In this episode we share with you the most important thing you can do to be healthy this year...lowering your insulin.
If you can lower your insulin levels, you'll have a healthier brain, weight, skin, digestive system, heart, hormones, and immune system.
In the podcast we talk about why insulin is the most important biomarker to fix.
We share with you the three best ways to lower your insulin levels.
We talk about why fasting is good for insulin levels and the different ways to shorten your eating window.
We discuss why exercise lowers insulin and the best type to do while you age.
We explain why some can tolerate more carbs than others and the importance of eating below your carb tolerance.
Dr. Martin Jr.: You're listening to The Doctor Is In podcast for MartinClinic.com. Although we share a lot of practical and, in our opinion, awesome information, what you hear on this podcast is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. It's strictly for informational purposes, so enjoy.
Hi, I'm Dr. Martin Jr.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Hi, I'm Dr. Martin Sr.
Dr. Martin Jr.: This is The Doctor Is In podcast, and [00:00:30] this is episode 166. Now this is also the first episode of 2019.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Woohoo!
Dr. Martin Jr.: Yep, 2018 is come and gone. We're now into 2019. And one of the things that pretty much everybody does at the beginning of the year is they set these goals for themselves, right?
Dr. Martin Sr.: Yep.
Dr. Martin Jr.: So many statistics on people setting New Year's resolutions, so many people setting all these different goals. And, of course, there's a lot of jokes about that as well, because majority of the people don't even get [00:01:00] through January, and they've stopped. You always hear gyms complaining ... Not gym owners, they love this time of year. But people that go to a gym regularly, they can't wait for January to end, because then they know it will be a lot less quieter in there. Because typically, that's what happens. People start these goals and they fizzle out.
Listen, the bottom line is, after being in healthcare as long as I have and you being in healthcare as long as you have, you know the simple truth is change is very [00:01:30] difficult.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.
Dr. Martin Jr.: Habits are very, very hard to break. Starting a new habit, especially as we get older ... We don't get more flexible as we get older, we get more stubborn.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Stuck in our ways.
Dr. Martin Jr.: Oh, yeah. We get so stubborn. We get so routined, and we like our routines. In order for a major change to happen, there has to be a lot of different actions. And I'll tell you, that's hard to do. Everybody gets kind of nostalgic around this time of year, and we overeat over Christmas, [00:02:00] and it's like, "That's it. This is the year, 2019 is going to be the year of me." And everybody has these kind of things.
Listen, that's fine, setting goals and all that. Those are great things. But a goal without an idea of how you're going to do it or breaking those goals down into winnable little tasks, then people are going to fail. It's funny, because people will come up to us and they'll ask us, and we get a kick out of it. They're like, "Is it bad to go to the gym six days [00:02:30] a week?" We'll always say the same thing, "Well, why don't we start with once a week?" And then, "Before you're worried about going six times, why don't we start going one time?"
Going from none to six times a week, that's a big time commitment. Not only are you going to be sore, that's a big time commitment, to go to a gym. If you leave your house, go to a gym, and come home after, that's a good almost two hour time period, right? And then either people say, " [00:03:00] Well, hey, listen. I'll solve the problem, and I'll get a home gym." Which for the 1% of you that can actually do that at home ... I mean, if you have a choice between the couch and TV, and weights in the basement or a treadmill, it's pretty [crosstalk 00:03:15]
Dr. Martin Sr.: How often the treadmill gets used as a clothes hanger ...
Dr. Martin Jr.: I saw an ad, somebody wrote up a pretty funny ad for a treadmill that his wife had bought. He talked about how it was the world's most expensive clothes hanger and how it has all [00:03:30] these great features to hang your clothes on. It was pretty funny, but that's the truth.
Dr. Martin Sr.: That's just reality, right?
Dr. Martin Jr.: Everybody listening to this podcast can relate to this, because we've all set health goals and we all have not kept them, right?
Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.
Dr. Martin Jr.: That's the reality. We're not going to talk about specific goals on this episode, because that's not what we're here to do. What we want to do is, we want to take a look at what we call the 80/20 rule. In a sense that if you did something really well 80% [00:04:00] of the time, you're going to get results. You don't have to be perfect, no.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Let me give you a recipe for success, not for failure.
Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah, we want to focus in on the 80%, and let's just say this. Science is clear on one thing. Now, we mentioned this in a podcast last year. The eating world, the diet world, is so fragmented right across the spectrum. It's across the spectrum. You have vegans, you have vegetarians, [00:04:30] you have those that-
Dr. Martin Sr.: Carnivores.
Dr. Martin Jr.: ... carnivores that just eat meat. Then you have keto and you have low carb, then you have Mediterranean diet. And then you have all these different variations of that.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Points.
Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah, they're all different and they're drastically different. They all have funny things about them to a certain extent, because you'll always hear people say, "Oh, I'm cutting out a full food group," like carbs is dangerous. And yet, they're a vegetarian, where they've cut out a full food group.
[00:05:00] We've gotten funny when it comes to talking about diet. But science agrees on this, whether or not we want to admit it or not. Science agrees that eating real food is always better for you, eating less sugar. Now, there's disagreements. Some people say no sugar, some people will say no added sugar. But science agrees we're eating way too much sugar right now. We're eating way too many processed foods full of vegetable oils right now.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Agreed.
Dr. Martin Jr.: We're [00:05:30] eating way too often right now.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Agreed.
Dr. Martin Jr.: And we're eating way too much food when we do eat. That's the foundational stuff. But like I said, we want to talk about the 80% now, and here it is. If you can control insulin, then you're going to take care of 80%, probably even higher than that, of a lot of the health conditions that is plaguing everybody today. From weight, [00:06:00] just strictly weight gain, but also diabetes, heart disease, cancer, blood pressure, dementia, Alzheimer's. You're going to give your body-
Dr. Martin Sr.: Aging.
Dr. Martin Jr.: ... anti-aging ... the best shot to protect. If you can-
Dr. Martin Sr.: Energy.
Dr. Martin Jr.: ... take care of that one thing, that 80/20-
Dr. Martin Sr.: Digestive issues.
Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah, let's talk about insulin. Now the problem is, today, that we have too much insulin all the time. So let's just talk about that quickly. I guess the first thing we should [00:06:30] say is that insulin is a crucial hormone. It's vitally important. Without it, you die. It is a powerful hormone, but it's a food hormone, first of all. You secrete it when you eat.
Also, it's a growth hormone. You need it. It's an important growth hormone, it makes things grow. In itself, it's very important. But the problem is when there's a lack of balance in a sense, right?
Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.
Dr. Martin Jr.: You have too much insulin circulating all the time, and you end up with a condition they call hyperinsulinemia, [00:07:00] which is high-circulating insulin syndrome, or you end up with insulin resistance. But the bottom line, what we're going to do today is we're going to talk about probably the three best ways to control insulin. And if you can control insulin, your 2019 will be a lot healthier. It will fix a lot of your problems. That's what we're going to do on today's episode.
To start off the new year, let's talk about probably the most important thing in health, in our eyes, because of what we see here [00:07:30] from interacting with a lot of people. So let's talk about insulin. If you can give one parting thing to somebody, it's control insulin, and they're going to be way better off. Let's talk about that, the three best ways, really, to control insulin.
We'll go through the first one here, which is time-restricted eating. Again, each of these are equally important, and we'll explain why that is. Just because we're saying this one first doesn't mean it's the most important thing, but [00:08:00] it's time-restricted eating. Nowadays, a lot of people know what that is. They may not know it under the term of time-restricted eating, but they've heard the word fasting, or they've heard the word intermittent fasting.
At the end of the day, time-restricted eating is just shortening your eating window, which of course means ... Think about this. If there's 24 hours in a day and you eat breakfast at eight in the morning, and you have your last snack at eight at night, that's a 12 hour eating window. [00:08:30] Essentially in that day you fasted for 12 hours, and you ate for 12 hours. Now, you may not have ate for 12 hours straight, but your eating window was eight hours. Or 12 hours, sorry.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah, because you're secreting insulin. And just to give them a little bit of physiology, like what does insulin do? Well, when you eat, you secrete insulin immediately.
Dr. Martin Jr.: And why do you do that?
Dr. Martin Sr.: Because it's got a job to do, right? It's got to take that sugar that you're making from food. It's got to take your calories, it's got to store them. [00:09:00] It's got to take nutrition, it's got to store it. It's got to partition it, so insulin's big job starts right away. I always tell people, "Look, as soon as you eat, you need insulin. You're going to secrete insulin, you need it." And there's nothing wrong with that.
The problem is, what if you're eating every couple of hours? And you eat, and you stop eating, but insulin hasn't stopped working. Insulin keeps going, and as long as insulin is present ... You've said this before, it's part of our [00:09:30] programs in the past. As long as insulin is present, it's impossible to burn-
Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah, you're not burning fat as energy.
Dr. Martin Sr.: You're not burning fat as energy.
Dr. Martin Jr.: No, it stops. The presence of insulin stops the breakdown of fat cells for energy. When insulin is there, you have glucose that's still present. So your body is like, "We've got to do something first with this glucose, so we're not going to breakdown fat cells for energy."
Insulin is one of those things that if it's there, you're not in the best position to burn fat. [00:10:00] Now listen, it doesn't mean you're not going to burn energy. You're going to burn off glucose, and you may rip through some of your glycogen storage and stuff like that. But at the end of the day, if you have a lot of fat storage, you're not tapping into that.
Dr. Martin Sr.: And you're probably not that active. Just about the vast majority of people in their workplace, they don't move.
Dr. Martin Jr.: No, and the biggest problem when it comes to insulin and glucose in a sense, is our storage is full. [00:10:30] As you mentioned, when you eat food, it's broken down into glucose. It doesn't matter what you eat, it's broken down into glucose. Some things are broken down very quickly, they spike your blood sugar levels very quickly. Some things break down slower and your blood sugar levels don't go up as fast. But at the end of the day, everything ends up raising your glucose levels to a certain extent. So that's dangerous, right?
Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Martin Jr.: You can't have high glucose, so your body has to do something with it. That's where insulin ... Like you said, you secrete insulin. Insulin comes and says, "Alright, listen. [00:11:00] Glucose, we've got to get rid of you, so we're going to take you and store you somewhere." If you've listened to our previous episodes you know that you have a few places where you can store glucose, that's it.
You have your muscle, which is a limited storage. I always give the analogy of this: There's a carry-on suitcase, then there's that suitcase for your toddler, and then there's the adult suitcase. So you've got the carry-on, and a little bit bigger, and a little bit bigger. The muscles are that middle [00:11:30] size suitcase. You could pack some stuff in there, but you can't go away for two weeks with that suitcase.
Dr. Martin Sr.: You're not going to Europe with that one, right?
Dr. Martin Jr.: No. Then the second luggage, or storage, is your liver, and the liver is the carry-on. It's the smallest. It's got about 100 grams of glycogen when converted to glucose, basically storage. It can't take that much. So the muscles are full, the liver is full, and then you have that large suitcase, which is your fat cells. You start packing-
Dr. Martin Sr.: That's the one you pay money for.
Dr. Martin Jr.: That's the one that's a big [00:12:00] fee, and it has to be no more than 50 lbs., depending on the airline. That's the one that they get you on their fees. But that's what happens. Every time you eat, if you're not going to use that energy right now, you can't keep it in your blood. Your blood cannot store glucose. It's dangerous. It's like "Alright, let's store it. Alright, muscles are full, let's check the carry-on. The liver is full, alright, pack it in the big suitcase." The difference is you can always, to a certain extent, make more fat cells. And what happens is, a person [00:12:30] starts to run into high insulin when their fat cells are full.
Here's the kicker: Some people can make more fat cells than others, store more fat, so their fat cells never get full. Other people, they can't make as much fat, so their fat cells are full. And when that happens, you become diabetic by definition. You were already diabetic before that, but you become diabetic by definition. Time-restricted eating, it [00:13:00] empties out those suitcases. Because what happens is that if you fast overnight, your liver glycogen usually goes down a bit. Your liver gets cleaned out a little bit.
The longer you fast, you'll start to burn some of the glycogen in your muscles, and then you'll start digging into your fat cells. Once it's gone, you're going to have to start to get rid of your fat cells. That's important. One of the things that happens when you're not eating ... Because as you mentioned, if insulin is present when you're eating, when you're not eating [00:13:30] insulin isn't present. So by shortening the amount of hours in a day that you have insulin present, is a good thing. That's a good thing.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah, and it lowers your inflammatory markers. It's a huge, huge thing for, oftentimes, too, digestion. People, a lot of times, are getting symptoms of bloating, and there could be different reasons for it. But one of the things they find is when they cut down their eating window "You know what? My gut is better," [00:14:00] because they're resting. Everything rests.
Dr. Martin Jr.: There are different studies that kind of talk about this, but I don't think it's ever been really looked at too much. But there seems to be something that happens when you eat for more hours in a day than when you fast. For example, if somebody eats for 13 or 14 hours day, they start really early in the morning and they eat really late at nighttime, they just don't digest enough. So then it messes up that digestive pattern, it messes up your insulin, [00:14:30] it messes up a lot of things.
One of the ways that you can lower insulin is by depleting glycogen, by not having insulin present. It's what they call time-restricted eating, which is shortening the amount of hours in a day that you eat. That's one way, that's one thing. And there are a lot of different ways that people can do that. There's intermittent fasting. People fast overnight, and they don't eat breakfast. They break their fast around lunchtime. Then you got those that will break their fast even longer. [00:15:00] Some diabetics do way better when they eat breakfast. They eat lunch and they eat an early dinner, and then they'll stop eating around 4:00 and they'll fast overnight. Then they'll repeat the process.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah, a lot of them do very well that way.
Dr. Martin Jr.: That's right. There's a lot of ways of shortening your window, but at least start by eating less in a day than you are digesting. At least start by eating for an 11 hour window and fasting for 13, and then you can work and massage it and find out what works for you well.
Everybody says, "I can't fast," [00:15:30] until they try it. Then they're like, "Really, it's not that hard." So that's one thing. That's just the first thing. Again, it's not the most important thing, but it is there. The second thing we want to talk about is exercise.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. Exercise, of course, is ... I call it the true vitamin E. Is they're anything negative about exercise? No. The idea is any kind of exercise is good. There are some that are better, and we've talked about that on many a podcast. We talk about [00:16:00] the weightlifting, you just can't go wrong. And I don't care if you're 80 years old, the more muscle you have ... It's been proven, scientifically, a thousand times over. But any exercise, any movement is good.
Movement is good. If you can't get to a gym and you're walking, good for you. It's all good. I'll tell you thing. One of [00:16:30] the things that happens, too, that's a benefit and probably is one of the reasons that exercise is so good for you ... They've shown this ... that when you exercise, you are not producing cortisol. Cortisol, which is your stress hormone, goes to bed. Because that's how good exercise is for you. But the one that we like the most, that has the best research behind it to show it to be the most effective in women, [00:17:00] men, kids, blah blah blah, is weightlifting, resistant exercises.
I just know for my own experience, with me being 66 years old ... going to be 67 very quickly in the month of January, send me my happy birthday wishes. Just kidding. But I've found over the years what has helped me the most with my flexibility, with my blood sugars, my insulin [00:17:30] resistance, is exercises and especially weight bearing exercises. I know from personal experience how that has helped me big time in terms of my overall health.
Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. Again, as you mentioned, usually when people talk about exercise, there could be really three types of exercise people think of. There's strength training, which is weightlifting. There's [00:18:00] cardio, which people think of jogging or treadmills and stuff like that.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah, treadmills.
Dr. Martin Jr.: Then there's that combination of the two, which is that high-intensity interval training, which is that-
Dr. Martin Sr.: Which is excellent.
Dr. Martin Jr.: ... combination of weightlifting and that. Listen, if you had to choose, if you say "I can only do one of them," then lift weights. There's no question, get stronger. Go back and listen to our episode 131 where we talk about the importance of strong muscles for your brain, for cancer, for all those things. So build muscle first if you can only do one. But then research shows, [00:18:30] if you could do both or all three, a combination of those, that's the best.
Again, what that does, not only does it help lower insulin, it depletes your storage. It depletes those suitcases. It gets the glycogen out of your muscles, it increases the storage. This is a little hack, or a tip, if you want to eat more carbs, well, grow your muscles. Increase the ability you have to store more glycogen, build more muscle. [00:19:00] Anyways, that's just another thing.
Now what's interesting, again, is that weightlifting, they'll burn the muscles out of that glycogen. They'll allow you to store more things in there. It just burns it out, it cleans that fuel that's stuck in there. Weight training is so good for that. Plus, it directly makes you more insulin-sensitive. After exercising, your body is more sensitive to insulin. You need less of it. That's why a lot of people-
Dr. Martin Sr.: That fat storing hormone.
Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah, and a lot of people will eat their carbs, in a sense, [00:19:30] around exercising, around weightlifting, because they've depleted that glycogen. They're more sensitive to insulin. They don't make as much insulin. They don't store as much after. That's why they do it, right? But it's interesting, that's the second thing. The first thing we talked about was shortening your eating window down. The second thing was burn off that storage, exercise. And there's a lot of other benefits to exercise as well, but we're talking insulin.
The third thing, of course, is finding your carb tolerance [00:20:00] and eating below that, because everybody has a different carb tolerance. Some can tolerate more carbs. As I mentioned, generally somebody with more muscle can tolerate more carbs. Generally, not always. Some people are just more sensitive to carbs, it sends them into a cascade of bad things. They store more, everything goes off.
Dr. Martin Sr.: And don't fool yourself.
Dr. Martin Jr.: No, and that's the thing. You've got to find your carb tolerance, find that amount of carbs. [00:20:30] Some people, they've got to be keto because they're diabetic, or they've got to be very low carb. Some people do really well when they're low carb, which is 75 grams, 100 grams and under in a sense. And this is just an aside, a lot of times when a study bashes low carbs and then you go look at the study design, they're eating like 30/35/40% of calories from carbs. By no definition is that a low carb diet. But anyways, it doesn't matter.
The point is, find out what that carb tolerance [00:21:00] is and eat below it. And listen, if you have high triglycerides, you're not eating below your carb tolerance. You're eating above your carb tolerance. Those three things there, as you go into this new year you're like, "I want to get healthier, I want to preserve my brain as I age." Again, go listen to our podcast that we did not too long ago on brain health and insulin. If you want to protect your brain as you age, keep your insulin low. If you say, "I want to be healthier in 2019," then commit to lowering your insulin. And you do [00:21:30] that, again, by those three things that we've mentioned.
Again, those are the three big things that we talked about: eating window, exercise, carb tolerance. But there's another big one in there as well that we probably could add to the list, which is managing stress. Because stress causes an increase in cortisol, cortisol spikes your blood sugar and makes more insulin. Manage stress. Again, you could exercise, like you mentioned. It's a great way. And then sleep more.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah, and it's so important when you think of it, because [00:22:00] we always talk about ... I don't think we ever go through a program where we don't talk about cortisol and stress, because today we live in a world where stress is a big factor. So yeah, absolutely manage your stress.
We could talk about sleep, or we could talk about eating, we could talk about exercise. All these things are helpful in managing stress. But yeah, for sure, get that cortisol level down, because cortisol [00:22:30] is an accelerator, and it will store fat, and it can mess you up big time. So as much as you can, try and get that cortisol in good management.
Dr. Martin Jr.: Again, thank you for listening. This is an episode we talked about doing a while ago, but we wanted to save it for now because this is the time of year when people are really serious ... I'm doing air quotes in a sense, because people should really be thinking about their health a lot more than they do. But [00:23:00] if you're listening, that's awesome. Try these three things and you'll see a difference in your health in 2019.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Absolutely.
Dr. Martin Jr.: Again, thanks for listening, and have a great day.
Dr. Martin Sr.: Thanks for listening to The Doctor Is In podcast from MartinClinic.com. If you have any questions, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're not a newsletter subscriber, you can head to our website and sign up for free. We also have a private Facebook group that you can join, [00:23:30] it's a community of awesome people. Finally, I do a Facebook live every Thursday morning at 8:30. Join us again next week for a new episode.