Modern Wisdom Podcast with Chris Williamson – Max Lugavere – How To Optimise Human Nutrition Podcast Summary

Modern Wisdom: #560 – Max Lugavere – How To Optimise Human Nutrition | Free Podcast Summary

Modern Wisdom Podcast with Chris Williamson – Max Lugavere – How To Optimise Human Nutrition

Max Lugavere (@maxlugavere) is a health and wellness expert, New York Times best-selling author, and nutrition advocate.

In this episode of Modern Wisdom, host Chris Williamson and Max Lugavere discuss the pros and cons of various diets, whether organic and non-GMO actually have much impact on our health, the factual science of seed oils, energy balance, and much more!

Facts about Nutrition

  • Nutrition science is built on a house of cards: most are epidemiological observational studies, funding is often biased because nutrition can’t easily be monetized so lacks commercial interest, causality is difficult to parse out, people don’t eat foods in isolation, etc.
  • Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good: grass-fed, grass-finished is a healthier choice – it’s leaner, higher omega-3s – but conventional beef still provides many benefits such as protein, creatine, vitamins
  • Precautionary principle: when we don’t have enough data to make a fully informed decision, make a precautionary approach – the nutrition industry has let us down a lot, assume the food is guilty until proven innocent

You can’t patent the food God made

  • Only 10% of Americans have good metabolic health – the rest manifest as dysregulated lipids, large waist lines, etc.
  • Nutrition is more difficult to study than drug science because people don’t eat food in isolation and patterns and preferences change over time
  • Nutrition research is also difficult to study because it’s under-funded and studies are usually biased because funding comes from specific sectors
  • Commercial interest in nutrition science is lacking because it’s hard to monetize – you can’t patent broccoli or an egg
  • Nutrition as an identity: nutrition is packed with dogma, virtue signaling, brownie points
  • It’s easy to confound nutrition studies – for example, people in studies with red meat have poorer health outcomes but it’s a fact that meat eaters have a higher rate of smoking

If you want to hedge your bets and abide by the precautionary principle…organic would be the smart choice but it’s not necessarily more nutritious than conventionally grown produce.

Upside down Nutrition knowledge

  • Grass-fed, grass-finished foods versus conventional doesn’t actually make that big of a difference in the nutritional profile of that food
  • But, grass-fed, grass-finished beef is leaner with a higher proportion of protein and healthier than conventional
  • Grass-fed, grass-finished beef has 5x the omega-3s (though the concentration of omega-3 in beef is not high, to begin with)
  • The main win of eating organic produce is limiting exposure to synthetic, petroleum-based pesticides
  • The nutrition (and consumer) industry has let us down time and time again: approach nutrition with caution and assume guilty until proven innocent
  • Partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats) were used for decades as heart-healthy alternatives until we later found out they were essentially poisonous to the brain and heart and outlawed

Seed oils are poison

  • Seed oils are refined bleach and deodorized cooking oils – soybean, grapeseed, corn
  • The controversy: seed oils are seen as a heart-healthy alternative but are relatively novel in the human diet; they’re very prone to oxidation (essentially rot) and exposed to extremely high heat which damages oils and creates trace amounts of trans fats
  • Seed oils are ultra-processed oils and we know ultra-processed foods are defining characteristics of the modern health and obesity crisis
  • Seed oils lead to lower levels of LDL cholesterol
  • The worst offenders are fried foods from restaurants

Poison oils contd.

  • The oils are not acutely inflammatory, but they provide chemicals that are precursors to the body’s inflammatory pathways
  • We need more research but there is evidence that a reduction in seed oils reduces the likelihood of migraines and headaches
  • There is no longstanding diet we know to be healthy which has large amounts of calories coming from seed oils – it’s extra virgin olive oil like we see in the Mediterranean diet
  • There’s simply no reason to consume seed oils when we have the choice to consume extra virgin olive oils or sesame oil

Carnivore diet & the complexity with diet

  • Many people who experience success with the carnivore diet suffer from immune conditions, digestive conditions so removing things difficult to digest will improve symptoms
  • Even being delivered via c-section instead of vaginally can decrease the immune system
  • The gut microbiome is now thought to train the immune system
  • The gut is your largest interface with the outside world (skin is a tight barrier)
  • Things that can negatively impact the microbiome and immune system: cesarean birth, not being breastfed, overconsumption of antibiotics in youth, obsession with sterility

The importance of magnesium

  • Magnesium is a cofactor in hundreds of enzymatic processes in the body, ranging from ATP to DNA repair
  • About 50% of the population under consumes magnesium
  • Sources of magnesium: pretty much anything green, almonds, dark chocolate
  • Dose: aim to get 400-500mg per day
  • The problem with magnesium deficiency is that it gets triaged to processes important to survival but not enough to restore DNA damage

The problem with mouthwash

  • Bacteria play an important role in health
  • Mouthwash kills bacteria in the mouth but you’re killing bacteria involved in the nitric oxide pathway which is involved in insulin signaling and sensitivity
  • Obese participants who regularly use mouthwash two times per day saw an increased risk of developing hypertension and increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Additional stud findings: a randomized controlled trial found that people who used mouthwash post-workout negated anti-hypertensive benefits of exercise

Sun exposure & sunscreen

  • Develop a healthy relationship with the sun – the sun directly contributes to health functions and is important in healthy doses
  • Gradually ramp up sun exposure
  • We generate more vitamin D when we have smaller, more frequent doses of sun than binging on vacation
  • Mineral-based sunscreens are best, stay away from synthetic industrially produced sunscreens – but, in the worst case it’s better to use synthetic sunscreens than burn
  • Synthetic sunscreen absorbs into circulation and surpasses the FDA threshold of toxicological concern
  • Alternative: astaxanthin acts as internal sunblock (found in wild salmon)
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