Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where Dr. G gives you the tools you need to boost your health and live your healthiest life.
By now, you’ve all probably heard me rave about intermittent fasting and that’s because it really does work if done right. That’s why this week, I’m going to set the record straight on the keto diet and share the easiest and most effective fasting techniques out there that can help your fasting become a breeze. So stay tuned because you won’t want to miss how you can improve your weight loss. Plus, I share the sneaky foods that may be causing your migraines.
The best keto and intermittent fasting tips. Okay, the keto diet is one of the most popular diets around, but also one of the most misunderstood. So today, I’m here to set the record straight and give you a quick look at some of my latest research. As you may know, the keto diet has become increasingly popular based on the belief that when your body converts to making something called ketones, you experience improved energy and weight loss. However, it turns out ketones are not the super fuel they’re made out to be. The truth is published literature in human proves that that’s exactly opposite the case. Ketones, it turns out, are a lousy fuel. Studies at Boston and the National Institutes of Health show that even at full ketosis that the body only gets 30% of its energy needs supplied by ketone and the brain, which most keto experts tell you thrives on ketones, the brain at full ketosis still needs 30 to 40% of its fuel as sugar, as glucose instead of ketones. So the idea that ketones are some miraculous fuel or some miraculous fat efficient tool is simply wrong and not based on human research.
Okay, then, if ketones aren’t a super fuel, why do they have what appears to be some really good effects? Well, as I showed in my rost-most recent book, Unlocking the Keto Code, ketone, in fact, are signaling molecules. Now signaling molecules are actually a communication system that tell cell membranes what to do, that tell mitochondria what to do, that tell your genes what to do and signaling molecules, we now know, are the communication system in-in our body and all our bodies. Ketones normally would have only been generated when we were starving, when we had nothing to eat and ketones are produced in the liver and the body can use fat as a fuel, free fatty acids for fuel for almost all of our needs. The only problem with using free fatty acids is that free fatty acids are big molecules and they can’t get through the blood brain barrier fast enough to be a good fuel for the brain when it runs out of sugar. But ketones can be made from free fatty acids in the liver and free-ketones are water soluble, short chain fatty acids that, good news, can get through the blood-blood brain barrier.
So they’re a emergency fuel for the brain when we run out of something to eat. Now, ketones tell your mitochondria, “Hey, something’s up. Food isn’t coming and we don’t know when food’s coming again and since you guys are the key for our body to stay alive,” mitochondria make energy, make ATP, “you guys need to protect yourselves at all costs and take care of yourselves and don’t work so hard,” because, believe it or not, making energy is very damaging to mitochondria. So as strange as it seems, ketones tell mitochondria to actually waste fuel, to … don’t work so hard. The other things we now know ketones do is that tell mitochondria to make more of themselves. Mitochondria are unique in that mitochondria have their own DNA that separate from the nucleus from high school biology. What that means is that mitochondria can grow and divide, make more of themselves without the cell that they live in growing and dividing.
So we now know that ketones tell mitochondria, “Hey, you single mitochondria, I want you to make five twins and that way, there’ll be more mitochondria that don’t have to work so hard and you guys can share the workload and protect yourselves,” and it’s called mitogenesis. But, so we now know that the reason having ketones around is a good idea, at least some of the time, is to tell mitochondria to protect themselves and to make more mitochondria and it’s this combination that actually results in not only wight loss but an improved health overall. Now, as many of you know, and I’ve written about in the book, most people who embark on a ketogenic diet, a traditional, very high fat, low carbohydrate diet simply quit within a month. That’s because most people, number one, you can only eat so many pounds of bacon covered with cheddar cheese before you really don’t want any more bacon and cheddar cheese. It just becomes profoundly monotonous.
Not only that, as I point out in the book, most of the time, this is a disaster for your cholesterol numbers and number two, it’s a disaster for your gut microbiome because your gut microbiome is actually dependent on fibers and polyphenols to prosper and to actually make compounds that are good for you and your mitochondria and for many people, besides the incredible boredom of eating an ultra high fat diet, many p-people don’t feel very good and as I’ve written about in my book, we see that people who embark on these ultra high fat, low carb diets, they actually, their inflammatory markers in their bloodstream go up quite dramatically and we have them revert back to my ketogenic diet, which has far more fiber and far less fat and we see these inflammatory markers go away. Now the good news is that you can get the benefits of producing ketones and the benefits of having mitochondria that not work so hard and make more of themselves without eating a high fat diet and that’s what Unlocking the Keto Code goes into.
So for one thing, intermittent fasting, that is, time restricted eating, the shorter the time window that we begin eating food and finish eating food, if we can compress that to around six to eight hours during the week and take some time off on the weekends, you can actually reliably produce ketones that will help you lose weight without changing what you’re eating and the most amazing study was a human study that I write about in the book with Italian athletes and they took Italian cyclists and they put them on a training table, a training table they all have to eat the same thing that groups … I had two groups. One group had a 12 hour eating window. That means, they ate breakfast at 8:00 in the morning. They had lunch at 1:00 in the afternoon. They had to finish dinner by 8:00. 12 hours eating window. The other group, has a seven hour eating window. They ate breakfast, break fast, at 1:00 in the afternoon. They had lunch at 4:00 in the afternoon and they had to finish dinner at 8:00 at night. Seven hour.
So the difference between the two groups was one group was fasting five hours longer per day than the other group. But they ate the exact same amount of food. What happened after the end of three months, the group that had the seven hour eating window lost a lot of weight. The group that had the 12 hour eating window didn’t lose any weight. They both had identical athletic performance, good news, and the group with the seven hour eating window actually lowered the best marker for aging there is called insulin like growth factor. They lowered their IGF1. The group that ate in the 12 hour window had no change in their IGF1. So just extending the amount of time between when you have your last meal at night and the first meal in the morning can make a dramatic difference in your health without changing what you eat, without being on a boring diet. So that’s the first great news. The second great news is that there are compounds that can actually have you produce ketones without being on a ketogenic diet and those are medium chain triglycerides.
So medium chain triglycerides, MCT oil, are absorbed in a totally different way of any fat. They’re a liquid. They’re flavorless. You can get them in a powder form and, uh, women in general do better with powdered MCT than liquid MCT. Some women get a little nauseated or diarrhea with liquid MCT. But when you take MCT oil, it goes directly to your liver and it’s directly converted into ketones, regardless of what you’re eating. So you could have a bowl of fruit and have MCT oil, a tablespoon, and you would actually make ketones and those ketones would signal your mitochondria to make more, make more of themselves and to waste fuel, protect themselves. Here’s the other great news. It turns out that 30% of the fat in goat and sheep milk products are medium chain triglycerides. So that means you could have goat or sheep yogurt plain. You could have goat or sheep keifer.
You could have goat or sheep cheese and make ketones just eating those goat and sheep milk products and it also explains why a large number of super old people in blue zones are goat and sheep farmers, strangely enough and I talk about this in the new book. Now, here’s the final problem with embarking on a ketogenic diet. Many of you are beginning to hear about the terms insulin resistance or metabolic flexibility and briefly, normally, our mitochondria can take sugar and convert it orthopedic energy and our mitochondria can take fat, free fatty acids and convert it to energy. But normally, we can do that on a dime, uh, very much like a hybrid car. When you’re running on gasoline, you’re charging your battery and let’s call the battery fat. When you run out of gasoline, you-your battery is charged and you can use that battery to continue powering you along the road. We have a charged battery. It’s our fat. Normally, we burn sugar as our preferred fuel and when sugar drops, we should normally pull out that fat from our battery and use that. Unfortunately, and that’s called metabolic flexibility.
Unfortunately, the data on whose metabolically flexible and who isn’t is scary. 50% of normal weight individuals in the United States have no metabolic flexibility. So even though you may be normal weight, 50% of you can’t make that switch. Then it really gets interesting. 88% of overweight individuals have no metabolic flexibility and 99.5% of obese individuals have no metabolic flexibility, which means you can’t switch from burning carbs to en-for energy to burning fat and that’s what’s so hard, number one, about transitioning to a ketogenic diet or even transitioning to cutting back the hours you eat because most people can’t make that switch and here’s the really scary take home problem. Normally, when you stop eating, about eight hours after you stop eating, you have to switch over in your brain to burning ketones as a fuel.
If most of us are metabolically inflexible, that means every night, eight hours after we stop eating, our brain begins to starve to death because it can’t get the fuels it needs and that’s one of the reasons we’re seeing this epidemic of dementia, memory loss, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s because the vast majority of us every night because we have no metabolic flexibility, our brains starve to death. So think about that the next time you hear that one of the things we should be doing is eating multiple small meals throughout the day to keep our energy levels up. That’s really one of the worst possible things that we can do for our generalized health and absolutely for our brain health. So how do you get metabolic flexibility? Well, number one, slowly but surely, cutting back on the number of hours you eat during the day. Now you don’t need to jump into the deep end. If you eat breakfast at 7:00 in the morning, next week, eat breakfast at 8:00 in the morning. Do that all week. The next week, come on. You can now make it to 9:00.
Next week, we’ll eat breakfast at 9:00 and so on and believe it or not, after five weeks, you’ll be eating breakfast at noon as if it was the easiest thing in the world. Oh, and here’s the good news. You can take the weekends off. Research out of Chicago shows that when people were asked to intermittently fast during the week, but then relax on the weekends, they were much more able to stay with that program longterm than if they were asked to do that every day of their lives. The other good news is you don’t have to calorie count. You can actually eat a full day’s worth of calories and as the Italian athletes study shows, you can actually lose weight and still eat all the calories you want, as long as you compact that eating window.
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My favorite intermittent fasting hacks to help you lose weight. But Dr. G, I can’t do fasting like you do. You know, I hear it all the time. But I’m here to tell you you can do intermittent fasting. I’m, today, going to give you five insider hacks to help make fasting easy and actually enjoyable. That means no hangriness, no headaches and all the benefits. Okay, here we go. First of all, you don’t jump into the deep end of the pool for fasting. I’ve told you over and over and over again. I’ve written about it in almost all of my books that the vast majority of Americans can not do time restricted eating, skipping one or two means right off the bat because most Americans are insulin resistant, metabolically inflexible and as much as you would think you could burn fat for fuel instead of sugar, quite frankly, you can’t and you will fall flat on your face and you will get a headache. You will get hangry. You will get weak and you will give up. Don’t do that. What you want to do is get in at the shallow end.
Now, what do I mean by what? Anybody can do this and I’m going to hold your hand. If you eat breakfast at 7:00 every morning, next week, you’re going to eat breakfast at 8:00 in the morning. Anybody can wait one hour from their regular time to start eating breakfast. Do that all week. Take the weekend off. Enjoy yourself. Go back to whatever routine you do on the weekend. The following week, you’re going to eat breakfast and remember the word breakfast is break fast. You’re going to eat breakfast at 9:00 instead of 8:00 and you’re going to do that all week and then, for a reward, you get the weekend off. The following week, if you’re doing okay, we’re going to have break fast at 10:00. Now, some of you can make it to 9:00 just fine. But then 10:00, it’s a little tough. That’s okay. Go back, 9:30, try that.
However we can get you to continue to expand when break fast starts, up to 11:00, 12:00 on a weekday basis, the more benefits you’re going to get and like all the studies have shown, the more we can push breakfast farther into the morning, even ’til noon, the more weight you’re going to lose and the more health benefits you’re going to get. So that’s go in the shallow end. Don’t dive into the deep end. Second trick, and this may be the best trick there is, there’s a fascinating theory called The Gut Centric Theory of Hungry and I’ve written about this in my book. So there have been some beautiful studies that have been done in China that proves this to be true. For years, we’ve thought that hunger pain are caused by either an empty stomach, that makes sense, or by actual hormones that our gut neurons secrete to tell our brain, “Hey, it’s time to eat.”
Well, with the discovery of the human microbiome, uh, 10 years or so ago, we now realize that there was a third participant in all of this and that is the gut microbiome wants things to eat and they send signals to your brain that they’re hungry. In fact, we now know that bad bugs in your gut actually hijacks your brain to have you find the foods they want to eat and that’s simple sugars and fats. Hm, sounds like the American diet, right? On the other hand, good gut bugs like prebiotic fiber and the results of The Gut Centric Theory test is you could take people who are on a 7 or 14 day water fast, that’s all they got was water, give half the group 100 calories of prebiotic fiber a day. Now, 100 caloris is not 100 calories because we can’t digest prebiotic fiber. But your gut bugs can and what they found was that the people on these water fasts who got 100 calories of prebiotic fiber that they didn’t absorb but fed their gut microbiome had absolutely no hunger. Now, how do you do that? Well, it’s really easy.
There are tons of prebiotic fibers on the market. Uh, give you an example. I’m a huge fan of basil seeds. They have a huge amount of prebiotic fiber. You can view my episode 219 with Zen basil and find out how easy it is to put a tablespoon of basil seeds in a glass of water or in whatever, uh, put some allulose sweetener, if you want to make it flavorful and you will be shocked what a full feeling your gut will have. Now the idea that this stuff expands and swells up and fills your stomach, believe it or not, is not the reason you feel full. It’s the gut bacteria eating the fiber that send messages to your brain. They said, “Hey, we got everything we need to eat. You don’t have to go looking for anything else.” It is just one of the best tricks I have ever discovered and there are plenty of other wonderful prebiotic fibers out there to do the same trick. Third hack, drink a polyphenol rich powder supplement.
Polyphenols, it turns out, are also beloved by gut bacteria as a prebiotic fiber in and of themselves and one of the benefits of these polyphenol rich powdered drinks that are readily available, I bet you can think of several, uh, right off the top of your head that might have my name associated with them, these feed good gut bacteria. But they don’t stop your fasting. They do not break your fast. It’s a great way to keep going, feed the good bacteria and not have to worry about breaking a fast. Fourth hack, MCT oil, medium chain triglycerides. Now, medium chain triglycerides, as most of you know now, are not absorbed like any other fat that we eat. In fact, they’re absorbed directly through the wall of our gut into our intestinal bloodstream and are taken directly to the liver, uh, do not pass go, do not collect $200, where they’re converted into ketones. Now, if you’ve been paying attention or reading my books, you know that the vast majority of us who are insulin resistant or metabolically inflexible, when we stop eating, we can not make ketones.
Ketones are a way of keeping our brain happy and our muscles happy while we’re fasting until we start producing free fatty acids from our fat cells. So MCT oil is a hack to get around this metabolic inflexibility that most of us start with. So just putting some MCT oil in your coffee along with, hey, dissolve some prebiotic fiber in it, that will kickstart your own production of ketones without breaking a fast. It will not have any impact on fasting and it’s another easy way to ease into this process, again, just getting your feet wet rather than diving headfirst into the pool. Finally, another one of my favorite tricks is have some healthy Coke. Uh, you may now know that I was the originator of the idea of having a healthy Coke, which consists of balsamic vinegar and sparkling water. My favorite is San Pellegrino, uh, to mix those two together and you will get a Coke-light-like experience. Now, why should you do that?
It turns out that balsamic vinegar and other vinegars, for that matter, are loaded with postbiotics and these short chain fatty acids actually are converted not only into ketones but can also be used as fuel by your brain and your other tissues and here’s the trick. Some people say, “Eh, I really don’t like the vinegary taste of balsamic vinegar.” Do yourself a favor. Buy the thicker varieties of balsamic vinegar. Might be a little bit more expensive. But there’s one that really cheap that I love that I use personally. It’s Napa Valley Naturals Reserve Balsamic. It’s easy to find. If you can find it anyplace else, it’s on Amazon. Try it. It’s thick and rich and delicious and it will make your healthy Coke really taste great.
Now know that the typical lesions of Parkinson’s, which are called lewy bodies, it’s basically a dead neuron surrounded by, uh, white blood cells, uh, which are called glial cells, we now not only find these in the brain of people with Parkinson’s, but we find them on the wall of the gut, which actually means that Parkinson’s begins in the gut, rather than in the brain and part of that process is actually lectins getting to the brain. There’s a new paper out that insecticides and other biocides like traditional paraquat, now have been found to ride on lectins up into the brain and so that many times we now think that lectins are hijacked by pesticides, by biocides, by herbicides that are sprayed on our grasses and on our crops that we ingest every day and they’re hopping on the lectins in our food and going up to our brain.
So rather than being kind of pseudo sinet-science or, oh, come one, how can lectins cause migraines, we now know that there is an absolute direct route from the gut to the brain that lectins travel on, not only to cause their own problem, which is irritation and inflammation, but also, which is now the scariest thing, to bring pesticides and herbicides and biocides, which are everywhere, also into our brain and so I think it’s no wonder that so many people suffer from migraines and migraines seem to be getting worse rather than better. So get real lectins. Second, we, as you probably know, have a sleep deprivation epidemic in this country for multiple reasons and if you didn’t see Ariana Huffington on my podcast, please pull that up. Uh, Ariana is kind of a poster child for sleep deprivations.
Uh, in building The Huffington Post, she, you know, thought she was one of these people who could go without sleep and only needed, eh, three hours of sleep, four hours of sleep a night for maximum performance and efficiency and it wasn’t until she literally collapsed at work, uh, broke her cheek, had to have an operation that she realized she was not invincible and she spent, you know, the last number of years researching, finding the world’s experts on sleep and spending her, you know, years now teaching the importance of sleep and it’s interesting. Most of my migraines occurred when I would fly to, you know, Parts Unknown in the United States or Canada, kind of usually meant finding barbecue or crazy things and eating it on the plane back and most of my migraines occurred without sleep that night and usually eating food that I have no business to-to eat and looking back, I went, “Well, of course.’ I didn’t have any sleep and I was eating really back food and of course, I’d get a migraine. So sleep really sets you up for your brain being damaged. Your brain actually has to be washed out.
It has to go through a washing cycle every night and you’ll learn about how essential that washing cycle is to get all these inflammatory compounds, all of these lectins out of your brain and if you don’t do that and if you don’t do that systematically, we now know that that lack of washing is one of the big things that leads to neuro inflammation. Neuro inflammation is one of the big driving factors in all of our memory loss diseases, whether it’s Parkinson’s, whether it’s Alzheimer’s, whether it’s vascular dementia. Now, speaking of vascular, it turns out as you learned in The Plant Paradox that there are sugar molecules on the linings of our blood vessels that lectins attach to and I recently gave a paper at the American Heart Association I think proving, well, at least suggesting that lectins attaching to our blood vessels is a major cause of vascular disease, of heart disease, of stroke, of, uh, hardening of the arteries and we were able to show by removing lectins from over 400 people’s diets that we could actually show blood vessels getting more flexible, more reactive and with less inflammation on the blood vessel.
So in the theory that migraines are a blood vessel issue of dilatation or constriction, getting a known irritant, lectins, out of your diet makes a whole lot of sense to me. Uh, now, I mentioned pesticides. We are ramp with pesticides and interesting, years ago, I, uh, interviews a organic, uh, horticulturist and organic gardener who said one of the biggest contributions to memory loss and Parkinson’s that he sees in our elderly community is in golfers and he elaborated on the number of pesticides and herbicides that are sprayed on our golf courses to beautify them and how these as you walk the golf course or drive the golf course are aerosolized into you and interestingly enough, one of the direct entrances, the closest entrance to your brain is via your nostrils, your nose and you then ingest those. You breathe them in.
They hop a ride on lectins into your brain and it was a real eye opener that vast amount of Parkinson’s and mild cognitive impairment dementia that we see rapidly going up in our el-elderly, particularly in a community like Palm Springs, where we have 115 golf courses at last count, may be the spray that we’re using to keep our golf courses beautiful. So what can you do at home? Please, please, please do not spray with Roundup. Roundup is glyphosphate. Glyphosate, sorry and Roundup gets into you, uh, as you’ll see in The Longevity Paradox. 95% of pregnant women excrete Roundup in their urine. Almost all of us have huge amounts of Roundup in us and one of the places we acquire it is in our homes. So every time you see that commercial with the guy with the Roundup gun killing weeds, remember that you can actually dig out weeds by hand. You’ll actually get exercise. One of the things that’s amazing about super old people in the blue zones around the world is that almost all of these communities, number one, live in hilly villages.
They walk up and down hills and almost all of these super old people garden. They weed their garden by hand. They don’t spray Roundup. So we talked about on one of our earlier podcasts about doing an exercise that you like and gardening is one of the great exercises of super old people and gardening’s a lot of fun. Okay, blue light, you’ve heard me talk about this over and over and over again. Blue light is really disrupting our sleep. Blue light disrupts our eating patterns. Blue light stimulates you, me to be hungry because long ago, we would eat during the summer when light was intense and long because that’s when most of the food was available and certainly that when the fruit was available and fruit is intense calories to store as fat. So blue light stimulates us to eat. It also stimulates us to stay awake because quite honestly, the longer we could have stayed awake eating in the summer, the better off we would have been in the winter. So blue light now is everywhere. It’s in our TVs. It’s in our computer screens. It’s in our phones.
There’s an app on almost every device now to turn it to non-blue light at sundown and sunset. If you’re going to watch TV and I know you will, just buy yourself a pair of blue blocker sunglasses and like I’ve said before, get the ones that make you look like Bono. I mean, they’re really hip. Last, artificial sweeteners, please, please, please do not kill your gut microbiome with artificial sweeteners. Duke University showed a packet of Splenda kills off 50% of the gut microbiome, one packet, sucralose. Your microbiome is one your major defense systems against lectins and one of the reasons we’re having an epidemic of people being sensitive to lectins when they weren’t 100 years ago is we’ve done in our microbiome with artificial sweeteners, with the antibiotics that we take and the antibiotics that are fed to our animals that we then eat. So do yourself a favor. Ditch the artificial sweeteners. There’s plenty of options out there like stevia and monk fruit, inulin, just to name three.
Hey, this is Dr. Drew and I’d like to invite all of you to subscribe to Dr. Drew Podcast. Uh, we are very proud of what we are doing there at that podcast. I am interviewing some of the most interesting, well, people you could ever want to talk to, just whatever I find fascinating, whether it’s a smart person or an expert in a field that I’m interested in or maybe I’m not even interested in, I’ve only interested because I’ve heard them speak and become intrigued. I think you’ll be intrigued as well. We get deep into topics that are quite important to the current age, things like cognitive dissonance, cognitive distortions, how does our mind work. We-we talk about everything at the Dr. Drew Podcast that is of real relevance. We get all the way into deep physics and all sorts of stuff. But trust me. It’s all very accessible. It’s very interesting. Headaches, if you’re even interested in learning about headaches, we get there. We go to the interesting topics of the day. Please join us at the Dr. Drew Podcast.
It’s time for the audience question. This question comes from Sharitra Mata on YouTube. “Apart from macadamia nuts, what are other way of gaining healthy weight?” Well, that’s a great question and it comes up all the time because sometimes, people actually lose too much weight on our programs. So in that case, what you want to add is healthy starches. So load up on millet and sorghum. Use cassava flour in making breads and just have at starches. Starches are still the easiest way to gain weight. If that’s not working, think about increasing the amount of in season organic fruit that you’re eating. That’s almost guaranteed to make you gain weight. Great question. It’s time for the review of the week. This comes from Mananas Kitchen on YouTube regarding a recent episode with Dave Asprey talking about coffee. “Such great content. I love Danger Coffee. It is great. You can tell it’s clean. All people who drink lattes need to watch this. Let’s share this episode. I adore Dr. G and Dave. Love, love. Dr. G, thank you for being amazing.” Well, thank you very much and, you know, it’s always fun to get together with Dave.
He’s got some really interesting points that are worth sharing and it’s really important to know not only where your coffee comes from, but maybe more important, what you’re putting in your coffee that’s actually going to benefit your health rather than ruining your health. So thanks a lot.
Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on Itunes, Google Play, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts and if you want to watch each episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast, you could always find me on YouTube at YouTube.com/drgundry because I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you.