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 (00:00:14):
Hey, everybody. It’s Dr. Gundry here. I’ve got some very exciting news right now. You can sign up for Dr. Gundry’s newsletter. As a subscriber, you’ll get updates about new episodes of the Dr. Gundry podcast where we talk about all things health. Trust me, you won’t want to miss out. I’ll also keep you in the loop of all the things I’m up to from news, to events, to special appearances. Visit www.drgundry.com to sign up. Welcome to the Dr. Gundry podcast. Well, by now, you probably heard all about the keto diet. Maybe you’ve heard it can help you lose weight, feel sharper, and more. Or maybe you’ve read those articles saying that it’s actually dangerous.
Dr. Gundry (00:01:01):
Well, my guest today wants to help you sort out fact from fiction. I couldn’t have asked for a better guide. He’s Mark Sisson, founder of Primal Kitchen, former marathoner, bestselling author, and all around impressive guy. Mark is out with a brand new book called Keto for Life. It has my endorsement actually on the back of the book. It’s a great primer for anyone looking to try the keto diet. On today’s episode, Mark and I are going to talk about weeding through decades of diet myths, some of our favorite subjects together, the importance of adding fat to your diet, and whether long distance running is really good for you. All of you runners, stay tuned, because we’re going to talk with one of the godfathers of running right here. Mark, great to have you on the podcast.
Mark Sisson (00:02:04):
Great to see you again, Steve. The last time we saw each other was Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. What a treat that was to come around the corner and see you and your wife. It was crazy.
Dr. Gundry (00:02:13):
There we are, you’re going one way, I’m going the other way. We did a double take, and then stop a couple feet apart. We passed. Mark, Steve?
Mark Sisson (00:02:23):
Yup, there you go.
Dr. Gundry (00:02:26):
Great to have you. You and I have lived through the extremes of diet information, high carb, low fat, Atkins, and more. In your case, what made you realize that you were doing everything wrong or maybe you never did anything wrong?
Mark Sisson (00:02:45):
I didn’t realize I was doing things wrong for a long time. I was endurance athlete starting out in the ’70s, actually started in the ’60s, but competed well in the ’70s in marathons, got injured doing that. As I find out later, it was a partly result of the highly inflammatory diet that I was using to fuel all those miles. I transitioned to triathlon and did Ironman a couple of times. Then I got the message that I didn’t want to beat myself up that much to be fit anymore. I had to retire from competition. Throughout my life as an athlete, I’d always sought ways in which I could enhance my performance naturally, legally.
Mark Sisson (00:03:25):
That meant some dietary information or manipulation supplements if that was the case. I was always a student of the human body, of human physiology, of evolution, as time went on, of gene expression and how genetic science really factors into a lot of what we’re talking about today. I started simply understanding that fats weren’t necessarily the bad guy that they were made out to be in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. I started incorporating more fats into my diet. As I stopped training or cut way back on my training and I didn’t need that many calories, I was adding in a little bit more of the fat. I was always eating protein.
Mark Sisson (00:04:09):
I started to look at the amount of sugar I was eating. I thought, well, this isn’t necessary anymore because I’m not running the miles. I’m not burning the calories. I’m not filling the glycogen stores and all of this. I start to cut back on the sugar and I noticed I felt better from that. I went for another decade writing books about training and writing books about optimizing your diet for training, starting to write books for the general public about how to lose weight by using dietary manipulation. However, I still suffered my own set of maladies. I still had irritable bowel syndrome that run my life. I had arthritis in my feet.
Mark Sisson (00:04:52):
I had osteoarthritis in my feet that I thought was partly a result of my running career and partly just a natural artifact of being older. I couldn’t grip a golf club. That was weird to me. I had the arthritis, I had tendonitis on a regular basis. I had all these itises. That wasn’t right for a guy who’s trying to be not just fit, but now healthy. When I was …
Dr. Gundry (00:05:14):
You are world expert on healthy.
Mark Sisson (00:05:15):
I’m a world expert on health. You see this a lot in our field. You see experts who still … Behind the curtain, they’re suffering and they’ve got all the maladies that they write about and talk about. In my case, when I was 47, my wife …
Dr. Gundry (00:05:35):
Mark Sisson (00:05:35):
Yeah, really. It’s going on 20 years ago, pal. When I was 47, my wife said, “Look, you’re writing about how bad grain is for you.” Because I’d done a lot of research on gluten, and gliadin, and zonulin, and corn, and all of these anti-nutrients, these tightly folded proteins. She said, “You’re writing about all these grain stuff, you still have grain in your diet. What’s that about?” I’m like, “Well, I’m defending my right to eat grain because I don’t think that’s the cause of anything that’s going on with me.” She said, “Well, why don’t you give up grain for 30 days?” Well, I gave up grain for 30 days and it absolutely transformed my life. It was the most amazing transformation.
Mark Sisson (00:06:14):
The arthritis in my feet went away. The irritable bowel syndrome, again, was like running my life since the age of 14, went away. The GERD that I experienced, weird places like sitting back in an airplane seat or something like that in the wrong position, that went away. I had hemorrhoids for much of my life, went away. The sinus infections that would linger after a cold, the stuffed up head that just wouldn’t seem … That went away. It was incredible, this transformation from having given up this one food group that I was told my whole life was an important part of a healthy …
Dr. Gundry (00:06:55):
Mark Sisson (00:06:56):
The cornerstone of a healthy diet, 6 to 11 servings a day. Well, that was such an aha moment for me that I really shifted everything to looking at, okay, if I’m a guy who defended my right to eat grains in the face of all this evidence, how many millions, tens of millions of people are out there suffering the same sorts of things I am. They may not be celiac. They may not be gluten intolerant on a certain test, but there’s something about their consumption of grains. It’s probably interfering with their enjoyment of life to the fullest extent.
Mark Sisson (00:07:30):
That became the impetus for my looking into the evolution of the human diet and how our genes turn on or off in response to certain inputs that we give them. Many of these inputs have to do with food and the foods that we choose to consume. It really opened this amazing world of exploration that continues to this day. Initially, I started with creating the Primal Blueprint and that was based on our ancestral patterns of not just how we ate plants and animals, but avoiding toxic foods, moving around a lot at a low level of activity, not marathon running or triathlons, lifting heavy things once in a while, sprinting once in a while, getting plenty of sleep, using our brain, engaging in play.
Mark Sisson (00:08:15):
All these things that I felt were universal behaviors that we all not only would like to exhibit, but are our genes expect of us. If we don’t give those inputs to our genes, our genes don’t manifest. They don’t rebuild, renew, regenerate, recreate us the way we’d like to be rebuilt. Started out with Primal, and that was when paleo was getting on. Primal was my own brand. I got so dialed in with that. I got so happy with my results. I got hundreds of thousands, millions of people who were following my blog and reporting back about their incredible experiences. I thought, well, I could leave it at that, but maybe there’s more.
Mark Sisson (00:08:55):
That’s when I started looking at ketogenic diet as what I would call next level stuff. That was what got me ultimately to experimenting with now, which is the basis for Keto for Life, developing what I call metabolic flexibility. You can live your life without ever having to think about counting calories, or portion control, or meal time, or any of that other stuff.
Dr. Gundry (00:09:20):
I’m going to stop you. I’m going to point out that why is it that your wife and my wife are usually so intelligent and that if we would just listen to them like you have and I certainly have, it’s amazing.
Mark Sisson (00:09:36):
Dr. Gundry (00:09:37):
The thing [inaudible 00:09:37] …
Mark Sisson (00:09:37):
Kicking and screaming, by the way. I listened to her kicking and screaming, but it was quite the eye opener, yes.
Dr. Gundry (00:09:42):
Yeah. You had to give a shout out to …
Mark Sisson (00:09:45):
Dr. Gundry (00:09:46):
… wives, because everything good that happens happens because of my wife. Yes, dear. All right. I called you a grandfather of the keto movement. Mark Daily Apple, the Primal Blueprint really set the stage for a lot of what we now do in the ancestral movement or paleo movement. A lot of people are confused by all these names. What’s the difference between a paleo Primal diet and a keto Primal diet?
Mark Sisson (00:10:30):
It becomes nuance at this point. All of these diets that tend to work mostly work because of the things you’re not eating. When you eliminate the offending foods, when you eliminate the sugars, the sugary drinks, the pies, cakes, candies, cookies … Sorry, people, the breads, the pastas, the cereals and you come down to this list of natural real food, meat, fish, fowl, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, a little bit of fruit, some starchy tubers, that’s real food. That’s what the body is equipped to handle. Paleo really looked at that cornucopia of foods basically as much as you want, as often as you want, because you’re not eating the toxic Frankenfoods that society has created for us.
Mark Sisson (00:11:21):
Primal looked at that and said, well, maybe there’s some things we can add because paleo tended to think in terms of dairy being off limits because until we started hurting animals 10,000 years ago, our ancestors didn’t consume dairy. We can go into a whole discussion about why I think dairy is appropriate under certain circumstances. All these foods exist on a spectrum too. Any food that you talk about, I can give you exceptionally great versions of those foods and horribly toxic versions of those foods. When we talk about dairy, for instance, 2% skim, homogenized, pasteurized, forget it, it’s nasty stuff.
Mark Sisson (00:11:58):
It’s A1 casein, which is a completely different casein which most of us evolve to digest easily. On the other hand, you’ve got ghee, and butter, and artisanal cheeses, and I think they’re great. Raw milk, if you can get it, for some people, it’s great. Dairy became one of those little touch points where paleo said, we’re not going to do dairy. Primal, I said, look, if you’re not lactose intolerant, then I think dairy is fine. A little bit of chocolate once in a while, a little bit of red wine. I wanted to be as inclusive as possible with the Primal Blueprint. I want to create a list of foods that people didn’t feel like they were giving up, that they were sacrificing in large quantities, all the foods, all the comfort foods that they’d eaten over time.
Mark Sisson (00:12:45):
Now as paleo and then Primal became more mainstream, we start talking about keto. What is keto? The ketogenic diet, and it’s a little bit of an elaborate discussion here, but the body runs on fats and carbohydrates mostly. The three macronutrients that we talk about are fast proteins and carbohydrate. Well, proteins are largely structural. We want to consume protein just to rebuild our bodies. Fats and carbohydrates have been the fuel that we’ve used. We were born with this amazing default setting that would allow us to drive most of our energy from fat, from stored body fat.
Mark Sisson (00:13:26):
In the absence of food or fuel, historically, over millions of years, which was generally the case for most people, you didn’t have three square meals a day. You’d miss meals, you’d miss days. You go days without eating, and you had to maintain energy and you had to maintain muscle mass. The body evolved an incredible system to take some of the stored body fat, combust that as fuel in the muscles, take other parts of that fat, sent it to the liver and make another fuel that we call ketones. Most people don’t even know about the existence of ketones. As I say, we’re born with this amazing ability to create these ketones.
Mark Sisson (00:14:05):
Under the right circumstances, the liver can make 750 calories a day worth of this fuel, worth of ketones. The idea behind the ketogenic diet was let’s get away from this dependency on carbohydrates. Let’s get away from this having to eat carbohydrates every couple of hours and have our blood sugar go up because the carbs convert to glucose and that causes insulin. Then insulin takes the glucose out of the bloodstream because it wants to get rid of it, and our blood sugar drops, and we get hungry again, then we have to eat more carbs. You go on this roller coaster all day long. When I say all day long, I’m talking for decades.
Mark Sisson (00:14:40):
Most people start with the first solid food their parents give them is carbohydrate-based. We lose this ability to burn fat. We lose this ability to make ketones and use ketones efficiently. We become carbohydrate dependent for most of our lives. The ketogenic diet, and what we call keto in general, is a way of training your body to get back to this flexibility, this metabolic flexibility where the body can extract the energy not just from carbohydrates, which most people do, but from fat on your plate of food, the fat on your hips, and thighs, and belly, the carbohydrate on your plate of food, the glucose in your bloodstream, the glycogen in your muscles, the ketones that your liver is making.
Mark Sisson (00:15:23):
You become metabolically flexible to the extent that you don’t really ever run out of energy because you always have an energy source. If there’s no food immediately available, the body just goes, hmm, I think I’ll take it off my thighs and combust it in the muscles, I’ll send some to the liver, I’ll send the ketones that are made there to fuel the brain. We won’t eat carbohydrates. We’ll go as long as you want. A couple of meals, a couple of days, we don’t care. We got this handled. We train the body to become metabolically flexible this way. The other thing, and I think the most important aspect of this is that hunger, appetite, and cravings dissipate or go away in many cases. Where most people who are carbohydrate dependent are living one meal to the next like, okay, we just had breakfast, what time is lunch? We get …
Dr. Gundry (00:16:14):
I better have a snack before lunch.
Mark Sisson (00:16:15):
Got to have a snack mid-morning, a coffee break in the morning, or a pick-me-up because I’m going to feel like taking a nap at 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon if I don’t have a bagel or an energy bar. That’s the latest one. Then go home and have dinner, and then maybe have a snack watching TV. This is not only antithetical to health, it’s also a pattern that most people in this country engage in. Just way too much food. The problem is, it’s driven by hunger. People actually feel hunger because it’s a hormonal dysregulation that they’re causing by their choices of food.
Mark Sisson (00:16:55):
If I can educate and instruct people on other choices of food, that would have a different effect and would cause their bodies to upregulate enzyme systems that take fat out of storage and combust it, that would upregulate enzyme systems that help in the conversion of other fats into ketones to use as fuel, that would improve what we call mitochondrial biogenesis actually increased the number of power plants in the cell where the fat burns, improve the efficiency of those power plants, of those mitochondria. You literally repattern, reprogram your body to become fat adapted and keto adapted. It is such a sense of freedom for everybody who does this.
Dr. Gundry (00:17:43):
Wow. How does somebody sign up for this?
Mark Sisson (00:17:47):
You just sign up.
Dr. Gundry (00:17:49):
You go to the store and you buy Primal Kitchen Mayo.
Mark Sisson (00:17:53):
Well, that’s …
Dr. Gundry (00:17:54):
Well, I’m doing this for a purpose. This is fat.
Mark Sisson (00:17:58):
Yes, 100% fat.
Dr. Gundry (00:18:01):
Yes, basically fat. You’re telling me that one of the ways to get this is you should eat fat, but fat makes you fat. Come on, Mark.
Mark Sisson (00:18:12):
Dr. Gundry (00:18:12):
Look at you. You have slab …
Mark Sisson (00:18:13):
God bless Susan Powter. Remember her?
Dr. Gundry (00:18:17):
Yeah, I do.
Mark Sisson (00:18:18):
Fat makes you fat. I’m like, all right. I bought into that too, by the way. I know you did as well.
Dr. Gundry (00:18:23):
Yeah, I did.
Mark Sisson (00:18:24):
It made sense. It made sense. Fat doesn’t make you fat. In fact, in order to burn fat, you have to provide typically some form of fat to stoke the fire. It’s really the absence of carbohydrate that prompts the body to go into this ketogenic state. By ketogenic, we mean the genesis of ketones. We’re making ketones. Because typically, we don’t make ketones if we’re living on a carbohydrate-based carb dependency state most of the time. There’s no need to. The body says, I got plenty of fuel. I’ve got this glucose in the bloodstream. I know you’re going to eat every two hours. That’s cool, even every four hours. The brain is happy with the glucose.
Mark Sisson (00:19:11):
Insulin, which is higher because of all the carbohydrates you eat, insulin locks fat into the fat cells. They can’t combust that fat. Over time, excess calories then get converted to stored body fat, which historically is awesome. Imagine 1 million years ago or 500,000 years ago or whatever, you come across some food and you go, okay, I’ve finally find some food after a couple of days and you don’t just eat till you’re … You keep eating. Your brain is wired to overeat that food. We evolve the system, and it’s so elegant, a system that takes the extra calories from that food that we overate and converts them into energy that, instead of carrying five gallon buckets around with us all through the woods and everything, we store this on our hips, on our butt, on our thighs, right around the center of gravity so that we can carry it with us and have access to the fuel whenever we run out of fuel.
Mark Sisson (00:20:07):
It’s a beautiful system. It’s a beautiful system as long as you also have the ability to take that fuel out of storage and burn it. That’s what most people have lost. In order to get there, you have to withhold carbohydrates. You have to say, okay, I’m going to cut back on my intake of sugars, and sweets, and sweetened beverages, and pies, cakes, candies, cookies. Vegetables are basically free on a keto diet. It doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice. I tell people, when you start keto, do not let yourself go hungry. The first three weeks, you’re just going to train your body to burn fat. I don’t care what happens. I don’t care if you don’t lose weight.
Mark Sisson (00:20:45):
I can pretty much guarantee you won’t gain weight. I don’t care if you don’t lose weight that first three weeks. I want your body to adapt to this knowledge that they’re not going to be that many carbohydrates available. It’s going to be a different situation in terms of the environment. As a result, it doesn’t happen in a day, a meal or a day or whatever. Over a couple of days, a couple of weeks, the body says, oh, that’s what’s going on. I’m going to upregulate. I’m going to start building more of these mitochondria. The brain starts to understand how to use ketones better and more efficiently. The liver starts pumping ketones out and everything’s running quite smoothly.
Mark Sisson (00:21:25):
At that point about three weeks in, when I say you’re fat and keto adapted, and that’s three weeks of having restricted carbs to say 50 or fewer grams a day. We could talk about what that looks like, and you’re basically there. From that point on, it’s really how closely can you adhere to a program that’s within reason. I’m not saying you have to eat 50 grams of carbs the rest of your life. In fact, what I strive for with metabolic flexibility is what I call the keto zone. Once you’ve done the work, once you’ve built the metabolic machinery, once you become metabolically flexible, then I can have a day where I eat nothing, feel fine.
Mark Sisson (00:22:05):
I can have a day where I eat a lunch and a dinner, feel fine. I can have a day where I eat 175 or 200 grams of carbs and feel fine. What’s the difference? There’s no difference. I feel fine. That’s all that matters. All that matters is I’m able to go about my life without any conscious knowledge that, oh my God, I screwed things up because I was supposed to be keto and then I wasn’t, and I felt like crap. If you feel like crap after that, you’re not keto adapted.
Dr. Gundry (00:22:31):
Give me an idea. Most Americans are not keto adapted. They don’t have metabolic flexibility. They can’t turn from sugar burning to fat burning. People hear about the keto flu or the Atkins flu. How do you get people through that transition phase?
Mark Sisson (00:22:55):
There are number of ways to do that. In my previous book, The Keto Reset Diet, we talked about a six-week induction phase, if you will, six weeks of transitioning stair stepping to mostly a Primal Blueprint type diet, which is just basically cutting out breads, and pastas, and cereals. You could still have starchy tubers. You could still have peas and beans and things like that that were natural, but would still keep you at around 100, 120 grams of carbs a day. That just gets your body used to having fewer carbs. Most people eat 300, 400, 500 grams of carbs a day.
Dr. Gundry (00:23:38):
No, come on.
Mark Sisson (00:23:39):
You know, you absolutely know that. It’s scary how much the world depends on carbohydrate. If you eliminate all the toxic foods and you come down to this list of healthful foods that are all natural, that are on the perimeter of the store, you can pretty much eat what you want. My first rule of thumb, as I say, don’t let yourself go hungry. This is not about you struggling and suffering to get to a certain point. This is about you with grace and ease, transitioning your body to a point where it’s, first of all, okay, we’re not eating a lot of sugar and not eating every couple of hours.
Mark Sisson (00:24:18):
Then once you get to that point, then all you do is find 50 or 60 grams of carbs per day that you cut from that, and then the transition becomes quite easy. Then there’s really no keto flu. A lot of people who claim to get a keto flu, and this is a sense of a little bit of malaise, a little bit of dizziness, a little bit of a lightheadedness because the brain hasn’t yet gotten used to the lower glucose and hasn’t really gotten the message that it’s fine to be burning ketones all the time. The brain actually thrives more on ketones than it does on glucose. That transition takes a while. Any of these things that we do to the human body, evolution created this amazing system, as I said.
Mark Sisson (00:25:03):
One of the aspects of the system is it likes the status quo until you prove to what the status quo is no longer going to be. If you do thing for one meal or two meals, the body goes, nah, I’m resisting that because that’s not enough time for me to even think about changing. Because if I’m going to use resources, if this body’s going to use resources to build more enzyme systems, to make more mitochondria, to increase bone density, to increase … Those all are expensive resource using things. You’ve got to figure out how to trick the body into doing that by giving the genetic signals that cause genes to turn on that build muscle, to cause the genes that turn on that make mitochondria, or that make bone stronger, or that support the immune system.
Mark Sisson (00:25:49):
All of these are well within our control as humans based largely on choices we make with the foods that we choose to eat, how much sleep we get, how well we control stress, the types of exercise we choose to do. You choose to do one type of exercise, you become long, and skinny, and gaunt. You choose to do another type of exercise, you become larger, and more muscular, and stronger. My life’s work has been really about identifying these hidden genetic switches that we all have and exposing them to people and saying, here’s something you might try if this is your goal.
Dr. Gundry (00:26:30):
You mentioned this already, but I want to get back to this. Your book is Keto for Life, should I always be in ketosis?
Mark Sisson (00:26:40):
That’s kind of a bait and switch I guess. Because, well, and it’s also you’ve worked with publishers. We come up with a title, and you like your title, and they like yours, and you wind up putting them together. This is a longevity book. This is a book about how to live a longer, happier, healthier, more productive, loving life. Because keto was my last book, they needed the transition. It’s great. What I’m talking about and when I talk about keto, and here’s a good segue to make that distinction, keto is a way of eating, a way of living that embodies this low carb methodology. It doesn’t just require or involve or necessitate low carb. You can go keto just by not eating.
Mark Sisson (00:27:33):
If you don’t eat for three days, you’re in ketosis. You prompt the body to create these ketones. Now it’s a lot easier if you don’t eat for three days if you become keto adapted. If you are a sugar burner and you don’t eat for three days, that’s where you have the visions. That’s where you see Elvis and Jesus. You see the whole thing.
Dr. Gundry (00:27:53):
And the crash and burn.
Mark Sisson (00:27:54):
The crash and burn, that’s the crash and burn. To ease your way into this, this keto way of eating has as much to do with how often you eat, the choices that you make when you eat, the fractal nature of eating. As I talk a lot about in the book, and I talked a lot on podcasts, I don’t know if you know a guy named Art Devany.
Dr. Gundry (00:28:21):
Mark Sisson (00:28:23):
Art, he’s always been ahead of the curve on everything. One of the things he started 10 years ago was, he just says, “I eat fractally. Some days I eat a meal, some days I don’t eat. Some days I eat three meals, some days a big meal, a small meal.” He changes it up because that’s the human experience. Historically, humans didn’t have three portion control meals a day, plus two snacks, plus a bedtime pick-me-up or whatever. Keto for Life is really about adopting this way, this keto eating strategy that allows you to maintain metabolic flexibility.
Mark Sisson (00:28:57):
Whether you go off keto for a couple of days and say, I’m going on vacation, I’m going to have pasta, and I’ll suffer the consequences. I moved to Miami. My wife and I found this restaurant. I hadn’t had pasta, seriously, for 15 years. We found a pasta dish that’s got this amazing truffle Alfredo sauce and it was gluten-free pasta.
Dr. Gundry (00:29:24):
Mark Sisson (00:29:25):
Once a week, we would go there and order salmon and a pasta, and split both, and that would be our meal. Look, I love to eat. I love food. I want every bite of food I put in my mouth to taste great. I’m not advocating for sacrifice and discipline. I’m advocating for mindful eating and ultimately arriving at a place where you are so intuitively tuned into your own body that you don’t need to think about it. I could eat the whole cheesecake, but I know that’s not going to serve me. I’ll have a bite that will serve me. I can go without eating this next meal because I don’t have time to eat and I’ve got some things to do.
Mark Sisson (00:30:12):
I’m confident that my body will have zero negative consequences from that. I won’t be hangry and I won’t think about not eating, I’ll just … As I say, it’s such a level of freedom that most people never get to experience. When you think about how much of your life is tied to eating, and regular meal times, and being hungry, and feeding the hunger, and most cases unnecessarily, like you’re not really hungry. Your mouth is watering because it’s 12:30 and it’s lunch time.
Dr. Gundry (00:30:47):
You bring up a good point. So many people become hangry when they start a diet.
Mark Sisson (00:30:56):
That’s the low blood sugar. That’s not having become fat adapted yet. That’s why diets don’t work if you just count calories. If you’re just saying, well, this keto sounds good, but I don’t think I could go without eating carbs. I think I’ll just count calories. The discipline works as long as it does and then it stops. Most people who are carb centric eaters who start to cut back on all their calories, they get hungry, they get hangry, and now they’re fighting it the whole way. Typically, they have this entirely different physiology that when they don’t eat, instead of the body just going, hey, I got this. I’m going to burn fat. I’m going to make ketones. It’s all going to be great.
Mark Sisson (00:31:41):
Love what you’re doing. The body goes, wait a minute, I’m used to carbohydrates. What’s going on? The brain starts to get panicky, sends signals to the adrenals, the adrenals secrete cortisol, cortisol then goes out and literally tears down muscle tissue to find a couple of amino acids that can send to the liver to become glucose. It becomes a very destructive process. That’s the experience that most people had dieting in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. When you used to watch the Biggest Loser … Well, you didn’t watch it either.
Dr. Gundry (00:32:12):
Mark Sisson (00:32:15):
You see these people lose 200 pounds in a season, 150, 200 pounds, then you hear about them three years later, they’re back to where they were before …
Dr. Gundry (00:32:25):
Mark Sisson (00:32:26):
… and bigger. Because they lost muscle mass and their metabolisms got all screwed up and now it took fewer calories to fill them and yet they still had the hunger thing. It’s horrible. The keto lifestyle really fixes all that and does so without necessitating that you be ketogenic your whole life. The term ketosis is an interesting term because osis means an excess of something. Ketosis basically means you have an excess of ketones in the bloodstream. Well, when you first start eating this way, the liver is like, I can do this, and the liver starts pumping out ketones.
Mark Sisson (00:33:06):
Because you haven’t built the metabolic machinery to burn them, you can take a blood test and you go, oh my gosh, I’m four millimolar. I’m six millimolar. Yeah, I’m in ketosis. Well, that doesn’t mean anything to me that you’re in ketosis. You’re making ketones. If you’re not using them, you’re not getting the benefits of this lifestyle. You have to build the metabolic machinery. It takes a little bit of time. There’s an area where you have to be disciplined about it. There are certain workouts that you can do that will enhance the effect more quickly.
Mark Sisson (00:33:42):
There’s a point at which you become so keto adapted that the liver, which started out going frantically pumping out ketones and you’d pee them out. That’s why you show purple on these pee strips and you breathe them out. That’s why your friends would stay away. Now the liver is going, see, I know what you’re doing here. You’re not going to fool me. I want to conserve energy, because that’s a human experience, is to not use resources, waste resources. The body recognizes that once you get keto adapted and fat adapted, most of the work you do throughout the day can be fueled by fat.
Mark Sisson (00:34:24):
Your muscle are now … They’re not burning glycogen, a little bit, but they’re mostly burning fat. You can do 85%, 90%, 92% of all your work just burning fat. That’s a beautiful thing. As you’re just walking around the day or you’re doing minor tasks and even going to the gym, you’re mostly burning fat. Now the brain doesn’t burn fat. The brain is using the ketones. You got the muscles using the fat, the brain’s using ketones. You don’t need glucose very much at all, a little bit for red blood cells and a few other things. Your body actually makes glucose. Again, it’s so elegant, Steve. You got the triglyceride. The three fatty acids get combusted.
Mark Sisson (00:35:06):
The glycerol becomes part of a mechanism that makes glucose. It’s so elegant. It’s almost like a closed loop. Your liver just goes, oh, I see what you’re doing. When you go to the gym and you do all this work, your legs, you might do a leg day and your legs require 30 times as much energy to go through that work. While you’re doing your legs, how much energy does your brain require?
Dr. Gundry (00:35:31):
Same as usual.
Mark Sisson (00:35:31):
Same as usual. The brain just goes like this all day long. If all you’re doing is supplying ketones for the brain, the liver gets it. The liver goes, I’m just going to pump out enough ketones to the brain. I don’t need to waste these resources and pee them out, or exhale them, or sweat them out. What you find is that people who had been in a keto lifestyle for a long time don’t even register as in ketosis on these monitors because they’re so well adapted. The body’s just got it dialed in. It’s such a beautiful thing, this body that we have.
Dr. Gundry (00:36:07):
That’s great information because I have a number of patients. As you know, in all my books, I have a chapter of the keto plant paradox system. A ton of my patients will come in and say, I’m in ketosis. My strips say I’m in ketosis, or my breath machine, or my blood says I’m really in ketosis, I’m in huge ketosis, and I haven’t lost an ounce. This doesn’t work. I think your explanation is incredibly good, that just because you’re pumping out all these ketones doesn’t mean you’re actually using them.
Mark Sisson (00:36:46):
No. In some cases, people will use the dirty keto or the shortcuts and they’ll say, okay, I heard MCT oil is a great substrate to make ketones. They drink MCT oil. You drink too much and you have some digestive upset.
Dr. Gundry (00:37:03):
Mark Sisson (00:37:04):
Or ketone salts. Because they think what they’re doing is they’re chasing the ketones. You got to chase the results. I don’t care about the ketones. I want the results. The fact that I know what’s going on below the surface, I know that you’re making ketones. That’s all that I care about. If you show me that you’re in ketosis, that’s great. I think that’s an awesome first path for you in the first couple of steps. Do the work, work out in the gym. Then what you will find, and I bet this is happening with your patients, we don’t need to eat nearly as many calories as we think we do. I amaze and almost scare myself on how few calories I eat some days.
Mark Sisson (00:37:48):
I’m still carrying a little bit of mass here, muscle mass. It’s amazing to think that this system that we evolved can become a closed loop if you think about it this way. All right. Say you don’t eat for three days, what happens? The body goes, well, if you’re keto adapted, which you already are, if you’re an ancestral human or keto now, okay, the body will take fat out of fat stores. I’m 10% body fat. I have enough fat on me to walk 300 miles without [inaudible 00:38:21].
Dr. Gundry (00:38:20):
Yeah, last a long time.
Mark Sisson (00:38:22):
Last a long time. The body takes the fat out of fat cells and it uses it for daily movement and getting around. It sends some of that fat to the liver to become ketones. As I said, the liver can make up to 750 calories worth of ketones a day. It takes some of the glycerol from the triglyceride molecules, uses that as a substrate to make the whatever little glucose for 40 grams a day or something like that that it needs. Then a whole new set of variables enters. I think this is amazing. There’s a genetic response, an epigenetic response to these changes that causes protein to be spared. Whereas on a normal day, we probably eat too much protein.
Mark Sisson (00:39:07):
Certainly from one meal to the next, if we eat too much protein, it’s easy. We just deaminate it and pee it out. Now, the body tends to spare protein. If you’re not burning protein because you’re not supposed to combust protein, protein supposed to be for structural …
Dr. Gundry (00:39:24):
Mark Sisson (00:39:25):
… repair. Then you’ve got this system that is burning fat, creating ketones, a little bit of glucose, sparing protein. When you see people who’ve been good at this will fast for five days and not lose much in a way of muscle mass, a pound, pound-and-a-half, which they get back because most of that is glycogen and water. They’re burning off fat. I suspect most of the fat they’re burning off is visceral fat, which is another major reason to do a fast once you get keto adapted and get metabolically flexible. This closed loop is so cool because if you think of, well, how many calories do I need to get by in a day? You probably don’t need that many.
Mark Sisson (00:40:06):
If your liver is cranking out 500, 600 enough for the brain and your body is combusting fat for energy and you’re sparing protein, you probably didn’t need that many calories to get through a day in the first place. It might be 1,200, 1,100, 1,200 calories for some people. Some people thought up until now, they did the math online and, oh, I can have 1,875 calories a day. Well, you can and you maybe you can get away with it, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. I want to take a little bit of a diversion here and say most people tend to see what they can get away with. Most people in life are like … It’s human nature, I do it. I’m not judging.
Mark Sisson (00:40:54):
Like, oh, how little work can I do at work and still get paid and not get fired? How easy can I do this work out and not get caught by my trainer? One of those things is, how much food can I eat and not gain weight? What’s the biggest amount of this meal I can eat and not feel like a pig? What’s the biggest piece of cheesecake I can have and not feel guilty about having had that? We tend to ask permission like, okay, they fill my plate up, that must be a serving. It must be okay. Or a cheesecake factory gave me a slice this big, they call that one serving. As long as I don’t have two servings, I’m good to go.
Mark Sisson (00:41:34):
Meanwhile, your granny might have made you a cheese cake and she cuts you a little slice like that. Well, that’s what granny thinks is a serving. The idea really is like people will say, well, how much of this can I eat? What can I get away with? A couple of years ago, I just thought, that’s a strange way of looking at it. I go to the gym and I see people on a treadmill, 45 minutes, 50 minutes on the treadmill. “Why are you running so much?” “Oh, because I love to eat.” Wait a minute. You’re doing all this work, struggling, and suffering, and sweating, and groaning just so you can have a few more bites of something you probably shouldn’t have in the first place? Do you realize how just bizarre that is? Yet people do that. I exercise because I love to eat.
Dr. Gundry (00:42:14):
I drank eight diet cokes a day so I could have more to eat.
Mark Sisson (00:42:18):
Perfect example, a perfect example. You audit your day and you carry this little tally pad with you. Okay, I can have this tonight because I didn’t have that for lunch. It’s crazy. I thought, at one point, I said, let’s flip this on edge and say, what’s the least amount of food I can eat? Maintain muscle mass, maintain energy, not get sick, not get cold, and most importantly, not be hungry. Because hunger ruins everything. Hunger is the great destroyer of any of these programs. I started looking at what was the least amount of food I could have. It’s half of what I used to think I needed …
Dr. Gundry (00:42:57):
Yeah, it’s not much.
Mark Sisson (00:42:58):
… to get by in a day. It’s not much. Some people use keto as an excuse to eat more food because they’re eating a lot of fat. They think, oh, because I’m keto …
Dr. Gundry (00:43:12):
I’m glad you said that. How often do you think that is happening in the keto movement?
Mark Sisson (00:43:19):
I think less so now because it got called out maybe a year or two ago. I was one of the people calling it out. You can’t hide behind that. Some of the early studies on keto diets, ketogenic diets, would show that you could eat 4,500 calories a day and not gain weight. Well, why? How could that be? Well, how that is, is you’re eating mostly fat, a little bit of protein and no carb, you don’t create any insulin. Insulin is a nutrient storage hormone. You’re not storing fat. Your body is figuring out a way to combust it by thermogenesis and a number of other probably unhealthy ways in which to dispose of this excess energy. Because you’re not creating insulin, you can’t really store it. Protein does have an effect on insulin.
Dr. Gundry (00:44:09):
Yeah, it does.
Mark Sisson (00:44:09):
High fat, really high fat, 90% fat, 10% or 15% protein diets.
Dr. Gundry (00:44:17):
Mark Sisson (00:44:17):
Yeah. That was interesting because people read that study and thought, well, okay, I can eat 4,500 calories a day and not gain weight. You’re not going to lose weight, because the idea behind losing weight is you want to lose fat, you want to burn fat, you want to combust the stored body fat. When you get keto adapted and you’re in that what I call the keto zone and metabolically flexible, then you can play around with eating smaller, smaller, smaller quantities of food. Like every time you think you need 500 calories to get through the next six hours, you think, well, I could eat a meal or I could take it off my butt or my thighs. My body won’t know, won’t care, won’t have any negative consequences either way. I may as well choose not to eat this meal, and lose that, and burn, combust that body fat.
Dr. Gundry (00:45:12):
Mark, aren’t you going to get hungry?
Mark Sisson (00:45:15):
As I said, it’s so crazy what happens to your appetite when you develop this metabolic flexibility. The reason you have an appetite for the most part is this leptin and ghrelin balance, and insulin’s involved there, and glucagon. There’s these hormones in the body that are trying to keep you homeostasis. We screw it up and throw it off with this high carb diet. Once you eliminate the carbs and you get to the point where you’re eating quality fats, and quality proteins, and a little bit of vegetables, or a fair amount of vegetables for that matter, you get to the point where the body always has energy.
Mark Sisson (00:45:56):
The first thing that happens with people who go keto is they can’t eat three meals a day because it’s just too much food. Most people wake up in the morning, and I promote this, I say, well, once you’re keto adapted, see how long you can go without being hungry in the morning. Most people within a couple of days go, well, I made it to noon, no problem. I have a cup of coffee myself at 7:00 in the morning and then I don’t eat till 1:30. Some days I don’t eat lunch. I work out in the morning. I work out fasted. I don’t eat after the workout. I don’t feel compelled to. I recognize that there’s an effect of working out fasted and then not eating afterwards.
Mark Sisson (00:46:40):
That causes the body to release a pulse of growth hormone and testosterone. If you eat a post workout meal right after, say, doing a heavy leg session or a heavy training session, if it’s a high carb meal, then the insulin in that meal will blunt the growth hormone and the testosterone spike. That’s what I used to do my whole life, was I would … Again, back in the ’80s and ’90s, the mantra was eat a post workout meal that was 10% or 20% protein, four to one carbohydrate to …
Dr. Gundry (00:47:15):
Carb to protein.
Mark Sisson (00:47:17):
… protein, and you take advantage of the glycogen resynthesis window, which your body makes glycogen any way even when you don’t eat any carbohydrate at all. All this does is speed it up. Why do you want to speed it up? Well, theoretically, in the old days, you want to speed it up because I’m going to go run 50 miles again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, which is, as we know, ludicrous.
Dr. Gundry (00:47:37):
Since you brought that up, many of our listeners don’t know this, but you were an incredibly accomplished endurance athlete. I mean incredibly, don’t be modest. You had a lot of serious health problems. Can you talk about that for a moment?
Mark Sisson (00:47:57):
Well, as I said, when I was a runner, exclusively, I ran 100 miles a week on average. Some weeks I ran 120 and some weeks I only ran 80 for years at a time. That’s when I developed osteoarthritis in my feet, which I presumed was a result of all the miles. That’s when I had the worst of my IBS, my irritable bowel syndrome. That’s when I had the itises. In fact, it wasn’t even the arthritis in my feet that prompted me to quit becoming an elite marathoner. It was tendinitis in my hips that just would not resolve. I think as I look back on it, it’s the diet, the highly inflammatory diet certainly not helped by the pounding of 100 plus miles a week on a body that was probably only designed to do 50 or 60 miles a week.
Mark Sisson (00:49:03):
Those were very frustrating times for me because I finished fifth in the U.S. National Championship in the marathon in 1980, qualify for the Olympic Trials. Of course, 1980 was the year that we didn’t send a team to the Olympics. Two years later, I finished fourth in Ironman in Hawaii. I had a certain level of expertise and prowess at endurance competition. Later on, do you know the VersaClimber, the gym?
Dr. Gundry (00:49:36):
Mark Sisson (00:49:36):
I set the world record for the mile climb in that, 5,280 feet, 22 minutes and 40 seconds. I don’t think it’s been broken since. Anyway, I was chasing performance my whole life, and forded it seems at every turn by my diet, which I only discovered after I long since retired. People would say, well, if you had to do over again, would you go back and change your diet? I’d say, no. Because actually, the way I got to where I am now was so profound. I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it if I’d started out that way.
Dr. Gundry (00:50:20):
Well, supposed you had a perfect diet. I wrote in my last book about the dangers of marathons and long distance training. Got an opinion looking at that?
Mark Sisson (00:50:32):
Yeah. I wrote a book a couple of years ago called Primal Endurance. It was basically my capitulation. I had enough friends who said, “I don’t care what you say, Mark. You ran marathons, you enjoyed it, you got a lot out of it. I want to run a marathon, dammit. How do I do it?” I’m like, “All right, if you’re going to run a marathon, I’ll show you how to do it with the least amount of pain, suffering, sacrifice, and so on.” I would certainly train what we call train low, race high. We train low carb. I would race with my carb tanks more full. I would make my long slow runs longer and slower. I would make my short fast runs shorter and faster.
Mark Sisson (00:51:19):
I would do much more strength training in the gym. I developed what we call maximum sustained power over time. I’d be much more methodical about breaking the component parts of a competition down into their essential elements. When you’re an endurance athlete, particularly a runner, you just run. Typically, the reason I talk about making my longer runs longer and slower is we talk about this maximum aerobic function that we have. We use the number 180 minus your age. If you train at 180 minus your age, the lab results across thousands of people have shown that that’s the heart rate at below which you’re using mostly fat.
Mark Sisson (00:52:07):
You’re using a lot of oxygen and mostly fat. Above that heart rate, you’re starting to burn more glycogen and you’re tapping into glycogen stores. Now, why is that important? Well, if you want to run long distance, you want to get as much energy from fat as possible. You don’t want to tap in your glycogen source. People will come back to me and say, well, wait a minute. If I train at 180 minus my age and I’m 30 years old or whatever and I’m training at 150, Mark, I can race at 165 or 170. I can train all day at 170, 175. I’m going so slow at 150. My answer is, well, okay, you’re going slow because you suck at burning fat. You’re good at burning sugar.
Mark Sisson (00:52:44):
I was great at burning sugar. I ran how I ran, but burning mostly sugar. I also did a number on my heart from having done that. I ran in what we call the no man’s land for the longest time, the black hole of training, where you’re not going slow enough to improve aerobic capacity and you’re not going fast enough to improve anaerobic threshold. You’re just beating yourself up. You’re practicing hurting literally. That’s what so many runners do in this black hole of training at heart rate of 80% to87%, 90% of their max. They spend 50% of their time training in that black hole with no appreciable benefits.
Mark Sisson (00:53:29):
That’s why I see these guys and I’m like, “Well, how many marathons you do this year?” “I did eight marathons this year.” “Oh, really? What kind … ” “Well, I did 340, 342, 345, 346, and 340.” Okay, well, you’re doing that much work, you should really improve. They’re just practicing to run that same speed the whole time. There’s a way to do it. This is what I tell people, Steve, is I say, all right, if you want to run marathon, I’ll let you run two. You run one to finish. That’s great. That’s a belt buckle thing. That’s a bucket list thing.
Dr. Gundry (00:54:01):
One of your bumper.
Mark Sisson (00:54:02):
If you really liked it, I’ll let you run one more to see how fast you can go. If you haven’t broken three hours as a man, you’re not a runner, find another sport. That’s pretty much the way I look at it.
Dr. Gundry (00:54:16):
All right, good advice from the guy who get it.
Mark Sisson (00:54:19):
Hate to piss anybody out there who’s avid marathoner.
Dr. Gundry (00:54:22):
Okay. Your book is not just about eating. It’s an amazing exercise program. What should our listeners who want to get more exercise, but you don’t want to go do a marathon? Give me a couple things they can do today.
Mark Sisson (00:54:42):
Walking is still the best thing anybody can do. I saw you and your wife and we were out doing a hike around Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. I don’t know if you did the whole both Cap thing.
Dr. Gundry (00:54:53):
Yeah, we did the whole crazy thing.
Mark Sisson (00:54:54):
Because we rarely do that small Cap where we saw you. Walking is spectacular. It’s the most human of all activities. We’re bipedal. By the way, how do we not fall over? We’re like a segue, how we maintain this upright position. Walking, of course, swimming and easy cycling with an occasional hard session thrown in. If all you ever do is walk, you’re 80% where you need to be. I’m talking walking an appreciable amount, walking 30 minutes to an hour a day on average. Some days it can be an hour-and-a-half and some days nothing. That’s really the best. I think two days in a week, two days in the gym per week is all you need in terms of lifting weights. Any more than that and you’re either not doing it hard enough when you’re doing it or you’re not going to the gym for the right reasons. You just want to chat it up and see people, which a lot of people do.
Dr. Gundry (00:55:51):
Yeah. All right. You do recommend a few supplements. I want to talk about three of them, collagen.
Mark Sisson (00:56:03):
Collagen should be the fourth macronutrient in my mind. We have fat, protein, and carbohydrate. I think collagen should be a separate category because I think it’s a critical component of … Collagen in our body, skin, hair, nails, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, fascia is all collagen. The most prevalent amount of protein in our body is of collagen in nature. It’s collagenous material. There are certain collagen peptides that we need to get in order to keep up with the turnover of collagen. We don’t get them in the standard diet today. Until 200 years ago or 100 years ago, we ate all parts of the animal. We ate nose to tails.
Mark Sisson (00:56:47):
You didn’t just eat the choice cuts of meat, the prime rib, and the T-bone. You ate the knuckles, and the gristle, and the organs. If it was chicken or fish, you ate the skin. After all of the nether parts of the animal were consumed, you took the carcass and boiled it down and made a stock. Everybody did that. We all had access to collagen. Over the years, as that fell by the wayside, at least in the ’50s and the ’60s, your mother, my mother, they took Knox gelatin for their nails. Remember that you’re eating Knox gelatin?
Dr. Gundry (00:57:23):
Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.
Mark Sisson (00:57:23):
Then we had Jell-O. We had Jell-O, which was assign it whatever value you want. It was a source of collagen. It’s gelatin, gelatin, collagen, pretty much the same thing. Kids got collagen in their diet from gelatin. Well, after Jell-O had a little bit of a falling off because of sugar and sweetness and stuff like that in the last 10 or 15 years, there’s no source of collagen in our diet for anybody. We’re seeing among elite athletes, basketball players who were tearing MCLs, ACLs, and Achilles tendons. The surgeons will say, geez, I used to be able to have to hack through these sinewy parts and now they cut like butter.
Mark Sisson (00:58:03):
It’s because people don’t get enough collagen in their diet. I’m a huge fan of consuming collagen. My company makes a collagen supplement. That’s how much I liked the results I got when I started taking collagen. I do anywhere from 15 to 25 grams a day.
Dr. Gundry (00:58:20):
You’re not telling our listeners to go eat Jell-O.
Mark Sisson (00:58:23):
Dr. Gundry (00:58:25):
Somebody’s going to hear this.
Mark Sisson (00:58:26):
Crap, crap. Look, if you’re not eating collagen in any other source, Jell-O is a great source. Jell-O is a good way to get it. I’m just saying.
Dr. Gundry (00:58:37):
Minus the sugar.
Mark Sisson (00:58:38):
Well, they make a low sugar Jell-O now.
Dr. Gundry (00:58:43):
Mark Sisson (00:58:43):
I have to say that. Go ahead.
Dr. Gundry (00:58:45):
How about vitamin D?
Mark Sisson (00:58:47):
Vitamin D. Steve, why do they call it a vitamin, ought to be a hormone, don’t you think?
Dr. Gundry (00:58:51):
It is a hormone.
Mark Sisson (00:58:52):
It got classified a long time ago, and that’s science for you. The science is settled and it’s a vitamin. Vitamin D is probably the most important single vitamin of all of them. It’s an integral part of the functioning of cells. Our immune system depends far more on vitamin D than on vitamin C, for instance.
Dr. Gundry (00:59:19):
Mark Sisson (00:59:22):
Critical component in the body’s ability to recognize pre-cancerous conditions and make the repairs to them. Typically, if we’re out in the sun, again, we have this designed system that says we get 20 minutes of sun time a day on unprotected skin and the body takes cholesterol, the much maligned molecule in the skin converted to vitamin D and we’re good to go. Most people don’t spend time out in the sun. Most people have been scared away from the sun by their dermatologists. People in the northern climates who don’t have access to sun for most of the year because of where they live, those people should all be taking vitamin D.
Mark Sisson (01:00:05):
You ask which form, ergocalciferol, cholecalciferol, mushroom-based. I like a blend of all three of those because some people absorb different versions of it better than others. You might have a different opinion on that. I like to have people have … If you’re not getting any sun, like I’m tan most of the time, but if I’m not in the sun for a couple of weeks, I start down on vitamin D. It’s that important to me. I want to have high levels of vitamin D throughout my body.
Dr. Gundry (01:00:37):
Me too, me too. All right. We got a couple of Primal Kitchen plant paradox compatible products here. Tell me all about Primal Kitchen.
Mark Sisson (01:00:48):
When you clean up your diet, you get rid of the sugars and the industrial seed oils. Again, you get rid of corn oil, and canola oil, and soybean oil, and processed hydrogenated oils, and trans fats. You come down to this list of healthy choices, vegetables, eggs, chicken, fish, meat. It could get a little boring unless you figured out a different method of preparation or sauces, and dressings, and toppings, and things to put on these foods to give them variety so that you would eat them and want to consume them on a regular basis. I’ve been writing about food for 15, 20 years now.
Mark Sisson (01:01:24):
I recognize nobody was making the kind of sauces, and dressings, and toppings, and condiments that I would like to have exist, the kind that you could use with reckless abandon. Throughout most of our lives, well, use mayonnaise sparingly. It tastes great …
Dr. Gundry (01:01:38):
Mark Sisson (01:01:38):
… but it’s bad for you. Or as Oprah used to say, “Well, take your fork and go dip a piece of lettuce and then go show it to the salad dressing, and then eat it.” Or dip your tong, that’s right, dip your fork in the salad dressing, then go stab some lettuce, please. I’m like, I want something to taste great and is good for me. The more I put on my food, the better it is. We launched Primal Kitchen with that mission statement, which is to make healthful eating exciting and fun again. Our first product was this Primal Kitchen Mayo, which is made with avocado oil, organic eggs from cage-free hens, organic vinegar from non-GMO beets, no sugar. It took off.
Mark Sisson (01:02:24):
It’s been for years, been the biggest selling condiment in all of whole foods. We’re now in, I don’t know, 20,000 stores throughout the country with this. We have four flavors of mayonnaise. We have 14 flavors of salad dressing. The dressings all use avocado oil as the only oil in the dressing. Avocado oil is recognized as the highest heart healthy. It’s got the most monounsaturated profile of any of the oils that you can get typically.
Dr. Gundry (01:02:53):
You’ve recently sold this company to a big food company.
Mark Sisson (01:02:58):
Dr. Gundry (01:03:00):
I take it you’re actively involved?
Mark Sisson (01:03:03):
Yeah, 100%. That’s my face on the label right there, man.
Dr. Gundry (01:03:06):
Yeah, I see it. There you go.
Mark Sisson (01:03:06):
Dr. Gundry (01:03:08):
How do you prevent what’s happened to other people when big food takes a really good company over?
Mark Sisson (01:03:17):
I don’t know what you hear about other companies recently, because it’s not happening recently. Recently, what happens is big food goes, wow, these guys are really crashing it. They know what they’re doing. We’ve lost touch with the marketplace. They bought us because of what we bring to them. By the way, they bought us and then they’re like, okay, we’re not going to touch you, go do what you do. We still have our offices in Oxnard. We still have everybody that was with the company when it got acquired. Everybody’s going about their business. We still have great R&D sessions. What Kraft Heinz has done is given us resources. We have more distribution.
Mark Sisson (01:03:56):
We have deeper pockets to do some R&D and stuff. No, we will not be changing this at all. If we do, it’s because I say I found a better way, not a compromise. I think that you’re going to see more and more of that, that big food is now acquiring what they call the better for you category with an eye toward … Not toward diluting it and making it worse, but an eye toward learning like, okay, this is clearly where the consumer wants us to go. Some of the brands that we have can never get there because they’re iconic and we can’t change those. This is the face of the future.
Dr. Gundry (01:04:38):
That’s great to hear. Because I have some friends who are richer, but sadder and wiser because their products have gotten changed by big food. That covers a lot. That’s really good. You’ve dazzled people with your knowledge. I’ve been thankful enough to hear for years. As if anybody really need to know, where they can find …
Mark Sisson (01:05:08):
Amazon, Barnes & Noble. Everywhere, books are sold.
Dr. Gundry (01:05:11):
Keto for Life. Your products are everywhere now.
Mark Sisson (01:05:15):
Yeah. We have the Mayo and some of the products are in Costco, or in Target, Whole Foods, Safeway, Kroger, Publix, on down the line, pretty much everywhere now.
Dr. Gundry (01:05:27):
Instagram, blogs, where …
Mark Sisson (01:05:32):
I’m Mark Sisson Primal on Instagram. Just a fair amount of just a shirtless shots of me. You want to go there. Then I’ve got Mark’s Daily Apple on Instagram and marksdailyapple.com is the blog. We’re now in our 14th year and going strong, an article every day for 14 years. I think that’s it.
Dr. Gundry (01:06:02):
Mark Sisson (01:06:02):
Dr. Gundry (01:06:03):
Great to see you.
Mark Sisson (01:06:04):
You too, man.
Dr. Gundry (01:06:04):
All right, we’ll see you in the south of France I think.
Mark Sisson (01:06:07):
Dr. Gundry (01:06:08):
All right. Time for an audience question. Janine Jackson on YouTube S, I am wondering if there’s a way to prepare corn that removes the lectins. It is quickly mentioned on one of your videos that the process used to make corn masa may do this. I’m hoping to return corn tortillas and grits to my diet. I’d also love to add polenta and plain tortilla chips. I bet you would. There’s no human need for corn. Corn is one of the most mischievous molecules that you can eat. Quite frankly, if you are gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant, 70% of you will react to the molecules in corn as if it was gluten. Yes, the Indians were smart enough to treat corn with lye to produce harmony.
Dr. Gundry (01:06:59):
I can tell you the stories of what happened when corn was introduced to Northern Italy. Look up the word Cretan sometime and you’ll find out the horrors of introducing corn that was not treated with lye. Millet makes a great polenta, makes a great oatmeal, makes a great grits. You don’t need corn in your diet, just stay away from it. Okay, review of the week. JB Dar writes, you, sir, are the gold standard that all others should use as their guiding light. Wow. You are so freaking smart, compassionate, giving, and trustworthy. Thank you for fine-tuning the lists and helping us to be the healthiest humans we can be. Much respect and love. Wow. Well, thank you.
Dr. Gundry (01:07:56):
I get emails, I get complaints that I’m always changing the list. Well, guess what? When that list was made, gosh, four years ago when I started writing, and actually that list came about now 15 years ago, we know with research and with what happens to my patients, that list needs to change as I learned something, as my patients show me a product or as I’m exposed to a product. That list will constantly change. The yes and no foods will move. Please be patient with me. Sometimes I’m behind with a new product that came out. Don’t hesitate to let me know on Instagram or write me an email and say, hey, did you know about this?
Dr. Gundry (01:08:52):
If I find out, for instance, like Quorn which … Not corn, Q, U, O, R, N, recently changed a ton of their products and most of them became quite unacceptable. There are still a few good ones. There was a number of Quorn products that used to be on the list and they’re no longer there. The lists are going to change. JB Dar, thank you so much. 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. 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.