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Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Can Fasting Save Your Life?

In a captivating episode of The Glen Merzer Show, Dr. Alan Goldhamer, founder and director of the TrueNorth Health Center, delves into the profound benefits of fasting for achieving and maintaining optimal health. Drawing from over 40 years of experience and research, Dr. Goldhamer highlights the transformative potential of fasting in weight loss, detoxification, reducing inflammation, and improving cardiovascular health.

The Science Behind Fasting

Fasting, particularly water-only fasting, induces a state of ketosis, where the body shifts from burning glucose to burning fat. This metabolic switch not only helps with weight loss but also promotes the detoxification of harmful substances like pesticides and heavy metals. Unlike high-fat diets, which mimic ketosis, fasting offers long-term health benefits without the associated risks of increased heart disease and cancer.

Supervised Fasting: A Path to Safe and Effective Detoxification

Dr. Goldhamer emphasizes the importance of supervised fasting to avoid potential complications such as refeeding syndrome. At the TrueNorth Health Center, patients undergo thorough medical evaluations and are closely monitored throughout their fasting journey. This ensures safety and maximizes the health benefits of fasting.

Beyond Weight Loss: The Healing Power of Fasting

One of the standout benefits of fasting is its ability to target visceral fat— the harmful fat stored around organs that acts like a metabolic tumor. Fasting preferentially burns this fat, significantly reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Additionally, fasting enhances autophagy, the body's natural process of cleaning out damaged cells, which is crucial for preventing age-related diseases and promoting longevity.

Incorporating Fasting into Daily Life

Dr. Goldhamer practices daily fasting by not eating for 12 to 16 hours, typically from evening until morning. This intermittent fasting, combined with a whole food, plant-based diet free of added salt, oil, and sugar, creates a sustainable lifestyle that promotes health and longevity.


Dr. Goldhamer’s insights provide compelling evidence that fasting, when done correctly, can be a powerful tool for improving health and extending life. For those interested in exploring fasting, it is crucial to seek professional guidance to ensure safety and effectiveness.

To learn more about the incredible benefits of fasting and how it can transform your health, listen to the full episode of The Glen Merzer Show. Join the conversation and discover how you can take the first step towards a healthier, plant-based lifestyle.

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DISCLAIMER: Please understand that the transcript below was provided by a transcription service. It is undoubtedly full of the errors that invariably take place in voice transcriptions. To understand the interview more completely and accurately, please watch it here: Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Can Fasting Save Your Life?

Podcast Transcript:

Glen: Welcome to the Glen Merzer Show. You can find us across all your favorite podcast platforms. You could find us on YouTube. What we try to do on this show from time to time is to interview guests who can help us explore the subject of nutrition in unusual depth and advance our understanding of how to become or stay healthy. If you want to encourage that, please subscribe to this channel. And with today's guest, we're going to explore a subject that may sound like it's the very opposite of nutrition, the subject of fasting. But there's a powerful case to be made that fasting can help us achieve the same end that good nutrition helps us achieve to make us healthy, that fasting can in fact aid and facilitate good nutrition. My guest, Dr. Alan Goldhammer, is founder and director for the last 40 years of the True North Health Center in Santa Rosa, California. He is co -author of the classic book, The Pleasure Trap with Dr. Doug Lyle, and he's the author of a new book called Can Fasting Save Your Life? Dr. Goldhammer, welcome to the show. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Thank you for having me.

Glen: I think you'll be pleased with me. I hope so. I want you to know that I have not eaten all day. In your honor.I have been fasting. It's been only 20 hours, so it does not have to be supervised yet, but it's been a water only fast. I feel light. I feel energized. I feel spiritually attuned and I feel a little bit hungry. You know, when I write books, sometimes I'm asked how long it took me to write the book.And I read an advanced copy, an electronic version of Can Fast Things Save Your Life? And I feel like I know the answer to this question. It took you 40 years. This is a compendium of the last 40 years of your work. Isn't that true? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Yeah, we've managed to publish 18 papers and peer -reviewed journals to date, and we've been able to bring the results of our original research plus other people's research together in what we hope is an understandable compilation of the material that's known about fasting and as well as our own speculations about, you know, what we think is going on. 

Glen: Well, I can say to you as a writer that I admired the book very much. It's a very tightly written book. It is compelling. It is insightful. And it is there isn't a word wasted. So I commend this book to all my listeners. Let me ask you this. In 40 years of fasting, over 25 ,000 patients, exactly how many have you lost? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, so far, none. Everybody that's walked in has been able to walk out, and we're trying very hard to keep it that way because we don't want to mess up our safety data. 

Glen: Okay. Now, when you started this, you must have been such a young man starting this clinic 40 years ago.Were you worried then that it was a dangerous protocol?

Dr. Alan Goldhamer:  Well, you know, when we started doing fasting supervision in 1984, there wasn't a fasting safety study that had been completed. There wasn't. But there was a lot of people that had experience with fasting and, you know, Moses, David, Elijah, Jesus, you know, there's all kinds of references. Every major religion has a tradition about fasting. I went to Chiropractic College in the United States and Osteopathic College in Australia. And in Australia, where I was studying with a gentleman named Alec Burton, he had the most experience in the world at the time in terms of doing human subjects fasting. And so I got to learn from somebody that had fasted tens of thousands of people. And, you know, he was able to impart upon me the things he had learned, the mistakes he had made. And so we were able to, you know, not have to go through it the hard way and start from scratch, so to speak.

Glen: Okay. Well, let me start with the one or two things that confuse me about the subject and the book. And first is this, that there are advocates of the keto diet out there, people like the author Gary Taubes. And they make the case that if you eat meat and cheese all day long, which of course you and I do not recommend, And if you get something like 80 percent of your calories from fat, your body will start burning fat as fuel, specifically ketone bodies. These are compounds like 3 -beta -hydroxybutyrate that I wouldn't recognize if it hit me over the head. And they believe that there's something magically healthy about getting into a state of ketosis in which fat rather than glucose is burned as fuel. Now, with fasting,the same end result happens. You're bringing patients to the state of ketosis. So talk to us about that distinction. When both the overly fatty diet and the fasting diet brings people to ketosis. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, what they're, you know, what they're trying to do is kind of mimic some of the effects of fasting, but without actually having to do fasting.And so when you eliminate all carbohydrates from the diet, um, your body has to search for other sources of fuel and those other sources of fuel or are burning fat and protein through a process cut, like policies or gluconeogenesis. And so it is true. If you don't eat carbohydrates, your body will convert to a state of ketosis, but it's a fasting mimicking effect. It's trying to copy that effect. It's not the same thing as fasting. And what's good for short -term gain is not necessarily good for long -term health. And so, you know, there's been throughout the recent times, there's been many different people, including, uh, people like the dead Dr. Atkins may has fillet of soul rest in peace that have advocated high fat, high protein diets for weight loss. And because one of the effects of fasting, uh, and the ketosis that's associated with fasting is a hunger blunting effect. So you can go on a high fat, high protein diet, and you will have a hunger blunting effect. The problem is in the long run, you're going to make yourself sick. And so high fat, high protein diets have been well investigated. And we know that everything from gallbladder disease to increased heart disease and cancer are consequences. Yes, you may lose weight short term, but I tell people if their only goal is weight loss, they can just get on a chainsaw and cut off their leg at the hip and lose 40 pounds overnight. I mean, that's the fastest way. It may not be healthy. We wouldn't necessarily advocate it.But certainly if the only goal is short -term weight loss and you're not worried about long -term health, there's even faster ways than going on high -fat, high -protein diets. But we don't recommend it. On the other hand, fasting does, it does have a hunger -blunting effect. That's why when you can go on a long -term fast up to 40 days, you won't necessarily be hungry. Hunger goes away, you know, as a consequence of this fasting effect. It's also true that some of the detoxification that occurs,in fasting does it much more efficiently than it does in a fasting -mimicking program. There's also good long -term safety data looking at actual fasting and its health benefits, but some very controversial data looking at what happens long -term with high -fat high -protein diets. 

Glen: Now, does it take an obese person longer to attain that state of ketosis than it would take a slender person?

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: I know pretty much everybody goes into ketosis relatively quickly. You know, depending on what your glycogen reserves are will determine how long you'll stand in the high glucose state rather than converting over to fat. So you might have a thin person with large glycogen reserves and they may be able to last a little bit longer. Being overweight doesn't necessarily give you an indication of what those glycogen stores are. 

Glen: Okay. Now is it the ketosis itself? that has some positive effect or is it, is the ketosis just a marker that the fast is working and that's what needs to happen next? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, it's one of the changes that occur, one of the many changes that occur with fasting. And it may be in fact that being in a state of ketosis has some beneficial effects. One of the effects we already talked about, which is there's a hunger blunting mechanism that goes along with that. And there's many other changes that occur in fasting, but I think we're going to find that just being in ketosis itself isn't going to approximate the changes that occur in fasting, which is why you don't see all of the benefits of high protein, high fat diets that you do with fasting. But one of the side effects that you do see is that people can be on high fat, high protein diets and not be experiencing hunger. And that's particularly true for people that are used to eating refined carbohydrates. 86 % of the carbohydrates people eat in industrialized countries are sugar and refined flour products. And as a consequence, they drive insulin up which drives sugar down. And that's where you're binging and craving and difficulties people have of skipping a meal or two go because they're basically banging on that system and depleting that system. And so they can't go and skip a meal without being in acute distress. 

Glen: Now, some people say that ketosis is associated with some negatives like bad breath and brain fog. Is there a truth to that?

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, there's no question that you will get a ketone bodies will come off in the breath. And so you will have a different odor there. People are certainly not used to that. It's certainly not necessarily considered a desirable effect. People don't go into fasting because they're hoping to experience that wonderful fasting breath. There's many things that happen in fasting that can be considered intense and miserable as secondary side effects, depending on how well people prepare for fasting. The good news is though, if you achieve your goals, which is the weight loss, the detoxification, normalizing the sympathetic tone, reducing the masses, you know, restoring a state of health, increasing BDNF, et cetera, et cetera, the negatives of fasting are oftentimes outweighed, which is, you know, why we're still around and people are still coming in to do fasting because hopefully the benefits outweigh the inconveniences And the fasting that we do, that is the long -term water -only fasting, has other downsides in that it does require supervision. In other words, you have to have a medical history, a physical exam, and laboratory monitoring. Make sure a person's a good candidate for fasting. Not everybody is. That you fast the appropriate duration. And most importantly, that you terminate the fast appropriately, that there's appropriate, careful refeeding. Cause you want to avoid serious consequences like refeeding syndrome or post -fasting edema or other things that can happen.

when people, if they fast inappropriately. The other concern is people need to rest when they're fasting. If they're more active, they'll lose more weight, but it won't be more fat. What they'll be doing is just mobilizing their lean tissues. One of the great benefits of fasting, as we demonstrated in a study recently that we conducted with a DEXA scanner, is that in fasting, the body primarily will burn fat and preferentially burn visceral fat. And that turns out to be highly important.Right now, people in our society are fat sick and miserable. The extra fat is associated not with just extra subcutaneous tissues, but also with something called visceral fat. And visceral fat is the fat that accumulates around the belly and in the organs, and it acts like a tumor. It's hypermetabolic, and it gives off inflammatory products. It's associated with increasing risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disease, just in general premature death and disability. Even during our recent epidemics, our pandemics, that one of the big vulnerabilities for death from COVID was obesity. It wasn't really talked about much because it's considered politically incorrect to blame people because they're maintaining extra fat, particularly extra visceral fat, but that extra visceral fat is responsible for much of the disease that you see in society today. And if you said to somebody, look, you have a three or four pound tumor that you're carrying around and it's giving all kinds of off of inflammatory products, nobody would question that that might be compromising their health. Well, that's essentially what you're doing when you have visceral fat, is you have a multi -pound tumor that's busy trying to undermine your health. And so getting rid of that visceral fat is very important. And it turns out in fasting, the body preferentially mobilizes visceral fat. For example, a study that we did looking at what happens to body composition, say a person loses 12 % of their total weight, which is not uncommon in a two to three week fast, and they might lose 20 % of their fat but more than 50 % of their visceral fat. So it's just like if you lose 10 % of your body weight, you don't necessarily lose 10 % of your tumor. The body preferentially may mobilize 50 % or 100 % of the tumor during fasting. Well, the body doesn't, it preferentially mobilizes visceral fat because it shouldn't be there. It's not something that would normally be there, particularly not in quantity. And as a consequence, the body has its ability to go in there and do that. And that's one of the great benefits of it can go in there and get rid of some of this tissue that shouldn't be there. One of the effects of fasting is increasing autophagy. And as the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2016 from Yoshinori Yoshimi was awarded for his tremendous work on showing how important autophagy is in getting rid of cancer and age cells, et cetera, one of the things that happens in fasting is a profound increase in autophagy. 

Glen: And autophagy is removing waste products from cells, is that right? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: It's actually how the body's immune system goes in there and eats up, eliminates and recycles aged decrepit cells and cancer cells. So when you're detoxifying and fasting, when you're mobilizing PCB, dioxin, pesticide residues, heavy metals, et cetera, those are all enzymatically driven processes. And those enzyme systems are induced during fasting and they persist after fasting. So presumably you're detoxifying not just while you're fasting, but in the days, the weeks, the months after fasting. And it appears to be cumulative. So every time people fast, they get better and better at detoxifying, just like every time you exercise, you get better and better at mobilizing glycogen source from glycogenolysis. And so even the 16 hour fast that we recommend people do every day, that is don't eat three hours before you go to bed, maybe delay breakfast till you do some exercise in the morning, that short period of fasting day after day, after a week, after a month is thought to induce some of these positive changes. And when you do a long fast, like we talk about from five to 40 days, all but in a controlled setting, that induces those changes geometrically. And so every time somebody gets the opportunity to fast, they're building on that efficiency of their detoxifying enzyme systems and their macronutrient enzyme systems. So the lipolytic enzyme systems, the glycogen mobilizing systems, even the protein mobilizing systems are all enhanced during.this process. 

Glen: Now, with visceral fat, sometimes people aren't obese, but they're 10, 15 pounds overweight. They say, I'm just trying to get rid of this spare tire. Is that likely to be the visceral fat? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, the visceral fat particularly accumulates around the belly and in the organs. And so sometimes people are not necessarily that big, but they're still over fat because they're not active enough. They're deconditioned. They're storing a higher percent body fat, a lower percent muscle than they should. And in order to resolve that can take some rather dangerous and radical interventions. You might have to eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, and maybe even considered intermittent or long -term fasting. So those interventions are considered quite radical, which is true. They are radical because that comes from what radical means, root or cause. And so by dealing with the root or cause of the problem, which is inadequate diet, inadequate activity, inadequate rest, you can actually give the body a chance to do what it does best. And that's heal itself.

Glen: Now, how often do you fast?

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: I fast every day, every day for 12 to 16 hours. I don't eat three to four hours before I go to sleep. I often do my exercise early in the morning before breakfast. And I try in that eight hour window, I limit myself to an exclusively whole plant food diet that's free of SOS. SOS is the international symbol of danger, and it stands for the chemicals that we put in our food that make us fat, sick and miserable. And those chemicals are salt, oil and sugar. So a diet that's exclusively from whole plant foods that doesn't have added salt, oil or sugar is a diet that's gonna be around 10 % of calories from protein, 15 to 18 % of calories from fat with a balance from whole plant food carbohydrates. And that's what we believe will not only help you get healthy today, but it can help you keep healthy through what's hopefully a good life and then a good death where you go to sleep one night and don't wake up rather than spend the last 10 or 20 years of your life unable to talk, remove, lying in some nursing home bed, because you had a stroke or heart attack you listened to somebody that told you to go on some high fat, high protein diet. 

Glen: Now you suggested 15 to 18 % of your calories as fat. That is of course far less than the average American eats. It's also a bit higher, I think, than Dr. McDougall says. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, if you're talking about the average person that's trying to stay healthy, that would include some foods in the diet like nuts, seeds, avocado in limited quantities that are excluded in diets that are specifically designed to deal with active cardiovascular disease, which might be more of the 10 to 12 % of calories from fat. But what we found is that a person that's on a 15 to 18 % of calories from fat diet will still reverse their cardiovascular disease. And it's a sustainable long -term diet that doesn't run into any of the problems of the ultra low fat diets that occasionally crop up. And so...You know, again, there's no harm in reducing the fat even further for specific therapeutic intervention, but the general diet we're advocating is a whole plant food diet that does include limited quantities of these highly nutritious foods like nuts and seeds, avocado, etc., but doesn't use oil, salt, or sugar. This is a highly palatable, relatively easy to comply with diet once you neuro -adapt and get out of the addictive cycles where you're hooked into salt, oil, and sugar. 

Glen: All right. Let me ask you another question from reading of the book, Can Fasting Save Your Life? And of course, the answer, spoiler alert, is yes. You mentioned that in one of your own studies on overweight and obese patients on prolonged water -only fasts, their levels of inflammation and triglycerides rose as anticipated, you wrote, and then fell below baseline once refeeding took place. So why did these things, inflammation, triglyceride levels, get worse before they get better? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Right, well, so keep in mind that inflammation is generated by the body in an attempt to heal itself. It's chronic inflammation that frustrates people, and the inflammation is not successful. And during fasting, acute chronic problems can have a chance to develop an acute phase where the body actually goes through and heals them. And during that phase, acute phase, reactive proteins and other markers of inflammation will in fact go up.So, for example, there's an adaptation in fasting to where you're burning fat instead of glucose. And when you first come off the fast in those first days, it takes the body a while to shift back metabolically to burning glucose. And so if you too rapidly refeed, that increased insulin resistance may allow you to have problems. That's why recovering from fasting in a controlled setting is really a good idea.

to regulate your intake so you don't overload. Because the tendency of course is, oh, you haven't eaten, now you want to eat a lot. So you want to resist that. Because initially, HOMO -YR, which is a measure of insulin resistance, will be higher. But then if you follow those patients, which we did in the study, at six weeks, not only is it back to normal, it's actually much lower. And that's why 80 % of our type 2 diabetics can achieve normal blood sugar without medication if they're willing to do the diet and the exercise.Inflammation goes, inflammatory markers go up during fasting, but the overall inflammation comes down dramatically. And that's why you see such tremendous healing in autoimmune disease where the body's attacking itself. Rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing, spinalitis, lupus, psoriasis, eczema. These conditions respond dramatically. In fact, if you look in our book, we have a great case report with pictures of plaque psoriasis and showing before, after fasting, and then on follow -up how well people are able to do.And that same inflammatory drop is associated with recovery from cardiovascular disease. And we have some fabulous data talking about retrospective data, 174 consecutive patients with hypertension, 174 people lowering their pressure enough to eliminate medication with the largest effects that have ever been shown in treating human beings with high blood pressure. And prospective studies we did with our colleagues from the Mayo Clinic were...of 29 people, 28 people complete the study, 28 out of 29 are off medication, one is in a half dosage. And we followed those people at six weeks and showed that the majority of them were able to maintain their blood pressure, drug -free state and maintain weight loss. And what may be even more impressive is we followed up on those patients in a year to determine would these people be able to maintain this radical dietary change well enough to maintain...weight loss and blood pressure and drug free state. And 75 % of those subjects were able to maintain their weight loss, even though they weren't perfect with the diet. And, but that's dramatically higher than pretty much anything I've seen followed. So it does show that highly motivated patients are able to make and maintain these dietary changes, but it is probably amongst the more difficult things you would ask a patient to do because they're living in a world designed to make them fat sick and miserable and give them what they want, not what they need. And so everywhere they go, their success is going to be undermined by people who are giving them really bad advice for their own, you know, for their own reasons and their own motivations. Right. 

Glen: Well, your remarkable results with blood pressure are particularly dispositive because that's one metric that as far as I know, everybody agrees upon I don't think there's anyone out there who says that high blood pressure is good for you. So when you're dealing with that metric, it becomes a really convincing case. Define for us the term reef feeding syndrome and what you've learned about it over the last decade. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, there's a good amount of literature with reef feeding syndrome. We actually have no experience with it because we've never had a case of reef feeding syndrome because we use a controlled reef feeding pattern to avoid that. So it's completely avoidable. But if you take a person that's in the fasting state, particularly for a long period of time, and put them on some greasy, fatty, slimy, dead, decaying flesh diet, they can get sick from that metabolic adoption of trying to get back into the feeding state. So their electrolytes get out of whack, they can have cardiac problems, it can be serious or fatal. So refeeding syndrome was particularly discovered when during World War II, as they were liberating camps and they try to allow people to refeed too quickly, who'd been in the starvation mode for prolonged periods of time. Now, keep in mind, these people were not actually fasting, they were in a deprivation mode for experience and were more vulnerable to refeeding syndrome, even than our fasting patients might be. But the point is, It was recognized that if you allowed people to eat too much too quickly, they could get very sick. And it was, it was termed refeeding syndrome. And it essentially is, you know, physiological alterations that occur from too rapid or re -alimentation. So what we do is we have a very specific protocol that we follow for people coming off the fast. And so far that's been a hundred percent successful at avoiding a refeeding syndrome. There's also something called post -fasting adenine. If people go and eat like salty food, if they go out to a restaurant, eat some soup or something right after fast, the body will suck up that, those minerals bring fluid along with it. And then you get, you know, swelling in the legs and it can lead to congestive heart failure and other problems. So it's important that the protocol we follow is that the first half length of the fast, so a 20 day fast would be a 10 day controlled refeeding period. And if you follow that protocol, it works so far all the time. 

Glen: Well, of course, the fast is just a stepping stone to then eating the correct human diet. How did you learn how to eat correctly? You became a vegan at what age? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, I became a complete vegan at age 16. 

Glen: At 16. Yeah. How did that happen? Where did you grow up and what made you make that change? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, I grew up in Long Beach, California, and I really liked playing basketball. And my best friend, Doug Lyle, also liked playing basketball, but he beat me badly all the time. And so it got me frustrated because I wanted to beat him. So I started reading books to try to see if I could get an edge to be able to beat him. And I came across a book by Herbert Shelton and it said that health was that had causes just like disease had causes. And so if you wanted to cause health, you had to live healthily and that involved diet, sleep and exercise. And he also talked about fasting to undo the consequence of unhealth. And so I thought, well, why don't I do that and I'll get healthier and then I'll be able to beat Dr. Lyle. The problem was it failed miserably because he adopted the same dietary habits. And here I am 65 years old. He still beats my butt every time we play. So it was not successful at helping me, but it did get me interested in this idea of causing health. And I was also very much inspired by my uncle who was a medical doctor. And he was a medical doctor who did not believe in alternative health at all, or in nutrition for that matter. And when I was 16, I had already decided that I wanted to pursue alternative medicine as a career. And I mentioned that to my family. I happened to be at my 16th birthday and my uncle was very upset and he said, no, that's not acceptable that nobody in this family would ever go to a doctor like that, let alone become a doctor like that. He said, better you should be a communist spy. And he was very upset. I thought I was going to witness my first stroke because his veins were sticking out in his neck. Anyway, finally he went away and my father, who was a pretty serious character, took me aside and he said, son, I don't know anything about this alternative medicine. He says, but anything that makes him that angry and mad, it can't be bad. So stick to your guns and good luck to you. 

Glen: Oh, good for him. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Yeah. So, you know, that was my inspiration. You know, we. I went to Australia and I was doing osteopathic study and I was seeing these patients get well with fasting. And I called my uncle and I said, uncle, I'm seeing hypertension resolve. He says, no, you're not. I said, no, I'm seeing it resolve over and over again. I'm taking the blood pressure. He says, then you don't know how to take blood pressure. He says, I've been in practice for 50 years. They never get better. So I said, well, I'll come back. I'll do a study. Will you help me? He says, no, he won't help me. He said, he won't even look at our data. until it's published in a peer -reviewed journal. He wouldn't waste his time. So finally, we come back with the help of T. Colin Campbell from Cornell and Dr. Lyle. We put this study together. It took us a long time. We finally got the data. We got it submitted. It was rejected by 30 medical journals. We finally got a peer -reviewed journal that accepted it for publication. Two months before it actually came out, my uncle died of a massive heart attack. And my mother swore he died just so we wouldn't have to admit he was wrong. But I think it was the Kugel and the Kreplach and the Tanishas and the Blintzes, but we'll never know. 

Glen: Yeah, I think we do know. But let's go back to when you're 16. You read that book, you decide that you want to have a health promoting diet, but how do you know what a health promoting diet is? And did you share that book with Doug Lyle? How did he know the same thing? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Yeah, he read the book too.when we talked about it. But you know, it said that you had to eat a whole plant food diet. So fruits and vegetables, grains of humans, nuts and seeds. It said, don't eat meat, fish, fell eggs, dairy products, oil, salt and sugar. And we said, okay, we'll try that. 

Glen: So you just read the book. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, he cited a lot of literature. We started reading other books. There was a book called Psycho dietetics. There were some other material back then. It wasn't like it is today. And then, you know, the first book that really did a great job of reviewing the scientific literature. I actually didn't read until I was already in chiropractic college and it was John McDougall's book, The McDougall Plan.

Glen:  Sure. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: And the McDougall Plan made a very compelling case that a whole plant food diet would be, you know, a better way to go. And then of course, Dean Ornish and Esselstyn and all these other guys came along and there was additional materials that were produced. And then of course, the brilliant books by T. Colin Campbell, who was a coauthor of our studies, but he wrote wHole and China Study. And now the Future of Nutrition. So,I mean, there's been a lot of research, a lot of work done. Our focus has been, and is summarized in this book, Can Fasting Save Your Life, is on fasting. You know, we review the nutritional realities that we think are important, but most of the book is about our original research and summarizing other people's research on what's been done with fasting and how fasting turns out to be one of the great tools at reversing the consequences of dietary excess. You still have to do the diet, sleep, and exercise afterwards. But it's a fabulous facilitating tool. And we've been able to prove that in many conditions that people think you can't do anything about, you actually can do something about it with the benefits of fasting. 

Glen: So at 16, you read this book. You gain a good insight into what is the healthiest human diet. You make the mistake of sharing the book with Doug Lyle. He gains the same insight.You become a chiropractor. He becomes a psychologist. This has always been a little confusing to me because you are both dietary experts who went into a slightly different field. Do you do what chiropractors do? I think of chiropractors as manipulating spines and so forth. Do you do that sort of work? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: I do. You know, what it happens, my interest was in fasting supervision. And at the time that I went to school, medical doctors could not do fasting supervision. That was considered criminal quackery. Chiropractors were more interested in alternative medicine. And ultimately I went to osteopathic college because Dr. Burton, who was the president of the Pacific College of Osteopathic Medicine had a facility that specialized in fasting supervision. So I got my well -versed in manual therapy. And you know, chiropractic has tremendous utilization when people have back pain and headaches and neck pains and mobility issues. And although I wasn't particularly interested in that part of medicine, when I went to school, I found, oh, this had great utility. And a lot of the people we see have these problems. And if you can alleviate their symptoms, you can get their attention and grind in on the diet and lifestyle. And of course, nutrition has always been an important part of chiropractic training. So even in school, we learned about nutrition, we learned about fasting, both in chiropractic and osteopathic college. Medical training has very limited focus on nutrition. I mean, their attitude is why would you think what you put in your mouth will have anything to do with health? I mean, you know, it just doesn't seem very logical to most physicians. Now that's starting to change. You have a whole field in medicine, lifestyle medicine and functional medicine where medical doctors who've become disenchanted with the pill potion powder approach are now embracing these lifestyle approaches of nutrition and body use, et cetera.But I think that the chiropractors have a long tradition of being supportive of this approach. And so it made a lot more sense to, if I'm going to practice, I didn't want to like end up in jail. So, you know, I pursued the areas that would actually help me gain interest into what I was interested in. I wasn't interested in pharmaceutical application or neurosurgical applications. I was interested in health promotion, health prevention. So it made sense that chiropractic and osteopathic training made, you know, was more relevant to me than perhaps some alternative approach. Dr. Wow was interested in why people do what they do. And we had a tremendous argument early on, because, you know, we've known each other since fourth grade. We've talked about doing this work for our whole lives. And I said, well, all you have to do is figure out how to get people well, and then they do it and then they'll do it. And he said, well, no, they won't. They'll do it for a while. But then when their motivation of pain, debility, or fear of death eases, they'll go back to their old addictive bad habits. And I said, well, that's ridiculous. Why would somebody knowing full well what to do not do it? And he said, well, cause they're human beings and human beings, you know, have all of these issues. And so it turns out again, he was right. And adherence ends up being the big cornerstone and he's particularly interested in that. And so, you know, he's laid out very clearly in the pleasure trap, why it is people had trouble making changes. We've talked about in Confess and Save Your Life, how you have to undo it. And Dr. Lyle's newest book that'll be coming out hopefully soon.He lays out a good explanation of what it takes for people to actually understand what motivates them and perhaps how they can make those changes. So I think ultimately we'll be able to get this information clearly elucidated. 

Glen: Well, what's odd about this story is that apparently you were talking to Doug Lyle about practicing alternative health together when you were in fourth grade. Yes. And you've been doing it. When I was in fourth grade, I talked to my friend Danny about playing for the New York Yankees together.We knew that we weren't going to actually do it. But somehow your childhood fantasies became reality. Were you surprised along the way? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: No. As a matter of fact, you think about other people on the spectrum, sometimes they get interested in spiders or dinosaurs or whatever, and they become obsessed with that. I happen to get interested in fasting. And so, you know, that was, you know, part of part of that pathway. And, you know, it's true. I've been, you know, really not done anything else, you know, through school. And, you know, I got into school really young and I got through school and I've been doing this every day for 40 some years now. And it's still as interesting to me today as ever. Part of it is the challenge is not only how to get people well, we know how to do that now, but how to motivate them to stay on the track so they can maintain the long -term results. You know, and that's really the key. It's not just knowing. what to eat, how to eat, how to live so you can get well. But then once you're well, staying that way and staying that way in a world that's not designed to be that supportive. And so that's really where our challenges are. We know what conditions respond. We know how to do that. We've done it a lot. And now we've been publishing data in peer review journals to prove that what we're saying, it sounds too good to be true, but it's not. It works. It works consistently. It's predictably other people can do the same thing. All of the information we have is freely available, none of it's proprietary, and it's all available. If people go to our websites, they can read all of the information. It's all there. If they get the book, can Fasting Save Your Life, they'll know everything we know that's relevant about getting and staying healthy. All right. 

Glen: Let's tell the audience what your websites are. One is

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Fasting .org is our foundation's nonprofit research site that lists all of the literature and provides an active search tool where people can search the fasting literature.And the True North Health Center's website is truenorthhealth .com. And that's where if they want to get a free phone conversation with me, all they have to do is go on and fill out the forms. I'll review their history and talk to them about pointing them in the right direction. 

Glen: Now you were talking about keeping people healthy who are healthy, and you've said that you believe one of the salient benefits of your protocol may be for the healthy to keep us healthy.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: We did a study recently where we looked at healthy people, metabolically healthy people, and what happens to them when they fast. And we looked at cardiometabolic risk factors and other factors. It turns out that as helpful as fasting is in sick people, proportionally, the changes in healthy people are even greater than sick people. It may be that the people that get the most benefit from this periodic fasting are actually healthy people that are doing something preventatively to stay healthy. And so we're doing a major study looking at that very question. Here's the biggest challenge though in doing research on healthy people is today only 12 % of people or 12 and a half percent of people are metabolically healthy and only 2 .7 % of people actually have the most fundamental components of healthful living in terms of diet, not smoking, maintaining adequate percent body fat, et cetera. So the vast majority of people are fat sick and unhappy and unhealthy. And so as a consequence, it's very difficult to recruit healthy people now. You know, where we found most of the people for our study were actually working at the True North Health Center, where they live and work there, eat that way, and they were able to maintain metabolic health, but it's very hard to find free living people today that are actually healthy.

Glen: You don't ever do remote support for fasting, do you? It's always on site. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: So we have doctors with extensive experience that provide remote support, but it has to be done in conjunction with the, you know, a local family doctor, because there's some lab testing and other things that need to be available to the patient. But if the patient has a supportive medical doctor, naturopath, chiropractor, somebody that can help them with physical monitoring, our doctors can provide them remote coaching and provide their doctors remote coaching. In fact, the The book that we've written, Can Fasting Save Your Life? has all the information in it that a physician would need to help their patient get through a fast appropriately. The testing that needs to be done, interpreting that testing, the adverse event concerns. So any physician that has Can Fasting Save Your Life? would have the tools available to help a person determine are they a good candidate for fasting and provide monitoring and support. And our doctors provide remote coaching to help them get through the practical questions that come up. And so in order to take advantage of that, we have this extensive telemedicine practice available. So anybody anywhere in the world that has an interest and is an appropriate candidate would be able to take advantage of that. 

Glen: OK. Now, when you're working with healthy patients, how do you measure success?

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: So we measured a cardiometabolic risk factor. For example, the same measures you measure in healthy people like their weight, their blood pressure, their cholesterol levels, their acute phase reactive proteins. And even though they're within normal limits, they are what is considered healthier as a consequence of fasting. So the percent body fats, the inflammatory markers. So even though they weren't abnormal to begin with, they've become even closer to what's considered optimum health. You know, waist circumference, for example, are the… patients had about a two inch less circumference of the weight. It wasn't that they were obese or even overweight, but they were thinner, healthier, leaner, meaner, lower percent body fats. So any measure, current measure of health seems to be accentuated as a consequence of not just healthy living, but also with fasting. 

Glen: Let's talk about the SOS diet that you mentioned earlier. I'll confess that I am

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: I don't have sugar. I don't have oil except a few times a year when I go to a restaurant and I feel I can't avoid it. But I do have some foods with salt. And my blood pressure, I once spoke to you about this, my blood pressure will tend to be something like 110 over 70. And you said that's good, but it would be even better if it was 95 over 65. So, there's that case to be made that if I avoided salt altogether, my blood pressure might go from good to better. 

Glen: Well, we want to be clear. We're not talking about avoiding salt altogether. We're just avoiding added salt. You still get the sodium chlorogene in your whole food, just like you get the carbohydrates and the essential fats you need. Right. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: But the added salt that I have, for example, I might buy a can of organic beans. 

Glen: Yes. But it's not salt -free. We would suggest you buy unsalted beans going forward.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Right. So all beans are available unsalted. Right. So instead of getting unsalted beans, I might get a can of beans with sea salt and it has 130 milligrams of salt, something like that. Which you could then rinse and probably get most of that excess salt out of the air out of the way. 

Glen: Which I do. Which I do. Or I eat bread and I want to talk to you about bread, but I eat bread and that is made with salt. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: So let's talk about bread a little bit. If you take the salt out of bread and the oil and the sugar, it's called matzah and it's punishment on Passover. So without salt and without the other additives, most people are not that excited about bread. So bread is actually a carrier agent and at 1500 calories a pound before you turn it into a butter boat, it's very difficult for people that are eating significant quantities of that material to maintain optimum weight. So it's not that necessarily. Bread itself is the worst food in the world. It's just that it's one of the foods that makes it possible to maintain obesity. Salt stimulates passive overeating. If you remove the salt, it's very difficult to sustain overeating. And so basically the reason salt makes you fat isn't the calories in salt. There's no calories in salt. It's completely free of any calories, but it stimulates dopamine production in the brain and dopamine is the neurochemical associate with pleasure. And so when you salt food, you will eat more before your natural satiety mechanisms kick in. And that's why you and me and any animal on the planet that eats these highly processed foods is more vulnerable to obesity. 

Glen: All right. Well, let me let me play advocate for my local artisanal baker. And they make a sourdough bread and the ingredients are organic wheat flour, water, organic, freshly stone milled whole wheat or rye flour, sea salt. I know you're against the sea salt. Are you also against the flour?

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Yeah, the wheat, anytime you turn a grain into a flour, you increase cloric density from 500 to 1 ,500 calories a pound. So again, overeating becomes an issue.

Glen: But is caloric, wait a minute, is caloric density something I need to worry about when I'm at my high school weight? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, the thing is, if your high school weight is ideal weight percent body fat, maybe not. But a lot of people are a little bit overweight in high school as well as they are as an adult.

Glen:  Five eight, one hundred forty two.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: So the question is not so much what your weight is, because you could be 182 if you wanted to spend all day in the gym and put on a bunch of muscle and still have low percent body fat. Because you're not having to struggle with weight because you're only using a small amount of these materials, it may not be as dominant an issue for you for the 62 % of people that are overweight or obese in society. But the reason it's just like, you know, some people can have a drink and not become a drunk. If you're a drunk, it's not you. And some people can have a bit of bread or a bit of this or that and not get overweight. But if you're overweight, it's not you. If you could have controlled it, you would have controlled it. And therefore, you know, you may be able to draw a line so that you're able to sustain optimum weight and still make some variations. But let's not pretend that that's a healthful variation. It's something you like to do. It's something you choose to do. And maybe you're getting away with it, but it wouldn't be ideally desirable. what would be ideally desirable is to eat an exclusively whole plant food diet that's free of added salt, oil, and sugar. And I would suggest let's just do an experiment. Let's do that for five years. And then let's see where you're at. Because what you'll find is you may not be 142, you might be 138. You may find that your cholesterol may not be 150, but it might be 132. You may find that your level of functionality, your cognitive capacities, your athletic performance, might be slightly enhanced. Now granted, it would be a lot more obvious if we could get a regular person that was overweight and had all kinds of problems. With you, it's dealing with the fine tuning. But what we found in our study was that the person like you, that actually it gets the most benefit because of those proportional fine tuning effects. 

Glen: Now, the fact that bread is made with flour, does flour cause inflammation?

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: For a significant percentage of the people, the gluten, the protein in wheat, rye and barley, it seems to be a problem, particularly modern wheat where they've changed, they've hybridized the wheat so it's got, you know, you get like 10 times as much wheat per acre as you used to get. The stuff doesn't blow over in the wind, it stands straight up, it's great for harvesting. They've genetically modified this stuff and particularly for a third of the population, 1 % of the population, if they eat that protein, they'll get what's called celiac disease where the body's immune system will attack the intestinal tract and it can be fatal if it's not addressed. Another percentage of the population have what's called the HLA -DQ gene. It's the gene associated with gluten sensitivity and it's the same gene associated with Hashimoto's thyroiditis. So patients that eat gluten in the immune system, instead of attacking the intestines like celiac disease, it'll attack the thyroid and you end up with what's called Hashimoto's thyroiditis, the most common cause of hypothyroidism. So for those people, that's probably not a guy I did.

Some people eat wheat and gluten and they get problems with joint pain or they get sinusitis or other kind of skin related problems. So there's a lot of people that that particular protein doesn't seem to work that well with. We just exclude gluten from all of our cookbooks and all of our recipes. We don't use wheat, rye or barley just because there's so many people that do seem to have some sensitivity. You may, you may not. And some people can do something once a week, but if they do it every day, they start to get problems. So if you rotate it in there, it may not be a catastrophe. But again, what are you using wheat for? Usually flour based products. Flour based products are highly concentrated, highly processed, high caloric density foods that unless we're trying to gain weight, we pretty much want to try to avoid. 

Glen: Well, first of all, let me say that if you talk me out of the rustic sourdough bread, you know, that's one of my pleasures in life. Is that why you wear black all the time? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: I tell patients that they really want to know if they should eat something or not. What they should do is get very quiet and go inside themselves and say, do I really, really, really, really, really want whatever it is? And if the answer is truly yes, you know, you can't have it. You get nothing. Because if you're really, really wanted, it's probably banging on the pleasure trap. 

Glen: Well, I'll have to talk with my wife. She wants me to eat the bread because she says I'm getting too skinny. So there you go. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Are you getting too skinny? I think I'm just fine at my. Yeah. See, the problem is if everybody else is fat, then by comparison, you look proportionally smaller. But lean and mean is usually associated with longer life and better health. 

Glen: So. Right. I'm not really trying to gain weight, but I'm sustaining while eating bread. So I'll have to see. Tell us how fasting benefits the gut microbiome. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: So a normal human being has about a thousand different organisms, protozoa, bacteria, viruses, et cetera, living in their digestive system alone. And if you add them all up, it's trillions of creatures, about five pounds they estimate of these living organisms swimming around inside your intestinal tract, breathing and eating and defecating inside you. And what those organisms poo in you depends on what you feed them. So if you feed them meat, fish, fowl, eggs and dairy products, you get, first of all, a completely different strain of organisms. And their poo is different than if you feed them plants. If you feed them, say, soluble fiber, you get the kind of organisms that are associated with healthy people in plant -based guts. And instead of getting the TMA, which becomes trimethylamine oxidase and causes cancer and heart disease, you get vitamin K and fertilizer. So if you want your organisms pooing fertilizer in you instead of toxic waste, you want to feed them a whole plant food SOS free diet and get rid of the meat, fish, fat, eggs, dairy products, oil, salt, and sugar.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: And fasting will help improve your enjoyment of the whole plant foods, right? Well, fasting will cause a huge die off of the microbiome. It's like rebooting the hard drive in the computer that's been corrupted. You don't know why you turn the thing off. You turn it on. Now it starts working better. When you fast, assuming you follow the fast with a carefully health promoting probiotic diets, in other words, fruits, vegetables, material, you will then regrow the organisms consistent with a plant -based diet and be able to resolve the problems where you get that imbalance associated with the sugars and all the processed crap that most people are eating. So most people have a dystrophic gut microbiome. And so you want to reboot that. One way to do that very effectively is to fast. Fasting turns out to be great. In fact, we have the first in a series of papers we did with Luigi Fontana from Washington University just came out in a Lancet pre -print and it looks at metabolic changes that occur in fasting. And the next paper is supposed to deal with these changes in the microbiome. It's really fairly complicated material. People that are representing that they've got that all figured out are probably not quite as far along the learning curve as they represent. 

Glen: Now on your water supervised fast, as I understand that the water that people drink is distilled, steam distilled water. I've heard some make the case against distilled water that because it doesn't have minerals, I don't know, it leeches minerals from your bones or teeth. What's your answer to that? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: People used to advertise alternative treatment systems made up this thing about, oh, it's going to be hungry water. It'll suck all the minerals out of your body. There's more minerals in one apple than the water you're going to be drinking today. So water is not a primary source of...absorbable minerals. And what you don't want in the water is the heavy metals, the contaminants, the hydrogen, the carbohydrates that form from the chlorine, et cetera, et cetera. So we just want pure water. Now, distilled water is what rainwater would be if the environment wasn't polluted. Distilled water is a mechanical way of heating water and then condensing. And so all you get is water. You can also use reverse osmosis. You could use any kind of effective treatment system to get out the chlorine, to get out the heavy metals, to get out the cryptosporidium. That's not so critical. It's just, you just want water though. And, and, Fasting patients are very sensitive. They won't tolerate municipal water. And so we use distilled water and we in fact we use laboratory -grade distilled water. It's pre -filtered, distilled and post -filtered just so that we don't have problems with people rejecting the water as they go through this fasting process. And our distillers make 50 gallons of distilled water a day, which is enough to keep our people hydrated and in good shape.

Glen: Well, how do you feel about people who do fast, but not on water, on carrot juice and celery juice or that's not fasting. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: That's juice fasting or dot, you know, modified diets. And that's fine. People, you know, in fact, where you're taking 600 or 800 or 1200 calories a day is a safer process in the sense that you don't necessarily have to have the same level of medical supervision that you would for a water only fast. Water only fast. There has to be a medical history exam lab and monitoring in order to ensure that it's safe. Juice fasting is essentially eating on a no fiber diet. And so those kinds of programs, and there's lots of intermittent fasting and modified fasting programs out there, can often be done by people at home without necessarily having to go through the supervision issues. It's not the same thing. You're in normal feeding physiology. You're not seeing some of the changes associated with fasting, but that can be good too. Sometimes fasting is so rapid, so intense, it may be too much for people. Some of the people staying at the center, we don't do water fasting. We'll do juice fasting or modified fasting to make sure that we don't have these issues can be a problem for water -only fasting. So water -only fasting is not for everybody, but when it's indicated, there's nothing else quite like water -only fasting. Fasting -mimicking programs can be tremendously helpful, but they're not exactly the same thing as water -only fasting. 

Glen: Now, one of the great benefits of water -only fasting that we discussed earlier is the loss of visceral fat. I assume that that could be achieved too on a carrot juice.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, anytime you lose weight, you lose visceral fat. The thing that's interesting about water fasting is the preferential mobilization of visceral fat. So it's just going to happen quicker. So, you know, faster isn't always better. And honestly, if the only concern I had was weight loss, I'd say, let's go on a good diet, do exercise, get plenty of sleep, be patient. And eventually the fat, including the visceral fat is going to get mobilized. But sometimes you have to be able to get people well enough so they can do the diet and lifestyle changes because there aren't a lot of meds, they're facing surgery, they have, you know, we see a lot of really sick people. And so for those people, they don't have the luxury of time and or the ability until you can get them out of pain because they can't even exercise because they're in too much pain. And so for us, you know, water fasting has some great utility. But again, we're dealing with highly motivated patients in an inpatient setting that have the luxury of having the time to really focus on getting healthy quickly. You know, for people that don't, All the information they need to get healthy is in our books. If you read the pleasure trap and you read Confess and Save Your Life, you'll know what you need to do to get healthy. The problem is doing it in the world, it's difficult. And that's one of the advantages of the True North Health Center is people are sequestered in an environment supportive of health. And so they're not having to face all the well -meaning but misguided friends that are trying to undermine their success.

Glen: Well, I think that's one thing that you and I share. I think neither you nor I got the gene for caring what other people think. And so at 16, you went on this diet. I'm sure you got flack from it and I'm sure you didn't care. Right.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer:  Yeah, I, you know that again, that's one of the great benefits of being on the spectrum is that your emotional response is going to be very different than normal people are. And that's a great advantage in my business. You know, if you worry, about being outside the norm, it would be very difficult to do the work that I've been doing. You know, when I first started out, I remember we used to get the police showing up. I remember one time a police officer came in and he said he wanted to interview one of my patients and I asked him why and he said, because the relatives had called and complained that they were being held against their will by religious cultists and being starved to death so they could go to be with Jesus. And when I told the police officer that, you know, they were here voluntarily. He said, No, no, I have to interview. I said, Well, relax, I'll let you interview. But first, would you like a nice tall cup of Kool -Aid? And Dr. Liao told me that I was politically incorrect. And then when a policeman puts his hand on his hip, that's not a sign he's comfortable. And then I'm not to speak to the authorities ever again. Because I'm thinking it's an obvious joke. You know, Kool -Aid is full of sugar. We wouldn't serve that at True North Health Center. 

Glen: Yeah. Well, I had an incident with the police, too. I was I think I was about 22 years old. I was living in Berkeley, California, and I decided that I would go write the great American novel. So I took a pad and pen and went on the campus at UC Berkeley and just started writing. And next thing I know... No, I was starting to walk back home, but I was still on the campus and a cop car… goes behind me like he like I'm a car and he's pulling me over. He's just driving behind me and then he then I hear stop. Raise your hands. And I raised my hands and he said show me ID and I didn't use to carry a wallet. I didn't have any ID. He said what are you doing here? I said I was trying to write a novel. And I said. It wasn't good? And that was the wrong thing to say. So now the questioning gets more aggressive and a crowd starts to form. And I'm seeing all these people watching me getting arrested for some really bad writing. And finally, another car pulls up with, I guess, a witness to whatever the other crime had been. And I see a guy shake his head no, that I wasn't the guy. And they let me go, but with an attitude of like, don't do it again, buddy. So. Well, at least they didn't confiscate your notepad. Yeah. So we have those things in common. We we spoke inappropriately to police officers and we don't care what other people think. Is it possible that I'm on the spectrum too and I just don't know? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: I wouldn't have any idea. How do you find out? We have to ask Dr. Lyle. He's the one that said... He did give me a test one time. We did the Big Five Personality Profile and he said that he looked at a test that measures...I'm just blanking on the actual term that's used to mean whether you get along with people or not.Well, in any case, one of the big five personality profiles measures agreeableness or disagreeableness. Okay. And I came out zero percentile, which means a hundred out of a hundred people would be more agreeable than I would. And we thought, well, maybe it's the test. And so we got a completely different validated test and we give it, and it turned out it was very different. I was one percentile. And it turned out that test though didn't give a zero percentile. So it was still basically the same thing. So as when it comes to being disagreeable, apparently a hundred out of a hundred people are likely to be more agreeable than I am. So I'm apparently not that easy to get along. But I have to say in my defense, my wife, who's fabulous, I, we just had our 40th anniversary. So she's renewed my marriage contract every year for 40 years. Now, this year I asked her if I could have a two -year extension. Because I thought, you know, after 40 years, I should know just one year at a time. Just one year at a time? All right. I have to say, my father was responsible for my success, though, because he told me he had been married 68 years. And he said the secret to his success, and he was a math teacher, and he knew he saw everything from a mathematical perspective. And he said that you, in order to have a successful marriage, you have to understand the math of marriage. What's the math of marriage is very simple. Women are right about 90 % of the time and men are right. Not so much. So if a husband always agrees with his wife, that means he'll be right at least 90 % of the time. And if you get 90 % right, you get an A. And so you, all you have to know as a male is the two magic words, which are yes, do you, right? But you can't just say yet here. You got to say it like you mean it. Right. And so if you can practice saying that and always respond that way, you'll be right at least 90 percent of the time and you'll be successful in every male I've talked to that's been married a long time successfully. They've learned that, you know, that secret. 

Glen: Yeah. I'm at 20, almost 28 years now. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: I would say you probably are pretty good at the magic words then. Yeah, I've been I've been saying them.

Glen: Let me ask you this.When you adopted this diet at 16, did you know about oil? Has the diet evolved over the years, or did you actually get it right, right from the beginning? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, there's been a little bit of fine tuning over the years, but essentially the diet was a whole plant food. So it was vegan diet. So there was no meat, fish, fowl, eggs, or dairy products. And we understood that oil, salt, and sugar was an issue. We've gotten a little bit more aggressive about sodium. and sodium contamination issues. Initially, it was thought that the minimum needs for sodium was higher than what they actually are. So we know now that actual need for sodium is limited and you get all the sodium you need from whole foods. The question is of tolerance. How much can people get away? Like the little bit of salt you get in your bread, is that really enough to compensate, compromise your health? For healthy people, we don't know what the answer to that is yet. For sick people, we do know that, you know, if you've got hypertension, if you've got weight issues, then we've got to get tight enough that you'll be successful. It may be though that healthy people have a little bit more flexibility and particularly if you're not having an addictive tendency, just like a person might occasionally have that glass of wine and not necessarily become a drunk or develop health. It doesn't mean it's healthy. It doesn't mean you should do it. But the question is what people's tolerances are may vary depending on their genetics, their use and abuse, their age, their history, et cetera.

Glen: But you've been eating essentially the same diet since you were 16. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, I decided I was going to do it for 50 years as an experiment. And then after that, I'd reevaluate it. So I've still got a little bit more time to go. But, you know, now I'm feeling like it's working. So I'm going to give it another 50 years and we'll see, you know, if it keeps working. 

Glen: So and you never have bread.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: I've had matzah, which doesn't have any oil, salt or sugar, but I got an isphery. There's not much tendency in wanting to overeat it. You know?

Glen: No, no. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Although it's nice and crispy. Crispy connotes fresh. What also connotes fresh is actual fresh. But for example, you know, celery tastes good when it's fresh. It's kind of soggy and not so good when it's not fresh. And that's what your brain is thinking when you're getting that crunch is that it's something must be fresh. So I just try to, you know,go fresh. 

Glen: Now, Dr. Esselstyn famously indulges on New Year's Eve. I think he has Reese's Peter Butter, Reese's Peter Butter cups or something like that. Do you ever have anything that would be considered an indulgence? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, not so far Reese's peanut butter cups wouldn't ring my bell, but you know. Dr.  Esselstyn is 90 years old and he's still hanging in there. So apparently that level of indulgence hasn't overwhelmed his adaptive capacity. So, and he's one of the sharper guys that I know. So, you know, I'm not going to argue with his attributes. What I can tell you is that I had one food that I like that I had a tendency to overeat and that were fresh raw cashews. And so, you know, I feel that we really shouldn't use more than about an ounce a day of very concentrated foods like that. So what I did is I, I always store, raw nuts in the freezer to keep them fresh. And so I would bring them out of the freezer and I would actually weigh out an ounce of cashews. And the rule was if I ever went back for seconds, then we wouldn't have cashews in the house anymore. And that was 38 years ago. We still have cashews in the house. Now, sometimes I've wanted to go back, but I have a strict rule. And anytime I'm tempted, I think, well, if I go back, then I don't get to have cashews. And I like cashews. So for me, that was enough of a rule to keep it from becoming an issue. Almonds, walnuts, no problem. by the time you shell six walnuts, you want to move on with your life. The tendency to overeat on that is much less, but the cashews come shelled, and so it's a little bit easier to overdo. So for me - 

Glen: Well, here's a newsflash. Walnuts can come shelled too. Walnuts can come shelled too. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Yeah, but they're better in the shell because then by the time you open them up, you don't tend to overeat them. 

Glen: Yeah. Now, let's talk about nuts. Nuts are a food that is, they're of course highly fatty. There are any number of studies that claim that they're healthy and increase longevity and say all kinds of positive things about nuts. Jeff Nelson did a video in which he claimed that a lot of, well, more than claimed, it was clearly true that many of those studies were in fact paid for by the nut industry. All the same, there seems to be some scientific support for the idea that nuts are perfectly healthy. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: In appropriate quantities.

Glen:  In appropriate quantities, yes. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: But a big bad problem about nuts is the tendency to overeat them and how when they're processed into nut butters and other things, it's really easy to overdo it. 

Glen: Right. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: So, you know, Because they're very concentrated, you just have to show them some respect. 

Glen: Right. But let's assume they are healthy. If they are healthy, what makes them healthy is that they have a bunch of nutrients. They have protein and different minerals. They don't have any nutrients that you can't get elsewhere without the fat. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Oh, no. You can get everything you want without having to eat nuts. Some people have food. issues with nuts where if they eat one, they can't stop. And so we'll tell them to go to seeds or if they don't want to use seeds, we'll go to just more green vegetable materials. And that's fine. You can get everything you need from lots of different sources. 

Glen: Right. So so there's a case to be made that if you have any problem with nuts and if you have any weight problem, there's no reason why you need to have nuts.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: For some people, a small amount of nuts in the diet provide a level of satiety feedback that's helpful to higher fat intake helps them avoid overeating on carbohydrates. So there may be people that do get some benefit from a weight control standpoint with the inclusion, but certainly there's no food you can't exclude if you don't do well with it. There's no one food that's so magic that you can't function without it.

Glen: Um, I recently had, uh, bad news on a blood test about six weeks ago or so, two months ago. My cholesterol was high. My serum cholesterol was 199 and my LDL was off the charts for me at 135. And I asked myself, what am I doing wrong? All of a sudden, usually my serum cholesterol would be more like 160, 170, my LDL more like a hundred. And I said, maybe it's the nuts and maybe it's the, uh, the fructose from dates. I was having one or two dates a day and bananas. 

Well, let's do it. Let's do a little experiment. We pull the nuts, we pull the dates, the dried fruits, the bread. And then we re -test, then we re -test, and then you add back things one at a time and you'll be able to tell which of those highly concentrated foods is pushing you over the edge. 

Glen: Well, I'm ahead of you because I cut out the bananas for a month, three weeks. I cut out the bananas for three weeks, cut out the dates, cut out the raisins. Now, mind you, it was a handful of raisins. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: What happened to your weight? 

Glen: My weight stayed the same, I think. No change in weight. Maybe I lost a pound or two. I don't know. Okay. Anyway, after three weeks and you see, let me just say this. I was worried as you could imagine that I would get a heart attack, massive cardiac arrest, and that would be just terrible for my podcast. So I was worried. So,I was very strict. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: You need to know that cholesterol is not a good individual marker. And so what would be a better marker would be looking at acute phase erective proteins like CRP as far as predicting whether or not you're vulnerable. And chances are, even with your elevated cholesterol level for you, your CRP was probably low, which means you probably never really worried. 

Glen: CRP was between 0 .25 and 0 .5. Yeah. So after three weeks without the dates, without the bananas, and without the nuts, I went from 199 to 154, and from 135 LDL to 94. So here's the question. And you've just kind of hinted at it with the talk about inflammation. Was I really getting healthier and reducing my chance of heart attack with those improvements, or was I just chasing numbers that were irrelevant?

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: You were getting healthier probably, but you probably never were really at significant risk in any case, you know, because again, these are epidemiological values that are useful for, for populations as a whole. They're less sensitive for individual variation. So I don't know that you were ever at risk, but I do think you're healthier now as a consequence. I'd like to see what your numbers are when we get rid of the last of the refined carbohydrates, what happens to your weight and your overall sense of wellbeing. Because what our experience has been, it's people that are healthy that see the most changes with these subtle differences, including with fasting. 

Glen: So you want to get the bread. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: When's the last time you did a fast? It's been a year now. 

Glen: So I've just done 20 hours. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Do a fast. Let's see what happens. Let's have you do a show from the center and you can tell people what the experience of a healthy person fasting is like. 

Glen: OK, well, that's an idea. Yeah. And how long do I have to go?

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, generally healthy people are doing a short period of time. We're doing five to seven days. It doesn't usually take a very long fast to get a big effect when you're starting out healthy. The important thing is you prepare properly the two days before fasting your fruit, salad and steamed vegetables only. No meat, fish, fowl, eggs, dairy products, oil, salt, sugar, no last chance to have whatever. And then you're ready to get into the fast effectively. You have a short fast. If you're stable after a week, you're done. So this isn't something that requires a long period of time to have a big impact. And in a person like yourself, it's not going to have to be a long thing. You're already doing what you're supposed to be doing. 

Glen: Right.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer:  Except for maybe a little bit of bread. 

Glen: Yeah. So if you ever have a tempeh sandwich, what do you have it on? Lettuce? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, you know, I'm fortunate because I work at True North Health Center. And so that's not a place where we serve all kinds of wonderful food, but it's not a place where they're serving bread and that type of thing. 

Glen: So yeah. But you can't have a sandwich without bread, can you?

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, you certainly can. We call them handwiches, but you have the same kind of wonderful toppings, but it might be in steamed cabbage leaves, or you might be using some non -glutenous substance. So if I was going to do something, I might use, say, a corn tortilla or a wrap. We make these vegetarian wraps out of vegetables. They're dried in the dryer, and they look like a burrito wrap, but they're made entirely of vegetables. 

Glen: So you allow yourself to have corn tortillas. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Yeah, you might be, you might, again, tortillas, if you're struggling with weight, it's a flour product, so you better limit how many you're eating. But because I happen to be a little bit sensitive to wheat, so I don't usually use wheat just because of my own individual sensitivity. But if you're going to use a corn or something like that, that might be give you some of what you're looking for in the, in the convenience side. Or like I say, you can use these veggie wraps, which are great. They have the texture of a wrap, but without, without any kind of grain.This is a processed food made from vegetables. No, what we do is we take there's a recipe. You take the the material and you spread it out on a silicon thing and put it in the in the dehydrator. And it turns out to be like a wrap, like something that made entirely of vegetables.

Glen:  Really? Yeah. All right. I've never had that. I don't think. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Yeah, there's there's a lot of interesting and innovative things out there nowadays that can give you the texture without actually having to put something in that can be sensitizing to you.

Glen: All right. Well, I've enjoyed this talk, Dr. Goldhamer, of everything about it except losing the bread. I'm not thrilled about that. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: You get nothing. We'll get you a T -shirt. All right. 

Glen: The book, again, is called Can Fasting Save Your Life? I hope this is a bestseller. It deserves to be. Everybody should. 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: Well, it's available right now as a pre -sale on Amazon. 

Glen: You have a copy to hold up? Hmm.You have a copy to hold up, 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer: I don't. I actually do. Yes.

Glen: There you go. Can fasting save your life? Oh, it's a little blurry. I don't know. Move it back.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer:  I guess the quality of my camera is not so great. 

Glen: OK. Well, it says can fasting save... There it... Oh, momentarily it was legible. Now save your life is... There you go. Can fasting save your life? By Dr. Alan Goldhamer. It is a very compelling read. I hope everybody gets it. Let's hope it's a best seller. And it's it's it you can preorder it now and it comes out in June. Is that right? 

Dr. Alan Goldhamer:  Yeah, it comes out in June. It's available on Amazon and we're excited about it. It's actually a really good book. Dr. Myers, the director of research at the Turner Health Center, has done just a fabulous job of bringing all of the scientific literature together and in a way that's comprehensible that you can understand what's actually what it actually means.

Glen:  Even I was able to follow it.So I found it just held my attention the whole way. And I did not snack once while reading it. So I feel good about that. And I had no bread while reading. All right. Thank you, Dr. For joining us.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer:  My pleasure.



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