Episode 334: Protein Metabolism, Protein Fermentation, Bloating, Gut Bacteria, Beneficial Strains, Social Media, Resistant Starch, Insoluble Fiber, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Sep 10

Welcome to Episode 334 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 Vanessa Spina, author of Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight.

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

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Listener Q&A: Lori - Can a high protein diet give you a distended belly?

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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 healthcare provider for medical advice and answers to personal health questions.


Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 334 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, author of What When Wine, and creator of the supplement line AvalonX. And I'm here with my cohost, Vanessa Spina, sports nutrition specialist, author of Keto Essentials, and creator of the Tone breath ketone analyzer and Tone Lux red light therapy panels. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ketogenicgirl.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this show do not constitute medical advice or treatment. To be featured on the show, email us your questions to questions@ifpodcast.com. We would love to hear from you. 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.

Hi, everybody, and welcome. This is Episode number 334 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Vanessa Spina.

Vanessa Spina: Hello, everyone. 

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Vanessa? 

Vanessa Spina: I am doing fabulously. [laughs] How are you? 

Melanie Avalon: I'm wonderful. I do have a resource I would love to share with listeners. Like, I'm very excited about.

Vanessa Spina: I'm excited to hear.

Melanie Avalon: I had a really cool regenerative therapy treatment done that I was very excited about here in Atlanta. And it's something I've been looking forward to for a long time, like, in general, looking about getting it done. And so, I'm really excited to see how it goes. But in any case, the practice where I got it done, they are so cool. And I get questions all the time for recommendations for doctors. So, I haven't done anything beyond this one treatment that I did but they do all the things. They're functional medical practice. They do virtual as well, so anybody in any state can see them. And I am just blown away. So, I've become really good friends with one of the co-founders and I'm just blown away by what they offer and their prices are so affordable. I'm really shocked. And it's because the founder says that their goal is to really just make this accessible to people.

So, for example, their women's functional medical panel that you can get, because I think when you come in, basically, they do a comprehensive lab panel, a 1-hour medical visit, and you get a personalized treatment plan. It's just so affordable. And they're actually offering our listeners $100 off as well, which makes it even more affordable. But for example, with the comprehensive panel for women, it's CBC, CMP, estradiol, fasting insulin, love that, FSH and LH, homocysteine, RBC, magnesium, progesterone, reverse T3, free T3, total T3, free T4, total T4, total and free testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin, thyroid antibodies, TSH and vitamin D, which I just love that panel and the fact that you can get that and have a comprehensive overview with them and get a plan. And then the follow up visits are so affordable. I'm just so excited that they are offering this. So, that would be like online, anybody could do that. So, if you're trying to make [unintelligible 00:03:36] your labs or just get a marker of where you are with your health, I definitely recommend reaching out to them. They're called Elite Personalized Medicine. 

And I'll give more information. But then if you live in Atlanta, they have a lot of services. So, like I said, they have very cool regenerative medical therapies. I'm not going to say much more beyond that, but you can ask them [laughs] about that if you want more information. They have IV therapy, vitamin injections, health coaching. They have NAD shots, which are friends, well, I've been doing NAD shots now for months and months and I'm getting them done somewhere else. Their prices on NAD are much more affordable, so I might start going to them instead. But their focus, in their own words, is prevention of disease, early diagnosis, anti-aging, and maintaining and achieving optimal health. So, the link for them is Elite Personalized Medicine, epmlife.com. So, E-P-M for Elite Personalized Medicine emplife.com. And you can reach out to them, tell them I sent you, that you heard about them from this podcast and you'll get $100 off, which again, it's shockingly affordable because I see a lot of pricings on labs and [chuckles] they can be expensive. 

Just a resource for listeners. I think that's one good thing that did come out of COVID is the shift to more telemedicine. Like, people were doing it a little bit before, but then COVID just made everybody get their act together and really switch to TeleMed. Although, I think it did have a whole issue with I don't know if we talked about this already on the show. Yeah, I think we did. Like pain medication, prescriptions and things. A lot has come up with that. But beyond that, it's been a really great resource for people. 

Vanessa Spina: It definitely, I feel like, accelerated us into the future in terms of people taking their bricks-and-mortar business, putting it online in places that they wouldn't necessarily have needed to do that, but then suddenly the necessity was there, changing aspects of their business, remote workers, telehealth. It almost fast forwarded [chuckles] all of us into the future, I think a little bit and almost by like, I don't know what, five years or something, or maybe more in just a couple of years. It's really crazy how much it did. And like, we always had these technologies, but it gave us that push to have to kind of make the transition. It's really interesting. 

Melanie Avalon: It really, really did. And then parallel to that, everything with AI is just crazy. Do you follow all of that? I'm so fascinated. 

Vanessa Spina: I'm really fascinated. I want to learn as much as I can, as opposed to other things that have been announced that I'm just like, "Meta." Like, what is it, the metaverse? I'm just like, "Couldn't be less interested." [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Or, like, all the Twitter wars, all the Twitter stuff. It's not even called Twitter anymore, right? 

Vanessa Spina: No. It's called X. And my husband is like, he's all about Twitter, so I get a lot of updates on it, and I've been an Elon Musk fan for years. I was a fan way before people really talked about him at all. I was following his career from a young age, reading all that I could about him. I just thought he was such a fascinating human. I thought he was, like, the modern day--

Melanie Avalon: Was he your crush? 

Vanessa Spina: Little bit. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: I can see how he's like--

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, Pete's like, I think it made him at first-- 

Melanie Avalon: Is he a hall pass? [laughs] 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, probably. I mean, if I had to have one, my hall pass used to be Paul Rudd, but I think I have to officially change it to Elon. I mean, yeah, I've been a huge fan of his for years. I just think what he did to get us off, like, Russian rockets is just so amazing. So many of the things that he does is amazing. I just think he's like a modern day, like Thomas Newton or like Einstein, and to live in a time where we can see someone like that operating in the world but I also-- yeah, I find that and what he's doing interesting. And he's kind of been warning people for a long time about AI, but at some point, he was like, "All right, nobody's listening to me." [laughs] So, I think he's trying to sort of get ahead of it in a sense of like, "Well, it's inevitable, so I may as well kind of create one." I think it's really interesting, and it seems like we're in the start of a new revolution. Like, we had the printing press revolution and the computer revolution, information revolution, internet revolution, and it seems like we're in maybe now the start of the AI revolution. I don't know if I'm ready for it, but [laughs] it's like, you got to kind of get on it, I guess, and learn as much as possible about it and I think try to see the good in it. 

Melanie Avalon: Do you play with ChatGPT? 

Vanessa Spina: I don't. I've heard about it enough from you and my family and other friends, and I'm sure at some point I will, but I just keep hearing I think when you and I even talked about one episode that it's not super accurate yet, so I'm just, like, waiting for a version that's really reliable. But if something comes up where I have-- I think that people that do work for me, some different kinds of work for me, they might be using it already, [laughs] so I haven't directly used it myself, but maybe when there's a version that people are happier with, I will. 

Melanie Avalon: It doesn't have the most recent stuff, and then I just am so concerned because it just gives me wrong answers on things, but my favorite thing to do is to have it write poems about me and my crushes. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, my God, [laughs] that's the cutest. 

Melanie Avalon: It'll write the cutest-- as long as your crush is somebody well known. [chuckles] 

Vanessa Spina: Should I have it write some fiction about poem about Elon and I or what? [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I'm going to have it write-- Oh yeah, wait, I'm going to have it write-- Okay, I'm going to do this right now. Okay, I'm going to say write a poem, not okay-- Write a poem about Vanessa Spina,-

Vanessa Spina: Don't listen to this episode, Pete. [laughter] 

Melanie Avalon: -I'm so excited, I'm so excited and Elon Musk. Should we tell it we want it to be romantic or do you think it will go that route? 

Vanessa Spina: Let's just see what it does. I don't know. Maybe we'll just be like besties. I'd just love to hang out with him. 

Melanie Avalon: Here we go, ready? Here we go. I'm going to read this to you three paragraphs. The title of this poem is [laughs] I'm back, I'm back This is not where I thought this podcast is going to go, but I love it. I'm back, I'm back. Okay. The title of this poem is Tech Duo's Inspiring Vision. 

Vanessa Spina: Wow. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I know. Can't even read it, I'm so happy right now. Okay, bringing it back. 

Vanessa Spina: Just the title made my day.

Melanie Avalon: I know, I know, I know. Okay, In realms of tech and space they tread. Vanessa Spina, Elon Musk ahead. She was knowledge, keto's queen. He, a visionary dreamer, keen. Vanessa's wisdom on health she shares. Keto insights showing how she cares. Elon's mind soars beyond the sky. Mars bound visions aiming high. Their paths converge in realms unknown. Health and cosmos seeds they've sown. Two souls with passions unconfined. Inspiring hearts and sparking minds.

Vanessa Spina: Are you kidding me? [laughs] That is unreal. 

Melanie Avalon: Wasn't that amazing? 

Vanessa Spina: I am, like, speechless. I'm actually speechless. 

Melanie Avalon: I know.

Vanessa Spina: I think I need a copy of that. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, no. I'll send it to you right now. Don't worry, I'm copying it for you. 

Vanessa Spina: You know what's funny is Elon used to do keto. He's dabbled with it over the years, which doesn't really surprise me because when I read his first biography, we were-- was it like maybe seven or eight years ago, the interviewer starts out the book. He's at a restaurant with him and he's like, eating this weird meal and he's like, it's called the ketogenic diet. And I was like, I got goosebumps, like, all over my body, I was like are you kidding me, like what-- Of course, he does keto. But I know he's gone on and off it. That was insane, like, maybe I need to start--

Melanie Avalon: I know. You can have it write stories about you, like fan fiction. 

Vanessa Spina: I know you looked up the top six biohackers in the world and it said Melanie Avalon, which was amazing. I know that you use it for your brother's wedding speech. I know you use it for product descriptions or looking up studies--

Melanie Avalon: I was using it to till-- I would have it write science pages on things and then I would go fact check it. And that's where I got really worried because it would be like, in this study, it found this and then I would try to go find the study. I couldn't find it. And then I'd be like, "Can you please send me that study?" And it'd be like, "Oh, I'm sorry. I was actually wrong." 

Vanessa Spina: I remember you told me so I was like, "How can you trust it?" 

Melanie Avalon: You can't, but you can trust it with its poems. 

Vanessa Spina: I'm keeping this forever. 

Melanie Avalon: Isn't that amazing? 

Vanessa Spina: I didn't know it could write poetry. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. I know, it's talented, I tell you. And when you've got a crush, you just put in that crush and it just writes the things and you're like. [laughs]

Vanessa Spina: I'm sure you've gotten some. I want you to read the other ones, but I won't ask you to do that on air. But who's your like, if you had a hall pass, who would it be? 

Melanie Avalon: Well, Johnny Depp was always my-- yeah. 

Vanessa Spina: So, did you watch the whole court case and everything? Were you mesmerized? [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I lost, like, weeks of time. [laughs] This is awful. Literally, I would just play it, like, live because it was streaming live.

Vanessa Spina: Wow. I mean, that was one sordid tale. 

Melanie Avalon: I want to have him on the show for an episode on the Mandela Effect. I'm going to put that out to the universe. 

Vanessa Spina: No, the number of tangents that you would go on with him, his mind. He says that his brain feels like he's having explosions, continuous explosions in his brain constantly. Like, his brain is so active and powerful. 

Melanie Avalon: When I was a server at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Beverly Hills. 

Vanessa Spina: My favorite steak house. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, really? 

Vanessa Spina: Um-hmm.

Melanie Avalon: That was my first-- I had one serving job before that, but that was my first actual serving job. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, my God. Maybe you can answer my questions about what they're doing with the steaks. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, of course I can.

Vanessa Spina: Because I've asked them [laughs] because no steak. I'm like, they're dipping it in butter. There's definitely a layer of butter on top I know that. But every time I ask them, they're like, "There's this rotating fire grill that goes to like 1000 degrees or something." 

Melanie Avalon: It's coming back to me. It's like the steaks in the hot plates with salt, pepper, butter, and parsley. And they take it from the super, super hot thing and put it onto the plate. And it's a little bit stressful as a server. 

Vanessa Spina: I remember just like so many times-- every time we go there, I'm like, "So tell me again about [laughs] this oven." And they're like, "It's like this vertical oven with these panels and it's like a thousand degrees," and then I'm like "Yeah, I just can't replicate it." I've tried to replicate it at home, but it just is so good there. 

Melanie Avalon: Man, if you had known me back in the day, I could have brought you back in the kitchen. You could have had a kitchen tour. Elon Musk was there one day. 

Vanessa Spina: What? When you were working there? 

Melanie Avalon: It was Elon Musk. It was at one table and it was like 20 people. And it was Elon Musk and a lot of other celebrities. 

Vanessa Spina: It's crazy, because when I first started following him, he was just this Silicon Valley entrepreneur and he's become an A-list celebrity. [laughs] It's crazy. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. This was a while ago, so it was before he was super famous. But he was famous enough because I wasn't the server on the table. But yeah, apparently, they tipped the servers like, $1,000. Amazing, yeah. So-- 

Vanessa Spina: Of course, he's generous as well. 

Melanie Avalon: Of course. [chuckles] 

Vanessa Spina: Big fan here. 

Melanie Avalon: It's so funny. 

Vanessa Spina: Did you say your hall pass was oh, Johnny Depp? 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. Probably Johnny, Johnny Depp. Yes. 

Vanessa Spina: He's still number. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Yeah, because I really had to think about that, I mean, because I have my number one in my mind right now. But it's not like that's like, my crush, but my hall pass, my perpetual hall pass is probably Johnny Depp.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I thought you would have named a scientist or like a I don't know--. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, Peter Attia. Oh, wait, he has a wife. [laughs] 

Vanessa Spina: True. Yeah, but hall passes are like fantasy. 

Melanie Avalon: I do have a crush on Peter Attia. I'm just putting that out there. 

Vanessa Spina: And Harry Styles. 

Melanie Avalon: Not Harry Styles. I know he dressed up like Harry Styles. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, that's what, okay. It wasn't Harry Styles. It was just dressing like him. 

Melanie Avalon: He dressed up like him for the Taylor Swift concert. [sigh] [laughs] I can't, I got to find my perfect man who is like all of that and also wants to go to the Taylor Swift concert. 

Vanessa Spina: If we're living in a simulation, you just have to dream him up and he'll manifest. 

Melanie Avalon: He'll manifest. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. Just keep writing those poems. [laughs] Put them under your pillow. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, man. [laughs] For a while, it was Jack Dorsey. Because I listened to an episode of him on something and he literally follows my lifestyle. Well, a little bit. He literally-- he told his lifestyle. And it was let me just tell you, he was like, "I wake up, I'm fasting." Then he's like, "Fasting some more." And then he goes and does, like, cold therapy. And then he does all of his work. And then at night, he said he eats, like, a steak, wine, and blueberries. I was like, "This is my man." 

Vanessa Spina: Apparently, he wrote a comment to Mark Zuckerberg, that was pretty passive aggressive or maybe just aggressive, [laughs] passive aggressive. I think, Mark Zuckerberg, he said he tweeted something and Jack Dorsey wrote back, like, "Too soon, Mark or something." [laughs] Because he was, like, kind of upset, I guess, that he started the Threads. Are you using Threads? 

Melanie Avalon: I saw that the other day. No, I'm not. Are you? 

Vanessa Spina: So, I was somewhat intrigued initially because I'm on Twitter. I don't really like Twitter. I like it more since Elon took the helm. But I don't really like it, I feel like it's very aggressive. I was actually bullied on there once by these two guys. 

Melanie Avalon: Really? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. It was really upsetting. These two guys were coming at me about keto or something, and they were like teaming up and tweeting all this stuff. It was very upsetting, I never really had an interaction like that before, but anyway, aside from that, it just feels like people are just like I think Tim Ferriss said this once. "It's like you walk into Twitter and it's like people throwing bottles at your head." Which I don't really feel like that, but it just feels very angry and hostile there. And then people are just, sharing their opinions, putting them out into the universe. Just like so much information. I just don't vibe with it. [laughs] It's not my vibe. I've gone through phases where I use it anyways. I was like, "Okay, maybe Threads. Maybe I'll like it more." And because I don't spend much time on Twitter, I have like 10,000 followers, I think, on there or something like that. And with Threads, they were like, saying that initially you could take your Instagram following over to Threads. 

So, then I was like, "Oh, well, if I had the same amount of followers on Threads, then that would be like, I would have a Twitter with all these followers. It would be worth my time to put stuff on there." And the last thing I need is like another app. [laughs] But then it's like, they initially announced that you would be getting your following, but then it didn't quite work out that way. And then I would open it and it would have me following all these people that I didn't follow. So, then they were like, "Well, we're now working on ways to bring your followers over." It's like every time I log into it, I have more followers on there, but it's like a fraction of what I have on Instagram, so I just don't see the point. 

And someone I listened to on a podcast made a really good point about it because a lot of people have been talking about how there was this initial spike in interest and then it just kind of died off. And it's because people who use Instagram like the format of Instagram, so what they should have done is incorporated it into Instagram. So, when you have your feed, you have like, Instagram posts, and then some of them are like the tweet format, and then it would be integrated in that app and you wouldn't have to go to another app. You would just have it in there. And I'm like, "That would have made so much more sense than having a different app." I just can't be bothered unless there's a huge incentive, like, having all of my followers on there. Then it would be worth me sharing the information that I share. But as of right now, I'm like, "I'm just going to keep doing it on Instagram." That's the main place that I post stuff. 

Melanie Avalon: This is like where you go on the Instagram profile and it's like a little hashtag thing, like it's on your main profile. I thought that was a direct messenger thing this whole time. I didn't realize it was like Twitter. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. It's like if you open it up, it looks pretty much like Twitter. 

Melanie Avalon: It uses your phone number, right? 

Vanessa Spina: It doesn't use my number, but it basically looks just like Twitter, but it's Threads. I have like 7000 people following me on there, but it's like--

Melanie Avalon: Is it. The little @ symbol at the top by their name? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: I didn't realize it was like Twitter.

Vanessa Spina: No and I think what happened is some people were upset that Elon took over Twitter. So, this is like the alternative of setting up a non-Elon controlled Twitter. 

Melanie Avalon: Right now, it's the number one social networking app. 

Vanessa Spina: I think there was a lot of initial interest, but most people that I talked to say that after first week or two, they kind of forgot about it. I haven't really been checking it, except I'll go in there sometimes to see like have they migrated all my followers over? And I think they're not able to really do that. 

Melanie Avalon: Do you think I should wait then until maybe--

Vanessa Spina: No, you could do it anytime and you could see what you end up with. 

Melanie Avalon: Like, you don't think that maybe they'll fix it and then it's like if you start later, you'll get everybody from the get go. 

Vanessa Spina: I don't think so, because the way that they're doing it is every new person that joins. When they set up their profile, they say, "Would you like to automatically follow everyone that you follow on Instagram?" And if they click yes, then you get them as a follower, but if they don't, then you don't. So, it's kind of hit or miss, depending on who amongst your followers are joining Threads and then among them are selecting, "Yes" to that or going out of their way to follow you. As long as I still have more followers on Twitter, I still have like which I had no incentive to really use until now. The main thing that I use Twitter for is actually for podcast guests. Because sometimes an easier way to just hit up certain scientists or physicians or people that I want to talk to than an email or like I've gone the email route and I didn't get through because they're just not responding or they're in the lab or whatever but they'll respond to a tweet, so [chuckles] that's like the main reason I use it. But other than that-- but it's not great because then I forget to check. [laughs] That happened to me when I was in Denver and I had this one guest who was like, "Hey, I can come on today." And then I didn't check it for like two weeks and I was like, "Oops." [laughs] And then I checked back and they were like, "Oh, I'm back at Harvard now, so I can't, [laughs] next year."

Melanie Avalon: And then it never occurred to me to use it, to reach out to people. I think the last time I got on it, I literally spent forever. It was when Gary Taubes--, when I aired my Gary Taubes episode and he tweeted about it, I was like, "Well, I got to get on Twitter now. I got to tweet something. I got to retweet the tweet." Otherwise, I never really go there.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I had a phase where I enjoyed it a bit, but I find Instagram just way happier, [laughs] way just a better vibe overall.

Melanie Avalon: I feel like I know I need to be on TikTok but I just don't want to do other-- just energetically.

Vanessa Spina: I did not join TikTok intentionally. And I also think that there's a good chance that it will be banned because it's one of the only political issues that both sides agree on, that it should be banned. And it makes sense, I can see why they would want it to, because it's a Chinese controlled app that's operating in the US. And China would never allow an American owned app to be operating within their population so, and both conservatives and Democrats agree [laughs] that it's probably a security risk. And I'm surprised it actually hasn't been banned yet. Maybe it won't. I know a lot of people love it, but yeah, I never really got into it. And the longer time has passed, the more I'm like, "What's the point if it gets banned and you spend all that time building up something there and it just gets banned?" So, we'll see what happens. Maybe it won't. Maybe it will. 

Melanie Avalon: I was thinking of paying somebody to just repurpose my Instagram content and just get it going. I just know if I do, then I'll go in and I'll want to check and I just don't want another thing. I just got Telegram yesterday because I wanted to get added to some Austin groups since I'm moving to Austin. 

Vanessa Spina: Are you officially?

Melanie Avalon: I think so.

Vanessa Spina: When? 

Melanie Avalon: My lease is up in the spring, so I think I'm probably going to take a trip, hopefully knock on wood in the fall and look at apartments and teaser for the audience. I'm hoping I might get to interview Dave Asprey in person in Austin when I go to look at apartments. So that would be super exciting for this show. So, send me actually-- glad I'm saying this. Send me questions, if you have questions for him because we're going to do a listener Q&A, possibly, in real life. I've never done-- Would you believe I've never done an in-person podcast? Have you done an in-person podcast? 

Vanessa Spina: I was just thinking [laughs] if I ever have. I don't think I have. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm not going to know what to do. Like, where do I look? What do I do? 

Vanessa Spina: It's funny, because I noticed that most people who do in person podcasts have props. They have all the podcasts, like paraphernalia. So maybe if you have stuff like that, then you'll have, like, props. 

Melanie Avalon: He said there's some good studios and we can rent a studio. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, that would be so fun. You have to do that.

Melanie Avalon: It's a lot to deal with. So, send questions, listeners, to questions@ifpodcast.com for Dave Asprey, anything about fasting or his new Danger Coffee or the conference or biohacking, all the things.

Vanessa Spina: That'll be an exciting one. 

Melanie Avalon: I know. On that note, shall we answer [laughs] some listener questions? 

Vanessa Spina: I would love to. 

Melanie Avalon: I am so excited about this first question. 

Vanessa Spina: We have a question from Lori that comes to us on Facebook. "I have been having issues with bloating. I don't have any GI issues or other symptoms and I have been trying to cut out dairy thinking all the cottage cheese I was eating for more protein was the problem. Can a high-protein diet give you a distended belly? It seems to have been a frequent problem distended abdomen/bloating since hitting my protein macros of 100 to 125 grams." 

Melanie Avalon: All right, Lori, I am so excited about this question. I went down the rabbit hole. So, it's interesting because I do remember hearing every now and then-- I think Robb Wolf, every now and then will mention how protein can be fermented and actually how it can be fermented to create short-chain fatty acids, which we want to get from fiber, which sounds like a great benefit. Like, "Oh, we can get it from protein." However, that sounds like in the fermentation role of protein, that's probably the only good thing coming from that, because there's been quite a few studies on protein fermentation in the gut. And yes, I have a lot to say so before you jump to conclusions, being worried about protein fermenting, it's going to be okay. But the potentially toxic metabolites, so they include ammonia, amines, phenols, and sulfides. And they've been linked to a lot of potentially problematic issues like bowel diseases, colorectal cancer, ulcerative colitis as well as just bloating like Lori was talking about and GI distress. 

And so, what is going on there in addition to those metabolites? And this is ironic, because now I'm looking at another study, and it's talking about how excess protein can lead to decreased short-chain fatty acid production. So maybe sometimes it creates short-chain fatty acids, maybe sometimes it leads to less. But in general, it can potentially have a proinflammatory microbiotic profile. Okay, the GI tract, we have the stomach, the small intestine, the large intestine. The issue arises when protein reaches the large intestine and isn't getting fully absorbed the way it should be. So, it's estimated that in the normal population, around 6 to 18 g of protein reaches the large intestine daily. That's mostly from what you're eating. A small part of it is actually endogenously created so created yourself and that ranges. So, people on almost protein free diets, they'll still get around 3 grams that might reach the large intestine. If you're on a vegan diet, the average is around 16 grams. That will reach the large intestine. 

If you're on a moderately high protein intake, which they call 16% of total energy, which for me, that would be very low protein, that's around 17 grams that might reach down there. And basically, what happens-- For the processing of protein in the large intestine, there're two ways that it's metabolized. So, the first thing is that it undergoes proteolysis by two different things, by the gut microbiome primarily and then a little bit by pancreatic proteases. So, compounds created by the pancreas that break down protein, those are actually metabolizing and breaking down some protein in the large intestine as well. So, it's breaking down these proteins into smaller amino acids. And then, interestingly, those amino acids can be incorporated by the body structurally or they can actually be used and incorporated by the gut microbiome.

And then the second thing that can happen to protein metabolism down there and this is where the issues come in, is it can be fermented to produce gases. So, you can produce H2, CH4, CO2, H2S, see and now it's saying short-chain fatty acids. So that's interesting. It can create branched-chain fatty acids. And then, like I mentioned before, ammonia, amines, and phenolic compounds, and also compounds related to nitric oxide. Okay, so the potential harmful effect or the issues that you experience is probably directly related to how much. So, if there's not an excess, you don't have to worry about this. But if there is an excess that's happening, then you do have to possibly worry about these metabolites being created. And so, there's been quite a few studies on how it affects the gut bacteria and it might have a potentially negative effect on the gut bacteria down there. So, one study found that it looked at high versus normal protein diets for six weeks. And while it didn't affect a lot of the abundance of big populations, it did lower bifidobacteria, which is often thought of as a "good bacteria." 

Although, interestingly, in these studies, the amount of carbs alongside the protein was sometimes different. So, they said, "It's hard to know what's doing what. Is it the carbs? Is it the lack of carbs? Is it the protein? What is the main source here?" But there was another study, people on low-carb, high-protein diets, and they saw a significant decrease in the numbers of different populations of butyrate-producing bacteria. And as we know well, I'm saying that, like, it's common knowledge, butyrate-producing bacteria is something that we want because butyrate is a very beneficial fatty acid for the colon. And the reason this happens is that the large intestine, the bacteria there, they actually are obligate protein fermenters. So, their nutrient source is basically fermenting protein. So that's why this can happen. So have no fear though. There are ways to address this. So, there's been a few studies on adding in specific sources of carbs that can actually potentially help mitigate this effect. So, a high intake of resistant starch, something called arabinoxylan, I'm not actually sure what that is and inulin pairing that with protein had a beneficial effect on the ammonia and the nitrogen levels. 

But then another study, interestingly enough, when they added resistant starch, they didn't see a change. It seems to because with the resistant starch specifically, a few studies showed a beneficial effect, like it really helped. Some didn't find a change. Same with insoluble fiber. Some studies found that it helped, some didn't. And just reading through it all, what it seemed like is that it's very individual and there's a lot of factors going into play. Some of these carbs that you might add, so these non-starch polysaccharide, so, like a fibrous-type carb, what really matters is if it's actually making its way down to large intestine. So, some of the carbs, if they're absorbed and metabolized too far up, they might not actually reach the large intestine. So, they might not be able to create this beneficial effect of mitigating the protein issues. So, it really matters when you're taking in the fiber, is it going in all the way and is it reaching the large intestine and is it helping with that inflammatory profile? 

On the flipside, some studies have found that it makes it worse. So, they did a rat study, and they added pectin, which is a type of fiber, and they found that actually made more fermentation of protein. Basically, it's all over the place. Oh, this is really interesting. So, one of the mechanisms of action like why this might be working with the carbs when it does work, is that the carbs can encourage the bacteria to ferment the carbs and the bacteria proliferate, so it increases more bacteria in your large intestine. And then those bacteria actually need amino acids and nitrogen. So, then they synthesize the extra protein rather than fermenting it, which I know sounds pretty similar, but basically there's the potential for, by supporting the gut bacteria with carbs and fiber for them to better deal with the protein load. And this is something actually called the nitrogen sink. So, the conclusion of this one review that I was looking at everything, they did conclude that modifying, like, the best ways to deal with GI distress from excess protein is probably to modify the actual amount of protein, which I know is the antithesis of what we talk about a lot, because basically they're saying reduce your protein intake.

Secondly, the type of amino acids. So, it's primarily the sulfurous amino acids like methionine and cysteine that create this issue. And those are found higher in animal products. So, they're recommending more plant-based protein might help with this. Although interestingly, I think it's very N of 1, because I digest animal proteins so well and when I have plant-based proteins, it does not go so well for me. So, I think you really have to know how you react. And then the third option is they do suggest-- even after they talked about studies showing conflicting findings, they do suggest adding fermentable carbohydrates to help shift that bacteria activity from fermenting the protein to metabolizing the protein and using the protein. This is interesting, so casein in particular might be a problematic protein for bloating related to all of this. And I know Lori was saying that she was having dairy and experiencing this issue. So that might be something that's going on. Lori, you might want to try you're already trying to cut out the dairy, so maybe this will be the final push to maybe stick to non-dairy and see if that helps.

So, my suggestions again, this journal article is suggesting to cut down on protein, but I wouldn't really suggest that. I would suggest a few things maintaining your total protein, but maybe either having a longer window or having it not all in one large bolus and then really supporting digestion of that protein so that hopefully you can digest more of it higher up in the system and it won't be reaching the large intestine. So, I would definitely try out maybe HCl and digestive enzymes to help with that. And by the way, teaser, I do plan down the road to launch a line of HCl and digestive enzymes and I'm so excited. But in the meantime, I personally use right now Pure Encapsulations, their digestive enzymes and their HCl. So that's something you might want to try. And then you could try adding in carbs that work for you, fibrous carbs. Again, resistant starch might be a thing that works, although for me, resistant starch makes me so bloated and gassy. So, it really is individual and N of 1. You could just try different vegetables or different carbs with the protein and see if that helps mitigate the issues. 

And then just as one last tangent I mentioned earlier, nitric oxide, I hope I did call it nitrous oxide earlier which I might have. I love nitrous oxide, but that is something different. So, something that might be going on is that nitric oxide is created from bacteria, from dietary nitrites and that can produce a gas that can be problematic. And when we have excess protein down there, what can happen interestingly is that nitric oxide can have a signaling effect where it interacts with that protein fermentation and actually makes it worse. So that's really interesting. But they have found that changing from red meat to white meat like chicken or fish can potentially reduce the availability of those nitrites in the colon, which are the precursors with the bacteria for that nitric oxide fermentation or formation. So that's something else you could try is if you're having red meat, and I'm a huge fan of red meat, and it's so nutritious and nutrient rich, but it is something that you could play with, is maybe trying more white meats and fish. Yeah, so that was a lot of information. Vanessa, do you have thoughts? 

Vanessa Spina: That was so incredibly thorough and amazing. [laughs] I love that you dived so deep on the research as you always do and found it really, really interesting and insightful. So, it sounds like the takeaway is what I was going to reply, I guess, is that if you are feeling bloated, I would just try to eat less protein and see what amounts, like, using a tracker, we often do this to find the carb threshold, the protein threshold for getting into ketosis. So, if you're doing like 120 g a day, try 110, try 100, try 80. But the other thing I would say is, are you eating it all at one sitting? Because that could be the issue as well, because there's only so much protein that your body will use to make new proteins and then the rest will be converted to glucose. Like, the ratio is about 60 g out of every 100 I believe is converted to glucose, according to Dr. Don Layman. So, if you're eating 100 g at one sitting, it could just be a lot in terms of the digestive acids and the digestive-- sort of the pH that's needed for that much protein at one sitting. 

Like, if you were to break it up a little bit into two or three meals, it probably would result in a lot less bloating. And I think that it can happen where if people are doing one meal a day at times, and then they're sitting and having one whole meal with that much protein at one sitting, I wouldn't be surprised if someone would be bloated if they haven't sort of built up to that amount over time. I love that you brought up the digestive enzymes, HCl can definitely help with that as well. But my biggest suggestion would be just to change the amount, unless it is what you are eating with the protein. Like, could it be something else you are consuming with the protein that is contributing to the bloating? I would be far more likely to think that it would be like fibrous foods that's causing that. So, I always recommend an elimination diet if you're having a lot of bloating. I did one and I did carnivore for 30 days and then I went back and reintroduced all of the vegetables that I liked and I discovered which ones really bloated me. And it was such amazing information because once I figured that out by reintroducing each one one at a time, I figured out that all the cruciferous vegetables and especially broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower can really bloat me. And so, once I cut those out, I just didn't have bloating issues anymore. So, it can be as simple as that. 

There could just be one certain-- especially fibrous food they can be pretty difficult to digest and a lot of fermentation can occur. So, I would just put a question there. Is it necessarily the protein or is it something else that you're eating with the protein? Unless you're doing carnivore and all you're eating is like protein, you're not having anything else, any carbohydrate or any fiber with it, then it could just be the protein amount. So, I guess you kind of have to play with it. But I'd love to hear back from you on what you figured out and what you tried. And it sounds like from all the research that Melanie went through, that it really just comes down to the amount that's being consumed. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It really comes down to the amount that's reaching the large intestine, which we would think typically correlates to what's being consumed.? But then, like I was saying, Vanessa was just saying, there's so much contextual other food around that that I just think it's important to look, know everything that you're eating. I'll put out a resource for listeners. It's funny, people always ask me all the time, "Why do I eat so many cucumbers?" And it's primarily for this reason that's the really fibrous, hydrating, watery, bulk vegetable that I can add with my meal that I digest so well. And that's just why I eat so much of it. And I find that actually helps me digest the protein more. Love my cucumbers, but a resource for listeners. You can get my app Food Sense Guide and get it now friends, because you want to get grandfathered in, because I'm probably going to be making some really big updates and changes to it and changing the system. So, get grandfathered in now, [laughs] like the way it is now. It's a comprehensive catalog of over 300 foods and it has 11 potentially problematic compounds that you may be reacting to. By looking at that, you can kind of see what you're eating. And if you're having issues with foods, you can look for trends. If you find that certain foods are making you bloated, you could see what compounds are those high in and it can be really helpful for that. And it does have FODMAPs. And for me, a low FODMAP diet is a game changer for bloating. I thought about it, because Vanessa, when you're talking about the ones that you react like, those are all pretty high FODMAP foods. 

Vanessa Spina: Such a good point. 

Melanie Avalon: So, the link for that is melanieavalon.com/foodsenseguide, and it is often a top app on Apple Podcast or in the App Store, which is very exciting. 

Vanessa Spina: Wow, that's amazing. 

Melanie Avalon: It blows my mind, really, honestly, because it's often top 10 for all food and drinks apps. When you think about it, like, how many food and drinks apps there are or like there could be. 

Vanessa Spina: Got to be millions. 

Melanie Avalon: Isn't that crazy? Blows my mind. I'm really glad it's helping people. So yeah. Wow. We went on all the tangents on today's episode. 

Vanessa Spina: I know. It was like Elon to Ruth's Chris Steak, [laughs] poetry with AI and then protein, then bloating. I mean, like, yeah, real variety of topics today, but I had so much fun. I really enjoy all of our episodes so much and I love the questions so much. I love talking about fasting and protein and digestion and all the research. So, I just enjoyed the episode so much.

Melanie Avalon: I did too. And I'll give the link again for listeners if they would like to find a holistic health practitioner and run labs. I really love Elite Personalized Medicine. So that's epmlife.com. Tell them I sent you or that you heard about them on this podcast and you'll get $100 off and yeah. Okay, anything from you, Vanessa, before we go? 

Vanessa Spina: I think that was everything. Yeah, I can't wait for the next episode, as always, and look forward to next week's questions and being back here with you again. 

Melanie Avalon: Likewise, I will talk to you next week. 

Vanessa Spina: Okay, talk to you soon. 

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Vanessa Spina: 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 a 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.

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