Interview with Ryan P. Lowery, chatting about SWEETS, sugar alternatives, how to mitigate the keto cravings, and so much more.
Keto is such a liberating lifestyle for me, but if I’m being really honest, sometimes I miss my sweets. Even though I’ve been keto for a few years now, every once in a while, I’ll feel that pull towards sugar. If you find yourself craving sugar — especially when you’re tired, sleepy, stressed, bored, or feeling a little down — don’t worry, you’re not alone!
My relationship with sugar is a lot better since I found keto; I’m no longer dependent on sugar, and I can go a good while without a craving, but if keto has taught me anything, it’s that life is about BALANCE. How can you balance a sugar craving with a ketogenic lifestyle? I’ve got a few tips for you!
In today’s podcast, I chat with our guest Ryan P. Lowery, President of the Applied Science and Performance Institute (ASPI), PhD candidate in Health and Human Performance at Concordia University, and former sugar fiend about how to treat yo self without derailing your keto lifestyle.
This episode is all about understanding what sugar cravings feel like on keto, safe sugar alternatives, how best to indulge in keto treats, and more.
Let’s get to the interview!
For podcast transcript, scroll down.
We have a new partner of the podcast, Broya Bone Broth! And, I wanted to share a couple of details about them because the way they do things is a little different. When I first tried their product, I was blown away by the intensely awesome flavor, but disappointed that there wasn’t a lot of visible gelatin/gelatinous quality to their broth when I placed it in the fridge. Many other broths do this, and I thought it was a good sign of a quality product, but I was wrong.
After reaching out to Broya to ask them why their product was loaded with flavor, but didn’t have the gelatinous quality, they schooled me on collagen and gelatin extraction, and boy did I learn a bunch! I’ve validated the details of our conversation, and I’d love to share what I learned just in case you, too, do the same thing to qualify a broth as healthful. Here goes:
In terms of the collagen protein; typically, there are many factors that will allow for more a greater extraction efficiency. They are:
A higher bone to water ratio (more bones = more collagen)
Longer cook time (longer cook time = more collagen – to a certain point until there are diminishing returns of extraction)
Surface area on the bones (the smaller the bones are cut up, the more surface area is exposed = more collagen extraction)
More heat – Higher temperature (to a certain point) = more collagen extraction
Pressure – Higher pressure (to a certain point) = more collagen extraction
Types of bones (For beef; knuckle, neck, femur, and tendons are all great and packed with collagen – stay away from the thin blades. For chicken; carcasses, necks, backs, and feet are all great)
As the bones heat up in water the collagen proteins breakdown through a reaction called thermal hydrolysis. Through this reaction, the long collagen peptides break down into smaller fragments of different molecular weight. The higher molecular weight peptides give more viscosity to the gelatin solution, while smaller peptides will affect viscosity to a lesser extent. So, in fact, it is possible to have more a greater breakdown of collagen with a lower viscosity. Sometimes this can be seen in pressure cooking where the time of extraction takes a lot less time where you’ll end up having a larger amount of lower molecular weight peptides and end up with a lower viscosity (i.e. less gelatinous, but more collagen).
SHOW NOTES + LINKS
- Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app
- Christmas is coming! Get The Keto Holiday Cookbook now for only $10! 36 recipes, 4 menu options, and endless deliciousness — both holly AND jolly!
- Get more from Ryan on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or grab his book, The Ketogenic Bible: The Authoritative Guide to Ketosis
- Sweet Alternatives: 18 Keto Fat Bombs, Keto Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Keto Hot Chocolate Mousse
- Travel-friendly goodies: Artisana coconut butter, Chocolate Chip Keto Kookies, Snickerdoodle Keto Kookies, Double Chocolate Keto Kookies, Fat Snax cookies
- Sweeteners: Swerve erythritol and Lakanto Monk Fruit
- Alcohol: Dry Farm Wines, get an extra bottle of wine on your first order!
- Realizing sugar is a problem… and what to do about it (09:46)
- The process of ditching sugar (18:01)
- Stevia causing cancer (38:34)
PARTNERS OF THE KETO DIET PODCAST
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TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE
Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to Episode Number 63 of The Keto Diet Podcast. Today, we’re chatting about realizing sugar is a problem and what to do about it, the process of ditching sugar even when you’re craving things on keto, stevia causing cancer, and so much more. Stay tuned.
Hey, I’m Leanne from HealthfulPursuit.com, and this is The Keto Diet Podcast. Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar-burning state to becoming fat-burning machines. Starting keto and maintaining it long-term can be quite a challenge if you don’t feel supported.
My 60-day program, The Keto Bundle, provides you with clear, step-by-step how-to on successfully adapting to a ketogenic diet, avoiding common ketogenic struggles, and healing your body completely and fully with a ketogenic diet. Go to HealthfulPursuit.com/bundle, and use the coupon code PODCAST all in caps, no spaces to get 10% off your order, exclusive for podcast listeners only. Now, let’s get this party started.
Hey, guys. Happy Sunday. The show notes and full transcript for today’s episode can be found at HealthfulPursuit.com/podcast/e63. The transcript is added to the post about three to five days following the initial air date of this episode. Today’s episode, we chat a lot about recipes and resources and travel-friendly snacks. We’ll be sure to include all of those in the show notes. Again, that’s HealthfulPursuit.com/podcast/e63 for all of those resources. Let’s hear from one of our awesome partners.
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Go to thrivemarket.com/hp to get your instant 35% off. This offer is available to new Thrive Market customers only. Unsure of the link? Simply check out the show notes of today’s episode to get all of the details.
If you have an idea for a podcast episode or 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.
No announcements today so let’s just get started with today’s guest. He was a guest on Episode 44 of The Keto Diet Podcast where we chatted about The Authoritative Guide to Ketosis, his new book that had come out at that time. You can listen to that podcast, Episode 44, by going to HealthfulPursuit.com/podcast/e44.
Our guest today is Ryan P Lowery, a 2014 national champion baseball player who earned his BS and MS in exercise physiology and exercise and nutrition science from the University of Tampa. Ryan is currently the President of the Applied Science and Performance Institute and is completing his PhD in health and human performance at Concordia University.
Over his career, Ryan has published over 100 papers, abstracts, and book chapters on human performance and sports nutrition, and has heavily focused on the impact of ketogenic diets and exogenous ketones on performance, cognitive function, and longevity. Ryan has received the Exercise Science Scholar of the Year Award, NSCA Award for Outstanding Presentation of the Year Award, and most recently, the National AAHPERD Exercise Science Major of the Year Award. Ryan and his business partner, Dr. Jacob Wilson, have launched their book, The Ketogenic Bible, recently in August, which focuses on the science and practical application behind the ketogenic diet, exogenous ketones, and all of their potential applications.
I will definitely link up to Ryan’s book in the show notes. It’s amazing if you’re looking for more of a science-y feel to keto, but like really, really dulled down in order to understand it. You know, they never say, “Do this and you’ll be healthy,” or, “Do that it and it will be the key to your health and happiness.” It’s really just, “Here’s a bunch of information, take it or leave it. You can do with it what you may.”
Today’s interview is one of my favorites. Ryan is just such a fun guy to be around and to chat with. He and I have a very similar relationship to sugar in that we really, really, really, really loved sugar and we still deal with sugar cravings even now and how we do that on a ketogenic diet and some tips and tricks for you guys.
Without further ado, let’s cut over to this interview.
The Keto Diet Podcast, including show notes and links provides information in respect to healthy living, recipes, nutrition, and diet and is intended for informational purposes only. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, nor is it to be construed as such. We cannot guarantee that the information provided on The Keto Diet Podcast reflects the most up-to-date medical research. Information is provided without any representations or warranties of any kind. Please consult a qualified physician for medical advice and always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding your health and nutrition program.
Hey, Ryan. How’s it going today?
Ryan P. Lowery: Hey, Leanne. It’s going amazing. How are you?
Leanne Vogel: I am so good and I am really happy that you’re back on the show with us today.
Ryan P. Lowery: Aww. Thank you so. I’m so happy to be on. We were talking a little bit about travel, I’m so glad that you wrapped up your book stuff and I’m glad to be back in Tampa, back in the saddle, and rested and recovered.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, it’s so important. I missed home so badly, which is interesting because home is also traveling, but when you’re traveling for work, it’s just different than just being on the road traveling. It’s just totally different.
For listeners that may not be familiar with your work, why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself if they missed our first episode?
Ryan P. Lowery: Yeah, for sure. My name is Ryan Lowery and I am the President and Co-Founder of the Applied Science and Performance Institute here in Tampa. A little bit of my background, we did a lot of research and work in academics. I grew up an athlete, was always interested in athletics and human performance, but I always had this really, a vast interest in not just athletes, but every person and how they can optimize their potential. I think everyone has a huge amount of potential and we very rarely tap into it. For me, it was a lot to do with my family. I have a lot of family members who have autoimmune diseases, and overweight and obesity tends to run prevalent in my family. My goal in life was how do I find and optimize performance and different things for them and make sure that they’re living their best lives and then they can go on and help inspire other people?
I did my undergraduate and masters at the University of Tampa in Exercise Nutrition Science. Then I co-founded and created the Applied Science and Performance Institute after I was done there with my business partner now, Dr. Jacob Wilson. Our ultimate mission and goal with ASPI is really to change lives through science and innovation. We saw that in academics, that a lot of times when you have these scientists and you have these people publishing tons and tons of information and articles, it’s unfortunate because the only other people that can understand them are other scientists and other academics. If you really want to institute a change and make something effective in this world and help impact a lot of people, you have to make it understandable. That’s why I love, love, love your podcast, absolutely love your book, because you take the science, you take a lot of this information and stuff that you’ve applied every day in your life and now you relay it and make it understandable and digestible for everyone to take into their lives and utilize it. It’s an honor to be on here.
Leanne Vogel: Oh, thanks, Ryan. I’m blushing and I feel the exact same way about you. You know, reading through your book and kind of piecing things together, you know, you’re so great at just … here are all the facts made really, really easy for everyone to understand and you can just make up your own decision. That’s something that I try to do as well. Let’s just give the information to the people and they can decide what they want to do with it.
Ryan P. Lowery: Exactly, empowering them, empowering them with the tools that they can go and say, “Hey, you know what? I’m going to use this tool, this tool, this tool. I have this entire toolbox at my disposal and I’m going to apply it whichever way is best for my life.”
Leanne Vogel: Let’s hone in on the tools and specifically sugar, because it sounds like you and I had very, very similar upbringings with sugar. Why don’t you start with telling us how you grew up, your relationship with sugar, and how you kind of got to keto that way?
Ryan P. Lowery: Oh, man. I come from a very Italian family and it was interesting. Growing up, we would have a lot of family functions. You know, dinner, it’d be good. It’d be like a nice home cooked meal, but what everyone would look forward to is the dessert. My mom was, and she still is, the most incredible, incredible cook and baker. She loves baking cookies and sweets and cakes. You name it, she would make it, especially around the holidays. I would eat a little dinner and then just load up on all these desserts.
I had a huge, huge, huge sweet tooth. In fact, when I was in college, it was funny, a lot of my friends would get care packages from their parents and they’d get like food or gift cards to the grocery store. My mom and dad would send me like five-pound bags of Swedish Fish. I’d be like, “Yes. This is the best day ever,” because I’d have so much candy because I just ate it all the time. Looking back on it, it really was like this addiction. It was this addiction to these sweets that just reinforced over and over and over again. It was like I’d come back to my dorm room and take handfuls upon handfuls of Swedish Fish and gummy worms and Starbursts and all these different things just constantly throughout the day. I didn’t even realize at the time what I was doing to my body.
Leanne Vogel: That’s so scary and something that I can relate to so heavily. My parents were really, really into healthy eating and so my mom, on Fridays, we’d have I think it was like “Free Treat Fridays” where she would let us pick one sugary treat that she’d hide in the house, but I mean, there are only so many places you can hide treats and I always found them. Then it became this like binge cycle of, “I’m not allowed to have these sweets. I want to eat these sweets.” When I found them, I would eat all of them. That started this really unhealthy relationship with sugar. When I was around it, I would always just eat everything, very similar to yours, just handfuls.
I would sandwich different ones together and I was known as the like candy sandwich person. I would make these big sandwich things of candy and just eat them all. It was disgusting. You’re very right. It was very much an addiction. I think, for me, it was an addiction to that feeling that I got when I had sugar. You know, I’m a rebel so I really like breaking the rules. I was breaking the rules and having the sugar and that sort of thing. I think so many people can relate to that.
Here we are. We’re maybe age 10 to age 20-something eating all this sugar. What was the switch for you? When did you realize, “Oh my gosh. What am I doing to my body?” Did you realize that or how was that process?
Ryan P. Lowery: Yeah, you know, the funny thing is I played baseball all throughout college. We won the national championship my junior year. Then, after that, I had to make a very difficult decision. I was like, “Do I continue playing on and chase this dream for baseball or do I go after my passion in the science realm and really focus on academics?” I had a lot of internal conflict. I was like, “You know what? I’m going to go after this science passion. I really feel like I can help inspire a lot of people and empower others by doing this.” I really had this vision of creating ASPI a long, long, long time ago. I did that. The minute I stopped playing baseball is the minute my metabolism completely changed. I was that kid when I was playing sports in college, I could eat handfuls of Swedish Fish and I didn’t gain any weight at all, nothing. It didn’t matter what I ate. I could eat horribly and I didn’t gain any weight. People were like, “Man, you got to put on some size.” My coaches would try and get me to drink weight gainers and all these different things. I just couldn’t because my metabolism was ridiculous.
As soon as that stopped, as soon as I stopped playing baseball, my metabolism shifted very fast. That summer after, I gained about 10 to 15 pounds and I realized, “Whoa. I can’t eat like this any longer. Things have completely changed. My insulin sensitivity isn’t what it used to be.” It really clicked for me. I’m heading down this path and this downward spiral. I know what’s happened to my family. I know a lot of the situations that my family members face on a daily basis, and I don’t want to go down that road at all. That’s when I really started honing in and going, well, I really need to start paying attention to the foods that I’m eating. All these junk foods and all this sugar that I’m consuming every single day, I drastically need to cut it back. I kind of just went cold turkey one day and really started realizing that there’s a lot of different ways that you can make things enjoyable and sustainable even when you have like a hardcore addiction really like what I had.
Leanne Vogel: Whoa. Did you just say you quit cold turkey? Did that work?
Ryan P. Lowery: Didn’t. There was binges back and forth on it. It was rough. It was absolutely rough. Over time, it took me a long, long time to realize and really understand, “Hey, this is how you can incorporate in lower sugar options,” not just, “Hey, you have to eat clean. You only have to eat meat and vegetables. That’s it.” It took me a while to figure out how to incorporate back in certain foods that I enjoy because I was so afraid of going down that spiral again. I was like, “If I have just one cookie, it’s going to be 30 cookies,” because that what I used to be able to handle. It’s taken me a while to really wrap my head and understand around that how I can make these alternatives and really incorporate into a healthy lifestyle rather than this battle inside my head of, “I’m just going down this rabbit hole of I can’t touch anything versus I’m going to binge on everything.”
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. I can relate to the binge piece. I think, for me, I would do the same thing. I’d be like, “Not eating sugar. Not eating sugar,” then I’d up at the Dairy Queen takeout line. I don’t even know what you call it, drive-through. That’s it, drive-through, ordering like three Blizzards and eating them all on my way home, and I’m allergic to dairy. I would be like, “I just need all of the sugar.” It would be these binges that would happen.
I think, for me, it was finally realizing that food was just food and it was neither good nor bad. I just chose not to eat sugar because it made me feel like garbage. That was sort of the clicking moment.
More on my interview with Ryan P Lowery after this message from one of our podcast partners.
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You mentioned, going back and forth and binging and saying that you finally found something that worked. What were some of those things? Did you find that making more low-sugar treats yourself worked or allowing yourself to indulge once in a while or kind of where did you find your happy place?
Ryan P. Lowery: Yeah, no, exactly. I think it’s a combination of both. I started experimenting more. Now I absolutely love baking and cooking because I like coming up with different recipes, not only for myself, but I actually just got my mom and dad on keto, finally. For them, my mom was the same way. She loves these little snacks and these little treats. For me, I was like it’s personal, yes, for me, but also finding things that are sustainable for them. If there’s a recipe like cookies or brownies or cheesecake or anything like that, I’m like, you know what, there’s a way to make this where I don’t have to use three cups of sugar and I can still make it taste, I can make it keto, I can make it taste incredible and friendly. For me, I look at it as like a, ultimately, it’s like a science experiment. It’s kind of like putting something together and saying, “Okay, that didn’t work. That either tasted terrible,” or, “You know what, it worked out. This is really good. I can have this once in a while and I’m not going to binge on it and I’m not going to be miserable about eating it and be like, I feel terrible because I ate that,” because it really is keto-friendly in some regard.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. What are your favorite keto foods that help satiate that sugar kind of sweet tooth? I don’t know if I will ever not have a sweet tooth. It’s definitely so much better, but I still, if I had a choice between salty or sweet, I would choose sweet every time.
Ryan P. Lowery: Me too.
Leanne Vogel: Awesome. What are your favorite go-to things?
Ryan P. Lowery: You know, cookies, definitely. Cookies are a big thing for me. I grew up eating those chewy soft Chips Ahoy cookies.
Leanne Vogel: Oh my gosh. Me too.
Ryan P. Lowery: Oh my gosh. Those things were like every day. People would say, “I’ll just have one or two.” I’d like a sleeve every single night. Those and then also like cheesecake. I used to, almost after every baseball game, used to go to The Cheesecake Factory. You get one slice of cheesecake there and it’s like 5,000 calories and like 5,000 grams of sugar.
It’s crazy, but creating these alternatives, those two mainly have been really real game-changers, so to speak, of playing around with different recipes and then having these little, I think, treats every once in a while that I’m enjoying, that are low-carb. I use different flours. I like to make a lot of non-dairy because I think I’m a little sensitive to it and I have friends and family members who don’t handle it all. Just playing around with different recipes, but those definitely are my favorite.
Leanne Vogel: Nice. It’s amazing that you have energy to cook and that’s so cool. I really like snacks that are packaged. I just don’t have the time. My favorite thing is coconut butter. Artisana coconut butter, any time I’m craving something sweet, if I crack one of those open and grab a spoon and I choose the packets because if I have a jar, I will eat the whole jar. I just love it that much. I get the packets and then I cut it open and enjoy that. It always hits the spot, always, always.
Ryan P. Lowery: Those are perfect like on-the-go too, right? We travel a lot so it’s finding those options as well that it is like, “Hey, you know what, I’m going into a meeting,” or, “Hey, I’m traveling I’m going to speak, but I don’t want to sit down and grab like” – I love Cobb salads – “I don’t want to sit down and have like a huge Cobb salad. I got to get something quick.” Grabbing something like that packet of coconut butter on the go is perfect for that type of environment.
Leanne Vogel: For us two being as in love with sugar as we were, did you find that when you switched to keto, all of a sudden, the clouds parted, the angels sung, and you were no longer addicted to sugar? I mean, we kind of already chatted about this a little while ago, but I just wanted to kind of hone in on what was that process like for you. You started eating keto, sounded like you were still trying to figure out what keto things will help my sugar cravings. I think a lot of people think, “Okay. I’ve been keto for five days. Why am I still craving sugar?”
Ryan P. Lowery: Right. My first experience. I think we talked about this a little bit last time. My first experience, because I had such intense sugar cravings, the first time I went keto, I’m like, “Great. This is awesome. I’m going to try and do this and have sweets for every single meal.” I would create something called keto mousse. It was basically like dark unsweetened chocolate. It was heavy cream. It was coconut oil and some sweeteners inside of it and protein powder. I had that like five times a day. It was the worst experience I’ve ever had. I went into it and we were talking with like Dom D’Agostino at the time. I said, “Dom, this keto thing,” I was like, “I feel horrible. This is awful. I’m craving foods. I’m eating like six times a day.” It was terrible but it was because I tried to make it like so sweet all the time. It was the only thing I knew. I was probably never adapting. I was having so much cream. It was just awful.
I eventually went back to the drawing board and was like, “How do I really rewire this?” I started eating more whole foods, incorporating in things like that, and then started cooking and baking on my own. Soon, I realized, I was like, wow, my sugar cravings definitely went down. They absolutely did. Then there’s always those times, like you had mentioned, I’m still always going to have cravings for sugar. I’m still going to always walk into a mall or somewhere and smell cookies and be like, “Oh my gosh. I wish I had cookies right now.” It’s finding those alternatives that really was the shift for me where I got active in the kitchen or I found alternatives that people are making already and packaged items that I could eat and could handle well that I knew weren’t going to spike my glucose, weren’t going to spike my insulin, and still allow me to maintain this flexibility on a ketogenic diet.
Leanne Vogel: Brilliant. I’ll include a lot of the alternatives. I have like recipe roundups of cookies that are keto and fat bombs. I have a keto mousse recipe that’s dairy-free. I’ll include all that in the show notes if people are like, “But give me your secrets.”
Ryan P. Lowery: Awesome.
Leanne Vogel: People can check those out. How do you feel about fruit? Do you still incorporate that into keto at all or do you avoid it? Let’s talk about fruit.
Ryan P. Lowery: Yeah, you know, I was the worst eater growing up. I feel like everyone’s going to be like, “Wow, this guy is terrible.”
Leanne Vogel: I’m right there with you, dude.
Ryan P. Lowery: This is how bad it was. Up until freshman year of high school, the only thing I ate, like my mom would pack me for school lunch every single day is cereal and milk. I would eat either Lucky Charms or Fruit Pebbles. Anything that was cereal, I ate mainly for all of my meals. Me growing up, eating fruit wasn’t a thing. It was a texture thing. I didn’t like it. If it wasn’t cereal or like McDonald’s or Wendy’s, there was a very good chance that I wasn’t eating it. God bless my mom and dad for dealing with me during that time and just handling all of that.
Fruit, I’ve tried to actively start incorporating it, more so now that I’m really adapted, fat adapted. Since I’ve been living this lifestyle for so long, I definitely realize a lot of the benefits of certain fruits.
Now that my palate kind of has changed, I eat a lot of vegetables now, whereas before, I never did. With fruit, it’s kind of the same thing. I’m trying to incorporate in, well, obviously, we know that avocado technically is a fruit. I like trying to incorporate in that. Stuff like berries, like frozen berries, I try and incorporate those more now than I ever have in the past. That’s really the only fruit that I try and incorporate in. Sometimes I’ll do like a shake. I’ll make like a little shake with some unsweetened almond milk, some MCTs, protein, and I’ll try and throw some berries in there, some frozen berries. That’s really the extent of the fruit that I really incorporate in.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, same with me. Would you consider a plantain a fruit? Is that technically a fruit too?
Ryan P. Lowery: Good question.
Leanne Vogel: I really like plantains for my carb-ups.
Ryan P. Lowery: Yeah, no. Those are good. Those are really good.
Leanne Vogel: They’re so good, like the green ones, not the really, really ripe sugary ones, which is crazy because 10 years ago I loved the sugary plantains.
I think our conversation around that process, I think a lot of people are eating the way that we did, you know, Swedish Fish and going to McDonald’s. I knew exactly when cheeseburger day was. Maybe it was Thursdays at McDonald’s. I don’t remember. I would get that and a Fruitopia. I would have that every Thursday. That was maybe 18 years ago now and it’s taken me this long to get here. I think a lot of people hear podcasts of keto people. They’re like, “I have all my stuff together and I don’t crave sugar anymore,” and all of these promises. They try it for five days and they’re wondering why they’re not experiencing that. It’s a process. It sounds like that process is still something that you experience every day. If you smell cookies, you’re like, “I want a cookie.”
Ryan P. Lowery: Exactly.
Leanne Vogel: That’s not keto. Then your solution is really just breathing through that until you can get home and make a cookie. What do you do if you’re, I don’t know, at the mall and you smell a cookie and you’re like, “Now I’m hungry and I want cookies”? What do you do in that instance?
Ryan P. Lowery: That’s a good question. Usually, I mean, I have a good tolerance now where I can fight through it. The amazing thing is this. I’ve come to a point now where like I can walk in a mall or even in a candy store. Say I’m with friends and they’re like, “Hey, let’s go in here.” I really, in my head, can now rationalize it. I’ll walk into say, a cookie store, and be like, “You know what? This smells great. This is incredible, but I have alternatives that I make that literally, in my mind now, I think they taste just as good.”
I’m like, “Well, I don’t want to have to …” I know the consequence of I’m going to be beating myself up over this and being like, “This is terrible. Why did you have 18 cookies from the store when you could have just came home and had one of your keto-friendly ones or had one of the prepackaged options that are out there on the market now?” It’s like I can now have that control because it’s been such a process over time where I’m like, “It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it for me to go in this store and binge and indulge where I know I can just get home. I’ll be home in 15 minutes and I’ll have one when I’m there.” Who knows? By the time I get home, I might not even want one anymore. By then, I might be on to something else.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. I think that that’s really important and just taking a step back, I do the same thing. It’s like, “Yeah, those cookies smell really good.” I mean, it’s easier for me because I’m allergic to gluten and dairy so I can’t just be like, “I’ll just eat the cookies.” That’s definitely an extra layer of I would say like protection against those sort of instances, but you’re totally right. You smell the cookies. You’re like, “I want the cookies,” and then you’re kind of thinking, “Okay. If I ate those cookies, what would happen? Well, I would feel like garbage. My mind would be all muddled for three days. My stomach would hurt a whole bunch. I’d probably have to hang out with my friends because I feel like a hot wreck. Is that worth it?” When you start to kind of piece it all together, you’re like, “Actually, that cookie is not sounding so great to me right now.”
Ryan P. Lowery: Exactly right. Exactly.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. That’s awesome. Let’s science it a little bit and talk about artificial sweeteners. That could include keto sweeteners. What are your thoughts on sweeteners? Which is your favorite? There’s a lot of people talking right now about how stevia gives you cancer. Let’s chat about sweeteners.
Ryan P. Lowery: Yeah. You know, this is a big topic in the keto world, definitely a big topic because everyone’s trying to make alternatives. Now you’re seeing so many products and companies launch with different things that have all of these different sweeteners inside of them.
First I think addressing like sugar alcohols is something that is very popular. Originally, if you go to any store, you go to like your local grocery store and you see all these sugar-free, sugar-free, sugar-free options, these candies, be very careful. Be extremely, extremely careful with them because a lot of them use a sugar alcohol like sorbitol or maltitol and not only do these sugar alcohols have a glucose response, like maltitol, you actually get a glucose response, but it will absolutely destroy your stomach. If you’ve ever been in like, “Hey, you know what? I’m going to go to the movies with my friends.”
Leanne Vogel: Oh my gosh. Me too.
Ryan P. Lowery: I’ve done this. I’m like, you know, when you go to the movies. I was like, “You know what? I’m going to go grab these sugar-free peanut butter cups over there.” Then it’s like, okay, I’m looking on the back of the package. It says 27 grams of carbs but 26 of them are sugar alcohols. I’m like, okay, so one net carb. That’s what they tell you. You just subtract it out. Next thing you know, I’m sitting in the movie theater and I’m like my stomach’s just like, I’m like, “Oh my gosh. What is happening in there?” It’s just the worst experience ever. Be very, very careful of those.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. I did the same thing with licorice at a movie with my mom. I was probably like 23, trying to figure out the whole sugar thing. I went to this super store. I got some of that sugar-free licorice. I got through half the pack and then I missed the rest of the movie because I was like not right. Okay, note on those for sure. I avoid those like the plague.
Ryan P. Lowery: Yes, but there’s one sugar alcohol that is really, it’s like keto-friendly. It doesn’t have a glucose response. It doesn’t have very big impact on your GI for most people. That’s erythritol. You’re seeing that a lot more in different products. Different products are starting to utilize it. It does have like a cooling sensation. It feels like you kind of have like a little mint in the backend of your throat. One of my favorite sweeteners that I use for baking purposes when I’m doing all these different things is I use something called Swerve. It’s like a combination of erythritol, oligosaccharides, and just some natural flavoring. It blends very easily for baking. It’s got very low glycemic index, virtually zero. It’s not really having effect on glucose. People can tolerate it really well.
Leanne Vogel: A word of caution for people with erythritol. If you’re sensitive to corn, like really allergic to corn or you’re like super hardcore with like avoiding grains, I’m pretty sure erythritol is not going to be good for you.
Ryan P. Lowery: Yes. There’s a lot, a lot, a lot of that. Be very, very careful with where you’re getting any of these things from because a lot of them do source them from like the corn. People, like you said, that are very sensitive, I would avoid it like the plague as well. If you’re sensitive like that, be very careful with that and stick with some of the more natural things like a stevia or something like that.
Leanne Vogel: Brilliant. Also, I learned I have a birch allergy. I’ve known this forever and I didn’t know that xylitol was sourced from birch and that I would even react to it. Every time I’d have, you know, like my sugar-free mints or things like that, it had xylitol. Then my throat would get all weird and my mouth would get itchy. I’m like, “What is going on?” Yeah, it’s because it’s sourced from birch. Note for that too.
What are your thoughts on monk fruit? Do you use it? Do you like it? Do you hate it? Let’s talk.
Ryan P. Lowery: Yeah, I like monk fruit. The challenge with monk fruit is, and this is another thing that people just need to be careful of and make sure that they’re getting it from the right source, is that monk fruit ultimately comes from a fruit. It’s an extract from that, but there can be a lot of contaminates with some of the cheaper versions that you find online or just like on Amazon. So there’s a lot of things that can come along with monk fruit. We’ve tested it out. We’ve tested out different monk fruits. You’ll see different strains and certain bacteria that shouldn’t be in there that are in a lot of the monk fruits just because it hasn’t been extracted properly. Make sure you’re getting a good source, it’s a great sweetener. A lot of people like it for its sweetness is a really good profile. As long as you’re getting a high-quality source, I think people that enjoy it can definitely utilize it.
Leanne Vogel: I had no idea about that so that’s a really good tip. Thank you so much. Do you have a favorite like brand that you use for monk fruit that you know is safe?
Ryan P. Lowery: I don’t have one I use all the time. It’s really just the thing I look at is sometime, and this is a challenge with anything, it’s like usually if it’s super, super cheap, there’s a reason why it’s super, super cheap. That doesn’t mean because something’s really expensive that it’s better by any means. It’s kind of just doing the research, finding out, “Hey, what’s your extraction process like? What do you guys utilize? What do you guys do?” I tend to stay away from it a lot myself just because there’s very few that I would probably trust. Definitely, there are some out there that do the right process and do it the right way.
Leanne Vogel: Okay. Cool. I’m going to say I’m about 95% positive that Lakanto Monk Fruit is like really, really awesome. I’ve met the owners and they seem like they have their stuff together. I’ll do more research, but that’s the one that I use. It’s not cheap so that’s a good one.
Ryan P. Lowery: Companies like that that you know that are out there, one, that are out there, number one, and that are educating about their monk fruit or just any sweetener in general that they have, companies that are willing to go out there and provide that education, you know they’re probably doing the right thing.
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Thoughts on the whole stevia cancer thing? Do you have any thoughts on that?
Ryan P. Lowery: Yeah, I mean, with stevia, people are always going to say … It doesn’t matter if it’s artificial sweeteners, if it’s stevia, if it’s anything, there’s always going to be this correlational research that people probably pull at some level going, “Well, people that tend to take in stevia tend to have higher rates of cancer.” The argument that I always make against this correlational research that people present is you can make the same argument for anything. You can make the same argument for … I can make the same argument and say ice cream makes people murderers. You’re like, “What? How does that happen?” Well, if we look at the consumption of ice cream, that tends to go up in the summer. Murders tend to also be high in the summer. You can make the correlation that ice cream causes people to become murderers, but we all know that that’s not the case. That’s just correlational data. That’s the same thing that happens with a lot of these studies that go, “Oh, this causes cancer.” It’s like it really doesn’t. It’s correlational. It’s people who may tend to eat more of this tend to have higher cancer, but there’s 18 bajillion other things that could be going on that could be leading to that cancer in some aspect.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, something that I repeat to myself, and I’m not even kidding, probably 10 times a day is, “Correlation isn’t causation.” That is like what I live by. It’s so poetic and it’s so perfect. I remind myself of it constantly. It’s something I think we also have to do in our health. I do the same thing. Just because one thing happened doesn’t mean that it was caused by this. There’s so many variables, even when it comes to your own health, that you need to think of.
Something that a lot of people don’t know or understand and I’d love to chat about it a little bit is the insulin response that we get when we have certain types of sugars. Like, for example, a sugary sweet thing touches your lips or your tongue, specifically, your insulin can be increased. Do you know if that’s with all types of sweeteners or just certain types or just sugar? Do you know?
Ryan P. Lowery: Yeah, that’s a really, really great point. It can happen with several different things. They haven’t done research on every single sweetener, but you do, with a lot of these sweeteners, there’s sweet receptors in the brain that, as soon as it does touch the tongue, you will get a mild insulin or glucose release. The degree of that definitely depends on the sweetener, how much of the sweetener you’re using, and then what you’re using alongside the sweetener. The one thing I say about artificial sweeteners is if people opt for that, if you’re going to utilize artificial sweeteners and you’re okay with that, that’s your choice, the one thing I recommend to people is go with the raw versions. No matter what, just don’t consume the packets. You see them at diners. You see them at restaurants. If you’re like, “You know what? I’m going to put some Splenda into my packet,” carry around or find like a raw alternative.
The reason being is those packets, the amount of artificial sweetener, the sucralose or the aspartame or whatever is in those sweeteners is like 2%. The other 98% are fillers, which is like maltodextrin and dextrose, which ultimately is sugar. I’ve seen people and I’ve known people like this in the past who don’t care about utilizing artificial sweeteners. They’re like, “Cool.” They’ll put like 10 packets in something. I’m like, well, 10 packets and 98% of those 10 packets are like maltodextrin or dextrose, you’re definitely going to get a glucose or insulin response because now you literally have several grams of sugar that you’re utilizing at that point. It becomes very dangerous. I would just tell people if they are going to opt for that, raw versions rather than mixed with all fillers and sugar and all kinds of stuff.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, love it. Another thing that people eat that has sugar in it is alcohol or alcoholic beverages or it spikes up certain processes or gets us out of ketosis. Do you drink alcohol?
Ryan P. Lowery: You know, sometimes I will. I’ll go out with friends. I keep it very mild and moderate now. My college years are over with the fun and the craziness that happened then. I always just try and keep it in moderation. I’m a big wine guy. I absolutely love red wine. I love having a glass of red wine with like a meal, like a nice dinner that I have.
One of the things is be careful on the choice of alcohol if you are going to indulge in it. If you aren’t, that’s even better yet. If you’re going to just go and not have any, that’s incredible. That’s great. If you are, be very cautious of the type, the quantity, of course, of the alcohol. Staying away from dark, if you’re a beer person, I don’t like beer at all. It’s weird. I just don’t like beer.
Leanne Vogel: Me neither.
Ryan P. Lowery: Stay away from the dark beers. Those tend to have a lot more carbohydrates. They are making some now, which is interesting to see, and I think this is how the entire keto world and the conversation is taking not only the food industry but the alcohol industry by storm. You’re seeing a lot more companies that call out like only two grams of carbs in this beer. I’m like that’s interesting that they’re finally starting to bring that out. Stay away from things like those.
Also, if you’re going to go with more hard alcohol, make sure it’s straight or mixed with water, and then utilize your own sweetener or just keep it like with water. People that I know that are keto will go out and have like a vodka water and they’ll be completely fine the next day. They won’t be really knocked out. They’ll just kind of get back on track. I think it’s whatever you like to incorporate into your lifestyle, it’s very easy with alcohols to not even know that something has a lot of sugar. Then you go out and say have a drink or two with friends or coworkers and you wake up the next day feeling horrible, not from a hangover, but just because you got knocked out of ketosis because you had sugar with that. It’s just being very aware and very cautious of that.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, brilliant. Some thoughts on that. Have you heard of Dry Farm Wines?
Ryan P. Lowery: Yes. Those guys are incredible.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, I mean, I don’t necessarily drink. I stopped drinking for almost 10 years just because I have a very addictive personality. I just started drinking-ish again, but I’m of the thought maybe if I’m out and I really, really feel like a drink, like when we were moving, I had a cider because I just needed a cider. I think what can often times happen, and I see this a lot, is that people have a drinking habit and when they go keto, they drink and they find the okay wines but they’re still drinking and maybe they’re plateauing and they’re not feeling good. They’re like, “I’m sure it’s the wine but I can’t stop.”
That’s, I think, very similar to what we experienced with sugar, of it being an addiction. It might not be an addiction of the actual item, but an addiction, you know, around alcohol. There’s this habit that’s formed. You have a hard day at work, you go home, you crack open a bottle of wine, you pour it, you sit and you enjoy it. What do I fill that space with? I think it’s the same thing with sugar. You know, what you were saying, when you got back to your dorm, you’re like shoving candy in your face. Like what do you do if you had a bad day and you don’t have candy? Do you see that even with your sugar craving? How have you manipulated that to fill your life with other things?
Ryan P. Lowery: Yeah, no. This is a huge, huge point. You know, a lot of times when I realize my cravings and I would try and fill … Ultimately, it’s filling some type of void. The way I would do it is, one, I would make myself busier. I’d be like, you know what, if I’m sitting at home on a Saturday and I have nothing to do, I’m bored, I know for a fact I’m going to go up to that cabinet and I’m going to start eating this and that and the other thing. Then, the next thing you know, I’m like sitting on the couch. I’m like, “What did I just do? What did I just go through?” Getting myself busier is something like that I try and do more and more, get out. I’m not going to indulge and snack every five seconds when I’m out with friends or family.
The other thing that’s made a huge impact for me is I’ve always been active, but exercising more, even not if it’s like I have to go to the gym and work out, but something I love doing now is just taking walks, like take a walk and listen to your podcast or take a walk and listen to a new TED Talk that just came out. Not only am I learning, but it’s like I’m getting out, I’m moving, and then I get back home, that craving, identifying it and coming to terms with it, it’s likely gone at that point. I’m like, “Wow. I could have just indulged and beat myself up about it for the next couple of days because of the damage that I just did,” or I just took a quick walk, 10 to 15 minutes out of my day, learned something on a podcast or something like that, and that craving’s gone by the time I got home.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, it’s like getting yourself out of that spiral and neutralizing the situation. I do the exact same thing. Actually, when I really get into it and I really want to do something that I know that I’m going to feel good about or that I’m not going to feel good after, I have like a list on my phone, things to do when you’re going down a spiral. I look at that list and I just choose one and I do that. It’s like having a hot bath or going for a walk, going paddle boarding, playing with my dogs outside, just distracting yourself from it. If I listen to nutrition stuff, it doesn’t work. It has to be like a comedy podcast or just something else to just completely get myself out of the funk. Yeah, that’s a really good practice. Thanks for sharing that.
There goes another episode. Let’s chat a little bit more about your book before we end today’s call. Tell us a little bit more about it and where people can find you.
Ryan P. Lowery: Yeah, absolutely. Well, you were a huge inspiration for it, so I absolutely love your book and everything you put together. We just tried to help expand and build upon all the greatness that you put out. We took a lot of, one of my favorite aspects of it is talking about the history. That was one of my favorite chapters writing in the entire book was realizing how we got to where we’re at, not only just personally, but as a society. How did we know about these problems with sugar and all the complexities that come along with it? Why did we get these low-fat recommendations? How did we get to where we’re at today where, thanks to people like you and a lot of our friends and thought leaders in the industry are kind of now bringing keto back? It’s kind of back and it’s mainstream.
That and then also the science behind it and really figuring out all the different applications that it has. I mean, your story is incredible. We have colleagues like Dr. Mary Newport who utilized it for her husband with Alzheimer’s. We talk a lot about that in the book and cancer, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, like all these different applications that we’re studying and our colleagues are studying and really just fine tuning how you can take that and then apply it for yourself, your family, a loved one or someone that you care about because it’s really about getting this message out to the masses. We really just tried to take that, take scientific principles and then make them digester-friendly, take them and make them easily understood.
Leanne Vogel: You have accomplished that wonderfully. Thank you so much for putting it together.
Ryan P. Lowery: Thank you.
Leanne Vogel: We’ll include a link to your book in the show notes. Where can people find you? Do you have an Instagram channel or anything?
Ryan P. Lowery: Yeah. Instagram, it’s @ryanplowery. My middle name is Patrick. Ryan P Lowery, L-O-W-E-R-Y. On Facebook, just Ryan Lowery. One of the amazing things that I love, I think we have connected on Instagram, as well as this community’s so incredible. I love interacting, talking, answering with people. It’s the fuel. That’s what gets us up. I know you’re the same way. It’s what gets us up early in the morning. It’s what keeps us up late, is hearing stories, helping people live out their mission, not only for themselves, but the people that they’re trying to help and inspire. Interact, reach out, anything that I could do to help, I’m more than more than happy to do.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, it’s so true. I follow over 5,000 people on Instagram and I actually enjoy following all of those people. They’re all keto and I just love interacting with them. I think that’s so true and I really appreciate all the work you’re doing in the field of keto and nutrition.
The show notes for today’s show, plus the full transcript of our episode, can be found at HealthfulPursuit.com/podcast/e63. The transcript is added to the post about three to five days following the initial air date of this episode. We’ll make sure to include all of the recipes and sweeteners and things that we chatted about in today’s episode so you can get it all in one place. Thanks again for coming on the show, Ryan.
Ryan P. Lowery: Thank you, Leanne. It was an honor.
Leanne Vogel: 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. I’ll see you next Sunday. Bye.