Pros and Cons of the Ketogenic Diet & How to Support Healthy Weight Loss
Dr. Sarah Ballantyne is a New York Times bestselling author and creator of the award-winning website, The Paleo Mom. She joins JJ in today's podcast episode to explore the ketogenic diet and talk about the best options for healthy weight loss.
Listen as Dr. Ballantyne explains the pros and cons of the ketogenic diet, including how it can negatively impact everything from your thyroid and sex hormones to your metabolism and bone health. Dr. Ballantyne also shares her top tips for losing weight, with scientific studies to back up each one.
Dr. Ballantyne has a Ph.D. in Medical Biophysics and has lost 120 pounds herself – she's here to share her wealth of knowledge and inspiration with us all!
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ATHE_Transcript_Ep 432_Sarah Ballantyne
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 want to 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.
Hey, it's JJ. I am super excited about today's show because we are going to be diving into a topic you guys have been asking so much about, so I had the good fortune last year, at paleo effects to sit on a panel. It was a crazy panel. We had mark Sisson and Robb [00:01:00] Wolf and Dr. Joe Mercola and Dr. Sarah Ballantine and we're talking.
We're talking about paleo, but someone asks a question about keto and I just got a mad girl crush on Sarah from that moment on she is a well, first I'll tell you about Sarah, why you're going to be so excited to hear from her. She. Is a New York times bestselling author four books, and she has the website, the paleomom.com.
She has a PhD in medical biophysics, and just is a crazy researcher fact finder. So as she started to talk about this, it was like, you know, study after study pathway after pathway and I'm like, this is who I need to get on to talk about keto and I really want to dive into keto and talk about, you know, cause I keep hearing it keto as a fad, well keto is not a fad.
It's been around for thousands of years, but some of the ways we might be applying it, aren't the most appropriate for the outcomes we want. And that's what we talked about. When, what are the benefits of keto? When should you use it when shouldn't you use [00:02:00] it? And Dr. Sarah is a great person. Talk about this again.
She has a. PhD in medical biophysics, but also she is a deep into the autoimmune protocol and reversed her own or a stabilized her own Hashimoto's and had a variety of health problems that she is fixed through using diet, which is super cool. So I'm really, really thrilled to be sharing her with you now.
Before I bring her up. I also want to share with you this awesome, awesome review on my podcast. And just so you know, we're obsessed. With reviews over here because it's the way the whole team gets our grades. And I so appreciate it when we get these so I always want to do shout outs. I'd love to shout you out.
Yes. That was a big hint to leave a review. This one, it says thank you for the great [00:03:00] information. Five stars bye Alisa Harley chick from Canada, and she says, love your podcast, JJ, your guests and topics are relevant and interesting. I enjoy how you engage your guests and how much valuable information is in each episode.
I look forward to tuning in to each episode. So. Thank you so much for that, Lisa, and you can leave a review if you haven't done it yet. I'm kind of begging over here a little bit, but here's the deal. There's a lot of noise out there and my goal is to help a billion people get healthy. One of the ways I'm doing that is by bringing amazing.
Experts and pals onto the show and answering what comes up the most. Cause I hear a lot of different things on social media, so whatever topics I hear, I go search out the smartest, smartest person in the room to talk about it. So getting those reviews, finding out you're subscribing and sharing means a ton and it means we can reach a lot more people.
So thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Lisa. And thank you. Also for leaving a review. And remember [00:04:00] when you're over there to subscribe and if you feel so like people can think, oh, I know someone who's been asking a lot about keto. Well, share it with them. Alrighty, cool. Now I've got another one of my favorites before I dive into the interview on keto with Dr.
Alright, Dr. Sarah Ballantine. Welcome to the show. I am super excited to be with you. I'm going to attempt to get extract as much out of that brilliant brain of yours as possible here. And I'm really excited to dive into the subject of keto with you because there's, there's so much swirling in and around about it.
And I feel like we've kind of. Destroyed what it was originally intended for and turned it into a [00:05:00] fad. When, the reality it's like kinda like calling paleo fats, like these things, aren't fads, just, you know, understanding principles and when things should be used. So if that's cool, let's deep dive.
What do you think?
Sarah Ballantyne: I think we should do a download.
JJ Virgin: All right. All right. And just for everybody listening, I was on a panel with Sarah. I don't know if I even said anything on the panel, except some Kim Kardashian comment, but you like, I was like looking over going, all right. You just keep talking over there.
I'm just going to take as many notes as possible because it was a, there a question came up about keto and then I went, that's it. You must, you must come on the show because we get asked about this every single day. First thing I would love to start with is what is the ketogenic diet?
Sarah Ballantyne: Yeah. So ketogenic diet is a really interesting therapeutic diet.
It actually has its roots in like Hippocrates era medicine, where they [00:06:00] discovered that fasting could reduce epileptic seizures and thousands of years ago, right. 2,500 years ago. That was. Like cutting edge medicine for someone who had epilepsy, there was no other options. And so they would do these like month long water fasts, the seizures would go away and then the person would eat again, gradually the epilepsy would come back.
So it was always considered sort of this like short-term intervention. You could go on and off. And then in the 1920s, a couple of doctors who ran an like a. In clinic. Right? So epilepsy patients with severe epilepsy were really institutionalized back then. They didn't live out in the general population and they experimented on their.
Patients right. That this was what medicine was like a hundred years ago. But they discovered that they could mimic the same effects of a fast, [00:07:00] with a very, very low carbohydrate, very, very high, fat diet. And it took about 10 years for them to really figure out the exact formula. It had to be about 80% fat.
It could be about. 10% protein five to 10% carbohydrate. Initially they found that they, or they thought it had to be low calorie as well. And then they discovered it didn't like it could be ISO caloric, which means the same amount of calories as the person was eating, not on a ketogenic diet and about half of the patients with what's called refractory epilepsy.
So epilepsy that does not respond to any other drug. Had complete, like basically all of their seizures went away. People who were having 200 seizures a day down to zero, it was considered a miracle. And then what happened over time is every time a new anticonvulsant drug came along, the interest in the ketogenic diet would disappear because who wants [00:08:00] to do this really, really hard diet that has tons of awful side effects.
If you can just take a pill every day. And the problem is of course, There's no anticonvulsant drug that works for all epileptics. So if you're diagnosed with epilepsy, you end up trying one drug, seeing if that works, trying another drug, seeing if that works. And so the, the interest in the ketogenic diet really.
It really picked up in the nineties, basically, thanks to the Atkins diet revolution, thanks to the movie do no harm. And the, the story behind the movie Do No Harm, and it has completely exploded in recent years and gone beyond, right? Like you could think of it as this like prescription right. It's prescription for, for epilepsy.
And you can imagine. That if there's something going on, that's good for the brain. Maybe there's some [00:09:00] tangential application. So there is some really interesting science showing that it's potentially beneficial for multiple sclerosis for at least some people with Alzheimer's disease. So like neurodegenerative and neurological diseases.
You can see some real therapeutic benefits to a ketogenic diet, but what's happening now is it's being used kind of off-label and there's this like increasing number of, and this is where it goes from this therapeutic diet for a very specific situation to a fad diet. Because people are losing, using it to lose weight.
They're using it as a cancer intervention, even though the science behind showing a ketogenic diet as, as a therapeutic diet for cancer is incredibly weak. It's becoming this, this, like all purpose cure all, even though the science, not only does it support. But there's actually some real problems with a diet that is designed to mimic starvation when it comes to overall health.
So women are using a ketogenic diet to lose weight, and they're basically breaking their metabolisms as a result [00:10:00] because I think the conversation has it started with this enthusiasm about. Therapeutic intervention for a disease in which there is no cure to, wow. We must, must be able to just treat everything with this diet.
And we just can't,
JJ Virgin: here's where I'd love to like, just have the science come out so that people can understand, you know, how this actually works because I was reading some promotional copy about someone's keto diet plan that says you have to be in ketosis to burn fat. And I pinged my friend and I go I don't know, who's writing your copy.
So it just understand, explain the biochemistry of this. So people understand, because I think there's still an idea out there that in order to burn fat, you must be in ketosis, which when you really understand about chemistry though, that's no, that's not the case. It's
Sarah Ballantyne: not actually the case. And also it's not the case.
Being a ketogenic diet is not the only way to be in ketosis, I think is another [00:11:00] really important part. That's that's wrapped in here. So every cell in our body. Uses this molecule called adenosine triphosphate or ATP for short. And that is the molecule that every, you know, our, our mitochondria make it.
And then that's what our, our cell organelles use for energy in all of the different chemical reactions that, that require energy to propel them. So ATP is considered like the energy currency of every single cell. And we make ATP with a very, very complex chemical reaction called the citric acid cycle, or it's also called the Krebs cycle.
When I way back when I took biochemistry, it was called the Krebs cycle and you can input into the, into the Krebs cycle. Different macronutrients. So the Krebs cycle, the easiest way to make ATP is with glucose, right? The, the, the dominant sugar in, in most of our foods. So most of the carbohydrates we consume starch, mostly [00:12:00] breaks down to glucose.
If we're eating table sugar that breaks down into half glucose, half fructose. So glucose is the easiest thing to kind of shove into the Krebs cycle to make ATP as energy for ourselves. But we can put amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Into this cycle to make ATP and we can put fatty acids into this cycle.
So what happens in an, a person on, like, if you're just going through the day, you don't have glucose in your, a lot of glucose in your blood all the time. So your glucose and your blood goes up after you eat and then it gradually comes down as it gets shuttled into your cells and your mitochondria. Turn it into ATP.
In between meals when glucose is not as easily available, if you have a healthy, you know, flexible metabolism, your body goes Hey, we're, don't have a whole lot of glucose right now. Let's shuttle, something else into this Krebs cycle. So most naturally you're going to take fatty acids which is basically [00:13:00] burning, stored fat.
And you're going to. Into the Krebs cycle and you're going
JJ Virgin: to do what we want. That's a, that's a happy
Sarah Ballantyne: day, right? It's a happy day. And, but this is, this is the normal fluctuation throughout the day, right after a meal you're going to use
JJ Virgin: there. Sarah was metabolic flexibility, like the healthier, the metabolism, the more you can kind of switch, you're switching around throughout the day.
You're not just stuck using one fuel
Sarah Ballantyne: and that's, what's up the problem for diabetics, right? So, so diabetics actually have a really hard. Accessing stored fat. But they also have a hard time getting glucose into their cells because of insulin resistance. What's fascinating is a ketogenic diet is not creating metabolic flexibility.
It's actually creating almost like a weird complimentary opposite inflexibility as what you have happen in diabetes, because it causes a type of insulin resistance. It's called free fatty acid induced insulin resistance. [00:14:00] There's not much insulin to get what little glucose is consumed into the cells. And so you end up with a metabolism.
It's not like it's just stuck on the fat knob. What happens is when you start having trouble switching back and forth between glucose and fatty acids. Well, amino acids. Let's let's burn those. So you see when people who do a ketogenic diet for weight loss is you almost have this knob, it's stuck, right?
So that the Krebs cycle, the mitochondria can't shift from, from different inputs and you end up. Burning lean muscle mass and losing more lean muscle mass, which of course tanks your metabolism. And you end up basically lowering your basal metabolic rate, which has the effect of you don't lose as much weight for how many calories you're eating because.
Burning less just lying around. Ideally we all want to have a high basal. Behnam all great because that means that we're going to burn a lot of calories just by doing nothing. [00:15:00] Any activity that we do is above and beyond that. And as long as our caloric intake is reigned in, and we have a flexible metabolism, we're going to be able to achieve a healthy weight what's happening with the ketogenic diet is you're, you're breaking
JJ Virgin: that knob.
Yeah. And you're in, when you're talking about basal metabolic rate. I mean one of the big. Things with having a good BMR is having a good thyroid function. So that's the one, that's the key that I saw here. And I really love this talk about metabolic flexibility. Cause I think that's the most important thing is, is you've got to be able to switch fuels.
And the other side is you want to have a healthy metabolism. Talk about the research of what ketogenic diets. And this is this isn't someone who goes on a ketogenic diet. One week, two weeks, three weeks. This is someone who's staying on one of these things for an extended period of time, correct?
Sarah Ballantyne: Correct. So all of the research that we use to look at adverse reactions to a ketogenic diet or what are called long-term studies. So [00:16:00] you'll often hear the term keto adapted. So you have a lot of people say like, oh, we can't don't pay attention to any of the horrible symptoms that you have in the first week.
You just, or the first month you just need to get keto adapted and, and different proponents of keto will tell you how long it takes to become keto adapted. Okay. Let's talk the
JJ Virgin: bad symptoms of the first couple of weeks and then what it means to be keto adapted. So
Sarah Ballantyne: in the first couple of weeks severe lethargy headaches constipation.
A lot of other types of GI symptoms are very, very common. People will generally just feel they can feel achy. They can almost feel like you know, flu, keto flu. Right. So it feels right. It feels like you, you have the flu brain fog sort of like. Loss of memory, right? So it's actually affecting, what's called working memory.
So it's your ability to recall, so access a word. So you'll find yourself like getting into a sentence and forgetting a word that you use all of the time. Studies show that people. Do you have worse problem-solving skills in [00:17:00] those, those first few weeks after ketone, and that may actually progress farther.
And then some people actually will have things like their cardiovascular disease, risk factors get crazy out of whack. So their triglycerides and their LDL cholesterol will skyrocket that doesn't happen to everyone, but it certainly happens to some, some people will get things like kidney stones, which is of course a real problem.
And then. Because of the impact on the immune system and this actually, some of these things get worse once you're keto adapted and some of them will kind of resolve once you're keto adapted. But because of the impact on the immune system, there's also this increased susceptibility to infection and in epilepsy, Patients, we see that as being like sepsis pneumonia, like life-threatening infections, what we're seeing sort of the anecdote.
And it's really hard to, to make conclusions based on what people share their experiences on social media. But you see that people will have things like an abscessed tooth that doesn't seem to, to get better on [00:18:00] antibiotics or they'll get, you know, the flu was so bad and there's always like some other.
You know, culprit that gets blamed, except that we know that a ketogenic diet really strongly suppresses the immune system at first, that can look like your inflammation is resolving, but after a while, that means your immune. System's not doing its main function, which is to protect you against pathogens.
JJ Virgin: And what about thyroid? So let's talk thyroid. Because that's, that's one that alerted me because, you know, I see these things and I'm going, I did this when grant was coming through, out of his initial brain injury. So we use this temporarily. He did have some rebound issues with the thyroid after it, but that also could be because he had, you know, a severe brain injury.
And that can impact a whole lot of hormonal issues, but I've seen this and heard it talked about, about the impact on thyroid health. So it seems like here you are trying to lose weight and then you've just
Sarah Ballantyne: fresh. Exactly. And I think [00:19:00] it is sort of important to say that right in the case of traumatic brain injury, right?
Neurological and neurodegenerative disorders, the cost benefit analysis is quite different than if you're using keto to lose weight.
JJ Virgin: Yeah, and this is what I want people to understand is there's all these different diets know why you're using it. What, what the therapeutic outcome you're trying to get from it is, and then use the right thing for the right time.
I mean, you know, it's like lowering carbs can be very helpful to lose weight, but ketosis isn't the, isn't going to be your long-term solution because of this. So
Sarah Ballantyne: go ahead. Sorry. Yeah. So so you know, the cost benefit analysis. Being different for certain conditions where maybe you just know that thyroid hypothyroidism is.
Possible consequence and you just monitor that and deal with it when it comes, because it's an okay cost for the benefit you're getting. But if you're doing this to lose weight, it's really important to know that your thyroid gland is like your body's [00:20:00] thermostat. It controls your metabolism. But there's also really strong cross talk between your thyroid and insulin sensitivity between your thyroid and your sex hormones.
So thyroid gland is a very, very strong signal towards reproductive function. That's why we see fertility problems in so many women with hypothyroidism. It has also really strong crosstalk with your stress axis. So having. A hypo thyroid. So a low functioning thyroid is not good. The symptoms include unexplained, weight, gain, lethargy, migraines, depression, and anxiety, constipation, dry skin, hair, falling out it's and brain fog.
Right? It's it's miserable. I can tell you because I've hashimotos thyroiditis which also makes my thyroid not a super functioning organ. It's miserable. So ketogenic diet, there was a really, really well done study published last year in patients with epilepsy, they were on a ketogenic [00:21:00] diet for their epilepsy.
They were monitored very, very closely by doctors, but it was actually the first long-term ketogenic diet study. To actually do a thyroid panel in the patients, which was to me, I'm like, well, you guys have been studying this for a hundred years and no one thought to do a thyroid panel before. So they did a thyroid panel and they found that.
One in six of the patients in the study developed hypothyroidism, most of them within the first month, although they, they actually followed these patients for a year and they all are most of them within the first month, but all of them that developed hypothyroidism was within the first six months. And it was, it required.
Thyroid hormone replacement. So they actually gave them levothyroxine as were hormone replacement. So it was like, what would get you diagnosed with clinical hypothyroidism? It was reduced T3, the active thyroid hormone and elevated TSH. And it's kind of important here to sort of like, okay, well you'll hear [00:22:00] people say like, well, any weight loss diet will suppress your thyroid.
What's really interesting is studies that have used just calorie restriction to achieve weight loss have also looked at what it does to thyroid function. And it, it does cause a slight decrease in T3 it's considered a normalization effect because it doesn't make it tank to the point where you need thyroid hormone replacement.
You don't need to take drugs for hypothyroidism if you're just losing weight on a, on a calorie restricted diet, whereas in the ketogenic. It does with fairly alarming frequencies, like one in six is much higher levels of hypothyroidism than we see in the general population, which is more like one and two hundred.
JJ Virgin: Well, it'd be interesting to look at this and go. All right. So ketogenic diet five to 10% of the calories from carbs. If you were sitting at 20 or 30% of the calories from carbs, would you be okay? My sense is probably is cause you haven't shifted. You're still metabolically flexible. [00:23:00] You're able to shift back and forth between fuels.
You're not creating that problem. You're not creating such low insulin.
Sarah Ballantyne: Well, not you've, you've hit the nail on the head because insulin actually has a, it's a super hormone. It has a lot of roles in our body that have nothing to do with glucose. So it controls a muscle protein synthesis. Bone remodeling.
It controls memory. And one of the things that insulin actually controls is activity of this enzyme called type two, Diane, D I a Denise, which is a fun one to say five times fast. But this enzyme is our main enzyme that converts the prohormone thyroid hormone that our thyroid makes into the active thyroid hormone T3.
So if you don't have good insulin signaling, say you're diabetic or you've been on a ketogenic diet for awhile. Or if you're not making very much insulin because your carb intake is too low, then the activity of this enzyme [00:24:00] drops and then you don't convert T4 into T3. And then that can cause a type of manufactured hypothyroidism, which is probably exactly what is happening in these epileptic.
JJ Virgin: And wouldn't that impact. Cause it's really important for people to understand. You want your body to hear insulin. You want insulin to come up to do its job and come back down. So it's not just having low insulin all the time. That's a problem insulin. It needs to be here to do its job. But what about insulin?
What about menopausal women here going into this and its impact on estrogen? Because. What would go on there? Is there any issues
Sarah Ballantyne: there? Well, so what's really interesting is that insulin is very, very important for sex hormone regulation in general. So it, for example if you're insulin sensitive, having insulin will enhance the production of estrogen and testosterone.
So it's really. Predominantly those two androgens. But it also suppresses a very important little protein that is just floating around in our [00:25:00] blood called sex hormone, binding globulin. So you can be making enough estrogen or testosterone, but if it's all bound up with sex hormone binding globulin, it can't do its thing, which is why a doctor who sort of specializes in hormones, hormone balancing, and hormone replacement therapy.
Always measure. In addition to your hormones will also measure sex, hormone, binding globulin, to get a sort of like active what's your, what's your actually active amount of testosterone or estrogen in your, in your body and not just your total amount. So insulin and it's like looking
JJ Virgin: at TSH and free teeth, as opposed to just TSH.
Sarah Ballantyne: Got it. So, this is where it gets really, really complicated and really, really muddy because insulin suppresses sex, hormone, binding globulin, and enhances estrogen and testosterone production. But as soon as you're, you got this kind of weird thing happening, when you say you're on your way to diabetes, which is where most of this research comes from in terms of understanding the [00:26:00] link between insulin and sex hormones.
You see hormone dysregulation very, very commonly in diabetes. That's why PCO S for example, which is quite hallmarked by elevated testosterone, really high testosterone in women, PCOS basically considered a symptom of insulin resistance. It's it's caused by insulin resistance. It's very commonly co-occurrent with type two diabetes.
And so you, you see that. Insulin has this very complex role because when you're first on your way to diabetes, the first thing that happens is you're making more and more insulin as your cells get less and less sensitive to it. So you end up with this kind of two different things happening is you're making more hormones, but you're binding more of them up.
And depending on the exact details, right where you are in that process, you can either. Sex hormone excess or sex hormone deficiency. The basic thing you can say is it's going to mess up your sex hormones. That's [00:27:00] that's pretty much like the most. You know, generalization that you can make, but in women who follow a ketogenic diet for epilepsy, that there have not been studies in post-menopausal women that have specifically looked at this, but you can see an effect because a very, very large percentage of them end up losing their periods or having some kind of period abnormality.
So it's called amenorrhea. You know, when it's reported in a scientific article but it's. Up to, I mean, there are, I have seen articles where And typically smaller studies, but it's something like 63% of the women will end up losing their periods. And most of them will have their periods come back when they adopt a regular diet.
But I mean, I, I very, very clearly recall one paper that was fairly small. I think it was nine women. Seven lost to their period on a ketogenic diet. And when they went off the ketogenic diet, six of them got their periods back, but that one woman and one in nine is like, that's a pretty high percent [00:28:00] occurrence, right?
You need more, you need larger sample sizes to be able to really dial in like, what, what is the risk here? But that one woman basically, you know, made herself infertile with a ketogenic diet and that is mediated through these effects on sex hormones. So in, in post-menopausal women, there have been studies looking at whether or not a ketogenic diet is effective for things like weight loss and post-menopausal women, but nobody has gone into the details of, and how, how is this going to impact your hormones, given that low estrogen and progesterone?
Tend to be very, very common. Like PCOS is low estrogen, low progesterone, high testosterone. That's one of the things that we see chances are very, very good that it's, it's not going to have a therapeutic benefit. Hormones for someone who's dealing with menopause
JJ Virgin: symptoms makes sense. You wouldn't want to [00:29:00] bind up your home runs or lower them further when you're already dealing with that.
So let's switch gears real quick. And I, I know just for everybody listening, we're gonna, I I've stolen a stolen Sarah. Two podcasts. So you're going to also get a chance to hear her talk about the autoimmune protocol, but I just want to wrap this one up with what you would recommend for weight loss cut through the confusion.
What would you
Sarah Ballantyne: recommend? Yeah, I mean, we have really great science showing that higher protein intake and eating a lot of vegetables are like the number one and two things that increase. Weight loss, healthy weight loss, preserve lean muscle mass, and actually vegetable intake is the number one thing that predicts success of weight, loss maintenance.
So it's not just about losing weight, right? You can lose weight a thousand different ways. The trick is keeping it off. That is the hard part.
JJ Virgin: And that's a different skill set. This is a great study. No one talks about, about what you need to get you. There is not what you need to keep [00:30:00] you there. I think if we put, put.
20 nutritionists in a room, the only thing anyone would ever agree on. Well, there'll probably be one outlier in there, but you should all be eating more, more vegetables. It's like it's non starchy. We're talking about here,
Sarah Ballantyne: right? Generally. I mean, I think that a moderate carb consumption something like 30 to 40% of your calories from carbohydrates is very consistent with weight loss efforts.
Couple of other things, you actually need to have a caloric deficit. It's not, you know, I don't want to say calories in calories out, but calories do matter. So. I recommend some kind of portion control. I think tracking and journaling is an amazing tool for weight loss.
JJ Virgin: Yes. I like to say calories, you know, calories count, but where they come from is what really counts most because your body is a chemistry lab.
I loved, I just saw the study, come out where they finally said. Yes. Where calories come from council. Like, oh my gosh. Finally, like, come on. You know, so there's a big difference between eating apple pie or eating an apple. Welcome [00:31:00] to reality,
Sarah Ballantyne: There's a lot of vitamins and minerals, right? These are the micronutrients that are important for metabolism and for accessing stored fat.
So if you're deficient in something. Vitamin a or vitamin D or a lot of the B vitamins or zinc or magnesium or copper, you're going to have a harder time in terms of accessing stored fat. So you it's basically going to impact your metabolism. So that's, you know, where do you get all those micronutrients?
You get them from. Whole foods, you get them from vegetables. Some fruit, seafood is an amazing food. And then the other thing is lifestyle is also important. Studies show that people who have an exercise regimen as part of their, their weight loss typically are more successful. It's not because they're burning more calories it's because.
The hormone regulation that happens with exercise is really, really important for programming, metabolism, programming, appetite, [00:32:00] helping you sleep, and then sleep is actually the number one thing. And it works two ways. So one day
JJ Virgin: I you, you make me immensely thrilled to hear the sleep one. I'm always harping about the
Sarah Ballantyne: sleep sleep does two things.
So first of all, it actually. Is really, so it predicts your success with weight loss. If you don't get enough sleep, you are dramatically something 40% more likely to be overweight. You have a 2.4 times higher risk of developing insulin resistance. And you know, also like strokes and heart attacks and.
You have diabetes, you know, all these things, right? All of these things increase. If you're not getting enough sleep cancer, risk increases. It's a really, really important, but our sleep also impacts our appetite and it impacts our reward system in our brain. So when we're sleep deprived, our hunger signals basically get messed up.
[00:33:00] So that we're a lot hungrier than we normally would in our normal day studies show that people consume anywhere between 10 and 25% more calories. The day after they had six hours of sleep compared to eight hours they even studies even show that people buy more calories when they go grocery shopping, if they haven't had enough sleep.
So you're, you're more likely to just buy bad food if you haven't had enough sleep and then you're more likely to eat it. And then studies show that our brains are less responsive to the reward response from food. So you, you think you're, start craving these high energy dense foods, potato chips, or donuts or whatever it is, and then you don't even enjoy them as much.
And because you're not enjoying them as much, you are more likely to eat more of them to try to trigger the same type of dopamine response in the brain as you would normally get from that food. And so all of those things combined, it's like the perfect storm for weight gain and all of the bad things that happen with weight gain when we're sleep deprived.
So eight hours of sleep is [00:34:00] like a, I mean, I think every single person should be getting eight hours of sleep every single night, but it is absolutely.
JJ Virgin: Yeah. I love hearing that I had a. Buddy, Dr. Michael Bruce's sleep doctor, and he did this, the glamour magazine took his book and put, put these gals on just sleeping more they didn't tell them to change their diet or anything else.
One month they all lost weight, no diet change. All they did was sleep. So I want to leave everybody with that one. Like just, if you do nothing else from hearing all this stuff. Sleep. All right. So we give great gifts from our guests and I'm super excited about the gift you are giving everybody your free 15 part paleo ABCs.
Wow. Super cool tips, ideas, resources, food list, priorities, cooking tips, everything you need guys. So you'll want to make sure you grab that. I'm going to put this at jjvirgin.com/paleomom. And you can grab that and be sure to tune in for the [00:35:00] next, because as you can tell, we could, we could be doing five hours of podcasts here, and I wouldn't even probably be in scratch the surface, Sarah, of what you got in there, but we're going to be doing another podcast on the autoimmune protocol.
And so make sure you tune in for that as well. And Sarah, thank you so much for all your brains and sharing it with everybody. I so appreciate you. Thank you again for having. Sure. Now after the break, I'll be answering a listener's question. So stay with me.
Welcome back. This is the time where I answer listener's question. I always like to make it something about what we've got going on. So we've been talking all about keto and carbs and everything else. So this one, and again, I grabbed these questions. I do a lot of lives on Facebook and Instagram. I'd love to hang out with you there.
It's jj.virgin on Instagram and JJ Virgin official on Facebook. I get asked about keto all the time. That's why I wanted to bring Dr. Sarah Ballantyne. And this [00:36:00] one comes from Marcy who said, so now I'm totally confused, low carb, high carb, keto. How do I know what to do? I bet you may be able to resonate with that because it's like, how do you really know?
And I think it really gets down to, there is no one diet that's right for everybody. All the time. And that's the big key, like I think when we really start to unpack the whole kind of diet wars as I'll call them is you want to think about dieting and eating. Okay. You're going to go on a diet for a short term to for a therapeutic outcome, and then you're going to take the things that in that diet were working for.
You. Right that you learned about yourself and you're going to apply them into your longterm eating strategy. We need a new term for that. Long-term eating strategy. That's what I'm trying to figure out. There needs to be a thing there because diet, we use [00:37:00] one word for too many different things. So I'm talking about, let's take a diet, let's use it therapeutically.
And here's what you have going on. You have where you are right now in your life. What's going on with your health. What is your lifestyle? Like? What are the outcomes you're looking to accomplish from this, from this diet that you're going on right now, and what's going on with your genetics. So we've got, and how old are you?
What sex are you? Right. So you got all of that stuff going on because what worked for you when you were 20? Probably figuring out now if you're 50 or 40 or 70, it doesn't work now. So right. We're a different person now.. So you got all that stuff going on. Then if you try to figure out how many carbohydrates you should eat, that is actually why I wrote the sugar impact diet.
It is really to figure out what I call carbon tolerance. Where should you be? And so what you do is you go through that program. And you're going to first figure out where sugar sneaking into your diet. You take a sugar sneaky inventory. Okay. This is the process I [00:38:00] walk you through. It's super easy and it's all set up so that it's, you know, naturally we want to be able to just figure these things out and get to a point of unlimited health.
So first thing I need to figure out is where sugar sneaking into your diet, and how's it impacting you, that's the sugar impact quiz. Then we go through and we start to taper. We taper from high sugar impact foods to medium sugar impact foods. And what's super cool about that is this isn't like, okay, you've been eating French fries and we're going to have you trade those French fries for celery sticks.
Well, that is ridiculous. Like, no one's getting fooled there, but we can take. French fries. And have you trade those for baked sweet potato fries and I'm bettin that you won't really notice difference. You probably like them even better. So we do it little taper for a week, but where we really focus on you eating from the trifecta of fat fiber and protein.
So you start to really work on blood sugar balance, which is the key. Then for two weeks, we go to low sugar impact. So if you were eating, [00:39:00] say a some pasta. We switched it to rice pasta, and then we switch it to spaghetti squash. So we're going to taper you down to low sugar impact foods and lower your carbohydrates.
And we're going to see how you feel during that time. And then we go back and we start to incorporate in some medium sugar impact foods and some high ones. And we see how you feel so that you can figure out where is your sweet spot? Where do you feel your best? Right. Because everybody is different. And again, it depends on your age.
Where you are with your health right now, what are your goals? What's your lifestyle like, what's your genetics. And then we can design that together and we can design that diet. That perfectly works for you. So I love that question. Thank you so much for that. And I want to remind you again to make sure you grab the great resources that Sarah has provided at jjvirgin.com/paleomom.
And I will see you. Bye.[00:40:00]