Episode #49: Ask the Primal Doctor – Q&A with Dr. Cate Shanahan


Description: Brad Kearns has another interesting meeting with Dr. Cate Shanahan of the Primal Advantage 1:1 Metabolic Consulting Program. Cate discusses some recent revelations heard on previous podcasts as well as answer some questions sent in to Mark’s Daily Apple.

The show opens with a follow up question that started on last week’s podcast with Rob Hogan, who is a world champion Speed golfer. During Rob’s interview with Brad on the Primal Blueprint Podcast, he described doing a 17-mile run without carrying any calories or hydration. As he started to run low on blood sugar during the latter stages of the run, he experienced an intense craving for and visualization of a can of Fanta orange soda.

As Rob continued with his effort despite energy depletion, he related that after struggle the cravings disappeared, and that furthermore his cravings for sugars in his diet have disappeared since that day! Cate commented briefly during that show and elaborates at the start of this show. Cate explains what probably happened involving the rewiring of appetite hormones in his brain, particularly the hormone ghrelin. (01:00)

Due to the intense and shocking experience of the depletion run, Rob likely upregulated his fat and ketone burning ability in a dramatic and lasting manner. Crazy as the story sounds, Cate asserts that exercise can indeed be a powerful way to alter appetite mode and to rewire cravings. (06:10)

Having sweets after exercise is the worst thing you can do. (08:30)

Short sprints once a week help reprogram the genes’ rate of metabolism and protein synthesis. (12:00)

When modifying the diet, the number one offenders are the bad oils. These are the chemically processed industrial seed oils. They directly cause damage to the DNA. Number two offenders are the sugars. They indirectly cause damage by glycation bonding to healthy proteins. (13:15)

What is it about processed food that is bad? It is important to learn about particularly the processed oils. When you go into an average restaurant, 30 percent of the calories you eat there are from vegetable oils. This is true even in high end restaurants, so you must be vigilant in your diet and dining out to totally eliminate industrial vegetable and seed oils and partially hydrogenated oils. They inflict direct damage at the cellular level to the extent that the effect can be compared to getting a dose of radiation. (14:30)

Dr. Cate works with the Lakers guiding their dietary input. When they travel, they stay in the very finest of hotels but it is difficult to find the restaurants therein to be free of vegetable oils. She consults with the various chefs in the hotels to help her decide what the team should avoid. They aren’t necessarily low carb, but they are carbohydrate controlled in their diets when they travel. (18:00)

A question from a listener asks about grape seed oils. What is wrong with them? Dr. Cate explains that it really depends on how they are processed, just like with olive oils. Grape seed oil can be like a boutique confection: small bottles and big price. This would be best. If it is in large quantity, cold pressed and unrefined, it is not desirable. Olive oils that has been imported from Europe, is usually not the best. Often the regulations aren’t as strict, and it comes from a long distance, over a long period of time. It is preferable to buy the more local product. A taste test should tell the difference in all of these oils. (20:00)

Another question from a listener asks, “Does primal diet offer enough nutrition for a pregnant woman and her developing child?” Dr. Cate refers them to her book, Deep Nutrition in which the main message is to stay away from processed food. (24:00)

Brad mentioned that some folks think eating sushi is bad if you are pregnant. Dr. Cate explained that the main concern is hygiene of the preparation and the freshness of the fish. As with any food, the hygiene is a concern. Fresh sushi is more of a problem than the frozen fish since the problematic parasites would have probably been killed. It would be important to be aware of the way the sushi is prepared. (25:40)

A listener suggests that the Primal Blueprint lifestyle is geared more toward male audience than females. She asks, “Are there different guidelines for women who want to take on this primal lifestyle?” Dr. Cate simply says for everyone, both men and women eating ancestrally should eat the food your genes expect. (28:20)

Do women respond better with more carbohydrate intake than do men? Dr. Cate explains that there is indeed a difference in the way the carbs are used in the body. Women are generally known to be able to burn a little more fat, while men are more prone to use protein to build muscle and create glycogen from that. (29:40)

Brad asks Dr. Cate how Primal Advantage consultation service is coming along. She is very excited about how well folks have taken to it. It takes time to go deep into some of the assumptions we have had about food. She uses custom-designed blood tests, dietary journaling, food diary for a metabolic snapshot. She is going internationally but prefers English-speaking patients. She has a guest post on Mark’s Daily Apple about gluten. Today’s “gluten-free” fad is so popular but the gluten problem is not always the problem. (31:00)

Brad pointed out there is much information out there. Check blog.primalblueprint.com and info@primalblueprint.com.

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One thought on “Episode #49: Ask the Primal Doctor – Q&A with Dr. Cate Shanahan

  1. kem johnson

    Dr Noaks reminds us in “Waterloggged” that Bill Rodgers took no nutrition for his 2:09:55 Boston Marathon. Earlier runners did nearly as well with no water.


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