Dr. Gundry's private practice: (760) 323-5553

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.

Kimberly Snyder (00:16):
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 wellbeing, 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 bestselling author in holistic wellness, nutrition and meditation teacher. Let’s get started.

Dr. Gundry (01:10):
Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Calories in, calories out, dietary cholesterol will raise your cholesterol levels. Eating fat will make you fat. I’m sure you’ve heard all of these before. Well, my guest today says these so-called diet truths are anything but true. He’s Dr. Tim Spector, an expert in gut health and a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College, London, my old hometown for a little while. He’s also the author of the bestselling book, The Diet Myth, which I highly recommend. His newest book out though is in paperback is called, Spoon-Fed.
Well, almost everything we’ve been told about food is wrong. Listen up. And on today’s episode, Tim and I are going to bust these myths wide open, explain why breakfast is not the most important meal of the day, and talk about the much maligned foods that are actually great for your health. Tim, it’s actually a real pleasure having you on the podcast today, and welcome.

Tim Spector (02:22):
Thank you. Pleasure for me too.

Dr. Gundry (02:24):
So you opened your new book, Spoon-Fed by explaining something that might surprise many of my listeners. People’s responses to certain foods are very individual. For example, you mentioned how you had a much bigger blood sugar response to eating a brown bread tuna sandwich than your wife did. Can you elaborate a little on this idea and what it might mean for the average listener at home?

Tim Spector (02:53):
Yeah, I think most people would be surprised that what they’re told on a packet, on a label… People are a bit sophisticated about food, they say, “I understand calories, fat content, and then fiber.” And if you’re really clever, you understand what a GI score is. But it turns out that when you actually give identical meals to people like myself and my wife or anybody, we respond very differently in ways that according to current dogma, shouldn’t be true. And we’ve done these experiments now in thousands of people. So my standard sandwich which I had in the hospital for 10 years, which I thought was healthy was giving me really big sugar spikes up in the diabetic range and left me a bit tired in retrospect.
And I was eating those for 10 years, thinking, “Tuna on brown bread, bittersweet corn, this is going to be great for me.” And I had a bit of orange juice. But it turns out I was completely wrong. And for me, that was a bad meal. Whereas I tested my wife with the exact same meal and she had no problems. She had no glucose peaks, and no later fat and inflammation peaks. So I think we’re just on the edge of this breakthrough where we suddenly realize that there isn’t one size fits all advice, and that there isn’t such a thing as the perfect diet for everybody.
And that some people are going to be more attuned to digesting fat better, others carbs. And it suddenly would explain why there are so many failures in diets and why what works for your sister or your neighbor or your doctor, doesn’t necessarily work for you. And I think this is really going to shake up the whole world of nutrition. And I think the food industry, the fact that we can now start to personalize foods in a real meaningful way. And it also throws up all kinds of other questions, like you raised in your intro. Does this mean that calories are no longer equal?

Dr. Gundry (05:21):
I want to back up for a second. I want my listeners to know that you’re not just some new diet guru, whatever that means. You are an accomplished academician who has spent his career doing epidemiologic studies, twin studies, looking at the effects of food and publishing a huge amount of data that frankly, I was really not aware of until I found your book and then started reading your studies and your… For my viewers, you are no slouch in this, you are no Johnny-come-lately.
But what’s interesting to me, particularly in your first book, The Diet Myth, this part of your career, this public part of your career, started when you had what you thought was a health issue and started doing everything right. Very much like I was doing. And said, “Well, wait a minute, everything I’ve been taught, everything I’ve been teaching is actually… I’m wrong about this.” Can you elaborate on that?

Tim Spector (06:41):
Yeah, exactly like you. Most medics are so busy assimilating facts. We don’t generally question them, we’re just too busy often to start criticizing everything that we’ve heard. And so I believed up to 10 years ago, calories and low fat foods and eating margarine spreads and low fat yogurts rather than eating butter and… I thought cheese was bad for me, and fatty meat was bad for me, all this kind of stuff. And so it was only really when I started researching and I got ill. And when it concerns your own health, suddenly doctors take an interest in their own health, that they didn’t before.
And I suddenly realized how wrong I’d been and how many mistakes I’d made in my assumptions. I also started to realize that, as a scientist, I’ve made all kinds of false assumptions in my work. And so I really wanted to put it right again, and started learning again from scratch. And of course it was made easier because suddenly the microbiome came into the equation, and until then really nutrition was like a dirty word for medics. I haven’t met a doctor ever wanted to work in nutrition. It was the worst possible area you could go to. If there was nothing else to do, you couldn’t possibly earn a living, you did it.
Because it was seen by us in medical school as the most boring topic possible. There were no good studies, there was no grants, there was no exciting role models. It was just boring questionnaires and being in the odd too. So really it was a revelation that suddenly I could start to… I myself could understand nutrition once I understood the role of the gut microbes, and suddenly it all started to make sense. And that was really that moment. And then I decided to refocus my work, not away from genetics, which you realized rather stuck with to the microbiome because you can change that and do something about it.
And that to me was this exciting area and actually being on the front of that wave on a new area, that just kept giving you more insights was just so exciting that I kept going with it and I’m still… I have a short attention span, but I’m still here, and I’m still writing. I’ve written over 900 papers, but I don’t mind writing them on this area. It doesn’t get boring.

Dr. Gundry (09:38):
Yeah. You’ve got me beat 300 and something papers. So yeah, no, you are incredibly prolific in this area. And again, I congratulate you on… I mean, you’re doing some great research. So let’s talk more about the microbiome. I know you spent some time with the Hadza tribe in Tanzania. And in my upcoming book, The Energy Paradox, I write a lot about the Hadza people. So what can you tell our listeners about their diet and lifestyle that really focus attention on the microbiome, particularly this idea of calories in and calories out?

Tim Spector (10:25):
Well, I spent four days living with them, eating their food and going on hunting trips with them and things. The first thing I noticed is actually they have a pretty good life. I slept a lot. And they got up in the morning, they didn’t have any wristwatches, they just get up with the sun. And they don’t have breakfast. That’s one thing. Nobody eats before about 10:30. And they have a chat and they say, “Oh, do you think we go off and do a bit of hunting today or not?” Then they wander off and they do a bit of walking around the bush, and they’re surrounded by food. So actually the idea that these guys are running all their time and burning off these calories is nonsense.
They’re just eating a very natural, very diverse diet and masses of fiber, supplemented with bits of meat when they fancy it. And they actually enjoy the hunting bit. It’s not really a total necessity for them. It’s like they’re living in this giant supermarket but it’s the bush that just provides everything they need. They dig up tubers, they have berries, they… unlimited things they can really eat. And they hang around the fire chatting most of the time. They have a pretty good life. So that was completely different to my idea of what hunter-gatherers do. I thought they would just be these marathon men running around that I’d never be able to keep up with.
And they’re all lean, they’re all fit. And they just don’t get any Western diseases. So no diabetes, no heart disease, virtually no cancers. But they consume an enormous amount of plants. And they eat about four times the fiber that you and I would eat. And so that was the interesting thing. And of course, they’ve got the healthiest microbes in the world. They’ve got nearly twice the number of species that we have in the US and the UK. They were the really interesting things that I learned that I didn’t realize.

Dr. Gundry (12:54):
Well, your fellow countryman, who’s now passed away, Dennis Burkitt, was certainly, I think one of the foremost figures in introducing the world to the idea of fiber and studying, doing missionary work in Africa. He was of course a surgeon. And he couldn’t find any colon cancer to operate on, which was one of his specialties and was fascinated that the amount of fiber in the giant poops that these guys did… and he became fixated on poop which is, I suppose a good thing to be fixated on now.

Tim Spector (13:41):
Yeah. I went to one of his lectures and there were just endless slide shows of these enormous stools, steaming in the bush. And each one got bigger and bigger, more outrageous than the other one. He didn’t know about the microbiome, so he thought it was all about toxins, and the gut was really just a tube that passed through and that you needed to get the motion. The more you had out there, the less the chemicals were there to give you cancer.
We now know that’s not true, but he was correct about equating fiber and plants with health definitely. So that he got right. And the other thing of course about the Hadza is they don’t have any processed food. And so there’s no chemicals there, they don’t drink their Diet Cokes, they don’t have their emulsifiers and preservatives. They just have 100% natural food, the way that we did for millions of years.

Dr. Gundry (14:51):
Now, you mentioned breakfast. And you spent, I think an entire chapter in the new book about the myth of breakfast. Why don’t we… Let’s talk about that because I actually preach the same thing, and I have been preaching that breakfast is the least important meal for 20 years. And I have howling critics that say that, “That’s preposterous. All the studies prove that you cannot send your child to school without a hearty breakfast.” So what say you?

Tim Spector (15:27):
Well, I said the same thing and got the same hail of abuse on social media, and when I went on Breakfast TV and said that, because it’s like a religion for some people. They have been taught it by their mothers and their grandmothers that they can’t do without breakfast. But of course, it’s only about 150 years old, the concept of breakfast, and the Hadza do not have a word for breakfast. So we have to realize that in the past, people just had two meals a day. Now the average American has six. And we have to realize, why are we in this position?
Well blame Mr. Kellogg and his friends, basically, they created the easy-to-make breakfast and stored, and so it was no fuss. And their ad campaigns basically got this into our consciousness, that we have to have something high in carbs in the morning before we can function. And then their whole series of bad epidemiological studies, comparing kids at school who did badly in class and those that did well, and they saw, “Did they have breakfast or not?”
And of course there was an association, but that wasn’t causation. It was actually, the unruly kids would probably be up all night and therefore run out of the house without eating breakfast, or would have difficulties at home and therefore… they didn’t have a mom in the house or whatever, so it was all associated. But when you do the randomized studies, you don’t see any difference between behavior in kids, which is most people’s concern, that we’re… and some it’s like cruelty to children, to not force breakfast down them. And of course for adults, all the data is now showing, again, proper randomized studies, which only recently we’re starting to do after decades of dreadful stuff, mainly sponsored by food companies.
We’re seeing, again, no harmful effects of skipping breakfast and actually a slight reduction in overall weight in most people and metabolic parameters. So clearly we do better by not eating all the day and living… This whole new area of restricted time eating comes into this breakfast-skipping thing. But I think you’re absolutely right, it’s a cultural roadblock, if you like that stops people thinking about nutrition differently. “Oh, that’s fine I’ll do whatever you… but you can’t stop me having my breakfast,” or I have to give this to the children.
Why are we stuck eating the same breakfast every day of our lives? Imagine if our evening meal was the same every time, why would we do that? It doesn’t make any sense. Once you start taking apart nutrition, it starts to become absurd. And you go to Asia and you see they have their evening meal reserved up in the morning. They have rice and they have their calories and they have soup. We know we could have bagels and cream cheese or a cheerios or whatever it is, peanut butter on toast. And we have that for life.
It’s kind of weird, but it all stemmed from some bad science also saying that you had to metabolize your food early in the day, otherwise it would build up at night. This classic story about grazing was better than gorging, was based on about nine people in a study in the 1990s and still today people recite it because guess what? The food companies love it. They can sell you healthy snacks and rubbish, and no one has actually gone to the… or actually just do the proper studies. And now we’re starting to do them.
Now we’re starting to give… looking at the timings of people’s meals, giving them identical meals, and we see how everybody’s different. And there is no way that you could possibly say, everyone should do this, or no one should do that because I’ve tested myself and I metabolize better in the evening than in the morning. Now I’m in the minority, but as you age, you also change. Even within life we need to reevaluate what’s best for us. And that’s what we’re discovering with these new technologies, with things that we’re using in our studies now for the predict study. We’re using glucose monitoring on a phone app, we’re using a finger prick testing to see what your triglycerides are like. We’re using apps to log your food. We’re using top of the range sequencing to look at your microbes and this stuff just wasn’t available two or three years ago.
And so we have all these new tools. And so now we can look very much at how own metabolism responds to food in a way that no one else has been able to do. And it’s totally enlightening because once you do that, you suddenly see how we’re all totally different. Everyone’s unique in the way they respond to food.

Dr. Gundry (21:07):
It seems like everyone, these days is suffering from low energy and chronic fatigue. Well, I’ve got good news. There is something you can do about it. Why do I feel so tired all the time? Ever heard this one before? Well, I’ve got good news, there is something you can do about it. It’s a radical new approach to diet and lifestyle that can transform your energy levels and your health forever. My name is Dr. Steven Gundry, and I’m the best-selling author of The Plant Paradox Series. In my brand new book, The Energy Paradox, you’re going to learn the simple changes you can make today to lose weight, increase your energy levels and boost your health. You’re also going to learn why a clock may be the most important tool for improving health. Why bananas may actually be draining you of your energy and why passing gas is actually good for you. Yes. You heard that, right. So make sure to pre-order your copy of Te Energy Paradox right now? Just go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble or wherever books are sold.
March is National nutrition month. Now for me and my practice national nutrition month is every day. You see I’ve dedicated my life to helping my patients and listeners like you reverse their ailments by making simple changes to their diet. My 20 plus years of practicing restorative medicine and through my published studies, I’ve proven that the right food is medicine, but avoiding the bad foods like whole wheat, nightshade vegetables, and choosing the right ones like artichokes and olive oil is essential to health. That’s why I partnered with Thrive Market to create a Gundry approved grocery store of my yes foods. So you can find exactly the right foods to help you feel your best. Thrive Market is a membership based online market offering hundreds of Dr. Gundry approved groceries that arrive at your doorstep just days after placing your order.
Thrive has two different membership options, a one month membership for 995 a month, or an annual membership for $5 a month, whichever works best for you. Just go to thrive market.com/gundry podcast, Join today to get 25% off your first order and a free gift. That’s T-H-R-I-V-E market.com/gundry podcast to get 25% off your first order and a free gift, thrivemarket.com/G-U-N-D-R-Y podcast.
So you mean there isn’t a diet for all? Come on, there’s got to be the perfect diet there’s books after books, the perfect diet.

Tim Spector (23:54):
Well, humans love to believe a good fairy story and authors like to sell books to make money. And we’re suckers for the simple solution. You’ve only got to look at the top selling books and they all are an easy solution. They’re telling us nutrition is simple. All you’re going to do is cut out gluten. All you got to do is get yourself ketogenic. All you going to do is be a carnivore. All you got to do is cut out iron. All you got to do… Everyone has got the magic solution and it’s complete BS.
We’ve been dumbing down nutrition. And in fact it’s the most complex science that exists and human body is so complex. You got to match the 30,000 chemicals in food, not just fats, sugars and proteins, 30,000 chemicals reactive with your trillions of microbes and your 20,000 genes. And that’s why we’re all different. We just got to in a way break everything down, realize that there are some things that are good for everybody. I’m not saying there’s nothing experts don’t agree on. Experts do agree on a number of things, the obvious things. So yes, fresh fruits and vegetables are good for you. I don’t know any serious expert who says that’s not true. And we know some things are bad for us. Ideally anyone who says you should eat lots of fast food, fried chicken or bowls of sugar, or gallons of sodas. But in the middle, that’s where there’s disagreement because everyone has their reductionist viewpoint of nutrition that they’re either a pro fat person, they’re a pro carb person. Or one of these subgroups of well, I call them religions food that we’re trying to deal with.
I’m a big fan of the Mediterranean diet. If you had to pick one. I would say, for the average American, that’d be a pretty good model if you really get to what would help most people. But within that there’s lots of choices that you could improve if you knew how your body was going to respond. That’s really why we’ve been doing all these studies recently to try and help people get past the, what do I do once I’m eating lots of fruits and vegetables? How much fat can I have? How much rice or pasta should I have? What’s the right mix for me and what’s the right timing for my body, et cetera to fine tune it so that they can make the best choices that make them feel good and not make them hungry.
I think that’s where the exciting areas are. And even in my life having made those basic choices, obviously it might [inaudible 00:27:17] yours was 10 years ago, it was pretty good compared to the average person. But I’ve realized, how many mistakes I was making because I didn’t know how my body was reacting as opposed to the average Joe. And I think that’s the big difference. And that’s what these predict studies we’ve been doing where we’ve been giving now 3,000 people identical meals and following their blood’s… their glucose monitors for two weeks, their fat levels and their microbes. And with this company, Zoe have been sponsoring this, so now actually got a commercial product that can test people and give them an algorithm that scores their foods for them. And that’s very exciting to do science that rather than just a boring paper, that no one reads is actually delivered into something that people can use in their daily lives.
We just started launching that a couple of months ago in the US. And so people are using the Zoe product and so far the results have been fantastic. It’s early days in terms of our ability to fine tune every meal combination because we need probably millions of people’s data. But already people are getting the same benefits as I got from my years of self-experimentation, if you like. They can get those results after a week and that’s exciting and that’s going to get easier and cheaper as time goes on.

Dr. Gundry (28:53):
Well, let’s take a personal example that you’ve written about cheese. Cheese traditionally has been one of those high fat, potentially high cholesterol foods that really we should be avoiding, but you say not so fast.

Tim Spector (29:17):
Yeah. And when I looked at the data, I’m biased because I love cheese by the way. When I was experimenting, I tried being vegan for six weeks and I didn’t mind giving up meat, but for me cheese was something I couldn’t deal with that fake vegan cheese on pizzas just didn’t work for me. But the cheese. Yeah. If you look at the data, the data shows that actually on average people who eat cheese, if you exclude people who eat just pizza are healthier than people who don’t eat cheese. I think it does depend on the quality of the cheese you’re eating, but there have been some studies in Europe where they’ve looked at, high quality dairy eaters and generally heart disease rates are certainly no higher and slightly lower, which doesn’t make sense if you believe that saturated fat is the only thing.
Again, it’s this idea of reductionism that you just take a food, like high quality artisan and cheese, you just judge it purely by one ingredient, the saturated fat, you forget everything else that might be good in it. There’s hundreds of chemicals in cheese.

Dr. Gundry (30:36):
Like the [crosstalk 00:30:36].

Tim Spector (30:38):
Yeah. And there’s life microbes as well. So it’s actually a probiotic for many people.

Dr. Gundry (30:44):
Probiotic, yeah.

Tim Spector (30:45):
If you buy the live ones, not the Kraft cheese slices, that I’ve had on my top of my fridge for the last three years, which still looks nice and shiny. If you buy artisan cheese it’s going to change and it grows with you. This stuff is good for you. And I think it’s quite likely that just getting those microbes each day is like taking a probiotic. I wouldn’t overdo the cheese, but I think you can have a small amount of cheese every day and it’ll probably be a good healthy choice.

Dr. Gundry (31:19):
Yeah. And there’s some very interesting studies out of Italy, looking at men who routinely consume a Parmesan cheese, true Parmesan cheese have actually better vascular vessel health than men who don’t consume it. And just on my phone this morning, I got a paper out of the UK that looked at the effect of not only cheese, but also red wine on people who either carry the apoE4 gene, which my listeners know all about or don’t. And one of the surprising findings, which really surprised me was that cheese actually even improved outcome in apoE4s in terms of longevity, which I’ve been advising my apoE4s that cheese is not high on their list. They can have it, but it’s not one of these great foods. I may have to reassess because statistically the apoE4 still got a benefit from eating cheese. Now we’re not taking cheese plates every day, but you’re right.

Tim Spector (32:33):
Yeah. It just illustrates how little we know and how most of us doctors, rather arrogantly think that we know, as much as there is to know really, but it’s all been shown and we were taught that cheese is bad if you’ve got heart disease or you’ve got high cholesterol or whatever it is. But when you actually look at the data it’s just not there. And suddenly it makes you think of cheese in a different light. Also, it brings into the whole idea of this quality issue because most of the cheese consumed in the US is ultra processed, frozen cheese that’s put on pizza. And most of it is extreme… not all of it, but most of it is extremely low quality and you’re getting none of the goodness and you’re getting all the chemicals and these fats which are probably I would say a likely to be harmful just because of all the chemicals in them.
And on the other side, you’ve got the high quality stuff that’s probably good for you. And this is why we shouldn’t lump all foods together. It’s like, olive oil has plenty of saturated fat in it, but because you have it in its entirety and it’s good for you. You mentioned red wine, alcohol itself might not be good for you but the grape skins are packed with these antioxidant polyphenols and all the studies show. They’re actually good for your heart. So drink your modest amount of red wine is good for you. Whereas, if you labored it all, as alcohol is deadly and bad you’d be missing the point because there are hundreds of chemicals in there we don’t know about, we don’t know which one is the best for you, but we now know that actually they affect your gut microbes. And that’s the likely mechanism and why red wine is better than white wine. It’s just it got more of those things in the skin because of the way they make wine.
I think it’s changing our whole view about food and that we need to move away from this idea that there’s this good, bad, avoid deadly these huge categories which means that we’re reducing our food choices. And if we pick the high quality stuff we should be able to eat more diversely with less worry in a way that’s good for our health and all of us try different things rather than being stuck in these food ruts because our doctors told us we can’t have all this whole range of foods and we mustn’t do this. And this is where we’ve got it so wrong because a lot of those original choices I think were based on faulty science.

Dr. Gundry (35:25):
Yeah, you’re right. I’ve been a champion of polyphenols for 20 years now, but it was really only until recently we knew that polyphenols had to be eaten by the gut microbiome and change. But now, the latest data is that the polyphenols themselves are prebiotics to the gut microbiome. It adds another layer that they’re not only changing these to become active compounds, but we can actually change. They’ve got microbes by choosing what prebiotic polyphenols that we want to give them, which is… There’s this, all these nuanced layers of how these traditional foods like red wine and the Mediterranean diet works.

Tim Spector (36:17):
And dark chocolate is another that I love. The fact that that’s now a health food whereas… But if you label all chocolate the same and you’re branding your Hershey bar the same as your artisan 80% cow from Ecuador, then you’d be very mistaken because you’d be saying they’re all bad for you, whereas they’re not because the chemical composition is extremely different and that’s where we’ve been dumbing it down. I’m actually with you and we’ve got a paper coming out in nature in the new year that for the first time tells us that we can… again with this company, Zoe, from these predict studies for the first time, we’ve now linked 30 bugs in your gut 15 good, 15 bad that related both to health and to certain foods.
For the first time we can now advise people which foods will up-regulate or down-regulate your microbes in that prebiotic example you gave. And now link that to health differences in blood markers for your heart or your metabolism or your diabetes. That’s just because we’ve now finally got enough really deep sequencing of the microbiome. And we’ve done it with enough people. Now you need thousands of people to do these studies. You need big computers, AI, all this kind of stuff. But I think this is the real era now where we will be able to not only tell you what foods are good about of your metabolism, but how you can now… which foods you need to eat to change your microbiome specifically to up-regulate some of these good guys, which are the ones that do all the good work for us, the getting more bugs inside you. That’s super exciting stuff we’re getting at the moment.

Dr. Gundry (38:19):
Yeah. You mentioned the super computers. We had a guest on who has a company called Gusto Global that looks at the interaction between microbes. And that one microbe is going to need the excrement for lack of a better word of another microbe to then make the final product. And the computing power that you have to have to understand this ecosystem that none of us even knew about until 10 years ago. And now it’s startling how what’s going on in there is… and manipulatable. That’s the exciting thing that your work is [crosstalk 00:39:07].

Tim Spector (39:07):
Yeah. There’s 300 times more genes down there than we have in our blood, in ourselves. We still don’t know, we haven’t given a name to 40% of them and let alone understanding their function and all of them are chemical factories. All of them can help us heal ourselves really if we understand it right. We know a fraction of them, we know some of them that produce serotonin that can help us avoid depression. We know others that when you eat meat could go on and give you a bit of atherosclerosis. Suddenly we’ve got this exciting way that we can regulate in a way we can be our own pharmacists by treating food as medicine properly. But to do that you’ve got to break it down into the chemicals, not the old fashioned, there’s only three types of food, fat, carbs, protein.
And that’s a journey that we all have to go on and it’s not just expert like ourselves, the public have to do this because it’s going to be a part of everyone’s lives from now on really. Because I think this revolution has got to come bottom up because the food companies are not going to want everyone messing around with their very profitable system they’ve got.

Dr. Gundry (40:32):
Yeah. Let’s talk about that for a minute. I actually present a number of papers in Europe and I’ve gone to… One comes to mind, I was in Toulouse France a few years ago at a nutrition meeting. And it was sponsored by Nestle. And everything there was all about Nestle. Nestle goodie bags, Nestle whatever. And Nestle is a monster company and there are good things about Nestle and there are bad things about Nestle, like most giant companies. But I still think that most nutritionists are getting most of their information from big food companies. And I think you’re right, how there’s got to be a grassroots effort. It’s got to come from the individual up because big food and even sadly, big government, isn’t going to do this.

Tim Spector (41:43):
No. Well, they have budgets. I think the top 10 companies in the world control about 70% of the food we eat. And so they have budgets that are bigger than half the countries in the world. So clearly they can lobby anybody and they definitely lobby very hard in Washington. And it’s been part of US policy anyway to have cheap food. Firstly to beat the Russians in the Cold War, the whole thing has carried on as this is, cheap food is what makes America great. And unfortunately that, it’s very hard to change that at a government level to start making people pay more for food. But I think mostly the problem is there’s very few studies out there that are not sponsored by or influenced by the food industry that are good in the world of nutrition.
And there are a few of them and most of them have these observational long studies like nurses health study or whatever. But it is amazing that it was only a year ago, the first ever randomized study of ultra processed food against natural food was done. And that was done at the NIH because at the NIH they have their own grants, they don’t have to ask for them. And if you’re in a privileged position, Kevin Hall could brand this study. Identical calories showed that if you give they like the foods just as much, but the one in the process food arm was eating much more and was always hungrier. It could be as simple as that, we’re just poisoning, this country, it has 70% of its meals as ultra processed because that’s just the nature of the other chemicals in the food, it’s nothing to do with the fat and the sugar and the salt that they’re happy to relabel or reformulate.
It’s this magic concoction that makes people want eat more of them. There’s isn’t the funding in the world of nutrition. That’s something really needs to be addressed and people should be skeptical about a lot of the stuff that does come out. Even from very respectable nutrition universities. Always check, who’s sponsored the study as you suggested. Nestle, aren’t going to be happy having something that says that their product sucks. They might do some good research, they often do. But in general, they’re not going to end up being critical. And you wouldn’t expect them to, their shareholders wouldn’t want them to do either.

Dr. Gundry (44:40):
No, and that’s true. I had David Kessler who was the head of the FDA, who’s been Dean of two medical schools here in the United States on talking about food labels and how really the food label, number one, you really can’t believe it because it’s been manipulated to give you bad information, thanks to big food influencing government. As I tell people, I’ve never seen a food label on an avocado or an artichoke. And so the more you can get things that don’t have a food label that you’re reading. The Hadza, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a food label in their life, nutrition facts. Well, it’s been great having you on the program. Like I say, I’m a new, big fan of yours. You’ve got this project that’s now available in the United States that you mentioned, give us more information before we go about how do we… first of all, how do we find Spoon-Fed and how do we find this project that people can now sign up for?

Tim Spector (46:05):
Spoon-Fed you can get at the moment through Amazon and any other online retailers in the US as well as my the other book, The Diet Myth which is available. That should be easy to find from next week. Now for people who are interested in actually doing these experiments themselves and joining the other thousands who have done them to understand their own body. It’s this company that has a website, joinzoe.com and they can sign up in the US. The website explains it all, but basically it’s worth just spending a minute explaining what it is because it’s different to most of the other ones. Basically you get sent a pack, an experimental pack where you’re doing tests on yourself. You’ll get a box of muffins, for example that you’ll get to eat at set times and you get a continuous glucose monitor for two weeks with a reader, so you can actually see your scores and see what’s happening. You’ll get a finger prick test.
So you can test your triglyceride, your blood fats after a meal. And you’ll get an app that allows you to log all your foods, your exercise, your sleep, all the other things that we need to know about you. And of course, you’ll get a few tubes to send us your poop samples in. And you do these studies, including a few things that you can design yourself. If you’re interested in which breakfast suits you better, you can do a few ones with a CGM and record those and you’ll get those results compared to all the other thousands of people that have done it around the world. Then you get your results back in about a month’s time when all the microbiomes been analyzed. And basically based on your sugar scores, your fat scores and your microbiome scores, you’ll get a personalized itemized food score on an app.
Every time you want to choose something to eat, it’ll give you a score saying if I was you, I would just have this rarely. We never say no. Or you can have as many avocados as you want in a day. If you want to, you can go on a four week plan, which ignores calories completely, you’ll be pleased to know. And it ignores traditional labels and fat counts because we found that actually the label on a food packet doesn’t reflect your response to that food at all. It’s a combination of everything and that’s what we do. And people go on this plan for months. The idea is it gives you a power to actually understand how your body reacts to any food. And that means that you can start making your own choices. And then once you’ve decided what suits you best, you can then start changing around not only what you eat, but how you eat it.
Whether it’s late in the day or the morning, or whether you exercise first or after, how sleep influences it. And you find crazy stuff about how without changing anything major or without restricting your diet you could improve your metabolism. It’s a whole new way of thinking about nutrition but I think it’s going to take off. It’s very exciting.

Dr. Gundry (49:41):
And you can do this without a prescription from your physician?

Tim Spector (49:46):
Yes. CGMs in the US you need a prescription normally, but because people are also signing up to be part of… share their data, it’s a research study.

Dr. Gundry (49:58):
Got you. Okay.

Tim Spector (49:59):
It’s all about food. But people just got to agree to share that data with everyone else. And that’s how it works. And that’s why it’s so successful because we need thousands of people’s data, to get even where we are. We want to get a million people’s data. I can tell you exactly in your salad, which bits are the best for you and which ones you want to not have as much of. But the idea is to increase diversity. Increase people’s enjoyment of food, not to restrict it. And we want to go for people eating more than 30 plants a week in general.

Dr. Gundry (50:38):
I’m all for that.

Tim Spector (50:40):
Yeah. So diversity is also the key.

Dr. Gundry (50:43):
True. All right. Well, thank you again. Folks check out that site, let’s all get a kit and contribute and let’s get to a million people if we can. Keep up the good work. And I hope you keep writing for the lay public as well, because we need more academicians to enter this arena.

Tim Spector (51:12):
I will but it’s hard work as you know.

Dr. Gundry (51:14):
Yes. All right. Take care.

Tim Spector (51:20):
Okay. Lovely talking to you.

Dr. Gundry (51:20):
All right. Take care.

Tim Spector (51:20):
Thank you.

Dr. Gundry (51:22):
All right. It’s time for our audience question. Holly Lovejoy on drgundry.com ask, in your episode with Dr. Dale Bredesen, you said you would talk about apoE4 people and coconut oil. I am an apoE4 with one copy, so you’re a 3/4. What’s your opinion about coconut oil for people with the apoE4 gene? Here’s my current opinion. As you know, if I get more information, you’ll be the first to know that I altered my opinion or changed my mind even. We take care of a large number of people with apoE4, 3/4s and a lot of 4/4s come to me. I really look at small dense LDLs and oxidized LDLs. And for the most part, coconut oil seems to be quite mischievous for apoE 3/4s in kicking up your small dense LDL and kicking up your oxidized LDL.
Also, coconut oil, the saturated fats and coconut oil are what are called long chain saturated fats. And those are what lipopolysaccharides LPSs hop on. They have the potential to deliver more LPSs into your bloodstream. And Dr. Bredesen and I are I think, both convinced that one of the problems with the apoE4 gene is that your brain is more subject to inflammation from the same stimulus than someone who doesn’t carry your gene. And so keeping LPSs out of you as much as possible seems like a really good idea. On the other hand medium-chain triglycerides, MCT oil… LPSs do not hop on medium-chain triglycerides. They’re actually absorbed in a completely different way. And yes, there are medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil. But I’d much rather if you’re going to choose, have you choose medium-chain triglycerides rather than coconut oil as your oil of choice between the two of them. Hope that answers your question.
All right, now it’s time for the review of the week. Rachel gave us a five-star review on Apple podcasts. Well, thank you, Rachel. And she wrote, “I have listened to every podcast episode and read all your books.” Well, thank you. “I always look forward to new episodes. I have learned so much from you and the people you have interviewed. I really appreciate how you stay updated on research and continuously provide new information and recommendations. As a home gardener and blogger interested in personal and environmental health and sustainability, I especially enjoyed your interviews with Charles Mulkey and Dan Walters. Please keep sharing your knowledge and passion.” Wow, thanks so much, Rachel. It’s thanks to reviews like yours, that we’re able to reach a big audience with our message and it keeps growing thanks to you.
So you haven’t yet, please rate and review us on iTunes and Apple podcast. It really helps get the word out and hopefully I’ll be reading your review next week. Thanks again, Rachel and everybody else who’s listening and watching, and we’ll see you next week on the Dr. Gundry Podcast.
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 podcasts. And if you want to watch each episode of the Dr Gundry Podcast, you can always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/drgundry. Because I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you.