Published November 2022 on YouTube

Dr Layne Norton: The Science of Eating for Health, Fat Loss & Lean Muscle | Huberman Lab Podcast #97

1. Nutrition Insights

Dr. Lane Norton, a world expert in nutrition and fitness, joins Andrew Huberman to discuss a range of topics including energy balance, artificial sweeteners, gut health, fasting, diets, protein, and supplements. Norton provides insights into the science behind each topic and evaluates their real-world applications, making this episode a must-listen for anyone interested in improving their nutrition and fitness.+

2. Science-Backed Supplements

Andrew discusses the importance of electrolytes and introduces Element Electrolyte Mix. He also talks about Roca eyeglasses and sunglasses and how they were designed with performance and aesthetics in mind. Later, he introduces Inside Tracker, a personalized nutrition program that helps you understand your body and reach your health goals by analyzing data from your blood and DNA. Finally, Andrew mentions Momentous Supplements and their expanding library of supplements.+

3. Understanding Calories

Understanding Calories:Lane Norton explains the concept of calories and how they relate to energy balance and macronutrients. He breaks down the process of converting food into energy and the importance of ATP in powering reactions in the body.+
Cellular Energy:Layne explains how metabolism works at the cellular level, with a focus on the creation of ATP through oxidative respiration. He discusses how carbohydrates, proteins, and fatty acids can all be used to produce ATP, and how the Krebs cycle and glycolysis are involved in this process.+

4. Energy Balance, Food Labels, Fiber

Layne Norton explains how the balance of energy in versus energy out affects weight loss or gain. However, tracking the energy inside the equation is more difficult than people think due to food labels having up to a 20% error in them. Additionally, there's a difference between energy and metabolizable energy, which adds to the complexity of tracking calories.+

5. Energy Expenditure

Layne Norton explains the two main components of energy expenditure: resting metabolic rate and the thermic effect of food. He breaks down the different percentages of energy expenditure for each macronutrient and how they affect calorie intake and storage.+

6. Neat and Physical Activity

Physical Activity and Neat:Layne Norton explains the difference between purposeful physical activity and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (Neat). Neat is spontaneous physical activity that can help maintain leanness and is not something that can be consciously modified.+
Neat Calorie Burn:Andrew and Layne discuss the significant calorie burn from Neat, with some cases burning hundreds to even close to 1000 calories per day. They reference a classic study from Levine in 1995, where people overate by 1000 calories a day for six weeks, and an individual spontaneously increased their physical activity, proving Neat to be the most modifiable.+
Modifying Metabolism:Layne explains how Neat (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) is more modifiable than Bmr (basal metabolic rate) and metabolic adaptation. Andrew shares a study on how spontaneous movement can improve blood sugar regulation, which supports the importance of Neat.+

7. Weight Loss Tips

Layne Norton shares tips on how to achieve intentional weight loss, including the importance of not relying on fitness trackers for accurate energy expenditure and consistently weighing oneself in the morning to track progress in a calorie deficit.+

8. Exercise and Weight Loss

Caloric Burn:Andrew discusses the caloric burn during exercise and the potential increase in metabolic rate post-exercise. While there is a small increase in metabolic rate, it does not appear to be significant enough to make a difference.+
Exercise and Weight Loss:Layne Norton and Andrew Huberman discuss the relationship between exercise and weight loss, including the impact of different forms of exercise on appetite and calorie burn. They also touch on the importance of considering individual factors when choosing an exercise routine.+

9. AG1 (Athletic Greens)

Andrew discusses the importance of gut health and how Athletic Greens provides optimal and vital probiotics for microbiotic health. He also mentions the adaptogens, vitamins, and minerals in Athletic Greens that meet his foundational nutritional needs. Listeners can try Athletic Greens for free with the provided link.+

10. Power of Belief

Tracking Tips:Layne and Andrew discuss the benefits of tracking calories and steps for weight loss. While calorie trackers may not be completely accurate, they can be useful for comparing sessions. Additionally, tracking steps can help maintain spontaneous activity levels during a fat loss diet. The hosts caution against blindly following scientific studies and emphasize the importance of being careful with their application.+
Exercise and Placebo Effect:Layne Norton and Leah Crumb discuss the placebo effect's power to change physiology and how it can affect exercise appetite. They share examples of studies where people's beliefs about supplements or stress can significantly impact their performance.+
The Power of Belief:Andrew and Layne discuss the placebo effect and how beliefs can be just as powerful as the actual effects of certain substances. They also touch on the appetite suppressant effect of exercise and how it can improve biomarkers of health regardless of body weight.+

11. Exercise and Weight Loss Insights

Exercise and Weight Loss:Layne discusses the relationship between exercise and weight loss, emphasizing that exercise affects appetite and can increase sensitivity to satiety signals. He cites studies showing that people who engage in regular exercise are more likely to maintain weight loss, and that becoming active can help regulate appetite more effectively.+
Hunger and Blood Sugar:Andrew and Layne discuss the relationship between hunger and blood sugar regulation. They explore the idea that it may be changes in the brain, rather than blood sugar spikes, that trigger a desire to eat more. They also touch on the discomfort of hypoglycemia and the different kind of hunger it produces.+
Exercise and Appetite:Layne Norton discusses the relationship between exercise and appetite, highlighting the individual variability in how exercise affects hunger. He also emphasizes the importance of considering the psychological and social factors that influence eating habits, rather than solely focusing on suppressing appetite.+
Reasons for Eating:Layne Norton discusses how hunger may not be the main reason people eat and how stress, lack of sleep, and boredom can also contribute to overeating. He also highlights the importance of addressing a broad spectrum of factors when attempting weight loss, as the body's systems are well-focused on restoring energy reserves.+
Developing a New Identity:Layne Norton discusses a systematic review of successful weight loss maintainers and how developing a new identity is a commonality among them. He also compares food addiction to other forms of addiction and highlights the importance of comprehensive treatment.+
The Mind-Body Connection:Andrew discusses how the mind and body are interconnected, and how exercise can have a potent effect on both our physical and mental health. He also explores the idea of identity and how we can change ourselves through a daily process of "killing off" our former selves.+

12. Sustainable Weight Loss

Sustainable Weight Loss:Layne Norton discusses the importance of sustainable weight loss and how to achieve it by choosing a form of restriction that feels the least restrictive to you as an individual. He emphasizes the need to give thought to what happens after losing weight and not dragging old habits and behaviors behind you.+
Sustainable Diets:Layne Norton emphasizes the importance of choosing a diet that is easiest to adhere to in the long term, rather than focusing on mechanisms and short-term results. Andrew Huberman highlights the significance of this message and suggests picking a nutrition plan and placebo that can be maintained indefinitely.+
Love and Diet:Andrew draws parallels between love and diet, highlighting how both involve projecting into the future and making a mutual agreement. He also discusses the importance of adherence in diet studies and how equating calories and protein in low carb and low-fat diets show no difference in fat loss, allowing individuals to choose the tool that works best for them.+

13. Diet Switching

Switching Diets:Layne and Andrew discuss the benefits and downsides of switching between diets, such as low carb and keto. While there may be some initial challenges in transitioning, as long as portion control is maintained, there are no long-term health risks to switching between diets.+
Keto Transition Period:Andrew and Layne discuss the transition period when switching from a keto diet to a higher carbohydrate diet. They explain the changes in insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, and the importance of transitioning slowly to avoid feeling terrible during the process.+

14. Gut Health & Appetite

Gut Health and Weight Loss:Andrew and the guest discuss the fascinating link between gut health and weight loss, including the surprising results of fecal transplants from lean mice to obese mice. They speculate on the potential physiological mechanisms behind the results and the role of psychology in weight loss.+
Gut Health:Layne Norton discusses the role of gut health in weight loss and how the gut microbiome makeup could impact calorie extraction and appetite regulation. While the scientific consensus on gut health is still evolving, studies have shown a link between gut hormones and appetite suppression, making it a promising area for obesity treatments.+
Appetite Regulation:Andrew and Layne discuss the impact of semaglutide on appetite regulation. Andrew explains how it impacts neurons in the hypothalamus that control satiety, while Layne talks about its effects on mechanosensors in the gut. They also touch on the complexity of the gut and the potential role of microbiome in appetite regulation.+

15. Gut Health Insights

Gut Health:Andrew and Layne discuss the importance of fiber in improving gut health and how it positively impacts the gut microbiota. Prebiotics are found to work better than probiotics in supplementing gut health. Diversity in fiber sources is key to maintaining a healthy gut.+
Fiber and Microbiome:Layne Norton explains the benefits of fiber for longevity and reducing the risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. He also emphasizes that fiber is essential for gut health and microbiome diversity. Saturated fat may not be great for the microbiome, reducing the prevalence of some of the more positive strains of bacteria.+

16. LDL, HDL & Cardiovascular Disease

Changing Opinions:Andrew and his guest discuss how their opinions on health have changed over the years due to new studies and research, particularly on the topic of LDL and HDL cholesterol. They emphasize the importance of looking at multiple studies and being open to changing one's viewpoint based on new evidence.+
Heart Disease Risk:Layne Norton explains the risk factors for heart disease, including the role of LDL and HDL cholesterol. He discusses how Mendelian Randomization studies have shown a linear effect of lifetime exposure to LDL on heart disease. Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of the ratio between HDL and LDL cholesterol in determining risk.+
Interpreting Fitness Studies:Layne and Andrew discuss the importance of proper interpretation of fitness studies, highlighting the complexities of muscle building and the limitations of laboratory studies on mice and humans. They emphasize the need to consider broader implications and context when presenting data in mainstream media or by fitness influencers.+

17. Leucine, mTOR & Protein Synthesis

Protein Synthesis Duration:Layne shares insights from his PhD study on protein synthesis duration and the Mtor signaling pathway, revealing surprising findings about the effects of leucine on muscle protein synthesis.+
Muscle Protein Synthesis:Layne discusses his research on muscle protein synthesis and the refractory period, where the system runs for a defined period of time and then takes time to reset. He explains how he discovered that eating less often may be more beneficial for protein synthesis and shares his findings on the ATP-dependent process of protein synthesis.+

18. Protein and Satiety

Protein and Satiety:Andrew discusses the impact of macronutrients on satiety and how protein, specifically animal sources, can be leveraged for weight loss and muscle building. He recommends a daily intake of 1.6 grams/kg of body weight for optimal benefits.+
Leveraging Protein:Layne Norton discusses the benefits of protein intake and debunks misconceptions about its impact on longevity. He recommends aiming for 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and explains how protein can be leveraged for better health outcomes.+
Protein and Satiety:Layne Norton and Andrew Huberman discuss the effects of protein on lean body mass and appetite. They explain how the form and type of protein can impact satiety and why a plain baked potato can be more filling than a protein bar.+

19. Protein & Fasting, Lean Body Mass

Protein Assimilation:Andrew asks if there is a 30-gram cut off for protein assimilation and if eating more than that per meal is okay. He also asks if fasting allows for more protein assimilation. The guest explains that most studies are done after a fast and protein distribution may matter.+
Protein and Meal Timing:Layne discusses the importance of protein intake and meal timing for muscle protein synthesis. He explains that protein has almost no storage capacity, unlike fat and carbohydrates, and that consuming adequate amounts of protein at each meal is crucial for muscle growth.+
Protein Timing:Layne discusses an animal study he conducted where he fed two groups of animals with different protein timings. The study found that hind limb muscles grew larger in the group that consumed high protein in one meal. The study also found that the splanknick tissues are more sensitive to protein synthesis than skeletal muscles.+
Protein and Fasting:Layne Norton discusses the effects of fasting on lean body mass and protein synthesis. Mild forms of time-restricted eating appear to be fine for lean body mass, but extreme forms like alternate day fasting may have negative effects. Getting enough high-quality protein and engaging in hard resistance training are the biggest levers for maintaining lean body mass.+
Timing and Frequency:Layne Norton discusses the importance of timing and frequency in nutrition and training. He explains that while distribution matters, it is a much smaller lever than getting enough total protein in. He also discusses the goals of bodybuilders versus the goals of most people who want to maintain or lose weight.+

20. Plant-Based Protein

Plant-based Protein:Layne and Andrew discuss the challenges of building muscle on a plant-based diet without an isolated source of protein. While it is possible, it requires more planning and attention to total calorie intake. They also compare the bioavailability and quality of plant-based protein to animal-based sources.+
Vegan Protein Options:Layne Norton discusses vegan protein options, including soy and whey protein. He explains that soy is a complete protein source and does not affect testosterone or estrogen levels when used in moderation. He also mentions that whey protein can now be produced without animal products, making it a great option for vegans.+
Plant-Based Protein:Layne and Andrew discuss the importance of leucine in muscle protein synthesis and options for plant-based protein sources, including isolated sources, leucine supplementation, and complementary blends. They also touch on the rise of veganism and its impact on muscle building and performance.+

21. Processed Foods

Minimally Processed Foods:Andrew and Layne discuss the importance of focusing on minimally processed foods for health and longevity, and the potential pitfalls of highly processed foods. They also touch on the nuances of food processing and the importance of understanding the reasons behind the recommendations.+
Diet Myths:Layne Norton discusses the impact of palatability and processed foods on popular diets like plant-based and keto. He explains that the magic of these diets lies in minimizing processed foods and that highly processed plant-based or keto foods can lead to overeating and negatively impact body composition.+
Processed Foods and Health:Layne Norton discusses how processed foods can be a tool for certain individuals with high caloric needs, such as athletes, and how there is no strong evidence linking processed foods to negative health effects. He compares it to a budget and emphasizes the importance of meeting one's nutritional responsibilities while still enjoying processed foods in moderation.+

22. Understanding Obesity

Sugar and Obesity:Layne Norton discusses why he believes sugar is not the root cause of the obesity epidemic and explores other factors such as oil consumption and energy output. He also shares insights on the potential benefits and dangers of nicotine consumption.+
Obesity Explained:Layne Norton discusses the reasons behind the obesity epidemic, including the lack of physical education and increased caloric intake. He also addresses the issue of judgment and personal responsibility, while acknowledging the complex factors that contribute to obesity. Ultimately, he emphasizes the importance of implementing helpful habits and behaviors to achieve a healthy energy balance.+

23. Sugar and Health

Sugar and Health:Layne Norton discusses his initial beliefs about sugar being an independent risk factor for health and body composition, and how his beliefs were challenged by a study on high fructose corn syrup. He also explores the impact of sugar on health, particularly for individuals who consume a significant fraction of their calories from sugary foods.+
Sugar vs Fiber:Layne Norton discusses the impact of sugar and fiber on body composition and biomarkers of health. While high sugar intake is often associated with negative health outcomes, Norton argues that the problem is not sugar per se, but rather the lack of fiber in sugary foods. He suggests that focusing on fiber intake may be more important than strictly limiting sugar intake.+
Sugar and Mental Associations:Layne Norton discusses the negative impact of creating negative associations with sugar and how it can lead to disordered eating patterns. He emphasizes the importance of avoiding mental restrictions and instead choosing to limit sugar consumption for health reasons.+

24. Sweeteners and Health

Artificial Sweeteners:Andrew discusses his personal experience with artificial sweeteners and the potential effects on the gut microbiome. He also explores the food conditioning effect and how it relates to the taste of coffee and other beverages.+
Artificial Sweeteners:Andrew and Dana discuss the effects of artificial sweeteners on blood sugar regulation and the microbiome. They also touch on the food conditioning effect of caffeine and the hierarchy of importance when it comes to replacing sugar with non-nutrition sweeteners. Andrew shares his changed views on artificial sweeteners based on the current data.+
Sweeteners and Adiposity:Layne Norton explains how a network meta-analysis found that non-nutritive sweeteners containing beverages are better for improving adiposity than water substitution in place of sugar sweetened beverages. Andrew Huberman adds that there seems to be an appetite suppressant effect from these artificial sweeteners.+
Artificial Sweeteners:Layne Norton discusses the effects of artificial sweeteners on health. He explains that while they may be helpful for weight loss, they are not necessarily healthy. The different types of sweeteners can interact differently, and the effects on blood sugar and insulin vary.+
Impact of Sweet Tastes:Andrew and Layne discuss the impact of sweet tastes on blood sugar and how it can program your taste buds. They also talk about the adaptability of taste buds and how it can impact your food choices.+

25. Artificial Sweeteners Study

Microbiome Effects:Layne and Andrew discuss a recent study on the effects of artificial sweeteners on the gut microbiome in humans. The study showed that some non-nutritive sweeteners are not metabolically inert and can have an effect on the microbiome. Layne focuses on the blood glucose response, while also noting that the species of bacteria that changed the most is associated with lower adiposity and better insulin sensitivity.+
Artificial Sweeteners:Layne Norton and Andrew Huberman discuss a recent study on the effects of artificial sweeteners, specifically sucralose. They delve into the issue of publication bias and highlight the importance of the null hypothesis. Although the study found a statistically significant increase in blood glucose levels at one time point, the overall area under the curve was not different. Andrew shares that he will continue to consume stevia and aspartame in small amounts, but will no longer actively avoid sucralose.+
Artificial Sweeteners Study:Layne discusses the strengths and weaknesses of a study on artificial sweeteners, which recruited participants who had never consumed them before. The study's detailed food analysis and lack of preexisting effects were strengths, but there was a possibility of a placebo effect and the study could not be blinded.+
Artificial Sweeteners:Andrew and Layne discuss the effects of artificial sweeteners on the body, including changes in blood glucose levels and gut microbiome. They caution against drawing too many conclusions from a two-week study, but suggest that sucralose may have negative effects. However, they also acknowledge that artificial sweeteners can be a useful tool for weight loss.+

26. Rapid Weight Loss

Rapid Weight Loss:Andrew discusses the healthiest way to approach rapid weight loss, including the benefits of losing weight quickly and the importance of buy-in for long-term success.+
Losing Fat and Lean Mass:Layne Norton explains the trade-off between losing fat and lean mass during aggressive dieting. The more adipose tissue one has, the more aggressively they can diet without negative consequences. However, a reduction in lean mass is expected during weight loss, but it doesn't necessarily mean skeletal muscle tissue.+
Cravings and Optimization:Andrew and Ali discuss how viewing dieting as a deprivation system can lead to increased cravings, while emphasizing the nourishing aspects of food can reduce cravings and increase satiety. They also delve into how the human brain is not optimized for health and how doing what's hard in the short term can lead to an easier life in the long term.+

27. Seed Oils Debate

Seed Oils Debate:Andrew and Layne discuss the debate surrounding seed oils, with some arguing that they are the source of all health problems and others arguing the opposite. While seed oils have negatively contributed to overall health, randomized control trials show that substituting saturated fats for polyunsaturated fats has neutral or positive effects on inflammation.+
Fats and Health:Layne discusses the nuances of different types of fats and their effects on cardiovascular disease. He suggests that substituting monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats is likely beneficial, but overconsumption of any type of fat can lead to negative health outcomes. He also challenges the idea that seed oils are inherently bad for you, emphasizing the importance of considering overall calorie intake.+
Saturated Fat Threshold:Andrew and the guest discuss the importance of considering overall energy toxicity when it comes to consuming saturated fat. While most data suggests that saturated fat should make up no more than 7-10% of total daily caloric intake, going too low on it can lead to a reduction in testosterone. Andrew shares his personal experience with adding butter back into his diet and finding his sweet spot for hormone levels.+
Saturated Fat & Testosterone:Layne and Andrew discuss the relationship between testosterone and saturated fat, and whether a reduction in testosterone caused by saturated fat is enough to cause loss of lean mass. They also touch on the role of saturated fat in cholesterol synthesis and its impact on cardiovascular health.+

28. Female-Specific Training

Female-Specific Exercise:Andrew and Layne discuss whether there are female-specific diet and exercise protocols. They explore the differences between male and female responses to training and calorie intake, and conclude that for the most part, the same principles apply.+
Training and Menstrual Cycle:Layne Norton discusses how to autoregulate training sessions based on individual performance, including during the menstrual cycle. He advises women to do what feels best for them during their period and adjust intensity and volume accordingly. Absolute load also matters in programming, especially for elite powerlifters.+

29. Raw vs. Cooked Foods

Andrew and Layne discuss the benefits of cooking protein-containing foods and how it makes amino acids more bioavailable. They caution against charring meat too much due to the creation of carcinogenic poly aromatic hydrocarbons.+

30. Berberine & Glucose Scavenging

Andrew and Layne discuss the effectiveness of carb blockers and glucose scavengers in reducing the absorption of carbohydrates and downshifting the amount of circulating glucose. They also explain why carb blockers don't cause weight loss and debunk the myth of the 30 grams of protein threshold.+

31. Fiber & Gastric Emptying Time

Andrew and Layne discuss the role of fiber in controlling energy balance through gastric emptying time. Low GI foods tend to be higher in fiber, which improves GI transit time and can lead to better energy balance.+

32. Effective Supplements

Safe and Effective Supplements:Layne Norton discusses the benefits of Creatine Monohydrate as the most tested, safe, and effective sports supplement. He also introduces Rhodiola Rosea as an interesting and useful supplement worth exploring.+
Creatine Benefits:Layne discusses the benefits of creatine, including its ability to improve exercise performance, increase lean mass, and aid in recovery. While it may also lead to a decrease in body fat percentage, it is not a fat burner. Additionally, recent studies have shown cognitive benefits to taking creatine. The only potential downside is a possible link to hair loss, but Layne is not convinced.+
Creatine and Rhodiola:Layne discusses the benefits and potential risks of taking creatine, including the loading process and how to avoid GI issues. He also shares his experience with Rhodiola Rosea, an adaptogen that may reduce physical and mental fatigue and enhance cognition.+
Performance Supplements:Layne Norton discusses the effectiveness of various supplements for improving performance, including caffeine, beta alanine, and citrulline malate. He emphasizes that while supplements can be helpful, they are not a replacement for proper nutrition, recovery, and hard training.+

33. Hard Work and Confidence

Hard Work and Confidence:Layne Norton and Ben Bruno discuss the importance of hard work and confidence in achieving success in bodybuilding, academics, and other endeavors. Norton emphasizes that hard work is more important than following an evidence-based program, and that enjoying the process of training hard is key to building confidence.+
Embracing Hard Things:Layne Norton shares how he reframes negative experiences into opportunities to overcome obstacles, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and delayed gratification. Andrew Huberman adds that challenging oneself mentally and physically can lead to cognitive benefits and a stronger will to live.+

34. Carbon App

Carbon App:Layne Norton discusses the creation of the Carbon app, which helps users navigate nutrition, exercise, and energy balance. The app asks questions about activity, lifestyle, and body weight to formulate a baseline plan. The goal was to automate coaching and make it more affordable for those who can't afford expensive one-on-one coaching.+
Nutrition Tracking App:Layne Norton discusses the features of his nutrition tracking app, which includes determining baseline calories, tracking food intake, and weekly check-ins with a coach. The app uses an algebra equation to determine total daily energy expenditure and adjusts calorie intake based on progress towards weight loss or gain goals.+
Personalized Diet App:Layne Norton discusses the features of his personalized diet app, including how it tracks energy expenditure and adjusts calorie intake accordingly. The app also allows users to choose their preferred dietary preference and offers flexibility to improve adherence. Norton shares statistics on the app's success and his own experience using it for body weight management.+

35. Supplement Benefits

Andrew discusses the benefits of supplements for sleep, hormone augmentation, and focus. He also mentions a partner website for high-quality supplements and a zero-cost newsletter for mental and physical health protocols.+