Welcome to Episode 271 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 Cynthia Thurlow, author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging.
Today's episode of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast is brought to you by:
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Listener Q&A: Mary - Slow weight loss
Listener Q&A: Denite - Alcohol should have cancer warning labels, say doctors and researchers pushing to raise awareness of risk
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Our content does not constitute an attempt to practice medicine, and does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. Please consult a qualified health care provider for medical advice and answers to personal health questions.
Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 271 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, biohacker and 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, Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner and author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and cynthiathurlow.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. And no doctor-patient relationship is formed. So, pour yourself a mug of black coffee, a cup 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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If you recently saw a documentary on Netflix called Seaspiracy, you might be a little bit nervous about eating seafood. Now, I understand why ButcherBox makes it so, so clear and important about how they work with the seafood industry. Everything is checked for transparency, for quality, and for sustainable raising practices. You want their seafood. The value is incredible, the average cost is actually less than $6 per meal, and it's so easy. Everything ships directly to your door. I am a huge steak lover. Every time I go to a restaurant, I usually order the steak. Oh, my goodness, the ButcherBox steaks are amazing. I remember the first time I had one and I just thought, “This is honestly one of the best steaks I've ever had in my entire life.” On top of that, did you know that the fatty acid profile of grass-fed, grass-finished steaks is much healthier for you than conventional steaks. And their bacon, for example is from pastured pork, and sugar and nitrate free. How hard is that to find? I'm super excited, because ButcherBox’ bacon for life is back and it's even better, because you get $10 off as well. Yep, right now, new members will get one pack of free bacon in every box for the life of your membership, plus $10 off when you sign up at butcherbox.com/ifpodcast. That's one pack of free bacon in every box for the rest of your life plus $10 off. Just go to butcherbox.com/ifpodcast. And we'll put all this information in the show notes.
And one more thing before we jump in, are you fasting clean inside and out? When it comes to weight loss, we focus a lot on what and when we eat. It makes sense because these foods affect our hormones and how our bodies store and burn fat. But do you know what is possibly one of the most influential factors in weight gain? It's not your food and it's not fasting, it's actually our skincare and makeup. As it turns out, Europe has banned over a thousand compounds found in conventional skincare and makeup in the US due to their toxicity. These include endocrine disrupters, which mess with your hormones, carcinogens linked to cancer, and obesogens, which literally can cause your body to store and gain weight. Basically, when we're using conventional skincare and makeup, we are giving these obesogenic compounds direct access to our bloodstream. And then in our bodies, studies have shown they do things like reduce our satiety hormones, increase our hunger hormones, make fat cells more likely to store fat, and more resistant to burning fat, and so much more. If you have stubborn fat, friends, your skincare and makeup maybe playing a role in that. Beyond weight gain and weight loss, these compounds have very detrimental effects on our health and they affect the health of our future generations. That's because ladies, when we have babies, a huge percent of those toxic compounds go through the placenta into the newborn. It is so, so shocking and the effects last four years.
Conventional lipstick, for example, often tests high in lead and the half-life of lead is up to 30 years. That means when you put on some conventional lipstick, 30 years later, maybe half of that lead has left your bones. On top of that, there is essentially no regulation of these products on the shelves. That's why it's up to us to choose brands that are changing this. The brand that is working the hardest to do this is Beautycounter. They were founded on a mission to change this. Every single ingredient is extensively tested to be safe for your skin, so, you can truly feel good about what you put on. And friends, these products really, really work. They are incredible. They have counter time for anti-aging, counter match for normal skin, counter control for acne and oily prone, and counter start for sensitive. I use their Overnight Resurfacing Peel and vitamin C serum every single night of my life. And their makeup is amazing. Check on my Instagram to see what it looks like. Tina Fey even wore all Beautycounter makeup when she hosted The Golden Globes. So, yes, it is high-definition camera ready. They have so many other products. Deodorant, shampoo and conditioner that I love, products for babies, and so much more. You can shop with us at beautycounter.com/melanieavalon or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow and use the coupon code, CLEANFORALL20 to get 20% off your first order. Also, make sure to get on my clean beauty email list, that's at melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty. I give away a lot of free things on that list. So, definitely check it out. And you can join me in my Facebook group, Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare with Melanie Avalon. People share their experiences, ask questions, give product reviews, and I do a giveaway every single week in that group as well.
And lastly, if you're thinking of making Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare, a part of your future like we have, we definitely recommend 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. It is totally, completely worth it. So, again, to shop with us, go to beautycounter.com/melanieavalon or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow and use the coupon code, CLEANFORALL20 to get 20% off your first order. And we'll put all this information in the show notes. All right, now, back to the show.
Melanie Avalon: Hi, everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 271 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with, Cynthia Thurlow.
Cynthia Thurlow: Hey there.
Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Cynthia?
Cynthia Thurlow: I'm doing well. How are you? Now, we're three days before our vacation. So, I'm super excited.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, I'm really excited for you. I can't wait to see the pictures from all the places. Are you guys’ big touristy people? Do you do all the touristy stuff or how do you approach a vacation?
Cynthia Thurlow: I think it depends. My kids, well, I should say, we've been incredibly fortunate that even when our kids were younger, it has always been a big priority to expose them to different countries and travel. Believe it or not, there's ways to do that very affordably. I think there's this perception that it's all obscenely expensive. I think a Disney vacation could cost as much as or even more than going to Europe, as one example. We find a balance. To me, I always like to stay in places where it's not so touristy. When we've stayed in Paris, we have stayed in areas where it's still wonderful, but you can walk right outside and go to a café, and I like to go to grocery stores in there, I like to make picnics. To me, there's a lot to be said if you're really exposed to the culture. We'll do cooking classes and we'll still see some of the iconic sights when we're in certain cities. But to me, it's a combination of togetherness, and connection, and being able to be exposed to different cultures, and see museums. My kids actually if you were to ask them their favorite thing they've seen in London as an example, they would say, Westminster Abbey. We're definitely a family that like to be inspired when we go on vacation, but I'm also not someone that necessarily wants to do a lot of tourist trapeze stuff.
We like good food and we definitely do our due diligence prior to arriving. We're going to be in Prague for a couple days and where we're staying is like a restored monastery. It's got this cool vibe and everything I've heard about Prague is that it's beautiful, and the people are wonderful, and I'm just looking forward to just exploring, and not having too too much plans. One thing I don't like on a vacation is feeling micromanage like, “Oh, every day, we get up and we do this and every day we get up and we do that.” There's built in downtime, which I think is really important, especially coming off of the book launch. I feel I owe my family a lot of family time and connection. I feel there hasn't been as much of that over the last six months.
Melanie Avalon: Are you going to Budapest?
Cynthia Thurlow: We are and we're ending in Budapest and I'm super excited.
Melanie Avalon: I was talking with a friend actually, the girl who does my hair at the salon this week, and she was going on and on about Budapest, and she said her favorite thing there was, have you heard of the bone chapel?
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: Are you going to go there? I like the creepy morbid stuff.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. No, it's interesting, because we had the ability to stay longer in Budapest. We opted not to just because of the proximity at the time we were booking this with the Ukraine and all the unrest that was going on there. I just said, “Okay, well, we'll just be in Budapest for two days,” and then we'll head home, but the heading home part is a little less fun than the going to, because Budapest doesn't fly direct to any major place that's close to where we're going. We have to fly to Paris, and then Paris to Boston, and Boston to our new hometown. So, it'll be a long leg back. But I kept saying the kids, I was like, “It's going to be so great. We don't have to fly into New York, which is great,” because I don't know if anyone listening is flown into. Anytime you fly internationally, there are certain airports you want to avoid when you have to go through immigration and it's been my experience in New York is one of those that you want to avoid. So, I'm actually happy we're flying into Boston, little smaller of an airport, but we'll see.
Melanie Avalon: Very nice. I'm just thinking, my favorite thing in London was probably Tower of London and in Paris going back to the morbid stuff. Have you been in the catacombs?
Cynthia Thurlow: I have. But I haven't done that with my kids and so, I think there'll be old enough this time when we go back. You know it is, I'm a total Francophile. I actually love the culture, and the food, and just how Parisians are unlike anywhere else in the world and it's such a beautiful city. I love the architecture and I don't know I just absorb it all.
Melanie Avalon: I remember when I was there, we were eating on a street café, and a girl from my film fraternity walked by, I was like, “What are the odds?” Makes you wonder and especially, people that you meet in the future who you might have crossed paths with. It's just crazy. How can be such a big world, but such a small world?
Cynthia Thurlow: It's funny. My cousin and I were just talking yesterday, and she's actually going to Paris with one of her college friends, and she was saying, “Oh, the exchange rates fantastic. You can really get a nice bag.” I was like, “Oh, don't make me jealous.” The last few times I've been there, the lines are so long that I've just completely discouraged me from procuring a bag at a great price. I just said, “I'll live vicariously through you.”
Melanie Avalon: Oh, the shopping.
Cynthia Thurlow: Mm-hmm. That's dangerous. Although, it's funny. When I'm with my husband and my boys, I don't do a lot of shopping, which my husband really appreciates largely, because teenagers don't want to be dragged into any shopping situation. They've always not been big shoppers. I think that's probably been a blessing. So, we go to these amazing cities and I'm not as encouraged to go do that.
Melanie Avalon: My mom is just like a shopaholic. There's more estrogen in my family than testosterone where me and I have a sister and a brother. My brother's the one with all the girls.
Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, that's funny. Yeah, no, it's funny. I have one sibling, and my brother has all girls, and I've all boys, and I always say, “God has a sense of humor, because if you had asked us before we had kids, I would have ended up with all girls, and he would have ended up with boys.” But I ended up with exactly what I needed. And now that I have boys, I can't imagine-- I’ve three nieces who I love, but now that I have boys, I can't imagine things being any different.
Melanie Avalon: I love it. Love it, love it. I got to see pictures of them for the first time yesterday.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, the other characters. They are characters. One in particular doesn't like his photo being taken anymore. I basically told them their last day of school was June 2nd. I said to them, because obviously, one was in middle school was in high school, now, they're both going to high school in August, and I said, “I didn't get my end of the year photo” and of course, they were giving me a hard time and my husband's like, “You are going to stand on that porch in front of that door with your backpack and you were going to smile or we're going to leave you here.” They both looked at each other like, “Fine.” But it's amazing how when they were younger. They loved having their photos taken, they love doing those first day and last day of school things, and now, I hear my husband saying, “You're doing it for your mother.” So, if anyone's listening and you understand [laughs] why we say just let me take one photo. That's why we say, it's actually hard to find photos of all four of us, because they do everything they can to undermine said photos. They'll make a funny face, they won't smile, my 14-year-old scowls now on purpose, even though he's not like a kid that walks around with that expression on his face, but he'll do it on purpose, and my husband's like, “Your mother does so much for you.” I'm like, “That's right. [laughs] Just do something for me. It'll take 30 seconds.”
Melanie Avalon: I feel the biggest meltdowns we had in our family were always around taking the Christmas photo. Actually, [chuckles] one of the biggest inside jokes in our family is one year we were doing the Christmas photo, and we had a photo of all of us in Rome at the Coliseum, but my mom didn't like that one of her. She had me photoshop her in to another picture at the Coliseum, and we did it in black and white, and I should find it and see if it's noticeable. I guess, we thought it wasn't noticeable. But I do know, I think my dad got some feedback from work colleagues being like, “Did you photoshop in Europe?” [laughs]
Cynthia Thurlow: That's hilarious. That's hilarious. We are our own worst critics. I know sometimes I'll look at photos of me and I'm like say to my team, “Don't ever use that photo again.” [laughs] But once we don't like a photo, I totally get it.
Melanie Avalon: Yep, I'm the same way. Can I update listeners really quick on my magnesium supplement update?
Cynthia Thurlow: Sure.
Melanie Avalon: For listeners, I know you're eagerly awaiting the launch of my magnesium. By the time this comes out, you know what, it probably is launched by now. Maybe. No, no, it's probably right on the cusp of launching. Get on my email list, so you don't miss the updates. That's at avalonx.us/emaillist. But my first serrapeptase supplement did so, so well. The second one I'm doing is magnesium. Magnesium is just such a crucial mineral in our health and wellness. I'm always a proponent of getting nutrition from food, but it can be hard to get all of our nutrients all the time due to our depleted soil today, and our living environment, and our stress depletes magnesium, our lifestyles deplete magnesium. I think a lot of people can really benefit from a magnesium supplement. As you guys know, I wanted to make the best form possible. Mine is going to have eight forms of magnesium. Eight, because actually, my partner and I at MD Logic, we're trying to figure this out how many magnesium types there actually are, I think there's around 17, actually. We picked the eight that we think are most beneficial and it actually has activated cofactors to help you absorb it. So, it has methylated B6 and chelated manganese, no potentially toxic fillers, no rice, no seed oils, no palmitates, no stearates, it's in a glass bottle. Basically, it's the best of the best.
Then here's the fun thing. We really wanted to include magnesium three and eight in it or I wanted to, which is a specific type of magnesium that crosses the blood-brain barrier. We had it in the initial formulation, but then we realized that in order to get the full therapeutic amount, it wasn't enough, basically. And also, not everybody wants the mind effects of magnesium three and eight. We're going to release it as a second launch as a nightcap that basically you can add on to your magnesium if you specifically want that relaxation effect, that sleep-inducing effect, and the amazing incentive that we're doing for that is, so, my magnesium supplement is going to be called magnesium spectrum eight. If you get it at launch before we sell out, because I anticipate that we're probably going to sell out. Everybody who gets it from that first run, you'll get a coupon code for when we launch the magnesium three and eight nightcap for a major discount. So, definitely get the magnesium spectrum eight at launch before it sells out. Again, get on the email list because that's where I will be releasing the information. In the meantime, if you'd like a discount on serrapeptase or any supplements at MD Logic, you can use the coupon code, MELANIEAVALON for that. But ooh, I'm just really excited. I've been bit by the supplement bug. So, yeah.
Cynthia Thurlow: That's very exciting. I'm very excited to see your product and I look forward to when I can share officially what I'm working on. But I'm starting to respond to people's DMs on Instagram to stay tuned. I will definitely be creating something that is relevant to some of our past conversations.
Melanie Avalon: I am so excited. I can't wait. [chuckles] Between me and you, we're going to have people covered I think with-- Once we fill out the lines, it's going to be such an amazing resource for people who-- Because the supplement industry is so sketchy and so it can be really hard to find quality stuff and know what you're putting in your body and trust it. It's nice that I think you and I-- We were talking about this before recording how in general, there are a lot of things we want to do, and there are things I want to do that Cynthia might not do, and things Cynthia would want to do that I might not do. So, I think between the both of us, it's going to be really great.
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. I want to express publicly how grateful I am that you made the intro with this company and I'm really excited because one of the things that I've always been very verbal about is why supplement quality is so critically important and why, generally speaking, you shouldn't source off of big websites like Amazon that most of the pharmaceutical grade companies don't third party source. I'm saying in most instances. And so, it's really nice to know that MD Logic has super high qualities, super high integrity, which I think is also really important and also transparency.
Melanie Avalon: Yep, I'm so, so grateful. They're actually making, because some of their products right now have fillers that I personally wouldn't use. That might not be a problem for everybody, but I personally don't like, but they're actually making A, what you said about transparency. They're so transparent. You're not going to have to worry about the quality or things are tested for toxins, things are tested for allergens, but they're also making steps to move towards even less of those ingredients. So, definitely, check out their website. We talked in the past about their melatonin that Cynthia really likes.
Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, my goodness, I laugh about-- Actually, it's interesting, my cousin, who I think the world of and is a physician. She now listens to this podcast. The first thing she said after she listened to that podcast was, “Tell me how to get [laughs] their melatonin because I need that.” She just bought a couple bottles and I'm waiting to get her feedback. But yeah, it's very potent. I've used another brand and really did not find the potency to be equivalent at all. Meaning, the MD Logic was clearly more potent and more potent means you actually will end up using less product. And so, that was really important to me.
Melanie Avalon: Actually, we actually both have codes. You can use the coupon code, MELANIEAVALON or CYNTHIATHURLOW and get a discount on the MD Logic products.
Hi, friends. One of our favorite brands is having a limited time 25% off rebrand sale. I am often asked, “What are my favorite “biohacking products?”’ Something I truly, honestly cannot imagine my life without are blue light blocking glasses. In today's modern environment, we are massively overexposed to blue light. It's a stimulating type of light, which can lead to stress, anxiety, headaches, and in particular, sleep issues. Blue light actually stops our bodies from producing melatonin, which is our sleep hormone. Our exposure to blue light, it can completely disrupt our circadian rhythm, make it hard to fall asleep, make it hard to stay asleep, and so much more. Friends, I identify as an insomniac. I would not be able to sleep without my blue light blocking glasses. I also stay up late working and wearing blue light blocking glasses at night has made it, so I can do that and still fall asleep. My absolute favorite blue light blocking glasses on the market are Bon Charge, formerly known as BLUblox.
Bon Charge makes an array of blue light blocking glasses in all different designs, so you can truly find something that fits your style and reap all of the benefits of blue light blocking. They have their clear computer glasses. You can wear those during the day, especially if you're looking at screens all day to help with anxiety, headaches, and stress. They have their light sensitivity glasses, those are tinged with a special yellow color, scientifically proven to boost mood, and they block even more blue light. Those are great for the day or evening. Then they have their blue light blocking glasses for sleep. Those are the ones that I put on at night while working before bed. Oh, my goodness, friends it's something you truly have to experience. You put on these glasses and it's like you just tell your brain, “Okay, it's time to go to sleep soon.” They also have amazing blackout sleep masks. Those block 100% of light with zero eye pressure. I wear this every single night and I don't know how I would sleep without it. In honor of the rebrand, Bon Charge, for a limited time, this ends June 30th, uou can get 25% off sitewide. Just go to boncharge.com and use the coupon code, BONCHARGE to save 25%. That's B-O-N-C-H-A-R-G-E dotcom with the coupon code, BONCHARGE to save 25%. After the sale is over, you can use the coupon code, IFPODCAST to save 15%. Again, that's all at boncharge.com and we'll put all this information in the show notes. All right, now, back to the show.
Melanie Avalon: Well, shall we jump into some questions for today?
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely.
Melanie Avalon: To start things off, we have a question from Mary. Subject is: “Slow weight loss.” Mary says, “Hi, I've been listening to your podcast for the last month and I've learned a lot. I have been overweight all my life, but in my teens gained a huge amount of weight due to a shop which we had for three years. I'm thinking maybe this fat does not want to shift because it's been there a long time stored. Can fat laid down for years impact on how slow weight loss occurs or do you think slow weight loss could occur because of the fact that I've passed menopause or I have an office job? I walk for 30 minutes a day in my breaks, I do mostly 20:4 these days. My average weight as an adult has fluctuated from 193 to 167, but I usually hover around 172. When I started IF in July after a stressful year, I was 185 and I'm down 12 pounds to 173. I'm thrilled because it has been very low and I'm aiming to get down to 145 pounds now that I'm not scared of looking old as I realized that autophagy will help with that and also remove the loose skin from my legs, which I've had all my life. I'm thinking to do the DNA test too to see if I would be better off cutting out grains altogether or not. I've included a lot here and I hope that you can give me thoughts on anything I mentioned. Thanks in advance.” Mary is from Tasmania, which is super cool.
Cynthia Thurlow: That is super cool. Well, hi, Mary. Thank you for your question. I would say, first and foremost, give yourself grace. You've been on this journey for a long time and I do find that when women in particular, I don't know your age. It's hard for me to speculate. I think that when women get north of 35, there's a little bit of hormonal flocks that can make weight loss-- can give you some plateaus. I think, first and foremost, we have to really get back to basics. I applaud you for your efforts thus far. Slow and steady wins. We don't want to be losing a nonsustainable amount of weight too quickly. We definitely want to do one to two pounds a week is really what we want to be focused on. I think that your questions about carbohydrates, I would say, we really want to reframe that thinking and be making sure that we are hitting our protein macros. During your feeding window really focusing on good quality animal-based protein, 35 to 40 grams of protein with your meals, which is going to help with satiety. I think non-starchy carbohydrates are a great way to go. I'm not anti-carb, but really earning your carbohydrates. If you're going to have starchy carbs like sweet potato, or root vegetables, or if you tolerate grains, keeping the portions very small especially if you're trying to continue to lose weight and being very mindful of your physical activity, it sounds you do a good amount of walking, which I think is fantastic and that can help with insulin sensitivity as well.
If you get to a point where you want to start adding in, more things that can help with insulin resistance. Thinking about strength training is very important, getting high quality sleep, which means seven, eight hours a night is very important, and also understanding that if we're aligned with our own chronobiology, if we're really aligned with our sleep-wake cycles, we really want to be eating when it's light outside and not eating when it's dark outside. Now, with that being said, I know you're in a different hemisphere and we're heading into summer and you're heading into winter. That might be a little more challenging. But eating earlier in the day is going to be easier for insulin sensitivity than later in the day. And then obviously, as I mentioned, I don't know your age range, but if you are north of 35 or 40, there're a lot of things to really lean into in terms of your physiology that can help as well. You definitely don't want to be over fasting around your menstrual cycle as well. But I think you're off to a great start. And yes, I do find that long-term insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress in the body takes a bit of time to get to a point where your body's better calibrated.
The other thing that I would really encourage you to do is to make sure that you are getting some baseline labs with your primary care provider or internist. You have things to compare to. Really looking at inflammatory markers, things like high-sensitivity CRP, looking your fasting insulin, really examining, looking at your lipid profile, which here in the States we're looking at triglycerides, and HDL and LDL, and then looking at your sex hormones as well to get a good sense and a good baseline so that you have something to compare it to.
Melanie Avalon: That was all really great, really comprehensive. I'll just speak briefly. I'll just add to it about the does fat not want to shift because it's been there a long time stored and does the amount of time that it's there affect? It's basically your weight loss potential. There's actually quite a few factors involved here. I know Cynthia and I have both interviewed Joel Greene for his mind-blowing book. His book is very intense. The Immunity Code, that's what it's called, I think. He talks a lot in his book about the extracellular matrix, the ECM. Basically, it's kind of like the clothing on your body in a way and how if you lose weight and your clothing is now too loose, how it is a lot of energy intensive to alter your clothes, and take it in, and make it fit. Your body would almost rather just wait until you regain the weight and keep the clothes on. That was not a very scientific answer. Only to provide more context. Basically, the extracellular matrix, he talks about how every time we lose weight this fluctuation in weight loss, the fat cell is having less fat in it and it still has this matrix that is too loose in a way for the fat cell. The body would rather just fill up the fat cell again, then actually, address that matrix and make it smaller, and that's one of the reasons that the body would prefer to just regain weight rather than maintain a sustained loss.
He talks about how every time we lose and regain and lose and regain, it actually becomes harder and harder to make the changes to that matrix. It actually becomes stiffer. Basically, the longer you've had the fat, especially if you are fluctuating back and forth, which it sounds you have done, it might make it harder each time to have a more permanent change with the fluctuations. Something else that I think is so, so huge and this is something that people don't talk about a lot, but our exposure to endocrine disrupters through our diet, our lifestyle, our environment, especially our skincare and makeup, those compounds mess with our hormones, and can get stored in our fat cells, and they're even compounds called obesogens. These are endocrine disruptors, which actually make the fat cell more likely to gain weight, more likely to be inflammatory, more insulin resistant, and less likely to lose weight, and then it gets even worse. Basically, it's self-perpetuating. When our fat cells enter this signaling state of inflammation and weight gain, they signal to the rest of the cells to also do this as well. The longer you've been alive, the longer you've probably been exposed to endocrine disruptors and obesogens, especially if you're using conventional skincare makeup, if you're using conventional skincare makeup, you're most definitely putting these compounds into your body. That can have a huge effect.
You could be doing all the things and dieting, but there could be hormonal signals because of these endocrine disruptors in your fat cells that are making it harder to actually lose weight. A reason that Cynthia and I love Beautycounter, for example, because they make skincare makeup that is free of endocrine disruptors and obesogens. There's also-- The number three would be, there's a set point theory. This is debated and I've done deep dives into this, but it does seem that the hypothalamus in our brain basically perceives a weight that it wants to be at and it will defend that weight. Some people think that there is a timeline aspect to it, so that basically, the longer you've been at a certain weight, the more your body's going to want to stay there. It's possible that even when you lose weight that you have to stay at it for a certain period of time before that resets in the hypothalamus. Again, this is debated, there's not a ton of literature on it I found some, but just anecdotally and from what I see with people, it does seem to be a thing. I say all of that to validate you and that yes, it is quite likely that it is harder to lose the weight, because of the time that you've been alive and what you've experienced. I actually want to be empowering and all of that aside, you can definitely work with your body hormonally, and through diet, and with fasting, and it's not like this is a closed door. Once you have the knowledge, you can be empowered to make the change that will actually work for you.
Then just the very last thing, I don't know what DNA tests you will be doing to check about the grains. I'm just curious what that would be because normally the testing for grains would be something like a food sensitivity tests, but those are heavily debated. I don't know what your thoughts are on food sensitivity tests, Cynthia.
Cynthia Thurlow: I do see some value. I don't use them as often as I used to, because typically when I'm working in a group, we'll do a broad-based Whole 30 and that usually knocks out most things that people are sensitive to whether they're aware of it or not. I know that there's some genetic susceptibility to-- There's a small percentage and I don't even know the statistics offhand. There are some people that don't do as well off of grains, although, I do find it's usually someone who's already insulin resistant that is craving the grains or craving the carbohydrates. I do think broad-based elimination diets like a Whole 30, which there's tons of recipes. Unlike 10 years ago, when I think I first did a Whole 30, you had to make your own ketchup, and you have to make your own mustard, which is craziness. Now, there are Whole 30 compliant things that you can buy ahead of time, which is really nice. But that can oftentimes be very beneficial for people to determine what their specific threshold is. I do find, especially for most of the women, I work with that gluten grains and dairy can be hugely inflammatory, not to mention the processed sugar. So, pulling them out even for a month can be very insightful.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I do think that can be the gold standard for a lot of people is doing that short term. It might be long term if you stay on a Whole 30 type approach, but at least a short-term “elimination diet” of sorts can really be a way to figure out what is inflammatory for you personally. Actually, this will tie into the next question, I have done, because I have my data from-- Did you do 23andMe?
Cynthia Thurlow: I did.
Melanie Avalon: I did a Facebook group version of it. It was called Genes for Good and it was a research project on Facebook. It was completely free and you got your genetic data. It basically was the equivalent of 23andMe. But I have run that data, well, through Prometheus, which is a mind-blowing rabbit hole of looking through everything, but also through different services that will interpret it for you. It basically told you how well you processed grains, carbs or different food-related things and then alcohol. I was red for everything and green for alcohol. So, basically, genetically, I was like, “I'm good with wine and nothing else,” which will tie in to the next question. But any other thoughts about this question? I guess, there's also the celiac test, but it's a little bit different.
Cynthia Thurlow: Obviously, Australia has progressive allopathic medicine routes. I don't know what the gold standard is there. Here, they generally like to do biopsies and there's different ways around it. But autoimmunity is not at all uncommon to see in women and especially women having-- All of us have been through a pandemic the last two years, we've been under unprecedented amounts of stress would not be at all unlikely that there could be something else at play. But that's why I think getting a check in with your primary, get those labs done, especially thyroid function, which I don't think I mentioned earlier, looking at those sex hormones, looking at a fasting insulin, inflammatory markers, all that could be very helpful.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Shall we go to our next question?
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. This is from Denite. “Alcohol should have cancer warning labels,” say doctors and researchers pushing to raise awareness of risk. “I sure enjoy your podcast and want to say thank you for all the work you do. I came across the article below and it piqued my interest. I do not drink alcohol myself, but my father and mother-in-law recently started drinking wine and/or gin every night to help them sleep. My father-in-law also has high cholesterol and someone suggested he drink wine to lower it. What do you think about the articles claims of the carcinogens in alcohol? In your opinion, do the benefits outweigh the risks? I know that you promote Dry Farm Wines and I actually suggested to my in-laws that they check them out as a better and healthier option. I would love to talk to my in-laws about intermittent fasting for the lowering of cholesterol, but I feel that they will not understand it and just shrug it off. Do you have any advice for me on how to broach the subject in a way that they will understand the great benefits of it and at least give it a try? Thank you so much for your help.”
Melanie Avalon: All right, Denite. Thank you for your question. She actually had two questions and actually didn't plan this, but our next question ties into the cholesterol. Maybe when we get her cholesterol question, we can read that second question and do that all together. To talk about the alcohol, okay, we've been looking forward to talking about this for a while. I have so many thoughts. First of all, I will start this off by saying, I have no agenda either way about if you do or do not drink alcohol. I just say that because I know my book is What When Wine and I've been very vocal about being a fan of the benefits of wine for health and how I personally really love wine. And yes, I drink Dry Farm Wines, which we can maybe talk a little bit why we love them in particular. The thing about alcohol is, whatever opinion you hold about it, if you want to support that opinion with hundreds of studies from the scientific literature, you can do that. The reason I'm saying that is because I want to step back and I say that I think context is so key. Because if you want to say it's a carcinogen and nobody should ever drink it, you can find tons of studies probably showing that. On the flipside, if you want to say, it's the best thing for longevity, and supports heart health, and everybody should be drinking, you're going to be able to find tons of studies showing that. So, I think it really does come down to the individual.
Yes, alcohol is a carcinogen and that's what the link is talking about. If it was a carcinogen, which it is, but if that was the end, so if alcohol is our carcinogen, so, we shouldn't drink it, period. I don't think the epidemiological data would support what we find, which is that it often correlates to longevity, to reduce cardiovascular health. There's something more going on here that is beyond looking at a potentially reductionistic view of alcohol like saturated fat. I know it's not the same thing, but you could make arguments that a lot of people in the actually plant-based sphere will say, “Saturated fat is a toxin and by itself is just something we should not have.” I don't think that takes into account, the full picture of things. As far as the actual correlations of alcohol to different health conditions, it tends to be a J shaped curve. What that means is basically the biggest benefits correlationally are with low to moderate alcohol consumption. If you're a complete abstainer, if you're not drinking alcohol in most of the studies, you actually have a higher risk of certain things like longevity and cardiovascular health than if you're actually having a small amount of alcohol or a moderate amount of alcohol, and then of course, the J shaped, if you can envision like a J on a graph, it starts a little bit high, and then it curves down, and so that down curve is when you are the low and the moderate drinkers, and then it shoots up. Because once you get to high consumption, then it's correlated to a lot of detrimental health effects.
As far as the cancer specifically, so, the cancers that alcohol tends to correlate to are related to parts of the body that actually touch alcohol, specifically. Throat cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, it does also correlate to breast cancer. But then other cancers, there's often found no correlation and even kidney cancer, there seems to be a reduced risk of cancer with alcohol consumption. Then other conditions that correlate to health benefits are diabetes, gallstone, stroke, and many things related to cardiovascular health. I was reading one study. It was a review of alcohol and cancer. It talks about how drinking, especially heavy drinking does increase cancer risk, which is what she's bringing to us with this statement. But the study actually concluded that “total avoidance” of alcohol, although optimum for cancer control cannot be recommended in terms of a broad perspective of public health and particular in countries with high incidence of cardiovascular disease. I think that really speaks to her question because basically they're saying, yes for cancer control, avoiding alcohol is really important. But if you take in the full picture because of cardiovascular disease, having some alcohol intake might actually be beneficial.
Then just some other last thoughts to it. I think there is something to the context, especially something like wine. The role of the other compounds in wine like polyphenols seem to have a beneficial effect on our health. Even in the blue zones, which I know is hotly debated, but that's seven countries that are linked to longevity, and six out of seven of them all include alcohol in some part in their diet. Something else and-- I feel I'm going all over the place, but something else important to point out is that gender does play a role here and what is low or moderate drinking, and actually, Peter Attia had a really good episode recently on this that I can put a link to in the show notes. It's recommended that women drink less than men and there're two reasons. There could be more, but there're probably two main reasons for that. One is that it has to do with the hydration content of our bodies, and how that affects the metabolism of alcohol, as well as what it's called first pass metabolism in the stomach. Women, because of the levels of that in the stomach, we actually experience a quicker effect from alcohol than men do. That was all over the place. But to step back, basically, I think context is key. What is the role of alcohol in your diet? For example, Denise says that her father and mother are taking it to help them sleep. That is not a reason I would suggest somebody take alcohol to help them sleep because while it is a depressant and it can make you feel sleepy, it actually can have a rebound effect and cause reduced quality sleep in the long term.
I think the reason that you're having alcohol is important to consider. I wouldn't take it to induce sleep like I would not take it for that reason. I would take it though, maybe she's talking about high cholesterol and the benefits there that might be a reason to include it in your diet. I also think maybe reason that we see a lot of longevity with people who drink could be the-- especially not the heavy drinkers, but just people who have it in their life as part of a healthy lifestyle. I think there's a social aspect to it. Not advocating turning to alcohol for stress relief, but I think some people, especially low to moderate drinkers, it's a part of their ritual, it's part of their lifestyle, it does provide stress-relieving benefits, and I don't think we should discount that, because I think that can have a huge, huge effect on health. I do want to mention, because a lot of studies will find that like I said that low to moderate drinking is better than complete abstainers. That's a little bit confusing though because people who abstain often were heavy drinkers. The data might be a little bit convoluted and that it can be hard to separate people who don't drink at all from people who were alcoholics and just aren't drinking now. That was all over the place. Cynthia, I'll let you provide some perspectives.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, you brought up some really good points. Like you said, at the very beginning of the answer that question is, there's almost always research that will support whatever prevailing philosophy you have. I do, however, want to be very transparent and say that one of the things about alcohol that lot of people don't talk about is, people drink alcohol because they think it helps them sleep. We know that it disrupts your REM sleep, it reduces melatonin, it increases cortisol, it dysregulates your blood sugar. For people who suffer with hot flashes, it can actually make them worse. The vasomotor symptoms, a lot of people experience in perimenopause and menopause. There's actually some research to demonstrate that alcohol, of course, is considered to be a toxin and it can actually shrink the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that actually helps regulate the HPA or the hypothalamus pituitary axis, which why is that important because this is our main communicator from our brain to our endocrine system. If this is dysregulated and for a lot of people it has been. We've dealt with a lot of stress the last two years. And so, a lot of the work that I do is helping people understand the interrelationship between stress and the net impact on the body.
The other thing that I would mention that I think is important about alcohol, as we know, it impairs estrogen metabolism. Most of our estrogen metabolism occurs in the liver. We have Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification. It's important to understand that this puts a burden on the liver. If you're drinking excessively and often they can actually impair the way that your body packages up and gets rid of estrogen. Melanie touched on earlier, we can get exposed to estrogen mimicking chemicals in our environment, personal care products and food, and you laid that on with a lot of alcohol drinking, it can really up your risk of things like fibroids, and even breast cancer. It's interesting a lot of the work that I do is looking at women's breast cancer risks. And so, you really have to make the decision that makes most sense for you. There's no judgement from either of us about whether people choose to drink or they don't choose to drink, but you want to make sure that you're doing it responsibly. Obviously, if you're drinking alcohol to help you sleep, it really isn't helping you sleep. If you're drinking alcohol to help manage stress, we have to be thinking broadly about ways that we can manage that really effectively.
The last thing that I want to add is that I moved from a very much a drinking culture, the environment that I lived in, in my last city. I think for a lot of women, there's the mommy drinking culture and just being aware, building awareness about our habits, and how that can influence decisions that we make the joke is, I don't drink alcohol because it's the only thing that gives me hot flashes and it wrecks my sleep, and so that's my personal choice. But obviously, I work with many women who do choose to drink alcohol. I always look at it from a very objective opinion to make sure that people fully understand the impact of alcohol and just being responsible about it. I think that's the big takeaway that I would say that I think is important that I love that this young woman is so concerned about her in laws and wants to help educate them about good decision making. Maybe it really needs to just come from a place of sometimes with men I feel if you're really straightforward and just let them know, actually, it's not helping your sleep, let's think of some other ways to help you sleep. That might be an effective strategy.
Melanie Avalon: I love that and I also think it's important-- I know Cynthia and I have talked about this. I think it's very possible to understand that alcohol may or may not work for some people, and may be a detriment to some people, and still provide a resource to people who do want to drink. So, the Dry Farm Wines, for example, because Cynthia, you don't drink, right?
Cynthia Thurlow: No, I don't. I made that decision during the pandemic because I was like, “It's the only thing that makes me get hot flashes and it just wrecks my sleep.” In my hierarchy of my life, as a 50-year-old woman, my sleep is pretty important. [laughs] Because of that the one thing that I needed to eliminate and it's amazing to me, Melanie, how triggering that is for people. I always say like, “I don't judge what other people do.” We even had a party at our house last night and it made people uncomfortable that I wasn't drinking. I said, “I'm totally fine. I'm here drinking my LMNT electrolytes and I'm great. I'm totally happy,” because I'm not going to go to bed dehydrated, I'm not going to go to bed and wreck my sleep, I'm going to hit the pillow, and I'm not going to wake up until I wake up. It's a very interesting dynamic as I try to navigate reassuring people, I'm completely fine in this space. There are no issues that I have whatsoever. People choose to drink. Of course, my husband drinks responsibly, but it's an interesting place to navigate. Figuring out what works best for us and the N of 1 that very powerful value of bio-individuality figuring out what works for you or what doesn't.
Melanie Avalon: It's similar to I feel, if you are doing fasting and you're not partaking in the food situation for whatever reason at a social gathering and people can be very triggered or pressure you to that you need to be eating to enjoy yourself. Especially if I go to, so, not like a dinner, but a gathering where there's food involved, I'll often just not eat. I just would be happier if I go and then I'll eat later. It's so interesting, people-- the social pressure. I used to really struggle with it, but now, I just realized like, “I don't owe anybody anything. I can just do what will make me feel the best in the situation.” But social pressure is definitely very interesting.
Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, absolutely.
Melanie Avalon: Going back to the Dry Farm Wines, so, you don't drink and I don't want to put words in your mouth, but based on the conversation that we just had, I think we can both understand for some people that they do have a healthy relationship with alcohol and for them it's beneficial that we can provide a resource like Dry Farm Wines, for example. So, for the people who do want to drink can do it in the healthiest way.
Cynthia Thurlow: Exactly, they have healthy choices. Yeah. I think one of the things I did not know, until I dove down that wine rabbit hole is just how many contaminants are in wine, and how they're exposed to so many chemicals, and how most of the wineries here in the United States really don't even protect consumers. That was something that when I found that out, I was like, “Wow.” I make good use of buying Dry Farm Wines for family members or friends as gifts and just to try to introduce them to products that are certainly cleaner and safer.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. For listeners, who aren't familiar with Dry Farm Wines, because it's really shocking if you think about it. If you go buy a bottle of wine, there's not a label. There's not a nutrition label. It doesn't show the ingredients. You would think it's just fermented grapes, but it's not usually, especially in conventional wines in the US, they have additives, they have stabilizers, they have colorizers, there's something called mega purple, which is actually to make wine look more purple. If you've ever had wine, especially if it's cheaper wine and you've noticed that it really stains your teeth like red, wine shouldn't do that. Not to the extent that it can when you're drinking cheap wine. It's not from the grapes. It's from this mega purple color additive, which is just shocking to me. Dry Farm Wines, I am obsessed with Dry Farm Wines. They're all a drink.
They go throughout Europe and they won't even do wines from the US, because they said none of the wines in the US meet their standards. They find all of these wineries practicing organic practices, because there are a lot of wineries that are being organic, but they don't have the time or the money to get an organic certification. They test the wines and then they make sure the wines are free of toxins, free of additives, free of mold, free of pesticides, dry farmed, meaning, they're not pumped up with water. The wines are also low alcohol and low sugar. They're all 12.5% alcohol or less and they're all less than, is it 0.5 or one gram of sugar. They're all low sugar. When I drink Dry Farm Wines, it's such a difference. When I drink “normal wine” if I'm at a dinner or something I'm like, “Oh, this is either too sweet or high alcohol.” I really, really recommend them. You can actually get a bottle for a penny at our link which is at dryfarmwines.com/ifpodcast. I as well, Cynthia, I gift it to so many people, especially when the holidays come, I'm like, “Okay, just going to send the Dry Farm Wines to all the people.”
Cynthia Thurlow: No, and it's so easy. It's funny. My husband really likes their reds. The thing about Dry Farm Wines is you get three bottles, or you get six bottles, or 12 bottles. And so, they pick them out for you and my husband, who is pretty picky about his red wine, actually, he's really liked what they've been sending recently.
Melanie Avalon: I think they've really evolved because I've been promoting them since almost a long time. In the beginning, I just think they found so many more wineries that the wines just continued to get better and better. What's really cool you can do, I did this literally yesterday because like Cynthia said, you get a mixed collection of wines. You don't choose them. If there's one that you really like, you can actually email them and order that bottle specifically. You can do an order of three. I asked if I could get two of one and then one of another, and they were actually out of the one, but they said they would pick one that was similar to it, and put that in there. So, I'm excited.
Cynthia Thurlow: Do you want to hear a fun fact?
Melanie Avalon: Yes. I love fun facts.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. I am speaking at an event in July here in Virginia, which never happened. Like unicorn event in Virginia and it's me, and Vinnie Tortorich, and Dr. Phil Ovadia, who's this cardiovascular surgeon who's changed his life by eating a low-carb lifestyle, and fasting, and then actually, Todd White will be there.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, nice.
Cynthia Thurlow: I’ll get to meet him in person.
Melanie Avalon: I've actually interviewed him twice, I think. Have you interviewed him on your show?
Cynthia Thurlow: I have not. It's on our fall to-do list. As I'm sure is a podcast, you have a podcast where you have people and we're booking into December, and some people want us to create other slots, and I'm really, now that the book launch is behind me, I'm trying to be very deliberate about my availability. Because as an example, I have three podcasts this week to record and sometimes, the unicorns pop up and you have to say yes. Both you and I are interviewing Mark Sisson this week, which is really super-duper exciting. It's hard to find balance. I struggle constantly and one thing I've told my family is heading into the summer, I'm always working in my business. But I'm only working in my business where I'm visible on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays this summer, because I want to be able to spend time with my kids and not be working constantly. So, hopefully, I'll get to interview him in the fall.
Melanie Avalon: For Mark Sisson, was that a last minute? Was that a spontaneous thing?
Cynthia Thurlow: It was. The opportunity came up, I was told he was in town literally, in the country for two days. And so, I was like, “I have an opening on Tuesday. I'll make that happen.” So, it was that spontaneous.
Melanie Avalon: Wow. I wonder if the two days are-- Because I'm interviewing him the day after you.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, exactly. I think that's exactly what it is and then I think he's out of the country again.
Melanie Avalon: Wow. That's amazing.
Cynthia Thurlow: So, yeah. When you have those unicorn interviews and one thing I think is really cool about-- I know this isn't relevant to this podcast, but I'm sure listeners, we've interviewed some people, we've had overlap and others we haven't, but I've listened to your interviews that I've done interviews with, and we get different information. If you're a really good interviewee, you can get different information. I'm sure you probably have interviewed people that they spout the same rhetoric to everyone they talk to, but I think we've been fortunate that we've been able to interview some pretty dynamic individuals that really make interviewing them. It’s just such a blessing, it's such an amazing experience.
Melanie Avalon: I know. I am so grateful and I'm so excited to see how both of our interviews go.
Cynthia Thurlow: I'm sure Mark doesn't remember me, but I met him actually in-- Not intentionally met him. I literally was not paying attention. My head was going in one direction, my body was going another, and I bumped into him. He was very polite and that's what struck me he was incredibly polite. I didn't realize, when I ran into him who it was until I fan geeked after he walked away and then I was like, “Oh, my God, I just ran into Mark Sisson. How does that happen?” And he could not have been more polite.
Melanie Avalon: I love that. I love that. Can I tell you what was my funniest celebrity run and moment that but I didn't realize like yours that you didn't realize? This is so funny. I was doing a really small little feature bit in a commercial. I didn't know much about the project and so the director came up to me, and he said his name, and I didn't really hear, and then I said, “Sorry, what was your name again?” He said his name then he walked aside, and then I specifically sought him out and said like, “Sorry, what was your name again?” It was Lance Bass.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, I guess, that's forgivable. I think it's good to be humbled. I really, really think it's important to be humbled. It's been my experience. Sometimes, I go to events or places and everyone knows me. Sometimes, I go to events and people, no one knows me. I always say to my husband, he's usually with me, “It's actually good to be humbled.” It's actually a good thing to sometimes have people not know who you are.
Melanie Avalon: It was just funny because I remember I said, “What was your name again?” He said, “Lance” and then I walked away and I was like, “Oh.” [laughs]
Cynthia Thurlow: I think that's hilarious. Like I said, it's good to be humbled, right?
Melanie Avalon: Growing up, I was very sheltered. I was like NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Britney. I was exposed to them through school and the skate rink, but they were not in my collection. I was not watching, listening to their stuff at home.
Cynthia Thurlow: Okay. So, I'm now curious. What does “I was sheltered mean”? What does that represent? I want more information.
Melanie Avalon: A very Christian-- I don't want to say moral because that sounds you're not moral, if you're not Christian. But everything had to be filtered through focus on the Family, and nothing sexual, and so things like Britney Spears, and even NSYNC, and all of that was not something I was listening to the Christian pop stuff.
Cynthia Thurlow: Do want to hear something funny. The very first time I saw Britney Spears on a video, I was like, “Oh my gosh, she's going to be a flash in the pan.”
Melanie Avalon: Really? [laughs]
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, because you have to remember, I was at different stage of life, I was in my 20s, and I was like, “What is this?” Because it was so highly sexualized. Her very first single that came out that I remember, we were at a party and of course all the guys were gawking at her. I remember just thinking like, “Oh, every other teenybopper teenage oversexualized singer that's out there. Where was I wrong?”
Melanie Avalon: Because I know a lot of people can feel they were suppressed or they could be resentful. I'm not a rebellious type and I don't feel bothered by that upbringing specifically. But even looking back now, I'm like, “Oh, yeah.” I don't think my mom was being crazy and not wanting me as like a third-grade girl to be watching Britney Spears’ stuff. Looking at it now, I'm like, “Oh, yeah, that is little bit sexual.” [chuckles]
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. Well, and it's interesting because I view things through the eyes of a parent. My husband and I were making returns, which this is completely irrelevant to the conversation, but I'm going to just to share. I'm the type of person I'm now in a city where the shopping is terrible. I buy a bunch of stuff online and I just bring it all back. My husband was walking around with me as I was making these returns, and there were a couple of young women that passed us who were probably teenagers, maybe early 20s, and my husband was like, “Thank God, we have boys because I don't know what I would do if my daughter walked out of the house with her boobs hanging out and super short, booty shorts. I know that a lot of that's the style.” It's not a judgment. It was just funny that he said that because of course, the boys there're a lot less options for them and certainly, there's not stuff hanging out when they go out. But it's very interesting viewing things as a parent like things that maybe weren't on my radar in my 20s and 30s that I now seen, I'm like, “Oh, God, that's bad.” Meaning, that's an oversexualized representation of what a young woman could be doing for herself positively or negatively.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Friday nights were the Friday night skate nights and I loved it because that's when I got to hear all the music, because it's really-- It was the prime time of really good solid pop music. Her music’s really amazing for pop. [laughs] So, needless to say, that is why I did not recognize Lance Bass is my excuse.
Cynthia Thurlow: I think that's a good thing. You probably humbled him enormously.
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Melanie Avalon: Okay. And then to briefly address Denite’s other question and I'll go ahead and read the second question we had because it all ties together. So, Deborah, her subject was: “LDL higher since IF.” She just said, “I've gotten my best friend to join me in IF, but after only two months her blood work came back with an LDL of 148. Previously, it was completely normal. Her son, who was an RN told her that's why he stopped IF. Help, research on this,” and then as a refresher, so, Denite’s question was about “Intermittent fasting for lowering cholesterol and actually advocating it to her in-laws” and did we have any thoughts about that? So, fasting and cholesterol.
Cynthia Thurlow: Okay, I think everyone by now knows my whole background as an NP for 16 years was in cardiology, so, you better believe I have seen a lot of lipid panels, both straightforward lipid panels, which are total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and then advanced lipid analysis. Number one, I don't really worry about total cholesterol. In fact, we don't want it to be too low. I had patients on very, very powerful lipid-lowering agents and when their total cholesterol got close to 100, you have to remember what cleaves off of cholesterol that includes our sex hormones. How many patients had erectile dysfunction and other issues related to too low cholesterol? You don't want to be looking for a too low of a total cholesterol. I'm not sure if she was specifically referring to triglycerides and HDL, which I typically see being abnormal, meaning, triglycerides over 150, HDL for men being under 45, women under 55, we know those are pathologic. With that being said, I do generally, when I see someone with an LDL that's “abnormal.” I want more information and I actually don't think 148 for an LDL is all that bad. What you want is more information. You want an advanced lipid analysis, you want to look at particle size. This is super important because not all LDL is bad.
I think we have to start really re-familiarizing ourselves. This includes healthcare professionals and the general public. There are a lot of physicians, and nurses, and nurse practitioners who are practicing with 30-year-old medicine. I see it all the time because I get this question probably five or six times a week. The first thing is you need more information. You need to do an advanced lipid analysis, we used to call it a VAP. I'm not sure what your insurance coverage will cover or even if your physician or nurse practitioner even going to order this, but it is generally covered by insurance. It's looking at LDL particle size. You want light and fluffy like light, fluffy, non-atherogenic. LDL cholesterol is benign. That's actually what I have. Number two, if it's small and dense and you also have concomitant risk factors for cardiovascular disease, or you are insulin resistant, or diabetic, then you've got work to do. Generally, first line of defense is lifestyle management. Can intermittent fasting be part of that? Absolutely. Have I read anything that suggests that you're going to have a worsening of your lipid panel relevant to fasting? No, but it's interesting.
I always think about Dave Feldman's work. He's an engineer, entrepreneur, and he is doing research in this area. He's changing the way clinicians are practicing because of the work that he's doing. There's actually something called a Lean Mass Hyper Responder. It is beyond the scope of this discussion, but I highly recommend you check out my podcast that I did with him at the tail end of 2020. He's doing a lot of really interesting research. There are a lot of people who actually in a low carb, ketogenic fasted state will actually produce more cholesterol, but it's not pathogenic. I definitely encourage you to dig a little bit deeper, get those advanced lipid analysis done, they are covered by insurance. Not all LDL is bad and I want that to die a death on a hill, because there are a lot of people that are stressed and worried needlessly.
The other thing that I want to reemphasize is, we do not want our total cholesterol to be too low. When someone says it's high, my question is always quantify it. When you're sending us questions, please tell us how old you are and [chuckles] please tell us, what it is that? If it's too high, tell me what that is, tell me what the lab is, so that I can at least lay my eyes on it. But I would say don't fast because of your concerns relevant to total cholesterol, which is bogus. Not saying you're bogus, but the claims that fasting is somehow going to hurt your cholesterol are bogus. The other thing is if you're told that your LDL is “too high,” you want more information before you get yourself into a panic.
Melanie Avalon: I thought that was very comprehensive and you have so much more of a knowledge base about this than I do. So, I'm super grateful for that. The only thing I will add to it is that if you google, go to Google Scholar, you can actually find a lot of studies looking at fasting and cardiovascular health. I'll put links in the show notes to one I found because it was about this specifically. It was time restricted eating to improve cardiovascular health and it was a 2021 review. Looking at everything, but basically, it concluded that the effects of fasting on cholesterol tend to improve parameters when it comes to that and decrease total cholesterol, even though I know Cynthia was just talking about that's not necessarily always the thing, but does it have a beneficial effect on LDL? Interestingly, some studies sometimes don't find any effects on HDL. Not really sure what's going on there, but in general fasting seems to have a beneficial effect on our cholesterol panels. Something that people can experience is an increase in cholesterol transiently due to weight loss. So, that can be something to consider because basically if you're freeing up all of the stored fat, and triglycerides, and it can lead to a transient increase in cholesterol levels. But it's not necessarily-- It doesn't mean that they're increasing over the long term. Then one other last thing I was going to mention-- what was it? Wait, it'll come to me.
Cynthia Thurlow: One thing I just wanted to say while you're thinking about that is, you think about the reduction in inflammation, and oxidative stress, and the improvement in mitochondrial efficiency relevant to vis-à-vis, eating less frequently and changing your macros is pretty significant. That's just something to keep in mind. I think unfortunately, we, and I say we as an allopathic trained physicians and nurses many times just are so reactionary instead of thinking, “What could be going on?” I try to be very, very respectful of my peers and there are a lot of people doing some tremendous work, but this is definitely an area of medicine that I’ve gotten more and more outspoken about that we really need to turn the tide and stop focusing on the wrong parameters.
Melanie Avalon: I thought of it and also I'm so glad that you said that because that was something I wanted to touch on was, I think it can be a little bit nearsighted to just look at fasting, because with Deborah's question, she's talking about fasting was the thing that raised her LDL, which unlikely to me, but the broader context of the effects of dietary interventions is just huge. I would look at diet as a key player in your cholesterol. But the two things I just thought of, one was, I interviewed Azure Grant on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Her focus is actually ultradian rhythms. Basically, the different time rhythms in cells and she's done a lot of work that helped influence the work of Oura Ring. That's how I was connected to her through Harpreet, who used to be the CEO of Oura. But in any case, she has a fascinating study where they tested cholesterol levels and a group of people constantly throughout the day, which is super cool. These people were testing their cholesterol, which must have been very unpleasant with all of the pricks, but all throughout the day. The fluctuations in the levels were crazy. Every single person at some point during the day had a result that went into the pathological levels, even if they probably didn't have a pathological panel.
The point of that is that when you test, it was 148, but if you had tested at a different time during that day, it might have been completely different. I think that's why it's actually important to be regularly monitoring these things. I use InsideTracker to keep all of my data together and it's amazing because I can see over time. I put my cholesterol panels in there because we can get really microscopic, and just see this one result, and it can be hard to see the overall picture of like, “What does my panel look like in general? Where am I moving, where am I trending, how are the different levels relating?” I have my cholesterol levels since I started using InsideTracker in 2019. And looking at those graphs, it has been very, very helpful for me, I think get a more, I guess, telling picture of what's happening. But yeah, a lot of good stuff. I got to interview Dave Feldman some time.
Cynthia Thurlow: He's amazing. We spoke together at Keto Salt Lake, and that was the first time I had met him, and my husband got to meet him in person. Dave went on a tangent talking to me to a level that at one point, I was like, “Dave, you just blew my mind.” He's absolutely one of the smartest people I've ever met and just brilliant. He's doing cutting edge research in relationship to LDL particles, and cholesterol, and he's really changing the narrative for medicine, and I'm just so very grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with him, and also be his friends. I would absolutely encourage you to connect with him. He's just so smart. He'll blow your mind. [laughs] He'll have a good meeting of the minds with him for sure.
Melanie Avalon: I'm so fascinated by all of the cholesterol stuff because it is just so debated. There are some really intense camps. It's confusing. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you'd like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email questions at ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode271. The show notes will have all of the links to everything that we talked about, which was a lot of stuff, as well as a full transcript. So, definitely check that out. And then you can follow us on Instagram. I am @melanieavalon, Cynthia is @cynthia_thurlow_ and our joint account is @ifpodcast. So, definitely check that out. All righty, well, Cynthia, enjoy your trip.
Cynthia Thurlow: I can't wait. I'm so excited. I'll be posting as much as I can photos of our journey. But I'm really so excited and it's been a very exciting last six months, but I am ready to disconnect and get rejuvenated. We took a big vacation in December and I planned this at the same time knowing that I would need it, and I'm so glad that I did.
Melanie Avalon: Well, I am so excited for you. I can't wait to see and hear all about it. Actually, I'm glad we're talking about this now. For listeners, since Cynthia will be traveling, next week, we're going to air an episode that I did recently with Rick Johnson. Cynthia and I are both major fans of Rick. His work is so mind blowing. Get really excited because I think you guys are really going to enjoy it. That'll be next week. So, all righty, well, this has been absolutely wonderful and I will talk to you in two weeks.
Cynthia Thurlow: Sounds good, my friend.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you so much for listening to the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember, everything we discussed on this show does not constitute medical advice and no patient-doctor relationship is formed. 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, and original theme composed by Leland Cox and recomposed by Steve Saunders. See you next week.
STUFF WE LIKE
Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!
Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine
Cynthia's Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Cynthia: cynthiathurlow.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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