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The Truth About Sugar, Alcohol, Caffeine, Protein & Exercise with Neuroscientist Dr Tommy Wood

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  November 22, 2023

This extra special – and slightly different – episode of the podcast is for anyone who’s ever felt confused about best practice for good health. If you’ve wondered which diet is the best one for your health, or if you are confused about how much protein you should be consuming – or whether a little bit of alcohol has any health benefit at all – then I have just the guest for you. 

Dr Tommy Wood is Assistant Professor of Paediatrics and Neuroscience at the University of Washington, US. He holds a degree in biochemistry from Cambridge, a medical degree from Oxford, achieved his PhD in physiology and neuroscience in Oslo, and has published papers and lectured across the globe. It’s fair to say that when it comes to health and longevity, Tommy knows what he’s talking about. And that’s exactly why I invited him back onto my podcast for the third time. 

He, like myself, is passionate about empowering individuals to take control of their health by simplifying the wealth of information that exists and giving people practical, realistic recommendations. In today’s conversation, Tommy and I work through a list of common areas of confusion when it comes to our wellbeing. And together we try to put the received wisdom in context, summarise the evidence, and then give nuanced, practical advice.

We begin with alcohol, and Tommy explains that while there are no proven health benefits to drinking it, there are caveats. And that becomes a theme for this conversation. Nothing is all good, or all bad – context is always key.

Next, we cover caffeine and its effect on performance, cognitive function, gut health, stress and, again, sleep. Then we dive deep into the hot topic of sugar, ultra-processed foods, continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and other trackers.

We go on to tackle protein, the minimum effective dose for exercise, the importance of building muscle, and the supplements we might want to consider taking. And for every subject we cover, Tommy exposes the common pitfalls in research methods and tells us what the science can show, but also what it can’t. 

There are so many mixed messages out there when it comes to our health. Our hope is that this conversation offers a valuable lesson in critical thinking and context, and highlights the importance of taking a personalised approach to your health. 

Disclaimer: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.*

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Watch the video version of the conversation here:

Connect with Tommy:

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Related Feel Better Live More Episodes:

#167 The Truth About Fitness and Keeping Your Brain Healthy with Dr Tommy Wood

#316 How To Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s and Keep Your Brain Young with Dr Tommy Wood

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*DISCLAIMER: Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.

†Disclosure: All books marked with a † are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We take part in Amazon’s affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon’s website. You are not charged any extra by using these links to purchase books.

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee MbChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP, MRCGP