Mind & Matter
Mind & Matter
Seed Oils, Omega-6 PUFAs, Inflammation, Obesity, Diabetes, Chronic Disease & Metabolic Dysfunction | Chris Knobbe | #136

Seed Oils, Omega-6 PUFAs, Inflammation, Obesity, Diabetes, Chronic Disease & Metabolic Dysfunction | Chris Knobbe | #136

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About the Guest: Dr. Chris Knobbe is a physician (ophthalmologist), diet & nutrition researchers, and author of, "The Ancestral Diet Revolution."

Episode Summary: Nick and Chris Knobbe, MD discuss seed oils & their health consequences; different types of seed oils (soybean, corn, sunflower, etc.); omega-6 fats like linoleic acid; fatty acid metabolism and oxidation; obesity, diabetes & metabolic health; processed foods vs. whole foods; mitochondria & oxidative stress; and more.


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

Chris Knobbe 4:54

Yeah, sure. Next, so I'm a traditionally trained Physician and ophthalmologist, and I really got into this out of my own suffering started with arthritis way back, oh, 30 years ago. And that eventually led me about 1213 years ago to to investigate that, and try not to go into too much detail here. But so I really, I guess the, my arthritis led me to Loren Cordain's book The Paleo answer. And from that, I determined that basically processed foods, refined flour, sugars and vegetable oils, were driving most all of the chronic diseases. And, and so, but there were things about Canadians work that I didn't really agree with didn't understand. And I just kept researching. And eventually, a couple of years later, I came across the work of Weston Price. And really began to connect the dots between processed foods and, and chronic disease in a deeper way that made more sense to me. And that year neck, then I hypothesize that processed foods and vegetable oils, sugars, refined flours, all that might be driving age related macular degeneration, I'm an ophthalmologist at age related macular degeneration, or AMD is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss and blindness and people over the age of 50 worldwide. So I spent about a year and a half, or maybe almost two years investigating that while I was still in practice. And in February of 2015, I was so convinced that that hypothesis held water that I left practice and pursued that full time. Um, so that took about another year and a half of of investigation basically, from that we, you know, we, we looked at data of processed food consumption tracking, proxy markers were processed food in the form of sugars and vegetable oils, and the data and 25 nations supported that hypothesis. So I went public with that, in 2016, published a paper published a book started a nonprofit foundation, and but eventually, you know, the, I kept researching all of this. And the one thing that kept occurring was that in my research was that it was the highly polyunsaturated vegetable oils that seem to be the major drivers of almost of overweight and obesity, chronic disease. And by chronic disease, I mean, diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer's, dementia, autoimmune disorders, the list goes on. And so I went public with that in 2019. And this is kind of where my, where I've been spending the majority of my time over the last five years or six years really is is, is processed foods and vegetable oils in chronic and chronic disease and overweight, obesity and chronic disease. So that's, that's basically my story now. And

Nick Jikomes 8:46

so, you know, when we think about chronic disease, all of the diseases of modern civilization, the things that we're commonly sick with today, that our hunter gatherer ancestors were almost never sick with things like obesity, diabetes, different inflammation driven conditions, you know, all the things that you mentioned, most people in my perception, most people agree that our diet is a big factor in this, and that what's wrong with the diet has something to do with processed foods, whatever exactly those are. But, you know, I want you to get into sort of your explanation for this. Can you start off by just unpacking this graph here and defining very clearly two terms, at least one is What are ultra processed foods? Exactly? In your view? And what are seed oils?

Chris Knobbe 9:34

Oh, okay. And I didn't realize I guess we have the graph up there. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay. I meant to stop sharing that and come back to sharing it. Sorry about that. But um, so, so processed foods really, first of all, are made up of four basic things and it's refined flours, refined sugars, vegetable oils, and trans fats and they're saw the you know, so called mystery ingredients to kind of, you know, the, the ingredients that the Met the food scientists concoct in order to give flavors and such.

Nick Jikomes 10:14

So that would be like artificial sweeteners and colorings and yes, yeah, all

Chris Knobbe 10:18

those kinds of things. But if you, but you know, I don't know that those those things are the primary province. It's the, it's those four big components, the refined flour, sugars, vegetable oils, and trans fats that are really the main problem. And if you go clear back to Western prices research in the 1930s, you'll, you'll find that he connected the dots between people consuming these foods because they end and chronic disease because these foods are nutrient deficient. So price found that that the population still consuming their native traditional diets, meaning they had no processed foods, those those diets contain 10 times more fat soluble vitamins, that's basically a D, K to an E, and four times more water soluble vitamins, that's all the B vitamins and C and one and a half to 60 times more minerals than did the American diets of his day. In other words, there was already that much that much processed food that was in the 1930s to the 1930s. Right. Okay. And so it's only gotten much worse since the 1930s, obviously, and so has, you know, are overweight, obesity, and, and all the chronic diseases ramped up just exponentially.

Nick Jikomes 11:46

So a question there would be, if he was making those observations in the 1930s. And the nutrient deficiency in the US food in the US at that time was already that that bad, that nutrient deficient? Why didn't the obesity epidemic start in the 1930s?

Chris Knobbe 12:04

I think it did. You know, we but there's no data to support that. But it was increasing. And but again, the the food consumption, the processed food consumption was far lower in the 1930s. And all of the evidence, points to that. But the main thing that's changed between, you know, that was relatively pretty low in the 1930s was vegetable oils, the seed oils, that was really low. And but if you look at the data, beginning in the 19 centuries, were just regarding overweight, obesity. So Scott Alan Carson's work on prisoners, men, so men aged 18 to 80. In the 19th century, their obesity was 1.2%. So if we just use 19, the year 1900 as a starting point, well, the next actual data is nine is 1960. And in 1960, our obesity in the United States was 13%. So we went from 1.2%, in 19 1900, to 13% by 1960. So the 1960 is when most researchers think we didn't have a problem. But clearly, the problem was already their neck, it was just expand, it was just expanding. And you know, so then others will say, Well, you know, the problem began with the, the US government's recommendation to go low fat and 1980. And that's when it exploded, because it did in 1980. Obesity was only about was not only but it was about 14%. And then by 2016, it's 14 or 2018 42 and a half percent obesity.

Nick Jikomes 13:56

Yeah, I think, correct me if I'm wrong, but like one way to sort of think about that is, you know, this, this has been my observation a lot, a lot of people look at that explosion around 1980. And then they treat like the 60s, the mid 20 century as the baseline. And you can treat it as the baseline if you want to start there. But what you're saying is, if you go back to 1900, and before, you know, 13%, should have been considered a very high obesity rate compared to the deeper history that we have. Exactly.

Chris Knobbe 14:24

That's exactly right. Yeah, you don't want to use 1960 or 1980. As a baseline. That would be ridiculous. Because we already had a huge amount of processed foods in the food supply by that point. And obviously, that's what the people are eating. So if you want to go back, you know, with any sort of hypothesis, you want to proffer regarding any kind of condition or disease, you want to go back to a time when that hopefully that disease was extremely rare or didn't exist, and then see what changed and that's why you need to We'll clear back like we've done clear back into the 19 century as far as you can go. And look at these food consumption patterns in relation to obesity and all the chronic diseases. So that's kind of as you probably know, that's really what I that's what I do. But you know, the seed oils real quick, I'll just mention while we're here that, and we I've got graphs I can show and we could look at the data, but the seed oils were really introduced in the United States, right after the American Civil War about 1866. And 1900, they were still only about one gram a day. 1909, nine grams a day, 19 6019 grams a day, 2010 80 grams per person per day, 80 per day, 80. So 80 grams of fat is 720 calories, it's nine calories per gram. So that that that works out to be about 32% of us caloric intake. Now, there's going to be some losses there. But you know, on you're still looking at about a fourth to possibly a third of the American diet is made up of vegetable oils. And those did not exist for almost all of history until after the American Civil War.

Nick Jikomes 16:18

Now some sometimes sometimes you use the term seed oils, sometimes you use the term vegetable oils, is there a difference there? And is there a Preferred Name or one that is misleading in some way?

Chris Knobbe 16:30

Yeah, so the vegetable oils would really be all of the edible oils, essentially, or, you know, you basically throw almost all of them into that category. So so the so if I break that down, you can look at the the seed oils, really, and then fruit oils and tropical oils, I would break those down into so the seed oils, which are the really highly polyunsaturated ones, the ones that are really high in Omega six, that would be essentially corn, canola, cottonseed rapeseed grape seed, sunflower, safflower, rice, Bran, peanut and sesame oils. Those are the primary so called seed oils. And then you have the fruit oils, which would be olive oil, and avocado oil, and those are much lower in Omega six. And then you'd have the tropical oils, which are really palm, palm kernel, and coconut. And those are even lower in Omega six, like the coconut and palm kernel are the lowest. Out of all these oils I just mentioned there are 2% Omega six linoleic acid, which is linoleic acid is the primary Omega six fatty acid in any kind of fat, any kind of natural fat. But anyway, 2% with coconut palm kernel oils, whereas, you know, oils like canola oils around 20%, soybean oil is around 56%. Safflower oil is like 78%.

Nick Jikomes 18:06

So these things, so seed oils, cooking oils, where they are a type of vegetable oil, where we have extracted the oil from the seeds of the plant through industrial processes and the in terms of the content of this oil, it's high in Omega six polyunsaturated fats. Is that a fair basic description? That's exactly right. And what what are these Omega six fats? And how are they different from other fats? And what do we what are some of the key things that we need to know about them as we go through this discussion?

Chris Knobbe 18:37

Yeah, so there's, there's three basic fats, there's saturated fat, which has no double bonds, there's mono unsaturated fat, which has one double bond. And then there's polyunsaturated fats, which have two or more double bonds, and those would be omega six and omega three fats. So the Omega six fats, you know, have at least two double bonds and the Omega threes have three double bonds. So that so the double bonds make those fat fatty acids, they're called the people who just call them fats, but the double bonds make those fatty acids subject to oxidative attack. And so that's what so they're unstable. The more double bonds you have, the more unstable that molecule is, and oxidation is dangerous. So if people want to think about you know, oxidation is the equivalent of rusting, like the equivalent of metal rusting and when a fat goes rancid, like when you leave fish sitting out and it goes rancid as stinking, that's because those primarily at omega six omega three fats that have oxidized and so they begin to stink.

Nick Jikomes 19:47

And so yeah, so that so when you smell fresh fish versus rotten fish, it's I think everyone knows the difference there. One of them smells very unpleasant, and one of them doesn't. And I, the way that I think about out this and tell me if this makes sense. So those those fats get oxidized. We naturally perceive old fish as smelling bad. It is a Versiv. Presumably, whoo. There's an evolutionary reason for that our senses are telling us don't eat that thing. Right. And so what what is what is actually bad about the oxidized polyunsaturated fats?

Chris Knobbe 20:24

Well, yeah, so good question, Nick. The What's bad is the fact that those the oxidized molecules are when that when those when those polyunsaturated fats undergo oxidation, they end up producing what are called advanced lipid oxidation in products or ales. And those advanced lipid oxidation in products are things like four hydroxy known and all melon dialdehyde, carboxymethyl, pyrole, AquaLine, 913 Hode, which is hydroxy Okta, DECA dynamic acid, nobody wants to ever wants to hear that again. And there's literally hundreds of others, and that these lipids scientists, you know, would name as chemicals, but they don't really have ordinary names, like I just gave for the others. But these, these advanced lipid oxidation end products are very dangerous to consume. They're, they're the equivalent. So let me draw the analogy that they're the equivalent of smoking, of burning tobacco smoking, in other words, and so when you when you burn tobacco, you know, you start off with a dried tobacco leaf and you burn it, and you end up with more than 6000 chemicals. And inside, you know, from that you end up with all sorts of mutagens and carcinogens. And right, everybody knows this. And it's the same thing when fatty acids oxidized, you end up with all these advanced lipid oxidation in products. And these are also dangerous, just like the end products of burning tobacco. And so Collectively, these advanced lipid oxidation in products are cytotoxic, Geno, toxic mutagenic, carcinogenic, atherogenic, thrombogenic, obesogenic and diabetogenic. So they're so these, you know, this covers the covers the gamut of almost everything that goes wrong in, in chronic disease. Now, this is not the only reason. But we can we can talk about oxidation in more detail. But that's just one of the things that goes wrong when we know when fats oxidized and even before you eat them. But if you when you eat these, these fats, Nick, the Omega six fats, well, any any of the polyunsaturated fats, ultimately, your body will accumulate these, and what ends up in your cell membranes and inner mitochondrial membranes and in your body fat, for example, all of those reflect what you have been eating in terms of the ratios of those fatty acids over the past three years. And so, so it would be nice if we didn't accumulate these Omega sixes, but we were meant to, because they were they normally in natural foods, they, they exist in various small quantities. And so we needed, you know, the Omega six linoleic acid and Omega three alpha linolenic acid, those are the two essential fatty acids, we need those for a number of processes. And, and so those are called essential fats, but but with every single thing that we consume, there is a sweet spot essentially, for for that there's a dose that's appropriate for that. And when you get a high dose of omega six linoleic acid, it accumulates in your body. And this sets up this, this biological Mulu. That's right for oxidation, and ultimately to cause harm within the body.

Nick Jikomes 24:13

And so you started to talk about this, but I just want to explicitly lay this out for people when we consume fatty acids. Where are those fat molecules going in our bodies, how much of them like some of it go into triglycerides that we have as stored body fat, some of its going to the phospholipid bilayer of our membranes? Are there any other places and how much is kind of going to these different areas? Well,

Chris Knobbe 24:40

I it you're going to, if you don't burn it, you have to store it, and you're going to store it everywhere that you have fat. So cellular membranes, inner mitochondrial membranes, your atopos in your brain and In your retina, every place that has fat, you will, you will begin to accumulate fatty acids that are reflective of what's in your diet. And so that's what sets us up. You know, for disaster. If you consume too many carbohydrates, let's say, you know, you, you know, when if you consume a huge bolus of carbohydrate, for example, what you'll do is you'll, you'll top off your glycogen stores, in your liver and in your muscles. And once those are all full, then you'll need to do something with that extra glycogen, right, that extra carbohydrate, and your body can convert that into fat. In fact, it does all the time. This is why at one point way back. And by that in the 1920s, researchers thought that we didn't actually need any fat at all in the diet, because they knew already by that point that we could convert carbohydrate into fat. And, and, but your body preferentially takes those takes those carbohydrates and converts them first into saturated fat and second into mono unsaturated fat. But you cannot make the Omega six linoleic acid or omega three alpha linoleic acid, those 218 Carbon Omega six and omega three fats respectively. This is why the those are essential to the to the body.

Nick Jikomes 26:30

When you know when we look at the diets of traditional hunter gatherers of different kinds, and we look at the ancestral diets that humans had the things that we were eating before we had obesity epidemics, and skyrocketing rates of diabetes and all of this sort of chronic inflammation that we have today. What was what did the fat profile those diets look like compared to ours? What percentage of their calories were Omega sixes for example?

Chris Knobbe 26:57

Yeah, that's the really interesting question right there because, and I've looked at this in a number of ancestrally living populations. So Hunter gatherers, subsistence agriculture, us and, and horticulture us and no matter what population you're looking at, whether they're extremely high fat, like the Inuit, which ones called Eskimos, or the extremely low fat diets of like the Papua New Guineans have Touka cinta or the, you know, the Japanese or the Okinawans, which again, are a subset of the Japanese. But no matter what any of the any of these diets, if they're ancestral, in other words, they don't have any seed oils, they don't have processed foods, they don't have seed oils. All of those diets are under 2% Omega six linoleic acid, that's the opposite of calories. 2% of total calories. Exactly. And then what are we at today, and we're at by 2008, we are at 11.8%. So we were at, I might have a graph handy here for that. But I'll show you this real world real quickly. This is our vegetable oil consumption, because this will kind of fall into place. You can see here that we for those who can, you're able to see this, at 1865. We had zero vegetable oils in our diet 1900. This is where we were about one gram of vegetable oil is 1909. We bump up because soybean oil. So first, we just had cottonseed oil, and then soybean oil came into the food supply in 1909. And that really bumped up consumption to nine grams a day. Over here by 1960. As I mentioned, we're at 19 grams a day. And by 2010, we're at 80 grams per person, per day. And this is so and I'll just mention while we're on this, so in 1900. And we didn't really go through this yet, but this is that was a time when there was virtually there was no heart coronary heart disease, essentially. There was no macular degeneration there had never been a case of Alzheimer's or dementia. That wasn't syphilis related.

Nick Jikomes 29:09

I want to dwell on this for just a second because it's it's it's almost like alien to think about this, given how we live today in our state of health and disease. When you say 90 100 There was like virtually no coronary artery disease, coronary heart disease. People you're saying that adults were basically not having heart attacks and things like this? They

Chris Knobbe 29:30

weren't That's exactly right. Nowhere in the world there was there was eight. There's either eight or nine papers. I think it was in the entire 19th century 18 119 100 on coronary heart disease. There was only two of those wrong thrombotic coronary heart disease which is the equivalent of a heart attack. Sir William Osler, the most famous probably famous physician of all time, one of the founding partners of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, reviewed his own personal history in 1897, for example, and he had witnessed about a half a dozen cases of angina he had never witnessed a heart attack. And in 1908, he gave a presentation in London, England, and he had witnessed an additional 208 cases, I think it was of angina, it still never witnessed a heart attack. In 1919 12, I think it was 1911 or 2012, James Herrick physician, published the first known case of my myocardial infarction heart attack in the United States, it was documented with autopsy evidence, nobody even took it seriously for until about 1922. Because they didn't know what heart attacks were. They didn't know what coronary heart disease was. Yeah,

Nick Jikomes 31:01

that's just, I mean, this is why I have to think about living at a time where like, no one would have even known what a heart attack was, but like today, you know, everyone knows multiple people in their life that have kids

Chris Knobbe 31:10

know what Heart attacks are, because that's how common they are. And or at least, you know, heart disease. You know, kids could could, you know, vaguely understand that. And, yeah, but so, but by the 1930s, coronary heart disease became the leading cause of death. And in fact, here's, here's a graph on that, then you can see, there's the red line there with, those are heart disease deaths. Now that's total, that would include the given that it's just heart disease deaths, that would include those that are valvular. You meaning, you know, coronary heart valve related deaths, but you can see that there was a, they were extremely unusual back in 1900, any kind of heart disease death that exploded over the next century, right. And you can see that it's it,

Nick Jikomes 32:07

go ahead, I'm just gonna say, for those that are just listening and won't be seeing the, the graph here, you know, the vegetable oil line that we're looking at, basically, you know, a little bit before 1910, early 1900s, you see, it kind of go up quite a bit. And that's, as Dr Kenobi said, that's when soybean oil kind of came onto the scene, and and then it continues rising, but then in about 1960, it goes up steeply again, and then rises, like even more quickly to the present day. And you're overlaying the heart disease deaths with that. And these two things are, are correlated quite clearly.

Chris Knobbe 32:41

Right, yeah, you see this really strong correlation between the vegetable oils and the heart disease deaths, up through about, you know, nine, you can see here that after about 1980, heart disease deaths start to drop off. And this is I used to think this was, you know, due to bypasses, and procedures and medicines, but it's I think it's primarily due to the fact that smoking has dropped dramatically. But you can see through the entire century of 19 1900 to 2020, you can see that are 2010, as far as the data goes on that saturated fat, virtually almost a flat line.

Nick Jikomes 33:20

Yeah, the entire page, the entire period from 1900 to the mid 1900s, where heart disease was going up, clearly, saturated fat was basically flat the entire time.

Chris Knobbe 33:31

Yeah, and this is our public graph from a paper in 2017. And so, yeah, so you can see there's that saturated fat increased about five grams late, you know, around 2000, it's come up with just a little bit, but virtually a flatline. So I'm gonna go back, go ahead and

Nick Jikomes 33:55

go ahead. And I'll just gonna say like, so someone could look at this and say, Okay, this is a very intriguing correlation. It's a very striking association between heart disease and vegetable oil use in the United States, but it's just a correlation. Are there any randomized control trials or any mechanistic preclinical experiments that tell us how something like Omega six fats and vegetable oils could cause heart disease?

Chris Knobbe 34:22

Yeah, so you know, James de Nicola Antonio published a paper with one of his colleagues just a few years ago, and it's basically about the oxidized linoleic acid hypothesis as the primary mechanism of coronary heart disease. And that is an excellent paper for anyone to read who's interested in digging into this, but it's, you know, to me, it's, it's very clear and simple that in my view, coronary heart disease does not exist. So without vegetable oils, if you look at all of the ancestrally living populations who don't have really any significant heart disease, I mean, they might have rare cases of myocardial infarction. But they don't have any significant coronary heart disease, and they don't have vegetable oils and every population that has coronary heart disease, they're consuming vegetables. And so and what, you know, how does this work? mechanistically? Well, I think that, you know, in a very, in a very, maybe simplified view that it is oxidized LDL, low density lipoproteins is what is taken up into arteries to begin and propagate atherosclerotic plaques. And LDL in its native state, meaning when it's an oxidized is not taken up. And so how, you know, how does LDL oxidize? Well, it oxidizes, because of the fact that it takes up linoleic acid. And the and then, and then that, again, oxidizes because of the fact that it's the multiple double bond, and it's very prone to oxidation. And then the there was a rapidly pulled out of the circulation and are deposited into these plaques, which causes this atherosclerotic plaque progression. And so, so I, I think it's almost impossible to produce coronary heart disease without vegetable oils.

Nick Jikomes 36:34

I see what so so, you know, it's the oxidation of some of these fatty acids, that creates a lot of the problem. And yet, so the Omega sixes are essential fatty acids, as are the Omega threes, meaning our body can't produce them naturally, we have to get them from diet. So so far, we've been talking about some of the some of the ways that too much Omega sixes can be bad. How much do you need? And what happens if you're deficient in Omega six is going in the other direction? What is the set? What are they doing that is essential? Well, how much is essential? Yeah, like what is the essential function that they're actually doing for us?

Chris Knobbe 37:14

The essential functions are probably Myriad. But what we what we see in animals who put on who have been put on a 100%, fat free diet, and there's been a few humans, that were also subjected to the same because of intravenous feeding, or some kind of feeding for with entirely fat free diets, or almost entirely fat free, but what happens in animals is is that they, they they develop rough coats, red eyes, deterioration of all of their external surfaces, deterioration of their gut inability to absorb nutrients properly. So then they become sick, and they built, they'll eventually they'll die without Omega six and a small amount of Omega three fat but so they so we there, this is why the researchers Burr and Burr I can't think of their first names, but they were husband and wife way back in the 1920s. When back in the time, as I mentioned that this was the time when they when researchers felt that we didn't require any fat in our diet whatsoever. And they, they completely extracted all the fat out of out of foods that they put various animals on mostly rodents. And and it's a very complicated process that has to be done in a lab to actually remove all of the fat because if you don't remove it all, you'll end up with Omega six linoleic acid and Omega three alpha linoleic acid in the fat because all natural fats contain it doesn't matter if it comes from you know, if you're talking about white rice, or oranges, or apples if they've got fat, and all of those have fat, and they will contain Omega six and Omega three. So so we only need a tiny amount. And so Burr and Burr figured out that animals could not survive on a fat free diet of a become sick and event and they would die prematurely. All right, but it takes it takes a while because the you have to eventually you have to remove you know you you have to use up all of your stored Omega six and Omega three in your own body before you become severely deficient, right. So it depends on how much you have in your body to begin with. All right, but if you look at I've got a graph here. You can see that Americans in 1865 we modelled their Omega six consumption, they were at about 2.4 grams of omega six linoleic acid per day and That's about 1.1% of calories. But animals and even humans don't need more than about point 5%. And there's been an argument made by ancestral researchers that we need only as little as about point three 5% Omega six linoleic acid that were hunter gatherers are consuming. Okay,

Nick Jikomes 40:27

so what you're saying is, hunter gatherers are estimated to consume never more than 2%. And we probably only need at most point 5% of our calories that come from these Omega sixes. That's right, we might

Chris Knobbe 40:42

need a little bit more than point 5% as infants. And but after, after infancy, probably no one needs more than point 5%. And we certainly don't need anything above about 1.6 to 2% is excess. And as I mentioned early on, you know, there's a sweet spot or optimal consumption of every single nutrient there is, you know, water, oxygen, iron, copper, molybdenum, you name it, they all are need, they need to be consumed at an appropriate dose. Yeah, too much, or too little, exactly. Exact either way, is dangerous. And so if we go back to this graph, you can see that there again, we were at 1.1%, Omega six, in 1865, when we didn't have any chronic disease, and in 1909, that had doubled to 2.23%, or two point, it gone from 2.4 grams that I'm sorry, that should say, 4.8 grams. That's a misprint there. By 1999 1999, you can see we're at 7.21% of our diet as omega six, or 18 grams a day and 2008 11.8% of our diet is omega six, and 29 grams a day. And you can, if you, you know, overlay our obesity, or coronary heart disease, our cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer's, dementia, macular degeneration, all of them are intimately related to this right here, they're related to that seed oil consumption, and to the Omega six consumption,

Nick Jikomes 42:32

I want to ask you something about this graph. It's triggering me about something else that that I've been researching. So for those that just listening, right, we're looking at the percentage of calories that come from omega six fatty acids over time, and you know, you go, you go back to the 1800s, and forward to the present, and it's just the line going up into the right, but at about 1999, right at the turn of the millennium, that goes up even faster. So the slope of the graph gets much steeper. What's interesting about this to me, Dr. Kenobi, and I'd love your take on this is, I know that from about 99 2000, to present, our total caloric intake wasn't really rising anymore, we were no longer consuming more total calories. In fact, you know, some of our nutrition, our total fat consumption, and I think our carb consumption, you know, either plateaued or even sort of drop off around this time. And yet, we know that the obesity epidemic kept getting worse. And so do you think that this is a key piece of that puzzle there that even though we weren't continuing to eat more after 2000, we were continuing to eat more seed oils?

Chris Knobbe 43:35

Yeah, that's exactly right, Nick, and I've got graphs on that too. But I can, most of this is in my memory. And this is these are key points that you're bringing up. And you're exactly right in right around 1999 or 2000. caloric consumption started to just slightly declined, whether you look at total total calories available, or and or calories consumed, began to decline at right around 2000. Again, while obesity was obesity was I forget what it was 3030 some percent in 1999. I think it was 31%. And then we're at 20 2018. We're at 42 and a half percent right. But but the calories didn't go up. Yeah. And the if you think well, but it was the sugar, no, that after 2000 are either 1999 or 2004 Right in there, depending on two slightly different datasets. Sugar has been on the decline in the United States. And so again, sugar on the decline while obesity goes through the roof and diabetes going through the roof, by the way, and and then you said Well, it's the carbohydrates. Well, carbohydrates, at least from 1997 through 2013. been declined also. So you have total calories, carbohydrates, and sugar all declining, while obesity and diabetes go even at a more vertical ascent? Well then what is it in other nations to?

Nick Jikomes 45:18

Yeah, what do you think's going on there? mechanistically. So if diabetes is insulin resistance, type two diabetes is insulin resistance. insulin goes up after blood sugar goes up, and blood sugar goes up after we eat carbohydrates. So if carb intake did not continue rising, but diabetes did continue rising, how can we explain that?

Chris Knobbe 45:38

Oh, I can explain it easy. Um, so. So for those who want to investigate further I, I went over the pathway between oxidation and insulin resistance in a presentation I gave at the ancestral health symposium in 2019, which was at the University of California, San Diego. And basically, what I'm going to keep this pretty simple, and you can you if you want me to get more in depth, I can. But I think it's really difficult for people just listening. But in a nutshell, when you consume high omega six, you damage these molecules called cardio Lippen, which are key players inside the inner mitochondrial membrane. And that inner mitochondrial membrane has to hold a proton gradient, the protons are hydrogen ions. And so that the inner mitochondrial membrane, the way it produces energy is you pump these hydrogen protons inside the membrane, and that builds up a gradient. And so when the when they say that has power, and when those hydrogen protons come back through the membrane, they go through ATP synthase, that's the final step in the electron transport pathway. And when they come through there, that that converts ADP adenosine diphosphate, to ATP, adenosine triphosphate, ATP, the energy currency of the cell. And so but what happens when you have consumed a high omega six diet is it damages that cardio lip and causes the membrane to become leaky, and or changes the curvature of it. And that causes failure of that membrane, it allows for one thing, those protons to leak out of the inner mitochondrial matrix, and, and therefore you cannot produce energy. And then the very next thing that happens is that you increase the reactive oxygen species, and that causes the cell to become sick, this the cell then becomes insulin resistance, it's a very next step. And if you think this, the cell is a microcosm of the entire body, so when the cell becomes insulin resistant, the entire body becomes insulin resistant. And this is exactly why it's not about carbohydrates. And it's not about sugar. Sugar may cause this in extraordinary doses to some degree, but it takes, like the doses they're using are like 60% of the diet. It's insane. Makes no sense. There's no nobody in the world consuming that much sugar. But anyway, so so you can you can explain all of this, or at least I can, I believe through a high omega six died, you all you need, don't eat any sugar, and you don't need high carbohydrates, all you need is substantial vegetable oils, and you will drive mitochondrial dysfunction, which is what I'm talking about through oxidation. And you will drive insulin resistance, which will cause your blood sugar to go up and it doesn't matter what your macronutrient ratios are, that's irrelevant. Is there?

Nick Jikomes 48:59

Is there preclinical evidence demonstrating that, that if you have a very high omega six diet that you can cause insulin resistance without? Well,

Chris Knobbe 49:05

it's all animals? Yeah. In animals, they absolutely have proven that. And I reviewed that in those studies. And this is why they see you there's an there's several studies in very good studies in animals where they gave the animals ISO caloric diets, and all they varied was one thing. They'll make a six linoleic acid, everything else was kept equivalent calories, fat, carbohydrates, sugar, or even no sugar, zero sugar. And the animals given the 19% Soybean oil diet, for example, become massive, you know, which, even on again same calories as the rodents given Chow, which is what 1% Omega six linoleic acid versus the rodents giving given 19% Soybean oil which is about less Haven't percent Omega six linoleic acid and in fact, lower than typical Americans, those rodents on that die at the high omega six, they become massively obese. There's only one difference. And even when they have zero sugar, zero sugar, yeah, they are morbidly obese. It's the equivalent that in a think of those eight months time that they they become the equivalent of a 277 pound male versus the rodents on Chow would be the equivalent of 170 pound man, this is a difference.

Nick Jikomes 50:37

So you're saying you're saying basically, researchers have a bunch of different groups of mice, each one gets a different diet, they all have the same number of calories, they're all eating the same number of calories each day, but they're just varying the fat profile and the macronutrient profile of these diets. You're saying that the mice who get the high soybean oil diet, which is giving them high omega six fats, at roughly the levels that you know, a lot of Americans are eating today, those mice get obese, and they get sick compared to the other mice, even though the other mice are eating the exact same total amount of calories? Exactly.

Chris Knobbe 51:12

Yeah. Yeah.

Nick Jikomes 51:16

And so a key thing here is, is mitochondrial function, the mitochondria are the little organ organelles in our cells that create the energy, the ATP molecules that power everything. And if you mess with their ability to do that, the cell is just going to basically get sick in almost any way you can think of, because it's not gonna be able to effectively and efficiently produce its energy. Is that a fair kind of summarize summary that that

Chris Knobbe 51:41

is perfect, Nick. By the way, I should have told you this at the beginning. I'm sorry, but But you could please call me Chris. No, I don't let anybody call me Dr. Rad to mention that neck.

Nick Jikomes 51:52

All right. No worries, Chris. What about what is the connection between omega six fatty acids like linoleic acid and inflammation? Why do people say that the Omega six is cause inflammation? What's going on biochemically? There?

Chris Knobbe 52:05

Yeah, they do. That's another so there's really I always I tell people that there's, there's there's basically four pathways through which high omega six diets drive, overweight, obesity and chronic disease. And it's that they are highly, the seed oils are highly pro oxidative proinflammatory. Directly toxic, which we've already talked about that, that through the advanced lipid oxidation in products, and then they're nutrient deficient, they don't contain vitamins A, D and K two, like you would get in traditional animal fats like lard, butter, and beef tallow. So So in terms of the pro, you know, Omega six is being pro inflammatory. They absolutely are. And, you know, before I describe that, which, basically, everybody agrees with this, or nobody even argues that at all, that the Omega sixes are pro inflammatory. But but they but I want to just put this into perspective, the oxidation that we were talking about, I think, is 10 fold, maybe 100 fold more dangerous than the inflammation. Oxidation is incredibly damaging to the body. And this is something it's much harder to understand, which we just talked about what it does to the mitochondria, for example, and how it leads to devastation and mitochondrial dysfunction, which could lead to obesity and diabetes and, and cancer. But, but so but you have the inflammatory pathway to well, so how do we get there? So omega six linoleic acid is is an 18 Carbon fat that is converted by elongate and desaturate enzymes into 20 carbon, arachidonic acid, and that arachidonic acid then can gives rise to inflammatory prostaglandins, eicosanoids leuco, trains and thromboxane these are collectively vasoconstrictive and inflammatory and cause clotting. All right, so So

Nick Jikomes 54:21

vasoconstrictive means you're gonna have higher blood pressure when those things go up in Flint and Flint, inflammation is inflammation. I think everyone kind of has a sense for what that is. And then they're also clotting factors. Yes. Yeah.

Chris Knobbe 54:33

So you so you're in other words, you're putting yourself at risk that day when you can say vegetable oils for heart attack and stroke that day. And this is one thing that we can we can get into this you know about recovery from vegetable oils but But you put yourself at risk, you know, right away when you can see vegetable oils for these reasons. And then you know, just on the flip side, the omega threes then they They're the opposite They're there, you know, the Omega three alpha linolenic acid, and then the downstream metabolites, the longer chain Omega threes, EPA and DHA 20 and 22 carbons respectively, those eventually they give rise to it, you know, anti inflammatory prostaglandins, medicines, protections medicines. And so they're ultimately, they prevent vasoconstriction are the you know, or they'll produce vasodilation. They, they, they prevent inflammation or reverse it, and they are anti clotting, essentially. So, so they have the really the opposite effect. And this is where this is just like this is boilerplate stuff in pathophysiology. Everybody knows that these are well accepted mechanisms.

Nick Jikomes 56:03

So I have a question for you, which is this, you know, basically, everything that we've just talked about, you just you just gave us a nice crash course on omega sixes versus omega threes, as you just said, like, everybody knows this stuff, who's you know, who studied this area of biology? Why? If I go, if, but if I go to the grocery store, I will see all sorts of bags, all sorts of boxes, that have the American Heart Association's Heart Healthy stamp of approval on them for the specific reason that they contain, what they call heart healthy polyunsaturated fats. What is they can't just be making this up out of nowhere. Why is it that the AMA is calling these things heart healthy, if what you're telling us is basically the opposite. For

Chris Knobbe 56:52

one reason, they lower cholesterol. And that's it. And I've I've, you know, started with this early on in a number of my presentations that, that, yeah, the American Medical Association, Harvard School of Public Health, Tufts University nutrition department and Mayo Clinic's nutrition department, Cleveland Clinic, American Heart Association, on and on all recommend seed oils, and they all recommend them because they improve, they in quote, prove, and I'll put this in, I should put this in single quotes, improve our cholesterol, meaning they lower our cholesterol. And so they therefore are deemed as good well guess what, you know. Anything that's highly pro oxidative, will or not anything, but a number of things that are pro oxidative will also lower your cholesterol but so that as I was we talked about early on, when your LDL cholesterol oxidizes, it's taken up out of the bloodstream into the vascular wall. And the reason that it is probably is because when the LDL is oxidized, it's extremely dangerous. And so those are rapidly removed from the blood. And that so it does, potentially lower your cholesterol. Now, it may also be that some of the LDL that is oxidized is still there, but it doesn't measure as normal LDL either. Because when it's oxidized, it looks different in terms of the testing. So it may also to some degree still be there. And yet, it's just not being measured properly, as I understand it, because of the fact that it is oxidized,

Nick Jikomes 58:46

based on everything I know. And I've learned, you know, over the past few years, about metabolism, about cholesterol about the history of medicine. A fair summary of what many people including you, I think would say is the standard story that we've been told about the relationship between cardiovascular disease and cholesterol is wrong, or the very least, very lacking in the appropriate level of nuance. And it's simply not true, that lowering your cholesterol is going to be good for everyone all the time. Is that accurate? And if so, why? Why is the story persisting with such vigor?

Chris Knobbe 59:30

You know, I because orthodox allopathic medicine, and I was trained in their Institute, you know, in their institutions. I'm a graduate of University of Colorado School of Medicine, which is an allopathic School of Medicine, of course, and traditional medical school. That you know, they have been, they have been, you know, supporting this theory, this hypothesis or belief system that, that you know, cholesterol it Sal drives coronary heart disease. And so it just needs to be lower. And of course, the research shows over and over. And I think this gets to be a, you know, to me a boring topic, Nick but because I just I feel like we've you know, we've gone over and over and over this but, but no matter how low you make the cholesterol, you can't prevent coronary heart disease if the if that if those if that LDL is oxidized, so they're missing the main point of, you know, the fact that what, you know, why is it so hard for them to look at this and just see that, you know, all of these ancestrally living populations, whether it's the Inuit who consumed almost, you know, almost carnivores or whether you look at Papa New Guinea, Ian's took a center who were consuming almost nothing but sweet potatoes, or you look at South Pacific Islanders who live off of fish, starchy tubers, fruit, and fruit, mostly in coconut and the half of their diet, coconut and on and on all these diets that don't contain vegetable oils, they don't have heart disease, right. And, and, you know, typically their, their cholesterol levels are, really, they're pretty low, just like the Maasai warriors of Kenya and Tanzania, they, you know, they were found out their cholesterol is pretty low. I think it's, you know, I forget the numbers, but it's under 200. I think it's 160 or 180, or something like that is what it was, when Georgia man studied them back in 1972. And everybody's scratching their head, how can they consume 66% of their diet as animal fat and have no heart disease? No, at least no. Coronary heart disease that engines heart attack or congestive heart failure, right. And so, but it's, you know, to me, it's just very simple, they don't have vegetables, they don't have a very low Omega six diet, and so they don't have oxidized LDL. And, and, and one of the reasons one of the things that people are not really talking much about that, I think, is the main reason our cholesterol can end up so high is is one thing and it's copper deficiency. And James to Nicola and de Nicola Antonio reviewed this in his book, I think it's called the mineral fix. It's a really big book but, but but it's a great resource. And our diets are really low in copper. If you're not consuming some of the things that are high in copper, and there's not very many things, but it includes liver lentils, some some beans and chocolate, and those are some of the few things that contain significant copper. And I know a fair bit about this because I was copper deficient myself and had very high cholesterol like 300 to 500 Correct it's very yeah no been like that says go and clear back to when I was in my early 30s. And you know, and it corrected only with one thing I have zero coronary heart disease when I have coronary artery calcium scan and 2020 and it was zero and he had no calcium plaque was

Nick Jikomes 1:03:23

where your doctors shocked when they saw that knowing what you're clicking.

Chris Knobbe 1:03:27

I don't go to doctors. Oh, how did you how did you mean not not for that anyway? Yeah, no, I just ordered my own anybody can order their own coronary artery calcium scan and go in and habits there that you can get them here in Denver for like $100 Oh, wow. You know, and so they're they're very inexpensive and a really good thing to do. But yeah, so I'm a perfect case. Why would my total cholesterol average 380 or something like that, you know, for 2530 years, and yet I have absolutely zero coronary artery disease Well, for one thing I we you know, we always cooked our own food and I didn't use vegetable oils I didn't know what I was doing most of that time until 2011. But but I wasn't using vegetable oils and I think this is the reason why but I was copper deficient. So So if people will consume copper rich foods for a period of time and you might want to measure your copper but it's but you know, I didn't mean to go down this pathway so much Nick but but some distance we're on the subject but if you raise your if you're low in copper and you raise your copper I can almost guarantee you your cholesterol were not will normalize interesting.

Nick Jikomes 1:04:42

So quick question for you before we move on to a different subject. You presumably weren't concerned about you know, having a heart attack or anything like that when you notice that your cholesterol levels were that high. But what what what was concerning you Why did you want to Look into bringing them down.

Chris Knobbe 1:05:03

I really wasn't trying to bring it down, I didn't actually didn't actually know for sure about any of this, it was I just began to consume more liver for other reasons and livers are really good source of copper whereas, whereas muscle meat, like hamburger and steak, for example, and chicken and fish, all that they're very low in copper. So the muscle meats are low in copper. And but Oregon meat, well, at least liver is high in copper. So let me let me let me put this another way. So that muscle meats are high in zinc and iron, and low in copper. And liver is high in copper, and low in zinc and iron. And interestingly, zinc, and possibly iron, but zinc is a strong competitor for absorption with copper in the gut. And so if you consume a lot of zinc and copper together, or if you take zinc supplements, or just zinc rich foods, you can further deplete your copper. Oh, and that's control. And this is a, I think is a huge reason that we are so we have so much high cholesterol. This doesn't have anything to do with oxidation of cholesterol, right? This is a separate subject. But this is why I think we have very high a lot of very high cholesterol levels. And people you know, a lot of people who go on they go on a meat rich diet, particularly when they go low carb for example, they their cholesterol goes through the roof. And there's all this speculation about it. And I think it's primarily just that they eliminated a lot of the foods that are there where they were getting their copper. So

Nick Jikomes 1:07:01

not only not only are they not getting that copper, if they're not eating things like liver, but the the ingestion of that food is high in zinc, and you're saying that's gonna competitively inhibit the absorption of copper. That's exactly right. Interesting. Interesting. And I guess Yeah, the the instinct, most people would have there to say that that type of diet is going to increase cholesterol, too, because you're getting more saturated fat or something.

Chris Knobbe 1:07:27

Yeah, that's exactly right. Yeah. Yeah. And there's there's a component of that, but I think it's mild compared to the topper issue, because people, you know, people have gone. I know, so many cases like this, a lot of anecdote, but there's research behind this as well. But, but when people go low carb, for example, a lot of times they again, they think that their cholesterol is going through the roof because of saturated fat, just as you said, but they've eliminated let's say a lot of things in the plant world where they were getting the copper that they were getting, for example, like, you know, almost, I think it's almost half of the copper that's being consumed. The United States is coming from chocolate. Almost half. And so if you go low carb, people eliminate chocolate, right? Yes, the things that they're going to eliminate, and because they're eliminating that, because of the because it's usually going to have sugar with it. And so this, they're eliminating a potential good source of copper. They're interesting.

Nick Jikomes 1:08:35

This is completely coincidental, because I didn't know about this copper thing that you've you've just been telling me about, but I've got a bag of like organic, you know, cacao powder. And, you know, several days a week, I started to some milk and hot water and I you know, I just have like a little chocolate. And I had noticed when I bought it, that it had a lot of copper in it, and you don't see copper and a lot of nutrition labels. So I didn't really look into it. It was just a curiosity. But this is this is an interesting coincidence.

Chris Knobbe 1:09:03

Yeah, that's a great that's it's a great source of copper. Yeah, by far the best sources beef liver, or, you know, I mean, other there. I'm sure other ruminant livers are probably high as well, but the common one would be beef liver,

Nick Jikomes 1:09:18

what um, what kind of diet do you eat? And and is there anything that you're really aiming for beyond say that the elimination or the minimization of the Omega six fatty acids?

Chris Knobbe 1:09:31

Yeah, so I, you know, I eat and recommend an ancestral diet and that just means that I've eliminated processed foods, I just don't consume any really hardly any processed food. I certainly don't eat any vegetable oils of any type. Actually, I don't even consider now if I were to consume any it would be you know, be coconut oil or maybe a little about a little bit of olive oil. But, but those are, those are key for me. So I actually over the last, my diet has changed a lot over the last 12 years. But currently, I've reduced my amount of protein I've dropped, you know, my total meat consumption down to maybe 12 ounces 10 or 12 ounces a day, and increased my the foods from the plant world. So I'm on what many would probably think of as a high carb diet, but it's probably around 40 45%, carbohydrate. 30, maybe 30% fat or less. And the rest protein. So but but I consume I consume lots of plantains, sweet potatoes, potatoes, some rice, some pasta, lots of fruits, apples, oranges, strawberries, berries, blueberries. And then a number of fermented foods, you know, sauerkraut, kimchi, you know, yogurt, kefir. Those are the things and you know, so. So basically, that's basically what my diet is like, currently.

Nick Jikomes 1:11:28

And so I with an eye towards thinking about reducing Omega six intake, and getting some of those fatty acids out of the body. Let's say that, you know, you're the typical American today in your eating something like a 20 to one ratio of omega six to omega three fatty acids. And let's just say that, that you snap your fingers, and you get it down to a one to one ratio, or something close to that. How long would it actually take the body to, to adapt to that for its fatty acid composition to reflect that new ratio of omega six to omega threes?

Chris Knobbe 1:12:06

Yeah, three years, three years, four years. Yeah. So the, the half life of fatty acids in the body is 600 to 680 days. And they're so roughly two years for the half life. But interestingly, one study firmly showed that you could turn over all of your, your body fat fatty acids in three years. This is in humans, of course. So, so for somebody, you know, our, our diet should be less than 2% Omega six linoleic acid, and that, and that would produce there. We haven't gotten into this so much. But you're but you're again, as we talked about, it's reflective of the amount of omega six linoleic acid in your body fat. And that would produce, there's four studies that show this only four, all done in 1969 by Ian Pryor and colleagues and in the South Pacific. So these four populations had their body fat analyzed, and they were on completely ancestral diets and their body fat, average 2.82% Omega six linoleic acid, Americans were at 9.1% Omega six linoleic acid in 1959, we were at 21 and a half percent Omega six linoleic acid, again, this is now in our body fat, right? So so this is our body fat, so should be 2.8%, roughly, we were at 9.1%. In 1960 1959, we're at 21 and a half percent in 2008. Right, I just want to make this really clear. So we want to be back to 2.8%. But our halflife is two years. And we can turn over all of our fatty acids in three years. So if you go on a completely, you get rid of all vegetable oils, and you consume, you know, only low Omega six foods, which we haven't gone into all that yet. But there's more to that. But so you can be back down to your, you know, theoretically back down to 2.8% Omega six linoleic acid in your body fat in three years. So that's kind of maybe good news, bad news, depending on how you look at it. It's not going to happen overnight. But but you'll get there and you will realize that you'll gradually realize all the benefits of a low Omega six diet over that time. And the only thing I know people say well, is there any way to speed up this process? And the only way I know would be you know, I would say potentially, this might be a reason to consider a lower fat higher or higher carbohydrate diet and then exercise, you know, you're ultimately going to Need to burn burn the Omega six? Use it for fuel essentially to get rid of it. Yeah,

Nick Jikomes 1:15:07

so let's talk about this more. How do people get there? How do people get closer to a balanced ratio of omega six omega threes, and not over consuming Omega sixes?

Chris Knobbe 1:15:17

Yeah, and you know, the whole theory about balancing, it won't work, it won't help you at all, in my view, or almost not at all, just to increase your Omega three, which could theoretically balance your omega six to Omega three ratio, that won't solve the problem, because you still are going to have a body full of omega six fat, right?

Nick Jikomes 1:15:39

And you have to you have to get there, you have to get to that balanced ratio by bringing the Omega sixes down. Exactly. And, you know, not being Omega three deficient but But you can't just bring up the Omega three super high,

Chris Knobbe 1:15:50

right? So the way you get there is, is you've got to just, I would say, in one sentence, you have to prepare your own food without vegetable oils, you know, and make your your your fats, your added fats, primarily animal fat, like like butter, beef, tallow, ghee, whatever, but it should be animals and animals, animal fats. And this is what we haven't talked about yet, is that the animals need to have themselves have been consuming an ancestral diet, which means that the animals that are monogastric, which would be like pigs and chickens, those animals will develop a very high omega six in their body fat just like humans, because we don't multicompartment stomachs that can hydrogenate the polyunsaturated fats into saturated monounsaturated fats, cows, cattle, ungulates, ruminants, whatever you want to call them, they have a multicompartment stomach, one of those stomachs can convert the Omega six into mono unsaturated and saturated fat. And they therefore have a very low body fat Omega six, no matter what they're eating. Yeah,

Nick Jikomes 1:17:01

so so so ruminants, like cows are just intrinsically different in their metabolic capabilities than things like chickens, and pigs. So they will almost always have a much lower Omega six content, but the diet of the animal is going to reflect the the fat content of the animals and reflect the diet of the animal. So if you're buying chickens that are fed corn, they're gonna have high omega six content.

Chris Knobbe 1:17:25

Right, right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, they're just like, there'll be just like humans, if they're, if they're fed a high omega six diet, they're going to have high omega six in their body fat, and then we consume those, and we're going to elevate our omega six in our body fat. And there's a similar mechanism behind consuming nuts. soy nuts, and seeds are high in Omega six. And soy nuts and nut oils are except for macadamia nuts, and macadamia nut oil, that's the only one and the nut in all of the nuts, that's low in omega six, all the others are high. And so those three things so the so the seed oils, the it's even some of the fruit, you know, even might consider olive oil and avocado oil, they're a little bit higher in Omega six. And then of course, you've got monogastric animals, if you're consuming those, that how are consuming corn and soy. So again, we're talking about pigs and chickens that consume corn, soy, that will drive up your omega six, and then consuming nuts and seeds will drive up your omega six. So you need to get all of those corrected, and then your omega six will really start dropping, and it'll drop. I think it'll drop precipitously in a few months. And, you know, people, people just start noticing all kinds of health benefits when they do this.

Nick Jikomes 1:18:47

So what is what is your relationship to nuts, you know, nuts that don't have added vegetable oils to them, but do have natural Omega six content?

Chris Knobbe 1:18:58

Well, they're incredibly better than you know, consuming nuts of any type would be incredibly better than consuming the highly polyunsaturated vegetable oils because they're not processed in a factory that would you know, ultimately drive those the development of those advanced lipid oxidation in products before you ever even eat them. Right. And so you wouldn't have that issue but I'm convinced that that it you know, people who consume most of their fat in the form of nuts but I've seen some disastrous health outcomes with those people. And and I think it's mostly because of the high omega six, but they're also you know, and we've really never got into this too much but and nuts don't have nuts and vegetable oils. None of those have the fat soluble vitamins A D and K to which you would get in beef tallow or be fat or even to some degree pork fat. You know, so you're missing those two, if you're not. If you're just, you know, you're trying to get your fat from nuts for example. That's a That's a dangerous proposition in terms of a diet. One

Nick Jikomes 1:20:13

final area, before we run out of time that I want to get you talking about is the brain. And and maybe we can we can get there by talking about the eyes, because that's your specialty. As an ophthalmologist, what happens to our vision in our eyes into our brains if we have too much Omega six in the diet?

Chris Knobbe 1:20:35

Well, I think it's this I think, in a nutshell I'm kind of on the spot here, Nick, because it's kind of got our we started out that I, I'm, I'm stumped as to where to go with this. Because there's, there's so much to tell. But I wanted to say that the most important consideration is to keep your mitochondria healthy. And, you know, we do that through an ancestral diet period. And that means no vegetable oils, and essentially no sugar, no refined flowers, which means that your diet is not only nutrient dense, you know, it has all the vitamins and minerals that you need. But it also doesn't have the toxic components. And so, you know, I think that if we could just draw some big parallels between the brain and the eye or the retina, they're, they're all subject to the same insults in terms of oxidative attack and lack of nutrition. Right, and, you know, in the eye in the retina, one of the most important things that happens when people consume seed oils, I believe, is probably damage to the mitochondria that ultimately causes destruction of the retinal pigment epithelium, which is what supports the retina proper, the rods and cones. And so when you actually see the the retinal pigment epithelium or the called the RPE, you actually see at what we what, you know, we ophthalmologists would call atrophy of that layer. And when you see RPE, we see that we call it RPE, drop out or atrophy. And when you lose, each RPE cell supports about 30 photoreceptors rods and cones. And so when, when one RPE cell dies, 30 photoreceptors die with it. And neither of these are regenerative, they don't come back. Right. And so this is one of the main main pathways to macular degeneration. Is this right here. Now, there's many other pathways that I don't know that we should try to get into all that that's a detail that probably almost no one wants to hear. But, but but I think that, but and there, there's there must be, you know, very similar pathways in the in the brain itself. But that's not my that's definitely not my area of expertise. But you know, interestingly, if we just talked about Alzheimer's for a moment. So I Lois Alzheimer's, the physician diagnosed the first case of what was eventually called Alzheimer's disease in 1908. And then I think there was another four cases diagnosed in 1910 or 1911. And then, you know, by the 1940s, there was several 100 cases. And, you know, today, there's, you know, in buys up about two top 2020, I think there was 55 million cases of either Alzheimer's or dementia in the world and another 10 million cases per year. Added this is a new case of Alzheimer's or dementia every three seconds. But, you know, the the one thing that's genetics haven't changed, right, they've not changed at all in a century. But what's changed drastically is our diet, and the main thing that's changed is the vegetable oils.

Nick Jikomes 1:24:23

So it sounds like you know, I was just, I was reading a paper by Bob Lustig and some other people. And they go over the concept of obesogens. And what they did was they compare to contrast various different models that people have used to explain how metabolic dysfunction and things like diabetes, the diabetes and obesity arise. And, you know, there's the energy balance molecule, which basically just says, the more calories you eat, the bigger you're gonna get energy and energy out. There's the carbohydrate insulin model, which is the classic model of how things like carbohydrates and sugars raise insulin levels and cause insulin resistance. And they sort of say that they don't really like those two models very much. And they have a model that combines the obesogenic model. And there'll be something that's just things that we eat, which cause metabolic problems. And then there's the the sort of reduction oxidation model. And basically what they come to is they say, We think that a lot of the metabolic problems we're having today is that we're eating obesogens that are having their obesogenic effect, in large part through changing things like the levels of oxidase or oxidative stress that our cells are exposed to. And if I'm hearing you correctly, it sounds like at least directionally, like you would you would have basically that viewpoint.

Chris Knobbe 1:25:41

Um, well are well, yeah, I guess the, again, I would say that the primary obesogen would be the would be seed oils. Yeah, that would be it. You know, and, you know, there's a lot of concern about all about many other obesogens everything from, you know, stress, lack of sleep, you know, anti or I'm sorry, you know, various endocrine disruptors, for example, like plastics. Yeah. And, but interestingly, five, the top five most obese and diabetic nations in the world are all South Pacific Island countries and these countries, we were just down there, evaluating their food supply, I'm going to stop this screenshare if that's okay, we can come back to anytime, but But we, but we were just there in October and November, rather, you know, evaluating the food supply and some ancestrally living populations down there. But, but for example, what we found in Samoa, which is I think about number two, or three, the most obese and diabetic nation in the world, their their total obesity, overweight and obesity is about 90%. And diabetes is almost 30% in adults. So it's just outrageously high. And what we discovered was that they're, they're consuming our oils, primarily their, you know, their, their traditional oil, or food was it was coconut oil, most of their much of their diet came from coconuts, and they would make coconut cream, they didn't actually make the oil. But the coconut cream is where you get all the coconut fat. That's the coconut oil, right? It just hasn't been removed directly from the crane. But anyway. So they're consuming our oils, like our soybean, and canola oil, and safflower oil primarily instead of coconut oil, because we've told them Americans, you know, and they've been listening to our science that, that they shouldn't be consuming coconut oil, because it's high in saturated fat,

Nick Jikomes 1:28:03

you know, raise your cholesterol. So it all comes back to that that all

Chris Knobbe 1:28:06

goes back to that, that belief system. And so and they bought into this hook, line and sinker and this to this day, and the grocers down there even told us that the rich people buy, they're the ones that primarily by the the canola and soybean oil. You know, they're the ones that want that the most. It's more expensive than the other oils, but they've been told it's better. Right? So I forgot how I got onto that, Nick. But

Nick Jikomes 1:28:39

yeah, I mean, you're just talking about the most obese populations and oh, yeah, back data via

Chris Knobbe 1:28:44

the obesogens. So, so Oh, I know, I know why I got away I mentioned that is because these islands are pretty darn pristine. In terms of the plastic, the plastics. Yeah, I think in terms of the things that we think, you know, in terms of the environment, pollutants and all this, and of course, you know, they're I don't know about their stress or their sleep or whatever. But you know

Nick Jikomes 1:29:07

what, those other things are probably lower than they are for us. And they're even more obese.

Chris Knobbe 1:29:12

There. Yes. Yeah. They're even more obese than America. So if you look at only developed nations, United States is the most obese nation nation in the world. But if you look at all nations, you know, developed and developing, it's the Pacific islands that are the top five most obese and diabetic.

Nick Jikomes 1:29:32

Interesting, interesting. And, you know, I guess the the, the drivers of the supply of these things are pretty clear, I would think to most people, right, like, we've just devoted a lot of agriculture to creating these crops that can be used to basically cheaply make these things and so there's a pretty straight arrow, you can drive in terms of the supply to the demand. And because it's it makes foods so cheap and convenient to consume, because we can process them and package them in boxes and wrappers and on the go stuff, you know that these things have just become pervasive and they're in virtually everything.

Chris Knobbe 1:30:07

Yeah, they're ubiquitous.

Nick Jikomes 1:30:11

Well, I don't want to take too much more of your time, Chris, is there anything that you want to reiterate that we talked about or anything you want to point people to that maybe they can go to to read more, or that will teach them about something we didn't really have time to get into, on this general subject of seed oils and Omega sixes and general metabolic health?

Chris Knobbe 1:30:30

Yes, thanks for asking. Um, so for those who can see this, this is our new book, my new book, I have a co author, Suzanne Alexander, but it's called the ancestral diet revolution. And this came out in US last summer. And this book reviews, basically everything that we've talked about today, but in much greater detail, or something like 80 graphs that that in the in the book, most of which I produced along with colleagues. And so it's, it's, it's, it's, it's science, but it's very readable. And the pictures, really the graphs and the tables really drive the point home. We do have social media. I don't handle that. Suzanne Alexander does, but so we have, you know, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, now known as x, right. And we have about you know, so I work for two nonprofit foundations cure AMD Foundation, that's for macular degeneration, and ancestral Health Foundation. The ladder does not have a website yet. But these are the nonprofit organizations that we work for. So we're so the, those are the places that people can go to, to look for more. But yeah, the the shameless plug on the book, because we don't earn any income from that at all that income, the royalties from that book, go directly into the foundation's, and from that, that just supports operations and research. And so, you know, I don't earn anything from working in this field. I'm just here because because I believe in this mission.

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.