Are you feeling frustrated with your weight, metabolism, or energy levels? Do you feel like you've tried everything and nothing seems to work?
If so, you're not alone. Midlife can be a challenging time for many women. Our bodies change, our hormones fluctuate, and it can be difficult to stay on top of our game.
But there is hope! In this episode of The Hormone Prescription Podcast, we speak with Dr. Ted Naiman about the P:E diet. This way of eating has helped countless women achieve their ideal body composition and metabolic fitness.
In this episode, you'll learn:
-What the PE diet is and how it can help you lose fat and improve your metabolic fitness
-The single most important factor for body composition and metabolic fitness
-How to create a personalized PE diet plan that works for you
If you're ready to achieve your ideal body composition and metabolic fitness, this episode is for you! Tune in now and learn the secrets of the PE diet.
(00:00): Everything in life is on a U-shaped curve. Dr. Ted Naman.
(00:06): So the big question is, how do women over 40 like us keep weight off, have great energy, balance our hormones and our moods, feel sexy and confident, and master midlife? If you're like most of us, you are not getting the answers you need and remain confused and pretty hopeless to ever feel like yourself again. As an O B gyn, I had to discover for myself the truth about what creates a rock solid metabolism, lasting weight loss, and supercharged energy after 40, in order to lose a hundred pounds and fix my fatigue. Now I'm on a mission. This podcast is designed to share the natural tools you need for impactful results and to give you clarity on the answers to your midlife metabolism challenges. Join me for tangible, natural strategies to crush the hormone imbalances you are facing and help you get unstuck from the sidelines of life. My name is Dr. Kyrin Dunston. Welcome to the Hormone Prescription Podcast.
(01:00): Hi, thank you so much for joining me for another episode of the Hormone Prescription with Dr. Kyrin. My guest today is Dr. Ted Naiman and whatever diet you use, whatever is your diet religion, you definitely wanna listen to this episode because pretty much every diet gets this one thing wrong and it wrecks havoc with your body composition as you age. And your metabolic fitness bottom line is it's part of the reason that you don't feel 100% as you age. So you definitely wanna listen up. He's got some great science for you on macronutrients and what you need to be doing to maximize this informational input into your body because yes, the food you eat is actually information that informs your body. So it is calories, but it's also nutritional information in the form macronutrients, micronutrients. And then it also has this subtle energy tea or prana, whatever you choose to call it, flowing through it as well.
(02:03): So you want high quality food, but if you're not picking the right one, then you want to listen up to Dr. Ted Naiman on the PE diet. He's gonna tell you what PE means. He's also going to tell you why everything in life is on a U shape curve. And this is super important. So many of us are living at one point of the U or the other point of the U and he's gonna tell you why everything exists on a U-shape curve, how this affects your health, and mostly how to optimize your U-shaped curve. So I'll tell you a little bit about Dr. Ted Naiman and then we'll get started. So Dr. Ted Naiman is a board certified family medicine physician in the department of Primary care at a leading major medical center in Seattle. His personal research and medical practice are focused on the practical implementation of diet and exercise for health optimization.
(02:55): And he's the author of the PE Diet. Basically when he got into practice and he saw the high rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, et cetera, he was extremely frustrated because in our medical training we don't get education on nutrition at all, just like we don't get education on hormone. And so he really started diving deep into the research to see what he could do to help his patients. And he came up with a PE diet and it's pretty revolutionary and brilliant. And like I said, whatever your diet religion, this will apply and it will help you. So please welcome Dr. Ted NaIman to the podcast.
(03:34): Oh wow. Thank you Dr. Dunston for having me. I appreciate it. So
(03:38): Let's start with how you became so enthralled or what helped you to understand, because you're traditionally trained, like I am in your medical schooling, and we didn't get training in nutrition. We didn't get information on what's important, how, why protein's important, macronutrients, micronutrients, really we didn't get that. So what led you to really dive more deeply into this topic and expand your knowledge about it?
(04:12): Oh yeah, I, well, thank you. And I've been interested in diet pretty much my whole life. I had kind of a unique background in that I was raised as a Seventh Day Adventist, which is this crazy religion where they are mostly vegetarian. And I ended up going to a Adventist medical school at Lo Linda in California, which is one of these famous plant-based meccas and everyone's vegetarian or vegan. And so I kind of grew up and was indoctrinated with all of this sort of like, you know, plant based is the best sort of thing. And so I was kind of interested in, in diet from the beginning, but I also realized that, you know, most of the people around me on a plant based but diet were not really healthier than anybody else. And I wasn't really healthier than anybody else. And then I went to my residency and I ended up meeting all these patients with like horrible diabetes and just horrible obesity and all these huge complications.
(05:09): I got introduced to a patient who went on a low-carb diet and had this massive weight loss and reversed diabetes through all his pills away. And, and he had done this with basically just eating a bunch of meat, and I'm like, Oh wow, this is, you know, maybe this pure plant based thing is not the entire story. Maybe there's more to it than that. So I've that was about 20 years ago and ever since I've just been researching the heck out of diet and exercise and health and body composition. And I've kind of come to the realization that there are all these levers that drive, you know, how much or how little people eat. And it's really transcends this plant versus animal thing, which is where I started out from. And it also kind of transcends low-carb versus low fat, which is something I was stuck in the middle of this eternal low-carb versus low fat war for a long time. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So that's kind of how I got to where I am writing the book, the PE diet and just sort of rising above the plant versus animal and low-carb versus low fat debates.
(06:08): Well, you know, it's interesting you say plant versus animal because I think that a lot of people become very reductive and think that that's what determines whether you're eating a healthy diet or not. Are you vegan, vegetarian, lacto pescatarian, right? Do you eat animal animal protein or not? Do you eat animal protein or not? But the truth is, you can be a vegetarian or a vegan and have a very unhealthy diet. You can be a carnivore and eat plant-based and have a very unhealthy diet, and you can do both of those and have a healthy diet, wouldn't you say?
(06:45): Absolutely. So there's, there's just so many examples out there of really bad plant-based diets or really good ones. And the same thing for low carb fat and the same thing for carnivores and every single diet you can do it wrong, paleo and you name it. And there are plenty of examples of how that could be helpful in certain circumstances and unhelpful in others. And each of these diets has something that's kind of driving the success that a lot of people see with them, but then other ways that you could do it wrong, which basically makes that particular diet religion not the entire answer in and of itself. And you really have to kind of rise above all the diet tribes and religions and look at what's driving success in all of these. And then you've got some rules that you can go by and be successful on any diet pattern really.
(07:37): I love how you call it diet, religion, people. I've read data that says that people find it harder to change their diet than their religion <laugh>.
(07:49): Yeah. I mean they're pretty much the same thing, honestly, why do
(07:51): You say
(07:52): That? Usually when we don't really understand how something works, we have to give it this sort of mystical religious flavor, right? And I think nutrition's been in the dark ages forever and nobody really quite has understood it in the past. And so we have to mystify it and we have to make it sort of magical and religious like, you know, paleo. All I know is that if you make sure it's paleo, you're going to lose weight to be healthy. It just has to follow these little rules. I don't really know why, but that's just how it works, you know? So we have these like almost religious level beliefs about diet when, when we don't really understand it. But much like religion, nobody really knows what religion is. So we have to make stuff up and be very mystical and mysterious about it. And so dye is the same way and it's really kind of out of ignorance cuz we don't actually know, you know, we're just guessing.
(08:42): I love that. I love that analogy. I've never heard that. That's great. All right, so let's back up. You mentioned the PE diet book that you wrote. So tell everybody what that is. What does it stand for? What does it mean? What led you to write this book?
(08:56): So the PE diet, this stands for protein versus non protein energy. And it's really just based on the work of professors Robin Heimer and Simpson, these two researchers in Australia who stumbled across the protein leverage phenomenon and published this about a decade ago. And protein leverage is this extremely powerful phenomenon where most animals on earth will eat until they get enough protein and only then will they stop eating and it supplies from like insects and fish and birds and mammals and all the way up to humans, definitely humans. So it turns out that humans have this super powerful protein leverage phenomenon and you basically eat until you get enough protein, and it's really unique among the macronutrients. So if you look it up the entire planet, there are people who eat tons of carbs and hardly any fat, and people eat tons of fat and hardly any carbs, but protein is just extremely conserved throughout all groups on the planet.
(09:54): Everyone's dialed in at, you know, like 15% protein and they're all eating very exact amounts of protein. And it turns out that if you give animals a protein dilute food, they basically have to over consume calories to get enough protein. Maybe if you give animals a higher protein concentration food, they just automatically eat less protein energy. So protein percentage is probably the single largest factor when it comes to how many calories you're eating on an adlib diet when you're just basically just eating mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And the reason that it's important is because over the past 60 years of the obesity epidemic, the protein percentage of the food supply has significantly gone down, which is protein dilution. So everyone basically just has to eat more calories to get enough protein to not be hungry. You know, it's like, let's say you need a hundred grams of protein a day to not be hungry, but you're eating, you know, french fries, which are, you know, potatoes and oil and 6% protein, and you have to eat an extra 800 calories to get enough protein to not be hungry later on. And that's just a huge driver of the obesity epidemic. And I think a lot of people are unaware that this is even happening.
(11:03): I think that they are, and I, I, I don't know, but you working with women over 40, I really think that most women believe they are getting enough protein. I think that they underestimate how much protein they actually need. And I know a lot of women who they, they'll eat one egg, you know, a hard bold egg for breakfast and they, they'll say that's enough. Or they'll have a few little pieces of chicken on their salad, and they think that's enough. So how come we're so confused about how much protein we need? But first off, would you agree? And it sounds like you do, but Yeah, Yeah,
(11:39): Well absolutely. And, and so everybody's eating enough protein to be alive by definition. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And then the question is, you know, how many calories did you have to eat to get that protein? So the RDA for protein's pretty low. It's, you know, 60 grams, you know, most women in this country, average woman is eating 60, 70 grams of protein a day and they're definitely eating enough to be alive. But the problem is, you know, how many calories did you have to get that eat to get that protein? And if you had a higher protein percentage food and got those grams of protein faster, would you be able to eat less and have better body composition? And the answer is definitely yes. There's also a difference between protein adequacy and optimal protein. So if you're really, really interested in body composition, you want the highest lean mass you can get at the lowest fat mass, and that's where you look the best.
(12:33): And that's where you have the highest insulin sensitivity and the best metabolic health. So pretty much every woman who comes to see me has the same goal. They want more muscle and less fat. They might not realize this, but that's what they want, both for metabolic health and reversing diabetes and anything related to insulin resistance and also just to feel good and look good naked and all these things, right? It's all about body composition, more muscle as fat. And what happens when you look at the protein versus energy ratio of your diet? Protein is supporting your lean mass and carbs of fats are supporting your fat mass. And so when you eat a higher pro-protein percentage of your diet, you just automatically get more protein and less carve in fats and you're improving body composition automatically. And what's driving that is basically protein leverage.
(13:22): And that you can take any animal, any omnivore mammal and just increase the protein percentage of its diet, and it will automatically eat less calories. That's extremely powerful. It's almost linear from like 10% to 30% of calories from protein. You have this extremely linear reduction in how many calories people eat with a very powerful gear ratio. It's like 10 to one for every calorie of protein you eat. You eat 10 fewer calories of carbs and fats between this 10% to 30% protein range in human diet. And just extremely powerful mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And I think, like you said, when women actually like track how much protein they, they're eating sometimes it's quite abysmal. You know, like you're like, Oh, I ate an egg for breakfast. Yeah, that's six grams of protein, and you know, you might need 120 grams to not be hungry. So, you know, you're mm-hmm.
(14:15): <Affirmative> got a long way to go. So I, I think there's this protein awareness that people don't have. They, they, they're like, Oh yeah, I eat protein, I eat egg every single morning. That's protein. Yeah, that's six grams of protein. So, you know, if you look at any of your bikini models or bodybuilders or aesthetic people, they're just, you know, eating five times that much or more, you know mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And I think a lot of people just aren't aware of how powerful that is and how important that is and, and what a really good lever that is for improving body composition.
(14:45): So let's talk about something that's very popular right now cuz it popped in my mind cuz it's all their age. Everyone's doing intermittent fasting and they're so people are very proud of how small their eating window is. And one of my biggest concerns is, well, one is the stress on the cortisol when you fast that long, but also protein, can you get enough protein when you're intermittent fasting? Can you speak to that, those
(15:12): Issues? So intermittent fasting is definitely, it's on a u-shaped curve where like a, I like a light amount of intermittent fasting. I pretty much never recommend over a 16 eight where you have an eight hour eating window and a 16 hour fast. And I think doing a little bit of that might help people get more in touch with hunger and fullness and at least feel slightly more comfortable operating in a lower glycogen state where they're, you know, living off a stored body fat. But you really don't wanna push that too far because a bunch of stuff happens. First of all, as you get hungrier and hungrier when you do go to refeed your food choices are not as good. It's, you're not necessarily reaching for the skinless chicken breast and the salad you're eating like a whole jar of peanut butter.
(15:58): If you, if you shove your eating window down into one hour, you get so hungry that your food choices are not quite as good. The other thing is, if you're trying to build muscle at the same time as losing fat, which is recomposition, which is what everybody should constantly be trying to do forever, it's really hard to have optimal muscle protein synthesis when you don't have amino acids available. So if you're eating really small windows and you're trying to work out and build muscle, you might not get as far as you could if you had a wider eating window and more amino acid availability. If you're eating more protein more often, you get more protein synthesis basically. There's also muscle protein breakdown where the longer you go without eating, the more muscle protein breakdown you get. Cuz your body needs amino acids from somewhere.
(16:45): And if you're not eating carbohydrate, you have to manufacture it out of amino acids, which means breaking down some muscle at some point. So anyone who's had any kind of starvation event, their, you know, half of their weight that they're losing is skeletal muscle and half is fat. So as you go longer and longer without eating, the more of the weight that you lose is lean mass that you don't want to lose. So extended fasting is not that great. You're gonna lose half of it as lean mass. You're gonna get super hungry and refe on basically peanut butter. You're going to have no muscle protein synthesis during that period of time. So you, you really wanna be careful with intermittent fasting and I like just a little bit of it, just enough to kind of know what it's like to be actually hungry, if you know what I'm saying. And but I'm not a big fan OFin fast. I don't recommend it. You're absolutely right. There are big problems with protein adequacy and what you're really trying to do is maximize muscle and minimize fat at the same time, which means you do need to eat and you do need to eat protein. You're just trying to improve the ratio of protein and non-protein energy.
(17:51): Yeah. Okay, great. Thanks for addressing that. And I'm wondering if we can jump back to, we talked about how people don't have protein awareness, they think that I ate an egg, I'm good, but it only has six grams of protein and if you need 120 grams in a day and you've really got a lot of eating to do, so everybody listening is probably wondering, well, how do I know if I'm getting enough protein? So what would you tell them, Ted? How to know how much protein they need? And then next would be how to know how much to eat. Because I think that a lot of people don't like using calculators or measuring things and they wanna be able to eyeball the toe. What are some rules of thumb to make sure they get enough, but starting with how do I know how much I need?
(18:38): Well, first of all, you know, the goal is eventually for everyone to just eat without having to track anything. Like, you know, you eventually don't wanna have to track, you just want to eat and not have to worry about macros or anything. But I think everybody should track their macros at least for a week or two. Just to re just have the awareness of, oh wow, I thought this was a high protein food. It's really just mostly fat, you know what I'm saying? You eat the hot dog and you're like, Oh, that's protein. Oh it's actually like, you know, 15 grams of fat and five grams of protein. And a lot of people, what they think is protein is really mostly fat or very little protein. So tracking, learning how to track for a week or two is, is critical and I recommend that to all of my patients.
(19:21): And you, you do that so that eventually you won't have to track basically. But when it comes to protein, if your goal is to really get the, if you're exercising, if you're doing resistance training, you know, let's say you're lifting weights twice a week and you're trying to add some muscle and lose fat at the same time and every single person on earth should be doing exactly that. You probably want, if you want optimal muscle building and you want optimal protein satiety for fat loss, you basically want to eat one gram per pound of protein one gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight. Now that's not what you weigh now, that's not what you wanna weigh. That's, that's what you should weigh if you had perfect body composition at your height. So you go by your height, it's like, how much should I weigh if I was a model, if I was in perfect shape, You know what I mean? So like I'm five 10 and ideal body weight for a five 10 male is 160 pounds. And so I would aim for 160 grams protein day, one gram per pound of ideal body weight, not actual weight, but what you should weigh if you were flawless, basically,
(20:27): And I just wanna, I'm gonna intro interject in there for women, if you're a hundred pound, I'm sorry, if you're five feet, you should weigh average body, ideal body weight, it would be a hundred pounds. And for every inch you are over five feet, add five pounds. Now that's just an average, but I know some of you're wondering, well, how do I know what my ideal body weight is? So I wanted to give you a little quick measure that you can use. Go ahead.
(20:53): Absolutely. Yeah, that's perfect. Thank you very much. I have that in the book and that's a brilliant point. Women should weigh a hundred pounds of five feet and then five pounds for every inch. So if you're five five, you should weigh 125 pounds. That would be ideal. Perfect. weight. And that's a really good rule of thumb for how much, how many grams of protein. So five, five women would want 125 grams of protein for men, you get an extra 10 pounds. So men should weigh 110 at five feet and also the same as women, five pounds for every additional inch. Another, we care about men on this five in particular, but that yeah, that's just basically a really good rule of thumb is a hundred pounds, five feet and five pounds for every inch. And I think that not only is this amount of per protein gonna allow you to build the most muscle optimal muscle growth, but it's mostly gonna get you the highest satiety per calorie.
(21:44): So you're just automatically eating less. And our thin, And so a lot of people are like, Oh, I can't eat, you know, I'm eating 60 grams of protein now. I can't eat 120 grams of protein. And the secret is basically leaner proteins. If you eat most people, the proteins they're eating now have a, has a lot of fat in it. And so they're like, Oh, I could never eat twice that much. It could never eat twice as many eggs or twice as much red meat. Oh, well those foods have, you know, equal grams of protein in fat. If you get something that's higher in protein and lower in fat like a non-fat Greek yogurt or a skinless chicken breast or a piece of fish or some shrimp or something, that's a super lean protein egg whites, you know, way powder, it's a very easy to eat them much protein and you're just way less hungrier downstream of that.
(22:30): Okay, awesome. So now they know based on their ideal body weight, how much protein they should be getting. Let's talk about how they can, So I, I like what you say, everyone should check it for about two weeks. I think there's no better thing to study than yourself. What is it Shakespeare say to the unknown self to be true? Well, how can you be true to yourself if you don't even know yourself? And you've got to know what you're actually eating. And I think studies have shown that we are notoriously incorrect when it comes to estimating the number of calories that we eat, the different types of macronutrients, the distribution that we eat. We think we're doing so much better than we are <laugh>. So a good reality check is to track it. But can you give people an idea? I've heard kind of the palm hypothesis that if you eat a piece of protein that's the size of your palm, that that should give you a certain number of grams of protein. How do you tell people to eyeball this and do it intuitive?
(23:30): Most of your meat is going to be 25 grams of protein for every a hundred grams of meat. You know what I mean? So if you ate a pound of average meat of any kind, you're gonna get 25 grams of, I'm sorry, a hundred grams of protein. So like a pound is 450 grams and about 25% of that would be protein. So like a pound of meat is a hundred grams of protein or, you know, four ounces of chicken or fish or something is gonna be, you can basically take 25% of the weight and that's your protein amount. So like four ounces is a hundred grams ish and that gives you 25 grams of protein. So like you said, like you're serving the size of your hand, it's gonna be, you know, 20, 25 grams of protein. That way you don't have to really weigh or measure anything.
(24:17): It's, I think it's fine when you're tracking to just kind of estimate because at least you're gonna get in the ballpark. None of this macro tracking is super, super accurate. So even if you're just kind of roughly estimating, you'll have a much better idea of which foods are getting you closer to your protein goal faster and which ones kind of aren't. You know what I'm saying? The, those are some good rules of thumb. Like just, you know, estimating, you know, four ounces is gonna be 20, 25 grams of most meat, but then any sort of packaged food, who knows, You have to look at the label. You people need to learn how to read labels because you, you're like, Okay, I'm gonna eat some yogurt yogurt's healthy. You just walk in the yogurt aisle, you grab your yo play and this crap has like six grams