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Peak Human - Unbiased Nutrition Info for Optimum Health, Fitness & Living

Apr 11, 2019

Today we have a double header with 2 great figures as well as athletes in the low carb community.

Zach Bitter is the 100 mile American record holder and 12 hour world record holder for ultramarathons. He hosts the Human Performance Outliers podcast with Dr. Shawn Baker and has learned many lessons from amazing people along the way. He has wealth of knowledge of fat adapted athletics and fueling himself with meat while healing his body.

But first we have Dr. Mark Cucuzzella who is a Professor of Medicine at West Virginia University medical school, Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, a Family physician for 20 years, and a Lt Col in the US Air Force Reserves. He’s doing such great work in his hospital and community and has implemented some very beneficial programs. He’s a great guy and was a big supporter of the film early on.

He brings up that Zach Bitter was actually in the FASTER study that previous podcast guest Dr. Jeff Volek famously did that rewrote the textbooks on fat oxidation. Lot’s of good stuff her beyond running!

Thanks again for helping us finish the Indiegogo campaign. We hit our goal, but that certainly wasn’t the amount needed to finish the film. You can still preorder a copy of Food Lies on Indiegogo by clicking through Get the limited edition Eat Meat shirt there and check out the other perks - that’s at

A quick update about me - I just started training for a Decathlon at UCLA. I’m going to do it running on meat and fat. Many of you probably saw the video of me pole vaulting for the first time in over 16 years on social media. This is going to be awesome. Everyone there thinks I’m insane for doing it at 35 while never having done most of the events before, let alone all of them in 2 days at the Masters Championships in Iowa. Also the mostly eating meat, fish, and eggs thing is really tripping them out. Follow along on social media. Also I’ll have a totally unrelated big announcement in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned - I’m very excited. Now here’s Mark and Zach.

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Show notes

Zach Bitter

  • Hosts the Human Performance Outliers podcast with Dr. Shawn Baker
  • He holds the 100 mile American record with an average pace of 7 minutes per mile
  • He also holds the world record for farthest distance run in 12 hours
  • He spent the first half of his running career on the conventional high carb diet that all runners believe is best
  • He followed a whole foods approach with lots of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables - no processed foods or junk food
  • At age 24/25 he was having some bad symptoms that shouldn’t face a young man in his prime
  • He wasn’t sleeping well, he didn’t have sustained energy throughout the day, and had poor recovery after workouts
  • He looked towards nutrition as a cure and found the low carb, high fat diet
  • Got turned on to Dr. Phinney and Dr. Volek early on so he had a solid approach to transitioning into fat-adaptation correctly
  • He transitioned in the off-season and sleep and energy immediately improved
  • Recovery and mobility greatly improved after races once fat-adapted
  • What are some other sports where it’s good to be fat-adapted?
  • It seems to be dependent on how soon you’re going to train again. If it’s only once per day it seems carbs aren't really necessary. 2 sessions per day, probably yes.
  • He only needs carbs when doing intensity plus high volume. Either one separately he doesn't.
  • How he got into the carnivore world
  • He’s done 73 podcast episodes with various experts and has learned a lot
  • 2 big things are that vegetables aren’t really necessary it seems and there’s a lot of myths about protein that are turning out to not be true. There’s probably no such thing as too much protein
  • My ultra simplistic theory is that animal foods are +1, processed foods are -1, and plant foods are just neutral (or 0). Plant foods aren't doing much for you other than taking up space in your stomach from things that could be worse. The real nutrition is from the animal foods.
  • He agrees with this and builds his meals around fatty meat, eggs, and some full fat dairy
  • He ferments his own vegetables
  • If you have digestive problems try doing only animal foods and add stuff back in slowly and carefully to track it
  • Hunter gatherers used to eat (and still do) fermented plant matter out of animal’s stomachs, especially in cold environments when that was their only vegetation
  • Check out the HPO podcast he does with Shawn Baker
  • Zach does running and nutrition coaching - find him at
  • He’s on twitter at and Instagram at

Mark Cucuzzella


  • Mark is a doctor in West Virginia doing great things for his community and grew up as a runner
  • He’s appeared in a lot of big news articles and news segments over the years
  • His website
  • He recently wrote the book Run For Your Life which I’ve read and recommend to any runner
  • He created the Efficient Running Project for the US Air Force
  • He almost made the olympic trials for the marathon but was plagued by injuries and almost quit before taking health into his own hands and also running barefoot or almost barefoot
  • He was able to keep running and has a streak of 30 years of under a 3 hour marathon
  • He opened a running store and has organized tons of runs & events for adults and kids and got the community a lot more active
  • He bought into the low fat high carb diet HUGE waking up at 2am eating more cereal he was so hungry
  • He was in charge of figuring out why people in the Air Force kept failing the fitness tests
  • This was in 2002 and he saw the Gary Taubes article What if it’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?
  • As a doctor he always has learned from his patients. He asked auditoriums full of recruits who has lost 50 pounds or more and kept it off for a year? The only answer was “I gave up bread, or I gave up soda, or I did Paleo, or I did Atkins”
  • He also is a professor at WVU writing papers, etc.
  • He started a program at his hospital that removed all sugary drinks
  • 80% of people in a hospital have insulin resistance and/or metabolic syndrome why would we be giving them a toxin like sugar?
  • The staff supported him in this after getting healthier and losing weight by cutting sugar and carbs
  • He helped get double dollars for food stamps at the farmers market
  • #1 thing purchased with food stamps (now called SNAP) in America is soda!!
  • He’s also starting programs to help people make better choices at dollar stores
  • I think “food deserts” are a myth. It’s just information. You don’t need fresh fruit and veg to be healthy. You can get meat, eggs, and canned fish anywhere in America within a few blocks
  • Food industry and advertisements are working against us
  • EAT Lancet debunking
  • His blog post on this
  • He’s part of the Nutrition Coalition with Nina Teicholz
  • I grew up running barefoot in Hawaii
  • Human evolution and persistence hunting
  • Daniel Lieberman comes up again who’s the Harvard professor I had an unpleasant call with
  • Running shouldn't be about burning calories it should be about being efficient
  • His comprehensive article on fat adapted running
  • Zach was actually part of the FASTER study by Phinney and Volek
  • The textbooks say humans can only oxidize 0.8 grams per minute but in the study they doubled that. Dr. Mark did it himself and measured 2.0 grams of fat/min
  • HIs heart rate dropped down significantly after only 1 minute because he is in such good shape and running so efficiently on fat - great for recovery
  • If you’re a medical professional and would like to make changes in your community or otherwise you can contact him at
  • Dr. Eric Westman is a great doctor doing low carb for decades with his patients and having great success
  • Dr. Robert Lustig’s “The Complete Skinny on Obesity”
  • Even though the campaign is over you can still preorder the film and get the great perks


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