Ep. 195 - Finding the “sweet spot” for carbohydrate intake during fasting for fat loss & maintenance modes | How to improve body composition, muscle mass, & insulin resistance | HOMA-IR & why understanding the carb-insulin model of obesity is so impor

Uncategorized Sep 19, 2023


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In today’s episode, Dr. Scott and Tommy discuss a research article on low carbohydrate intake and insulin resistance in healthy individuals. They emphasize personalized fasting and dietary choices, highlighting the importance of body composition and metabolic flexibility. They also stress the value of a supportive environment for fasting success and advise listeners to stay committed to their journey while making mindful food choices.


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Fasting For Life Ep. 195 Transcript

Hello. I'm Dr. Scott Watier.

And I'm Tommy Welling.

And you're
listening to the Fasting for Life podcast.

This podcast is about using fasting
as a tool to regain

your health, achieve ultimate wellness,
and live the life you truly deserve.

Each episode is a short conversation
on a single topic

with immediate, actionable steps.

We cover everything from fat loss

and health and wellness
to the science of lifestyle design.

We started fasting for life because of how
fasting has transformed our lives

and we hope to share the tools
that we have learned along the way.

Hey everyone,
welcome to the Fasting for Life podcast.

My name is Dr.

Doc Water and I'm here as always,
a good friend, colleague Tom Welling.

Good afternoon to you, sir.

Hey, Scott,
how are you doing? Fantastic. My friend.

Excited for today's episode
and today's conversation.

We are about to get into it.

And when we first came across this article

and it kind of smacked us in the face,
so we're going to digest it.

We're going to put it
into the fasting for life framework.

We're going to talk about some actionable
things that you can do today to continue

to walk out this fasting
for life lifestyle

and how to put fasting into your day
to day health and weight loss plan.

So if you're new to the podcast,
welcome and super grateful

that you decided to click on us
or find us in some way.

And if you want to learn more
about how fasting has transformed

Tommy's life, my life as a better husband,
better dad, healthier

individual than I've ever been before,
we've ever been before, and how to start,

how we started this journey.

And now, three years later,
continuing to deliver weekly episodes on

fasting and fasting. Related topics.

Head back to episode one.
Give it a listen.

And if you're an OG, once again,

we want to give you a shout out
each and every week

for continuing to blow us away
with your support and your downloads.

So thank you.

Every time you leave a review,
every time you subscribe,

every time you download that tells the
podcast world that we are bringing value

and that is ultimately what we want to do
week in, week out.

So Tommy, today's article is Low
carbohydrate intake correlates with trends

of insulin resistance and metabolic
acidosis in healthy, lean individuals.

Hmm. Huh.

And they

say for the first time that this has been
shown in research that a carb intake

below 45% of daily calories was correlated
with higher insulin resistance. Hmm.

All right. Floor is yours.

Go ahead.

I'll be here in 20 minutes.

That doesn't sound like

what I'm used to feeling or seeing
or reading or hearing testimonials about.

It kind of strikes.

It strikes the radar
as, like, little bit weird.

And, you know,
so when we start digging into this

and going like, okay, well,
how did they get there?

How did they reach that conclusion?

Is it really applicable?

How do we reconcile that with with what
we know and what we've experienced?

And, you know, sometimes they say
the devil's in the details.


And that's what we found here,
which is when we start looking at, okay,

who are they looking at here?

So they were looking at healthy

How many people were they looking at?

How is this study designed
and what was it really looking at?

And then what were the physiological basis
for the conclusions

that they were drawing?

So there's some interesting things here
and and some things that take away for

long term perspective.

It's so it's it's
not that the study was all bad.

It's just that it's not all applicable.

And there are reasons to doubt a few of
the conclusions they come to as well.


So you had a really great analogy
when we started

looking at some of this data
and diving into it.

There were some interesting things
that we noticed and a couple of different

lab values and peptides
that we hadn't really dove into before.

So going through like really getting
into the details here, it was interesting,

but a couple of the outcomes
that they were looking at were home air,

which is the gold standard right now
in the research for knowing

whether or not you have any discernable
insulin resistance.


Because when we look
at the different models of obesity

that are out there,
there's the carb insulin model of obesity

which is focusing which is newer,
which is focusing more on the carbohydrate

energy density, high fat,

high carbohydrate diet,
standard American diet type situation.

And then you're looking at your calorie
and calories out model,

which is really going
to just be eating in a calorie surplus.

That then leads to metabolic dysfunction.

That's when your yeah, eat less,
move more.

So when you're looking at home air,
we did an entire episode on this

in the past, but home
air has an optimal range of 0.5 to 1.4.

So less than one
means your insulin sensitive,

which is optimal above 1.9 to 2.0.

That range indicates

early insulin resistance and above 2.9
indicates significant insulin resistance.

So that was one of the things
they looked at.

They also looked at C-Peptide,

which is a peptide that correlates
with the production of insulin.

When insulin is made,
it's actually formed as pro insulin

and then c-peptide comes in
and binds to that and then C-Peptide

stays in the blood for up to five times
as long as insulin does.

So it's an indicator of how much insulin

your body is producing
and how effective it is.

And then they looked at Homa Bay,
the percentage which is Homa Beta,

which there's some even
from the American Diabetes Association.

There's some interesting statements
on looking at all of these

individual lab metrics
like kind of in a funnel.

WATTS Yeah, or vacuum
like tunnel vision, right?

So for instance, you're like, okay,
I have never heard of that.

I'm brand new to fasting.
I really just want to lose some weight.

Okay. Well,
we look here at fasting for life.

We talk about insulin resistance
and having healthy blood networks

that get the weight off
and the health will follow

or start building health
and the weight loss will follow.

Excuse me,

but when you're
looking at insulin resistance,

we want to know what our fasted
insulin number is.

We want to know what our CRP number is.

We want to know what these different labs.

And there's an individual illness,
individual situation that comes

as you as a person and your level
of metabolic flexibility and your overall

metabolic function and level of health
at this moment in time.

So when we look at Homa,
are everyone in this study

was in that healthy
lean population, right?

So me you had an interesting analogy
when we're looking at

in the financial analogy,
when you were looking at the results

from this, when we're talking about 100
millionaires versus billionaires, right?

Yeah, Yeah.

It's kind of like some of the conclusions
from the study were where almost like

if you were to take a group of just ultra
wealthy individuals

and then just start really splitting hairs
and going, well, these

these 100 millionaires
really have some poor financial habits

versus the the billionaires
and the 100 billionaires.

It's kind of like,
what are we talking about here?

They're all at a level that's like beyond
everyone else on the planet,

you know, kind of here,
and to micromanage some of the habits

or the inconsistencies
between those groups.

It's not really going to be applicable
to most people most of the time.

And that's how I kind of feel here
when I'm looking at these different

these different experimental groups.

And most of the people here are falling
within a really good range

as far as the home are.

And then so when we start trying

to correlate their behaviors,
like their carbohydrate intake

and as it increases through the groups
and then saying,

all right,
let's draw some major conclusions

and some correlations from those data
is not necessarily applicable.

And it's it's really,
really hard to apply it to a group of non

healthy individuals who has blood sugar
related issues or weight to lose or both,

because then we really see
like very different

physiological applications
and responses within the body.

So, for instance,

you know, looking at the difference
between me and my wife, where I have still

some remaining pounds of visceral fat
that I'm trying to get rid of,

my blood work was completely
at a starting point that was way worse off

than where she is now.

She is very low to almost nonexistent,
visceral, fat,

healthy body weight, healthy BMI.

All her labs are great

cardiovascular markers,
all of that inflammatory markers, etc.

fasting insulin,
very low, fasting insulin very low.

So as minds come down from 22 now down

into the fives, my body's ability
to process things like a date night

or a pizza night or a couple of glasses
of wine or an indulgent or a carbohydrate

laden meal is a lot different
than it used to be when I was much higher

on the insulin resistance scale,
the Homa, our scale, etc..

So could the millionaire go ahead
and buy a house on Martha's Vineyard?

Yes, 100%.

But the billionaire could buy five or buy
the whole island, right?

Like so.

It's interesting that their takeaway
was as you increased carbohydrates,

the home air went down up

until about that


But then what we saw was

the highest homa
IRR was in the highest carbohydrate group.


So they're recommending
that this recommended carbohydrate group

between 45 and 65%,
which is what about the standard

American diet is right
now is really the ideal range.

This group was twice
the size of the other groups

and their mean average
was the lowest, right?

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Actually three times
the size of one of the groups,

which makes it really, really hard
to compare those buckets, you know,

because then you have

you end up with these outliers
within the small sample size.

And so the conclusion I'm drawing here
from that group just from the home

air is almost like, okay, moderate carbs
for a healthy individual

seems to be correlated
with the sweet spot of home.

I are, at least within this study of a
relatively small sample size 120 people,

and that's why I mentioned my wife
versus me.

She can have a much
different macro breakdown

than I to maintain my weight and maintain
my healthy, my healthy state.

Right? Yeah, it's completely different.

So am I in the I'm
no longer in the overweight category.

Neither is she.


We're both in the same
BMI category. Right.

But we have vastly different
metabolic responses

to when we ingest
the same carbohydrate meal.


So when we're looking at this study,
it's like, okay, yeah,

you see this downward trend,
but then you see a dramatic upward

trend in the higher carb group as well,
which wouldn't be surprising.

So when we looked, we went and looked
at some other research articles

and there was one that we had done
an episode on before,

and this was the American Journal

of Physiology
and Endocrinology and Metabolism.

In 2021 and January.

And it's the effect

of carbohydrate restriction
on postprandial glucose metabolism, beta

cell function, gut hormone secretion
and satiety in patients with type two.

So now we're talking

metabolic dysfunction, type
two diabetes, blood sugar issues, insulin,

cellular energy
processing issues, insulin issues, etc.

They actually stated that a CRH p diet
where they're looking at

carbohydrate reduced high protein diet
compared to a conventional diabetes diet,

reduced those glucose elevations
that they call them excursions.

But those swings in improved
beta cell function,

including pro insulin processing
and increased subjective satiety.

So why am I bringing up this now?

Well, because in the population
that needs it the most, reducing

carbohydrates has been shown
to be an effective strategy.


So this study in healthy individuals
mentioned that Homa Bay, the percentage

got worse throughout the lower
carbohydrate was worse off, right? Yes.

And then the c-peptide numbers as well.

But c-peptide and proteins
and insulin processing go together.

So in a disease state,
your body knows exactly what to do.

It will have decreased numbers
as you go through using low carb

as a therapeutic treatment
of or a therapeutic application

of just like Quito Keto diet
doing in 90 to 120 day

cycle of Quito has been very effective
in reducing A1, CS

fasting insulin and other metrics
associated with type two diabetes.

So we have this healthy population
over here

that seems to have found their sweet spot,

much like my wife
living in this 45 to 50%.

And we're not talking refined, processed
carbohydrates, right?

We're talking healthy forms of carbs.

Yeah. Enjoy.


Enjoy your pack of Skittles at the movie
theater. It's fine.

As a healthy individual,
it's not going to be a big deal.

As someone that's having type
two diabetes, that blood sugar

spike might take two days for your blood
sugar numbers to come back down.

And don't break your fast
with them either, you know?


I'm going to be a good idea.
It's not going to.


Going to reconcile very well, even when
you look at what these groups look like.

I feel like one of the
one of the real big takeaways was kind of

kind of buried in this study, too,
which was just the finding

of separating these groups out
with what they were doing

and showing that the lowest
the reduced carbohydrate group had by far

some of the healthiest body composition
profiling of all of them.

I mean, they stood out for an above

with waist to height ratio, waist
circumference, hip circumference, much,

much better lean body mass, much better,
much lower, total fat weight.

I mean, it was just the list goes on
for the lower carbohydrate group

and how they were.

They just had a healthy profile,
a much healthier profile overall.

So even when the trends were showing,
okay, maybe moderate is better over

here, again, I feel like we're kind of
splitting hairs between the hundred

millionaires and the billionaires going
like where I see the group

that's shining here is the group
that was carbohydrates, less than 50%.

They are by far like the shining example
for body composition in this study.


And that's one of the reasons why when we
if you want to get some more insight into

how we kind of look at this stuff,
you can head to the show notes

and grab the blueprint
to fasting for fat loss,

because what I want to mention right now
is that study that we mentioned that was,

you know, the carbohydrate restricted
protein focused, they were a 30% carb.

We saw a sweet spot in this article around
that 40 to 45%,

although again,
all being well within a healthy range.

And then our recommendation when you start
fasting to make fasting easier

because the number one error

we see with fasting is that you don't make
intentional food choices

when you start fasting.

You've had this habit, let's say,
of roller coaster diet mentality on off

type, black, white, good food, bad
food type mindset

and still walking out that journey
personally as we speak.

Of course, undoing
some of that doesn't stop.

No, stop.

No, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Right.

My wife ran a marathon.
She started the walk to the car.

I didn't she never
she still took steps after that.

I never touching the ground again.

Right? Yeah. It's like, okay. No,
that doesn't make any sense. Right?

So walking that out, we like it.

When you come into fasting.

A couple of things you can do to
optimize is

one is to make intentional food choices
when you break your fasts,

because that's going to focus on
stimulating some of the hormones

that are going to allow you

to increase your insulin sensitivity
every time you break your fast,

you stimulate GLP one,
which is going to help

to reverse the insulin resistance
and increase your insulin sensitivity

if you're making good intentional food


And so the other thing is
we tend to decrease

the carbohydrates
and say start off with a 20% carb.

So you're not overly restricting
and omitting

and putting yourself into a binge
corner. Right.

You still get to eat.

We recommend non
refined, unprocessed carbohydrates.

And it also gives you the biggest
advantage when it comes to hunger.

So less carbohydrates, less sugary,
processed, refined stuff,

you're going to have less cravings,
which makes consistent fasting easier,

which then allows you
to see the scale move faster,

which then motivates you to keep going
rather than starting a new 912 week plan.

And in the first three weeks, you're
just having to walk yourself off the ledge

because the scale is either gone up
or any moved, right while you

changed everything or like restricted
everything that you can possibly think of.

But I love that because when we embark on
you know, using fasting,

you know, maybe it's to lose five or £10
or maybe it's £110.

Either way, we're going to also need
to internalize the fact that, hey,

maybe some of these fasting skills aren't
just going to be another diet, right?

Like, that's a big part of it is,
okay, maybe I have this weight

goal most of us do or a lot of us
do a lot of the time.

But part of the trouble with

that is if we're looking at this
as a sprint rather than a marathon,

then it can feel like, Hey,
I used fasting to get me to that end goal.

Now I don't need fasting anymore.

Okay, so the trouble with that is the same
as if I restricted my carbohydrates

or I overly restrict them.

Once I get to that goal weight, then

now I still feel like
it's still like a diet mentality.

Okay, I don't need to restrict
carbohydrates anymore.

And then I kind of go back

to the other side of the equation,
which can be bad physiologically speaking.

Also have its calorie intake.

And then just

hormonally speaking, I can see the weight
kind of come back on the scale.

And it can happen very quickly, too,
before I before I even plan for it

or notice.

Right. Yeah.

And this is what we talk about beginning
with the end in mind, too.

Like body composition should be a thought
when you start this weight loss journey,

right? 100%.

And we've talked about ozempic and,
you know, weight loss

drugs, diabetic drugs that are now
being used for weight loss, etc..

And the fact that you lose more muscle
mass than you do fat mass

when you lose weight. Right.

And as long as you're

making lifestyle changes with those,
then maybe that's a solution for you.

But I don't know of a lot of people
that we've heard so far

that have had these conversations
where that's even addressed.

So when we're talking about a healthy,
functioning individual

with that increasing longevity,
metabolic flexibility, etc.,

an interesting takeaway from this article
you mentioned it earlier

was that lean body mass was considerably
higher in the low carb group.

Yet they, you know, again,
we already kind of frame

this as the mean
anything worse, insulin sensitivity.

And then they even say

often increased lean mass is associated
with improved insulin resistance.

So there was an article that the diabetes
metabolism Journal that's referenced says

importance of lean muscle maintenance
to improve insulin resistance

by body weight
reduction in female patients with obesity.

So again,

the population of obesity we're looking at
but this study looked at the home

of beta percentage, right.

Which is the effectiveness
of the beta cells to produce insulin.

Yeah, at least in theory. Again. Right.

Because we have went and found this quote.

Tommy, in the last sentence of this is,
however, if the beta cell data are related

reported in isolation, one might conclude
erroneously that the subjects had failing

beta cells
as opposed to appropriately low secretion

because the sensitivity of the body
was high. Yeah.

And that that sensitivity would be higher

with increased muscle mass,
which is exactly what we would want.

So metabolic flexibility
increases the ability to handle a right

indulgent date night meal
or the cake at the birthday party.

Your body's able to handle it better 100%
because muscle muscle cells

and the mitochondria

are literally the energy processors,
the energy powerhouses of the body.


So I will gladly trade off
a little bit of perfection on my home.

I number four, a substantial increase
in lean muscle mass.

Even if again,
I think there's just an oversimplification

of some of these conclusions
that we see throughout this study.

But when we get into
what does it actually mean or

what does it look like
in one of these patient populations?

Actually what are their body compositions?

I mean, there is a lot more than just
what's at the surface here

and that's kind of thing because headlines
headlines are a big deal.

We all have, you know,
a very short attention span these days.

So when we see a headline,
sometimes it sticks with us.

And but if a headline like this

gave us a seed of doubt
for what we're doing and what's working

as far as, you know, a bit reduced
carbohydrate intake and a healthier body

composition, it can be like, well, should
I be doing that still or should I not?

But that that seed of doubt

can can sometimes go a long way
and could end up derailing us.

And that's exactly what we don't want.

Yeah, and that's where we say
that your environmental game

needs to be more strong, stronger
than your mental game, right?

Because we know that the system
we're in right now,

when it comes to the medical professionals
that are saying,

hey, you should lose weight, here's
your numbers.

Everything's broken down
into small little compartments.

But if we get into

too small of a compartment
that we don't have enough data

points to say whether or not
we're making long term progress.

So I want to see fasting insulin.

I want to see CRP numbers.

I want to calculate my home
or I want to track those things over time.

I want to know my my triglyceride ratios

than not really caring so much about LDL
is an individual lab metric.

So one of the things that we found
is that the individualized portion of the

some people can just listen to the podcast
and go get results and they're like,

they report it
and I have down £40 and yes, absolutely.

But then there are some of us

that get stuck,
and I was one of those people, Tommy,

you were one of those that were trying
to figure it out on our own

until we started piecing together
the power of fasting and hitting

those consistent fasting windows,
making more intentional food choices.

And that's why
I just out of this most recent challenge,

you know, just incredible
to see some of the ahas and some of that

customization and personalization
that we have inside of the coaching group.

And it's not for everybody,

but it is for some that are looking
for that that fall into this gap,

this analysis by paralysis or paralysis
by analysis

type situation, whatever you want to do,
which came first, the chicken or the egg.


And that's really what we've seen
as that environmental game needing

to be stronger than your mental game,
because especially now,

if you're in the fasting space,
if you're in the weight

loss space, there's
so much conflicting data out there.

And for us, it's like, okay,

my wife and I completely separate
living in the same house happily

married, three kids.

She's doing one thing.

I'm doing something completely different.
But why does it work for her?

Not for me.

that's because it's been applied over time

and you need to figure out
what's going to work and what's not.

So if you're looking for more guidance,
you can head to the fasting

for life community
where we continue the conversation.

Conversations, support environmental gain
greater than mental game.

Head to the community,
click the link in the show notes.

It's a private community.

It's an uplifting, encouraging community.

It is a place that you can get questions
answered and find some camaraderie

and strength in that environmental game.

And if you want to grab that blueprint,
it's our free resource.

It's a 20 page PDF
can also head to the show notes.

Tom, any final thoughts
as we wrap up today?

I think final thoughts
just keeping the long term perspective

that there will be some changes
that you need to make between,

you know, what gets you to that ideal body
composition and, you know,

the health balance and control
that you're looking for versus

how you sustain it as well.

So don't let the
you know, the small headlines derail you,

when when what you're doing is working.

So if if you're doing something
that's working right now,

don't stop and don't don't look for
for reasons to doubt that.

Keep going and, you know,
putting it together with with your

your plate
and your your macro nutrient breakdown.

You know, take a couple of steps today
to increase the effectiveness

of your fast two.

So, you know, make one more good food
decision and jump into your next fast

with conviction
because that's what we know

builds momentum over time and helps us
see better and better results.

Do love it. Absolutely. Man.

Appreciate the conversation
and we'll talk next week. Thank you.

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