Mastering Nutrition with Chris Masterjohn

Introducing Mastering Nutrition… Wait For It… PODCAST! Episodes 1, 2, and 3 are now live!

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Mastering Nutrition with Chris MasterjohnI'm excited to announce that with this post I am launching Mastering Nutrition PODCAST!


Here are episodes 1, 2, and 3:

I would love it if you could give me feedback by heading to ITunes, subscribing, and leaving me a rating and review. If I get a positive response, I'll begin releasing more content on Thursday.

Listen on ITunes or Stitcher.
Subscribe in your own reader using this RSS feed.

Read the show notes for Episode 1, Episode 2, and Episode 3
Leave a comment.

Want transcripts? Sign up for the CMJ Masterpass with this special link to get 10% off.

You can use the following links to stream or download by left clicking (clicking on Mac) to stream and right-clicking (control-clicking on Mac) and choosing “save as” (“save link as” on Mac): episode 1, episode 2, episode 3.

Below are the shownotes for the first three episodes. Or skip to the transcripts.

001: Coffee

I'm starting the podcast with coffee, because I start my day with coffee.

Why I drink coffee and won't apologize for it, but why I'm skeptical of the large body of literature associating coffee consumption with reduced disease risk.

Do we drink coffee by choice? Sort of. I discuss why our genes may play a role in our
coffee consumption and may be the ultimate influence on the risk of diseases that ultimately cannot be changed by coffee consumption.

Research on coffee's association with health and disease

Genetic polymorphisms related to coffee consumption: Rs2472297, Rs4410790, Rs762551

How to Do a Proper Self-Experiment and Why Your “n” Doens't Technically Equal 1 (How to do a randomized controlled trial on yourself)

Update 5/7/16: Inspired by the recent Thrive Market article on how to make cold brew coffee, I have started making my own as my default form of coffee (see my pic on Instagram). It is less acidic than hot-brewed coffee and can be served both hot and iced. Compared to hot-brewed coffee (including iced coffee) I find that it tastes much better with less sweetener. I typically use about 5 grams of honey or unrefined sugar but I use zero sweetener in cold brew. One batch makes a concentrate that can be diluted to 13 12-oz cups of coffee, so making it in batches that can be kept in the fridge is an enormous time-saver. The Thrive article was inspiring, but the idea of using its suggestions to buy individual pieces of equipment (ball jars, mesh sieve, cheesecloth, etc) was thoroughly uninspiring, so I bought this simple kit from Amazon.

Read the transcript.

002: As the Cholesterol Consensus Crumbles, the Stance Against Saturated Fat Softens

Is it really true that saturated fatty acids (SFAs) are the “bad fats” and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are the “good fats”?

Christopher Ramsden uncovered previously unpublished data undermining the conventional wisdom that we should replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated vegetable oils to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

The public health establishment dismissed the findings. Here's my take.

For links to related references, see my associated blog post.

Read the transcript.

003: The Sugar Conspiracy — Trading One Nutritional Boogeyman for Another

In his April 7, 2016 piece in The Guardian, “The Sugar Conspiracy” Ian Leslie argues that the politics of nutrition has blinded us to the fact that sugar is more deserving than saturated fat of the status of dietary arch-villain and that the politics continue but the status of sugar and saturated fat are starting to switch.

But we need to move beyond nutritional boogeymen, not switch one for another.

Our sense of history and physiology — key concepts about the historical role of Ancel Keys, the rate at which sugar is converted to fat in a process called de novo lipogenesis, and whether insulin's stimulation of fat storage can offer a plausible explanation of obesity — get distorted when we try to make a public enemy out of sugar, just as they do when we make a public enemy out of saturated fat.

It's time for a more nuanced view.

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  1. Hi Chris,
    Quick question: Do you know how MCT oil is processed? While I assume it is a coconut derivative it hardly seems like anything one would call ‘natural.’ More like something you might put in your car transmission. A Google search doesn’t shed much light on the issue.
    Enjoyed the Ketogenic Diet podcast. I’m in this thing for neuro reasons. Thanks much.

    1. Hi Peter,

      I’m not familiar with the processing. I agree it’s less natural than coconut oil.


  2. Hi Chris,

    Just found your podcast (via Danny Lennon) and it’s great. I will rate and comment on iTunes.

    I liked your coffee cast. Since dumping a Diet Coke addiction I have avoided caffeine for the most part but maybe the caffeine isn’t so bad after all. Anyway I drink a cup or two of green tea now, for the heath benefits. I get no caffeine rush out of it at all. Maybe in the future you can do a show on green tea?

    Anyway, thank you for doing this!

  3. Hey Chris, any thoughts on stainless steel leaching nickel and chromium (from your coffee filter)? Is it even something to worry about?

    Also just FWIW I make my own cold brew coffee also, but to me a better and simpler method is just put the water and coffee grinds in the mason jar, THEN filter when you are finished with the brewing period. I don't see any need to leave the stainless steel filter in the mix for so long, could potentially impact flavour too not to mention you will be getting a reduced mix of coffee and water during the process (I shake mine occasionally).

    1. Hi Evolutionarily,

      Very good points. With nickel, I think some stainless has it and others don't. It's been years since I looked into it, and probably worth looking into it again.

      Good point about unnecessary incubation with the steel. I'll play around with that this summer. Thanks!


  4. Hi Chris,

    Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge, it is greatly appreciated.

    I have never before come across exact numbers for de novo lipogenesis before like the ones you cite in "The Sugar Conspiracy". I have also never seen number for the amount of gluconeogenesis occuring in people who consume a lot of protein. It would be nice to hear a bit about that. It seems that folks who are maintaining ketosis are quite cautious with their protein consumption.

    I'm a not trying to be ketogenic but I am eating a moderate carb diet. I am 143 pounds(65kg), 171cm tall and I eat about 100g protein, 100-150g carbs and 100-150g fat per day. So I was wondering if I can assume that I have any gluconeogenesis going on? I lead an active lifestyle strength training, swimming, doing yoga and skateboarding.

  5. Very much enjoyed this first podcast and the information provided. You are well spoken and easy to listen too.

    I only started drinking coffee regularly 7 years ago at the age of 43, due to my wife. I learned that it was a good antioxidant,digestive aid and detox aid.

    Prior to that my impression was that coffee was only a stimulant, which I didn't want and part of that due to my upbrining. My parents and especially my dad, couldn't function without many cups the whole day long. It had however nothing to do with disllike or problems of tolerance. I had just instead decided on healthy eating and exercise.

    I did try coffee a handful of times however and only ever as an attempt to stay awake while driving long distance, I never found it effective though. Even now after years of regular consumption I still only drink it for the perceived health benefits and have no problems sleeping right after.

  6. Dear Chris,

    I see that there are already numerous feedback on providing this podcast on non-itunes platforms. I can confirm this is now available on Sticher and CastBox. However a more general solution is to provide the RSS feed of the podcast, so that anyone can just add it without relying on the directory of a certain provider

    The RSS feed of your podcast is

    I suggest you put this link at the top of the podcast page, so anyone can also subscribe to it directly from your site.

  7. Chris,

    Thank you for doing your own podcast I have always enjoyed the episodes that you have done elsewhere.

    As a side note for those that refuse to do iTunes I found the podcast on Overcast.


  8. Ah, you do realize that arsenic is a natural component of food, for example rice? Botulism toxin is also a natural component of food and even the best foods consumed in large enough quantities such as liver can cause iron toxicity amongst other problems.

    People did take arsenic to lighten their skin like Madam X (Madame Pierre Gautreau)
    whose picture hangs in the Metropolitan Museum. (link redacted by Dr. Masterjohn's request but it's not a difficult search.)

    in any event I found when I cut way back on sugar the excess weight started falling off. Correlation is not causation of course, but as Gautama said, 'When something works for you and the people around you, that you may believe.'

    Dr. Lustig gets type II children off insulin merely by taking the kiddies off soda in weeks, on a kid friendly diet as he describes it, junk food. Apparently it's harder for those of us in the throes of adultery. Being older is no help and in general causes more metabolic problems or does having metabolic problems cause one to be older??

    (link also redacted)

  9. I think the problem is not sugar per se, but the fact that we have an almost unlimited supply of it, in highly concentrated forms, available everywhere we go. Just for that it deserves to be treated as an arch-villain.

  10. Hi Chris and thanks for the podcasts.. Gone through the coffee one and loved the simple yet informative content, its ideal length (covering most of my 30min cardiovascular session) and the tone. If anything, also having read most of your scientific posts and monographs (cannot wait for the other releases), maybe you could mention a little more scientific data in addition to personal experience?
    Also, I wonder if your conclusions would apply to pretty much any food component or drug.. With more and more evidence on the individuality of response due to genetics, epigenetics and more, shall we not regard fat consumption, fat type, carbs intake, fibers and protein and so on on an individual basis? And how would you then assess long-term effects? You mentioned that if coffee makes you feel good, then have it.. But what about the long term effects? I bet everyone feels good with a chocolate ganache after dinner, but then we think about what we know of the health consequences of regular high sugars intake and try to moderate ourselves (some of us at least..). What's your thought on that? Cheers and please keep it up!!

    1. Hi Matteo,

      Some of them will have more data, others less. Some will be short anecdotes, thoughts, some more rigorous analysis.

      I think nutritional genomics and individualization of approach is the wave of the future. I don't think "if it feels good do it" is a universal principle, but I think in the case of coffee the body of literature mostly suggests good positive effects, but I put little trust in it for the reasons I stated. But if the evidence is weak and leans in the positive direction, then it is hard to argue against "if it feels good do it" in this particular case.


  11. Hi, couldn't find it on iTunes.
    I don't question your biochemistry on sugar but it doesn't exonerate high sugar/high refined chabohydrate diets. What about glycation and insulin as pro-inflammatory? What about excess empty calories?

    1. Hi Ken,

      I agree that we should not eat diets that are rich in refined carbohydrates and excess empty calories.

      I responded to your question about glycation in Monday's podcast.

      Could you please direct me to what you consider the best argument that insulin is pro-inflammatory? Ideally, this should either be a short read or should be arranged in such a way that I can determine in a few minutes how worth reading the rest of it is. Please give me only one link, and not a book or series of articles.


  12. Great podcast. Any chance of doing one on wine. Although I drink wine in moderation I do not believe in all the hype. I would very much like to know your thoughts on this. Thanks.

  13. Hi, hope you bring your podcast over to Stitcher. iTunes causes listeners to download the episodes and hogs up mobile memory, Stitcher allows listeners to stream instead. I avoid iTunes because of this.

  14. "I would love it if you could give me feedback by heading to ITunes, subscribing, and leaving me a rating and review."

    Let's see Chris. Love ya, BUT:
    1. iTunes? NO
    2. Subscribe to iTunes? NO
    3. Leaving me a rating and review on iTunes? NO

    If I have to deal with iTunes nonsense, then I'm just going to skip your wonderful podcast. And that's a dang shame.

    Can you please just put up an mp3 file to download from your blogger blog?


  15. Love the podcast! Do you have a Patreon? I'd like to support your work and I'm sure a considerable effort goes into these podcasts.

    On the subject of coffee, I have the SNP for fast metaboliser of coffee but I suddenly became intolerant to coffee 5 years ago. It was during a time of stress and undereating. But now that I'm healthy again I have not recovered my caffeine tolerance even through I have tried again and again to build it up.

    Any ideas as to why this would happen? I miss coffee!

    1. Hi SamAbroad,

      Thanks! I don't have a Patreon and didn't know about it until you mentioned it. I'll check it out when I can.

      Very interesting anecdote. It may have been that the stress was hurting your detoxification of caffeine, or it could have been that your body was fighting the effects of caffeine to try to maintain sleep pressure. Caffeine opposes the action of adenosine as its primary mechanism of action, and adenosine is the primary signal of sleep pressure and accumulates from lack of sleep. So, if the body is threatened by lack of sleep relative to cumulative stress, it might compensate for the inhibitory effect of caffeine through some uncomfortable mechanisms, but I don't know exactly what those mechanisms would be.

      Thanks for sharing!


      1. I’m replying to second the request that you make yourself available on Patreon. I don’t care about perks, and would just like a way to contribute.

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