Busting Common Myths About Keto for Losing Weight and Living Better, Longer

Wherever you stand on the keto diet, this is a conversation worth hearing. In this episode, JJ talks with Dr. Steven Gundry, a cardiothoracic surgeon who became a nutrition geek, about his book, Unlocking the Keto Code: The Revolutionary Science of Keto That Offers More Benefits Without Deprivation.

First, Dr. Gundry talks about how he became interested in nutrition and lifestyle for heart health. Then, they delve into the common misuses of the keto diet and how it can be upgraded for optimal results.

Ketones are NOT a miraculous fuel for the brain, as many people believe. After explaining why the body can’t run on ketones and fats alone, Dr. Gundry explains the concept of uncoupling and what it means for your health.

You don’t have to restrict carbs to reap the benefits of ketosis. In fact, he explains how you can use other methods, as well as plant compounds called polyphenols to “unlock” the process of uncoupling for losing weight and better health.

This fascinating conversation also touches on heart health: the truth about cholesterol and why it might not actually be the sole cause of plaque and heart disease.

Freebies From Today’s Episode
Sign up for Dr. Gundry’s Free Newsletter to receive regular tips to improve your health, happiness, and longevity by making simple changes to your diet


00:03:11 – Highlighting the achievements of Dr. Steven Gundry
00:05:49 – Astounding plaque reduction, changed career, plant paradox
00:11:29 – Resurgence of ketogenic diet with MCT oil
00:15:16 – Uncoupling is the process where mitochondria release protons without making energy
00:17:45 – Cold plunges stimulate mitochondria, improving heat production
00:23:31 – 8-hour and 6-hour eating windows studied
00:26:38 – MCT oil for women, powdered MCT coffee creamer
00:29:40 – DeBakey questioned cholesterol's role in heart disease. A patient with high cholesterol had no plaque
00:36:41 – Olive oil has beneficial polyphenols, improves memory
00:39:03 – Bitter polyphenols in olive oil; beware of olive oil blends
00:42:49 – Check out the cool stuff at jjvirgin.com/DrGundry

Mentioned in this episode:

Learn more about Dr. Steven Gundry

Read Dr. Steven Gundry’s book Unlocking the Keto Code: The Revolutionary Science of Keto That Offers More Benefits Without Deprivation

Read my blog Yes or No to Keto? How to Tell If a Keto Diet Is Right for You

Read Dr. Steven Gundry’s book The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain 

Read Martin Brand’s paper Uncoupling to survive? The role of mitochondrial inefficiency in aging

I recommend Dr. Dispenza’s meditations 

Dr. Gundry’s telehealth program Gundry Health 

Get Dr. Gundry’s resources for weight loss and longevity

Study: Virgin Olive Oil and Health: Summary of the III International Conference on Virgin Olive Oil
I love to cold plunge, use code JJVIP500 for $500 off

I use Sunlighten Saunas, use promo code JJVIRGIN when requesting pricing information for $600 off
Stephen Gundry olive oil

Click Here To Read Transcript

ATHE_Transcript_Ep 523_Dr. Steven Gundry
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Hey, this is JJ Virgin. Welcome and thanks so much for joining me. This is Ask the Health Expert here. I put the Power of Health in your hands and give you access to the top people in health and wellness. In each episode, I share safe ways to get healthy, lose weight, heal your gut detox and lots more. So if you wanna get healthy and get off the dieting for life merry-go-round, I'll give you strategies that will help you look and feel better fast.
All right, so today on Ask The Health expert, I've got Dr. Steven Gundry. So it's going. Ask the cardiothoracic surgeon and actually ask the nutrition expert and well, here's what's super fun. I have known Dr. Steven Gundry for. Gosh, I think now 20 plus years cuz we both were in [00:01:00] Palm Springs together. So I used to go to his office way, way, way back when
And it's just been fun to watch everything he's been up to over the past two decades. So I think I got him right when he was probably stopping surgery or no stopping. Starting the Nutrition party just stopped doing surgery a couple years ago, but he has the International Heart and Lung Institute and the Centers for Restorative Medicine, both in Palm Springs and Santa Barbara.
Beautiful places to live. He's got the Dr. Gundry Podcast and four New York Times bestselling books including the Plant Paradox, and we are gonna talk today about his latest book, unlocking the Keto Code. Which isn't really about keto, so if you're going, I don't, I don't care about keto. No. This is like what makes keto work and how you can take that information and basically, you know, live longer, better,
It's really about the longevity of it and it's super cool, actionable information as always, cuz that's what he's all about [00:02:00] in providing. So I will be right back with Dr. Steven Gundry. Stay with me.
All right, so on this episode of Health Expert, I'm going to ask my favorite cardiothoracic surgeon. . You know, I would say you're a definite nutrition geek, advocate and expert and pioneer. I've got Dr. Steven Gundry with me, yet again, a crowd pleaser. Welcome back.
Dr. Steven Gundry: Hey, thanks for having me, jj. I'm glad to know that Tampa is still alive and you're still alive, so that's good.
JJ Virgin: I am so, I am excited about this cuz we're gonna bust some myths. We're going to share some new concepts. Get in a little bit on, we, we never really talked about your book on unlocking the keto code, so I know you've got some stuff in there too. So we have a lot to talk about. Today. Okay. For those of you who don't know Dr.
Gundry I would just love you to [00:03:00] gimme a brief, like how the heck did you go from, you know, cardiothoracic surgeon into getting so dialed into nutrition and lifestyle?
Dr. Steven Gundry: Yeah. Real briefly I was professor and chairman of cardiothoracic surgery at Loma Linda University here in Southern California. And.
Pioneered with my partner Leonard Bailey, infant heart transplant, and may vented a bunch of devices to keep the heart alive during heart surgery and transplant. And was one of the fathers of computer assisted heart surgery, blah, blah, blah. And I was also very famous for operating on people who nobody else wanted to operate on.
And there were a few of us idiots around the country. And I was introduced to a gentleman from Miami, Florida who I called Big Ed in all the books. Many years ago now he was 48 years old and inoperable coronary artery disease. All his blood vessels were so clogged up that you couldn't put stents in them, you couldn't do [00:04:00] bypasses cuz there wasn't any place to land a bypass.
And he was big fat guy. Big Ed, he weighed 305 pounds and he would go around the country carrying his angiogram, the movie of his heart, looking for somebody to operate on it. And he had spent about six months going around the country and everyone who saw him turned him. And he eventually wound up in my office and.
I looked at his angiogram from six months earlier and I said, you know, I, I gotta agree with everybody else. There's nothing I can do for you. I'm sorry. And he said, well, yeah, but, but I've been on a diet for six months and I've lost 45 pounds now. He was 2 65 when I met him, and he says, and I've gone to a health food store and I've been taking a bunch of supplements, and he actually brought in this huge shopping bag.
And he said, you know, maybe I did something in here. Now, you know, I'm scratching my professor beard and going, well, you know, good for you for losing weight, but that's not gonna do anything in here. And I know what you did with all the [00:05:00] supplements. You made expensive urine, which is what I firmly believe back then.
And he said, well, look, I've come all this way. Why don't we get another angiogram? So I agreed. And this guy in six months time had cleaned out 50% of the blockages in his coronary. 50%. I mean, holy smokes. Yeah. And I have never, I have never seen anything like that. In fact, you know, I've been on the program committee for the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology multiple times through the years and.
Astounding results of a statin trial, for instance, would show a 0.01% reduction in plaque over five years. And that was astounding. And you know it, we would trumpet it to the media and Wow. And. Big Ed cleaning out, you know, 50% reduction [00:06:00] in six months. And I'm going, what the heck? You know, what, what have you been eating?
And this guy starts telling me what he's been eating. And back in the dark ages at, at Yale as an undergraduate, we could design our own major. So I designed a major that you could take a grade ape. Manipulate its food supply, manipulate its environment, and prove you'd derive at a human being. And I defended my thesis, got in honors and gave it to my parents and went off to be a famous heart surgeon.
So when big Ed's telling me about his diet, I go, wait a minute. This is what I, this was my thesis and I said, let me look at those supplements. And I'm, again, famous for protecting the heart during transplant and operations. And I was, I had designed the gloop that you put down the veins and arteries of the heart before you cut it out.
That protected it. And big Ed is swallowing a bunch of the things that I put in this [00:07:00] glop and it never occurred to me to swallow it. So I was a big fat guy even though I was running 30 miles a week, going gym one hour a day and eating what I thought was a very healthy, low fat diet. Mm-hmm. , my heart are and, and so I put myself on my thesis and started swallowing a bunch of big ed supplements and, you know, I lost 50 pounds my first year.
And 20 subsequently, and I've kind of kept it off for 25 years now. But what I did was I took the patients that I operated on and I said, here, you know, I, I want you to start eating this way and go to Costco, go to Trader Joe's. There wasn't an Amazon back then. And, and buy some, some of these supplements, they're cheap.
And I wanna keep you away from me in the future. And they had some remarkable changes. Their diabetes went away, their high blood pressure went away, their arthritis went away. So after about a year of this at home, Melinda, I had an [00:08:00] epiphany that I was actually doing this all wrong. Instead of operating on people and then teaching them how to eat to avoid me in the future, I decided I should teach them how to eat so they could avoid me right now.
As a heart surgeon, that's a very bad career move. Bad business decision there. very bad as my wife, but it seems to have worked out. It did work out after many, many years of not working out. My wife likes to remind me many times, . And so I, you know, I resigned my position and set up a clinic, as you know, in Palm Springs.
Yeah, I know. We were neighbors. And we were neighbors. Yeah, I remember you used to come into my office. Chat and
JJ Virgin: there you go. The way back when. Yeah. .
Dr. Steven Gundry: So and I guess the rest is history. We found that in fact there were certain foods that were mischievous, that there were certain foods that were pretty good for you, and that there were quite frankly, a number of supplements that had some pretty remarkable powers that I actually wrote [00:09:00] about to publish papers about.
And. The plant paradox happened about five and a half years ago now, the kind of upended, I guess, conventional thinking about how plants don't necessarily want us to eat them. And there you go.
JJ Virgin: And it's important that, you know, like you and I both agree on this concept, that I think really disrupts nutrition, that that foods that are considered healthy could actually be.
and getting that word out, which is almost like saying, Hey, the earth is flat. You know, Hey, so, but you know, we really do, especially in the state that we're really moving into bioindividuality and personalized nutrition, it's like an important message out there. Now we're gonna talk longevity because you, you are my favorite person to, to yak about longevity with, with all of.
Info on the blue zones, et cetera. But I wanna first dig into your latest book. I know you got more stuff you're working on. I wanna get into that too. But we [00:10:00] never got a chance to talk about unlocking the keto code and I loved the provocative statement of they're doing keto all wrong. And so I think it's important to dig into this because I still remember the keto from the days that keto was pork rinds and diet.
You know, remember those days? Oh yeah. and then I used it some with my son, with his brain injury. Of course. Right? Because it was super important. But you know, for someone now, because I, whenever these things, you look at a diet and the diet gets popular and then the diet becomes a junk food diet. It happens every single time.
Like the gluten-free diet and all the garbage, that's it, it, that's now gluten free. So, yeah. You know, what's your take on the keto diet? How has it been misused? How do we upgrade it and how do we.
Dr. Steven Gundry: Well, we you know, as you know with your son's brain injury ketones in a ketogenic diet was first used for children with seizure disorders before there were any anti-seizure medications.
And it was designed at the [00:11:00] Mayo Clinic. And the name ketogenic diet actually came from the Mayo Clinic in, in 1930. So it's, no, it's
JJ Virgin: not a. There we go. That's not a fact. I always love, and it actually worked. It worked
Dr. Steven Gundry: remarkably well. When drugs came out, it, it really kind of fell by the wayside, at least for kids.
But it, it had a resurgence in the 1990s in a different form. As anybody who takes care of people on anti-seizure medications and kids on anti-seizure medications, these medications, , for lack of a better word, depressed brain function. That's kind of what they're supposed to do. And these kids, although their seizures were controlled, they weren't exactly the brightest light bulbs in school.
And so people got the idea that and the other thing that's problem with the high, with a high fat diet, the original ketogenic diet was 80% fat, 10% protein, and 10% carbo. And getting a kid. [00:12:00] To eat a low carbohydrate diet is nearly impossible, and most of us working in nutrition realize that getting an adult to eat a low carbohydrate diet for any length of time is virtually impossible.
So they got the idea that. If you used M c T oil medium chain triglycerides as a fat, that interestingly enough, you could give kids a, a lot less MCT oil, a as a percentage of the fat they ate. Give them more, more carbohydrates and give them more proteins, and they'd still. Have seizure control. And so they became fascinated as I did when lot less MCT and I have a ketogenic version of all my books.
I used MCT oil for that purpose. And MCTs are fascinating in that unlike any other fat that we. MCT oil is immediately absorbed through the wall of our gut. All other fats [00:13:00] have to be packaged, and I won't go into that, but they go direct to your liver. Do not pass, go, and they are converted into ketones.
Now, ketones are not a miraculous fuel, and that's one of the points of the book. When I wanted to try, explain how ketones work, of course most people think, oh, it's a clean burning fuel. Your body prefers burning ketones over carbohydrates. It's, you know, it's rocket fuel for your brain. Well, unfortunately it's not.
Research at the N I H where I was an associate research at Harvard is shown that even at full ketosis in human beings, 70% of your body's energy needs cannot be met by ketones. Only about 30%. Can be met by full ketosis. And even the brain, which certainly can do well on ketones, your brain still needs 30 to 40% of its fuel is [00:14:00] glucose even running, you know, at a full ketogenic diet.
So with that in mind, I said, gee there's something wrong with this super fuel concept. So if ketones. This phenomenal super fuel. What the heck are they doing? Why is it beneficial to the brain? Why is it beneficial to at least sometime during the day be making keto and a rather obscure paper?
It's short. I recommend anybody read. It's a fun little read written by a PhD by the name of Martin Brand in the year 2000. The name of the, the name of the paper is Uncoupling to Survive. Easy to remember. Now. Uncoupling has nothing to do with Gwyneth Paltro. ,
JJ Virgin: Uhhuh that's cute. . So
Dr. Steven Gundry: what the heck is uncoupling?
Normally making energy, making a TB by mitochondria is [00:15:00] incredibly hard work. It's incredibly damaging to mitochondria, and all of us know about reactive oxygen species, et cetera, et cetera, and mitochondria get damaged making a T p and the object of the game. Is to energize electrons in the mitochondria and pull protons into the mitochondria and couple a proton with oxygen and make a t p.
And I described this in the book as the Mito Club, the the hottest, hippest Club in town and. It's difficult to make ATP. So interestingly enough, mitochondria to protect themselves have a built-in pressure release valve, very much like a pressure cook. Pressure cooker has a popoff valve, and these are little trap doors.
Escape hatches and there's five of [00:16:00] them. In each mitochondria, they're controlled by what are called uncoupling proteins and uncoupling refers to normally a proton should couple with an oxygen and. In that process make atp. If you uncouple, you don't connect a proton with oxygen, then the proton actually escapes without making energy.
And it turns out that that's actually pretty doggone good for you. Depending on how much of that is allowed to happen. What's really interesting is you and I sitting here, 30% of all the calories we. Never are used to make a t p. They are uncoupled in our mitochondria and escape. Now you go, well, that's kind of a dumb design.
Why would anybody do that? We are a warm-blooded animal. And it turns out those molecules escaping those protons generate heat and. [00:17:00] Just sitting around and we need to generate heat. Hmm.
JJ Virgin: So would more escape if you're in a colder, like if you're doing a cold plunge or like boom. Okay. Just cause I cold plunge every morning.
Now Steven
Dr. Steven Gundry: it turns out that cold plunges work by actually stimulating your mitochondria to uncouple to produce more heat and. Quite frankly up to a limit. Maybe we can talk about that. The more you're on mitochondria are cold joint couple by for instance, a cold plunge or a sauna reverse engineering.
Same thing happens or by certain foods or certain dietary practices, the like going into ketosis. Work by uncoupling mitochondria. So it turns out the ketones are actually a signaling molecule that tell mitochondria that there's no food. [00:18:00] Times are rough. We don't know when the next meal is coming, and protect your cells at all costs because you little mitochondria, if you.
We're done. Who cares about the muscles? Who cares about your skin? Who cares about your hair? If you guys die, that's it. And so the uncoupling to survive theory that Dr. Brand proposed has actually been confirmed by some fascinating study. You look at 105 year old people speaking of longevity around the world, they have the most uncoupled mitochondria.
JJ Virgin: So it, here's the question because obviously if all of your mitochondria were uncoupled, you wouldn't be making any energy and that would be a problem too. Correct. So there's, so there must be the beautiful sweet spot, right?
Dr. Steven Gundry: Yeah. There's, there's two sweet spots. So when mitochondria get the message to uncouple and they not only.
Protect [00:19:00] themselves, but they're actually signaled to make more of themselves to share
JJ Virgin: the workload. Oh, that's a very
Dr. Steven Gundry: good thing. It's a very good thing. And I like to use thmessage to uncouple and they a dog sled. If I had one dog on my dog sled, yeah, we could pull the dog sled. Wouldn't go very fast, wouldn't go very far cuz the dog would get tired.
But if I hooked another five dogs up to the dog sled and had a 16 dog sled, each individual dog would do a sixth of the work. It would go a lot faster and a lot farther. The only downside would be I'd have to feed six dogs instead of one dog. That actually explains why a ketogenic diet and uncoupling mitochondria makes you lose weight.
JJ Virgin: I was gonna say that's actually a good thing. If you need more calories, to maintain your body, that's awesome. Who doesn't wanna have to have more, you know, more [00:20:00] calories. That is super interesting. Wow.
Dr. Steven Gundry: I'll just give you one more fun example. Most of us have heard of the theory, the theory of aging that goes into the cost of living hypothesis. And that is if you're running a very high metabolic. in general, you don't live very long. And if you run a low metabolic rate in general, you live a lot longer, and most of the time this appears to be crack.
Little tiny animals have a very rapid metabolic rate. They don't live very long. Big animals like elephants, us blue whales have a relatively lower metabolic rate and they live a lot longer. Makes sense. The exception of that is, Birds are actually some of the longest living creatures, and yet they're quite small.
A parrot can live 80 to a hundred years a hummingbird, which has one of the [00:21:00] highest metabolic rates ever measured. A hummingbird's heart rate is 1100 beats per minute. And yet a hummingbird in captivity can live 12 years about the same as our dogs. And so when people said, well, what the heck? How's this happening?
It turns out that hummingbirds have, and birds in general have very uncoupled mitochondria. And that actually explains why they live so long, because their mitochondria don't undergo the damage that that high metabolic rate would appear to do. Okay,
JJ Virgin: so here's the important question then, because, you know, when I think back to why people believe ketogenic diets work, it's because it forces your body to use ketones and fat for fuel.
And the only glucose you're going to keep, you're gonna keep it for your brain. All of that stuff. and you're more satiated. So the reality is it's this mitochondrial and coupling. So the question is, does it require you to be in ketosis or [00:22:00] even mild ketosis? Do mitochondrial and coupling, or are there other things that you can do that also have this effect?
So like
Dr. Steven Gundry: cold punching. Yeah. So that's unlocking the keto code. Once you know the code that ketones are telling your mitochondria to uncouple, then you start saying, well, are there other ways to achieve the same thing? And that's the exciting thing in the book that in. You don't need to eat a high fat diet to uncouple mitochondria.
Time restricted eating is a really great way to uncouple mitochondria, but more And how much time
JJ Virgin: restricted When you say time restricted, since that's all over the board, you
Dr. Steven Gundry: know, so probably the sweet spot. Is an eight hour is a six hour eating window what does that look like? You have break fast at noon and you finish your dinner at six variations on the theme.
I do as you know, for the last [00:23:00] 23 years, I know you're your winter routine. I'm in doing my winter routine of an OMAD diet, one meal a day for six. and I eat all my calories in a two hour window. Work out of the N I h suggests that there's probably no additional benefit of that compressed and eating window over a six hour eating window.
There's beautiful study that I talk about in the book with Italian athletes, which really confirms I think the benefit of how this system works. They, they took Italian athletes bicyclist. And they put 'em on a training table. Everybody had to eat the same thing for three months. They divided them into two groups.
One group ate in a 12 hour eating window. They had breakfast at eight o'clock in the morning. They had lunch at one o'clock in the afternoon. They had to finish dinner by eight o'clock, eight 12 hour eating window. The other group had breakfast at one o'clock in the afternoon. They had lunch at four o'clock and they had to finish dinner [00:24:00] at eight o'clock, seven hour eating window.
Follow them for three months. Only the group, even though they ate the exact same calories, their exact same food, only the group at a seven hour eating window lost weight. They had the same exercise performance. But the best part, the longevity part is the group with the short window had dramatically lowered insulin-like growth Factor ones IGF one, which so far is our best marker for knowing whether.
mTOR is activated or not. So do
JJ Virgin: you think, because honestly I'm still hearing out there that the reason intermittent fasting works, you know what I'm gonna say is because you're cutting calories, , why are these things getting ignored and why are they not talking about the hormonal impact and what's going on with mTOR when you do this?
So I'd love you to dive into
Dr. Steven Gundry: that. Yeah, and again, the, the Italian study is clearly shown as have other [00:25:00] studies but this human studies showed that it has nothing to do with calories. There's another human study that I talk about in the book, replacing some of the calories in an equal calorie. With M C T oil instead of other fats, and the other fat just happened to be olive oil.
And in that program, even though the calories were identical, the fat calories were identical. The group that had the M C T oil. Lost five kilograms more than the group that was using Olive oil.
JJ Virgin: That's over what period of time and how much? A three month count. Three months. And how much did they shift? Like how much did they change all of olive oil?
So I try,
Dr. Steven Gundry: yeah. I tried to get people. To get a minimum of three tablespoons of M c t oil a day into them. Now, women, as you may or may not know are, are fairly sensitive to M C T oil. Initially you get [00:26:00] queasy stomach, you get diarrhea. I have to start my women patients slow. I've found in my practice that interestingly enough, powdered M C t is much better tolerated than liquid m c t for females.
And there's a lot of great. Powdered MCT coffee creamers. I happen to make one at Gundry md, which I use every day. But and I designed it particularly for my female patients. So you can get M C T MCTs, tasteless. , you want to try to get C eight M c t it combines easily with olive oil and salad dressings, and that's an easy way to get it into your system.
Or you can just pour it on vegetables. You can't cook with it. So that's a So yeah. Calorie in calorie out. Sorry. Just It's still
JJ Virgin: out there. It's, it's still out there. It's, it's like it's, and
Dr. Steven Gundry: don't get me started. Calorie in calorie out does not even account. For what the microbiome is going to eat of.
Mm-hmm. , [00:27:00] what you consume. Nor does it compensate for the fact that we now know there are bacteria which are more than happy. To convert lots of what you swallow into absorbable forms that you will absorb and get fat. Whereas they're the opposite, what I call gut buddies will take all those calories for themselves and make more little gut buddies and don't give you any, and so yeah.
JJ Virgin: is not a calorie. Yeah. So, so there's that. I mean, just, just the basic macronutrients, knowing. Protein's gonna have a more thermic effect than fat or car. I mean, it's like you, you cannot ever look at Cal, like that whole model. It just still drives me nuts. But yes, then you bring in the hormones, then you bring in the gut microbiome and.
It's just so much more than just calories and then you just do these studies and I feel like these studies just continue to get ignored. So yeah, anyway, but [00:28:00] not, but you're getting it out there and I super appreciate that. I have to go through one thing with you, Steven, cuz you, you mentioned this before we started and I go, there's one other area besides calories that lights me up and I get asked all the time on social about this and it's the other myth that just will not seem to die.
It's the high cholesterol, scary, scary. You know, and you know, I look at, I look at looking at total cholesterol, kind of looking at body. like, like you gotta know what it's made up of. But then you get people who even with high, they come in with high LDL freaked out. Can you just as a cardiothoracic surgeon who has dealt with this, unpack this and tell people what they really should be looking at and be concerned with
Dr. Steven Gundry: One of the great fathers of heart surgery.
Michael DeBakey from Houston, Texas. One of the true fathers, I got to know him in his later years. He said back in the 1950s and sixties that he really thought cholesterol had nothing to do with heart disease, with plaque, [00:29:00] and that cholesterol was an innocent bystander that happened to get caught.
In inflammation on the surface of blood vessels. And as I've talked about in my books you could think of cholesterol almost as a patch or an ambulance. And I've joked that if I was an alien, orbiting the earth, wanting to report back to high command, what do I observe? One of the things that I. Report back is that I'm pretty sure that ambulances cause car accidents because every time I see the car accident, there's an ambulance.
And of course, association does not mean causation. . And just because we see cholesterol in a plaque doesn't mean that that cholesterol actually caused the plaque. It might be there for a completely different purpose. And I've certainly taken that to heart as a heart surgeon. Ha, ha ha. The, the [00:30:00] interesting thing is that I have a number of patients who come to me with very high cholesterols.
Now, I'll give you an example from just this week. I have a lady in her, her late sixties very healthy, but she runs a. Total cholesterol in the four hundreds. She has LDLs in the high 300 s and she has actually very good H D L and she actually has very low triglycerides, and I won't go into triglycerides, but her, she's.
Her physicians, well-meaning have been trying to get her to take statins for her entire life. When she tries statins she gets some of the typical statin complaints, and so she just won't do it. We do some really interesting, sophisticated blood tests looking at whether the inside of your blood vessels are sticky, whether they're attractive to cholesterol, and I've published several papers about this, and there are now more [00:31:00] and more sophisticated looks at whether these particles of L D L actually have any interest in causing inflammation.
Those of you who can ask for it, there's a fascinating new blood test called ox, O x, capital P, capital L, which stands for phospho lipids dash A B A P O, capital B, and this test actually discriminates very. Whether or not your cholesterol has any interest in sticking to blood vessels, whether it's activated, and so this lady we've been following through the years.
And she never has an activated ox b l, apple B despite having a L LDL cholesterol in the 300, despite having small dense lds. And I've told her, Hey, you know, have a nice day. You know, enjoy [00:32:00] your cholesterol. I'm not gonna do anything. Well, one of her, well-meaning cardiologists couldn't take it any longer and he.
A week ago got a CT coronary angiogram, which is actually a really good test looking for plaque. In fact, we're seeing plaque. It's better than a coronary angiogram. And lo and behold, surprise surprise, this lady who's 68 years old has zero coronary plaque, zero coronary calcification, which is a joke anyhow, but don't get me started.
Perfect coronary heart rate, exactly what my blood test would've predicted. Now, you'll never guess with armed with that information what her cardiologist told her, you
JJ Virgin: need to take statins. Yeah, .
Dr. Steven Gundry: Yeah. I don't care what I just saw. I don't care that that blood test would've predicted what I just saw. I need to get your ldl.
Ah. [00:33:00]
JJ Virgin: Now is that just cuz he has to stay within the standard of care, otherwise he's going to get in trouble by the big scary hospital board. Like, what the heck is that ?
Dr. Steven Gundry: Well, yeah, for instance, so, you know, when I, when I operate on a patient and I gave up heart surgery about four years ago now, well, you fixed
JJ Virgin: people so they didn't need to do it anymore.
Dr. Steven Gundry: when I, you know, before I could discharge somebody from the hospital, I would have to put them on a statin drug show that it, I documented, oh boy, that I sent him home on a statin drug. Now, of course, the next thing I tell 'em is, now, don't you dare take that . But yeah, so a lot of this is you know, you, you gotta do it to be in compliance.
JJ Virgin: What's a poor, like the, the, thankfully people are listening to this and know better, but what do they do? Like, what's someone do who is getting this information? How do they find a person like you to come and see? , I guess they can fly to Palm Springs or Santa Barbara. Right? But [00:34:00] you know, outside of that, what does someone do because it's so prevalent.
Dr. Steven Gundry: Yeah, well it's you know, I just actually we just soft launching my telemedicine Gundry Health. So that Nice. You don't have to come and fly to see me. I've trained a bunch of doctors around the world and we're gonna do this.
JJ Virgin: Excellent. That is such great stuff. I am so thrilled to hear that.
So Gundry Health is, there you go. And we are gonna link all this in the show notes, your website books. , all of this. I'd love to close with something. So what you don't know is when we talked last you know, we were talking about food and we started talking about olive oil and you just sent me all your awesome olive oil, holy smokes.
And then I was heading off to Italy and so I just decided, you know what you told me that study was a leader of olive oil a week and I'm. You know, Italy, other country, Italy, I . We were like just arugula and olive oil arugula it was fantastic. Yeah. So I just would love to [00:35:00] leave everyone with, with the olive oil, cause you talked about MCT and olive oil but we haven't gone into just why you wanna make sure that you're incorporating olive oil into your diet.
And then we'll link to that too cuz you've got, you've got some fantastic olive oil. So
Dr. Steven Gundry: olive oil is mostly. Oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat, which isn't particularly interesting as a fat, it's not miraculous, but olive oil, if it's done right, is loaded with polyphenols, a number of polyphenols, and it, it turns out that it's the polyphenol content of olive oil that makes it so spectacular.
And there are so two of the Blue Zones, both Crete and Sardinia use a leader of olive oil per week. There's a very famous study outta Spain called the Predimed Study where people with known heart disease were forced, excuse me, to use a leader of olive oil per week. They were [00:36:00] given a container, they had to come back to a clinic once a week and exchange it, and they were followed for five years.
These were 65 year old people and they were compared to a low fat Mediterranean diet. One of the things they found was the 30% reduction in new coronary artery disease in the olive oil group, but an increased amount of coronary artery disease in the low fat group. But one of the most amazing parts of this study was cognition.
The people in the olive oil group had improved memory at the end of five years. Now think about it, you take 65 year old people. You get to 70 and your memory's probably not gonna be quite as good. These guys improve their memory over five years. Whereas the low fat group, their memory decreased as you would expect.
And so it's not only just for your heart and it's these polyphenols and. It's the punchline of [00:37:00] all this, and it's in the book Unlocking the Keto Code. Polyphenols are one of the best ways ever found to uncouple your mitochondria.
JJ Virgin: And boy, I'd loved to have been on that study that had to go out there and get a leader of, of real all because here's the other part, and this is why I love what you've put together with those that polyphenol high polyphenol olive oil is don't go to the grocery store and buy that crappy olive.
Don't, don't, don't just give one big blurb about that because I still think people are getting duped by that step too. Or go to this or, or go out to dinner and ask for olive oil and they'll tell you it's an olive oil. Blend.
Dr. Steven Gundry: That's right. Yeah. People, you know, early on we have to kind of train ourselves to get used to the taste of olive oil, cuz that taste is actually bitter and that bitter is the polyphenols.
And you, you do have to. Understand that, that bitterness more bitter, more better. The, the polyphenols take some getting [00:38:00] used to. And these blends there are really very poor rules standards for olive oil and olive oil is. Olive oil is shipped in tankers from one country to, for instance, Italy, and it could say bottled in Italy.
And you go, oh, great. Italian olive oil is fabulous, but it could have been in a tanker mixed with olive oils from five, six different countries. Cut with other oils like soybean oil and there's no commission to test it. There's just not, and there is, it's true. There's an Italian olive oil mafia that's in the business of convincing, you know, 60 Minutes.
Did a huge expose on this a few years ago, and so much of our olive oil is tainted. And it really has been cut to lower the polyphenol content. So you'll say, oh, I'm using olive oil, and it's so healthy and there's basically nothing good [00:39:00] in it. Well, how do you
JJ Virgin: know?
Dr. Steven Gundry: Well, there actually are some quality producers in the United States, even Costco, quite frankly, has a very good olive oil.
Called Toscana, it's Kirkland brand. It comes in a square, tall container. I've actually been to the plant in Tuscany, where it's bottled, it's certified, there's a little certification on it. Biriani a great company out of California phenomenal family. California Olive Ranch does a really good job, but don't get the blends.
Get the actual Yeah. No blends. Yeah. Stay away from the blends. Please
JJ Virgin: and ask your questions at the restaurants. That's awesome. You know, if you
Dr. Steven Gundry: want the highest polyphenol ever recorded Gundry md.
JJ Virgin: I know a guy who got some, yeah, I've got some . I know. That was like the best present ever to get Holy. I always like the boxes that I get from from you.
Like I always know there's something amazing inside, so [00:40:00] you'll be able to check all that out. What I'm gonna do is I'll put this all at jjvirgin.com/drgundry and that's G U N D R Y, and I will link to all of your. Goodies and goodness, there's, you've, you've just produced so much great stuff. And what I love is not only is your information well researched and actionable, but then you have the tools to be able to go and do it like the olive oil.
So it's, it's really good. And also for those of you listening, like when we sat down to. Just to start this interview, he like took a big gulp of something. I'm like, all right. What was that, ? I was like, it looked like wine, but I'm like, it's a little early, so I don't think so. So M C T and
Dr. Steven Gundry: red. So MCT Wellness, vital Reds and love it.
Yeah. So you're clearly walking your talk. I'm, I'm, I'm, that's just a big giant gulp of polyphenols and I'm uncoupling my mitochondria even as we speak. Amen.
JJ Virgin: Well, I uncoupled this morning. I'm clearly gonna go uncouple some more. So it's been it's been amazing as usual. I [00:41:00] always love having you on the show.
You are a, will be a regular and I appreciate your time. All
Dr. Steven Gundry: right. Thanks for having me. Good to see you. You.
JJ Virgin: All right. Obviously we talked about a lot of super cool stuff and very actionable. I'm gonna put everything we talked about at jjvirgin.com/DrStevenGundry. I will tell you that his polyphenol rich olive oil is. Amazing. I was like so excited when I got it. I'm like, send more . So you'll definitely wanna check all of that out.
And I'll also put the information, you know, I use a sunlight and sauna. Every morning I meditate to Dr. Joe Dispenza in my sunlight and sauna, and then I go outside and get my cold plunge. So I will put information about all three of those things cuz I was sitting there going, it's like the best lifestyle little mitochondrial uncoupling hit that you can do just that trifecta.
So we'll put info on that as well. And I will see you next time. [00:42:00] If you've not yet subscribed, subscribetojj.com and I will look forward to the next show with you. Bye.


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