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Podcast Ep. 18: What Every Parent Needs to Know About the Food Industry With Insider Josh Field

In this episode

You ever wonder about what exactly is in those supposedly healthy snacks you buy at the grocery store? Sure, it says all-natural, organic, you know, grass-fed on the package. But is it actually good for you and your kids? In this episode, we get to talk to a food industry insider, Josh Field, who has worked in test kitchens for some pretty big food companies. The guy knows his stuff. 

We asked Josh to come on to answer all our questions about what goes into supposedly healthy packaged food products. We talk proteins, fats, fibers, and artificial sweeteners, and we get to find out how all this stuff gets made and what we as parents should be looking out for. There's a lot of information in this episode, and so you'll definitely want to check out the show notes where we'll provide links, definitions, and a whole lot more. All right. Buckle up, here we go with food industry insider Josh Field.

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About our guest

Josh Field has decades of experience working behind the scenes in the wellness and food industries. Josh co-founded several successful fitness startups, which led him into business development and product formulation projects with Legendary Foods and Quest Nutrition, a food company now worth over a billion dollars. Before becoming a food industry insider, Josh served as a special operations diver and the director of health and wellness for two units in the U.S. Coast Guard, and today, Josh is the Chief Innovation Officer for the world’s best zero sugar added ice cream, Killer Creamery. 

Show notes

  • 01:52 - Josh and Victoria Field (who you may remember from Ep. 9!) founded Quest Nutrition, a revolutionary health brand.
  • 05:02 -  Metabolic Health Summit is an international health conference under an organization called the Metabolic Health Initiative which aims to “revolutionize science and medicine by refocusing attention on the importance of nutrition and metabolism in treating disease, extending life, and improving human performance.” It’s hosted by Victoria Field, Angela Poff, PhD, and Dominic D’Agostino, PhD.
  • 24:10 - Curious about sugar substitutes that are TFT-approved? Check out our article on five sugar-free sweeteners that we think are better than the real thing.
  • 24:35 - Polyols are small-chain, low-digestible carbohydrates also known as sugar alcohols. This includes sorbitol, erythritol, maltitol, xylitol, etc.
  • 26:45 - The Family Thrive offers articles on how quality meat isn’t an unhealthy ingredient and on how plant-based alternatives may not be the healthiest option for your family.
  • 41:10 - “Net carbs are only the carbohydrates in a food that will easily increase blood sugar in your body. Other carbohydrates like fiber and zero-glycemic sweeteners are excluded from the net carb count.” (The Family Thrive)
  • 48:25 - Inulins are a prebiotic group of polysaccharides that are typically extracted from chicory root.
  • 54:55 - Need a pick-me-up? Here’s a list of low-sugar ice creams for you to try!
  • 01:00:30 - Killer Creamery is a delicious all-natural, zero-sugar ice cream founded by Louis Armstrong! Our personal fav is the Peanut Blubber flavor.  
  • 01:00:38 - KetoCon offers “the science and stories of keto, shared with you by Elite Athletes, Medical Professionals, Scientists, Educators, Researchers, Dietitians, Fitness Experts, Podcasters, Lifestyle Coaches, and Keto Product Manufacturers, all under one roof!”
  • 01:11:55 - You can join Justin and Audra at MaxLove Project’s annual Farm to Fork dinner event, which supports families impacted by childhood cancer.

Transcript highlights

01:40

Justin:  I want to start off, though, by talking about how we first met and I don't know if you remember this, but for me, it's stuck in my memory that we first met you when you were working with Quest and you were like part of the team cooking up crazy stuff in the lab. Do you remember that? 

Josh: I do, indeed, I uhhh. So what stands out most to me is Victoria actually very excited, and Victoria, was kind of like the facilitator of the relationships. And she had been doing a lot of work in communicating with you guys. And eventually she kind of brought me in from a food development standpoint, a lot of the things that we were doing in Quest Labs when we're at Quest Nutrition, at the time we were developing keto meals, frozen meals, and we were using those as kind of a way to increase a certain couple of studies that we were looking at the efficacy of this study. 

So just increasing the compliance of it. And she was like, hey, you know, I met this phenomenal couple and she gave me the back story. And one of the opening statements was by Audra was that she had a phenomenal keto pasta noodle that she was working on. And I don't know why like that just really stands out in a very memorable, because at that time, that was something that we were working on. And it just seemed like to be that elusive form factor that we just got now. And I was like, wait a minute, someone has like perfected this. But yeah, no, I am incredibly thankful that our paths crossed. And it's been amazing since.

Justin: I don't want to give a free plug for Quest here, but I will, because it was really amazing what they were doing at the time. And they still do amazing work. But Quest Nutrition for anyone who doesn't know they do a lot of low-carb, high-protein products. 

But at this time in the company's history, they were doing a lot of work that was just in the lab trying to see if they could make keto products or keto formulations for stuff that is very not keto, like cinnamon rolls. And it was amazing what you guys were coming up with. And it was a perfect time for us because Max, our son, had a recurrence with his brain tumor at that time. 

And so we were going back on the ketogenic diet in a hard-core way, supported by our doctors at Children's Hospital of Orange County. And we were now looking for new keto products, like this kid had been on the ketogenic diet for a couple of years previous to that. So to have cinnamon rolls and you guys had, what, you had so many cool things. I remember the, I think you had a keto chocolate peanut butter cup at that time. What are the other formulations? Do you remember anything that really stood out to you? Well, I know the cinnamon roll was like an achievement of science. It was like the most amazing thing in the world.

Josh: Yeah. That thing was remarkable. And to my knowledge, no one else has come out with another cinnamon roll that even closely compared to what we had formulated, you know, that thing was absolutely amazing. 

We would go off and of course, we would do, I'm not even going to try to remember the actual name of the former Metabolic Health Summit that we would go there, when it was in Tampa, Florida, I can't exactly remember what the name of it was. And Victoria and Angela are probably going to kick my shin because I can't remember it. But we would go there and of course, we would have hundreds of attendees and we would just blow through those things. 

But so we had two different lines. We had a meal frozen line. And with that, we actually had 42 options. And that number stands out. But I mean, it was kind of an easy number to achieve because we had four breakfast sandwiches, we had five different pizza iterations. We had bologneses, we had like our own rendition of a In-and-Out double double with the special sauce. And we had just so many different meals that, yeah, sometimes it's kind of difficult to keep track of. 

But in addition to that, exactly what you had mentioned, we had a shelf-stable snack line as well. And with that we had crackers, we had cheese crackers, we had three or four different cup flavors. We had like these little chocolate fat bombs. 

Yeah, kind of, now, you know, in the rearview mirror, it's kind of remarkable what we were able to do and achieved and to take to the marketplace what no one else has done and still no one else to this day has done what we did. It's just unfortunate that we ended up pulling the plug and draining it in 2017.

Justin: It's like the four-minute mile of food science or, you know, something like. So, Josh, tell me, how did you get started in the food product, the world of product formulation, and the food industry. Where did it begin for you?

Josh: Kind of all happened. Just kind of stumbled into it just out of my personal passion and love for all things nutrition. So really the genesis for all this is from a really young age. I was just super fascinated with muscle. There was just something that just struck me about, you know, the, you know, muscle and veins and shredded delts and calves and whatnot. You know, maybe was because I was watching, you know, the Incredible Hulk in the ‘80s on television, but it was just a fascination with that. And, yeah, just all things nutrition, self-taught. So formally, I have a business degree, actually. I don't have a degree in nutrition. I have various nutritional certifications through accredited agencies. But it was just pure passion. 

So, you know, how do I and how can I manipulate the body just through nutritional input and through the various diets that myself and my wife have kind of put ourselves through, with those different dietary protocols, you kind of have to figure out how to navigate, you know, typical food items that you usually enjoy. It's like, well, now I can't have this particular ingredient. And, you know, how do I try to make and develop an analog that closely resembles it? 

And then just serendipitously became friends with two of the founders of Quest Nutrition, Ron and Shannon Pena. And Ron pulled me into the ecosystem just because of my passion and love for all things nutrition. And then I was just thrown into this accelerator where it was just packed full of a bunch of super curious, brilliant individuals that additionally didn't necessarily have like a formal education and nutrition, but just our ability to do a lot of repetitions incredibly fast. You learned incredibly fast. And I think, yeah, that's how all things came to be with food product development.

Justin: So now you've worked with a number of different health-focused food companies. So what should parents know, in general? We're like we're going to dig into the specifics. But from like a 30,000-foot view, what should parents know about the food industry as a whole?

Josh: Kind of a loaded question, and I think it's, I think if you were to ask 10 different people, you'd probably get 10 different responses, but I'll share kind of my position on it. And I would say it likely aligns with yourself, Audra, and what you guys are doing. You really have to be somewhat cognizant cautious of label callouts. Now, when you go into a grocery store and you're buying like an actual packaged good, whether it's in a box, it's a canned package, whatever, you really have to be diligent about organic callouts, natural callouts or other bold claims that you're viewing.

Justin: So natural is a big one. So if a parent sees “natural” on a label, what should they think?

Josh: In all honesty, it really doesn't mean all that much. It's kind of like a black hole. It's like an abyss. The one thing that natural is supposed to validate is that it doesn't have any bioengineered ingredients or food ingredients in it, meaning it's not necessarily going through a synthetic alteration, adjusting or changing the molecular structure of a specific food and/or ingredients. So that's probably the one thing. But even that is so loosely interpreted in the food space and by the FDA.

Justin: Yeah. So what I understand is that natural is actually not regulated by the FDA. Is that right? Like anyone can put natural on anything? Or do I have that wrong?

Josh: No, it’s, so there are guidelines, CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) and anyone, they can go to Doctor Google and type in codified regulate CFR natural food claim. And there are paragraphs with information on that. 

But again, how it was scripted, it's I guess, open to interpretation. But yeah, to your point. Yeah, I mean, if you want to put made with natural ingredients, you know, in it or on it, but would that claim that the entire makeup, the building material, are all of those ingredients natural or maybe two out of the 11 are natural? It's kind of a difficult landscape to navigate.

Justin: Ahhhh. So made with natural ingredients, only a few of the ingredients or even one of the great or made with a natural at least two. Right. Because they're using the word plural.

Josh: It's definitely a slippery slope. But to kind of circle back to your initial question. In a positive light, we actually, we're in a great time right now just because of all the advancements in food science. And we have various dietary protocols that are out there. And because of the internet and social media, you have access to really unlimited information. 

You know, if you want to eat just whole foods and you're curious, you know, well, how do I comply to a whole food or a whole food, 30 approved diet? You know, there's information out there and you have consumer packaged good companies that are labeling that. Same exact thing for keto companies, for paleo companies, for vegan, et cetera. So it's easy to eat and be compliant to any, I guess, preference of choice.

Justin: Yeah, but for me, as a busy parent, I don't want to do all that work. And so I'm like trying to get the quick and easy stuff from you. Right. So like, now I've got a clue about natural like, all right. So if I see the word natural on a package, I know that it's almost going to be meaningless because it could have two ingredients that are natural and then a bunch that aren't. Right. So that's a good rule of thumb. And I've started to use that where if I see the word natural on a package, I immediately become suspicious, like, oh, this is they're trying to pull something over. But I'm surprised. 

So you also said organic. So why should parents be a little suspicious about the organic label?

Josh: It's the same exact thing. So to be compliant with an organic certification, it is a bit more of a stringent process. Just going through, you know, the appropriate approval documentation, getting all of that set up and certified through the organic accrediting agency. So if they have that on the label, you're looking for that specific little bubble callout, it’s a little green with a leaf thing on it there. That means that the entire food product is compliant with organic standards. 

But where things may become a little bit too complicated or confusing is food companies now are putting in the ingredient statement or just as an end statement in the front of the packaging “made with organic ingredients.” And it's the same exact thing as, you know, the natural thing in which they may have an ingredient or build a material recipe for laymen, say, of 10 ingredients, and they use two organic ingredients. So with that, they'll put made with organic ingredients that are necessarily mean. The entire thing is organic. But they did have a couple or a few ingredients that are certified organic.

Justin: Awesome. All right. So that's super helpful. So I have assumed that if a package says organic anywhere on it, that the whole thing is going to be organic and I can just rest easy. But you're saying that I'm going to need to look a little closer and is this whole thing organic or is it just one or two ingredients that are organic? All right. 

Josh: Exactly. And another thing to just add to that, for small business, sometimes it can be a little bit difficult to go through the process, even if you do have, you know, all of the ingredients. They are organic. They meet all the requirements going through that actual organic certification process, of course, that it costs something. 

So if you're a new company starting up and you're a bit strapped with capital, sometimes that organic certification, it's beyond that financial reach. So you may have a product that technically is, you know, 100% organic. It's just that they don't have the capital to invest to put on that. 

But I guess that's also the beauty of, you know, social media, is that now everyone's accessible. So if you're kind of curious about a specific bar, cookie, or whatever it is, you know, definitely reach out to the company and just ask. I mean, I'm aware of a couple of different companies that actually are 100% organic. It's just that they can't afford to go through that organic process.


18:20

Justin: It seems to me that it would be really easy as a parent if I can just know, like here are some trustworthy brands, here are some trustworthy companies that are going to do the right thing, and then I can kind of rest easy in consuming their products. So how can parents determine, like, what's a trustworthy brand and what's not? Are there any rules of thumb or is it something that requires a lot of research?

Josh: The latter. It does require like a little bit of legwork. And the only reason I'm going to say that, again, which you're spot on the perfect segway, is that you have a lot of new emerging food companies or beverage companies. And it's again, it's an amazing time to be jumping in there just because everyone that can kind of fall into their own dietary preferred segment and speak to that specific customer, you know. 

But the downfall with that is oftentimes if you're grassroots bootstrapped, you're starting up in a oftentimes in an incubator or a commercial kitchen where a lot of your regulatory guidelines, GMPs (Good Manufacturing Processes) sometimes are maybe a little bit overlooked. And it can be as simple as they're making you know, I’ll say pasta. I don't know. I have pasta on my mind right now. Maybe because I need some pasta. I need some of Audra’s, you know.

Justin: Everybody's got pasta on the mind.

Josh: Exactly. But, you know, like a good example of that is they may be in a commercial kitchen and they have a handful of hired team members, none of them, they didn't go through a proper handwashing protocol. They're not wearing the hairnet or, you know, your latex gloves, things of that sort. And when they're forward brand facing, they're actually in a retail location and you see the product up on a shelf, maybe the packaging or the design doesn't exactly look up to standards compared to some of the larger conglomerate brands like that. The big players in the space. 

Oftentimes it's difficult to know what sort of regulatory compliance they actually adhere to, even if they're small. And you want to support the local home team player. If that food product was made on a larger manufacturing line where there are stricter policies and guidelines that the individuals that are running those plants and/or lines that they have to adhere to and all of it's about food safety protocol. So, it can be a little bit difficult to know what is, you know, a good, solid brand. 

Regardless if it tastes good, you know, the ingredients may be stored in a, you know, a shed that's 110 degrees and high humidity and collecting bacteria. It's just, it's difficult to kind of navigate that. What I'm about to say kind of bothers me a little bit. But, you know, typically a safe play is generally you can trust the large food companies and the context that they adhere to strict food safety protocols that excludes certain food ingredients, which likely, I'm assuming, will probably get into that a little bit. But it's a tough one to navigate, knowing exactly which one is safe, which one isn't safe from a food safety standpoint.

Justin: Yeah. So from a food safety standpoint, it makes perfect sense. You go with the big guys, they're going to have their processes tied up. I'm thinking and we are going to get into the issues around particular ingredients. 

But I'm thinking I have come to trust Quest because in the past I've known that they have worked hard to get the right ingredients and they've switched out ingredients that they didn't find met their standards. And so I have come to trust Quest. I'm wondering if there are ways to have to get to that same level of trust with other companies or if there's an easy way to do it, maybe there's not an easy way and you just need to do a lot of research.

Josh: It's research and communicating. So one of the reasons why I believe that you trusted Quest is because you were welcomed into that ecosystem in all facets from a digital standpoint to an email standpoint, to phone calls, to video calls, to in-person meeting with the team, with the founders. And you got to see the passion behind what we were doing. And sometimes I think that's what's lost in translation is the why and the passion behind what you're doing.

Justin: That, of course, gives, you know, the warm and fuzzies. But it was actually hearing from people like you around why particular ingredients were chosen. And so it's not that these ingredients were chosen because they were the cheapest. They're not the easiest. It's that these are the best ingredients and this is what we're going to go for. And so that is the type of thing that I want to know about other brands, like are you just doing the quick and easy thing? Are you choosing the right ingredients for your products? But it sounds like it's just a matter of doing the research.

Josh: Yeah, and I would say now more than ever, we're in this huge rocket phase of all things, low-carb, keto, zero added sugar, zero sugar, or anything like that. And some of the choice selection of those sugar replacements aren't exactly what I think some people would want to consume if they actually knew what they were and what they were doing. 

Where you and everything that you're doing with Max and of course, all the other families that you guys worked with, you needed to come from an informed perspective, standpoint, knowing that actually there is a difference between various polyos, you know, sorbitol, erythritol, maltitol, Xylitol and different things like that. 

And being selective, you know, where I think that we're on the cusp of a more informed consumer set. But it's just one of those things that slowly comes with time. It's just that you understand the specificity of the foods that we were making and how they were applicable to what you and Audra are essentially doing.

Justin: Yeah. All right. So this is another great segue way into our next theme here. And this is getting into the ingredients. So at The Family Thrive, we advocate a whole foods approach. We want, you know, the vast majority of our foods to be real whole foods. But we're also pragmatic and we're busy parents. So we love a good packaged product as well. And so we've had to learn a lot about reading ingredients and learning about these ingredients. 

And we just talked about this with Quest about being able to trust a brand that's going to have the right ingredients. So I want to get into that. This whole packaged food world, the whole, you know, industrial food complex, and we're not, so we promote and advocate for whole foods, but we're not against processed foods because processed foods can be made really well and can support a totally healthy diet, especially for busy families. 

So, let's start to talk about the macronutrients first off. So when we are talking about processed protein, ok, so a whole food protein is going to be you buy your chicken, you buy your meat, you see it there, it's whole. But then when you get into a packaged product like a Quest Bar, now you've got processed protein. So what should I be looking for as a parent for a high-quality processed protein?

Josh: This, too, is kind of like a slippery slope question, because we live in an age of you're either, you know, you eat meat or you don't eat meat. You know, the huge plant-based movement, whatnot.

Justin: Yeah. So let's say we are totally omnivorous. We've got a couple of articles on The Family Thrive about meat science and how meat is perfectly healthy food. So let's just say that we are omnivorous and we are going and we want some high quality or we are looking at packaged products and we're seeing all these different protein isolates and all this stuff. 

What are we looking for? What should we consider to be a good processed protein? And are there any that we should stay away from?

Josh: Yeah. And the example that you just stated is probably one of the best, if not the best options. When it comes to just checking various nutritional boxes from an amino acid profile, meaning that it makes it a complete, so it supports the various biological needs of the human body, to functionality. It has a very versatile application in various foods, from bars to cookies to brownies to ready-to-drinks, various things like that. It's probably the most versatile. 

The thing that I would probably caution some people with, though, is just understanding any potential intolerances that they may have when it comes to anything dairy, so to speak, specific to that. If you're someone that is slightly lactose intolerant, the superior option likely would be a whey protein isolate or milk protein isolate, something of that sort, just because for the most part, it's broken down into its simplest digestible form.

Justin: Yeah. So a whey protein isolate or a milk protein isolate is going to have the lactose removed.

Josh: Most majority. There are some premium's out there that actually have completely removed the lactose from that. So I would say, conceptually speaking, that's in my opinion, that would be the best possible, we’ll call it processed protein option that there is. I mean, it's a staple, it's a really easy way to get protein. And I do think that we are a somewhat protein-deprived society, the world that we live in right now. And it's really quick. It's easy as long as you can tolerate it from a GI standpoint, low in calories.

Justin: In a lot of the low carb, high protein products that we buy on the market, whey protein is a major source. So are there any drawbacks or are there any things that we should be concerned about with whey protein?

Josh: That goes a little bit deeper into the supply chain, meaning the origin? Where is it coming from? There are a bunch of different suppliers out there. On the surface, it's very unlikely that you'll have any insight on that. And that really falls on the brand and as a consumer, doing a proper due diligence of.

Justin: Yes. So if we're dealing with a brand that is reputable, a big one, I mean, just in general way protein. Are there any drawbacks to whey protein?

Josh: In isolate? Really, none that I can see. You know, I'm sure that someone may have a different opinion on that. If you were to say a whey protein concentrate, the first thing that comes to mind is it's likely it's going to have more lactose in it. 

So, again, if you're a little bit sensitive on that, that would be of concern. But generally speaking, a whey protein, isolate as it's coming from a reputable brand. It's again, in my opinion, that's like the gold standard when it comes to a protein that's processed and/or, you know, incredibly efficient and it suits your on-the-go lifestyle. 

Justin: Another processed protein that I see a lot is pea protein. Is there anything that we should be concerned about with pea protein?

Josh: So if you were to ask me this question five years ago, there really weren't a lot of big players in the space. You had a couple of smaller players that were kind of tinkering playing in it and of probably the most prudent concern would be herbicides and pesticides that were used in the process of the farming of it were now because of the huge increase in awareness of more plant-based diet, you have some great brands and companies that have pea-protein-based products or shakes or powders that are out there now. 

But a pea protein by itself, one potential drawback, again, depending on what your utility or the protein is, is that by itself it's not a complete protein. So if you're using it specifically and like a muscle building or strength or a bodybuilding application, it probably won't be the most suitable. But if you're eating somewhat of a well-balanced diet, meaning eggs and salmons and beef and things of that nature, you're going to pick up some of those amino acids that a pea protein typically is lacking. But. Now I mean, a pea protein, that's that's probably now the second most popular protein powder that that's out there, there's so many different protein powders that exist now, and some of which are, I thought were entertaining and get, you know, going back into my Questers and dating out some various suppliers approaching us with, you know, fish protein isolates and various things of that nature, kind of interesting.

Justin: Yeah, I haven't seen the fish protein isolates. Oh, my gosh. Ok, so the last protein question is going to be maybe a little triggery for some. What do you think about gluten? So gluten is a wheat protein, of course, and it is used in some low-carb bread and pasta products. What do you think about gluten?

Josh: From a functional standpoint, nothing beats gluten and makes formulation so much easier.

Justin: So from a food company’s standpoint, thumbs up. But what do you personally think about it? A health standpoint?

Josh: I've geeked out over the years with all things microbiome. I think the abundance of it and the food package space, it's in so many different things, and because of that, I think that there's a lot of illness and inflammation that easily could be linked back or attributed to potentially overeating gluten. 

There's some great thought leaders and ambassadors that really are spearheading that entire movement. There’s some wonderful books out there that I've read, and some of which I think maybe a little bit controversial, but I typically try to avoid gluten. And the only reason why I say that is, again, just speaking me, myself personally is just maybe a little time for your viewers is, you know, I do suffer from a little bit of IBS. And I do notice that when I do consume an abundance of gluten in a specific product, it can have certain triggers, you know, but, you know, if I eat it sparingly, it's again, that's kind of like a political question. You know, there's science, there's science supporting both camps. It's more so personal preference. Yeah, that's kind of a difficult one.

Justin: We found an amazing low-carb bread. I won't say the name, but it is, I think, wheat gluten, might be the number one ingredient. And it's but the bread is so good and it's this high-protein, low-carb bread makes great sandwiches and the whole thing. And I have not, no one in our family has experienced any GI issues with it. 

But it's always in the back of my mind, like this is the first ingredient on this thing. So before we move on, are there any other processed proteins that you think are good that if a parent sees it on a package, we can give it a thumbs up?

Josh: Yes. So speaking specifically to like isolated proteins, like what we just discussed, dairy protein, essentially, it's a gold standard. And then there are a bunch of different actually really great plant-based protein powders, isolates that are out there. A couple of ones that are gaining a lot of popularity. You have a pumpkin seed protein isolate, you have rice protein isolate, quinoa protein isolate, there's which I think that you had just mentioned, a high gluten protein isolate. 

You know, with those the one thing that you have to be cautious or aware of, what some of these new, newer emerging protein isolates coming from a plant origin is actually how much protein is actually in what they're calling… a standard serving. 

So what I mean, so specifically in the world formulation and developing nutritionals and things of that nature, all suppliers, they're supposed to provide you what we call a 100-gram nutritional statement or it's something comparable to that. And with your protein isolates like a lot of your dairy proteins, they're north of 90% protein of that 100-gram serving where some of your other plant based ones, you're only getting maybe half of that protein load out of that 100-gram serving, meaning it's like, ok, if I'm only getting 50 grams of protein out of that 100-gram serving, well, what else is in this? Like where else is that 100 or I'm sorry, that 50 grams coming from. 

And oftentimes with those you're picking up some of the residual carbohydrates and fibers of those so in which all of those are lumped into carbs and fiber and whatnot. So even if they're boldly claiming a specific protein, this and/or that, just pay close attention to what else may be in that nutritional panel and how that kind of suits your own dietary needs.


37:34

Justin: Processed fats, well, I'd say most I don't know, it seems like all fats essentially processed like you don't get whole fat in the wild, but are there any that go into packaged products that you say stay away from? And are there any that you say are good?

Josh: We as a society have consumed far too many omega six fats. And a lot of that is originating from packaged goods that are using various vegetable oils, such as canola oils, corn oil, safflower, sunflowers, different vegetable and seed oils of that nature where the data, you know, solidly states that in an abundance of those particular omega six fats, it could lead to inflammation in the body, the gut, the brain, and in different things of that nature. 

So typically, I always say caution, be wary. 

And if you are going to or put in a situation where you're eating those, you know, try to eat sparingly, try not to over-consume, but typically I say try to avoid anything that are using those specific fats. It's just, again, you know, go to Doctor Google and you can type in inflammation and vegetable and seed oils and you'll just get, you know, so many different scientific articles and things of that sort that say eat with caution.

Justin: Yeah, we will have an article on this coming out in The Family Thrive so we'll get to cover this. Are there any fats that you think are good to go in packaged foods?

Josh: Yeah, so typically we always like to go with fats that have a higher concentration of monounsaturated fats. Examples of that would be your avocado oils, your high oleic sunflower oil. It's just because they're a bit more stable compared to some of the other vegetable and seed oil that we just listed.

Justin: Yeah. So it's a high oleic sunflower. So the oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat and it's more stable. Yeah. All right. 

Josh: Correct. Meaning it's less likely to either degrade over time. And if you're using it in a cooking application, it's going to have higher smoke point, meaning that you're not going to denature any of those things and alter the fatty acid profile where it would actually work against you rather than, you know, positively benefiting the utility

of that specific fat. But those are all great. There are some food companies out there where you can actually buy animal tallow. And there is a brand that kind of, it's a four-letter word. They're quite epic, if you will, and can get actual animal tallows. And, you know, oftentimes that's what we used to cook with. And, you know, generally that's the direction that we go for actively seeking fats and we're going to cook it.

Justin: All right. So fibers. So we're these next two questions I'm going to ask about fibers and sweeteners. And so this all has to do with net carbs. And we have an article on The Family Thrive describing net carbs. It was written in conjunction with our dietitians. 

So I encourage parents to go in there, check out the net carbs. But basically what we want to look for on the back of a package is it will have a total carbohydrate count. And then you can look at the fiber and you can look at some of the sweeteners. If they are zero glycaemic sweeteners, then you can subtract those out. Although, Josh, I'm going to ask about Allulose. Is that now… Well,ok. I don't want to confuse anybody, but I'm going to ask about that. 

Generally you can subtract those out from the total carbohydrate and then you get your net carb count. And so the net carb generally, and Josh, I know you're going to correct me on some of this, but generally it's going to be the carbs that go, that get converted into blood sugar. And so we start by subtracting fibers, first off. So let's talk about these processed fibers. Now they're in a lot of low-carb foods. And so I'm sure parents have seen on packages it'll say net carbs two or net carb zero. And then you can look on the back of the packaging. You can see the total carbohydrate is 15 or 20 or whatever. 

And so they get to this largely by putting a lot fiber in the product. And then you can subtract out the fiber from the total carbs to get the net carbs. Ok. Now, there are some fibers, I understand, that are better than others. So, Josh, can you walk us through the world of processed fibers?

Josh: It's a little bit confusing. And as a consumer, especially if you're coming from an informed position, it can be even a little bit more confusing. And the reason why I say that is the forward-facing brands, they actually have the option to use different names for the various fibers, meaning that you may have three different things that you could call, you know, this particular fiber. You may have four different things that you could call this particular fiber. And what I'm speaking specifically about, probably the one that's most well known right now is tapioca fiber. 

And, you know, generally speaking, tapioca, it's great food product. And you have tapioca flours, tapioca starches, and now you have 85, 90, 95 percent fibers that originated from tapioca. With that there are a few different versions of tapioca fiber that you can label it as. And each one of those is actually slightly different from a metabolic standpoint.

Justin: And when you say metabolic, you're saying each one will raise your blood sugar slightly differently or will affect your blood sugar in a slightly different way. 

Josh: Spot on, spot on. And the FDA recently just removed one of those IMO, Isomalto oligosaccharides, from what is considered on the fiber list. So the FDA, they have, you know, various nutrients of significance that they go in there and they, you know, have different ingredients or food items that technically can be called that for all the various certifying reasons and IMO was removed from that. 

But there is a close cousin to the IMO that is now being used by some consumer packaged good companies, that it's essentially the same exact thing. So it can be a little bit misleading in that context. And that really goes back to doing a proper due diligence. And even then, if you're not sure, reaching out to whatever that brand is and just ask them, they may not tell you what specific fiber it is that they're using, but you can ask them what's the glycaemic response of, you know, the one that you're using. 

Or if you're on some sort of therapeutic diet, meaning that you're using the ketogenic diet for a specific ailment or whatever it is. I mean, there are different ways to test your blood glucose levels now. And now I would say go ahead and test and see what sort of response that there is. But it's kind of confusing times.

Justin: For the average family. You know, we don't need to test our blood. We just want to purchase products that are going to not make your blood sugar skyrocket every time we eat it. So if we're looking for lower carb products, we will want to stay away from anything that has IMO because and it's isomalto… Can you say that last part?

Josh: Isomalto oligosaccharides, isomalto oligosaccharides.

Justin: Yeah. So, and we will have all this in the show notes. And so if you look on the back of a package and that's the major fiber, then you can put that one back. What are some fibers that are good to go?

Josh: So, again, I'm going to throw tapioca fiber back out there. There are a couple of different suppliers. 

Justin: Oh, that is good.

Josh: That is good. And that's where it's a little bit confusing is because you have companies that are labeling prebiotic tapioca fiber, resistant digestion tapioca fiber, tapioca fiber, vegetable fiber, and all of these come from tapioca origins. 

And so it can be a little bit confusing because you have like those IMOs that are kind of being lumped up and underneath that tapioca fiber labeling now. But there are some really good tapioca fibers out there, soluble tapioca fiber. Typically on some of the more credible low carb or keto brands, that's the name that they're putting on the ingredient statement. And those are great in the context that they don't have any sort of a glycaemic load. And maybe more importantly is they're very GI friendly, not glycemic index friendly, but gastrointestinal friendly. You have a soluble corn fiber or a digestion-resistant maltodextrin. 

Not a lot of food companies, they're putting that on the label just for the exact reason. You probably saw me stumbling over saying, you know, it doesn't exactly look the best on the label either. But generally speaking, any company that has like a soluble corn fiber on there, that is a great fiber source as well. It's very diabetic-friendly, doesn't have a glycemic load on it. And it, too, is more gastrointestinal friendly than, say, some of the other fibers that are out there. 

Speaking specifically about inulins and chicory roots, not saying that they're not doing good fibers. There are different forms or versions of inulin/chicory roots fructooligosaccharides that can have a different impact on blood glucose levels and also how gastrointestinal friendly they are. 

So I would just, you know, throw it out there cautiously. A lot of your low carb and more keto forward brands that are out there. A lot of them are using inulin and Chicory root, but they're using an excessive amount that oftentimes can make you a little uncomfortable. Kind of like a hot air balloon, if you will. So be cautious.

Justin: A little GI distress. So that's inulin and chicory root. You don't want too much of it.

Josh: Some of them put fructooligosaccharides on their label, but oftentimes your fructooligosaccharides will be lumped up under inulin as well. And for those that want to dive a little bit deeper into that, and if you're like, hey, that's kind of interesting and if one of your favorite low carb keto packaged food brands out there has that and, you know, shoot them a note out on social media and see if that's why you're maybe a little bit gassy.

Justin: All right, so now let's get to the processed sweeteners. So you work for a company now. We're going to talk about that in a little bit or after this. But you are very familiar with all of the different low-carb or zero glycaemic sweeteners. They're all processed right? There, you know, there's nothing growing on a tree. 

Well, yeah, I mean, it all has to go through some process, whether it's monc fruit or stevia. You even have to be heavily processed. So I'll just lump all these under processed sweeteners. And we're talking specifically about low-carb sweeteners. Let's start with the ones that we should watch out for, stay away from. I'm imagining the polyol. There might be a few polyols in that mix.

Josh: Yeah. Spot on. So speaking about sugar alcohols or polyols, you have some of those such as maltitol, sorbitol, and maltitol is probably the worst offender of those. Is that it from a molecular standpoint, it's a polyol from the chemist, you know, strictly speaking, the chemistry aspect of it. 

However, from a biological standpoint, it's almost the equivalent to just straight dextrose or sugar, if you will. Two different examples of reasons why is typically a gram of dextrose or table sugar that yields four calories per gram, and it has a certain glycemic index response based off of a score of 100. And if you were to compare like a dextrose to maltitol, the differences rather than four calories per gram, you're about to tell us like 3.6, 3.8… I apologize, I don't know that more specific caloric density.

Justin: Oh, no way. I didn't realize it was so close.

Josh: The caloric density is essentially just about the same as almost the same equivalent blood glucose response or the glycemic response is, it's very comparable. 

And even worse is because of the way that your body breaks it down and uses it and no one uses anything sparingly anymore in formulation, typically they're using, you know, more than probably what they should be using. It can have quite the laxative effect as well. So you're kind of, you're getting the hat trick here.

Justin: So that's for maltitol. Is sorbitol in the same boat?

Josh: You could almost lump those equal. It doesn't have the same caloric density, but it does have a glycaemic response and it still has the same laxative effect where that there are a couple others as well. 

But swinging to the other side of the pendulum here, the sugar alcohols or polyols that are more consumer-friendly, especially if you're using it for a specific application, if you're diabetic or for some sort of a metabolic therapeutic diet like Max, you want a sugar alcohol that, you want it to taste good. I mean, that's first and foremost, you want something that closely resembles what actual sugar tastes like. 

But more importantly, is a caloric load be what sort of blood glucose response am I going to have by consuming this? And right now in the sugar alcohol space erythritol is it's it's that's the top dog. It's the top ingredient. There are different forms of erythritol that are out there, depending on how much you actually consume, what you really have to work quite hard to consume the amount that actually would have an adverse effect, which would be, again, a little bit of a laxative effect. It wouldn't even be palatable. You wouldn't even be able to consume that much or you would have to be pretty persistent in your endeavor, like okay. I wonder how much I can actually, you know, how much I have to consume to try to have some sort of an adverse effect. 

But erythritol, it's a phenomenal sugar, alcohol. It's dang near calorie-free and basically consume it and it goes to the bloodstream and you urinate it out and it closely resembles sugar.

Justin: Yeah, I remember researching erythritol. Gosh, was like maybe eight or nine years ago when we were eliminating sugar from Max's diet. And I was just so impressed with the research like it's zero glycaemic. Again, you, as you said, you have to eat a lot of it for there to be any GI distress. And it's safe. It is like one. There aren't any studies that I was able to find back then. And I've done some research since, that show any cause for any health concern over erythritol. I totally agree. I'm a huge fan of it.

Josh: We lack an enzyme to break that down and to actually utilize it. Really, that's the real reason behind that. So it's again, we're getting all the functional benefits of it and we're getting the organa left to the taste of it. But it's literally...passing through the small intestine and you're urinating it out.

Justin: Now, the one thing that parents should know and we have some information on this in The Family Thrive, it has a cooling effect. And so it's great for ice cream. But there are some other applications that it might not be so great for, I'm sure, in the food industry. 

But just to recap here, so when it comes to sugar alcohols, you want to stay away from the maltitol and the sorbitol and then erythritol, which is also a sugar alcohol is good to go. 

Something that is still in some products that parents might see as xylitol. Josh, what do you think about xylitol?

Josh: If used, consumed in small moderate amounts, short from a functional standpoint, works great and a lot of different technical formulations. It has a slightly more caloric load than erythritol from a glycaemic standpoint. 

The diabetic community, you could regard it as safe, but the downfall of xylitol too, is that it doesn't have the same gastrointestinal intestinal tolerance that erythritol does. So if you were to consume, for example, 10 grams of erythritol, just about everyone can tolerate 10 grams of erythritol, where if you consume 10 grams of xylitol, which to be honest, really is not that much, and say a zero sugar or a keto bar or ice cream or whatever the snack is, and an 85 to 100 gram serving is very common to have north of 10 grams of erythritol in there. 

Again, to replace your sugar, where would the xylitol consuming 10 grams of xylitol? It may cause some people some gastrointestinal distress. That, too, has a bit of a laxative effect. And it's not puppy-friendly. So you can't share it with your little fur babies. So that pint of ice cream that you're eating that's made with xylitol. Unfortunately, you can't share it with your puppy.

Justin: Ok, what about monk fruit and stevia? That's in a lot of products.

Josh: Yeah, I say green light on both of those, especially among fruit, it’s incredibly expensive. But I would say from a sensory standpoint, it's a phenomenal high-intensity sweetener. Stevia, the entire stevia space has made a lot of advancements. I know a lot of people still to this day that they tried stevia a handful of years ago and they're afraid to try it just because sometimes that horrific taste that sometimes comes along with the original rabei stevia that's used.

 But there are different versions of stevia that are out there that are far more palatable. And if the intent is to, you know, have a sweeter product, whether it's in a cookie, a bar or whatever it is, or just put it in your coffee or tea. Both are very safe in regards to it won't impact your blood glucose levels.

Justin: Awesome. And then the final one, which has become our hands-down favorite. So we love our erythritol, but our hands-down favorite has become allulose. So can you tell us a little bit about allulose?

Josh: Yes. Launched on the commercial scene in 2000, I must say, circa 2016, I must say 2015. But I feel pretty confident 2016 right in there, nutrition. We launched a cereal bar with that and we had played with it for probably a good year prior to that, and yeah, we became obsessed with it for multiple reasons, starting with the fact that it is an actual sugar derived in nature from various vegetables and fruits, it can be extracted in small amounts from a handful. And the best part about it is that it's about 70 percent as sweet as a normal table sugar. 

So you're getting that sensory benefit of it. And then from a functional standpoint, it performs almost equally to sugar as well. A yields about a tenth of the calories as a traditional table sugar. And it really doesn't have any adverse effects from a sensory standpoint. Most people, their GI tolerance is very well, maybe the first time you consume it, if you consume a bowlish amount like 20, 30 grams of it, first pass, you know, you may have some bubble guts. But for the most part, I mean, it's very consumer-friendly. And it is…

Justin: And zero glycine.

Josh: Zero glycaemic. And there's actually literature out there from a couple of different organizations, third party that have really put us under the lens and scrutinized it. And a lot of the data supports that. It actually has a blood glucose lowering effect, and there's reasons for that. But we won't dive into the deeper details of it other than. 

Yeah, Allulose. I mean, it's absolutely phenomenal. In the past three years it's gone gangbusters. Some of the biggest players, some of the biggest food manufacturers in the world now are coming out with products that have allulose in it. 

And that's one of my pain points. And fears right now from a supply chain standpoint is because it's become so incredibly popular. It's very scarce right now.

Justin: Ok, so that was so helpful. We went through all the major ingredients. Now I want to hear about ice cream. So, Josh, tell us about what you're working on now.

Josh: Yeah, so Killer Creamery, I joined Louis, the founder of Killer Creamery, just about a year ago. And we actually met at KetoCon, I think in 2019, right in there. And he was the very first mover in the keto ice cream segment in space. And I was there with another company, another keto-friendly company, and we hit it off and I said, hey, if you ever need anything, you know, reach out to me, this is my number. And he kind of took me up on that. 

And yeah, we officially joined about a year ago and a year ago all that we had were just ice cream pints. I think we had five flavors, maybe six flavors at the time. We recently just expanded our pint offering. We have eight different pint flavors right now. We were the very first, you know, keto ice cream company to launch into or launch allulose out into the space. So take quite a bit of pride with that. And as of recent, we just expanded into the frozen novelty space with a keto zero sugar ice cream sandwich, which are incredible.

Justin: I can't wait to try it. 

Josh: Super excited about that. Yeah. Yeah. Now we're doing some really phenomenal things where we're really trying to differentiate ourselves just by playing into really what consumers want. Some of the other players in the space, you call them direct competitors. If you will, they kind of playing more into general flavor profiles. And we're trying to be a bit more bold and brash in that context or so, coming out with some different concepts, maybe some more abstract concepts, and making sure that we're doubling down on all of our great inclusions, that we have our brownie pieces and chocolate chip cookie dough pieces and all the various variants that we use, you know, so delicious, gooey, gooey caramel swirls and peanut butter and things of that sort.

Justin: Yeah. So Killer Creamery is not a sponsor. We are friends. We've met the owners a couple of times at Metabolic Health Summit. So I'm happy to give them a plug. How can people find Killer Creamery?

Josh: Facebook, Instagram, Killer Creamery. Both applications, LinkedIn. I want to say that we have or we're about to hopefully I don't spill the beans here. He may give me a boot in the rear end. But YouTube. I know that that's something that we are working on as well. But probably Instagram is the best platform to follow us. 

Justin: Awesome. All right. And last question here for you, Josh. What are you personally working on in your own growth and development? Like I've always known you to be super focused on health and wellness. So I'm just wondering what's at the edge for you?

Josh: Constant work in progress when it comes to patience. Just being patient and on all facets of life. Being patient with myself, being patient with relationships, being patient, and work various projects. We have so many different, really exciting projects in Killer Creamery that I just get beyond excited about. 

And of course, I want to be first a space with this concept or this form factor. And, you know, just recognizing that there are systems and processes and you know, I just can't click my heels three times or snap my fingers and, you know, get exactly what I want.

Josh: Are there any practices that you're finding helpful in developing patience?

Justin: May sound a little bit quirky, corny, but just breathwork in meditation. And a even with that, having the patience to sit there and focus on breath for five minutes, you know.

Justin: It sounds like a Catch-22. You need the patience to actually practice the thing that's going to help you develop patience. 

Josh: Yeah. So thankfully, thankfully, I have a phenomenal wife, Victoria, and she stays on top of me and makes sure that I get my breath working and wear things like that. They come so natural to her. She wakes up and she has her routine and easily slides into breathwork and meditation. Where I wake up, I let the dogs out and I immediately get the coffee going and my laptop opens. And, you know, I immediately dive into work and whatnot. And she comes in and she kind of, you know, gets at me. She's like, you need to, you know, you first. Yeah. So patience. What do they say? Patience is a virtue. I seem to struggle with it.

Justin: All right, so I lied, I said that was the final question, that was the final question that is specific to you. These next three are questions that we ask everybody at the end of the interview. So the first one is, Josh, if you could put a big Post-it note on every parent's refrigerator tomorrow morning, what would that Post-it note say?

Josh: Close your eyes and take four deep breaths. That's what I …

Justin: That sounds like a post-it note that you need.

Josh: Yes, I have a verbal note from Victoria. Go do your breathwork. No, it's so powerful. I mean, it really is. I mean, even you and I sitting here right now is you and I were just to take four deep inhalations and exhalations. I mean, there would you know, it would change our body chemistry. And I don't necessarily do a lot of podcasts and interviews and whatnot. So, of course, I'm naturally a little bit anxious right now. 

But I know that in just four deep breaths, like I know that I would settle down. I would come down a little bit, and especially just kicking off your day or morning or if it's in the end of the evening and, you know, you just finished up dinner and you got to do the dishes and this kid is painting on the wall over here, and this one needs his diaper changed. It's taken us four deep breaths as a pretty profound impact.

Justin: Yeah. So I invite any parent, if you are in the position to do four deep breaths. It is a game-changer. All right. So I'm going to now ask this, two last questions. Josh, do you have a quote that you've seen or heard recently that has changed the way you think or feel?

Josh: Yeah, this is a quote. And unfortunately, I wish I could tell you where I saw or where I heard it. But when I initially heard it, it really stood out to me. And it's a quote that I say to myself and remind myself almost daily, which is “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” And it's just something that really rang true with me, you know, and it's one of those things where like when I say I was like, how does it go? And it's hard choices, easy life, easy choices, hard life. 

And the reason why that really spoke to me is we live in a world of comfort and conveniences and it's so easy to take, you know, the easy path or to make the easy decision because it's convenient in that moment rather than buckling down and maybe challenging yourself and doing the more difficult thing, even though in that moment acutely, it may be very uncomfortable for you. 

But the reason you do it for disciplinary reasons, that hopefully it's going to have a positive outcome. And I've applied that to literally all aspects of my life. And actually that came from a world record holder weightlifter, a Polish gentleman, Jerzy Gregorek.

Justin: Easy choices, hard life, hard choices, easy life. And I think that can be applied in so many different ways. But nutrition as well, like the easy choice, is just to eat whatever's out there and to eat the thing and just not to worry about it. That's going to lead to a hard life in terms of your long-term health.

Josh: You're already applying. Exactly. I mean, you could take that and you could plug it in so many different places.

Justin: That's it. That's it. All right. So the last one, Josh, I ask this of all the guests, whether or not they have children. So, Josh, what do you like most about kids?

Josh: Curiosity. The reason why I like that is because as a child, thinking back to my early childhood and then just observing my nieces, my nephews, good friends to have kids yourself, Audra, et cetera, is kids, they're naturally curious about everything and they're not afraid to to challenge the status quo, you know, in their quest to have just have like a deeper understanding as why is this or why is that? 

And I think as we age and we go through the system. We kind of lose our curiosity, and I just I would say that's probably the thing that I admire most about kids, is just that curiosity. And I really challenge adults to, you know, to try to tap back into that natural state of curiosity. And that's something that, again, I'm going to plug my wife, Victoria. She's so stinking good at this. And it is just a not, it's not something that's not innate in me, but moments when I challenge myself to be more curious, it always leads to like new things that I just didn't see, observe, or experience. 

And I haven't necessarily had any sort of nothing negative has come of just me trying to be more curious. So I would say curiosity for kids.

Justin: It's good for parents to be reminded of that because we get exhausted by our children's curiosity. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. But why. So that's nice. All right. Let's just take a deep breath and appreciate that pure curiosity.

Josh: Exactly.

Justin: Oh, Josh, thank you so much for taking out time today to talk to us. This was a wealth of information. We are going to break all this down in the show notes for parents to go because we used so many different words that probably were new to many parents. Oh, Josh, thank you so much. I can't wait to talk again. Be well, my friend.

Josh: Yeah, likewise. Yeah, likewise. Thank you so much. I had a blast. Definitely. Looking forward to hopefully seeing you guys in person. Farm to Fork. I think September.

Justin: That's right. Coming up.

Josh: Awesome. Awesome. Be here before we know it. Thank you so much, Justin. 

Justin: Bye. 

Josh: Later.


Hey, thanks for listening to the Family Thrive Podcast. If you like what you heard, please subscribe, tell two friends, and head on over to Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts and give us a review. We're so grateful you've chosen to join us on this Family Thrive journey.


Podcast Ep. 18: What Every Parent Needs to Know About the Food Industry With Insider Josh Field

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Podcast Ep. 18: What Every Parent Needs to Know About the Food Industry With Insider Josh Field

Join us as we chat with food industry insider Josh Field. We cover all the things parents need to know about what goes into those supposedly "healthy" packaged foods. Get ready for the inside scoop!

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Key takeaways

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Low hassle, high nutrition

Fierce Food: Easy

Fierce Food: Easy

50/50 mixes of powerful veggies and starchy favorites

Fierce Food: Balance

Fierce Food: Balance

Maximize nutrients, minimize sugar and starch

Fierce Food: Power

Fierce Food: Power

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In this episode

You ever wonder about what exactly is in those supposedly healthy snacks you buy at the grocery store? Sure, it says all-natural, organic, you know, grass-fed on the package. But is it actually good for you and your kids? In this episode, we get to talk to a food industry insider, Josh Field, who has worked in test kitchens for some pretty big food companies. The guy knows his stuff. 

We asked Josh to come on to answer all our questions about what goes into supposedly healthy packaged food products. We talk proteins, fats, fibers, and artificial sweeteners, and we get to find out how all this stuff gets made and what we as parents should be looking out for. There's a lot of information in this episode, and so you'll definitely want to check out the show notes where we'll provide links, definitions, and a whole lot more. All right. Buckle up, here we go with food industry insider Josh Field.

Listen here

About our guest

Josh Field has decades of experience working behind the scenes in the wellness and food industries. Josh co-founded several successful fitness startups, which led him into business development and product formulation projects with Legendary Foods and Quest Nutrition, a food company now worth over a billion dollars. Before becoming a food industry insider, Josh served as a special operations diver and the director of health and wellness for two units in the U.S. Coast Guard, and today, Josh is the Chief Innovation Officer for the world’s best zero sugar added ice cream, Killer Creamery. 

Show notes

  • 01:52 - Josh and Victoria Field (who you may remember from Ep. 9!) founded Quest Nutrition, a revolutionary health brand.
  • 05:02 -  Metabolic Health Summit is an international health conference under an organization called the Metabolic Health Initiative which aims to “revolutionize science and medicine by refocusing attention on the importance of nutrition and metabolism in treating disease, extending life, and improving human performance.” It’s hosted by Victoria Field, Angela Poff, PhD, and Dominic D’Agostino, PhD.
  • 24:10 - Curious about sugar substitutes that are TFT-approved? Check out our article on five sugar-free sweeteners that we think are better than the real thing.
  • 24:35 - Polyols are small-chain, low-digestible carbohydrates also known as sugar alcohols. This includes sorbitol, erythritol, maltitol, xylitol, etc.
  • 26:45 - The Family Thrive offers articles on how quality meat isn’t an unhealthy ingredient and on how plant-based alternatives may not be the healthiest option for your family.
  • 41:10 - “Net carbs are only the carbohydrates in a food that will easily increase blood sugar in your body. Other carbohydrates like fiber and zero-glycemic sweeteners are excluded from the net carb count.” (The Family Thrive)
  • 48:25 - Inulins are a prebiotic group of polysaccharides that are typically extracted from chicory root.
  • 54:55 - Need a pick-me-up? Here’s a list of low-sugar ice creams for you to try!
  • 01:00:30 - Killer Creamery is a delicious all-natural, zero-sugar ice cream founded by Louis Armstrong! Our personal fav is the Peanut Blubber flavor.  
  • 01:00:38 - KetoCon offers “the science and stories of keto, shared with you by Elite Athletes, Medical Professionals, Scientists, Educators, Researchers, Dietitians, Fitness Experts, Podcasters, Lifestyle Coaches, and Keto Product Manufacturers, all under one roof!”
  • 01:11:55 - You can join Justin and Audra at MaxLove Project’s annual Farm to Fork dinner event, which supports families impacted by childhood cancer.

In this episode

You ever wonder about what exactly is in those supposedly healthy snacks you buy at the grocery store? Sure, it says all-natural, organic, you know, grass-fed on the package. But is it actually good for you and your kids? In this episode, we get to talk to a food industry insider, Josh Field, who has worked in test kitchens for some pretty big food companies. The guy knows his stuff. 

We asked Josh to come on to answer all our questions about what goes into supposedly healthy packaged food products. We talk proteins, fats, fibers, and artificial sweeteners, and we get to find out how all this stuff gets made and what we as parents should be looking out for. There's a lot of information in this episode, and so you'll definitely want to check out the show notes where we'll provide links, definitions, and a whole lot more. All right. Buckle up, here we go with food industry insider Josh Field.

Listen here

About our guest

Josh Field has decades of experience working behind the scenes in the wellness and food industries. Josh co-founded several successful fitness startups, which led him into business development and product formulation projects with Legendary Foods and Quest Nutrition, a food company now worth over a billion dollars. Before becoming a food industry insider, Josh served as a special operations diver and the director of health and wellness for two units in the U.S. Coast Guard, and today, Josh is the Chief Innovation Officer for the world’s best zero sugar added ice cream, Killer Creamery. 

Show notes

  • 01:52 - Josh and Victoria Field (who you may remember from Ep. 9!) founded Quest Nutrition, a revolutionary health brand.
  • 05:02 -  Metabolic Health Summit is an international health conference under an organization called the Metabolic Health Initiative which aims to “revolutionize science and medicine by refocusing attention on the importance of nutrition and metabolism in treating disease, extending life, and improving human performance.” It’s hosted by Victoria Field, Angela Poff, PhD, and Dominic D’Agostino, PhD.
  • 24:10 - Curious about sugar substitutes that are TFT-approved? Check out our article on five sugar-free sweeteners that we think are better than the real thing.
  • 24:35 - Polyols are small-chain, low-digestible carbohydrates also known as sugar alcohols. This includes sorbitol, erythritol, maltitol, xylitol, etc.
  • 26:45 - The Family Thrive offers articles on how quality meat isn’t an unhealthy ingredient and on how plant-based alternatives may not be the healthiest option for your family.
  • 41:10 - “Net carbs are only the carbohydrates in a food that will easily increase blood sugar in your body. Other carbohydrates like fiber and zero-glycemic sweeteners are excluded from the net carb count.” (The Family Thrive)
  • 48:25 - Inulins are a prebiotic group of polysaccharides that are typically extracted from chicory root.
  • 54:55 - Need a pick-me-up? Here’s a list of low-sugar ice creams for you to try!
  • 01:00:30 - Killer Creamery is a delicious all-natural, zero-sugar ice cream founded by Louis Armstrong! Our personal fav is the Peanut Blubber flavor.  
  • 01:00:38 - KetoCon offers “the science and stories of keto, shared with you by Elite Athletes, Medical Professionals, Scientists, Educators, Researchers, Dietitians, Fitness Experts, Podcasters, Lifestyle Coaches, and Keto Product Manufacturers, all under one roof!”
  • 01:11:55 - You can join Justin and Audra at MaxLove Project’s annual Farm to Fork dinner event, which supports families impacted by childhood cancer.

In this episode

You ever wonder about what exactly is in those supposedly healthy snacks you buy at the grocery store? Sure, it says all-natural, organic, you know, grass-fed on the package. But is it actually good for you and your kids? In this episode, we get to talk to a food industry insider, Josh Field, who has worked in test kitchens for some pretty big food companies. The guy knows his stuff. 

We asked Josh to come on to answer all our questions about what goes into supposedly healthy packaged food products. We talk proteins, fats, fibers, and artificial sweeteners, and we get to find out how all this stuff gets made and what we as parents should be looking out for. There's a lot of information in this episode, and so you'll definitely want to check out the show notes where we'll provide links, definitions, and a whole lot more. All right. Buckle up, here we go with food industry insider Josh Field.

Listen here

About our guest

Josh Field has decades of experience working behind the scenes in the wellness and food industries. Josh co-founded several successful fitness startups, which led him into business development and product formulation projects with Legendary Foods and Quest Nutrition, a food company now worth over a billion dollars. Before becoming a food industry insider, Josh served as a special operations diver and the director of health and wellness for two units in the U.S. Coast Guard, and today, Josh is the Chief Innovation Officer for the world’s best zero sugar added ice cream, Killer Creamery. 

Show notes

  • 01:52 - Josh and Victoria Field (who you may remember from Ep. 9!) founded Quest Nutrition, a revolutionary health brand.
  • 05:02 -  Metabolic Health Summit is an international health conference under an organization called the Metabolic Health Initiative which aims to “revolutionize science and medicine by refocusing attention on the importance of nutrition and metabolism in treating disease, extending life, and improving human performance.” It’s hosted by Victoria Field, Angela Poff, PhD, and Dominic D’Agostino, PhD.
  • 24:10 - Curious about sugar substitutes that are TFT-approved? Check out our article on five sugar-free sweeteners that we think are better than the real thing.
  • 24:35 - Polyols are small-chain, low-digestible carbohydrates also known as sugar alcohols. This includes sorbitol, erythritol, maltitol, xylitol, etc.
  • 26:45 - The Family Thrive offers articles on how quality meat isn’t an unhealthy ingredient and on how plant-based alternatives may not be the healthiest option for your family.
  • 41:10 - “Net carbs are only the carbohydrates in a food that will easily increase blood sugar in your body. Other carbohydrates like fiber and zero-glycemic sweeteners are excluded from the net carb count.” (The Family Thrive)
  • 48:25 - Inulins are a prebiotic group of polysaccharides that are typically extracted from chicory root.
  • 54:55 - Need a pick-me-up? Here’s a list of low-sugar ice creams for you to try!
  • 01:00:30 - Killer Creamery is a delicious all-natural, zero-sugar ice cream founded by Louis Armstrong! Our personal fav is the Peanut Blubber flavor.  
  • 01:00:38 - KetoCon offers “the science and stories of keto, shared with you by Elite Athletes, Medical Professionals, Scientists, Educators, Researchers, Dietitians, Fitness Experts, Podcasters, Lifestyle Coaches, and Keto Product Manufacturers, all under one roof!”
  • 01:11:55 - You can join Justin and Audra at MaxLove Project’s annual Farm to Fork dinner event, which supports families impacted by childhood cancer.

Enjoying this? Subscribe to The Family Thrive for more healthy recipes, video classes, and more.

Transcript highlights

01:40

Justin:  I want to start off, though, by talking about how we first met and I don't know if you remember this, but for me, it's stuck in my memory that we first met you when you were working with Quest and you were like part of the team cooking up crazy stuff in the lab. Do you remember that? 

Josh: I do, indeed, I uhhh. So what stands out most to me is Victoria actually very excited, and Victoria, was kind of like the facilitator of the relationships. And she had been doing a lot of work in communicating with you guys. And eventually she kind of brought me in from a food development standpoint, a lot of the things that we were doing in Quest Labs when we're at Quest Nutrition, at the time we were developing keto meals, frozen meals, and we were using those as kind of a way to increase a certain couple of studies that we were looking at the efficacy of this study. 

So just increasing the compliance of it. And she was like, hey, you know, I met this phenomenal couple and she gave me the back story. And one of the opening statements was by Audra was that she had a phenomenal keto pasta noodle that she was working on. And I don't know why like that just really stands out in a very memorable, because at that time, that was something that we were working on. And it just seemed like to be that elusive form factor that we just got now. And I was like, wait a minute, someone has like perfected this. But yeah, no, I am incredibly thankful that our paths crossed. And it's been amazing since.

Justin: I don't want to give a free plug for Quest here, but I will, because it was really amazing what they were doing at the time. And they still do amazing work. But Quest Nutrition for anyone who doesn't know they do a lot of low-carb, high-protein products. 

But at this time in the company's history, they were doing a lot of work that was just in the lab trying to see if they could make keto products or keto formulations for stuff that is very not keto, like cinnamon rolls. And it was amazing what you guys were coming up with. And it was a perfect time for us because Max, our son, had a recurrence with his brain tumor at that time. 

And so we were going back on the ketogenic diet in a hard-core way, supported by our doctors at Children's Hospital of Orange County. And we were now looking for new keto products, like this kid had been on the ketogenic diet for a couple of years previous to that. So to have cinnamon rolls and you guys had, what, you had so many cool things. I remember the, I think you had a keto chocolate peanut butter cup at that time. What are the other formulations? Do you remember anything that really stood out to you? Well, I know the cinnamon roll was like an achievement of science. It was like the most amazing thing in the world.

Josh: Yeah. That thing was remarkable. And to my knowledge, no one else has come out with another cinnamon roll that even closely compared to what we had formulated, you know, that thing was absolutely amazing. 

We would go off and of course, we would do, I'm not even going to try to remember the actual name of the former Metabolic Health Summit that we would go there, when it was in Tampa, Florida, I can't exactly remember what the name of it was. And Victoria and Angela are probably going to kick my shin because I can't remember it. But we would go there and of course, we would have hundreds of attendees and we would just blow through those things. 

But so we had two different lines. We had a meal frozen line. And with that, we actually had 42 options. And that number stands out. But I mean, it was kind of an easy number to achieve because we had four breakfast sandwiches, we had five different pizza iterations. We had bologneses, we had like our own rendition of a In-and-Out double double with the special sauce. And we had just so many different meals that, yeah, sometimes it's kind of difficult to keep track of. 

But in addition to that, exactly what you had mentioned, we had a shelf-stable snack line as well. And with that we had crackers, we had cheese crackers, we had three or four different cup flavors. We had like these little chocolate fat bombs. 

Yeah, kind of, now, you know, in the rearview mirror, it's kind of remarkable what we were able to do and achieved and to take to the marketplace what no one else has done and still no one else to this day has done what we did. It's just unfortunate that we ended up pulling the plug and draining it in 2017.

Justin: It's like the four-minute mile of food science or, you know, something like. So, Josh, tell me, how did you get started in the food product, the world of product formulation, and the food industry. Where did it begin for you?

Josh: Kind of all happened. Just kind of stumbled into it just out of my personal passion and love for all things nutrition. So really the genesis for all this is from a really young age. I was just super fascinated with muscle. There was just something that just struck me about, you know, the, you know, muscle and veins and shredded delts and calves and whatnot. You know, maybe was because I was watching, you know, the Incredible Hulk in the ‘80s on television, but it was just a fascination with that. And, yeah, just all things nutrition, self-taught. So formally, I have a business degree, actually. I don't have a degree in nutrition. I have various nutritional certifications through accredited agencies. But it was just pure passion. 

So, you know, how do I and how can I manipulate the body just through nutritional input and through the various diets that myself and my wife have kind of put ourselves through, with those different dietary protocols, you kind of have to figure out how to navigate, you know, typical food items that you usually enjoy. It's like, well, now I can't have this particular ingredient. And, you know, how do I try to make and develop an analog that closely resembles it? 

And then just serendipitously became friends with two of the founders of Quest Nutrition, Ron and Shannon Pena. And Ron pulled me into the ecosystem just because of my passion and love for all things nutrition. And then I was just thrown into this accelerator where it was just packed full of a bunch of super curious, brilliant individuals that additionally didn't necessarily have like a formal education and nutrition, but just our ability to do a lot of repetitions incredibly fast. You learned incredibly fast. And I think, yeah, that's how all things came to be with food product development.

Justin: So now you've worked with a number of different health-focused food companies. So what should parents know, in general? We're like we're going to dig into the specifics. But from like a 30,000-foot view, what should parents know about the food industry as a whole?

Josh: Kind of a loaded question, and I think it's, I think if you were to ask 10 different people, you'd probably get 10 different responses, but I'll share kind of my position on it. And I would say it likely aligns with yourself, Audra, and what you guys are doing. You really have to be somewhat cognizant cautious of label callouts. Now, when you go into a grocery store and you're buying like an actual packaged good, whether it's in a box, it's a canned package, whatever, you really have to be diligent about organic callouts, natural callouts or other bold claims that you're viewing.

Justin: So natural is a big one. So if a parent sees “natural” on a label, what should they think?

Josh: In all honesty, it really doesn't mean all that much. It's kind of like a black hole. It's like an abyss. The one thing that natural is supposed to validate is that it doesn't have any bioengineered ingredients or food ingredients in it, meaning it's not necessarily going through a synthetic alteration, adjusting or changing the molecular structure of a specific food and/or ingredients. So that's probably the one thing. But even that is so loosely interpreted in the food space and by the FDA.

Justin: Yeah. So what I understand is that natural is actually not regulated by the FDA. Is that right? Like anyone can put natural on anything? Or do I have that wrong?

Josh: No, it’s, so there are guidelines, CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) and anyone, they can go to Doctor Google and type in codified regulate CFR natural food claim. And there are paragraphs with information on that. 

But again, how it was scripted, it's I guess, open to interpretation. But yeah, to your point. Yeah, I mean, if you want to put made with natural ingredients, you know, in it or on it, but would that claim that the entire makeup, the building material, are all of those ingredients natural or maybe two out of the 11 are natural? It's kind of a difficult landscape to navigate.

Justin: Ahhhh. So made with natural ingredients, only a few of the ingredients or even one of the great or made with a natural at least two. Right. Because they're using the word plural.

Josh: It's definitely a slippery slope. But to kind of circle back to your initial question. In a positive light, we actually, we're in a great time right now just because of all the advancements in food science. And we have various dietary protocols that are out there. And because of the internet and social media, you have access to really unlimited information. 

You know, if you want to eat just whole foods and you're curious, you know, well, how do I comply to a whole food or a whole food, 30 approved diet? You know, there's information out there and you have consumer packaged good companies that are labeling that. Same exact thing for keto companies, for paleo companies, for vegan, et cetera. So it's easy to eat and be compliant to any, I guess, preference of choice.

Justin: Yeah, but for me, as a busy parent, I don't want to do all that work. And so I'm like trying to get the quick and easy stuff from you. Right. So like, now I've got a clue about natural like, all right. So if I see the word natural on a package, I know that it's almost going to be meaningless because it could have two ingredients that are natural and then a bunch that aren't. Right. So that's a good rule of thumb. And I've started to use that where if I see the word natural on a package, I immediately become suspicious, like, oh, this is they're trying to pull something over. But I'm surprised. 

So you also said organic. So why should parents be a little suspicious about the organic label?

Josh: It's the same exact thing. So to be compliant with an organic certification, it is a bit more of a stringent process. Just going through, you know, the appropriate approval documentation, getting all of that set up and certified through the organic accrediting agency. So if they have that on the label, you're looking for that specific little bubble callout, it’s a little green with a leaf thing on it there. That means that the entire food product is compliant with organic standards. 

But where things may become a little bit too complicated or confusing is food companies now are putting in the ingredient statement or just as an end statement in the front of the packaging “made with organic ingredients.” And it's the same exact thing as, you know, the natural thing in which they may have an ingredient or build a material recipe for laymen, say, of 10 ingredients, and they use two organic ingredients. So with that, they'll put made with organic ingredients that are necessarily mean. The entire thing is organic. But they did have a couple or a few ingredients that are certified organic.

Justin: Awesome. All right. So that's super helpful. So I have assumed that if a package says organic anywhere on it, that the whole thing is going to be organic and I can just rest easy. But you're saying that I'm going to need to look a little closer and is this whole thing organic or is it just one or two ingredients that are organic? All right. 

Josh: Exactly. And another thing to just add to that, for small business, sometimes it can be a little bit difficult to go through the process, even if you do have, you know, all of the ingredients. They are organic. They meet all the requirements going through that actual organic certification process, of course, that it costs something. 

So if you're a new company starting up and you're a bit strapped with capital, sometimes that organic certification, it's beyond that financial reach. So you may have a product that technically is, you know, 100% organic. It's just that they don't have the capital to invest to put on that. 

But I guess that's also the beauty of, you know, social media, is that now everyone's accessible. So if you're kind of curious about a specific bar, cookie, or whatever it is, you know, definitely reach out to the company and just ask. I mean, I'm aware of a couple of different companies that actually are 100% organic. It's just that they can't afford to go through that organic process.


18:20

Justin: It seems to me that it would be really easy as a parent if I can just know, like here are some trustworthy brands, here are some trustworthy companies that are going to do the right thing, and then I can kind of rest easy in consuming their products. So how can parents determine, like, what's a trustworthy brand and what's not? Are there any rules of thumb or is it something that requires a lot of research?

Josh: The latter. It does require like a little bit of legwork. And the only reason I'm going to say that, again, which you're spot on the perfect segway, is that you have a lot of new emerging food companies or beverage companies. And it's again, it's an amazing time to be jumping in there just because everyone that can kind of fall into their own dietary preferred segment and speak to that specific customer, you know. 

But the downfall with that is oftentimes if you're grassroots bootstrapped, you're starting up in a oftentimes in an incubator or a commercial kitchen where a lot of your regulatory guidelines, GMPs (Good Manufacturing Processes) sometimes are maybe a little bit overlooked. And it can be as simple as they're making you know, I’ll say pasta. I don't know. I have pasta on my mind right now. Maybe because I need some pasta. I need some of Audra’s, you know.

Justin: Everybody's got pasta on the mind.

Josh: Exactly. But, you know, like a good example of that is they may be in a commercial kitchen and they have a handful of hired team members, none of them, they didn't go through a proper handwashing protocol. They're not wearing the hairnet or, you know, your latex gloves, things of that sort. And when they're forward brand facing, they're actually in a retail location and you see the product up on a shelf, maybe the packaging or the design doesn't exactly look up to standards compared to some of the larger conglomerate brands like that. The big players in the space. 

Oftentimes it's difficult to know what sort of regulatory compliance they actually adhere to, even if they're small. And you want to support the local home team player. If that food product was made on a larger manufacturing line where there are stricter policies and guidelines that the individuals that are running those plants and/or lines that they have to adhere to and all of it's about food safety protocol. So, it can be a little bit difficult to know what is, you know, a good, solid brand. 

Regardless if it tastes good, you know, the ingredients may be stored in a, you know, a shed that's 110 degrees and high humidity and collecting bacteria. It's just, it's difficult to kind of navigate that. What I'm about to say kind of bothers me a little bit. But, you know, typically a safe play is generally you can trust the large food companies and the context that they adhere to strict food safety protocols that excludes certain food ingredients, which likely, I'm assuming, will probably get into that a little bit. But it's a tough one to navigate, knowing exactly which one is safe, which one isn't safe from a food safety standpoint.

Justin: Yeah. So from a food safety standpoint, it makes perfect sense. You go with the big guys, they're going to have their processes tied up. I'm thinking and we are going to get into the issues around particular ingredients. 

But I'm thinking I have come to trust Quest because in the past I've known that they have worked hard to get the right ingredients and they've switched out ingredients that they didn't find met their standards. And so I have come to trust Quest. I'm wondering if there are ways to have to get to that same level of trust with other companies or if there's an easy way to do it, maybe there's not an easy way and you just need to do a lot of research.

Josh: It's research and communicating. So one of the reasons why I believe that you trusted Quest is because you were welcomed into that ecosystem in all facets from a digital standpoint to an email standpoint, to phone calls, to video calls, to in-person meeting with the team, with the founders. And you got to see the passion behind what we were doing. And sometimes I think that's what's lost in translation is the why and the passion behind what you're doing.

Justin: That, of course, gives, you know, the warm and fuzzies. But it was actually hearing from people like you around why particular ingredients were chosen. And so it's not that these ingredients were chosen because they were the cheapest. They're not the easiest. It's that these are the best ingredients and this is what we're going to go for. And so that is the type of thing that I want to know about other brands, like are you just doing the quick and easy thing? Are you choosing the right ingredients for your products? But it sounds like it's just a matter of doing the research.

Josh: Yeah, and I would say now more than ever, we're in this huge rocket phase of all things, low-carb, keto, zero added sugar, zero sugar, or anything like that. And some of the choice selection of those sugar replacements aren't exactly what I think some people would want to consume if they actually knew what they were and what they were doing. 

Where you and everything that you're doing with Max and of course, all the other families that you guys worked with, you needed to come from an informed perspective, standpoint, knowing that actually there is a difference between various polyos, you know, sorbitol, erythritol, maltitol, Xylitol and different things like that. 

And being selective, you know, where I think that we're on the cusp of a more informed consumer set. But it's just one of those things that slowly comes with time. It's just that you understand the specificity of the foods that we were making and how they were applicable to what you and Audra are essentially doing.

Justin: Yeah. All right. So this is another great segue way into our next theme here. And this is getting into the ingredients. So at The Family Thrive, we advocate a whole foods approach. We want, you know, the vast majority of our foods to be real whole foods. But we're also pragmatic and we're busy parents. So we love a good packaged product as well. And so we've had to learn a lot about reading ingredients and learning about these ingredients. 

And we just talked about this with Quest about being able to trust a brand that's going to have the right ingredients. So I want to get into that. This whole packaged food world, the whole, you know, industrial food complex, and we're not, so we promote and advocate for whole foods, but we're not against processed foods because processed foods can be made really well and can support a totally healthy diet, especially for busy families. 

So, let's start to talk about the macronutrients first off. So when we are talking about processed protein, ok, so a whole food protein is going to be you buy your chicken, you buy your meat, you see it there, it's whole. But then when you get into a packaged product like a Quest Bar, now you've got processed protein. So what should I be looking for as a parent for a high-quality processed protein?

Josh: This, too, is kind of like a slippery slope question, because we live in an age of you're either, you know, you eat meat or you don't eat meat. You know, the huge plant-based movement, whatnot.

Justin: Yeah. So let's say we are totally omnivorous. We've got a couple of articles on The Family Thrive about meat science and how meat is perfectly healthy food. So let's just say that we are omnivorous and we are going and we want some high quality or we are looking at packaged products and we're seeing all these different protein isolates and all this stuff. 

What are we looking for? What should we consider to be a good processed protein? And are there any that we should stay away from?

Josh: Yeah. And the example that you just stated is probably one of the best, if not the best options. When it comes to just checking various nutritional boxes from an amino acid profile, meaning that it makes it a complete, so it supports the various biological needs of the human body, to functionality. It has a very versatile application in various foods, from bars to cookies to brownies to ready-to-drinks, various things like that. It's probably the most versatile. 

The thing that I would probably caution some people with, though, is just understanding any potential intolerances that they may have when it comes to anything dairy, so to speak, specific to that. If you're someone that is slightly lactose intolerant, the superior option likely would be a whey protein isolate or milk protein isolate, something of that sort, just because for the most part, it's broken down into its simplest digestible form.

Justin: Yeah. So a whey protein isolate or a milk protein isolate is going to have the lactose removed.

Josh: Most majority. There are some premium's out there that actually have completely removed the lactose from that. So I would say, conceptually speaking, that's in my opinion, that would be the best possible, we’ll call it processed protein option that there is. I mean, it's a staple, it's a really easy way to get protein. And I do think that we are a somewhat protein-deprived society, the world that we live in right now. And it's really quick. It's easy as long as you can tolerate it from a GI standpoint, low in calories.

Justin: In a lot of the low carb, high protein products that we buy on the market, whey protein is a major source. So are there any drawbacks or are there any things that we should be concerned about with whey protein?

Josh: That goes a little bit deeper into the supply chain, meaning the origin? Where is it coming from? There are a bunch of different suppliers out there. On the surface, it's very unlikely that you'll have any insight on that. And that really falls on the brand and as a consumer, doing a proper due diligence of.

Justin: Yes. So if we're dealing with a brand that is reputable, a big one, I mean, just in general way protein. Are there any drawbacks to whey protein?

Josh: In isolate? Really, none that I can see. You know, I'm sure that someone may have a different opinion on that. If you were to say a whey protein concentrate, the first thing that comes to mind is it's likely it's going to have more lactose in it. 

So, again, if you're a little bit sensitive on that, that would be of concern. But generally speaking, a whey protein, isolate as it's coming from a reputable brand. It's again, in my opinion, that's like the gold standard when it comes to a protein that's processed and/or, you know, incredibly efficient and it suits your on-the-go lifestyle. 

Justin: Another processed protein that I see a lot is pea protein. Is there anything that we should be concerned about with pea protein?

Josh: So if you were to ask me this question five years ago, there really weren't a lot of big players in the space. You had a couple of smaller players that were kind of tinkering playing in it and of probably the most prudent concern would be herbicides and pesticides that were used in the process of the farming of it were now because of the huge increase in awareness of more plant-based diet, you have some great brands and companies that have pea-protein-based products or shakes or powders that are out there now. 

But a pea protein by itself, one potential drawback, again, depending on what your utility or the protein is, is that by itself it's not a complete protein. So if you're using it specifically and like a muscle building or strength or a bodybuilding application, it probably won't be the most suitable. But if you're eating somewhat of a well-balanced diet, meaning eggs and salmons and beef and things of that nature, you're going to pick up some of those amino acids that a pea protein typically is lacking. But. Now I mean, a pea protein, that's that's probably now the second most popular protein powder that that's out there, there's so many different protein powders that exist now, and some of which are, I thought were entertaining and get, you know, going back into my Questers and dating out some various suppliers approaching us with, you know, fish protein isolates and various things of that nature, kind of interesting.

Justin: Yeah, I haven't seen the fish protein isolates. Oh, my gosh. Ok, so the last protein question is going to be maybe a little triggery for some. What do you think about gluten? So gluten is a wheat protein, of course, and it is used in some low-carb bread and pasta products. What do you think about gluten?

Josh: From a functional standpoint, nothing beats gluten and makes formulation so much easier.

Justin: So from a food company’s standpoint, thumbs up. But what do you personally think about it? A health standpoint?

Josh: I've geeked out over the years with all things microbiome. I think the abundance of it and the food package space, it's in so many different things, and because of that, I think that there's a lot of illness and inflammation that easily could be linked back or attributed to potentially overeating gluten. 

There's some great thought leaders and ambassadors that really are spearheading that entire movement. There’s some wonderful books out there that I've read, and some of which I think maybe a little bit controversial, but I typically try to avoid gluten. And the only reason why I say that is, again, just speaking me, myself personally is just maybe a little time for your viewers is, you know, I do suffer from a little bit of IBS. And I do notice that when I do consume an abundance of gluten in a specific product, it can have certain triggers, you know, but, you know, if I eat it sparingly, it's again, that's kind of like a political question. You know, there's science, there's science supporting both camps. It's more so personal preference. Yeah, that's kind of a difficult one.

Justin: We found an amazing low-carb bread. I won't say the name, but it is, I think, wheat gluten, might be the number one ingredient. And it's but the bread is so good and it's this high-protein, low-carb bread makes great sandwiches and the whole thing. And I have not, no one in our family has experienced any GI issues with it. 

But it's always in the back of my mind, like this is the first ingredient on this thing. So before we move on, are there any other processed proteins that you think are good that if a parent sees it on a package, we can give it a thumbs up?

Josh: Yes. So speaking specifically to like isolated proteins, like what we just discussed, dairy protein, essentially, it's a gold standard. And then there are a bunch of different actually really great plant-based protein powders, isolates that are out there. A couple of ones that are gaining a lot of popularity. You have a pumpkin seed protein isolate, you have rice protein isolate, quinoa protein isolate, there's which I think that you had just mentioned, a high gluten protein isolate. 

You know, with those the one thing that you have to be cautious or aware of, what some of these new, newer emerging protein isolates coming from a plant origin is actually how much protein is actually in what they're calling… a standard serving. 

So what I mean, so specifically in the world formulation and developing nutritionals and things of that nature, all suppliers, they're supposed to provide you what we call a 100-gram nutritional statement or it's something comparable to that. And with your protein isolates like a lot of your dairy proteins, they're north of 90% protein of that 100-gram serving where some of your other plant based ones, you're only getting maybe half of that protein load out of that 100-gram serving, meaning it's like, ok, if I'm only getting 50 grams of protein out of that 100-gram serving, well, what else is in this? Like where else is that 100 or I'm sorry, that 50 grams coming from. 

And oftentimes with those you're picking up some of the residual carbohydrates and fibers of those so in which all of those are lumped into carbs and fiber and whatnot. So even if they're boldly claiming a specific protein, this and/or that, just pay close attention to what else may be in that nutritional panel and how that kind of suits your own dietary needs.


37:34

Justin: Processed fats, well, I'd say most I don't know, it seems like all fats essentially processed like you don't get whole fat in the wild, but are there any that go into packaged products that you say stay away from? And are there any that you say are good?

Josh: We as a society have consumed far too many omega six fats. And a lot of that is originating from packaged goods that are using various vegetable oils, such as canola oils, corn oil, safflower, sunflowers, different vegetable and seed oils of that nature where the data, you know, solidly states that in an abundance of those particular omega six fats, it could lead to inflammation in the body, the gut, the brain, and in different things of that nature. 

So typically, I always say caution, be wary. 

And if you are going to or put in a situation where you're eating those, you know, try to eat sparingly, try not to over-consume, but typically I say try to avoid anything that are using those specific fats. It's just, again, you know, go to Doctor Google and you can type in inflammation and vegetable and seed oils and you'll just get, you know, so many different scientific articles and things of that sort that say eat with caution.

Justin: Yeah, we will have an article on this coming out in The Family Thrive so we'll get to cover this. Are there any fats that you think are good to go in packaged foods?

Josh: Yeah, so typically we always like to go with fats that have a higher concentration of monounsaturated fats. Examples of that would be your avocado oils, your high oleic sunflower oil. It's just because they're a bit more stable compared to some of the other vegetable and seed oil that we just listed.

Justin: Yeah. So it's a high oleic sunflower. So the oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat and it's more stable. Yeah. All right. 

Josh: Correct. Meaning it's less likely to either degrade over time. And if you're using it in a cooking application, it's going to have higher smoke point, meaning that you're not going to denature any of those things and alter the fatty acid profile where it would actually work against you rather than, you know, positively benefiting the utility

of that specific fat. But those are all great. There are some food companies out there where you can actually buy animal tallow. And there is a brand that kind of, it's a four-letter word. They're quite epic, if you will, and can get actual animal tallows. And, you know, oftentimes that's what we used to cook with. And, you know, generally that's the direction that we go for actively seeking fats and we're going to cook it.

Justin: All right. So fibers. So we're these next two questions I'm going to ask about fibers and sweeteners. And so this all has to do with net carbs. And we have an article on The Family Thrive describing net carbs. It was written in conjunction with our dietitians. 

So I encourage parents to go in there, check out the net carbs. But basically what we want to look for on the back of a package is it will have a total carbohydrate count. And then you can look at the fiber and you can look at some of the sweeteners. If they are zero glycaemic sweeteners, then you can subtract those out. Although, Josh, I'm going to ask about Allulose. Is that now… Well,ok. I don't want to confuse anybody, but I'm going to ask about that. 

Generally you can subtract those out from the total carbohydrate and then you get your net carb count. And so the net carb generally, and Josh, I know you're going to correct me on some of this, but generally it's going to be the carbs that go, that get converted into blood sugar. And so we start by subtracting fibers, first off. So let's talk about these processed fibers. Now they're in a lot of low-carb foods. And so I'm sure parents have seen on packages it'll say net carbs two or net carb zero. And then you can look on the back of the packaging. You can see the total carbohydrate is 15 or 20 or whatever. 

And so they get to this largely by putting a lot fiber in the product. And then you can subtract out the fiber from the total carbs to get the net carbs. Ok. Now, there are some fibers, I understand, that are better than others. So, Josh, can you walk us through the world of processed fibers?

Josh: It's a little bit confusing. And as a consumer, especially if you're coming from an informed position, it can be even a little bit more confusing. And the reason why I say that is the forward-facing brands, they actually have the option to use different names for the various fibers, meaning that you may have three different things that you could call, you know, this particular fiber. You may have four different things that you could call this particular fiber. And what I'm speaking specifically about, probably the one that's most well known right now is tapioca fiber. 

And, you know, generally speaking, tapioca, it's great food product. And you have tapioca flours, tapioca starches, and now you have 85, 90, 95 percent fibers that originated from tapioca. With that there are a few different versions of tapioca fiber that you can label it as. And each one of those is actually slightly different from a metabolic standpoint.

Justin: And when you say metabolic, you're saying each one will raise your blood sugar slightly differently or will affect your blood sugar in a slightly different way. 

Josh: Spot on, spot on. And the FDA recently just removed one of those IMO, Isomalto oligosaccharides, from what is considered on the fiber list. So the FDA, they have, you know, various nutrients of significance that they go in there and they, you know, have different ingredients or food items that technically can be called that for all the various certifying reasons and IMO was removed from that. 

But there is a close cousin to the IMO that is now being used by some consumer packaged good companies, that it's essentially the same exact thing. So it can be a little bit misleading in that context. And that really goes back to doing a proper due diligence. And even then, if you're not sure, reaching out to whatever that brand is and just ask them, they may not tell you what specific fiber it is that they're using, but you can ask them what's the glycaemic response of, you know, the one that you're using. 

Or if you're on some sort of therapeutic diet, meaning that you're using the ketogenic diet for a specific ailment or whatever it is. I mean, there are different ways to test your blood glucose levels now. And now I would say go ahead and test and see what sort of response that there is. But it's kind of confusing times.

Justin: For the average family. You know, we don't need to test our blood. We just want to purchase products that are going to not make your blood sugar skyrocket every time we eat it. So if we're looking for lower carb products, we will want to stay away from anything that has IMO because and it's isomalto… Can you say that last part?

Josh: Isomalto oligosaccharides, isomalto oligosaccharides.

Justin: Yeah. So, and we will have all this in the show notes. And so if you look on the back of a package and that's the major fiber, then you can put that one back. What are some fibers that are good to go?

Josh: So, again, I'm going to throw tapioca fiber back out there. There are a couple of different suppliers. 

Justin: Oh, that is good.

Josh: That is good. And that's where it's a little bit confusing is because you have companies that are labeling prebiotic tapioca fiber, resistant digestion tapioca fiber, tapioca fiber, vegetable fiber, and all of these come from tapioca origins. 

And so it can be a little bit confusing because you have like those IMOs that are kind of being lumped up and underneath that tapioca fiber labeling now. But there are some really good tapioca fibers out there, soluble tapioca fiber. Typically on some of the more credible low carb or keto brands, that's the name that they're putting on the ingredient statement. And those are great in the context that they don't have any sort of a glycaemic load. And maybe more importantly is they're very GI friendly, not glycemic index friendly, but gastrointestinal friendly. You have a soluble corn fiber or a digestion-resistant maltodextrin. 

Not a lot of food companies, they're putting that on the label just for the exact reason. You probably saw me stumbling over saying, you know, it doesn't exactly look the best on the label either. But generally speaking, any company that has like a soluble corn fiber on there, that is a great fiber source as well. It's very diabetic-friendly, doesn't have a glycemic load on it. And it, too, is more gastrointestinal friendly than, say, some of the other fibers that are out there. 

Speaking specifically about inulins and chicory roots, not saying that they're not doing good fibers. There are different forms or versions of inulin/chicory roots fructooligosaccharides that can have a different impact on blood glucose levels and also how gastrointestinal friendly they are. 

So I would just, you know, throw it out there cautiously. A lot of your low carb and more keto forward brands that are out there. A lot of them are using inulin and Chicory root, but they're using an excessive amount that oftentimes can make you a little uncomfortable. Kind of like a hot air balloon, if you will. So be cautious.

Justin: A little GI distress. So that's inulin and chicory root. You don't want too much of it.

Josh: Some of them put fructooligosaccharides on their label, but oftentimes your fructooligosaccharides will be lumped up under inulin as well. And for those that want to dive a little bit deeper into that, and if you're like, hey, that's kind of interesting and if one of your favorite low carb keto packaged food brands out there has that and, you know, shoot them a note out on social media and see if that's why you're maybe a little bit gassy.

Justin: All right, so now let's get to the processed sweeteners. So you work for a company now. We're going to talk about that in a little bit or after this. But you are very familiar with all of the different low-carb or zero glycaemic sweeteners. They're all processed right? There, you know, there's nothing growing on a tree. 

Well, yeah, I mean, it all has to go through some process, whether it's monc fruit or stevia. You even have to be heavily processed. So I'll just lump all these under processed sweeteners. And we're talking specifically about low-carb sweeteners. Let's start with the ones that we should watch out for, stay away from. I'm imagining the polyol. There might be a few polyols in that mix.

Josh: Yeah. Spot on. So speaking about sugar alcohols or polyols, you have some of those such as maltitol, sorbitol, and maltitol is probably the worst offender of those. Is that it from a molecular standpoint, it's a polyol from the chemist, you know, strictly speaking, the chemistry aspect of it. 

However, from a biological standpoint, it's almost the equivalent to just straight dextrose or sugar, if you will. Two different examples of reasons why is typically a gram of dextrose or table sugar that yields four calories per gram, and it has a certain glycemic index response based off of a score of 100. And if you were to compare like a dextrose to maltitol, the differences rather than four calories per gram, you're about to tell us like 3.6, 3.8… I apologize, I don't know that more specific caloric density.

Justin: Oh, no way. I didn't realize it was so close.

Josh: The caloric density is essentially just about the same as almost the same equivalent blood glucose response or the glycemic response is, it's very comparable. 

And even worse is because of the way that your body breaks it down and uses it and no one uses anything sparingly anymore in formulation, typically they're using, you know, more than probably what they should be using. It can have quite the laxative effect as well. So you're kind of, you're getting the hat trick here.

Justin: So that's for maltitol. Is sorbitol in the same boat?

Josh: You could almost lump those equal. It doesn't have the same caloric density, but it does have a glycaemic response and it still has the same laxative effect where that there are a couple others as well. 

But swinging to the other side of the pendulum here, the sugar alcohols or polyols that are more consumer-friendly, especially if you're using it for a specific application, if you're diabetic or for some sort of a metabolic therapeutic diet like Max, you want a sugar alcohol that, you want it to taste good. I mean, that's first and foremost, you want something that closely resembles what actual sugar tastes like. 

But more importantly, is a caloric load be what sort of blood glucose response am I going to have by consuming this? And right now in the sugar alcohol space erythritol is it's it's that's the top dog. It's the top ingredient. There are different forms of erythritol that are out there, depending on how much you actually consume, what you really have to work quite hard to consume the amount that actually would have an adverse effect, which would be, again, a little bit of a laxative effect. It wouldn't even be palatable. You wouldn't even be able to consume that much or you would have to be pretty persistent in your endeavor, like okay. I wonder how much I can actually, you know, how much I have to consume to try to have some sort of an adverse effect. 

But erythritol, it's a phenomenal sugar, alcohol. It's dang near calorie-free and basically consume it and it goes to the bloodstream and you urinate it out and it closely resembles sugar.

Justin: Yeah, I remember researching erythritol. Gosh, was like maybe eight or nine years ago when we were eliminating sugar from Max's diet. And I was just so impressed with the research like it's zero glycaemic. Again, you, as you said, you have to eat a lot of it for there to be any GI distress. And it's safe. It is like one. There aren't any studies that I was able to find back then. And I've done some research since, that show any cause for any health concern over erythritol. I totally agree. I'm a huge fan of it.

Josh: We lack an enzyme to break that down and to actually utilize it. Really, that's the real reason behind that. So it's again, we're getting all the functional benefits of it and we're getting the organa left to the taste of it. But it's literally...passing through the small intestine and you're urinating it out.

Justin: Now, the one thing that parents should know and we have some information on this in The Family Thrive, it has a cooling effect. And so it's great for ice cream. But there are some other applications that it might not be so great for, I'm sure, in the food industry. 

But just to recap here, so when it comes to sugar alcohols, you want to stay away from the maltitol and the sorbitol and then erythritol, which is also a sugar alcohol is good to go. 

Something that is still in some products that parents might see as xylitol. Josh, what do you think about xylitol?

Josh: If used, consumed in small moderate amounts, short from a functional standpoint, works great and a lot of different technical formulations. It has a slightly more caloric load than erythritol from a glycaemic standpoint. 

The diabetic community, you could regard it as safe, but the downfall of xylitol too, is that it doesn't have the same gastrointestinal intestinal tolerance that erythritol does. So if you were to consume, for example, 10 grams of erythritol, just about everyone can tolerate 10 grams of erythritol, where if you consume 10 grams of xylitol, which to be honest, really is not that much, and say a zero sugar or a keto bar or ice cream or whatever the snack is, and an 85 to 100 gram serving is very common to have north of 10 grams of erythritol in there. 

Again, to replace your sugar, where would the xylitol consuming 10 grams of xylitol? It may cause some people some gastrointestinal distress. That, too, has a bit of a laxative effect. And it's not puppy-friendly. So you can't share it with your little fur babies. So that pint of ice cream that you're eating that's made with xylitol. Unfortunately, you can't share it with your puppy.

Justin: Ok, what about monk fruit and stevia? That's in a lot of products.

Josh: Yeah, I say green light on both of those, especially among fruit, it’s incredibly expensive. But I would say from a sensory standpoint, it's a phenomenal high-intensity sweetener. Stevia, the entire stevia space has made a lot of advancements. I know a lot of people still to this day that they tried stevia a handful of years ago and they're afraid to try it just because sometimes that horrific taste that sometimes comes along with the original rabei stevia that's used.

 But there are different versions of stevia that are out there that are far more palatable. And if the intent is to, you know, have a sweeter product, whether it's in a cookie, a bar or whatever it is, or just put it in your coffee or tea. Both are very safe in regards to it won't impact your blood glucose levels.

Justin: Awesome. And then the final one, which has become our hands-down favorite. So we love our erythritol, but our hands-down favorite has become allulose. So can you tell us a little bit about allulose?

Josh: Yes. Launched on the commercial scene in 2000, I must say, circa 2016, I must say 2015. But I feel pretty confident 2016 right in there, nutrition. We launched a cereal bar with that and we had played with it for probably a good year prior to that, and yeah, we became obsessed with it for multiple reasons, starting with the fact that it is an actual sugar derived in nature from various vegetables and fruits, it can be extracted in small amounts from a handful. And the best part about it is that it's about 70 percent as sweet as a normal table sugar. 

So you're getting that sensory benefit of it. And then from a functional standpoint, it performs almost equally to sugar as well. A yields about a tenth of the calories as a traditional table sugar. And it really doesn't have any adverse effects from a sensory standpoint. Most people, their GI tolerance is very well, maybe the first time you consume it, if you consume a bowlish amount like 20, 30 grams of it, first pass, you know, you may have some bubble guts. But for the most part, I mean, it's very consumer-friendly. And it is…

Justin: And zero glycine.

Josh: Zero glycaemic. And there's actually literature out there from a couple of different organizations, third party that have really put us under the lens and scrutinized it. And a lot of the data supports that. It actually has a blood glucose lowering effect, and there's reasons for that. But we won't dive into the deeper details of it other than. 

Yeah, Allulose. I mean, it's absolutely phenomenal. In the past three years it's gone gangbusters. Some of the biggest players, some of the biggest food manufacturers in the world now are coming out with products that have allulose in it. 

And that's one of my pain points. And fears right now from a supply chain standpoint is because it's become so incredibly popular. It's very scarce right now.

Justin: Ok, so that was so helpful. We went through all the major ingredients. Now I want to hear about ice cream. So, Josh, tell us about what you're working on now.

Josh: Yeah, so Killer Creamery, I joined Louis, the founder of Killer Creamery, just about a year ago. And we actually met at KetoCon, I think in 2019, right in there. And he was the very first mover in the keto ice cream segment in space. And I was there with another company, another keto-friendly company, and we hit it off and I said, hey, if you ever need anything, you know, reach out to me, this is my number. And he kind of took me up on that. 

And yeah, we officially joined about a year ago and a year ago all that we had were just ice cream pints. I think we had five flavors, maybe six flavors at the time. We recently just expanded our pint offering. We have eight different pint flavors right now. We were the very first, you know, keto ice cream company to launch into or launch allulose out into the space. So take quite a bit of pride with that. And as of recent, we just expanded into the frozen novelty space with a keto zero sugar ice cream sandwich, which are incredible.

Justin: I can't wait to try it. 

Josh: Super excited about that. Yeah. Yeah. Now we're doing some really phenomenal things where we're really trying to differentiate ourselves just by playing into really what consumers want. Some of the other players in the space, you call them direct competitors. If you will, they kind of playing more into general flavor profiles. And we're trying to be a bit more bold and brash in that context or so, coming out with some different concepts, maybe some more abstract concepts, and making sure that we're doubling down on all of our great inclusions, that we have our brownie pieces and chocolate chip cookie dough pieces and all the various variants that we use, you know, so delicious, gooey, gooey caramel swirls and peanut butter and things of that sort.

Justin: Yeah. So Killer Creamery is not a sponsor. We are friends. We've met the owners a couple of times at Metabolic Health Summit. So I'm happy to give them a plug. How can people find Killer Creamery?

Josh: Facebook, Instagram, Killer Creamery. Both applications, LinkedIn. I want to say that we have or we're about to hopefully I don't spill the beans here. He may give me a boot in the rear end. But YouTube. I know that that's something that we are working on as well. But probably Instagram is the best platform to follow us. 

Justin: Awesome. All right. And last question here for you, Josh. What are you personally working on in your own growth and development? Like I've always known you to be super focused on health and wellness. So I'm just wondering what's at the edge for you?

Josh: Constant work in progress when it comes to patience. Just being patient and on all facets of life. Being patient with myself, being patient with relationships, being patient, and work various projects. We have so many different, really exciting projects in Killer Creamery that I just get beyond excited about. 

And of course, I want to be first a space with this concept or this form factor. And, you know, just recognizing that there are systems and processes and you know, I just can't click my heels three times or snap my fingers and, you know, get exactly what I want.

Josh: Are there any practices that you're finding helpful in developing patience?

Justin: May sound a little bit quirky, corny, but just breathwork in meditation. And a even with that, having the patience to sit there and focus on breath for five minutes, you know.

Justin: It sounds like a Catch-22. You need the patience to actually practice the thing that's going to help you develop patience. 

Josh: Yeah. So thankfully, thankfully, I have a phenomenal wife, Victoria, and she stays on top of me and makes sure that I get my breath working and wear things like that. They come so natural to her. She wakes up and she has her routine and easily slides into breathwork and meditation. Where I wake up, I let the dogs out and I immediately get the coffee going and my laptop opens. And, you know, I immediately dive into work and whatnot. And she comes in and she kind of, you know, gets at me. She's like, you need to, you know, you first. Yeah. So patience. What do they say? Patience is a virtue. I seem to struggle with it.

Justin: All right, so I lied, I said that was the final question, that was the final question that is specific to you. These next three are questions that we ask everybody at the end of the interview. So the first one is, Josh, if you could put a big Post-it note on every parent's refrigerator tomorrow morning, what would that Post-it note say?

Josh: Close your eyes and take four deep breaths. That's what I …

Justin: That sounds like a post-it note that you need.

Josh: Yes, I have a verbal note from Victoria. Go do your breathwork. No, it's so powerful. I mean, it really is. I mean, even you and I sitting here right now is you and I were just to take four deep inhalations and exhalations. I mean, there would you know, it would change our body chemistry. And I don't necessarily do a lot of podcasts and interviews and whatnot. So, of course, I'm naturally a little bit anxious right now. 

But I know that in just four deep breaths, like I know that I would settle down. I would come down a little bit, and especially just kicking off your day or morning or if it's in the end of the evening and, you know, you just finished up dinner and you got to do the dishes and this kid is painting on the wall over here, and this one needs his diaper changed. It's taken us four deep breaths as a pretty profound impact.

Justin: Yeah. So I invite any parent, if you are in the position to do four deep breaths. It is a game-changer. All right. So I'm going to now ask this, two last questions. Josh, do you have a quote that you've seen or heard recently that has changed the way you think or feel?

Josh: Yeah, this is a quote. And unfortunately, I wish I could tell you where I saw or where I heard it. But when I initially heard it, it really stood out to me. And it's a quote that I say to myself and remind myself almost daily, which is “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” And it's just something that really rang true with me, you know, and it's one of those things where like when I say I was like, how does it go? And it's hard choices, easy life, easy choices, hard life. 

And the reason why that really spoke to me is we live in a world of comfort and conveniences and it's so easy to take, you know, the easy path or to make the easy decision because it's convenient in that moment rather than buckling down and maybe challenging yourself and doing the more difficult thing, even though in that moment acutely, it may be very uncomfortable for you. 

But the reason you do it for disciplinary reasons, that hopefully it's going to have a positive outcome. And I've applied that to literally all aspects of my life. And actually that came from a world record holder weightlifter, a Polish gentleman, Jerzy Gregorek.

Justin: Easy choices, hard life, hard choices, easy life. And I think that can be applied in so many different ways. But nutrition as well, like the easy choice, is just to eat whatever's out there and to eat the thing and just not to worry about it. That's going to lead to a hard life in terms of your long-term health.

Josh: You're already applying. Exactly. I mean, you could take that and you could plug it in so many different places.

Justin: That's it. That's it. All right. So the last one, Josh, I ask this of all the guests, whether or not they have children. So, Josh, what do you like most about kids?

Josh: Curiosity. The reason why I like that is because as a child, thinking back to my early childhood and then just observing my nieces, my nephews, good friends to have kids yourself, Audra, et cetera, is kids, they're naturally curious about everything and they're not afraid to to challenge the status quo, you know, in their quest to have just have like a deeper understanding as why is this or why is that? 

And I think as we age and we go through the system. We kind of lose our curiosity, and I just I would say that's probably the thing that I admire most about kids, is just that curiosity. And I really challenge adults to, you know, to try to tap back into that natural state of curiosity. And that's something that, again, I'm going to plug my wife, Victoria. She's so stinking good at this. And it is just a not, it's not something that's not innate in me, but moments when I challenge myself to be more curious, it always leads to like new things that I just didn't see, observe, or experience. 

And I haven't necessarily had any sort of nothing negative has come of just me trying to be more curious. So I would say curiosity for kids.

Justin: It's good for parents to be reminded of that because we get exhausted by our children's curiosity. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. But why. So that's nice. All right. Let's just take a deep breath and appreciate that pure curiosity.

Josh: Exactly.

Justin: Oh, Josh, thank you so much for taking out time today to talk to us. This was a wealth of information. We are going to break all this down in the show notes for parents to go because we used so many different words that probably were new to many parents. Oh, Josh, thank you so much. I can't wait to talk again. Be well, my friend.

Josh: Yeah, likewise. Yeah, likewise. Thank you so much. I had a blast. Definitely. Looking forward to hopefully seeing you guys in person. Farm to Fork. I think September.

Justin: That's right. Coming up.

Josh: Awesome. Awesome. Be here before we know it. Thank you so much, Justin. 

Justin: Bye. 

Josh: Later.


Hey, thanks for listening to the Family Thrive Podcast. If you like what you heard, please subscribe, tell two friends, and head on over to Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts and give us a review. We're so grateful you've chosen to join us on this Family Thrive journey.


Transcript highlights

01:40

Justin:  I want to start off, though, by talking about how we first met and I don't know if you remember this, but for me, it's stuck in my memory that we first met you when you were working with Quest and you were like part of the team cooking up crazy stuff in the lab. Do you remember that? 

Josh: I do, indeed, I uhhh. So what stands out most to me is Victoria actually very excited, and Victoria, was kind of like the facilitator of the relationships. And she had been doing a lot of work in communicating with you guys. And eventually she kind of brought me in from a food development standpoint, a lot of the things that we were doing in Quest Labs when we're at Quest Nutrition, at the time we were developing keto meals, frozen meals, and we were using those as kind of a way to increase a certain couple of studies that we were looking at the efficacy of this study. 

So just increasing the compliance of it. And she was like, hey, you know, I met this phenomenal couple and she gave me the back story. And one of the opening statements was by Audra was that she had a phenomenal keto pasta noodle that she was working on. And I don't know why like that just really stands out in a very memorable, because at that time, that was something that we were working on. And it just seemed like to be that elusive form factor that we just got now. And I was like, wait a minute, someone has like perfected this. But yeah, no, I am incredibly thankful that our paths crossed. And it's been amazing since.

Justin: I don't want to give a free plug for Quest here, but I will, because it was really amazing what they were doing at the time. And they still do amazing work. But Quest Nutrition for anyone who doesn't know they do a lot of low-carb, high-protein products. 

But at this time in the company's history, they were doing a lot of work that was just in the lab trying to see if they could make keto products or keto formulations for stuff that is very not keto, like cinnamon rolls. And it was amazing what you guys were coming up with. And it was a perfect time for us because Max, our son, had a recurrence with his brain tumor at that time. 

And so we were going back on the ketogenic diet in a hard-core way, supported by our doctors at Children's Hospital of Orange County. And we were now looking for new keto products, like this kid had been on the ketogenic diet for a couple of years previous to that. So to have cinnamon rolls and you guys had, what, you had so many cool things. I remember the, I think you had a keto chocolate peanut butter cup at that time. What are the other formulations? Do you remember anything that really stood out to you? Well, I know the cinnamon roll was like an achievement of science. It was like the most amazing thing in the world.

Josh: Yeah. That thing was remarkable. And to my knowledge, no one else has come out with another cinnamon roll that even closely compared to what we had formulated, you know, that thing was absolutely amazing. 

We would go off and of course, we would do, I'm not even going to try to remember the actual name of the former Metabolic Health Summit that we would go there, when it was in Tampa, Florida, I can't exactly remember what the name of it was. And Victoria and Angela are probably going to kick my shin because I can't remember it. But we would go there and of course, we would have hundreds of attendees and we would just blow through those things. 

But so we had two different lines. We had a meal frozen line. And with that, we actually had 42 options. And that number stands out. But I mean, it was kind of an easy number to achieve because we had four breakfast sandwiches, we had five different pizza iterations. We had bologneses, we had like our own rendition of a In-and-Out double double with the special sauce. And we had just so many different meals that, yeah, sometimes it's kind of difficult to keep track of. 

But in addition to that, exactly what you had mentioned, we had a shelf-stable snack line as well. And with that we had crackers, we had cheese crackers, we had three or four different cup flavors. We had like these little chocolate fat bombs. 

Yeah, kind of, now, you know, in the rearview mirror, it's kind of remarkable what we were able to do and achieved and to take to the marketplace what no one else has done and still no one else to this day has done what we did. It's just unfortunate that we ended up pulling the plug and draining it in 2017.

Justin: It's like the four-minute mile of food science or, you know, something like. So, Josh, tell me, how did you get started in the food product, the world of product formulation, and the food industry. Where did it begin for you?

Josh: Kind of all happened. Just kind of stumbled into it just out of my personal passion and love for all things nutrition. So really the genesis for all this is from a really young age. I was just super fascinated with muscle. There was just something that just struck me about, you know, the, you know, muscle and veins and shredded delts and calves and whatnot. You know, maybe was because I was watching, you know, the Incredible Hulk in the ‘80s on television, but it was just a fascination with that. And, yeah, just all things nutrition, self-taught. So formally, I have a business degree, actually. I don't have a degree in nutrition. I have various nutritional certifications through accredited agencies. But it was just pure passion. 

So, you know, how do I and how can I manipulate the body just through nutritional input and through the various diets that myself and my wife have kind of put ourselves through, with those different dietary protocols, you kind of have to figure out how to navigate, you know, typical food items that you usually enjoy. It's like, well, now I can't have this particular ingredient. And, you know, how do I try to make and develop an analog that closely resembles it? 

And then just serendipitously became friends with two of the founders of Quest Nutrition, Ron and Shannon Pena. And Ron pulled me into the ecosystem just because of my passion and love for all things nutrition. And then I was just thrown into this accelerator where it was just packed full of a bunch of super curious, brilliant individuals that additionally didn't necessarily have like a formal education and nutrition, but just our ability to do a lot of repetitions incredibly fast. You learned incredibly fast. And I think, yeah, that's how all things came to be with food product development.

Justin: So now you've worked with a number of different health-focused food companies. So what should parents know, in general? We're like we're going to dig into the specifics. But from like a 30,000-foot view, what should parents know about the food industry as a whole?

Josh: Kind of a loaded question, and I think it's, I think if you were to ask 10 different people, you'd probably get 10 different responses, but I'll share kind of my position on it. And I would say it likely aligns with yourself, Audra, and what you guys are doing. You really have to be somewhat cognizant cautious of label callouts. Now, when you go into a grocery store and you're buying like an actual packaged good, whether it's in a box, it's a canned package, whatever, you really have to be diligent about organic callouts, natural callouts or other bold claims that you're viewing.

Justin: So natural is a big one. So if a parent sees “natural” on a label, what should they think?

Josh: In all honesty, it really doesn't mean all that much. It's kind of like a black hole. It's like an abyss. The one thing that natural is supposed to validate is that it doesn't have any bioengineered ingredients or food ingredients in it, meaning it's not necessarily going through a synthetic alteration, adjusting or changing the molecular structure of a specific food and/or ingredients. So that's probably the one thing. But even that is so loosely interpreted in the food space and by the FDA.

Justin: Yeah. So what I understand is that natural is actually not regulated by the FDA. Is that right? Like anyone can put natural on anything? Or do I have that wrong?

Josh: No, it’s, so there are guidelines, CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) and anyone, they can go to Doctor Google and type in codified regulate CFR natural food claim. And there are paragraphs with information on that. 

But again, how it was scripted, it's I guess, open to interpretation. But yeah, to your point. Yeah, I mean, if you want to put made with natural ingredients, you know, in it or on it, but would that claim that the entire makeup, the building material, are all of those ingredients natural or maybe two out of the 11 are natural? It's kind of a difficult landscape to navigate.

Justin: Ahhhh. So made with natural ingredients, only a few of the ingredients or even one of the great or made with a natural at least two. Right. Because they're using the word plural.

Josh: It's definitely a slippery slope. But to kind of circle back to your initial question. In a positive light, we actually, we're in a great time right now just because of all the advancements in food science. And we have various dietary protocols that are out there. And because of the internet and social media, you have access to really unlimited information. 

You know, if you want to eat just whole foods and you're curious, you know, well, how do I comply to a whole food or a whole food, 30 approved diet? You know, there's information out there and you have consumer packaged good companies that are labeling that. Same exact thing for keto companies, for paleo companies, for vegan, et cetera. So it's easy to eat and be compliant to any, I guess, preference of choice.

Justin: Yeah, but for me, as a busy parent, I don't want to do all that work. And so I'm like trying to get the quick and easy stuff from you. Right. So like, now I've got a clue about natural like, all right. So if I see the word natural on a package, I know that it's almost going to be meaningless because it could have two ingredients that are natural and then a bunch that aren't. Right. So that's a good rule of thumb. And I've started to use that where if I see the word natural on a package, I immediately become suspicious, like, oh, this is they're trying to pull something over. But I'm surprised. 

So you also said organic. So why should parents be a little suspicious about the organic label?

Josh: It's the same exact thing. So to be compliant with an organic certification, it is a bit more of a stringent process. Just going through, you know, the appropriate approval documentation, getting all of that set up and certified through the organic accrediting agency. So if they have that on the label, you're looking for that specific little bubble callout, it’s a little green with a leaf thing on it there. That means that the entire food product is compliant with organic standards. 

But where things may become a little bit too complicated or confusing is food companies now are putting in the ingredient statement or just as an end statement in the front of the packaging “made with organic ingredients.” And it's the same exact thing as, you know, the natural thing in which they may have an ingredient or build a material recipe for laymen, say, of 10 ingredients, and they use two organic ingredients. So with that, they'll put made with organic ingredients that are necessarily mean. The entire thing is organic. But they did have a couple or a few ingredients that are certified organic.

Justin: Awesome. All right. So that's super helpful. So I have assumed that if a package says organic anywhere on it, that the whole thing is going to be organic and I can just rest easy. But you're saying that I'm going to need to look a little closer and is this whole thing organic or is it just one or two ingredients that are organic? All right. 

Josh: Exactly. And another thing to just add to that, for small business, sometimes it can be a little bit difficult to go through the process, even if you do have, you know, all of the ingredients. They are organic. They meet all the requirements going through that actual organic certification process, of course, that it costs something. 

So if you're a new company starting up and you're a bit strapped with capital, sometimes that organic certification, it's beyond that financial reach. So you may have a product that technically is, you know, 100% organic. It's just that they don't have the capital to invest to put on that. 

But I guess that's also the beauty of, you know, social media, is that now everyone's accessible. So if you're kind of curious about a specific bar, cookie, or whatever it is, you know, definitely reach out to the company and just ask. I mean, I'm aware of a couple of different companies that actually are 100% organic. It's just that they can't afford to go through that organic process.


18:20

Justin: It seems to me that it would be really easy as a parent if I can just know, like here are some trustworthy brands, here are some trustworthy companies that are going to do the right thing, and then I can kind of rest easy in consuming their products. So how can parents determine, like, what's a trustworthy brand and what's not? Are there any rules of thumb or is it something that requires a lot of research?

Josh: The latter. It does require like a little bit of legwork. And the only reason I'm going to say that, again, which you're spot on the perfect segway, is that you have a lot of new emerging food companies or beverage companies. And it's again, it's an amazing time to be jumping in there just because everyone that can kind of fall into their own dietary preferred segment and speak to that specific customer, you know. 

But the downfall with that is oftentimes if you're grassroots bootstrapped, you're starting up in a oftentimes in an incubator or a commercial kitchen where a lot of your regulatory guidelines, GMPs (Good Manufacturing Processes) sometimes are maybe a little bit overlooked. And it can be as simple as they're making you know, I’ll say pasta. I don't know. I have pasta on my mind right now. Maybe because I need some pasta. I need some of Audra’s, you know.

Justin: Everybody's got pasta on the mind.

Josh: Exactly. But, you know, like a good example of that is they may be in a commercial kitchen and they have a handful of hired team members, none of them, they didn't go through a proper handwashing protocol. They're not wearing the hairnet or, you know, your latex gloves, things of that sort. And when they're forward brand facing, they're actually in a retail location and you see the product up on a shelf, maybe the packaging or the design doesn't exactly look up to standards compared to some of the larger conglomerate brands like that. The big players in the space. 

Oftentimes it's difficult to know what sort of regulatory compliance they actually adhere to, even if they're small. And you want to support the local home team player. If that food product was made on a larger manufacturing line where there are stricter policies and guidelines that the individuals that are running those plants and/or lines that they have to adhere to and all of it's about food safety protocol. So, it can be a little bit difficult to know what is, you know, a good, solid brand. 

Regardless if it tastes good, you know, the ingredients may be stored in a, you know, a shed that's 110 degrees and high humidity and collecting bacteria. It's just, it's difficult to kind of navigate that. What I'm about to say kind of bothers me a little bit. But, you know, typically a safe play is generally you can trust the large food companies and the context that they adhere to strict food safety protocols that excludes certain food ingredients, which likely, I'm assuming, will probably get into that a little bit. But it's a tough one to navigate, knowing exactly which one is safe, which one isn't safe from a food safety standpoint.

Justin: Yeah. So from a food safety standpoint, it makes perfect sense. You go with the big guys, they're going to have their processes tied up. I'm thinking and we are going to get into the issues around particular ingredients. 

But I'm thinking I have come to trust Quest because in the past I've known that they have worked hard to get the right ingredients and they've switched out ingredients that they didn't find met their standards. And so I have come to trust Quest. I'm wondering if there are ways to have to get to that same level of trust with other companies or if there's an easy way to do it, maybe there's not an easy way and you just need to do a lot of research.

Josh: It's research and communicating. So one of the reasons why I believe that you trusted Quest is because you were welcomed into that ecosystem in all facets from a digital standpoint to an email standpoint, to phone calls, to video calls, to in-person meeting with the team, with the founders. And you got to see the passion behind what we were doing. And sometimes I think that's what's lost in translation is the why and the passion behind what you're doing.

Justin: That, of course, gives, you know, the warm and fuzzies. But it was actually hearing from people like you around why particular ingredients were chosen. And so it's not that these ingredients were chosen because they were the cheapest. They're not the easiest. It's that these are the best ingredients and this is what we're going to go for. And so that is the type of thing that I want to know about other brands, like are you just doing the quick and easy thing? Are you choosing the right ingredients for your products? But it sounds like it's just a matter of doing the research.

Josh: Yeah, and I would say now more than ever, we're in this huge rocket phase of all things, low-carb, keto, zero added sugar, zero sugar, or anything like that. And some of the choice selection of those sugar replacements aren't exactly what I think some people would want to consume if they actually knew what they were and what they were doing. 

Where you and everything that you're doing with Max and of course, all the other families that you guys worked with, you needed to come from an informed perspective, standpoint, knowing that actually there is a difference between various polyos, you know, sorbitol, erythritol, maltitol, Xylitol and different things like that. 

And being selective, you know, where I think that we're on the cusp of a more informed consumer set. But it's just one of those things that slowly comes with time. It's just that you understand the specificity of the foods that we were making and how they were applicable to what you and Audra are essentially doing.

Justin: Yeah. All right. So this is another great segue way into our next theme here. And this is getting into the ingredients. So at The Family Thrive, we advocate a whole foods approach. We want, you know, the vast majority of our foods to be real whole foods. But we're also pragmatic and we're busy parents. So we love a good packaged product as well. And so we've had to learn a lot about reading ingredients and learning about these ingredients. 

And we just talked about this with Quest about being able to trust a brand that's going to have the right ingredients. So I want to get into that. This whole packaged food world, the whole, you know, industrial food complex, and we're not, so we promote and advocate for whole foods, but we're not against processed foods because processed foods can be made really well and can support a totally healthy diet, especially for busy families. 

So, let's start to talk about the macronutrients first off. So when we are talking about processed protein, ok, so a whole food protein is going to be you buy your chicken, you buy your meat, you see it there, it's whole. But then when you get into a packaged product like a Quest Bar, now you've got processed protein. So what should I be looking for as a parent for a high-quality processed protein?

Josh: This, too, is kind of like a slippery slope question, because we live in an age of you're either, you know, you eat meat or you don't eat meat. You know, the huge plant-based movement, whatnot.

Justin: Yeah. So let's say we are totally omnivorous. We've got a couple of articles on The Family Thrive about meat science and how meat is perfectly healthy food. So let's just say that we are omnivorous and we are going and we want some high quality or we are looking at packaged products and we're seeing all these different protein isolates and all this stuff. 

What are we looking for? What should we consider to be a good processed protein? And are there any that we should stay away from?

Josh: Yeah. And the example that you just stated is probably one of the best, if not the best options. When it comes to just checking various nutritional boxes from an amino acid profile, meaning that it makes it a complete, so it supports the various biological needs of the human body, to functionality. It has a very versatile application in various foods, from bars to cookies to brownies to ready-to-drinks, various things like that. It's probably the most versatile. 

The thing that I would probably caution some people with, though, is just understanding any potential intolerances that they may have when it comes to anything dairy, so to speak, specific to that. If you're someone that is slightly lactose intolerant, the superior option likely would be a whey protein isolate or milk protein isolate, something of that sort, just because for the most part, it's broken down into its simplest digestible form.

Justin: Yeah. So a whey protein isolate or a milk protein isolate is going to have the lactose removed.

Josh: Most majority. There are some premium's out there that actually have completely removed the lactose from that. So I would say, conceptually speaking, that's in my opinion, that would be the best possible, we’ll call it processed protein option that there is. I mean, it's a staple, it's a really easy way to get protein. And I do think that we are a somewhat protein-deprived society, the world that we live in right now. And it's really quick. It's easy as long as you can tolerate it from a GI standpoint, low in calories.

Justin: In a lot of the low carb, high protein products that we buy on the market, whey protein is a major source. So are there any drawbacks or are there any things that we should be concerned about with whey protein?

Josh: That goes a little bit deeper into the supply chain, meaning the origin? Where is it coming from? There are a bunch of different suppliers out there. On the surface, it's very unlikely that you'll have any insight on that. And that really falls on the brand and as a consumer, doing a proper due diligence of.

Justin: Yes. So if we're dealing with a brand that is reputable, a big one, I mean, just in general way protein. Are there any drawbacks to whey protein?

Josh: In isolate? Really, none that I can see. You know, I'm sure that someone may have a different opinion on that. If you were to say a whey protein concentrate, the first thing that comes to mind is it's likely it's going to have more lactose in it. 

So, again, if you're a little bit sensitive on that, that would be of concern. But generally speaking, a whey protein, isolate as it's coming from a reputable brand. It's again, in my opinion, that's like the gold standard when it comes to a protein that's processed and/or, you know, incredibly efficient and it suits your on-the-go lifestyle. 

Justin: Another processed protein that I see a lot is pea protein. Is there anything that we should be concerned about with pea protein?

Josh: So if you were to ask me this question five years ago, there really weren't a lot of big players in the space. You had a couple of smaller players that were kind of tinkering playing in it and of probably the most prudent concern would be herbicides and pesticides that were used in the process of the farming of it were now because of the huge increase in awareness of more plant-based diet, you have some great brands and companies that have pea-protein-based products or shakes or powders that are out there now. 

But a pea protein by itself, one potential drawback, again, depending on what your utility or the protein is, is that by itself it's not a complete protein. So if you're using it specifically and like a muscle building or strength or a bodybuilding application, it probably won't be the most suitable. But if you're eating somewhat of a well-balanced diet, meaning eggs and salmons and beef and things of that nature, you're going to pick up some of those amino acids that a pea protein typically is lacking. But. Now I mean, a pea protein, that's that's probably now the second most popular protein powder that that's out there, there's so many different protein powders that exist now, and some of which are, I thought were entertaining and get, you know, going back into my Questers and dating out some various suppliers approaching us with, you know, fish protein isolates and various things of that nature, kind of interesting.

Justin: Yeah, I haven't seen the fish protein isolates. Oh, my gosh. Ok, so the last protein question is going to be maybe a little triggery for some. What do you think about gluten? So gluten is a wheat protein, of course, and it is used in some low-carb bread and pasta products. What do you think about gluten?

Josh: From a functional standpoint, nothing beats gluten and makes formulation so much easier.

Justin: So from a food company’s standpoint, thumbs up. But what do you personally think about it? A health standpoint?

Josh: I've geeked out over the years with all things microbiome. I think the abundance of it and the food package space, it's in so many different things, and because of that, I think that there's a lot of illness and inflammation that easily could be linked back or attributed to potentially overeating gluten. 

There's some great thought leaders and ambassadors that really are spearheading that entire movement. There’s some wonderful books out there that I've read, and some of which I think maybe a little bit controversial, but I typically try to avoid gluten. And the only reason why I say that is, again, just speaking me, myself personally is just maybe a little time for your viewers is, you know, I do suffer from a little bit of IBS. And I do notice that when I do consume an abundance of gluten in a specific product, it can have certain triggers, you know, but, you know, if I eat it sparingly, it's again, that's kind of like a political question. You know, there's science, there's science supporting both camps. It's more so personal preference. Yeah, that's kind of a difficult one.

Justin: We found an amazing low-carb bread. I won't say the name, but it is, I think, wheat gluten, might be the number one ingredient. And it's but the bread is so good and it's this high-protein, low-carb bread makes great sandwiches and the whole thing. And I have not, no one in our family has experienced any GI issues with it. 

But it's always in the back of my mind, like this is the first ingredient on this thing. So before we move on, are there any other processed proteins that you think are good that if a parent sees it on a package, we can give it a thumbs up?

Josh: Yes. So speaking specifically to like isolated proteins, like what we just discussed, dairy protein, essentially, it's a gold standard. And then there are a bunch of different actually really great plant-based protein powders, isolates that are out there. A couple of ones that are gaining a lot of popularity. You have a pumpkin seed protein isolate, you have rice protein isolate, quinoa protein isolate, there's which I think that you had just mentioned, a high gluten protein isolate. 

You know, with those the one thing that you have to be cautious or aware of, what some of these new, newer emerging protein isolates coming from a plant origin is actually how much protein is actually in what they're calling… a standard serving. 

So what I mean, so specifically in the world formulation and developing nutritionals and things of that nature, all suppliers, they're supposed to provide you what we call a 100-gram nutritional statement or it's something comparable to that. And with your protein isolates like a lot of your dairy proteins, they're north of 90% protein of that 100-gram serving where some of your other plant based ones, you're only getting maybe half of that protein load out of that 100-gram serving, meaning it's like, ok, if I'm only getting 50 grams of protein out of that 100-gram serving, well, what else is in this? Like where else is that 100 or I'm sorry, that 50 grams coming from. 

And oftentimes with those you're picking up some of the residual carbohydrates and fibers of those so in which all of those are lumped into carbs and fiber and whatnot. So even if they're boldly claiming a specific protein, this and/or that, just pay close attention to what else may be in that nutritional panel and how that kind of suits your own dietary needs.


37:34

Justin: Processed fats, well, I'd say most I don't know, it seems like all fats essentially processed like you don't get whole fat in the wild, but are there any that go into packaged products that you say stay away from? And are there any that you say are good?

Josh: We as a society have consumed far too many omega six fats. And a lot of that is originating from packaged goods that are using various vegetable oils, such as canola oils, corn oil, safflower, sunflowers, different vegetable and seed oils of that nature where the data, you know, solidly states that in an abundance of those particular omega six fats, it could lead to inflammation in the body, the gut, the brain, and in different things of that nature. 

So typically, I always say caution, be wary. 

And if you are going to or put in a situation where you're eating those, you know, try to eat sparingly, try not to over-consume, but typically I say try to avoid anything that are using those specific fats. It's just, again, you know, go to Doctor Google and you can type in inflammation and vegetable and seed oils and you'll just get, you know, so many different scientific articles and things of that sort that say eat with caution.

Justin: Yeah, we will have an article on this coming out in The Family Thrive so we'll get to cover this. Are there any fats that you think are good to go in packaged foods?

Josh: Yeah, so typically we always like to go with fats that have a higher concentration of monounsaturated fats. Examples of that would be your avocado oils, your high oleic sunflower oil. It's just because they're a bit more stable compared to some of the other vegetable and seed oil that we just listed.

Justin: Yeah. So it's a high oleic sunflower. So the oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat and it's more stable. Yeah. All right. 

Josh: Correct. Meaning it's less likely to either degrade over time. And if you're using it in a cooking application, it's going to have higher smoke point, meaning that you're not going to denature any of those things and alter the fatty acid profile where it would actually work against you rather than, you know, positively benefiting the utility

of that specific fat. But those are all great. There are some food companies out there where you can actually buy animal tallow. And there is a brand that kind of, it's a four-letter word. They're quite epic, if you will, and can get actual animal tallows. And, you know, oftentimes that's what we used to cook with. And, you know, generally that's the direction that we go for actively seeking fats and we're going to cook it.

Justin: All right. So fibers. So we're these next two questions I'm going to ask about fibers and sweeteners. And so this all has to do with net carbs. And we have an article on The Family Thrive describing net carbs. It was written in conjunction with our dietitians. 

So I encourage parents to go in there, check out the net carbs. But basically what we want to look for on the back of a package is it will have a total carbohydrate count. And then you can look at the fiber and you can look at some of the sweeteners. If they are zero glycaemic sweeteners, then you can subtract those out. Although, Josh, I'm going to ask about Allulose. Is that now… Well,ok. I don't want to confuse anybody, but I'm going to ask about that. 

Generally you can subtract those out from the total carbohydrate and then you get your net carb count. And so the net carb generally, and Josh, I know you're going to correct me on some of this, but generally it's going to be the carbs that go, that get converted into blood sugar. And so we start by subtracting fibers, first off. So let's talk about these processed fibers. Now they're in a lot of low-carb foods. And so I'm sure parents have seen on packages it'll say net carbs two or net carb zero. And then you can look on the back of the packaging. You can see the total carbohydrate is 15 or 20 or whatever. 

And so they get to this largely by putting a lot fiber in the product. And then you can subtract out the fiber from the total carbs to get the net carbs. Ok. Now, there are some fibers, I understand, that are better than others. So, Josh, can you walk us through the world of processed fibers?

Josh: It's a little bit confusing. And as a consumer, especially if you're coming from an informed position, it can be even a little bit more confusing. And the reason why I say that is the forward-facing brands, they actually have the option to use different names for the various fibers, meaning that you may have three different things that you could call, you know, this particular fiber. You may have four different things that you could call this particular fiber. And what I'm speaking specifically about, probably the one that's most well known right now is tapioca fiber. 

And, you know, generally speaking, tapioca, it's great food product. And you have tapioca flours, tapioca starches, and now you have 85, 90, 95 percent fibers that originated from tapioca. With that there are a few different versions of tapioca fiber that you can label it as. And each one of those is actually slightly different from a metabolic standpoint.

Justin: And when you say metabolic, you're saying each one will raise your blood sugar slightly differently or will affect your blood sugar in a slightly different way. 

Josh: Spot on, spot on. And the FDA recently just removed one of those IMO, Isomalto oligosaccharides, from what is considered on the fiber list. So the FDA, they have, you know, various nutrients of significance that they go in there and they, you know, have different ingredients or food items that technically can be called that for all the various certifying reasons and IMO was removed from that. 

But there is a close cousin to the IMO that is now being used by some consumer packaged good companies, that it's essentially the same exact thing. So it can be a little bit misleading in that context. And that really goes back to doing a proper due diligence. And even then, if you're not sure, reaching out to whatever that brand is and just ask them, they may not tell you what specific fiber it is that they're using, but you can ask them what's the glycaemic response of, you know, the one that you're using. 

Or if you're on some sort of therapeutic diet, meaning that you're using the ketogenic diet for a specific ailment or whatever it is. I mean, there are different ways to test your blood glucose levels now. And now I would say go ahead and test and see what sort of response that there is. But it's kind of confusing times.

Justin: For the average family. You know, we don't need to test our blood. We just want to purchase products that are going to not make your blood sugar skyrocket every time we eat it. So if we're looking for lower carb products, we will want to stay away from anything that has IMO because and it's isomalto… Can you say that last part?

Josh: Isomalto oligosaccharides, isomalto oligosaccharides.

Justin: Yeah. So, and we will have all this in the show notes. And so if you look on the back of a package and that's the major fiber, then you can put that one back. What are some fibers that are good to go?

Josh: So, again, I'm going to throw tapioca fiber back out there. There are a couple of different suppliers. 

Justin: Oh, that is good.

Josh: That is good. And that's where it's a little bit confusing is because you have companies that are labeling prebiotic tapioca fiber, resistant digestion tapioca fiber, tapioca fiber, vegetable fiber, and all of these come from tapioca origins. 

And so it can be a little bit confusing because you have like those IMOs that are kind of being lumped up and underneath that tapioca fiber labeling now. But there are some really good tapioca fibers out there, soluble tapioca fiber. Typically on some of the more credible low carb or keto brands, that's the name that they're putting on the ingredient statement. And those are great in the context that they don't have any sort of a glycaemic load. And maybe more importantly is they're very GI friendly, not glycemic index friendly, but gastrointestinal friendly. You have a soluble corn fiber or a digestion-resistant maltodextrin. 

Not a lot of food companies, they're putting that on the label just for the exact reason. You probably saw me stumbling over saying, you know, it doesn't exactly look the best on the label either. But generally speaking, any company that has like a soluble corn fiber on there, that is a great fiber source as well. It's very diabetic-friendly, doesn't have a glycemic load on it. And it, too, is more gastrointestinal friendly than, say, some of the other fibers that are out there. 

Speaking specifically about inulins and chicory roots, not saying that they're not doing good fibers. There are different forms or versions of inulin/chicory roots fructooligosaccharides that can have a different impact on blood glucose levels and also how gastrointestinal friendly they are. 

So I would just, you know, throw it out there cautiously. A lot of your low carb and more keto forward brands that are out there. A lot of them are using inulin and Chicory root, but they're using an excessive amount that oftentimes can make you a little uncomfortable. Kind of like a hot air balloon, if you will. So be cautious.

Justin: A little GI distress. So that's inulin and chicory root. You don't want too much of it.

Josh: Some of them put fructooligosaccharides on their label, but oftentimes your fructooligosaccharides will be lumped up under inulin as well. And for those that want to dive a little bit deeper into that, and if you're like, hey, that's kind of interesting and if one of your favorite low carb keto packaged food brands out there has that and, you know, shoot them a note out on social media and see if that's why you're maybe a little bit gassy.

Justin: All right, so now let's get to the processed sweeteners. So you work for a company now. We're going to talk about that in a little bit or after this. But you are very familiar with all of the different low-carb or zero glycaemic sweeteners. They're all processed right? There, you know, there's nothing growing on a tree. 

Well, yeah, I mean, it all has to go through some process, whether it's monc fruit or stevia. You even have to be heavily processed. So I'll just lump all these under processed sweeteners. And we're talking specifically about low-carb sweeteners. Let's start with the ones that we should watch out for, stay away from. I'm imagining the polyol. There might be a few polyols in that mix.

Josh: Yeah. Spot on. So speaking about sugar alcohols or polyols, you have some of those such as maltitol, sorbitol, and maltitol is probably the worst offender of those. Is that it from a molecular standpoint, it's a polyol from the chemist, you know, strictly speaking, the chemistry aspect of it. 

However, from a biological standpoint, it's almost the equivalent to just straight dextrose or sugar, if you will. Two different examples of reasons why is typically a gram of dextrose or table sugar that yields four calories per gram, and it has a certain glycemic index response based off of a score of 100. And if you were to compare like a dextrose to maltitol, the differences rather than four calories per gram, you're about to tell us like 3.6, 3.8… I apologize, I don't know that more specific caloric density.

Justin: Oh, no way. I didn't realize it was so close.

Josh: The caloric density is essentially just about the same as almost the same equivalent blood glucose response or the glycemic response is, it's very comparable. 

And even worse is because of the way that your body breaks it down and uses it and no one uses anything sparingly anymore in formulation, typically they're using, you know, more than probably what they should be using. It can have quite the laxative effect as well. So you're kind of, you're getting the hat trick here.

Justin: So that's for maltitol. Is sorbitol in the same boat?

Josh: You could almost lump those equal. It doesn't have the same caloric density, but it does have a glycaemic response and it still has the same laxative effect where that there are a couple others as well. 

But swinging to the other side of the pendulum here, the sugar alcohols or polyols that are more consumer-friendly, especially if you're using it for a specific application, if you're diabetic or for some sort of a metabolic therapeutic diet like Max, you want a sugar alcohol that, you want it to taste good. I mean, that's first and foremost, you want something that closely resembles what actual sugar tastes like. 

But more importantly, is a caloric load be what sort of blood glucose response am I going to have by consuming this? And right now in the sugar alcohol space erythritol is it's it's that's the top dog. It's the top ingredient. There are different forms of erythritol that are out there, depending on how much you actually consume, what you really have to work quite hard to consume the amount that actually would have an adverse effect, which would be, again, a little bit of a laxative effect. It wouldn't even be palatable. You wouldn't even be able to consume that much or you would have to be pretty persistent in your endeavor, like okay. I wonder how much I can actually, you know, how much I have to consume to try to have some sort of an adverse effect. 

But erythritol, it's a phenomenal sugar, alcohol. It's dang near calorie-free and basically consume it and it goes to the bloodstream and you urinate it out and it closely resembles sugar.

Justin: Yeah, I remember researching erythritol. Gosh, was like maybe eight or nine years ago when we were eliminating sugar from Max's diet. And I was just so impressed with the research like it's zero glycaemic. Again, you, as you said, you have to eat a lot of it for there to be any GI distress. And it's safe. It is like one. There aren't any studies that I was able to find back then. And I've done some research since, that show any cause for any health concern over erythritol. I totally agree. I'm a huge fan of it.

Josh: We lack an enzyme to break that down and to actually utilize it. Really, that's the real reason behind that. So it's again, we're getting all the functional benefits of it and we're getting the organa left to the taste of it. But it's literally...passing through the small intestine and you're urinating it out.

Justin: Now, the one thing that parents should know and we have some information on this in The Family Thrive, it has a cooling effect. And so it's great for ice cream. But there are some other applications that it might not be so great for, I'm sure, in the food industry. 

But just to recap here, so when it comes to sugar alcohols, you want to stay away from the maltitol and the sorbitol and then erythritol, which is also a sugar alcohol is good to go. 

Something that is still in some products that parents might see as xylitol. Josh, what do you think about xylitol?

Josh: If used, consumed in small moderate amounts, short from a functional standpoint, works great and a lot of different technical formulations. It has a slightly more caloric load than erythritol from a glycaemic standpoint. 

The diabetic community, you could regard it as safe, but the downfall of xylitol too, is that it doesn't have the same gastrointestinal intestinal tolerance that erythritol does. So if you were to consume, for example, 10 grams of erythritol, just about everyone can tolerate 10 grams of erythritol, where if you consume 10 grams of xylitol, which to be honest, really is not that much, and say a zero sugar or a keto bar or ice cream or whatever the snack is, and an 85 to 100 gram serving is very common to have north of 10 grams of erythritol in there. 

Again, to replace your sugar, where would the xylitol consuming 10 grams of xylitol? It may cause some people some gastrointestinal distress. That, too, has a bit of a laxative effect. And it's not puppy-friendly. So you can't share it with your little fur babies. So that pint of ice cream that you're eating that's made with xylitol. Unfortunately, you can't share it with your puppy.

Justin: Ok, what about monk fruit and stevia? That's in a lot of products.

Josh: Yeah, I say green light on both of those, especially among fruit, it’s incredibly expensive. But I would say from a sensory standpoint, it's a phenomenal high-intensity sweetener. Stevia, the entire stevia space has made a lot of advancements. I know a lot of people still to this day that they tried stevia a handful of years ago and they're afraid to try it just because sometimes that horrific taste that sometimes comes along with the original rabei stevia that's used.

 But there are different versions of stevia that are out there that are far more palatable. And if the intent is to, you know, have a sweeter product, whether it's in a cookie, a bar or whatever it is, or just put it in your coffee or tea. Both are very safe in regards to it won't impact your blood glucose levels.

Justin: Awesome. And then the final one, which has become our hands-down favorite. So we love our erythritol, but our hands-down favorite has become allulose. So can you tell us a little bit about allulose?

Josh: Yes. Launched on the commercial scene in 2000, I must say, circa 2016, I must say 2015. But I feel pretty confident 2016 right in there, nutrition. We launched a cereal bar with that and we had played with it for probably a good year prior to that, and yeah, we became obsessed with it for multiple reasons, starting with the fact that it is an actual sugar derived in nature from various vegetables and fruits, it can be extracted in small amounts from a handful. And the best part about it is that it's about 70 percent as sweet as a normal table sugar. 

So you're getting that sensory benefit of it. And then from a functional standpoint, it performs almost equally to sugar as well. A yields about a tenth of the calories as a traditional table sugar. And it really doesn't have any adverse effects from a sensory standpoint. Most people, their GI tolerance is very well, maybe the first time you consume it, if you consume a bowlish amount like 20, 30 grams of it, first pass, you know, you may have some bubble guts. But for the most part, I mean, it's very consumer-friendly. And it is…

Justin: And zero glycine.

Josh: Zero glycaemic. And there's actually literature out there from a couple of different organizations, third party that have really put us under the lens and scrutinized it. And a lot of the data supports that. It actually has a blood glucose lowering effect, and there's reasons for that. But we won't dive into the deeper details of it other than. 

Yeah, Allulose. I mean, it's absolutely phenomenal. In the past three years it's gone gangbusters. Some of the biggest players, some of the biggest food manufacturers in the world now are coming out with products that have allulose in it. 

And that's one of my pain points. And fears right now from a supply chain standpoint is because it's become so incredibly popular. It's very scarce right now.

Justin: Ok, so that was so helpful. We went through all the major ingredients. Now I want to hear about ice cream. So, Josh, tell us about what you're working on now.

Josh: Yeah, so Killer Creamery, I joined Louis, the founder of Killer Creamery, just about a year ago. And we actually met at KetoCon, I think in 2019, right in there. And he was the very first mover in the keto ice cream segment in space. And I was there with another company, another keto-friendly company, and we hit it off and I said, hey, if you ever need anything, you know, reach out to me, this is my number. And he kind of took me up on that. 

And yeah, we officially joined about a year ago and a year ago all that we had were just ice cream pints. I think we had five flavors, maybe six flavors at the time. We recently just expanded our pint offering. We have eight different pint flavors right now. We were the very first, you know, keto ice cream company to launch into or launch allulose out into the space. So take quite a bit of pride with that. And as of recent, we just expanded into the frozen novelty space with a keto zero sugar ice cream sandwich, which are incredible.

Justin: I can't wait to try it. 

Josh: Super excited about that. Yeah. Yeah. Now we're doing some really phenomenal things where we're really trying to differentiate ourselves just by playing into really what consumers want. Some of the other players in the space, you call them direct competitors. If you will, they kind of playing more into general flavor profiles. And we're trying to be a bit more bold and brash in that context or so, coming out with some different concepts, maybe some more abstract concepts, and making sure that we're doubling down on all of our great inclusions, that we have our brownie pieces and chocolate chip cookie dough pieces and all the various variants that we use, you know, so delicious, gooey, gooey caramel swirls and peanut butter and things of that sort.

Justin: Yeah. So Killer Creamery is not a sponsor. We are friends. We've met the owners a couple of times at Metabolic Health Summit. So I'm happy to give them a plug. How can people find Killer Creamery?

Josh: Facebook, Instagram, Killer Creamery. Both applications, LinkedIn. I want to say that we have or we're about to hopefully I don't spill the beans here. He may give me a boot in the rear end. But YouTube. I know that that's something that we are working on as well. But probably Instagram is the best platform to follow us. 

Justin: Awesome. All right. And last question here for you, Josh. What are you personally working on in your own growth and development? Like I've always known you to be super focused on health and wellness. So I'm just wondering what's at the edge for you?

Josh: Constant work in progress when it comes to patience. Just being patient and on all facets of life. Being patient with myself, being patient with relationships, being patient, and work various projects. We have so many different, really exciting projects in Killer Creamery that I just get beyond excited about. 

And of course, I want to be first a space with this concept or this form factor. And, you know, just recognizing that there are systems and processes and you know, I just can't click my heels three times or snap my fingers and, you know, get exactly what I want.

Josh: Are there any practices that you're finding helpful in developing patience?

Justin: May sound a little bit quirky, corny, but just breathwork in meditation. And a even with that, having the patience to sit there and focus on breath for five minutes, you know.

Justin: It sounds like a Catch-22. You need the patience to actually practice the thing that's going to help you develop patience. 

Josh: Yeah. So thankfully, thankfully, I have a phenomenal wife, Victoria, and she stays on top of me and makes sure that I get my breath working and wear things like that. They come so natural to her. She wakes up and she has her routine and easily slides into breathwork and meditation. Where I wake up, I let the dogs out and I immediately get the coffee going and my laptop opens. And, you know, I immediately dive into work and whatnot. And she comes in and she kind of, you know, gets at me. She's like, you need to, you know, you first. Yeah. So patience. What do they say? Patience is a virtue. I seem to struggle with it.

Justin: All right, so I lied, I said that was the final question, that was the final question that is specific to you. These next three are questions that we ask everybody at the end of the interview. So the first one is, Josh, if you could put a big Post-it note on every parent's refrigerator tomorrow morning, what would that Post-it note say?

Josh: Close your eyes and take four deep breaths. That's what I …

Justin: That sounds like a post-it note that you need.

Josh: Yes, I have a verbal note from Victoria. Go do your breathwork. No, it's so powerful. I mean, it really is. I mean, even you and I sitting here right now is you and I were just to take four deep inhalations and exhalations. I mean, there would you know, it would change our body chemistry. And I don't necessarily do a lot of podcasts and interviews and whatnot. So, of course, I'm naturally a little bit anxious right now. 

But I know that in just four deep breaths, like I know that I would settle down. I would come down a little bit, and especially just kicking off your day or morning or if it's in the end of the evening and, you know, you just finished up dinner and you got to do the dishes and this kid is painting on the wall over here, and this one needs his diaper changed. It's taken us four deep breaths as a pretty profound impact.

Justin: Yeah. So I invite any parent, if you are in the position to do four deep breaths. It is a game-changer. All right. So I'm going to now ask this, two last questions. Josh, do you have a quote that you've seen or heard recently that has changed the way you think or feel?

Josh: Yeah, this is a quote. And unfortunately, I wish I could tell you where I saw or where I heard it. But when I initially heard it, it really stood out to me. And it's a quote that I say to myself and remind myself almost daily, which is “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” And it's just something that really rang true with me, you know, and it's one of those things where like when I say I was like, how does it go? And it's hard choices, easy life, easy choices, hard life. 

And the reason why that really spoke to me is we live in a world of comfort and conveniences and it's so easy to take, you know, the easy path or to make the easy decision because it's convenient in that moment rather than buckling down and maybe challenging yourself and doing the more difficult thing, even though in that moment acutely, it may be very uncomfortable for you. 

But the reason you do it for disciplinary reasons, that hopefully it's going to have a positive outcome. And I've applied that to literally all aspects of my life. And actually that came from a world record holder weightlifter, a Polish gentleman, Jerzy Gregorek.

Justin: Easy choices, hard life, hard choices, easy life. And I think that can be applied in so many different ways. But nutrition as well, like the easy choice, is just to eat whatever's out there and to eat the thing and just not to worry about it. That's going to lead to a hard life in terms of your long-term health.

Josh: You're already applying. Exactly. I mean, you could take that and you could plug it in so many different places.

Justin: That's it. That's it. All right. So the last one, Josh, I ask this of all the guests, whether or not they have children. So, Josh, what do you like most about kids?

Josh: Curiosity. The reason why I like that is because as a child, thinking back to my early childhood and then just observing my nieces, my nephews, good friends to have kids yourself, Audra, et cetera, is kids, they're naturally curious about everything and they're not afraid to to challenge the status quo, you know, in their quest to have just have like a deeper understanding as why is this or why is that? 

And I think as we age and we go through the system. We kind of lose our curiosity, and I just I would say that's probably the thing that I admire most about kids, is just that curiosity. And I really challenge adults to, you know, to try to tap back into that natural state of curiosity. And that's something that, again, I'm going to plug my wife, Victoria. She's so stinking good at this. And it is just a not, it's not something that's not innate in me, but moments when I challenge myself to be more curious, it always leads to like new things that I just didn't see, observe, or experience. 

And I haven't necessarily had any sort of nothing negative has come of just me trying to be more curious. So I would say curiosity for kids.

Justin: It's good for parents to be reminded of that because we get exhausted by our children's curiosity. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. But why. So that's nice. All right. Let's just take a deep breath and appreciate that pure curiosity.

Josh: Exactly.

Justin: Oh, Josh, thank you so much for taking out time today to talk to us. This was a wealth of information. We are going to break all this down in the show notes for parents to go because we used so many different words that probably were new to many parents. Oh, Josh, thank you so much. I can't wait to talk again. Be well, my friend.

Josh: Yeah, likewise. Yeah, likewise. Thank you so much. I had a blast. Definitely. Looking forward to hopefully seeing you guys in person. Farm to Fork. I think September.

Justin: That's right. Coming up.

Josh: Awesome. Awesome. Be here before we know it. Thank you so much, Justin. 

Justin: Bye. 

Josh: Later.


Hey, thanks for listening to the Family Thrive Podcast. If you like what you heard, please subscribe, tell two friends, and head on over to Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts and give us a review. We're so grateful you've chosen to join us on this Family Thrive journey.


Transcript highlights

01:40

Justin:  I want to start off, though, by talking about how we first met and I don't know if you remember this, but for me, it's stuck in my memory that we first met you when you were working with Quest and you were like part of the team cooking up crazy stuff in the lab. Do you remember that? 

Josh: I do, indeed, I uhhh. So what stands out most to me is Victoria actually very excited, and Victoria, was kind of like the facilitator of the relationships. And she had been doing a lot of work in communicating with you guys. And eventually she kind of brought me in from a food development standpoint, a lot of the things that we were doing in Quest Labs when we're at Quest Nutrition, at the time we were developing keto meals, frozen meals, and we were using those as kind of a way to increase a certain couple of studies that we were looking at the efficacy of this study. 

So just increasing the compliance of it. And she was like, hey, you know, I met this phenomenal couple and she gave me the back story. And one of the opening statements was by Audra was that she had a phenomenal keto pasta noodle that she was working on. And I don't know why like that just really stands out in a very memorable, because at that time, that was something that we were working on. And it just seemed like to be that elusive form factor that we just got now. And I was like, wait a minute, someone has like perfected this. But yeah, no, I am incredibly thankful that our paths crossed. And it's been amazing since.

Justin: I don't want to give a free plug for Quest here, but I will, because it was really amazing what they were doing at the time. And they still do amazing work. But Quest Nutrition for anyone who doesn't know they do a lot of low-carb, high-protein products. 

But at this time in the company's history, they were doing a lot of work that was just in the lab trying to see if they could make keto products or keto formulations for stuff that is very not keto, like cinnamon rolls. And it was amazing what you guys were coming up with. And it was a perfect time for us because Max, our son, had a recurrence with his brain tumor at that time. 

And so we were going back on the ketogenic diet in a hard-core way, supported by our doctors at Children's Hospital of Orange County. And we were now looking for new keto products, like this kid had been on the ketogenic diet for a couple of years previous to that. So to have cinnamon rolls and you guys had, what, you had so many cool things. I remember the, I think you had a keto chocolate peanut butter cup at that time. What are the other formulations? Do you remember anything that really stood out to you? Well, I know the cinnamon roll was like an achievement of science. It was like the most amazing thing in the world.

Josh: Yeah. That thing was remarkable. And to my knowledge, no one else has come out with another cinnamon roll that even closely compared to what we had formulated, you know, that thing was absolutely amazing. 

We would go off and of course, we would do, I'm not even going to try to remember the actual name of the former Metabolic Health Summit that we would go there, when it was in Tampa, Florida, I can't exactly remember what the name of it was. And Victoria and Angela are probably going to kick my shin because I can't remember it. But we would go there and of course, we would have hundreds of attendees and we would just blow through those things. 

But so we had two different lines. We had a meal frozen line. And with that, we actually had 42 options. And that number stands out. But I mean, it was kind of an easy number to achieve because we had four breakfast sandwiches, we had five different pizza iterations. We had bologneses, we had like our own rendition of a In-and-Out double double with the special sauce. And we had just so many different meals that, yeah, sometimes it's kind of difficult to keep track of. 

But in addition to that, exactly what you had mentioned, we had a shelf-stable snack line as well. And with that we had crackers, we had cheese crackers, we had three or four different cup flavors. We had like these little chocolate fat bombs. 

Yeah, kind of, now, you know, in the rearview mirror, it's kind of remarkable what we were able to do and achieved and to take to the marketplace what no one else has done and still no one else to this day has done what we did. It's just unfortunate that we ended up pulling the plug and draining it in 2017.

Justin: It's like the four-minute mile of food science or, you know, something like. So, Josh, tell me, how did you get started in the food product, the world of product formulation, and the food industry. Where did it begin for you?

Josh: Kind of all happened. Just kind of stumbled into it just out of my personal passion and love for all things nutrition. So really the genesis for all this is from a really young age. I was just super fascinated with muscle. There was just something that just struck me about, you know, the, you know, muscle and veins and shredded delts and calves and whatnot. You know, maybe was because I was watching, you know, the Incredible Hulk in the ‘80s on television, but it was just a fascination with that. And, yeah, just all things nutrition, self-taught. So formally, I have a business degree, actually. I don't have a degree in nutrition. I have various nutritional certifications through accredited agencies. But it was just pure passion. 

So, you know, how do I and how can I manipulate the body just through nutritional input and through the various diets that myself and my wife have kind of put ourselves through, with those different dietary protocols, you kind of have to figure out how to navigate, you know, typical food items that you usually enjoy. It's like, well, now I can't have this particular ingredient. And, you know, how do I try to make and develop an analog that closely resembles it? 

And then just serendipitously became friends with two of the founders of Quest Nutrition, Ron and Shannon Pena. And Ron pulled me into the ecosystem just because of my passion and love for all things nutrition. And then I was just thrown into this accelerator where it was just packed full of a bunch of super curious, brilliant individuals that additionally didn't necessarily have like a formal education and nutrition, but just our ability to do a lot of repetitions incredibly fast. You learned incredibly fast. And I think, yeah, that's how all things came to be with food product development.

Justin: So now you've worked with a number of different health-focused food companies. So what should parents know, in general? We're like we're going to dig into the specifics. But from like a 30,000-foot view, what should parents know about the food industry as a whole?

Josh: Kind of a loaded question, and I think it's, I think if you were to ask 10 different people, you'd probably get 10 different responses, but I'll share kind of my position on it. And I would say it likely aligns with yourself, Audra, and what you guys are doing. You really have to be somewhat cognizant cautious of label callouts. Now, when you go into a grocery store and you're buying like an actual packaged good, whether it's in a box, it's a canned package, whatever, you really have to be diligent about organic callouts, natural callouts or other bold claims that you're viewing.

Justin: So natural is a big one. So if a parent sees “natural” on a label, what should they think?

Josh: In all honesty, it really doesn't mean all that much. It's kind of like a black hole. It's like an abyss. The one thing that natural is supposed to validate is that it doesn't have any bioengineered ingredients or food ingredients in it, meaning it's not necessarily going through a synthetic alteration, adjusting or changing the molecular structure of a specific food and/or ingredients. So that's probably the one thing. But even that is so loosely interpreted in the food space and by the FDA.

Justin: Yeah. So what I understand is that natural is actually not regulated by the FDA. Is that right? Like anyone can put natural on anything? Or do I have that wrong?

Josh: No, it’s, so there are guidelines, CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) and anyone, they can go to Doctor Google and type in codified regulate CFR natural food claim. And there are paragraphs with information on that. 

But again, how it was scripted, it's I guess, open to interpretation. But yeah, to your point. Yeah, I mean, if you want to put made with natural ingredients, you know, in it or on it, but would that claim that the entire makeup, the building material, are all of those ingredients natural or maybe two out of the 11 are natural? It's kind of a difficult landscape to navigate.

Justin: Ahhhh. So made with natural ingredients, only a few of the ingredients or even one of the great or made with a natural at least two. Right. Because they're using the word plural.

Josh: It's definitely a slippery slope. But to kind of circle back to your initial question. In a positive light, we actually, we're in a great time right now just because of all the advancements in food science. And we have various dietary protocols that are out there. And because of the internet and social media, you have access to really unlimited information. 

You know, if you want to eat just whole foods and you're curious, you know, well, how do I comply to a whole food or a whole food, 30 approved diet? You know, there's information out there and you have consumer packaged good companies that are labeling that. Same exact thing for keto companies, for paleo companies, for vegan, et cetera. So it's easy to eat and be compliant to any, I guess, preference of choice.

Justin: Yeah, but for me, as a busy parent, I don't want to do all that work. And so I'm like trying to get the quick and easy stuff from you. Right. So like, now I've got a clue about natural like, all right. So if I see the word natural on a package, I know that it's almost going to be meaningless because it could have two ingredients that are natural and then a bunch that aren't. Right. So that's a good rule of thumb. And I've started to use that where if I see the word natural on a package, I immediately become suspicious, like, oh, this is they're trying to pull something over. But I'm surprised. 

So you also said organic. So why should parents be a little suspicious about the organic label?

Josh: It's the same exact thing. So to be compliant with an organic certification, it is a bit more of a stringent process. Just going through, you know, the appropriate approval documentation, getting all of that set up and certified through the organic accrediting agency. So if they have that on the label, you're looking for that specific little bubble callout, it’s a little green with a leaf thing on it there. That means that the entire food product is compliant with organic standards. 

But where things may become a little bit too complicated or confusing is food companies now are putting in the ingredient statement or just as an end statement in the front of the packaging “made with organic ingredients.” And it's the same exact thing as, you know, the natural thing in which they may have an ingredient or build a material recipe for laymen, say, of 10 ingredients, and they use two organic ingredients. So with that, they'll put made with organic ingredients that are necessarily mean. The entire thing is organic. But they did have a couple or a few ingredients that are certified organic.

Justin: Awesome. All right. So that's super helpful. So I have assumed that if a package says organic anywhere on it, that the whole thing is going to be organic and I can just rest easy. But you're saying that I'm going to need to look a little closer and is this whole thing organic or is it just one or two ingredients that are organic? All right. 

Josh: Exactly. And another thing to just add to that, for small business, sometimes it can be a little bit difficult to go through the process, even if you do have, you know, all of the ingredients. They are organic. They meet all the requirements going through that actual organic certification process, of course, that it costs something. 

So if you're a new company starting up and you're a bit strapped with capital, sometimes that organic certification, it's beyond that financial reach. So you may have a product that technically is, you know, 100% organic. It's just that they don't have the capital to invest to put on that. 

But I guess that's also the beauty of, you know, social media, is that now everyone's accessible. So if you're kind of curious about a specific bar, cookie, or whatever it is, you know, definitely reach out to the company and just ask. I mean, I'm aware of a couple of different companies that actually are 100% organic. It's just that they can't afford to go through that organic process.


18:20

Justin: It seems to me that it would be really easy as a parent if I can just know, like here are some trustworthy brands, here are some trustworthy companies that are going to do the right thing, and then I can kind of rest easy in consuming their products. So how can parents determine, like, what's a trustworthy brand and what's not? Are there any rules of thumb or is it something that requires a lot of research?

Josh: The latter. It does require like a little bit of legwork. And the only reason I'm going to say that, again, which you're spot on the perfect segway, is that you have a lot of new emerging food companies or beverage companies. And it's again, it's an amazing time to be jumping in there just because everyone that can kind of fall into their own dietary preferred segment and speak to that specific customer, you know. 

But the downfall with that is oftentimes if you're grassroots bootstrapped, you're starting up in a oftentimes in an incubator or a commercial kitchen where a lot of your regulatory guidelines, GMPs (Good Manufacturing Processes) sometimes are maybe a little bit overlooked. And it can be as simple as they're making you know, I’ll say pasta. I don't know. I have pasta on my mind right now. Maybe because I need some pasta. I need some of Audra’s, you know.

Justin: Everybody's got pasta on the mind.

Josh: Exactly. But, you know, like a good example of that is they may be in a commercial kitchen and they have a handful of hired team members, none of them, they didn't go through a proper handwashing protocol. They're not wearing the hairnet or, you know, your latex gloves, things of that sort. And when they're forward brand facing, they're actually in a retail location and you see the product up on a shelf, maybe the packaging or the design doesn't exactly look up to standards compared to some of the larger conglomerate brands like that. The big players in the space. 

Oftentimes it's difficult to know what sort of regulatory compliance they actually adhere to, even if they're small. And you want to support the local home team player. If that food product was made on a larger manufacturing line where there are stricter policies and guidelines that the individuals that are running those plants and/or lines that they have to adhere to and all of it's about food safety protocol. So, it can be a little bit difficult to know what is, you know, a good, solid brand. 

Regardless if it tastes good, you know, the ingredients may be stored in a, you know, a shed that's 110 degrees and high humidity and collecting bacteria. It's just, it's difficult to kind of navigate that. What I'm about to say kind of bothers me a little bit. But, you know, typically a safe play is generally you can trust the large food companies and the context that they adhere to strict food safety protocols that excludes certain food ingredients, which likely, I'm assuming, will probably get into that a little bit. But it's a tough one to navigate, knowing exactly which one is safe, which one isn't safe from a food safety standpoint.

Justin: Yeah. So from a food safety standpoint, it makes perfect sense. You go with the big guys, they're going to have their processes tied up. I'm thinking and we are going to get into the issues around particular ingredients. 

But I'm thinking I have come to trust Quest because in the past I've known that they have worked hard to get the right ingredients and they've switched out ingredients that they didn't find met their standards. And so I have come to trust Quest. I'm wondering if there are ways to have to get to that same level of trust with other companies or if there's an easy way to do it, maybe there's not an easy way and you just need to do a lot of research.

Josh: It's research and communicating. So one of the reasons why I believe that you trusted Quest is because you were welcomed into that ecosystem in all facets from a digital standpoint to an email standpoint, to phone calls, to video calls, to in-person meeting with the team, with the founders. And you got to see the passion behind what we were doing. And sometimes I think that's what's lost in translation is the why and the passion behind what you're doing.

Justin: That, of course, gives, you know, the warm and fuzzies. But it was actually hearing from people like you around why particular ingredients were chosen. And so it's not that these ingredients were chosen because they were the cheapest. They're not the easiest. It's that these are the best ingredients and this is what we're going to go for. And so that is the type of thing that I want to know about other brands, like are you just doing the quick and easy thing? Are you choosing the right ingredients for your products? But it sounds like it's just a matter of doing the research.

Josh: Yeah, and I would say now more than ever, we're in this huge rocket phase of all things, low-carb, keto, zero added sugar, zero sugar, or anything like that. And some of the choice selection of those sugar replacements aren't exactly what I think some people would want to consume if they actually knew what they were and what they were doing. 

Where you and everything that you're doing with Max and of course, all the other families that you guys worked with, you needed to come from an informed perspective, standpoint, knowing that actually there is a difference between various polyos, you know, sorbitol, erythritol, maltitol, Xylitol and different things like that. 

And being selective, you know, where I think that we're on the cusp of a more informed consumer set. But it's just one of those things that slowly comes with time. It's just that you understand the specificity of the foods that we were making and how they were applicable to what you and Audra are essentially doing.

Justin: Yeah. All right. So this is another great segue way into our next theme here. And this is getting into the ingredients. So at The Family Thrive, we advocate a whole foods approach. We want, you know, the vast majority of our foods to be real whole foods. But we're also pragmatic and we're busy parents. So we love a good packaged product as well. And so we've had to learn a lot about reading ingredients and learning about these ingredients. 

And we just talked about this with Quest about being able to trust a brand that's going to have the right ingredients. So I want to get into that. This whole packaged food world, the whole, you know, industrial food complex, and we're not, so we promote and advocate for whole foods, but we're not against processed foods because processed foods can be made really well and can support a totally healthy diet, especially for busy families. 

So, let's start to talk about the macronutrients first off. So when we are talking about processed protein, ok, so a whole food protein is going to be you buy your chicken, you buy your meat, you see it there, it's whole. But then when you get into a packaged product like a Quest Bar, now you've got processed protein. So what should I be looking for as a parent for a high-quality processed protein?

Josh: This, too, is kind of like a slippery slope question, because we live in an age of you're either, you know, you eat meat or you don't eat meat. You know, the huge plant-based movement, whatnot.

Justin: Yeah. So let's say we are totally omnivorous. We've got a couple of articles on The Family Thrive about meat science and how meat is perfectly healthy food. So let's just say that we are omnivorous and we are going and we want some high quality or we are looking at packaged products and we're seeing all these different protein isolates and all this stuff. 

What are we looking for? What should we consider to be a good processed protein? And are there any that we should stay away from?

Josh: Yeah. And the example that you just stated is probably one of the best, if not the best options. When it comes to just checking various nutritional boxes from an amino acid profile, meaning that it makes it a complete, so it supports the various biological needs of the human body, to functionality. It has a very versatile application in various foods, from bars to cookies to brownies to ready-to-drinks, various things like that. It's probably the most versatile. 

The thing that I would probably caution some people with, though, is just understanding any potential intolerances that they may have when it comes to anything dairy, so to speak, specific to that. If you're someone that is slightly lactose intolerant, the superior option likely would be a whey protein isolate or milk protein isolate, something of that sort, just because for the most part, it's broken down into its simplest digestible form.

Justin: Yeah. So a whey protein isolate or a milk protein isolate is going to have the lactose removed.

Josh: Most majority. There are some premium's out there that actually have completely removed the lactose from that. So I would say, conceptually speaking, that's in my opinion, that would be the best possible, we’ll call it processed protein option that there is. I mean, it's a staple, it's a really easy way to get protein. And I do think that we are a somewhat protein-deprived society, the world that we live in right now. And it's really quick. It's easy as long as you can tolerate it from a GI standpoint, low in calories.

Justin: In a lot of the low carb, high protein products that we buy on the market, whey protein is a major source. So are there any drawbacks or are there any things that we should be concerned about with whey protein?

Josh: That goes a little bit deeper into the supply chain, meaning the origin? Where is it coming from? There are a bunch of different suppliers out there. On the surface, it's very unlikely that you'll have any insight on that. And that really falls on the brand and as a consumer, doing a proper due diligence of.

Justin: Yes. So if we're dealing with a brand that is reputable, a big one, I mean, just in general way protein. Are there any drawbacks to whey protein?

Josh: In isolate? Really, none that I can see. You know, I'm sure that someone may have a different opinion on that. If you were to say a whey protein concentrate, the first thing that comes to mind is it's likely it's going to have more lactose in it. 

So, again, if you're a little bit sensitive on that, that would be of concern. But generally speaking, a whey protein, isolate as it's coming from a reputable brand. It's again, in my opinion, that's like the gold standard when it comes to a protein that's processed and/or, you know, incredibly efficient and it suits your on-the-go lifestyle. 

Justin: Another processed protein that I see a lot is pea protein. Is there anything that we should be concerned about with pea protein?

Josh: So if you were to ask me this question five years ago, there really weren't a lot of big players in the space. You had a couple of smaller players that were kind of tinkering playing in it and of probably the most prudent concern would be herbicides and pesticides that were used in the process of the farming of it were now because of the huge increase in awareness of more plant-based diet, you have some great brands and companies that have pea-protein-based products or shakes or powders that are out there now. 

But a pea protein by itself, one potential drawback, again, depending on what your utility or the protein is, is that by itself it's not a complete protein. So if you're using it specifically and like a muscle building or strength or a bodybuilding application, it probably won't be the most suitable. But if you're eating somewhat of a well-balanced diet, meaning eggs and salmons and beef and things of that nature, you're going to pick up some of those amino acids that a pea protein typically is lacking. But. Now I mean, a pea protein, that's that's probably now the second most popular protein powder that that's out there, there's so many different protein powders that exist now, and some of which are, I thought were entertaining and get, you know, going back into my Questers and dating out some various suppliers approaching us with, you know, fish protein isolates and various things of that nature, kind of interesting.

Justin: Yeah, I haven't seen the fish protein isolates. Oh, my gosh. Ok, so the last protein question is going to be maybe a little triggery for some. What do you think about gluten? So gluten is a wheat protein, of course, and it is used in some low-carb bread and pasta products. What do you think about gluten?

Josh: From a functional standpoint, nothing beats gluten and makes formulation so much easier.

Justin: So from a food company’s standpoint, thumbs up. But what do you personally think about it? A health standpoint?

Josh: I've geeked out over the years with all things microbiome. I think the abundance of it and the food package space, it's in so many different things, and because of that, I think that there's a lot of illness and inflammation that easily could be linked back or attributed to potentially overeating gluten. 

There's some great thought leaders and ambassadors that really are spearheading that entire movement. There’s some wonderful books out there that I've read, and some of which I think maybe a little bit controversial, but I typically try to avoid gluten. And the only reason why I say that is, again, just speaking me, myself personally is just maybe a little time for your viewers is, you know, I do suffer from a little bit of IBS. And I do notice that when I do consume an abundance of gluten in a specific product, it can have certain triggers, you know, but, you know, if I eat it sparingly, it's again, that's kind of like a political question. You know, there's science, there's science supporting both camps. It's more so personal preference. Yeah, that's kind of a difficult one.

Justin: We found an amazing low-carb bread. I won't say the name, but it is, I think, wheat gluten, might be the number one ingredient. And it's but the bread is so good and it's this high-protein, low-carb bread makes great sandwiches and the whole thing. And I have not, no one in our family has experienced any GI issues with it. 

But it's always in the back of my mind, like this is the first ingredient on this thing. So before we move on, are there any other processed proteins that you think are good that if a parent sees it on a package, we can give it a thumbs up?

Josh: Yes. So speaking specifically to like isolated proteins, like what we just discussed, dairy protein, essentially, it's a gold standard. And then there are a bunch of different actually really great plant-based protein powders, isolates that are out there. A couple of ones that are gaining a lot of popularity. You have a pumpkin seed protein isolate, you have rice protein isolate, quinoa protein isolate, there's which I think that you had just mentioned, a high gluten protein isolate. 

You know, with those the one thing that you have to be cautious or aware of, what some of these new, newer emerging protein isolates coming from a plant origin is actually how much protein is actually in what they're calling… a standard serving. 

So what I mean, so specifically in the world formulation and developing nutritionals and things of that nature, all suppliers, they're supposed to provide you what we call a 100-gram nutritional statement or it's something comparable to that. And with your protein isolates like a lot of your dairy proteins, they're north of 90% protein of that 100-gram serving where some of your other plant based ones, you're only getting maybe half of that protein load out of that 100-gram serving, meaning it's like, ok, if I'm only getting 50 grams of protein out of that 100-gram serving, well, what else is in this? Like where else is that 100 or I'm sorry, that 50 grams coming from. 

And oftentimes with those you're picking up some of the residual carbohydrates and fibers of those so in which all of those are lumped into carbs and fiber and whatnot. So even if they're boldly claiming a specific protein, this and/or that, just pay close attention to what else may be in that nutritional panel and how that kind of suits your own dietary needs.


37:34

Justin: Processed fats, well, I'd say most I don't know, it seems like all fats essentially processed like you don't get whole fat in the wild, but are there any that go into packaged products that you say stay away from? And are there any that you say are good?

Josh: We as a society have consumed far too many omega six fats. And a lot of that is originating from packaged goods that are using various vegetable oils, such as canola oils, corn oil, safflower, sunflowers, different vegetable and seed oils of that nature where the data, you know, solidly states that in an abundance of those particular omega six fats, it could lead to inflammation in the body, the gut, the brain, and in different things of that nature. 

So typically, I always say caution, be wary. 

And if you are going to or put in a situation where you're eating those, you know, try to eat sparingly, try not to over-consume, but typically I say try to avoid anything that are using those specific fats. It's just, again, you know, go to Doctor Google and you can type in inflammation and vegetable and seed oils and you'll just get, you know, so many different scientific articles and things of that sort that say eat with caution.

Justin: Yeah, we will have an article on this coming out in The Family Thrive so we'll get to cover this. Are there any fats that you think are good to go in packaged foods?

Josh: Yeah, so typically we always like to go with fats that have a higher concentration of monounsaturated fats. Examples of that would be your avocado oils, your high oleic sunflower oil. It's just because they're a bit more stable compared to some of the other vegetable and seed oil that we just listed.

Justin: Yeah. So it's a high oleic sunflower. So the oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat and it's more stable. Yeah. All right. 

Josh: Correct. Meaning it's less likely to either degrade over time. And if you're using it in a cooking application, it's going to have higher smoke point, meaning that you're not going to denature any of those things and alter the fatty acid profile where it would actually work against you rather than, you know, positively benefiting the utility

of that specific fat. But those are all great. There are some food companies out there where you can actually buy animal tallow. And there is a brand that kind of, it's a four-letter word. They're quite epic, if you will, and can get actual animal tallows. And, you know, oftentimes that's what we used to cook with. And, you know, generally that's the direction that we go for actively seeking fats and we're going to cook it.

Justin: All right. So fibers. So we're these next two questions I'm going to ask about fibers and sweeteners. And so this all has to do with net carbs. And we have an article on The Family Thrive describing net carbs. It was written in conjunction with our dietitians. 

So I encourage parents to go in there, check out the net carbs. But basically what we want to look for on the back of a package is it will have a total carbohydrate count. And then you can look at the fiber and you can look at some of the sweeteners. If they are zero glycaemic sweeteners, then you can subtract those out. Although, Josh, I'm going to ask about Allulose. Is that now… Well,ok. I don't want to confuse anybody, but I'm going to ask about that. 

Generally you can subtract those out from the total carbohydrate and then you get your net carb count. And so the net carb generally, and Josh, I know you're going to correct me on some of this, but generally it's going to be the carbs that go, that get converted into blood sugar. And so we start by subtracting fibers, first off. So let's talk about these processed fibers. Now they're in a lot of low-carb foods. And so I'm sure parents have seen on packages it'll say net carbs two or net carb zero. And then you can look on the back of the packaging. You can see the total carbohydrate is 15 or 20 or whatever. 

And so they get to this largely by putting a lot fiber in the product. And then you can subtract out the fiber from the total carbs to get the net carbs. Ok. Now, there are some fibers, I understand, that are better than others. So, Josh, can you walk us through the world of processed fibers?

Josh: It's a little bit confusing. And as a consumer, especially if you're coming from an informed position, it can be even a little bit more confusing. And the reason why I say that is the forward-facing brands, they actually have the option to use different names for the various fibers, meaning that you may have three different things that you could call, you know, this particular fiber. You may have four different things that you could call this particular fiber. And what I'm speaking specifically about, probably the one that's most well known right now is tapioca fiber. 

And, you know, generally speaking, tapioca, it's great food product. And you have tapioca flours, tapioca starches, and now you have 85, 90, 95 percent fibers that originated from tapioca. With that there are a few different versions of tapioca fiber that you can label it as. And each one of those is actually slightly different from a metabolic standpoint.

Justin: And when you say metabolic, you're saying each one will raise your blood sugar slightly differently or will affect your blood sugar in a slightly different way. 

Josh: Spot on, spot on. And the FDA recently just removed one of those IMO, Isomalto oligosaccharides, from what is considered on the fiber list. So the FDA, they have, you know, various nutrients of significance that they go in there and they, you know, have different ingredients or food items that technically can be called that for all the various certifying reasons and IMO was removed from that. 

But there is a close cousin to the IMO that is now being used by some consumer packaged good companies, that it's essentially the same exact thing. So it can be a little bit misleading in that context. And that really goes back to doing a proper due diligence. And even then, if you're not sure, reaching out to whatever that brand is and just ask them, they may not tell you what specific fiber it is that they're using, but you can ask them what's the glycaemic response of, you know, the one that you're using. 

Or if you're on some sort of therapeutic diet, meaning that you're using the ketogenic diet for a specific ailment or whatever it is. I mean, there are different ways to test your blood glucose levels now. And now I would say go ahead and test and see what sort of response that there is. But it's kind of confusing times.

Justin: For the average family. You know, we don't need to test our blood. We just want to purchase products that are going to not make your blood sugar skyrocket every time we eat it. So if we're looking for lower carb products, we will want to stay away from anything that has IMO because and it's isomalto… Can you say that last part?

Josh: Isomalto oligosaccharides, isomalto oligosaccharides.

Justin: Yeah. So, and we will have all this in the show notes. And so if you look on the back of a package and that's the major fiber, then you can put that one back. What are some fibers that are good to go?

Josh: So, again, I'm going to throw tapioca fiber back out there. There are a couple of different suppliers. 

Justin: Oh, that is good.

Josh: That is good. And that's where it's a little bit confusing is because you have companies that are labeling prebiotic tapioca fiber, resistant digestion tapioca fiber, tapioca fiber, vegetable fiber, and all of these come from tapioca origins. 

And so it can be a little bit confusing because you have like those IMOs that are kind of being lumped up and underneath that tapioca fiber labeling now. But there are some really good tapioca fibers out there, soluble tapioca fiber. Typically on some of the more credible low carb or keto brands, that's the name that they're putting on the ingredient statement. And those are great in the context that they don't have any sort of a glycaemic load. And maybe more importantly is they're very GI friendly, not glycemic index friendly, but gastrointestinal friendly. You have a soluble corn fiber or a digestion-resistant maltodextrin. 

Not a lot of food companies, they're putting that on the label just for the exact reason. You probably saw me stumbling over saying, you know, it doesn't exactly look the best on the label either. But generally speaking, any company that has like a soluble corn fiber on there, that is a great fiber source as well. It's very diabetic-friendly, doesn't have a glycemic load on it. And it, too, is more gastrointestinal friendly than, say, some of the other fibers that are out there. 

Speaking specifically about inulins and chicory roots, not saying that they're not doing good fibers. There are different forms or versions of inulin/chicory roots fructooligosaccharides that can have a different impact on blood glucose levels and also how gastrointestinal friendly they are. 

So I would just, you know, throw it out there cautiously. A lot of your low carb and more keto forward brands that are out there. A lot of them are using inulin and Chicory root, but they're using an excessive amount that oftentimes can make you a little uncomfortable. Kind of like a hot air balloon, if you will. So be cautious.

Justin: A little GI distress. So that's inulin and chicory root. You don't want too much of it.

Josh: Some of them put fructooligosaccharides on their label, but oftentimes your fructooligosaccharides will be lumped up under inulin as well. And for those that want to dive a little bit deeper into that, and if you're like, hey, that's kind of interesting and if one of your favorite low carb keto packaged food brands out there has that and, you know, shoot them a note out on social media and see if that's why you're maybe a little bit gassy.

Justin: All right, so now let's get to the processed sweeteners. So you work for a company now. We're going to talk about that in a little bit or after this. But you are very familiar with all of the different low-carb or zero glycaemic sweeteners. They're all processed right? There, you know, there's nothing growing on a tree. 

Well, yeah, I mean, it all has to go through some process, whether it's monc fruit or stevia. You even have to be heavily processed. So I'll just lump all these under processed sweeteners. And we're talking specifically about low-carb sweeteners. Let's start with the ones that we should watch out for, stay away from. I'm imagining the polyol. There might be a few polyols in that mix.

Josh: Yeah. Spot on. So speaking about sugar alcohols or polyols, you have some of those such as maltitol, sorbitol, and maltitol is probably the worst offender of those. Is that it from a molecular standpoint, it's a polyol from the chemist, you know, strictly speaking, the chemistry aspect of it. 

However, from a biological standpoint, it's almost the equivalent to just straight dextrose or sugar, if you will. Two different examples of reasons why is typically a gram of dextrose or table sugar that yields four calories per gram, and it has a certain glycemic index response based off of a score of 100. And if you were to compare like a dextrose to maltitol, the differences rather than four calories per gram, you're about to tell us like 3.6, 3.8… I apologize, I don't know that more specific caloric density.

Justin: Oh, no way. I didn't realize it was so close.

Josh: The caloric density is essentially just about the same as almost the same equivalent blood glucose response or the glycemic response is, it's very comparable. 

And even worse is because of the way that your body breaks it down and uses it and no one uses anything sparingly anymore in formulation, typically they're using, you know, more than probably what they should be using. It can have quite the laxative effect as well. So you're kind of, you're getting the hat trick here.

Justin: So that's for maltitol. Is sorbitol in the same boat?

Josh: You could almost lump those equal. It doesn't have the same caloric density, but it does have a glycaemic response and it still has the same laxative effect where that there are a couple others as well. 

But swinging to the other side of the pendulum here, the sugar alcohols or polyols that are more consumer-friendly, especially if you're using it for a specific application, if you're diabetic or for some sort of a metabolic therapeutic diet like Max, you want a sugar alcohol that, you want it to taste good. I mean, that's first and foremost, you want something that closely resembles what actual sugar tastes like. 

But more importantly, is a caloric load be what sort of blood glucose response am I going to have by consuming this? And right now in the sugar alcohol space erythritol is it's it's that's the top dog. It's the top ingredient. There are different forms of erythritol that are out there, depending on how much you actually consume, what you really have to work quite hard to consume the amount that actually would have an adverse effect, which would be, again, a little bit of a laxative effect. It wouldn't even be palatable. You wouldn't even be able to consume that much or you would have to be pretty persistent in your endeavor, like okay. I wonder how much I can actually, you know, how much I have to consume to try to have some sort of an adverse effect. 

But erythritol, it's a phenomenal sugar, alcohol. It's dang near calorie-free and basically consume it and it goes to the bloodstream and you urinate it out and it closely resembles sugar.

Justin: Yeah, I remember researching erythritol. Gosh, was like maybe eight or nine years ago when we were eliminating sugar from Max's diet. And I was just so impressed with the research like it's zero glycaemic. Again, you, as you said, you have to eat a lot of it for there to be any GI distress. And it's safe. It is like one. There aren't any studies that I was able to find back then. And I've done some research since, that show any cause for any health concern over erythritol. I totally agree. I'm a huge fan of it.

Josh: We lack an enzyme to break that down and to actually utilize it. Really, that's the real reason behind that. So it's again, we're getting all the functional benefits of it and we're getting the organa left to the taste of it. But it's literally...passing through the small intestine and you're urinating it out.

Justin: Now, the one thing that parents should know and we have some information on this in The Family Thrive, it has a cooling effect. And so it's great for ice cream. But there are some other applications that it might not be so great for, I'm sure, in the food industry. 

But just to recap here, so when it comes to sugar alcohols, you want to stay away from the maltitol and the sorbitol and then erythritol, which is also a sugar alcohol is good to go. 

Something that is still in some products that parents might see as xylitol. Josh, what do you think about xylitol?

Josh: If used, consumed in small moderate amounts, short from a functional standpoint, works great and a lot of different technical formulations. It has a slightly more caloric load than erythritol from a glycaemic standpoint. 

The diabetic community, you could regard it as safe, but the downfall of xylitol too, is that it doesn't have the same gastrointestinal intestinal tolerance that erythritol does. So if you were to consume, for example, 10 grams of erythritol, just about everyone can tolerate 10 grams of erythritol, where if you consume 10 grams of xylitol, which to be honest, really is not that much, and say a zero sugar or a keto bar or ice cream or whatever the snack is, and an 85 to 100 gram serving is very common to have north of 10 grams of erythritol in there. 

Again, to replace your sugar, where would the xylitol consuming 10 grams of xylitol? It may cause some people some gastrointestinal distress. That, too, has a bit of a laxative effect. And it's not puppy-friendly. So you can't share it with your little fur babies. So that pint of ice cream that you're eating that's made with xylitol. Unfortunately, you can't share it with your puppy.

Justin: Ok, what about monk fruit and stevia? That's in a lot of products.

Josh: Yeah, I say green light on both of those, especially among fruit, it’s incredibly expensive. But I would say from a sensory standpoint, it's a phenomenal high-intensity sweetener. Stevia, the entire stevia space has made a lot of advancements. I know a lot of people still to this day that they tried stevia a handful of years ago and they're afraid to try it just because sometimes that horrific taste that sometimes comes along with the original rabei stevia that's used.

 But there are different versions of stevia that are out there that are far more palatable. And if the intent is to, you know, have a sweeter product, whether it's in a cookie, a bar or whatever it is, or just put it in your coffee or tea. Both are very safe in regards to it won't impact your blood glucose levels.

Justin: Awesome. And then the final one, which has become our hands-down favorite. So we love our erythritol, but our hands-down favorite has become allulose. So can you tell us a little bit about allulose?

Josh: Yes. Launched on the commercial scene in 2000, I must say, circa 2016, I must say 2015. But I feel pretty confident 2016 right in there, nutrition. We launched a cereal bar with that and we had played with it for probably a good year prior to that, and yeah, we became obsessed with it for multiple reasons, starting with the fact that it is an actual sugar derived in nature from various vegetables and fruits, it can be extracted in small amounts from a handful. And the best part about it is that it's about 70 percent as sweet as a normal table sugar. 

So you're getting that sensory benefit of it. And then from a functional standpoint, it performs almost equally to sugar as well. A yields about a tenth of the calories as a traditional table sugar. And it really doesn't have any adverse effects from a sensory standpoint. Most people, their GI tolerance is very well, maybe the first time you consume it, if you consume a bowlish amount like 20, 30 grams of it, first pass, you know, you may have some bubble guts. But for the most part, I mean, it's very consumer-friendly. And it is…

Justin: And zero glycine.

Josh: Zero glycaemic. And there's actually literature out there from a couple of different organizations, third party that have really put us under the lens and scrutinized it. And a lot of the data supports that. It actually has a blood glucose lowering effect, and there's reasons for that. But we won't dive into the deeper details of it other than. 

Yeah, Allulose. I mean, it's absolutely phenomenal. In the past three years it's gone gangbusters. Some of the biggest players, some of the biggest food manufacturers in the world now are coming out with products that have allulose in it. 

And that's one of my pain points. And fears right now from a supply chain standpoint is because it's become so incredibly popular. It's very scarce right now.

Justin: Ok, so that was so helpful. We went through all the major ingredients. Now I want to hear about ice cream. So, Josh, tell us about what you're working on now.

Josh: Yeah, so Killer Creamery, I joined Louis, the founder of Killer Creamery, just about a year ago. And we actually met at KetoCon, I think in 2019, right in there. And he was the very first mover in the keto ice cream segment in space. And I was there with another company, another keto-friendly company, and we hit it off and I said, hey, if you ever need anything, you know, reach out to me, this is my number. And he kind of took me up on that. 

And yeah, we officially joined about a year ago and a year ago all that we had were just ice cream pints. I think we had five flavors, maybe six flavors at the time. We recently just expanded our pint offering. We have eight different pint flavors right now. We were the very first, you know, keto ice cream company to launch into or launch allulose out into the space. So take quite a bit of pride with that. And as of recent, we just expanded into the frozen novelty space with a keto zero sugar ice cream sandwich, which are incredible.

Justin: I can't wait to try it. 

Josh: Super excited about that. Yeah. Yeah. Now we're doing some really phenomenal things where we're really trying to differentiate ourselves just by playing into really what consumers want. Some of the other players in the space, you call them direct competitors. If you will, they kind of playing more into general flavor profiles. And we're trying to be a bit more bold and brash in that context or so, coming out with some different concepts, maybe some more abstract concepts, and making sure that we're doubling down on all of our great inclusions, that we have our brownie pieces and chocolate chip cookie dough pieces and all the various variants that we use, you know, so delicious, gooey, gooey caramel swirls and peanut butter and things of that sort.

Justin: Yeah. So Killer Creamery is not a sponsor. We are friends. We've met the owners a couple of times at Metabolic Health Summit. So I'm happy to give them a plug. How can people find Killer Creamery?

Josh: Facebook, Instagram, Killer Creamery. Both applications, LinkedIn. I want to say that we have or we're about to hopefully I don't spill the beans here. He may give me a boot in the rear end. But YouTube. I know that that's something that we are working on as well. But probably Instagram is the best platform to follow us. 

Justin: Awesome. All right. And last question here for you, Josh. What are you personally working on in your own growth and development? Like I've always known you to be super focused on health and wellness. So I'm just wondering what's at the edge for you?

Josh: Constant work in progress when it comes to patience. Just being patient and on all facets of life. Being patient with myself, being patient with relationships, being patient, and work various projects. We have so many different, really exciting projects in Killer Creamery that I just get beyond excited about. 

And of course, I want to be first a space with this concept or this form factor. And, you know, just recognizing that there are systems and processes and you know, I just can't click my heels three times or snap my fingers and, you know, get exactly what I want.

Josh: Are there any practices that you're finding helpful in developing patience?

Justin: May sound a little bit quirky, corny, but just breathwork in meditation. And a even with that, having the patience to sit there and focus on breath for five minutes, you know.

Justin: It sounds like a Catch-22. You need the patience to actually practice the thing that's going to help you develop patience. 

Josh: Yeah. So thankfully, thankfully, I have a phenomenal wife, Victoria, and she stays on top of me and makes sure that I get my breath working and wear things like that. They come so natural to her. She wakes up and she has her routine and easily slides into breathwork and meditation. Where I wake up, I let the dogs out and I immediately get the coffee going and my laptop opens. And, you know, I immediately dive into work and whatnot. And she comes in and she kind of, you know, gets at me. She's like, you need to, you know, you first. Yeah. So patience. What do they say? Patience is a virtue. I seem to struggle with it.

Justin: All right, so I lied, I said that was the final question, that was the final question that is specific to you. These next three are questions that we ask everybody at the end of the interview. So the first one is, Josh, if you could put a big Post-it note on every parent's refrigerator tomorrow morning, what would that Post-it note say?

Josh: Close your eyes and take four deep breaths. That's what I …

Justin: That sounds like a post-it note that you need.

Josh: Yes, I have a verbal note from Victoria. Go do your breathwork. No, it's so powerful. I mean, it really is. I mean, even you and I sitting here right now is you and I were just to take four deep inhalations and exhalations. I mean, there would you know, it would change our body chemistry. And I don't necessarily do a lot of podcasts and interviews and whatnot. So, of course, I'm naturally a little bit anxious right now. 

But I know that in just four deep breaths, like I know that I would settle down. I would come down a little bit, and especially just kicking off your day or morning or if it's in the end of the evening and, you know, you just finished up dinner and you got to do the dishes and this kid is painting on the wall over here, and this one needs his diaper changed. It's taken us four deep breaths as a pretty profound impact.

Justin: Yeah. So I invite any parent, if you are in the position to do four deep breaths. It is a game-changer. All right. So I'm going to now ask this, two last questions. Josh, do you have a quote that you've seen or heard recently that has changed the way you think or feel?

Josh: Yeah, this is a quote. And unfortunately, I wish I could tell you where I saw or where I heard it. But when I initially heard it, it really stood out to me. And it's a quote that I say to myself and remind myself almost daily, which is “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” And it's just something that really rang true with me, you know, and it's one of those things where like when I say I was like, how does it go? And it's hard choices, easy life, easy choices, hard life. 

And the reason why that really spoke to me is we live in a world of comfort and conveniences and it's so easy to take, you know, the easy path or to make the easy decision because it's convenient in that moment rather than buckling down and maybe challenging yourself and doing the more difficult thing, even though in that moment acutely, it may be very uncomfortable for you. 

But the reason you do it for disciplinary reasons, that hopefully it's going to have a positive outcome. And I've applied that to literally all aspects of my life. And actually that came from a world record holder weightlifter, a Polish gentleman, Jerzy Gregorek.

Justin: Easy choices, hard life, hard choices, easy life. And I think that can be applied in so many different ways. But nutrition as well, like the easy choice, is just to eat whatever's out there and to eat the thing and just not to worry about it. That's going to lead to a hard life in terms of your long-term health.

Josh: You're already applying. Exactly. I mean, you could take that and you could plug it in so many different places.

Justin: That's it. That's it. All right. So the last one, Josh, I ask this of all the guests, whether or not they have children. So, Josh, what do you like most about kids?

Josh: Curiosity. The reason why I like that is because as a child, thinking back to my early childhood and then just observing my nieces, my nephews, good friends to have kids yourself, Audra, et cetera, is kids, they're naturally curious about everything and they're not afraid to to challenge the status quo, you know, in their quest to have just have like a deeper understanding as why is this or why is that? 

And I think as we age and we go through the system. We kind of lose our curiosity, and I just I would say that's probably the thing that I admire most about kids, is just that curiosity. And I really challenge adults to, you know, to try to tap back into that natural state of curiosity. And that's something that, again, I'm going to plug my wife, Victoria. She's so stinking good at this. And it is just a not, it's not something that's not innate in me, but moments when I challenge myself to be more curious, it always leads to like new things that I just didn't see, observe, or experience. 

And I haven't necessarily had any sort of nothing negative has come of just me trying to be more curious. So I would say curiosity for kids.

Justin: It's good for parents to be reminded of that because we get exhausted by our children's curiosity. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. But why. So that's nice. All right. Let's just take a deep breath and appreciate that pure curiosity.

Josh: Exactly.

Justin: Oh, Josh, thank you so much for taking out time today to talk to us. This was a wealth of information. We are going to break all this down in the show notes for parents to go because we used so many different words that probably were new to many parents. Oh, Josh, thank you so much. I can't wait to talk again. Be well, my friend.

Josh: Yeah, likewise. Yeah, likewise. Thank you so much. I had a blast. Definitely. Looking forward to hopefully seeing you guys in person. Farm to Fork. I think September.

Justin: That's right. Coming up.

Josh: Awesome. Awesome. Be here before we know it. Thank you so much, Justin. 

Justin: Bye. 

Josh: Later.


Hey, thanks for listening to the Family Thrive Podcast. If you like what you heard, please subscribe, tell two friends, and head on over to Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts and give us a review. We're so grateful you've chosen to join us on this Family Thrive journey.


Transcript highlights

01:40

Justin:  I want to start off, though, by talking about how we first met and I don't know if you remember this, but for me, it's stuck in my memory that we first met you when you were working with Quest and you were like part of the team cooking up crazy stuff in the lab. Do you remember that? 

Josh: I do, indeed, I uhhh. So what stands out most to me is Victoria actually very excited, and Victoria, was kind of like the facilitator of the relationships. And she had been doing a lot of work in communicating with you guys. And eventually she kind of brought me in from a food development standpoint, a lot of the things that we were doing in Quest Labs when we're at Quest Nutrition, at the time we were developing keto meals, frozen meals, and we were using those as kind of a way to increase a certain couple of studies that we were looking at the efficacy of this study. 

So just increasing the compliance of it. And she was like, hey, you know, I met this phenomenal couple and she gave me the back story. And one of the opening statements was by Audra was that she had a phenomenal keto pasta noodle that she was working on. And I don't know why like that just really stands out in a very memorable, because at that time, that was something that we were working on. And it just seemed like to be that elusive form factor that we just got now. And I was like, wait a minute, someone has like perfected this. But yeah, no, I am incredibly thankful that our paths crossed. And it's been amazing since.

Justin: I don't want to give a free plug for Quest here, but I will, because it was really amazing what they were doing at the time. And they still do amazing work. But Quest Nutrition for anyone who doesn't know they do a lot of low-carb, high-protein products. 

But at this time in the company's history, they were doing a lot of work that was just in the lab trying to see if they could make keto products or keto formulations for stuff that is very not keto, like cinnamon rolls. And it was amazing what you guys were coming up with. And it was a perfect time for us because Max, our son, had a recurrence with his brain tumor at that time. 

And so we were going back on the ketogenic diet in a hard-core way, supported by our doctors at Children's Hospital of Orange County. And we were now looking for new keto products, like this kid had been on the ketogenic diet for a couple of years previous to that. So to have cinnamon rolls and you guys had, what, you had so many cool things. I remember the, I think you had a keto chocolate peanut butter cup at that time. What are the other formulations? Do you remember anything that really stood out to you? Well, I know the cinnamon roll was like an achievement of science. It was like the most amazing thing in the world.

Josh: Yeah. That thing was remarkable. And to my knowledge, no one else has come out with another cinnamon roll that even closely compared to what we had formulated, you know, that thing was absolutely amazing. 

We would go off and of course, we would do, I'm not even going to try to remember the actual name of the former Metabolic Health Summit that we would go there, when it was in Tampa, Florida, I can't exactly remember what the name of it was. And Victoria and Angela are probably going to kick my shin because I can't remember it. But we would go there and of course, we would have hundreds of attendees and we would just blow through those things. 

But so we had two different lines. We had a meal frozen line. And with that, we actually had 42 options. And that number stands out. But I mean, it was kind of an easy number to achieve because we had four breakfast sandwiches, we had five different pizza iterations. We had bologneses, we had like our own rendition of a In-and-Out double double with the special sauce. And we had just so many different meals that, yeah, sometimes it's kind of difficult to keep track of. 

But in addition to that, exactly what you had mentioned, we had a shelf-stable snack line as well. And with that we had crackers, we had cheese crackers, we had three or four different cup flavors. We had like these little chocolate fat bombs. 

Yeah, kind of, now, you know, in the rearview mirror, it's kind of remarkable what we were able to do and achieved and to take to the marketplace what no one else has done and still no one else to this day has done what we did. It's just unfortunate that we ended up pulling the plug and draining it in 2017.

Justin: It's like the four-minute mile of food science or, you know, something like. So, Josh, tell me, how did you get started in the food product, the world of product formulation, and the food industry. Where did it begin for you?

Josh: Kind of all happened. Just kind of stumbled into it just out of my personal passion and love for all things nutrition. So really the genesis for all this is from a really young age. I was just super fascinated with muscle. There was just something that just struck me about, you know, the, you know, muscle and veins and shredded delts and calves and whatnot. You know, maybe was because I was watching, you know, the Incredible Hulk in the ‘80s on television, but it was just a fascination with that. And, yeah, just all things nutrition, self-taught. So formally, I have a business degree, actually. I don't have a degree in nutrition. I have various nutritional certifications through accredited agencies. But it was just pure passion. 

So, you know, how do I and how can I manipulate the body just through nutritional input and through the various diets that myself and my wife have kind of put ourselves through, with those different dietary protocols, you kind of have to figure out how to navigate, you know, typical food items that you usually enjoy. It's like, well, now I can't have this particular ingredient. And, you know, how do I try to make and develop an analog that closely resembles it? 

And then just serendipitously became friends with two of the founders of Quest Nutrition, Ron and Shannon Pena. And Ron pulled me into the ecosystem just because of my passion and love for all things nutrition. And then I was just thrown into this accelerator where it was just packed full of a bunch of super curious, brilliant individuals that additionally didn't necessarily have like a formal education and nutrition, but just our ability to do a lot of repetitions incredibly fast. You learned incredibly fast. And I think, yeah, that's how all things came to be with food product development.

Justin: So now you've worked with a number of different health-focused food companies. So what should parents know, in general? We're like we're going to dig into the specifics. But from like a 30,000-foot view, what should parents know about the food industry as a whole?

Josh: Kind of a loaded question, and I think it's, I think if you were to ask 10 different people, you'd probably get 10 different responses, but I'll share kind of my position on it. And I would say it likely aligns with yourself, Audra, and what you guys are doing. You really have to be somewhat cognizant cautious of label callouts. Now, when you go into a grocery store and you're buying like an actual packaged good, whether it's in a box, it's a canned package, whatever, you really have to be diligent about organic callouts, natural callouts or other bold claims that you're viewing.

Justin: So natural is a big one. So if a parent sees “natural” on a label, what should they think?

Josh: In all honesty, it really doesn't mean all that much. It's kind of like a black hole. It's like an abyss. The one thing that natural is supposed to validate is that it doesn't have any bioengineered ingredients or food ingredients in it, meaning it's not necessarily going through a synthetic alteration, adjusting or changing the molecular structure of a specific food and/or ingredients. So that's probably the one thing. But even that is so loosely interpreted in the food space and by the FDA.

Justin: Yeah. So what I understand is that natural is actually not regulated by the FDA. Is that right? Like anyone can put natural on anything? Or do I have that wrong?

Josh: No, it’s, so there are guidelines, CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) and anyone, they can go to Doctor Google and type in codified regulate CFR natural food claim. And there are paragraphs with information on that. 

But again, how it was scripted, it's I guess, open to interpretation. But yeah, to your point. Yeah, I mean, if you want to put made with natural ingredients, you know, in it or on it, but would that claim that the entire makeup, the building material, are all of those ingredients natural or maybe two out of the 11 are natural? It's kind of a difficult landscape to navigate.

Justin: Ahhhh. So made with natural ingredients, only a few of the ingredients or even one of the great or made with a natural at least two. Right. Because they're using the word plural.

Josh: It's definitely a slippery slope. But to kind of circle back to your initial question. In a positive light, we actually, we're in a great time right now just because of all the advancements in food science. And we have various dietary protocols that are out there. And because of the internet and social media, you have access to really unlimited information. 

You know, if you want to eat just whole foods and you're curious, you know, well, how do I comply to a whole food or a whole food, 30 approved diet? You know, there's information out there and you have consumer packaged good companies that are labeling that. Same exact thing for keto companies, for paleo companies, for vegan, et cetera. So it's easy to eat and be compliant to any, I guess, preference of choice.

Justin: Yeah, but for me, as a busy parent, I don't want to do all that work. And so I'm like trying to get the quick and easy stuff from you. Right. So like, now I've got a clue about natural like, all right. So if I see the word natural on a package, I know that it's almost going to be meaningless because it could have two ingredients that are natural and then a bunch that aren't. Right. So that's a good rule of thumb. And I've started to use that where if I see the word natural on a package, I immediately become suspicious, like, oh, this is they're trying to pull something over. But I'm surprised. 

So you also said organic. So why should parents be a little suspicious about the organic label?

Josh: It's the same exact thing. So to be compliant with an organic certification, it is a bit more of a stringent process. Just going through, you know, the appropriate approval documentation, getting all of that set up and certified through the organic accrediting agency. So if they have that on the label, you're looking for that specific little bubble callout, it’s a little green with a leaf thing on it there. That means that the entire food product is compliant with organic standards. 

But where things may become a little bit too complicated or confusing is food companies now are putting in the ingredient statement or just as an end statement in the front of the packaging “made with organic ingredients.” And it's the same exact thing as, you know, the natural thing in which they may have an ingredient or build a material recipe for laymen, say, of 10 ingredients, and they use two organic ingredients. So with that, they'll put made with organic ingredients that are necessarily mean. The entire thing is organic. But they did have a couple or a few ingredients that are certified organic.

Justin: Awesome. All right. So that's super helpful. So I have assumed that if a package says organic anywhere on it, that the whole thing is going to be organic and I can just rest easy. But you're saying that I'm going to need to look a little closer and is this whole thing organic or is it just one or two ingredients that are organic? All right. 

Josh: Exactly. And another thing to just add to that, for small business, sometimes it can be a little bit difficult to go through the process, even if you do have, you know, all of the ingredients. They are organic. They meet all the requirements going through that actual organic certification process, of course, that it costs something. 

So if you're a new company starting up and you're a bit strapped with capital, sometimes that organic certification, it's beyond that financial reach. So you may have a product that technically is, you know, 100% organic. It's just that they don't have the capital to invest to put on that. 

But I guess that's also the beauty of, you know, social media, is that now everyone's accessible. So if you're kind of curious about a specific bar, cookie, or whatever it is, you know, definitely reach out to the company and just ask. I mean, I'm aware of a couple of different companies that actually are 100% organic. It's just that they can't afford to go through that organic process.


18:20

Justin: It seems to me that it would be really easy as a parent if I can just know, like here are some trustworthy brands, here are some trustworthy companies that are going to do the right thing, and then I can kind of rest easy in consuming their products. So how can parents determine, like, what's a trustworthy brand and what's not? Are there any rules of thumb or is it something that requires a lot of research?

Josh: The latter. It does require like a little bit of legwork. And the only reason I'm going to say that, again, which you're spot on the perfect segway, is that you have a lot of new emerging food companies or beverage companies. And it's again, it's an amazing time to be jumping in there just because everyone that can kind of fall into their own dietary preferred segment and speak to that specific customer, you know. 

But the downfall with that is oftentimes if you're grassroots bootstrapped, you're starting up in a oftentimes in an incubator or a commercial kitchen where a lot of your regulatory guidelines, GMPs (Good Manufacturing Processes) sometimes are maybe a little bit overlooked. And it can be as simple as they're making you know, I’ll say pasta. I don't know. I have pasta on my mind right now. Maybe because I need some pasta. I need some of Audra’s, you know.

Justin: Everybody's got pasta on the mind.

Josh: Exactly. But, you know, like a good example of that is they may be in a commercial kitchen and they have a handful of hired team members, none of them, they didn't go through a proper handwashing protocol. They're not wearing the hairnet or, you know, your latex gloves, things of that sort. And when they're forward brand facing, they're actually in a retail location and you see the product up on a shelf, maybe the packaging or the design doesn't exactly look up to standards compared to some of the larger conglomerate brands like that. The big players in the space. 

Oftentimes it's difficult to know what sort of regulatory compliance they actually adhere to, even if they're small. And you want to support the local home team player. If that food product was made on a larger manufacturing line where there are stricter policies and guidelines that the individuals that are running those plants and/or lines that they have to adhere to and all of it's about food safety protocol. So, it can be a little bit difficult to know what is, you know, a good, solid brand. 

Regardless if it tastes good, you know, the ingredients may be stored in a, you know, a shed that's 110 degrees and high humidity and collecting bacteria. It's just, it's difficult to kind of navigate that. What I'm about to say kind of bothers me a little bit. But, you know, typically a safe play is generally you can trust the large food companies and the context that they adhere to strict food safety protocols that excludes certain food ingredients, which likely, I'm assuming, will probably get into that a little bit. But it's a tough one to navigate, knowing exactly which one is safe, which one isn't safe from a food safety standpoint.

Justin: Yeah. So from a food safety standpoint, it makes perfect sense. You go with the big guys, they're going to have their processes tied up. I'm thinking and we are going to get into the issues around particular ingredients. 

But I'm thinking I have come to trust Quest because in the past I've known that they have worked hard to get the right ingredients and they've switched out ingredients that they didn't find met their standards. And so I have come to trust Quest. I'm wondering if there are ways to have to get to that same level of trust with other companies or if there's an easy way to do it, maybe there's not an easy way and you just need to do a lot of research.

Josh: It's research and communicating. So one of the reasons why I believe that you trusted Quest is because you were welcomed into that ecosystem in all facets from a digital standpoint to an email standpoint, to phone calls, to video calls, to in-person meeting with the team, with the founders. And you got to see the passion behind what we were doing. And sometimes I think that's what's lost in translation is the why and the passion behind what you're doing.

Justin: That, of course, gives, you know, the warm and fuzzies. But it was actually hearing from people like you around why particular ingredients were chosen. And so it's not that these ingredients were chosen because they were the cheapest. They're not the easiest. It's that these are the best ingredients and this is what we're going to go for. And so that is the type of thing that I want to know about other brands, like are you just doing the quick and easy thing? Are you choosing the right ingredients for your products? But it sounds like it's just a matter of doing the research.

Josh: Yeah, and I would say now more than ever, we're in this huge rocket phase of all things, low-carb, keto, zero added sugar, zero sugar, or anything like that. And some of the choice selection of those sugar replacements aren't exactly what I think some people would want to consume if they actually knew what they were and what they were doing. 

Where you and everything that you're doing with Max and of course, all the other families that you guys worked with, you needed to come from an informed perspective, standpoint, knowing that actually there is a difference between various polyos, you know, sorbitol, erythritol, maltitol, Xylitol and different things like that. 

And being selective, you know, where I think that we're on the cusp of a more informed consumer set. But it's just one of those things that slowly comes with time. It's just that you understand the specificity of the foods that we were making and how they were applicable to what you and Audra are essentially doing.

Justin: Yeah. All right. So this is another great segue way into our next theme here. And this is getting into the ingredients. So at The Family Thrive, we advocate a whole foods approach. We want, you know, the vast majority of our foods to be real whole foods. But we're also pragmatic and we're busy parents. So we love a good packaged product as well. And so we've had to learn a lot about reading ingredients and learning about these ingredients. 

And we just talked about this with Quest about being able to trust a brand that's going to have the right ingredients. So I want to get into that. This whole packaged food world, the whole, you know, industrial food complex, and we're not, so we promote and advocate for whole foods, but we're not against processed foods because processed foods can be made really well and can support a totally healthy diet, especially for busy families. 

So, let's start to talk about the macronutrients first off. So when we are talking about processed protein, ok, so a whole food protein is going to be you buy your chicken, you buy your meat, you see it there, it's whole. But then when you get into a packaged product like a Quest Bar, now you've got processed protein. So what should I be looking for as a parent for a high-quality processed protein?

Josh: This, too, is kind of like a slippery slope question, because we live in an age of you're either, you know, you eat meat or you don't eat meat. You know, the huge plant-based movement, whatnot.

Justin: Yeah. So let's say we are totally omnivorous. We've got a couple of articles on The Family Thrive about meat science and how meat is perfectly healthy food. So let's just say that we are omnivorous and we are going and we want some high quality or we are looking at packaged products and we're seeing all these different protein isolates and all this stuff. 

What are we looking for? What should we consider to be a good processed protein? And are there any that we should stay away from?

Josh: Yeah. And the example that you just stated is probably one of the best, if not the best options. When it comes to just checking various nutritional boxes from an amino acid profile, meaning that it makes it a complete, so it supports the various biological needs of the human body, to functionality. It has a very versatile application in various foods, from bars to cookies to brownies to ready-to-drinks, various things like that. It's probably the most versatile. 

The thing that I would probably caution some people with, though, is just understanding any potential intolerances that they may have when it comes to anything dairy, so to speak, specific to that. If you're someone that is slightly lactose intolerant, the superior option likely would be a whey protein isolate or milk protein isolate, something of that sort, just because for the most part, it's broken down into its simplest digestible form.

Justin: Yeah. So a whey protein isolate or a milk protein isolate is going to have the lactose removed.

Josh: Most majority. There are some premium's out there that actually have completely removed the lactose from that. So I would say, conceptually speaking, that's in my opinion, that would be the best possible, we’ll call it processed protein option that there is. I mean, it's a staple, it's a really easy way to get protein. And I do think that we are a somewhat protein-deprived society, the world that we live in right now. And it's really quick. It's easy as long as you can tolerate it from a GI standpoint, low in calories.

Justin: In a lot of the low carb, high protein products that we buy on the market, whey protein is a major source. So are there any drawbacks or are there any things that we should be concerned about with whey protein?

Josh: That goes a little bit deeper into the supply chain, meaning the origin? Where is it coming from? There are a bunch of different suppliers out there. On the surface, it's very unlikely that you'll have any insight on that. And that really falls on the brand and as a consumer, doing a proper due diligence of.

Justin: Yes. So if we're dealing with a brand that is reputable, a big one, I mean, just in general way protein. Are there any drawbacks to whey protein?

Josh: In isolate? Really, none that I can see. You know, I'm sure that someone may have a different opinion on that. If you were to say a whey protein concentrate, the first thing that comes to mind is it's likely it's going to have more lactose in it. 

So, again, if you're a little bit sensitive on that, that would be of concern. But generally speaking, a whey protein, isolate as it's coming from a reputable brand. It's again, in my opinion, that's like the gold standard when it comes to a protein that's processed and/or, you know, incredibly efficient and it suits your on-the-go lifestyle. 

Justin: Another processed protein that I see a lot is pea protein. Is there anything that we should be concerned about with pea protein?

Josh: So if you were to ask me this question five years ago, there really weren't a lot of big players in the space. You had a couple of smaller players that were kind of tinkering playing in it and of probably the most prudent concern would be herbicides and pesticides that were used in the process of the farming of it were now because of the huge increase in awareness of more plant-based diet, you have some great brands and companies that have pea-protein-based products or shakes or powders that are out there now. 

But a pea protein by itself, one potential drawback, again, depending on what your utility or the protein is, is that by itself it's not a complete protein. So if you're using it specifically and like a muscle building or strength or a bodybuilding application, it probably won't be the most suitable. But if you're eating somewhat of a well-balanced diet, meaning eggs and salmons and beef and things of that nature, you're going to pick up some of those amino acids that a pea protein typically is lacking. But. Now I mean, a pea protein, that's that's probably now the second most popular protein powder that that's out there, there's so many different protein powders that exist now, and some of which are, I thought were entertaining and get, you know, going back into my Questers and dating out some various suppliers approaching us with, you know, fish protein isolates and various things of that nature, kind of interesting.

Justin: Yeah, I haven't seen the fish protein isolates. Oh, my gosh. Ok, so the last protein question is going to be maybe a little triggery for some. What do you think about gluten? So gluten is a wheat protein, of course, and it is used in some low-carb bread and pasta products. What do you think about gluten?

Josh: From a functional standpoint, nothing beats gluten and makes formulation so much easier.

Justin: So from a food company’s standpoint, thumbs up. But what do you personally think about it? A health standpoint?

Josh: I've geeked out over the years with all things microbiome. I think the abundance of it and the food package space, it's in so many different things, and because of that, I think that there's a lot of illness and inflammation that easily could be linked back or attributed to potentially overeating gluten. 

There's some great thought leaders and ambassadors that really are spearheading that entire movement. There’s some wonderful books out there that I've read, and some of which I think maybe a little bit controversial, but I typically try to avoid gluten. And the only reason why I say that is, again, just speaking me, myself personally is just maybe a little time for your viewers is, you know, I do suffer from a little bit of IBS. And I do notice that when I do consume an abundance of gluten in a specific product, it can have certain triggers, you know, but, you know, if I eat it sparingly, it's again, that's kind of like a political question. You know, there's science, there's science supporting both camps. It's more so personal preference. Yeah, that's kind of a difficult one.

Justin: We found an amazing low-carb bread. I won't say the name, but it is, I think, wheat gluten, might be the number one ingredient. And it's but the bread is so good and it's this high-protein, low-carb bread makes great sandwiches and the whole thing. And I have not, no one in our family has experienced any GI issues with it. 

But it's always in the back of my mind, like this is the first ingredient on this thing. So before we move on, are there any other processed proteins that you think are good that if a parent sees it on a package, we can give it a thumbs up?

Josh: Yes. So speaking specifically to like isolated proteins, like what we just discussed, dairy protein, essentially, it's a gold standard. And then there are a bunch of different actually really great plant-based protein powders, isolates that are out there. A couple of ones that are gaining a lot of popularity. You have a pumpkin seed protein isolate, you have rice protein isolate, quinoa protein isolate, there's which I think that you had just mentioned, a high gluten protein isolate. 

You know, with those the one thing that you have to be cautious or aware of, what some of these new, newer emerging protein isolates coming from a plant origin is actually how much protein is actually in what they're calling… a standard serving. 

So what I mean, so specifically in the world formulation and developing nutritionals and things of that nature, all suppliers, they're supposed to provide you what we call a 100-gram nutritional statement or it's something comparable to that. And with your protein isolates like a lot of your dairy proteins, they're north of 90% protein of that 100-gram serving where some of your other plant based ones, you're only getting maybe half of that protein load out of that 100-gram serving, meaning it's like, ok, if I'm only getting 50 grams of protein out of that 100-gram serving, well, what else is in this? Like where else is that 100 or I'm sorry, that 50 grams coming from. 

And oftentimes with those you're picking up some of the residual carbohydrates and fibers of those so in which all of those are lumped into carbs and fiber and whatnot. So even if they're boldly claiming a specific protein, this and/or that, just pay close attention to what else may be in that nutritional panel and how that kind of suits your own dietary needs.


37:34

Justin: Processed fats, well, I'd say most I don't know, it seems like all fats essentially processed like you don't get whole fat in the wild, but are there any that go into packaged products that you say stay away from? And are there any that you say are good?

Josh: We as a society have consumed far too many omega six fats. And a lot of that is originating from packaged goods that are using various vegetable oils, such as canola oils, corn oil, safflower, sunflowers, different vegetable and seed oils of that nature where the data, you know, solidly states that in an abundance of those particular omega six fats, it could lead to inflammation in the body, the gut, the brain, and in different things of that nature. 

So typically, I always say caution, be wary. 

And if you are going to or put in a situation where you're eating those, you know, try to eat sparingly, try not to over-consume, but typically I say try to avoid anything that are using those specific fats. It's just, again, you know, go to Doctor Google and you can type in inflammation and vegetable and seed oils and you'll just get, you know, so many different scientific articles and things of that sort that say eat with caution.

Justin: Yeah, we will have an article on this coming out in The Family Thrive so we'll get to cover this. Are there any fats that you think are good to go in packaged foods?

Josh: Yeah, so typically we always like to go with fats that have a higher concentration of monounsaturated fats. Examples of that would be your avocado oils, your high oleic sunflower oil. It's just because they're a bit more stable compared to some of the other vegetable and seed oil that we just listed.

Justin: Yeah. So it's a high oleic sunflower. So the oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat and it's more stable. Yeah. All right. 

Josh: Correct. Meaning it's less likely to either degrade over time. And if you're using it in a cooking application, it's going to have higher smoke point, meaning that you're not going to denature any of those things and alter the fatty acid profile where it would actually work against you rather than, you know, positively benefiting the utility

of that specific fat. But those are all great. There are some food companies out there where you can actually buy animal tallow. And there is a brand that kind of, it's a four-letter word. They're quite epic, if you will, and can get actual animal tallows. And, you know, oftentimes that's what we used to cook with. And, you know, generally that's the direction that we go for actively seeking fats and we're going to cook it.

Justin: All right. So fibers. So we're these next two questions I'm going to ask about fibers and sweeteners. And so this all has to do with net carbs. And we have an article on The Family Thrive describing net carbs. It was written in conjunction with our dietitians. 

So I encourage parents to go in there, check out the net carbs. But basically what we want to look for on the back of a package is it will have a total carbohydrate count. And then you can look at the fiber and you can look at some of the sweeteners. If they are zero glycaemic sweeteners, then you can subtract those out. Although, Josh, I'm going to ask about Allulose. Is that now… Well,ok. I don't want to confuse anybody, but I'm going to ask about that. 

Generally you can subtract those out from the total carbohydrate and then you get your net carb count. And so the net carb generally, and Josh, I know you're going to correct me on some of this, but generally it's going to be the carbs that go, that get converted into blood sugar. And so we start by subtracting fibers, first off. So let's talk about these processed fibers. Now they're in a lot of low-carb foods. And so I'm sure parents have seen on packages it'll say net carbs two or net carb zero. And then you can look on the back of the packaging. You can see the total carbohydrate is 15 or 20 or whatever. 

And so they get to this largely by putting a lot fiber in the product. And then you can subtract out the fiber from the total carbs to get the net carbs. Ok. Now, there are some fibers, I understand, that are better than others. So, Josh, can you walk us through the world of processed fibers?

Josh: It's a little bit confusing. And as a consumer, especially if you're coming from an informed position, it can be even a little bit more confusing. And the reason why I say that is the forward-facing brands, they actually have the option to use different names for the various fibers, meaning that you may have three different things that you could call, you know, this particular fiber. You may have four different things that you could call this particular fiber. And what I'm speaking specifically about, probably the one that's most well known right now is tapioca fiber. 

And, you know, generally speaking, tapioca, it's great food product. And you have tapioca flours, tapioca starches, and now you have 85, 90, 95 percent fibers that originated from tapioca. With that there are a few different versions of tapioca fiber that you can label it as. And each one of those is actually slightly different from a metabolic standpoint.

Justin: And when you say metabolic, you're saying each one will raise your blood sugar slightly differently or will affect your blood sugar in a slightly different way. 

Josh: Spot on, spot on. And the FDA recently just removed one of those IMO, Isomalto oligosaccharides, from what is considered on the fiber list. So the FDA, they have, you know, various nutrients of significance that they go in there and they, you know, have different ingredients or food items that technically can be called that for all the various certifying reasons and IMO was removed from that. 

But there is a close cousin to the IMO that is now being used by some consumer packaged good companies, that it's essentially the same exact thing. So it can be a little bit misleading in that context. And that really goes back to doing a proper due diligence. And even then, if you're not sure, reaching out to whatever that brand is and just ask them, they may not tell you what specific fiber it is that they're using, but you can ask them what's the glycaemic response of, you know, the one that you're using. 

Or if you're on some sort of therapeutic diet, meaning that you're using the ketogenic diet for a specific ailment or whatever it is. I mean, there are different ways to test your blood glucose levels now. And now I would say go ahead and test and see what sort of response that there is. But it's kind of confusing times.

Justin: For the average family. You know, we don't need to test our blood. We just want to purchase products that are going to not make your blood sugar skyrocket every time we eat it. So if we're looking for lower carb products, we will want to stay away from anything that has IMO because and it's isomalto… Can you say that last part?

Josh: Isomalto oligosaccharides, isomalto oligosaccharides.

Justin: Yeah. So, and we will have all this in the show notes. And so if you look on the back of a package and that's the major fiber, then you can put that one back. What are some fibers that are good to go?

Josh: So, again, I'm going to throw tapioca fiber back out there. There are a couple of different suppliers. 

Justin: Oh, that is good.

Josh: That is good. And that's where it's a little bit confusing is because you have companies that are labeling prebiotic tapioca fiber, resistant digestion tapioca fiber, tapioca fiber, vegetable fiber, and all of these come from tapioca origins. 

And so it can be a little bit confusing because you have like those IMOs that are kind of being lumped up and underneath that tapioca fiber labeling now. But there are some really good tapioca fibers out there, soluble tapioca fiber. Typically on some of the more credible low carb or keto brands, that's the name that they're putting on the ingredient statement. And those are great in the context that they don't have any sort of a glycaemic load. And maybe more importantly is they're very GI friendly, not glycemic index friendly, but gastrointestinal friendly. You have a soluble corn fiber or a digestion-resistant maltodextrin. 

Not a lot of food companies, they're putting that on the label just for the exact reason. You probably saw me stumbling over saying, you know, it doesn't exactly look the best on the label either. But generally speaking, any company that has like a soluble corn fiber on there, that is a great fiber source as well. It's very diabetic-friendly, doesn't have a glycemic load on it. And it, too, is more gastrointestinal friendly than, say, some of the other fibers that are out there. 

Speaking specifically about inulins and chicory roots, not saying that they're not doing good fibers. There are different forms or versions of inulin/chicory roots fructooligosaccharides that can have a different impact on blood glucose levels and also how gastrointestinal friendly they are. 

So I would just, you know, throw it out there cautiously. A lot of your low carb and more keto forward brands that are out there. A lot of them are using inulin and Chicory root, but they're using an excessive amount that oftentimes can make you a little uncomfortable. Kind of like a hot air balloon, if you will. So be cautious.

Justin: A little GI distress. So that's inulin and chicory root. You don't want too much of it.

Josh: Some of them put fructooligosaccharides on their label, but oftentimes your fructooligosaccharides will be lumped up under inulin as well. And for those that want to dive a little bit deeper into that, and if you're like, hey, that's kind of interesting and if one of your favorite low carb keto packaged food brands out there has that and, you know, shoot them a note out on social media and see if that's why you're maybe a little bit gassy.

Justin: All right, so now let's get to the processed sweeteners. So you work for a company now. We're going to talk about that in a little bit or after this. But you are very familiar with all of the different low-carb or zero glycaemic sweeteners. They're all processed right? There, you know, there's nothing growing on a tree. 

Well, yeah, I mean, it all has to go through some process, whether it's monc fruit or stevia. You even have to be heavily processed. So I'll just lump all these under processed sweeteners. And we're talking specifically about low-carb sweeteners. Let's start with the ones that we should watch out for, stay away from. I'm imagining the polyol. There might be a few polyols in that mix.

Josh: Yeah. Spot on. So speaking about sugar alcohols or polyols, you have some of those such as maltitol, sorbitol, and maltitol is probably the worst offender of those. Is that it from a molecular standpoint, it's a polyol from the chemist, you know, strictly speaking, the chemistry aspect of it. 

However, from a biological standpoint, it's almost the equivalent to just straight dextrose or sugar, if you will. Two different examples of reasons why is typically a gram of dextrose or table sugar that yields four calories per gram, and it has a certain glycemic index response based off of a score of 100. And if you were to compare like a dextrose to maltitol, the differences rather than four calories per gram, you're about to tell us like 3.6, 3.8… I apologize, I don't know that more specific caloric density.

Justin: Oh, no way. I didn't realize it was so close.

Josh: The caloric density is essentially just about the same as almost the same equivalent blood glucose response or the glycemic response is, it's very comparable. 

And even worse is because of the way that your body breaks it down and uses it and no one uses anything sparingly anymore in formulation, typically they're using, you know, more than probably what they should be using. It can have quite the laxative effect as well. So you're kind of, you're getting the hat trick here.

Justin: So that's for maltitol. Is sorbitol in the same boat?

Josh: You could almost lump those equal. It doesn't have the same caloric density, but it does have a glycaemic response and it still has the same laxative effect where that there are a couple others as well. 

But swinging to the other side of the pendulum here, the sugar alcohols or polyols that are more consumer-friendly, especially if you're using it for a specific application, if you're diabetic or for some sort of a metabolic therapeutic diet like Max, you want a sugar alcohol that, you want it to taste good. I mean, that's first and foremost, you want something that closely resembles what actual sugar tastes like. 

But more importantly, is a caloric load be what sort of blood glucose response am I going to have by consuming this? And right now in the sugar alcohol space erythritol is it's it's that's the top dog. It's the top ingredient. There are different forms of erythritol that are out there, depending on how much you actually consume, what you really have to work quite hard to consume the amount that actually would have an adverse effect, which would be, again, a little bit of a laxative effect. It wouldn't even be palatable. You wouldn't even be able to consume that much or you would have to be pretty persistent in your endeavor, like okay. I wonder how much I can actually, you know, how much I have to consume to try to have some sort of an adverse effect. 

But erythritol, it's a phenomenal sugar, alcohol. It's dang near calorie-free and basically consume it and it goes to the bloodstream and you urinate it out and it closely resembles sugar.

Justin: Yeah, I remember researching erythritol. Gosh, was like maybe eight or nine years ago when we were eliminating sugar from Max's diet. And I was just so impressed with the research like it's zero glycaemic. Again, you, as you said, you have to eat a lot of it for there to be any GI distress. And it's safe. It is like one. There aren't any studies that I was able to find back then. And I've done some research since, that show any cause for any health concern over erythritol. I totally agree. I'm a huge fan of it.

Josh: We lack an enzyme to break that down and to actually utilize it. Really, that's the real reason behind that. So it's again, we're getting all the functional benefits of it and we're getting the organa left to the taste of it. But it's literally...passing through the small intestine and you're urinating it out.

Justin: Now, the one thing that parents should know and we have some information on this in The Family Thrive, it has a cooling effect. And so it's great for ice cream. But there are some other applications that it might not be so great for, I'm sure, in the food industry. 

But just to recap here, so when it comes to sugar alcohols, you want to stay away from the maltitol and the sorbitol and then erythritol, which is also a sugar alcohol is good to go. 

Something that is still in some products that parents might see as xylitol. Josh, what do you think about xylitol?

Josh: If used, consumed in small moderate amounts, short from a functional standpoint, works great and a lot of different technical formulations. It has a slightly more caloric load than erythritol from a glycaemic standpoint. 

The diabetic community, you could regard it as safe, but the downfall of xylitol too, is that it doesn't have the same gastrointestinal intestinal tolerance that erythritol does. So if you were to consume, for example, 10 grams of erythritol, just about everyone can tolerate 10 grams of erythritol, where if you consume 10 grams of xylitol, which to be honest, really is not that much, and say a zero sugar or a keto bar or ice cream or whatever the snack is, and an 85 to 100 gram serving is very common to have north of 10 grams of erythritol in there. 

Again, to replace your sugar, where would the xylitol consuming 10 grams of xylitol? It may cause some people some gastrointestinal distress. That, too, has a bit of a laxative effect. And it's not puppy-friendly. So you can't share it with your little fur babies. So that pint of ice cream that you're eating that's made with xylitol. Unfortunately, you can't share it with your puppy.

Justin: Ok, what about monk fruit and stevia? That's in a lot of products.

Josh: Yeah, I say green light on both of those, especially among fruit, it’s incredibly expensive. But I would say from a sensory standpoint, it's a phenomenal high-intensity sweetener. Stevia, the entire stevia space has made a lot of advancements. I know a lot of people still to this day that they tried stevia a handful of years ago and they're afraid to try it just because sometimes that horrific taste that sometimes comes along with the original rabei stevia that's used.

 But there are different versions of stevia that are out there that are far more palatable. And if the intent is to, you know, have a sweeter product, whether it's in a cookie, a bar or whatever it is, or just put it in your coffee or tea. Both are very safe in regards to it won't impact your blood glucose levels.

Justin: Awesome. And then the final one, which has become our hands-down favorite. So we love our erythritol, but our hands-down favorite has become allulose. So can you tell us a little bit about allulose?

Josh: Yes. Launched on the commercial scene in 2000, I must say, circa 2016, I must say 2015. But I feel pretty confident 2016 right in there, nutrition. We launched a cereal bar with that and we had played with it for probably a good year prior to that, and yeah, we became obsessed with it for multiple reasons, starting with the fact that it is an actual sugar derived in nature from various vegetables and fruits, it can be extracted in small amounts from a handful. And the best part about it is that it's about 70 percent as sweet as a normal table sugar. 

So you're getting that sensory benefit of it. And then from a functional standpoint, it performs almost equally to sugar as well. A yields about a tenth of the calories as a traditional table sugar. And it really doesn't have any adverse effects from a sensory standpoint. Most people, their GI tolerance is very well, maybe the first time you consume it, if you consume a bowlish amount like 20, 30 grams of it, first pass, you know, you may have some bubble guts. But for the most part, I mean, it's very consumer-friendly. And it is…

Justin: And zero glycine.

Josh: Zero glycaemic. And there's actually literature out there from a couple of different organizations, third party that have really put us under the lens and scrutinized it. And a lot of the data supports that. It actually has a blood glucose lowering effect, and there's reasons for that. But we won't dive into the deeper details of it other than. 

Yeah, Allulose. I mean, it's absolutely phenomenal. In the past three years it's gone gangbusters. Some of the biggest players, some of the biggest food manufacturers in the world now are coming out with products that have allulose in it. 

And that's one of my pain points. And fears right now from a supply chain standpoint is because it's become so incredibly popular. It's very scarce right now.

Justin: Ok, so that was so helpful. We went through all the major ingredients. Now I want to hear about ice cream. So, Josh, tell us about what you're working on now.

Josh: Yeah, so Killer Creamery, I joined Louis, the founder of Killer Creamery, just about a year ago. And we actually met at KetoCon, I think in 2019, right in there. And he was the very first mover in the keto ice cream segment in space. And I was there with another company, another keto-friendly company, and we hit it off and I said, hey, if you ever need anything, you know, reach out to me, this is my number. And he kind of took me up on that. 

And yeah, we officially joined about a year ago and a year ago all that we had were just ice cream pints. I think we had five flavors, maybe six flavors at the time. We recently just expanded our pint offering. We have eight different pint flavors right now. We were the very first, you know, keto ice cream company to launch into or launch allulose out into the space. So take quite a bit of pride with that. And as of recent, we just expanded into the frozen novelty space with a keto zero sugar ice cream sandwich, which are incredible.

Justin: I can't wait to try it. 

Josh: Super excited about that. Yeah. Yeah. Now we're doing some really phenomenal things where we're really trying to differentiate ourselves just by playing into really what consumers want. Some of the other players in the space, you call them direct competitors. If you will, they kind of playing more into general flavor profiles. And we're trying to be a bit more bold and brash in that context or so, coming out with some different concepts, maybe some more abstract concepts, and making sure that we're doubling down on all of our great inclusions, that we have our brownie pieces and chocolate chip cookie dough pieces and all the various variants that we use, you know, so delicious, gooey, gooey caramel swirls and peanut butter and things of that sort.

Justin: Yeah. So Killer Creamery is not a sponsor. We are friends. We've met the owners a couple of times at Metabolic Health Summit. So I'm happy to give them a plug. How can people find Killer Creamery?

Josh: Facebook, Instagram, Killer Creamery. Both applications, LinkedIn. I want to say that we have or we're about to hopefully I don't spill the beans here. He may give me a boot in the rear end. But YouTube. I know that that's something that we are working on as well. But probably Instagram is the best platform to follow us. 

Justin: Awesome. All right. And last question here for you, Josh. What are you personally working on in your own growth and development? Like I've always known you to be super focused on health and wellness. So I'm just wondering what's at the edge for you?

Josh: Constant work in progress when it comes to patience. Just being patient and on all facets of life. Being patient with myself, being patient with relationships, being patient, and work various projects. We have so many different, really exciting projects in Killer Creamery that I just get beyond excited about. 

And of course, I want to be first a space with this concept or this form factor. And, you know, just recognizing that there are systems and processes and you know, I just can't click my heels three times or snap my fingers and, you know, get exactly what I want.

Josh: Are there any practices that you're finding helpful in developing patience?

Justin: May sound a little bit quirky, corny, but just breathwork in meditation. And a even with that, having the patience to sit there and focus on breath for five minutes, you know.

Justin: It sounds like a Catch-22. You need the patience to actually practice the thing that's going to help you develop patience. 

Josh: Yeah. So thankfully, thankfully, I have a phenomenal wife, Victoria, and she stays on top of me and makes sure that I get my breath working and wear things like that. They come so natural to her. She wakes up and she has her routine and easily slides into breathwork and meditation. Where I wake up, I let the dogs out and I immediately get the coffee going and my laptop opens. And, you know, I immediately dive into work and whatnot. And she comes in and she kind of, you know, gets at me. She's like, you need to, you know, you first. Yeah. So patience. What do they say? Patience is a virtue. I seem to struggle with it.

Justin: All right, so I lied, I said that was the final question, that was the final question that is specific to you. These next three are questions that we ask everybody at the end of the interview. So the first one is, Josh, if you could put a big Post-it note on every parent's refrigerator tomorrow morning, what would that Post-it note say?

Josh: Close your eyes and take four deep breaths. That's what I …

Justin: That sounds like a post-it note that you need.

Josh: Yes, I have a verbal note from Victoria. Go do your breathwork. No, it's so powerful. I mean, it really is. I mean, even you and I sitting here right now is you and I were just to take four deep inhalations and exhalations. I mean, there would you know, it would change our body chemistry. And I don't necessarily do a lot of podcasts and interviews and whatnot. So, of course, I'm naturally a little bit anxious right now. 

But I know that in just four deep breaths, like I know that I would settle down. I would come down a little bit, and especially just kicking off your day or morning or if it's in the end of the evening and, you know, you just finished up dinner and you got to do the dishes and this kid is painting on the wall over here, and this one needs his diaper changed. It's taken us four deep breaths as a pretty profound impact.

Justin: Yeah. So I invite any parent, if you are in the position to do four deep breaths. It is a game-changer. All right. So I'm going to now ask this, two last questions. Josh, do you have a quote that you've seen or heard recently that has changed the way you think or feel?

Josh: Yeah, this is a quote. And unfortunately, I wish I could tell you where I saw or where I heard it. But when I initially heard it, it really stood out to me. And it's a quote that I say to myself and remind myself almost daily, which is “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” And it's just something that really rang true with me, you know, and it's one of those things where like when I say I was like, how does it go? And it's hard choices, easy life, easy choices, hard life. 

And the reason why that really spoke to me is we live in a world of comfort and conveniences and it's so easy to take, you know, the easy path or to make the easy decision because it's convenient in that moment rather than buckling down and maybe challenging yourself and doing the more difficult thing, even though in that moment acutely, it may be very uncomfortable for you. 

But the reason you do it for disciplinary reasons, that hopefully it's going to have a positive outcome. And I've applied that to literally all aspects of my life. And actually that came from a world record holder weightlifter, a Polish gentleman, Jerzy Gregorek.

Justin: Easy choices, hard life, hard choices, easy life. And I think that can be applied in so many different ways. But nutrition as well, like the easy choice, is just to eat whatever's out there and to eat the thing and just not to worry about it. That's going to lead to a hard life in terms of your long-term health.

Josh: You're already applying. Exactly. I mean, you could take that and you could plug it in so many different places.

Justin: That's it. That's it. All right. So the last one, Josh, I ask this of all the guests, whether or not they have children. So, Josh, what do you like most about kids?

Josh: Curiosity. The reason why I like that is because as a child, thinking back to my early childhood and then just observing my nieces, my nephews, good friends to have kids yourself, Audra, et cetera, is kids, they're naturally curious about everything and they're not afraid to to challenge the status quo, you know, in their quest to have just have like a deeper understanding as why is this or why is that? 

And I think as we age and we go through the system. We kind of lose our curiosity, and I just I would say that's probably the thing that I admire most about kids, is just that curiosity. And I really challenge adults to, you know, to try to tap back into that natural state of curiosity. And that's something that, again, I'm going to plug my wife, Victoria. She's so stinking good at this. And it is just a not, it's not something that's not innate in me, but moments when I challenge myself to be more curious, it always leads to like new things that I just didn't see, observe, or experience. 

And I haven't necessarily had any sort of nothing negative has come of just me trying to be more curious. So I would say curiosity for kids.

Justin: It's good for parents to be reminded of that because we get exhausted by our children's curiosity. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. But why. So that's nice. All right. Let's just take a deep breath and appreciate that pure curiosity.

Josh: Exactly.

Justin: Oh, Josh, thank you so much for taking out time today to talk to us. This was a wealth of information. We are going to break all this down in the show notes for parents to go because we used so many different words that probably were new to many parents. Oh, Josh, thank you so much. I can't wait to talk again. Be well, my friend.

Josh: Yeah, likewise. Yeah, likewise. Thank you so much. I had a blast. Definitely. Looking forward to hopefully seeing you guys in person. Farm to Fork. I think September.

Justin: That's right. Coming up.

Josh: Awesome. Awesome. Be here before we know it. Thank you so much, Justin. 

Justin: Bye. 

Josh: Later.


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