Episode 257: Caffeine Pills, Glycogen, Dietary Fat, Hypoglycemia, Stevia, Dirty Fasting, Hunger, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

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Mar 20

Welcome to Episode 257 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

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

LMNT: For Fasting Or Low-Carb Diets Electrolytes Are Key For Relieving Hunger, Cramps, Headaches, Tiredness, And Dizziness. With No Sugar, Artificial Ingredients, Coloring, And Only 2 Grams Of Carbs Per Packet, Try LMNT For Complete And Total Hydration. For A Limited Time Go To drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast To Get A Sample Pack For Only The Price Of Shipping!!

PREP DISH: Prep Dish Is An Awesome Meal Planning Service Which Sends You Weekly Grocery And Recipe Lists, So You Can Do All Your Meal Preparation At Once, And Be Good To Go For The Week! It's Perfect For The IF Lifestyle! The Meals Are All Gluten-Free, Keto, Or Paleo, Which Is Fantastic If You're Already Doing So, But Also A Wonderful Way To Try These Out With No Feelings Of Restriction! Get A Free 2 Week Trial With The Paleo, Keto, And SUPER Fast Menus (plus More!) At prepdish.com/ifpodcast!

 JOOVV: Like intermittent fasting, red light therapy can benefit the body on so many levels! It literally works on the mitochondrial level to help your cells generate more energy! Red light can help you burn fat (including targeted fat burning and stubborn fat!), contour your body, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, produce collagen for epic skin, support muscle recovery, reduce joint pain and inflammation, combat fatigue, help you sleep better, improve mood, and so much more!! These devices are literally LIFE CHANGING!! For A Limited Time Go To Joovv.com/ifpodcast And Use The Code IFPODCAST For An Exclusive Discount!

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SHOW NOTES

1:10 - LMNT: For A Limited Time Go To drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast To Get A Sample Pack For Only The Price Of Shipping!! Learn All About Electrolytes In Episode 237 - Our Interview With Robb Wolf!

3:50 - 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!

13:45 - Listener Q&A: John - Caffeine Pills

Understanding the role of bitter taste perception in coffee, tea and alcohol consumption through Mendelian randomization

23:30 - PREP DISH: Get a free 2 week trial At Prepdish.com/ifpodcast! You'll get weekly gluten-free and Paleo grocery and recipe lists!!

25:10 - Listener Q&A: Giuseppina - Lots Of Topics With Questions!! Glycogen, Dietary Fat, Hypoglycemia, Stevia, Dirty Fasting, Hunger

52:25 - JOOVV: For A Limited Time Go To Joovv.com/ifpodcast And Use The Code IFPODCAST For An Exclusive Discount!

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 257 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 free electrolyte supplements, some of which are clean, fast approved, all developed by none other than Robb Wolf. Have you been struggling to feel good with low carb, paleo, keto, or fasting? Have you heard of something called the keto flu? Here's the thing. The keto flu is not actually a condition. Nope. Keto flu just refers to a bundle of symptoms. Headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, and insomnia that people experience in the early stages of keto dieting. Here's what's going on. 

When you eat a low-carb diet, your insulin levels drop. Low insulin in turn lowers the production of the hormone aldosterone. Now aldosterone is made in the kidneys and it helps you retain sodium. Low aldosterone on a keto diet makes you lose sodium at a rapid rate. Even if you are consciously consuming electrolytes, you might not be getting enough. In particular, you need electrolytes, especially sodium and potassium in order for nerve impulses to properly fire. Robb Wolf, who as you guys know is my hero in the holistic health world worked with the guys at Ketogains to get the exact formulation for electrolyte supplements to formulate LMNT Recharge, so you can maintain ketosis and feel your best. LMNT recharge has no sugar, no coloring, no artificial ingredients, no junk. They're used by three Navy SEALs teams, they are the official hydration partner to Team USA weightlifting, they're used by multiple NFL teams, and so much more. Guess what? We worked out an exclusive deal for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast listeners only. Guys, this is huge. They weren't going to do a deal, I begged them, here we are. 

You can get a free LMNT sampler pack. We're not talking a discount, we're talking free. Completely free. You only pay $5 for shipping. If you don't love it, they will even refund you the $5 for shipping. I'm not kidding. The sample pack includes eight packets of LMNT, two Citrus, two Raspberry, two Orange, and two Raw Unflavored. The Raw Unflavored ones are the ones that are safe for your clean fast and the other ones you can have in your eating window. Word on the street is the Citrus flavor makes an amazing margarita, by the way. 

I am loving LMNT and I think you guys will too. Again, this is completely free. You have nothing to lose. Just go to drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast. That's D-R-I-N-K-L-M-N-T dotcom forward slash I-F-P-O-D-C-A-S-T. I'll put all this information in the show notes.

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. When you're putting on your conventional skincare 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 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 and 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, anti-aging 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.

Melanie Avalon: Hi, everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 257 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, it is a beautiful day. I've been sitting out in the sun. I actually read something really interesting the other day, which might explain why I've had more trouble sleeping lately and why I sleep so much better at the beach.

Melanie Avalon: Is it grounding? 

Gin Stephens: No. [laughs] It's sunlight. Of course, we all know that when you go out in the sun it increases your vitamin D levels. But it also affects your melatonin production. You probably knew that already. I'd never thought about the sunlight and melatonin. I've got low vitamin D. I just had InsideTracker. I just had my bloodwork done.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, you did? 

Gin Stephens: I did it. Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah? Did you find anything interesting?

Gin Stephens: Well, my vitamin D level is really low. [laughs] But I had been really struggling to sleep. I was like, "Why am I all of a sudden having such a hard time sleeping?" Well, it's been winter I haven't been outside, I haven't been getting sun, I've been very, very busy. The past couple days, I've been going outside and now that the weather is warming up, I've been purposefully going out and getting sun. Last night I slept great. 

Melanie Avalon: Nice. 

Gin Stephens: I know. I think we hear about the sun and vitamin D so much that you think that's all the sun is doing, right? I hadn't really thought about it with melatonin production.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it really regulates the rhythm of your melatonin release getting that sun early in the morning.

Gin Stephens: Yep. Getting that sun, I'm getting out there, but that explains like I said that why I always sleep so much better at the beach or that might be part of it. Because I get a lot more sun when I'm at the beach. 

Melanie Avalon: Very exciting. 

Gin Stephens: It is exciting. Oh, can I also tell you something else? I am going to throw up. I have ruined everything moment yesterday. Oh, my God, it was the worst. ginstephens.com disappeared. It was gone. I was trying to redirect. How we had the social network, the Delay, Don’t Deny social network, dddsocialnetwork.com, and that didn't work out well with the technology. We moved it to circle. Now, we have the Delay, Don’t Deny community, but it's a separate platform. The web address is different. We had dddsocialnetwork.com for the one that we left, we left them in September, but it was still hanging out there. I was like, "I need to redirect that site in case people ever go back and try to find it." We had some final words there, but we're going to lose the access to it, because it's been a year. We had a year contract with them. So, it's going to disappear. I'm like, "All right, well, if it disappears, I need it to redirect." I'm in Weebly trying to redirect dddsocialnetwork.com, so, it goes to ginstephens.com, and somehow, I don't know what I did, but ginstephens.com was gone. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow. 

Gin Stephens: And I was freaking out. All the content, it suddenly was like, "Get started and publish your website." I'm like, "What, what, what?"

Melanie Avalon: How long was it down for?

Gin Stephens: It was not very long. I got on chat with tech support for Weebly. They were fantastic. So, if anyone is thinking about starting a website, Weebly was great. It's an easy website builder. But I was like, "Oh, my God, I've lost all the content." He sent me a screenshot. He's like, "You mean this content?" I'm like, "Oh, my God, hallelujah, it's somewhere." [laughs] I don't know, but he fixed it. Oh, I thought I was going to die. 

Melanie Avalon: I use GoDaddy for our sites. I also love GoDaddy. But I've had quite a few panic calls with GoDaddy, where it was like, "Talk me off the ledge. The website is somewhere."

Gin Stephens: It's somewhere and he was able to also help me fix it, so that it does redirect. If you try to go to dddsocialnetwork.com. It does redirect to ginstephens.com now. Ah, anyway, I was really freaking out. But can you imagine if you lost everything for your website, everything?

Melanie Avalon: Does Weebly have the backups and everything?

Gin Stephens: Apparently. [laughs] Thank the Lord, because-- Anyway, oh, my God, it was the worst. So, what's up with you? Anyway, it was actually the best, because they fixed it. 

Melanie Avalon: And now, you know that there are backups. 

Gin Stephens: Exactly. But I never want to touch the backend all that. That technology man, it's hard. 

Melanie Avalon: I don't understand it. 

Gin Stephens: They start saying things like-- Anyway, just the word redirect is hard enough. Now, I understand redirect, honestly. But there's just there's a lot going on.

Melanie Avalon: Every time we've switched platforms for our show, I've been so nervous. There's been moments, where I was convinced that we lost, because we recently switched platforms a few weeks ago for this show. There was a moment where I thought we lost half our episodes. Did you know that happened? 

Gin Stephens: I didn't know. You thought you lost half the episodes? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, half of them stopped showing up on all the platforms. I was like, "What is happening?" Our host was like, "Yeah, this sometimes happens if something about didn't finish importing." I was like, "Oh, my goodness." [laughs] like they were gone. But all is well, all is well. 

Gin Stephens: Well, yeah. All is well, if you don't lose everything. That's all I'm saying.

Melanie Avalon: But if you do, you can just start afresh.

Gin Stephens: Well, I don't want to start afresh. [laughs] I did not want to start afresh with my website. No. Anyway, I was imagining, I was going to have to do it. I was like, "I'm never going to sleep again. I'll be rebuilding my website." But okay, I didn't have to.

Melanie Avalon: If that happened, I would just hire somebody out to--

Gin Stephens: You see, I've got all the blog posts that I had written. They would have been gone. The content, exactly. Well, I could rebuild it. Weebly is easy to build on. I would not hire someone now. I built it the first time. I could rebuild it, but I don't want to. That's what I'm saying. I do not want to. Anyway, good times. Anything new with you?

Melanie Avalon: Just all the normal things. We are getting closer to our final formulation for our magnesium for my next AvalonX supplement. So, that's really exciting. It's a matter of figuring out which forms to put in, and which amounts, and there are so many different magnesiums. Yeah, that's the main thing. Then, so, I'm working on the EMF blocking product line and then also working on a pet food line.

Gin Stephens: You really are. You're going forward with the pet food. 

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. 

Gin Stephens: Very cool.

Melanie Avalon: Yep, and then just the shows. So, life is good.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, well, the busier you are, the more you get done. That's what I've always found.

Melanie Avalon: It's just fun. I just love doing all the things. I'm just so grateful that you get to wake up and work on things that we love. 

Gin Stephens: Exactly. 

Melanie Avalon: And not have to report to anybody like being your own boss. 

Gin Stephens: That's huge, because I was a teacher for 28 years and so, very much not my own boss. I loved it and I was good at it, but that last year, when I really realized how much I wanted to be doing that I couldn't do, because I felt stuck to the job all of a sudden. After never feeling that way, I all of a sudden did. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, that must have felt really freeing for you. 

Gin Stephens: So freeing. Grateful, ever grateful. 

Melanie Avalon: Do not take it for granted. 

Gin Stephens: Oh, no. Not for one second.

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

Gin Stephens: Yes, let's get started. 

Melanie Avalon: All right, so, a very short question to start things off. This comes from John. The subject is: "Caffeine pills". John says, "I can't drink black coffee. Is it okay to take a caffeine pill upon waking instead?"

Gin Stephens: Well, you can. [giggles] When we think about something like a pill of any kind, they're all going to have fillers and stuff in there. Your caffeine pills going to have fillers in there. I feel for me, if I was not going to drink coffee, I would wean myself off of caffeine. I don't know. I don't think I would need caffeine. I enjoy coffee, the experience of coffee. Personally, I wouldn't want to put a caffeine pill every day into my body. I would just wean myself off caffeine. Yeah, you can if you want to. But I probably wouldn't, but you can. Is that though the worst answer in the history of answers, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: No, no, not at all. I actually went through a caffeine pill phase. 

Gin Stephens: Did you? Were you taking it for caffeine benefits, like, adding extra caffeine?

Melanie Avalon: I was taking it, it was probably right after college, and in college, I was drinking so much coffee. I wanted to have a way I could control my caffeine intake and not-- Because you know what the coffee, you could just keep drinking coffee. I wanted to switch over, and just have a dosage, a pill, and then be done for that morning, pep in your step. Gin just said this, but can you or is it okay? Yes, it is okay. You probably would want to look at the other ingredients in the pill. I would look at the why, for why you want the caffeine. So, if you want the caffeine-- [unintelligible [00:15:28] don't want to drink coffee.

Gin Stephens: Well, he doesn't like black coffee. Actually, now, that I mentioned that part, I think John could drink black coffee. That's what I would do. I would just retrain those tastebuds, John.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. A lot of the proposed benefits for coffee are due to the caffeine. But a lot of the benefits are found in decaf as well. A lot of the benefits aren't necessarily even from the caffeine. They could be from polyphenols and the plant compounds in coffee. You're not going to get all of those benefits from a caffeine pill. And also, the way your body handles the caffeine, we think we talked about this in an episode a while ago, but the curve of how your body processes the caffeine is different when it's in coffee or tea form versus caffeine pill. The caffeine pill tends to be a much bigger spike and drop compared to coffee and tea, which is a more gentle slope and likely has more beneficial effects throughout the whole body.

Gin Stephens: Exactly. Yeah, because so much of what's good about the coffee is not just the caffeine. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. You know what so interesting, though is, I just think it's so interesting how, especially in the plant polyphenol world, how people attribute different things to the benefits. So many people will say, the polyphenols in plant compounds and coffee are working because of this reason. The Sirtfood guy diet would say, it's all about the sirtuins. But then I just interviewed Steven Gundry and he talks about polyphenols. But for him, it's all about the mitochondrial uncoupling. People have different reasons for why it works. But I guess, it doesn't change the fact that good things are happening. 

Gin Stephens: They do so many things we don't even know. That's the thing. For example, beta-carotene in carrots, right? People are like, "Oh, carrots are good for you. It's because of the beta-carotene." But then when they made a beta-carotene supplement, it didn't have the expected effects the same way like a carrot would. It's just because there's also thousands of other compounds inside that carrot. We've identified this one, but that doesn't mean it's the magic compound.

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. Exactly. I feel that's a long-winded answer. So, the answer is yes. But yes, and maybe there's a better option.

Gin Stephens: I really do want to go back to what John said, because I think I'm getting the psychology of it now, like, when I read it again. "I can't drink black coffee" from John. The reason he wants to take the caffeine pill, I'm now assuming, I'm reading more into this question. He's used to drinking coffee just not black coffee, so, now that he knows it needs to be black to fast clean. He's like, "Well, that's a deal breaker. I just am going to quit coffee." So, John, I want to tell you my story about this. I was the same way. When I read The Obesity Code and realized that stevia would cause you to have a cephalic phase insulin response, and I wanted to keep my insulin low during the fast, and so, it was counterproductive to drink stevia in my coffee all morning long, that wasn't good for me. I was like, "Well, I can't drink black coffee. So, I guess it's no coffee for me" and I quit coffee for just a few days. Then, I realized I missed coffee. 

I liked the act of drinking coffee. I was like, "Well, I'm just going to hold my nose, and suck it up, and I'm going to drink my coffee black." I did and I adjusted so quickly that the old me probably wouldn't believe that it would happen so quickly. Your tastebuds really do change. If you think you can't drink black coffee because you're used to drinking it with stuff in it, if you like the smell of coffee and you've enjoyed coffee in the past, then you can train your tastebuds to black coffee, too. I really think it opened up my tastebuds, my palate to the point that now I can tolerate a lot more bitter foods that I used to find to be really yucky. Now, I think my tastebuds had a whole remodel. So, now, I don't mind so many other foods that used to bother me, anyway.

Melanie Avalon: I have a question for you about this. We talked about the importance of the clean fast and the black coffee. Let's say, a person really only likes drinking coffee, super steviad up, super creamed up. Would you prefer or suggest, if they are open to tapering down? So, doing slightly less cream, slightly less stevia, and tapering down over a few weeks, would you suggest that or would you suggest not?

Gin Stephens: Well, it's just going to make it harder in the long run. You think it's making it easier? 

Melanie Avalon: The tapering?

Gin Stephens: Well, it's going to also, you're not going to be fast and clean. It's going to make your fast harder. It going to make your fast really hard. I just know from what I've heard from so many people, even if it was just my own experience. My own experience was, when I switched to the clean fast, I could not believe the difference in myself. But if it was only my study of one, obviously, that's just me. But I've also heard it literally from thousands of people. It makes such a difference. My recommendation is not to taper or drag it out, because you're only making it harder. If you just, bam, you just do it, and your tastebuds will change.

Melanie Avalon: I just find this so interesting. I think we have the same thoughts about this concept, but flipped for food versus fasting. For fasting-- I don't know. I haven't really thought about this. 

Gin Stephens: What do you mean? I don't know what you mean. 

Melanie Avalon: I feel for fasting, I think if a person felt comfortable with the tapering approach with fasting, that's what I would maybe advocate for with the food. I feel I would rather just go all in rather than taper with the food approach.

Gin Stephens: You're more all in with the food anyway or I am not. I'm ish with my food. I'm clean-ish. I don't ascribe to a very regimented eating style.

Melanie Avalon: The end point would be different. 

Gin Stephens: Right. Now, I'm not trying to get to a regimented eating style. I appreciate that some people feel better on a lot of different eating styles, some of which are regimented, but I don't want to or feel better that way. So, yeah. That was an interesting thought. Yeah, different end point. I just know that from what I've heard from people like Dr. Fung and his group, I think they call them crutches. When you're putting cream in your coffee, they call it a crutch, and you wean yourself off of it. We've actually found with people. It actually makes it harder. You think that it's helping you, you think it's making it easier for you to transition, but it actually is delaying your transition and making it more likely that you're like, "I hate fasting, it's so hard." If you just from day one, fast clean, it's just such a difference. I've just heard it in my community, because I'm so clean fast, working with lots of new fasters over the years, thousands and thousands of them. The number of people who have said, "This is what I used to do, and then I switched to what you said to do, and oh, my gosh, the difference." I've heard of a lot of times. I really think it makes a difference. So, that's what I would recommend.

Melanie Avalon: I wonder if they've done any studies on the timeline of people's tastebuds changing.

Gin Stephens: With coffee or just in general? 

Melanie Avalon: Probably in general. 

Gin Stephens: We've talked about one before. I remember us talking about something at some point where how quickly your tastebuds turnover. It's faster than you think. I can't remember what we said, but I know it was years ago we talked about this very topic.

Melanie Avalon: I want to read this study. I just googled it briefly. This one's called "understanding the role of bitter taste perception in coffee, tea, and alcohol consumption through Mendelian randomization." [laughs] Put that on the to read list. [laughs] Good times. Okay, so, you can do it, John. 

Gin Stephens: You can, John. You can drink black coffee. [laughs] All right, or, you can have a caffeine pill but I wouldn't. 

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Gin Stephens: We have a question from Josephine and the topic is, lots of topics of questions. "Glycogen dietary fat, hypoglycemia, stevia, dirty fasting, and hunger." She says, "Dear Gin and Melanie, as an avid longtime listener, I have stockpiled my most persistent nagging questions for you after listening to every one of your podcasts and still not finding the answers. I would so appreciate you giving some thought to my questions as I cannot find clear answers to them no matter how deep a rabbit hole I dive with research. Most of these questions stem from the intriguing information I have culled from wearing a CGM for the last several weeks. For context, I am slightly dirty fasting about 14 to 16 hours every day." Josephine you're getting my teacher look. I'm looking at you with it right now. She says, "and I have been off and on for the past year. I took a five-month break from clean fasting to follow the Ray Peat bioenergetic diet as I was feeling sluggish and low energy at one point while clean fasting. The first few months of clean fasting I felt great, lost all the weight, but then stopped sleeping well, and found out I was hypothyroid. At which point I read Ray Peat's philosophy and thought I'd try it. 

I did feel good not fasting and following the bioenergetic way of eating. Breakfast upon awakening, orange juice and milk between meals for adrenals, avoiding high-fiber vegetables, etc. But I gained a ton of weight and hated in the end feeling heavier. So, I went back to fasting, and listening to you guys, and dropped the weight and felt better. Only this time, I added stevia and a teeny splash of milk in my coffee. So, I enjoyed my life more. Maybe I'm weird, but black coffee is so depressing to me. I can't sustain fasting like that for my whole life." 

Melanie Avalon: Here it is again.

Gin Stephens: Oh. [laughs] "Now, that's what I do. 14 to 16 hours of dirty-ish fasting. When I ate, it was mostly lean proteins, and fruits, and vegetables. I got the CGM, because I wanted to understand what amount of food and combination of macronutrients during my eating window would allow me to feel satisfied, but not gain weight. Here are my questions."

Melanie Avalon: Can I jump in really quick? I was just going to talk about what-- so people know what the Ray Peat diet is a little bit.

Gin Stephens: I also want to talk about the dirty fasting and what my philosophy about that. But go ahead and talk about Ray Peat first.

Melanie Avalon: I'm very familiar with Ray Peat. I find his work very fascinating and he doesn't really have a diet. He doesn't ever say, this is what you do. It's a collection of philosophy that he's written about, and there are a lot of forums, and people have come up with his takeaways, and created this Ray Peat diet. The way I found his work is because I kept googling what I was eating. He's not a fan of fasting. But I kept googling the types of foods I was eating and I kept coming back to Ray Peat. Basically, the foods I eat are very Ray Peat-ish. So, that said, he does advocate things like orange juice, and even sugar, and Coca Cola. He's for a low fiber, low residue, running on glycogen, and glucose high, less inflammatory protein, so fish. He loves fruit, he loves dairy. He's all about like stroking the metabolism.

Gin Stephens: Did you mean stoking?

Melanie Avalon: Both stoking, stroking. Is it not stroking? Is it stoking?

Gin Stephens: Stoking. Stroking, I don't understand stroking the metabolism. Maybe that's the thing. I don't know about stroking the metabolism, but stoking the metabolism is like firing it up. Is that what you meant? 

Melanie Avalon: That is what I mean. 

Gin Stephens: You're stoking it.

Melanie Avalon: I'm going to see if anybody says that. 

Gin Stephens: Stroking the metabolism. Here's a funny story, where we are not going to edit this out, by the way. Here's the funny story. Really intelligent people all the time use words wrong. Here's an example. Chad, my husband, PhD, very smart guy. He thought the phrase was "Don't take me for granite." G-R-A-N-I-T-E. All his life, he thought it was "Don't take me for granite," instead of granted.

Melanie Avalon: When did he have that?

Gin Stephens: I don't know. It's been in the past couple years. He's like, "Wait, it's what, it's what?

Melanie Avalon: I would love to know, because I'm sure there are tons of things like that for everybody. What are the three biggest things for me personally, where I would just be like, "What?" [giggles] Stoking the metabolism, yes, he's all about that. But what's really interesting is, so, you can do his approach and I think lose-- He says this, because I've googled this. He says, "If you want to lose weight on his approach, you got to do the low-fat version." You got to eat the low-fat foods. Oh, he loves coconut oil, too. If you do it eating the higher fat foods that he advocates, so the high fat dairy, and I mean, it's a lot high fat dairy. A lot of people to gain weight. I don't think it's so much about Ray Peat's approach causes weight gain as much as how does your version of Ray Peat manifest, and are you doing a type that encourages weight gain or encourages weight loss? All that to say is, I think you can eat Ray Peat foods, and lose weight, and still get the benefits.

Gin Stephens: I think I would feel so terrible. If I tried to eat that all that sugary stuff, I don't do well. I don't do well with that.

Melanie Avalon: I don't eat the sugar, all of that. The foods I eat that are very Ray Peaty is. I eat a ton of fish, scallops. He likes fruit, vegetables, so, I can eat the cucumbers, fruits. He thinks a lot of fiber is irritating to the gut. So, not eating a ton of veggies and things like that.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, he's the opposite of what I eat. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: It's funny. Yeah, he probably is, completely. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I think so.

Melanie Avalon: I was just going to clarify that. So, go ahead.

Gin Stephens: "About the dirty fasting, I'm really proud of bringing the terminology clean fast to the world," because that happened in our Facebook group. We created the words fast and clean, the clean fast back in probably around 2017. It was after I wrote Delay, Don’t Deny. But then we started using the word. We needed something to talk in a way to differentiate what we were doing versus what you might find in other fasting groups. We're like, "We want you to fast clean." We started using that terminology and now, it's everywhere. People are using it. But when you say clean fasting, that implies there must be the opposite of that meaning dirty fasting. But I genuinely believe you're either fasting clean, or you're not fasting. So, I love that we brought the terminology 'clean fasting' to the world, but I really don't like the terminology 'dirty fasting,' because to me, if you're fasting clean, then you're not eating food, for example, or taking in energy or all of that. 

That being said, if you're having milk for example, that is not fasting. It is food, milk is food. You're doing a low-calorie diet. When you're having a little bit of milk here, a little bit of milk there, a little bit of milk, that is a very, very low-calorie diet. Can you lose weight that way? Yes. We've all lost weight on low-calorie diets. You could just have milky coffee all the time and I'm not talking obviously about Josephine, but just in general, hypothetically, someone could just drink milky coffee all day long if it's a low-calorie diet. But it's definitely food. Dairy is nature's perfect food for a mammal baby. We all feed our baby, all mammals feed their babies some kind of milk. So, it's food that's created for the period of time when you are growing the most. Think about that. When are creatures growing the most when they're babies and they're growing? So, to me, that's the last thing you'd really want to take in during the fast is dairy. Anyway, so, I really don't like the terminology dirty fasting just because first of all, it makes it feel it's a choice. "Well, I do a little dirty fasting, but it's no big deal." I really think you're not fasting if you're doing that. The same thing with the stevia. 

Your goal is to keep your insulin low. We've got three goals for the clean fast. Number one is keep your insulin low. Why? Why do we want to keep our insulin low? Well, it's because if you've read Benjamin Bikman's book, Why We Get Sick, high levels of insulin are linked to so many of our problems. Our health conditions that are just rampant. And also, insulin is anti-lipolytic. Meaning, it keeps you from tapping into your fat stores effectively. So, now, let's think about you're having the stevia in there that's keeping your insulin raised. When I gave up my stevia it was because I read in The Obesity Code that stevia actually caused your body to release more insulin than table sugar. Jason Fung said that in The Obesity Code. I highlighted it, and took a screenshot of it, and I'm like, "What?" So, I certainly wouldn't put table sugar in my coffee. Why would I want to raise my insulin more? Because high levels of insulin keep your body from tapping into your fat stores well. Like I said, it's anti-lipolytic, anti-fat burning. I'm like, there is no reason why I would want my insulin to go up. When I'm fasting, I want my insulin to go down, because I want to tap into fat stores. Okay, so, fasting goal one: keep insulin low. Fasting goal two: tap into your fat stores by not adding anything that's energy for the body. That would be whether you're adding your MCT oil, or butter, or anything like that. You don't want to do that either. 

We also want to keep autophagy going strong. Protein affects autophagy. There's a little bit of protein in milk. I would really encourage you to rethink what you're doing. You're fasting in my opinion until you have that stevia and milk. Then your window is open and now you're low-calorie dieting. Keep that In your mind and it made me sad the way you said. I'm trying to find it in the question that the black coffee was so depressing that you can't sustain fasting like that for your whole life. I would encourage you to make a mindset shift, because as long as you think "I can't enjoy my life if I'm drinking black coffee, it's so depressing, I can't sustain fasting like that for my whole life. That's what you're telling yourself. That's the story your brain is telling you." But what if you flip the switch and said, "I want to have low levels of insulin, because that is healthier for my body. I want to get all the benefits of the clean fast and I want to tap into my fat stores, because I have low levels of insulin, and I'm not taking in milk, and that is what I want to do for my whole life doing it for the health reasons." 

If you make that mental shift and went to the black coffee and instead of thinking of it like, "Oh, this is so depressing. I can't believe I'm drinking this terrible black coffee." If you're like, "Well, I'm drinking this because it's a much better choice for health for me." If you could just flip that switch and realize you want the benefits from fasting, fast clean, so, I'm going to encourage you to really do that and I think its life changing. Do you have anything to add to that, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: Just that, that is going to be very helpful for the question she asks a little bit later. I'm glad that you said all of that.

Gin Stephens: It also goes along with the question that we had a minute ago from John, the black coffee. All right, so, we're ready to keep going with the questions. All right. She said, "in the beginning, my blood sugar levels were 70 to 80 while fasting. Whenever I ate, they would rise and fall quickly to below my fasting blood sugar levels. So, reactive hypoglycemia, what would you say? Would you say that's reactive hypoglycemia?

Melanie Avalon: Probably, yes. Basically, reactive hypoglycemia is where when you eat, your body releases insulin, but it releases more insulin than is needed. It's too effective in a way. So, then your blood sugar drops below what it was prior to eating.

Gin Stephens: Okay. So, it goes on to say, "This was interesting, because it helped me understand why I was never satisfied after starting to eat. I upped my dietary fat intake and was pleased to find out that it helped the reactive hypoglycemia and level of satisfaction." So, yes, that is true. That's one thing that really I learned doing the-- I knew this already, but doing the ZOE testing was how it changed things when you combine different foods. It made a huge difference. I knew that if I ate for example of plain baked potato with nothing on it that I would feel a crash later, but if I put butter and sour cream, then the fat helps the way your body processes those quick acting carbs and then it's steady, and you don't have that crash. But it was interesting to see it right there in ZOE to see the numbers change. Like, "Here's what a plain potato is. Now, you add this butter to it and it increases the score for my body." Anyway, so, that makes a lot of sense. 

The way I'm interpreting this, Melanie, in the beginning, this means probably back when she was fasting clean. She used to fast clean and, in the beginning her blood sugar levels were 70 to 80 while fasting. I think that's important. Then here's the next part of that question. "However, now, my fasting blood sugar the next day remains in the 90s and the 100s literally all day. I never want to open my week eating window when the levels are so high like that. Does this mean I don't clear fat well? I don't want to gain weight by eating if my glycogen levels are never depleting enough. Yet, I also don't want to go back to low fat and find myself hypoglycemic and hungry all the time, what to do?" Now, I'm so curious what not clearing fat would have to do with blood-- Maybe she means, because she ate fat yesterday?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, what she's saying is, when she was doing low fat, really low fat, she would have a reactive hypoglycemic response and she would still be hungry. But the next day, she would have lower fasting blood sugar levels. When she added fat, she didn't get that reactive hypoglycemic response. She felt more satisfied. But the next day, she had higher fasting blood sugar levels.

Gin Stephens: I'm curious if one of these was done with clean fasting and one of them was not. Because she said, she did do clean fasting, then she stopped doing clean fasting.

Melanie Avalon: She went back to fasting. I think she's been doing her version of the dirty fasting through all of this, because she says she was doing Ray Peat, and then when she went back to fasting that she did it with the stevia and the tiny splash of milk, I think that's been consistent from what I'm reading.

Gin Stephens: Okay. So, when she says in the beginning she's talking about recently.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. The time I'm getting from this what it sounds is, she did clean fasting, then she did Ray Peat, then she went back to fasting, but she did it with the dirtiest fasting.

Gin Stephens: Milk and stevia?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. But the beginning of her return to fasting was low fat. She's having reactive hypoglycemia. Then she went to a higher fat, no more reactive hypoglycemia. But she has higher fasting blood sugar levels the next day. That's the timeline I'm getting from this. 

Gin Stephens: Well, we'll assume that's what it is. 

Melanie Avalon: Feel free to let us know, Josephine, if it's not. But I do have thoughts on this. Do you want me to jump in? 

Gin Stephens: Yep. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes, this is what I've seen. Actually, I'm really fascinated by this, because a lot of people say, adding fat to a meal reduces the blood sugar spike of the meal, which is true. However, what is often not accounted for is the longer-term effect, which has-- I've read studies on this, and this is what Josephine is experiencing, and that it can create a longer, higher blood sugar. That's like a much longer timeline.

Gin Stephens: It's like slow release. It becomes slow release instead of bam.

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. It's longer. Rather than being up and down, it's not as high up, but then it's longer. Carrying into the next day, so that's quite a while. The next day she's seeing that she's having all day these higher blood sugar levels, I do think it's the fat that is causing that, and I do think that she's saying that her glycogen levels aren't depleting enough, which is likely happening. I would keep tweaking to find what works for you. Because I think in your head, it sounds like you think it has to either be this super low fat or this higher fat version. I think there are two options here. I would maybe try-- I don't know how you're adding the dietary fat. Were you actually adding fat like pure fat, which would be like oils, butter, things like that? If that's how you're adding it, I would maybe add it through more whole food versions. So, instead of oils and butter, just having maybe fat. Oh, yes, yes, because she's eating lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. This is what I would try, Josephine. I'm very excited. If you're upping the fat was adding oils and butter, I would not add oils and butter. I would eat fattier cuts of meat. Instead of eating the lean protein, just have more whole foods, fattier protein, I would try that. I would see if that works. 

Another thing you could try is not upping the fat, upping the protein. Because protein can have a really beneficial effect on satiety and/or regulating blood sugar regulation. Instead of trying to fix it with the fat approach, you could try to fix it with the protein approach. Those are the two things I would try, and I would just keep tweaking, and I would keep using a CGM until you find the approach that works for you. Because Josephine, we actually follow a very similar diet it sounds like because I eat mostly lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, although, my vegetables are cucumbers. I will have the same response. If I go higher fat by adding in fat like oils or butter, I will have higher resting blood sugars the next day. But if I add in just fattier cuts of meat, so salmon, maybe adding in some more red meat and things like that, I can mitigate all of this. So, that's what I would try. 

Gin Stephens: I would also, again, I'm going back to fast and clean, because we haven't talked about the fact that when you're putting milk in your coffee, the milk breaks down and there's sugar in your bloodstream. Some of that might be coming from that milk. Anyway, just FYI. Milk can absolutely cause your blood sugar to go up. So, if you see what happens, leaving the milk out, see how that affects your readings. 

Melanie Avalon: If the milk was consistent through all of it, then it probably is more the dietary shift that created it. But that said--

Gin Stephens: Stop adding stuff in during the day and that will--

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it could be that if you do the black coffee, then it results that without having to.

Gin Stephens: Exactly. Change what you're eating. Yep, I just know my blood sugar. We're all different with the way we our bodies clear the fat, and the blood sugar, and all that. My experience may not be the same as someone else's. But from wearing a CGM briefly, what I found was, when I woke up in the morning, my blood sugar was a certain amount. By the way, before coffee, of course, it was lower and then after coffee, it goes up. So, when I just had my InsideTracker results, my fasted blood glucose was 86 when I woke up.

Melanie Avalon: I'm really curious. When did you have it tested? In the morning, or--? 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, it was in the morning. I'd been up, I'd already showered, I'd been moving around. We know that it goes up and down. But generally, in the morning, whenever I was wearing the CGM, I would notice after coffee, it would go up and be in that 90 range for a little while, while I was drinking my coffee. Then eventually, mid-morning, it would go down into the 70s and then I would have right when it was going down is when I would have a mild wave of hunger. That's how I knew. I'm like, "Oh, I'm having a mild wave of hunger," and then I would check the CGM. Sure enough, that's when it was going down. Then it would stay in the 70s the rest of the time. So, it was fascinating to see. Actually, maybe when I was sleeping, I'm trying to remember. Maybe when I was sleeping, it was like 70s, 80s, I don't know. But then after the coffee, it would go up. After coffee, it went up and that was my body dumping out the glycogen from my liver in the coffee helps with that. But then midmorning, boom back down and then it would stay in the 70s the whole rest of the time that I fasted, and it was very steady. It didn't go up and down, up and down, up and down. It just stayed there. 

Understanding what the coffee was doing was important. But that's why this time when I had the InsideTracker, I was like, "Well, I'm not going to drink coffee till after they come," because I want to see what it's doing. Sure enough, the last time I'd had fasted blood work, I drank coffee beforehand, because I didn't even think about the glycogen dump. Then I'm like, "Why did I drink that coffee?" I just wasn't even paying attention. Really, it was when I wore the CGM that I was like, "Okay, it really does make a huge difference" and it did. So, I really wanted to try to see what it was, what the fastest blood sugar was without the coffee and it was better. 

Melanie Avalon: Was that your first time doing InsideTracker? I just love InsideTracker so much. 

Gin Stephens: It was not. It was the second time.

Melanie Avalon: We were talking about this before, but I got too high vitamin D often on my InsideTracker, because I've gotten so intense on trying to raise my vitamin D.

Gin Stephens: What do you do to raise it? 

Melanie Avalon: Supplement vitamin D every night. I take the Thorne D/K2 blend, that's a supplement I want to make in the future of vitamin D. Then I was doing three-minute really short EPB tanning sessions last winter. I haven't done them in a while. I stopped doing them once I realized my vitamin D was really high.

Gin Stephens: You know me and supplements, I'm not a supplement person. I'd rather get it from the sun. Again, the sun doesn't just give us the vitamin D. It also helps with our melatonin. I may have heard that before, but it never really clicked with me. You know how you hear a lot of stuff, and you just, like, whatever, and then all of a sudden, one day it clicks, and I was like, "Oh, I'm not sleeping. Oh, my vitamin D is low, my melatonin is probably also low." It was the right time to read that after I'd had a very restless night sleeping. A lot of things just suddenly came together and suddenly I was ready for that information.

Melanie Avalon: I think it has to do with the sunlight going into your eyes.

Gin Stephens: I think so. I 100% think so. I've heard that, too.

Melanie Avalon: That affects the melatonin release. It resets the clock. 

Gin Stephens: It really does. I've heard that before. That's not new information. But I guess, I needed to hear all that at the same time after just having gotten my vitamin D back and having trouble sleeping all at the same time. It was the right time for it to really be reinforced.

Melanie Avalon: I've actually been experimenting-- Well, ever since reading Dr. John Lieurance's Melatonin Miracle book and having him on the show, I've been very fascinated about melatonin. Then when I got COVID, I was really looking into the role of melatonin helping that. Then when I did that moment, Gin, where I took a whole bottle of melatonin by accident and felt so good the next day. I've been really experimenting with supplemental melatonin and then when I interviewed Dr. Steven Gundry and he talks about the mitochondrial uncoupling in the mitochondria, he was saying that the two master antioxidants in your mitochondria that, I forgot exactly what their role is. But they are very, very helpful was melatonin and glutathione. So, I've been experimenting supplementing with melatonin as a supplement.

Gin Stephens: It makes me feel hungover. I don't feel good with it.

Melanie Avalon: Have you tried a version that is not the chewable flavored pills? 

Gin Stephens: Oh, I don’t take chewable flavored pills. [laughs] Yes, I've tried several different versions, but I don't take chewable anything ever. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. 

Gin Stephens: Every time I've ever taken it, it just made me feel hungover. Also, Benadryl makes me feel hungover. So, my brain is weird about things. 

Melanie Avalon: Benadryl can make me feel hungover, but it just knocks me out so well. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, not me. It makes me like wired. But interesting, you were just talking about COVID. I remember early on, we heard about vitamin D linked to COVID and when people who had low vitamin D levels had worse experiences with COVID, but then also the role of melatonin. Really was it the vitamin D that was the problem or was it the melatonin, because they go hand in hand. That's where we can get the cause and effect wrong. We're like, "Oh, look, we can measure vitamin D. Their vitamin D is low. They must need vitamin D. Let's give them supplemental vitamin D." When really, that was just the marker for it and it was really melatonin that was making the difference.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, it's like-- I was actually just emailing, because I work a lot with InsideTracker and I've been emailing them a lot, because they do make one recommendation and it depends on-- When you get your results, its recommendations tailored to you, so not everybody gets this recommendation. But one of the recommendations that has to do with one of their biomarkers, I think specifically HDL, maybe. It actually says to sleep less is the recommendation. I went and looked at all of the studies they're basing that off of. What's interesting is too much sleep in general, so sleeping more than, is it eight or nine hours? Sleeping more than is what is thought to be the healthy amount is correlated to health issues. My big question for that is¸ is it sleeping more that's causing the health issues or is it people, who have health issues are sleeping more? 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, my brain went right there.

Melanie Avalon: I really think that's what's going on.

Gin Stephens: It's a study, I heard him say one day on the radio years and years ago, and my boys were little. They're children, who are spanked are more violent. I'm like, "Or, our children who are more violent likely to be spanked more." [laughs] I don't know. We tend to make the line this way when it could be the other way. Anyway.

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. I keep telling them, I'm like, "Please, I'm--." All they would have to change, I would just change it to get more quality sleep. That would still be the same recommendation in a way.

Gin Stephens: It's just an example of why we have to be so careful, because all that information about vitamin D levels and COVID, everybody's like, "Oh, we need to supplement with a tons of vitamin D." But really, maybe that wasn't the thing. It wasn't the vitamin D at all. It was the melatonin.

Melanie Avalon: The type of people with more vitamin D may be the type of people who are outside. 

Gin Stephens: Well, because generally, that's the thing. It's hand in hand. They noticed that COVID was hitting people worse in areas, for example, Italy and New York where that's the period of the year where their vitamin D levels are lower, because it's their latitude. Latitude is a factor. But along with latitude, comes the strength of the sun's rays and how much vitamin D you're making. But of course, melatonin is in there, too. So, anyway, don't just start taking supplements when we don't really know what it is. [laughs] It's the moral of that story. It could be the totally wrong cause and effect.

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Melanie Avalon: She says, "also, I hesitated to admit the stevia/splash of milk in my coffee to you both, because I know how adamant you are about clean fasting." Oh, she knows us well. She said, "however, I don't understand one thing. If the idea is to avoid insulin production, so the body doesn't go into fat storage mode, and a little bit of stevia, and milk raises insulin, which causes a dip and for hunger levels to rise, what about people like me who do not feel hungry from stevia and milk in their coffee? I feel exactly the same whether I drink it black or add the sweetener in milk, same level of hunger. Since it satisfies me and doesn't make me hungry, isn't it okay for me to have that tiny amount? Yes, it spikes insulin a little, but not that much. So, the fat storing hormones are only present briefly. I'm not hungrier, and then they go away, and I can continue to fast. In that case, isn't it okay for me to have the stevia/milk? How much of a problem does that little bit of stevia/milk pose for my desire to burn fat, if it doesn't create a hunger issue for me?" 

Gin Stephens: All right, well, that's a faulty thought that if it doesn't make me hungry, then it's not breaking my fast. I've never once said, "If something doesn't make you hungry, it's not breaking your fast." Now, I have said, "If you do find reactive hunger happening after something like cinnamon in your coffee, for example, that's a sign that it was." But the absence of the hunger doesn't mean it wasn't. Does that make sense? Do not use whether it makes you feel hungry or not to decide that something is okay. Only use that test to decide if something is not okay. Why would something cause you to be hungry and lets you know it's not okay, if it causes your blood sugar to crash. Now, you just said that your blood sugar is in the 90s and a 100s. Your blood sugar is not crashing. Your blood sugar's steady in the 90s and a 100s. Remember how I mentioned a minute ago how when I was wearing my CGM, I would notice that I would have a little wave of hunger, and look at my CGM, and that was the moment that my blood sugar was dropping. Josephine, your blood sugar is not dropping. It's in the 90s or 100s, because you're also having milk, which is keeping it up. Hunger is not the right metric here. There's really nothing you can measure to let you know how much insulin is going on in your body right now. 

But let's reframe that, okay? Since you're saying it doesn't create a hunger issue, it's not a problem. We said before milk is food. It's food for mammals. What if you had the equivalent of instead of milk, you're having a little bit of pizza? Same amount of pizza, would that be fasting? It wouldn't, that's food. Just because it's liquid, it doesn't make it not food. You wouldn't eat Tic Tacs or something. I'm just thinking of things people might be eating or you wouldn't eat a little bit of cheese and say, "Well, I eat this little bit of cheese and it doesn't make me hungry. I feel it's okay." But it's still eating, not fasting is the point I'm trying to make. Just because milk is a liquid, it's still food. I don't know if I'm explaining that very well or not. But hunger is not the factor. I am never going to say it's okay to have food and say that you're fasting. With one caveat, you have to take medication with food and there's no other choice. You have to. It's over and done. You have your medication that must be taken with food, you have it, you're finished, you move on. 

But when you're drinking coffee with milk all morning long, it goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on. I am never going to say that that is fasting. I just can't. You're keeping your insulin up, and you're having food, and it's a low-calorie diet. Eventually, if your body is not tapping into your fat stores effectively because of that milk and that stevia keeping your insulin high, consider that it might slow your metabolism, because you're no longer well fueled during the fast. You might be-- this is hypothetical because we don't have a study where here's somebody who fasted clean and here's somebody who had stevia and milk. Let's see what their metabolisms did. But we know what happens with low-calorie diets over time and we know what happens to metabolic rate. I would really encourage you to fast clean. That's all I can say. 

Melanie Avalon: Is she still trying to lose weight or she said she lost all the weight? 

Gin Stephens: But then she gained it back. 

Melanie Avalon: She said, she gained it back. Gained a ton of weight.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, she took a five-month break from clean fasting and then she found out she was hypothyroid, and then she gained a ton of weight and went back to fasting.

Melanie Avalon: Dropped the weight and felt better second time around. I agree that the clean fast is the way to go. The black coffee and the water is definitely the way to go. I am really interested about more of a hypothetical thought experiment question. I know she was talking just about literally hunger as the measure for whether or not it was breaking the fast. Something I do think about is, are there people at a maintenance place, where they do have this little bit of stevia and milk. I think maybe, for some people, long term on the flipside of the clean fast, they might be happier having a different approach to fasting. But I don't think they will know that unless they have done the clean fast, and really experienced the clean fast, and the benefits of it. 

Gin Stephens: I just can't help, but think that the health benefits of the clean fast are going to be so much greater. It's like, "Why are we doing it? Why are we fasting?" We're fasting for all these things that happen during the fast. We want our insulin to be as low as it can be during the fast, I mean obviously not. We don't want it to be zero. It's never zero. But we want to keep our insulin down during the fast. We want to encourage all these processes. We want to encourage increased autophagy. We got to remember, "Why are we fasting?" If you want to do a low-calorie diet, that is okay. But it isn't fasting as all I'm saying. If someone wants to have stevia and milk all morning long, and drink that, and it works for them, and they feel good, but it's really not fasting is all. That's all I can say. I do not believe dirty fasting exists. You're either fasting clean or you're not fasting. So, here's an example. If you had to go have surgery, and the doctor said, "You need to be fasted for your surgery," would you put stevia and milk in your coffee? Or, would the doctor say, "You can't have that, that's not fasting?" What would the doctor say?

Melanie Avalon: I think they would say, no to the milk. They might be okay with the stevia. It's a thing where it might be for some people, the stevia doesn't affect their insulin. It's hard for me to say-- 

Gin Stephens: Actually, there was one of the studies I talk about in a blog post that I wrote about insulin response, why doesn't everyone agree? They actually found that people who are overweight and have struggled with their weight have a much more robust insulin response than other people. We do have varying responses just like fat clearance levels, or blood sugar or we have different responses to things.

Melanie Avalon: I'm so glad you said that.

Gin Stephens: It does make sense that everyone would have a personalized insulin response, too. But anyone who's ever struggled with their weight, they found in this study that they had a more pronounced insulin response. Anyone who's trying to lose weight, you probably have an exaggerated insulin response, which is even more reason for you to fast clean. Someone like Chad, Chad has never had a weight problem. His fasted insulin level way lower than mine. He probably just doesn't release much insulin ever, which is probably one reason why he's never had trouble with his weight. His body doesn't store fat well because his insulin is really low.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so, I'm actually, I'm so glad that you brought that up, because I think I find it so interesting with artificial sweeteners and things like stevia. Some people say, it releases insulin, some people say, it doesn't. I really honestly think its personal.

Gin Stephens: Oh, really, everything in our bodies is personal. Everything we've got going on is so different. But since we can't measure insulin, it wouldn't be nice if we could. If we could all measure our insulin levels all the time, we could manipulate what we're doing to keep them at a low level, but we can't.

Melanie Avalon: That's why it's complicated and I think it's an interesting thought experiment. But I don't think we can have an answer to it. But I could see a situation where there's a person, who with stevia literally does not affect their insulin.

Gin Stephens: Versus Jason Fung cited a study that showed that stevia in general caused a greater release of insulin overall average than sugar, white sugar. But there could be someone-- If you think about that normal curve distribution for everything, I remember learning about that in high school, I guess. It was fascinating. Even the number of leaves on a tree follows a normal distribution, and how many hairs on your head, or IQ, or shoe size, they all follow that normal distribution. That means there's always someone on the low end and someone else on the high end of everything. Someone is going to release a ton more insulin whereas most people will be in this average section, but then there'll be people down there on the left of that normal curve that release none. But you can't measure it and know which you are. True or not? You'd be like, "I hope I'm down here. So, I'm just going to do it and hope I'm down there." That I wouldn't do that.

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. It's a really interesting thought experiment. It's really hard to practically draw conclusions about-- 

Gin Stephens: Man, I wish we could measure it. That'd be amazing.

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. I'm just thinking how cool it'd be if there was a CGM that was your constant insulin?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, continuous insulin monitor if that would be-- Honestly, that would be amazing. Because ever since I read, I think it was written by a Nurse Practitioner. I can't remember. It was when I was writing Fast. Feast. Repeat., it was a journal article about hyperinsulinemia. The nurse, who wrote it said, "We are measuring the wrong thing by measuring A1C and tracking that. We should be looking at patient's fasted insulin level, because that's the leading indicator. If we knew when that started to go up, that precedes when you start having blood sugar problems. What we don't know nobody knows. But once that insulin starts to go up," and again, reading Why We Get Sick by Benjamin Bikman, same thing. That high insulin, if you could just get that insulin under control, that really seems to be such an important health marker. So, I would encourage you, Josephine read Why We Get Sick by Benjamin Bikman, and then you're not going to want to risk your insulin being any higher than it could be. That's my recommendation. Fast clean, Josephine. [laughs] Fast clean, Josephine.

Melanie Avalon: Josephine has one more question. She says, "what are the ways in which we can measure what will cause hunger? Blood glucose levels, insulin levels, leptin levels? I honestly got the CGM just to see if I could correlate my glucose levels with my hunger levels. I hate when I am really full and still want to keep eating. Dietary fat seems to be most successful in keeping my hunger at bay, but as I said before, it causes me to have higher glucose levels and less effective fat burning in fasting mode. A high-carb, super low-fat diet works best for me to burn fat, but I sleep terribly and am hungrier far more frequently. Thank you for tackling my wild and complex questions. I love, love the two of you and you better never go off the air," Josephine. 

Gin Stephens: Well, thank you, Josephine. The way to measure what causes hunger is just to feel your hunger. [laughs] There's nothing you can measure to see what will cause hunger. You just have to listen to your body. Because it's way too complicated. Wouldn't it be nice, again, if we had a fuel like your car, you get in your car, I know how much gas I have in my car, I know when I need to get more gas, it's not a mystery. I just get gas when the fuel levels low, but our bodies don't work like that. There's way too much going on. The only thing you can measure is blood glucose. You can't measure insulin at home, you can't measure leptin at home. I do find my glucose level does go really nicely with my hunger level. I want you to try fast and clean and seeing if maybe it does. Maybe when my glucose went down, but it didn't go forever. My glucose went down, I had a mild hunger wave, then my body kicked into fat burning mode, and I went into ketosis, and the hunger was gone. It feels maybe keeping your blood sugar in that 90 to 100, you're not getting down into the low enough level to really you're not getting into ketosis, perhaps. Anyway, fast clean Josephine, and see what happens. We can't really measure what causes your hunger. You just have to feel it and start. You are the study of one and figure out what works for you.

Melanie Avalon: I love that you said that. What's really interesting about the blood sugar levels is, people could have hunger on, well, they could really have hunger at any blood sugar level. But they could definitely have it at either side of the spectrum, because with a hypo for similar reasons, but different, which is really interesting. They could have it on the low side, especially if they're not in a ketogenic state. They are relying more on blood sugar. So, if they have too low levels, they're going to be hungry likely.

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah. Because if you're not fat adapted, you're not going to be able to tap into your fat stores. So, you are going to be hangry.

Melanie Avalon: You could have low blood sugar, if you're not in ketosis. Be hungry, because your body needs fuel and sugar. On the flipside, ironically, you could have high blood sugar levels, and also, be hungry because your cells aren't getting the energy. It's staying in your bloodstream rather than getting into your cells. So, it's interesting that it could be a similar cause of hunger on either side of the spectrum. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, that's an excellent point. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. But yes, but I echo what Gin said, really, it's going to be just you have to experience the hunger and see how it correlates to what you're eating, how you're fasting, what you're doing, and learn from there. I do think the CGM can be a very valuable tool and seeing how your hunger correlates to your blood sugar levels, and seeing how your diet affects that, and how your fasting affects that. But you just got to be a little detective and try all the things. 

Gin Stephens: It was fascinating to see it. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, on the CGM. Yeah. 

Gin Stephens: Correlate how I felt what it was doing. I love that then it just stayed steady, because we hear from people that worry that your blood sugar is just going to go down and crash, and crash and burn, but as I went on in the fast, it just stayed so steady, just steady, steady, steady right there in the 70s.

Melanie Avalon: I love it. 

Gin Stephens: Me, too. 

Melanie Avalon: All righty, well, thank you, Josephine for your long questions. This has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly 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/episode257. The show notes will have a full transcript. So, definitely check that out, and they'll have links to everything that we talked about, and you can follow us on Instagram. I am @melanieavalon, Gin is @ginstephens, and I think that is all the things. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I think so. 

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

Gin Stephens: No. I think that's it. 

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

Gin Stephens: All right. Bye-bye. 

Melanie Avalon: Bye. 

Thank you so much for listening to the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember, everything we discussed on this show does not constitute medical advice. We're not doctors. If you enjoyed the show, please consider writing your review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, theme music by Leland Cox. See you next week.

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