How Much is Too Much? 12 ‘Healthy’ Habits That Can Be BAD for You – BioTrust Radio #38

Written by Tim Skwiat and Shawn Wells

Think you know what’s good for you? Is it possible to do too much of a ‘good’ thing? Are there certain things you’ve been told are ‘good’ for you that are actually harmful? You may be surprised. In this episode of the BioTrust Radio podcast, Shawn and Tim lay down the scientific law and discuss 12 so-called healthy habits that can actually be BAD for you. Enjoy!

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“Healthy habits are learned in the same way as unhealthy ones — through practice.” – Wayne Dyer

Products Mentioned in This Show:

  • Pro-X10 Probiotics WITH Prebiotics
  • Ageless Core Energizing Multivitamin Designed for Optimal Absorption

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And remember… you’re just one decision away from better health and a better body

In this episode of BioTrust Radio, Shawn and Tim discuss a list of 12 ‘healthy’ habits that can actually be harmful. That’s right, it’s possible to overdo it and have too much of a good thing, and in some cases, these co-called healthy habits are actually quite unhealthy. Here’s a brief summary of the healthy habits they’ll discuss and what you can expect to take away from the show:

  • ‘Healthy’ Habits #1: Overdoing Exercise. While most people could stand to move MORE, it’s very possible to overdo it when it comes to exercise. That not only means burying yourself with a high volume of intense exercise, it can also mean doing too much too quickly, doing exercise(s) that your body isn’t ready for, and doing too much of a single type of exercise.
  • ‘Healthy’ Habits #2: Too Many Antibiotics. While antibiotics have their place, there’s no question they’re over-prescribed and overused, which can have serious repurcussions.
  • ‘Healthy’ Habits #3: Heaping on Hand Sanitizers. Despite what we’ve been led to believe, killing all germs is not necessarily one of the best healthy habits to practice.
  • ‘Healthy’ Habits #4: Drinking Too Much Water. There’s no question that drinking plenty of clean water is a staple among healthy habits. However, it is possible for someone to drink overhydrate particularly in relationship to not consuming enough electrolytes — and that’s especially true for folks who are very active and eat ‘clean.’
  • ‘Healthy’ Habits #5: Skipping Meals. Scheduled fasting (which involves “skipping meals”) is indeed among a list of healthy habits, skipping meals can be problematic when it leads to poor food choices, overeating, disrupted circadian rhythms, etc.
  • ‘Healthy’ Habits #6: Sleeping Too Much. Getting adequate sleep and healthy circadian rhythms are healthy habits, but sleeping too much can be a problem. An example is social jetlag, and sleeping too much can also be a sign of sleep deprivation, poor sleep hygiene, disrupted circadian rhythms, and poor lifestyle choices.
  • ‘Healthy’ Habits #7: Taking Vitamins. We fully endorse taking high-quality, pure, potent, and safe supplements among a list of healthy habits; however, there’s no question that all supplements are NOT created equally.
  • ‘Healthy’ Habits #8: Brushing after Every Meal. There’s no question that brushing your teeth regularly is among one of the healthy habits associated with good oral hygiene. However, you can take this too far, especially if you’re using antimicrobial toothpastes, mouthwashes, etc.
  • ‘Healthy’ Habits #9: Too Much Soy. Consuming large amounts of heavily processed, concentrated soy-based foods/ingredients (e.g., soy protein, soybean oil) is not one of the healthy habits that some zealots make it out to be. In fact, it can be detrimental to some folks.
  • ‘Healthy’ Habits #10: Going Gluten-Free. Despite the marketing hype, not everyone needs to go gluten-free. And just because a “food” is labeled as gluten-free doesn’t make it healthy nor does it make going gluten-free a healthy habit. In fact, it can be unnecessarily restrictive.
  • ‘Healthy’ Habits #11: Sugar Substitutes. There’s no question that reducing/eliminating added sugars is one of the healthy habits we’d endorse. However, artificial sugar substitutes may not be as healthy as we’ve been led to believe.
  • ‘Healthy’ Habits #12: Hardcore Dieting. When it comes to eating better, yo-yo dieting and crash diets do not top the list of healthy habits.

We’ll cover these 12 so-called ‘healthy’ habits that may actually be BAD for you and much, much more…Enjoy!

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Transcript – 12 ‘Healthy’ Habits That Can Be BAD for You

Shawn: Hey BioTrust Nation, we are back! I am Shawn Wells and this is Tim Skwiat. [laughs] Tim Skwiat, my most trusted partner and incredible friend. He’s just a brilliant guy, so it makes for a great show, and hopefully you love it. And the last show we did was on bad habits that are healthy, according to science. So, we thought it would be fun to do something really interesting here and flip it around.

Tim: Duh-duh-duh.

Shawn: And what about a list of things that are healthy habits.

Tim: Healthy.”

Shawn: “Healthy” habits that aren’t so good for you. So, we thought that would be fun. And we’re going to roll into this list which is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 things that are supposedly healthy habits that may not be.

Tim: And these are ‘healthy habits’ that you may be doing right now, thinking you’re doing a great job and maybe actually doing harm,

Shawn: So let’s get into it. First on this list of ‘healthy’ habits: Overdoing exercise. Is that possible? What do you think, Tim?

Tim: Definitely. Most people are not [laughs] overdoing exercise, but it is it is possible. You can over-train. This tends to be a bit more common with people that are really into fitness or maybe trying to fill a missing gap in their life, so to speak. But you can certainly do too much cardio, which could be detrimental. It can actually cause you to lose some muscle mass, increase the stress hormone cortisol, which can have a negative effect on a variety of different things.

Doing too little and/or too much. Basically doing too much exercise is like the same thing as doing too little exercise in terms of your immune system. You can make yourself more susceptible to getting sick. You can actually do some damage to your gut by doing too much exercise. Like I said, most people are not there, but you can do too much. A good way to see if you’re doing too much is if you’re not making progress in your workouts.

Shawn: Yeah, at one point I was heavily overtraining and I kept getting respiratory infections. I was kind of doing CrossFit style workouts and just training hard and I felt like I couldn’t get enough. And I was doing P90X stuff and I felt like I was just training, training, training, and it is possible. But another way that you could be overdoing exercise is that you might be overzealous and let’s say you’ve been sedentary and you’re, “You know what? I’m going to get back into the gym and just crush it.” [laughs]

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: And you may not be ready for that, and your body may not be ready for that, and you may not have the correct knowledge. So, you may be overdoing something that your body isn’t ready for and you’re not doing appropriately.

Tim: That’s it really fantastic point. You know, a lot of times, in my experience, that happens where people are overzealous and get super sore and then they’re like, “Screw that. I’m not doing that anymore.” And so that negative feedback can be bad. And I think another way to look at that too, overdoing exercise, you may not be overdoing in terms of volume, but you could be overdoing in terms of the type of exercise. Like if all you did was run and you were logging your 150 minutes a week, and all you did was run, and just repeating that same movement pattern over and over, there’s a chance that you might get hurt and might get some injuries.

So, I think when we talk about exercise, we talk about doing things that you enjoy, doing things you can consistently do, and as much variety as you can include, probably the better.

Shawn: And the old adage of, “No pain, no gain,” it has to be the right type of pain.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: Maybe a little soreness, like you were talking about, in terms of your muscles, but not training through the pain like your ankle hurts. Because you may have a series of imbalances because you’re very weak in certain areas, certain muscles, and your body has gotten good at compensation. So you may be rotated and flexed in certain areas, and you really need a good trainer to evaluate.

Tim: Super point.

Shawn: Evaluate your posture, your imbalances, like this muscle is extremely strong and these muscles are very weak. We need to balance these out, and then you can go into maybe squats.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: We’ll talk about the proper form, when you’re doing squats. But you’re not ready to go into squats when you just walk into the gym and you’ve been sedentary for a long time. You don’t know how to do a proper squat.

Tim: Yeah, that’s a super point, Shawn. And you have a trainer—shout-out to Daniel, who’s a fantastic trainer, extremely knowledgeable, and just an excellent trainer. But you’re a health professional and you have a trainer. I think that’s a great sign. I am a trainer, and even for me, I have hired trainers in the past to write programs or as an accountability person. So, everyone would benefit from having a fitness coach.

Shawn: Yeah, my trainers at Telos, they have trainers, too. They don’t use them every day. They just use them here and there to evaluate their programs, to evaluate their form, and all that kind of stuff. We all need to be assessed.

Yes, too many antibiotics.

Tim: That’s No. 2 on the list of ‘healthy’ habits.

Shawn: No. 2 on the list of so-called ‘healthy’ habits. I would agree to agree with this, because we’re certainly pro-biotic people.
And while antibiotics definitely led to a revolution in medicine, in terms of safety and sterility—think of where we were at with things like the black plague and all these, bubonic, whatever—there was some serious [chuckles] health concerns, especially when you walked into some areas where there was just open wounds and gangrenous stuff. You know, there was a lot of danger. But now we’re in a situation where there’s so much antibiotics that there’s antibiotic resistance that’s become extreme. And when I was working in the nursing homes and hospitals, especially in the nursing homes, they had used so many antibiotics because of pressure ulcers, because of urinary tract infections, etc., we would do a culture and susceptibility test (CNS), and we’d see they were resistant to almost every antibiotic.

And then you put them on this other antibiotic and then they start becoming resistant to that, and then they get in the cycle of constantly getting urinary tract infections because they’re constantly getting antibiotics, because they’re constantly getting urinary tract infections. And it’s not healthy, and I think we need to treat antibiotics for one, if you get on antibiotics, go through the course. It’s not healthy to half do a course, like, “Oh, I feel better. I’m going to get off them now.” That can lead to antibiotic resistance. And this has become such a big issue that the CDC is deeply concerned.

They’re actually holding certain antibiotics back from the population because there’s so much resistance, that we’re building superbugs. And it’s almost like the “end of days” scenarios, like the zombie apocalypse kind of things you see in movies, where they’re concerned about where we’re heading. So we need to back off on the antibiotics, especially for small-time colds and whatnot. “I’ve got the sniffles, so I’m going to get on antibiotics,” and just treat them for what they are like. I think it’s a “break glass in case of emergency” type of use.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: And not use them constantly. And I would be reluctant to use—well, it actually gets into that in the next point we’ll get to. Hand sanitizer is going to be the next point. But be reluctant to always killing off probiotics, positive bacteria.

Tim: Kill, kill, kill! Not all germs are bad is what you’re saying.

Shawn: Exactly.

Tim: Also to that point, I think we know now that antibiotics can kill off the beneficial probiotics, like you said, and they’re kind of non-selective in the microbes that they kill off. And that can have detrimental effects that can last for a significant period of time.

Shawn: Up to two years.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: There’s been some studies of doing a round of antibiotics can change that gut landscape for up to two years.

Tim: Do you recommend taking a probiotic?

Shawn: Absolutely. Yeah, there’s definitely some good data where co-administration, if you have to take an antibiotic, definitely taking a probiotic with it—not necessarily at the same exact time, but co-administration. So maybe taking your antibiotic in the morning or you have to take a morning and evening, take your probiotic at lunch or at a different time, but definitely try and co-administer. And then once you’re done, I would get on a heavy round kind of double-dose on some probiotics.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: For at least a few weeks.

Tim: Yeah. And I would just also advise in that probiotic, that you look for something that has a spore-forming probiotic. So, an example would be bacillus subtilis, which is actually in our Pro-X10.

Shawn: Yeah.

Tim: That bacillus subtilis has been shown to actually help repopulate the gut. And those spore-forming probiotics are resistant to stomach acid, heat, and things like that. So, the spore-forming probiotics seem to be really powerful.

Shawn: What about like something like PreforPro?

Tim: So, that’s prebiotic, right?

Shawn: Yeah.

Tim: Absolutely. So, a prebiotic serves as food for those healthy microbes and helps them proliferate. And a prebiotic is, some would argue, even more important than a probiotic. I don’t know about that. I think the two together, called a symbiotic, is probably the greatest benefit. Even if probiotics are dead, they can actually have some beneficial effects in the body.

One other just quick thing to tack on, too. This this antibiotic thing became particularly concerning to me recently. My daughter, who’s almost two years old, having a young child, they get sick and things like that. My experience, we have a great primary care doctor for her, but there’s been times when we’ve had to take her to an emergency care because she’s been sick over the weekend, and like no matter what the symptom was, “Okay, antibiotic.” And I have not filled those prescriptions. Or there has been times when they said, “Well, we think she might have an ear infection, so we’re going to prescribe an antibiotic.” And they filled it, but I have not given it to her because I wanted to wait to see if, like in the case of an ear infection, a garlic oil drop helped. Or if she had a virus, the antibiotic is not going to do anything to help with that anyway, so I’m not going to do that. So I’ve been very careful with antibiotics.

And this is just me. Have a conversation with your doctor. This is just me and my daughter and what we’ve done. But that first two years of life is extremely important. Basically, the gut microbiome gets mapped out during that time. And so, if you’re doing many antibiotics, and you’re having a C-section, and you’re not breastfeeding, that’s a trifecta of potential issues. So, I’m sorry I went off on a little bit of tangent.

Shawn: No, great.

Tim: But this next one will tie into that too.

Shawn: Agreed. I think it’s great when you have direct perspective there. So next up on the list of healthy habits, heaping on hand sanitizer. Tim and I would agree with this one.

Tim: Yeah, and that’s number three on the list of healthy habits.

Shawn: And it really does go hand-in-hand. It’s great to do proper hygiene and use soap and water, but the hand sanitizer, kind of like the antibiotics, is like a nuke, if you will, that kills off not only bad bacteria but the good bacteria. And all through our body we’re finding that it’s not just in our gut. It’s on our skin, it’s in our nose. It’s actually in the vagina. It’s in the mouth, it’s in the corners of our eyes. So, that’s why you were talking about the C-section, speaking of the vagina. There’s actually a really good TED Talk on that when a vaginal delivery birth happens, that the baby gets a number of positive bacteria transferred to the baby that are important for its immune system development, that they wouldn’t get with a C-section. So I think that’s what you were alluding to before.

Tim: Yes, yes.

Shawn: But, yes, so hand sanitizers, unfortunately, I think people are using them way too much. Sometimes many times throughout the day, especially if you are like me and you’re working in the hospital, and you’re supposed to scrub in and scrub out. Like each room you go into, you use these hand sanitizers, all day long. And essentially, that’s setting you up for immune system issues, right?

Tim: Right.

Shawn: Because you don’t have the positive bacteria on your skin. And yes, you don’t have the bad bacteria and you’re not transferring that to other people, but it sets you up for some issues. So, it’s something to be aware of. I would back off on the hand sanitizer, and I would just use traditional soap and water, and just go with that.

Tim: Yeah, that’s a great point too, Shawn. With the soap, like not an antibacterial soap either because the antibacterial agent in there is triclosan.

Shawn: Horrible.

Tim: Endocrine disruptor and other problems. So, one quick note on this, so there’s something called the hygiene hypothesis. What the hygiene hypothesis states is that we have, society-wide, an increase in autoimmune conditions and various health issues because we are overly-hygienic and using these hand sanitizers all the time. So we’re killing off all these germs.

We’re now realizing that we are more microbial than we are cellular beings. These little microbes are like little puppet masters inside of us, so to speak. And as we’re killing off the “bad stuff,” but we’re also killing off the good stuff. These things, just like in society, there’s not good and bad people, but there’s a mixture of people. That’s the same thing with these microbial communities inside of us. E-coli, for instance, we probably all have a little bit of it inside ourselves right now. But it’s in a healthy amount relative to the good bacteria. And it’s all about maintaining this population, this healthy population of things.

There’s some interesting studies that look at infants that are born in city-dwelling areas versus farm dwelling areas, and the babies that are born to a woman who lives on the farm where she’s around all these animals and playing in the dirt, obviously, things like that, they’re much healthier. They have much lower incidents of autoimmune conditions. And it just kind of goes to show that this hygiene hypothesis, there may be something to it.

And I would just tack onto this one, that using antimicrobial mouthwashes is probably another bad idea, too. Because again, that’s going to be non-selective to killing off the germs in our mouths. And the same thing, like we were talking about, there’s too much bad plaque, bad germs in your mouth can be unhealthy to your gums, but you need to have a right balance of it. And if you’re just killing everything off, you’re potentially exposing yourself to oral hygiene issues which are tied to many overall health issues.

Shawn: Yeah. Cardiovascular events. Yeah, exactly. Oral health goes way beyond just seeing the dentist and, “Oh, your teeth look good,” or this certain tooth is black. When you have plaque that can go from your mouth, systemically, or you have something necrotic, which means it’s dying and rotting so to speak. That goes systemic into your circulatory system. There’s all kinds of repercussions to that, cardiovascularly. That may be one of the leading reasons for heart attacks. There’s a lot of correlations. There’s a lot of new studies in that area.

So, next up on the list of healthy habits is drinking too much water. And this talks about that, “You can dilute the electrolytes in the blood, which can be fatal. [chuckles] People who do a lot of athletic training, such as marathon runners, are at greater risk.” This is kind of one of those ones like overdoing exercise. I don’t think too many people are at risk for drinking too much water, but I can see the value of getting enough electrolytes in when you’re drinking enough fluids.

Tim: Yeah. Here’s where I see this otherwise very healthy habits being a problem, is when someone is committed to really improving their health and they cut out all processed foods and they’re just eating whole foods and they’re just drinking water, and they’re exercising a lot. And why I see that to be a problem is because the average person, roughly 75 to 80% of their sodium intake is coming from processed foods. So when you omit those processed foods, there’s not really a whole lot of foods that are naturally high in sodium. And like we’ve talked about before, sodium is essential. It’s important. Most people don’t need to be on a low-sodium diet.

Shawn: Right.

Tim: It’s probably disadvantageous and unhealthy. And now you’re drinking a ton of water and you’re sweating out a lot of electrolytes with your water. This is where an imbalance in electrolytes could come into play. So, that’s when maybe adding like Nuun tablets. You use an electrolyte powder, don’t you?

Shawn: Yeah. Onnit makes a good one. But yes, sometimes on keto you need more sodium as well, and sometimes I’ll just take a teaspoon of salt.

Tim: Yeah I was working outside this weekend, at the house, and I was like I know I’m going to need to replenish. I mean, it’s 100 degrees here, so of course I’m going to sweat. So, I was putting a teaspoon of sea salt into my water, and I could tell the difference. Like I felt great.

Shawn: I feel it. I feel it dramatically. And really—I don’t know—85 to 90% of the “electrolytes” that you lose is sodium. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on all these electrolyte replacement products. Really, just getting the sodium is going to get you most of the way there.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: Anyway, so next on the list of so-called healthy habits is skipping meals.

Tim: That’s No. 5 on the list of healthy habits.

Shawn: No. 5 on the list of healthy habits. And this is funny because this was on the other list that skipping meals somehow isn’t necessarily the best thing we always hear, but what do you think about skipping meals?

Tim: So this is saying that skipping meals is not good.

Shawn: Is not good.

Tim: And I would say, on the surface, disagree with that. The old theory was that if you skip meals that it would put your body into starvation mode and your metabolism would drop and then you would store more fat.

Shawn: And your blood sugar. And that’s what’s they say here. “Eschewing breakfast may seem like a good weight loss tactic, but it can lead to impaired glucose tolerance and may actually result in more weight gain down the road.”

Tim: I’d probably debate those things.

Shawn: [laughs] Yeah.

Tim: I don’t agree with this one. Now, if skipping a meal leads you to make poor food choices and overeat, then it’s not a good idea. However, if eating the same foods over the course of two meals versus four meals, the same foods in the same amounts, if there’s no difference for you, then it doesn’t matter. And I would say that in general, like we’ve talked about before, there’s quite a bit of potential benefit to intermittent fasting for many people.

Shawn: Yeah.

Tim: That spacing out meals is probably beneficial. My vote on this is disagree. [chuckles]

Shawn: Yeah, I don’t see this resulting in more weight gain down the road, or impaired glucose tolerance. If anything, most of the data I’ve seen with intermittent fasting, shows improved glucose tolerance/insulin sensitivity, shows more weight loss over time, improved appetite, regulation, all that kind of stuff.

Tim: The only thing I could say this has going for it is that, yes, insulin sensitivity does tend to be highest at the first meal of the day. Now, that doesn’t necessarily have to be like a traditional breakfast. It’s usually just the first meal of the day. And there is a second meal effect and things like that. And we talked about glucose tolerance may be tied to circadian rhythms, so your glucose tolerance in the morning may be better than at 10:00 p.m. or something like that. But yeah, overall, yeah, thumbs down.

Shawn: Yeah, thumbs down. Let’s move on to the next one of the list of healthy habits: Sleeping too much. We always hear that getting enough sleep is important, but what about there’s some people that maybe especially on the weekend, let’s say. Crashing. It’s very common with the teenagers. And of course, they’re growing, so that makes sense. But let’s say even in college, the 20-something set. They’re out partying and they work long hours during the week, but then on the weekend they “catch up” and they’ll sleep like 10, 12, 14 hours on Saturday or Sunday, and sleep during the majority of the daylight. [laughs] What are your thoughts on that approach?

Tim: Well, I think one thing that you might be talking about is something that we’ve talked about before called social jetlag.

Shawn: Yeah.

Tim: And how these weekend schedules can impair us Monday and even into Tuesday. And basically what I mean by social jetlag is that most people—and as we talked about, these estimates are probably generous—most people stay up at least an hour later on the weekend and most people sleep in at least an hour later on the weekend. And most people tend to eat that first meal then, at least an hour later. And so what all that does is basically it’s like traveling to different time zones for the weekend. So when Monday comes, your circadian rhythms are completely disrupted. And for every hour that they are kind of shifting time zone it’s probably a complete day to recover, to get back on track. So it’s going to lead you to kind of feeling like maybe a little brain fog, maybe not as energetic, maybe it has an effect on your appetite because the disrupted circadian rhythms can certainly affect your appetite.

So, it’s not really all that healthy to be oversleeping. I do think if you’re chronically sleep-deprived or something like that, there’s probably a benefit to trying to catch up and make up on that debt at some point. So, yeah, I think that’s kind of my take on that.

Shawn: But there’s a lot of people, let’s say in their 20s or something, that going out to the bars and the clubs and partying and they’re maybe going to bed at like 11:00 during the week and they got to get up for work, but then on the weekend maybe it’s 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning that they’re getting back. And add to it that they were drinking and whatever.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: Like partying hard. And then they’ll sleep in till—I don’t know—like 3:00 in the afternoon.

Tim: Exactly.

Shawn: And then get up and go back and crush it again. And then, yeah, Monday morning is hellacious.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: So, to your point, that social jetlag is not just the hour, but it’s literally like traveling. If we were on the East Coast traveling to Hawaii or Europe, or something, and then just Monday morning just being back at it in New York City, or wherever you live.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: So, it doesn’t work too well. And sleeping too much can be a problem. So, next up on the list of healthy habits is taking vitamins. Well, I think we, as a company that makes vitamins, wouldn’t necessarily agree with this, and we’d certainly consider this to be a staple of healthy habits. There is some studies that show vitamins are not that effective. There’s a number of studies that show that. But here’s what I would argue, Tim, is that there is a lot of problems with just lumping all multivitamins or vitamins together. There’s a number of inferior sources, inferior doses. There’s inferior formats, like these gummies that are filled with sugar and are missing tons of things. There’s inferior forms, especially with minerals that that are inorganic, like oxides and carbonate versus things like glycinate citrate and things like that. There’s so many issues with multivitamins. I get it. Like there’s a lot of really crappy ones out there and I think that’s the problem.

And if somehow you think that you’re going to get everything in the right dose, the right form, etc., in one tiny tablet, it ain’t happening. You really need multiple through the day. I would say if they’re not at like at least three tablets or capsules, it’s probably not dosed correctly, and it may be as many as six. And when someone says, “I take my multivitamin,” how often are they taking it? Are they taking the full dose of them, depending? Is it that One-A-Day, Centrum that’s kind of inferior? So there’s just so much complexity to this.

The one that we make is truly superior. It’s called Ageless Core and it has all the right doses, all the right forms, the organic forms in the minerals, in the right ratios. We put it in capsule instead of a tablet. We made sure that there’s correct overages and stability. We actually worked for two years on doing pilot runs to see what the interaction was, because there’s so many nutrients in there. Isn’t it like around 30?

Tim: Yeah, 30.

Shawn: That they interact with each other and you have to do certain testing and overages of each nutrient in there to see how they’re interacting. And most people aren’t doing this kind of stuff. When we have a label claim on the label and say it’s hitting this level and it’s going to hit this level for the full shelf-life. That took so much work. I can’t even tell you. Normally, when you do a product that has 3, 4, 5 ingredients, its complex, but when you do a multi, it’s years. If you’re doing it right, years of work. This took us so much time. So, I guess I would have my dispute with not taking vitamins. [laughs]

Tim: Yeah, and just to kind of tack on to that, maybe one reason why it has a little bit of a negative connotation here is because, like you said, multivitamin is very broadly defined. If it has three different minerals or vitamins in it, it can be categorized as a multivitamin. How can you compare that to something that has 30 nutrients in the right forms, in the right amounts, and it’s properly dosed? You can’t. But that’s what some of these studies are doing, that come out with the equivocal findings or something like that.

And just practically speaking, if we want to really have a concrete example of what Shawn and I are talking about in the right forms, if you have a multivitamin in front of you right now or nearby, look at the back and what does it have for folic acid? Does it have folic acid or does it have the active form methyl folate? And if it has folic acid, I would probably go so far just to say throw it out, because that is the synthetic form of that B vitamin that roughly half the population can’t properly process, and it can be problematic for them. But it also can be problematic for people that have the ability to process it because your body needs to enzymatically convert it to the active form, and it can be very detrimental.

Shawn: That’s a great point. I love the active B’s. With B6, there’s P5P, and the inferior form of B, pyridoxine. The inferior form of B12 is cyanocobalamin, and we use methylcobalamin. So, we use all the active coenzymated forms of the B vitamins. And certainly the most dramatic example is the one that Tim pointed out, with 5‑methyltetrahydrofolate, which is also called methylfolate, which is far superior to taking just folic acid/folate.

So, the next one on the list of healthy habits is brushing after every meal. “Although experts recommend frequent brushing, you may be damaging tooth enamel if you brush right after consuming acidic drinks or foods, such as sweets or citrus fruits. Wait up to an hour.” Ah, I guess. What are you brushing with?

Tim: Right.

Shawn: Why don’t you just brush with something that’s not as harsh, I guess. I could see maybe if you’re using some whitening type toothpaste that’s got maybe more harsh agents in it, like hydrogen peroxide or some of the chemicals that might be bleaching. But I don’t know.

Tim: I wrote a piece on oral hygiene recently, and I’m going to link to it in the show notes because it’s pretty bulky. It’s pretty robust.

Shawn: Okay.

Tim: But in my experience, back when I used to eat six meals a day, I used to brush after every meal thinking I was doing something good — healthy habits. And I was the type that would just scrub because that’s what I was told to do. I literally scrubbed my gum line back. So, I basically gave myself gingivitis by brushing too much, or basically a form of periodontal disease by scrubbing too much. Then it had to be repaired, right? Because like you talked about, that bacteria can travel through your gumline then into the rest of your body.

Anyway, that’s a very extreme example, where brushing too often could actually cause damage to the gumline. But like you said, what kind of things are you using to brush your teeth with, because there’s also toothpastes that have those antimicrobial agents in it, that could be killing off the beneficial bacteria, like we talked about the mouthwash.

Shawn: That’s true.

Tim: Or if you’re the type that uses a mouthwash after meals thinking that it’s healthy habits hygiene, which a lot of people say they say, “Oh, I can’t brush, so I’m going to use mouthwash and make my breath smell fresh.” If you use an antimicrobial once, twice, three, four times a day, you really could be upsetting the balance of bacteria in your mouth.

Shawn: Which anything that has alcohol, essentially, is killing the bacteria.

Tim: Exactly. Or hydrogen peroxide, too.

Shawn: Yeah.

Tim: So, this is important stuff. Really, Dr. Alan Danenberg is a nutritional periodontist and I’ve learned a lot from him about healthy habits for oral hygiene. He recommends just brushing with just the brush and just some water. And if you feel like you need something to brush with, you can use like a little bit of coconut oil and baking soda. The baking soda will provide a little bit of an abrasive, and also a little bit of a natural whitening agent. But you also have to be careful with coconut oil.

Shawn: I was just going to say, it’s antimicrobial.

Tim: Exactly. So, some people do oil pulling. If you’re if you’re swishing coconut oil around your mouth for 10 or 20 minutes, it’s very effective at killing off bacteria, including good bacteria. So, it may not be such a great idea to do too often. Or if you do it, maybe just a couple minutes. And don’t spit the oil down the drain either, because it’s going to solidify and may cause your pipes to back up.

Shawn: [laughs] Interesting. Okay. Well, onto the next one on the list of healthy habits. Too much soy. Man, there’s a lot of people that fight on this one, back and forth, and they say, “Soy protein isn’t bad for you. We have this study that says so.” I’m of the mind that I’m not going to go alarmist on it, but it is an endocrine disruptor with genistein and daidzein, the proteins that are in soy. And they can cause problems. Endocrine means hormones; disruption meaning causing a problem, breaking up the normal rhythm of your hormones. So, one of the things that soy does is these genistein and daidzein are phytoestrogens, and that means a plant-based, weak estrogen. It acts in the body as a weak estrogen. The problem is it binds at the receptor and it prevents normal estrogen from binding the way that it would.

But it depends. In certain people, it’s going to cause different things to happen. Like if you were postmenopausal and you weren’t having estrogen, you might get like some weak estrogen and you might feel like a little bit more energy, especially if you’re not doing estrogen replacement. And you’re like, “Oh, this is good.” But if you were a young person, this endocrine disruption could be preventing the full power of your estrogen from doing the things it needs to do.

And in a male, you’re getting weak estrogens which is maybe more estrogen than you should have in your body, and ultimately there’s a relationship between estrogen and testosterone. And so you’re getting some issues there, where maybe you don’t get things like gynecomastia.

Tim: Male boobs, basically.

Shawn: Male boobs. There’s a worse term. [laughs]

Tim: [laughs]

Shawn: But yes, I think you will see some of the populations that consume soy the most, you see a lack of secondary sexual characteristics, where there’s almost like an androgynization of the population. Where the women don’t look as definitively female with the secondary sexual characteristics, meaning larger breasts, more whatever. With men, it would be less facial hair, less muscle mass, and all these things. And some people have correlated that to heavy soy consumption, because there is endocrine disruption.

So, take that for what it’s worth. There’s some people that say it’s beneficial for cancer. Some people say that it isn’t. It may promote cancer. I really think it just depends on your gender, your age, the amount that you’re eating. If you just have some soy here and there, not a big deal. If you’re consuming tons of soy every day, it could be a big deal. If you’re a training young male and you’re having a ton of soy for the majority of your protein, it could be a big deal.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: So, it’s something to think about.

Tim: My takeaway there is that these concentrated soy products, probably not among the healthy habits that you want to practice.

Shawn: Right.

Tim: And just to tack onto that, what else would fit under the umbrella? Soybean oil in all these processed foods. Or cows that are fed these soy beans, that influences their fatty acid profiles. But soybean oil, definitely not something that we would want much of. We talked about that ad nauseam before, so I’m not going to go down that rabbit hole. But maybe a little bit of soy, in its natural form, every now and then. If you like to eat some edamame when you’re going on for sushi, okay.

Shawn: Right.

Tim: Or if you’re having some real fermented tempeh or miso every once in a while, maybe there’s some benefits to that. But yeah, I’m definitely on-board with what you had to say there. Some great stuff.

Shawn: Yeah. Well cool. So, gluten comes up again on this list of healthy habits. Going gluten free. “Those who have a medical need to avoid gluten, such as celiac disease, should avoid it, of course. But the gluten‑free fad, which suggests that people should abstain from gluten to be healthier, can have the opposite effect for those who eat prepackaged, high-calorie substitutes such as gluten‑free cookies and snacks.” That’s a good point.

Certainly, with anything there’s a lot of people that are leveraging the loopholes and saying that this term is something that we’re going to do to sell our products on the shelf, and somehow people think “gluten-free” means healthy, sugar-free, calorie‑free, [chuckles] and it’s not. Gluten-free can just mean gummy bears.

Tim: [laughs]

Shawn: Gummy bears say fat free, too. Whatever they can do to say we’ve got something that sounds good for our sugar thing, they’ll do.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: But they’re not necessarily healthy. And gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. If you do have celiac or you do have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, like we talked about in a prior segment, then yeah, you can avoid gluten. But the majority of the population, maybe let’s say 95% of the population, they can have gluten. You may want to look at the sources of gluten. There’s certainly highly-processed forms of wheat and wheat that’s been exposed to Roundup/glyphosate that you may want to consider getting organic or more whole food forms, healthier forms of wheat or other sources of gluten. But I think for the most part, this makes sense about avoiding prepackaged, high-calorie “gluten-free” products.

Tim: Yeah, that’s a great summation. Just to kind of add to that is that gluten comes from wheat and other grains, basically. If you are able to tolerate gluten and you don’t necessarily eliminate it, then maybe you’re eliminating true whole grains that offer things like fiber and B vitamins, and magnesium, and other beneficial nutrients.

Now, that doesn’t mean go eat bread and pasta and refined flours, necessarily, all the time. It means that you may be omitting these healthy whole grains. Another thing to consider here, too, is that maybe opting for sprouted grains could be beneficial because they tend to be easier to digest, tend to have fewer of those anti-nutrients that could potentially block the body’s absorption of beneficial mineral.

Shawn: Lectins.

Tim: Lectins, right. Yeah, exactly.

Shawn: Okay, cool.

Tim: Almost there.

Shawn: We should talk about lectins and FODMAPs at some point.

Tim: Yeah, we can definitely do that.

Shawn: It’s an interesting one. Okay, next on the list of healthy habits is Sugar substitutes. “Reducing sugar is a staple among healthy habits, but switching to diet soda or artificial sweeteners and other foods isn’t the way to go. Studies have shown that sugar substitutes can lead to more weight gain.” Kind of agree with this. It may be overstated. Some of the studies are with absurd amounts of sugar substitutes that are not necessarily realistic.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: There is a study that was interesting with sucralose—which is the brand name Splenda—that showed that with lean people, they didn’t have any negative effects. But with people that were obese, that there was basically more inflammation, systemically, and it inhibited lipolysis—which means fat breakdown—and promoted lipogenesis, the creation of fat storage.

So, it’s interesting and this may be gut microbiome-related. We’re hearing a lot that artificial sweeteners can affect the gut microbiome. And then there’s some people that feel like any level of sweetness may be affecting insulin or may be affecting appetite. So there’s some things there, but I feel like, yes, is it best to avoid artificial sweeteners? Yes. Here’s the thing that even non-artificial sweeteners may do some similar things. We don’t know. I think more data needs to be done. I think some of these things are a little overstated. Are they necessarily healthy? No.

But I was talking to someone about this this weekend that’s new to the keto diet, and they were like, “Do I have to like never have artificial sweeteners?” And they I told them as long as for the most part you’re doing well and you’re staying on your diet and you’re making progress, take that for what it’s worth. Don’t beat yourself up over certain things. Make changes over time. Like once you’re a year in, two years in, start refining. But you have to maintain a lifestyle, and don’t like get overly-legalistic.

And the other thing that can happen, too, is people literally mentally beat themselves up over little things and they make themselves sick. And then you manifest the things that may or may not be true. It’s like that person that’s on keto that has like the one cheat meal and then they feel horribly sick and like, “I’ve just done myself in.” You can mentally manifest this stuff.

So, my thought is if it’s on occasion, not a big deal. If you’re drinking like six diet cokes a day, that’s a big deal. You might want to look at that. If you’re someone that tends to overeat after you just had your sugar substitute and you feel like having more carbs or you stop making as good a choices, that’s something to correlate and think about. There’s some things there that we just need more data on.

Tim: Yeah. I mean, you really did a fantastic job of talking that one through, Shawn. Like you said, someone who’s eating normal and then trying to transition to keto, artificial sweetener is not the low-hanging fruit. It’s hard enough to dial in that 30 grams or less of carbs.

Shawn: Right.

Tim: So, I like that idea. Just see where this lies on that spectrum for you. Is this really the most important thing? That’s a really keen point. I do think that there’s some pretty compelling data there on the gut microbiome stuff, where the artificial sweeteners may reduce the good bacteria. Maybe there’s something there, too, with carbohydrate tolerance, so I’m glad you brought up the cravings. And just like your relationship with this and how it affects you personally, because there’s a lot of associative data there’s, like they talked about the weight gain.

But there’s a chicken or the egg thing there. In these studies, are the people that are drinking more diet sodas maybe overweight at the beginning and trying to lose weight, and that’s why they’re drinking the diet sodas, or is the diet soda really causing it? The directionality there of the association, I don’t think that’s been identified. But there’s some good theories.

Shawn: Right.

Tim: Maybe the body senses that sweetness, so it’s looking for more. Anyway, I think I think you did a great job of really talking that one through.

Shawn: Yeah, there’s enough there, theoretically, to at least raise some warning flags, but I wouldn’t freak out over a little bit here and there. Certainly, to me, a better option than having a ton of sugar. But certainly a better option would be to move your diet more towards whole food and savory, and maybe to use a natural non-caloric sweetener like stevia. So, don’t beat yourself up. But I agree. If you can, reduce them. It’s a great thing. And certainly there’s issues with having diet sodas, anyway, with the food coloring, the acidity from the carbonic acid, and the other acids that are in it may be doing damage to your teeth and to your GI tract. There’s a number of things there that may not be healthy.

Tim: It might even give you gas. [chuckles]

Shawn: That’s true, that’s true. Hardcore dieting. This is the last one on the list of healthy habits. This is no. 12 on the list of healthy habits. “Making a healthy change in eating healthy habits is a good thing, but going on a hardcore crash diet is not. Crash diets can deplete nutrients and lead to severe health problems.”

Tim: Fair enough. [laughs]

Shawn: [laughs] Yup.

Tim: I think, unless you are under a medically-supervised, very low-calorie diet, that’s probably not the best way to go. It kind of it leads to a yo-yo type effect. Generally speaking, if you go really low calorie, one of the things that happens is you lose muscle mass. If all you’re looking at is the number on the scale, yes, it’s going down, but you’re losing both fat and muscle mass. And that muscle mass is important for everything in terms of your metabolic rate, your metabolic function, how you handle carbohydrates, and things like that.

And if you lose muscle mass, it also predisposes you to gain more weight. There’s a theory out there that talks about that your hunger levels after a diet would maybe potentially increase, proportionately to the amount of muscle mass that you lost, because your body’s seeking to regain that lost tissue. And certainly, the greater the energy deficit that you create, the more likely that your appetite is going to skyrocket because of fluctuations in satiety hormones and hunger hormones, like leptin and ghrelin, respectively. So, you kind of set yourself up for failure.

I like that this mentioned the nutrient deficiencies, because the less that you get to eat, the fewer nutrients that you’re going to be bringing in, even if you’re eating whole food-based diet. If you only consume 800 calories, it’s really going to be challenging to get the nutrients you need.

Shawn: Nutrient-dense foods.

Tim: Exactly.

Shawn: Yeah, I agree.

Tim: Yeah, I don’t think that hardcore dieting is the way to go for most people. Not one of the top healthy habits.

Shawn: I would say if you’re going to go pretty low calorie, I’ve looked at some studies related to keto, where you keep enough protein. You can’t really look at percentages; it would have to be grams. Just getting enough protein in, but then keeping your carbs very low, allows for you to get deeper into ketosis. And this one study looked at with isocaloric levels and ISO protein levels—meaning the same levels in these three different groups—they had carbs at about like a 100 grams, 50 grams, and around 20 grams or so. And basically, that allowed for moderate ketosis, maybe like on the edge, a deeper state of ketosis, and then really deep into ketosis. And what happened was, I think it was about 30% of the weight loss was muscle with the group that was around 100 grams of carbs. The one that was around 50, it was around 15%. And then the one that was around 20 grams of carbs a day, it was only 5%, and 95% was fat mass lost.

Tim: Wow.

Shawn: So if you want the majority of your weight to be fat lost and you’re, I think, in a calorie‑restricted state, there may be some advantage to doing a strict ketogenic diet.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: Just something to look at. And certainly using things like intermittent fasting allows you to get deeper into ketosis. Why does this work? Because ketones are lean body mass sparing. We know that they protect lean body mass, because you want to when you’re in this ketogenic state—potentially a starvation state, your body might think, evolutionarily—that you want to spare lean body mass and use fat for fuel. The last thing you want to use in that state is muscle mass.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: You want to spare that muscle mass. So, these ketones are “anti-catabolic,” and so it will spare that lean body mass.

Tim: That’s awesome, Shawn. Because if you thought about like losing 5% of your lean body mass and that’s all you lost, that’s pretty much just like your glycogen and your stored carbohydrate. You’re not losing any of that muscle, essentially. That’s a really good ratio.

I guess, just one more thing that made me think of is that some research from Stu Phillips’ lab, was they basically had a group of men do a 40% calorie deficit, which is pretty severe.

Shawn: Yeah.

Tim: But they had enough protein, so it was in that 0.5 to 0.7 grams of protein per pound, which would be probably roughly around the area that would be okay for keto. It’s like what they would typically use in a protein-sparing modified fast, also. And they lifted weights. So, making sure your protein is there. Making sure you’re lifting weights. Those would be some healthy habits. And then, like you said, maybe going with a keto diet. Those three things might set you up for the most success, if you do want to really restrict calories. So I think that was a really good summation there.

Shawn: Yeah, cool. Well, that’s it, and we appreciate you listening. If you didn’t listen to our last list, which kind of correlates with this one, where we talked about—[laughs] I’m getting confused—it was it was Bad Habits that are Healthy, and this one is Healthy Habits that are Bad. [laughs]

Tim: Exactly. [laughs]

Shawn: So, we had fun with these lists on bad versus healthy habits. I’d appreciate if you listened to both of them, you might enjoy them even more if you kind of get the synergy of both lists. But we really appreciate you guys listening. Check us out on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. And also check us out on our website with BioTrustRadio.com, if you want the full notes and links, and all that good stuff. We have the transcripts of the entire show, that you can read. You can read along while you listen. So, there’s some bonuses if you go to BioTrustRadio.com.

We’d appreciate you checking out our blog, BioTrust.com/blog and our VIP Facebook community that’s really amazing. We have contests going on there and just good people that want to interact with you and cheer you on with your goals, and you can do the same for them. And that is BioTrust.com/VIP. And we appreciate you listening and we’ll see you guys soon. Thank you, so much.

Tim: Thanks, guys.

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