The Weight Loss Scientist: You've Been LIED To About Calories, Dieting & Losing Weight: Giles Yeo | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "The Weight Loss Scientist: You've Been LIED To About Calories, Dieting & Losing Weight: Giles Yeo".


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Intro (00:00)

Do we get fatter with age? Yes. Between 20 and 50 years old, the average person will gain about 15 kilos and weight. I don't want to be that guy. What can I do? Okay. So, Dr. Giles, yo. He's the world leading expert on fat and how to burn it. His book is called "Why calories don't count." What you eat does matter. Let's talk about how we fix the obesity, how we burn fat, and how we all get into a healthy weight. Everyone's brain hates it when they lose weight. We're talking even a few pounds. It goes, "This is reducing my chance of survival." The moment you stop the diet, the weight will come back on. Calories are not accurate. What's the truth? The calorie tells you absolutely nothing. Zero. So, if you actually look at a stick of celery, raw, it's got only six calories. If you cook the celery, that six calories becomes pretty high. Understand the limitations and caveats of calorie health. Veganism. What are the general stereotypes that need addressing? Veganism? Plup-based on particular is a diet for the privileged people who can choose to do so. We do not need everyone to be vegan. Sustainable weight loss. What is the way that you would suggest to do that? The simple way. Okay. It is the set of numbers that you can apply to whatever diet you like. So, the first is... Let's talk about something else which I feel like I was lied to about. Oh, God. Which is juice. Oh, yes. I just want to start this episode with a message of thanks. I thank you to everybody that tuned in to listen to this podcast. By doing so, you've enabled me to live out my dream, but also for many members of our team to live out their dreams too. It's one of the greatest privileges I could never have dreamed of or imagined in my life to get to do this, to get to learn from these people, to get to have these conversations, to get to interrogate them from a very selfish perspective, trying to solve problems I have in my life. So, I feel like I owe you a huge thank you for being here and for listening to these episodes and for making this platform what it is. Can I ask you a favor? I can't tell you how much you can change the course of this podcast, the course of the guests we're able to invite to the show, and to the course of everything that we do here just by doing one simple thing. And that simple thing is hitting that subscribe button. Helps this channel more than I could ever explain. The guests on this platform are incredible because so many of you have hit that button. And I know when we think about what we want to do together over the next year on this show, a lot of it is going to be fueled by the amount of you that are subscribed and that tune into this show every week. So thank you. Let's keep doing this and I can't wait to see what this year brings for the show, for us as a community and for this platform. Gjiles, hello. A pleasure to sit with you.

Food, Nutrition, And Dietetics

Professional bio (02:43)

I've been a big fan of your work for a very long time. I've consumed many of your YouTube videos, conversations you've had, interviews and these fantastic books you've written. But I want to start by asking you to give me a bit of an overview of your academic journey as a researcher, as a graduate of Cambridge, and an overall flavour of the work you do, the experience you have and the expertise you have. So I'm from San Francisco. That's where I did my high school. I did my undergraduate where I studied genetics. That's why I studied as an undergrad. Then I came to Cambridge to do my PhD. And I worked on the genetics of the Japanese pufferfish, fugu ruppropies, I know, I know. So there's a long reason why I did that, but I was looking at molecular evolution. And I was well trained as a geneticist, but then I realised that genetics of pufferfish was not going to pay my mortgage. And it was at this point I needed a job. So I finished my PhD. I went knocking on doors. Actually, I didn't look any adverts or anything. I just went to the department. I said, "You know what? I'm just going to see if anyone has a job." And the second door I knocked on was a guy named Steve O'Rackley. And he had just identified the very first obesity gene in humans when mutated caused really severe obesity. This was 1998. And I joined this lab. I was from a famous lab. I was a geneticist. He had just found the first obesity genetics gene. He needed a geneticist. That's how I got into genetics of obesity. So that's how I started. And then I started with the genetics of severe childhood obesity. So kids who are three years old, but 100 pounds. So this is not, we're not talking. Just a little bit chubby, just drink too much Coca-Cola type of things. I mean, these are mutations which cause really, really severe obesity. That's where I started my career. Where they can't stop eating. They can't stop eating because, in particular, so because they lack the signal between fat and the brain. There is a signal, it's a hormone, which lets your brain know how much fat you're carrying. That's important because how much fat you're carrying is how long you would last in the wild if there was no food. So if your food source has stopped today. So it's an important piece of information. But if you lack that signal, like some of these children do, this is one of the 100 pound kids I was telling you about, then what they have is a brain that thinks that they're starving because now there's no signal. So the brain thinks they have no fat. When don't you have any fat when you're starving. And so these poor kids who we think and we judge, look at that fat kid. What does that look like the parents don't care about them? Because there is a mutation, the signal is broken, the child cannot control their diet. That's what I started studying 30 years ago, 25 years ago. Fascinating. What happened next in Sam's E-Rachidemic journey? I begin to move away from extreme obesity to look at all body weight. Whether or not you are skinny, medium size or large. And secondly, I also began to think I can't just hide myself in a lab and do this because otherwise there are going to be people thinking that this kid's fault, that he is 100 pounds or someone might be, a BMI of 30, someone might be 10 pounds overweight and think it's their fault as well. That was for me a big turning point to change what I was doing when I was studying to make it more general. And to also begin to do things like to podcast or to speak speak to you and write books and do things more broadly and speak to people outside the academic environment. And you've done a number of shows on the BBC and documentaries, right?

Why did you decide to focus on food? (06:36)

I found three at least. The first one in 2016 called Why Are We Getting So Fat? In 2017, Clean Eating, The Dirty Truth. And in 2018, Vitamin Pills, Miracle or Myth. And obviously as well you've written these two fantastic books called Why Calories Don't Count and Gene Eating. So my question becomes why did you focus on food? Why did you care personally enough to pursue with such persistence, the topic of food? Why is that personal to you? You could have done anything with your intelligence. Why food? Well first of all, I love food. So does that. I do love food. But actually no, we followed the biology. So we now understand more broadly that when we study the genetics of body weight, we are by its very definition studying the genetics of how our brain influences our feeding behavior. So there was an academic reason for this. So just as an example, why do some people respond to stress by eating? Whereas other people respond to stress by not eating. It's exactly the same hormone, but people literally respond in diametric opposite fashions. Okay? Why do people love food? Some people use food as fuel, et cetera, et cetera. And so on my academic side, I began to try and understand the mechanisms. I was interested in that. But then it got me thinking about food. It got me thinking, well, hang on a second. When I travel, just as an example, particularly pre-COVID, and I end up in an airport somewhere international, O'Hare in Chicago or something like that. And I'm transferring planes for whatever reason. I find myself having to, I get stressed a little bit. I find myself having to eat a big bowl of carbs, particularly rice or noodles. And I was thinking about this. This became a habit. Before airport, I mean, particularly if I was transiting, I would try and find the closest place I could get a big bowl of noodles. In fact, just before I came here, what I had for lunch, I went to bone daddies to have ramen. So that's exactly that. I wasn't stressed, but I was trying to relax. And so that was what really got me into. I said, well, hang on a second. What is it about food that makes me relax and calm that I love? And then what is it about food that makes some people so angry? You know, we're almost religious, almost evangelical about it. And that is where I started thinking there is a link here between what I do in my day job in the lab and the teacher and what have you. And what I think about, you know, from broadcasting, from writing, and that is when I says, you know, if I'm going to do something, I want to enjoy it. I love food. I research food. I, you know, I write about food. That's the reason why, because I love it. And I thought that it was an, I wanted to know more about myself and hence, then more about other people as well. You referenced your day job there. What is your day job as we sit here today? So my day job is I'm a professor at the University of Cambridge and I teach and I research there. So that's my day job. And I have a, I have a group and we study how the brain controls food intake through using cells, using molecules. So that's the day job. I say that. I mean, this is obviously, I mean, the writing is also a job, obviously, but it's, it's, it's what I do in my spare time. And actually, what's interesting is it's what has made me, I think, a better scientist. I think too many scientists lose perspective. And that's fine. Right. I mean, I'm not more brilliant than, than, than many more, much more brilliant people than me. But I think people do lose perspective and I think you need to go out out of the lab. You need to speak to, you need to ask what people are interested in in a broader, broader society, what they understand about what you do. And so that's, that's the reason why I do what I do and why I say the day job versus this, even though I merge it all together. You've been studying food, genetics, these topics for almost three decades. Is that accurate? Since 1998, 25 years. Okay.

How has our perspective on food changed since you started? (10:41)

Where are we in terms of culture as it relates to our opinion and perspective on food? You know what I mean by that? Like, if you started 25 years ago, when you observe how society views food, the relationship it has with it versus your perspective today, where are we today? I think it depends. I think there is a polar response to food, but we are in a polarized society. We live in today and I think the same is true about food. I think I'm, I would like to think there are people who enjoy food, who love food. We watch MasterChef, we watch cooking programs, we love the food, you know, everyone loves Nigella, that kind of thing. But then equally, I don't know if there's the same number of people. There are also people who fear food. Okay. Now, I study obesity. I do study obesity. And I know that most of the non-infectious diseases we suffer from today is because of poor diet, most of it. Obesity, diabetes, hyper pressure, certain heart diseases, cancers, et cetera. Okay. This is true. And so, undoubtedly, we need to know more about our diet and we need to fix the diet that we actually do it. But I don't do it through fearing food. I do it about understanding food, about loving food, about learning how to cook food better, sourcing better food, that kind of thing, right? Whereas there are a lot of people in society who are talking about restriction of food, removing entire food groups, saying that this is the only way to eat. If you don't eat this way, it is the not the right way. So I think we are in a polar situation where on the one hand, we cannot consume enough food, tallies and cookbooks and everything. But yet, there is a huge section of society that fears food so much that diet has become this toxic word whenever we talk about diets. So I think that's where we are at the moment. We are in a polar situation. I read this word over and over again in your work called "authorraxia." What does "authorraxia" mean? So "authorraxia" is a type of eating disorder. People would have heard of anorexia. Okay? People would have heard of bulimia. So anorexia clearly is a controlling thing where you don't want to eat. Bulimia is the binging and the purging. Authorraxia is a fear of not eating properly. It is another... I think it's an... Look, I'm not a psychologist and a psychiatrist and I'm not an eating disorder expert, but I think it stems from the same root. There is an effort wanting to control something that you feel like you need to control. Some people try and control their diet. Some people pick something. It doesn't have to be... I mean, you could say, "I want to be vegan or a plant-based," or "I want to be keto," or "I want to do carnival," whatever it is you want to do. But then you become so hung up on it that if it's not exactly perfect, if it's not exactly like right, you don't eat it. So that is authorraxia where suddenly you have to have the burger, but it's only cooked this way. For lack of a better term, it is analogous to obsessive-compulsive behavior, but specifically with regards to the way you prepare and are willing to eat that specific food. I read something in your first book about authorraxia gene eating. I believe it was this book. In chapter 10, where you cite a study of hundreds and hundreds of women that follow food-eating accounts on Instagram, and I think the study concludes that about 49% of the women that follow food-eating accounts or food accounts on Instagram have what you would describe as authorraxia, which is startling because that's half the population that follow this Instagram accounts have this fear of messing up with their diet. But if you look... I mean, Instagram, I think, is a very interesting thing. First of all, as far as I understand, someone may correct me if I'm wrong, the majority of Instagram users are female, and they're still. And actually, the biggest, I think probably what? What are the two biggest Instagram styles that are there? We talk about food or you talk about fitness. Those are the two big things. There's many other things as well. And you're absolutely right. When you actually look at... In fact, if I look at my Instagram followers, just when you go to the little thing, 89% of women, there's no reason to follow. I don't want to point out there's no reason to follow me other than the fact that I talk about diets all the time. 89%, really? I mean, I think that... So if you consider me and I talk about food, and suddenly I'm some... Joe Schmo, nobody from Cambridge who writes about food and 89% of women, then what happens if you actually begin to talk about diets? And it is true. In a huge number of them, it's easy. I look at Instagram too, and clearly my pictures are going to be a little bit blah, but there's some very, very well curated Instagram pictures. The food is beautiful, the people are beautiful, but that's the purpose, right? It's sort of like a little advertisement campaign. But I think there are many, many people, even though they know, because people know, I'm looking at a curated, curated item, which I think deep down inside think that this could be real and this could be them. And I think when you take people who are susceptible to this obsessive compulsive, who are susceptible to eating disorders, and you suddenly put that in front of someone, then I think it can be triggering for some people. For me, my sort of confusion with food and dieting and weight loss and all of these things stems from almost getting too much advice. And I think if you hang around on Instagram for long enough, if you hang around just for maybe a day or two, you would hear so much conflicting advice on what the right thing to do is this diet, paleo, keto, you should eat these plants and not eat that, don't eat meat. And you have eventually you go, "Fuck it, I can't eat anything." If you listen to that much advice, you go, "Well, I can't eat anything." And that stifles you to a point where you're like, "You're eating lettuce," but then you realize you're like, "You know, and it's just what can I eat?" The more food advice I've consumed, the less confident I've become in what I can eat, interestingly. I think when I was naive and ignorant, I was happier in terms of the author rexia you described, that fear of messing up on my diet. I think the real answer is this. The reason there is so much conflicting advice is because there is no one singular right diet. I think there's some general principles we can probably agree with. We probably eat too much sugar. We probably need to not eat so much. We need to a little bit less meat and we need to eat more vegetables. Okay, so look, if I say those three things, is anyone going to, if anyone going to argue with me, no, because it's a, and that's probably one of the general rules. But if you then begin to apply it into your own self, then the problem with eating, the problem with eating is everyone is an expert at eating. By its very definition, you're an expert at eating. I'm an expert at eating long enough for us to be sad here having this conversation. And so when I eat a certain way and I look at someone else, and eating is a very visible thing. It's an open event. And not only that, you then see what the person looks like. Okay, then in your head, and we are human beings, simple, we are nothing but mammals. We think redberry poison, blueberry, lion, whatever, right? And so you look, look at that fat person eating, he's eating something. And so we begin to judge other people based on what we're talking about. And now the major issue is most people keep their mouth shut, mind their own business, and eat and do what they're doing. But then you get loud, opinionated people who go onto Instagram and say that look at that person, they're eating the wrong way, the right ways, the way I eat, look at me, I have a six-pack, et cetera, et cetera. And I think that's the problem. So the reason why the information is conflicting is because there is no one singular right diet. So it is going to be conflicting. You have people have to find the right diet for themselves, not only biologically, psychologically, but also lifestyle-wise. Because if you don't find the right diet for you, you're never ever going to be able to stick to it and thrive from it because you're just not. So I think that is the major problem. That's my biggest message, if anything, is there's no right diet. So on that point of there being no right diet, a lot of that I guess is because we have genetic differences. That's one element of it. There are genetic differences.

Let's start there then. With my genetic makeup, how might there be differences in my genetic makeup that make my relationship with food and eating and weight loss different from yours? Oh, okay. I probably don't have as good an answer. Genetics does not have as good an answer about why different people eat differently, aside from cultural differences at the moment. So the genetics. The reason behind that is because it's very difficult to accurately determine what someone has eaten in order to do genetics. What we do know, because we can actually observe, is how people of different ethnicities have are susceptible to different diseases. So famously, East Asian people, people that look like me, South Asian people, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshis, cannot get as large BMI-wise before becoming at risk of type 2 diabetes, right? Compared to white people, Polynesians famously, who can get pretty large before they actually end up getting diseases. So that's a classic example where this is why South Asian people, East Asian people, have a higher predisposition of diabetes even though obesity is not particularly a big thing in their cultures. But then you then begin to look at body shape. That does matter as well. Where do you put your fat? Do you tend to put the fat on your bum, on your tummy? You know, what is your, how tall are you? How short are you? And all of these things, which we can see visually, we can see, there are people who are then susceptible or not susceptible to specific diseases. Other things you can't see, okay? Why are African Americans, for example, more likely to end up with cardiovascular heart disease, okay? Less likely with diabetes. Whereas, why are Indians, you know, more, and so that you then begin to ask the question. And there, we have genetics. What about in terms of this obese gene? I read in chapter two of your book that there is a gene for obesity. There are more than a thousand genes for body weight. The obese gene in chapter two, which I talk about is this leptin gene. Is this gene, which lets your brain know how much fat you have? So that's the exact gene. Leptin is the gene that I'm talking about in chapter two with the obese. It's called the obese gene because the mouse was called obese. There was a lack of imagination. Because the mouse was a naturally occurring mouse that had a mutation in the same gene. Scientists found out what that was and found out that it was conserved in humans. And that's where my boss, Steve Arathie, then came in and found that that gene was also mutated in some humans. So that's the obese gene. It's the fat gene, meaning gene from fat, that lets your brain know how much fat you have. Is that possible to be not just on or off, but slightly defective? So some people can just get a little bit more hungry than others. Or is it a binary thing where it can be on or off? So leptin for whatever odd reason is pretty much binary. So if you have a little bit of it, you're fine. If you have none of it, you're not. However, there is obviously a pathway, leptin signals to the brain, which signals to something else, and there is another gene that I looked at called MC4R. It's part of the pathway. It's part of the same fat sensing pathway. That is a real status, like a thermostat. And so for example, we have found thousands of different mutations in this gene. And you can imagine that depending on the severity of the dysfunction, some are completely dead, some are 70% functional, we can predict how much someone will eat in a 10% function. Test buffet meal scenario, if they have a 50% functioning gene versus a zero functioning gene. And we now know that 0.3% in this country at least, so 200,000 people in the UK, a million people in the United States will carry mutations in this MC4R gene, making them more likely to end up with obesity. So that at 18 years old, if you carry a mutation in this MC4R gene, you will have a lot of people who are on average 18 kilos heavier, 40 pounds heavier at 18 years old on average. And that's 200,000 people in this country. So it's not super common, right? It's still 99.7% of the people's body weight's not determined by this. But there are a lot of people's body weights who are dependent on this specific gene. But it is a tunable system. So it's a little bit or a lot means that you are either slightly heavier or a lot heavier.

Our brain hates us losing weight (23:59)

It does our brain like losing weight. I did the keto diet recently for about two months. And why did you do it and why did you come off? I did it because I wanted to... Okay, this is interesting. It shows how much of a meanderthal I am. I thought I was allergic to gluten. Okay. So I thought I'll cut out all of the things that have gluten in them and I'll try that. And so I then watched this video online and it talked about the keto diet. So I thought, "Oh, that sounds good." And this guy had lost so much weight doing it. So I gave it a try. Now I lost so much weight, more weight than I've ever lost in my life. Like extreme. I did it for about eight weeks. I lost about a stone in weight. The reason I came off it was because it was hard. It was hard. In a simple word, it was difficult. And I didn't know. I felt like I was fighting against something. How long ago did you come off it and the crucial information, piece of information I'm interested in is, have you gained any weight back? Four to five days ago, none of your business. I'm joking. No. I gained so much weight back. I gained... I didn't just gain the stone I'd lost. I think I gained a little bit more back. I think I gained a stone and a bit back. I mean, I'm not in bad shape. But for me, I went from being absolutely lean. Like I'm ready for mental health to being back to being like, you know, like, I'd say athletic now. But I gained back the weight I'd lost and more. So this is why I asked the question about the brain. My brain didn't seem to be on board with me. It didn't seem to want the best for us. And it seemed to want to return me back to my default base state. Your brain, everyone's brain hates it when they lose weight. It doesn't matter your starting point. You could start from a point where you are athletic versus someone who's not athletic, couch potato type type, phenotype. The moment you lose a little bit of weight, we're talking even a few pounds. I'm not even talking. You're talking about a stone. Even if you lost five pounds, what happens in your brain is your brain is used to you carrying... You or me carrying a certain amount of weight. The moment your weight starts to go down as an adult, it goes, "Hey, oh, you know, this is a big flag comes up. This is reducing my chance of survival." This is what the brain thinks. And so what it does is it begins to use strategies, not conscious, nothing to do with our brain, anything like that, to drag us back up, kicking and screaming to where we were before. First of all, it makes us hungry. So it makes us hungry. And second, it actually very, very secretively lowers your metabolism every so slightly so that even without thinking, even eating exactly the same thing, you are now storing more than you're burning, even eating exactly the same thing. Part of the strategy to get you back up to where you were before. So once you were on that keto diet, and we can debate how it talks about how it works and whether it's useful, but once it's on the diet, your weight goes off, you're able to keep it, but you say, "Man, I can't do this." And so you stop. And the moment you stop, your brain goes, comes back on and starts dragging you back up. This is going to be true for pretty much every single diet that is out there. The moment you stop the diet, the weight will come back on eventually. Why does my brain hate me? Look, this is the brain. You have to remember that that's what's kept us alive. I mean, we have lived. Aside from probably the last 40 years, we probably most of the time never had enough food. Over the past 100 years, we've had sufficient food compared to beyond that. But you know, as well as I do, when you turn on the TV and watch only foods and horses from the 70s or whatever, people are all skinny. They think, "Oh, no, they don't skinny." They don't look skinny. They look normal weight for the time that they're there. Whereas we have clearly, over the past 40 years, now have too much food. So this is now a different problem that we have too much food. And so our brain is trying to respond to this environment, but it's responding in a natural fashion. Because what used to happen was because there was not a food, when there's food there, you made sure you ate it. Otherwise, why would you not do that? So we have a brain that's wired for a feast famine environment. Feast famine, feast famine. The problem is we live in a feast, feast environment at the moment. And that's the issue. We have a mild-adopted brain for a feast, feast environment. And this is because of how we've set up society, because of supermarkets, fridges, preservatives that keep food lasting for longer, and food's more available and cheaper than before it's more processed, et cetera, right? So this is true. Now, without going all food nazi, I mean, you have to remember that the all of whatever you just said, preservatives, pickling, cooking, you start with that, then you say, "Oh, we're going to do highly processed foods. We're going to prepackage foods, frozen foods, microwave foods, et cetera, et cetera. Supermarkets, it has kept us alive, okay? We're seven and a half billion people are encountering. We need to feed all this people." And this is fine. The problem is we've now got to the point where the efficiencies, the scales of efficiency in our food production is now so high, we can now get. Calories have never been cheaper. So this is the issue today. You can, in this country, for example, in the UK, people have calculated that you can get about 1,000 calories for 90p. Now how good are those calories? What the quality of the food are those calories? We're not talking. We're just talking pure calories. Because of efficiencies of scale, calories have never been cheaper, and we don't have to go run after an antelope in order to get the calories. This has kept us alive until it is killing us, which is now over the past 10 years that have been an important inflection point in human history. Previously, we never had enough food. Whereas now, since the past 10 years, more people are dying from overnutrition than undernutrition. And overnutrition in a bad way, because you can be, you can have loads of calories but still be malnourished because you're eating the wrong kind of foods. And can you believe it? Now in a world where there are more people dying because they eat too much than because they don't eat enough. Is the worldwide trend that we are getting skinnier or fatter? We are getting fatter as a worldwide trend. And true, the problems are more obvious at the moment in higher income countries. Because they are studied more and be the kind of food that's available. But what is the goal of a country that is less developed than us, for example? They want to pull their people out of poverty. They want to make sure that their poor people don't die of starvation. They want to make sure that fast food and good food and crap food are available to everybody there as well. Now the problem is the moment that happens, you don't switch from being dying of undernutrition and starvation to then how dying of overnutrition. So we are at that infection point where the whole world very soon will get into a severe obesity problem. And we do need to fix the food environment in order to fix that. Do you consider it to be an emergency? It is definitely an emergency. Oh, it is definitely an emergency. And it's an emergency because, because, let's ask the question, why is it a problem to have obesity? Why is it a problem to carry too much fat? Okay. So that is, you might think, why it's obvious? Well, is it? Because there are issues with gravity when you're too heavy, arthritis, mobility, sleep apnea, you can't breathe at night. But that is, that isn't what kills us. Okay. What kills us is all the diseases that are associated with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers, et cetera, et cetera. That is what kills us. Okay. Heart disease. And so it is an emergency because with obesity at a population level as it goes up, then you have millions upon millions of people that end up, you know, with diseases. So the estimate is that direct cost to the NHS, direct cost for treating obesity and related illness is six to seven billion a year. Okay. Pounds. That's the direct. But the moment you take into account the broader economy, days, sick, et cetera, et cetera, it's estimated we are running at 27 billion a year just on economic effects on obesity. So it is an emergency because, well, because many people are getting ill, many people are dying, you know, and actually it makes economically no sense. We have to fix the obesity because then we would save ourselves a lot, a lot of money.

How to burn fat (33:05)

So let's talk about how we fix the obesity, how we burn fat and how we all get into a healthy weight. Now, I know you think that BMI's are largely bullshit and unhelpful. Is that an accurate description of your opinion? Okay, look, before I don't want to end up with my colleagues throwing shoes at me. So I think, so BMI, for those of you who don't know, BMI is obviously your weight in kilograms divided by your height and meter square. It's a way of controlling for your height and your weight. Now on a population level, okay, it is actually a remarkably effective. Why? Because A, it's freedom measure, it doesn't cost anything. And on average in a population, sadly, the higher your BMI, the more fat you carry. And we know that the more fat you carry, the more likely you are to be unhealthy, okay, on a population level, all this is true. You might argue rugby players, different this and this is true. On an individual level, however, it is not particularly useful for your health, other than tracking your weight. It's about as useful as that because each of us are different shapes, different sizes, can carry different amounts of fat, can carry different amounts of fat safely. So that is the problem with obesity, right? It depends on who you are, how heavy is heavy before it actually begins to actually influence your health. So let's talk about food a little bit. I'm currently doing some kind of version of intermittent fasting, right? Detail, details, what's that kind of version? Well, I just don't, let's call it time restricted eating. Oh, okay, yep, right. Basically, I don't have breakfast. I actually don't really get hungry at breakfast to be completely honest with you. I tend to get hungry a bit later in the day. So I haven't eaten anything today and God forbid, it's 3.30pm. Wow. I know, but I just don't seem to get hungry. Okay. And then I read your book and in chapter 3 of June eating, you talk about front loading your food in the day. Now I was like, "Oh, fucking hell." You know, I'm trying my best here, Giles. They told me to eat later in the day, to skip breakfast, we don't need it. And then to time restrict your eating. And then I read your book and then it says, "Front loads your food. Have a big breakfast, medium lunch, small dinner." What's the truth? Okay. So that is the, I mean, I think most societies have a similar saying. The Chinese have a similar saying as this as well. So a couple of things. What's the saying? Eat like a king of breakfast, a prince at lunch and a pulper at dinner time. So the Chinese have a similar saying because I think people kind of work this out. Now, there is some truth to this, but I'll come back and explain what the truth is. So the some truth is that actually clearly we are metabolically, our metabolism is highest during the day because we have to avoid becoming food and we have to look for food. Okay. So, so that's the thing. Whereas at night when we're asleep, our metabolism drops. So if you eat your biggest meal at night and then a couple of hours later you go to sleep, then clearly you're loading your calories and then going to sleep, which is in storage mode. Whereas if you eat your biggest meal during the day, you have the whole day left in order to burn it. Now, homeostasis, it does balance itself out. So it's not the driver of obesity, but undoubtedly it will make a little bit of a difference there. Okay. But then a friend of mine, Alex Johnstone, Alexandra Johnstone, professor Alexander Johnstone up at the Roward Institute in Aberdeen just published a study, I think probably only three months ago, okay, which is very interesting. So what she did was she got people, a cohort of people and got them to eat exactly the same number of calories. They supplied the food so they knew what they were going to do. Okay. And they did it either by front loading all the calories at breakfast or back loading all the calories at dinner, but everyone ate exactly the same thing and then everyone then swapped. Okay. So everyone did the whole thing. And what she found was that there was no difference in body weight change whether or not you were eating most of your calories at breakfast or most of your calories at dinner. It was the total amount of energy during the day. But the difference was if you ate more at breakfast, you felt less hungry during the day than you if you ate more at dinner. So while if you ate exactly the same foods, but at breakfast or dinner or dinner or lunch, it doesn't actually matter. But for some people, it may very well be easier to have the big breakfast because it means particularly if they love food in particular because it means they get less hungry throughout the day. So that is the truth. That is the new ones. But does that mean, you know, I've got a first hand experience in this that if I'm not hungry throughout the day, then when it gets to midnight, I'll be thinking, hmm. No, but it doesn't matter, right? Because because it's not like it's not like what other depends depends how much if you suddenly ate 3,000 calories at dinner, then then there may be there. No, I'm not talking dinner. I'm talking midnight snack. I think the reality is you have to eat when you have to eat is the answer. Now if you were trying to lose weight, so if you were actively trying to lose weight because you are active because if one was actively overweight, then you might begin to think about when you wanted to eat more. I would probably cut the calories from your dinner rather than the cutting the calories from your breakfast. But if you are surviving during the day, and this is true about many people, right? Nurses, doctors who work shifts, firemen, police, police officers, whatever they do, you got to eat when you got to eat. So these, a lot of these pieces of advice are fine until they smack into the reality of life, your job, and what you actually do. But as general advice for the general person who isn't constrained by night shifts or anything like that. Eating late, closer to when you fall asleep is bad, is not going to help you lose weight. Correct. Okay, that's good. Everyone says this, you know, to respect to say this to me. I need people to keep saying it, and then I will cancel midnight buffet. But I love my midnight buffet too. I know. But every so often only, not every night. Yeah, yeah, not all the time, you know, five nights a week. Keto. Your general stance on keto, you know, much of your feedback and much of your writing is more about how it's unsustainable. Is that accurate? Well, it depends. So the original keto dad, keto in its original form, was oddly enough, it was designed for epilepsy. Okay, that was what it was originally designed to do. It's only in its most, I would say the past 10 years, that suddenly people have realized there was a weight loss element to it as you, as you personally first hand actually found it. The original versions of keto were actually very, very, very unsustainable because of the really super high levels of fat that were involved. They were unpalatable and with absolutely almost zero carbs, they were very unpalatable. They're difficult to stick to. If you have inflammation related diseases, is keto often a diet that's recommended, if there's like inflammation related? It depends where the inflammation is. So if it's inflammation in a gut, you need a different type of diet. So that there is no one for a given information. So then it depends on the diet that you actually, actually on. But keto in its extreme form is difficult to stick to because of the really, really high fat to protein ratio. So it was designed for epilepsy because I think there was some reason to say that when you force your brain to use ketones, which is rather than glucose, which is where the keto dad comes from, it reduces the incidence of epilepsy. So leave that aside. But what then people found as well is that with the keto diet, you ended up feeling fuller and so more satiated and so therefore you lost weight because you ended up eating less weight, sorry, eating less food, but also because you were having less carbs, then it was easier to control your blood glucose. So keto, I think is probably good safe thing for some type two diabetics looking to try and amile the form of keto because now there's different types of keto that you can stick to to try and control your blood glucose. If you're a type two diabetic, just make sure you don't eat as much of the fat as animal fat, try and have more olive oil and fish fat and vegetable fat rather than animal fat. Then there probably is a case to be made for keto, not as extreme. For a healthy individual such as yourself, you found how difficult it was to actually stick to it. I think there's probably a case to be made for introducing a little bit of carbohydrates but high fiber carbohydrates in there so that makes it more sustainable. The issue is, and I think one needs to be careful, is certainly in its most extreme forms, there haven't been many studies looking at the safety, say over five, ten years, if you stick to keto all the time, how healthy is it for you? And so that's the only caveat that I want to point out. The studies need to be done as it becomes more popular. The studies will be done. Because there are many people, millions of people who swear by keto. And inherently, as long as you don't eat too much animal fat only, and so you have vegetable fat and fish fat and olive oil and things as well, then it can be relatively healthy. You referenced there that the protein makes you feel fuller. That seems to be a really important point, that if you have a high protein diet, you're going to end up eating less which will result in weight loss, right? In what order does protein fats and carbohydrates make you feel fullest? So a calorie of protein makes you feel fuller than a calorie of fat than a calorie of carbohydrate in that order. And the reason behind that is because protein is chemically the most complex compared to fat and carbs. So it takes the longest to A, digest and B, metabolize. And because it takes the longest, any food which travels further down the gut makes you feel fuller. That's just a general thing of how our body works. So that's the first thing. So protein takes longer to digest, travels further down the gut, you feel fuller. But then not only that, protein gets digested into amino acids, amino acids transfer across the gut wall into our blood and again, go to our cells and organs where they're then metabolized. Now during the metabolism stage, it then takes a lot of energy to metabolize protein compared to fat and carbs. So for example, for every 100 calories of protein that you eat, we are only ever able to use 70 calories. So 30% of the protein calories we eat are spent dealing with protein. It takes money to make money, right? And so at 30%, so protein calories everywhere. This is not reflected on the side of the package. Protein calories everywhere are 30% wrong, just off the bat because of the amount of energy it actually takes to sort out protein. That's another reason why it makes you feel fuller. Super interesting that point about calories.

Calorie counting (44:40)

Obviously I talk to Tim Spectra a lot about that and it really is a kind of a narrative buster that calories are not accurate. So look, I speak a lot about calories. I understand that 200 calories of chips is twice the portion of 100 calories of chips. But so is 200 grams of chips, twice the portion of 100 grams of chips. And no one is trying to compare 200 grams of chips to 200 grams of carrots. Broadly speaking, that's what it is. The calorie is a very useful tool to give you a general idea how much you are eating during the day. That is true. Okay. How much you're eating. Nothing is zero about the quality of food you're eating, about how much protein, how much fiber, what type of fat, how much sugar. The calorie tells you absolutely nothing. So it gives you a piece of information, how much food you're eating. And that's yes, I can see how that could be important. But I would like to see a world we live in where we were more concerned about the quality of food we are feeding ourselves, our kids, other people, then necessarily just the pure caloric content. Because I've got a friend that said to me, won't name him, but he got a friend that said to me that you can basically, as long as you count the calories, you can eat whatever you like. So you can have the Domino's pizza, you can have this, but you just got to make sure the calories are under your sort of calorific allowance. And then it's all good. So now if you're depends what your calorific allowance is, and it will clearly, if you stick to a purely calorie counting diet of say 2000 calories and you stuck to that religiously, okay, you probably, the chances are you probably would lose weight because we probably burn more than that. But how healthy would you be? I think it's probably the question. Whereas if you had a healthier diet, but a 2500 calories of a healthier diet, would you would you be healthier? And that's the, that's the more important question I think you ask. Because there's two things you're trying to look at. You're trying to look at the number and the scale. And that probably would work. Or you try to look at your health, your blood glucose levels, your blood pressure, your ability to be energetic during the day, you know, how fast you want to run. Whatever it is, whatever metric can you lift your grandkids up, whatever you want to do. And so I think it's a, it is a measure clearly it is. I'm not, I'm not denying it, that it is not a measure, but it is a very blunt tool. And I don't think it is measuring what we need to measure, which is the quality of our food. What is calorific availability? In fact, reading your work is the first time I've even heard that phrase before, but it seems to be incredibly important. So calorific or caloric availability is the amount of calories that you can extract from a food versus the total number of calories in a food. So the example which I cite in both books actually is if you had 100 calories of sugar, just pure white sugar, you would probably end up getting 98, nearly 100 calories out of it, nearly 100%. Okay, because sugar is our base fuel, we chop ones, we absorb it. There's no digestion that's involved. So one example which I give is imagine if you ate sweet corn, corn on the cob. And then you looked in the loo the next day, it is quite clear you haven't absorbed most of the sweet corn because you can see it. Okay. But if you take sweet corn, desiccated, converted into cornmeal, make corn bread or corn tortilla, do something else with it. Suddenly exactly the same source of food gives you a different amount of calories. Okay. But yet it starts from corn. It's exactly the same thing. So that's caloric availability. You can start with a source food, but depending on what you do to that food, different calories are available. There's nothing wrong with corn tortilla, there's nothing wrong with cornbread and there's nothing wrong with sweet corn. I'm just saying that the calorie counts make no sense because you will extract different amounts of calories from the food even though we're working with exactly the same food. That's crazy. So if I had a call on the cob, like you, I'm just mimicking your action there. And then I had a corn tortilla. Yes. If both of them sell on the package, this is a hundred calories. The truth is my body might, with the corn on the cob, only have 50% of the calories available because of the nature of the food versus if I hit the corn tortilla, which says a hundred calories on the package as well, it might get 80 calories from it. I might get 80 calories from it. Yes. So I'm going to give you another example. The calorie is probably something that's easy and we've actually measured this. So if you actually look at a, just a typical medium size stick that you might get with some buffalo wings or something like that, okay, of, of, of celery, raw, okay? People say that celery has a, a, has a negative calories, not really, but it's got only six calories. It's nearly negative. Okay. For that. If you cook the celery, chop it up, put it into a stew, whatever the hell you're going to do with it. That six calories becomes 30 calories because you've cooked it exactly the same food and this time I'm just cooking it. Right. Because the cooking, you can almost consider cooking as an extension of your stomach. It does some of the digestion for you, right? Because you're cooking it, particularly even a stew, it's just an hour, two hours, and then you eat it. So then all that energy, the reason why we only extract six calories from, from, from a raw celery is, you know, it's cr, is 99% fiber and water. And so you, whereas if you cook it, then what happens is some of the fiber breaks down, we're able to do it. That's a class, another classic example, exactly the same food. You cook it suddenly six times the number of calories you get from it. It's an extreme example, but I thought that's crazy. Yeah, exactly. Because I could go to a supermarket and I could get a, a six calorie stick of celery. It could literally say on the package, six calories, I take it home, I think, great. I've got six calories left in my, my calorie deficit today. I pop it in the pan, I stew it, I eat it, 30 calories out of nowhere. Correct. That's false advertising. Correct. I'm going to get myself into trouble. No, but it's true. That, that, that is exactly, that is exactly true. That's crazy. That's why I don't think that's, that's why I don't think calories are the most useful thing to be, to, to be measuring because they shift. They're a moving, they're a moving target, which is fine. As long as we know what, what, what we're expecting, but two, but if you are religious calorie counter, once again, you have to do you in order to, so some people do that and it's, and for them, it is a useful strategy to keep the weight off and be healthier. I'm not going to be back on you. You do what you, you do what you want, but you have to understand that religiously counting, it means that depending on what type of calories you eat that had no matter how religious you are, you're going to be absorbing different amounts of calories anyway. But again, as you, as you've highlighted there, the positive upside to that is it gives people something to measure, which is relative. Yes. And, and that's the benefit for them, that if they're measuring every day and it's the same food they're measuring, it's all relative. And there's some benefit to them because obviously people do are very passionate that they've had great results from calorie counting in their lives. It's something to measure. But most people, well, many people who calorie count just to be clear means they, they stick to eating the same thing which they've done, roast chicken, whatever it is, but eat fewer calories of the roast chicken dinner. Now, that does work because what you're doing is you're now reducing the portion size of what you're eating. Whereas if you're saying, "Wait a minute, I'm going to switch meals entirely and go from eating 2,000 calories of chicken, but I'm now going to have 16, 1,600 calories of sugar." That's a stupid example. But imagine that was the case. Okay. Then calorie counting is not going to work because you could be, chicken is better for you than you are. And so that is an extreme example. But few people do that, but I highlight it only to make sure people understand it, understand the limitations and caveats of calorie counting. Quick one. One of our sponsors of this podcast, BlueJeans, recently did some research and they found that almost a third of companies are still spending almost a quarter of a million a year on launching and hosting virtual and hybrid events. This is obviously bonkers. With BlueJeans new software called Events and Studios, you could host these professional world-class feeling events for a fraction of the cost. So now going forward for all of my companies and for myself, I think we did our last one in Telegram, not so long ago, every event I will host will be hosted on BlueJeans events and studios. And I've never seen a software tool that allows you to personalize and brand an interface and the interface itself with such ease. That's the real thing about the software. I've done I think two events on BlueJeans events and studios, the ease of not having to be an expert to create an unbelievable event. If you've got an event coming up, if you've got a virtual event coming up, do me and yourself a favor and check out BlueJeans events and studios. It's honestly incredible and I'd love to hear your responses if you do give it a try. You know, I never really usually pick the chocolate flavored hules. My favorite are the banana flavor. I love the salted caramel flavor. But recently, I think I impart blame Jack in my team who is obsessed with the chocolate flavor hules. I've started drinking the chocolate flavor hules for the first time and I absolutely love them. My life means that I sometimes disregard my diet and it's funny. That's part of the reason why I've had a lot of guests on this podcast recently that talk about diet and health and those kinds of things because I am trying to make an active effort to be more healthy, to lose a little bit of weight as well, but to be more healthy. And the role that he'll plays in my life is it means that in those moments where sometimes I might reach for junk foods, having an option that is nutritionally complete, that is high in fiber, that is incredibly high in protein, that has all the vitamins and minerals that my body needs, within arms reach that I can consume on the go is where he will. There's been a game changer for me.

Is gluten bad for us? (54:29)

I started to believe, I think as I said to you earlier, maybe 12 months ago, maybe a bit more 24 months ago that I was gluten free. I believed that because I'd eaten some things and then I had a bad gut reaction, some pains, a bit of bloatedness. And then when I didn't eat those things that I'd gluten in them, that kind of pain and bloatedness went away. So my genius brain assumed self-diagnosed that I am gluten intolerant and then I marched through the world for the next two years being that kind of pretentious asshole that's asking if there's gluten in everything and interrogating the ingredients of everything I put in my mouth to try and avoid this thing called gluten. Now from reading your work, I've started to consider that I'm not in fact a genius and that I'm in fact an idiot and that I'm probably not gluten intolerant. And that because you look at society and you look at packaging and you look at signage on restaurants and menus, they have gluten free everywhere now. Everything is like gluten free. You go in the supermarket aisles, it's gluten free past, gluten free this, which creates the impression that humans are just not meant to eat gluten and we're all gluten intolerant or 50% of us are. How much truth is that to that? So 1% of the human species are celiacs and they are completely allergic to gluten and you want to stay away from gluten, like literally. They get to the point where it's so bad that their guts don't work anymore and kind of absorb food carefully and so it can kill you. So that's no joke and so gluten free was originally designed to cater to people with celiac disease, 1% of the human species. Now 3% to 4% of humans and they're slightly more difficult to measure are probably genuinely gluten intolerant and this could be maybe from a little bit farty till some severe gastrointestinal distress but genuinely so and probably is best for them to at least not have a big bowl of gluten. But the rest of us are not. But yet 25% as a market, 25% of us buy gluten free at any one point. So it's become profitable to sell gluten free. They now label rice as gluten free. Rice doesn't have gluten, never had gluten. Okay, okay, okay, okay, from it. And so they label rice as gluten free thinking that it's some product, it's not a product, it's just rice. So I think the issue here is it's been a boon for people with celiacs, for celiacs. I've spoken to people with celiac disease, they go, we've never had it this good. Okay, because before you have to go, you'd be really concerned. Now every place you go to the moment you say gluten free, you get a gluten free meal and everything and everything is fine. The only downside is some people look at them. But that is a classic example of people thinking that it's healthy. But can I just, once again, I'll stop asking you a question soon, but did you actually go and get yourself diagnosed about whether or not you are gluten intolerant? Because it doesn't mean that you're not, because you could be. But you can always ask me questions and to answer your question, yes, I got diagnosed by Dr. Stephen Bartlett. Right. In the comfort of my own home. But my brain, my brain wrote out the slip and made the diagnosis. Have you gone back to eating some gluten? Yes. And nothing has happened. It's just really interesting. After I finished the keto diet, fad, keto diet, I then tried a little bit of gluten and everything was okay. It was, it was, I had a little bit of gluten and I didn't really notice any, any issue. So, and I was wondering if like keeping myself off gluten or keeping myself off something for those two months had almost restored my, my gut in some respect that I could have a little bit of gluten again. Because I'd kind of, I don't know, it was interesting. But the, the issue with gut is that many, so for example, I will have exactly the same symptoms of what you just said, bloated, blah, blah, blah, all these things when I have lactose, I am lactose intolerant because it is a food substance that influences the gut. So I think the issue is I wouldn't put out of hand some thing which you've had with your gut. It could be actually real. Is it necessarily gluten? Was it, was it lactose? Was it something else? So, so the problem is, and the reason why people immediately think gluten is because that's what's in front of them. But it could be a number of other things which cause your gut just for a little bit. Or it could just be eating the wrong type of chilies, right? And, and, and that, that could also do it. But the moment it begins to influence your gut, it has broadly speaking the same phenotype, the same, the same presentation, whether it's gluten, lactose or Mexican chilies. So that's, that's interesting. So you're saying, you know, one to 4% of people really do have an intolerance roughly. Yes. And then 25ish percent of us buy gluten free assuming we are, you know, either assume you are gluten intolerant or think it's healthier. Oh, I think it's healthier. Okay. We think gluten's a bad thing. Yeah. It's a gluten, a bad thing. If you can handle gluten, no. If you eat too much of it, that's always a bad thing. But no. And let's put it this way. That like, as I, a gluten free doughnut is still a doughnut. Mm. Whether or not it has gluten or not, you know, so, so there are things which are inherently fried and, and I have more calories, more caloric availability. And there are things which are inherently less whether or not they have gluten.

Lactose intolerance (59:52)

What about you said, you said lactose intolerance, you're lactose intolerant. Mm hmm. And in your book, you say that 65% of adults are lactose intolerant. That's correct. That's crazy. That's a huge, huge majority. That's a huge majority because the mutation is lactose tolerance. So it's so under normal circumstance. So lactose is a sugar like glucose, like fructose. But mammals, obviously all mammals can drink milk as babies. We are mammals. All mammals can obviously drink milk and absorb lactose as babies. But then most mammals, including 65% of human beings, become lactose intolerant the moment they become adults. I guess there's a question of why and then, and then how. Why? Probably because if university age Johnny is clamped onto your boob and there's limited space, there's no room for baby Johnny. And so you need to encourage a rapidly growing mammal. Get away. Go eat solid food so that other babies can actually get on. I think that probably is the real reason to encourage animals to do the more difficult thing of finding solid food. So you make yourself lactose intolerant. How? Okay. So lactase is the enzyme that breaks down lactose. And this happens in your small intestine. And it turns, it's turned on when we're babies. But then as we become older, something else comes and shuts off lactase, like in me. And so I can't drink a lot of milk. But then around 7,500 years ago or so people, people have actually worked this out. A mutation occurred near this gene, near lactase, which prevents the shutting off of the gene. Okay. So 85% of white Northern European Caucasians, for example, can drink milk as adults. Every single one of them has exactly that same mutation that occurred 7,500 years ago. Now there are other populations throughout the world. There's certain pastoral populations in Africa and certain populations, particularly those who had goats and sheep and stuff, who then had their own independent way of dealing with drinking milk because it was a rich source of food. So if it was available, you were able to drink it. But so that is the mutation. Whereas for the vast majority of us, Chinese people, for example, we didn't end up drinking milk as adults. And so we never had that mutation. And so most of us are lactose intolerant as adults.

Genetic components (01:02:17)

And these things we can find out, how does one go about finding out about my genetic predispositions to certain foods and diets? So you can, okay, not every single food has a prediction for genetic wise. But if you take any of the direct to consumer genetic tests that are available, they will test all of the known, they'll definitely test lactose intolerance, your ability to handle alcohol, okay, I know mine, your ability to metabolize caffeine. So these are all individual genes. So it's predictable. So some people can drink a lot of coffee, other people can't. Some people can drink a lot of alcohol, other people can't. I'm probably in the middle for alcohol and I can't drink any milk. So all of those are predictable and you can get from any of the genetic tests that are there. The problem, I guess, with these genetic tests is they make predictions beyond stuff that are predictable. They say they're, oh, we can predict that you'll respond to a Mediterranean diet, for example. A Mediterranean diet is a whole diet. It's gotten like whatever, 200 foods. How is it going to predict whether or not you'll respond to it? And so I think some of the genetic tests overstep their mark in trying to predict what they can predict. But some things are predictable, milk, caffeine, alcohol. Have you done any genetic tests? I have for a 23andMe DNA fit circle. I've just done them for some for newspapers, newspapers and writing reviews for others just for personal interest, just to find out what it is. What was your favorite? Because I know people are going to be listening and they're going, you know, I want to take action. So where's step one? And I have to be honest. I have a different text me yesterday asking me this exact question. So the minute this conversation is done, I'm going to say I've just spoken to this genius from Cambridge and I've for you, babe. And I've got you the answer. She text me yesterday asking me for a good DNA genetic test that will help her understand diet. Help her understand her diet. Yeah, like her tolerance to certain foods and predispositions. Okay. So there are many different tests out there testing different things. So there is an advantage to going with size like 23andMe, obviously, I'm not paid by them. It has an advantage to size because they have tens, hundreds of millions, even people's data. And so as with most things, the more data you have and people constantly interact with the app, the more you can improve your product, the more you can then improve your predictions. But 23andMe only tests a limited number of the genes in your, in yourself. Okay. So we have three billion base pairs in our DNA, each individual mark. 23andMe, I'm going to get this wrong. I'll probably test about two million or so, okay, of the three billion. Whereas if you go to some other companies now that now in effect sequence your whole genome or at least all your genes, so you get a lot more information, then they get more information. The problem there, however, is a is more expensive, but b fewer people have done it. And so they haven't yet had the time to begin to tweak their algorithms and their predictions to get a more optimized, optimized prediction. So that's the problem, right? Whereas 23andMe is cheap. So that's probably a good place to start to ask certain questions. Look, I am happy to, like literally, literally happy to give you a better prediction than 23andMe's algorithms, because I can for that, for example, but they probably give a pretty helpful look about lactose, alcohol, whether or not you may or may not be gluten intolerant. They give some pretty good predictions there. Okay, I'm going to do that. I've been thinking about it for a long time, so I'm going to pull the trigger. It's quite remarkable that I haven't yet.

Veganism (01:06:07)

You did a documentary called Clean Eating, which is predominantly about plant-based eating. It wasn't predominant, but I did look at plant-based. I also looked at the alkali diet, and I also looked at gluten-free. So let's talk about those last two then. Yes. So plant-based diet. I heard that there was a lot of adverse reaction from some people in some communities regarding the plant-based component of that documentary. Is that true or false? That is true. That is true. And the reason there was a problem was, look, I hope you think, speaking to me, that I'm a reasonable person, I speak with some nuance. I don't think so. What we did was a plant-based has taken on a different meaning today, based on the supermarkets and what have you. But when I did the program, plant-based meant a far more restrictive version of veganism. Plant-based meant that you ate minimally processed foods, hardly any sugar, and you ate whole foods only. It's fine. It's a perfectly healthy diet, as long as you take the right supplements. The problem is the plant-based people become vegan or plant-based for many different reasons, ethical reasons, environmental reasons, and health, all three or a mix of the three. The one issue I took with the plant-based community in that program is that they believe that there was no safe dose of animal protein, which meant that even eating a bit of egg white, the moment you started eating a bit of egg white, it begins to kill you slowly. I said, "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life, and it doesn't support. The science isn't supported." We eat too much meat. The science does support that. But eggs. People, they're calling vegetarians that are killing themselves because they're eating eggs or something. That was what I took them up on. They thought that because I was challenging, I said, "There is a safe dose of animal protein. We do need to eat less meat." That's... They went after me. Oh, my God. It was amazing. In fact, the program has probably gone around the world probably four or five times, and the reason why I know is because every time it pops up in a new... The BBC doesn't tell me. Every time it pops up in a new country, I wake up to my inbox or my social media, and suddenly I get a rush of hate. Ah, the Canadian vegans have seen it again. Oh, look, it's in Australia. Oh, the Swedish vegans. Hello. And so it's just this really odd... Evangelical. Evangelical. I want to point out. I know this... Please. It's the people that believe there is no safe dose of animal-based protein. Clearly there is a safe dose. There are different reasons for doing things, but don't say silly things. That's what got me in trouble with the evangelical vegans. Because I've watched some sort of plant-based vegan documentaries on Netflix, and I can't away from them thinking, "Christ, I should never eat any meat ever again." For a variety of reasons, actually, the reasons that I think they tend to lead with are more about the impact upon your health and your diet. I think that that's a much more compelling self for most people, especially for people in parts of the world, where they have another set of problems they're dealing with first, which is trying to feed themselves, period. But as it relates to health and veganism, plant-based diets, what are some of the stereotypes there that you've highlighted one, that there is a quantity of meat products that is healthy? What are the general stereotypes there that need addressing? So a couple of things that... Is it healthy to be on a plant-based diet? Let's just deal with that first. I think as long as you do it carefully and think about it and take the right supplements, it is. You have to supplement when you're on a plant-based diet. You have to supplement certain things, vitamin B12, iodine, you've got to watch your iron, you've got to watch your calcium. But you can do it safely. But the biggest myth that I want to bust is that it's a diet for everybody. It is not. Veganism, plant-based in particular, is a diet for the privileged people who can choose to do so. I can choose to do it. You can choose to do it. You live in a developing country. Or... No, no, no, no, never stop that. Not even living in a developing country. If you are Mrs. Smith working two minimum wage jobs in this country, trying to feed your kids, are you really going to be concerned with your pulses and making sure the supplements are right to actually feed your kids so they can have a vegan diet? No, you want to feed your kids. And so what annoys me about evangelical plant-based and vegan is not that people do it. People should do what they want to do. But what they do is they make other people feel bad by not having that diet, particularly when they don't have the choice to do it. That is what annoys me. I've seen some videos on social media. We've probably all seen them of certain activist groups that want people to stop eating animal products, going into supermarkets and taking the lid off of the milk and just pouring it all over the floor in protest. If you were sat with one of those people that goes into supermarkets, pours milk on the floor and goes into the meat section and does whatever, and they came to you and they said, "What should we be doing instead in your perspective to move people away from animal products for moral or environmental reasons, whatever it might be? What would be a better strategy based on what you believe in what you've studied?" We do not need... We need to move the curve. We do not need everyone to be vegan. We don't. We... Okay, there are going to be people who are vegan and that's perfectly fine. I want to stress I am not energy vegan in the slightest. But what we need as a world is for everyone to eat 10 to 20% less meat today. That is achievable. Don't eat meat at lunch. Don't eat meat on Fridays. Whatever it is. Don't eat meat once a week. We need to eat 10 to 20% less meat and less meat products. Why? For two different reasons, that the environmental impact would be enormous. Beyond anything, the environmental impact would be enormous. That would help the environment. That's the first thing. It's interesting. So COP26, I think, was just finishing. COP27 is... People were talking about sustainable farming. People were clearly talking about fossil fuels. All of these need to talk about. But the term "eat less meat" not "eat no meat", "eat less meat" did not even make it to the discussion. It was not even mentioned in the final thing. Because people are too afraid about the farm lobby. But that's because we are framing this in a slightly the wrong way. Because people think, "Oh, you want us to cut out meat entirely? You want us to destroy our farming industry?" No. We need to just eat a little bit less meat, all of us immediately, for the environment. And actually, that will also turn to our health as well. So that, I think, is the framing we need to go for, rather than saying that veganism and everyone needs to be vegan. Because that puts people off. And that's... Whereas, if you don't have meat one day a week, two days a week even, if you want to do it four days a week, whatever you want to do, most people can do that quite easily. You know, on this discussion, on this debate, some people are very morally in touch. And, you know, they care a lot about the environment and the world. And I applaud those people. But then other people will think, "And I've heard certain commentators who I shan't name, say, 'You're not taking my steak from me, I don't care.'" And that's a real... So there has to be something that feels like more systemic that we do in society to really affect change. Because people are, I think, quite naturally, often, not always, but often quite selfish. And they don't really think about the big picture. They think, "Well, I'm not going to be alive to observe the effects of those things anyway." So is there anything that we could do at systemic level, whether it's supermarkets, whether it's, I don't know, tax, whatever it is to try and reduce the amount of meat that people are eating? Is that the right approach? Okay. Okay. I mean, the term taxation always scares people. It does. And I guess actually punitive, so taxation, is always does two things. It always disproportionately affects poor people, and it always makes lawyers rich. Two things happen. I think a better way of doing it is to try and get people to choose the healthier choice. Whatever the healthier choice might be, make that the easier and cheaper choice. Now this could be subsidizing it. This could be putting it in different parts of the supermarket. This could be stopping, subsidizing the meat industry. There are any number of different things you can put in place so that you can't make something more expensive without making something cheaper. That's the bottom line. Otherwise it's not equitable. So I think that's what we need to do but subtly. Once again, I'm going to sound, on one hand, I'm saying that there's a safe dose of meat. On the other hand, I'm saying eat less meat. But that is the answer. It's a nuanced answer where we eat too much meat and for us the privilege, we at least have a responsibility to try and eat less meat because we have the choice. We have to wear it all in order to do it. So I think that is what we need to do. We need to take a more nuanced view about it, less evangelical. Understand that people's socioeconomic place on said ladder is important about the choices which they have. We need to make healthier food, whatever you want, the healthy for the planet, healthy for the environment. Okay, we need to make it the cheaper, easier and more convenient choice. That's what we need to do. That is the answer for a lot of environmental issues, isn't it? You know, when you think about developing countries, if we make the alternative that is the environmentally friendly alternative, cheaper, faster, easier, more accessible, people will naturally choose it. So it's a cool for innovation, I guess, versus provocation. You let market forces leave because the moment you try and make people do something, A, mostly of us are selfish, we don't like being told what to do. Whereas if we sort of think we made the choice because it's the easiest choice, then there is no choice because then because then you just do it. And I think that is the way that we have to do it. Interesting. Let's talk about something else which I feel like I was lied to about.

Juice is bad! (01:16:36)

Oh, God. Which is juice, orange juice. Oh, yes. Apple juice. I was told when I was young that orange juice and apple juice and all these juices was healthy. I spent 25 years waking up in the morning and drinking as much of this fruit juice as I possibly could. Now when I read your book, when I started speaking to other people, when I spoke to Tim Specter, I found some alarming things. One of the really alarming things you said was the comparison with Coca-Cola. Tell me about that. So orange juice or apple juice, both of those juices in particular, have as much sugar concentration. Exactly the same sugar concentration as Coca-Cola. Is it not different sugar? It's not different sugar. So it is different in terms of in the juice because of its source. So it probably has more vitamin C. It probably has a couple more minerals. Okay. Yes. Those are true. But the actual bottom line is it's still mostly sugar. I say mostly sugar. I think 12% concentration sugar now and orange juice. Same for Coca-Cola. The sugar is exactly the same sugar. But yet when you do sugar taxes, you tax the Coca-Cola's of the world. I am bruised of the world, but you don't tax orange juice. Okay. Now, I make a huge distinction between orange juice, apple juice, and eating the damn orange. Because when you eat the orange, it's exactly the same source of food, right? So you drink a glass of juice. What happens is there is nothing to digest because it's sugar. So your body just absorbs it. Whereas if you eat exactly the source of food, like orange, like whole orange, like a normal orange, first of all you chew. And so because you're chewing your body, then senses, oh, chewing happening. Okay, guys, guys, get in order. We're going about to receive energy. Okay. That's the first thing. Second, because your body then has to work through the fiber, this is a caloric availability thing to then extract the sugar, instead of having all of the sugar absorb into your blood all at once because there's nothing that's nothing to do, it takes a little while down the gut for the sugar to get in. So exactly the same amount of sugar and exactly the same amount of calories is delivered into your blood, but over a longer period of time. And thirdly, because you're eating fiber, it travels further down the gut. It makes you feel fuller. You eat less of something else during the day. So that's the problem with orange juice. Eat. I really think that orange juice in very many ways is worse than Coca-Cola. Not because of it, because when you are drinking a Coca-Cola, you know you're drinking a Coca-Cola. I'm drinking a Coca-Cola. When you're drinking orange juice, a lot of people think that this is the health version. This is I'm being healthy. This is what I should be drinking. Whereas... Whereas it is. Whereas it is. But it's true. You should eat an orange or drink water or something else or drink it as a treat. Drink it like you would drink Coca-Cola.

Debunking Health Myths & Understanding Body Positivity

Alkaline water is a scam! (01:19:25)

The other thing you said was about the alkaline diet. Now I read on Instagram that alkaline water is better for you. So there was a period of my life about a month where I just started guzzling. I said to my sister and I said, "Please, it's not alkaline water. I don't think we should put it in the fridge. I just want alkaline water." And then I saw some other thing which said alkaline water is a total scam. You noted your head when I said the scam thing. Is alkaline water a scam? Yes, no. Scam capital SCAM. Look, where did this alkaline thing come from? So our blood pH is 7.4. And above seven is alkali. Below seven is acidic. Okay? So it is slightly alkali. And so some guy, and I interviewed him actually just before he went to jail, I'll discuss why in a second, just before he went to jail, the guy who found that the alkali diet, okay, a guy called Robert Young, Dr. Robert Young, who said that, "Well, if we have an alkali blood in order to keep ourselves healthy, yes, and our alkali blood is healthy blood, we need to eat alkali foods." This is his thesis. The problem is it completely ignores the presence of the stomach. So the stomach, as far as the compartment in our body goes, is the most acidic compartment in our body. It's pH 1.5. It's like battery acid. But then all the food we eat goes into our stomach, gets acidified, and then as it goes into our small intestine, it gets neutralized back to seven again. This is just biology. So nothing we eat, everything we eat is acidified and neutralized. Nothing we eat will change the pH of our blood. That's the first thing. So if you drink the water, it becomes pH 1.5 and pH 7. At the time, the water is absorbed in our body, it's pH 7, whatever it's starting to be, pH was. The second problem, however, is the taxonomy, is what they consider alkali and acidic. So I'll just give one example. They consider citrus fruits, lemons, to be alkali. Except lemons contain citric acid, it is a citrus fruit, and vitamin C, which is otherwise called ascorbic acid. It is an acidic fruit. So how can it be considered itself alkali? I don't even understand that. There's a famous, I don't want to get myself into trouble, but there's a famous image of a certain actress who runs a certain website beginning with G and ending with P. You know, where... Where is paltry? I'm not going to quiz this or cross words or anything, but... So where she's drinking her high pH water and squeezing in lemon juice. Now what happens when they put acid into high pH water? The alkali diet makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The question is why do people stick to it? And people stick to it because the alkali movement considers meat and dairy products acidic. Leave aside the fact that meat are full of blood and is alkali. We'll leave that alone. But because they consider meat and dairy products acidic, in effect, you don't eat meat and dairy. It is a vegan diet. It's a plant-based diet. So alkali food is a restrictive plant-based diet, which is why people stick to it, which is why people lose weight. On that point of losing weight, there's this thing called Weight Watches, which you talk about in one of the chapters of your book, Chapter 11.

Weight Watches. Are these things good? These like groups of people that are losing weight together? So I think that really does depend on who you are and what you like. A lot of people swear by it because they enjoy the community spirit, the fact that there is a group motivation to try and help you do stuff. And we've seen this, right? We've seen it where it's easier to go jogging or exercising when you've already made the appointment at 8am on a Sunday. You are less likely to call your mate and go, "I'm banking out. I'll go because I'm ready." It's a social pact. It's a social pact. That being said, there are public weigh-ins and there are people who are a bit shy. There are people who are mortified that they actually have to weigh themselves in front of other people and get so stressed out about this. So it suits people of a certain character who like that. And I think they should keep to that because it's a strategy it works. The people who really hate it with the passion of a thousand sons, I think they should stay away. I think they should find another. Because then it could tilt some people into eating disorders if you force everyone to do it. It could go the wrong way. So find the people who it works for and by all means they need to stick to that whereas other people need to find another way. Is it true that I think a lot of people believe now that there's a certain default weight size based on our genetics that we have that we'll keep returning to. We touched on that a little bit earlier on regardless of what diet we do. So I'm thinking of some, you know, families often look quite similar in terms of body shape and size, et cetera. I'm wondering how much control they have against fighting against those genes to get a six pack abs, not saying that's a sustainable, healthy place to get to. But is it significantly harder for certain people if their family is maybe a little bit more larger to get to fight against that and get to a different state and then stay in that state? Yes, undoubtedly. So there is certainly what we call it used to be called a set point hypothesis meaning that each of us has a weight we actually protect is probably more nuanced than that set range. There's a range that you can actually range that we find easy to keep to the weight. So in other words, I'm not thinking about my body weight at the moment and this is the weight that I am, but I wish I was half a stone or a stone lighter. But if I lost that half a stone, I would then have to think about food all the time to keep that half a stone off whereas I get half a stone more and I don't raise my weight anymore. So that's the idea where there's a weight range is easy to protect and each of us is different. There are some people who are skinny. There are some people who just find it more difficult to say no to food than others. That's pretty much it. So some people's thermostat and food is set a little higher than others and you defend that thermostat 25 degrees versus 20 degrees and there's really next to nothing you can do. You can shift from 25 to 24 and a half and maybe after Christmas, you're 25 and point five. Okay. And so you shift around there, but the likelihood of you getting down to 20 and staying there, you can get down to 20. If you do some stupid diets, but the moment you ping, you ping back, you ping right back up again. So we do defend. There is very, very little choice in inverted commas in where we end up with the body weight over a lifetime. Any given meal, we have a choice you think, right? Pizza or no pizza, pizza or no pizza, but over thousands of feeding events, there's very little choice. What, what then you reference age there. Do we get fatter with age because generally I look at, you know, I'd say younger people typically have a slightly leaner physique and then something seems to happen along the way. Is that just a false observation I have or is there some science that supports the gaining of weight as we age? There's science that a weight is inexorably up. Okay. Even though we've stopped growing when we're, we're, we're, we're 18 years old. Actually, there's some later science. I used to, I used to, if you would ask me the question five years ago, I would have said that by the time we hit 40 or 50, our metabolism starts to dip. That's part of the reason. That's not true. As it turns out, our metabolism doesn't start to dip till we're 60. Okay. But what happens as we get older are a number of different things. First of all, we tend to get richer. We tend to get more money. We tend to sit on our arse more. Okay. Just in terms of the type of jobs we do. Okay. Because of both of those things, we tend to exercise less because we're busier and so we lose muscle mass. Those are all three things. Metabolically the most active part of your body are the muscles. So when you're younger and you're doing things and you have more time to go to the gym, first of all, your metabolic rate is linked to the amount of muscle you have. And so as you get older, you're sat on your arse, you eat a bit more. We don't eat less. We eat more and we can buy richer food because we got more money and you begin to lose muscle mass. All of those things put together means that you inexferably become larger. Then what happens at 60 years old, your metabolism then starts to drop as well and then you get even larger, middle aged bread, et cetera. So on that point about the more muscles you have, the higher your metabolism, that means if I've got big muscles, then I'm burning my food faster. Yes. Fantastic news. I'm going to work out later. You can lift some weights. Because I was really startled, startled by that. After I read it in your book about us gaining more and more weight as we age, I googled it. And the healthcare research and quality agency said that we naturally tend to gain weight as we age to the tune of one to two pounds per year, according to their review. And that's from the agency for healthcare research and quality, which I found quite startling. But completely accurate. So the numbers, so what the numbers that we have is, yeah, I think that's right, actually. So between 20 and 50 years old, those 30 years intervening, the average person average will gain about 15 kilos and weight, which is 32. Yes. Two pounds a year. One to two pounds a year. 15 kilos and weight is gained over 30 years on average. Some gain very little, others gain a hell of a lot more. We look at ourselves in a mirror. I look at myself in a mirror. But it's true. I don't want to be that guy. Mate, I don't know how much choice you have. What can I do to try and stay? Because for me, it's not really about the weight thing or how you look. It's more about like, I don't know how to say this. There was this big set of stairs the other day. Really, really long set of stairs leading down to the lake. I was in Indonesia a couple of months ago. And I remember thinking about those stairs and thinking, "God, if I wasn't, you know, athletic and strong and didn't have good knees and things like that, there's no way I'd be able to get down this long winding hand-carved set of Indonesian stairs so that I could go on this boat trip that I was going to go on." And I just thought about how it was a weird thing. I know this is a kind of strange story to tell, but it crossed my mind. I got to the bottom of the stairs and I turned to the person I was with and was literally like, "You know, that's why I've got to stay in shape for as long as I can, because I want to do these boat trips and I want to go on this little rafting thing. But I won't even be able to access it unless I can go down up and down those stairs. Like 200 meters of stairs down this cliff." So that's what I care about. I care about being active and strong and fit for as long as I possibly can. And from what you've said about gravity and weight, being overweight is going to inhibit my chances of being able to do those stairs. So I think there are two elements there. First of all, there is doing the things that we want to do, okay? Like that. Because you're exactly right. These are the things which I can still do that. I can still walk up a mountain or down a mountain because I'm still fit enough to do that. And I want to stay as fit as long as I can to do that. And weight will inhibit that undoubtedly. But then there's a second element to actually consider. Now there's healthy, look, none of us are going to live longer. We totally, and anyway, if we lived longer but was unhealthy, would you want to live longer? So you want to live longer but healthier for longer, okay? And undoubtedly, the thing that is closest related to health when you age is not your total weight. There's a roller play there. The amount of muscle you have. It is your muscle mass as you age, independent of how much fat you have, okay? That will determine how healthy you are as you age. So now I'm talking about going into the 60s and the 70s rather than when one is able to go around 200 meters set of steps, okay? So now as you get older, the most crucial bit of information is to maintain resistance training, not lifting it. That's not what I'm talking about. Sitting on a wall, getting up and down a chair, because of that, the amount of muscle mass you have really, really, really marks the level of health that you're going to get. And then the science is startling. It is so, so, so related, independent of weight, you know, from there. So muscle mass is the most important for healthy aging the moment you get 60, 70 plus. Interesting, okay. So I'll keep doing resistance training. Correct, always keep resistance training. And lifting weights as long as I can. If lifting weights as long as you can, at some point you won't be able to live weights. Don't write me off. Don't write me off, John. The hubris of youth. Yeah. That's the naivety of youth. Yeah, you just assume you'll always be able to do what you can do now. I, I, yeah, it's something I think a lot about. And I think a lot of people will watch this podcast because probably, especially this time of year, we're in January, they'll probably be trying to find ways that they can cut fat. They want to be a bit skinnier. You said, you think you said half a stone you want to lose. I'm in the same place. I think most people want to lose a half a stone or something. What is the way that you would suggest to do that? The simple way, you know, not the like in complicated go by this guy's course and do three million sit ups, whatever. The simple advice you would give someone that's hoping to create sort of sustainable weight loss. Okay. So this, this, something's like the last page of the why calories don't count book, but it is a set of numbers and I know I said not to count calories, but it's a set of numbers that is that you can apply to whatever diet you like. So the first is the amount of protein you eat and you need to try and focus on trying to keep to about 16% of the energy in your day. Okay. From protein 16% and there's a sweet spot. So if you eat too much and you're not lifting, you're stressing your kidneys because your kidneys have to get rid of the nitrogen from the protein. Okay. So the protein percent is a sweet spot and it doesn't mean stakes only. It can mean beans, tofu, any kind of protein from anywhere 16%. Second is fiber. We need to eat as much fiber as physically possible. Okay. 30 grams we want to aim for, although we're looking at the moment on average in this country, we're probably only eating 15 grams. We need to double the amount of fiber we actually eat. Third, we need to limit the amount of added sugars into our diet, added sugars, meaning sugars not tied up in fiber. Pouted stuff, maple syrup, alga of nectar, all those are added sugars you put in. Keep it to 5% or less of the energy content in your day. And those are the three numbers that I want you to think about. So 16% of protein, 30 grams of fiber, 5% or less of added sugars. Apply that to whatever you want, what keto, whatever you want to do. Apply that and I think that will be a sustainable, healthy way to eat.

Does exercise help us lose weight? (01:34:08)

Now there's been a lot said about exercise as a weight loss strategy. A lot of people think, "Do you know what? I will just run every day and I'll lose weight." In your books you said, the problem with using exercise as weight loss strategy is that doing exercise makes you feel hungry. You can't outrun a bad diet. Is exercise a good strategy for weight loss? It is a good strategy for weight loss if you're an Olympic athlete or a Tour de France rider. What if you are a muggle like me? A muggle like you, a muggle like me, then exercise, okay, exercise you can never replace the goodness and wonderfulness and health benefits of exercise. But exercise a good weight loss strategy for a muggle like Steve. No, it's a good weight maintenance tool though. So in other words, once you've lost the weight, which means you need to be less somehow, exercise helps you keep the weight off. So once you've actually lost the weight that you're aiming for, whatever whatever that might be, then do the exercise and that will help keep the weight off. But it's not going to help me get the weight off in the first place. No. That seems to sit in contradiction to what my old personal trainer. Only because we don't do it enough. So now if you had, okay, let's put it this way. Let's put it this way. The way that it would work is if you had a personal trainer and a chef, then what would happen is your personal trainer will make you work hard and your chef will make your meal, okay? Therefore, what happens is it's controlled on both sides. That is not typically what happens in the real world. I go in my run, my cycle, what have you. I come back, I'm ravenously hungry, I open the fridge and I stuff my mouth full of carbs. That is my story, right? And so it is very difficult to control your diet after you've done long hard exercise bouts because you get ravenously hungry. So professional sports teams, A, they exercise ridiculous. They train three times a day. So that's that. But they still have chefs and dieticians and they eat what they, what they, you know, the canteen puts up for them, which is healthy food. So someone is looking after their diet for them, but they are burning so much they don't have to worry too much about how much they eat. Whereas we do. It's, I know it's counterintuitive in some sense, but it's purely because we don't exercise enough. And is that also because ultimately because the brain is controlling our feeding behavior. So the brain is knows that we've just been for a run. So it's, it's adding to our appetite. Yes. A, a, a surplus to make us return to that, that weight is trying to protect. There's that. And there's also our own internal psychology on it because now you feel a bit smug. You say, Oh, I went for my run on Sunday morning, you know, and then so I can eat what I want. And there's that element too. So suddenly when you normally would say, Oh, I better not eat so much today. I haven't. There are some internal controls that we sometimes have. Those internal controls are weakened once we've actually had our exercise because we feel that we have earned the food that's in front of us. Body positivity.

Body positivity (01:37:06)

Yes, sir. That is one of the things you discuss in chapter nine of why calories don't count. Now, body positivity. I think there's a lot, lots of pieces to it. One of the, I guess the central idea is that there's no such thing as an unhealthy weight. Don't want to mischaracterize the movement, but what do you think about body positivity? So I understand where body positivity comes from. Okay, because obviously there is a lot of waste stigma in society. Weight stigma for whatever reason is one of the last Rubicon's left across. If you or I made any disparaging comments in public or anything about someone's gender, someone's sexual orientation, skin color, whatever, we get fired. But yet some people can make comments about people's body size and have no, and it's perfectly acceptable. How can that be acceptable? So I understand where body positivity comes from, but I think that body positivity doesn't needs a little bit more nuance in their argument. So why is it bad to be fat? We talked about the scaring too much fat because of the association with disease, but why? Okay. And it's because of the amount of fat we can store safely. So people misunderstand what happens when you gain weight and lose weight. They think that you gain fat cells and lose fat cells. Not true. Your fat cells are like balloons. They get bigger when you gain weight and they get smaller when you lose weight, but they stay the same number. Okay. So what happens is the safest place to store fat is in your fat cells because they're your fat. It's when they're not in the fat that they go to your muscle, your liver, they begin to cause trouble. Okay. And that's when you become ill. But the interesting thing is everybody's fat cells can store different amounts of fat before the fat leaks out, shall we say? Okay. From that. I mentioned earlier East Asian, South Asian people. We don't, we can't store as much fat safely than white people than, than pollinisions. So the moment you get past your safe, fat carrying capacity, you will become ill. Now for some people that is when they're skinny people with type of diabetes and they're larger people without that are healthy. That's because there's differing amounts of safe, fat carrying capacity. But the moment you go past your own personal safe, fat carrying capacity, you will become ill. In the room, you can have health at many sizes, but there is no health at every size because you will become ill if you become too big. Interesting. That's the nuance. That doesn't mean I blame the people suffering from obesity, please. But it doesn't help anybody to not look at the health issues that are associated with carrying too much fat. We have to discuss it in a non stigmatizing and non blaming language, but we do need to be honest about it. Yeah, and I think we can both agree that just generally targeting anyone, which I've seen a lot of, a lot of like someone will be on the front cover of a magazine and then someone will like retweet it and attack them and say that they're not healthy and it's promoting bad, you know, bad body standards or health standards, whatever. Like whether scientifically that's true or not, you are without a shadow of a dot an arsehole for doing that. Great. You know what I mean? You're an arsehole. It's counterproductive. It's counterproductive. It's not, you know, it's making people have the stigma as you've said. And it's if you think about it from a psychology standpoint, make shaming people for how they feel is probably not going to help them be proactive in making changes. If you think about how motivation works with, you know, self esteem and how we feel and wanting to feel positive and high self esteem to make changes in our life, it's probably not an effective strategy to attack people for their body image, regardless of whether - Whether or not it's a dickhead move. I mean, it does exactly. So I think we can both agree on that. And it's super interesting. I'm on my journey with eating in food. So it's been a huge pleasure to speak to you about this because I feel now a lot closer to understanding and having clarity on what I should be eating and what I shouldn't. And what I really love about your message is that it's centered in away from restriction and towards positivity with food and to really like loving food as opposed to being, as you've said with that word, I think it's as fix it. No, it was that bloody work that long. Orthorexia. Orthorexia. So it's just about clearing foods, which is an awful place to get into. And I think we're getting closer and closer to that kind of being fearful of foods. It's just about, I guess, making a little bit more informed choices, but also keeping the balance and the chocolate and the other things that are part of all of our lives. What's your mission? I'm assuming you have one when I ask the question and I shouldn't do that. Do you have a mission? And if so, what is it? Well, so my mission is to destigmatize obesity and try because, look, it is going to roll like a tidal wave into every single country across the world. So my mission is to destigmatize it because destigmatizing, taking away the weight stigma means that we can have an adult non-hysterical conversation with people treating the patient, the patient, the policymakers. Because at the moment, government thinks that a lot of it is personal responsibility. There is obviously some personal responsibility. It's my health. It's my children's health. That I understand. But until we put money in the right places, fix the environment, make sure that the treatment and support making healthier food cheaper, that's government responsibility. And so if we destigmatize obesity in the population, we can then have this conversation with policymakers and get them to put the resources in the right place. That is my mission. Because at the moment, the resources are being put in the wrong place, which is why we're not solving obesity at the moment. If I voted for you for prime minister, and there was a couple of simple things that you could do, I think you talked to it broadly there about some of them, what would be some of the policies you had introduced to target systemic issues that are causing obesity in our population? So day one, I would make healthier food cheaper. And this doesn't only mean carrots. I mean that they're going to be healthy foods, even within a chocolate bar. There's going to be a way of actually putting more fiber and protein in a chocolate bar, or frozen lasagna, or vegetables. I think we need to make healthier food cheaper all the way across the board. That's the first thing we've got to do. And that's the first thing I would do the day I'm prime minister. Because then the default choice that you make, even if you're poor, when you walk into the supermarket, is going to be healthy, which is not true at the moment. The moment that happens, then I think we are one step forward in trying to solve the obesity and diet related epidemic that's actually around us today. But just to be clear, you're not going to cancel chocolate. I'm not going to cancel chocolate. I'm going to try and make it healthier. You got my vote. I love that. You're going to make it healthier and cheaper. Yeah. You've got my vote. Jiles. Thank you so much.

Final Audience Questions

The last guest question (01:44:05)

We have a closing tradition on this podcast. Oh, yes. The last guest asks a question for the next guest. Oh, this is a long one. Okay. What is the worst thing that has happened in the last year? It continues. What is the best thing that's happened to you in the last year? From which have you learnt the most? What is the worst thing that has happened in the last year? What is the best thing that has happened to you in the last year? From which have you learnt the most? The worst thing that has happened in the last year, I think, was we were smack bang. I in the middle of a micron, I think, of that. And then my mum ended up with a stroke. So my mum, she's fine now. She's fine now. But my mum lives in California, which is where I'm from. And then life became very difficult. I was trying to find a way to get out there without getting stuck out there. Anyway, she ended up being better. But there was a period of time there where I was really seriously stressed about the whole scenario. That probably was the worst thing. It turned out to be fine because she was fine, but it could easily have not been fine. So that was probably the worst thing. Over the past year, that would probably be it. Because my own close family is fine. And what is the best thing that has happened to me over the past year? That's an interesting question. I'm not sure. I've had a good year. I've had a good year. And I think I can't deny that. I'm privileged. I've had a good year. Work has gone well. Other things have gone well. My family are still with me. My son is at uni. So I think my family has been the best thing, as with most, it's a very boring answer. But as with many things, has been the best thing that has happened to me over the past year? Is that a cop-out answer? No, it's again. But there was a third part to that answer, the question which was from whichever you learnt the most. From which I learned the most, I think that it's always, I always think you learn the most when things go downhill. Because that's the most, that's because then you start to reassess priorities, you start to think so undoubtedly, yeah, I should have got that the first time around. No, I think you learn a lot more about yourself when things go wrong. Other than when things go well, you like it when things go well. It's when proverbial stuff hits the fan, that's when you learn more about yourself. Did it make you reassess your priorities? It did make me reassess my priorities actually because I began thinking, okay, you know, all these things which I was planning on doing, should I, I'm going to cancel them now. I'm going to cancel them now, now, now, now. And actually, I'm actually head back. But after a couple of days, my mum became an awkward guy. She told me, look, I have got people here supporting me now. I need you to come back a little bit later so that I, so I don't need everyone, my mum said to me, I don't need everyone here now. That's not going to, I need someone here in a periodic place, place and time. And so that's what I did. I went back later rather than immediately, although I did end up canceling a bunch of things, reassessing the importance of things to leave almost, almost immediately. My mum stopped me. And is there a broader point? I reflect on when I spoke to Tim Spector, who's one of the quotes from the front of your book here. He talked about the passing of his father and how that is part of the inspiration that sent him off to, to think more about food, the food he was eating, how he was treating himself. And then I believe he had a stroke himself, which again was a bit of a sort of tectonic earthquake in one's life. When we see the health of those we love and those that we are genetically related to, have instances like that, tragic instances like strokes or other health issues or disease, is there something in the mind that goes, that kind of makes you look in the mirror and go, gosh, you know, like, how am I living my life? What can I do to avoid having a similar diagnosis or ending up in the same place or those kinds of things? It is, that is an interesting, that is a very interesting point because genetic tests aside, the most, not guaranteed way, the easiest way of telling the future of how where you're going to end up is to look at your parents. It's very depressing, I know. But what do your parents look like? What if they're still alive? What diseases do they have? If they're not what they die, what did they die off? This is very morbid, but it's not because you look at it. It's a picture in essence, not 100% of your future you. It's certainly more accurate than any genetic test at the moment. And so exactly that. You look into this, oh, God, what did my mom, what did I have? Now I've got to add strokes into my risk, you know, and then I look at my son, what is he going to do, but do I need him to exercise more? It does reassess to say that, well, is there anything I could do, you know, to avoid just just ending up with a stroke. So it does make you think about things. It also made me think about the fact that even though my mom was doing something else not about that, she was in hospital, yet there were people, this insidious pseudoscience that we were talking about was still able to seep into a hospital, into the person next to her and people were talking about it when they were seriously ill and not even just talking about food. They were talking about trying to make themselves better, but through pseudoscience. And that was the other thing was jumped out on me. So, oh my God, this can't, you know, it's there, even in hospital, even when people are seriously ill, people are still talking, maybe because they're seriously ill, they're talking about this pseudoscientific approaches to their health. And that's why your work is so important, Jaws. These books are fantastic. They're very accessible books. They're based in evidence, not necessarily opinion or pseudoscience or anything like that. They're based in scientific evidence and several decades of work and research. So I thank you for writing them. They've been a pleasure for me to read. I recommend both of them. Sometimes when I have guests on this podcast, I'll say, get, you know, tell me audience to get this one or the other. But I think they're both absolutely fantastic books and necessary and they're very, very interlinked, you know, there's there's things in why calories don't count builds on a lot of the stuff that I read in gene eating as well. So there's a they have a relationship between them and it's been fantastic to talk to you. You're a very animated speaker, which is what makes a good podcast guest because people can stay engaged for longer. We see that trend and that's why I love your delivery and your articulation of all the points. Makes a big, big difference. So thank you for being such a brilliant guest in the podcast. Thank you so much for having me. Quick one, in Telavanavar podcast sponsors. And I want to talk to you for a second about their built for business VPro platform. In today's working world, the office is pretty much anywhere. And Intel VPro means you can remotely manage repair and protect devices across your entire organization, no matter how large or small, giving me and my team peace of mind to work wherever we choose to. For my IT team, whether on premise or via cloud behind the corporate firewall or not, Intel's VPro comprehensive manageability has us covered. This is something that is so important to me. You know, I'm a huge believer in employee flexibility and trust. So having features like this are super helpful. You're going to find out more search and let me know how you go on. You got to the end of this podcast. Whenever someone gets to the end of this podcast, they feel like I owe them a greater debt of gratitude because that means you listen to the whole thing. And hopefully that suggests that you enjoyed it. If you are at the end and you enjoyed this podcast, could you do me a little bit of a favor and hit that subscribe button? That's one of the clearest indicators we have at this episode. It was a good episode and we look at that on all of the episodes to see which episodes generated the most subscribers. Thank you so much and I'll see you again next time.

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