4 Health and Fitness Myths EXPOSED – BioTrust Radio #2

Written by Tim Skwiat and Shawn Wells

Welcome to the latest episode of BioTrust Radio, our weekly podcast dedicated to answering your questions related to health, fitness, nutrition, and supplements so you can get better results, faster! In today’s show, Shawn and Tim help steer you right by exposing 4 popular health and fitness myths.

To start streaming, or listening, right here on the blog, simply click the play button below. If you’d prefer to download the episode to your phone, tablet, or computer so you can listen any time, simply click on the iTunes or Stitcher link below. Enjoy!

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In Part 1 of our myth-busting series, we answered questions like, “What’s the best cardio for weight loss?”, “Is sodium bad for you?”, “Does dietary cholesterol raise blood cholesterol?”, “Are high-fat diets bad for you?”, “Is margarine healthier than butter?”, “Is coconut oil really unhealthy?”, and more.

In this must-listen episode of BioTrust Radio, Shawn and Tim continue down the path of busting fitness and nutrition myths, helping you clear through the clutter by answering questions like:

  • Should you be lifting weights?
  • Do you have to lift heavy weights to build muscle?
  • Are whole eggs healthy?
  • How bad for you is the “complex carb” maltodextrin?
  • Are high-protein diets healthy?
  • Do high-protein diets cause kidney damage?
  • How much protein per day should you be consuming?

We’ll cover these burning questions and much more. Enjoy!

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Show Notes—Transcript

Shawn: Hey, we’re back. Thanks again for checking us out on BioTrust Radio. The last episode we were covering myths that need to be busted, such as coconut oil, that’s being hotly debated. This episode we’re going to cover even more. So, Episode 2 here, we’re covering with even more fitness, nutrition, and supplement myths. Let’s dig in.

So, the next one, building muscle. There’s a few things here. One thing I’ll say before I’ll let you get into your part is that I know that some people that are maybe elderly, let’s say, have concerns that if I get in the weight room what’s really going to happen, “I can’t build back muscle. I cannot build back bone mass, bone mineral density.” They think, “Oh, I’ve got to use calcium and vitamin D, and all that stuff. It’s the only way.” Or maybe to use some certain drugs that help with bone mineral density. But that’s not true. There are studies that show that people into their 80s, and even 90-plus, there’s a study with a 90‑plus-year-old population. They showed that using resistance training with these 90‑plus‑year-olds, that they gained muscle back, a substantial amount of it, and they also gained back bone mineral density without using any changes to diet, any changes to supplements. So there’s some incredible benefits to resistance training that helps as you get older. That muscle mass and that bone mass can save you.

I worked with the elderly in nursing homes and I’ll tell you, just one fall led to a hip fracture, led to them being in a nursing home and could lead to them being bed‑bound, getting pneumonia, and then passing. I mean, I saw people that were otherwise healthy, they were like 60 years old, that were still working. I’m not talking about 98 years old. I’m talking about a normal active age, but they just didn’t have enough bone mass and they didn’t have enough muscle mass, and they fell. This isn’t just people that are skinny that I’m talking about. I mean, you can have substantial body mass but be low bone mineral density and be low on muscle mass.

These falls can easily happen. You can trip on something. There could be ice or whatever, and it’s a life changer. I saw it so many times that healthy, active, highly-cognizant people got taken down and never bounce back, or even died. It’s crazy. I will definitely make a hard push that please, anyone listening, everyone needs to do some kind of resistance training. Please do this. It’s one of the most important things that you can do for your health outcome, your life, to have a longer life expectancy, to have better quality of life. Make sure that you take those steps, take some time to do some resistance training.

Tim: I love that you set the table. I mean, that’s just like a beautiful dinner table all set, because as a strength coach, I’m tremendously passionate about that building muscle.

Shawn: It’s not just for aesthetics.

Tim: Right, not just for aesthetics, not just for athletic performance. Those are things that we’re passionate about. Healthy aging and living the optimal life is something that’s truly important to us, and I still think that there’s a stigma around strength training that it is for bodybuilders, strength athletes, cross-fitters, and other performance athletes, and it’s for everyone. We want that to be loud and clear. We probably said it six times already. We want everyone to do some form of resistance training, and that can be weightlifting, it can be circuit training, or it can be bodyweight training. It just depends on your level of fitness and what you’re comfortable with. If you’re not familiar with exercise, and depending on your level of fitness, get your clearance from your doctor, talk to a personal trainer, and so on and so forth.

Shawn: You could even do stuff in the pool, right, if you have issues with impact and you’re worried about your joints, and maybe you’re not as easily mobile at this point, you’re sedentary. If you just want to get active and find a place to start, that’s one place to start.

Tim: Agreed. And just one thing, since we’re talking about myths that I want to emphasize here is that in my experience, a lot of people, especially as we get a little bit older, shy away from strength training because they think that they have to lift really heavy weights and it’s intimidating. I agree, it is intimidating. But the latest research is showing us that you don’t have to lift heavy weights, actually, to build muscle. Certainly, as we’ve talked about, if you’re interested in building a lot of strength, then heavier weights are going to be the most efficient and effective way to do that. And when we’re talking about heavy weights, we’re talking about maybe a weight that you can lift anywhere from two times to ten times or something like that. But the latest research from labs from like Stu Phillips and Brad Schoenfeld, show that we can lift a weight that’s like 30% of our one-rep max, which is going to be somewhere around the weight that we could lift 25 to 35 times. So, with a fairly light weight, we can build the same muscle mass as a weight that we could lift 10 to 12 times. That’s really encouraging to people that maybe have been afraid to go to the gym to lift weights or to do bodyweight exercises and things like that because that they were afraid or intimidated by heavy weights.

Shawn: I’ve actually gone to lighter weights as I’ve gotten older. As I’ve gotten more injuries and things like that, I’m a little more reluctant to just throw down as heavy as I used to. Now I’m employing these other techniques that I’ve found to be extremely effective, based on the science, like drop sets and supersets, intraset stretching, and KAATSU. All these really cool techniques, that if you work with a really skilled trainer, maybe you can get more adept at. You can certainly look up some articles on them. But it’s incredible to me how fatigued I can get and how difficult the workout can be, and yet I’m not lifting tremendously heavy weight. You’re just decreasing in a time under tension and keeping more constant time under tension. I’m not swinging the weight as I’ve lightened up. Even things like, let’s say if I’m a bicep curl, just moving my arm a little bit more forward and changing that lever arm, and all those kinds of things.

Again, if you work with an expert, a trainer, I would encourage you, that if you’re just getting started or you’re you want to get back in and really get more effective with it, spend some time with a trainer. You don’t have to do every single session with a trainer, but maybe get educated by the trainer, have them set up your program, and maybe once a month check in with them and say, “How am I doing? How’s my form?” Because it’s amazing, now that I’ve employed these techniques, thank you to my trainers, which are right around the corner from our headquarters here [at TELOS Fitness Center]. They’re incredible guys. They’ve really made a massive difference to me, and I guess as I’m getting older it’s less macho stuff for me and more about healthy aging, and I’ve been using all these techniques, all the science. And man, like my weights are like dramatically lighter, but I’m still getting great benefit, like you were talking about. The science is there.

Tim: But one final thing that I want to emphasize. You talked a lot about why building muscle is so important as we age. One of the things that often gets overlooked, or that I think is a good metaphor, is that our muscles are actually a reservoir for the carbohydrate that we eat. It’s like a carb-burning machine, essentially. So, the more muscle that we have, the more muscle that we move, the better and more efficiently we are able to process carbohydrate if we eat them. So, for people that have issues with carbohydrate tolerance, we’ve hinted that the ketogenic diet might be a good approach for them, but also building muscle and maintaining muscle as we age is tremendously important for insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate tolerance. So I just wanted to add that because people have difficulty with that as they get older as well.

Shawn: The GLUT4 receptor.

Tim: Exactly.

Shawn: That’s on the muscle. Exactly. So that’s a great point, a phenomenal point, Tim. We talked a little bit about cholesterol, but there’s a unique one that’s been thrown under the bus on and off over the years, and that’s eggs. I just had my eggs this morning. What do you think about eggs, and are they dangerous. I think this one documentary I just recently watched that there’s a whole other discussion that we could spend hours on, and I’ve done on some other shows, What the Health. It’s on Netflix. Oh man, the science is just so bad.

Tim: What science?

Shawn: Yeah, exactly. I’m not saying vegan is bad, per se, but the documentary is just so poorly done, scientifically. It’s very frustrating. It’s creating myths galore. It’s creating all new myths. But they say in that documentary that one egg is as bad as five cigarettes.

Tim: Oh! Gosh.

Shawn: So, what do you think about eggs? Are they dangerous? Is it like smoking a half pack of cigarettes?

Tim: Man, I would be interested to know where that comes from. Yeah, I mean, as a sports nutritionist and coach, I just have to shake my head and do the old double facepalm when I overhear a conversation where a dietitian or nutritionist or just two people talking say, “Do an egg white omelet instead of whole eggs” or “Go with the egg substitute instead of eggs,” and “It’s fat-free, cholesterol-free,” and that’s just a perfect snapshot of the misguidance and misinformation that’s out there.

I just wrote an article on our blog about the benefits of eggs. Just kind of a brief one. It talks about why you should eat the whole egg. We really talked about it.

Shawn: Brand-new data just came out, actually, showing that the only way you can get enough choline in your diet is through eating eggs or supplementation.

Tim: Wow.

Shawn: They basically said that without eggs or choline supplements, you can’t get enough choline that you need.”

Tim: Well, run with choline. Let’s talk about why you should be eating the yolk.

Shawn: Oh, yeah. Obviously, the choline is the same as almost talking about the cholesterol. A healthy brain, choline is so important for brain health. Cholesterol is important for brain health. These phospholipids that make up the brain, proper nerve conduction with your neurons and myelin sheath, and all these kinds of things. Just even like your cell, like any cell, like that outer layer, you need that cholesterol. And again, choline is an important part of that equation.

Tim: Yeah, absolutely. And you’re only going to get choline from the yolk. If you’re not eating the whole egg, you’re not getting it.

Shawn: Basically, the egg white is just protein.

Tim: And along those lines, it’s only about half the protein that you’re get in a whole egg. I think 40% of the protein is in the yolk, so you’re getting rid of 40% of the protein.

Shawn: As a keto dieter, I wish I have all the yolks.

Tim: I know. That’s what I think.

Shawn: Like where do all these yolks go? All these egg white people, like there’s all these cartons of egg whites. Can I get a carton of egg yolks? That’s actually where all the nutrients are. That’s where all the health benefits are, is in the egg yolk. There’s all these B vitamins, besides choline, that are in there. Amazing stuff.

Tim: Exactly. All these fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin D. Eggs are one of the few dietary sources of vitamin D. One of my personal favorite things to talk about with eggs, with egg yolk, specifically, are the carotenoids that are in the yolks.

Shawn: That’s what makes them yellow.

Tim: That’s exactly what makes them yellow. Lutein and zeaxanthin are potent antioxidants known as the macular carotenoids, and the reason that they’re called macular carotenoids is because they build up in your eyes. In fact, they’re so important that some people call them natural sunglasses. So, they help block blue light or filter blue light and really maintain eye health and vision.

Shawn: And now there’s the new data, with going back to the brain, with choline and the cholesterol being important for your brain. But yeah, now there’s the new data with lutein and brain health.

Tim: And one of your favorite things with brain health is BDNF, right?

Shawn: Yes, exactly.

Tim: So, lutein can facilitate the release of this.

Shawn: Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor.

Tim: Yeah, it’s kind of a growth factor for nerve cells. It basically keeps our whole entire nervous system healthy.

Shawn: So, to break it down, I would say the egg yolk, or eggs in general, but in particular the egg yolk, is going to be highly protective brain food.

Tim: Exactly.

Shawn: Certainly it’s not like cigarettes.

Tim: Eye food. But heart health is also one issue that comes up, and man, I’ve looked at probably a dozen randomized controlled trials where they look at eggs versus egg substitutes, or egg versus no eggs. I’m talking like two or three eggs a day for 12 weeks. At best, there’s no difference in markers of cholesterol and other markers of cardiovascular health, and at best, there’s improvements in HDL and LDL and other markers of cardiovascular health with eggs, whole eggs. Man, that myth.

Shawn: Myth-busted. All right, how about the next one that we see in a lot of supplements, in a lot of foods. It’s really one, either a filler, or two, a way to coat foods so that other things can stick to it. Think about like nuts. Sometimes they might use maltodextrin to coat them. So you see maltodextrin everywhere. Where does it come from? And it gets listed uniquely, so it’s used often. On the label, it looks like it’s very low sugar, but it’s a carbohydrate. Let’s talk about maltodextrin. What are your thoughts?

Tim: Maltodextrin, well I think maybe first to start with where it comes from. Maltodextrin typically comes from corn.

Shawn: GMO corn.

Tim: And 90% of the corn grown in the United States is GMO corn, and that’s not typically corn that you would eat like that you’d find in the produce section. Most that sweet corn is not. But that GMO corn is typically used for corn-derived ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, corn starch, and maltodextrin. Like you said, and I remember this back when I first got into nutrition several years ago, that I would buy meal replacement packages. I’m not going to name any companies. But they claimed that maltodextrin was a low sugar, complex carb.

Shawn: Complex carb, yeah.

Tim: So it comes back to that simple versus complex carb classification, yet it’s not that simple though.

Shawn: No, no. It very unique. It’s mostly starch, but it’s not listed like a sugar. But really, your body is going to treat maltodextrin essentially like it is a sugar. And for all intents and purposes, it’s sugar. The entire thing is sugar. But I think 90% is what would be considered non-sugar on a label. So it’s very frustrating. It’s a loophole that gets exploited in food, in supplements. So honestly, if you see maltodextrin, I would be quick to avoid that food. It’s either in there to look like a non-sugar source when it is, or it’s probably a highly processed food. When it’s used in foods as a way to dust it and add other spices and create a coating, then most likely you’re getting into those processed foods that have that bliss point, like we’ve talked about, that are going to make you overeat. Those are snack foods that are coated with maltodextrin. I would just by and large try to avoid maltodextrin. It’s not healthy for you.

Tim: Yeah, exactly.

Shawn: The last one, a big one. One we hear about all the time is high-protein diets. Some people eat a lot of protein, especially like people we know that do bodybuilding or active, like protein seems to be like the one macronutrient that gets all the love. Sometimes there’s fat phobia, like we talked about already, that’s misguided. And there’s certainly people that are carb-phobic and try and eat a low-carb diet. But protein always gets the pass and people love protein, but there’s some talk about high-protein diet can damage your kidneys. Oh my goodness. So what is the reality around this kidney damage and high protein diets?

Tim: That’s a great question, Shawn. I think just a little bit of a backdrop, like you said, protein does tend to get all the love, and that’s because there’s a pretty substantial amount of evidence that shows that high-protein diets have a number of beneficial outcomes in terms of body composition and metabolic health. And we can get into what that means to have a higher protein diet, but by and large, we see that protein is very satisfying, so it helps with appetite control and hunger and cravings and things like that. And some people kind of play up the metabolism-boosting effect, but it does. I mean, like anything you eat, the body has to process, and it’s calorically expensive and that process called “the thermic effect of food” is much more calorically expensive for protein than carbohydrate or fats. It does have that metabolism-boosting effect. We talked about muscles.

Shawn: Sparing lean body mass.

Tim: Yeah, exactly, and it’s huge. As we get older, our protein needs may be even higher because for certain reasons, like leucine threshold, that we don’t need to get into. But higher protein diets may be even more important as we get older.

Shawn: Yeah, it’s called sarcopenia. As you age, you lose this lean body mass that you may become more, like we talked about, more leucine insensitive, or whatever, like you said. That threshold for leucine or having more protein, gets more and more important as you age, that you’re just probably not getting enough. And there can be actually like a phenomenon called sarcopenic obesity, where someone can potentially stay the same weight and they think they’re doing okay. This is almost like the type of thing that leads into that whole hip fracture fall thing that I was talking about, but you’re trading off lean body mass for fat mass. That you’re staying at the same weight, so it’s an interesting phenomenon that you’re losing that key lean body mass that protects you.

Tim: Exactly. Just to kind of go into the myth here, is that it is. It’s just been a myth, that high-protein diets cause kidney damage. Stu Phillips has called this a “circular argument.” Stu Phillips is also a Researcher at McMaster University, a renowned protein researcher. And I think that’s a good way to look at it, because when people have various issues with kidney disease or renal failure, they typically are given a diet that’s low in protein. Because it is a process to filter the protein, and that is a process that the kidneys are involved in. But under normal circumstances, when kidney health is good, it’s not causing protein damage. It’s just that in the case of kidney damage, they want to lighten the load on the kidneys and so they reduce the amount of protein.

Shawn: To me, it’s equivalent to saying, “Don’t drink twice as much water because it’s dangerous to your kidneys,” or “Don’t eat twice as much food because it can damage your intestines” or something. When your body is healthy, this is what it’s meant to do; high or low, or anything in-between. It’s only a question of when there’s impairment or disease that you have to look at some of those things that it’s basically its whole function is to process these things. So, in this case, protein and your kidneys. But no one says, “Don’t drink twice as much water. It’s going to be dangerous to your kidneys.” Now, they would say that if you do have renal impairment. You do look at fluid. I mean, this is really the same thing with the protein. It’s a myth. What’s the study that Joey Antonio did?

Tim: Exactly. So, there’s no evidence. When we look at the whole body of evidence, in healthy humans, there’s no evidence that says when we consume 0.7 grams of protein per pound a day that it’s going to cause kidney issues. In fact, to your point, Joey Antonio has done several studies looking at anywhere between 1.5 and 2.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day, which is a substantial amount of protein, for eight weeks to four months, or even longer, that there’s no issues. So, they’re measuring the various blood tests where you would be able to see if there’s any issues, and there’s no issues. So there’s that. But the myth is busted.

Now, having said that, there’s maybe a little bit of information out there that restricting protein every now and then, or fasting, or rebalancing may have some benefit to it. Do you have to have a super high-protein diet all the time? Or if you go a little bit lower in protein every once in a while, are you going to lose all your muscle? No, in fact, it may have anti-aging benefits. We can get into that another time, but again, the idea that there’s extremes, I think we’re trying to bring people not to the middle, but away from the extremes in the right direction.

Shawn: Right. And I think that was the whole point of our myth-busting podcast, and we’re going to do these certainly from time-to-time as your questions come up or things come up in the news that we see. We want to bring truth to these subjects. We want to shed light on things that maybe are misguided or sensationalistic. Oftentimes, there’s a lot of stuff in the media that’s just portrayed a certain way for clicks. Clickbait, as they call it on the internet now.

So, that’s our goal, is to educate and empower you, and hopefully you feel like we’re doing that. Definitely give us more feedback. Let us know what you think of this episode and what you want to hear in the future, and we really enjoyed it. So, thank you folks.

Tim: Thanks guys.

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