Today’s approach to good health is constantly shifting with new research and awareness. The FDA made changes to the food pyramid several years ago because new studies showed many of the quantities and foods in the food groups were not as healthy as once believed. Jason Hartman interviews Matt Stone, independent author and health researcher of 180DegreeHealth.com. Matt shares how incredibly misinformed people are about many conditions and diseases, such as obesity, Type II diabetes, allergies, heart disease and cancer. Listen at: www.HolisticSurvival.com. He explains how restrictive diets can have the opposite effect on metabolism, discusses Vitamin D deficiencies, and other common misperceptions about health. He stresses having an open mind is the first step to improving health. Through his research, Matt came up with the “180 Degree of Opposites”, which may surprise many people:
– Eat more, exercise less.
– Saturated fat is the healthiest type of fat
– For treating obesity, the best diet is a high calorie diet
– Saturated fat is the best fat for reducing heart disease risk
– Carbohydrates are Good for Type 2 Diabetics
– Spend more time in the sun, without sunscreen
– Heredity has much to do with our health problems, but has absolutely nothing to do with genes
– Germs do not cause disease, poor health does
In 2005, Matt launched a full-scale independent investigation into human health through disciplines as diverse as nutrition, exercise, the culinary arts and traditional agriculture, to paleopathology and psychoneuroendocrinology. It soon became clear that the typical ideas that the mainstream has about health don’t make much sense, are not congruent with history or even the most basic logic, and are often wildly misinformed. Thus was born 180DegreeHealth; the name implies both a 180 to our standard health advice and Matt’s aim of turning a 180 on the alarming health trends of today, including the dramatic and exponential rise of obesity, type II diabetes, tooth decay, crooked teeth, mental disorders of all kinds, autoimmune disease, allergies and asthma, heart disease, cancer, early puberty, and even nearsightedness. His pledge to readers is to provide the most logical, unbiased, worthwhile, effective, and accurate discourse on human health in existence. Follow along with him and his life’s work, and together, help build the foundation of knowledge and understanding required to improve our own health while ensure the well-being of many generations to come. It’ll be a fun ride!
Narrator: Welcome to the Holistic Survival show with Jason Hartman. The economic storm brewing around the world is set to spill into all aspects of our lives. Are you prepared? Where are you going to turn for the critical life skills necessary to survive and prosper? The Holistic Survival show is your family’s insurance for a better life. Jason will teach you to think independently, to understand threats, and how to create the ultimate action plan. Sudden change or worst case scenario, you’ll be ready. Welcome to Holistic Survival, your key resource for protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Ladies and gentlemen, your host, Justin Hartman.
Jason Hartman: Welcome to the Holistic Survival show. This is your host, Jason Hartman, where we talk about protection of people, places, and profits you care about in these uncertain times. We have a great interview for you today and we’ll be back with that in less than 60 seconds on the holistic survival show. And by the way be sure to visit our website at HolisticSurvival.com. You can subscribe to our blog which is totally free, has loads of great information and there’s just a lot of good content for you on site. So make sure you take advantage of that at HolisticSurvival.com. We’ll be right back.
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Start of Interview with Matt Stone
Jason Hartman: My pleasure to welcome Matt Stone to the show. He is the voice of 180 Degree Health. He’s an independent health researcher, writer, blogger, has a lot of great videos on Youtube, and he has read over 300 books on the subject in the last several years and I think you’re gonna learn some very interesting stuff today. Matt, welcome, how are you?
Matt Stone: Thanks Jason, I’m great, how about you?
Jason Hartman: Good, good. So where are you coming to us from today?
Matt Stone: Well I’m coming from Reno today. I don’t live here full time, I spend most of my time living in Florida, I’m in Reno for a few weeks helping a friend of mine with a couple of his projects.
Jason Hartman: Fantastic. Well if you could sum it up before we drill down into the specifics, do you have sort of a way to sum up your philosophy of health and diet and all of the related parts?
Matt Stone: Well that’s an awfully difficult thing to summarize…
Jason Hartman: I knew it was gonna be a tough question, I figured I’d start with a hard one and get easier on you after that.
Matt Stone: It’s hard for me to say something simple, but basically I’m a health researcher and I come at this with a really open mind. So I really look at this and I often tell people that when I first started I knew everything. And now I really I learned so much I hardly knew anything anymore. I think the sciences of human health and nutrition and things related to that are very young sciences, we don’t really know a whole lot about it definitively. A lot of the ideas that people have about health and nutrition and the human body are very overly simplified.
And as I dig deeper it becomes more and more complex and I think just not being so sure about everything and having an open mind and being willing to explore it freely and change your tune when you come across some things that conflict your held beliefs that you held near and dear to your heart and having the flexibility to reexamine those and pushing forward and learning more and more. And that’s what I do on my site and in my work, it’s just constantly being updated and renewed as new information that comes into the pipeline. And so that’s why I kind of encourage people really to focus on how their bodies work and see if they can get them working correctly with an open mind.
Jason Hartman: Well there are several things here and I’m just gonna sort of say them all at first and let you address them and how they blend together. But there are some contrary things that you talk about. You call them the 180 Degree opposites on your website. What is eat more exercise less? The other saturated fat is the healthiest type of fat. And for treating obesity the best diet is a high calorie diet and then saturated fat is the best fat for reducing heart disease risk. Carbohydrates are good for type 2 diabetics. You should spend more time in the sun without sun screen. Two more. Hereditary has as much to do with our health problems, but has absolutely nothing to do with our genes. And then the last one, germs does not cause disease, poor health does. Do you believe all those things?
Matt Stone: Well they’re all partial truths. They’re not absolute mandates per say, but there is a partial truth in all of those and one of the things that I help to do is people have obviously these firmly held beliefs about certain things, such as the simple belief that people are obese because they eat too much and they don’t get enough exercise, and that’s a really simplified way of looking at it that ignores all the different hormonal things that are going on underneath the surface. It denies all the abnormalities within the metabolism that we know that are exemplified by people with weight problems. And so if you actually look at it from a hormonal standpoint we see that people with obesity are prone to obesity typically have a low metabolic rate or reduced metabolic rate.
I was reading even a study that’s warning about how they established this in dogs. That there’s a strong connection between low body temperature and low metabolism and obesity in dogs, the more larger the dogs were the lower their body rate in this area, body temperature and metabolism. So from that point of view if you’re to eat less and exercise more, particularly during a lot of endurance exercise, or really just trying to create a calorie deficit, you’re always gonna see metabolism decrease. So that’s the recipe for lowering metabolism. If an obese person has a low metabolism, why would you do something that makes their root problem of their obesity even worse?
So that’s just one example, I mean obviously we can go through each one of those individually one-by-one. But there’s certainly other ways of looking at things and part of it is just to really help people neutralize their thoughts and feelings about things because like I said people in the modern world they’re looking at these complex issues with these very simplistic ways of looking at them.
Jason Hartman: Sure. Well let me ask you about one. Let me ask you about sun screen for example. Now nowadays everybody’s really into sun screen. When I was a kid, not so much. Recently I’ve become more interested in sun screen because I’m noticing the effects on my skin as I get older and I don’t like it. Would you say don’t use sun screen?
Matt Stone: Well it’s a really fascinating topic. My general thoughts are it is that we know that people in the modern world are really suffering from chronically low levels of vitamin D. And our primary source of vitamin D is what we synthesize from actual sun light. We can actually synthesize a pretty phenomenal amount of vitamin D from sunlight and launch that full spectrum sunlight that has some of the rays partially.
Jason Hartman: Is it the same as supplementing with vitamin D though like I take a… I mean I live in Phoenix area so it’s very sunny here almost always. And you know you just get enough sun I think just walking around. You don’t even need to lay out in the sun so to speak. But you know when I lived in California, I moved here last summer, and I lived in Newport Beach you know I started taking vitamin D supplements. And you know I just remember hearing someone on the radio talking about the benefits of it. Is it the same, the vitamin that we synthesize from sunlight, is that the same as what we can get out of a vitamin?
Matt Stone: Well it’s not exactly the same. You know it’s foolish human era to believe that we can supplement an isolated supplement like vitamin D, which is a very powerful substance and believe that we can do that without any kind of collateral damage, or that it’s gonna behave the same as if we were synthesizing in it a more coherent way from the sun itself. So getting back to the point I was gonna make; we know that natural sunlight and vitamin D reduces our risk of almost every known cancer except for squamous cell carcinoma or skin cancer. So yes it might raise your rate, your chances of getting skin cancer, which is relatively minor and the treatments for that are a lot more easy going than treatments for bone cancer, stomach cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer and so forth. So you’re really taking a powerful preventative away to fight a very benign disease in comparison. So I’m a big advocate of getting natural sunlight. I also think that because we spend so little time in the sun, when we do go out in the sun we get sun burn really easy because our exposure to it is so sporadic. If you were actually to go out and get half an hour of sun every day without sun screen they would develop a natural tolerance to the sun. And their skin would never really get damage because they wouldn’t be exceeding their skin’s threshold, of what how much solar exposure it can handle. So I have a lot of different philosophies and attitudes coming at it but that’s certainly part of why I made that statement.
Jason Hartman: Yeah okay interesting. But is the number really a half hour a day? I mean you can get that much sun or does it depend on…it probably depends on where you live right?
Matt Stone: It depends on where you live, it depends on your heredity, it depends on you know how long you spend in the sun. Obviously some people can get fried in 10 minutes but most people can expand that amount to you know 10 minutes to 20, 20 to 30 and so and so forth. I used to live in Hawaii and I managed to get to the point where I could go out for a couple of hours in full sun in the middle of the day in Hawaii and I get sun burn just because my skin was building up a natural tolerance to it. So there’s other factors involved and we can certainly talk about those, but they relate back more to the type of facts that we’re consuming in modern age are heat and light sensitive. And so our skin, the cells in our skin are actually very heat and light sensitive because of the type of fats that we’re eating. And I look at that as more of a root problem as to why people are developing skin cancer because we’re having a lot of oxidation and cellular damager in our skin because we have the heat and light sensitive fat in our skin whereas a hundred years ago we were eating a lot of heat and light protective fat, saturated fat.
Jason Hartman: Okay, yeah there’s just so much to it and so many interconnections that it’s hard to keep track of this. So what else should people know about maybe some of the common misconceptions about health and so forth? If you want to address any of these other ones here I think that would be great, but you know I really want to dive into what should we be eating.
Matt Stone: Well you know part of my research…like you said it’s hard to keep all this straight because there’s so much out there. A lot of it’s so conflicting. We’re getting all kinds of new studies and research coming in and pouring in all the time on a daily basis, how do you keep it straight. Part of my purpose I think is to help keep people from being so sure about everything. Because people get it in their mind that there is this optimal human diet that we need to eat this way or that certain foods that we should be eating and so forth. And if anything I’m trying to get people to have less mental interference getting in between their body’s needs and what they think that they should be eating. So for example if someone thinks that they should be drinking eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day, this is a really common thing, this is something that we’ve universally have given to the public as a health recommendation and then we also recommend to people that you should eat a low salt diet and that salt is bad for you.
Well, interestingly, our system, our bodies are very, very sophisticated. If you eat something that’s salty you will get thirsty in a matter of seconds. Sometimes even on contact you eat something salty you get thirsty. Because the body is very well designed in terms of disability it regulates these types of things for itself. But if you plant a seed in someone’s mind about how they should be consuming more water, eating less salt and they start making decisions based on an idea and they shut down and trump their body’s natural signals and everything with an idea. They can get themselves into a lot of trouble.
So even making a simple recommendation like oh you should drink ex number amounts of water every day can be very dangerous or things like that. So I actually try to encourage people to be less sure about what they should be eating and try to steer the conversation from what people should be eating. Get them instead focusing on how their bodies are working, so that they can find out for themselves really what type of diet or what type of food is really gonna help the systems of their body work and function correctly. And also helping people understand what proper function of our body system really is.
Jason Hartman: Well what you say about the salt issue makes a lot of sense. Because I mean think about it, you don’t see it as much nowadays, but a few years ago you used to see every bar would serve chips, or pretzels, or peanuts or something to make you thirsty so you buy more drinks. So there’s always a counter balance isn’t there. There’s a countervailing factor that comes into play and a lot of people just think you know in the face of it, well eat less salt cause it dehydrates you. But that’s not the whole issue is it. People that eat more salt drink more water.
Matt Stone: Well that’s the thing is we file these things into these black or white you know hero and villain categories. And salt has an incredibly vital and essential physiological function. So going to war against it is a huge mistake. It’s more about learning when you need more salt, when you need less and identifying those types of things and using it with greater precision and a lot of times our minds can’t even make those decisions our cravings actually dictate what we need better than anything else. If you force somebody to drink water against their will they will they will often develop really strong and powerful salt craving. So we have a lot of intelligence guiding the system that operates us and you know a lot of times this whole health fanaticism that is permeating our 21st century culture is causing a lot of people a lot of problems. So there’s a lot more than we can really just figure out with our brains about what we should or should not be eating and drinking and so forth.
Jason Hartman: So what else should people know? I want to talk a little bit more about eating, but what about exercise. I mean can you exercise too much?
Matt Stone: Yeah, I mean exercise is just another thing where you know if a person’s body is ill or it’s not functioning properly or it’s under a lot of stress, you know doing a lot of exercise is just adding to that burden. And really what determines whether exercise is healthy or not is whether or not somebody can recover from it properly. And a lot of people are not eating very much food, they’re not getting enough sleep, they’re not doing the things that they need to rest and recuperate from exercise. So that exercise just makes them break down even faster.
So exercise is all relative to the actual person that the exercise is being performed by and how well their system is operating, how fast it’s recuperating, and it’s all very individual. How long it takes a 65 year old to recuperate from a bout of exercise is very different from how long it takes a 15 year old to recuperate from a bout of exercise. So it all has to be done on an individual basis. And to eliminate one’s bio feedback and follow a set prescription that’s supposed to be applied the masses can be a great success or a great failure, depending on who’s taking that advice and how seriously they’re taking that and how much they’re ignoring their body as they pursue these “health [00:16:02.4]”.
Jason Hartman: In that example you gave Matt, where it takes a 15 year old a lot less time to recoup from exercise than a 60 year old, you know and everybody on its face says of course that’s true you know and as people get older of course they experience it firsthand. Why is that the case though? And can that be undone. You know you hear these commercials for HGH and all these anti-aging supplements and stuff like this. Is it because our cells just regenerate more slowly, is that the reason we recover slowly. I certainly notice it myself, and I hate to talk about this on a health segment, but you know if I go out drinking, I just can’t do it anymore. Not like I used to. I just feel bad the next day and I don’t want to ruin my next day. So I’ve noticed a massive decrease in my interest in alcohol consumption that’s for sure.
Matt Stone: Yeah there’s a lot of systems that become weakened with aging, and a lot of that is unavoidable. We’re never gonna have a gold metal sprinter that’s 78 years old. I mean it’s never gonna happen, because there are certain declines that we undergo with aging. And most of those are declines in metabolism and in just our cell’s ability to produce and generate energy.
So one of the things that I focused on over the years primarily is just seeing the importance of metabolism and making sure that people aren’t bringing about an unnecessarily rapid decline in a metabolic rate to some of the things that they’re doing. So yes I mean you’re always gonna see a decline in overall health, vitality, recuperative capacity and whatnot with aging. But there are a ton of different ways that we can slow down that degeneration or in some cases even reverse it. So you know doing something like strength training which does increase human growth hormone and does build muscle mass and strength, that reverses the normal decrease in muscle mass and strength that we see with aging. So there are things that we can take, nobody’s gonna…
Jason Hartman: So are you saying that one should lift weights versus doing yoga for example?
Matt Stone: Well when it comes to some of the…if you look at very specific problems. With the elderly we see increasing rates of sarcopenia, which is the decline in muscle mass and strength. We also see increasing rates of osteoporosis or osteopenia, which is the decrease in bone mass. Strength training or doing something with a heavy load is known to overturn sarcopenia and increase bone density. So we know that we have specific sort of lifestyle medicine and strength training that can be used to prevent certain declines or even overturn certain declines that have already taken place. So we can look at something like that and see what its usage is and see what it can be used for and know when to sort of administer that “medicine”. So I really like to look at very simple things like that, very simple modifications and pay attention to those.
But yes, there’s no question that you’re gonna get better improvement in sarcopenia and osteoporosis and osteopenia if you’re doing strength training as opposed to yoga. Now any exercise will probably help, but trying to actually increase the force of gravity is what’s gonna actually reverse those types of things. Anyway that’s just one interesting thing, but there’s a million different little things that we can talk about like that. But that’s certainly something I think with aging it’s a very powerful medicine is strength training or exercise is definitely a very youth promoting type of activity, but only if you’re doing it within your own body physical threshold, you’re allowing time for adequate recovery and so forth. Otherwise it’s just gonna hasten your decline if you’re overdoing it. So really finding the right dose is very important as well.
Jason Hartman: I’ve read studies and heard about the concept about caloric restriction. Do you think that’s a wise idea? It sounds like from what you were saying at the beginning of our discussion today that you might not like that idea. You know in these studies where they worked with laboratory animals and so forth and found that they lived longer if they were restricted calories and just ate light. I think most people would agree that Americans eat too much food. Probably you’ll get universal agreement on that one but really just eating less in general, is that good for one’s health or not?
Matt Stone: We’ll talk about this for quite a while because this is one of the most fascinating topics and there’s a lot of widely held belief that they’re really set in stone in people’s minds and again this is another one of those things that people should be a lot less sure about, because there’s variables that are not really taken to account here. Well the first we talked about with obesity, we have all these different hormonal and biochemical regulating forces in the body that determine what our appetite is. It determines whether the food we eat goes into our muscle tissue, whether it’s used to generate heat and energy or whether it goes into storage, and to body fat. And these hormonal factors really dictate and control whether one person gets fat when they eat a lot of food, or whether they just get really strong, muscular and energetic when they eat a lot of food.
So we can’t definitively say that people eat too much food. And even if we do find that people are eating too much food, it’s not necessarily something that people are choosing to do. It would be like if we found that there was too much oxygen in people’s bodies, we couldn’t just say that people are breathing too much, it would make more sense to actually look at all the different factors that regulate our breathing to determine the fact that oh there’s something going on where the body is retaining too much oxygen, or it’s rate of respiration is too high. You know these are things that are out of our voluntary control.
And our sort of energy and calorie accounting system is largely out of our control as well. To think that we have all these fine-tuned mechanisms to regulate the amount of fluid, the salt, the amount of oxygen or carbine dioxide and all these things, but then the amount of calories we eat is something that’s just completely under our own control and that it’s a matter of discipline is really ridiculous. So anyway that’s that part of the equation.
I can’t say that we’re definitively eating too much. I can say that we’re definitively storing too much energy and body fat and that there’s probably a significant hormonal metabolic reason for it. When it comes to calorie restriction and what you asked about that, there’s so many factors that are not taken into account here. The first is that they start restricting calories at birth. Whether it’s a fruit fly, or a rabbit, or a monkey or whatever that they’re doing a calorie restriction on. And what this is does is it allows the body to become under developed. And the size, the general size is much smaller, that organism. So if you look at small dogs…
Jason Hartman: They live longer.
Matt Stone: They live a lot longer than big dogs. And one of the reasons is because they’re smaller.
Jason Hartman: And just because they’re smaller it’s not a genetic thing that all small dogs happen to genetically be the longer living creatures and big ones don’t live as long. It’s the actual weight of the dog is what you’re saying.
Matt Stone: Well it certainly is a factor. And to think that once you’ve already developed a body that is very large you can now go back to eating a low calorie diet, I don’t think that….
Jason Hartman: Right that’s not gonna happen.
Matt Stone: Right, because what that does is it just lowers metabolic rate and sort of accelerates the aging process. Starting it at birth versus starting it when you’re 35 years old totally different. Secondly, we know that restricting your calories for a long period of time and those people just causes them to get really hungry and be really prone to binging and things like that. We don’t live in a laboratory.
In the real world, trying to cut your calories back by 30 or 40% will just make that McDonald’s sign shine even brighter. We’re complex organisms with a lot of emotional and psychological relationships with food. We have food to tempt us around every corner. Trying to restrict your calories, you know for most people will just make them more tempted and raise their appetite, and they end up doing that sort of yoyo pattern when they try to restrict calories. You restrict calories, you lose a little weight and then you binge and you gain back even more than you lost. So it’s not necessarily something that can be a workable solution it’s more of a theory. And there’s even more exceptions to that, and even more factors that aren’t taken into account, such as the fact that these studies are done in a controlled metabolic environment in a laboratory.
In the real world, eating a low calorie diet and having low metabolism from doing that and so forth makes us much more prone to developing all different kinds of infections. We’re now seeing all these very clear relationships between various types of infections. There’s heart disease, cancer, auto immune disease and so forth. So, in the real world with all the different pathogens we react with and things, maybe calorie restrictions in the real world just makes you get taken over by parasites, fungus and bacteria and viruses and all these things whereas in a controlled laboratory you don’t have that to deal with.
Jason Hartman: In all fairness though on balance, don’t we have to really define caloric restriction. It doesn’t mean starving one’s self, it just means maybe eating light and not becoming obese. You know I don’t know what’s the number of calories everybody should have per day. They say like 3000 or something right?
Matt Stone: Right, well to get the benefit of calorie restriction they generally say that anywhere from 30 to 50% reduction in calorie intake.
Jason Hartman: That’s big.
Matt Stone: It’s not minor.
Jason Hartman: So I think defining it is the first issue, right?
Matt Stone: Yeah, definitely.
Jason Hartman: So if someone cuts their calorie intake by 3 to 500 calories, is that bad, does that create all those other problems?
Matt Stone: Well 3 to 500 calories is not as severe as what a lot of people are doing, because a lot of people are, instead of cutting their calories by 3 to 500 calories they’re cutting their calories to 3 to 500 calories and their inducing all this rapid weight loss with things like HTG diet and some other ones out there like that that are sort of akin to that. And that does really cause a lot of people a lot of problems. You lose weight and then you stop losing weight and then you gain weight back again.
We know that just by manipulating calorie intake you always see the weight regain take place in well over 90% of the people, which is one of the reasons why obesity researchers think a lot of this calorie counting kind of stuff is kind of a waste of time. Because it just induces a short term weight lost followed typically by weight regain, and we know that it’s not really a very viable solution to our obesity problem.
Jason Hartman: Yeah I know the yoyo dieting thing is well understood. I agree with you on it. Okay, good. Well what else would you like people to say and kind of wrapping it up here, and give out your website as well Matt if you would.
Matt Stone: Well my website is 180DegreeHealth.com. And, like I said, it’s kind of source where we can openly discuss certain things, and it’s not a source of dogma where we believe in one narrow ideology or philosophy and then we’re out there to sort of promote and protect our stamp on things. It’s ever evolving, it’s every changing, and I would say the main difference between my site and all the other sites and all the other information in my books as well. The difference is really about getting your body to work correctly. And being very open minded about how to achieve that.
So, for example, if I encounter somebody with a low metabolism, usually their hands and feet are freezing cold all the time. And to increase the work that somebody’s hands and feet, things like salt, and sugar and starch and saturated fats and all the things we’re not supposed to eat, correct that problem really, really well. So if you’re tethered to the idea that it’s gonna just raise your cholesterol and clog your arteries and you’re afraid to eat it, then it keeps you from actually finding and discovering what is gonna make your body work correctly.
And it’s my belief and my faith that if we get our bodies working correctly we feel good, our digestion is good, our sleep is good, all these things are functioning correctly, that our body is going to be able to handle things and prevent disease on their own, much better than an ailing body that’s just not working correctly. So that’s where I’m kind of coming from on everything and my site is very, very fun place for people who have an interest in health to be.
Jason Hartman: It definitely is. Well Matt Stone, thank you so much for joining us today. I appreciate it.
Matt Stone: Thanks Jason. Thanks for having me.
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Narrator: Thank you for joining us today for the Holistic Survival show. Protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our creating wealth show, which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunity in today’s economy. Learn more at www.JasonHartman.com, or search “Jason Hartman” on iTunes. This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own and none of the content should be considered individual advice. If you require personalized advice please consult an appropriate professional. Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. (Image: Flickr | ibm4381)
Transcribed by Ralph