OM: Ori Hofmekler. OM: It's a very interesting phenomenon, people who are
hungry and exercise. Look what happens when they find out f I take Joe, right
A Special Interview with Ori Hofmekler Under-Eating and Exercise By Dr. Mercola DM: Dr. Joseph Mercola, DO OM: Ori Hofmekler OM: It’s a very interesting phenomenon, people who are hungry and exercise. Look what happens when they find out f I take Joe, right now, and you did not eat but you are a trained person, you are a tough guy and you go and do an exercise, you will break protein. But interestingly enough, the body has a preservation mechanism that protects your active muscle from wasting itself. In fact, you’re going to break other tissues not the active muscle. Basically, we can design ourselves but we need the combination of under-eating, hunger, and exercise together. Most people today do not know hunger. They don’t know what it does but there is another element. As we get older, our tissues are becoming older -- the muscle fiber, the skin, the whole body. The body has mechanisms to keep you from getting older, to preserve itself. And one of them is the recycling of amino acid. The mechanisms take that broken protein, tumor, sick cells -- take them, digest them, and recycle the amino acid to build back the muscle. It’s a phenomenon. As we get older, this mechanism becomes very intense. It’s the reason why as we get older, we tend to waste tissues. Partly in my opinion, the body biologically starts to scavenge to find all the sick cells and tissue and destroy them. When that happens, lag time of lack of food -- time of hunger and lack of food -- this cleansing mechanism, this recycling of unwanted protein in the body, is happening massively, and if you are exercising at the same time, it spares the muscle tissue. Yes, it will take away broken fibers or broken protein, but it will spare the muscle tissue. You can actually build muscle tissue while under-eating. It’s an amazing phenomenon. DM: It’s somewhat of a tangent but I think an important one. There are many people who believe in fasting, that it has great value. And certainly there is a wealth of scientific evidence to support the value of having minimal calories to improve longevity. I mean, there is lots of science -OM: Calorie restriction (CR). DM: Calorie restricted diet. I’m wondering in this process -- my concern is that people who are actively exercising, or people who are designed to eat more protein and fat, if theydo this without paying attention to that, if it may cause problems. I’m wondering if you can address that. 1
What are your views on this especially as a lacto-vegetarian? Do you think it’s okay to just do it without calories, or do you think if you’re going to do something like that you need to address those protein intake requirements, especially the leucine at 3 gm per day? (indiscernible 2:58). OM: A very good question. I address it in my new book The Muscle Gene. There is more science behind calorie restriction than any diet in the world today. There are many scientists and scholars in the world that would use the calorie restriction guides to (indiscernible 3:13) show how in animals it can extend life. However, there are side effects to calorie restriction. One of them, the body becomes cold, your thyroid goes low and in my opinion, testosterone will follow soon. Even insulin is high. You start to lose some very important element of human life and human quality. I doubt if you can build lean muscle mass and be strong on a calorie restriction. You may be of some durability. I personally don’t think this is the ideal way. There is a lot of science behind it. We can take advantage of the science but this is not the right way. The studies on intermittent fasting have shown that even animals can benefit by (indiscernible 3:59) some period of under eating - that means a lack of food, and overeating - that means you eat a lot. So in the end of the 24 hours, you don’t eat less than other people only the timing is different. Also, there is more and more evidence that, yes, when we eat right, theright food, we can overeat. We can eat 2000, 2500 calories a meal over extended periods of time. It has been done in the past. I wrote about it with a lot of evidence, how Roman people, the Roman soldier was 125 lbs to140 lbs only. The cavalry men were not more than 125 lbs. The mighty Roman soldier used to eat a lot, over 3000 calories a day. There were also others besides(indiscernible 4:48) the Romans and the Roman warrior. The Greeks used to eat supper as the main meal of the day. During the day, they ate very little, munching on fruits, vegetables, whatever was accessible. There was no time. They were nomad people. They would mobilize armies during tough terrain, sometimes during the winter when food was not even accessible. They got used to it. But supper was the main meal of the day. Breakfast did not exist in that time. Even in the Bible it did not exist. I mean, I’m not Christian but even Jesus has his last supper, not his last breakfast. It just did not exist. Biologically, it’s not how many calories we eat per day. We can eat a lot of calories. There is no question that you are right about this assumption, to build muscle, you need calories. You need energy. You cannot just live on protein alone. The evidence shows that the food that we do better with than carbohydrates is fat. In my opinion, yes, during the 70s and 80s, there was a lot of talk(indiscernible 6:00) that a high fat diet causes cancer, but it was wrong, there was no evidence.
In fact, other research, other scholars say that protein can cause pressure on the kidney, and a high protein diet can cause kidney insufficiency. But that is wrong too, there is not even one bit of scientific evidence to show that protein can cause damage among healthy people, not even one. In fact there is research that shows that it doesn’t. Dr. Mercola, you can eat 2.5 gm up to 3 gm, I would say, 2.5 gm of protein per kilogram of body weight. That’s a very high protein diet. DM: Per day? OM: Per day and still there is not a risk of kidney insufficiency. If we are talking about sick people already with kidney insufficiency or diabetic people then (indiscernible 6:51) I agree. These people have to be careful with protein, people who have gout and stuff, but these are clinical cases. We’re talking about the society who does not suffer from chronic diseases -- athletes, fitness people -- regardless of age. Do not be afraid of quality protein. In fact, we have very well adapted. There were times that people just ate meat and vegetables or fish and vegetables and nothing else. We adapted to that. We all have the biological system to accept such a diet. Fat fuel has been proven effective. Evidence is coming more and more that it’s the kind of fat that you eat that can either benefit you or damage you. So all processed vegetable oil, all of these other fats, besides olive oil, are adverse. The high omega-6s have been shown on animals and humans to cause serious effects. First of all, it stimulates the female hormone estrogen. That’s the last thing that we want. In both males and females, over-estrogenic activity is bad. We know that omega-6 does stimulate it. It does stimulate cancer. When we lose the balance between omega-6 and omega-3, we really put strain on our body. So it’s not just putting omega-3 in the body, it’s avoiding the high omega-6. DM: And much of the omega-6 that we eat in processed foods is damaged because it’s not an essential fat, but it has double bonds and it can go rancid. OM: It’s polyunsaturated. There is a big argument that we do well with polyunsaturated fat as a fuel, but we don’t. We need to use monounsaturated and saturated fat. The body can use saturated fats well. If you eat butter, if you eat milk fat, although you know, I’m not for that -- even if you eat meat fat or lard, you can utilize it. In fact they are pretty much resilient to damage, and relatively more. It’s better to cook with butter than cooking with canola oil. People need to know the truth. If you suffer from high cholesterol and stuff, that’s a different story but as a healthy person, you can utilize it.
Coconut oil is one of the best oils in the world. It has a magnificent ratio of fat proven to be utilized very efficiently by the body. I mean, we can find a good fat, but overall we need to avoid high omega-6. Get some good omega-3 ideally in my opinion; ideally from plants. This is why. We don’t need so much omega-3 as people think. We need it but not so much. We are one of the only species who carries the esterase enzyme. We can produce exactly the amount of EPA and DHA, the active polyunsaturated fatty acid that we need. If you eat chia seed then you get a plant omega-3, and you can convert exactly the amount that you need. Fish oil is a different story. I personally am against it because of the way they are processed. I don’t know how much of it is rancid. Second, we never adapted to get such a massive amount of fish oil to our system. When we eat fish, it’s a different story. There is plenty of evidence. I can show you that by putting fish oil in the body, although there are benefits definitely of the DHA, there also is the amazing rate of rancidity and accumulation of free radicals that means that damage can happen. So we can do very well on a balanced diet. DM: That’s the conclusion I reached. Our initial studies suggest that the majority of fish oil is rancid before you even open the bottle or the capsule because there is no protective antioxidant there, unlike krill which has astaxanthin. OM: It’s a very interesting point. I always believe that you should smell, even taste food before you swallow it. If it smells stinky, funky, don’t eat it. Don’t trust it. DM: It’s a good principle. The one challenge with that though is fish have this -- and it could be a sign of rancidity but there is a chemical when fish expire which causes the fish to smell, and which isn’t very good smelling. It’s there even though there is no documented rancidity. (indiscernible 11:23). OM: It could be. You are right, there are some exceptions because there are individualistic tastes, and some of the greatest herbs have aftertaste and smell. However, overall, when it’s coming to food -DM: Smell is a good indicator. OM: Smell and taste. I always say both of them. If you eat fish and it’s gummy, and it smells too fishy, don’t take a risk. Look at fish oil, I know that today they put a deodorant in it to take away the smell, but some of it does still smell, and why would you put a chemical to take away the smell? It’s a huge industry. Not a good idea in my opinion. Now, omega-3 oil is very important here because omega-3 oil activates all these prostaglandins which are anti-inflammatory. So talking about injury is a must. If you have a good source of omega-3 oil from food or any kind of food based source, it is a 4
good idea to increase the consumption if you have an injury and especially people who exercise. You really need to be careful with the amount of antioxidant and the omega-3 that we consume. We can’t allow ourselves to be deficient. I think a study that was published about 10 years ago show that the first thing that the muscles lose is actually omega-3. Omega-3 is being lost very fast. So that should be part of the diet. But the most important thing is what I said before, good protein sources. Good protein sources and good timing of meals. Milk and milk proteins are the best protein for human fitness. It is the only protein, milk and milk products including raw milk, cheese especially, and whey. They have all shown more records of building muscle and losing fat at the same time than any other protein. DM: I’m speaking for many people who just heard that and would have vigorously objected. They’re saying no because their argument is going to be, what other species drinks milk as adults when they’re grown up? That’s a common argument; probably the most common objection or justification people use to oppose that statement. OM: It is a silly question. We save animals. We have animals, dogs and cats. DM: Animal rescue is part of your life. OM: Yes, I really love animals. DM: You’re fond of animals. That’s one of the reasons why you choose not to eat them as part of your -OM: The only reason, the main reason I don’t eat meat is because I love animals. I have some experience in my life so I just don’t eat meat. That has to do with a humane reason. I’m talking about the subject objectively now. DM: I would never argue that for anyone. Even if I know their life depended on it. It’s a spiritual reason and everyone is entitled to their beliefs. (indiscernible 14:19) OM: The rest of my family still eats meat. It’s me, and that’s the way I am. The animals that I save also eat meat. So the point is this, all the species that I know -- my brother is also big time in animal saving for all his life -- all of them virtually without exception love to drink milk. In fact, they have a good sensitivity. We need some (indiscernible 14:41) study. I want to do some videos of how animals know how to choose between good dairy and bad dairy. I mean, you give them commercial GNC whey, commercial whey, versus grass-fed cow whey, you can immediately see the difference. Especially cats, they are very sensitive.
Let me tell you, whey is a super food. Dairy has been eaten by other species for many, many years. If you give them the opportunity, they would love it. They would take advantage of it. I totally disagree (with the objection to dairy products). I heard about this opinion – it is wrong. In fact, science showed the opposite and scientists today are puzzled with the idea of human breast milk. It’s a super food. It helps a baby that has almost no immunity to grow and develop into a healthy adult. Does it fit adult women? Well, forget about the moral connotation of having human breast milk. Scientists worldwide have started to believe that it’s very possible that if we can find a way to mimic breast milk with a food of some kind, that it will feed any age including the elderly. In fact it’s a super food. Our body constantly needs to grow. Not that we are growing big, we recycle tissue, we rejuvenate tissue. One of the most important elements of anti-aging is to give your body the chance to recycle the tissue, to destroy the sick cells and recycle them. A good whey protein and milk protein have both shown to support your body in this regard. They have amazing bio active compound that do not appear in any other protein food. DM: I just have to comment on the breast milk. I believe personally that’s the ideal human food. There are human breast milk banks primarily for women who donate itfor infants, premature newborns that really are sort of between life and death. The unfortunate challenge though -- you probably know this -- is they pasteurize that breast milk. They take the best food and they seriously damage it. OM: That’s horrible. I can tell you that you can get good raw milk products today. Raw milk itself has largely been questionable because of bacterial contamination. So you really need to know your source, but there is amazing knowledge today about how to produce raw milk products, especially cheese. DM: That’s the other justification many people have against raw milk, and one that we have reviewed many times on the site is this risk, this concern, this public health threat that you’re going to introduce some potentially very serious infectious disease risk if you drink raw milk. Yes, that’s possible but most of those risks are a result of the really poor hygiene and farming practices that are done during regular commercial dairies which are targeted toward pasteurized milk. But they can get away with all that stuff because they know the animal going to be killed. OM: You’re very right, if you look at U.S. regulations and the scrutiny on raw milk cheese In California for example, people in that state are allowed to produce raw milk. I know that even here maybe it’s allowed too. The scrutiny of the government on this type 6
of farm is the highest. So when you look at the bacterial count of the raw milk, it actually has to be lower than the pasteurized milk. I don’t know why people are so afraid because if it’s an officially approved, brave I would say, company that wants (indiscernible 18:22) to produce raw milk -DM: The concern is that most people don’t get it in California, they get it in other areas like here, I get regular -OM: But they have to be under the regulation usually. DM: I think actually most of them are not. I guess some of them. I just don’t know the specifics but many people sell it locally outside the guidance of the protection of the local health authorities. OM: The people who produce raw milk are usually people who take care of the cows and have concern about the consumer. DM: So their cows are not going to be sick. They’re not going to get infection secondarily, and they’re not going to be under antibiotics and the risk is pretty remote. OM: Yeah, they don’t feed them Roundup feed like other cows, which is one of the most detrimental things. Grain and Roundup feed could be detrimental to the cow. If you want to go to the good side, go to those manufacturers who really try to provide you with top wholesome nutrition. Raw milk is one of them, definitely one of them. DM: Clearly another option that people can do, as well as many people who are interested in building muscles -- especially weight trainers -- have used branched chain amino acid supplements and pills that they can easily swallow. I’m wondering if you can comment on that versus getting it from a whole food. OM: That is a very interesting phenomenon and I think science is still in the infancy of understanding it fully. When you infuse or administrate to your body free forms of amino acids, particularly branched chain amino acid, they do signal the muscles to grow. DM: When you say free form, this is the type you would find in a supplement? OM: Yes. I.V. administration -- infusion of amino acids, can turn you diabetic. They cause such a level of insulin resistance that not even fructose can cause. DM: I wasn’t aware of that. So even worse than fructose is if you have a branched chain amino acid supplement -- orally or intravenously, it’s going to be more dangerous and detrimental than fructose. OM: Here is the thing. The study was done on intravenous injection of the amino acids. They were not done free form. However, when you check all the signs -- let’s be clear about it, whey proteins have the fastest ratio of amino acid release to the blood.Some 7
scientists believe too fast. I disagree. I think it can be used perfectly. Free form amino acid administration is even faster, much faster than whey. Somebody should study how the rate of appearance of free form amino acid in the blood is very similar to administration of amino acid. Why would you take a risk? What I’m talking about is fact. It’s not even arguable. All amino acids including the most beneficial ones administrated I.V. to the circulation -I would say up to 30 gm is not such a large amount – is thought to cause six times more glycemic impact. And inactivated or not (indiscernible 21:21) this still is six times more than administration of 30 gm of glucose. This is how bad it is. Actually scientists are still puzzled about how this happens. They believe that this amino acid, the rate of appearance, the magnitude of appearance, is something that you may never adapt to. We always eat whole foods, so the release of protein is actually slow. It’s not that fast. What it does, it shuts the insulin system. It activates certain amino acids including leucine, and works on the pancreas directly on the beta cell to release insulin. But at the same time it also deactivates the system whenever it appears in that amount, the insulin activity. This is a fact. When you take free form amino acid as a supplement, you put yourself in a risk of having a similar effect. Why would you risk it? The one thing that nobody argues about is the opposite effect on blood glucose levels that happen when you eat the same amino acid as part of a whole food. Then this amino acid has an amazing glucose sparing effect, a blood sugar stabilizing effect. In fact old research shows that good quality protein food from meat -- I’m not a meat eater – compared to whey food has a positive effect on blood sugar, building muscle changing body composition, and sparing muscle while losing fat. It’s just an amazing simple phenomenon. You cannot make money on that. You cannot just say I have a meat that will build muscle and burn fat, and you don’t have a meat like this. No, it’s just pure topnotch information that people know. Choose quality protein -- that you must. It has nothing to do with our selling you anything. It’s a fact. Prepare your meal in the right ratio. One more very important element is the timing of the meal. The best time to eat an anabolic meal is actually after exercise. After exercise, the muscle becomes extremely recipient to assimilate nutrients, especially protein. As ironic as it is, exercise totally inhibits the mTOR or the mechanism that builds muscle. You cannot build muscle while you exercise. It just doesn’t happen. DM: During the exercise? OM: During the exercise. As you exercise, there is total inhibition of the mechanism that builds protein. In fact, proteins are breaking down. But what’s interesting is there is a 8
compensation mechanism right after exercise. If you take advantage of it and eat your protein meal, low glycemic, no sugar added, right after the exercise, the compensation is swift. Protein breakdown stops immediately, and there is a shift toward the build up that can last massively for four hours after every exercise. Some scientists say 24 to 28 hours after exercise. If you are smart with your protein meals or recovery meals, you can do not just one, you can do maybe two or even three recovery meals after the exercise, get an impact I would say of 90 gm of net protein utilization. It’s phenomenal. DM: 90 gm over the three meals? OM: Over a period of four to five hours. It could be phenomenal. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit because it takes a lot to eat three meals, but you don’t want to exceed the 30 gm of protein per serving. DM: Per serving is the limit. OM: Yes. DM: Is there a significant difference in weight? So if there is a 90-pound woman who is exercising versus a 250-pound NFL linebacker who is doing it. OM: Obviously there is a difference because it has to be based on lean muscle mass. But based on scientific research the difference is not that big. Quite honestly, due to many other elements which I’d like to talk about, even a 135 pound woman can benefit from two recovery meals rather than one, and a 200-pound muscleman may need one more meal ahead of that. The difference is not that big. The point is this, it’s not so much the amount of protein that you need to deposit in the muscle, it’s how much protein was broken down, and how much you need to first of all, cover the body. It’s almost like an accounting, and then it deposits more. I want to emphasize it again. Coming back to leucine, this amino acid that signals branched chain amino acid leucine, valine and isoleucine. All of them are very unique. The body looks at them as top priority. When you eat protein, the nine essential amino acids and some non-essential amino acid, look at what the body does. Most of the amino acids including essential are degraded. Up to 50 percent or 60 percent of them don’t even leave your stomach. They are degraded. DM: So they’re digested in the stomach. OM: Yes. But branched chain amino acids are not digested. They reach the circulation at over 80 percent. The reason is that both the liver and the stomach are lacking a certain kind of enzyme that break the branched chain amino acid. The body is like
nature. Itsees it as a top priority that only the muscles can utilize them. The muscles can utilize them more than just building blocks. It also activates the protein synthesis. But as a top priority, the body wants to use first of all, all amino acids as a building block. You cannot allow yourself to destroy tissues. You need to first of all supply enough leucine for maintenance, which is at least 3 gm a day in my opinion. They say 1 to 3, it’s about 3 gm per day including for a small woman. DM: That’s just maintenance. OM: Just as maintenance. DM: Even if you’re not interested in strength training, you’ve got to maintain that level. OM: Yes. And then, after that,give the extra leucine, because the other function is partly glucose homeostasis. Leucine supports the production of alanine to support the alanineglucose cycle. It basically recycles the carbon from protein to glucose, to produce the glucose. But most importantly, it does this to signal and activate the mTOR to build protein synthesis in the muscle. That’s very important. For that reason, a high protein breakfast is very important. What you want to do, if you are into good fitness, is have a good high protein low glycemic meal to cover at least the leucine requirement early in the morning. It’s also good for your energy. It’s good for your health. If you want to lose body fat it’s a very good way to do that. Once you cover the basic requirement, every other meal is becoming anabolic. It’s a fantastic phenomenon.