492: Healing Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
Do you suffer from blood sugar imbalance? Do you really want to finally get your blood sugar levels under control once and for all? Do you want to avoid insulin injections or stay off of medications? In this episode, Cyrus Khambatta, PhD talks about lowering your blood sugar naturally, mastering this condition without the use of drugs, and how to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance.
Ashley James And Dr. Cyrus Khambatta
- Eating a raw diet
- The ratio of carbohydrate to insulin use
- Cutting out oil and animal products
- Fatty acids
- Diets that make you sick
- Insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity
Hello, true health seeker and welcome to another exciting episode of the Learn True Health podcast. Today, you have such an amazing treat to have a PhD, Cyrus Khambatta on the show today, sharing his side of the story about how him and his partner Robby Barbaro created Mastering Diabetes. Both of them have type 1 diabetes, and both of them hugely, hugely increased their insulin sensitivity so much that they require so little insulin to inject into themselves daily that every type 1 diabetic needs to know about this because it’s going to save them thousands of dollars and it’s going to save them years on their life, disease-free years even on their life. Every type 1 diabetic needs this information. But every type 2 diabetic needs it because this is exactly how you can reverse type 2 diabetes and increase your insulin sensitivity so much that you no longer have hyper- or hypoglycemia. I am so excited for you to have this information because even prediabetics or those who have metabolic syndrome, women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome will benefit from this information because it’s all about the insulin resistance. And today, PhD Cyrus Khambatta shares exactly the science behind it and why we develop insulin resistance and how we can reverse it, and it is all with diet and lifestyle, which is really exciting because that puts the power back in your hands. That’s exactly what my show is intended to do. This is what I set out to do in all these interviews, is get you the information so that you can learn how to create true health.
Now, another tool that I want you to know about is my favorite magnesium soak. Magnesium is the most required mineral in the body. The body needs it for 1800 enzymatic processes. The second most needed mineral is zinc at only 800 enzymatic processes. So, you can imagine as the list goes down and down, magnesium is huge for our health and healing. When we have magnesium deficiency, there's over 200 different illnesses and symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency. Most people are walking around deficient in magnesium and suffering from the side effects of magnesium deficiency without even knowing it, and then they medicate themselves. Doctors will give you a drug for, for example, restless legs syndrome is a magnesium deficiency and yet, the pharmaceutical companies have created a drug for it, which is it’s madness and it is unethical, frankly.
So, I have interviews with Kristen Bowen, the founder of this company that has the most absorbable form of transdermal magnesium. She has a program where you do it for 30 days and you get to full cell saturation. She explains in our interviews how you can do that and how you can even test. There's a special test you have to order. It’s about $40 or $50 when you order it online. But you could do a special magnesium RBC blood test. If you wanted to test your cell saturation of magnesium before and after you do her transdermal magnesium soak, she has an amazing story. I highly recommend that you check it out. You can go back and listen to episode 294 for her story in the Learn True Health podcast episode 294. She also came back on episode 341 to answer listener questions about magnesium, and then at 391 we talked about other very interesting things to know about magnesium, including getting rid of parasites. So, that episode is also very interesting, this particular magnesium soak. And I’ve taken magnesium orally for many years, and I was still magnesium deficient, and that's the thing. Most people who take it orally like by drinking it or taking capsules, they're still magnesium-deficient because it’s very hard to absorb most magnesium supplements. Most magnesium supplements go right through people and yet, when you do the magnesium soak, you absorb it straight through your skin into your lymph system and then that from there, goes into your bloodstream and it circulates and it bathes every cell in the body with this magnesium. It’s very bioavailable and you can see it in the blood tests. And that's what we talk about in episode 294. So, I definitely recommend checking it out.
What is so exciting is that right now, going on for the month of November, while supplies last, she has in past years run out of it because the sale is so good, she gives the best sale, it is 30% off plus she still honors the Learn True Health coupon code, so the LTH coupon code. She still honors it. So, in fact, it’s 40% off. And if your order is over $99, so if it’s a $100 order which you can buy all your magnesium soak for the whole year, for the whole next year, she gives free shipping. So, you basically are getting 40% off with free shipping when you use the coupon code LTH at checkout. You have to remember to use it at checkout because she can’t go back and change it. She says she’s very sorry. They have such a huge amount of orders that come in during the cyber sales. This year, she’s making a cyber sale all the month of November, so check it out, go to Livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. I know it’s a mouthful, it’s such a cute name though and it’s very memorable. Livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. And make sure that you use the coupon code LTH at checkout for the additional 10% off that she’s giving us in addition to the 30% off. All the magnesium stuff is on sale on her website.
Then she’s got a few other things on her website that I really like. Everything she sells is 100% natural, it’s paraben-free, cruelty-free, and fair-trade. She’s really big into that, very big into high-quality ingredients. But I go there for the magnesium. It has been a gamechanger for me. I share about it in past episodes, so you can go back and listen to those—294, 341, and 381. Our son who’s always fought sleep, when we put it in his bath when he was a toddler, he would turn to me and say, “Okay, I’m ready for bed now.” And I was like “Whoa, this is amazing! This stuff really works.” So if you have problems falling asleep, if your kids have problems falling asleep or if you have energy problems, if you have restless legs or if you have migraines, we’ve had listeners actually, over 200 listeners in our Facebook group have shared testimonials through the years of how fantastic this magnesium soak has changed their lives. And we’ve had listeners talk about how their migraines went away and their headaches went away. The tension headaches will go away. And even chronic pain. What’s really interesting is your pain receptors cannot close when there’s a lack of magnesium. So, a deficiency of magnesium can cause chronic pain to continue to persist. In the presence of magnesium, they’re able to close. So, a lot of people have found that this actually is very beneficial if they're struggling with pain as well. So, it’s a great gift to give to those you love. I love the magnesium cream. I love using it if I feel like I’m crampy or if my feet are crampy at the end of the day or my legs, I love using the magnesium cream and it’s very quick, within minutes I’m feeling all my muscles just melt and relax. So, there's that, but then there's the soak and you can go listen to episode 294 to learn how to use the soak. Remember the coupon code is LTH as in Learn True Health. LTH at Livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. Make sure that you go and get some now before supplies run out because it’s such a huge sale and I know that you’re going to love to grab a few of those magnesium creams. It’s only $15. In addition to that, take off 10% for the Learn True Health discount. Those are fantastic stocking stuffers, great for holiday gifts. I know I definitely am going to stock up to give those away as gifts to my friends and family for sure.
Thank you so much for being a listener. Thank you so much for sharing this episode with those you care about. Please share it with everyone you know who has blood sugar dysregulation and wants to get on the other side of that because this is exactly how you do it and the science is there and I’m so excited to have Cyrus share with you today how he has helped thousands of people, thousands and thousands of people to reverse their type 2 diabetes and thousands of type 1 diabetics to increase their insulin sensitivity so much that they're able to lower their insulin needs hugely. Which is so beneficial for many reasons. That's what we talk about in today’s episode. You can also go back and listen to the episodes I did with Robby Barbaro in episode 233 and 489. Those are good episodes to listen to, to hear his side of the story for mastering diabetes and how he was able to eat—I think he went from eating 30 net grams of carbohydrates on 30 units of insulin, which is a horrible ratio of insulin units to carbs, to being able to maintain the same amount of insulin, but then eat 700 grams of carbohydrates and his blood sugar actually got better. So, Robby’s story is very similar to Cyrus’, but you can go back and listen to his episode 233 and 489.
Have yourself a fantastic day and just happy holidays! Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas! Whatever holiday you celebrate—the Hannukah, Kwanzaa, whatever you're celebrating, you're just celebrating and being with your friends and family, my love goes out to you. Really, I’m just hugging you, I’m just sending my hugs to you. This can be a wonderful time of year. It can be a very painful time of year, having lost my parents. It’s bittersweet. So, I can really understand and relate to you. What I love about the magnesium sale is Kristen Bowen calls it her Calm Black Friday sale because magnesium calms, it actually is very therapeutic for our nervous system, for our stress levels. So if you find yourself a little stressed out in the holidays which I do too, and it’s understandable, get some magnesium soak and treat yourself. Treat yourself to that and be gentle and be loving with yourself. I’m giving you big hugs. Give yourself some big hugs. Be gentle with yourself and see what you can do for the next two months to nurture yourself and jump into 2023 with great goals for your health and take everything that Cyrus says to heart because he has a fantastic program for reversing disease and for increasing health to such a monumental level that you will feel like a million bucks has been handed to you every day, every morning you wake up. Enjoy today’s episode!
[00:12:00] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I’m your host, Ashley James. This is episode 492.
I am so excited for today’s guest. I have been trying to get Cyrus on the show for years, and just both of our schedules have never come together until now, so I just feel like it’s kismet, you know, it’s meant to be. Today, finally, PhD Cyrus Khambatta is on the show. We’re going to talk about the deep science of why this very specific way of eating completely reverses type 2 diabetes, re-sensitizes insulin and even helps those who have type 1 diabetes to become so much more insulin-sensitive that their ratio of insulin units to carbohydrates becomes very good. Just very, very, very good. So, we see people restore even things like eyesight and neuropathy, improvements in immunity—all of this—heart disease, cancer, blood pressure, all these things get better and better. Inflammation goes way down. What’s great though, is that people feel like a million bucks eating this way. Now, there's a lot of science behind it and it’s a very specific way of eating that it does take a little bit getting used to, but once you're doing it, you never want to stop because you feel so dang good.
Cyrus, I am really excited to dig deep into the science today to understand how this one way of eating is it’s kind of like the fountain of youth and then it helps reverse so many diseases and helps people live optimal lives. I’m just chomping at the bit, can’t wait to dive in. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.
[00:13:49] Cyrus Khambatta: Awesome. Thank you, thank you so much. I really appreciate the invitation to be here. I apologize, I wasn’t intending to play hard to get here, but I’m glad we’re talking now.
[00:13:59] Ashley James: I just think your schedule, my schedule, and they just kept not working together, but it’s actually perfect because I had the opportunity to have your partner on the show, Robby on the show several times talking about Mastering Diabetes, this beautiful book you guys have written and also, this whole program you guys have come up with. You guys just launched a summit which was amazing, and listeners should go to Learntruehealth.com/mastering diabetes to check out the summit there. Then to get your book which is now in paperback—congratulations by the way—paperback and in hardcover. And I know this has been a labor of love. And again, what I love is that you have so much science in it, and to prove this is how it works, but you also have so many testimonials. You have thousands and thousands of stories of success backing what you guys do, and that is Masteringdiabetes.org/book. Of course, the links to everything that Cyrus does is going to be in the show notes of today’s podcast at Learntruehealth.com.
Very quickly, let’s just touch on so you have a PhD. Let’s touch on because you’re like the science end of the Mastering Diabetes book, so I’d love to hear a bit about how did you meet Robby and tell us a bit about your background, how you guys came together to create this for so many people to be able to reverse their diabetes.
[00:15:18] Cyrus Khambatta: Great question. So, I basically was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the year 2002 when I was a senior. I was studying mechanical engineering at Stanford University and I was just trying to graduate and move on with my life and all of a sudden, I got this strange diagnosis and I just felt very sort of like low energy and I was kind of confused and my vision was getting weird and I was dehydrated all the time. So, I finally ended up going to the health center. They sent me to the emergency room and there, I got diagnosed with not 1, not 2 but 3 autoimmune conditions. So, the first one is Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Then, the second one was alopecia universalis which is basically just total hair loss. Then the third one was type 1 diabetes. So, I got diagnosed with all three of these practically overnight and I became a chronic disease patient all of a sudden. It was a pretty tough time and it’s a lot of information to take in at any one given moment in time. So, for the first year, my life with type 1 diabetes, I was just kind of listening what the doctors were telling me which was to eat a low-carbohydrate diet and use that as my primary weapon of choice, if you will, to try and minimize my use of insulin and try and keep my blood glucose very controlled.
So, I did that for about a year and I just found out that my health was just getting worse and worse and worse. The promise that they had given me was that my glucose would become more controllable and that my insulin use would go down or my insulin use wouldn’t go up. And it turns out that neither one of those was true because my blood glucose was very hard to control, extremely hard to control. And in addition to that, my insulin use started out at about 25 units per day, and then before I knew it, it was at 28 and then 32 and then 36 and then 39 and then 41 and then 47 and then 52 and 55. There were days where I was injecting somewhere between 50 and 60 units per day and I was like, the math doesn’t make sense and I was literally not eating the thing that’s supposed to cause my blood glucose to go up which is carbohydrate because that’s what I’ve been told. But yet, my glucose is going high, and my insulin use is climbing. So, like, what am I doing wrong? I just don’t understand. I mean, I’m an active guy. I was exercising 3, 4, 5 times a week, I was riding my bike, I was trying to do everything. I was playing soccer, I was lifting weights. But it didn’t seem to matter.
So, to answer your question, where did Robby come around? What happened was that I switched over to eating a plant-based diet in the year 2003, and I did under the supervision of, in my opinion, a genius, a guy who saved my life. His name is Dr. Doug Graham. And he went on to write a book called The 80/10/10 Diet. He basically teaches people how to eat a raw food diet. So, under his tutelage, I said, you know what, I’ll do this raw food thing, I got no problem with that. I just want to feel better. Within the first week of eating the way that he described, my glucose fell like a rock. My insulin use fell very quickly.
[00:18:30] Ashley James: Now, sorry to interrupt, raw diets are primarily carbohydrates.
[00:18:35] Cyrus Khambatta: Yeah, so that’s the kicker. That’s the kicker. So, what you’re saying is absolutely true, which is okay, so, the medical institution said, hey Cyrus, carbs are bad for you. Carbs will make your blood glucose go up. Carbs will make you use more insulin, so eat less carbs. I was like, okay, sounds like a plan. So, while I was doing that, because I was eating less carbohydrate energy, what I was eating more of is protein and fat that came from things like red meat, white meat, fish, chicken, turkey burgers, peanut butter, dairy products, olive oil. And I was trying to limit my intake of things like pastas and potatoes and fruits because, again, that’s where the carbohydrates are found, and I was told that carbohydrates are bad for me. So, I was trying to eat a bunch of these sort of like fat-rich foods and protein-rich foods. And again, while doing that, it was supposed to keep my glucose down and keep my insulin use from going up, but neither one of those happened. So, when I met Doug and he switched me over to eating a raw food diet, I started eating large plates of fruit and large plates of fruits and vegetables together. I was nervous that my glucose would go up because those plates and those bowls are very large with, no exaggeration, between 8 and 12 servings of fruit in one shot, in one meal. The math behind it and sort of what the doctors had led me to believe was that like glucose would go extremely high and instead of seeing like a 200 blood glucose value after eating a meal, that by eating a bowl of fruit, my glucose would go up to a 400 or maybe even a 500. So, that was the fear that I had. But then, once I started to eat the way that Doug had described, I recognized that my blood glucose did the exact opposite thing.
The expectation was that my glucose would go through the roof, but in reality, instead of hitting a routine 180 or 200 or 220 after a meal, which is what happened on a low-carbohydrate diet. After a meal when eating a fruit-based meal, my blood glucose was like 120 or maybe 130. And then, I would continue this process over and over and over again, and my blood glucose just didn’t seem to go anywhere, didn’t seem to go high at all. What was interesting was that not only was my blood glucose not going high after a meal but in between meals and in the middle of the night, my blood glucose was going down. And so as a result of that now, I had to limit the amount of insulin I was injecting myself and back off because the amount of insulin that I was injecting was now too powerful. So, instead of injecting 42 units, 45 units of insulin per day, all of a sudden it went from 45 down to 35, and then from 35 to 31 to 27, and I ended up at like 24 units of insulin per day after 1 week.
So, Ashley, here’s the kicker. These numbers are ridiculous, okay? Before, I was eating approximately 100 grams of carbohydrate, and I was using approximately 42 units of insulin. So, 100 divided by 42, we’ll call 2 ½. Okay. My ratio of carbohydrate to insulin use was 2 ½, meaning that every time I ate approximately 2 ½ grams of carbohydrate, I would have to inject 1 unit of insulin. When I started to eat a raw food diet, when I started to eat a plant-based diet, my intake of carbohydrate went from 100 grams to 700 grams per day. No exaggeration. And my use of insulin went from 42 units per day down to 25 units per day. So, if you calculate the new ratio of 700 grams of carbohydrate divided by 25 units of insulin, now, instead of operating at a 2.5 to 1 ratio, I was now operating at a 28:1 ratio.
[00:22:54] Ashley James: Which proves your insulin sensitivity.
[00:22:57] Cyrus Khambatta: Bingo. So, my insulin sensitivity had gone up significantly. So, previously, I would have to inject 1 unit of insulin per approximately 2.5 grams of carbohydrate that went into my mouth. Now, eating a plant-based diet, I would have to inject 1 unit of insulin per approximately 28 grams of carbohydrate, and this is almost a 10-fold increase in my insulin sensitivity. That's bonkers.
[00:23:22] Ashley James: It is bonkers. I want to say two things real quick before some people start turning this off. Because they’re like, I’m sure someone is thinking, “I can’t be a raw vegan. I can’t be a fruitarian. That's whacko.” Right? So first of all, what you guys are teaching is not exclusively fruitarian. You can eat cooked food. But Cyrus is telling his story, and which is really important because if we listen for the physiology, the science of how our body works, and this is where I get so angry. Okay, I step on my soapbox, people. We have people dying because they cannot afford their insulin. Type 1 diabetics, the insulin cost in the United States have gone up so much that people are going homeless, going broke trying to afford their insulin and they're deciding whether they need to pay their rent or survive another month because they can’t afford their insulin. I mean, this is so infuriating and yet, they're not told by any of their doctors that there is a way to increase their insulin sensitivity so that they need less units, so that they could afford their rent again. Then they could afford their car payment or the gas. They don’t have to go broke and homeless because they’re deciding whether they're going to live another month because they can’t afford their insulin. And I am so livid with this system where your plan, what you teach in your book Mastering Diabetes, is known, it’s a known thing and yet doctors are not teaching this. And maybe these doctors don’t know it. Some do but it’s not yelled from the rooftops. And if you get into the conspiracy of needing to keep people sick so that they can make money, they would rather sell you a higher amount of insulin than sell you a lower amount of insulin.
So, they're going to promote a diet that “manages” your diabetes and keeps you diabetic, keeps your insulin sensitivity very bad, keeps you insulin resistant. Right? So, they can sell you more drugs. Then the American Diabetes Association ever promoting a diet that would within three months completely reverse diabetes for type 2 diabetics and increase insulin sensitivity so much that type 1 diabetics could lower their insulin intake, saving them money and frankly increasing the quality and increasing the longevity of their life.
[00:25:50] Cyrus Khambatta: Yeah, no questions, Ashley. Absolutely right. I mean, you can ask a hundred doctors how much nutrition did you learn in medical school and all one hundred of them are going to tell you that they learned somewhere between 0 and 20 hours within their entire medical school education. Having gone through a PhD program to learn nutrition inside and out, I can tell you that in 20 hours, you can’t even scratch the surface. I mean, you can’t even get to the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg in nutrition because it’s a very complex subject, and there’s a lot of things to take into account, a lot of things to learn. So, we can’t look at doctors as being authorities on nutrition. It’s not their fault. Doctors are phenomenal human beings and they're very altruistic and they really want to help people, but they just don’t have the tools. And so, we have to look beyond the medical institution if we really want to find a way to use as medicine and that’s where a program like Mastering Diabetes comes into play.
[00:26:59] Ashley James: Okay, so there you were in your first week trying out Dr. Doug Graham’s protocol. You’re eating as much fruit as you want. Your insulin needs have gone way down. Your blood sugar is balanced. You’re feeling like a million bucks. Then, what? Because at this point, you haven’t even thought of becoming a PhD in nutrition, right? You were on a totally different track.
[00:27:29] Cyrus Khambatta: That’s exactly right. So, let’s go backward. Basically, I made the transition to eating a plant-based diet in the year 2003. Just for full clarity, going back to what you were saying, my story is about becoming a raw food vegan. That’s just because that’s what was presented to me at the time. But if you fast forward to now, we’re in 2022, which is 19 years beyond, the methodology that I teach people living with all forms of diabetes and the research that I’ve done over the past almost two decades, is that if you want to be a raw foodist, go for it. If you don’t want to be a raw foodist, go for it. Right? If you want to just eat a diet that contains a significant amount of plant material, that is good enough. So, like you were saying, I just don’t want people to get intimidated like “Oh, there’s that raw food guy talking about raw foods” because like I don’t even eat a raw food diet right now anymore. I just happened to start upon that diet back in the day.
So, we go backwards in time, 2003, I felt like a million bucks. I continued to live this way, I continued to adopt this lifestyle and my life got better and better. So, my insulin use stayed down, my blood glucose was very normalized. I became extremely active once again because I grew up as kind of one of these like my mom refers to me as a health cat. I’m one of those guys that just wakes up in the morning and I have so much energy, I don’t know what to do with it. So, from a young age, I would play soccer then baseball then basketball then running then swimming and then hiking and whatnot. In my young 20’s when I did go through this transition and I started to eat a plant-based diet, all of a sudden, I got that excessive amount of energy back and I was like, “Oh, I feel like a 5-year-old kid again. This feels awesome. I love it.” So, I continued to live a very high-energy lifestyle, which was directly a result of eating a plant-based diet. So, 2007 rolls around and I was like, you know what, I want to learn this stuff. I want to not just understand, have a personal story, but I want to actually learn the science.
So, I put myself back to graduate school and I got a PhD in nutritional biochemistry because that’s the super nerd nutrition science that I was looking for. Right? So, I go to UC Berkley for 5 years from 2007 to 2012, and I did a PhD in the subject of nutritional biochemistry. And I wrote a thesis on the ins and outs of insulin resistance and basically how you can manipulate insulin resistance, how you can create insulin resistance, how you can reverse insulin resistance, and how you can use diet and exercise to your advantage to really control the amount of glucose and insulin inside of your blood.
It was an eye-opening experience for me because I got to read thousands of scientific papers, I got to conduct scientific experiments, I got to really get so, so deep in the research that my mind was blown. It gave me an explanation for what was happening inside my own body but then it also completely opened up my mind to the idea that there are so many people on this planet that could benefit from eating a plant-based diet. That this story was no longer about Cyrus Khambatta. The story is about the human race. The story is not about this guy who got type 1 diabetes and happened to eat a plant-based diet. The story is about everybody who eats a diet that predisposes them towards insulin resistance and how they can eat in a way to reverse insulin resistance and lower their chronic disease risk, whether that’s diabetes or heart disease or cancer or autoimmune diseases or dementia or Alzheimer’s disease or fatty liver disease or chronic kidney disease, I don’t care. All of those conditions are influenced by your level of insulin resistance. So, if we can make you an insulin-sensitive individual, then your overall chronic disease risk goes to zero.
[00:31:41] Ashley James: Oh my gosh, I love it. So, in having your thesis accepted, tell me a bit about, you know, it was peer-reviewed, right, or you have professors reading your thesis, like what was their take on it? Did you blow some people’s minds? Were they resistant to your hypothesis, to your findings?
[00:32:04] Cyrus Khambatta: It was actually really interesting because the actual subject material of my thesis was trying to use intermittent fasting in particular as the primary intervention tool to be able to manipulate insulin resistance. So, what we would do is we would actually induce insulin resistance inside of laboratory animals, inside of mice and rats, and then we would rescue that insulin sensitivity by putting them onto a calorie restriction regimen or an intermittent fasting regimen. And so, my thesis didn’t really necessarily have anything to do with eating a plant-based directly. It was more about how do you manipulate the timing of your food intake in order to rescue your insulin sensitivity once again. When I presented all this to my thesis committee and did my qualifying examination and then my defense, it was never a question about like is this right. It’s not controversial in the world of biology, in the scientific world of biology. If you go to social media and you make a statement like a high-fat diet can induce insulin resistance, you’ll get torn to shreds. Because everyone and their mother has their own opinion about what they think is right and what they don’t think is right. “This is my experience and my mom said this and my brother said this and whatnot…” It all becomes this giant conflict-ridden conversation where people are pointing fingers at each other and saying “Oh no, you’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” right? But if you go into the scientific world and you present these ideas to people who are in the insulin resistance research-based world and you say yeah, we induce insulin resistance in laboratory mice and laboratory animals using a high-fat diet for 8 weeks, it’s silence. Everyone goes “Oh, okay, great, yeah. I know. That’s the way you create insulin resistance. Of course. Like there’s no argument here, that makes perfect sense.” Right?
It was this disconnect that I was seeing over and over and over again because the scientific world is pretty darn clear about what creates insulin resistance. But then if you go to the general public, the general public literally does the exact opposite. So, the scientific world basically says if you try and create insulin resistance inside of either a laboratory mouse or a rat or a human being or even a monkey, our closest primate ancestors, what you’ll find is that the way to do it repeatedly is to feed these animals and feed a human a high fat diet. It’s not a sugar diet. It’s not a high carbohydrate diet. It’s not a high fruit diet. It’s not a high potato diet. It’s not a high pasta diet. It’s a high fat diet that contains primarily saturated fat. If you feed an animal or you feed a human this type of diet for about 8 weeks, what you will find is that blood glucose levels begin to rise and they get elevated or they’re sustained at an elevated rate or an elevated concentration, and that insulin production also begins to increase in order to try and compensate to bring blood glucose back down again.
So, this is very well-described, it’s very well-known and it’s literally the exact mechanism that we used over and over and like, literally, hundreds of experiments to induce insulin resistance inside of these laboratory animals. But if you go to the outside world and you actually ask people on the street or you ask doctors or you ask influencers on Instagram or YouTube, well, what causes insulin resistance, they’ll tell you the exact opposite. It’s not about saturated fat for the general public. It’s not about eating a high-fat diet. They’ll tell you it’s carbs. Carbs are bad for you. Sugar is bad for you. Carbs are bad for you. Carbohydrates are bad for you. Don’t eat carbs. Carbs, carbs, carbs, carbs. You go to the American Diabetes Association, it’s about carbs. You go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the JDRF, the primary research-based organization for people with type 1 diabetes, they're telling you that it’s all about carbohydrates. And I literally sit there and I bang my head against the wall sometimes and I’m like, is the rest of the world under some kind of weird hypnosis? What the hell is going on? It’s like mind-boggling because what the general public is saying is so out of touch with what the research actually shows that I feel like I’m trying to educate the world about something that is absolutely true and is very repeatable, but yet, somehow I’m the minority and I’m the weirdo that gets a finger pointed and that I don’t know how to read research or that we’re citing research that’s not peer reviewed or some collection, if that makes any sense.
[00:37:06] Ashley James: Well, we’ve got this mass group think where we have been brainwashed since very, very young children. You and I both grew up in the ‘80s. I’m only a few years older than you, I think, or we’re right about the same age.
[00:37:24] Cyrus Khambatta: Yes, exactly.
[00:37:25] Ashley James: But anyways, growing up in the ‘80s, it was such a time of innocence. I was like 3 years old on my tricycle alone on our street. We could go out. I have memories. Because it was a very quiet street and I knew all the kids on our street. I just remember going out and playing alone on the streets, like this is a time of innocence. Our parents entrusted the TV as a babysitter. I mean, my parents were really, really great and they didn’t give me unlimited TV but there were times when they just popped me in front of TV because I was a hyper kid and it was just easier to manage their lives. I would sit there watching these… and also, my parents did not take me to fast food. Being a kid, we had in the ‘80s less fast food than they have now in the States. I live in the States now but I grew up in Canada. But I watched these commercials and it would be Kellogg’s and it would be all these cereals and it was these magical characters that you could trust. I grew up loving this Tony the Tiger and these spooky animals, whatever. Also, my mom didn’t buy any cereal where sugar was an ingredient. She was as health nut and so, I didn’t get to have any of this stuff, although there would be once in a blue moon like maybe 5 times in my childhood I had like sugary cereal. But, I’d go down the aisles in the grocery store and it was a form of trust and I had these good warm feelings in myself.
Now, having studied neurolinguistic programming and having studied how we create reality and understanding how they do propaganda. Edward Bernays – you study Edward Bernays, that's great. Understanding how they create marketing to do propaganda and brainwashing. When you walk down the aisles and look at brands and look at logos. Now, you have a kid, I have a kid, and before he could read, he knew logos. “Ah, Starbucks!” He would yell. I’m like, this kid, it was like a toddler having maybe a 50-word vocabulary but he would say “Home Depot!” like he’d point out because he knew we were at Home Depot because he could see the logo. Wherever we went, he would point at the logo and I’m like, this is brand marketing. When we go down the aisles and we see these sugary foods or when we drive through the drive-thru, you were raised to love a Ronald McDonald. You were raised to trust him and trust the food because you have these good warm feelings inside of when your parents took you or your grandparents or aunt or uncle or whatever or your big brother took you to the drive-thru or took you in to McDonald’s or whatever, insert fast food restaurant. Or, did a microwave dinner and made some kind of Mac ‘N Cheese, whatever garbage processed food, they have marketed and they have associated really good emotions with it. We grew up on a high fat processed food diet, but it has become part of our belief system that it is good because it is through the marketing of making us feel good and trusting these characters, these cartoon characters. Right?
Also, all the memories we have with our families eating this food, we trust it. Then, someone comes along and says this stuff is the cause of your diabetes and we want to say “No, I was told that Atkins reverses diabetes and keto diet is good for me, and these are high fat diets and therefore, you can’t tell me that a high fat diet is the cause of my problems.”
So, first thing we have to do is say if you're sick, and I’ve had five diseases, so my main listeners who had listened for a while know, but I had raging out-of-control blood sugar, type 2 diabetes. For many years I had out-of-control blood sugar before I was even diagnosed with diabetes. I also had polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility. I was told that I’d never have kids. After a battery of tests, I reversed that even though other doctors/endocrinologists said I could never reverse that, thank you very much.
[00:41:21] Cyrus Khambatta: I’ll tell you.
[00:41:22] Ashley James: Exactly. Right? The thing is you have to be stubborn. You have to be able to be willing to say no, like don’t bow down to this authority. We put the medical doctor on a pedestal or our parents or whoever in our life is saying you’ll always have this or the reason why you have this heart disease or this diabetes or whatever it is. The reason why you have this is because your genetics or because whatever they want to say, or because of your age. None of that. None of that is the reason. Do not buy into someone telling you how you're going to be and how your body is going to be. You should rage against it and say “No, I want to get healthier.” The thing is, and I think this is the hardest thing to swallow because it is a blow to our ego, we have to accept that what we’ve done both consciously and unconsciously, all the behaviors that we’ve done have led us to where we are right now. So if we’re on medications and we’re sick and we’re feeling horrible, we got to stop pointing the finger and we got to just say okay, what I’m doing and what I’ve been doing isn’t working. Like the person who’s been on and off keto diet or on and off Atkins and they're still sick. And that was me for so many years.
[00:42:33] Cyrus Khambatta: What ended up happening? How did you end up…
[00:42:35] Ashley James: Okay, I mean, I’ll go back in my story because I think it’s important for listeners who are struggling with diabetes, but I, in my teenage years, had hypoglycemia and it was pretty brutal but I was like you, as a child, incredibly energetic. I was an athlete. I don’t know if you know who Kurt Browning is, a Canadian. He’s our gold medalist in figure skating for many years. His coach was my figure skating coach growing up. So, I was intense. I love figure skating, I love downhill skiing. I love water skiing, tennis. I did everything. I bike rode or rollerbladed. I mean, I was on the rugby team and the swim team, and I weightlifted in high school. I loved being active. My mom, she had a lot of emotional issues around food and weight and she was constantly struggling to lose 5 pounds. Now looking back, I realize, so she was always skinny and also muscular because she worked out a lot because she had almost that anorexic mindset of anorexic and look in the mirror and see that they're fat when they're not. That my mom had that distorted view that she maybe had 5 pounds—maybe—on her body of excess weight. But she was always like, “Oh, I have to lose the 5 pounds!” That was kind of always the background, this panicky-ness around diet and she started projecting that on me when I was 12 years old and I was going through puberty. So, when I started growing hips and breasts, she put me on diets. She put me on diet after diet and that messed with my mindset and my metabolism because I was constantly being told by her that I was fat when I wasn’t. I was athletic.
But she put me on the Dr. Bernstein diet and that was my first introduction to ketosis. I’d have to go visit Dr. Bernstein in Toronto 3 times a week and they’d weigh me. He’d yell at me and here I am, I’m 15 or 16 at the time, I think it was 16, and he would yell at me and say I didn’t lose enough weight because I’m supposed to lose a pound a week when I’m already an athlete and I don’t have a lot to lose to begin with. Like, I’ve got boobs and hips, what do you want? I’m a growing teenage girl. But back then, I really bought the idea that I was fat. Because my mom was telling me and the doctors were telling me, and I think Dr. Bernstein was just happy to keep collecting a paycheck. And then I rebelled against it and started eating the way I’ve never eaten in my life, which was how all my friends were eating, because I was just like, screw you guys, stop trying to control me because I was going through the teenage-hood, which in a sense is good because here I am and I got to learn from this experience. But I was also going to the dojo 4-5 days a week and I really looked up to the black belts. I started eating exactly how they were eating and they were eating not great. But I thought they must be eating great because they’re black belts. So I started eating processed food and subway sandwiches and stuff. I accelerated my sickness and became an out-of-control type 2 diabetic at that point. Then all the other things cascaded and I had chronic infections for which I needed monthly antibiotics for.
I mean, that was very painful to be in so much pain that I needed antibiotics monthly. Then, just feeling horrible. It just went downhill. In my 20’s where you're supposed to be having the time of your life in 20’s, it was like being in a prison and I was crying myself to sleep every night. And I was struggling. It was really brutal. So, I know what it is to suffer. I know what it is to be so sick. You're just suffering. I never ever wanted to commit suicide, I never wanted to die. I wanted it to stop. I still loved life and I still had a lot of people I loved and I knew loved me. So, it wasn’t that. But I was so sick that I just felt like I was trapped in a prison. And I would cry to my husband and say “I just feel like I’m just trapped in this prison in a sick body,” because I feel like my spirit is healthy, my soul is healthy but I’m living in a sick body. Then, what happened was we just started watching these health documentaries and we learned to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, eat organic, and we just did one thing at a time and eventually, the first thing to go was the chronic infections. That's after shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. So, cutting out all the processed food and eating organic. Within 1 month, all the chronic infections went away. Surprise, surprise. You know, that was like oh, okay.
Then, it was hit or miss because I was learning from all these different people and not everything worked. Some things worked, some things didn’t. But I stumbled upon some really great mineral supplements and was told to cut out some bad foods and went gluten-free and saw that. I lost 25 pounds of inflammation of water weight in 1 month just cutting out the gluten grains. For me, that was a really big thing. Then I got to the point where I was no longer diabetic. At the time, I was like “Keto is the best, yeah, look at me I don’t have diabetes anymore.” This was about 6 years ago. But the problem was I couldn’t get my insulin resistance under control. It was still horrible insulin resistance and anytime I went off of this very controlled low-carb way of eating, it was just like I’d feel like a wreck. My blood sugar would be out of control and it was such a struggle.
Then, I tried the plant-based thing. I’m like, okay, well I’ve done everything else. That’s the thing you got to say to yourself. If what you're doing is getting this result and you don’t like this result, try a different thing. I tried over the 35 diets my entire life. At first, it was because my mom thought I was fat, right? So I was just going on with her diets. But then I actually created a lot of illness in my body so then it was then for me all these diets were chasing, trying to find the thing that helped. I loved the book, it was very cathartic for me to listen to the book Proteinaholic by Dr. Garth Davis. I really want to get him on the show because he said something in the first chapter, and I was just crying. He says you did not fail these diets; these diets failed you. Because their marketing is BS. And he proves, his entire book is proving to you that the science is not there. That these diets don’t have a leg to stand on. When you actually look at the science, these diets don’t have a leg to stand. This whole, like I said, Atkins, keto, and he goes down the list of every single diet I ever was on. I felt like a failure, I felt like there's something wrong with me. I started thinking maybe I have like some hidden trauma or like I was trying to think what was going on in my mind. Maybe I’m secretly sabotaging myself or what is it. All the while, these diets are smoke. They’re fraud. They're just smoke and mirrors. And it’s all marketing. In the long term they do not heal the body on the cellular level and they do not increase insulin sensitivity.
So, the first few weeks, and I don’t exactly remember and I could probably go back because I actually went down to this plant-based convention down in Seattle and I think we got a babysitter, I think we got the grandparents to watch our son. He was pretty young. We went down there and it was like a day date for us. There was a booth there that was checking blood sugar and I had eaten maybe an hour before and I was eating whole food plant-based so I know I was eating a ton of carbs. And I was terrified of carbs. I spent my entire life being afraid of carbs. My mom, once I ordered fish with a side of vegetables and rice and she stood up in the restaurant and screamed at me. And I was a teenager. She screamed at me because there was rice on my plate and she was so angry at me that I would eat rice. So, I was raised in an environment where you would be screamed at if you ate carbohydrates because that’s how bad they are for you. This is the brainwashing that I went through and so many people are brainwashed by the Atkins diet and the keto and all the influencers out there who look like ripped and look like a million bucks telling you that if you eat rice or if you eat mashed potatoes or something, that it’s bad for you. And so, I had been eating high, high, high carbohydrate but again, it was all plant-based and she took my blood sugar. Like I said, I had eaten about an hour before. I hadn’t exactly looked at the time but I knew it was recent. And it was 87. And I burst into tears, I had never seen my blood sugar under 115. Since I had been testing it, I had never seen it below 115. And it was 87. I’ve never been lower than 115 ever even in fasting. First of all, I don’t wake up feeling like I drank a bottle of tequila and got hit like a back truck the night before. Because that's how I used to feel waking up every night if I ate carbs. Because it was like if I ate a pizza, right? So there's carbs in there but there's like a lot of fat, which is what causes the insulin resistance as you're explaining.
And I’d always feel like I was waking up from a night of binge drinking, which I don’t drink alcohol, but like imagine a hangover. It was a sugar hangover. And yet, those few weeks that I had been eating a whole food plant-based diet with no oil, no added fat, no processed fat, I didn’t wake up that way. In fact, I woke up jumping out of bed, tons of energy and just feeling great and even keel the whole day. So I’m like, wait a second, what’s going on? But seeing those numbers, seeing my glucose, and it was funny because all those people there are the booth were like, “Aw! Are you okay?” I’m like, oh my God, I’m so happy, because I’m crying and they're like, “Oh no, what’s wrong?” Like, “No, I’m so happy.” I had never seen that low number. And that was the big a-ha. I’m like okay, there's something going on here. And I didn’t realize at the time that how could you, because I thought it took years to heal insulin resistance. Years. I didn’t realize it was within days that you can have it restored. Within days. So, for me, it’s been just hugely rewarding and cathartic because I’ve been processing and healing my entire childhood and the trauma around food and the belief system. You really have to look at your belief system around food. Because we are rooted so deeply in, well, this is how I was taught to eat, this is how we eat because we’re celebrating, and this is what we eat because we’re sad. We have to look at food and our belief system because we need to change something. If you're sick and suffering, there needs to be some changes because if you keep doing it, you're going to keep getting what you're getting. I had to make some major changes.
Now, I can cook a Thanksgiving meal that is delicious and plant-based and super amazing. I did a dry run last week and I can make a pumpkin pie. I can make this amazing Shepherd’s pie like a lentil loaf Shepherd’s pie that is out of this world and I fed it to someone who isn’t plant-based and they thought it was delicious. You can make really delicious meals. It does take practice. You can saute with that oil which was mind-blowing to me. But yeah, switching this way very quickly, I noticed that my insulin resistance came back online.
So, I want you to dive into the “why”. Why is it that when you cut out oil and animal fat, so you cut out animal products and you cut out oil and you just eat as many plants as you want, what does that make your insulin sensitivity happen?
[00:54:50] Cyrus Khambatta: There's a lot of science here that we can talk about. So, going back to what I was saying earlier is that the world operates under this paradigm that the thing that causes diabetes and high blood glucose and high insulin is carbohydrate. It is a true statement that when you consume carbohydrate energy in food, that it elicits and insulin release from the beta cells in your pancreas. So, from a biological perspective, it’s a true statement.
But what people have to understand in the sort of biology I’m going to describe here is that the amount of insulin inside of your blood at any given moment in time and the amount of glucose inside of your blood at any given moment in time are functions of multiple things. You cannot minimize all of the influences and all of the nutrients in your diet and all of the daily habits that you may or may not have. You can’t minimize all of that into one thing and one thing only and say “Oh, that’s the reason why I have diabetes. That's the reason why my insulin level is high.” Okay? So, in other words, chronic disease is multifactorial. Once we understand this, then we start to recognize that the amount of fat that you eat matters. The amount of carbohydrate that you eat matters. The amount of protein that you eat matters. The amount of fiber that you eat matters. The amount of water that you drink matters. The amount of exercise that you perform matters. The amount of intermittent fasting you perform matters. All of these things matter and they each have a very specific role in regulating your blood glucose and your insulin, and the goal for any individual is to try and identify how can I manipulate my fat intake to my advantage. How can I manipulate my fiber intake to my advantage? How can I manipulate my exercise to my advantage? If you start to have 5, 6, 7, or 8 different things in your lifestyle that are to your advantage, then the chances are you’re going to become a very, very optimally healthy person today and also into the future.
So, if we are willing to accept the premise that diabetes is more than just carbohydrate, we have to ask ourselves what other components of your diet are affecting your blood glucose and insulin use. So, in order to answer that question, again, we got to go back to the research and try and take a look on what the research world knows. So, what I said earlier was that the research world knows that eating a diet that is high in saturated fat will induce insulin resistance in as little as 8 weeks in laboratory animals and even faster in human beings. The reason that that happens is because when you eat a diet that contains a significant amount of fat which is very common in the low carbohydrate world, it’s very common in the ketogenic world, it’s very common in the paleo world. In fact, they encourage you to eat a lot of fat. A lot of the fat that they encourage you to eat is actually saturated fat that comes from animal products like red meat, white meat, like dairy products, like processed meats and also eggs. When you’re consuming these types of foods, the type of fat that you're putting into your mouth is predominantly saturated but most importantly, it comes locked up in a form called a triglyceride. Triglyceride is basically just a fancy super nerd way of describing way the storage form of that fat in nature. The storage form of fat is called a triglyceride simply because tri means three and glyceride means glycerol. So what happens is that you have three fatty acids that are covalently bound to a glycerol molecule. Okay? Don’t worry, that's not going to be on the test. But the idea here is that you got a glycerol backbone with three fatty acids. You consume triglycerides, that's the predominant source of fat in food and you consume the triglycerides, they travel down your esophagus, they go down into your stomach. Inside of your stomach there’s hydrochloric acid that’s secreted by the walls of your stomach that's there to sort of start to unfold protein and unfold these fatty acids or unfold the triglyceride molecule and unfold carbohydrate as well.
Finally, the next chamber is called your small intestine. Your small intestine is where the bulk of all the nutrient digestion and absorption takes place. So your small intestine is a chamber in which your multiple tissues secrete digestive enzymes. These tissues that secrete digestive enzymes include your liver, your pancreas and your small intestine. So all three of them have responsibilities to make things called lipases and proteases and carbohydrases and elastases and beyond. There's literally hundreds of different types of -ases and -ase basically refers to an enzyme. An enzyme is required in order to do some biological work to try and cut large molecules into smaller pieces. The triglyceride molecule in particular gets cut multiple times. The three fatty acids that are bound to glycerol basically get released from the glycerol molecule. Glycerol basically goes on to have a whole collection of effects. But the three fatty acids are then absorbed through the walls of your small intestine. They get put into these little spaceships called chylomicron particles. The chylomicron particles then circulate through your lymph system and then eventually into your blood. And these chylomicron particles, there's billions, if not trillions of them. They have one mission. Their one mission is to basically take the fatty acids that came in from your food and distribute them to tissues to put them somewhere.
These chylomicron particles become very numerous right after you eat a meal because they basically take on a lot of cargo from the food that you just ate and they’re there to try and deliver those fatty acids to tissues. So, what are the tissues that they're going to try and choose to deliver these fatty acids to?
Number one, your adipose tissue which is your fat tissue. This is actually a safe place to put fatty acids because from a mechanical perspective and from an enzymatic perspective, your adipose tissue is literally perfectly designed to absorb food from your blood when it is present. Most people think of your adipose tissue, your fat tissue as basically being this bad tissue. I hate fat because I don’t like the way it looks and it’s in my abdomen, it’s in my butt and it’s in my chest and it’s my armpits and it makes me look overweight. The reason for that is because there's excess fat that is being put into those tissues or put into that tissue. But in a normal metabolic situation where there isn’t an excess amount of fatty acids coming in, those fatty acids are supposed to go into your fat tissue. That's literally their home. So, you put those fatty acids inside of the fat tissue exactly where they're supposed to belong. But if you're eating a high fat diet, there is also a spillover. The spillover means that there are some fatty acids that get directed outside of your fat tissue to other tissues. Well, what are those other tissues?
Number one, your liver. Number two, your muscle. The spillover of excess fatty acids that come in from a high fat diet end up going inside of your liver and inside of your muscle. That's okay as long as the amount of fat that goes inside of your liver and muscle after a meal is a small amount. Because your liver and muscle are specifically designed to be able to absorb fatty acids from the chylomicron particles when it’s present in small quantities. They absorb those fatty acids and they stick them into this thing called a lipid droplet, and the lipid droplet has a physical location and the present inside of muscle and inside of your liver, so everything is fine. No problems at all.
The problem is that when you consume a diet that is low in carbohydrate aka high in fat, you end up overconsuming fat which puts a significant amount of fat inside of your adipose tissue and then the spillover inside of your liver or into your liver and into your muscle is greater than what they are designed to be able to absorb at any moment in time. So within a short period of time, if you eat one high-fat meal and then another high-fat meal, and then another high-fat meal, and then another high-fat meal, you end up overwhelming your liver and muscle with too much fatty acid and as a result of that, the lipid droplet inside of both of these tissues ends up becoming larger and larger and larger.
If you look at the research and try and figure out, well, what happens to a call inside of your liver? What happens to a cell inside of your muscle when it over accumulates fatty acids? What you’ll find is that there’s these very complicated scientific terms that are used to describe it. Number one, they refer to it as intramyocellular lipid deposition. What the heck does that mean? Intramyocellular refers to intra means inside, myo refers to muscle, cellular means in the cellular environment. So, intramyocellular means inside of the muscle tissue. So, intramyocellular lipid accumulation means putting lipid or putting fatty acids inside of the muscle tissue. If you look at it from the liver perspective, it’s called intrahepatic triglyceride. IHTG. Meaning putting fatty acids inside of the liver aka the hepatocyte. So, the research demonstrates that when there is intrahepatic triglyceride accumulation and intramyocellular lipid accumulation, that the first thing that those two tissues do is they go whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Where did all this stuff come from? I didn’t ask for this. This is beyond my biological design. Why is there so much lipid coming inside of me? So, they initiate a self-defense mechanism to try and block more lipid from coming in. And try and block amino acids from protein and glucose from carbohydrate at the same time.
The simplest thing that these cells can do in order to initiate so it protects themselves against the overaccumulation of more energy which is really what they're trying to block, the simplest thing that they can do is they can basically tell the insulin receptors on the plasma membrane to become less functional. What the cell does is it initiates this program known as insulin resistance or insulin rejection so that it can block insulin from signaling. Because it makes perfect sense. Insulin is a signaling molecule. Insulin’s job is to knock on the door and go “Knock, knock.” There's glucose in the blood, there's amino acids in the blood, would you like to take it up? The cell can respond by either saying “Sure, sounds like a plan. Why don’t you go ahead and put it inside? I’m going to open my doors to glucose and I’m going to open my doors to amino acids, put it inside of me.”
But if these cells are suffering from a high energy environment and they don’t want any more energy, then it makes sense to try and block insulin because the next time insulin comes and knocks on the door, it goes “Knock, knock. I got glucose and amino acids in the blood. What do you want to do?” these two tissues can respond by saying “No, no, no, I’m closed for business. Thank you very much. I have a whole bunch of lipid inside of me, let me go deal with this lipid stuff first.” So that’s what they do. They initiate a self-defense mechanism aka insulin resistance so that the next time you as an individual go eat something that contains any amount of carbohydrate, literally one banana that contains something like 20 grams of carbohydrate or maybe an orange or maybe a bowl of black beans or maybe a bowl of quinoa, something that doesn’t have that much carbohydrate energy, insulin goes “Knock, knock, there's glucose in the blood. Would you like to take it up?” and both of these tissues respond by saying “No, no, no, I don’t have room for you right now. It’s not time.”
What ends up happening is that this metabolic traffic jam that has been created by an excess deposition of saturated fat ends up decreasing insulin signaling inside of your liver and insulin signaling inside of your muscle. That then results in two problems. Number one, glucose gets trapped. Glucose cannot get inside of your liver and muscle as effectively as it used to before because both of those tissues are saying no, you don’t have a time and you don’t have a place to get in here right now.
Number two, insulin who’s knocking on the door saying “Hey, open up, open up, open up,” insulin literally cannot even dock onto its insulin receptor and as a result of that, insulin accumulates inside of the blood. So now you have both glucose and insulin that are trapped inside of the blood accumulating in high concentrations. What that means is that if you eat yourself into an insulin-resistant state and then you follow that up by eating a banana or a bowl of black beans or anything with carbohydrate, then your blood glucose goes high within an hour or two hours of eating that meal. You look at your blood glucose meter and you go, “Damn it! I told you. I told you I can’t eat carbohydrates because carbohydrates are bad for me. Potatoes are bad for me. Bananas are bad for me.” And I can prove it to you because I just ate 1 banana and now my blood glucose is high. So what that means is that I’m not going to eat any more bananas because carbs are bad. Atkins was right, the paleo diet is right, the ketogenic diet is right. All of these carbohydrates are bad for me. So then, people shy away from eating more carbohydrate energy and they go and they eat more fat-rich foods and more saturated fat, and they make the problem worse. Okay? What they're doing is they're blaming the carbohydrate. They’re blaming the banana and the potato and the black beans and the quinoa and they're saying, “Look, I can’t any more of you because when I do, my glucose goes high.” But what they don’t realize is that those are just the messengers. Those are just the secondary effect of the metabolic traffic jam that began by consuming too much lipid to begin with.
If you can clear out that traffic jam and get rid of that excess lipid deposition inside of your liver and muscle, then those two tissues aren’t forced to create a self-defense mechanism, then the next time you go eat something that's carbohydrate-rich and insulin comes and knocks on the door and says “Knock, knock, I got glucose and amino acids in the blood. Do you want to take it up?” both of these tissues respond by saying, “Sure! Give it to me. I’ve been looking for this stuff. Put it inside of me. Game on.” Does this make sense at all?
[01:09:46] Ashley James: Absolutely. It makes sense to me. We have a dance between insulin and glucose. We have been told since we were kids by the media that sugar is the problem, so stop eating sugar and by the way, all these plants contain sugar carbohydrates, so these are the problems. I mean, donuts, they contain sugar too. They're the problem but I think there's more fat in a donut than there is even sugar.
[01:10:12] Cyrus Khambatta: Correct.
[01:10:13] Ashley James: Which is crazy because you think donuts are all sugary. I mean, they're both. They’re both not healthy in many ways. But the point is, is that we’re told sugar is the problem, sugar is the problem. Diabetes is a blood sugar problem. Sugar is the problem, stop eating sugar. Well, what do you have left? Well, you’ve got protein and fat. Then we turn to the keto diet and Atkins diet and all that stuff.
I did Atkins several times. The reason why I kept doing all these different diets, I’d get to the point where I do a diet between 1 and 3 months and I would feel good at first and then I would become sicker and sicker and I become worse on the diet. I have to eventually stop because I was so sick, the diets would make me so sick. So, I remember the last time I did keto diet was actually with a doctor or the naturopathic physician. I came into her office weekly. This was about 6 years ago, closer to 7 years ago now, and they did a DEXA scan to monitor how much fat to muscle to bone tissue there was because they didn’t want us to lose bone mass or muscle mass while we were doing this keto diet. It was a doctor-instructed ketogenic diet where we were eating like it was stricter than Atkins, less than 20 grams of carbs, and lots of animal fat and lots of protein, which you can’t eat too much protein because then the liver is going to convert it to blood sugar by gluconeogenesis.
So, we were doing exactly what the doctor told us to do. First few days, I feel good maybe because I had cut out some processed food that snuck into my lifestyle, which is why I think a lot of people end up feeling good originally on these diets because they're cutting out the donuts, they're cutting out maybe the highly processed flour grains and all the stuff that comes with it. So they're cutting out some stuff that was proinflammatory. But then I started to feel worse and worse and worse, and eventually, what happened was after three months of being on this program, my liver became so inflamed that you could actually see my liver pushed beyond my ribcage. I couldn’t sleep on my right-hand side. I went for an ultrasound. My blood work showed my liver enzymes were through the roof and I went for an ultrasound. My doctor was like, “I really am curious to do a biopsy.” But I’m like, nope, no, you are not sticking that needle in me. But I did go for an ultrasound and they said this is not fatty liver, there is no fatty liver detected. It’s just angry. Your liver is completely inflamed and angry. They couldn’t figure out anything wrong with it other than it was very inflamed. My husband who luckily we got him tested because while I was like wow, this ketogenic diet really messed my liver up, it really messed me up, and then we got him tested and they’d actually damaged his kidneys and was causing massive kidney damage. We were concerned because it was like almost borderline kidney failure and he is otherwise a very healthy person. But he did a bunch of tests and then luckily, very soon after that, we actually discovered the whole food plant-based diet. Believe it or not, I didn’t really know that this was a thing. I knew what a vegetarian diet was or a vegan diet, but I didn’t understand that there's this whole other realm which the whole food plant-based, no oil, salt, sugar, this very clean way of eating. It was introduced to me through a guest I had on the show.
So, we adapted it and my husband was 100 percent onboard which was crazy to me because of how much of a big meat eater he was. I kind of went kicking and screaming because what I now understand is food addiction, and 1/3 of the population has addiction brain. You have to face that. If you know that you're like, wait a second, I can’t give up my __, if that's the conversation you're having, you go like “I can’t give up my donuts, I can’t give up my pasta or my meatballs,” whatever it is, if there's a voice in your brain saying “I can’t give up my cheese or whatever,” you have addiction brain. That's something you need to heal and work on because that's holding you back and keeping you sick. Is it really worth it? Is a moment on the lips worth the illness? I did go kicking and screaming and I finally gave up 100 percent of the animal products just as an experiment. Okay, I can do this, I can do this experiment. I actually never had one day, in my entire life I never had one day that I hadn’t eaten an animal product.
I remember my first day, I was expecting to feel tired because I was told protein gives you energy, which is not physiologically what happens at all. And you can explain that. But we’re told that you need protein for energy. “Protein” meaning you need to eat eggs, you need to eat cheese, you need to drink dairy, you need to eat animal flesh to have muscles and have energy and feel strong. So, the first day of eating this way, I couldn’t believe how like wait a second, I feel good, what’s going on? Because I had been on and off Atkins for over 20 years. Also, I had to face that fear of carbohydrates. But I felt really good. So that keto, coming up against that idea that eating fat is what’s good for you and the carbs are what’s bad for you and then having to go wait a second, we’ve been lied to, it’s actually completely the opposite, and Cyrus can explain why. But what the doctors were impressed by though by using the whole food plant-based diet, my husband healed his kidney and I healed my liver so fast. The naturopaths were very impressed with how quickly our bodies recovered and healed from the damage the ketogenic diet did using the whole food plant-based diet.
[01:16:20] Cyrus Khambatta: That’s amazing. It’s funny how I think the commonality between what you experienced and what I experienced is that the speed at which your liver can improve, the speed at which your insulin sensitivity can improve, the speed at which your overall energy levels can improve is very, very fast. It doesn’t actually have to take weeks or months necessarily. You can start to see the improvements within a very short period of time and then that right there can reverse or begin the process of reversing years and years and years of damage.
[01:16:55] Ashley James: Now, did you get to tell us how you met Robby and how you formed this alliance together where you're teaching people how to do Mastering Diabetes? What I want to say though is that if listeners go back to episode 233 and episode 489, Robby explains exactly how your program works and how to eat this way. He really goes into great detail in episode 489. Those links to those episodes will be in the show notes as well because I definitely want listeners to go back and listen to that. But what I want to understand from you because you have so much with the science, I mean, I want to know all the stories and I’d love to talk to you for hours, and I know you're pressed for time, so what I want us to learn from you is how is it that there are some people out there like the influencers who are eating this incredibly high fat diet and they're ripped and they keep taking pictures of themselves in the gym and they keep showing how they're drinking ketones and drinking MCT oil and they don’t gain weight. We’re told “Oh, you don’t gain weight when you eat fat. Fat that you eat doesn’t become fat. Carbohydrates that you eat become fat.”
And yet, what I learned from Dr. McDougall, he says, you know, if you eat potatoes and you don’t add like let’s say butter, olive oil, or sour cream, if you don’t add any fat to potatoes and you eat an excessive like let’s say you eat 5000 calories of potatoes and your body only burns 2000 calories, let’s just say, your body is not going to take that excessive 3000 calories and convert it to fat and store it as energy. It actually converts it to heat. When I read that, it blew my mind because I had noticed. Our house is 66 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t like spending money on heating. But we’re all warm. We’re all just wearing extra layer. But I go around barefoot now and our house is cold. We keep our house cold and I am hot all the time ever since switching to a high-carbohydrate low-fat diet. When I read that, I was like oh my gosh, this makes sense, because I used to be the person that had to wear microwave slippers because my feet were always so cold and ever since eating this way, my body’s just pumping out heat and it’s not gaining weight from eating any kind of excessive amount if I happen to eat more carbohydrates. It doesn’t convert to fat. Can you explain that? Why is it that what we see in the media, we see that eating high fat doesn’t convert to fat because we see these like ripped bodies in the influencers, and yet, what you're telling is is the physiology is when we eat excessive fat, it gets stored in the adipose tissue and when we eat carbohydrates without fat present in the diet, we don’t store it as fat.
[01:19:46] Cyrus Khambatta: So when you're consuming a diet that's high in fat, what I don’t want people to think of is that “Oh, Cyrus told me that if I’m eating a lot of fat, then all of a sudden I’m going to become fat.” Because that can happen. But in order to determine whether or not you're going to become fat, you have to take a look at your overall energy balance. So your energy balance is basically what is the total number of calories that you're consuming from your food and how does that relate to the total number of calories that you are burning on a daily basis or that you are getting rid of on a daily basis through your basal metabolic rate plus your activity level plus the thermic effect of food, the amount of heat that's being dissipated from the calories that you're consuming.
We’re going to have to go into a lot of fancy detail in order to really understand what all that means. But the idea here is let’s say that there is some random person who claims that eating a ketogenic diet is an ideal solution for their body. So, they’re a normal weight individual. They might be a 175 pounds. They might look good, they might go to the gym on a daily basis. They might be ripped. You might look at them and be like “Damn, you're clearly doing something right.” So that individual, if they're not gaining any weight on a daily basis and they're completely weight neutral or preventing themselves from gaining weight over the course of time, what that means is that they're in energy balance. So, the amount of energy that they're taking in on a daily basis is roughly equal to the amount of energy that they're expending and that's actually a good thing, so I would say great, I’ll give you a high five, my hat goes off to you.
So, being in energy balance is a good thing because it’s going to prevent against the accumulation of weight over the course of time or the accumulation of mass over the course of time. But just because you are weight neutral does not mean that you are living in an insulin sensitive state. Okay? So, we have to decouple the two of those because you could be living in an energy-neutral position and preventing yourself from gaining weight over the course of time but if you are eating a high fat diet, then that means that likely, you are in an insulin-resistant state. So, you are in an insulin-resistant state, your liver and muscle are over accumulating fat as we talked about earlier and as a result of that, insulin signaling is not working very effectively inside of both of those tissues. Okay? So it becomes this sort of confusing picture because on one hand, you're saying, well, you're not gaining weight, so then what’s the problem, Cyrus? It doesn’t really make any sense. And I could say okay, fine. Just because you're not gaining weight does not necessarily mean that you're in a healthy metabolic situation, okay? You can take two individuals that are both weight stable and one of them could be in a highly insulin sensitive state because they're eating a low-fat diet and the other individual can be a highly insulin-resistant state because they’re eating a low-carbohydrate diet. Both of them could look good from the outside, both of them could be weight stable from the outside, both of them could actually have a low A1C and a low blood glucose and a low blood pressure but yet one of them is highly insulin-resistant and the other one is highly insulin-sensitive.
What that means is that if you fast forward over the course of time, each of them is going to have a slightly different chronic disease risk into the future. The person that’s living in an insulin resistant state because they're eating a low carbohydrate diet is going to be at an advanced risk or a higher risk for the development of many chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer in particular. The person who is in an insulin sensitive state is going to be at a low risk for the development of chronic diseases including cancer and heart disease. So, we have to add time as a variable because the amount of time that you are consuming food in an insulin-resistant state or the amount of time that you are consuming food in an insulin-sensitive state is a very, very, very important factor into understanding what is your chronic disease risk is going to be like into the future. This is something that I think most people just don’t understand. They’re not willing to understand it, it doesn’t compute in their brain. Which is that if I look good today and if I am normal weight today and if my glucose level is low today and my insulin level is low today and my cholesterol level was low and my blood pressure is low today, does that mean that I’m doing everything right? My answer to you would be well, it may suggest that but it may not also suggest that because the research demonstrates that people who are eating a diet that’s higher in saturated fat and higher actually in animal-based protein over the course of time are at an advanced risk for many chronic diseases. It’s really important that we understand that what you're doing today is important, but what you're doing today and how it’s going to influence your risk for many metabolic diseases into the future is more important and that’s what I really care about in the long term. Does that make sense?
[01:25:11] Ashley James: Absolutely. In your book Mastering Diabetes, is that everything that we need to know, if we read that book and do what it says, is that everything that we need to know for type 2, so no longer have diabetes or type 1’s to be able to get their insulin to carb ratio at a really good rate, and reverse these diseases and prevent these diseases. Is that everything we need to know in that book?
[01:25:35] Cyrus Khambatta: Yeah. So effectively, Mastering Diabetes is a book that we have written that took 3 years to write and has been out for two years now and has really shaped, changed the way that so many people think, that book is not only a prescription for becoming an insulin sensitive individual. What it is truly is a prescription for lowering your overall chronic disease risk. And if you can think of it from that perspective, then what you're going to learn is a way, a system that’s going to lower your blood glucose today and lower your insulin use today and lower your body weight today. But if you again multiply that times time then it’s going to lower your overall chronic disease risk tomorrow and 5 years into the future, and that's a really good thing because I want you to live in an optimal metabolic state today, but I also want that to continue to unfold 5, 10, 15, 20 years into the future. Up to this point, I have not found a way of eating that is more powerful than a plant-based diet at improving your current metabolic state and improving your metabolic state into the future. I simply haven’t found anything that’s more powerful.
[01:27:01] Ashley James: I love it. There are so many athletes who are doing this and they're winning gold medals. It improves immediately. They're seeing that when they switch this way, that there are improved outcomes. To watch someone who’s an athlete hone their body as a tool and then they see that they're able to run longer, they’re able to do whatever they do longer and they're able to recover faster, we can see that in them. Even though we might not be pro athletes, we do the same thing and then we see that we get similar results. We’re just able to go longer and recover faster and feel better. If you’ve ever been around older relatives and watched them passed away too early and suffer too many years from a disease that was preventable, as I have, you don’t want that for yourself. You don’t want that for your spouse. You don’t want that for your children. And we have to do something different from the masses to not be a statistic. 1 in 3 to 1 in 4 people depending on whether you're male or female will have a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. 1 in 3 people is obese, is pre-diabetic, or is diabetic. It is a huge juggernaut that we’re facing. If you want to be a statistic, keep going to Krispy Kreme. Keep going to Starbucks. Keep going to the McDonald’s. Just keep eating the way everyone is eating. Just keep doing what everyone is doing to do whatever your doctor says and you will end up as a statistic. But if you want to be an outlier, you have to do something different from everyone else, and that definitely takes that mental switch. I highly encourage listeners go to MasteringDiabetes.org/book, get the book, check it out. Give it as Christmas gifts or Hannukah gifts or holiday gifts, whatever. Give it as birthday gifts. Give this book out. Encourage your friends and family to listen to this episode. If you’d rather consume videos and video interviews as I love, go to Learntruehealth.com/masteringdiabetes and check out their summit, and purchase that, show it to your friends and family. This is something that we can make a difference. We can turn this ripple into a tidal wave and help so many people. If you throw a stone, you're going to hit someone with type 2 diabetes. I can’t believe how many people I know have type 2 diabetes or on metformin or insulin. I had a friend who is in and out of the hospital for a year and the doctors couldn’t figure out why. Actually, I was the one that figured out why. My friend was suffering from chronic acute pancreatitis. She was living in the hospital more than living at home for a year. Could only consume liquids and was so sick, in so much pain and I was like, “just tell me everything you're taking. What’s going on?” I listened to all her meds and I went and looked on the drug website, the actual pharmaceutical manufacturer’s website and I saw that pancreatitis can be caused by metformin. She wasn’t even diabetic. Her doctor had her on metformin as a preventive which just boggles my mind. I said, listen, ask your doctors to get you off of this. She did and the pancreatitis went away. I’m like, geez, that wasted a year of her life of suffering, in needless suffering. How many people are needlessly suffering because they’re blindly listening to their doctor and blindly eating how everyone else eats just because that's how everyone else does. Don’t be a sheep. Don’t be a lemming. If you don’t like how your health is now, get this book and change your life. Just try. Try it for a week.
Within days, you feel a difference. How many days would you say, Cyrus, does it take for even the worst of insulin resistances to kind of come back online and for people to start noticing a difference? Would you say giving it a full week, would they start to see a difference? Giving it a month or three days? How long would it take before they start feeling a difference?
[01:30:50] Cyrus Khambatta: I like the term that you use which is coming back online. I love that. What it makes you realize is that reversing insulin resistance is a long-term metabolic change that has to happen and it’s going to unfold over the course of many months to many years. Literally, it’s a never-ending process. You can always become more insulin sensitive and you can do it by continuing to eat a plant-based diet and continuing to exercise and continuing to intermittent fast over the course of time. But the question really becomes, well, how quickly can you start to see the effects? How quickly can you go online. And the answer is, in my situation, I saw it within 24 hours. I’ve talked to so many people that have seen the same thing happen within 24-48 hours. So, I would say worst-case scenario, you’ll feel the effects within 7 to 10 days. But chances are, you're going to feel it a lot quicker.
[01:31:42] Ashley James: So just give it a try. It’s like you're doing a detox or a cleanse. Just do it. Just try it. Going to that restaurant because that friend or family member wants you to eat that way, is that really worth your health? Is that really worth sick and suffering and having limbs? People will have limbs amputated, will lose their eyesight, like will have heart attacks or strokes when they're way too young because of this issue, this very issue. You could just say I’m just going to say no, I’m just going to try for 7 days, just give it a try. Get the book. All the links are in the show notes today. Masteringdiabetes.org/book. Just get the book or watch the videos. Learntruehealth.com/masteringdiabetes. Try it. See how you feel. The jury is out. Just try it for yourself. See how you feel, maybe test your blood sugars now and test them after a week of doing it. Just see how you feel.
I can’t convey how good it feels. The hardest thing is all in your head. The hardest thing is the mental shift. It’s actually easy to cook this way, easy to eat this way. The hardest thing is the mental shift. Once you're sold on it, you just have to enforce healthy boundaries with those around you because people are addicted to food and they're going to want to try to suck you back and just like alcoholics when they get you to drink with them. They're going to try to suck you back into their Krispy Kreme or whatever. And if you say listen, I’m on a health journey right now and I love you and you can eat that way, but I’m going to eat this way, and just try it.
Cyrus, I’d love to have you back on. Thank you so much for coming on. I’d love to have you back on. I’d love for you to share more. We didn’t even get to talk about stories of success. You’ve helped thousands of people. You and Robby. Robby talks about more in episode 233, but you guys have helped so many people and done one-on-one’s and done group coaching where you’ve guided people through this and had outstanding results. We’ve been told by the media you cannot reverse diabetes that you are stuck with it, that you have to “manage” it because the system is designed to keep you sick, to keep making a profit off of your sickness. You're here listening to this today because you don’t believe that crap and you want to get healthy and you’re sick of being sick. If you're sick of being sick and you want to feel amazing every morning, you want to feel like you're that 5-year-old again jumping out of bed, bouncing with energy and just loving life, try something different. Because what you’ve been doing isn’t working, so try this.
Cyrus, thank you so much for coming on the show. It’s such a pleasure having you here. Really, please, come back on the show, share more stories of success, share more of the science. I know you're always diving in and learning more and sharing more, and I’d love to have you back.
[01:34:17] Cyrus Khambatta: Thank you so much. I really appreciate the invitation to be here and I do hope that your listeners have learned a lot in this process. Truth be told, I’m happy we can come on here and we can talk over and over again and do more episodes in the future because the message is very important and what I’m trying to do is provide as much clarity as possible so that people can really transform their lives using the power of a plant-based diet. Thank you so much for all that you do. I know you’ve been podcasting for a very long time and you’ve changed the lives of thousands of people. We’re on the same team. And I’m here for you and I’m hoping to do whatever I can to continue to relay this message and have you on my team as we do so into the future.
[01:34:59] Ashley James: Love it. Thank you so much.
Get Connected with Dr. Cyrus Khambatta!
Podcast – https://www.masteringdiabetes.org/podcast/
Book by Dr. Cyrus Khambatta
Health Coach, Podcast Creator, Homeschooling Mom, Passionate About God & Healing
Ashley James is a Holistic Health Coach, Podcaster, Rapid Anxiety Cessation Expert, and avid Whole Food Plant-Based Home Chef. Since 2005 Ashley has worked with clients to transform their lives as a Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro-linguistic Programming.
Her health struggles led her to study under the world’s top holistic doctors, where she reversed her type 2 diabetes, PCOS, infertility, chronic infections, and debilitating adrenal fatigue.
In 2016, Ashley launched her podcast Learn True Health with Ashley James to spread the TRUTH about health and healing. You no longer need to suffer; your body CAN and WILL heal itself when we give it what it needs and stop what is harming it!
The Learn True Health Podcast has been celebrated as one of the top holistic health shows today because of Ashley’s passion for extracting the right information from leading experts and doctors of holistic health and Naturopathic medicine
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