Speaker 1 (00:00):
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.
Dr. Gundry (00:14):
Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast. Well, by now, you know, I’m pretty obsessed with energy because of my new book, The Energy Paradox. Um, I just published the brand new book. Well, on today’s episode, my guest and I are gonna dive real deep into our energy production. And we’re gonna do it by taking a close look at one of the last true hunter-gatherer societies on earth, the Hadza. I’m joined today by Herman Pontzer. Dr. Pontzer is an associate professor of anthropology at Duke University.
And just wrote a brand new book called Burn: New Research Blows the Lid Off How We Really Burn Calories, Lose Weight, and Stay Healthy. Now in today’s episode, he and I are going to reveal the truth about your metabolism. Explain why exercising won’t necessarily lead to more fat burning. Oh, no! And why the 2,000 calorie a day diet might be all wrong. And just as an aside, uh, off camera, we learn that, uh, first of all, you may all know that at Yale, my major was in human evolutionary biology, which is what Dr. Pontzer studies.
And my mentor, uh, Dr. David Pilbeam was on his PhD committee at Harvard, um, to look at his thesis. So, boy do we, uh, we go back a long way together. So, we’ve got a lot of exciting things in store for you today on today’s episode. So, stay tuned. We’ll be right back.
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Dr. Pontzer, I’m so excited to have you on the podcast today.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (06:07):
Thanks for having me. Great to be here.
Dr. Gundry (06:09):
All right. So, w- yeah. This is gonna be fun. And everybody pay attention because, uh, what Dr. Pontzer says, um, may shake you up a little bit. Okay. So you’re writing a book that metabolism is the unseen foundation underlying everything, slowly shifting and shaping our lives. What do you mean by that? Why is metabolism so important?
Dr. Herman Pontzer (06:34):
Well, that’s right. Uh, I can’t think of any single measure you’d take of an organism that would tell you more about it and how it evolved and how its body works than how it spends its energy, you know? Life takes energy. Um, you know, from an evolutionary pro- point of view, which I’m sure you can br- as, appreciate, you know, life is a game of bringing energy into kids. Right? That’s kinda all evolution cares about.
Dr. Gundry (06:53):
Dr. Herman Pontzer (06:53):
Dr. Gundry (06:54):
Uh, uh, that’s correct.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (06:55):
(laughs) So, you know, y- your immune system, your nervous system, your reproductive system, uh, all the housekeeping stuff your body does to stay alive, all of it takes energy. And you know, I think, um, w- one of the reason I wrote this book is I, I think energy expenditure, it gets talked about in terms of diet and exercise and that’s kinda it. But of course, it’s so much more than that. And so, um, kinda taking the lid off of that and showing people how that all works was one of my motivations for doing the book.
Dr. Gundry (07:21):
So what do people get wrong, uh, about metabolism?
Dr. Herman Pontzer (07:26):
Well, uh, you know, I think the way that people are taught to think about your metabolism is in a really simplistic kind of, uh, you know, the analogy of sort of like a car engine. You know? Well, you’re in control and you can rev it up faster. Or, or take the, the g- your foot off the gas. And you know, and if, if you put more fuel in than you burn off, you get, you get overweight. And, um, la- last part’s pretty true. If you e- if you eat more than you burn, you’re gonna gain weight. But the other part’s really wrong, you know. We’re not a simple energy-burning engine. We’re a product of evolution.
And so, you know, our bodies are, are much more sophisticated and dynamic and complex in the way that they take in energy and burn it off. If we don’t understand those complexities, I think we’re missing almost the entire picture here. So, um, that’s what I think they get wrong is, is, I think we’re, we’re taught that our bodies are simple and they’re not simple.
Dr. Gundry (08:14):
So, you mean, I, I know you talk a lot about this in the book. But why won’t more exercise lead to more fat be- burning? I mean, everybody knows that. Come on.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (08:26):
Yeah. I know. I know. And you know, I thought so, too. And in fact, um, I was, uh, a young assistant professor at WashU at the time. And I actually put together a grant to the National Science Foundation to go w- and show just exactly that. That people who had really physically active lifestyles, these hunter-gatherer folks that I, I was gonna go work with in Northern Tanzania would be burning tons or more calories than you and me or everybody else kinda sitting here in our, our sedentary lives here in the West. And what I found instead was that we went there.
We, we actually measured calories burned per day in this hunting and gathering society. Um, you know, incredibly physically active. But their total calories burned per day was no different than people in the US and Europe. And so that put me on a hold. Yeah. That really changed my research focus. Because wow, now we have this really big mystery to kinda understand. And the more you track it down, the more work we’ve done since and other labs, too. It just shows that people who are more and more active, their bodies don’t necessarily burn more calories.
Instead, your body’s making these adjustments to kinda keep total calories burned the same. Uh, regardless of your lifestyle and, um, instead sort of shift the way the energy is spent. So, it seems that energy ex- uh, exercise doesn’t change the way, ch- sorry. Doesn’t change how many calories you spend. It changes the way that those calories are spent.
Dr. Gundry (09:45):
Yeah. Your, uh, your study, uh, actually, I talk about in the energy paradox. And maybe, uh, as, as we go along in this, uh, we can talk about why I think the desk worker-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (09:45):
Dr. Gundry (10:00):
… Uh, burns the same amount of calories as the hunter-gatherers in Tanzania. And you’re right. Uh, that’s, that’s true. Um, you know, in my, in my book, The Longevity Paradox, I-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (10:00):
Dr. Gundry (10:11):
… I talk a lot about the connection between longevity and metabolism. And I know you do, too. So, uh, give me your thoughts on a- are those two connected?
Dr. Herman Pontzer (10:23):
Well, yeah. That’s one of these million dollar questions in biology. And I, and I, you know, uh, there’s, and a lot of tantalizing evidence out there that, and people are, are, you know, putting those, connecting those dots in different ways. The way that it seems to me and I, I think, as sort of evolutionary biology respective would be, is that the pace of life, the speed at which you grow up, reproduce, grow old, if we look across species from mouse to elephants, what, you know, wide range of species there. It seems really nicely correlated.
Animals that burn energy faster, uh, live shorter lives. They’ve, they kinda burn up faster. Um, now that’s interesting because when we look within a species, it doesn’t seem to be quite so simple. So, you know, going, exercising and you burn more calories maybe when we exercise, doesn’t seem to be bad for you. In fact, it seems to be really good for you. So, there’s some interesting nuance there. But in general, metabolism seems to set your pace of life.
Dr. Gundry (11:15):
Well, yeah. Uh, I wanna stay on that subject for a second. Um, when I was at the NIH, uh, as a clinical fellow, uh, one of my mentors, Andrew G. Morrow, a heart surgeon, uh, used this, used to ascribe to the theory. That we only have so many heartbeats in our lifetime. And you can use them up fast or you can use them up slow. And, uh, he was a rather large individual. And so he believed in using his heartbeat slowly. Uh, long story short, didn’t work out well for him. But, uh-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (11:15):
Dr. Gundry (11:50):
… That, that theory always kinda comes around the, uh-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (11:55):
Dr. Gundry (11:56):
… Can you elaborate on that?
Dr. Herman Pontzer (11:57):
Well, so that’s, sh- so, it does seem to be the case. This is an idea that’s at least a century old. In fact, you can see even people say, say Aristotle had this idea, too that animals seem to sort of burn up faster if they’re smaller. And anyway, so it’s an old idea that’s been out there. Now, it is like, like I said, it’s true that there’s this pattern that animals that burn energy faster, the small animals for example burn their energy faster than, than per gram per pound than large animals do. And that seems to track with how fast they burn calories.
Primates as a group for example, humans, monkeys, apes, we burn our calories really slowly compared to other mammals. And that seems to be related to in a, in a, um, you know, in a causal way to the fact that we also grow really slowly. So humans might live 70 or 80 years, maybe longer. But an animal our size you’d expect to actually to have a shorter life. Right? So we can, so metabolism is, is shaped in that the overall picture here. Now, when you get to within a species, right?
It gets more complicated because the reason probably that metabolism has this relationship to longevity is at least in part, due to, um, things like oxidative stress, other byproducts of metabolism that kinda where you’re at and kinda, you know, eventually, break you down. Your body has a, has defenses against those, uh, th- those, those byproducts. And so, you, you can imagine a species would be better or worse at, at handling that kind of oxidative stress and that kind of thing that would come along with metabolism. So, you’re gonna have variation there that’s not gonna be just about metabolic rate.
And also, things like exercise, um, things like aspects of your diet, which I know you’ve talked about have big effects on how you handle that oxidative stress, how you handle that, that metabolic damage. And so, um, you know, the, there’s gonna be a lot of nuance into that. It’s not gonna be as simple as someone with a faster metabolic rate should have shorter life. And somebody th- a slower metabolic rate, um, and yet, again, it’s this sort of the big pattern fits and the s- when you get to more detailed, uh, detailed looks at it, it kinda gets more complicated.
Dr. Gundry (13:57):
So, what do you, what do you mean in the book when, when you say that something is more costly-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (13:57):
Dr. Gundry (14:04):
… In terms of energy than something else? Say, walking versus climbing.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (14:09):
Right. So, uh, we can talk about, you know, your energy budget. The way your brain calories in, the way you burn them off. We can think about that in the same way that we think about, you know, analogous to any kind of budget. Um, um, uh, monetary budget. And so, we talk about the cost of things in the, in biology in terms of calories per hour, calories per mile. Right? Um, so right. So, running, you know, running costs about twice as many calories per mile. About 100 calories a mile for most folks as walking. Walking costs about 50 calories per mile.
Dr. Gundry (14:40):
So, are you telling the runners that you’re much better off walking? If, if, efficiency-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (14:48):
No. You know, I, I think, I think all of that metabolic work you do to, to exercise is really good for you. I, and that’s, you know, that’s not news I don’t think we, I think we know how good exercise is for you. But, um, I think what’s, what is new in this book, uh, is that the reason that all of that, that energy spent on exercise seems to be so good for you is again, it’s that adjustment that it causes your body to make. So, when you go out and exercise and you kind of adopt an active lifestyle, you’re not burning more calories per day necessarily.
But your body’s making adjustments in the other things it does to make room for that, uh, that, that bigger exercise budget, that bigger exercise cost. So if you go running, yeah, you’re, you’re spending more calories than you would if you were to, to walk or for that matter just to sit on your couch. But those extra calories spent running are calories that you’re not spending on inflammation, on stress reactivity and other things that your body otherwise will do if, if you, if you all spend the calories in a good way, it might spend it in a bad way.
And so, um, you know, the, those exercises are good even if they’re burning more calories. And I think it’s, it’s one of the reasons exercise is so good for you.
Dr. Gundry (15:53):
Well, I think, you know, I think that’s a, a really important point that you make. And, uh, I spend a lot of time, uh, talking about this in the energy paradox. And that is-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (15:53):
Dr. Gundry (16:04):
… The desk worker, uh, may be, uh, burning up the same amount of energy as the hunter-gatherer, which on the surface seems absolutely impossible, right?
Dr. Herman Pontzer (16:16):
Dr. Gundry (16:16):
Uh, but at the same time, uh, we’re putting our energy into producing inflammation. And as, as you and I both know, um, producing inflammation is incredibly energy costly.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (16:33):
Dr. Gundry (16:33):
And, uh, yeah. And I, and, and, I, again, uh, I used your paper to say, well, yes it’s true that the desk worker and the Hadza have the same energy expenditure even though that hunter-gatherers walk on five, eight miles a day. And-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (16:54):
Dr. Gundry (16:54):
… Sitting on his haunches, uh, another five hours a day. But the desk worker is just burning up with inflammation. Often, that’s unseen and that costs energy. What say you?
Dr. Herman Pontzer (17:11):
Ab- no, absolutely. You know, you’re innate immune response, which is your, inflammation is part of that, you know, you need some of it, right? When you get, uh, like a cut or you get a cold or whatever, you need that immune response. But it seems to be really, really tuned up too high, too responsive, right? And it’s sort of, it’s like, you need the fire department but you don’t want them at your house all the time. You know? (laughs) You only want them there when there’s a fire.
And, uh, and by, you know, by, by taking exercise out of our lives, our bodies have, to have spent the energy elsewhere and it’s, it’s on this sort of emergency response only the emergency response is chronic. And now, you have some s- real trouble.
Dr. Gundry (17:52):
No. You’re absolutely right. Okay. So, what, what about our brains? And you know, I write in, in the energy paradox that our brains are real energy hogs. And-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (17:52):
Dr. Gundry (18:03):
… Uh, and you know, it only occupies, uh, occupies a little bit of our, our body. But it’s a tremendous energy hog, right?
Dr. Herman Pontzer (18:12):
It is. It’s, it’s r- it’s, it’s shocking how much you use. I mean, 300 calories a day by most estimates, you know, that’s the equivalent of running for three miles or a 5K, you know. So your brain runs a 5K everyday. Um, and it’s really expen- you know, it, it’s a really expensive organ. We, we call them expensive organs in biology and, and we see sort of ev- evolutionary trends in these expensive organs. Because it’s a big investment, uh, for an organism to have a b- a big brain like we do. Um, your liver’s expensive, too, you know?
Your kidneys are expensive, too but that brain, humans are remarkable for having big brains. And, you know, it’s interesting. Why wouldn’t other animals evolve big brains? It seems like such a good idea. And the answer is, because again, metabolism is everything. Right? And if you spend those e- that energy on a big brain and not on reproduction, then evolution says, “Um, that’s not favored.” So, you know, it’s part of our strategy but it’s an expensive part of our strategy.
Dr. Gundry (19:04):
So, what you’re saying is our big brains prevent us from reproducing like rabbits.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (19:09):
Well, maybe that’s right.
Dr. Gundry (19:09):
Dr. Herman Pontzer (19:11):
Or, or I would say, you know, the only reason that evolution favors a big brain is because it helps you in the end be better at reproduction. And you know, this hunting and gathering strategy, you know, we’re all hunters and gatherers for the past two million years. And, uh, and it was such an effective strategy but it also has to be a very smart strategy, right? Because think about you need to understand every plant on the landscape, every animal and how it works. You need to be able to hunt and ga- it’s a really hard way to make a living.
And so, it’s kinda, it’s not surprising I suppose that it really only happened once that you know, that, that this really sort of strange, clever way of getting by on in your smarts, you know. It’s such a hard thing to do. Um, of course, we feel like, you know, it’s the obvious thing to do but it’s not obvious at all.
Dr. Gundry (19:53):
No. Not at all. Uh, let’s talk more about your work, oh, in Tanzania. What-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (19:59):
Dr. Gundry (19:59):
… What was the most surprising thing you learned while tracking and measuring the Hadza?
Dr. Herman Pontzer (20:05):
Well, it has to, the, the one big surprise has to be that, you know, even though they’re so physically active and you know, if you’re a step counter out there, uh, the men are getting about 19,000 steps a day. The women are getting about 12 or 13,000 steps a day. So an incredible amount of walking. Um, you know, it’s just hard, it’s a hard life. And the fact that they can do that and still have the same calorie, you know, burn the same calorie a day as you and me is just, was just shocking. Um, but you know, there are other things that were really fun, too.
You know, we are often told, oh, the, the, the hunter-gatherer diet was all meat, you know. That’s, that’s a common mis- a thing you hear these days. Yeah. The Hadza out there, 10 or 15% of their diet or, or more is, is honey, you know.
Dr. Gundry (20:05):
Dr. Herman Pontzer (20:46):
The men when they’re, when they’re done hunting, they go and get honey. Um, the women al- are always bringing home these big starchy tubers and berries and stuff. So, you know, um, it’s a really flexible diet. It’s really, you know, day to day, season to season. It’s super flexible. So the idea that there’s sort of just one way to be a hunter-gatherer, you realize, no. That, you know, and I, and I think it’s also just adaptable and flexible in terms of just how they, they see life.
And I think there’s a lot of lessons there to be learned about, you know, getting out of your sort of mindset of it. You have to do things one particular way and giving yourself a break a little bit. And, uh, being more flexible on finding the approach that works for you.
Dr. Gundry (21:26):
I thought it’s interesting that even, they-
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… They sit a, a, a large portion of the day. Uh, but they sit-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (21:26):
That’s right. Yeah.
Dr. Gundry (27:19):
… They sit on their haunches, um, and I, I’ve been to Africa a lot on mission work you know, during surgery and dr- digging wells, uh, for charity water. And it’s interesting, most people, there aren’t chairs that anybody sits on. They are on their haunches. And I’ve done those on myself and looked at my patients. And it, it actually takes a lot of energy to sit on your haunches. It, it takes big muscle groups.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (27:48):
Yeah. And especially if you don’t do it regularly. Right? I think, um, I, I, I try, you know, the kind of typical afternoon. You know, you go about and maybe go out on a foray with a man or woman. And, and you know, we’re anthropologists. So we’re just sitting in their, their daily lives and so we’re out there with them all day. But often, you’re home in the afternoon. Around, sitting around like a, a campfire and, you know, they just sort of squat down and, and like you said, on their haunches and they’re very comfortably-
Dr. Gundry (28:15):
Dr. Herman Pontzer (28:15):
… You know. And you try to, I try to do it and I haven’t been doing that my whole life. And I’ve lost that flexibility so I look like, you know, I’m all (laughs) discombobulated trying to do it. So, you know, if, if you don’t do it your whole life, I think it’s, it’s es- especially hard. But even for them, they’re, we know, we’ve, we’ve done this measurement. Their, their muscles, their core muscles and their big muscles are, are, are active. Right? So that’s one of the reasons.
Even though they might sit as much as we do, it doesn’t seem to be as bad for them because they’re, they’re staying a little bit active. Um, and that little bit of activity seems to be really important for keeping them healthy.
Dr. Gundry (28:48):
Yeah. No. I think you’re absolutely right. And, uh, you know, I took that message in, in my book, The Energy Paradox to have people do what I call exercise snacking where-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (28:48):
Dr. Gundry (28:58):
… You just five minutes every, every few hours do something. Like sit on your haunches or try to for five minutes. And (laughs)-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (29:07):
Dr. Gundry (29:08):
… You’re right. It’s actually challenging if you, if you haven’t done it (laughs) your whole life.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (29:13):
Yeah. That’s right. And I’m, you know, I think you know, that’s, that’s a great idea. And it’s, it’s a very Hadza idea. That you don’t sort of make exercise this one hour a day thing yet you do you know, in a kind of con- if, if that works for you, that’s great. But for a lot of us, I think it’s easier to think about it just as sort of something that we weave into our daily lives. Right? And accumulate over the course of a day rather than, “Oh, I’m gonna do that from seven to eight tonight or, or from five of, to six in the morning.”
That’s great, too. But weaving it in throughout your day I think is really a, a smart way to try to get as much activity as we’re evolved to get.
Dr. Gundry (29:49):
So I want, I want, since you’ve, you spent time with them, um, as you, as you probably know, I’m sure you know. They have a very different gut microbiome than us in the West.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (29:49):
Dr. Gundry (30:01):
They have a very diverse microbiome. It changes with the season. And as a microbiome researcher, I think diversity in the microbiome is, is one of the keys to great health. And I know in your book, you say a calorie is a calorie. But I wanna challenge you, um, I think depending on your microbiome that a calorie may not be a calorie. It depends on what your microbiome takes for themselves or what your microbiome harvests and gives to you. All right. What say you, professor?
Dr. Herman Pontzer (30:41):
Well, that’s a really interesting idea. And it’s worth looking into. We don’t have, uh, uh, I, I know the studies, uh, on you know, what, you call that metabolizable energy or the u- util- you know, utility of metabolism, metabolizable energy. I’m not sure that you have the data yet to know how different foods vary like that. I, what we can say and I think you’re right about this, absolutely. Some people, if you have a, a gut microbiome that’s healthy and diverse, you’re gonna be able to handle fiber a lot better, for example.
And fiber gets turned into short chain fatty acids, which your body can use for energy. So in that case, like a calorie of fiber, which might pass through and be unused by somebody might be able to get used by somebody else. Um, so, point taken and I, and I, I think you’re right about that. And, uh, you know, no argument there. I think, you know, the calorie is a calorie thing, what, as somebody who studies energy expenditure, what I get upset by or, and you know, annoyed by-
Dr. Gundry (30:41):
Dr. Herman Pontzer (31:40):
… Are people who wanna talk about m- you know, uh, the evil carbs or the magic carbs or the evil, you know, I, I think we can get away from that a little bit. The, there are gonna be some interesting things that we sh- need to do to keep our guts healthy. And that’s gonna have to do with the foods we eat, absolutely. Um, but in terms of, you know, obesity is all about carbs or something simplistic like that. I think the data just don’t support that. And so, um, if it were that simple, that’d be great.
But uh, it’s, you know, as a first pass, a calorie is a calorie and then we can talk about the, the caveats of that I think I’d be fine with that.
Dr. Gundry (32:12):
So, uh, I think one of the good takeaways of your book is that the, these hunter-gatherers are not doing the carnivore diet.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (32:20):
(laughs) No. No. Um, uh, I just reviewed this. So one of the people I work with over there is Brian Wood. He’s a, he’s a Hadza expert and been working there for over 20 years, I think. Uh, and, uh, you know, he and I just went through all the long term data we could find for Hadza food returns. Because when you’re in these camps that we work with, we, we h- we measure all the food that comes in. And we see what they’re eating. And so, we have something like, you know, decades of food returns in this, you know, one of the only hunting and gathering groups that are still doing it.
Uh, you know, and yeah. It’s not a meat-heavy diet at all. You know, as a matter of fact, if anything, it’s kind of a carb-heavy diet. Um, but you know, the, it’s really a mix and that’s the, I think the important thing there is, is, it’s not just one thing. You know, the idea that there’s one perfect human diet, uh, I, it, that, there’s no evidence for that from the hunting and gathering literature I can tell you.
Dr. Gundry (33:11):
And, uh, and you’ve studied them. They, it, it’s fascinating and you know, again, this was my research at Yale as well. There, the diversity of the plants that they encounter in, in a year’s cycle is just, it’s mind-boggling. And-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (33:30):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, absolutely. You know? And, um, if you think about, you know, what, what foods make it into your fridge on a weekly basis? You know? And it’s, it’s probably not the same number of, that you’re going through if you’re not at the Hadza camp. You know and also, uh, I think it’s also important to mention and we can talk about this. But they don’t have a lot of processed foods, do they? I mean, they have zero. And they don’t have any crops, no domesticated animals even, you know.
Um, but they certainly don’t have any packaged foods and, and, you know, I think about the foods that come through an American household. Over half the calories are these ultra-processed things and, you know, it’s not that it’s any one particular nutrient. It’s that, it’s just completely changed. And the way that your body handles that, the way that your brain handles those, that flavor profile and all the rest of it, it’s just very different. So, um, a lot to learn from, from Hadza diets and, and from other small scale societies for sure.
Dr. Gundry (34:23):
Let’s talk about, uh, let’s talk about breakfast. Break fast.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (34:28):
Mm-hmm (affirmative) Yeah.
Dr. Gundry (34:30):
Um, that’s, that’s not a, something that these guys do. They don’t wake up in the morning and start munching on Cheerios.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (34:40):
No. They, they kinda wake up in the morning and have whatever was left over from last night, you know. If there is leftover, if there are leftovers from last night. Uh, and so, you know, I don’t say, that, I wouldn’t say that they sort of skip breakfast. They, not, not intentionally, you know. Usually, there’s something leftover that they’ll have. Um, but it’s not this big sit down and have 2,000 calories of, of anything. (laughs) You know. Uh, it’s sort of a, a small, small, uh, meal to get you going.
Dr. Gundry (35:07):
No. And a lot of times, they’ll, they’ll head out without anything and you know, when they f-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (35:07):
Dr. Gundry (35:13):
… When they find something, that’s break fast. Right?
Dr. Herman Pontzer (35:16):
That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. Yeah.
Dr. Gundry (35:18):
So, um, you know, for our viewers and listeners, what’s, what’s one of the most important takeaways from your book that everybody can put into practice for their health today?
Dr. Herman Pontzer (35:30):
Yeah. I’d say the big takeaway is, diet and exercise are two different tools with two different jobs. Right? Uh, the work we’ve done with the Hadza says that, that, uh, maintaining your weight has, has mostly to do with your diet and what you’re eating. Um, a lot of other aspects of your health, heart health, you know, brain health, that has to do with the exercise and how you’re spending those calories. And so, you know, you, you can’t sort of trade diet and exercise. You kinda have to do both. That’s the, you know, that’s, that’s the tough news.
The easy news is, there’s a, a lot of good ways to do that. Uh, though, you know, you, you can find an approach that works for you. But I think we have to think about diet for weight, exercise for everything else. That’s what I would say.
Dr. Gundry (36:13):
Yeah. I think, uh, uh, you’re absolutely right. Uh, the, there’s you know, exciting research about when we exercise, our muscles make, um, hormones called myokines.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (36:24):
Dr. Gundry (36:25):
Uh, and these things are incredible about for producing, uh, BDNF and stimulating neuron growth. I mean, who knew that, you know, moving, uh, would help your brain. I mean, you know, (laughs) really?
Dr. Herman Pontzer (36:42):
Yeah. Abs- absolutely. And especially as people age, we’re finding, uh, this is a work that other guy I worked with at, in, uh, when I worked with the Hadza is there’s a guy named David Raichlen at USC now. And he’s done really interesting work looking at, at, uh, people as they age. Um, physical activity seem to stave off a lot of, of, uh, cognitive decline. Seem to be protective against that for the reasons you were saying. You know, the, the, it’s not just your muscles. Your, everyth- exercise gets everywhere. And so, um, really exciting stuff on that end of things, too, for sure.
Dr. Gundry (37:11):
Yeah. I mean, in The Longevity Paradox, I write about, uh, women who-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (37:11):
Dr. Gundry (37:16):
… Uh, routinely exercise for most of their lives have an 80% reduction in Alzheimer’s, dementia compared to women who don’t routinely exercise. And even women who carry the Alzheimer’s gene and who-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (37:33):
Dr. Gundry (37:33):
… Eventually may develop Alzheimer’s, it arrives 11 years later than if they didn’t exercise routinely. And-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (37:42):
Dr. Gundry (37:42):
… And when you think about that, it’s one thing to get, you know, Alzheimer’s at 80 and quite another to get Alzheimer’s at 91. I mean, 11 years-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (37:42):
Dr. Gundry (37:52):
… Of, of, of a good life at, uh, at the end of your life is, boy, is well worth-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (37:52):
Dr. Gundry (37:57):
… The investment.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (37:59):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if you’ve got grandkids, that’s the difference between, you know, losing touch when they’re five or losing touch when they’re 15, you know. That’s, that’s a big difference. Um, I, absolutely.
Dr. Gundry (38:08):
Yeah. Well, it’s been, it’s been a great pleasure to have on you on the podcast today. And I, I really could talk to you for hours. Maybe we should. I’ll call you up. So, where-
Dr. Herman Pontzer (38:18):
Dr. Gundry (38:18):
… Where can listeners learn more about you and your incredible work?
Dr. Herman Pontzer (38:22):
Sure. Well, so, I’m at Duke University and our lab website there, the Pontzer Lab is pretty easy to find. I’ve, I’ve got a, a funny name. So if you look for Herman Pontzer, there are, aren’t too many of us out there. Uh, we also, if you wanna find out more about the Hadza, um, please check out, uh, the hadzafund.org and of course, yeah. A lot of the stuff that we talked about today is in the book, Burn. Please, uh, check it out if you’re interested in this, in this work.
Dr. Gundry (38:45):
Yeah. No. This is really fascinating. And, uh, you know, your work up ends, uh, a lot of the current thought and, uh, and I like what you’re bringing to this. Uh, so good for you and good luck with the book. And really appreciate having you on the podcast.
Dr. Herman Pontzer (39:01):
Thanks so much. It was really fun.
Dr. Gundry (39:02):
All right. Take care. Okay. It’s time for our audience question. This week’s question comes from Julian Han on drgundry.com, who asks, “Does pressure cooking brown rice or black rice, forbidden rice neutralize our lectins?” Okay. Great question. Uh, one of the things you’ll learn in The Energy Paradox is that, uh, black rice and red rice actually have quite a good content of melatonin. And you’re gonna learn in The Energy Paradox how good, uh, eating foods with melatonin can be for you.
So, uh, shockingly, uh, red rice and black rice are in The Energy Paradox as approved foods as long as you pressure cook them. But please beware that any rice comes at a cost because most of you are now aware that rice concentrates arsenic in the grain. And not a whole lot of us want a whole lot of arsenic in us. So, you oughta view these as in a way special treats. Uh, you, but please, please pressure cook them. Now, even when you pressure cook rice, you want to get more resistant starch from your rice. And this is true with any starch.
So remember, one of the keys is, pressure cook your rice or cook a sweet potato for example. And then, refrigerate it. Let it cool. And then reheat it. And the process of cooking, cooling and then reheating actually dramatically increases the amount of resistant starch. And one fun fact, the best resistant starch out there is the purple sweet potato, cooled and then reheated. Uh, the resistant starch content is out of this world. And interestingly, the purple sweet potato ha- is 85% of the traditional Okinawan diet.
And the traditional Okinawan diet, uh, made some of the longest living people in the world, one of the blue zones. So, if you’re gonna have sweet potatoes, get the purple ones. They’re pretty available now in most grocery stores. You cook it, cool it and then reheat it. Uh, great question. Now it’s time for the review of the week.
Speaker 4 (41:44):
Support from this podcast comes from Pluto TV. Ready to get away from it all? Free yourself with Pluto TV. Stream hundreds of channels and thousands of movies and shows all for free. Yeah. Free. No contracts. No subscriptions. No fees. Imagine 24/7 channels of Narcos, CSI, Star Trek, Survivor and everything else from hit movies to binge-worthy TV shows, the latest news, live sports, comedy and more. What are you waiting for? Download the free Pluto TV app for Android or iPhone and start watching now. Pluto TV. Drop in. Watch free.
Kimberly Snyder (42:22):
Welcome to the Feel Good podcast with Kimberly Snyder. My goal is to help you develop a holistic lifestyle based on our four cornerstone philosophy, food, body, emotional well-being and spiritual growth. This holistic approach will help you feel good, which I define as being connected to your most authentic, highest self. And this is the place from which your energy, confidence, creativity, true power and true beauty will start to explode.
Every week, we provide you with interviews from top experts in their field or a solo cast from yours truly to support you in living your most beautiful, healthy and joyful life. I’m your host, Kimberly Snyder. Founder of Solluna, New York Times best-selling author and holistic wellness, nutrition and meditation teacher. Let’s get started.
Dr. Gundry (43:13):
This week’s review comes from a, I’m gonna butcher this name. I, I apologize. Uh, M Jud Figgy, M Jud W Figgy on Apple podcast who left a five-star review and wrote, “Finding Dr. Gundry has changed my life. He is passionate about helping people and his well-researched way of living can help you, too.” Well, thank you, M Jud W Figgy. (laughs) Thank you very much. You know, all of your reviews are really super helpful. So if you haven’t yet, please rate and review us on iTunes or wherever you get your shows.
And I really take your reviews seriously and I hope you can tell how excited I am to bring you these podcasts and to bring you my research. Because as you know, I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you. We’ll see you next week.
Disclaimer. On The Dr. Gundry Podcast, we provide a venue for discussion and the views expressed by my guests do not necessarily reflect my own.
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 podcast. And if you wanna 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.