Is there one single diet that helps people perform their best, avoid gut distress, or be healthiest?
I actually explored this question in a post you can read here, but ultimately, the best diet will vary from person to person, based on genetics, level of activity, body size, goals and more.
As a matter of fact, in a recent Rich Roll podcast, vegan athlete Rich Roll and celebrity trainer Vinnie Tortorich go head-to-head on vegan vs. omnivore diets, and the health implications of each approach (Rich, Vinnie and I are planning a live Spreecast this March to debate this topic more). And when you look at Rich’s and Vinnie’s health and performance, both are successful in their own right.
When you look at my own personal diet, it is primarily based on the foods and recommendations from my Superhuman Food Pyramid. But when I try to explain the science behind how I structure both my own diet as well as the diet of the athletes and clients who I coach and advise, I rely heavily on concepts from the Perfect Health Diet book (which is also the source of “Food Plate” pictured above).
I’ve certainly had to modify the Perfect Health Diet to allow for “low carb” phases that allow me to be metabolically efficient for my Ironman triathlon training, and also added in high-calorie “engineered” fuels like Superfuel to support my high levels of physical activity, but ultimately, if you want to know the science behind why I do what I do, the Perfect Health Diet book is a must-read.
So today, I interview Paul Jaminet, the author of the Perfect Health Diet. I’d highly recommend that as a background to today’s podcast, you listen to my previous interview with Paul, and during this interview, my questions include:
1. Why did you release a second edition of the book?
2. Just as a quick review of our previous podcast, can you walk people through a sample day of eating on a PHD diet?
3. You say that compared to apes and other mammals, we humans have lost our guts. What do you mean by that, and why is it important when it comes to choosing optimal macronutrient ratios?
4. As you talk about macronutrients, you begin with protein, and you list a “toxicity range” for protein. We have lots of listeners who are trying to hit certain protein ranges for muscle repair and recovery, so what is the toxicity range for protein and how did you arrive at the value you use in the book?
5. How can the basic daily need for glucose be partially supplied by conversion of ketone bodies into glucose, and based on this what would natural carb intake for the average person be in the PHD, both in or not in ketogenesis?
6. You talk about basic natural glucose needs in the book, and part of it got me thinking about potential “joint pain” or injury in low carb athletes. How could glucose potentially help your joints?
7. You say that a low carb diet could increase your risk of hyperglycemia. How?
8. How can a high-fat diet help to produce more muscle?
9. You say that MCT’s have antimicrobial activity, but that they seem to be benign toward probiotic bacteria. Any idea how they achieve this selectivity?
10. You also have anecdotes in your book about curing migraines/headaches with Ketogenic PHD. Any idea of the mechanism of action?
11. You choose potassium to fructose ratio to rank sugary foods. Why choose that ratio?
12. You seem to be somewhat against fructose consumption, but aren’t the studies that you cite feeding subjects diets that are extremely high in fructose? If so, what do you think is an “OK” amount of fructose?
13. What are some strategies to decrease glycemic index of starchy foods?
14. If you’re trying to lose weight, what should your lowest daily calorie intake be?
15. Why do you say hunger is a sign of danger?
16. What is the optimal length of a fast, and why?
Do you have questions, comments or feedback about the Perfect Health Diet? Leave them below!