Groundbreaking Insights Into the Obesity Epidemic

In this enlightening episode, I sit down with my brilliant friend Dr. Richard Johnson to unpack the mysteries of weight gain and explore the unifying theory that brings all the current hypotheses together. We dive into four major diet theories about why it’s so hard to lose fat, and how certain foods—especially fructose—can sabotage your metabolism and health even if you’re restricting calories.

Dr. Johnson shares groundbreaking insights from his research, revealing how fructose impacts fat storage. We discuss the carbohydrate-insulin model, the protein-leverage hypothesis, and how a low-carb diet combined with certain essential nutrients can make a world of difference. You’ll also learn about the surprising connection between alcohol and fructose, and how to enjoy alcohol without derailing your progress.

If you’re tired of struggling with stubborn weight and want to optimize your metabolism for lasting health, this is a must-listen episode! Dr. Johnson’s cutting-edge findings will empower you with the knowledge and tools to finally break free from the dieting rollercoaster and achieve the vibrant well-being you deserve. Don’t miss out on this transformative conversation!


00:06:41 Dr. Johnson explains the four major diet theories and their origins
00:10:08 The connection between sugar consumption and obesity and diabetes
00:15:47 How shifting to a high-carb, fructose-driven diet can change body composition, even with calorie restriction
00:27:16 The protein leverage hypothesis and its role in obesity
00:39:45 Dr. Johnson reveals how fructose increases hunger and fat storage
00:52:53 The surprising link between alcohol consumption and fructose production in the body
00:59:01 Dr. Johnson shares his research on allulose, a low-calorie sugar with potential metabolic benefits

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Order Dry Farm Wines

Try RxSugar

Order Dr. Johnson’s book Nature Wants Us to Be Fat


Click Here To Read Transcript

[00:00:00] JJ Virgin: I’m JJ Virgin, PhD dropout, sorry mom, turned four time New York Times bestselling author. Yes, I’m a certified nutrition specialist, fitness hall of famer, and I speak at health conferences and trainings around the globe, but I’m driven by my enthusiasm.[00:00:20]
And that’s why I created the Well Beyond 40 podcast, to synthesize and simplify the science of health.
In each episode, we’ll talk about [00:00:40] what’s working in the world of wellness, from personalized nutrition and healing your metabolism, to healthy aging and prescriptive fitness. Join me on the journey to better health, so you can love how you look and feel right now, and have the energy to play full out.
I have one of [00:01:00] my favorite guests back and what’s super fun is I have him in person. So I’m here at the Metabolic Health Conference and I happened to notice that Dr. Rick Johnson was speaking and I went, holy smokes, I finally get to meet him in person. And we just recorded an amazing podcast where we really talked [00:01:20] Looked at all the different theories about why we gain fat, or why it’s hard to lose fat.
And there’s four predominant theories, and what Rick did was go into every single one of those theories. How they work, what the hypothesis is, what is [00:01:40] right about them, but then he went into the unifying theory that brings them all together and what’s important about that unifying theory is then we talk about what you can do together.
To fix that. And you know, what’s cool is it’s actually pretty simple. So we’re going to be talking about that. I’ve got [00:02:00] Dr. Rick Johnson with me in the house. He is a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado. For the last 20 years, he’s been a clinician and a medical scientist, and he’s recognized Internationally for his work on sugar.
And by the way, when I wrote the sugar impact diet, this was what I went. I went and read all of Rick’s research. He was like [00:02:20] my, um, my man, he was my guru before he knew me. Um, so very interesting work in fructose and uric acid. He’s been funded by the NIH. He has published over 500 academic papers. He’s written several books.
In fact, the latest one you definitely want to grab, it was [00:02:40] published in 2022, and that is Nature Wants Us to be Fat. Now, most recently, he has taken on the position of, um, the lead, gosh, what’s the, I think the director of science or the lead medical scientist over at RxSugar. I’m going to put information on RxSugar in the show notes.
I’m obsessed [00:03:00] with RxSugar. My buddy, Dr. David Perlmutter, turned me on to them. It is a novel allulose company that has done the most incredible research. We’ll be talking about that towards the end, um, and it is something now that I’m actively putting into my diet. And as we talk about, you’ll learn a lot.
Why you want to do that, [00:03:20] and of course you’ll learn some delicious ways to do that as well. So I will have all of that in the show notes at jjvirgin. com forward slash rick. jjvirgin. com forward slash rick. And I will be right back with Dr. Rick Johnson. Stay with me.[00:03:40]
I’ve got Dr. Rick Johnson with me in the house. In my suite, I may never let you out. I’m so excited because we, this is interview number three.
[00:03:51] Dr. Richard Johnson: Yes.
[00:03:51] JJ Virgin: And I just got to listen to your lecture today at Metabolic Health Summit. You, I took literally copious notes. Um, and [00:04:00] then I was grabbing all your slides because your slides are fantastic.
Um, but you have such a gift to be able to explain complex pathways And you’re like, oh, okay, I see exactly how that leads to the situation. And I love where you’re going right now with, um, how, [00:04:20] Low ATP can create obesity. So I think we’re going to unpack the fructose story here. Um, and what I really want to get into is the four different theories right now for why we gain weight and then unpack how really you’ve kind of linked them all into one [00:04:40] unifying idea that we can do something about and actually do something about pretty, pretty quickly.
Easily, which is what’s so exciting about it. I love super actionable things that one simple swap that you literally won’t notice the difference from, right? Right. Can completely change everything. Yeah. So if you’re hearing this [00:05:00] going, okay, I’m in. This is going to be fantastic. So let’s talk first about the like, what are these, the diet wars, the diet wars out there of the different ideas of, of why we can’t lose weight or why we gain weight.
What are they?
[00:05:16] Dr. Richard Johnson: Well, there’s four major diet, uh, theories that [00:05:20] have been out there. And, um, the first one is the, well, actually, if you go way back, if you go way back to like the early 1900s. Um, there was this association of obesity with sugar. And, uh, you know, like, uh, sugar was introduced to the island of [00:05:40] Nauru, a Pacific island in the 1920s.
Uh, it was sugar was introduced there and, uh, the people started eating a lot of sugar, like up to half a pound a day. And diabetes was first seen there in like 1925 or 26, and then obesity just erupted. But there was this [00:06:00] association where, when sugar was introduced into a culture. There was this development of obesity.
And so in the 1920s, uh, it was thought that obesity was a sugar disorder and same with diabetes and Frederick Banting, the guy that discovered, uh, insulin, um, you know, [00:06:20] he actually said that he thought the cause of diabetes of type two diabetes was, uh, too much sugar, refined sugar. Now this sugar hypothesis evaporated When Elliot Joslin, uh, you know, published a paper where he said, [00:06:40] Hey, you know, I agree.
People are eating sugars, sugars associated with obesity. There’s no doubt sugars associated with diabetes, no doubt. But the real problem is that people are eating too much. And he coined the term over nutrition. And when was that? Well, around 1926. [00:07:00] Okay. And, but he really, It was in the early 1930s where he really pushed it.
And he said, you know, obesity is from eating too much and exercising too little. And this is the cause. And this is also driving diabetes. And the world looked at it and they said, you know [00:07:20] what, there really is, people are eating a lot more, it seems, and there really is, seems to be, we’re exercising less, we got cars, you know, we got all these things.
And so the, this belief just took over. And then, Later, you know, because fat is [00:07:40] the most dense, uh, calories per gram. It’s like twice the amount of calories. A spoon of fat is more than twice the calories of a spoon of carbohydrate or a spoon of protein. So fat had to be the driver. Plus, Fats in the coronary arteries and fat [00:08:00] is, you know, causing all this cholesterol plaques and so fat is the culprit.
Now that was, that was 70s, 80s, right? Well, it was actually,
[00:08:10] JJ Virgin: was it way
[00:08:11] Dr. Richard Johnson: before then? It was even a little before in the 50s. Ancel Keys. Oh, yeah. Who was a nutritionist. He sure wreaked [00:08:20] havoc. Yeah, he was. Well, he really did really screw it up. Yeah, he really did. Like, it’s amazing. Yeah. And so there was, for a long time, was thought to be fat.
But the, the fat idea started to disappear when all the studies came out challenging it. The idea that we’re eating too much [00:08:40] and exercising too little still remains. One of the major theories, and it’s like the National Institute of Health really has pushed this theory, uh, scientists in, at Oxford, you know, various teams, uh,
[00:08:56] JJ Virgin: universities.
So that’s my bank account theory. That’s bank account
[00:08:59] Dr. Richard Johnson: theory. [00:09:00] Yeah. So basically you’re, you are The idea is we’re eating too much, we’re exercising too little, and the extra energy has to be, go over into fat.
[00:09:12] JJ Virgin: The thing we don’t look at there is that it’s very different where the calories come from. Right.
Right? They don’t care. I mean, even if you stayed [00:09:20] isocaloric and took some of those calories away from, say, carbs and put them over to protein, This magic would happen. That’s what they say. So, so we have the bank account model, then I call it the chemistry model model. The chemistry lab model. Which is, is it, is it carbs?
Is it insulin?
[00:09:36] Dr. Richard Johnson: Yes.
[00:09:36] JJ Virgin: Is it, you know, yes. And specifically within there, I would [00:09:40] think fructose. Yes. Yes. Or is that gonna be later on down the road? Well,
[00:09:43] Dr. Richard Johnson: fructose will be later on, but, so we have those. So the first one is the energy balance and the, the biggest argument for it, Mm-Hmm , is that people really are eating more.
Uh, per day than they were like in 1960. And
[00:09:56] JJ Virgin: we are
[00:09:56] Dr. Richard Johnson: extra moving, right? Yes, I think
[00:09:58] JJ Virgin: actually it’s, it’s, [00:10:00] and this is a really important distinction because we’ve got to look, when we look at metabolism, we have, you know, basal metabolic rate. Then we have thermic effect of food. Then we have Exercise and activity.
And we may all be exercising, but we’re sitting on our butts more than ever, which is actually more caloric [00:10:20] expenditure should be than even the exercise. So, yeah, you’re, so we probably are moving less. Okay. What’s the next one?
[00:10:26] Dr. Richard Johnson: So the, the second big hypothesis, and this, these first two are the big ones, the carb insulin model.
And this one is saying, Hey, you know, it isn’t just about calories. [00:10:40] It’s the type of calorie and it’s really carbohydrates. And when you eat carbs, You stimulate insulin and high insulin absolutely drives fat. And so, uh, it’s really all about how much [00:11:00] carbs you’re eating and that includes sugar because sugar stimulates insulin, but it also includes things like what we call high glycemic carbs, you know, rice, potatoes, bread.
Cereal foods that most people love. Hot bread, you know, you know. Come on, I
[00:11:19] JJ Virgin: grew up
[00:11:19] Dr. Richard Johnson: in San [00:11:20] Francisco. Yeah, yeah, exactly. I
[00:11:21] JJ Virgin: literally, growing up, every day after school, my girlfriend and I would buy a loaf of late baked extra sour sourdough bread. Every day, every day.
[00:11:31] Dr. Richard Johnson: Well, I loved bread so much that in college my roommates gave me a loaf of bakery bread for as my birthday instead of [00:11:40] cake because I love the hot bread with a little butter and, um, yeah, no, it’s, uh, it’s true.
People like carbs. There’s a intrinsic liking of, of glucose or a sweet.
[00:11:53] JJ Virgin: Well, aren’t we kind of hardwired to seek that out? I mean, that way we can go eat a bunch of it and hibernate. [00:12:00]
[00:12:00] Dr. Richard Johnson: That, that’s common. Yes, absolutely right. But anyway, so the carb insulin model is, uh, it says it’s, it’s actually not just calories, it’s insulin.
And you know, the point there is that you, uh, if you go on a low fat diet, you’re going to be on a high carb diet and that isn’t going to be [00:12:20] good. And one of the things a low carb diet does is it, It really says that it’s not just driving obesity, it’s driving diabetes and all these other things, which the low, the um, bank account model doesn’t really account for as easily.
[00:12:36] JJ Virgin: Well, I, the thing you showed today that I thought was really interesting, [00:12:40] because the bank account people will argue it doesn’t matter if your calories are restricted. But what you showed today that was like, this is so important is that you could still have, you know, keep calories the same or restrict calories if you shifted so that you were eating a high carb, especially fructose driven diet, you would have more visceral adipose tissue.
You would [00:13:00] change your body composition. So your weight would might stay the same, but what your weight was made up of would change dramatically, which is Major problem. And if you start to shift from muscle mass, and now all of a sudden you’re, you’re getting more visceral adipose tissue. So now you’re moving, lowering muscle, raising fat, you will gain weight over [00:13:20] time because your metabolism is going to shift.
[00:13:21] Dr. Richard Johnson: Yeah, you’re exactly right. What what our group has is showing is that when it comes to calories, higher calories will lead to more weight gain. But if you give the same calories, but you restrict carbs. You will get a lot [00:13:40] additional benefits. It will, if you, or, or reverse, if you do equivalent calories, but one, one group has a lot of sugar, for example, you can still induce diabetes.
You can still induce fatty liver.
[00:13:55] JJ Virgin: Yes, and you could be calorically restricting and still create those problems. And [00:14:00] be sick. Which is
[00:14:00] Dr. Richard Johnson: wild. Sick is wild. Incredible. Yeah, we can, we can put animals on a diet. Caloric restriction. Actually, the way we did this was sort of Uh, ironic. We wanted to know if a high, our data suggests that sugar is bad and that there’s a component [00:14:20] in sugar called fructose.
And that’s what is what’s bad. And we had, we knew that fructose makes you eat more and that’s why you gain weight is you, you do eat more. So the energy balance theory was correct in terms of weight gain, because the sh, but it’s [00:14:40] driven by sugar. And the fructose makes you hungry and then you eat more and then you gain weight.
But if we said to ourselves, what if we didn’t allow an animal to eat more so that they all were eating the same. So we decided to do the experiment. And then Carlos, who’s working with me. Uh, happens to be my brother in law, [00:15:00] uh, had all these animals on the same amount of food and some were on a sugar diet and some were on a control diet.
But he, when you, when all the animals have to eat the same, they all have to eat the same as the one who eats the least. Because if there’s one little guy who’s [00:15:20] not eating much. You can’t, everybody has to eat the same amount as Anita. So,
[00:15:26] JJ Virgin: so, I’ll
[00:15:29] Dr. Richard Johnson: turn on that mouse. Carlos did the experiment without really looking at what happened, but suddenly he realized that there was one animal that was eating very little.
And so [00:15:40] all the animals had to eat very little. And it turned out that that poor little guy had cancer. Oh no. And so at the end of the thing, we realized he had cancer. That’s why he was eating a little. And so he got thrown out of the experiment, but all the other guys were eating way below their normal food intake, but one group [00:16:00] was on high sugar and one was not.
So it turned out that when they’re all eating the same amount and they’re basically on a caloric restriction, you know, there was no weight gain, of course, but the weight stayed the same in the two groups because it was weight is driven mainly by calories. But the little, the guys that were on sugar after three [00:16:20] months, every one of them was diabetic.
The other guys on a caloric restriction, totally normal. The ones that had the high sugar diet all had fatty liver, all had bad fatty liver, they all had high blood pressure. They were, you know, they had the insulin [00:16:40] resistance, they even had dysfunction of their islets, you know, where the insulin is secreted.
And they had visceral fat. So even though they were This is why we gotta look past weight.
[00:16:52] JJ Virgin: We’ve gotta look past weight.
[00:16:54] Dr. Richard Johnson: Yeah. We gotta look Past weight. Weight, you know, so weight gain correlates with getting diabetes. [00:17:00] And that’s because almost everyone who, um, you know, uh, develops metabolic syndrome, it’s a cluster, their weight goes up, they, they become insulin resistant.
But you can separate it.
[00:17:11] JJ Virgin: But see, this just shows that while the bank account model might be true in the way that yes, you restrict calories, you lose weight. [00:17:20] It doesn’t show what weight, what’s happening with the weight. Totally correct. So, so. And the point isn’t to lose weight. The point’s to get healthy.
[00:17:28] Dr. Richard Johnson: So that’s why the energy balance hypothesis does not solve the problem.
[00:17:33] JJ Virgin: Okay.
[00:17:33] Dr. Richard Johnson: And that’s why low carb diets do.
[00:17:36] JJ Virgin: But there’s more, there’s more than just these two
[00:17:38] Dr. Richard Johnson: models that you. Yes. There’s [00:17:40] two other ones. Uh, there’s recently, uh, Chris Kenobi, who you probably have met, uh, or don’t know, but Chris, uh, has been promoting the idea that it’s not the increase in sugar that’s causing obesity, but rather that it’s an increase in seed oils.
Yeah, I’d love your opinion [00:18:00] on that. Yeah, so I, I, so seed oils, um, are, these are like vegetable oils and they’re, um, uh, they’re polyunsaturated fats. And, um, there’s monounsaturated fats, saturated fats. There’s all these different types of fat. And, uh, [00:18:20] a lot of people, um, think that, uh, fat is fat. But actually, we’re really learning that each fat is different.
And, uh, the omega 3 fats, like what you get in salmon, those are very healthy. Oh my gosh, they’re healthy. And they actually, in animal models, [00:18:40] eating omega 3 can block some of the effects of sugar. I mean, omega 3 is good for the brain. It’s really good for the brain. And, uh, you know, my son
[00:18:50] JJ Virgin: was in the hospital.
I snuck in cause they wouldn’t let me, um, I snuck in 20 grams of fish oil. And oh, that’s so important. Like I just. [00:19:00] Saturated.
[00:19:00] Dr. Richard Johnson: Fish oil, uh, omega 3 oils, uh, walnut oil. Uh, I put walnut oil on, on salad sometimes. Salmon, you know, fish like that, rich in omega 3. Omega 3 is wonderful and it’s, uh, we should all be eating [00:19:20] more of it.
But seed oils tend to be omega 6. Now, uh, in the NIA church, if you take a healthy person, very healthy person, and you give them omega 6, it’s sometimes hard to show that it causes inflammation, that people think that omega 6 can cause inflammation. [00:19:40] But it, if you give omega 6, to people who are healthy, it’s not so easy to show that it causes inflammation.
But if you give it to someone who’s sick, it’s a little bit easier to, and it turns out that omega 6 is turned into things called prostaglandins, you know, so that it comes in and it’s [00:20:00] used to make substances and they’re good prostaglandins and they’re bad prostaglandins. And in people with metabolic syndrome.
They’re tending to make bad prostaglandins. So when you’re giving seed oil to someone who’s overweight or someone who, uh, is insulin resistant, it’s going to go the wrong way.
[00:20:19] JJ Virgin: [00:20:20] Don’t you think it is because they already have, their cup is already full. They’re already have low grade inflammation. And so omega 6, like we need some omega 6s, we need omega 3s, we need a balance of them.
And with a healthy person, probably, they’ve got, because, you know, these are in your membranes, so they’re probably good. [00:20:40] Yes. And a little bit isn’t going to change the equation. They don’t have the low grade inflammation, they’re not, they don’t have excess body fat, so they’re okay. But you have this insulin resistant person who’s already got low grade inflammation, who’s probably got a higher percentage of 6 related to 3.
Yes. And now you just tipped it over the edge.
[00:20:59] Dr. Richard Johnson: [00:21:00] Exactly what I’m saying. Exactly what the way I view it. And it’s sort of like salt. So if you’re young and your kidneys are normal, uh, there’s not much data that salt is bad. You, you know, people can actually eat a fair amount of salt. Uh, and you won’t see like a rise in blood pressure, but [00:21:20] once you’re, you, uh, are older, uh, salt is, you can raise blood pressure very quickly.
What is, it’s
[00:21:25] JJ Virgin: older now. 80. Older, it keeps getting older. I was like, what? It’s older. Since the other day, he said, well, you know, middle age. I was like, wait a minute. No, I’m still, no. Like we’re just expanding, extending our lifespan. [00:21:40] Middle Ages now. Longer. But I,
[00:21:42] Dr. Richard Johnson: but anyway, but can he, yes.
[00:21:43] JJ Virgin: So seed
[00:21:44] Dr. Richard Johnson: oils, seed oil hypothesis,
[00:21:46] JJ Virgin: but that would only seem to be an issue.
Cause you know, paradoxically the people I see worried the most about seed oil seem to me the people that don’t need to worry about it. Cause they rarely get it in their diet.
[00:21:57] Dr. Richard Johnson: Right.
[00:21:57] JJ Virgin: And they’re like, you can’t have any. I go. I don’t think we [00:22:00] have to be that concerned with it, you know, I think, you know, I had a great nutrition mentor early on who said, the sicker you are, the farther back in your ancestry you should eat.
And it seems like to me, like, no one should be like purposely going out, you know, what I think I’m going to do, I’m going to go have that olive oil blend with the canola that’s probably rancid. I’ll have that. You shouldn’t [00:22:20] go try to get that. But if you have a little bit out somewhere, it’s not going to throw you over the edge.
[00:22:26] Dr. Richard Johnson: I a hundred percent agree because, you know, um, one of the problems is being super dogmatic about anything. And then, uh, no fun happens. There’s no fun no fun. That happens. And it, and, and really [00:22:40] most of these things are about eating it in excess. So even though I believe that fructose is bad, I know. Like five or 10 grams of fructose or like a five gram of fructose and a fruit will not do anything to me because it’s inactivated.
The first five grams are inactivated in the uh, good. So you’re not taking those blueberries [00:23:00] away. Right. Blueberries are great. Berries are great. I eat, I love berries. Um, you know, if I was eating like four bananas, that’s gonna raise my glucose up. That’s not gonna be good if I eat a lot of fr a bowl of grapes.
I’m going to, that’s not going to be good, but you know, like a single fruit. [00:23:20] It’s not going to do anything except give you good things because it’s got fiber, potassium, chocolate, or epi Chocolate? I was like, what kind of fruit should you have in it? I’m sorry. Epicatechin. Epicatechin is this flavonoid.
[00:23:35] JJ Virgin: Busting you on the chocolate.
[00:23:36] Dr. Richard Johnson: No, no, no. But I’m thinking of chocolate too. So [00:23:40] epicatechin. is in fruits. We’ve got some chocolate if you want some. Epicatechin is also in chocolate and we actually did a study where we gave fructose to people with epicatechin and it blocks some of the fructose effects.
It’s very, it’s. So see
[00:23:54] JJ Virgin: nature was smart on that. Yes. So, so are you saying like two fruits a day?
[00:23:59] Dr. Richard Johnson: Yeah, [00:24:00] I, I think you can have a, uh, at least one fruit with each meal.
[00:24:04] JJ Virgin: Cool. That’s my two to three a day is kind of my thing. Two
[00:24:06] Dr. Richard Johnson: to three a day. Don’t eat four fruit in a, put it in a blender and make a big fruit juice because then you’re going to get 15 grams of fructose or 20 grams of fructose when we drink it fast and that’s when you get it.
[00:24:19] JJ Virgin: don’t think, [00:24:20] no juice. Yeah, you
[00:24:22] Dr. Richard Johnson: know, I, I’m okay with like a four ounce, Like a shot glass.
[00:24:30] JJ Virgin: Who wants that unless you’re having it with tequila? What’s the point?
[00:24:34] Dr. Richard Johnson: Exactly. So a little bit of fruit juice is going to be okay. Okay. So if you’re [00:24:40] making a drink. Get that big glass of the fresh orange juice that we love and we’re in Florida.
[00:24:44] JJ Virgin: Um, No, I just, I never drink juice. Good for you. I just do a little, maybe a little, if I’m doing, if I’m not having dry farm wines, then I will do a little tequila with a little lime juice, but lemon and lime have no fructose.
[00:24:59] Dr. Richard Johnson: Yeah, yeah, they
[00:24:59] JJ Virgin: [00:25:00] don’t. So, okay, so the seed oil thing, probably not. Probably just, just, it’s just problematic.
And I mean, but most people aren’t chugging down. I would assume most people who, let’s say like we’re at a conference that’s a keto based conference, I doubt they’re doing seed oil. I just doubt it. And then, you know, [00:25:20] like I, it’s probably just problematic for the person who’s already inflamed and not aware.
Um, and so the fourth one, is the fourth one the salt one? No, the fourth one is called the protein leverage. Oh yes, I love this hypothesis.
[00:25:33] Dr. Richard Johnson: And so this, this hypothesis is that, you know, a lot of the processed foods we’re eating, and a lot, or that many [00:25:40] people are eating, you know, are protein, low in protein, and high in fats and sugars and carbs.
And so that, uh, we’re having a relative, uh, reduced protein intake. And that protein that our bodies need protein, our bodies need protein for [00:26:00] muscle. They need proteins to run all the chemistry. You know, most of the things in our body that turn things on and turn things off are made from proteins, enzymes and all that.
So you need to have, and I mean, protein is what makes up muscle. And I mean, it’s super important. And we don’t store it. Yes. You know, so. And you need [00:26:20] that nitrogen. And so if you’re eating like proteins and carbs and. And, uh, I’m sorry, you’re not protein, so if you’re eating carbs and fats and all this stuff and you’re not getting your protein, um, there’s this thought that the body responds by wanting you to eat more.
And so when [00:26:40] there’s not enough protein, you’re going to eat more. And that’s, you’re going to end up eating more of the carbs and fat and that’s going to drive obesity at the same, you know, and it’s a protein problem that’s causing it.
[00:26:53] JJ Virgin: It could somewhat be too, like you look at the data on ultra processed foods and what they do to your metabolism and how, [00:27:00] like, I was looking at that going, holy smokes, like, and it’s both sides.
It’s number one, the thermic effect of foods lower.
[00:27:07] Dr. Richard Johnson: Yeah.
[00:27:07] JJ Virgin: And number two, you also get a metabolic drop. So you get, or wait, you get the metabolic drop and then it also makes you overeat. So your metabolism drops and you overeat.
[00:27:18] Dr. Richard Johnson: Yeah.[00:27:20]
So anyway, so the protein leverage hypothesis basically says, you know, There’s this data that if you eat a high protein meal that it can curb appetite.
[00:27:31] JJ Virgin: It’s true though. Yes, it’s true. It is a diet. It’s like, you should tell me, have you ever gone to eat somewhere and we, we were in Italy and [00:27:40] decided we were going to go have this Florentine steak and it was 44 ounces.
Okay, we were piggies, piggies. But, you know, so we sit, we actually were like, we’ll bring some back to the hotel. Never happens. But we were so full afterwards, we literally went walking for hours because we’re like, we can’t. We can’t go back and lie down, but, but at that point, [00:28:00] like we probably could have eaten an equal amount of pasta as to that, and they would have rolled through with the tiramisu, and we would have said yes, right?
But like, we had the steak, if they’d rolled through and said another steak on the house, we would have been like, oh no, we can’t do it.
[00:28:14] Dr. Richard Johnson: No protein, you just
[00:28:15] JJ Virgin: get full.
[00:28:19] Dr. Richard Johnson: And you [00:28:20] know, one theory though, is that when you eat a lot of protein, you may be, you’re eating less carbs, right? And so is the benefit from eating the protein or is the benefit from not eating the carbs? And that’s where the controversy. Or
[00:28:34] JJ Virgin: could it be both? I mean, you have the thermic effect of preso, you know, what you’re going to burn 20 [00:28:40] percent more calories.
from protein than from carbs because carbs like five to 10 percent thermic effect and protein 20 to 30. So let’s say at least 20 percent more calories just by switching out some carbs for protein. You’ll still have a little instant response, but not as high as the, the carb ones are. But then you’re more, I did a little challenge.
So I have an [00:29:00] ongoing challenge that people can join. That is my Eat Protein First Challenge. It’s my next book, by the way. But all we have people do, it’s like one thing. We have them figure out how much protein they should eat based on their weight, and they divide that into their three meals and eat that first.
Yeah, that’s
[00:29:17] Dr. Richard Johnson: a good idea. Just
[00:29:17] JJ Virgin: eat it first, so you can’t go Oh, that’s a good idea. Because women [00:29:20] especially go, oh, I just couldn’t eat all that. I go, because you already ate the muffin. And they’re, no, just eat it first. Yeah. And what we found is in just a week, people are like, I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t have cravings.
I’m convinced a lot of our food cravings are ultra processed food, but also that protein leverage hypothesis. So,
[00:29:36] Dr. Richard Johnson: well, they do this terrible thing. Most restaurants will [00:29:40] serve like a basket of bread.
[00:29:42] JJ Virgin: You say no. Don’t you just say no to that?
[00:29:44] Dr. Richard Johnson: We try. Yes,
[00:29:45] JJ Virgin: we try.
[00:29:47] Dr. Richard Johnson: I have to, I have a kid. Oh, you’re
[00:29:49] JJ Virgin: blaming it on your kid.
Yeah. No, he
[00:29:51] Dr. Richard Johnson: always rolls. And, uh, you know, but I have to say that, you know, if you can, if you do get the bread and then, I mean, first off. [00:30:00] Uh, a low carb diet is by far the best way to go. Intermittent fasting is great too, um, and a keto diet is great. But if, um, you’re not on that and you, and your bread is something that you can eat a little bit of, don’t eat it in the beginning of a meal [00:30:20] because it’s going to be absorbed more rapidly, you’re going to get a higher glucose, And a higher insulin spike and more fructose.
Well, if
[00:30:29] JJ Virgin: you wait till the end and you ate that steak, maybe you won’t eat it.
[00:30:32] Dr. Richard Johnson: That’s a good idea. There you go. I like the idea of a basket of steak.
[00:30:38] JJ Virgin: Well, when we order the [00:30:40] appetizers, that’s what we do. We order some kind of like, you know, protein thing. I’m going to do that tonight when I go out to dinner.
Excellent. Do that. And then your, how’s the weightlifting been going? Oh, I have been doing it. Because you made like a promise to me. Yes. Uh, yes, I did. I’m not,
[00:30:56] Dr. Richard Johnson: I’m not so good at it, but, um, but I, I do go to the gym. [00:31:00] I’m going to the gym more, you know, I. Okay.
[00:31:02] JJ Virgin: What do you do at the gym? Because just going to the gym actually doesn’t, doesn’t do it.
[00:31:07] Dr. Richard Johnson: I go to the gym and walk around and look.
[00:31:10] JJ Virgin: You’re like, went to the gym.
[00:31:12] Dr. Richard Johnson: No, what I do is I do the stationary bike, which is not weightlifting. And, but I’ve been doing weightlifting, uh, little bit [00:31:20] of upper body. And, um, I do stretching too. Uh, and as I get older. Let’s do some
[00:31:26] JJ Virgin: legs. I just had Dr. Andy Galpin here this morning.
And he said the single most important thing for us in terms of our strength as we age is our leg strength. You don’t.
[00:31:37] Dr. Richard Johnson: I believe that. And I also believe [00:31:40] that stretching is really important just because as a physician, uh, when I, when I see people who are really old, one of the things that, um, can be the end.
is falling. Right. And they fall and they break their hip and it can be like the beginning of the end. You know, they get blood clots [00:32:00] or there’s some complication or they hit their head when they fall. Um, and so falling is a real serious issue. And, um, some of the most important thing is just to kind of keep the legs strong, um, and do some balance.
Well, what I do [00:32:20] is I’m getting up there in age now. What I do is, uh, I stand on one foot and I put my sock on the other foot, you know, I’m standing and, you know, I do these things just, you know, to improve, to keep the balance. Um, Because, uh, there’s a, as you get older, there’s this move to try [00:32:40] to put clothes on sitting, you know.
[00:32:42] JJ Virgin: Isn’t it crazy that as we get old, it’s like, it’s like everything’s, you know, oh, you should move from the two story house to the one story house. It’s like, no, you should get a three story house. And then, Put your kitchen all the way at the top, you know, it’s like, no, we have to, we have to continue to do more because we do less, we do less and we [00:33:00] do less.
Okay, so back over to this because we got to tie this whole thing together now. So we have the bank account, we have the chemistry lab, we have the seed oils, where we kind of like shook that one out a bit. We have the protein leverage hypothesis. It’s good. Yeah, I definitely, I did like, well, my example, and it’s funny because a girlfriend just pinged me and she [00:33:20] goes, Hey, we’re going to have dinner in New York.
She goes, do you want to go to 11 Madison park and have this 195 vegan tasting menu? And I’m like, can I bring a rose to my purse? Was it like, Oh, cause I always leave those situations hungry and bloated. So like, if I can smuggle in some [00:33:40] protein, she’s like, okay, nevermind. I do like, I’ll go to them and I go, they’re really beautiful, but I’m hungry.
So definitely, I believe in that one. So, so,
[00:33:51] Dr. Richard Johnson: uh, the way more recently, we try to show how these different diets can actually connect [00:34:00] to each other, um, through a model that’s basically a low carb model. So. What we, what our work has shown is we’ve gotten a really big insight into what causes obesity, what we think.
And it’s really consistent and I, I, I really think this is the key. And that [00:34:20] is, you know, uh, when, when Joslyn and all these people said, you know, that you’re, that obesity is because you eat more calories than, than you use. Um, the whole concept is that It is about energy and, um, when you eat, we, we use the [00:34:40] food to make energy and the energy, as you know, there’s really two types.
There’s the energy that you’re using at the moment, which we call ATP because that’s the name of this complicated compound, but it’s actually what is It’s the energy source. And when we eat, [00:35:00] we have to have ATP to do everything. Talk, walk, jump, sleep, exercise, everything. So two leg presses. Yes. So ATP is like critical.
And then there’s stored energy and stored energy is fat. You know, it’s also, it can be stored carbohydrates like glycogen, [00:35:20] but most of the energy we store in our bodies is in fat. And so we have fat. And we have the active energy or ATP. So it’s just, just think of it simply like that. So the way most nutrients work is when you eat, you know, you’re, you’re, if you’re hungry, your energy [00:35:40] levels are starting to fall.
Your ATP levels start to drift down. And then when you eat, you restore that energy. It all goes back to the energy, the ATP. And then when the ATP gets pretty much to being full, The leftover kind of goes into the fat. So the fat gets the excess energy. [00:36:00] And, uh, and normally we regulate weight animals in the wild will regulate their weight tightly so that they don’t really gain weight.
So if the fat goes up today. Tomorrow, you know, it’s going to burn that fat and, you know, you try to keep at the weight. But everything is about keeping the ATP levels high. It’s like keeping the gas tank full. [00:36:20] And, but what one nutrient does, and it’s this nutrient called fructose, it’s in table sugar, it’s in, uh, sweets, It’s in high fructose corn syrup, hence the fructose.
But when you eat fructose, it actually actively lowers the [00:36:40] ATP. It’s an active process. It works on the energy factories. It suppresses the production of ATP by those mitochondria. So it, you know, here’s your, your, your ATP is you want to bring it up to full. And you eat fructose and it drops it [00:37:00] down into half and suddenly the alarm, the sound goes up, or the light goes on your dashboard and it says, you know, gas low.
And that makes, it’s like an alarm signal that says, Hey, I don’t, I need to eat more. I’m at risk. But [00:37:20] the way the fructose works is it’s suppressing the production. So when you eat, The energy gets, has to go somewhere. And so if it can’t be turned into ATP, it goes straight into fat. So the fat goes up and the ATP goes down and eventually the ATP level will come up, but at the expense that now you’ve [00:37:40] stored all this extra fat.
So it’s a way to make you gain weight. And what was interesting is we were studying this and we realized that this is how animals in the wild. Gain weight. This is, uh, this is actually a biologic process. It’s like fructose was meant to lower a [00:38:00] TP to stimulate food intake. And even insulin resistance is linked with this low a TP because, uh, it’s insulin resistance is a survival mechanism.
It’s to raise the glucose for the brain and all these things. Um, and you drop your energy metabolism. That’s because you wanna conserve [00:38:20] energy because. You’re at risk and you know, your blood pressure goes up. This is because we’re worried that when you don’t have enough energy, you need to have a strong circulation so that you can go out and look for food and you, so it’s like a behavioral response and it’s driven by this one sugar.
[00:38:38] JJ Virgin: The sugar that for [00:38:40] like years was supposed to be the healthy sweetener, because it didn’t raise blood sugar, right?
[00:38:46] Dr. Richard Johnson: So when you get fructose, it doesn’t stimulate insulin immediately. It just, uh, it just works through this ATP way. But when it lowers the ATP, It [00:39:00] induces insulin resistance. So insulin levels go up.
Base, baseline insulin levels go up. So you end up in a high insulin state. Even though fructose doesn’t stimulate insulin acutely, it makes the insulin levels go up chronically. Which is way worse. , this is, this is way worse. [00:39:20] So you, you know what’s wonderful is Ben Bickman, who I’m sure you’ve interviewed, he’s like, no,
[00:39:24] JJ Virgin: I have, I was supposed to get him here and then I couldn’t get him in.
Well, you darn it. I’m going to though. You have, the guy is, he’s fabulous. He is fabulous. And I have to tease him about the, the cereal now that I’m,
[00:39:33] Dr. Richard Johnson: oh yes. He loves cereal at night. Uh, he is, you know, everybody has their bodies. We, I was
[00:39:39] JJ Virgin: gonna say, we [00:39:40] all have our. Yeah, we all have a vice. I’ll have to turn them on to Catalina Crenn.
Exactly, there you go. Have you tried that stuff? Oh my goodness. I will show you it when we’re done. It’s my vice, I actually have it hidden here in a drawer.
[00:39:53] Dr. Richard Johnson: Okay, well everyone has a vice, there’s no one who doesn’t. No one is perfect, right? And, but anyway, but, but the [00:40:00] thing about fructose is it makes the insulin levels go up and you can make fructose.
So originally, Oh, it was so, it was so depressing when I figured this out because originally we were thinking fructose, uh, was just from the sugar we were eating. It was mainly So, easy problem to [00:40:20] solve. It’s from the high fructose corn syrup. It’s not easy because that’s in so many foods, but it was concrete, you know, but unfortunately everybody who was in nutrition already knew this.
They knew that potatoes and rice and bread were fattening [00:40:40] and I knew it too because I, I would found that if I just cut out sugar, it wasn’t enough. And so it turned out, you know, so it turns out that carbs. Stimulate fat in part by stimulating insulin, just like Ben has said. But also, when the blood glucose goes up, [00:41:00] some of it gets converted to fructose.
And so the only way you can make fructose is from glucose and starch. And so starchy foods will, uh, make you make fructose, and then your energy drops, and it triggers the whole thing and causes insulin resistance. And, um, Ben. Has made the case [00:41:20] that insulin resistance is at the key of everything. And he wrote this beautiful book.
I think why, why we’re sick or something that talks about, uh, insulin resistance. And, uh, but what’s interesting is fructose causes insulin resistance, and you get that can happen from carbs. So the carb [00:41:40] insulin model says, hey, carbs drive insulin, which drives obesity, but carbs also drive fructose, which drives insulin, which causes, it comes back.
It’s just, it’s the same formula. Carb insulin, Theory is correct. It’s just that it isn’t all from acute insulin effects from glucose. There’s also a fructose insulin [00:42:00] resistance pathway. So that’s, so what’s really interesting is that fructose, it explains the energy balance because fructose makes you hungry, so you eat more and fructose drops your energy, so you exercise less.
Yeah, so
[00:42:14] JJ Virgin: now you’re
[00:42:15] Dr. Richard Johnson: moving less. Yeah, you’re moving more, eating more and you’re activating [00:42:20] this insulin pathway. So it actually combines the two, the two theories, but the energy balance is really only driving weight, but the carb pathway is driving disease.
[00:42:33] JJ Virgin: Yeah. And I think that that is, that is such a key thing because my mission is to get people [00:42:40] to stop trying to stop focusing on losing weight.
And instead focus on improving what that weight’s made up of. And I had a great mentor early on. She goes, you know, you don’t lose weight to get healthy. You get healthy to lose weight. And so I realized it’s really, you get metabolically healthy to improve your body composition. And if we could stop, like the fact that you go to a [00:43:00] doctor’s office today and you still get on a scale instead of getting on a bio impedance scale or doing it, it’s so stupid.
I can’t even. Believe it is still
[00:43:08] Dr. Richard Johnson: happening. I’ll tell you a story. Uh, when I was in Gainesville and we started doing this, we had a, uh, I consulted with a young lady who was a bodybuilder and [00:43:20] she had a, you know, beautiful shape and she’d get up and do this professionally and lift weights. Um, but she ate very little, but she ate, she liked sugar.
And she was eating kind of a high sugar, low calorie diet. And she got fatty liver. Wow. And [00:43:40] bad, where she actually started getting, uh, ascites. You know, water and Wow. And she also got hypertensive. And she got, um, insulin resistant. So even though she was, uh, had very little external fat. You know, she looked like a pro.
She looked like, uh, she looked like she was on a carnivore [00:44:00] diet.
[00:44:00] JJ Virgin: You would think.
[00:44:01] Dr. Richard Johnson: But inside, she was a mess.
[00:44:03] JJ Virgin: This, this is the disturbing thing with that. And it, because, you know, that whole statement, you can’t out exercise a bad diet. And it’s kind of argued back and forth because they’re like, oh yeah, when you exercise more, you can get away with those things.
But you just showed it. No, you can’t. So [00:44:20] what is really interesting here is, and I think this is important, and I actually think this is the real big message, because the message really is that we have to look at what our weight’s made up of and is the diet we’re doing improving our health? Because who, like, so you look good and inside you’re a train wreck, that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
[00:44:38] Dr. Richard Johnson: You know, that for a lot, [00:44:40] as a physician for a long time, we were sort of told that, you know, obesity was a disease and that it was associated with You know, insulin resistance and all these things, but you can separate weight gain, uh, from metabolic [00:45:00] disorders and you can be thin with bad metabolic disease or you can be overweight and be relatively healthy.
[00:45:07] JJ Virgin: Well, it also depends where your fat’s located, right? If you have like exactly 25 percent body fat, but a lot of visceral adipose tissue, it’s very different than having barely any.
[00:45:16] Dr. Richard Johnson: Absolutely true. And, uh, so anyway, so [00:45:20] yes, I, so that is a big thing, the carb insulin pathway clearly is driving metabolic disease and the energy balance pathway does not.
[00:45:30] JJ Virgin: Well, I think this, this really shows the story that the story really isn’t. You know, it’s not just that you’re looking to lose weight, right? Right. Absolutely. Okay. [00:45:40] So then we move past that. The other one that, that I would love you to talk about is how alcohol plays into this. Oh, sure. And I want you to give us all good news.
[00:45:52] Dr. Richard Johnson: So a long time ago, uh, you know, there was, well, maybe 15 years ago, there was, uh, you know, a paper in the New [00:46:00] England Journal that said that red wine was healthy and could reduce heart attacks, um, and there were good things in red wine that were, you know, and that we should not worry, and the kind of the curve showed that.
One glass of wine was actually superior to zero.
[00:46:19] JJ Virgin: I know this [00:46:20] made my heart sing.
[00:46:20] Dr. Richard Johnson: Exactly. Two, two glasses were kind of equal to zero. And, and so when that came out, I, you know, I was, uh, early in my, my nutrition research, but I, I’ve always viewed that as, Hey, you know, uh, a glass of wine is, is fine. It’s different from [00:46:40] beer.
Beer, um, tends to raise uric acid more. Uh, and activate, and actually the pureings in the Brewer’s Easton beer is not as good. And, uh, even though, uh, my roommates in college and, you know, I always had roommates who, who liked them. Brew beer and make beer [00:47:00] and we would go to these beautiful places where they would have home brews and, but beer is actually has some fattening and metabolic effects and the beer belly is real and it’s associated with fatty liver and high triglycerides and, you know, so beer.
Beer is out. Beer is, [00:47:20] beer is out. If you’re going to drink beer, just, you know, an occasional beer after you, you know, Exercised a lot and, you know, done all that, you know, an occasional one maybe, but it’s not the same. And hard liquor, um, can also raise uric acid pretty strongly, and it’s often mixed with sugar.
[00:47:40] Right. And all these, uh, and so, and, and frankly, you know, alcoholism is much more common if you’re drinking hard liquor, because you can drink a lot more. Drink a lot more. So wine seemed to be the perfect, uh, alcohol. Perfect drink, the perfect alcohol. Uh, and a glass of wine [00:48:00] often tastes great with dinner.
Right? Um, now, now comes some news. That’s not all
[00:48:07] JJ Virgin: terribly. I know. Well, Silverman’s podcast. Darn it, . It’s not changed world,
[00:48:12] Dr. Richard Johnson: but it’s not terribly good news. But, but let me just tell you it so that you know, and that is that, [00:48:20] uh, when you drink alcohol, you actually stimulate the production of fructose. Now, interestingly, uh, the production of fructose requires glucose to be around.
So if you drink alcohol and you’re on a low carb [00:48:40] diet, you may not actually stimulate that fructose. Uh, and I hadn’t thought about it, but that’s probably true for, it’s definitely true for other foods. Because the alcohol only makes the carbs if you, if there’s a fair amount of glucose around.
[00:48:55] JJ Virgin: Okay. Well that works with my steak and salad and red wine.
[00:48:58] Dr. Richard Johnson: going to work well. [00:49:00] But like if you, if you, uh, at a bar and you order, uh, a wine and they bring pretzels up to you that are filled with carbs, um, the, the carbs are, So that’s the worst thing you can do. Yeah, have
[00:49:17] JJ Virgin: you ever been to Prime [00:49:20] 112 in Miami? No, but I would like to go. You’d really like to go, because at the bar, now this is pre pandemic, maybe they don’t do it anymore, but, this place, you’d sit at the bar and they’d have these huge glasses of thick sliced fruit.
[00:49:35] Dr. Richard Johnson: Oh, there you go. And
[00:49:35] JJ Virgin: that’s what they gave you when you sat down at the bar. I’m like, this is my place. [00:49:40]
[00:49:41] Dr. Richard Johnson: So, so anyway, well getting back. So, um, the, you know, so alcohol can make fructose and our group put animals on alcohol and we found that they, animals would get fatty liver. And, you know, one of the biggest problems with alcohol, you know, so alcohol, [00:50:00] Excess is, is really bad.
Alcoholism is a terrible condition, and some people get liver failure from alcohol. So though, you know, I’m a, I like wine and I would easily have a glass or two. Um, I am afraid of becoming an alcoholic and I’m, I’m [00:50:20] sad when I see alcoholics because, um, excessive alcohol can really lead to bad. liver disease and liver failure.
And, um, and so when we gave alcohol to animals and they made fructose and fructose causes fatty liver. Wow. They got, you know, over time they started getting liver [00:50:40] disease. And likewise, if I gave alcohol with sugar, the liver disease was Much worse. And I did this, I should argue that this was, or I should mention, this was work done with Miguel Lanaspa.
He’s actually the leader of this study. And then if we blocked fructose. [00:51:00] They wouldn’t get the liver disease. So we actually believe that alcohol,
[00:51:03] JJ Virgin: liver, take with her.
[00:51:06] Dr. Richard Johnson: Well, allulose, will allulose do it? Allulose might. Oh, I don’t know yet. It could. But you know, people are trying to develop inhibitors of fructose.
But, um, but what I’m pretty [00:51:20] sure of is that, you know, there’s uh, this liver disease that occurs with alcohol, uh, is, It is particularly worse if you’re drinking alcohol and eating a lot of carbs. And, um, so I would really suggest if you do drink alcohol, try not to eat a lot of carbs with it. Try not to drink it with sugar or [00:51:40] sugary drinks because, uh, that will cause, increase the risk for liver disease.
Now the other side is that when we blocked fructose in the mouse, the animals still like alcohol. This is good. But they don’t drink as much. They’re drinking down by 50%, 70%. [00:52:00] So the National Institute of Health has funded me to do research on this because it looks like if you block sugar, you can actually, you know, um, you might be able to block alcoholism and I saw that.
Wow. Bummer. Yesterday presented at this metabolic health summit that, um, you know, that keto [00:52:20] diets might actually help with alcoholism and, uh, you know, keto diet would reduce the fructose production from alcohol. Um, and, um, and so maybe, you know, if you’re on a low carb diet and, you know, alcohol will probably be a little safer and, um, [00:52:40] you know, uh, have you a glass of wine tonight.
[00:52:44] JJ Virgin: Nice, and it’s Dry Farm. So there you go. You know about Dry Farm, don’t you? No. Why do you not know this?
[00:52:50] Dr. Richard Johnson: I should. Oh my god, I
[00:52:52] JJ Virgin: will get you hooked up with them. So Dry Farm Wines.
[00:52:56] Dr. Richard Johnson: Who spends too much time in the laboratory.
[00:52:59] JJ Virgin: This, this [00:53:00] is important, like Catalina Crunch and Dry Farm Wines. These are like life changing things that I’m introducing to you here.
So Dry Farm Wines is, uh, this guy Todd White was a keto guy. And he couldn’t drink wine ’cause it would throw him out of ketosis. Then someone gave him some European wines and he noticed it didn’t throw him out of ketosis. [00:53:20] So then he wanted to know why. So he, he then he went and, and lab tested ’em, and he discovered that the residual sugars were really low, that the alcohol content was lower, that they were so different.
So he created a. Company called Dry Farm Wine. They go all over Europe. It’s a, think of the crappy job he has. He has to go around Europe [00:53:40] sourcing these wines. Wow. So I’m like Todd . But he, it is an amazing company. In fact, they have, they sponsor here. They also sponsor Mindshare. They bring all the wine to Mindshare.
Oh, they even sponsored. Our wedding. Oh, wonderful. So, um, but it’s, once you drink this, you don’t, you don’t feel rotten drinking it. Oh, [00:54:00] wow. I gotta try it out. Yes. Can you buy
[00:54:02] Dr. Richard Johnson: it anywhere? You,
[00:54:02] JJ Virgin: you become a member of their club. Oh, great. But I will connect you with them. You know, will you? Because you really need to know this.
Because it’s really interesting stuff. I do like
[00:54:10] Dr. Richard Johnson: wine. And uh, I do drink a glass usually almost every, well, three or four times a week.
[00:54:16] JJ Virgin: Yeah, we, we used to be drinking a glass. We [00:54:20] drank two glasses a night, every night. And then the Rubin Labs podcast came out. I’m like, Oh, darn it. And then we decided, you know, we don’t need to do it every night.
So we kind of failed on that. But still to me, if you’re going out to a nice night. And we’ll just bring it right along with us. I’m probably going to have a
[00:54:36] Dr. Richard Johnson: glass of red wine tonight. I
[00:54:38] JJ Virgin: know, you’re inspired now. [00:54:40] Yeah, it’s supposed to be with a little protein there. I would love to, well, you know, just think about it, you’re eating your protein first.
Yeah, okay. Maybe having some non saturated vegetables, you have a glass of wine. Where’s the problem? You won’t have the problem then. Yeah, yeah, you won’t have the problem. There, we solved it. I love science in action.
[00:54:54] Dr. Richard Johnson: Yeah, yeah, I hadn’t thought about the fact that alcohol would be safe. in a keto diet, [00:55:00] but it should be.
[00:55:01] JJ Virgin: Well, I wonder too, like, I would love you to talk just a little bit, cause I know you have to go out to dinner, but, um, about allulose.
[00:55:07] Dr. Richard Johnson: Oh, yes. So, um, so I, you know, I’ve been studying, uh, in, at the university for 20, more than 20 years and doing research and I decided to go halftime last [00:55:20] summer and I was approached by Dr.
Uh, by a company called RX Sugar and Steve Hanley and, um, and, you know, he came to me. He said, hey, you know, we have a Low calorie sugar that looks just like fructose. Do you want to look at it? And you’re thinking run So i’m thinking yeah, [00:55:40] oh fructose isn’t so good but but he says it does, you know, it it makes things better not worse so I started reading about it and I go, my gosh, this thing looks like fructose, but it’s got one little hydroxy group that goes down instead of up.
And it, and I found that it wasn’t activated by this pathway that [00:56:00] causes the energy to drop. So I go, so it’s not causing the energy drop, but it looks like fructose. Maybe it’s a safe sugar. And I’d been reading about it and I thought, well, you know, and then I, they started sending me papers that suggested that it might actually have a metabolic benefit.
And a low calorie sugar with a metabolic benefit. Yeah, [00:56:20] come on. Come on. You’ve never seen this. It’s the unicorn. So what happened was in August, uh, you know, after reviewing this, I said, yes, I would like to join your company, uh, as the scientific officer with the goal of trying to figure this out. You know, how does this work?
What’s, is it really beneficial? I knew [00:56:40] it doesn’t look bad. And all the papers suggest it’s beneficial, and since then, we have two clear findings that are shown in people, uh, and it’s very, very evident. One is it does lower glucose levels, especially after a meal. Doesn’t lower glucose much, uh, if you just [00:57:00] take it.
You have to, it’s really, if you take allulose with a meal, it blocks that glucose, right?
[00:57:05] JJ Virgin: Yeah, which is huge. So you’re lowering the blood sugar response to a meal. So all the things that everyone’s been doing to hack their blood sugar, you know, this is it. And you need to take it, because when I heard that, first of all, I’ve been trying to crack the code of, okay, how much of this?
Before the [00:57:20] meal, during the meal, For the glucose part,
[00:57:23] Dr. Richard Johnson: you can take it anytime during the meal, but obviously if you gave it in the beginning of the meal, it would be a little better. And the, the, the amount, it can be 10 grams or less. There are papers showing five grams, which is very little allulose. It’s like half a bar.
Uh, but a [00:57:40] 10 gram bar for sure, you’ll get a big effect. And, uh, you know, you may want to try it out and just check it. I’ve got, I’m gonna test it. Yes, test it! You’ll be amazed. And then the, the second Is that it stimulates glyph 1?
[00:57:54] JJ Virgin: Yeah, this is beyond exciting for a lot of different reasons, like to have, because GLP 1 [00:58:00] agonists are the big rage now.
And, and I was lucky because two, last year I was in a lecture at Integrative Healthcare Symposium. With Dr. Bill Seeds, who is a big, he’s been using peptides for years, and he was telling us everything beyond, he was talking weight loss, but then after the [00:58:20] talk ended, he started talking about the neurocognitive effects, the cardiovascular effects, like when you start to look at GLP 1, I think we’re going to be blown away at what it really does.
Yes, so
[00:58:28] Dr. Richard Johnson: when we look at this, You know, it’s clearly stimulating GLP 1. We just did some experiments this week where we, you know, confirmed it. How do you find
[00:58:38] JJ Virgin: out?
[00:58:38] Dr. Richard Johnson: It stimulates GLP [00:58:40] 1 about 10 times more than, 5 to 10 times more than glucose. It’s a real potent stimulus. And, um, and, and what GLP, so all the things that are good about GLP 1, Uh, you know, allulose, we’re hoping it’s going to show, and it’s like lowering glucose, there’s some evidence that might improve [00:59:00] exercise.
These are all animal studies. The only thing that’s really convincing, that’s absolutely convincing, is the glucose effect. But there are studies showing that it can lower, prevent weight gain. I mean, Ben just did one that he presented the study’s results just this week. Um, and it can block weight gain in animals on a high fat, high sugar [00:59:20] diet.
[00:59:21] JJ Virgin: And you won’t have to have a high sugar diet because you can just, allulose is the most amazing sweetener because all the other sweeteners either, like, have you ever tried xylitol? I think xylitol might be good. No, it’s the most, like, the worst, like, the worst gas. And I mean, not only bad gas, but [00:59:40] like.
Room clearing bad gas.
[00:59:42] Dr. Richard Johnson: Yeah. Xol is good for teeth. Yeah, it’s great. You don’t get Yeah.
[00:59:45] JJ Virgin: A, a little bit for teeth, but like,
[00:59:47] Dr. Richard Johnson: but it, yeah, when I took, took it actually. Yes. Yes. I was, uh, visiting the bathroom a little bit. You’re right. It’s like so little more frequent, loose
[00:59:54] JJ Virgin: stools, gas and cramps. So you either get that Yeah.
Or they have a weird, there’s just something, just a little, yeah, [01:00:00]
[01:00:00] Dr. Richard Johnson: no, it’s true.
[01:00:00] JJ Virgin: Aftertaste. So I was, I’ve always been playing around with combining like Arial with monk fruit with Steve trying to get rid rid of that just to get the taste. But then the idea that this one. Has no weird taste and actually is therapeutic, like, and you can cook with it.
Like you’re like, come on.
[01:00:17] Dr. Richard Johnson: I’m a professor who’s, you know, always [01:00:20] been loyal to the university and spent all my time doing research and NIH grants and. But when I saw this, I said, you know, I, this is pretty exciting. And if this is a low calorie sugar that could actually help people and replace fructose, it’s, I should do it because I spent my [01:00:40] career trying to figure out how to block fructose effects.
So, so it was very consistent with me to, to join the company. And, you know, it’s my goal to learn more about the sugar and to do, uh, trials, clinical trials. I’m a clinical trial guy. I’d like to. You know, do it in 200 people and show that it really is beneficial. And [01:01:00] when’s the best time to take it? And, uh, you know, I would like to know all that stuff.
[01:01:04] JJ Virgin: Firing questions. Steve sent me all the stuff they have. I’m like, okay. Then, and now he’s like, Oh God, why did I give her my phone number? How much, when, what does it do? But I think, you know, just for anyone, cause the questions I get asked all the time are like, what can I put [01:01:20] in my coffee? You know, what can I, how’s it going?
Here it is. So I’ve been testing, taking it. Either before or after meal. And truthfully, it’s just the satiety side. I can feel immediately. Yeah, yeah. Like I’m, I’m like, okay, wow. Whoa. You know, so it’s pretty crazy.
[01:01:36] Dr. Richard Johnson: Yeah. The first time we tried it, my wife and I both had a, [01:01:40] a couple bars or you know, right after lunch.
And that night we didn’t have dinner. Yeah. I mean, it was like we were full.
[01:01:47] JJ Virgin: Yeah.
[01:01:48] Dr. Richard Johnson: But, uh,
[01:01:48] JJ Virgin: the bars are these, those felt wealthy
[01:01:51] Dr. Richard Johnson: little chocolate bars, those
[01:01:52] JJ Virgin: little bars. Oh goodness. Yeah. Yeah, they’re quite good. Dark chocolate, allulose, and you are not hungry whatsoever. [01:02:00] It’s pretty incredible. All right, well, I know you need to go to dinner.
Yes. This has been incredible. You have, um, we will do a little thing. I’m trying to think of what stuff we want to link to. Your, your book, Nature Wants Us To Be Fat. Anything else that you want to share with everybody? Nature Wants Us Oh, nature wants us to be fat. That would be a wonderful [01:02:20] thing. More relevant than ever.
[01:02:22] Dr. Richard Johnson: Yeah.
[01:02:22] JJ Virgin: Like great stuff. Yes, we will link to that at Dr. Rick Johnson. I’m
[01:02:26] Dr. Richard Johnson: going to remember to get some of that stuff.
[01:02:28] JJ Virgin: No, you’re taking that one with you.
[01:02:29] Dr. Richard Johnson: I’m going to take it
[01:02:30] JJ Virgin: with me? You get that one.
[01:02:31] Dr. Richard Johnson: Wow.
[01:02:32] JJ Virgin: Great. Yes, that’s, that’s a little present there.[01:02:40]
Be sure to join me next time for more tools, tips, and techniques you can incorporate into everyday life to ensure you look and feel great. And more importantly, that you’re built to last. And check me out on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and my website, jjvirgin. com. And make sure to follow my podcast so you don’t miss a single episode at [01:03:00] subscribetojj.
com. See you next time.
Hey, JJ here. And just a reminder that the Well Beyond 40 podcast offers health, wellness, fitness, and nutritional information That’s designed for educational [01:03:20] and entertainment purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. Make sure that you do not disregard, avoid, or delay obtaining medical or health related advice. [01:03:40] from your health care professional because of something you may have heard on the show or read in our show notes.
The use of any information provided on this show is solely at your own risk.
Hide Transcript