It is hard to do a good nutrition and health study. Add to that how many people conducting these studies have built-in biases, and we're left with a hodge-podge of bad science. Ivor Cummins (The Fat Emperor) is a professional complex problem solver. He's made it his mission to dive in and deconstruct much of this science to find the truth.
Let's Say Hello
[00:02:50.080] – Coach Allan
Hey, Ras. How are things?
[00:02:52.050] – Coach Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?
[00:02:54.200] – Coach Allan
Doing good. Little tired. I told you guys this a lot. We record this a few weeks in advance. A couple of weeks in advance. And so this is a holiday here, the New Year's holiday. And so we've made the decision this year to give our staff the time off. And I know I've talked about that, but it's quite a different thing when you know you've got 13 breakfast and you got three rooms to clean and this person wants to rent bikes and that person needs this and someone needs a ride there, and some people have to be picked up there. And then you have to wait for this couple to show up, and you don't know when they're here. And so it's just one of these move move move and then you finally get that opportunity to sit down and record
[00:03:42.980] – Coach Rachel
Oh, jeez. Oh, my goodness.
[00:03:49.300] – Coach Allan
And roll it through my head. It's like, okay, I got to get a bottle of water upstairs because they're about out there. And then got to make sure that all the laundry that needs to be done, the one ends we pulled off of the beds, and all that still gets done. I've got a laundry list of about a dozen things in my head right now that Call probably won't be able to nap immediately. There probably will be a nap somewhere today.
[00:04:15.280] – Coach Rachel
That sounds good. Good plan.
[00:04:17.750] – Coach Allan
Yeah. How are things up there?
[00:04:19.890] – Coach Rachel
Good. We made it through Christmas, made through New Year's. Now it's about getting back to schedule again. I miss having routines and schedules and just getting back to normal. My sleep is disrupted too, so I just feel wonky.
[00:04:34.680] – Coach Allan
And I saw this insane, insane picture of you standing in water in Mission.
[00:04:44.440] – Coach Rachel
[00:04:47.400] – Coach Rachel
On New Year's Day, our Fun Run Club organizes a polar plunge, and on the lake that we use, it had a pretty good base of ice. In fact, it was kind of a struggle to chop through to make a little hole for us to do our little polar plunge.
[00:05:06.560] – Coach Allan
That's everything nature, god, everything's saying, don't.
[00:05:12.400] – Coach Rachel
It's exhilarating. It really is. I look forward to it every year. I get really excited in December that this is coming up, and, yes, it is super cold, and there's a lot of screaming going on, but it is really a lot of fun, and I just feel like it's like washing off the bad luck of last year and getting myself ready and prepared for the upcoming year. It's kind of a great day, and it's a lot of fun.
[00:05:44.350] – Coach Allan
I have a completely different description of it.
[00:05:51.100] – Coach Rachel
Well, truth be told, I am no stranger to ice bath, and as an endurance runner, I am known to take an ice bath with lots of ice in the bathtub after a run. So I'm no stranger to any of it. I enjoy it. It is exhilarating. It is a challenge. But yeah. It's also a lot of fun.
[00:06:14.020] – Coach Allan
Yeah. And that's why when I say there's no one way to do any of this, there's no one way, and there's no way in that world. I might have considered it. But, oh, yeah, I'm not doing that up there. Having to peck through the ice to make it happen.
[00:06:36.380] – Coach Rachel
Yes, it was a fun time.
[00:06:38.400] – Coach Allan
Ready for the conversation with Ivor?
[00:06:41.670] – Coach Rachel
[00:07:21.240] – Coach Allan
Ivor, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:07:25.020] – Ivor
Thanks a lot, Allan. Great to be here.
[00:07:27.740] – Coach Allan
I'm hyper excited. I mean, I'm like a little fanboy right here now because I've heard you speak, and it's something else. If you can get out and listen to this guy, if you can get on his YouTube channel, you've got to go meet him, because Ivor is a no nonsense, data driven individual that he doesn't just take the headline. You go in and you drill and you learn a lot of interesting things. And I've learned a lot of interesting things by listening to you.
[00:08:02.120] – Ivor
Yeah. Well, thanks, Allan. It's my background, really, I was a complex problem solver and corporate for a couple of decades, leading teams, and it's always what I specialized in, so I don't dig into everything. Some things I judged are not of huge value to understand more deeply, but it's like breadth and depth, as we used to say. Breadth on capturing the full picture of any kind of topic or arena, and then depth where necessary, based on your skill and judgment, to go into depth where there's value.
[00:08:34.640] – Coach Allan
Well, like I said, your YouTube channel is pure gold. The depth and the breadth there is just fascinating. I got caught up in that rabbit hole the other day while I was prepping for this interview, and I just one video after the other. And so, the funny thing, I was watching one of your videos and you finished the video, and I was kind of peddling with something else. And you know how YouTube will take you on to the next video, just some other video, it wasn't yours. There was some newscast and they were talking about fusion energy and how someone might have cracked fusion energy. And now I'm hooked on they knew I wanted to see this, so they got me. But that's when it hit me. It's like, we know what fusion energy is. If you know enough about science and you've studied it a little bit, you know what that is. And there's a science, a hard science, between what that is, how you define something like fusion. Why is it that when we do science around food and health, it never quite gets to that same level of science? Why is science not science when it comes to food and health?
[00:09:52.300] – Ivor
Yes. Big question. Well, I think the theoretical science and physics and mathematics have stayed pretty poor, or pure, I should say. Not poor, pure. And they've stuck with the scientific method of create a hypothesis and then seek to destroy the hypothesis, ideally not just to support us, which are cognitive or belief bias and they've just stuck to science. And they've been allowed to really, because there's no mass market, particularly in kind of fusion and theoretical physics. So they were allowed to continue, as we did for hundreds of years, stick to the science. However, health and food are the two biggest markets on the planet, basically. So the processed food industry is enormous, as you well know, and we've got this ownership model over the last 30 years where a few corporations own the whole lot and that's just the way the world is. And then the health market, well, we've got big pharma and they have enormous funds and influence on medical training, doctors training, and funding studies and funding trials. So they bring all the money to direct the science. So I think that's a high level view. They've been co opted. And you know, with the FDA the revolving door, the head of the FDA becomes the head of some pharma group and vice versa.
[00:11:18.740] – Ivor
So basically industry capitalism has been very successful over particularly the last 40 or 50 years to essentially take over. Largely the science of both food, nutrition and health. Not exercise per se, but then there's a lot of kind of grifters and exercise as well. These are all big markets and that's essentially the bottom line. They are huge markets and there's no way they're going to be let just bumble along scientifically.
[00:11:51.040] – Coach Allan
So if I see a study and the headline reads that you should be eating beets five times a day, every day, and only beets.
[00:12:02.740] – Coach Allan
Other than that just sounded absurd to say it out loud. But how would I know, when I'm looking at a study that this isn't something that was just I'm not going to say made up, but that there was a cognitive bias or there were confounders, there was something wrong with the science or the way they're describing the output.
[00:12:22.300] – Ivor
Yeah, well, the first thing is always the funding. I mean the funding and the ideology. So many times you'll find a study that seems odd and is in conflict with what you would expect. It may go back to a particular strong ideology like veganism or a university associated with that or vegetarian leaning. Or there could be a climate aspect to the funding. Or of course, there could be food industry and pharmac and be in there. So it doesn't prove that the study is bad. But if your antennae go up at all, look to the authors, look them up online, find out are they a particular extreme diet of fysionadol and indeed where the funding is coming from. The other thing then are associational studies. If it says appears that or seems that, or tracks with or all these kinds of clues and they don't actually say this is a proven thing, it's often an associational study. So that's the basic correlation versus causation thing. So I give a quick example. We pretty much know because you can never know anything for 100% in science. But we know that the factory seed oils, the vegetable oils, the heart healthy oils, we know they're not a good idea compared to real food.
[00:13:44.180] – Ivor
However, for 40 or 50 years, the population has been screamed at to eat the vegetable oils and don't eat the natural saturated fats. So what's happened is, over 50 years, the health focused people who are focused on their health tend to listen to the advice from the scientists and the health officials, right. So they tend to eat more vegetable oils. But what happens then is you've got a healthy user bias. I. E. After 40 years, you can look at the data and you can see some better health outcomes in the populations that eat a little more vegetable oils. And it's not because they're healthy. It's because for 40 years, you've kind of ruined the pitch. You've ruined the experiment. Because the healthier people who are worried about their health, who have better outcomes, well, they tended to take more of the oils. So that's just an example of confounding, extreme confounding in an associational or epidemiological study. But there are many more. People who eat more saturated fat, and it is related. They tend to not care about advice. They are shown again and again to have more smoking, more overweight, more bad habits of various sorts, lack of exercise.
[00:15:06.570] – Ivor
So you see these signals. But the author of the study is only looking for one message. In this case, healthy vegetable oils are healthy. We were right all along. Honest.
[00:15:21.060] – Coach Allan
Yeah. The way I like to think about causing correlation is that if you go to a fire, there's a lot of firemen around. So maybe it's the firemen that are starting the fire. You know that's not the case. It's just because the way we address fires, there's always going to be firemen at a fire. And so you can't get rid of the firemen to think that that's what's going to get rid of the fire. And it sounds, again, kind of silly, this, when you say that kind of stuff out loud, but sometimes when you're reading the studies, that's exactly what they're saying. We see this thing here, therefore we know there's a problem. If we get rid of this thing we won't have the problem. It's not really the cause.
[00:16:01.440] – Coach Allan
So let's talk. You dived into it a little bit. You started talking about veganism, vegetarian, and animal based foods and saturated fat. You've talked to a lot of people. You've done a lot of research in this area yourself, digging, is animal based foods good for us or bad for us or in the middle somewhere? Maybe?
[00:16:27.640] – Ivor
Yeah, well, so whole, real natural foods that would be strongly associated with our evolution as a species, they are the best foods. They are the best diet. Unless you have weird compelling data to say otherwise, it makes sense and paleo anthropologists almost to a man or a woman. Dr. Michael Eads, a good friend of mine, often has said this, and it's true. They will all acknowledge that Homo sapiens evolved by the scavenging off animal carcasses. Now, we started off scavenging organ meats and even brain, et cetera, and we cracked open bones. The tools are all there in the record, every human tribe going back to daydot. And then we moved on to hunting. We became more and more successful as hunters. And the one ancestor of humans, Dr. Eads actually sent me this before that debate I did, and it was beautiful. And it was from one of his talks I'd missed. And it showed that around a million years ago, there were these striding, kind of hominids, two legged creatures that became us, and there were various branches, and they found one dead end branch. And there was no reason for it at first, that this branch had completely died off and the other branch had gone on to become humans.
[00:17:51.240] – Ivor
Most successful species on the planet, you could say. And that branch actually was one where it stayed vegetarian. So of course it didn't have access to the nutrient density of meats and organ meats. It didn't trade off its digestive large stomach size to enable a huge brain calorie drain like we did. It just stayed more like an ape with a big stomach and the brain nothing to write home about. So even there and in everything in the paleo anthropological research and fossil records, all says again and again, this is how we got here. So there's that. And then when you look at the mechanistic, you say, okay, what's the nutrient density of meats and fish and eggs? And boom, it's got massive nutrient density and much more bioavailability of key proteins than any plant food. Doesn't mean plant foods are no good. They carry minerals and vitamins and various proteins that you can convert. But the animal foods are clearly way ahead of the game. So without going into great detail, but I give an example b Twelve. You can have severe mental illness from being low on B12, and it only comes from animal foods.
[00:19:10.950] – Ivor
I mean, there's a giveaway, come on, and you could go on and on, but all these other components that are in animal foods and the fats match the fats of what our body makes our fat out of is mono and saturated fat. That's what human bodies make for safe storage of energy. And that's what we get from animal foods, very well matched fat balance to what we are made of. So there's all of that mechanistic stuff and nutrients and bioavailability, that's a no brainer. So now you've got the ancestral evolutionary, and it's basically almost like almost a proof in itself. It's hard to argue with. And then you've got what I just mentioned, including components and DHA, EPA, or another one that are almost you can't get anywhere else, right? So then you say, wow, with these foods we evolved on, they have vastly higher nutrient density and even contain nutrients that we actually need, or we get very ill. And you put that together and then at this stage you're kind of there, right. Obviously they're the healthful foods for those reasons. But the world for ideological reasons has spent definitely the last 40 years, particularly the last ten years, and bringing in climate as well as an argument, right, climate change.
[00:20:42.560] – Ivor
But going back to the Adventist Church and the huge industries they own, it goes back to the turn of the century. And Harvey Kellogg, who perceived masturbation as sinful and quite rightly, probably said if we feed them gruel instead of meat, they'll be less active. And he actually had a point there in a sense. So carnal knowledge and even the Bible, Carna has all these negative associations. For thousands of years, kings would tell the poor people meat is bad for you. That the top strata always indicated. The Bible said it. Vegetarian churches say it. All of these reasons that meat is bad are ideological, or even worse, they're a power play of sorts, a feudalism. That's all there is against meat. As an example, the big one WHO a few years ago came out with a study and said meat is now a grade two carcinogen and processed meat is a grade one, I think. The data in that, they said, we looked at a thousand studies and they kind of did, and none of them said that, but they used associational epidemiological data within them and maybe a mouse study to come to the conclusion that meats a carcinogen, which is de facto absurd.
[00:22:14.980] – Ivor
And that's the tip of the iceberg. There's 1000 studies now, all driven by ideology, whether climate, religious, or just general dietary ideologies.
[00:22:27.660] – Coach Allan
Yeah, the debate that you were talking about, that was with Dr. Gregor. I've had him on the show when he wrote his book How Not to Die. It's actually a good book. And he goes into science in the book, as he does with his normal video, I guess it's a videocast podcast thing, well produced, put together. But you're right, most of the studies that he covers are really one sided. And I've had conversations with vegans and I say, well, we've got to talk about B12. And they're like, well, yeah, you might have to supplement with B12, but carnivores have to supplement with statins.
[00:23:13.100] – Ivor
Welcome at a false equivalence.
[00:23:17.500] – Coach Allan
Yeah, but that's the conversation. And you touched on something that I really think is important because I have had vegans on the show. I've had carnivores on the show, I've had raw paleo. I've had a vegan that was keto. So I try to get a broad view of different people on the show so at least they can present their ideas in a fair location where I'm not going to beat them up for the way that they want to live. And that they think others should, but it's whole food. If I ask a vegan, why do you feel like your diet is the best? They're like, well, it's a whole food, plant based diet. And I'm like, okay. And I ask a carnivore, why do you feel like your diet is the best? It's basically a whole food, animal based diet. And so they always go back to the this is a whole food diet. And one of the reasons why that diet is bad is because they're eating all the processed crap.
[00:24:16.960] – Coach Allan
And it's true. And so you look at some of the studies, and you're like, well, if like the 7th Avenue you brought up, if they're following the doctrine of what their religion is, they would be vegan or vegetarian. But they go through the ranks and they say, okay, here's the people that aren't doing it, and here's the ones that are. And the ones that are doing it are healthier, but they don't factor in the well, they also aren't supposed to smoke, so the ones that are doing it also aren't smoking, but those guys are. And there are other risky behaviors. So they're all caused mortality is worse, but they never really pull that out. And I think that's what I really struggle with these studies, is when they go in with that cognitive bias or worse, financial bias, it just creates wonky science, and someone will refer to that study forevermore in their study. So it was like, we know cholesterol is bad, therefore. And then they do their study, and they draw a conclusion. And sometimes you're right, they do play with the words appears as if or kind of thing. But it just seems like it's really hard for people to know what to do to be healthy.
[00:25:35.630] – Coach Allan
And it's a shame that we can't depend on the governments to step up and do a little bit of house cleaning here.
[00:25:45.660] – Ivor
Yeah, the challenge is Allan so ideology, and again, I didn't say anything negative about them. And you can get along pretty well eating vegetables because you are giving up all the processed food, which is the real poison. My only angle was it's more optimum and better to get the nutrient density off the foods we primarily evolved on. But, I mean, Homo sapiens are very adaptable, and we were able to go long periods when there was very little gain, and we evolved to be able to handle quite a lot of plant food and a lack of animal foods for periods. But evolution didn't really plan for long, long periods, and especially didn't plan for vegan. Vegetarian, especially Ovo lacto evolution well prepared us for that. But vegan, like you say, you need B12. And Dr. Joel Kahn, a good friend of mine who's a hardcore vegan, he's in his 60s, looks great, and he's got a zero calcium scan in his 60s. But one reason is, for 20 years, he's been imploring vegans to take a whole range of supplements, and he acknowledges and puts the hand up and doesn't try and pretend that the vegan diet is a complete diet.
[00:27:02.300] – Ivor
He's interested for ideological reasons, and he admits its ideology by saying, vegan guys, don't let our side down. You need to take these supplements. And that's why he's so healthy. But the funny thing is, Allan, even these like Okinawa, everyone talks about Okinawan's plant based longevity. But the people who reached 100 in Okinawa, I think it was five out of five or six out of six in one study, all of them were non vegetarian. They were the cluster that really went the distance. And the other thing is, they went to Okinawa. And this is where all this stuff came from. In the early 50s, after World War Two, half the population on the islands had been were dead. I mean, Okinawa, there was horrific stuff that went on there, as we know. But before the war, pork was highly prized. In fact, it's in their literature, their culinary literature. Pork is at the center of Okinawan dishes. It's written in some old text. And after the war, they had no pigs, for obvious reasons. And within a few years, they went up from I think they were before there were 110 pigs per thousand people.
[00:28:20.140] – Ivor
It's pretty high density. And they went up to 150 per thousand people by the late 50s and early 60s. So they went back on track, a pork based diet. But you don't hear that. You hear just when they found them starving post war, with their whole infrastructure and their animals all dead, that's when they did the study. And that's the study here quoted.
[00:28:44.890] – Coach Allan
Yeah. That's the Ansel Keys seven country study, that there were 23 countries.
[00:28:52.180] – Ivor
And he picked from 22.
[00:28:54.330] – Coach Allan
[00:28:54.840] – Ivor
He picked like six from 22 the first time, the six country study, which was just toilet paper. And then he created the toilet paper pseudo experiment. 12,000 men, no women, seven countries, picked from around 20. And he knew in advance, it's like an engineer who's cheating, right, to get a raise. Ansel knew the countries that would give him the outcome. I mean, he's so stupid, but he wanted the outcome because Ansel himself was in the grip of ideology. He was nowhere within a thousand miles of a scientist. He was an ideological person who had a grasp of scientific kind of stuff, and he was hugely influential, and he was an extremely capable politician, too. He weaved his way in everywhere. And he destroyed the career of Yodkin in the UK, questioned his data, and he went after Yodkin hardcore and basically destroyed his career in the sense so that's the kind of man and so keyswell. So it's not surprising that the science he produced was junk science.
[00:30:06.360] – Coach Allan
Yeah. And unfortunately, we still see that stuff happening today with different things going on in the world. Pick a side. And then fight to the death seems to be the mode of operation for this. Now, you mentioned Dr. Kahn, and I've read some of his stuff, and you've had a lot of other notable heart health doctors on your show. If someone's in their 40s, 50s or older and wants to manage their heart health so that they can live a longer, happier life, what are the things that we could be doing to improve our overall heart health?
[00:30:50.940] – Ivor
Right. Okay, then. So we start at the top. And sometimes I and others get criticized that insulin, we say, is everything. It's like the one ring to rule them all. Now, we do emphasize insulin, but in a pareto, principle way, because it's the elephant in the room. It's the biggest factor, your insulin resistance in cardiac disease and Alzheimer's, type three diabetes, it's often referred to now, and even Parkinson's has been referred to by one or two specialists as potentially type four diabetes. And then we have type two, of course, which has massive impacts on shortening your life. So that's actual diabetes. And then we have type one diabetes and type zero diabetes. I used to jokingly refer to heart disease as type zero diabetes because as Professor Joe Kraft, who I interviewed in Chicago, who tested 15,000 people for a five hour insulin glucose test, he said, let me think, if I can just think of this quote those who die of coronary disease who do not have diabetes are simply undiagnosed. And he was inferring that nearly all cardiac disease and vascular disease is essentially type two diabetes, whether diagnosed or not. Now, I don't think he's correct on that, but the massive majority is, and a great example for people is the Euro Aspire study done in Europe in 2015.
[00:32:24.130] – Ivor
And you should see the pie chart. I featured it many times. And this team went out, a large team went across 24 countries of Europe think about it. Looked at heart disease victims or patients ages 18 to 80. So looked at all ages, not just old people who tend to get it. And they basically checked their blood glucose in detail. And they found out straight away, shockingly, that around a third of them were type two diabetic on their medical record. And they thought, whoa, they didn't expect to find a full third of them. But then they looked at their glucose and post glucose load glucose readings, and they realized another quarter were full blown, type two undiagnosed, but then another quarter were high risk for type two diabetes, they called it. But they were type two diabetic. They just didn't quite reach the very high bar to be full blown. So essentially three quarters, roughly, of all the heart disease patients across Europe, 24 countries ages 18 to 80 as a huge supergroup, three quarters were type two diabetic. I mean, come on. So Kraft was very close. And if you measured their insulin and this team did not. Sadly. But if they did a craft test, myself, Dr. Gerber and Professor Noakes, and everyone in our community reckons probably 85 plus percent would be essentially physiologically diabetic. So, heart disease, first thing you do is minimize your insulin resistance, get insulin sensitive.
[00:34:05.660] – Coach Allan
And that's through diet and exercise.
[00:34:09.740] – Ivor
Diet and exercise. Diet is enormous in insulin resistance. But funny things are sleep and stress. They've done studies that if people are stressed, their insulin goes way up. Deny people's sleep for a couple of weeks, their insulin resistance can double. Smoking massively pushes up your insulin. It's one of the mechanisms of damage. And if you give up smoking, your insulin resistance falls sharply, even pollution and, of course, lack of exercise. And we would say myself and Dr. Gerber or Dr. Ted Naman or Ben Buckagio, all the people in our network, stress training, pushing to failure with weights and body weight exercise, maybe 20 minutes, twice, three times a week. A lot more bang for the book than cardiometabolic exercise, running, but that has its place, too. So exercise, food. Food, the big thing is to take out satan's triad. That's what I call it. Sugar, refined carbs, refined grains, refined wheats. All these powdered carbohydrates and vegetable oils, seed oils, inflammatory, seriously problematic. Those three things together. Devil's triad. What are most calories in ultra processed food, which makes up 80% of the supermarket made up of they're made up of the devil's triad. You don't have to look far here to see the reason for chronic disease.
[00:35:40.860] – Ivor
UK British Medical Journal. A few years ago, over 60% of all UK calories consumed now come from ultra processed foods, which are mostly the devil's triad. I mean, everyone, most everyone, is pouring large calorie quantities of kind of poisonous foods into themselves. It'd be amazing if we didn't have a tsunami of chronic disease. It would be astonishing. Cut out the devil's triad, cut out ultra processed food. And whether you're vegetable leaning or you're a carnivore or omnivore, like we said earlier, you sit down if you cut out all the ultra processed foods and just eat real foods and maybe watch some supplementation as well. Magnesium is very low in modern foods. And there's some more. You do that, you're miles ahead of the game. Add in fasting and some stress training, doesn't have to be huge. You got this synergistic. You put yourself vastly ahead of the risk of the average person today.
[00:36:45.600] – Coach Allan
Yeah, thank you for that again. It's been such a struggle. You did mention something earlier that I wanted to circle back around. When you're talking about Dr. Kahn and his calcium score, could you talk a little bit about what a calcium score is and how we would go about getting one?
[00:37:05.620] – Ivor
Right, well, that's I spent many years massively pushing the calcium score, partly because my sponsor, one of Ireland's richest men, he got a huge score and he was slim, fit, running four times a week, 52 years old, and he got a score of 1000, which is enormous. And he had three nearly fully blocked arteries, the main ones. So he got such a shock, he explored and he found out what the calcium score was all about, because that's how he found out. They told him he was super healthy for years in executive medicals. Then he got one calcium scan. He found out he was destroyed inside, and then he personally found out, unsurprisingly, a few weeks later. Not the doctors. He found out he was type two diabetic because he got a blood glucose meter. And he began to hear from William Davis, MD. And others, checked his glucose, and it was five times normal after each meal. So that was David Bobbitt great work he's done. And he made the widow maker movie. And I'll give you the link to the 1 hour version on YouTube I put up. He spent $2 million to make this movie to tell people about the calcium scan.
[00:38:15.220] – Ivor
And the bottom line, Allan, is if you get a calcium scan, the score from that scan alone, single-handedly, is much more predictive of risk than all of the blood and the risk factors put together in framing him, framing him and in the algorithms. Essentially, that score is more accurate. Predicting your future, though you can change it, get a high score, you can fix the problem. That's key to note, but it's more predictive than all the risk factors put together put together. So if you get a score of zero in middle age, your chance of a heart attack or mortality is so low, they actually call it a warranty. Now, a warranty doesn't mean 0%, it means extremely low. You got a warrant. Fridge is a warranty very seldom fails. So you might have a half a percent chance or 1.2% of a heart event in the next ten years. But the guys with the high scores, like David Bobbitts, have up on 30% chance you could have 20 plus times the risk of heart attack, even though you got the same cholesterol as the guy beside you, because you have the disease. The calcium in the arteries is unequivocal.
[00:39:32.010] – Ivor
Calcium in your arteries is the direct proof and extent of vascular disease up till the day you get the scan. It's the scars and all your arteries where your body is trying to fix your arteries from atherosclerosis the problem that causes heart attacks. So it's amazing where you get it. If you go to IHDA.Ie. So it's Irish heart disease awareness dot ie. There's the scan centers there, and we, over a year or two, developed a map of America, UK and Ireland. Hard to get Europe where all the centers are, and their phone numbers. But in the US, you can get it from as low as $69 up to $200. Sometimes insurance covers it. In Europe, it's quite a bit more expensive, maybe $350 on average.
[00:40:24.420] – Coach Allan
So, yeah, if you have a family history of heart disease or, you know that there's a likelihood you're overweight, you're over 40, you've got the risk factors that's worth having that test done. So thank you for sharing that. If someone, I'm sorry, I jumped ahead.
[00:40:45.500] – Coach Allan
I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:40:56.800] – Ivor
Okay. And we probably touched on quite a few of them, I'd have to say. Number one, and it ain't easy. And I commiserate with people, and I cheat sometimes too shocking to hear it. It's Christmas now. Maybe a little, but I'm generally pretty good. Cut out the devil's triad enormously. And that does mean if you're going to get something in the supermarket, look in the back of it. Mayonnaise. 78% of it is rapeseed oil. It's vegetable oil. Imagine 80% of your mayonnaise. I checked. You can get these meals. You look in the back, you see added wheats. And you know, on the ingredients list, the things up the top of the ingredients list, at least in Europe, are the biggest components. Yeah. So you see open the first few, you see wheat, you see vegetable oils or any kind of vegetable oil. There's 50 names for them. That's bad. But you can get ready meals, convenience meals that are essentially a dinner in a foil tray. In Ireland, it's just got meat, potatoes, carrots, and maybe a little bit of sugar. So you can get convenience food, that's okay. But the lesson is always say, is this real food?
[00:42:12.090] – Ivor
Is it nutrient dense? Is it not processed with wheats, refined grains, vegetable oils and sugars? That's the biggest thing. I put diet first. The second biggest thing, I would say, of course, exercise is important, and I've gotten pretty sloppy over lockdown. When I began to do very little exercise, I was working seven days a week in the office. I got kind of involved in a lot of challenging work, should we say, but exercise, since I've brought it back, and it's only really working on DIY and kind of house improvement, but working hard at it when I do it, even that has brought me back into a much healthier and better sleeping mode. And I got an exercise bike as well. I'm going to start using so exercise, but as Ben Picaccio and Dr. Ted Naman and all of us say, just do the body weight exercises, press ups until failure, where you just can't do another one and your arms are screaming. Do two rounds of that, two rounds of set ups, two rounds of pull ups. Always go till the muscles can't do any more. There's no danger, there's no harm to your body, but it triggers more muscle growth, and that's a glucose sink.
[00:43:26.330] – Ivor
And that is just the healthiest thing you can get. Muscle growth is your age. So exercise, particularly those resistance training exercises, third thing, then I'd say I'm more and more focused on sleep. I have a Whoop device now and it keeps me honest. So every morning if I've had a good day, I go to bed on time, I don't have a few drinks. I get this great report in the morning from my Whoop, and it keeps me on track. If I do the bad thing, I get this nasty report and it's never wrong, so I find it guides me and the joy of getting a good sleep and then looking up your results. And indeed, you had good deep sleep, you had good REM, you had highly recovery prone sleep, and you got a high green recovery. I kind of run my life by this now, so I'd say sleep quality and managing stress, I know it's not easy. Stress is a killer. Raises your cortisol, raises your insulin, eats away at your body, even undermines your immune system. So if you can get sleep stress as the third thing sorted, and good food and good exercise will actually deliver the benefits in good sleep and reduce stress. So they're very much integrated together.
[00:44:44.520] – Coach Allan
Thank you. Well, Ivor, if someone wanted to learn more about you and the work that you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:44:52.280] – Coach Allan
All right, I'd say if you just Google or search my name, Ivor Cummins. You'll quickly hit my YouTube, which is where a lot of the stuff is, and also my Twitter. I'm quite active on Twitter, and since the shadow banning stopped recently with Musk, suddenly my followers are growing again. I was perceived as questioning medical science at times, sadly, but I'm back on track, so Twitter is a good place. Often share reports, have technical arguments, and they're the main ones. And my Pin tweet at the moment, actually, and I think I'll leave it there is linked to one of our latest conferences with 14 stunning speakers and the whole packages available there of the 14 talks and the Q and A's, which I moderated for every speaker. So that package is like, I don't know, 12 hours of pure gold. And if you watch that package, I think it's 29 books or something. I don't know. It's just astonishing what all of our best guys have come out with in their talks. It's amazing. And the Q and A are revelatory as well because we brought in people and they asked their questions, and myself and the speaker in each instance had that discussion. So all of that's in there.
[00:46:08.920] – Coach Allan
Awesome. Thank you for that. And thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:46:14.580] – Ivor
Delighted to be here, Allan. And yeah, look forward to being back again. Great stuff.
[00:46:19.640] – Coach Allan
[00:46:23.330] – Coach Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:46:25.250] – Coach Rachel
Hey, Allan. That was a really fun interview. I can see why you enjoy talking with Ivor. He's got a lot of wealth of information about all of the studies that get thrown around in our community, in our health and fitness community. So it's interesting to hear him analyze them and get to the real meat of some of those studies.
[00:46:44.890] – Coach Allan
Yeah, it was funny because like I said, I was at Keto Fest and I was finishing up my talk. And it's normal when you do a talk, there are people who are going to come up after and want to ask you questions and just say hello or shake your hand, that kind of thing. And so I'm shaking hands trying to answer questions and I'm like the best I can throw out one word answer so that I can go see. And he was due to start and I was like, okay, I want to get over there. I want to get over there. They shortened mine. I got squeezed that year. And so my talk was supposed to be an hour and they ran late on the one before because they were having issues. And so I was told when I walked up to the stage, I'm like, you're really only going to have about 35 minutes. Okay, I'll get it done. But that also meant that I didn't get done early and wasn't really able to do any Q and A. That was one of the things I ended up cutting out of that talk. So I had a lot of people walking up asking questions.
[00:47:48.590] – Coach Allan
But that's cool. I got there, he wasn't too far in, but he's got this slide and diagram and I'm like, okay. And then he's talking and I'm like, it's like drinking out of a fire hose and he's just throwing on the screen and it's just so cool. If you're geek out about some of this stuff, go find his YouTube channel and prepare to spend a few hours there because it's good stuff. He does his homework, he knows what's going on. And yeah, his talk with Dr. Gregor, it was kind of a TV debate. I don't think it was exactly fair. Ivor is going to come in prepared three times to Sunday. Gregor was Dr. Gregor. I respect it as well because he has his thought beliefs and his biases and his data and he goes at it. I don't think he expected a debate. I think he just expected, and he didn't probably expect that the news anchor was going to actually sort of be almost unbiased or at least acknowledged when Ivor brought up data. That of course, Gregor, you can explain that why that doesn't make any sense. He couldn't. I mean, Ivor was right, as he mostly is, but it was great to be able to just talk to him, pick his brain a little bit.
[00:49:13.660] – Coach Allan
I'm definitely going to get him on the show again because it's just oh, good, yeah. And the people he talks to, they respect him as well because they see him on the stage and realize, okay, this is a guy who gets it. And so they're on his YouTube and on his channel and have those conversations with him, and that's who he's traveling with when he's doing the speaking circuit. And so he's got all the connections, he knows all the people, and it's just great conversation.
[00:49:41.510] – Coach Rachel
That's awesome. That is awesome. And it's nice. It was interesting to hear you point out the biases that are often behind the studies. The reason why that's interesting to me is because we don't hear that we get the news clipping or the news story that says the study just says coffee is good for you, or Animal fat is bad for you, but you don't get the behind the scenes stuff that Ivor was able to talk about. And like the Ansel Key study, we've talked about that study in the past. It's just one example of a study with some cherry pick data. Then you've got lobbyists involved that are pushing different food groups or something. And so it's hard to know. Like you had said, there's a lack of science in food science.
[00:50:29.090] – Coach Allan
The problem is that one pretty much any time they've tried to do a food study the right way, they stop the food study in a lot of other studies. Because what happens is they have one group eat one way or do one thing and they have another group something an entirely different way, and one of them starts really having problems. And then they're like, well, we can't in good conscience with ethics continue this study. We're killing people.
[00:51:03.470] – Coach Rachel
That's not good.
[00:51:07.890] – Coach Allan
So what they end up doing is they say, okay, well, tell me, Rachel, how many times did you eat meat in the last month?
[00:51:16.690] – Coach Rachel
[00:51:17.350] – Coach Allan
And they're like, okay, how many times per week do you eat meat? And then I was like, So you eat red meat and processed meat? Yes. Okay, well, they didn't ask, did you eat meat? Do you eat processed meat?
[00:51:29.270] – Coach Allan
And so am I say, I don't really eat that much processed meat. Deli slices of ham and beef, but other than that, not a lot. And I don't eat a lot of bacon, even though I'm on the keto spectrum of eating most of the time. I'm not a big bacon person. Actually, I had half a slice of bacon this morning.
[00:51:50.620] – Coach Rachel
Wow. Yeah, that's willpower.
[00:51:55.790] – Coach Allan
Well, that was the only piece, and I didn't want to cook because we just made breakfast with 13 people, and I wasn't going to throw that out or feed that to the dog.
[00:52:06.960] – Coach Rachel
[00:52:08.690] – Coach Allan
But it's just that thing of, okay, if they have a bias, they can't help the structure of the science to work the way they want it to. And even if right, there's still a likelihood that the data might not be as conclusive as they'd like it to be, which is the worst for scientists to sit there and have a hypothesis and then do the study and have zero effect to basically say they can't find even a correlation. Prove causation, necessarily, but they couldn't even find a correlation either way or the other. And so, as they're looking at it from that statistical perspective, the study is basically worthless in their minds because they had a hypothesis and they can't prove or disprove that hypothesis. And that's normally how science works. They try to prove something, either it's going to happen or not happen based on what they did. You add blue water to yellow water and you get green. That's the hypothesis.
[00:53:16.090] – Coach Allan
And then it kind of depends, right. How much blue water did you pour in and how much yellow water did you pour in? Is it still green or is it blue? So there's even some judgment in there as far as how all that's going to work. And that's a simple thing. That's pretty simple. But when you're asking people what they ate, how much they ate, going back 20 years
[00:53:42.770] – Coach Allan
And then again, of course, if someone is really not eating well, they're probably also not doing other things so well, so they're probably not exercising as much. They might be doing other things like overusing alcohol, maybe using tobacco, maybe using other things. They may be have very stressful jobs. They might not sleep very well. And so it's really hard to pull all those confounders out there, because you're not going to find that one person that eats processed meat, but exercises every day, doesn't smoke, doesn't drink, sleeps well, has no stress, but eats processed meat to find out processed meat causes colorectal cancer. You're not going to find those people to do that.
[00:54:30.660] – Coach Rachel
Right. Well, it's almost impossible to set up a study like that. But you know what we have found in real life, Allan? You and I have both seen and heard stories where people pick up a vegetarian or vegan diet and suddenly they lose a lot of weight. Or in my world, some of us have done the keto diet and we've lost a lot of weight. But even then, it's not about choosing a diet, eating plant based, eating animal based. It's the fact that we're eating real foods, foods that were obviously grown on a vine or harvested somehow in nature or a farm, and it's not processed foods. And I think that's where people find the success. So right now it's January, it's the beginning of the year, we're changing our diets and everything. And so, sure, maybe some of us have a goal to eat better. And so we're going to say, well, we're going to eat these healthier food items, but we're getting rid of the processed food. And it's really that one thing that gives us the greatest benefit is switching from the processed foods, the cereals and granola bars and things that are in a jar or a bag, like you say, and choosing an apple or a salad or a chicken or something like that. You know what I mean? Real foods.
[00:55:54.640] – Coach Allan
Yeah. The basis of it is this, processed foods are made to be delicious, not made to be nutritious. They're calorie dense, nutritionally weak, whereas whole food tends to be nutritious. It tends to be nutritionally dense and calorie weak. And so you eat to satiety with whole food, you're not going to gain weight, and you'll probably lose weight if you're over. If you eat a processed food diet, you're very likely to continue to gain weight because you're just not getting the nutrition you need, and you're getting more calories than you need. And it's just the basic math of calories in, calories out. It's a pretty simple thing. But it goes down to the hormones, because once you tell your body this is real food, you're giving your body real food. Let's just be clear about that. There is no pie tree. There's no muffin tree. All of these Little Debbie cakes on the prairie, you just don't. So we're consuming those things, we're not getting nutrition. And so when they talk about the nutrition from plants, what we know is when a cow eats, he's grass fed, they have a better fat disposition than a cow who is not it's grain fed.
[00:57:27.130] – Coach Allan
The fats in the cow of a grass fed cow are healthier for us than for a grain fed cow. The grain fed cow will taste great. It's fattened up for just for that purpose. They'll get it perfect. It's a formula. That's what they do. Not that the cow is healthy, but they can make it taste great. That's what companies do. So you'll eat more, and they're able to price it at an affordable price because of the volume. So you know, it's this is what this is really about, is realizing that every guest that I've had on here, we talk about when we talk about nutrition. You, you've not heard a single one of them say that they think that the Twinkie diet or the McDonald's diet or the is okay, because now they'll acknowledge you can undereat with those diets, but you can't sustain that. So the person that loses the pounds with the Twinkie diet or what's his name, Penn Gillette, the comedian, magician guy, he did a potato diet, eat potatoes until he lost the weight, and he got sick of potatoes. He just stopped eating. That's what happened. The point being is that he just, dietitian said, just eat potatoes.
[00:58:47.320] – Coach Allan
You'll get sick of potatoes and you'll stop eating. And he did that until he lost the weight and he's off, which means he's probably also learned a couple of other things. But at the same time, what he could have done was just said, okay, I'm going to go back to eating whole food. And he probably would have the same results and been healthier for it. It's an investment, and it's an investment of time, getting to know where your food is coming from. I know no one likes to know how the sausage is made.
[00:59:17.550] – Coach Rachel
[00:59:18.140] – Coach Allan
But you start looking at industrial farming, and you start looking at where you go into the grocery store and you're picking up those eggs. You're picking up the chicken. And chickens don't have three pound breasts. They're not that big. We have Dolly Parton chickens now, and it's because the hormones and they've been bred a certain way. They're not healthy, happy animals. They can't walk. They can't do anything. They're bred and grown and nurtured to do a certain thing, and it's just not the right way. You want happy, healthy animals, and they make for happy, healthy humans. Whether you choose to be plant based or animal based or a mix, know where it's coming from. Just know what you're eating and start making better choices. It doesn't have to be a big thing. Just start making little better choices, and they add up. They add up fast.
[01:00:22.770] – Coach Rachel
Yeah, that's exactly what I say. Yes. Small steps. Make some choice.
[01:00:27.000] – Coach Allan
When you see that headline that tells you something, question, question. New study says,
[01:00:38.710] – Coach Rachel
beware of those words. And look carefully into it.
[01:00:42.440] – Coach Allan
Says this. You're listening to reading it, and you're like, well, that's the exact opposite of what they told me last year. That's exactly the opposite of what I've always known. And we can look at a lot of stuff that's happened in the last few years about food and other health science, and it's like they're telling you something, and it's like, wait, that's not how I was. We talked about this in biology, and this is not how it was taught. So what's different, and somehow or another, the doctors are the experts are trying to tell us this is different. It's not. They just wanted it to be different because they wanted us to do a certain thing. So they had a bias behind why they said what they said. They had a bias behind how they planned and did the study, and they got a result. They presented the result, and then the media ran with the headline. And so just be careful when you see a headline and they say, but this is science. Just be leery that some science is not science. And that's particularly true in the health and nutrition space. So need your sit there and say, oh, I need to start taking 10,000
[01:02:01.640] – Coach Allan
I use of vitamin D every day to help my immune system. And the short answer is, you might not. You might need some, but you won't know until you go get a blood test. So just because study said people who took vitamin D were less likely to suffer from this thing, that doesn't mean that that study was even done on you. But it could have been three high school kids that they gave vitamin D to, and guess what? None of them died in three years. So vitamin D helps you live longer. And that's the reality they're control case two of them got in an automobile accident and died so of the six people in this piece, all caused mortality. Two thirds of them died not taking vitamin D. And here in this one, all cause mortality all three of them are still alive. So vitamin D keeps you from getting in car crashes is the conclusion.
[01:03:04.150] – Coach Rachel
Oh, these studies.
[01:03:05.670] – Coach Allan
But that's sometimes how this is structured and how it's interpreted. They're going to use words that are confusing, like all cause mortality. Instead of actually saying heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, instead of really getting to it, they'll use the term all cause mortality. Right? There should have bright light on that. Okay, what does that mean and how did these people pass? And the data has it. They will get into the data. And that's what Ivor does. He digs into data and says, oh, they were dying of automobile accidents. So what you found was vitamin D keeps people from having automobile accidents. I'm not saying that vitamin D doesn't. I'm just saying that if you don't set the study up right and you don't interpret the data right, and you want to change the way the conclusion is worded to give you the result that you were looking for, they do it. They do it all the time based on who they're funded by, based on what their bias was, and you just have to be careful.
[01:04:14.090] – Coach Rachel
Well, I appreciate having people like Ivor looking into stuff like that.
[01:04:19.930] – Coach Allan
If you ever get a chance to go to a conference or catch up with his YouTube, it's well worth the time and money.
[01:04:27.330] – Coach Rachel
[01:04:28.120] – Coach Allan
All right, Ras, let's talk again next week.
[01:04:32.530] – Coach Rachel
All right. Take care.
[01:04:34.020] – Coach Allan
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– Ken McQuade||– Melissa Ball|
|– Debbie Ralston||– John Dachauer||– Tim Alexander|
|– Eliza Lamb||– Leigh Tanner|
|– Eric More||– Margaret Bakalian|
Another episode you may enjoy