Back-Loading Interview w Kiefer, Part III
written by sean hyson
This interview is getting better and better. Kiefer reveals what sweetener to look out for and how whey protein may be healthier than vegetables (at least in one department). Vegetarians beware!
If you haven’t already, go to muscleandfitness.com to hear the audio recording of our talk. Go to Kiefer’s site to pick up the Back-loading e-book.
Sean: Going back to sweeteners, you make a point in the book about acesulfame potassium raising insulin levels. I noticed that Coke Zero has a small amount of it, but not Diet Coke. Based on that, would you say that Coke Zero could therefore possibly spike insulin and is a bad diet soda choice?
Kiefer: Yeah, I would go with the Diet Coke. Acesulfame potassium definitely causes an insulin response. So many factors can influence that so it’s hard to say how intense it is. I have noticed that people who drink a lot of energy drinks that have acesulfame potassium don’t fare nearly as well on Carb Nite until they cut those out. So I would say that the response is significant, even with a small amount.
Sean: You make a very memorable point in the book that the body can’t store fat for one to two hours after a workout. Again, the idea of back-loading aside, could you possibly eat anything you want after a workout without gaining fat? Could you eat an entire pie?
Kiefer: You definitely can, because I’ve done it before. But it’s kind of a mixed bag. No matter how many carbohydrates you squeeze in during that two-hour period, the likelihood of them getting stored as fat is almost zero. The problem is if you eat a ton of fat right then. I didn’t get into this in the book because it taps into another research vein. But in that window after you train at night, it’s hard to get fat into fat cells for storage. Your muscles, on the other hand, are primed to store triglycerides. [Bodybuilders take advantage of this before a contest. They fill their muscles with fat rather than carbs so they can hold a dry look on stage.]
Sean: Here’s something else I was blown away by when I read it, the idea that whey protein might be a better antioxidant than fruits and vegetables. You say that it works “by increasing levels of an amino acid called glutathione, which fuels the main antioxidant machinery of the cells in the body. Eating fruits and vegetables pales in comparison to the glutathione mechanism. Glutathione also helps recycle other antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin E, decreasing the need to use vitamins. Antioxidants of the fruit and vegetable type float around in the bloodstream and might bump into a free radical, neutralize it, and prevent it from doing damage. Even with massive amounts of blood borne antioxidants, it’s still a crapshoot whether free radicals get nullified. The glutathione-driven system, however, works within each cell and neutralizes free radicals.”
It’s interesting to me because any kind of conventional nutrition education will tell you that it’s fruits and vegetables first and foremost in that department.
Kiefer: Right. And that actually surprised me. Their logic is untested. When you look at the research, some of the most compelling research was done with vegetarians. They take lifestyle matched anthropomorphic matching of two populations. One that eats meat and one that’s vegetarian. And the vegetarians literally have 10,000 times the concentration of antioxidants in their systems, but they have the same rate of all cancers. They also have a higher risk of hyperhomocysteinemia, which is caused by a highly oxidative amino acid. So for all that extra antioxidant machinery that vegetarians supposedly have, it offers no extra protection.
Sean: And vegetarians often have a B12 deficiency as well, which can be disastrous to their cardiovascular system.
Kiefer: Yes, it’s the B12 deficiency that allows hyperhomocysteinemia to happen.
Sean: So you can argue that whey protein has medicinal benefits. It goes way beyond building muscle.
Kiefer: Defininitely. It doesn’t matter who I’m consulting or for what purpose, I try to get them to add 20–30 grams of whey protein per day.
Sean: That begs the question, what do you look for in a whey powder? Are you just looking for a whey isolate, or should we be concerned about one that’s rBGH-free or grass-fed?
Kiefer: I have a tendency to think that any cow that’s grass fed will give you something that’s higher quality. But that being said, I don’t know of any testing thus far that shows that the protein quality is different in the milk from a grass-fed cow vs. a standard dairy cow, which surprises me, but I like to go by the research. At the moment, there’s nothing to convince me that one’s better than the other. And some people don’t handle whey isolate well. It gives them gastric problems. I noticed I had those problems when I bought the cheapest protein I could find. But when I started paying attention to the source and bought protein without fillers, I didn’t have that problems. So I think it was the fillers that were causing it and not the protein.
Sean: So you’re looking for whey isolate and something like lecithin that just allows for mixability. Very little else.
Sean: I fully agree with you about grass-fed cows vs. conventional, but I think that makes more of a difference when you’re eating the meat of the cow and the fat content, as opposed to just the protein.
Kiefer: Yes, I would much rather eat the meat of a grass-fed cow than one that grew up on a feedlot.
Sean: A lot of digestion-conscious experts say you need to cycle whey and eggs. That you’ll develop some allergy to them if you consume them too regularly. What’s your take on that? Is that being too overprotective or is there some real science to back that?
Kiefer: I think it’s too overprotective at the moment. I think you can drink whey protein every single day. I think those ideas are related to fears of milk allergies. Casein, however, some people can have an inflammatory reaction to. But not isolate.
Sean: I think it’s important to note that these processed powders are not the same as milk. So drinking them is not like drinking milk every day, which some people certainly develop intolerances to.