Fahad, a serial entrepreneur, the founder of Ketogeek, an evidence-driven multi-pronged startup that creates tools to empower and educate the public, innovate the food industry and help combat current chronic diseases. He currently follows the ‘Nutty Carnivore’ diet, hosts the Ketogeek Podcast and utilizes an engineer’s perspective to solve problems. In his free time, he loves letting his curiosity run wild, drowning in research papers and books while dabbling in Ashtanga Yoga, Calisthenics, Plyometrics and Strength Training. His vision to make this world a better place with amazing human beings in it!
Check out Fahad’s websites!
Ketogeek Website: www.ketogeek.com
Get a Free 7-day Fast & Easy Keto Meal Plan https://info.ketocarole.com/optin
Carole Freeman: Hey, welcome everyone to another episode of Keto Chat. I am your host, Carole Freeman, certified nutritionist and creator of the Fast-Track to Keto Success program. Today, I’m honored to be bringing you Fahad Ahmad. Don’t even say that, right? I’m going to ask you if I pronounced your name correctly.
Fahad Ahmad: I like to observe how people mutate my name. I would enjoy that so please find the worst.
Carole Freeman: I should try again and try even worse? Fahad Mahad.
Fahad Ahmad: I like it. It rhymes with my name or whatever it is.
Carole Freeman: Awesome in one way or another. Well you’re also known as KetoGeek. I can see that. I know how to pronounce that very easily, so you got a fun thing going on and I really appreciate you being here. I met you at Low Carb San Diego 2017 and I’ve also became familiar with you, hearing your interview with Marty Kendall of Optimizing Nutrition. Tell us more about who you are.
Fahad Ahmad: Well, last I checked in the morning, I was a human being from Milky Way, pretty much as I would say, a serial entrepreneur. I’ve got a lot of things going on in life. I started off with a car business and then delved into this crazy keto world. I was listening to Tim Ferriss’s podcast. He had Dominic D’Agostino on there and as many of your listeners know about it, that’s how I got inspired into the world of keto, and yes-
Carole Freeman: Nice. You had a car business, so there’s a little connection we have then. I used to sell cars.
Fahad Ahmad: Oh dear. Should I be scared of you?
Carole Freeman: I don’t know. All the things they say about used car salesmen, they’re true, right?
Fahad Ahmad: Yeah.
Carole Freeman: Anyway, sorry. You got into keto. You’re inspired by Dom on Tim Ferriss show.
Fahad Ahmad: Yes.
Carole Freeman: I’m sure a lot of people can identify with that.
Fahad Ahmad: Yes. From that point onward, I decided to try the ketogenic diet. I was the same high-carb person initially and then, after going on to the ketogenic diet and learning some of the benefits to it and then, something interesting happened. I started to see a lot of these stars start to align. Okay, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, there’s so many things going on. I’m one of those people who likes to take a more aggressive approach to helping this world become much better, so I delved head first into it. I decided, hey, let’s start something. There’s not a lot of products out there for the ketogenic lifestyle. That’s how we began. We started experimenting like crazy as far as food products are concerned and then, we came up with these tiny little pods eventually and we launched our KetoGeek business a few months back and two hours later, it’s Tim Ferriss who picks up our news headline and he tweets it and that just make … We just get sold out and it goes into like chaos mode.
Carole Freeman: Wow. Was this before Low Carb San Diego or after?
Fahad Ahmad: That was a little before Low Carb USA back in, I believe April somewhere, April, May and then it just opened up this whole new world. At that time, all we wanted to do was sell products but then we started to realize something interesting going on. Just to backtrack a little bit, as soon as we launched, our aim was to surround ourselves with amazing people, people who knew what they were talking about. They were self-critical and that’s how I came into affiliation or contact with people like Marty Kendall, Luis and Tyler from Ketogains, because these people are very scientific evidence-based. Initially, we started off in our business with very high-fat sort of products and then they came to tell us that, “Hey, maybe something’s not right here.”
We didn’t want to put people from one hot oven into another hot oven so in the last few months, we’ve been sort of analyzing all of this and then we read the book by Robb Wolf called Wired to Eat, which is fantastic. It helped us understand concepts like hyper palatability and how a lot of companies that are food startups start to, this day, becomes a subscription plan. It becomes addiction. By the way, I also listened to your part … huge chunk of your sweetener episode and that was really fascinating.
Carole Freeman: Good. Okay.
Fahad Ahmad: Yes. That’s basically our story. We have a lot going on into the background. As time passes, we’re going to reveal some information and details about it.
Carole Freeman: Right now, it’s secret, huh?
Fahad Ahmad: Yep.
Carole Freeman: You’ve mentioned like going from one oven to the other so you’re talking about like taking people from a high-carb diet and just putting them on highly palatable high-fat diet is not the best solution for them, and I agree with that.
Fahad Ahmad: Yes, exactly. Initially, we read a few books and there were certain people who said, “Okay, if you eat an unlimited amount of fat, you’ll be fine,” but through our observation and through asking a lot of people in the Ketogains community, we came to realized that if we start selling hyper palatable, high-fat food, that would just create more harm and the first rule of medicine is do no harm. We started to think in terms of how do we tackle this problem, how do we sort of work this through, make sure that we’re not feeding people food that is going to make them obese and fat. Just because it’s keto doesn’t mean you have to start just chowing down fat, fat, fat.
Carole Freeman: Yes.
Fahad Ahmad: That has been our challenge. We have a few good ideas right around the corner. We are working with some interesting people with some of our projects backstage and right now, I know it’s kind of confidential but eventually, it’s going to come out.
Carole Freeman: Just whisper in my ear. I won’t tell anybody.
Fahad Ahmad: We’ll get there. Right now, we’re still in the brainstorming phase at the moment and meanwhile, we have our podcast which is the KetoGeek Podcast where we bring in people that already are really influential, self-critical, evidence-based. They’re doing something right and they’re replicating with success so those are the people that come to our podcast. We’re very picky about who comes on board and in the sea of information overload, I think what we are trying to do is condense everything, make sure that it’s not so … It just doesn’t overdose your brain with dopamines and all that good stuff. I think the modern challenge in our world beyond just food and nutrition is it’s not that food is scarce or information is scarce or knowledge is less. It’s the challenge of making sure that you cap it somewhere and have a direction where you’re going, you have a goal that is oriented. I think that’s one of the reasons why things like macro calculators work really well, is because it puts a cap on it. It restricts you and prevents overconsumption. What’s your take on all of this? You have-
Carole Freeman: No. I actually really appreciate it. I love the fact that you’re really being mindful of that product, so you’re not just going the route of like what will sell the most and make the most money. You’re actually being conscientious about bringing a product that’s actually going to do good in the world. That’s really … I really applaud that. That’s fantastic and the way you’re looking at that from understanding the hyper palatability of it, I’ll send you another interview that I did with Dr. Stephan Guyenet. Are you familiar with him and his work?
Fahad Ahmad: No, I’m not. Would you like to elaborate just for a little bit?
Carole Freeman: Yeah. Well, I did an interview with him. He’s a PhD researcher here in the Seattle area and he’s done a lot of work about the neuro regulation appetite and neuro regulation of … or neuro chemistry of obesity basically like what is it that makes over eat and he’s really … When I was in school, that was one of the things that … I was a really big fan of his work because that kind of opened my eyes. He’s the one … As far as I know, he’s kind of coined the phrase hyper … I’m sorry, highly palatable combinations. He was where I learned about anything that’s sweet and fat together, we will just eat so much more of it than either one of those by themselves, right, so the thought experiment of, okay, stick of butter all by itself. How much of that can you eat? Then, add sugar to it and flour, suddenly, you’ve got cookies. You can eat a whole lot more of any one of those.
Even if you just had a pile of pure sugar, you’d be limited how much that you’d eat by itself but when you combine those together, then all of a sudden, you’ve got that hyper palatable combination. What you’re aware of there with your … the high-fat, fat bomb type treat things that are out there, definitely, people don’t need those to be in ketosis and all they do is contribute to overeating and overconsumption which, like you’ve said, that’s more of a concern in our … well, at least in the United States world than the other thing of not eating enough.
Fahad Ahmad: Yes. That also meant that we shot our self in the foot for the last two, three months because our products right now are very high-fat and they are on … not exactly … I wouldn’t say they’re hyper palatable. We have cut down our sweeteners significantly. We made them just sweet enough but then the question was, how do you gauge that? How do you gauge palatability because everybody’s palate is so different? These are some of the challenges that we’re facing right now before we go all-in and start to sell our products.
Then again, there’s the other side of the argument which is, hey, palatable food is actually good. Let’s say, for example, someone has cancer or Alzheimer’s and they need to go on a super high-fat diet where you could go all the way to 90% as we found out in our last interview with Alison Gannett where she sometimes takes her patients who are going through cancer, some late stage cancers on a very, very high-fat diet. In those cases, you want the food to be palatable or hyper palatable so they can actually consume that, that market but at the same time, now you have … Now, what we’re trying to do is come up with a scale.
By the way, that’s one of the backstage things that we’re working on, is try to figure out the scale method where we can basically just redesign the entire nutritional data that is on all food items because if you look at the nutritional food at the back, it’s very inaccurate. For example, one of the interesting studies that I just posted a couple weeks ago was regarding almonds. Normally, they’re considered very high-fat. They have about … one ounce has about 270 calories but that’s theoretical. They did a study in it and they put some folks in there and they gave them some almonds and they came out with the actual value which was 30% less which was about 130 calories per one ounce. Then, that makes you question what else is wrong. Those are some of the things that we ponder about and sort of just try to grasp and figure out, “Okay, how do we deal with nutritional labels that are so off?”
Carole Freeman: Yeah. Well, maybe you’ve dived into this a little bit too, is that what is on the nutritional label is what they’ve done in the lab and what happens in the lab when you burn up almonds all the way versus what happens when a human eats them is two vastly different things and what you can actually completely combust out of a food is different than the way that a human, not only digests it but then what actually gets absorbed, what’s actually bioavailable as well. Same thing with all the nutrients too, the vitamins and minerals, same thing. What you’ll see on nutrient databases is what’s in there if you could actually get every little bit of it out but our bodies just don’t work that way.
Fahad Ahmad: Exactly. That coins the term or metabolic efficiency or nutritional efficiency and that’s one other thing that we are very much interested in. Whenever I go to optimizing nutrition and look at Marty Kendall, I think there needs to be somewhat of a connection with what he’s doing, combining that with metabolic efficiency. Recently, we just did an interview with Alison Gannett and we talked about how the DNA somehow predict what kind of foods maybe a person might be able to absorb or not absorb. That makes us think, is there a way maybe that you could create an ideal or a good meal plan based on people’s genetics maybe that might help them?
These are some of the questions that we are always wondering about. You might have noticed now by now that at KetoGeek, we come up with more questions than answers and then we bring people like Marty Kendall, Professor Tim Noakes, Liz, all of these people. We try and get some answers out of them.
Carole Freeman: No. I think that’s really great. Back when I was teaching nutrition classes, that’s the one thing I always told my students. I said, “I’m going to teach you some stuff right now but don’t take this as like, ‘Oh I learned that,’” and close down your lid and just never learn anything else, like especially those nutrition sciences like always be questioning. Always know that we’re going to learn more. It’s a very new science, area of science and we have so much more to learn. I love that actually. I think that’s really great, is that everything you learn, add more questions on the end of it.
Fahad Ahmad: Yes. Another question that comes up is, again, is sustainability. For example, if a lot of this nutrition is just getting malabsorbed or not absorbed at all, how does this affect the entire food industry? For instance, if there’s a 30% off on almonds for example, is that a waste of energy or what about other foods? Some of these questions are really interesting and in the long run, it can be very effective in cutting down certain costs, help our government figure out what might be the best path, what kind of agriculture we may need to focus on. Another concept would be, let’s say, if you want to go to a Deep Space mission and you want to give them some food, you want to make sure that the food, every single pound counts because every single pound could take 25,000 to maybe 100,000. Let’s say you’re going to Mars. If you lower the cost based on efficiency, then that would really help us. Yeah. We just get lost in these big, big questions.
Carole Freeman: Well, here’s another one for you. A recent interview I did with Dr. Thomas Fabian, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him or not. He’s kind of a gut biome specialist. He’s going to be speaking at Ancestral Health Symposium here in the Seattle area in a few weeks. There’s a lot of wisdom actually in our body when things like absorb easily or they don’t. We get this idea of like something is good for us so more must be better, right, like if phytonutrients and plants are really good for us then we must try to get as much as we possibly can, so along the lines of well, that’s why we need smoothies and juicing so we can just stuff in as much as possible and get it in our body.
Some of those bioactive compounds like the things that we think of as like, “Oh, those are cancer preventative,” or other phytochemicals and things like that that are good for us, the reason they’re good is because a little bit of it kind of turns on our own body’s immune system and amps that up. That doesn’t mean that the more of it is going to be better. We get this idea of like, well, we need things to be easily digested, readily available and to get as much as we can out of it but some of the things, just for example, like the phytonutrients, more of it is not better. That complicates your whole equation of getting the most feed efficiency for your trip to Mars.
Fahad Ahmad: That does, but at the same time, one of the most interesting interviews we recently did was with Shawn Baker.
Carole Freeman: Yeah, the meatatarian. What does he call himself? Zero-carber or …
Fahad Ahmad: Zero-carb. That is where it throws a monkey wrench into everything that we think about because all he’s doing, and a lot of these people who are on the zero-carb diet, are just eating meat and that’s it. Now, correct me if I’m wrong but, by the way, we’re new, I’m open to being wrong. I’m always learning so just want to throw that out there. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m nobody. I’m just-
Carole Freeman: You don’t play a doctor on TV either, right?
Fahad Ahmad: Yeah. No. I’m just good at asking interesting questions. That’s all I am. Very humble about that or maybe I’m not, but yeah. Shawn Baker, the most interesting thing is that he’s able to break World Records, he’s able to, I think, [inaudible 00:17:30] off like 750 pounds and he’s not the only person. All these people are doing is just eating meat and water, meat and water, meat and water. What’s going on over there? This makes me really skeptical of certain hard concepts like the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Is that even needed or viable?
Then, is the gut bacteria just an overrated concept because your meat is digested by enzyme and then your plants and all that stuff requires the bacteria? Can we just fire those guys? I mean, do they even need … Do we even need them? Then, I think Ted Naiman, his strategy, I think he’s like steak and eggs, steak and eggs, steak and eggs. I could be wrong with Sir Naiman.
Carole Freeman: You know he was a former vegetarian, right?
Fahad Ahmad: Yes. That’s the thing. I think I saw that on your … I thought that was one of the videos that I saw of yours where he mentions that he was a vegetarian at the start. He’s a really cool guy. We’ve nicknamed him god by the way.
Carole Freeman: Yeah. No. I mean, these are questions I ask too and I’ve got five years of nutrition training under my belt and I love the way your mind is working because there’s so much of what, like the last 40 or 50 years, of what we’ve been told is true about the healthy way of eating really is like getting turned on its head and so much of it is the opposite of what really I believe to be true but who knows what we’re going to find out. What you’re pointing out to with the people that are doing zero-carb diet now where they know plant matter whatsoever, 100% animal-based food, it really raises a lot of questions about like what we think of as like our nutrient requirements like vitamins and minerals, right, like we’ve got these RDAs that say we need so much of vitamin C per day and they’re based on … A lot of them are based on …
They found that if you got some kind of a disease, if you didn’t have that, but that was also in the face of eating a pretty high-carb diet, right? That’s what a lot of the zero-carbers are seeing, is like, well, they’re not technically getting any vitamin C in their diet and they’re not getting scurvy and they feel great, amazing and really healthy. Are the RDA’s vitamin and mineral requirements that we think we need, is that based on a high-carb diet? Then, if we’re doing a low-carb diet, what do we need there? What if you’re doing a zero-carb diet? Are we going to get those … How long until we know?
Fahad Ahmad: I think Shawn Baker and, I think one other person, I don’t remember his name, they’re doing this N equals Many study where they have taken 300 to 400 people and they are eating just meat and water. It’s not exactly a realistic real study in a metabolic ward of some sort or even a randomized control trial. It’s self-funded. People are just doing it online on a website. It might not be considered the most accurate study but for me, as a person who’s seen many anecdotes that worked and you might call me crazy, I am going to be looking at it from a very skeptical and scrutinize if the things that may work over there and use that to challenge some of the concepts.
If you look at in the past and even recently, we just got that peer study which was an epidemiological study. A lot of these studies are epidemiological and they don’t actually show a cause and effect sort of thing. I have a bit of an engineering background. For me, I just think that it’s just too vast, it’s just too big. There’s too many variables. There’s too much going on.
Carole Freeman: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Fahad Ahmad: When I see a study like N equals Many which is absurdly crazy that you’re eating just meat and water, you’re insane. I got into a couple of arguments because of this but the first time, you sort of have like a completely randomized sort of trial with just one food item technically. It has some credibility to it. It will shake some good foundations. I will take it seriously. We’ll see where it goes. I want to see what Marty Kendall has to say about this.
Carole Freeman: Well, yeah. I mean, his foundation of finding the most nutrient dense foods is based all on these RDAs which are established of how many of these nutrients we actually need. We have these other contexts of when you’re not processing all these carbohydrates all day long, what do we actually need? For example, like thiamine, one of the biggest roles it plays in the body is in helping to get energy from carbohydrates and processing those in our body. How much thiamine do we need if we’re not eating a high-carb diet?
Fahad Ahmad: Indeed. I think one of the things that … We recently, we’re at Low Carb USA and we sat down with the boys at Ketogains Boys and Gals and we had Robb Wolf on board with us and there was Dave Feldman there as well. We had this wonderful, amazing conversation with … at a Brazilian steakhouse.
Carole Freeman: Oh, nice.
Fahad Ahmad: I swear you should call him the magician because he said, “Look at what I have to show you.” He takes us back into the past and we explore some of the socio-economic issues that are leading to all of these epidemics and chronic diseases that are like, for example, overconsumption, like this desire to consumerism, how … It just became too political at this point. The point here to note was that the issues that you might see in the immediate vicinity might be just symptoms of a bigger underlying problem in the world or how vanity is, how our reptilian brain works, how we are very driven to pleasure responses towards instant gratification of making sure that we please others even if it’s killing us inside if you look at most of our social media platforms.
If you translate those sort of principles into a realistic food, into the food world, you’ll notice that they translate and interpolate as well and it causes a lot of insecurities, a lot of weight gain, so forth, and a lot of these diseases of the abundance like type-2 diabetes, you could say even cancer. I don’t know how you think about it. Those are some of the things we need to think about. One of the heart and one of the things at the center of KetoGeek we want to do is we want to make amazing human being. We want to inspire people to become a beacon of change for others as well.
Whenever someone comes up to me, I will always try to initiate it and do a conversation with them or help them to the best of my abilities but at the same time, we’re also coming to face some of the things that are very dogmatic. Now, this is me being a little pessimistic and critical but I think sometimes, people need to realize that it can be a lost cause in certain ways. Certain radical thinking cannot be changed. A belief system cannot be modified, well, no matter how scientific you get or try in certain people. These are some of the political issues. I know I’m kind of like going really back and behind a sort of different … bring a different light into the problem but I think that needs to be realized if you want to create great human beings, a great society, a great country.
Carole Freeman: Wow, that’s deep. Deep.
Fahad Ahmad: We always think about it. I do Ashtanga yoga as well at the same time. I do weight training, Ashtanga yoga, all that kind of stuff. It allows us to, I think, be mind … It allows us to become really mindful of our surroundings. I know it sounds very cliché and hippie-ish. Maybe I am a hippie. Who knows, but it allows us-
Carole Freeman: Yeah, please get all it here. Yeah.
Fahad Ahmad: It allows us to be very self-conscious of what might be happening around us and observe the surroundings. It’s going to like an introverted boat and observe. I think that’s one of the other things that we have plenty in our society, the stress and the get things done sort of attitude. Anyway, I’ve rambled enough.
Carole Freeman: Hey, I want to go back a little bit though. I’m like really curious. When you started keto, what did you notice? What was it that made you want to keep going, staying on a ketogenic diet versus what you were doing before?
Fahad Ahmad: Well, before, I was on a high-carb diet. I actually tried something called Soylent which is absurd.
Carole Freeman: Yeah. Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah, because it’s the goal of like I don’t want to spend time eating. I just want to get it all in one shake or three shakes a day, right, like trying to get all your nutrients in one drink.
Fahad Ahmad: Yes. See, I’m one of those people who was extremely lazy as far as ketogenic is concerned. I don’t want to spend time making food. My joke here normally is if I have to spend the same amount of calories … I’m burning the same amount of calories as I’m cooking, then it just don’t make sense to me. For me, I switched over from a high-carb to a low-carb diet and I found out that I don’t need to be angry all the time. I don’t need food after every two hours and that works out great.
Now, all I needed was something that was a little bit more on the fatty side. That’s why I created something that was high-fat and it worked out great because I could consume that at midday or in the morning or stack it with my lean steak of some sort. That was the initial calling. I wanted to have chocolate. That’s one of the flavors that we have to offer. This is the advent of the current diet that I sort of follow which is the nutty carnivore diet. There’s no vegetables, there’s no fruits, nothing. It’s absurd, inspired from Shawn Baker but adding a little bit of nuts in it. Honestly-
Carole Freeman: Nutty carnivore, I get it. Okay.
Fahad Ahmad: Yes. Nuts are the bane of the keto world in many communities but for me, I’ve just adopted them. I said I love steak, I love nuts, let’s mix them both.
Carole Freeman: It’s working for you.
Fahad Ahmad: Yeah, it’s working for me. It’s worked for a few people at our KetoGeek community as well. Would I recommend it for fat loss? I don’t know, but I guess that’s the thing, is you need to find your groove, what works for you and just go with the flow.
Carole Freeman: I’ve seen you in person. You’re pretty lean guy. Have you always … Is that always been kind of your body type, that you haven’t had to battle the fat like some of the rest of us have?
Fahad Ahmad: Yes. That’s something I’m not exactly proud of. I’ve always had the genetics or whatever the reasons were but I didn’t have had to go through that battle of fighting the weight off me. I don’t quite feel proud of my accomplishment as far as my physique is concerned but I do want to do what I can with the knowledge I have to help others lose that fat if they want. Yeah, that’s my narrative. As far as my performance is concerned, it’s great. I think I’m improving as far as my strength is concerned. My deadlifts have gone up. I mean, as far as the key to adaptation period was concern, of course, everybody gets that little dip which I did as well but now, it’s back to pretty much normal and it’s consistently going up and up and up and up.
Carole Freeman: Yeah. Do you have any close friends or family that are just … they think you’re crazy?
Fahad Ahmad: My mother. I was raised in a country called Pakistan for about 18 years. Over there, carbs are the story. They’re the main story. Every time I have a conversation with my mother on Skype, she tells me, “You’re doing the most idiotic thing ever.” Even though it’s kind of very humbling and scary, that’s … when we were at Low Carb USA, there’s a lot of physicians and doctors surrounding us and asking us questions but I’m like, “I’m not trained for this. I am not educated for this. You guys are way smarter than I am. I don’t know why you’re even here around me.”
My mother will always criticize me. As far as my friends and family, I think the challenge is going to be there. If you’re going to start a ketogenic diet, I would imagine that you are overweight, people are going to say, “Oh, it’s going to cause … You’re going to get a heart attack. You’re going to get become diabetic. You’re going to get colorectal cancer from all the meat there you’re eating.” This is where you need a really strong support group. This is where I think you need a good community. An online community is the least you can do. Certain start up like Virta Health, now they’re doing a wonderful job of combining different … I don’t know exactly what they’re doing because they’re so hush-hush about it but they’re doing … They’re like inviting 10, 15 people and having a treatment in a group setting of some sort. Are you aware of that by any chance?
Carole Freeman: Yeah. I think they’re focused on at least to start with type-2 diabetes and doing like kind of an online model of health coaching to help people adopt a lower carb approach. I don’t know specifically but it’s like really, really ketogenic or if it’s more along the lines of what Dr. Westman does with his HEAL Care Clinics or HEAL Clinics. Is HEAL Care? I think it’s HEAL Care.
Fahad Ahmad: It’s one of those.
Carole Freeman: … that he’s doing where it’s more of just like a focus on low-carb but not specifically or necessarily ketogenic, it might be. That’s what I understand of Virta. It’s more of a virtual model where they’re focused mostly on type-2 diabetes that actually have health care providers that are providing the services.
Fahad Ahmad: Yes. Going back to the community aspect of it, yes, it is very important to create the perfect environment to help you with whatever your goals are. There are some wonderful communities online that you can join. There’s coaches like yourself they can reach out to, who are always on the prowl looking for the latest information. I think that is one of the best ways to do it but some people cannot afford coaches. In those cases, there’s plenty of knowledge out there.
The challenge here is finding good knowledge. I think that’s where people like yourself come into the play, people like Liz and all the Ketogains community and some of the other communities. Once again, we go back to the same thing, is find out what kind of community works for you and stick with it. It’s your family now. It’s your tribe. It’s your 80,000, 90,000 people tribe.
Carole Freeman: Yeah, depending on which group you’re in. Yeah. You’re so right like you hit on something really, really important especially when a keto diet is still something really fringed. It’s not really well-accepted. Having a support system, feeling like you’re not alone, you’re not the only weirdo in the world doing this really goes a long way and making that part of your identity. Robb Wolf will talk about this, about how why CrossFit has been so popular, is because it’s this community atmosphere. People go and they feel like they’re part of the gym there. Having that and seeking that out for people is really important.
Fahad Ahmad: Exactly. This brings us, brings me to a very interesting point which is how the pendulum can swing far in one direction. We touched a little bit on it where, “Oh, it’s the new buzzword now, keto. Let’s go. Let’s go high-fat.” Then, 10 months later, you notice you’ve actually gained more weight, your health deteriorated. With that sort of noise, I think that becomes a challenge with any new healthy diet that comes in. That’s one of my biggest fears, is what would happen with keto? What would the commercialization of this wonderful tool, how would this play out? Would we end up treating more diseases that are based on a high-fat diet that we are unaware of or are we creating some sort of a fat addiction?
Those are some of the questions that we are afraid of, especially since we’re a food company because we have to face the consequences of putting you guys onto some delicious food, right? That’s where I think people like yourself or people like Robb Wolf, people like Ted Naiman and people like we, Liz, all those people, everybody out there, they will have to consistently keep a check on us. We would need to consistently have a consultation with them. The problem with a lot of food companies nowadays is that they’re stuck 50 years ago with literally focusing on taste, taste, taste, taste, taste. Let’s make this delicious. I’ll put a little bit of sugar and they’re just … I could sell this to people.
We went to the Winter Fancy Food Show last January and that was the theme everywhere, is everybody’s trying to sell products that are delicious and tasty and make a butt load of money out of it. One of the interesting things that we can also delve into is some of the nutritional labels and claims. The biggest ones this year was the organic and natural but organic sugar, natural sugar is still sugar. We’re having the wrong conversation of we’re picking … we’re just comparing sugars. I give the example of organic cyanide is just going to be cyanide. You need to understand what the purpose of that ingredient is and this is what the most … This is the most beautiful thing about the ketogenic community right now. I sound like I’m an ADD rambling from one topic to another but one of the most beautiful things is now, we’re finally starting to understand the hard biology behind a lot of these … how these foods affect us rather than really utilizing some of these epidemiological studies for what we need to do as far as …
Carole Freeman: Yeah. Well, and one of my … I’m so on the same page with you about the fear of what the food companies are going to do with this, right, because … and the bastardization of keto, right? One of my pet peeves is people contacting me and saying, “Oh, I’m on a keto diet,” or they’ll come up when I’m speaking somewhere and like, “I follow keto,” and it’s like, “Really? How do you know?” “Well, because I just … I don’t eat any sugar anymore and I just keep my carbs low,” and they don’t really know what they don’t know and they don’t realize that there’s a big difference between low-carb and keto. That’s one piece of it but also the food manufacturers, right?
I’m so afraid of what’s going to happen as the big food manufactures capitalize on high-fat snack foods with artificial sweeteners or whatever kind of sweetener in there, right, because that’s what people want and that’s what really sells because people really want the fantasy of being able to recreate and keep living their high-carb lifestyle, junk food and snack food and candies and chips and pizza and all that kind of stuff. The food manufacturers are going to deliver.
They’re going to be like, “You want this stuff so we’re going to give it to you,” and then people will … either they’ll maintain their former high-carb lifestyle and then add in these high-fat keto foods or they’ll mostly eat these processed keto foods that really may be marginally better than high sugar foods and high-fat but probably not going to give them the health transformation. Then, keto gets labeled as like, “Oh, that was just another fad and look at how unhealthy people are. It didn’t make them any healthier.” It sounds like that’s kind of what’s on your mind as well.
Fahad Ahmad: Exactly. Coming from a sort of processed food company right here, no matter how natural or healthy our ingredients or any company’s ingredients are, if you are going to tailor it for taste, there is going to be that chance of [inaudible 00:38:19]. There is going to be all of that. What I would say is focus on good, high quality food that is hopefully local to your vicinity. Even if it’s not local, try to make sure that your food is as real as possible. Though I do have a little bit of a gripe with that word because I have a fear that just like organic, just like natural … the term real food and real ingredients is going to get mutated, so that is why I come back to the same thing, is we need a better gauge to measure how food can be sold.
We need to educate people, empower them, and provide them with good, solid knowledge that they can go back to. Focus on real food. Don’t buy our stuff if … Don’t just buy our stuff or don’t buy any processed food because … I mean, I can see it as, okay, if you have a busy life, you can utilize it. If you are on a trip or you’re going somewhere, yes, it’ll support your ketogenic lifestyle or any lifestyle in general but you don’t want to replace the main infrastructure of how food works because it can cascade down into the same addictive patterns that you wanted to leave in the first place.
I’m going to drop the hammer right there. No matter what happens, if you’re going to eat a lot of fat, if you’re going to consume a lot of calories, it is going to play a role. For a lot of people who go on this unlimited calorie diet, I asked this question from the guys at Ketogains, I asked this question from a few other people. It’s the same theme, is that it might work for a short period of time but eventually, you’re going to start gaining fat and sometimes, as Ted Naiman once mentioned, I don’t know if his work’s here as well as for some people who might not be … For some people, they might not even be able to gain that weight. They have a specific threshold. After that, it just starts wrapping itself … All the fat starts wrapping around your organs, stuff like that. Please don’t over consume.
Carole Freeman: Yeah. So many good little meanderings there you got. It sounds like your company’s kind of in this phase of like, “Okay, so what do we do? I’ve got this conscience and I want to not poison the world. I want to actually do good with it and there’s this need for these products.” What that process like? Are you going to take some few months to kind of figure that out? Do you have a plan or trajectory of where you’re going to go or …
Fahad Ahmad: Yes. We actually have something right in the pipeline and this is the first time we’re going to be telling it out in public in general. We’ve been brainstorming for quite a bit of time now and we’re laying down this framework of something called energy pods. What these are we’re going to calibrate each individual pod or food item and we’re going to make sure that we provide as much information as possible. We’re going to create our own nutritional label system in which we show it’s 89% fat, for example, the amount of the carbs that are in there, the amount of fats that are in there, the protein on a very easy-to-digest graphic form, rather than that annoying written form.
Then, we would also want to explain that whether this is geared for a performance point of view or a high-fat therapeutic reasons or is this gain for a fat loss. Now, if you focus on a high-protein sort of product, then that is geared for a fat loss. Now, you don’t want to make it hyper palatable so we are creating a palatability scale with our products as well, along with a sweetness level so people can figure out, “Okay, it’s way too sweet and we’re not going to buy it again. If it’s too palatable, oh, I’m going to cascade into addiction.”
With these sort of knobs that are we’re working with right now and doing a lot of research on that, we will come up with something that is going to allow people to make a much smarter judgment about foods that they buy and we want to start this trend with other companies as well so that they’re not selling food that could be easily over consumed. We had to really shoot ourselves on the foot with this one because we want to sell products. We want to make money, right, but the reality is at what cost? At what cost are we making these profits? I don’t think I’m one of those people who could sleep at night knowing that, hey, I created something that is going to obliterate humanity.
That’s not my style. I was never raised that way and every time I think about it, my mother’s word comes into my brain where she’s like, “Be a good human being. Be a good person. Be good to the humanity.” That’s just ingrained into my head so that’s why we just stepped back, we reanalyzed everything, we want to create … I think there is a place for processed food in many situations. We may start to wean out from it but for now, these companies are here to stay. We may not be able to combat them. We may not be able to reverse everything but we can definitely modify certain things so that people can make much better choices and stay really healthy about it.
We’re approaching it from a engineering standpoint. It’s a problem. It needs to be solved. Let’s break it into individual components Let’s figure out how each of these ingredients influence the hard biology of the body. Sometimes, you’ll come up with certain ingredients like, okay, turmeric is amazing for you. Okay, let’s figure out how does turmeric play into the entire body, how does it influence … what kind of things it turns on and turns off. We’re doing tons of research on all of these things and we’re taking ingredients and converging to a recipe rather than finding a delicious recipe and then converging out and building science around it. That’s called dogma. That’s called having a belief system and building science around it. That’s not what we want to do. We want to help humans.
Carole Freeman: The plans you’ve got for the food labeling is really exciting. I love that. You’re right that something is needed and having those visuals and instead of the whole crazy, let go, stamp approval from this association or heart healthy or low-fat and all this other crazy stuff, the things that you’re looking at, maybe you can have Ted Naiman actually do the graphics for you for your charts and graphs and …
Fahad Ahmad: We’re scared of Ted Naiman. A person who believes in steak and eggs is not actually going to be a big fan of processed food, right?
Carole Freeman: He’s got that graph. I saw that recently where it was like, this is like the weight loss category, this is the maintenance and this is the weight gain. [inaudible 00:45:18]
Fahad Ahmad: No. He’s a wonderful educator and he’s got the right idea and that’s one thing I tell all educators in the keto world, in the low-carb world, is that you guys are stuck in freaking 10,000 BC right now as far as your technology and your websites are concerned. I always point it out to their face and that’s because I want them to take their immense knowledge base and condense it into bite-sized portions that people can actually understand. A good example would be Ryan Lowery, Dr. Jacob Wilson. They’ve taken the helm on Instagram and they are plowing through. Now, I-
Carole Freeman: Yeah. I love his stuff. He has really great graphics on there. Yeah.
Fahad Ahmad: Exactly, and that’s the key to success as far as getting to your younger generation, a lot of the millennials, a lot of the teens and those people. Make it cool. Make it hip. Make it something really awesome. Make some graphics out of it. Keep them entertained. We have an attention span of a few seconds, so utilize tools like Instagram. Grab the attention right off the get-go. Give them wonderful information. Give them great food, great options and that’s how you do it.
Carole Freeman: Yeah, awesome. Well, I’m excited for all the stuff that you’ve got planned and even farther in the future, I’m sure even stuff you don’t even know you’ve got coming out is going to be changing the world so I’m really excited that you’ve been here. I’m wondering, and just kind of wrapping things up, is there anything else that you were hoping we get to talk about or that you … some information that you want to get out there?
Fahad Ahmad: My question to you actually would be … I also do a podcast as I mentioned and now, this is one question I asked a lot of experts, is what do you think the modern food companies should be doing? What else should they be doing?
Carole Freeman: Oh, my gosh. That is a million dollar question, right? Here’s the thing. I know that the way to make money is you’ve got to lower your costs as low as possible and it’s for food companies, that means getting the cheapest ingredients you possibly can and like you said, capitalizing on the taste to the hyper palatability and getting people to buy as much as possible. I would think like responsibly for the health of humanity, you want to make things that are not hyper palatable that you want to make that are nutrient dense but those things aren’t going to sell and they’re not going to make money so I don’t know … I don’t know how to how to marry those two things together because a company that’s going to stay in business and actually get enough products out that could change the world, they need to make money to do that. They’re not going to … I don’t know. That’s a really great question.
Maybe we just need to completely change what a food company is like maybe it’s something where we have different kind of funding, where it’s more of like a nonprofit status where they provide food to people that’s truly nutritious and does have the labels like you’re talking about so that people can be aware of like, “Well, I need to lose some fat and I need to treat my diabetes and so, I’m going to choose these foods that have these indicators on them,” but those aren’t going to be the sexy foods.
The truth is that if we get people healthier, they will be eating less food. They just will be eating less food and so there’ll be less food to sell because people are eating an amount they’re not over consuming anymore. That’s not going to be sexy to any food manufacturer. Hey, we’re going to help you make less food. Maybe it just needs to be more expensive and then, they can still make the profits with selling less food. I don’t know. That’s more like the question of like how do we fix our healthcare system, like, oh, man. That’s a lot-
Fahad Ahmad: Yeah. I just have one concern with the nutrient density and it’s that what if you take a multivitamin pill and turn it into some sort of like a sugar bomb? That’s nutrient dense. Now, you’re-
Carole Freeman: Yeah. Well, yeah. I mean that whole … Who was I talking to the other day? We’re talking about the whole thing of like the word nutrient dense and maybe I was reading. Gosh. Now, I can’t remember where I was reading that where they were talking about how that whole word has just been used the wrong way because really, it means like nutrients per calorie and it should be nutrients per weight, per volume. You’re right. We really don’t have in our body nutrient sensors as far as like when we get enough nutrients, our bodies honk full. It’s really, we have volume and we have fat sensors and we have nutrient specific satiety as far as like you eat too much of any one thing, you’ll get tired of eating it but you’re right. Yeah, if you just take a vitamin pill and sugar, you’re not going to feel full and satisfied.
Fahad Ahmad: Well, what I would say to my fellow food companies and people who are thinking of starting a business, just realize that you want to do something good for humanity, that sometimes, that will … cost and taking losses. It’s much better to be a good human being and leaving a mark or not even leaving a mark at all is going to cause you harm. I think that’s the bitter pill that if you’re in business is [inaudible 00:50:40] swallow and refocus. Don’t tear down the infrastructure. Find a different way. Help people. Make this world amazing and better. I think if we can foster that sort of mentality in our new entrepreneurs and the new people that are coming up, I think that will make a wonderful, wonderful new world that begins with anybody who’s listening to the podcast. You become a beacon of change for everyone else.
Carole Freeman: Yeah. I think there is really a need for high quality either refrigerated or frozen meals that are real food and that are full of nutrients, not vitamins, pills, right, and that are easy to prepare really because most people are used to living that lifestyle of fast, easy, convenient food and so if we can make those healthy choices just as easy and fast as other options and that, I would love to see food companies that provide that. I mean we’re seeing this uprising of things like Sun Basket and other companies like that that deliver these healthy, easy-to-cook things at home and so I would love to see more of that. I know that’s always failed miserably though when they try to say like, “Oh, let’s have more salads at McDonald’s.” That’s not the answer but I think there is a need and that would be a really great thing for companies to focus on, is providing more of those fast and easy, really truly healthy real food meals.
Fahad Ahmad: Thank you so much for that feedback. That’s all I had to say for that.
Carole Freeman: All right. Well, okay. One final question for you, the meteors come in to earth. We’re all going to die today. What’s your last meal?
Fahad Ahmad: I’m going to go to In-N-Out, get about six Flying Dutchmans. Hopefully, I can have a few friends, some close loved ones before I … and maybe try to … Yeah, I could go into complicated and creative … You’ll spark the engineering side of-
Carole Freeman: Okay. Yeah. I mean maybe you’ve got all day to put this together maybe.
Fahad Ahmad: Yeah, Flying Dutchmans.
Carole Freeman: Okay. All right. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here, Fahad, if I say your … I still don’t even know if I’m saying your name-
Fahad Ahmad: That was the best one.
Carole Freeman: Fahad. Fahad. Fahad. Fahad. Thank you so much for being here. I’m so … This has been really, really fun and I wish you all the best of luck. I’m super excited to see all that you’ve got coming out and very, very soon so thank you everyone for watching. If you’ve enjoyed this, give us a thumbs up and subscribe if you want to see more. If you want more information about KetoGeek company and how to get in touch with them, those will be in the show notes below and look for really great stuff and changing the world and take that inspiration and use that as well. Every one of us, do our part to be amazing in this world. Thank you so much. We’ll see you soon. Bye.