a little bit, but it is so cute out there. Ellie loves it. My cat Ellie, can I just tell you. The first night we always watch TV in the den which is right next to this room which Chad and I do before bed. Ellie sits or she might be outside. Ellie's in different places, but sometimes, she's outside, sometimes she's with us. But we always go to bed and I'm like, "All right, Ellie, time to go to bed."  

The first night we were out on the screen porch watching TV before bed with Ellie and then Ringo was out there, too. There's a cat flap on the door, the screen doors, they can go in and out. But Ellie was out and like she didn't know how to use it. So, we're like, "Okay, no problem." But when it was time to go to bed, I'm like, "All right, Ellie time to go to bed." So, we get up to go in the house, and you could tell-- She has got so much personality. She was like-- if she was a person, she would have said, "I don't want to." [laughs] She hid under the sofa, and then, I got her out, and she was running, and she ran under the table, and she wouldn't come out. So, finally, I got her and I took her inside. I was like, "All right, we're going to bed now."  

She did not go to bed. She ran outside through the other cat door. So, all right, whatever. She's mad now. The next morning, I woke up, she was on the screen porch. She had figured out how to use that because that cat flaps a little different. She had figured it out. She was like being super naughty and belligerent, and she's like, "You can't stop me. I'm going to sleep on the screen porch." [laughs] So, just a few minutes ago I was out there. She came in with a lizard. It was like old times. She ran right in with her little lizard, and dropped it at my feet, and start making that little noise she makes. So, she has claimed the screened porch. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, that sounds like a very southern thing, the screen porch. 

Gin Stephens: Well, it is, because it's just-- so much of the year, you can go out there. Of course, you know, here we are. We're recording this end of October. It comes out in November, but it's still warm enough to go out there. But I wish we finished it just a month ago instead of. You know what, I've had more time to enjoy it because there will be December, January. There'll be some days I can use it, but I won't get as much use out of it as I will in like spring.  

Melanie Avalon: Will you guys put a fire pit or anything like that? 

Gin Stephens: I don't think we're going to. We've thought about that, but we've got a couple inside fireplaces in. I don't know. What we're thinking about it, maybe on the deck but I don't know, outside. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, very nice. 

Gin Stephens: It is very exciting. It's only been like a year ago that we had the plans drawn. So, it was a yearlong process. We're still not finished. It's taking forever like gutters need to be put on. We don't know why the gutter people haven't come. The electrician needs to finish a few things. Landscaping, oh, Lord, it's going to be another year before all the landscaping is done. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, I want to see pictures when it's all done.  

Gin Stephens: All right. I have one picture on Instagram of a little table that we have out there.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.  

Gin Stephens: Take a look at that.  

Melanie Avalon: I'm going to look. I think I did see that pop up. Oh, that looks like indoors.  

Gin Stephens: I know. That's outdoors, though.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. I love it. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, it's very much like a-- here in the south, a screen porch is really very much three seasons. I can put on my Uggs and wrap up in a blanket and be out there on the warmer days. Probably, January, February, not as much, but-- 

Melanie Avalon: Very nice.  

Gin Stephens: What's up with you?  

Melanie Avalon: Well, we said, last week that we would discuss my ZOE results. 

Gin Stephens: I know and I've been waiting. I'm so excited about that.  

Melanie Avalon: I don't think we ever talked about yours.  

Gin Stephens: I think we did. I said that I cleared fat slowly and I cleared glucose slowly.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, you were slow on both of them?  

Gin Stephens: Yeah, and I wasn't surprised that I cleared fat slowly. But I was a little more surprised about the glucose. 

Melanie Avalon: Were you like in the yellow, or the red, or was it really bad, or--? 

Gin Stephens: I can't remember. I don't remember that.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I don't think we talked about it that granularly. So, mine was exactly what I thought it was going to be. I clear fat really well, like almost excellent. 

Gin Stephens: See, yeah. I'm not surprised about that. Now, you clear glucose slowly, do you? 

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. So, I was so close. Fat, I was almost in the excellent category, and then for blood sugar, the four levels are bad or good and excellent, and it gives you an actual number. So, for blood sugar, I'm 35 which is poor. Good starts at-- It shows you like the average population and then it shows like what you are. So, the lowest of the low for the average population is 46. So, I'm below the average. I feel like I've said all along. I feel like I don't handle blood sugar very well. 

Gin Stephens: Okay. I just pulled up my report. So, I'm going to look at mine. Tell me, again, what was your blood sugar control?  

Melanie Avalon: My blood sugar was 35.  

Gin Stephens: Oh, mine was worse than yours. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, what was yours?  

Gin Stephens: 23. And I'm not surprised because I can remember when I was a little girl, I didn't eat a lot of sweets and sugar because I could feel it make my blood sugar crash. This is when I was young. I never really ate a lot of sweets, I didn't really like it. I could feel, it made my blood sugar crash. So, I was always the salty snack kind of person versus the sweet snack kind of person. So, yeah, my blood sugar control is worse than yours. What was your blood fat? 

Melanie Avalon: Is that in the bad category? 

Gin Stephens: Yes. I was right at the threshold of poor and bad. Yeah, it's in the bad but close to poor, but bad. What was your fat? 

Melanie Avalon: My poor, by the way, is dead smack in the middle of poor.  

Gin Stephens: Smack in the middle of poor. What was your fat? 

Melanie Avalon: 73. 

Gin Stephens: Mine was 46. So, it wasn't as bad. Mine's in the poor. So, the blood fat wasn't as bad.  

Melanie Avalon: Very cool. Yeah. Mine's, I'm so close. It's almost in the excellent. You know, that's really what I thought it was going to be something like that. I also think it's pretty telling because so clearly, I don't have good blood glucose or blood sugar control, but my fasting blood sugars are always good, my A1C is always good. So, I think that's pretty telling that the dietary approach that I'm doing with intermittent fasting and very high carb fruit, but low fat is working well.  

Gin Stephens: That's true, too, for me because I--, same exact thing. My test results are always fine. Interestingly, personalized nutrition, we know that the form that something's in makes a difference, I know, we tested the muffin. Muffin is what we used for the test. I know that things like muffins, and cookies, and cake, I know that, that makes me crash worse than if I have ice cream. So, I would have predicted that baked goods would make me crash sooner if that makes sense. But I guess that the ice cream is also high fat. When I had the fat, that's the variable. So, now, I'm thinking about I don't know how they would test that because I guess, maybe, if I had like a low fat ice cream, that would be interesting to test. 

Melanie Avalon: I would love to test just like the same amount of-- I mean, but it would be a huge volume. But the same amount of calories, and fat, and carbs, but from whole foods that would be from the type of foods I normally eat. But I know for me personally, eating the same amount of carbs from fruit, I tolerate really well. But if I eat that from starches or definitely processed foods, major spikes there. 

Gin Stephens: I see that's so interesting. My body responds fabulously to potatoes and starchy like whole grain kind of things. But not as well to fruit. Fruit makes me crash more so. It's very interesting and I've never been a big fruit eater. People have actually said that like back when I was on Facebook and posting my meals all the time, they're like, "I never see you eat fruit." I'm like. "I never do." [laughs] Sometimes, I'll have strawberries and blackberries when they're really in season and they look great in the grocery store. But I don't eat apples. I don't buy fruit and eat fruit.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm all about the fruit. I feel like I should-- well, I was going to say I should start a dietary approach, but it really is sort of the way Peat approach already, but a lot of people have come to me actually, people who have been doing carnivore or low carb, but pretty meat heavy, and doing a paradigm shift where they go low fat, but keeping all of that meat, but just make it lean and add in the fruit, because that's what I do basically. I've had quite a few people come to me and say, they want to experiment with that, and they're super nervous, but it's gone really well for all of them.  

Gin Stephens: So,  low fat, low carb, high protein. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so, basically keeping in the aspect of a carnivore low carb diet, that's high in the protein and high in the meat, but just replacing the fat aspect of that with fruit.  

Gin Stephens: High carb, high protein, low fat. All right, I'm done just trying to wrap my head around it. I was trying to compare it to what it might be out there. I was thinking of the Dukan diet, but Dukan is not- 

Melanie Avalon: It's Peat.  

Gin Stephens: Okay. Dukan is low fat, low carb, just high protein. Yeah, that's how it's different from that. I was trying to remember but yeah, it's definitely not the same as Dukan. I felt so bad on Dukan. That was the worst I ever felt ever. 

Melanie Avalon: It's basically what I did for a few years. 

Gin Stephens: You felt good on that?  

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.  

Gin Stephens: I've never felt worse. I only made it like a very short time on that. It was because it was like low fat, low carb, high protein and I just was like, I felt that I was going to die. [laughs] I didn't last very long at all. 

Melanie Avalon: Interestingly, so Maria Emmerich, do you know her? 

Gin Stephens: I know who she is. Yep, she's a keto person. She writes cookbooks, too, right? She's got a lot of cookbooks.  

Melanie Avalon: Yes. So, her thing is the whole Protein Sparing Modified Fast, PSMF. But she just focuses on the protein sparing part and there's no calorie restriction at all. So, she advocates basically Dukan Diet days. Basically, days of really high protein, low fat, low carb. She had a webinar thing recently. It was an in person and a webinar. I have the playback and I'm watching it right now, because I'm prepping the show, and you've got to watch this. It's her and her husband, and they talk about everything we talked about. So, well, with slides and her husband, I think is some sort of, I don't know, if he's like an engineer. He's in that world. But literally everything we talked about, like chasing ketones, and the role of fat, but something he pointed out that had never occurred to me and I seriously just need to take a course, and I'm like, I don't know, metabolism. What would that be? Biochemistry?  

Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know. I don't really know. Chad would know. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. He pointed out something that never occurred to me. The reason we enter ketosis is not because we can't burn carbs. Do you know why?  

Gin Stephens: Why?  

Melanie Avalon: It's because we can't burn fat. This blew my mind.  

Gin Stephens: Okay, wait a minute. We can't burn fat, but does he mean that we can't be fueled by fat?  

Melanie Avalon: No, we can't burn fat. So, burning fat requires pyruvate. Pyruvate is created from carbs. When we don't have carbs, we can't form-- is it pyruvate or- 

Gin Stephens: I don't know. But wait, we do burn fat. So, now I'm confused. I just don't understand what he means by, you can't burn fat. He's not saying our bodies are incapable of burning fat ever.  

Melanie Avalon: -okay oxaloacetate. Okay. So, the thing he said that blew my mind is, he said, "The reason we enter ketosis is not because we can't burn carbs, it's because we can't burn fat."  

Gin Stephens: But we can burn fat though. We do burn fat. I don't know. What do you mean by can't burn fat? Can't burn fat, so, we have to go into ketosis to allow us to burn fat? He's not saying, we don't burn fat from our bodies, is he? 

Melanie Avalon: When we're not in ketosis, we're burning fat in the Krebs cycle. To burn fat, it requires oxaloacetate which is made from glucose. So, when we run out of carbs or glucose, we can't make oxaloacetate, we can't burn fat in the Krebs cycle. So, the body has to instead switch into a ketogenic state, send fat to the liver, generate ketones, and also, it can break down fat for glycerol in the liver. So, that just blows my mind. Literally, the switch like, "Oh, making ketones. It's not because we ran out of carbs. It's because we can no longer burn fat without carbs."  

Gin Stephens: Okay. The liver has to basically once it depletes the glycogen, then the fat comes in and we make the ketones out of that in the liver. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. But the reasoning-- that just blows my mind. The reasoning is because we can't burn fat is the reason we start burning ketones, not carbs. Mind blown. Mind blown. 

Gin Stephens: I guess I'm trying to understand the definition of can't burn fat. 

Melanie Avalon: Literally, can't. So, to burn fat in the Krebs cycle it requires oxaloacetate from glucose. So, literally cannot burn fat. Don't have the substrate to burn it. 

Gin Stephens: We have to convert it. When we say that we flipped the metabolic switch, we're not getting into deeper fat burning. We're getting into fat conversion. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I guess it's like trying to think of analogy. 

Gin Stephens: I know. That's more than I want to go. [laughs] That's a lot. 

Melanie Avalon: When we're not in ketosis, we're burning fat a certain way and the way we burn it, it requires carbs. It's like they always say fat burns in the flame of carbs. It's because it actually does require carbs to burn fat in the normal functioning state if you're not in ketosis. So, then when you run out of carbs, your body's like, "Oh, we can't burn fat anymore. This is a problem. What are we going to do?" So, it starts a whole different process. 

Gin Stephens: Okay. You just wouldn't call the process of turning fat into ketones burning fat. It's converting fat and you're using the fat to convert it into ketones. But technically that's not "burning the fat." It's just the technical wording is what it sounds like to me.  

Melanie Avalon: Well, in a way you are, but I'm saying before that happens. So, like the in between. The moment we start a new way of fat burning with ketosis is because we temporarily can't burn fat without carbs. So, it's like switching the way that we're burning fat. 

Gin Stephens: Well, I'm just going to keep calling it flipping the metabolic switch like Mark Mattson says. [laughs] That's my favorite way of referring to. It's we're flipping the metabolic switch, so our body is using fat for fuel through the ketosis process. That still works. We can still say that because that's still true. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, here's a good clarification. I think the misconception that's out there is that while we have carbs, we're burning carbs, and we're not burning fat, and then we run out of carbs and it's like, "Okay, well now we've got to just burn fat, so we start ketosis." But actually, when we're burning carbs, we're also burning fat, and then it's when we run out of carbs that we can't burn fat for the long term, so then we switch to ketosis. 

Gin Stephens: Basically, my takeaway is, there's a lot going on. So, I don't think we need to really worry about what's going on Fast. Feast. Repeat. and it'll happen. That's my take. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: I literally wrote in all caps, 'MIND BLOWN, TALK ABOUT.' That's the note I wrote. 

Gin Stephens: Well, cool. I'm glad. I'm just like, "Yeah." [laughs] Look, the teacher in me loves that you want to know all that. Does that make sense?  

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.  

Gin Stephens: Then I'm just like, "All right--." I tuned out when my teacher was talking about the Krebs cycle in biology.  

Melanie Avalon: I might take a course in all my free time or get a book.  

Gin Stephens: Keep in mind, I taught elementary school. So, my mind really loves elementary level science. Understanding it at the basic just-- Think about the greatest hits, right? You know, how you learned the greatest hits of every artist, like a lot of things but you're not like, you don't know everything there is to know about Taylor Swift? You know everything there is to know about Taylor Swift. You're the deep diver. I'm the greatest hits. There's the difference. 

Melanie Avalon: You know why that's an even better analogy, because if you just hear the greatest hits from an artist, there could be like not misconceptions, but you could have like a certain-- because I'm not saying it's wrong, but I'm saying like you could have a view that's correct but is not actually quite as nuanced as-- 

Gin Stephens: The very best example of that is the Grateful Dead. I went to a Grateful Dead concert with Will a few years ago in Atlanta and I was like, "Where's Sugar Magnolia, where's Uncle John's band, what are they playing?" [giggles] Because I had the Grateful Dead Greatest Hits, if that is not what they played. So, I get it. I was like, "I do not like the Grateful Dead at a concert. It was not my jam." But Will was like, "This is amazing," and it was actually dead in company. I think, they call it now and it was with John Mayer, and Will is so excited, but I was, "This is terrible. What's happening?" Anyway, I just want to hear Sugar Magnolia. Anyway, I wanted to circle back to something from before. What is your blood type?  

Melanie Avalon: Oh.  

Gin Stephens: I knew it was, oh. I was going to say, "Oh, let me tell you why, now." Here's a caveat. I do not believe it is as simple as blood type. But did you ever read The Blood Type Diet 

Melanie Avalon: Yes.  

Gin Stephens: And my friend, who did great on the Dukan Diet and he loved it. She was type O. I am type A. So, I do not believe everyone should go out and read The Blood Type Diet and follow it, because I tried to follow it. It never-- what he said to eat for 'A' didn't quite feel right to me. Then, if you read his later books, it gets even little more convoluted. He's like, "Well, it's not your blood type. It's like whether you're this or genotype or whatever," and then I was trying to figure that out. Then, it directly contradicted what he said earlier, and then I was so confused. I was like, "Never mind."  

But that really was the first time I ever-- I say the first time, I heard about personalized nutrition was 2017, but actually, it was when I read The Blood Type Diet, the whole idea that we are different when it comes to what foods might work for us. So, there's that whole genetic factor or whatever. So, I don't think it's as simple as blood type, and I don't think he ever really proved his concept sufficiently for me to be like, "Yeah, that's it." But I was predicting you were type O. 

Melanie Avalon: My theory with that is-- and this is not a comprehensive theory. But one of my thoughts about what might be going on is, he says that blood type O naturally correlate to higher HCl levels. I think that probably plays a big role in the high protein intake.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah, that makes sense. Because your body is better able to break it down.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's like having just a naturally more carnivorous gut in a way. The thing about his work is very fascinating. But he mentions all of these studies and these tests and like I don't know where they are. I think they're all of his own work, you know?  

Gin Stephens: And his dad even. I think his dad started the-- I don't know. It's been years since I read it.  

Melanie Avalon: I wish they were published or something because you have to just take his word at it. 

Gin Stephens: Then when if you read his later work, did you read his later work or you started going into like, whether you're the farmer, or the teacher, or the warrior, or whatever, genotype stuff that and you could get this test and that test, and then I was like, "Wait, whether you're secreter or non-secreter." I'm like, "This is way too complicated. Forget it." He lost me. [laughs] You know, everything was so contradictory, that also confused me. But I do think, we're different. Blood type is definitely related to genetics, right? You know certain populations, so it takes you back to the part that we've got genetic differences, which I do think is the solid foundation of that theory of his. 

Melanie Avalon: I agree. Just his catalog is so specific and granular. 

Gin Stephens: It's like this really specific food. Eight navy beans, don't eat lima beans. I'm like, "What? Right." [laughs] Yeah, eat almond butter, not peanut butter. It was kind of like that. I can't remember what it was. But I know that overall, 'A' was supposed to thrive on-- in general, you would describe it as 'A.' 

Melanie Avalon: Was it agrarian or agriculture?  

Gin Stephens: Kind of vegetarian-ish with less meat, but some meat. That is really how I eat and 'O' was more like protein and meat. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it did-- It did line up with me pretty well, which was interesting. I wonder if he goes on shows. I should try to get him on the show. 

Gin Stephens: That would be interesting. He's an interesting guy. So, I don't think that everything he says is completely wrong. But I don't think it's quite as simple as just blood type. We know it's not because the work that Tim Spector's doing, we know that a lot of it is your gut. We're so complicated that whenever we try to drill down to just like one little thing, we're a lot more complicated than that. 

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Melanie Avalon: How was your gut microbiome result from it? 

Gin Stephens: I don't have that report of-- I had some good stuff and some not as good stuff. It wasn't bad. It wasn't terrible. 

Melanie Avalon: Mine was, let me pull it up. Mine was pretty much where I thought it wasn't that good.  

Gin Stephens: It wasn't?  

Melanie Avalon: No. 

Gin Stephens: Let's see if-- I don't know if I can find it quickly or not.  

Melanie Avalon: Because they test 30 different strains. I'm dying to know like, people who follow a carnivore diet, and don't perceive having any gut issues and feel really good, I'd be really curious what they look like on these panels. I wonder if this panel is something that is--, I don't know I'd be curious like vegan versus carnivore. So, I only had three of the good ones and I had one, two, three, four, five, six, seven of the bad ones. So, less than ideal. 

Gin Stephens: I'm looking at it sideways. It's hard to say. I've got more than three of the good ones. One, two, three, four, five. I've got like, most-- I've got a lot of good ones.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.  

Gin Stephens: I have a lot of [unintelligible [00:30:56]. How's your [unintelligible [00:30:57]? 

Melanie Avalon: I don't have [unintelligible [00:30:59]. 

Gin Stephens: Okay. It's one of the good ones. I've got 9%. It's fecal bacterium [unintelligible [00:31:07]. I'm reading it sideways. Oh, listen to this. It says it's associated with higher polyunsaturated fat levels and lower levels of insulin. Well, we know I have low levels of insulin. I have 9.3% and normal is 7%.  

Melanie Avalon: You can see just all the good and bads. Can you see how many goods you have and how many bads? 

Gin Stephens: I think my report might be different than yours because I did it so long ago. I don't see that information.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I have an overview of the 30.  

Gin Stephens: Listen, I have a lot of Oscar too, which is Oscillibacter whatever and it's associated with higher insulin sensitivity and lower levels of insulin. So, again, the ones that are associated with higher levels of insulin sensitivity and lower levels of insulin, I seem to have a lot of those or more of those.  


Melanie Avalon: I have Veronica with higher insulin sensitivity and lower inflammation, Violet higher insulin sensitivity and lower insulin, and Valentina, I have all Vs, higher polyunsaturated fat levels and lower inflammation. That's so interesting, all the inflammation ones. The other ones-- wow, wait, that's really interesting. 

Gin Stephens: So, you've got really low inflammation according to your gut. 

Melanie Avalon: I have the ones for inflammation. 

Gin Stephens: Then the bad ones, I've got some good on the bad ones too. The one that's associated with less favorable fat profile, I have a good ratio of those. I have fewer of those. I get green because I have fewer of them in the bad bugs. I don't have a lot of bad bugs at all. I'm really good on not having the bad ones. That's good.  

Melanie Avalon: It's so interesting.  

Gin Stephens: It is so interesting. You know your gut changes, so that's good. How about the beneficial parasite Blastocystis? 

Melanie Avalon: Blastocystis hominis? 

Gin Stephens: I was negative for that one. 

Melanie Avalon: I don't think I have that. Let me find that. 

Gin Stephens: It's supposed to be good for you. 

Melanie Avalon: I don't have it. 

Gin Stephens: And they said it's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just one part of a very complex system, so that's good. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I don't have it. Yes. So, for listeners, if they are interested, we didn't even say what it was. We kind of just assumed-- 

Gin Stephens: Well, people have been listening. They know. Oh, I just got a crick in my neck because I was turned my head sideways because the report was like sideways. So, now I've got like a crick in my neck. I need somebody to rub my neck. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, Gin, last night, I went to-- I love massages and I went to the massage parlor that I always go to and normally they just do like a Swedish massage, the normal thing. But this woman, I don't know, she went straight-up Thai. The whole walking on top of me. I was like, "What is happening?" You know, where they hold on to the bars and then they walk on you? 

Gin Stephens: No, I've never had a massage therapist that did that.  

Melanie Avalon: I was like, "What is happening?" Then she started pulling out these tools and she was like, "I'm going to do these things." I was like, "Okay." Then, she started doing cupping which is fine, but my whole back looks I don't know, it still looks like really scary. I hope it goes away.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah, no, I have a massage therapist that I go to. I'm very like, I'll find somebody and that's who I go to forever until something happens to them. So, I have a girl. Her name is Ginny and she's amazing and I go-- I go every four weeks. I just make my appointment. I used to go every six weeks, now I go every four weeks.  

Melanie Avalon: I probably go four days a week.  

Gin Stephens: Really to get a massage? 

Melanie Avalon: To get a chair massage, a 15 or 20-minute one, and then there's like hour long massage. I probably go once a month. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah. I go once a month. I do 90 minutes once a month. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, she was saying, she was like, "Next time you should come for 90 minutes," and I'm like, "Mm, I'm not--" [laughs] No, I'm not going.  

Gin Stephens: But I just really liked the girl that I go to. She's fabulous. I just started going to her over the pandemic. I lost the person I had been going to, anyway long story. She was no longer available. So, I had to find to somebody new. My hairstylist recommended, you want to know somebody good, ask your hairstylist, because they know who's good.  

Melanie Avalon: But yes. So, ZOE. I don't remember why we were talking about that. Oh, you've got a crick in your neck.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. I have a crick in my neck. I'm not going to your girl.  

Melanie Avalon: Yes. No, I was scared. I was like, "Oh my goodness, what if I--" I was like [unintelligible [00:35:17], "I wonder how many people have died during massage." Like somebody walking on them, and then accidentally stepping on their neck or something. 

Gin Stephens: Crushing them?  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. Well, that sounds like a bad idea. I'm not down for that.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm not. She gave me her number and her name. She's like, "You know, next time, you can come back?" I'm like, "Okay." I'm not going to do that. So, ZOE for listeners, is a very super cool program created by Tim Spector, who wrote Spoon-Fed and The Diet Myth, oh, which, by the way, my episode with him airs. While we're recording it, it airs this Friday. So, it will have come outs. If listeners would like to listen to my interview with Tim, which was incredible and amazing. We dive deep into the gut microbiome. We talked a lot about the ZOE program. I was really excited because I talked about this before on the show, but he was very open and transparent about how the way it's set up right now.  

Gin Stephens: It's not perfected yet, right?  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. People are doing low carb diets, for example, because of the temporarily--, is it called physiological insulin resistance? So, basically, when you're on a low carb diet, your body becomes a little bit insulin resistant if you are exposed to carbs, because it wants to basically save those carbs for the brain. So, the muscles become a little bit insulin resistant. It's transient, and it's temporary, and it's not-- it's benign, and it reverses really quickly. But the way to reverse it is to basically reintroduce carbs. So, he was saying that, they've even been wondering, should they have some accommodation for that for people who do the muffins after coming from a low carb diet? 

Gin Stephens: Oh, good point. Yeah, that makes sense. Isn't he brilliant? He's a brilliant man. 

Melanie Avalon: Because I asked him that. I was like, "What about people on low carb diets?" He was saying, "They're thinking about that," and he was saying in the future, "They might--" Oh, he's saying also like, "What they have a version of it that is low carb, basically." Oh and I asked my question that I had which was people who get bad fat clearance scores, might it actually be possible that they actually would do well on a low carb diet, which might be higher fat. Anyways, we talked about all of that. So, I'll put a link to that in the show notes. But he created this program. If you've signed up for the CGM arm of it, you get a CGM, you eat these muffins, it measures your blood and fat clearance, like Gin and I just talked about, you do a gut microbiome test, which Gin and I just talked about. It is very, very cool. So, we'll put links in the show notes to it. 

Gin Stephens: Awesome. So, that was a lot. [laughs] But also interesting. Oh, we have some feedback.  

Melanie Avalon: We have some feedback from April, and the subject is "Yay." April says, "I'm so excited. I'm listening to Episode 216 and you answered my question on a morning window. Thank you and I have an update on it. I've been fasting now for a while and I'd say I have adjusted and I'm fat adapted. I was feeling really good in my morning window. I almost hit my goal and was starting to incorporate some ADF to try and push through to it. I was getting comments about how good I looked and how much younger I looked. But my husband was not liking me not eating with the family at dinnertime since that's when he's home, and that's our only family meal together. So, I again moved to a later window and started gaining weight and felt horrible. I wonder if this is part of why fasting doesn't "work for some people."  

Because if I had only ever tried a later window, I would definitely say fasting doesn't work for me. I know you always say you will never stop fasting, but if I only knew the later window, I certainly would not want to continue fasting. Anyway, as a compromise, I sometimes eat dinner with the family and just do a shorter fast that day, and sometimes have my morning eating window. That's working for now. Thanks again, April." 

Gin Stephens: It really illustrates that there is no one size fits all. When people ask me, "What's the best window?" I can't tell you. I can only tell you what window works well for me. What makes me feel the best, like Melanie and I were talking before we started recording, my aunt recently died. She was 94. She had a good life. She really did have a great life and I got to see her the week before she died, and connect with her, so that was nice. But we were at the funeral yesterday and it was a southern church funeral. Anybody who [laughs] has been to a southern church funeral, all the people of the church brought just amazing food. Like fresh corn from-- Amazing. So, I opened my window at noon.  

Then, I had a second meal at my sister's, we had chili. So, I ate twice. I was so full, and tired, and sluggish all afternoon, and then I realized I only had a seven-and-a-half-hour window. It felt like such a long drawn out window to me. So, I feel better when I have an afternoon/evening eating window with one real meal in it. But that doesn't mean that everybody will. Like Melanie, you feel better with a late-night window. I would not feel good with a late-night window.  

So, April, I love that you figured out that a morning window is really where you feel the best. Everyone who feels like, they can't find their ideal fasting time and eating time, tweak it till it feels good. That really is the key. April's body let her know that it didn't feel good when she tried to have the evening eating window. I love that that she figured it out. 

Melanie Avalon: Actually, we're talking about ZOE. The feeling I had-- because for me, if I were to do earlier eating window and then have to fast after it's so miserable for me.  

Gin Stephens: Me too.  

Melanie Avalon: I had that thought while doing ZOE because you have to-- with the muffins, you've to eat one muffin, then you've to fast four hours, and then you've to eat another muffin, then you've to fast two hours. I just remember thinking like, "This is the hardest thing I've ever done." I fast every day for almost probably 20 hours, but fasting especially after having eaten something like this only muffin, but I was like, "Wow, this is "me trying to fast," and this is so hard." I was just thinking if this was my only experience with something that I perceived as "fasting," I'd be like, "This is the hardest thing ever. I can't do this." It would be the same reaction that April had.  

Gin Stephens: Whenever I tried to have an early window like I would be fine. I would feel more sluggish, then I'd be fine. But then by the time 8 PM rolls around, I'm like starving, starving and miserable and have to eat. If I ate a really big meal at 9 AM, I'd be fine for a while. I wouldn't feel my best throughout the day, but I'd be okay. But then later, I would be so hungry, I would eat again. So, that would be that. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: The weird thing for me is like, I have to eat to fall asleep. Yeah, I do not sleep well on an empty stomach. 

Gin Stephens: But I love what April said. She said, "I wonder if this is part of why fasting doesn't quite work for some people." Yeah, I have a feeling that if someone feels like it doesn't work, it's because they haven't found the plan that feels right to them yet.  

Melanie Avalon: I agree.  

Gin Stephens: 90% of the time when someone tells me, "Fasting didn't work," I say, "What did you drink?" [laughs] during their fast and they tell me-- There's somebody local that is at this store that Chad I go to, and we went back in there the other day and she's like, "Hey, I tried that fasting thing and it didn't work for me." I'm like, "All right, well, first of all, how long did you give it?" She said, "One week." I'm like, "Well, okay, that wasn't really very long." I said, "What were you drinking?" She's like, "Well, I like to put sugar free creamer in my coffee." I'm like, "Well, okay, let's examine this." I said, "Did you by any chance get my book and read it?" She's like, "No." I'm like, "Well, I would start there. Try that." You got to understand the clean fast and she's very open to it. We had a great conversation, but she was not fast and clean, and she gave herself a week, and she felt terrible. But as I would predict that if you're drinking coffee with sugar free creamer for a week, you're going to feel awful. Oh, anyway, that was good feedback. Thank you, April.  

Melanie Avalon: Thank you, April. 

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Gin Stephens: All right. We have a question from Michelle, and the subject is "fasting insulin and fasting glucose." She says, "Hi, Gin and Melanie. I love listening to your podcast. Thank you for all you do. My question is about insulin and glucose. I've been doing IF for one and a half years now and I love it. I've always had high blood sugar since as long as I can remember. I was hoping that IF would help me with that, but it's still high. I just got bloodwork done last week and my fasting insulin was great. It was three, but my fasting blood glucose was 130 and my HbA1c was 6.3, which is what it's always been close to.  

I'm just confused as to why my fasting insulin was so good, but my blood glucose in HbA1c were still so high. I try to eat low carb, but lately I would say I'm eating a moderate carb diet. I probably should eat low carb. I just don't like feeling restricted and I work out a lot. So, I justify being able to eat some carbs. Also, I find that when I have a few alcoholic drinks, I crave carbs like crazy, it's really strange. Thank you for your help," Michelle. I want to throw in there. Yeah, if I have too much alcohol, I start eating just everything that's around. It lowers my inhibitions to all food. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it can lower inhibitions and then it can also drop blood sugar. So, then you're craving carbs-- This is a great question from Michelle. I'm not prescribing this as this is what Michelle has. But this profile of low insulin, high blood sugar, high HbA1c, that's like type 2 diabetes realm. Because that's not having enough insulin to deal with carbs and always having high blood sugar and high HbA1c. 

Gin Stephens: Yep, I was thinking that exact same thing. Not enough insulin to do the job. 

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. So, clearly, she got this done through a doctor. I'm really curious what her doctor thought about all of that. But this would be a situation, again, not a doctor, but I do think it's a concerning situation to be have those high fasting blood glucose and that high HbA1c, especially for--she said it's like been a thing for a long time. Ironically, so we often talk-- or I at least often talk about how you can potentially get really good insulin and blood sugar control on like high carb, low fat diets or things like that. But if you have this situation where you're not clearing carbs, I would work with a doctor, I would really consider maybe a low carb or a ketogenic diet. I would look into it further basically because it's a bit concerning. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah. There comes a point with type 2 diabetes where you're not controlling your blood sugar, so your body stops making so much insulin, right?  

Melanie Avalon: Your beta cells and the pancreas are not producing insulin.  

Gin Stephens: Right. Then, you would have a low level of insulin and you might think, "Oh, that's really good." But really that's not, not a good sign. We've said before, yeah, low fasted insulin is good, but not always, not if you've got other things. If it's low because your pancreas is not working properly then that's a different situation. So, yeah, I think low insulin and really high blood glucose is just like you said, Melanie, that's something that I would dig into, let your doctor figure out.  

Melanie Avalon: Or I said type 2, it's really-- it would be type 1 diabetes. 

Gin Stephens: Well, it's like type 2, you are type 2 and then it like-- Do they say that it converts to type 1? I don't really know what they say. Do they change your diagnosis when your pancreas is no longer working?  

Melanie Avalon: Then there's also like type 3 diabetes.  

Gin Stephens: It's like a progression. You know what I mean? I'm not an expert in this.  

Melanie Avalon: There's like type 1.5.  

Gin Stephens: But it's like a progression. You're type 2 diabetic because you have high levels of insulin, but then over time your pancreas stops working because it's burned out. I don't know that's not like the medical term for it, maybe it is. Then your pancreas stops functioning properly, and then you have to start-- you're type 2 diabetic, but now you're insulin dependent. So, basically, Michelle, it's really complicated. You see what we're talking in circles a little bit around it. We're not endocrinologists, and there's a lot of factors, and so I would work with a doctor or endocrinologist, somebody who can pinpoint this and see what's going on. Make sure your pancreas is functioning properly because as we both have said, we're not doctors, but you may not be producing enough insulin to get your glucose down. 

Melanie Avalon: So, basically like type 1 is autoimmune related, so the beta cells are being attacked by the body and you're not producing the insulin that you need, and then type 2 is more lifestyle driven? 

Gin Stephens: It progresses.  

Melanie Avalon: Well, type 2 does not become type 1?  

Gin Stephens: No, but type 2 progresses to the point that you are insulin dependent like my dad, okay? My dad, type 2 diabetic, eventually became insulin dependent.  

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Yeah.  

Gin Stephens: Because it like wore out. That's where I was using the terminology. I don't know what the correct medical terminology is. But it's like it wore out his pancreas. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, exactly. Either way, the presentation of low insulin, high blood glucose, high HbA1c would most likely signify. If you just put that on paper, that's what type 1 diabetes looks like compared to type 2 diabetes where you have high insulin, high blood sugar, high--  

Gin Stephens: Right. Well, that's true. Unless you get to the point where your pancreas is not producing insulin at all, which that's the part that's-- [laughs] I don’t know what they call that. What do they call that? 

Melanie Avalon: I'm not sure. The insulin being low in the presence of the high blood sugar, high blood glucose, that would be like a presentation of type 1 diabetes. Regardless, I'm really curious what your doctor said. So, you might want to keep monitoring this and work with a doctor, and yeah, definitely monitor it. I'm glad she asked about it because I can see how this would be a major misconception because we talk so much about how low insulin is good. But the context is super key and if you have low insulin and you're not releasing enough insulin to deal with your carb load and it's building up that's a major problem. 

Gin Stephens: Again, not doctors, but I did just real quick find a study called Mechanisms of Beta Cell Death in type 2 diabetes. I don't know what the exact terminology should be, but it definitely can happen as it progresses.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and there's actually-- and I just looked this up because I was thinking it was a thing. There's also type 1.5 diabetes and that's latent autoimmune diabetes in adults. It's the one that shares characteristics of both type 1 and type 2. It's usually diagnosed during adulthood, it sets in gradually, like type 2, but unlike type 2, it's actually an autoimmune disease and that's where your beta cells stop functioning. So, I am not diagnosing but you might want to approach your doctor with curiosity about type 1.5 diabetes.  

Gin Stephens: But if you get a fasted insulin level that's low, and your blood glucose is low, your fasted blood glucose and A1c is good, that's not something to worry about. It's only when insulin is low and your glucose is high that you might be like, "Huh." Your body, if it were working properly would pump out more insulin to lower your blood sugar because that's what your body wants to do. That's how it's designed to work. So, something's keeping it from doing that.  

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. All right, we talked around and around that one. 

Gin Stephens: [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: I did a Q&A episode. I recorded it. I haven't released it yet with NutriSense CGM with Kara Collier there and she's the founder. I learned so much about the studies about different levels and if you have certain spikes how that correlates to health and longevity. It was really, really fascinating. So, I don't think it'll be out by the time this airs. Point of all that is that it's very fascinating what we can learn from blood sugar levels and HbA1c. But in any case, something is definitely going on here with the insulin.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: Okay.  

Gin Stephens: All right. Do we have time for one more quick one? 

Melanie Avalon: So, we have question from John. The subject is "fasting," and John says, "Hello, my name is John. I'm 57 years young, and I've been doing intermittent fasting for 31 days now. I do the 16:8. I eat mostly vegetables with about four to five ounces of protein per meal if I can. My eating window is from noon until eight. I've had increased energy, but for the last couple of days seemed to be getting tired around 3 o'clock. Should I go from 16:8 to 18:6? I'm losing weight on the 16:8, but I don't know if I should make my fast longer. What do you think? I'm reading Fast. Feast. Repeat. Great book," John. 

Gin Stephens: Thank you, John, and it's been about a month since you wrote this question. So, hopefully you pushed through that. But this is what we find as your body's getting to the end of the adjustment period. Very, very common. Whenever that might be, you've been having an eight-hour window. So, as you get to the end of the adjustment period, your body is about ready to flip that metabolic switch. It's very, very typical to have like a lull, and they're like a feeling of decreased energy, like you're moving around through Jell-O a little bit, and then you get to the other side, and there's ketosis, and then you feel better, and there's the energy, again.  

You asked if you should go from 16:8 to 18:6, you know, that was one way to push through. Just give yourself just a little more fasting to push through that, and then it's so much better on the other side. There's classic adjustment period description right there. The reason it took John, 31 days, because he's been doing 16:8. Had he been doing 19:5, he might have hit that wall in week two to three. It just really depends on your own personal metabolic factors, so many factors. Some people might not get that adjustment phase lull till week six.  

Melanie Avalon: Perfect.  

Gin Stephens: You were doing keto before, right? You were already fat adapted.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.  

Gin Stephens: It's the same with me. I went from summer of 2014, I had been doing keto all summer, we've talked about this before. So, I was fat adapted from keto from the fat from the keto, but not losing any weight. Then, I reintroduced carbs and started intermittent fasting and then bam. So, I didn't have a lull. That was the only time I was able to stick to it too. I felt so much better with the fasting and adding back in the carbs, and I immediately started to see weight loss of about a pound a week. But I was already fat adapted. So, yep. 

Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. If you have your own questions for the show, you can email questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes will be at ifpodcast.com/episode239. Those show notes will have a full transcript. So, super helpful and we will put links to everything that we talked about. Then lastly, you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast, I am @melanieavalon, Gin is @ginstephens. I think that is all of the things.  

Gin Stephens: Yep.  

Melanie Avalon: Anything from you, Gin. 

Gin Stephens: No. I got nothing.  

Melanie Avalon: All right. Oh, I will say, I'm very happy. The weather seems to maybe be getting a little bit cooler, maybe? 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I'm not.  

Melanie Avalon: All right. [laughs] I was so excited. 

Gin Stephens: I'm going to the beach next week. So, I hope it's warm. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. I'm so excited. Have fun. 

Gin Stephens: I don't care if it's warm. It's still the beach. I'm still going to look at it and hear the ocean and I can't wait. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm ready for it to be freezing.  

Gin Stephens: No, no.  

Melanie Avalon: Yes. All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful and I will talk to you next week.  

Gin Stephens: All right, 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. The music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week. 


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