16 Feb #64. Robby Barbaro & Cyrus Khambatta on The Truth About Insulin Resistance
What if the collective narrative on diabetes and insulin resistance is wrong? There are ways to control Type 1 Diabetes in healthy natural ways using whole food nutrition. And believe it or not, it’s not all about avoiding carbs.
WELCOME TO THE DARIN OLIEN SHOW
Robby Barbaro & Cyrus Khambatta are mastering their diabetes.
Cyrus Khambatta, Ph.D., and Robby Barbaro, MPH, are the cofounders of Mastering Diabetes. This coaching program teaches people how to reverse insulin resistance with low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Both guys have been living with type 1 diabetes for twenty years. They connected through their separate quests to find a better way to live with what they were told was beyond their control. Their book, Mastering Diabetes, became an instant New York Times Bestseller and is helping countless people better understand how food affects insulin.
Through their own journeys with type 1 diabetes, Robby and Cyrus learned that most of what doctors had told them wasn’t necessarily correct. In fact, nearly 100 years of research said the opposite of the current standard medical advice given to diabetes patients. By completely changing their diets, they manage their diabetes in a way, unlike anything they experienced with traditional medical approaches.
In this episode, Robby and Cyrus blow my mind with what they’ve learned and how they’re changing lives. They break down the different categories of foods in their Mastering Diabetes plan and why low-carb diets aren’t necessarily the answer. They go in-depth on insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance and how the body reacts to certain foods. This isn’t just for listeners with diabetes. This is crucial information that everyone needs to understand. We need to stop fearing carbs, guys. Instead, we need to understand the different kinds of carbs and how they each affect glucose levels and insulin.
ALSO IN THIS EPISODE:
- Cyrus and Robby’s personal stories of type 1 diabetes diagnosis
- Dr. Doug Graham and the role he played in both of their lives
- The problem with low-carb diets
- Macro and Micronutrients
- Green Light, Yellow Light, and Red Light foods
- The hidden truth of oils
Darin: You are listening to the Darin Olien Show. I’m Darin. I spent the last 15 years exploring the planet looking for healthy foods, superfoods, environmental solutions, and I’ve had my mind blown along the way by the people, the far off places I have been, and the life-altering events that have changed my life forever. My goal is to help you dive deep into some of the issues of our modern-day life, society’s fatal conveniences. The things that we do that we’re indoctrinated into thinking we have to, even though those things are negatively affecting us, and in some cases, slowly destroying us and even killing us. Every week, I have honest conversations with people that inspire me. My hope is through their knowledge and unique perspectives they’ll inspire you too. Together, we’ll explore how you can make small tweaks in your life that amount to big changes for you, the people around you and the planet, so let’s do this. This is my show, the Darin Olien Show.
Darin: Hey, everybody, welcome to the show. You have no idea how excited I am. I have blasted their book out, Mastering Diabetes, because you know what, based in science, based in the paradigm that has been wrong about fats, about animal-based proteins, about cholesterol, about diabetes, about insulin, all of it has been wrong. We’re just gonna base this in science. Even the work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell backs up everything that Cyrus Khambatta and Robbie Barbaro are going to be talking about in this episode, as well as in their science-based, peer-reviewed research book called Mastering Diabetes. If you’re saying I don’t have diabetes, this is for you because this is rewiring our position on fats, carbohydrates, proteins, animal foods, plant foods, all of that stuff. If you are open, which I know you are, just give it a listen. Give it a listen because your life and your health demands it. Unfortunately, the brain between our ears, our egos, our whatever, sometimes get in the way of receiving and listening to another point of view. And these guys are heart-centered, brilliant, loaded with education, master environmental science and nutrition. Cyrus is a PhD from Stanford. You’ve heard of Stanford, right? And so these guys are essentially breaking down because they both have type one diabetes. And they came together through their struggling journey of the science and the protocols of diabetes was not helping them, and in fact, hurting them and even slowly killing them. So they went to study themselves. And these guys dug into it, came together, and they have changed everything, understanding of how powerful foods are as a relates to diabetes. And listen, I can’t wait for you to hear these heart-centered, brilliant researchers, scientists, PhDs, masters, and they have this incredible Mastering Diabetes coaching program that anyone whether you have type one, pre-diabetes, type two, believe me, you should run sprint to their program immediately. And anyone who’s suffering from this delusion that carbs are bad, sprint to their program. Listen to this podcast, listen to their audiobook or read their book because you will have your life changed, I promise. I get a little passionate about this because I’m passionate about the truth. I love these guys. These guys are awesome, and they’re my friends. So tune in and enjoy this incredible conversation.
Darin: You guys have single-handedly literally performing everything as the opposite of what it appears to be. And also demonstrating it not from a soapbox, not from a judgmental place but from a scientific. And, dare I say, most important, personal journey. So it’s this combination. And then both of you together with your backgrounds and your passion and your synergy, and your your desire to help people reorient themselves to an absolutely different paradigm has been unbelievably phenomenal. And it’s been so great now to kind of get some time with you guys because I literally cruised through your book. And I’m sitting there, just my hands in the air, like someone’s preaching at the front of the service, and I recommend that book, like probably more than any book. And because you guys just methodically go down this whole world and scientific world of how it’s completely flipped on its head.
Cyrus: I appreciate that. I really do. I’m glad you can see it, actually because, I mean, I remember back when I was in graduate school, I mean, I’d already experienced it in my own body. I had seen the dramatic turnaround improvement in glucose, stability, reduced insulin need, more energy than I knew what to do with. So I went back to graduate school, and I was trying to learn the science. And literally, every day, my mind was getting blown. I was like, oh, shit, we already knew this answer. We knew this answer back in 1953. We knew this back in 1971, you know? And so it’s just, it’s kind of been like this awakening to really understand the scientific world. I mean, we’ve known the answer for 100 years. It’s just that what the scientific world does knows, and what the general public does is so out of sync at this point. It’s embarrassing. Do you know what I mean?
Darin: Yeah, it’s astonishing that that even is existing. What destroyed the bridge of information from the science world, the non compromised science world, and the general population? I mean, yeah, we can throw some targets at some people with agendas, USDA, dairy industries, all of these other things, but then I want to get into some straight up questions so that the audience can really understand what this is about, but what do you guys think created that divide that is in 2020, 100 years of wrong information about something that is killing a lot of people and it’s perpetuated literally by what, 99% of the frickin doctors and health care providers? So how the hell did that happen? Guys, what’s going on? What do you think?
Robby: Well, the diabetes in particular, it is the one condition that is very confusing because people can self monitor. And they see if they eat carbohydrates, they see a high blood glucose reading and that is what has perpetuated this and why that belief is so firm, but they’re missing that bigger picture. I appreciate your kind words about how we just kind of like picked it apart in the book of really understanding why they can’t metabolize carbohydrates, and it’s really the underlying, in fact, that’s the problem.
Cyrus: 100%. Also, I would say, money. When you throw money at the problem and when there is money to be made by marketing products and services that may or may not necessarily agree with the scientific research, to a certain extent, it doesn’t matter. Whatever makes money, whatever is sexy, whatever is popular is likely to permeate society because ideas don’t necessarily like– people aren’t fact checking ideas necessarily as stringently as they might want to. And even when they do in the world of diabetes, it still gets confusing. But if you have a leader or a collection of leaders that is introducing information, which may not actually be factual, not because they’re bad people, they just believe that that’s the truth, and there’s money involved, then all of a sudden, before you know it, now you have hundreds and thousands or millions of people following that information even though it was never right to begin with.
Darin: Unfortunately, that dollar has dictated a lot of things that you just pointed, throw a dart at the world globe, and you’re gonna see issues from social, economic, environmental, health, etc. All of which is from that perspective. And the statistics of people dying on a daily basis is so mind blowing from a death perspective, and the fact that we’re looking at and talking about numbers in Coronavirus and COVID, and all of that stuff. It pales in comparison to a magnitude that is 10, 20, 30 times more just from our health perspective. So that’s the perspective that is just so skewed in our reality. So let’s just back up so that people have a really good understanding. So why don’t you guys give both of your backgrounds and then I really want to break down what truly is the insulin resistance, and also let’s pick apart this demonization of macros and proteins and fats and carbs and all of that craziness a little bit, but yeah, so just run through, have fun and maybe tell something that you haven’t told other people on your intros.
Robby: Let’s do it. Let me think of what I can come up with the risk up here. It was funny in the process of writing the book, I remember, we sort of wrote our stories, and we kind of submitted it and then we got some feedback. And then Cyrus was like, “No, man, we should let our full story. This is our book. We’re gonna get to write as much as we want. Just tell everything.” So our story in the book is pretty detailed, but I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes when I was 12, just about to turn 13. And I actually basically self-diagnosed myself because my older brother was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes nine years prior. And I told my mom, I said, Mom, I think I have diabetes like Steve. I am thirsty all the time, I’m going to the bathroom all the time, something is up. She said, “No, no, don’t be silly. You don’t have diabetes.” I said, “Okay.” So she left town. We were living in Minnesota at the time. My mom and dad were in Florida. So, my parents were in Florida. They called, my mom calls to check in and say, “Hey, what’s going on at home?” I said, “Mom, I couldn’t sleep last night. I was cramping.” She said, “Okay, go upstairs, use your brother’s blood glucose meter and test yourself.” And I did, and I was well over 400. You’re supposed to be somewhere between 70 and 130. And right then and there, my brother said, “Yep, you have type one diabetes, pack your bag, you’re gonna be in the hospital for a few nights.” So we went to the general doctor first. And they ran some tests and said, “Yep, you have type one diabetes.” I remember the doctor coming into the room with me and my brother there and my brother started to cry. It was the first time I’d ever seen him cry. He’s like, “I’m just so sorry you have to deal with this.” And then we drove to the hospital and my parents called and said, “You know, we’re gonna come back.” I remember when my dad saw me in the hospital, he just said, “You know what, Robby, it is just an inconvenience. You can still do whatever you want in life.” And that was sort of the messaging that we had growing up and just live your life. And I really appreciate that from my parents. So they wanted to make sure we had the best medical care possible. My brother and I both went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. We had an entire team of healthcare professionals. I had an endocrinologist, I had a dietician, I had a psychiatrist. There’s this whole team, but nobody ever said anything about the idea of insulin resistance, the fact that you can improve your health, this can be a blessing, here’s what you can do to really take charge. Insulin resistance, that phrase didn’t even come into my mind until many, many years later. Nobody’s talking about the [00:13:35] type one. And so the messaging was, eat what you’re still eating, try and be normal. We just want you to be normal. So people living with Type One Diabetes, our beta cells have been damaged, we do not secrete a sufficient quantity of insulin. Therefore, we have to inject insulin to manage our blood glucose levels. That’s type one diabetes. And I went gung ho. After that, you know what, I will do anything and everything to reverse Type One Diabetes, to get my beta cells to work again. And that was a whole new journey of learning and trying new things. And eventually, I tried the Weston A. Price Foundation diet. And I saw some improvements there, but nothing changed in regards to my diabetes health and my blood glucose management. So I kept on going and kept on learning. I ended up trying a raw food diet from Gabriel Cousens. There’s phase one program. I got really inspired by his movie. It was called Raw for 30 Days. When I was doing this, I saw my total insulin use drop, but my energy also dropped, and my weight dropped. And I was not feeling good. So at this point, I’m like, again, I’m in this mindset, what do I have to do to get my pancreas to work again and produce insulin or my beta cells to function again? So at the time, I was confused about taking less insulin because I wasn’t eating carbohydrates as that being somehow beneficial. But in hindsight, you’re not reversing type one diabetes. You’re not getting your beta cells to work again unless you are simultaneously starting to produce more of your own insulin, and that was not happening. It ended up leading me to learn about a different raw food diet. So this led me to Doug Graham and a book called The 80/10/10 diet. And Cyrus is one of the testimonials in that book. So I’m like getting inspired, like, wow, look at this guy’s story. He’s eating the opposite of what the plant-based keto diet was. This is a book recommending large quantities of fruits and vegetables, essentially, unlimited amounts of total carbohydrate per day as much as you want to eat. And this is December of 2006. That’s when that book comes out. That’s when I read it. And I sign up for private coaching with Doug. And we email back and forth every single day for 90 days straight and I learned this guy’s program. What happened is my insulin sensitivity skyrocketed. So what that means is, my glucose tolerance improved by 900%, meaning that I can eat upwards of 700 grams of carbohydrate per day, that’s like my consistent consumption and inject a physiologically normal amount of insulin. Technically, I’m in the non-diabetic A1c range. And my time and range, which we monitor now with continuous glucose monitors is upwards of 90%. Meaning that I have a great A1c, but that’s not because I’m just going low all the time. That means I actually have excellent blood glucose management. So we have all this data to show that, yeah, our story is great, this works. But then at this time, I’m a student at University of Florida when all of this was happening. And I go back into the research and thinking, wait a minute, like, why is nobody talking about this? Why nobody teach me this? And I literally find that this has been discussed in the 1920s. As soon as insulin was discovered, there is research in 1926 from Dr. Sansum demonstrating that as he increased carbohydrate intake, insulin sensitivity improved. This is in the leading journals, decade after decade after decade, researchers saying literally those exact words in the conclusion of their papers. Increased carbohydrate content, improved insulin sensitivity. And so I just got really excited about it. And over the years, I just kept spreading this message. I worked at Forks Over Knives for six years, helped build that up. And then 2017, Cyrus and I started mastering diabetes. And here we are helping 1,000s of people use the Mastering Diabetes method. And our book’s getting out to people and the testimonials that we see coming in day after day are just the best thing ever. This is not just us. This is not based on our own experience and we don’t rub the book to tell people about it. Our experience just correlates with the research in human physiology, and now 1000s of people get the same results.
Darin: Many of you who follow me know I’ve spent most of my life searching for the healthiest foods on the planet from the Amazon jungle to the Andes of Peru, to the Himalayas and Bhutan, to the deserts of Africa, and everything in between discovering hundreds of plants and herbs and superfoods like this is my passion. Things like sacha inch, an Incan treasure, wild [unintelligible 00:31:41] mushrooms, things like Maya nuts, another Aztec superfood, wild cocoa moringa, many adaptogenic herbs and on and on and on. If you look hard enough, there are a few unknown extraordinary foods around the world that people still don’t know about. And a few years ago, I came across my favorite superfood discovery of all time, barukas nuts. Why is that my favorite? Well, when I first tasted them, my eyes lit up. I was blown away. They’re so delicious with notes of popcorn and cocoa and chocolate with peanut butter, and with this amazing crunch, so the taste alone just absolutely blew me away. But after sending them to the lab, which I do, and getting all the tests, I realized they’re the healthiest nuts on the planet. No other nut even compares. They have an unusually high amount of fiber, which is critical for healthy digestion. We’re all getting way too low of fiber in our diet and it’s good for the healthy bacteria and microbiome. And they’re off the charts in super high antioxidants, and have few calories than any other nut. It’s jam-packed with micronutrients. And what they don’t have is just as important as what they do have because they’re found in the forest in the savanna what’s called the Cerrado biome of Brazil, not grown on a plantation or a farm. They’re untouched by industrial pesticides, larvicides, fertilizers. They’re truly a wild food. But they’re not just good for you, they’re really good for the planet. Most other nuts require millions of gallons of irrigated water, not to mention, using bees and shipping them across the United States and just horrible sustainable practices just to grow certain nuts annually, but Baruka trees require no artificial irrigation. At one time, the Cerrado’s forest were made up of millions of these trees. These trees are incredible. They’re nitrogen fixers. They give back to the other plants in the forest. Their grandfather of sacred trees, but most of them were chopped down to make way for cattle, soy, and corn production. When you’re down in Brazil, it can be absolutely shocking. And actually, I’ve cried several times with miles and miles of deforested land filled with soy farms. This beautiful Savanna filled with soy farms and cattle grazing. Our mission is to reverse that. And the long term goal is to plant 20 million new baruzeiro trees throughout the Cerrado. And if that wasn’t enough, we are also providing highly beneficial and fair jobs for thousands of indigenous people so they can stay on their land and they can thrive with this consistent income every year forging and working with Barukas. Barukas are truly good for you, good for the planet, and good for the world community. It’s a win all the way around. I really think you’ll love them, so I’m giving all of my listeners 15% off by going to barukas.com/darin. That’s B-A-R-U-K-A-S dot com backslash Darin, D-A-R-I-N and using the code “Darin” at the checkout. I know you will enjoy.
Darin: So Cyrus, why don’t you give a little background on your little educational self, Stanford, UC, Berkeley, blah, blah, blah.
Cyrus: All of those names.
Darin: Just a couple of little mediocre universitites. Let’s go backwards in time. I grew up as what my mom referred to as a Hellcat. You know, from the get go, I was a rambunctious little boy. And I have two older sisters. And by the time my parents had me, they were just tired. It’s pretty common. And so I had a lot of energy from a very young age. And my mom basically was like, “Okay, I’m going to tire this kid out as much as possible. So I’m gonna enroll him in baseball, and swimming, and soccer and ping pong and basketball.” So from a young age, I literally would like go to school and then I would be going to like one or maybe two sports a day. And by the time I got home, I was really tired and I would zonk out, exactly what she wanted. So I grew up super active, and that was just normal to me. I get to college. I’m 22 years old, and I’m still active. I play soccer, I lift weights. And I’m up early in the morning and I go to bed late at night. All of a sudden, I started to get really thirsty. My thirst actually got so ridiculous that as I was trying to study for finals one day, all of a sudden, I was like, I would take a drink of water and I put it down and I feel like, man, I’m thirsty. I’ll take a drink of water, put it back down and I was like, I think I just got thirstier. And then I would take another drink of water, put it down and I was like, yep, I’m still thirsty. And this just kept on going on for hours and hours and hours. And I got to a point where like, I couldn’t even concentrate. I was like falling asleep sitting there trying to study. So I picked up the phone and I called my sister and she’s a family practice doctor of osteopathy. She’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. So I explained to her, I said, Hey, here’s what I’m experiencing right now. And I told her about the fatigue and I told her about the thirst. She cut me off immediately. She started crying. She was like, “Cyrus, drop everything you’re doing right now and go straight to the health center.” And I was like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, what are you talking about?” She’s like, “Type one diabetes. You’re explaining the symptoms of type one diabetes. I don’t have time to explain right now. Trust me, go.” So I show up to the health center half an hour later and they checked my blood glucose. And my blood glucose is supposed to be between 70 and 130. It was 680. Okay, it was it was so far above and beyond what was considered normal that, I mean, it was alarming to say the least. So the nurse literally walks back in the room after checking my blood glucose. And I’m like, almost passed out. I don’t even know where I am. I don’t know how I got there. And she looks at me. She goes, how did you get here? And I was like, I walked and she’s like, “Okay, great. We’re taking you to the hospital right now.” So they take me to the hospital, they they admitted me to the ER. And then within another hour, I have an IV of insulin going to one arm and IV of saline going to the other arm. And they’re monitoring me over the course of the next 24 hours to try and bring my blood glucose down. You leave the hospital 24 hours later and you have a blood glucose meter, test strips, syringes, a prescription for two different types of insulin, a carbohydrate counting guide and a bracelet that’s a life alert bracelet that says hey, if you find me passed out on the sidewalk, please call 911. So in a very short period of time, my life changed fundamentally. And I was like, what did I do to myself? Did I do this? Did I do something wrong? So for the first year of my life with diabetes like most people with type one, I was trying to reverse it. I was like, I’ll reverse it, I can beat that guy. I’ll be that guy who can figure out exactly what I have to eat or what I have to not eat in order to get rid of this. But after learning more about type one diabetes and realizing that reversal is not the right word, it’s not the right strategy, that managing Type One Diabetes with precision such that you can control your glucose today and 30 years into the future and minimize your risk for chronic disease. That’s the trick. So after having followed the doctor’s advice for a year of this low carbohydrate methodology, I felt abominable. I mean, it was like I wake up in the morning and the first thought was like, I wish I was still asleep. Being awake is so painful. It is so challenging. Where’s my energy gone? And then finally, one day, I woke up and I was like, you know what, I don’t think it’s working. This isn’t working. My glucose is a disaster. My insulin use is going up. I feel like crap. I’m pretty anxious. And I don’t really like the food that I’m eating anymore. I mean, I used to like eating meat, but it got to a point where I was like, I can’t do this anymore. So long story short, I ended up meeting Doug Graham online, communicating with him. Hey, can you help me out? He was the first person that I had spoken with over the course of the year who was very, very confident in helping somebody would Type One because type one is kind of like the redheaded stepchild of the chronic disease world. And most people don’t want to touch it with a 10-foot pole because they’re not well-versed in it. And if you do something wrong, you could die. It’s that simple. So he was like, “Cyrus, just come come to my sports camp, trust me, I got you under control.” So while I was there, within seven days, my glucose fell like a rock. I mean, I used to be eating predominantly an animal based diet with a little bit of carbohydrate energy. I started eating just like Robbie, you know, plates of bananas, mangoes, papayas, dates, oranges, you name it. I mean, it was absurd how many fruits this guy was stuffing onto my plate. And I was nervous that my glucose is gonna go through the roof, but it didn’t. My glucose came down. My insulin use came down. My energy levels went up. And all of a sudden, I was like, it feels like I’ve been turbocharged with energy. So I came back from that sports camp, I was so excited by what was happening inside of my body because I felt so good and my glucose was so controllable for the first time in a year that I decided to start studying to learn the science. And that’s when I got the idea of going to get a graduate degree. So that’s when I studied for a couple of years to go to UC Berkeley, to get a PhD in nutritional biochemistry because I was just thirsty. I just wanted more information.
Darin: Thirsty in the right way.
Cyrus: Yeah, exactly, thirsty for information not water. And then while I was there at UC Berkeley, I got to uncover just an insane amount of literature that demonstrated to me that I am not a freak of nature. What happened inside of my body or what is happening inside of my body is a biological phenomenon that has been very well described, very well studied, properly characterized. And it’s not applicable to just me as a human being. It’s applicable to all humans. It’s applicable to people with type one. It’s applicable to people with other forms of diabetes. And it’s applicable to people that don’t even have diabetes. So once I learned that information, I ended up meeting Robby halfway through graduate school. And then when we finally met each other, we were like, hey, how do you feel about being best friends? And he was like, cool, I’m into it. And I was like, cool. How do you feel about taking over the diabetes world. He’s like, cool, I’m into it, let’s do it.
Robby: Let’s go.
Cyrus: And then we decided that we wanted to really try and teach people living with all forms of diabetes how they could follow a similar path, so that they could get number one, credible science-based information. Number two, have the tools and the resources to be able to start changing their diet and lifestyle in a step by step manner. And therefore we built the coaching program, and we’ve sort of created, that’s the bread and butter of what we do. And I gotta say, I mean, five years into it, we’re going strong. I love what I do. I’m pretty sure Robbie loves what he does. And we’ve changed the lives of countless people at this point. And as far as I’m concerned, we’re only getting started.
Darin: Let’s just break down this a little bit for people. Define insulin resistance so people have that sense because they’re still coming. Let’s just break apart this whole fear of carbs thing, and talk about the biochemistry and how it’s actually working and why everything that people are doing now is wrong. Just those little things.
Cyrus: No big deal, no big deal. 500 years of research is incorrect.
Darin: Five minutes, go.
Cyrus: Okay. So here’s a simple way to think about it. I want to be very clear when I say that Robbie, and I do not have a vendetta against anybody in the low carbohydrate world. We don’t necessarily believe that people in the low carbohydrate world are wrong. We don’t point a finger at them. We don’t criticize them. None of that. We don’t name calls, none of that because we like to sort of educate and inspire with information and we try not to be negative about anything we do. So what we have discovered over the course of time is that the low carbohydrate methodology, the entire premise of the low carbohydrate methodology, whether it’s from Dr. Atkins back in the ’70s and ’90s, or whether it’s the Paleo diet, or whether it’s the ketogenic diet, or whether it’s a general low carbohydrate diet, this entire premise is founded upon the idea that carbohydrates cause disease. And the reason for that is because if you eat carbohydrate, anything, whether it’s a banana or whether it’s a cracker, you can monitor your blood glucose going up. So it’s a simple cause and effect relationship. It says, okay, if you eat carbohydrate, your blood glucose goes up, your blood glucose will eventually come down. But because when you do that, and when you eat protein and fat in substitution for carbohydrate, your blood glucose does not rise. That right there sets the entire stage and it says okay, carbohydrates make your blood glucose rise. If you eat that in excess bad things will happen to you. Correct? But here’s the problem. There are many problems with this methodology. When you take food, food is complex, whether you’re talking about animal based foods or whether you’re talking about plant based foods, foods contain multiple macro and micronutrients, carbohydrate, protein, fat. Those are the macronutrients. Vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, antioxidants, and phytochemicals in plants. We’re talking about nine classes of molecules. And within those nine classes of molecules, there are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of different varieties of different actual components that fall into each of these nine classes. So to be able to take the idea that of all the foods you’re eating and have all the macro and micronutrients, the only thing that matters is carbohydrate is overly simplistic. It is fundamentally incorrect, and it is just biologically inaccurate. It’s just that simple. So the second thing that I will say is that the low carbohydrate world, what they don’t do a very good job of, in my opinion, is they don’t do a good job differentiating between the types of carbohydrate that exists in the supermarket. There’s a clear distinction between foods that are refined, refined carbohydrate rich foods, and then there are whole carbohydrate rich foods. There is a very sharp distinction between the two of those. And if you fail to make that distinction or if you choose not to talk about them as completely different chemical species, then you’re also missing the bigger picture. The refined carbohydrates are things like cookies, crackers, chips, pastas, sodas, sugar, sugar, sweetened beverages, waffles, brownies, you name it. Those things have undergone a manufacturing process. They are so refined that in the process of refining, you’ve removed a lot of the vitamins, the minerals, the fiber, the water, antioxidants, you name it, and you end up with a collection of macronutrients that have been altered from their original state. When you eat a whole food, the whole food comes prepackaged with both the macros and the micros, and all nine classes, every single one of those nine classes exactly the way nature had intended. And when you either eat it without it being processed or minimally processed, you can preserve exactly the way that the food was designed by nature. So you have to make the distinction between those two classes of carbohydrates because if you don’t, then what you will do is you will lump all carbohydrate into one category and you will say, oh, carbs are bad for me. When people tell me, they’re on a low carb diet, I know what they’re trying to say. They’re trying to say, I’m trying to eat less bread. I’m trying to eat less packaged carbohydrates. That’s what they’re trying to say. But in reality, they just say, oh, I’m eating a low carb diet, right? I like to counter with people, and they say I’m eating a low carb diet. And I’m like, yeah, so am I. I don’t eat paper. I don’t eat wood. Both of those are technically carbohydrate rich, but it doesn’t make any sense if you don’t differentiate between what type of carbohydrate you’re actually talking about. The question really becomes, well, what causes insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition that is predominantly influenced not by the amount and type of carbohydrate that you eat. It is influenced by the amount and type of fat that you eat. And we know this, again, from over 100 years worth of evidence based research that clearly demonstrates that in both animal experiments, as well as human experiments, if you want to create diabetes in either an animal or a human, you do it by overfeeding them with fat. I mean, it was a huge, huge epiphany for me when I first went to graduate school and I learned that. And I was like, oh, man, how come everybody talks about sugar but yet the research world knows that if you want to make diabetes, you want to make insulin resistance, you overfeed on fat.
Darin: Yeah, so let’s make that distinction then. So if the regular person on the glucose monitoring, so they’ve eaten a banana, they’re freaked out about it already. They see their monitor goes up. So they’re like, oh, boy, I gotta not eat that banana anymore. I’m going to shift to the next gurus saying eat a bunch of fat. So now I’m on that journey. So now, what protects insulin sensitivity with the carbohydrates and then what destroys the insulin receptivity with the fat? So when you consume fat in food. The fat is locked up in a molecule called triglyceride. That’s what most of the fat exists as in food, whether it comes from animal products or whether it comes from plants. The animals are red meat, white meat, fish, chicken, dairy products, eggs. The plant based foods are going to be avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, coconuts and vegetable oils. So you eat fat in food, it comes in as triglycerides. The triglyceride goes in your mouth. It travels down your esophagus. It gets inside of your stomach, and then it starts to get unfolded and sort of partially digested inside of your stomach, and then it ends up in your small intestine. So when it comes specifically to fat, you got this triglyceride molecule. The term triglyceride refers to three fatty acids, that’s the term “tri,” and then glyceride basically means glycerol. So you take three fatty acids, and you bind it to glycerol, and you end up with what’s called a triglyceride molecule. The triglyceride is ripped apart and the glycerol are separated. And then the fatty acids are then absorbed through the wall of the small intestine, and they end up inside of your blood. So if these fatty acid molecules ended up going to the border of your adipose tissue, again, your fat which is sort of it’s everywhere, it’s in your neck, it’s in your chest, your triceps, your butt, your abdomen. If those fatty acids went inside of your adipose tissue, and only there then great, that’s actually a safe place to store them. It’s mechanically and enzymatically designed to take those fatty acids and hold on to them for a long period of time. But what happens is that the fatty acids go to your adipose tissue, and they also spill over into your liver and into your muscle. And as long as the amount of fat in your diet is pretty low to begin with, like less than 15% of all your calories, then your muscles and liver are happy. They’re getting small amounts of fatty acids from your blood, and everything is great.
Darin: So for years, maybe most of my life, people have been asking me, “What kind of foods do you eat? What kind of exercises do you do? What kind of water should I drink?” All of these things and so much more we put into a 21-day program so that can take you through a theme every day of knowledge, action, and then eating these delicious meals, working out, getting support, anchoring in these new habits so you can do what? So that you can kick ass. So you have the energy, the vitality to live the kind of life that you really want. That’s what it’s all about. So all in this app, we have grocery lists, we have education about real hydration and what greater oxygenation and the balance of alkalinization. All of these things we are diving into as you’re heading down this hero’s journey of implementation into a new life to give you the kind of life that you actually want. So join my Tribe. All you have to do is go 121tribe.com. Sign up, and you get three free days. Join me on this hero’s journey. Join the Tribe.
Cyrus: So if you’re eating a high fat diet, what you’re doing is you’re eating predominantly fat and protein, and you’re having only small amounts of carbohydrate energy. So you eat a fat rich meal for breakfast, and then lunch and then dinner, then you repeat that tomorrow and the next day, and so on and so forth. Now, the spillover outside of your adipose tissue into your liver and muscle is happening every single meal. So it’s happening for multiple hours after every single meal. And at certain point, your liver and muscles are being forced to over accumulate fatty acids and that’s not what they were designed to do. You also have a glycogen granule. The glycogen granule is the storage form of carbohydrate or glucose. So these tissues are designed to predominantly use glucose as their fuel source. And they have an ability to store glycogen and to burn glucose all the time, and to use small amounts of fatty acids. But when you’re constantly pouring, more and more and more fatty acids, then the lipid droplet begins to grow and grow and grow and grow and grow to a point where it’s abnormally large. So when that lipid droplet grows inside of your liver, inside of your muscle in trillions of cells simultaneously, what those cells try and do is initiate a self defense mechanism. And the self defense mechanism is designed to try and block more stuff, more energy from coming in because the tissues are now getting overloaded actually with just straight up energy. So what they want to do is try and block more stuff from coming in. They want less fat, they want less glucose, they want less amino acids, they want less than everything. So the easiest way to block more energy from coming into any tissue, period, end of story is to just block insulin because insulin is your master anabolic hormone. In other words, it’s the hormone that promotes more fuel storage and more growth than any other hormone in your body. So if you can basically just tell insulin to go away and not pay attention to it, then you’re doing a really good job of blocking stuff from coming inside. So that’s what they do as a self defense mechanism, but what that means is that the next time, if you’ve already developed this problem of over accumulating fatty acids in your liver and muscle, then two days later you decide that you’re going to eat a banana because why not? You feel like you want to eat a banana or you have a bowl of qinoa or you have some black beans. What ends up happening is that the glucose that’s present inside of those foods, tries to get inside of your liver and muscle as well. So in order for that to happen, insulin has to be the escort so insulin goes, knock, knock, “There’s glucose in the blood, do you want to take it up? And the liver and muscle respond by saying, “No, no, no, no, no, I cannot take this stuff up right now, remember? I’m not even paying attention to you right now.” So they close the door to insulin, and they just literally leave insulin inside of the blood, and they don’t respond as well. So as a result of that, it leaves insulin inside of the blood. It doesn’t respond to it. Which means that glucose is also trapped inside of your blood, because glucose requires insulin to be able to get inside of these tissues. So now insulin and glucose are trapped inside of your blood. And what does that do? Well, it raises your glucose level, and it raises your insulin level the same time. So classic insulin resistance, absolute classic insulin resistance is you show up at the doctor, and the doctor checks your blood and goes, “Oh, hey, by the way, your fasting glucose is elevated, your average blood glucose is elevated, and your fasting insulin is elevated. Well, that’s weird.” Why do you have too much insulin? Why do you have too much glucose in your blood? And the answer is, because there’s a metabolic traffic jam inside of your liver and muscle that’s stopping the show. Again, this is what people in the world of diabetes are experiencing every single day. They’re already eating a low carbohydrate diet. And then they try in and on top of that to add a banana or something carbohydrate rich, and they experience a high blood glucose and they get frustrated. And they say, “Oh, I told you bananas are bad for me. I told you potatoes are bad for me. I guess I’m not going to eat carbs.” But what they don’t realize is that it’s not the bananas fault, it’s not the carbohydrate’s fault, it’s not the mangoes fault. It’s everything that came before that food that caused the traffic jam that blocked insulin from doing its job properly.
Darin: So I have a couple questions. So one is, what’s the long-term consequence of this over saturated, over-lipid filled metabolic system if these people are just cutting off these carbs and not having this full spectrum diet and they’re living in this, kind of sounds like hell, what’s the overall consequence to that?
Cyrus: Yeah, the consequences are actually relatively disastrous. And I’m not trying to paint like a grim picture here, but the truth is that if you look at the evidence-based research, you’ll find that insulin resistance is associated with practically every chronic disease that we can name. The number one most telling indicator of whether or not someone is going to develop a heart attack into the future or have a what’s called sudden cardiac event into the future is the amount of insulin that’s in their blood today. So if you are living in a hyperinsulinemic state, meaning that you have excess insulin in your blood today, that is a strong indicator that into the future, in the next 5 to 10 years, you’re putting yourself at risk for a cardiovascular event. And most people have no idea that that’s actually true. So in addition to that, when you develop more insulin resistance, not only can you increase your risk for future cardiac event, but actually, it’s very common for people to develop high cholesterol. It’s very common for them to become hypertensive or have high blood pressure. There’s a whole body of research that now shows that when you develop insulin resistance in your liver and muscle, that you can also develop insulin resistance inside of your brain and you can predispose yourself to dementia and Alzheimer’s into the future. And that’s scary because dementia and Alzheimer’s are very challenging conditions. People also end up struggling with weight. They become overweight. They gain weight and they have a very difficult time losing it over the course of time. People end up losing a lot of energy, and their digestive system starts to go haywire in a short period of time. And when I say digestive system, I mean, they end up with frequent gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain. And there’s this term referred to as dysbiosis which is basically when your microbiome has a completely altered physiological function. And all of these can be traced back to the development of insulin resistance and the consumption of a diet that has simply too much fat especially if that fat comes from saturated sources. In the long-term, it paints a pretty grim picture.
Darin: Now, the other side is how does this work if people go, listen, everything is the opposite of what appears to be, ladies and gentlemen. You’re hearing it right here, right now. So now talk us through and liberate us from this carbohydrate fear.
Robby: This is the fun part, Darin. We’ve created a very simple system to follow, to maximize your insulin sensitivity. We’re talking about eating whole foods and meeting your essential fatty acid requirements through sensible, logical evidence-based nutrition. So we have three categories. We have a green light category, yellow light category, and red light category. So green light foods are foods that we recommend you eat when you’re hungry until you’re satisfied. These are foods you don’t need to limit or be scared of because that’s the basic philosophy out there is, oh, you could have a little bit of carbohydrate but just don’t eat too much. Count that, be careful. And literally, Darin, we’re saying the exact opposite. If it’s the right food, this is what Cyrus was saying, the distinction between processed carbohydrates and the whole carbohydrates. So at the top of the green light category we list fruits because we’re just like you, we love fruits. I’ve read your book and you’re a big fan of fruits. And the research is also very clear that eating whole fruits in a low-fat environment is a brilliant decision. So we’re talking bananas, mangoes, pears, peaches, nectarines, cherries. I mean, in our book, this is the fun part. We went and we listed every single green leaf in all these different categories, and it’s the fruit category that’s the longest. There’s the most variety that we have available to us in our regular grocery stores when it comes to fruit which is really fun. So all of it is on the green light list. Then, the second category, we have starchy vegetables, that’s potatoes, yams, butternut squashes, go to town on those foods. Then we list beans, peas, and lentils. So you’re going to find your black beans in there. You’re going to find green lentils, red lentils. And as you know, the longest lived people, you know, Dan Buettner’s blue zones that he studies that the one commonality amongst all of them was beans. So it’s a big part of the Mastering Diabetes method. Then we have intact whole grains, intact being the key phrase there. So we’re talking farro, millet. We put quinoa in this category. You’re gonna find whole wheat in that category. So the first four categories are foods that literally, people with diabetes had been told avoid or limit. And we’re putting those first saying, you know what, no. Actually, we want you to emphasize those foods because when you switch to a plant-based diet, if you don’t eat enough of the calorie-providing foods, the calorie-dense plant-based foods, you are going to be hungry, and you’re going to be craving that cheeseburger, you’re going to be craving that steak because you didn’t eat enough calories. If you start eating like a rabbit and just eat lettuce and carrots and a bunch of salads all day, it’s not going to work. And so we got to break through that fear of whole carbohydrates and focus on those categories first. And then you also include plenty of, we have non starchy vegetables. So it’s gonna be bell peppers. We’re gonna put carrots in there. So foods like that. Then you get into leafy greens, arugula, spinach, colored green, swiss chard, all that stuff. Then we have mushrooms and then we have herbs and spices. Those are all the green light food categories that we say go to town. And when you learn how to prepare meals and combine those foods, you get away from that crave. So it’s really fun. And then the yellow light category, this is where we get into making sure we’re not consuming excess processed foods and excess fat. So yellow light foods include avocado, nuts and seeds, coconut meat, soy products, and olives. Those are the higher fat yellow light foods. They’re all great. They’re nutrient densed, eat them. Just be congnizant of how much you’re consuming. So the most whole form of soy is edamame. And that’s a great snack food. I mean, people, you just get a bag from whole foods and like heat it up and boom, you’re just snacking on it. It’s great. So that’s 40% of calories coming from fat. So you just got to be careful when you are a person who is already struggling with insulin resistance. That’s what this program is about. This is the program teaching you how to maximize your insulin sensitivity and the results come in very quickly when you’re following the protocol. Then we also have from the yellow light category processed foods, so brown rice, pasta, or ezekiel bread, great foods. They’re good. They’re high quality. It’s just they are a little bit more processed, the nutrients are going to be damaged, so they are not as nutirent densed. Then the red light category, these are foods we suggest you minimize or completely avoid altogether. And that’s going to be animal products or that’s going to be red meat, white meat. We’re going to have chicken in there. We’re going to have fish. That stuff, you minimize, you avoid. Then we also have oils in this category, and processed junkfood. Just to be clear, I mean, nobody is advocating that Twinkies are healthy or that poptarts are good, but we want to be clear. We are going to put that in the red light category. And oils are there because they are refined. Highly, highly refined foods, the most calorie densed food in the planet, 4,000 calories per pound whereas when you’re eating something like fruits, it’s going to be 300 to 350 calories per pound, just so you could understand the dramatic difference. We’re talking about the magnitude of excess calories per bite. That’s the thing about calorie density, it’s a constant. So it doesn’t matter how much oil you have. It’s still 40 times calorie densed than eating greens, it doesn’t matter the quantity. So big problem for people who are trying to lose weight and for people who are trying to maximize their insulin sensitivity. As people living with Type One Diabetes, Cyrus, myself and the hundreds and thousands of Type Ones that we work with, and we can see the impact that oil has on our blood glucose management in our insulin requirements immediately. And if anybody wants to argue with us, go to town about whether or not somebody’s living with diabetes should be using oil, like, come on over. Let’s have a party. We’ll do a little test and just watch the numbers unfold. Hidden oils are one of the biggest problems when it comes to why America has an obesity crisis. They’re everywhere. And you can easily learn how to cook without oil. You can easily learn how to make delicious meals. It doesn’t even add that much flavor, it’s not necessary. So for maximum insulin sensitivity, definitely, reduce or limit oil. That’s the categories. It’s very simple. It’s very clear.
Darin: Can you touch on this emphasis of high protein as it relates. I kind of imagine, it’s a very similar thing because you can’t really, unless you’re taking in a protein powder of 300 grams a day with no fat in it, that’s really the only way you’re going to separate the two of saturated fat and protein. But can you just touch on that high protein side of things and the detriment potentially of focusing on protein as a overly increased amount to consume.
Cyrus: Yeah, it’s a great question because we’ve been talking predominantly about fat and saturated fat in impairing the insulin signaling pathway in liver and muscle. But it turns out that there’s a direct affect that protein has on insulin signaling as well. It’s just less pronounced as the saturated fat mechanism. So there are some papers that are actually conducted in people with Type One Diabetes because Robby was saying we’re incredible test subjects and what they do is they take people and they feed them a dinner meal, they take people and they split them in two different groups. They feed them the same amount of carbohydrate in both groups. But to one group, they feed them a low-protein meal, and the second group, they feed them a high-protein meal. So same amount of carbohydrate, the only variable is how much protein is going in that meal. And their question is, well, does the amount of protein actually affect carbohydrate absorption and insulin needs over the course of the next 2 to 12 hours. And what they find is that when the amount of protein increases beyond 30 grams in one meal, then blood glucose starts to rise in what they refer to as the late post-prandial stage, which basically means starting at 3 hours after the meal is over, that’s when glucose begins to rise and continue rising. Starting at 3 hours after the meal, that’s when insulin need starts to rise and continue to rise. And so they’ve done some pretty sophisticated math to try and figure out, well, how much more insulin would you have to inject or how much insulin would Darin’s pancreas have to secret in order to handle that 30 grams of protein and some of the estimates are as high as 65% more insulin as required in that late post-prandial state. One meal, 30 grams of protein leaves to a 65% increase in protein requirements over the course of the next 6 to 12 hours. Does that mean that protein is bad for you you should avoid all protein? No, definitely not. There’s also one more distinction that’s worth making. The type of protein that you consume matters in the same way that the type of carbohydrate you consume matters in the same way that the type of fat you consume matters. Protein generally comes from one or two sources, you either have protein that comes for animal sources or protein that comes fro plant sources. Now the two of them have different metabolic effects. The protein that comes from animal sources tends to have more sulfurinated amino acids. More amino acids that contain sulfur in them and that can go on to create a number of different sort of chemical reactions that researchers believe could be responsible for things like the development of insulin resistance, reduction in insulin signaling. I’ve seen it even liked with osteoporosis as well. And I see it linked with alterations in this gut microbiome. Whether or not that is true as a result of these amino acids or not, I don’t know if that is a true statement, but the idea here is that animal protein tends to be more problematic from the insulin signaling perspective also from the cardiovascular perspective. And plant-based proteins tend to be less problematic because they don’t pose those same risks to various chronic diseases.
Darin: I really want people to dive deep into this stuff. Certainly, get their book but where are the websites people can follow you guys and learn more about this incredible kind of breakthrough information being rediscovered again.
Robby: Okay, so the best place to start is masteringdiabetes.org, and you go there, there’s actually a quiz. You can take a quiz and say, okay, wait a minute, am I insulin resistant because like Cyrus was sying, this impact a lot of people. So if you’re struggling to lose weight, if you have brain fog, if you just have low energy, insulin resistance could be the culprit here. So take the quiz, see where you’re at and then decide what you want to do next. That’s on our website. And then we are pretty much everywhere else. You can find us on Instagram, on YouTube, on Facebook, @masteringdiabetes, and we have a podcast so if you like listening to podcast, check us out, just type in Mastering Diabetes into any of the platforms and you’ll find us. And the book, you can find it wherever books are sold. So it’s on Amazon, Barns & Noble. We read our own audiobook which was really fun, so that’s on Audible.
Darin: It’s so good.
Robby: Yeah, so we got to add some extra information at the beginning of each chapter and a couple of things that we could say about research that came out before the book was like locked in. So we added the audiobook which was really fun. If you’re living internationally, you can get it in Book Depository. There’s a website that will ship it anywhere in the world for free. I don’t know how this company stays in business, but they discount the cover price of the book and they will send it anywhere free shipping, so that’s always fun. And we highly encourage you guys to check it out, read the reviews on Amazon, that’s always fun. And sometimes, I like going to Amazon and click to look inside. You can read a bunch of the book for free. Go ahead, we just want you to apply this information, put it into action, and live your best life.
Darin: That’s amazing. You guys rock. I really appreciate your time and we’ll do our flip podcast here very soon and we’ll let it rip then too. So I appreciate you guys.
Robby: Thank you, Darin.
Cyrus: Darin, you’re the man. Thank you so much.
Darin: Thanks, fellas.
Darin: What a fantastic episode. So tell me, what is one thing you got out of today’s conversation? If this episode struck a chord with you and you want to dive a little deeper into my other conversations with incredible guests, you can head over to my website, darinolien.com for more episodes and in-depth articles. Keep diving my friends. Keep diving.
Darin: This episode is produced by my team at Must Amplify, an audio marketing company that specializes in giving a voice to a brand and making sure the right people hear it. If you would like or are thinking about doing a podcast or even would like a strategy session to add your voice to your brand in a powerful way, go to www.mustamplify.com/darin. That’s www.mustamplify.com/darin.