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Mind & Matter
Diet, Nutrition, Metabolic Psychiatry, Brain & Mental Health | Georgia Ede | #153

Diet, Nutrition, Metabolic Psychiatry, Brain & Mental Health | Georgia Ede | #153

Download, watch, or listen to M&M episode #153

About the guest: Georgia Ede, MD is a psychiatrist and author of, "Change Your Diet, Change Your Mind: A Powerful Plan to Improve Mood, Overcome Anxiety, And Protect Memory for a Lifetime of Optimal Mental Health."

Episode summary: Nick and Dr. Ede discuss: glucose vs. ketones for brain energy; metabolic health & insulin resistance; animal vs. plant-based foods; nutrients, anti-nutrients & plant toxins; ketogenic, carnivore & plant-based diets; carbohydrates & processed foods; treating bipolar disorder, schizophrenia & psychiatric illness with diet; and more.

*This content is never meant to serve as medical advice.


Full AI-generated transcript below. Beware of typos & mistranslations!

Nick Jikomes 0:25

Whether food, drugs or ideas what you consume influences who you become on the mind and matter podcast we learned together from the best scientists and thinkers alive today about how your mind body reacts to what you feed it before starting mind did matter. I spent 10 years in academia doing scientific research, I got a PhD in neuroscience, where I focused on neuro endocrinology and the neurobiology of behavior. And before that I specialized in molecular, developmental and evolutionary genetics, I use my scientific background to help parse and translate to the information that guests share on the podcast. In addition to the podcast, I write long form written content inspired by the show where I integrate what I've learned across episodes. I also have a free weekly newsletter, where I provide you with upcoming guests share links, and provide commentary on scientific studies and research that I'm reading and more visit mind and matter.substack.com. To find all of my content. This episode is ad free, and I rely on my audience to support my efforts. If you're getting value from this content, please consider becoming a paid subscriber to the Mind Matters substack for just $5 a month, you'll get early access to episodes and other content full episode transcripts. And I'll prioritize answering your questions in emails and the comments sections. You can also support me by checking out the links in the episode description to my affiliate partners who make various health and wellness products that I use and enjoy myself you'll receive a discount and help support the podcast that way. And if you want the benefits of a paid subscription, but it's not in your budget, simply sign up for my free weekly newsletter, send me an email and I'll give you a complimentary paid subscription. Word of mouth is the best way to help the podcast grow. So if you like what I'm doing, please share your favorite episodes with family and friends. The purpose of the podcast is to provide you with information obtained largely from primary sources, the people doing the research and producing new knowledge, this content is never meant to serve as medical advice. And with that enjoy the episode.

Georgia Ede 2:25

I'm a psychiatrist based in Massachusetts, I've been practicing psychiatry for 25 years. And for the first 10 years of my practice, I practiced conventional psychiatry, medications and psychotherapy, and then gradually incorporated more and more nutrition principles into my practice. And now for many years now, the cornerstone of my work has been metabolic and nutritional psychiatry, centering primarily around ketogenic diets, but other types of dietary strategies as well to help people address the root causes of mental health conditions and help them use less medication sometimes even avoid medications entirely. So that's been, that's been my passion for the for the past 15 years. I

Nick Jikomes 3:13

want to start off by just talking about neurons and and energy and get people thinking about how the brain uses the food that we consume for energy. So in relatively basic terms, how do our neurons How do the cells in our brain actually utilize energy? What are the energy sources they can use? And how do they actually use it?

Georgia Ede 3:34

So the brain is a very, I call it an energy hog, you know, it needs lots and lots of energy, because it's, the way that it works is it needs to generate electricity. And so in order to generate electricity, you need a lot of energy. And so the brain is designed to burn ideally, small molecules, and its two favorite molecules to burn are glucose, which comes from blood sugar. Glucose is the sugar that's circulating in our blood simple sugar molecule, and ketones, which are a small fragment of fat. So if you're burning fat, you can generate ketones. If you're burning carbohydrate, you can generate glucose. And so these very small molecules they cross into the brain. And brain cells can use them for energy. And when they do many things with that energy, but one of the most important things they do with that energy is generate electricity. So if the, if the energy supply to the brain isn't reliable and smooth, then you can see all kinds of things go wrong with the brain. The brain can lose its balance in terms of its ability to produce smooth energy supply, and you can see destabilization, you can see mood instability, you can see energy levels that are too high or too low, unpredictable. And you can gradually over time the brain can, cannot can lose even cells and some of the cells can begin to die if they're on If there isn't enough energy available, so energy is really key to the smooth, reliable operation of the brain.

Nick Jikomes 5:08

Okay, so the brain uses a lot of energy, in large part to generate electricity. So the neurons can send the electrochemical signals that that they actually send to each other. It sort of makes intuitive sense. There's a lot of electricity going on up there. And so you need a lot of energy to fuel that. There's lots of proteins that facilitate that, that pump the ions and stuff in and out of the cell. And then of course, the chemical messengers themselves, things like neurotransmitters, they they need to be made, they need to be stored, they need to do what they do. How does the diet connect to things like the neurotransmitters that our brands are actually using as messengers? Are they made out of components of the diet? What what is the connection there? So

Georgia Ede 5:53

everything in the brain comes from the food we eat, there wouldn't be anywhere else for it to come from. And I think sometimes people don't think enough about that, is that, you know, I was trained, obviously, in medical school and in psychiatry residency, to treat so called chemical imbalances with medications to try to try to improve people's brain chemistry, with medications and medications do have an effect on brain chemistry. But one of the things I like to help people appreciate the relationship here is between the food and the brain, because really, the most powerful way to change your brain chemistry is through food, because that's where brain chemicals and every other component of the brain comes from. So, so yes, you're right. So of course, that every piece of the brain comes from food, and just like every other organ in the body, in order to construct those pieces, you need the right components you need, you need proteins, you need the right, the correct mixture of amino acids that come from protein, you need the right types of fats, some of those come from the diet, some of those we can make ourselves and you need vitamins and minerals, you need micronutrients, in order to help assemble those components. And and to help run the chemical reactions that turn energy molecules like glucose and ketones into energy. So that's why we eat when we eat food in order to supply our brains and the rest of our bodies with the pieces, the components, the parts, and the energy that we need to, to maintain ourselves. So yes, everything comes from food.

Nick Jikomes 7:32

And a lot of the neurotransmitters and things in the brain that the brain uses for communication purposes. These are essentially made from things like amino acids, right?

Georgia Ede 7:42

Yes, so most neurotransmitters are, do ultimately come from amino acids or which come from protein. And some of those amino acids we can make ourselves and others we can't others we have to get from the diet. So and so for example, the amino acid tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid that we must get from the diet because we can't make it ourselves. That amino acid is used, for example to make neurotransmitter called dopamine. And so and I'm of course I'm explain, I know that you are a neuroscientist, so you don't need to know this, but I'm just explaining this for your listeners and viewers who might not be familiar with that. So oftentimes, we'll you know, you can you can use tryptophan for example to make serotonin and, and melatonin which is our, our sleep our circadian rhythm hormone. So you can you can use tryptophan to make a variety of different neurotransmitters. And when if you don't have enough tryptophan, then you won't be able to make enough of those neurotransmitters. And those neurotransmitters are the same neurotransmitters that many of the psychiatric medications are designed to try to support the activity and levels of in the brain.

Nick Jikomes 8:51

I see. So something like serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan, as are other things in the brain. Melatonin is an example. Some psychiatric medications like SSRIs for depression, boost serotonin levels, their serotonin reuptake inhibitors. So in essence, you can at least directionally do similar things with food through altering the diet that you could do with a segment that's basically what you're saying.

Georgia Ede 9:17

I don't know if I'd put it quite that way. So, so, yes, so the medical the way for example, a serotonin reuptake inhibitor works like Prozac or Zoloft, Paxil Celexa, those medications, like you said, they're a reuptake inhibitor, so they basically slow down the recycling of those neurotransmitters, so they stay in between the cells longer and the synapses longer so they can perhaps work a little better. And so the food can't really do that. But if you're eating in the wrong way, you can destabilize that system. So if you're not getting enough of the amino acids, you may not have enough tryptophan to to make those neurotransmitters. But also if you're eating the wrong way, you can throw that pathway that regulates the production of those different neurotransmitters out of balance. So if you're eating properly, all of this should work without you having to think about it. If you're going the wrong way, you can really run into a lot of trouble pretty quickly. And you might, you might be told that you need medication to help rebalance the system. But you know, like I said, I was trained that the biological root causes of most mental health conditions were chemical imbalances, and things like neurotransmitters, but we were never, we never stopped to think or talk about, well, what's causing those imbalances in the first place. And eating the wrong way, has a profound effect on that the regulation of those systems.

Nick Jikomes 10:53

So in principle, you could be deficient in something like tryptophan, it's an essential amino acid, we can only get it by eating it in our food. And because it's the precursor to things like serotonin, you could be you can throw off sort of the balance of of serotonin, by being deficient in tryptophan. How common is that? Are there very many people walking around that aren't getting enough tryptophan or something else?

Georgia Ede 11:15

Not in the developed world, typically, most people in the developed world are getting enough protein. And some people aren't getting quite enough, or they're not getting quite the right mixture, or the ideal mixture of amino acids. But most people fortunately at least in some of us are very lucky to live in parts of the world, where we have access to enough high quality protein. That's not true and great parts of the world where malnourishment is an access to, especially to animal foods is very, very limited. And that's, that can cause a great deal of a lot of mental and physical health problems, of course. So, but yeah, so in the developed world, we don't typically see a lot of protein malnutrition, the way you would see in under in places, which are far less fortunate.

Nick Jikomes 12:01

So there's something kind of interesting there, because you said that in many places in, in some places in the world that are less developed, and malnutrition is a much bigger problem. They can be amino acid deficient. And that's often because they lack animal sources of protein. That's not a problem that we have here in the United States, we have plentiful food around. And yet, while I'm often hearing people say, well, I should be getting most of my protein from plants. So what what's going on there?

Georgia Ede 12:33

I'm glad you asked that, because that is that is the prevailing increasingly the popular view and the prevailing sort of official information, the guidelines that we're getting, both from our our governmental guidelines, but also from prestigious institutions like the Harvard School of Public Health, or, or Tufts University, and other other prestigious and the World Health Organization, the USDA dietary guidelines. So more and more what people the message that people are getting is that plant proteins are superior, healthier, plant foods, in general, the more plants you eat, the healthier you are, the fewer animal foods you eat, the healthier you will be. And so essentially plants good animals, risky, or protect perhaps even dangerous. The truth about the biology of the differences between plant and animal foods and what human biology requires is almost exactly the opposite of that message. And so it's very, very, it's very concerning to me that this message is has is being absorbed by people and really taken to heart I mean, people really feel strongly about, I mean, a lot of people want to be healthy. And so they're following this information, and they're taking it to heart, and they're changing their diets, and they're eating fewer and fewer animal foods, and more and more plant foods. And this is this is this is not the way our biology, the way our biology functions at its best plant proteins. With few exceptions, there are a few exceptions, do not contain enough of the right mixture of essential amino acids to to meet our needs. Whereas every animal food contains enough of the right types of essential amino acids to meet our needs without even having to think about it

Nick Jikomes 14:23

is a simple way for people to think about this. Perhaps that. So obviously, are our bodies made out of proteins, the proteins are made out of amino acids. The amino acids aren't all a present equal amounts. There's a particular distribution that our muscles have and our brains have, et cetera, et cetera. So when we think about something like red meat like beef, can people just think of that as like, okay, we're eating the muscle of a mammal. We're a mammal and we've got muscles. So you're going to naturally have a lot of the same amino acids distributed in that food source that are in our bodies, and it's going to be much closer to the The distribution of our bodies than something like, I don't know what that what you would find in lentils or something.

Georgia Ede 15:05

That's exactly right. And so you know, we are animals, we are actually, we are actually made of red meat and saturated fat and cholesterol. And yet, we're told that those are the very things that are that are that are dangerous for us. And, you know, plants, plants, you know, most plants are much lower in saturated fat, most plants lack the amino acids that that we need in the right mixtures. And most plants contain different types of fats. And the ones that are ideal for are the ones that we that are essential to our brains and bodies are optimal functioning. So plants are not, they're not well suited, they're not ideally suited to be the the foundation of the human diet. It's not that they're all dangerous, or that everybody needs to stop eating them. But, but really, we must, if we were looking for optimal health, meaning nourishing every cell in our bodies optimally with all of the essential nutrients in the right proportions, the most safe and reliable, and and complete way to do that is with animal foods, and not plant foods, animal foods, we are much we are animals, so we have a lot more in common with them. And the molecules that they contain are the ones that we need. And they're they're more bioavailable, they're more plentiful, they're much easier to find. And they do not come with, with rare exceptions, they do not come with any anti nutrients to interfere with our ability to absorb them. And they do not come with any, again, with rare exceptions with any toxins that pose risks to our health when we're trying to when when we eat them. This is not the case with plant foods, plant foods, protect themselves with chemical weapons. And these, these do pose risks to human health. And they also guard their nutrients with anti nutrients that make it in many cases more difficult for us to access their nutrients. So just because a plant food may contain a nutrient, so if you're reading out label, you may see that plant food contain something doesn't necessarily mean that you have good access to it. And I think that's a that's a little known nutrition secret. So

Nick Jikomes 17:21

so if it's good people, an example or two here, so you know, if you're eating grass fed beef, and it's got 20 grams of protein, and then you're eating, say lentils or beans, it's got 20 grams of protein on it. They both say they have 20 grams of protein on it, they both actually contain 20 grams of protein. But what's the difference there? You're gonna absorb different amounts of that for different reasons.

Georgia Ede 17:44

Yes, so let's so plant proteins. So the plant foods that are highest in protein are the nuts and Lagos lagoon was being you know, beans, and peas, and lentils, soy, things like that, things like that. So when people are trying to meet their daily protein requirements through plant foods alone on a vegan diet, they really need to include legumes and nuts in their diet, because that's where most of the protein in plants is. So the problem is that we're not we're it's not protein that we're after, as you said before, amino acids is this particular mix of amino acids. So all proteins are not created equal. And most people who are following a vegan diet already understand that and know that they need to be careful about how they plan their diet, so they get so they don't fall short, and these amino acids, but then on top of that, that extra hurdle that you have to go to deal with in order to nourish your brain properly, you also have to deal with these anti nutrients and toxins that stand in the way of you safely and reliably absorbing all of those amino acids. So all of the seed foods, including lagoons, and nuts, these foods contain protease inhibitors that are that are really, they make it more difficult for us to for our digestive enzymes to break those proteins down into their individual amino acids so that we can absorb them, and that's protease inhibitors are there because the plant quite selfishly and right rightfully, wants to hold on to those amino acids for its own selfish purposes. Meaning, you know, if you're if you're a soybean, what you exist in order to nourish an embryo a little there's an inside ever been a little embryo baby going to sprout, it's a bait and so it needs those nutrients including those amino acids. It certainly doesn't want you getting your grubby paws on. They

Nick Jikomes 19:41

don't want to be eaten just like an animal doesn't want to be the difference is that an animal can run away or as spines or has some other way to protect itself. The plant can't go anywhere. And so it has to it has to use chemistry.

Georgia Ede 19:52

That's right. And it's very clever chemistry evolved over hundreds of millions of years really smart what would

Nick Jikomes 19:59

be like well one or two examples of common plant toxins that are coming in, you know, a normal everyday food plant food that we would otherwise consider to be healthy.

Georgia Ede 20:12

Yeah, so there are toxins and they're anti nutrients. So in terms of toxins, one of the one of the food groups that I suggest that people who are struggling with mental health conditions avoid are the night shades. And the nightshades are things like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, all of the red spices on some paprika, chili peppers, things like that. And white potato skins of white potatoes, and goji berries. So these are the these are the, the United shades. And they might sound like they have nothing in common. But if you look at the fruit of any of those plants, they all have kind of a little green elfish hat, you know, if you've picked an eggplant, it's got that little hat. So to me those do too, right. And that's there, they're in the same family. And so they protect themselves with chemical weapons and one of the chemical weapons they protect themselves. One type is called a glycol alkaloid. And these are neurotoxic. So these are these are toxic to the nervous system. And so if you absorb them to any significant extent, which you can, then then that can that can irritate the nervous system. So there's just one example of a chemical that's naturally occurring in plants. And we're told that all plants are equally healthy, and that the more we eat them, the better and that we need a wide variety, we have to eat the rainbow, we need to what we're never taught to think about each different type of plant food as unique, some are riskier and healthier than others. And I think that's just it makes sense to really, to really give them their due, you know, Don't lump them all together in one category. They're very different types of foods that have different vitamins, different minerals, different chemicals in them, different risks and benefits, they're not all the same, and they're not all necessarily good for you.

Nick Jikomes 22:03

And so on the anti nutrient piece. So these are things that sort of prevent the absorption of the nutrients that are otherwise in these things. Is that why like I've seen a lot of data out there around certain micronutrients and their bioavailability across animal and plant foods, everything from calcium to other vitamins and stuff. Is that why you often see with plant foods that although it might contain X number of milligrams of the standard, the other vitamin, you often don't absorb very much of that. Yeah,

Georgia Ede 22:31

so a really good example, is phytic acid or phytate. This is widespread in plants, but it's especially if you're especially fine, large quantities of it. And again, the grains, beans, nuts and seeds, which are all essentially seeds that contain embryos, those are the most heavily defended parts of plants is of course, where the embryo is housed, that you're protecting the future generation of that species, right. So so grains, beans, nuts, and seeds all are rich and phytic acid and phytic acid is a mineral magnet, very powerful one. And it's there to hold on to you, when you think about it. A seed what does the seed need to deal with a seed might need to sit for days, months and months or years waiting for the conditions to be right to sprout. And while it's sitting there, it's dealing with the environment it's dealing with little creatures that are coming up to you know not on it in how is it going to survive. So it needs to protect itself with with toxins but also with anti nuke with anti nutrients phytic acid is there too got to hold on to to calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc for the future sprouting plant that that hopes to become a larger plant. And it may need to hold on to those minerals for a very long time. So when we consume one of the examples, I've given the book, and that I've given a lot of my presentations, because it's just such an excellent example. Easy to understand for for people. If this was a new idea for them is zinc. So zinc, the food on the whole food on the planet that is Richeson zinc is the oyster. So if you eat if you eat oysters, there was an experiment done a long time ago that shows this. If you eat oysters, you see your blood level of oyster rise very nicely. And that is a sign that you're that you've effectively absorbed a great deal of zinc from that oyster. If you eat that same amount of oysters with black beans, which is a seed food or lagoon, you absorb less than half of the Zinc of those.

Nick Jikomes 24:40

So it's not just eating the plant. It's not just plants are difficult for us to extract those minerals from the anti nutrients can actually affect the absorption of animal foods that we eat together with the plant foods. Yes,

Georgia Ede 24:52

and this can happen with iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium. It's a very very common phenomenon in Among plant foods, and so, if you, if you eat that same amount of oysters with corn tortillas and corn as a grains with a seed, you absorb virtually none of the Zinc from those oysters. So very powerful effect. It's not subtle at all. And we often wonder, you know why in wealthy countries that have access to all kinds of foods? Do we have so much? For example, iron deficiency? Yeah, I mean, even people who are eating animal foods along with the other foods, and that's because we're not given the right information about a what are the best foods were the foods that contain the best and most bioavailable iron, the meat, seafood, poultry, and which are the foods that are working against our ability to absorb iron, and those are the grains, beans, nuts and seeds and the certain types of vegetables as well. And even green tea and other types of things. We are told to base our diets on grains, beans, nuts and seeds are very low in nutrients, especially the the grains and the beans, and very high and anti nutrients that they really have not earned their place at the base of the pyramid.

Nick Jikomes 26:08

Well, I mean, speaking of the pyramid, I mean, people have talked ad nauseam about the food pyramid and where it comes from and everything. What you're telling us is really important. It's really interesting. But it's also not new, right? We've known about antinutrients. For a long time, we've known basically all the things that you just told us this is, this has been out there for a long time, if you know how to look for it. Why, then, is the narrative the official narrative, the official food guidelines and what I hear from most physicians that I talk to in my personal life? Why is everything plant based grain based? Where where's this coming from? If it's in conflict with what we know about the biology?

Georgia Ede 26:50

It's such a good question, because it really it really is a hot or cold, hard fact. These are cold, hard facts. These are not disputed. I don't know anybody who would look at this science and say, well, that's not true. The problem I think, with with, it's complicated that I write a lot about in the book, like why is it that we have this plant biased mindset, where we give plants much more credit than they deserve, from a nutritional and, and health standpoint. And, and we demonize animal foods, which are really the healthiest, safest and most nutritious foods that we can eat. And so why have we done that, and the roots of this anti meat sentiment, they have their roots in certain religious traditions that go back hundreds and hundreds of years. But they, they the argument was often spiritual and having having to do with, you know, differences between humans and other animals, and perhaps even our compassion or our ability to identify with species that are similar to us. So for especially mammals, right, so Matt, we are mammals, you know, you can make eye contact with a mammal, you can have relationships with mammals, right. And the way that you can't really with I don't know, a claim, or an egg, yeah.

Nick Jikomes 28:05

No, yeah. I mean, I get that. I get that what I don't. So I mean, obviously, that's out there. A lot of people go to veganism or plant based diets out of a, from an animal cruelty and welfare standpoint. Yes, I totally get that. That's obviously out there. But like, I've spoken many physicians, and they promote these plant based diets, because that's what the goal is from a very physician oriented, health oriented mindset that they say will be better for me. Where is that coming from? So

Georgia Ede 28:38

yeah, so the early part of the story has to do with spirituality and religion and culture and sort of human animal connection, right. But it morphed in the 1800s, it became a health argument. And that and there's information about the history of that in the book, but but more often to a health argument. There's a particular church of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and other branches of churches similar, that realize that this argument is compassionate argument and spiritual argument was not swaying enough people. And so they needed to appeal to people's fears. And so it began to this narrative grew in the 1800s, and has only grown since then. That it's not just that, you know, it may not be may not be kind or it may not be spiritually, it may not be, you know, be a good person if you eat animals, but also that it may be dangerous to your health. And that argument is very powerful. And because people people care about their own health, and they and and so these arguments grew and grew. And then scientists picked up on these arguments and and took some of them face value. And then an ever since have really been conducting study after study after study, trying to understand why plant food woods are better for us and why animal foods are bad for us. without ever questioning the original premise, a lot of these studies are designed to try to find the good in plants and try the evil in animal foods. And there, I challenge anybody listening to find me a study that conclusively shows that this is the case. And the more studies that that are produced, the more studies that the more they, the more so what's happening as doctors learn nothing about nutrition. So in four years of medical school, we've had two or three hours of nutrition education, and most of it was incorrect. And four years of psychiatry residency training, we didn't talk about food once doctors know nothing about nutrition. So the last person will you should go to is is a conventionally trained physician for your nutrition advice, because they're going to read, they're going to they're going to read the guidelines, they're going to read the recommendations without actually looking at the primary research articles that are generating those headlines on those guidelines. The problem with plant based diet science, is that there are lots and lots of studies that claim that plant based diets are healthier, but none of them are conducted in a way that can actually show that to be the case, you

Nick Jikomes 31:23

did a really good job in the book and the beginning of mapping out for people the different types of studies that are out there. And what they do or do not show us, and one that I just wanna spend a little bit of time on is the field of nutritional epidemiology. So most of the time, I think it's fair to say that I'll just say much of the time, very, very much of the time when people see a headline in the news written by a journalist, you know, such and such diet is associated with blah, blah, good thing or bad thing. Oftentimes, those are coming from epidemiological studies. What are those studies? And why is this such a tricky area?

Georgia Ede 32:03

Really, this field of nutrition epidemiology, which I'll explain in a second, there's a whole chapter about in the book, it this is the information or the pseudo information that comes out of nutrition epidemiology is largely responsible for the public health crisis we find ourselves in today. Because nutrition epidemiology isn't fully unscientific method of generating information. So what I mean by that really is kind of a simple example. And there's hundreds and hundreds of studies like this, where let's say that you're a nutrition epidemiologist, and you are interested in the relationship between a particular food and a particular disease, let's say that you believe that you're worried that red meat might cause heart disease? Well, it's a pretty hard thing to show that, really, nutrition experiments are hard to design and conduct and they're expensive. You can't control what everybody eats, you can't track what everybody eats. And you certainly can't do it over long periods of time. With lots and lots of people. It's, it's virtually impossible to do that. So instead, what we do is nutrition. Epidemiologists give out these surveys. They add, they give these very limited, they're called food frequency questionnaires. And they asked people a few questions at most, maybe 130 questions about what they remember eating over the past year and how much? So for example, a question might be a how many half cup servings of blueberries have you eaten on average over the past year? So

Nick Jikomes 33:37

so not only do you have to have been eating blueberries half a cup at a time and measuring it, you have to have perfect memory recall for months or years and your past. And this is what like many of these studies are based on that quality of data, literally.

Georgia Ede 33:52

All nutrition epidemiology studies are based on food frequency questionnaires, and there's no measurement or tracking or recording of food at all, except for sometimes they'll say, Well, we'll actually measure what you ate over the past three days. But there are most of these studies go on for years and years. And there's no measurement recording or tracking of what people are actually eating over that period of time. Yeah, there's no data. There's, they're just wild guesses.

Nick Jikomes 34:22

So, I mean, you could argue that this isn't particularly useful data. Could you also argue that this is actually worse than useful? It's actually counterproductive? Because we start thinking and believing things that aren't actually true. We think we have real knowledge when we in fact don't.

Georgia Ede 34:38

So there so yes, I agree with that. 100% You're absolutely right. Science requires two things, the scientific method, there are lots of different types of studies, but they all if it's going to be science, it has to have two components. It has to have you have to observe some thing that you observe something in the world and that you get curious about and say, Oh, that's interesting. I wonder why that is. You And you come up with your hypothesis, you, you have an observation on a hypothesis. I wonder if red meat causes heart disease, right? And so, and then the second step is supposed to be that you test your hypothesis, you test your theory in an experiment to see if your theory is correct. If nutrition epidemiologists spent 100% of their time in step one, and they never ventured into step two, they never never test they never do experiments. For they don't gather get, they don't gather data and step one. So that's already a problem. But even if this were a real data that we could rely on, they never test their theories to see if they're correct. If you if you if you never test your theory, you can be wrong for decades and never have to face that and never have to correct course, and this is exactly what's been happening in nutrition epidemiology is that none of these so called scientists have tested their theories themselves to find out whether or not they're true. So they can continue believing the wrong things about nutrition and human biology and and health and continue disseminating these their theories. These theories get get rolled into guidelines and into nutrition headlines all the time as if they are fat on when all they are is untested theories based on wild guesses.

Nick Jikomes 36:31

Speaking of of decades of time that can elapse, you know, where people think one thing, but that's not necessarily the case. I want to talk to you about cholesterol, you know, for all of my life, I mean, even to this day, other than what I independently know, you know, if I was just listening to my teachers and my doctors growing up, you know, cholesterol is bad, you don't want your cholesterol to be too high. You don't want to eat too much cholesterol. That is the folklore that I've been taught. Most people have been taught their entire lives. Where does that idea come from? And what is cholesterol doing in our brains in particular.

Georgia Ede 37:09

So cholesterol is a perfect example of a of a really vital molecule that every cell in the human body requires in order to function develop properly, that has been demonized, because because it's only found in animal foods. And so what happens within the plant versus animal debate is that is that essential and vital molecules that we cannot we literally cannot live without our because they don't exist in plants. Plants don't need them. Plants have a different type of cholesterol, but they do need cholesterol, but a totally different kind. If you're trying to if you're trying to place the blame for human health problems on animal foods, you need to point the finger at specific molecules in those animal foods that don't exist in plants. And cholesterol is a perfect example of the type of cholesterol is different genes say Oh, well, animals, let's see, we think animal foods must be bad. We've heard that they're bad for us,

Nick Jikomes 38:14

you start from the premise animal is there for you look for something in animals.

Georgia Ede 38:19

Right. So cholesterol is a critical molecule in every cell membrane. And it's not. It's not just a structural component. It's also used to build other kinds of really important molecules in the body. It structural integrity, it's also important for certain parts of brains a certain thickened or a stiffened areas of certain cells, area of a cell called a lipid raft, which guides cells, nerve cells to their destinations, when the brain is developing. Cholesterol does many, many important things. So it's so important that almost every cell in the body is capable of making it itself. So if you don't need any cholesterol, never fear, you will still make plenty of cholesterol, your body will still be full of cholesterol, your blood cholesterol can even be too high. If you never eat a molecule of cholesterol, or you never touch an animal food in your entire life. Because so important we make it ourselves. So in the brain is especially interesting in this regard, because the brain is particularly rich and cholesterol. It's one of the most cholesterol rich organs and the whole body. So not a single molecule of the cholesterol inside your brain comes from your bloodstream or the food you eat every molecule that because cholesterol is too big and bulky to cross from the bloodstream, across the blood brain barrier and into the brain. Yet, that's how much it makes every single molecule itself on site from scratch.

Nick Jikomes 39:50

And why is it making it what does it actually used for by the neurons? Every

Georgia Ede 39:55

cell membrane so every cell in our bodies has a membrane and so every cell membrane requires cholesterol for structural integrity. And for developmental function and many other purposes as well. You also need cholesterol to build hormones, and other types of uncertain molecules that are important for the mitochondria to generate energy. So you need cholesterol as a fundamental building block of membranes, hormones and certain other components. So you must have it. And if your cells don't contain cholesterol, they will fall apart. So it's not optional. I mean, the brain is full of its reason why the brain has more cholesterol than any other organ in the body is because it's full of membranes. And myelin is just very tightly wound membranes circuit wrapping around and circulating. And insulating the circuitry in our brain, you certainly don't want to skimp on an island.

Nick Jikomes 40:56

So cholesterol is a it's a component of cell membranes and all of our cells. So it's an important structural integrity molecule. It's also used as a precursor for various hormones, which coordinate very important biological changes throughout the body. But I've been told my whole life cholesterol equals heart disease, high cholesterol is always bad. If I eat cholesterol, isn't it just going into my blood and then clogging my arteries?

Georgia Ede 41:26

Yeah, so that that is what we've been led to believe in. Still, most people even to this day believe that even though major organizations including the American Heart Association, and the and the USDA, I have taken back that warning many years ago, that the dietary guidelines essentially, back in 2015, said, dietary cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern. So essentially, you you can't over consume it. And the reason why is, you know, our bodies aren't just empty buckets that you pour cholesterol into until it spills over. We regulate how much cholesterol we absorb from our food. If we're not getting enough, we make enough we make up the rest. If we aren't getting enough from food, then we make less as we absorb, we absorb only what we need. And so there's that myth is is easy to dispel. But the heart disease is fascinating, because, yes, you will find cholesterol inside the plaques of people who have had heart attacks. But that doesn't mean that the cholesterol cause that heart attack. Heart disease, first and foremost is in an inflammatory disease, where there has been damage to the lining of the blood vessels, and otherwise, the cholesterol couldn't warm its way in. So the all heart disease begins with damage to the endothelial or that, that first layer of that, that lining of cells that separates the bloodstream from the interior of the of the wall of the artery. So damage and inflammation happened first cholesterol ends up there for lots of different reasons. But it's not it is not the culprit.

Nick Jikomes 43:11

Speaking of inflammation, so I want to talk about fatty acids, the different types of dietary fats, so you got saturated fats, mono and polyunsaturated fats of different kinds. Let's start with saturated fat because it sort of goes with cholesterol in the sense that I've been told my entire life, don't eat too much saturated fat, don't eat too much cholesterol, those two have sort of gone together. In many people's minds, even to this day. They're synonymous with heart disease. What's going on with saturated fat? How much is too much? What is what is the basic biology there?

Georgia Ede 43:40

Yeah, so two important things to say to that. So one is that this is another great example of trying to find a difference between plant and animal foods and then hanging the the blame, placing the blame of the theoretically dangerous and the theoretic dangerousness of animal foods on a molecule that's more it's easier to find and animal foods and plant foods. plant foods do contain all foods, all plants and animal foods or plants, animals, all plants and animals containing mixture of saturated and unsaturated fats, just different different ratios, right. And in fact, the only animal foods that contain more saturated fat than unsaturated fat are dairy products. If you're looking at beef, or pork or chicken or you will not find an animal food except for dairy, that is higher in saturated fat than unsaturated fat.

Nick Jikomes 44:34

So if I'm eating a steak with, you know, some fat on it, it's actually got a quite a bit of mono unsaturated fat in it not that much different or sort of, you know, directionally similar to something like olive oil, but I think of it almost like that. Yeah,

Georgia Ede 44:49

so So olive oil is mostly monounsaturated fat, but it's got polyunsaturated fat and it even has some saturated fat. all fats are mixtures. And I think that But one of the big differences, you know, between plant and animal foods is that most plants are very low in all kinds of fat. Because plants store their energy as starch, starch typically underground, like a potato or a tuber, or root, we cannot afford to do that. Because if we did that, we'd have to be dragging big long. So start up union to the airport, you'd have to pay extra, you know, and so, you know, we carry we on purpose, store energy as saturated fat, saturated fat is light, it's compact, it's flexible, you can store lots and lots of energy in a small amount of space. Because we need to move around in the world, we can't afford to be tied down to the ground by big lumps of starch. And so and we make that saturated fat on purpose in our bodies, even if you don't eat any fat at all. If you eat more carbohydrates than you need, at any given moment, you will turn every extra molecule of that carbohydrate into saturated fat on purpose, because that's how the body prefers to store it. So how could it possibly be bad for you?

Nick Jikomes 46:12

So if, if plants like to store their energy as glycogen, or excuse me a starch, a form of carbohydrate? Why are why do I see so many bottles of vegetable oils? Where are all these vegetable fats coming from?

Georgia Ede 46:31

I guess. So. I'm glad you brought this up. So yeah, so So there are some plant foods that are a little higher and fat. And so if you're looking for protein in plants, you usually look to the grains, beans, nuts and seeds. If you're looking for fat, you also look you look especially to the nuts and the seeds in there are certain fatty fruits, avocados, olives, and coconuts, and palm fruit. These are fatty, fleshy fruits. We're not talking with the seed of the avocado. The pet, of course, has some fat, all pits and seeds have fat, but the actual flesh of the fruit, the avocado itself. And when you throw the pet away, there's quite a bit of fat in the avocado. Most fruits are not like that. But the avocado and the olive, and the palm fruit are exceptions to that. Most plants are very low in fat. So if you're trying to, if you think oh my gosh, well, you know, it's not safe for us to cook with animal fats, because animal fats are dangerous. How? What are you gonna use to cook with? What are you going to use to add to our pies and muffins? How are we going to fry things? How are we going to? How are we going to saute things? What are we going to do? Well, we're going to have to go to go to the plant foods, the seeds, where there's definitely more fat in the seeds and most other parts of the plant, we're going to have to extract that and concentrate that fat and put it in bottles and cans and things like that. So that we can get because otherwise it's pretty hard to get much fat out of plants. So in order to do this, it's actually very difficult to wrangle fat out of a seed. If you tried to do this at home, good luck trying to make a bottle of oil out of a pile of seeds. It's very difficult. You need a factory, you need 15 chemical steps and you need an explosive solvent called hexane. And to remove all the odor, all the toxins and all the flavor from from from those seeds, and concentrate that oil into a bottle that's odorless, tasteless, shelf stable, plant based heart healthy, cholesterol free cooking oil, which is really just an industrial waste product of originally from the agricultural industry.

Nick Jikomes 48:48

And what are these vegetable oils? What are these seed oils have to do with inflammation?

Georgia Ede 48:52

Yeah, so you know, the actual if you if you're eating whole foods, so if your diet naturally, if you're hunter gatherer, you know, 1000s of years ago, you would have of course, eaten some nuts and seeds as part of your diet. And that would have been included some fat including. So unsaturated fats and saturated fats and all the different types of fats will be in there. One of the fats that would be in there is called linoleic acid. It's a poly unsaturated Omega six fatty acid, very long chain, very fragile. But yes, it would have some, some of that little lake acid in there. But it would be awfully hard to consume a large amount of it, because, you know, you'd have to eat an awful lot of seeds to get a significant quantity of it. So our diet naturally used to contain maybe two to 4% of this linoleic acid. But when you extract that fat from those seeds in an industrial factory, and you concentrate that fat into a bottle, then you've got a bottle that bottle could be 4050 6070 80% little leg acid in that bottle.

Nick Jikomes 50:01

And common examples of very high linoleic acid oils be

Georgia Ede 50:04

grapeseed oil is the highest in in a little ache acid, some of the so sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil, all of these are very high in in linoleic acid. There's a chart in the book where you can look up your favorite fat and see where it falls. The animal fats are lowest and linoleic acid. And there are few plant fats which are naturally low and linoleic acid. And these are, for example, olive oil, and coconut oil. Coconut oil is famously very high in saturated fat.

Nick Jikomes 50:38

What happens so we have these vegetable oils that are high in linoleic acid, they're mass produced, they're highly concentrated in these seed oils, then, linoleic acid being perhaps the most common one, we often cook with them, we, we fry with them, we put them in a pan, et cetera, et cetera. What happens when you heat these things up and then consume them?

Georgia Ede 50:59

Well, they they're very fragile. So any, any long chain poly unsaturated fatty acid saturated, that's a very stable, they're solid at room temperature, you know, they're there, they're there. They're stable, they're chemically stable. They don't break down and go rancid easily. Whereas unsaturated fats, and these include mono unsaturated fats like olive oil, but also especially the poly unsaturated fats and vegetable oils, these, you just look at them the wrong way, and they fall apart, they're, they're really very susceptible to what's called oxidative stress, when they're exposed to the air or to heat or to the oxidative stress that naturally occurs inside the cells of our body as part of our daily operations. They they break down, and then they can also in the process of breaking down, they can instigate this chain reaction of oxidative stress, where all of these reactive byproducts can these toxic byproducts can form from from that chain reaction. These are called ox lambs, which some people think can be quite damaging to the body. So the problem with when it comes to little laic acid on the brain, so let's say so when you cook it, it's going to fall apart easily into these toxic byproducts if you let it sit on the counter too long, or if you eat too much of it, and your natural chemical processes will cause this to occur. When you eat vegetable oil, which all of us do all the time, even I do, no matter how hard I try, it's everywhere, right? Every restaurant uses it. Every salad dressing, every soup, it's every baked good. Everything is cooked in vegetable oil. Now, it's cheap. And we're told that it's good for us. So we're all taking in lots and lots of this, the brain absorbs that linoleic acid. And instead of doing something constructive and useful and healthy with it, the vast majority of the linoleic acid that the brain absorbs, it burns for energy. If this is not good, the brain is not, it's not safe for the brain to burn long molecules for energy. Because when it does that it takes it generates a lot more of this something called oxidative stress. That's why the brain the brain is very susceptible to oxidative stress, it doesn't have the same antioxidant capacity that the rest of the body does. So it's more sensitive so that it's designed to build fast burning short, small molecules like glucose and ketones, which

Nick Jikomes 53:36

much RC See, so it can burn linoleic acid, it can burn these longer fatty acids, that produces more oxidative stress than burning smaller molecules like glucose or ketone bodies. So the more you consume these things, the more that burns in the brain, the more damage that's going to happen over time, because that means more oxidative stress

Georgia Ede 53:55

exactly, actually, is one of the root causes of mental health and physical health conditions. And one of the one of the reasons why, if you change your diet, you can have a huge effect on the amount of oxidative stress that's occurring in your body.

Nick Jikomes 54:12

Want to talk a little bit about energy in the brain and and the fuel different fuel sources that we use? So you've got glucose, you've got ketone bodies? These are two different fuel sources that neurons can use to power themselves. What is the difference between glucose and ketone bodies? And what are the sort of natural conditions under which the brain would be using one versus the other?

Georgia Ede 54:36

Oh, great. So yes, so the brain as Professor Steven Koonin, who's a brain metabolism and aging expert from the University of Sherbrooke in Canada, decades of experience studying this. He describes the brain as a hybrid engine. It's Yes, it can burn. It can function 100% on glucose, it can it can Run 100% on glucose, but it prefers to and works best when it's building when it's burning a mixture of glucose and ketones. So and why is that? So, and he's shown this, and they've been lovely experiments to show this, that, that neurons, when they're given plenty of glucose enough so that they could run 100% of glucose if they wanted to. If you also give them some ketones, they will not they will choose not to not run 100% of glucose, they will choose to absorb some ketones, and the more ketones you give them, the more they will absorb and burn. So even though there's plenty of glucose, and they could if they wanted to run 100% of glucose, so why would a cell choose to burn a mixture rather than pure glucose, we're often told glucose is the best fuel for the brain. It's the fuel. So

Nick Jikomes 55:51

I'm not sure I was aware of this. So the the understanding that I often hear out there, and it sounds like this is incorrect. So this is good to highlight. I've often been told or heard people say, really, that the brain prefers to burn glucose, and when it runs out, then it will, it will use ketone bodies by burning fat to get the ketone bodies, what you're saying is, if you give plentiful levels of both glucose and ketone bodies to neurons, they will use a particular mixture of them. And that is presumably the most efficient means by which they create ATP.

Georgia Ede 56:22

I mean, we can't read their little minds. But you know, we must, we can assume we can guess that they wouldn't do that for no reason that they wouldn't so readily absorb and burn these out without good reason. And we do have a good understanding of why they might choose to do that. Because glucose Yes, is a wonderful fuel source for the brain and a perfectly good one. And, and so there's nothing so it is one of the brain's preferred fuel sources. It's an apt however, there are, there are, there are advantages that ketones have over glucose. So glucose burns faster than ketones. And there are certain rapid fire cells in the brain that works best when they have access to fast energy. So that's one of the advantages glucose has over ketones. And the other advantage glucose has over ketones is that there are certain construction pathways inside cells called the pentose phosphate pathway for any biochemistry nerds, this pentose phosphate that which is responsible for building antioxidant molecules and building DNA molecules, that pathway can't use ketones, because ketones are too small. So that pathway requires glucose. And then there will be certain rapid fire cells that require glucose. All the rest of the brain's operations do just fine. In fact, better on ketones because ketones burn, they do burn more slowly, but they burn more efficiently. They burn more safely, more cleanly with less inflammation and less oxidative stress.

Nick Jikomes 57:56

So when you say efficiently and cleanly You mean like, so for every ketone body that you use, you can get more bang for your buck? Is that what you're saying that you get more ATP per molecule? And then you produce also fewer free radicals? Yes,

Georgia Ede 58:10

with less oxygen required excessive?

Nick Jikomes 58:13

I see. So how? How? Well, how can we ask this question? How easy is it to go into ketosis is doesn't seem difficult, just because of our modern food environment makes it difficult, where people going into and out of ketosis more often ancestrally How do you think about like, how often the brain should? Or how often the brain? How has the brain evolved to be flipping and flopping between, you know, ketosis and using glucose or using a mix? What's How do you think about that? Yeah,

Georgia Ede 58:45

so Oh, my gosh, so when when the brain is developing in utero, the bit that baby whether the mother is eating a ketogenic diet or not, she can be eating a very high carbohydrate diet and not being ketosis herself. That growing baby is in ketosis on purpose because that it's very important for brain development to have to have ketones be fueling and and supplying not just the building blocks, but also a clean reliable source of energy for that process. Right. So, so we know that we are designed even before we were born, to naturally be in ketosis, at least some of the time right. So now we we are designed we are we are we evolved to be what's called metabolically flexible. This is really important for the survival of our species. If you're survive, if you're surrounded by lots of potatoes, you better eat those potatoes, you know, if you're surrounded by you know, you know, a fatty animal, a food. If you're surrounded by eggs, if you're surrounded by I don't know appear wild boars, you better be able to eat those animals. So we were designed to naturally switch back and forth to make best use of whatever is available to us in our environment. meant, it's not that burning carbohydrates is inherently dangerous, it's that we are designed to be able to make good use of whatever we have available to us, we should have this metabolic flexibility. So there's a big difference between. So you also saw how easy it is to go into ketosis, babies and children, young people go very easily into ketosis, all they have to do is just not eat for a little while, in fact, a lot of children just by going to sleep at night, not eating wake up in the morning will will wake up in the morning in ketosis, even if they were eating a relatively high carbohydrate diet for what we gradually as we overeat the wrong if we're eating too many of the wrong carbohydrates too often, and we're eating too frequently, so that our insulin levels are never really allowed to come down and stay in the lower range long enough to turn fat burning on so that we can switch into fat burning mode, then we start to lose some of our metabolic flexibility. So most people now are eating carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates, like sugars, and flours and cereals and fruit juices, things like that, with every meal and snack, so six times a day, often, sometimes even more often than that. And when you're eating that way, carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates demand a lot of insulin to be processed, which which fat does not. So when you're eating this in this high insulin way, your insulin levels, and you're getting hungry in between meals, because because you're eating the wrong way. your insulin levels stay high all day long and well into the night. And it's only towards morning when they start to lower into the fat burning range. But it takes a long time to do that. Because if you've really loaded up on a lot of carbohydrate, you have to burn a good deal of that off before your before your fat burning systems will turn on. So most of us are not waking up in ketosis, most of us are waking up with very low or no ketones detectable on a meter on a blood meter. And we would have to then fast for many hours that next day to begin to even start to see a little bit of fat burning taking place, we really want to be able to spend it at least on a regular basis. If you know I'm not saying that everybody needs to be in ketosis all the time. But if we're not spending at least some regular period of time, burning fat, whether you're eating a ketogenic diet or not, if you're not in that low insulin state burning fat for energy, your body can't switch into this nice this this healing, recycling, repairing mode, that we all need to spend a regular decent period of time in order to maintain our health. If you're always eating in this high insulin way, it's like you've got your foot on that gas pedal, and all of your cells are going full steam ahead. And there's you're in building and growth and storage mode all the time. You're never in that healing, recycling, repairing mode that we all need in order to maintain our good health. Well,

Nick Jikomes 1:03:10

you know, one thing that's strange here is, you know, you're telling me all this stuff, it makes a lot of sense. You're a psychiatrist, you understand the brain. I'm looking at a post here from the American Diabetes Association, and they say that, quote, The brain needs glucose to function appropriately. So this is confusing. Why would they be saying that?

Georgia Ede 1:03:29

So they're absolutely right. And so a half truth is a very powerful problem in the world, it's true, the brain does need some glucose at all times, the brain, as we were saying before, the brain cannot. Even though ketones are a wonderful source of fuel, and clean and reliable and efficient, and all that less oxidative stress, all that sort of thing. The brain cannot run 100% on ketones, because those fast those fast acting cells need fast energy. And those construction pathways need glucose molecules. But you can get every single molecule the glucose your brain and the rest of your body needs without eating a single molecule of carbohydrate in the diet. Well,

Nick Jikomes 1:04:13

that's that's probably like the second second half of the quote there is. So the ADEA is saying. So a certain amount of carbohydrates is needed for healthy eating. So

Georgia Ede 1:04:23

that's the that's the lie. So there's a half truth and a lie. The truth is, the brain does need a certain amount of glucose. But that glucose does not need to come from the diet, because we can make all of our own glucose inside our bodies smoothly, reliably, efficiently, up from fat and protein. And when you do it that way, it's a demand driven system. So you only make the amount you need. Risk the spikes and crashes that can sometimes happen if you're eat and it's very commonly happening now if you eat the wrong types of carbohydrate, especially into larger quantities.

Nick Jikomes 1:04:58

It so If you're going into ketosis, either through a ketogenic diet or through fasting, exercise, what have you, your brain will still make the glucose it needs, it has the biological capacity to do that. And doing it that way, enables it to just use what it needs without overindulging itself basically,

Georgia Ede 1:05:19

right. And the brain actually doesn't make it to the liver that makes it and sends it up to the brain doesn't can't be bothered with that kind of thing. But yes, exactly. So your system will make all the glucose you need and decide exactly where it needs to go. And when it's very intelligent system, it's not, it is not going to let your brain run low on glucose. So

Nick Jikomes 1:05:40

you said you said, when we were deconstructing what the American Diabetes Association said, you said there was a truth and a lie. Use the word lie there. Is it a lie? Or is it just ignorance? What do you what do you think?

Georgia Ede 1:05:53

Well, I think that was a poor choice of words, because I really don't know what they know or don't know. Or I'm not saying that they're intentionally lying. I mean, when I was using that word, because when we said, you know, there's a half truth, that a half truth can be a very powerful thing, and a very dangerous thing. Because, yes, there's some truth in that statement, but the other half of it isn't true. So it's not I'm not saying that they're intentionally lying to people. I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying half of it isn't true. And because, yes, the brain needs glucose. But no, you do not need dietary carbohydrate, and even the Institute of Medicine, back in 2005, put this in writing in their, in their in their document saying that the the, the absolute requirement for dietary carbohydrate in the human diet, compatible with life and health is zero grams.

Nick Jikomes 1:06:43

Interesting, but I mean, I would imagine that the American Diabetes Association, I mean, one would think that they're composed of people that know a lot about this biology.

Georgia Ede 1:06:53

You know, I don't know. I mean, I, I wouldn't be surprised if most of them if most of them didn't know this biology. I mean, I didn't know a lot of this biology until I took the time. And it was years of independent study, to learn this for myself. I didn't learn this in school, I had to teach myself these things. And I have a lot of colleagues are in the same boat. This information is not readily available in sort of mainstream educational settings, not even in the best medical schools.

Nick Jikomes 1:07:23

So you think that we're sort of supposed to, or we're evolved to be metabolically flexible, and sort of be moving into different metabolic regimes? We're not supposed to always be in this high insulin state. Can you say a little bit more about insulin? What is Insulin is a hormone what does it basically telling our bodies to do?

Georgia Ede 1:07:43

Yeah, so a lot of people think and this was how I was taught in medical school. A lot of people think of insulin is simple, simply a blood sugar regulator, right. So your blood, you let's say you have, you know, a piece of cake and your glucose goes up in your bloodstream, you absorb the glucose, you get a glucose spike in the bloodstream. Insulin, you had an insulin spike right on its tail. And it squirrels that glucose away into cells and of story like that's what's insulin shot. But that's it is an important role that insulin has, is to manage that, that incoming glucose, but it's certainly not its most important job. Insulin at heart is a master growth hormone. It's an it's a metabolic orchestrator, it it directly and powerfully influences the metabolism of every cell in the body, every cell in the body in the brain has insulin receptors on their surfaces, so they can pay attention to insolence signals, and telling them what to do with all of that food and energy that you just took in. It's directing. It's telling themselves what to do. And so if your insulin levels are running too high, too often, which is true now, for the vast majority of Americans, between 53 and 93% of us, depending which study you look at, our insulin levels are any too high. And so we're not spending enough time in that healing low insulin mode. When insulin levels run too high, just like any hormone, if you're bombarding your insulin receptors with too much of a hormone, they are going to naturally start to tone down their response to protect themselves from being overstimulated by insulin. And so that's called insulin resistance. And insulin resistance means that the insulin that you're producing isn't working as well as it should. And that's a bit that's, that is a route called insulin resistance or high insulin levels. That is a major driving force behind most of the physical and mental health conditions that we

Nick Jikomes 1:09:44

fear. Is it fair to say that the insulin resistance that when cells are turning down their capacity to be sensitive to insulin, they're actually behaving as they should? Is this like a normal adaptation that that would go away in the absence of too much insulin?

Georgia Ede 1:09:59

If too much damage hasn't occurred yet, perhaps right. So for most people, this has been going on for years and years, every single day and well into the night for years and years and years and years, sometimes decades. So we don't know to what extent that can be reversed. And so and so yes, it is a natural, physiological protective, predicted response to high levels of any hormone. So you can see this with thyroid hormone, you can see this with testosterone with estrogen. With really any, any hormone with vitamin D, you can see it with any hormone in the body, if there's too much of it, the body will naturally tone down its response to protect itself. Homeostasis keep trying to keep things in balance.

Nick Jikomes 1:10:46

And so what is it about the low insulin metabolic mode that is promoting healing and, and good thing, so what's actually going on there biologically,

Georgia Ede 1:10:58

one of the things that's going on there is called autophagy. And so, when When insulin levels are high, so it's this master metabolic hormone, when insulin levels are high, it basically what it's telling cells is build, grow store, we've got, it's basically saying, I'm the hormone of plenty, you've just had a big meal, let's put these molecules to work. Let's build and grow. And let's, let's, you know, make hay while the sun shines, right? So let's fire up all these processes and, and get to work. And if there's more than a bit more energy here than we need, then I want you to take all the extra and I want you to store it as fat. Insulin is a fat storage hormone, you want to insulin levels are too high, you literally cannot burn fat. When insulin levels are low, So insulin is high, it's hormone have plenty build grocery store, when insulin is low, not zero, you only will have zero insulin, if you have type one diabetes, and your pancreas cannot produce any insulin, when insulin goes nice and low, not zero, but low, then that signaling your cells, okay, we want you now to we want you to relax and rest and repair and heal. And one of the things we want you to do is we want you to start burning fat for energy, because we don't have any more glucose coming in. So let's burn fat. Instead, we got plenty of fat most of us, even if you don't, if you never, even if you're not overweight, there's always plenty of fat to burn unless you're extremely dangerously underweight. You've got energy to burn. So let's make use of it. And these, all of these pathways in the in the cells which have been quieter, because the cells are busy doing other things. When insulin levels come down, those pathways are turned on, they're switched on. And one of them includes autophagy, which is the basically kind of looking around for damaged components and damaged cells and and essentially, you know, destroying sick or ailing cells, recycling them, clearing them away. So that so that healing can take place. So these healing and anti inflammatory pathways and these recycling pathways, they really can't turn on, when the cells are busy doing other things. It's like you've got a factory, and you're so busy making product that you can't clean up and repair your machinery. At the end of the day. Yeah,

Nick Jikomes 1:13:21

it's sort of yeah, when when the factory closes, or the office closes, the cleaning staff usually come in at night, just because you can't run both. Good. Okay, that makes sense. So for the average person, how, how long is it going to take to go into ketosis? Is it going to be like, uh, can you talk about that in terms of intermittent fasting time restricted feeding? What are the time frames? And what are some of the, let's say experiential markers that people might be able to use to get a sense of whether or not they're in ketosis does that mean necessarily they're gonna be they're gonna feel like they're starving. They're very hungry.

Georgia Ede 1:13:58

Another good question. So. So how long it takes somebody to get into ketosis varies dramatically, depending on a lot of different things, how old you are, how physically active you are, what you ate the previous day, and what medications you're taking, what health issues you may have, how stressed you are, how much sleep you got, all of these different things. play a role in in your metabolic health and your metabolic flexibility. So and how much glycogen you've got stored in your liver. So if you've, if you've carb loaded the night before, let's say you're a marathon runner, and you're gonna get a lot of pasta, you're literally absolutely full stuffed with glycogen or starch, read a fast fuel ready to, you know, for you to burn, you have to burn a certain amount of that glycogen down before your body will start to turn to fat for energy. So if you've eaten a very high carbohydrate diet the day before, it's going to take you longer to burn through that glycogen. If you're sedentary, it's going to take you longer to burn through that glycogen, you know what I mean? And it's going to take in, if you've eaten a lot of carbohydrate and your glucose levels have gone up and stayed up for quite a long time, it's going to take a lot longer for those to come down, and it's going to take that insulin, that extra insulin that you needed to manage all that glucose, it's going to take a lot longer for that to come down into the fat burning range. So if you're really metabolically flexible, and healthy and physically fit, and all those good things, and you didn't eat a lot of junk the day before, then you might go into ketosis. You know, it could be in you know, 24 hours, it could even be less than that it might even be as little as 12 hours, depending on the circumstances. But in most cases, it takes people at least a day, you know, to get into ketosis. And then it's more like two or three days for the average adult. But for some of my patients who have a lot more metabolic damage, it can take it can take a week.

Nick Jikomes 1:15:55

into that. That means like literally not consuming calories for a week or does that mean not consuming carbohydrates for a week?

Georgia Ede 1:16:01

Yeah, great question, too. This is great. So. So there are everything that we eat, stimulates a certain amount of insulin response by the body except pure fat. If you eat, nobody eats perfect. So if you if you sit down and fruit bowl of pure fat, then you're not going to get an insulin response. But what we always eat fat mixed with other things, protein stimulates insulin, carbohydrates stimulate insulin, in most cases, even more than protein, and refined carbohydrates stimulate insulin the most. So if you let's say, I lost your I lost track of your question. Oh,

Nick Jikomes 1:16:39

she's asking if it's, you know, for some use, it's on your patients that could take several days to go into ketosis. Would that mean literally not eating or just eating no carbs. So

Georgia Ede 1:16:48

so what you need to do to get into ketosis is you need to bring your insulin levels down to the fat burning point. And it's only when you get your insulin levels down to that fat burning point that that fat burning will turn on. And when you're burning fat vigorously enough, then you'll start producing ketones. So the because every, that's where I was going with this I lost track, because every food you eat except your fat, because every food we eat stimulates insulin, to some extent, the fastest way to get into ketosis is to not eat anything at all. It drops insulin like a stone, it's not always the safest or most comfortable thing to do. So I'm not saying that I would recommend that for everybody, because there are certainly people who should not do that. And it's very uncomfortable. It can be depending on what you what you're eating when you're not fasting, right? So. So if you don't eat anything at all, your insulin levels come down to the fastest. And again, depending on your metabolic flexibility, whatever, that's gonna be the fastest way if you're getting into ketosis, but most people, when they're trying to get into ketosis, they are eating, they're not fasting, they're eating something. And what you want to do, then, of course, as you want to eat foods that that require the least amount of insulin to be processed. So that's going to be fat as your major component of your diet. This is what a ketogenic diet looks like this is why ketogenic diets are ketogenic is that they are designed in a way to minimize their impact on insulin. So it's high fat, because that doesn't require any insulin for processing, moderate adequate protein, which will stimulate some insulin, but you have to eat protein. So you got to include some protein, and very little carbohydrate as you can stand. Because the carbohydrates, what's going to really stimulate them as soon as you get in a pump and insulin, fat burning is going to turn off.

Nick Jikomes 1:18:41

And so this is probably counterintuitive for a lot of people. You know, my entire life, people thought, oh, I have to eat a low fat diet because eating fat will make me fat. But essentially, what you're telling us is that if you eat something like a ketogenic diet, you're eating mainly fat instead of carbohydrates as your energy source, and this is actually going to prompt your body to burn fat.

Georgia Ede 1:19:02

Yes, so. So we are told to eat a low fat and and again, it sounds logical, right? It sounds like oh my gosh, if I'm trying to lose fat, I don't want to eat fat. But it really the, what we're not taught is that it's not the it's not the fact that we're eating that's making us that it's the high insulin levels. You can't store fat unless your insulin levels are high, and you can't burn fat unless your insulin levels are low. So you can put yourself into fat burning mode. If you ate pure fat for the next three days, you would be in ketosis, so and you would be burning fat. Now, you might not be losing weight, because if you're eating too much fat, then you're going to be burning the fat that you ate and not the fruit that fat that's on your body. So eating a high fat diet, even if it's ketogenic doesn't always lead to weight loss. It depends on and this is where calories do kind of matter. It depends on How much fat you're eating and how and what your goals are. So but if you're trying to burn fat, you need to turn fat burning on. So you've got to get the carbohydrate down, or so there are three ways to get into ketosis, you can eat a ketogenic diet, where the macronutrients are the correct ratio to stimulate that process, you can fast, you can, or you can also exercise intensely. If you do that for long enough, you will eventually go into ketosis. Or you can eat a very low calorie diet. If you want to eat carbs, and get into ketosis, you got to get your calories down to 725 per day or less. And that's very hard for people to sustain long term. So the only way to safely and comfortably remain in ketosis if that's your goal, without fasting without restricting calories, and without exercising, if that's not your thing you hope not to have to do, although I do recommend everybody exercise. The safest, most comfortable way to do that and stay in ketosis is to eat a ketogenic diet.

Nick Jikomes 1:21:04

Metabolic psychiatry, can you give, start talking about this, and maybe maybe start by what are some examples of how you and your practice have successfully treated some kind of significant, you know, mental issue that some someone has had, using, primarily, or exclusively a dietary as opposed to a pharmacological approach? Yeah,

Georgia Ede 1:21:24

many, many examples. In my own work. I've included quite a few examples in the book as well. And I've done research on this. And I helped publish a paper a couple of years ago on this as well, lots of examples I could give. So I'll give an example from my own practice. And then I'll give an example from the study that that we published. So for example, in my own practice, like I said, there are examples in the book, but I'll give an example that's not in the book. Just in case, people already read the book and want a new example. So there's a woman in her 70s I've been working with, for I think about four years now at least, chronic have so 40 plus years of recurrent manic episodes, essentially psychiatrically disabled from from these recurrent manic episodes, which required hospitalization twice a year, often for several months at a time. And lots and lots of psychiatric medications over the years that helped very little, did not prevent these hospitalizations and these recurrent manic episodes. So she consulted me, her daughter actually got in touch with me a few years ago and said, and she was eating a ketogenic diet for her own reasons for different health reason. And she had heard about metabolic psychiatrist said, Do you think a ketogenic diet might be able to help my mom with her mental health? And I honestly had no idea whether especially in a case like this, where someone had, you know, decades long history of serious mental illness of this degree that had been this, quote, treatment resistant, I honestly didn't know what was possible. And I really never know what's possible. So I said, you know, I don't know what's possible, but we're certainly certainly worth a try. And so this is and this lovely woman, she very cheerfully, and willingly adopted this ketogenic diet, and we followed it to the letter by the end of two weeks. So many of us, she was no longer, she was no longer paranoid, she was no longer anxious. She was waking up three hours earlier, able to be more functional throughout the day. And we were over the course of the next four months, our her psychiatric medications were able to come down dramatically, including, she was able to come completely off one of her antipsychotic medications, she was able to come almost completely off a second very powerful anti psychotic medication. And she was able to come completely off a third medication, which was an antidepressant mood stabilizer, and she continues to follow the diet to this day, we're still working together. And she and she still, she used to be hospitalized twice a year, pretty much like clockwork for decades. And over the past four years, she has been hospitalized only twice. And so this is a wonderful example of it really is never too late. And the situation is almost never to never too serious to benefit substantially from a ketogenic diet.

Nick Jikomes 1:24:26

So that sounds so she was suffering from manic episodes. She was on antipsychotics and several medications. I I don't know the details here, but I know that some work has been published recently looking at the ketogenic diet for bipolar disorder. What's known there and is this something that we're seeing repeated success with and many people? Yeah,

Georgia Ede 1:24:48

so there are three studies worth mentioning in this area all have been published in the last really since the summer of 2022. And this area is really a very rich area of research, tremendous promise, wonderful results from all three of these studies. And the research is exploding in this area, not just in bipolar disorder, but other serious mental illnesses. So I'll give a quick example, a quick summary of each one of these studies because they're all really important and so exciting. One of them was just published last week. So so the first study is a study that I helped to publish. It was a study conducted in Toulouse, France by my friend and colleague, Dr. alberga not psychiatrist in Toulouse, practicing now for more than 35 years, he invited 31 of his most so called treatment resistant patients with chronic schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or were severe major depression into the hospital as volunteers to try a whole foods mildly ketogenic diet under his supervision to see if it would help them. These were patients who had been ill for an average of 10 years, some for as long as 30 years, they were taking at the time of admission, an average of five psychiatric medications, almost all of them taking at least one anti psychotic medication. And all of them had at least one marker of poor metabolic health, and none of them were doing well. And he had really run out of ideas for how to help them. They were receiving attentive psychotherapy, medication management, they had been hospitalized many times before already. In this case, 28 of the 31 patients were able to stay on the diet for longer than two weeks, which is what you need to do to start to see results. Every single one of those 28 patients improved and improved substantially. Up 43% of them achieved clinical remission from their primary psychiatric diagnosis. 64% of them left the hospital on less psychiatric medication. And so and most of them lost a clinically meaningful amount of weight despite taking these medications, these anti psychotic medications, which are notorious for causing substantial stubborn weight gain.

Nick Jikomes 1:27:07

Okay, so they lost weight despite weight gain being a side effect of many of those medications. You said it was a mildly ketogenic diet, what exactly does mild mean?

Georgia Ede 1:27:16

Yeah, so there are different degrees, there are different degrees of ketogenic diets. They're, they're sort of relaxed ketogenic diets, where the carb where the carbohydrates are restricted, but you might not. You might not restrict protein to the same degree, you might not restrict the amount of calories that are coming in, right. So it's kind of a more relaxed diet. It's not

Nick Jikomes 1:27:40

designed to get keto, it's still ultra low carbohydrate.

Georgia Ede 1:27:43

Yes, the in this case, it was 20 grams of carbohydrate or less per day. And, and there was a ceiling placed on protein. But the key when I say mildly ketogenic diet, what I mean is that when these patients were tested by urine testing, which was what they had available in this particular clinic, they were just mildly just mild, a low level of ketones on. So they're also very strict ketogenic diets, which were originally developed back in 1921. For the treatment of pediatric epilepsy. These were very deeply ketogenic diets where ketone levels were very, very high. And so and the diets had to be not just restricted in carbohydrate, but also restricted in protein in order to get the ketone levels up to those very high levels. So this is a mildly ketogenic diet, meaning it wasn't hard to follow. It didn't require protein restriction. And, and it was a fairly liberal contract.

Nick Jikomes 1:28:43

And this French study that you mentioned, it was a mixed population, and you said it included people with schizophrenia? Yes. So even something like schizophrenia, which we often think it was one of the more severe mental health issues someone can have. People are seeing significant results with that. Yes,

Georgia Ede 1:29:00

absolutely. And so in this group of people, and not only did they improve that their psychotic symptoms improve, but they improve substantially. The degree of benefit that people experienced with this ketogenic diet, in terms of their psychotic symptoms was seven times more, more benefit, more improvement in their symptoms than we see in studies of antipsychotic medications.

Nick Jikomes 1:29:26

How are you starting to think about the why here? Why would such a wide range of psychiatric illnesses respond to going into this ketogenic metabolic regime?

Georgia Ede 1:29:38

Yeah, so and I think this really speaks to the power and the promise of ketogenic diets for all kinds of health conditions at brain as well as bodily health conditions. It is because when we're in a state of ketosis, lots of different pathways and lots of different operations in the brain work better, ketones burn more cleanly more efficiently with less inflammation and less oxidative stress. And when you're not eating high sugar, high insulin, high vegetable oil diet, when you're not eating all these damaging destabilizing ingredients at which damage the brain from the inside out, when you quiet all that down, you focus on whole foods, you get your glucose levels down, you get your insulin levels down, everything can quiet down and and and you can kind of restore peace to the village so to speak, the whole brain works better when it's not in this high glucose, high vegetable oil, high insulin state most of the time. So of course, it's a it's a it's a, it makes sense to consider this intervention, almost regardless of the diagnosis. I mean, think really the only diagnosis, I might caution people against using this or considering using this intervention with is underweight anorexia. Just really we've seen benefits in our clinical experience and in case published case reports, and in some of these early trials in just about every psychiatric condition that's been looked at so far.

Nick Jikomes 1:31:11

So you know, the ketogenic diet, very interesting, often very difficult to maintain. Let's assume someone's listening and they don't think or they're not willing to try to permanently stay on a ketogenic diet. Do you like what are your some of your recommendations or guidelines there? Like? Do you think people should be trying to go into ketosis once or twice a week through intermittent fasting? How do you think about ketosis for people that don't want to stay permanently on a ketogenic diet?

Georgia Ede 1:31:40

Okay, great. So one of one of my goals in the book, you know, I didn't want the book just to be about ketogenic diets, because for so many people, even just the word ketogenic is a non starter, right, there are some people who who will not consider this don't want to try it. And I understand that. And there are and not everybody needs to, not everybody needs to follow a ketogenic diet to reap multiple brain health benefits through dietary changes. There are lots of other changes you can make to your diet, that don't require going into ketosis, that can improve brain health. For example, just taking the refined carbohydrates and vegetable oils, and all the ultra processed foods out of the diet, which all of us should do anyway, is tremendously is a huge step in the right direction. And for some people, just following these Whole Foods principles, is all they need to do to quiet things down and recover. However, if that's not, if that's not useful enough to you, you may need to start to explore other changes, you might need to cut back on the amount of carbohydrate in your diet, you may even need to go to a ketogenic level of carbohydrate restriction. Everybody's different in terms of their metabolic health. So in the book, I've got different levels of dietary strategies that people can try. And the first one is, it's a paleo diet that has 90 grams of carbohydrate per day in it. So it allows you to have a serving of you know, starch or fruit or whatever you like, what's the

Nick Jikomes 1:33:15

average American out right now in terms of grams? Over 300? Over 300? Okay, yep. Okay, so 90 grams a day on this one and, yep,

Georgia Ede 1:33:24

so it's a paleo diet, but it's it's it's got a lower carbohydrate with it than where a standard Paleo Diet seemed like the whole 30, which is a wonderful diet. A standard paleo diet or hunter gatherer diet, puts no ceiling on anything. So you can have as much of those Whole Foods, meats and poultry and eggs and fish and nuts and seeds and fruits and vegetables, you can have as much of those foods, it's just eat to satiety. Now, the reason why I recommend 90 grams of carbohydrate is because most of us do now have some degree of insulin resistance, meaning that our ability to safely process large amounts of carbohydrate is somewhat impaired. And so if you don't cut back on that, you may not see the same good results. So I recommend this moderate carbohydrate paleo diet as step one, if that doesn't help enough, then you can explore if you wish, you know, lowering the carbohydrate even further even down into the ketogenic range, which is step two. And then there's even a third option for people who don't get enough benefit from those two strategies or have a lot of unexplained or chronic health issues, autoimmune conditions, gut sensitivities, food sensitivities, gut health issues. For people who really are struggling with a lot of mysterious health conditions or stubborn health conditions, they may even want to explore at least temporarily, carnivore, plant free a carnivore diet at least for a short period of time. So there are these different levels of engagement with dietary strategies. People can explore. And another thing I would say to people who say, Oh my gosh, I could never be on a ketogenic diet for the rest of my life. I never, never never, with any patients say, we're going to do this for the rest of your life, I say is, you know, I would encourage you to try it for six to 12 weeks to see what it feels like and then decide whether or not you want to continue on it a little longer. Because if you've never tried it, it can be a really eye opening experience, it's a completely different state of mind. Often people don't recognize their own feelings, their own thoughts, their own behaviors, when they're in that different state of that different metabolic state. So I think everybody deserves to experience that and then decide what they'd like to do longer term.

Nick Jikomes 1:35:51

So for your recommendation on the carnivore diet, you know, it's pretty generic recommendation, people are just sort of generally feeling like a little off or whatever, you can sometimes recommend that to them. How much of that diet? Is? Is, is the benefit coming from the carnivore per se? Or is it coming from the elimination of all of the other unknowns?

Georgia Ede 1:36:16

i It's probably both. It's really anybody's guess. But I do think that it's both because I personally, and have a lot of clinical experience with this as well, using different dietary strategies within the same individual sort of graduating people through these different steps. And it's interesting, a lot of people might say, well, maybe the benefit to the carnivore diet is just that it has zero carbohydrate in it. So maybe it's just like ultra ketogenic, right. So it's just, it's because it's not just low carb, it's no carb, that must be the magic to it. But the interesting thing is that there have been quite a few people, including myself, who have spent a long time on a very low plant ketogenic diet, you know, good, good ketones for long periods of time experienced lots of benefits. And then we switch to a plant free carnivore diet, the ketones may or may not be higher, sometimes they're actually lower. And there are, there are significant additional benefits to that diet, even if the ketones are not as high. There's something else something else happening with a plant free diet that seems to go beyond the metabolic piece to perhaps the nutritional piece and the the elimination of toxins and anti nutrients and so forth. And

Nick Jikomes 1:37:33

is that when you say that, is that based on, like patients telling you they feel better? Is it based on like, lower inflammatory markers that you measure? Where's that coming from?

Georgia Ede 1:37:43

Yeah, so in the my clinical work, it's coming, it's coming, obviously, from people's reported experiences and my experience with them. There's there's no formal research yet, of any rigor in terms of you know, control trials, or E or even or even small clinical trials, prospective clinical trials, on carnivore diets yet, they are coming. But we don't have these yet. So right now, we just got lots and lots of people experimenting with their diet. And and, and experiencing these these benefits and reporting them. We do have some some nicely documented case reports in the literature. And I've included some of those in the book, showing that there have been some people who have really, you know, experienced remarkable healing and recovery from even some very serious autoimmune conditions, on carnivore diets. tremendous benefits in certain types of cancer, autoimmune conditions, like type one diabetes, it really can be pretty remarkable. These are, you know, these are isolated cases. And so we do need more research in this area. It was in fact, just a fascinating paper. Three very well documented cases of people who had suffered with severe anorexia with with a BMI, BMI, normal BMI, that's a measure of body size, BMI down as low as below 11. Whereas a normal BMI would be 19 or higher. So very, very seriously, gravely ill, who fully recovered, all three of them independently, fully recovered from severe anorexia, lifethreatening and ours on our plant free carnivore diet, and have remained in remission, each have gained more than 40 pounds each, and sustained remission for one to five years now and counting. So there are some this diet is one of those diets that has some interesting properties that we don't yet fully understand.

Nick Jikomes 1:39:47

And so based on everything that you've seen with the carnivore diet, I know there's many, many, many people have tried this at this point. So there's lots and lots of anecdotes out there. Many different positions like you have directly seen what people have done with this diet? How do you get all of your vitamins and minerals? Do you need to supplement? Or can you get basically everything you need from whole foods on a carnivore diet?

Georgia Ede 1:40:11

It's an area of controversy. So I've included in may have addressed this in the book, there's a whole chapter about carnivore diets in the book addresses this this question. So a fascinating difference between plants and animals that a lot of people may not know is that it is it is it is, it is absolutely 100% impossible to get all of your nutrients from plants, because there are certain nutrients that plants simply do not contain that are essential for humans, it is theoretically possible to obtain all of your nutrients from animal foods, it is theoretically possible. Is it in real life possible? Do we are there actual risks? Do we are we getting enough of them? If you eat the right mix of animal foods? And what is the right mix of animal foods? How much of these nutrients do we actually need? All of these questions are, are being explored. But theoretically, it is possible you can find all the nutrients you need in animal foods. The question is, how many? How much of them? Do we need? And are we getting enough and doesn't matter what the mix of animal foods is?

Nick Jikomes 1:41:19

I mean, it sounds like based on everything that you've told me, you would recommend anyone, whether they're metabolically metabolically healthy, whether they have a mental illness, whether they're just an average person, that they would probably would probably recommend minimizing refined grains and vegetable oils, I

Georgia Ede 1:41:37

would recommend removing them to the extent that you possibly can, as much as you as possibly as humanly possible.

Nick Jikomes 1:41:43

Can you reiterate a little bit on why that is? I know that we've already covered it, but it can't hurt to reiterate it. And then talk about that in the context of you know, that more or less directly disagrees with what the official dietary guidelines would say, right? Get a lot of whole grains get a lot of this stuff. What do you make of that?

Georgia Ede 1:42:04

Yeah, so all of those recommendations are the recommendation. There are so many nutrition myths, which stand in the way of your good physical and mental health. And one of them is that we need a whole grains at all. Not just that, and they're not just unhealthy for you, we don't need them at all. And so we don't need them, and they're actually working against you. And the reason why we hear all the time that whole grains are healthy for us is that the studies that demonstrate this are comparing diets that contain whole grains to diets that contain refined grains. Now, of course, whole grains are gonna win every single time in that in that fight. We're not comparing diets that contain whole grains to diets that don't contain any grain at all. So we're not asking the question, we're not asking the right question, right. So whole grains, when you actually look at what they are, if we stand back and dispassionately objectively explore what's actually in them, they have almost none of the nutrients that we need. And they're loaded with anti nutrients and toxins, and they're very difficult to digest. And they're toxic, unless, unless you cook them and process them to a certain degree, you're very sick if you eat whole grains, as is so many red flags there. So So I recommend that everybody for best health. And I've got this little diagram in the book that kind of shows you how you want to build your diet for optimal health. You want the core of your diet to be non dairy animal foods, how much of those you eat, you know, is an open question. I make some recommendations. But the core, you do need to include at least some non dairy animal foods in your diet to meet all of your nutrient requirements. And then the next layer of the diet are the fruits and vegetables that you tolerate, meaning the ones that don't bother you that you digest easily. And that don't exceed your personal carbohydrate threshold. And then so and going beyond that, you know, the further out you go, the less nutritious and more risky you get. So yes, that's what I recommend. Non

Nick Jikomes 1:44:07

starchy vegetables. What are some of the ones in your experience that are the least problematic? In general?

Georgia Ede 1:44:16

Yeah, so the least problematic are the non nightshade, fruit vegetables. So these are vegetables that are actually these are fruits in disguise. So these are vegetables that contain seeds. So cucumbers for example, is a it's a good example. So anyway, it's a it's these are low sugar, low starch. We call them vegetables, but they're actually fruits because they contain seeds, using olives, cucumbers, zucchini, things like that. The non nightshades because there are some nightshade, fruit, vegetables, peppers and tomatoes, they contain seeds, but they're also nightshades. So I do warn people to at least consider that they may be working against them if they have mental health issue, at least worth exploring. So it's because the plant, especially if the plant needs you to help you disperse it seeds, is going to put many fewer toxins in that that part of its body, because it doesn't want to poison its transport system. So the fruits of plants are often but not always the least toxic part of the plant, and the seeds, the grains, beans, nuts and seeds of the plant. Those are often but not always the most toxic and heavily defended parts of the plant.

Nick Jikomes 1:45:32

How we don't have that much time left, but I want to ask you like where do you think this metabolic psychiatry thing is gonna go? How do you think? Do you think we should be looking to use diet as much as we possibly can to treat psychiatric illness? And as a way to get people off all of the different medications that are often on? Do you think we're over relying on the drugs?

Georgia Ede 1:46:00

Absolutely. You know, it just doesn't make sense that one in five Americans would need psychiatric medication to function. This doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make sense that, you know, one in four adults have a psychiatric condition so significant that it interferes with their ability to function. And that among young adults, ages 18 to 25, it's now one in three, something is terribly wrong. Our brains were not designed to malfunction on this grand scale. You know, we, if we eat a species appropriate diet, and protect ourselves from toxic substances in the environment, to the extent that we can, our brains should work well and serve us well for our entire lives. That's not what's happening, we now expect our brains to fall apart. As we get older, we expect ourselves to crumble under stress and never recover. We expect ourselves not to be resilient, not to embrace challenges. We expect ourselves to need lots and lots of support and extra help to get through the day. I mean, this is not of course, that's not robust mental health. And that's not that's our birthright. I mean, if you feed the brain properly from day one from conception, there's a whole chapter about that. If you feed the brain properly from day one, it should serve you well.

Nick Jikomes 1:47:24

And can you see for people explicitly, what's the title of the book, in what, you know, this is not this. It's a book about diet. It's about metabolism. But it's not a diet book in the sense that you're pushing one diet. Right?

Georgia Ede 1:47:35

Right. I mean, really, what I've tried to do so this is the book is called change your diet, change your mind. And it's a book that it's the goal is really to do two things here. So one thing is to help people with mental who are worried about their mental health, which is now just about all of us. Whether you get a condition right now, or you're worried about a future condition like Alzheimer's, or there's someone you love is has a mental health condition. It's designed to help you understand that changing your diet can be a really powerful intervention, therapeutic intervention for mental health. It can help you in ways that no medicine can, but you have to know which dietary changes are the ones that are worth making. And they're not the ones that you've heard about. They're not the ones you're being told, sprinkling more blueberries on your oatmeal is not a useful strategy. It doesn't work. And you know, a falling Mediterranean diet, a Mediterranean diet is healthier than the standard American diet. It And study after study has shown this, but it doesn't go far enough. The Mediterranean diet is a little healthier than than the standard. It discourages certain types of you know, discourages some processed foods, and discouraged it asks you to remove some refined carbohydrates. But but but explicitly encouraged us to to include others, it sends a lot of mixed messages. Alcohol is okay, red wine is good for you. You're supposed to eat bread and pasta and cereal is the basis of your diet. Even if you have insulin resistance or type two diabetes, it you're just supposed to base your diet on the least nutritious foods we have. And put the most nutritious foods at the very tip of the trend doesn't make any sense. So the Mediterranean diet, if you want real change to your mental health, you can't just nibble around the edges of the standard American diet, which is what the Mediterranean diet does. And you can't just sprinkle superfoods on top and hope that you're that you're that the base of your diet is that you'll be saved. If you want real change your mental health meaningful within days to weeks improvement and your mental health. You have to fundamentally you have to make real change to your diet. Fundamentally restructure your diet in ways that make biological sense from the ground up not based on wild guesses and theories and dogma and dietary ideology. You want to base your diet, not an ideology and myths ology, but biology. And when you do that, you will in most cases, I know it doesn't solve every problem. In most cases, you'll experience tremendous benefits. So the diet that the book is designed to help you understand that and give you hope. But it's also designed to give you like, it's it's not really a diet book, it walks you through all the different foods that you are curious about, explains the plural pros and cons, the risks and benefits of each one so that you can decide for yourself what you want to eat, and make your own informed choices. You're an adult, you're grown up, you can make your own choices. I don't really want to tell you what to eat. But I want you to have the right information. So that if you're trying to optimize your mental health, you can you can you actually have the tools that you need to do it.

Nick Jikomes 1:50:50

All right, I think that's a great place to end it. Yeah, I've got about halfway through the book right now. I definitely recommend it to people. I think it's a great resource, especially if you're just starting to learn about some of this stuff. And you don't need a heavy science background to understand it. So Dr. Georgia Ede, thank you for your time. Thank

Georgia Ede 1:51:09

you very, very much for having me. I've really enjoyed the conversation. Thanks for your great questions and a great discussion.

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Mind & Matter
Mind & Matter
Whether food, drugs or ideas, what you consume influences who you become. Learn directly from the best scientists & thinkers about how your body & mind react to what they're fed. New episodes weekly. Not medical advice.