Introduction Of Podcast
Not many know this, but nutrition impacts you at the molecular level. ‘You are what you eat’ is very true and extremely deep rooted. Your everyday diet can potentially have an impact on your DNA. To speak about this and more, we have Dr. Lara Hyde, a PhD in nutritional biochemistry, who talks about evidence based nutrition on her YouTube channel – Nourishable. On this episode, Mohit & Dr. Lara discuss what happens after you eat & suggest how you can have a positive impact on your DNA with simple lifestyle changes. Tune in!
- (00:00 – 02:45) – Introduction
- (03:03 – 08:04) – Dr. Lara’s Professional Journey
- (09:21 – 12:09) – What Is Epigenetics?
- (12:41 – 15:49) – Aspects That Affect Our Epigenetics
- (16:26 – 20:26) – Problems That Arise With Increasing Levels of Glucose
- (20:28 – 23:46) – Dr. Lara’s Experience of the Ultrahuman M1 Cyborg
- (25:48 – 29:05) – Other Biomarkers that Dr. Lara suggests
- (32:11 – 36:22) – Dr. Lara On Diets and Dietary Patterns
Key Takeaways – Transcripts
Intro (Mohit): So, when we talk about nutrition, we mostly talk about a schedule that we can follow, a process that needs to be understood to achieve your goal. We also tend to get pressured into pop culture trends, such as hopping onto a keto diet or intermittent fasting. Since the mindset typically is very goal oriented. We don’t really know the whys and the what’s of the whole process. People just care about, in most cases, the outcome, and sometimes staying the shortest possible path is what they really care about. Our understanding of the nutrition game tends to be blind in most cases, and the manoeuvre is very surface level at best for most times. But did you know that a nutrition is way more complex and also has sort of like a butterfly effect across the system? One example is your epigenetics. Sure, you can’t change your DNA. You can potentially there are some invasive methods and some controversial ones, but in most cases, you can’t change your DNA, but you can actually change your epigenetics in a good or a bad way using food. It also depends on your lifestyle. But just by food, just via food, you can actually change how your epigenetics, if not the genetics, are there or exist for you. So today we have with us Dr. Lara Hyde, who has a PhD in nutritional biochemistry, and she breaks it down in a simple language for you to understand nutrition better. She has her own YouTube channel as well. It’s very nontraditional for somebody with a PhD in nutritional biochemistry background. Of course, she talks about how nutrition plays a critical role at the DNA level and answers some of the most interesting questions that you already might have in mind. We also discuss with Dr. Lara what are some of the biomarkers that she applies in her day-to-day life and optimizes her health for the better. As you would know, we are obsessed with biomarkers. We dig deep into her experience with the Ultrahuman Cyborg as well and what were some of her actionable insights that she could gather and implement during the experiment. Dr. Lara also shares her views on the different diets that are out there and how should we approach it and sustain it in the long run. Because if you can’t follow a diet for the next 30 years, you might as well not get into it. So, yeah, with that, let’s get into it and discover more about ourselves.
(Mohit): Hi Lara, good to connect finally and really glad that you could make it here. I was really looking forward to the conversation.
(Lara): Yes, I’m absolutely thrilled to be here to be speaking with you and share some of my passion about nutrition and health.
Question (Mohit): Yeah, and for people who don’t know, dr. Laura here essentially has a degree in nutritional biochemistry, which sounds really interesting. But what’s more interesting is that she has content on Nourishable, which talks about nutrition and different aspects of it. And when we were looking at the YouTube channel and what really intrigued us essentially was the fact that somebody from the scientific background educating the world in a unique way that sounded really interesting to us. I would love to start with that. Lara, that what actually led to this journey for you, starting from the background of deep research and then essentially to actually getting on path to educating people about this space?
Answer (Lara): It’s certainly a non-traditional journey, I can say that for sure. I think when I first started off as a student in college, I was always interested in health and physiology. And I loved getting right down to the molecular level. And so that was always a drive for me to understand how the body works really at this molecular level, but then also be able to scope out and look at how we interact in the world. And so, nutrition was a really amazing kind of intersect of those areas. And so, after college, I ended up moving from Canada to Boston to do my PhD in nutritional biochemistry. And so, with this PhD in nutritional biochemistry, I had the opportunity to run nutrition studies and get my hands wet in the lab, doing all of the lab work and really dive into nutrition at that molecular level. My work was all really focused on looking at how nutrition can impact our DNA at the epigenetic level So, again, this really amazing intersection between our lifestyle and our DNA, which usually we consider something that is unchangeable. So, I think that was kind of the initial mechanisms that I was really invested in studying. And so, I love working at that molecular level. But then also I wanted to share this passion for nutrition and lifestyle with more people, and that’s what really got me into teaching. So, throughout my graduate studies as well as my postdoc studies, I had this big focus on teaching mostly in the classroom. And I was teaching anywhere from college age students, grad students. I’ve done some community college teaching as well, so really kind of a broad spectrum of students. I’ve also taught a lot of nutrition in kind of outreach programs, so working with elementary school students, junior high students, high school students. And I remember coming to the end of a semester that I was teaching at a community college where I had this really fantastic group of about 25 students. And at the end of the semester, each one told me what change they had made in their dietary pattern and their nutrition based on what they learned in the class. And it was so motivating, so inspirational for me as an instructor to really feel like I had been able to impact these students in ways that is going to benefit their health. But I also thought that was just 25 students. We’ve been working together for four months. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way that I could expand my audience, like, how can I reach even more people in a more efficient manner? And I think that’s really what led me to YouTube, is we’re living in a time where it is the information age. I wanted to share my passion and my deep understanding of the nutrition science with a wider audience with the world in a way that was free and accessible for anybody who wanted to learn. I think the other big piece is that we’re all so familiar with is just that there’s a lot of of kind fake news out there when it comes to nutrition. We live in a world where we like to have these headlines. Things change quickly. And so, I feel like especially with something like nutrition, we need to have somebody who can really analyze the studies and translate them in a way that actually makes sense in what we know is more of a sustainable lifestyle. And so that’s something that I try and bring to my videos, is my background as someone who will critically analyze the research studies and look at how they can actually be applicable to our lifestyles. I think the other piece that really drew me to creating content on YouTube is that outside of all of this biochemistry and nutrition science, I’m also a dancer. And as a dancer, I love to perform. That gives me a big high. I love performing. I’m also a choreographer, so I love creating and creating content, telling stories. And so, I think those bringing together my love for performing, my love for teaching, and my love for nutrition science, they all really fit together extremely well within YouTube. And having the opportunity to create content on YouTube.
(Mohit): That’s really unique because specifically, okay, there are two aspects. One is the nutrition aspect. And I remember one of the top strength coaches of all time, Pavel Tsatsouline, talking about the field of nutrition. So, when he was asked that, hey, what do you think about nutrition? He’s like, no, that’s too confusing. I might as well just focus on strength and over-compensate, there, right? Because I can’t really absorb the fact that there’s so much confusion in the nutrition space, so I just end up eating whatever I like and then I compensate in the gym. So that’s Pavel Tsatsouline. But in general, nutrition has been such a confusing topic. And you being from the research domain, it is really interesting because it’s not like the research is not happening, but the channel between the research to something that people can understand in the real world and creating sort of like a renaissance of information, especially nutrition information. I can say that across every other domain out there, probably it is the most confusing one. This is really fascinating because you are able to look at a complex topic, understand the science of it, and then make it more teachable and teachable in a way that people can use it and apply it in their own lives. And you also mentioned that something as cutting edge and bleeding edge, in fact, as how nutrition affects your epigenetics, that’s something that you have been really interested about. So, I’d love to learn a little bit more about it. At the outset. it sounds really fascinating. So, learn more about it.
(Lara): Certainly, yeah. I’ll give you a little intro into what epigenetics are for you and your audience. So, if we think about our DNA, it’s this long string that really serves as the instruction manual to make all the cells in our body, all the proteins in our body. Now, this long stringy compound, it all needs to fit inside the teeny tiny nucleus of our cell. So, we need to take this really long string and package it up in a way so that it fits inside the nucleus. However, just like any time that you have a big, long string that you try and pack into a small space, it gets all tangled up and it can break. And we don’t want that to happen to our DNA. We need to make sure that the integrity of our DNA stays complete. So, we have to package up that DNA very carefully. And the way our cells do this is they have these kind of bead shaped proteins that we wrap the DNA around and then we add other compounds on top of the DNA to help package it further. And by changing those compounds on top of the DNA, like the, there’s one compound called methylation. If we put more methylation on the DNA, it keeps that DNA nice and packed really tightly in a nice, organized way. So that sounds good. Now we’ve packaged up our DNA, but in order to actually turn on genes, we have to unravel those specific parts of the DNA. So, we have to take off some of those compounds, take off some of those methyl groups. So that’s really what epigenetics is. Epigenetics are the compounds that are being added on top of our DNA that will then determine is the DNA all tightly wound up or is the DNA loose and open so that those particular genes can be turned on? And our cells have lots of ways of regulating which genes will be turned on and turned off through these epigenetics, through these compounds added on top of our DNA. But one of the things that can influence which compounds are added and which genes are being turned on is the environment and especially nutrition. So that is kind of the tie in between our lifestyle and what we eat day to day. And our habits, our dietary patterns, our physical activity patterns, they can actually go all the way down to the level of our DNA and help regulate which genes are going to be turned on and turned off, which in turn impacts how our cells are functioning, how our bodies are functioning.
Question (Mohit): Wow, that really sounds interesting. At the same time, you can say such a complex concept. It’s hard to understand this when you’re looking at the macros of the food and you say that this is good for you, and this is what it creates for you. But it goes all down to the level of the cellular level, to the level of DNA. It’s both complex as well as impactful. Because what you just mentioned, maybe people don’t need to understand that much. But the way you make people understand, I think it really helps people visualize this in a much better way. So, you mentioned that this unraveling and this packing of the DNA is what is sort of like the right behavior of the DNA, essentially, right? And the epigenetic compounds are what sort of like regulate that in some ways. So, nutrition, as you mentioned, plays a mega role. And for a normal individual, right, everyday individual, how can somebody apply some of these principles? So do things like timing of when you consume food, do these things make sense or do these things impact? What type of food do you eat? And basically, what’s compatible for you? Does that also impact you? And maybe other environmental factors like for example, heat, light essentially do these impact as well? So, we’d love to know your perspective.
Answer (Lara): Certainly. So, I think when we’re thinking about what the influences can be on epigenetics, we can look at individual nutrients in particular. Some vitamins are especially critical for helping to maintain our epigenetic patterns in a healthy status. And so, a lot of the B vitamins, for example, Folate vitamin B6, vitamin B12, those vitamins are all really important in helping make sure that we have essentially the raw materials that we need in order to add those epigenetic chemicals kind of on and off of our DNA. So that’s one part we need to have the raw materials and nutrition helps make sure that we have the raw materials in place. But then addressing kind of that larger part of your question with respect to timing of eating. If we look at what happens in our body when we eat a meal, we’re going to have a rise in our blood glucose levels. And depending on what our meal was and what kind of activity we’re doing, those blood glucose levels, they could stay high for a long time, or they could drop really rapidly. And those changes in how our body is handling glucose also can signal down to our DNA and influence which genes are being turned on and turned off. So, I think that’s more kind of looking at the timescale of how we eat and how that can influence breakdown at the level of the DNA and then even thinking beyond nutrition, another major influencer of our epigenetic patterns and how our DNA is functioning is looking at stress. There are some stress hormones, like cortisol for example, that we know that long term exposure to cortisol can have an impact right down at that epigenetic level on our DNA. As a human, In some ways we certainly need stress. Stress plays an important role in our life, but often our lifestyles these days have kind of this unhealthy level of baseline stress that impacts many things, also impacts how our body handles glucose, handles fats, but also understanding that it can have this more lasting impact on our DNA. And so that can be a really big motivator to try and look at tweaks we can have in our lifestyle to try and reduce or manage our stress.
Question (Mohit): That’s really cool. And with some of these things that you mentioned, it almost seems like an equation, right? That certain factors, independent variables lead to certain outcomes. Now, the nature of the equation isn’t always known in this case, and potentially when we’ll be able to measure some of these equations, for example, or the outcomes of these equations, we’ll be able to at least reverse engineer and figure out what these relations are. So, what type of nutrients affect in an individual way, your DNA in a certain way, essentially, right? So that’s actually really interesting with context of biomarker tracking, for example, right? And you mentioned the glucose as well. That’s an interesting segue into understanding something as basic as a glucose biomarker. For example. Glucose from where like from an Ultrahuman perspective, what we see is that of course, insulin resistance is a mega epidemic and rising levels of glucose lead to rising levels of insulin. Oscillating glucose leads to oxidative stress in the body, but at a DNA level, right? What is the sort of impact that oscillating glucose or elevated levels of glucose creates, essentially?
Answer (Lara): So, I think when we think about these oscillating levels of glucose, there’s, first of all, the glucose levels that are changing a lot, but then there’s also the repercussions of those high glucose variability. And as you mentioned, there are increases in oxidative stress, there are increases in inflammation. And all three of those variables, the glucose itself, the oxidative stress and the inflammation can all feed down and ultimately impact down at the level of the DNA with our epigenetic patterns. And I think even the epigenetic patterns themselves are becoming a biomarker that we’re able to start to measure. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with some of these biological age tests, but there are some biological age tests that will look at epigenetic patterns in your blood cells, for example, as a way to yeah, I just got my Telomere test done a couple of weeks back. How did your telomere test compare to your actual chronological age?
(Mohit): Yeah, I’m actually the same age, so I still have a lot of work to do to actually get back into my 20s. But it’s a really interesting I mean, it’s definitely an eye-opening experience, although it’s a number. But I was thinking is that this is a summary of somebody’s age and eventually chronological age will start making less and less sense over time in the next few decades and then people would try to go deeper into can I look at the DNA methylation, can I look at the proteomics layer and basically understand like what’s really happening, what’s actually affecting my biological age to a larger extent?
(Lara): Yeah, no, I think it’s a really fascinating area. I would say that biological age measurements are really at the bleeding edge right now where we’re starting to develop ways with all of our fancy machine learning and AI to measure some things that we think correlate with biological age. But it’s still extremely early and I have found, in my experience doing some of these biological age tests, I have tested younger than my actual age, I have tested exactly my age and sometimes I have tested as being about five years apart when I took the test within a few days of each other. So, I would say there’s still a lot of work to do. I think it’s an exciting area, but I’m not going to put all my eggs in one basket as that being the biomarker that matters most to measure right now.
(Mohit): It’s certainly the most appealing one though. Like when you look at that number, it’s sort of like that one number that you remember and then you’re like oh, I need to beat that, I need to just basically at least get some delta that is sort of like that I can really be comfortable about. But yeah, you can say that it’s more education in some ways than actual outcome. There are so many variables involved when it comes to actual health.
(Lara): Yeah, I agree completely, and I think also just the point that you were bringing up of like oh, I want to do better sometimes doing these, this is my own personal hypothesis, but I think that sometimes doing these very personalized health tests can serve as this motivator to improve your lifestyle, improve the things about your health that you can change. We’ve talked a lot about DNA, we can’t change our DNA directly, but we have the opportunity to modify different aspects of our lifestyle. And so sometimes having this personalized data points that you can use as your own baseline to try and work on I think can be a really great motivator.
Question (Mohit): Absolutely. And talking about biomarkers, you have tried Ultrahuman Cyborg platform and what we’re really trying to do there essentially is to actually give you access to your glucose biomarker in real time. Along with, you can say a layer of insights on top. As you would also know, glucose individually, just looking at glucose might just give you some insights about your body, but when you actually look at it with context, it actually starts revealing more and more. So nocturnal glucose means something else, postprandial means something else fasting, might also mean something else if you look at it with insulin, also means something else essentially, right? So, what have been some of your experiences with the Ultrahuman Cyborg platform? Some of the things that you would like to share?
Answer (Lara): So, I have really enjoyed using the Ultrahuman Cyborg. I think the first thing that was absolutely fascinating for me was getting that real time data on how my body is managing my glucose levels. And so, first of all, just getting a baseline of when I live my normal life, which at the outset I thought was I thought I did a pretty good job. I thought I was leading a pretty healthy lifestyle. But then actually getting my own personalized glucose data in real time helped me see how there were some areas where I could improve. I can give you an example. Every day for lunch, I like to eat a big salad. I’m very proud of my salads. They have two big handfuls of leafy greens, a bunch of whole grains, usually two other kinds of fruits or vegetables, some kind of protein, and then some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Really nice salads. But I found the Ultrahuman Cyborg was showing me that I would get this really big glucose spike after eating my salad at lunch. Now, my typical routine is that I eat my salad and then I go, and I sit at my desk, and I edit videos or research videos for the rest of the afternoon. So, I’m completely sedentary after I eat my salad. And I looked at that and I was like, well, I could do better than that. If this is a part of my daily life, I want to do something to help. A small tweak that can help make that part of my daily life a little bit healthier from the glucose perspective. So, using the Ultrahuman Cyborg, it gave me this opportunity to see, OK, what if I maybe add some more protein to my salad? Will pairing with more protein help slow down how quickly I absorb the glucose? Or what if I have just incorporate some little bursts of physical activity, maybe a ten minute HIIT exercise right before lunch, or I’ll take my dog for a 20 minutes’ walk right after lunch. How does that impact how my body responds to my lunch salad? And I really found that it was those bursts, those small bursts of physical activity, that were the most impactful on helping lower my glucose spike after my lunch. And so that’s something that I have incorporated into my life now. I really try and pair as many meals as possible with these small bursts of physical activity. And I think the fact that it doesn’t have to be a full 1-hour workout at the gym with the weights and my workout clothes, it really can be these small bursts that you just seamlessly incorporate into your day that I think can really have an enormous beneficial impact in the long run.
Question (Mohit): On that, I think the biggest thing for what stood out for me essentially was that it was a small change. And the ROI is just amazing, right? I mean, in terms of small lifestyle changes that could stick and can change, it could have downward cascading effects in terms of better health. For me, for example, I think the biggest one was actually the food window, actually the dinner time. And I realized that if I finished my dinner before 07:00 p.m., it actually changes a lot in terms of not just the food metabolisation or glucose metabolisation, but also the way I sleep. And the way I sleep further affected my insulin sensitivity and that affected my food response. So, it felt sort of like a connected chain in some ways that if I eat early with a window finished my dinner by 07:00 p.m., on most days, my sleep quality is actually going to be better. I can see that with my Oura ring here, essentially. And if my sleep quality is better, most probably my insulin sensitivity, I will also show up better. And I see that in my metabolic scores as well with the same food. The score turns out to be much greener, essentially, on most days. But I think this mindset, this renaissance mindset, as we call it, essentially, of people doing their microscience and essentially leaders in space, like you are teaching people that you could actually become the scientist of your own body. This is the most fascinating machine that we have, and we probably know more about our car than our own body in many ways. So, this mindset, the awareness that you’re creating is really fascinating because, yes, there are some challenges. People do say that the technology is early and then there are some loopholes. But I think just this mindset that people could experiment and find their own optimal path that works with their lifestyle, that is going to create an amazing butterfly effect that will flow down generations and generations and create this culture of self-awareness in some ways, I really appreciate that this is happening in our lives. This is really interesting for me because when you say that glucose mark, like glucose makes such a difference in your life, in somebody’s life who’s already at the top peak of their own performance and their own science was to say that there’s so much of possibility in sort of like looking at your own body and looking at your own biomarkers. What are some of the other biomarkers that really actually intrigued you and probably led to a similar type of result or a similar outcome for you? Some other biomarkers?
Answer (Lara): So, biomarkers outside of glucose? Absolutely. That you’re looking for? Yeah. I have found over the years that using a fitness tracker, I have used a Fitbit for many years. I have found that has been impactful in some ways. I like getting a feel for how much movement I have incorporated over the course of the day. And I find that if I don’t purposely include a walk in my day that it’s really tough for me to get up to these higher step counts. Now of course there is some discrepancy on whether 10,000 steps is really like the threshold that we need. I have been more compelled by the idea that incorporating these small bursts frequently is more important than hitting specifically that 10,000 threshold step. But overall, still I have found using a fitness tracker has been really helpful in getting me to move more frequently throughout the day. And sometimes that can be something little like, okay, I’ve been sitting for several hours editing videos. Now I’m going to run up and down the stairs a few times to tidy up the house and just getting in a little bit of movement there and how that can be really impactful. And then in thinking about some other biomarkers that I have measured, I did another personalized nutrition test with a company called Zoe and they measure your blood glucose response as well as your fat response to eating these particular test muffins. And for me it really showed that my body metabolizes fats very slowly, which is not great for my health because just like glucose, having fats circulating around your bloodstream for a long time initiate some of those pathways of inflammation and oxidative stress that we know are kind of the initiators for so many of these chronic diseases that we’re dealing with. So that was another being able to measure that biomarker within that kind of experimental setup was impactful for me. Unfortunately, there aren’t tools available right now that can measure our lipid response in real time the way that we can with glucose and these continuous glucose monitors like the Cyborg. And then I guess the final biomarker that I have measured that I think is absolutely fascinating is doing some of these microbiome tests where I know it sounds gross, you send in a sample of poop, but then you get this readout of the diversity of the microbes that are living in your gut and some read out about whether there are ways you could increase the diversity or whether there are any healthy microbes versus unhealthy microbes. So I really feel like microbiome research is tied in so closely with nutrition, but it’s another area that really we’re at kind of the cutting edge, bleeding edge, where we know it’s fascinating, we know it’s important, we don’t exactly know how to tweak it and we don’t exactly have a clear definition of what exactly is the healthiest microbiome, but we have a vague idea of diversity seems better.
Question (Mohit): What’s really interesting is that you mentioned microbiome and a few days back we were looking at thinking about new biomarkers that could help people complete the picture of health. So, we looked at three types of tests. One is the metabolite test, the urine metabolite test. Essentially what metabolites essentially come out by the urine pathway, and you can basically follow that trace and essentially figure out what are the deficiencies and also figure out gut issues. In that case it’s actually right. So, the second one was a full blood metabolic panel, and the microbiome test was the third one. So, we have access to all three and we were looking at which one should be prioritized. And in my head, I felt that the metabolic panel is something that people would prefer because it ties well with the glucose story for them and it sort of creates direct impact in their own life because if you’re looking at lipids, if you’re looking at triglycerides, visceral fat, et cetera, it sort of completes the story in combination with the glucose story. But to my surprise, most people actually wanted, and we did an internal survey with our Cyborg members on the platform, most of them actually wanted a microbiome test. And this is really interesting, and I happened to call a few people and ask the like why would you do a microbiome test? I know that it’s interesting, but what’s the reason? To my surprise, most people said that the reason is that it’s fun and dopamine generating I don’t know what it does for me yet as much. I know that we need good microbes, but I want to know one thing about my own health because what your platform is doing for me is that it is making health fun and not hard and boring. So, I want to know more fun things about myself. Then I ask those people do you want to do Telomere test? And they were like, yeah, absolutely. We would love to do all of those, we would love to do the proteomic panel, et cetera, right? And that really gave me a perspective that when we talk about biohacking, we really think about serious health and sometimes by optimization it’s about some of these serious methods, therapies, interventions. But for a lot of people, it might just start for early adopters, it might just start with something that is fun to engage with, right? And I love the phrase that it’s dopamine generating, if you look at unhealthy processed fast foods in our ecosystem has generated enough dopamine. If you can generate dopamine with these healthy habits, this nature of curiosity that essentially that people have about their own body, that would be a path changing thing for the industry because then a lot of people would create this culture downstream, which is the next generation to come. They would want everything on their smart watch or their ring, essentially saying that I want access to 20 biomarkers, make the choice for myself. Because as you know, nutrition is highly complex. There’s all sorts of things getting marketed out there that this is great for you, that is great for you, do this diet, do that diet, nothing against those diets. Some of these are tools. I think people forget to realize that these are just tools and what really works for you is what will work for the next 20 years. But I would love to know your perspective on that as well. Like, you have been in this space, and you’ve created amazing, interesting content in this space as well. So, what do you think about diets specifically? Let’s say the keto diet, for example, right? So, what’s your perspective on that and how should people actually think about it?
Answer (Lara): Certainly, so I think that when it comes to various diets and dietary patterns out there, I think we need to be really careful when it comes to these extremely restrictive diets. Because one approach that I encourage people to think about when they’re thinking about their own dietary pattern, is this a way of eating that you could envision yourself doing for five years, for ten years, for the rest of your life? And when you start to think about it like that, it really becomes evident. And we also have data to support this as well, that some of these extremely restrictive diets, whole 30, which I recognize is only meant to be for 30 days, but or for some, in some ways, ketogenic diets, that it’s really hard to stick with them in the long run. And with an influence like diet, that’s something that influence matters. The impact of it matters over years. So, we need to approach our dietary patterns with that perspective of how can I do this for years? How can I set myself up for success for years? And so, then I think when we are thinking about, okay, how should I eat, then there really are more similarities between all of the healthy dietary patterns than there are differences. Really, all of the healthiest dietary patterns are built on the same pillars, the same pillars of lots of plant foods, lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains and beans and aiming for minimally processed foods. You were talking earlier about ultra-processed foods and how detrimental those can be. And even that ties right back down to our microbiome as well. When we’re eating these ultra-processed foods, they’ve kind of already been digested for us. It’s really not giving our microbes in our gut any work to do. But if we instead switch to eating more minimally processed whole foods, we actually rely on our microbes more to help us digest them. Again, looking at the pillars that we have in healthiest diets, really aiming for minimally processed whole foods, it doesn’t mean you can’t have any processing, but you want to look at kind of the bulk of your diet. And then the third pillar too, is that you want to aim for your diet to be pretty healthy most of the time. But it’s okay to have some special treats. It’s okay to enjoy them. You should enjoy them. Because again, if we enter into this mindset of, I can never eat this chocolate cake that I really love, but I can never eat it, it just ends up kind of turning around on you and makes you overeat it and binge on it and feel guilty. And none of those are helpful feelings. So, I think an approach I like to take when looking at dietary patterns is, I think, being purposeful, when you purposeful with your treats and your indulgences. If you’re going to eat the chocolate cake, eat it, enjoy it, eat it slowly and feel all the feelings and pick the chocolate cake that you really like. Whereas for me, I love cheesecake. I’m going to eat a delicious piece of cheesecake and I’m going to enjoy it thoroughly. But you know what? I don’t really like donuts. So, I’m going to skip the donuts that are in my meeting every week. So, I think really looking at those kind of three pillars of focus on lots of plants, of course, getting in diverse forms of high quality protein is really important as well. But then within those pillars, there are many different ways of doing it. And that’s where you can also start to take in other critically important factors like what is accessible to you? What time commitment can you dedicate to your food and your diet? Are you someone who loves cooking all your meals? Or do meal kits work better for you? Or are you someone who just due to the nature of your lifestyle, you end up eating out at restaurants a lot? So how can you make healthier choices in restaurants? Looking at how you can sustain this healthy diet in a way that works for your lifestyle, that is enjoyable for you.
(Mohit): I mean, that’s really fascinating. I think the ability to apply fundamental principles and not switch systems is really interesting because then you can replicate it across any type of diet, any type of lifestyle. And some of these are really easy to follow as well. Like you can stick to a class of foods that are not processed, natural and some of these are really tasty as well. And you go for what you really like. And that’s, I think, really interesting aspect of what you just touched upon. I think one of the nutrition researchers I was speaking to a few days back and was asking that what’s the real problem with modern nutrition? Like, why are so many people like failing at nutrition? Right? His one-line answer was that people don’t have time to make stomach acids. And that’s the only thing. It’s the same problem with unhealthy people and also healthy people, extremely healthy people. That extremely healthy people fussing so much about their food and when they look at their food, they think of it like a system and not something that they enjoy. And when you don’t enjoy something, you don’t create enough stomach acid. Yes, if it is calorie restricted and if it is macro controlled, there’s a very high chance that it will impact your weight in the positive way. But then it takes away a lot of fun from your life, as well as basically the overall health. Like, maybe from a micronutrient perspective, it will work. But macronutrients do get affected when you don’t think of food as something that you enjoy. So, these principles are really eye opening because these are not marketable fads. These are not something that you can sell in a box, but these are fundamental things that people can feel and realize for themselves. And sometimes those things are really hard to understand because it needs a lot of internalization, it needs a lot of self-awareness to some extent. But Dr. Lara, I really appreciate this conversation and I think you’ve been here, I learned a lot, certainly, and really enjoyed this conversation as well. I’m sure that with this new wave and the butterfly effect of what you’re creating, you’re not just impacting the thousands of viewers or the millions of viewers of watching your channel, but a generational change of people who educate others and people who actually tell others that this nutrition shouldn’t be highly stressful event. It should be something that you enjoy. And I’m sure that in many geographies, nutrition is not being taught as a subject today, but hopefully it will become a mandatory subject for most geographies in the world and people will benefit from it.
(Lara): Yeah, no, I certainly agree. I think that everyone deserves the opportunity to learn about nutrition and learn fun ways to incorporate it into their life. I really feel like one way that I think everybody could benefit from nutrition is by counting how many different plants they eat in a week and using that as their own personal biomarker. Okay, how can I increase my plant diversity? A lot of this comes back from this one study that was put out by the American Gut Project that was looking at kind of the most diverse gut microbiomes. And what they found was the most important thing was how many different plants you eat in a week. So, their readout came to say, look, if you eat 30 or more different plants per week, you tend to have this more diverse, robust, we think, healthy microbiome. So, I feel like that’s a fun goal to work towards is first have a baseline. How many plants did I eat in the past week? And then think, how can I start to increase the diversity of plants throughout my day and my snacks and my meals? And it’s a fun way to then introduce yourself t
new fruits and vegetables and whole grains and beans. And I think it’s a fun way that everyone can benefit in their diet.
(Mohit): It’s a great takeaway. I just noted it down that it sounds like a game. That how many different colors and how many different shapes of food that you can actually eat. I think such simple concepts have the power to transform a generation and not the complex stuff. The complex stuff is hidden. It’s not out there. But I think the simple stuff leading up all the way down to the scientific curiosity that leads to all the complex stuff, that’s the sort of change that we can create. But, yeah, it’s been a pleasure and I’m sure we would love to talk further on the topic and actually figure out ways to partner in the future, but really appreciate you taking the time out and wish all the best with the work and you have a great day.
(Lara): Thank you so much. It has been a real pleasure speaking with you as well, and I’m so excited about what Ultrahuman is working on and really bringing these biomarkers into people’s lives. Thank you.
Outro (Mohit): I hope with this segment you have a better insight into how nutrition inherently works and what’s the importance of nutrition in your life. We can’t change our DNA by natural means, but we can modify our lifestyle by having personalized data points which can help our health get optimized for better. We’re keen to know your thoughts on the subject. Please tag @Ultrahumanhq on Twitter and Instagram. Also, please don’t forget to share this podcast with your friends and family. See you with the next one.