Interview with Dr. David Perlmutter, a Board-Certified Neurologist and three-time New York Times bestselling author, chatting with us about how following a ketogenic diet aids in the health of our brain, helps degenerative conditions, and builds stronger gut flora.
For podcast transcript, scroll down.
SHOW NOTES + LINKS
- Get the Free 7-day keto meal plan
- Get the Keto Holiday Cookbook
- Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app
- More from Dr. Perlmutter
- Dr. Perlmutter’s new book
- Causes of dementia (11:26)
- The reason behind brain fog (26:08)
- Degenerative conditions and keto (31:11)
PARTNERS OF THE KETO DIET PODCAST
Receive an instant 10% off when you order one of my custom collagen kits with Vital Proteins. Choose from collagen peptides duo, daily essentials combo, or a collagen & gelatin starter pack. Or shop on VitalProteins.com for your favorite collagen products.
Stock up on your favorite high-quality, nutrient-dense real-food products from Primal Kitchen! Use the coupon code FAT for 15% off your entire order.
100% grass-fed & finished FERMENTED beef sticks with 1 billion naturally-occurring, gut-healing probiotics! Go to PaleoValley.com for 20% off.
TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE
Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to episode number 11 of the Keto Diet podcast.
Hey, I’m Leanne from Healthfulpursuit.com, and this is the Keto Diet podcast where we’re busting through the restrictive mentality of our traditional ketogenic diet to uncover the life you crave. What’s keto? Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar burning state to becoming fat-burning machines. If you’re in need of keto recipe food prep inspiration, I’ve prepped a free 7-day keto meal plan exclusive for podcast listeners. The plan is complete with a shopping list and everything you need to chow down on keto for seven whole days. Download your free copy at Healthfulpursuit.com/ketomeal. Let’s get this party started.
Hey, guys. Hope you are having a wonderful Sunday and you’re preparing for the holiday season if you celebrate it. I know here, there are Christmas trees everywhere and Christmas music everywhere. Finally, I am accepting the fact that Christmas is coming. I know that in here in Canada, the Christmas songs start late after Halloween which makes it, I don’t know, those two months just go by so quickly and then it’s over and then I miss the Christmas music. I’m sucking it all up this week.
The awesome thing this week, we got two awesome things actually, is I forgot how much I love the bacon wrapped sausages with aioli from my book, the Keto Holiday Cookbook. If you don’t have a copy yet, you can grab it at Healthfulpursuit.com/ketoholiday. I prepared the sausages again on Saturday for a couple of friends and family that came over and nom nom, oh my gosh. I forgot how much I love that recipe. If you already have the book, thank you so much for grabbing it, and if you don’t, I highly recommend that you make it part of your holiday season especially if you are trying to eat low carb.
The second thing is that I tried the awesome Primal Kitchen ranch dressing. If you guys haven’t tried it yet, it’s unbelievable. It tastes just like ranch dressing but there’s no dairy in it. It’s so good. We’re partnered up with Primal Kitchen, and you can grab the ranch dressing plus all the avocado mayo you could ever dream of. They have big canisters now that last for a good couple of weeks on keto and maybe a couple of months if you’re not ketogenic. I go through this stuff like crazy. You can cash in on the discount that they’ve put together for us by using FAT, all in caps, no spaces for 15% off and you can grab at Healthfulpursuit.com/primal. Fill up your cart, get it all filled in, you’ll have all of your stuff before the new year, and you can rock your keto into 2017. It’ll be awesome.
We’re covering in today’s episode are building up gut bacteria, the reason behind brain fog, and avoiding degenerative conditions. The show notes for today’s episode can be found at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e11, and let’s hear from one of our awesome partners.
The Keto Diet Podcast is excited to be partnered with Primal Kitchen, the makers of uncompromisingly delicious, high quality, nutrient-dense, real food products that are also non-GMO and paleo approved. In the world of real food eating, it’s what you put on your food that keeps it interesting, and food that’s good for you tastes even better with Primal Kitchen foods. They’ve just come out with a dairy-free, keto-friendly ranch dressing that you can slather on just about everything. Using 100% pure avocado oil, avo-based, their ranch dressing includes only the finest functional and health food ingredients like nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, organic garlic, onion, dill, cage-free organic eggs, black pepper, and chives. Stock up on all Primal Kitchen goods by visiting healthfulpursuit.com/primal and enter in the coupon code FAT, that’s all in caps, no spaces, for 15% off your entire order.
Well, the only announcement I have for you guys today, I teased it in the awesome thing week, and I cheated by adding two awesome things this week, but it was to chat a little bit more about my Keto Holiday menus. I hosted Christmas last year, and it was quite a nightmare because I was ketogenic and we have lots of people in our family that are allergic to gluten and dairy, and nuts and oh my gosh, the list goes on. After that experience of trying to cook for way too many people and trying to organize everything so that everyone was happy, I said, “There has to be a better way.”
When I was planning out my Keto Holiday book that is primarily focused on ketogenic holiday recipes, well it is focused on that, I wanted to put together holiday menus that people could just grab and go that serve oodles of people from four people up to as many as you can fit in your house so that everyone can have a healthful holiday, everyone enjoys the meals and there’s classic things like turkey and roast beef and stuffing and cranberry sauce and gravy and pumpkin pie and cakes and cookies and all the things that people expect from the holidays that you can cater to a bunch of different eating styles, as well as serving everyone a beautiful ketogenic meal. You might convert some of your friends over to ketogenic just naturally by giving them sugar cookies that don’t have any sugar or anything that will harm their little brains which we’re going to be talking about in today’s episode.
You can learn more about the holiday menus that I included in the Keto Holidays cookbook. There are four of them, some of them that might be of interest to you right now while you think about Christmas and the holiday season and even the New Year party that maybe you’re hosting this year are the meat-free menus, classic holiday menus, and the low-calorie menu. The reason I included a low-calorie menu wasn’t necessarily because we’re focusing on calories, but if you’re just hosting a little dinner and you’re just giving them dinner and not many appetizers or anything like that, it’s a lighter menu. You can get more by going to Healthfulpursuit.com/ketoholiday.
If you have an idea for a podcast episode or you want to submit praise over and above your review which you can leave by going to Healthfulpursuit.com/review, you can reach me at email@example.com. We got a lot of great questions for today’s guest. The questions and suggestions on guests are primarily focused on our private Facebook group. You gain access to our private Facebook group when you grab any of my keto products available at Healthfulpursuit.com/shop. Every time we have a guest, I ask all of the peeps what they want me to ask them, and then I put it all together, and we ask our guest all of your questions or at least as many as I can get through.
Today’s guest is Dr. Perlmutter. He’s board-certified neurologist and a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition who received his MD degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine where he was awarded the Leonard G. Rowntree Research Award. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed scientific journals including Archives of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and The Journal of Applied Nutrition, and is a frequent lecturer at symposia sponsored by such medical institutions as Columbia University, Scripps Institute, New York University, and Harvard University. He serves as Associate Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Dr. Perlmutter has been interviewed on many nationally syndicated television programs including 20/20, Larry King Live, CNN, Fox News, Fox and Friends, The Today Show, Oprah, The Dr. Oz Show, and The CBS Early Show. He is the recipient of the Linus Pauling Award for his innovative approaches to neurological disorders. He is the recipient of the 2016 National Nutrition Foods Association Clinician of the Year Award and was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year award from the American College of Nutrition in 2010.
In 2015, Dr. Perlmutter was awarded both the Media Award in the American College of Nutrition and the Healthy Living Award from The Invisible Disabilities Association. Dr. Perlmutter is a three-time New York Times bestselling author, with his books published in 28 languages, Grain Brain, The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar has over one million copies in print. His most recent book, Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life, is also a New York Times bestsellers and his latest book, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, was published in November 2016.
Super thrilled that we got Dr. Perlmutter on the show. He is a very kind soul as you’ll hear in just a moment. He’s open to answering all of my questions. I only wish we would’ve had more time with him, but we only had 30 minutes so I tried to ask him all of the questions that I possibly could, also going through a lot of the basics. If you’re interested in brain health of any kind, if you’ve been suffering from any brain fog or light dementia or just forgetting people’s names when you thought they should be connecting or you need the inspiration to continue eating ketogenic or get back on the ketogenic train, today’s episode is going to be fabulous for you.
Before we get to the interview, there was a part of the interview where I suggested that somebody eat strawberries or berries when they’re craving sugar. Although I know that Dr. Perlmutter’s intention was to encourage people to reduce their sugar as much as possible, I just wanted to give you a heads up that for those of you that are recovering from a disordered relationship with food, what he says in that instance might be a little bit triggering. I know that it was just a little bit for me.
Just be mindful that any of the guests that we have on the show, the reason I have them on the show is to share a bit of their brilliance, but you don’t have to use their words as gospel just like I encourage you not to use my words as gospel. Just be mindful of that when you’re listening to the interview or any interview or any information that you find online, in person, anything. Use your filter, and if berries feel really good in your body like they do to me, I’m going to continue eating them. Without further ado, let’s jump over to the interview.
Thanks so much for coming on the show today, Dr. Perlmutter.
Dr. David Perlmutter: I’m delighted to be here. Thank you, Leanne.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. We’re going to get right down to it because we only have 30 minutes with you today and we have a lot of ground to cover. I ask my guests to explain their history, but you’re a well-known man, so…
Dr. David Perlmutter: Well, I still have a history. What can I say?
Leanne Vogel: Exactly. Let’s chat a little bit about the importance of brain health. In a previous episode, we were chatting with a guest on the connection between the gut and the brain and its impact on our well-being. Can you give listeners a brief overview of the gut-brain connection and how neurotransmitters are involved in this process, if at all?
Dr. David Perlmutter: I’d be delighted, and I think it does get back to a bit of my history and just for your listeners, I am a neurologist, meaning I’ve been for 35 years a brain specialist. It takes a little bit of humility, I think, to embrace the notion that the real leverage point as it comes to brain health is not in the brain itself. It’s actually in the gut. It is a place where current science is so supportive but interestingly, yet most of my neurological colleagues are still unable to bring themselves to go. We see mainstream neurology is still trying to find wonder drugs that work in the brain and drugs for depression that change brain chemistry to increase serotonin; you name it. The real answer is just what you mentioned, Leanne, and that is this gut-brain connection, that everything going on in the gut has a dramatic role to play in not only the moment to moment functionality of the brain but also the brain’s long-term risk of degeneration and disease.
When we talk about that, we know that one of those most powerful mechanisms that will mess up your brain today regarding how it’s working and also usher in risk for things like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is the process of inflammation. We now understand that inflammation begins in the gut and is strongly influenced by the health of our gut bacteria. That takes us back to the bacteria living within the gut as it relates to the brain. The most important thing that you can alter to improve the health of your gut bacteria is your diet is the food that you eat; your food choices play a huge role in amplifying the diversity and health of the gut bacteria. The gut bacteria control inflammation and inflammation is what makes or breaks your brain.
Leanne Vogel: Brilliant. For people wondering about the brain health and the positive behaviors that support brain health, what positive outcomes can one expect if they care about their gut and their brain?
Dr. David Perlmutter: Well, I think that we recognize that things like Alzheimer’s for example, preventable disease, and that is something I want to scream from the highest hilltops, and that is here is a disease, a situation affecting 5.4 million Americans. Many of your listeners probably had a family experience or at least a friend experience with this situation, and it is beyond heart-wrenching having been there myself with my dad. The point is we have no treatment for Alzheimer’s, none at all as we have this conversation here in 2016 and yet, our science is telling us that it is by and large a preventable condition.
How do you prevent Alzheimer’s? Well, the first thing is you get a very, very expensive piece of equipment called a pair of sneakers. The pair of sneakers allows you to engage in 20 minutes of aerobic exercise each day. Just published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease that aerobic exercise is associated with a 50% reduction in your risk for developing this condition. Again, a condition for which there is no treatment. We know that blood sugar is fundamentally a huge player as it relates not only to brain health and risk for disease but also regarding how your brain works right now today, how you’re able to carry on your activities that require cognitive ability.
Keeping your blood sugar down, no mystery there. Eating less sugar and fewer carbs. Eating more fat. Look at what we’re saying. This is topsy-turvy compared to what we’ve been told for three decades. Yes, this is a diet higher in fat, much lower in sugar and lower in carbs, and of course higher in good prebiotic fiber to nurture the gut bacteria. We have always eaten healthy fat. It’s been a part of human nutrition for about 2.4 million years and then suddenly, 30 years ago, the sugar industry influenced medical literature. I’m not telling you something you may not know, I mean this was on the front page of the New York Times put out by the Journal of the American Medical Association that the sugar industry basically bought editorials and articles and peer-reviewed journals saying that our demon was fat and that we can eat all the sugar we want.
Hey, that one intervention, I think, was associated with more death and disability than any event in the history of this planet. Let’s get back to some sanity and ask ourselves what have we eaten for the past couple of million years that has allowed us to survive, and it is a diet that has more fat, much more fiber, and very, very little sugar and carbs.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, exactly. You mentioned blood sugar a bit. I know that there’s been a lot of conversation around Alzheimer’s being labeled as diabetes type 3 and related to high insulin. Can you chat a little bit more about that process and how-
Dr. David Perlmutter: Yes, I’d be delighted. I think the fact that it has been coined diabetes type 3 does several things. Number one, it clues us into the notion that somehow, sugar may be related and therefore, somehow insulin may be related. What we know is that in fact, that’s true. A published study for example in the New England Journal of Medicine in September of 2013 showed. They took a large number, several thousand elderly people who do not have dementia and they did one very intense study on them at the beginning of the test. What did they do? They measured their blood sugar. That’s it. Then they follow these people for about seven years, and they determined who got dementia and who didn’t, and they found that even a slight elevation of blood sugar correlated with a profound increase risk of becoming a demented individual, again as I mentioned, a situation for which there is no treatment.
Now having said that, it emphasizes this powerful connection between blood sugar and toxicity in the brain. Beyond that, we know that the brain is experiencing difficulties in using insulin that there are deficiencies in hopes that it’ll get to the brain and in fact, help with these individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. The point I want to make is that’s the end game. That’s looking at when the problem has already become fulminant. My plea is that we get back to a place of asking the question, “Hey, how can we prevent this situation from happening in the first place so that it’s not fourth down and long yardage in the last quarter of the game and we have to figure out an incredible play here to get things back on track?”
John Kennedy, President Kennedy in his inaugural address told us that the time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining. Hopefully for your listeners, the sun is shining right now and it’s time to act proactively and keep your brain healthy so that you’re not having a discussion with your doctor hoping that there’s going to be a wonder drug in the next five to ten years because hey, five to ten years once you’ve been diagnosed, there’s a lot of changes that happen.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, and very quickly. My grandfather died of Alzheimer’s, well they can’t die of Alzheimer’s, but died very quickly after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and it’s quick. It happened very fast.
Dr. David Perlmutter: Well, you know what? It may be quick, and it may not be. We certainly see plenty of response now in Alzheimer’s patients by making exactly the changes that you alluded to before. In order words, getting them quickly on a ketogenic diet, giving them much more fat and cutting their carbs, we see improvements in Alzheimer’s disease. According to the work of a Dr. Dale Bredesen out at the Buck Institute in California, actual reversal of Alzheimer’s disease without just solely relying on medication. It’s time to break down these ideas about Alzheimer’s. A, it is preventable and B, lifestyle choice interventions can reverse the condition. Wow, who knew?
Leanne Vogel: Exactly. It’s come a long way in the last couple of years, for sure. Now you talked about working out helping, blood sugar regulation helping. We talked a little bit about gut health, and you mentioned prebiotic fiber. For people that aren’t familiar with prebiotic fiber is, can you go a little bit more into supporting your gut with it?
Dr. David Perlmutter: Many people, I’m sure, have heard the term probiotics. Probiotics are the bacteria that live in our gut, and they make up part of the hundred trillion organisms that live upon us and within us. Again, these organisms, these microbes are playing a huge role in determining our health, destiny moment to moment. They’re making vitamins; they’re repairing the gut lining, reducing inflammation, helping to manufacture our neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These bacteria need a special kind of food, and they metabolize what is called prebiotic, meaning before the bacteria.
Prebiotic fiber, that’s what allows them to make the various metabolic products that they do that keep us healthy. We need to amp up our consumption of prebiotic fiber. It allows our good bacteria to do what they want to do to keep us healthy and it allows them to multiply. You get more of the good guys also, of course, to taking it with probiotic. Where do we get this magical elixir which is called prebiotic fiber? Well, guess what? We get it from food. We get it from eating foods that are rich in prebiotic fiber, foods like jicama which is Mexican yam, dandelion greens, onions, garlic, leek, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root.
Plenty of vegetables have lots of prebiotic fiber. The ones I mentioned seem to have the most. Even beyond that, these may not be on the plate everyday or at the restaurant. They’re at the health food store and mixed into your glass of whatever each morning. One of the most potent prebiotics that you can look for is called acacia gum. It’s a resin that’s secreted from the acacia tree, and that’s that tall canopy tree in the African Savannah where you see the giraffes taking shelter from the midday heat. The acacia tree in a very sustainable way secretes this resin that is then made into a prebiotic fiber. I take it every day. You want to nurture your good gut bacteria.
Leanne Vogel: That’s brilliant. I didn’t know about this. I’m totally going to look that up. That’s great.
Dr. David Perlmutter: There you go.
Leanne Vogel: Do you feel like the success between, you are talking about Alzheimer’s and how the ketogenic diet can sometimes even reverse that, is it successful because of the ketones created or is that a separate conversation with ketones and the health of the brain?
Dr. David Perlmutter: Well, it’s a two-part answer. When you’re on a ketogenic diet, and you’re creating these ketones, these ketones are then used by your brain cells as fuel, and as such, the brain works better and produces less damaging chemicals called free radicals. It’s a very, very efficient fuel for the brain, number one. Number two, it increases the production of what is called BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factor which stimulates the growth of new brain cells. That’s obviously something that’s really good. Number three, by it’s nature, the ketogenic diet requires that you dramatically cut back on your sugar and carbohydrate and eat more helpful fat.
When you’re cutting your carbs and cutting your sugars, your blood sugar goes down. That’s good for your brain as well, and it’s also good for your gut bacteria and will reduce inflammation which is the cornerstone mechanism that causes not just brain degeneration but coronary artery disease, diabetes, cancer, virtually any degenerative condition in your body. Again, the cornerstone is inflammation. That’s the wide net that is thrown by this ketogenic diet and finally, the ketogenic diet is associated with weight loss. We know there’s a specific and direct correlation between having a big belly and a brain that is shrinking. If you want to lose your belly, reduce your belly fat and therefore reduce inflammation, the ketogenic diet is the way to go.
The podcast is partnered with Vital Proteins. You guys know how much I love Vital Proteins. And, their Collagen Peptides, Beef Gelatin, and Marine Collagen, have been transformed into Stick Packs. So if you love their products just as much as me, but you’re sick and tired of putting your collagen, or gelatin, into little baggies yourself, they’ve done it for you. Each Collagen Peptide Stick Pack, Gelatin Stick Pack, and Marine Collagen Stick Pack has 10 grams of either your Collagen Peptides, your Beef Gelatin, or your Marine Collagen, all in one little pack that you can put in your purse, you can take with you camping, you could even bring them on holidays. Each box comes with 20 Stick Packs. Super excited about this. Receive an instant 10% off when you order one of my custom collagen kits with Vital Proteins. Choose from collagen peptides duo, daily essentials combo, or a collagen & gelatin starter pack. Or shop on VitalProteins.com for your favorite collagen products.
I know that a lot of the women listening are in their mid-40s, getting into their 50s and a lot of them complain of those midlife memory issues that just “come with age.” What are your thoughts on midlife memory issues and brain fog even, those imbalances of the brain?
Dr. David Perlmutter: I think that it’s very important that people understand that you can’t take those things lightly and write them off as senior moments or however you want to call, whatever way you want, excuse you want to concoct for yourself. They’re very serious. By and large, these events are the harbinger of trouble to come. When you start to walk into a room and don’t know why you did that, you have to go through the whole list of your children’s names until you finally stop on the right one and then include the dog’s name in that one as well. These things are serious events because now, you’re already experiencing an observable change in your level of brain function and you’ve got to jump on that as quickly as you can. You’ve got to change your diet, you’ve got to cut the carbs, cut the sugar, and also start aerobic exercise.
One very important point, on and on, my discussions deal with the fact that sugar is profoundly toxic to the brain. What I don’t want to leave people with is the sense that therefore, Dr. Perlmutter thinks we should be using artificial sweeteners, because a point of fact, the studies are demonstrating and these are large studies, so one that correlated to diabetes had close to 80,000 women in it. By and large, artificial sweeteners are worse for your body than the sugar-sweetened beverages, that your risk of diabetes, of becoming a type 2 diabetic drinking diet this and diet that, no sugar and no calories, your risk for diabetes is twice as high in comparison to drinking regular soda. Now, I don’t want that to be misconstrued, people saying, “We’ll, Dr. Perlmutter wants me to drink sugar-sweetened sodas because he’s so down on the artificial.” No, you shouldn’t be drinking either of them.
What we drink is just as relevant as what we eat. What are you going to have for breakfast? What are you going to drink with your morning meal? Well, you’re not going to drink a can of cola because that’s 36 grams of carbohydrates. What would you have instead? Well, maybe a 12-ounce glass of fresh squeezed orange juice, is that a good choice? No, it’s not. A 12-ounce glass of orange juice is nine teaspoons of sugar, 36 grams of carbohydrates. It’s profoundly detrimental for your brain and also is opening up the door for you to become both overweight and type 2 diabetic, both of which are powerful risk factors for Alzheimer’s. Look, if you become a type 2 diabetic, first, by and large, that’s a choice based on your lifestyle and number two, it will quadruple your risk of becoming an Alzheimer’s patient.
Leanne Vogel: Wow, quadruple. That’s insane. I had no idea. As somebody who eats low-carb and has been for so long, I notice even when I have just a little bit too many carbs, my brain gets a little bit foggy, and that’s just a nice indication that I’m on the right path eating low-carb.
The podcast is sponsored by Paleovalley, a hundred percent grass-fed beef sticks, my new favorite gut-friendly clean protein snack. There are tons of new snack options on the market today but nothing quite like Paleovalley’s grass-fed beef sticks. They are made from a hundred percent Grass-fed and grass-finished beef which is rare. It contains all organic spices, are all free of dyes and are also carb-free, GMO-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and contain zero grams of sugar. The big reason these beef sticks make me do the happy dance is that they’re fermented. Yes, just like fermented vegetables. As a result, each beef stick contains one billion naturally occurring gut-healing probiotics. They are super convenient, delicious, and great for your gut so don’t miss out.
Exclusive to our listeners, Paleovalley is providing 20% off all orders for a very limited time. You’ll also be given first dibs on your brand new insanely delicious Garlic Summer Sausage and Summer Sausage flavors. Just like healthy mini hickory smoked sausages. Get your fermented 100% grass-fed beef sticks for 20% off by going to Paleovalley.com/keto, load up your cart and the discount will be automatically applied. Again, that’s Paleovalley.com/keto.
You mentioned artificial sweeteners; I’m assuming that’s the aspartame, Splenda stuff. Where-
Dr. David Perlmutter: You’re right. You’re exactly right. It doesn’t matter what color, pink or blue packet you want to put in your coffee in the morning. You’ve got to recognize that that is traumatizing your microbiome and as such is setting the stage for obesity and type 2 diabetes. You know, I talked about the statistics vis-à-vis Alzheimer’s here in America, 5.4 million Americans already diagnosed but look, there are 28 million Americans who are type 2 diabetic, and it’s estimated that triple that number are pre-diabetic. That said, these are individuals who have now dramatically increased their risk of becoming not just diabetic patients but Alzheimer’s patients as well. It’s scary, scary business. Just from a monetary perspective, Alzheimer’s costs America $200 billion a year.
Leanne Vogel: What are your thoughts on things like stevia or xylitol or those other “sugar-free” healthier alternatives?
Dr. David Perlmutter: Well, I think that we’re certainly seeing that they’re becoming very popular and I think that the effects of the sugar alcohols, erythritol, and xylitol, on the microbiome are just starting to be explored. That said, we know that xylitol in particular amongst the sugar alcohols is associated with a lot of gastrointestinal upset. People do get a lot of bloating and some diarrhea when they’re using these sugar alcohols. The other one you mentioned is stevia. Stevia seems to be relatively safe. I don’t think that there have been any studies that have demonstrated that it has any significant detrimental effect upon the microbiome, the gut bacteria.
My ultimate goal is that I’d like people to start to distance themselves from catering to sweet all the time, you know what I mean? The more you do that, the more likely you are to get busted and go ahead and eat sweet foods. The less we can cater to our desire to always have something sweet after dinner and have desert, I think so much the better because it’ll help our resolve to stay away from sugar. That said, in my new book as I’ve had in my last couple of books, there have been a couple of recipes that have used stevia just if people feel like they have to have something sweet. Well, if you’ve got to do it, here’s the best alternative that I can think of.
Leanne Vogel: Or there are berries. I know that when I’m craving something sweet, a couple of strawberries does the trick.
Dr. David Perlmutter: Well, I would say that a couple of strawberries are not going to be a significant game changer, a significant worry for me but the point is if you say that berries are good, have at it, then people start to suck down berries. Yeah, they’re loaded with antioxidants, they’re good for your brain, on and on, but they are super, super sweet. They are full of sugar. What does a bear eat to double its body weight in the spring, in summer? It eats berries and some of them eat fish, of course, but by and large, the forest-dwelling bears are eating berries as many as they can find because the sugar in the berry is a signal to the body to do what? Make insulin. What happens when you make insulin is it tells your body winter is coming and therefore you need to make body fat.
This is a powerful mechanism that underlies why people gain weight when they eat sugar and carbs which are broken down to sugar. Eat all the fat you want. You don’t make insulin from eating fat, so you’re not stimulating your body to think that winter is coming and therefore make and store fat. It’s very, very straightforward.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, I think the key that you said there is just retraining your body to not even want the sweetness.
Dr. David Perlmutter: Right. That’s my argument against stevia. There are other issues that, I guess, some could consider stevia, but the less you cater to that desire for sweet, the better then. You’re not getting up in the middle of the night thinking you’re going to just bust into a pint of Häagen-Dazs and who knows what else.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. To pair together brain and gut health, MCT oil is gaining quite a lot of popularity. Can you chat a little bit about how MCT oil supercharges people’s brains because a lot of people will take it and be like, “Wow, I was on fire all day.” How does that work? Why does that happen?
Dr. David Perlmutter: Well, I’d say first of all, one of the reasons that people are so enamored with MCT oil that it feels like it’s supercharging your brains is because it’s become part of this bulletproof coffee movement and part of that may be the coffee, with all due respect, that’s really getting jazzed up. Having said that, I think there’s a lot of merit to not only the bulletproof coffee but also the whole notion of MCT, medium-chain triglycerides, which do get us right back to our conversation concerning getting ketogenic.
In other words, powering your brain with fat as opposed to carbohydrates. When you take MCT oil, you’re enhancing or making this process of generating these ketones which are the fuel for the brain. It makes it a lot easier. I’m all for it and the other way that you can do it, of course, is to use coconut oil. Coconut oil does have a significant amount of MCT oil in it so if you can’t find the MCT at the health food store; coconut oil is nonetheless a good choice.
Leanne Vogel: Perfect. There are a lot of parents listening and a lot of parents with children with autism or ADD, ADHD. Would something like a ketogenic protocol or something that’s low-carb, minimal, minimal sugar, would that be helpful for these conditions?
Dr. David Perlmutter: Well, I would just say that the natural state of humans is probably low-grade of ketosis and has been for a couple of million years. That’s a pretty long clinical trial. The fact that you and I are having a conversation here in 2016 after 2.4 million years of being on this diet is a real testament to the fact that it works. Humans have always been on this diet because we didn’t have carbs. We didn’t have sugar except again in the late summer, early fall when there would be some ripened blueberries for a couple of weeks. We’d eat them, gain some body fat, and make it through the winter.
Having said that, I think that whenever you put people back on the right diet which is the diet that our DNA is expecting, we would expect to see improvements. That’s the ideal diet for actual intervention for treating Alzheimer’s, autism, ADHD, overweight, hypertension, diabetes for sure, any inflammatory disease, coronary artery disease. Dr. Thomas Seyfried wrote a book on treating cancer using a ketogenic diet. I think once you get humans back in touch, giving the right information which is the food, food is information, back to their DNA, you see the resurgence of health. I’d be hard-pressed to find somebody who wouldn’t benefit from the ketogenic diet. Of course, in a type 1 diabetic on insulin, you would have to be careful about this diet. Otherwise, I think it’s something that is very, very worthwhile for everyone.
Leanne Vogel: Perfect. We only have a couple more minutes, and I wanted to chat about your new book, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan. Can you chat a little bit about how it came about and when it releases?
Dr. David Perlmutter: Grain Brain Whole Life Plan is available now. It was released on Tuesday of last week, and it is … You know, it is the next step for all of our readers regarding implementation. Grain Brain and Brain Maker were about the science of why, why low-carb is better, why gluten-free is better, why our microbiome, our gut bacteria are playing such a huge role, what’s the science. The Whole Life Plan now takes that information and asks the question how and answers that question, how do you do this? How do you change your diet? How much exercise should you get? In fact, it links to my website where I demonstrate the exercises. I went to a gym and did them, and they’re on the website which is drperlmutter.com. It talks about the importance of sleep, exercise, nutrition, and gratitude, the four, I think, critical pillars for regaining and then maintaining health.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, brilliant. I saw some of those videos on your website the other day. Well done.
Dr. David Perlmutter: Yeah, who knew?
Leanne Vogel: Totally. They’re great. Well, thanks so much for coming on the show. I think that the information that you shared is helpful for people, all people. If you have a brain, then it’s helpful for you. Thanks so much for coming on and I will include the links that you shared in the show notes for today’s episode which everyone can find at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e11.
Dr. David Perlmutter: Well great, Leanne. Thanks for having me today and I just appreciate the opportunity to get this information out.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, you bet. Thank you so much.
That does it for another episode of the Keto Diet podcast. Thanks for listening in! You can follow me on Instagram by searching Healthful Pursuit where you’ll find daily keto eats and other fun things. Check out all of my keto supportive programs, bundles, guides, and other cool things over at healthfulpursuit.com/shop, and I’ll see you next Sunday. Bye.