You Are What You Eat: A Twin Experiment (2024) s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

[foghorn blows]
[wind whistling]
[alarm clock beeping]
[bright music playing]
[food sizzling]
- [man] You mix cheese in it?
- [man 2] I was gonna put a little bit.
- [man] When did you last have a burger?
- Last night.
[both laugh]
When we were kids, we ate hot dogs.
Sugary cereals.
- [toaster oven dings]
- [woman] Spam, bacon, lots of rice.
Top Ramen noodles.
That was one of the last things
I helped Mom in the kitchen with
- [both laugh]
- was making Top Ramen noodles.
[man 3] We are students.
We try to just keep food around
that we can quickly make.
We have
our Protein Plus drinks right here.
Gatorade with protein in it.
We also have these breakfast bowls
that we'll make quickly in the morning.
It takes, like, three and a half minutes.
[man 4] Meat pies, sausage rolls,
lamb curry, chicken curry.
- [woman] Mm.
- Yes.
Current diets and eating habits
- We have
- consist of, um
So, Wendy and I go [laughs]
To be honest
- Can I finish? You cut me off.
- Okay. Sorry.
Thank you.
[man] Everybody knows the average
American diet is not very healthy.
We sometimes call it
the Standard American Diet,
or S-A-D for "sad."
That's why, as a nutrition scientist,
I've tested many diets over the years,
looking for the healthiest ones.
A major challenge in nutrition studies
is that everyone is unique,
and individuals
respond differently to the same food.
So what if we got people
who are genetically the same?
Uh [laughs]
Identical twins
often have the same mannerisms.
They laugh in exactly the same way.
The way they hold their coffee or tea cups
or drinking beer, is extremely
- Ros Ros and I
- Well
specific to those twins.
Identical twins
are the perfect natural experiment
because each individual
has identical genes
in every cell of its body.
So they are the perfect way
to tell nature from nurture.
[Christopher] We're recruiting 21 pairs
of identical twins
with very different backgrounds
for this study.
We're gonna take advantage
of new technology and new methodology
that's gonna allow us to investigate
metabolism in a very comprehensive way,
and to show people the power
we have at the end of our forks.
[bright music continues]
[Christopher] Ladies and gentlemen,
we are ready for the orientation.
Come join us.
My name is Christopher Gardner.
I have a PhD in nutrition science.
I've been here for 30 years.
For many, many of those years
I've been feeding and bleeding people
for a living.
And recently, I started feeding,
bleeding, and pooping people
'cause now we are into the microbiome.
So, we have a very cool study,
and I wanna assure you that it's not like,
"Oh, we have a super cool diet,
and one of you has to do the lousy diet."
We've actually designed them to both
be positive impact on all of your health.
Okay, we're gonna,
for the first four weeks,
deliver food to you.
You're supposed to eat
just what we mail you.
For four weeks,
we've got a delivery service
that will be providing
all the food to the twins.
That means we'll know
exactly what they're eating
because we will have provided
all the food to them.
Then, for the last four weeks,
you're supposed to go cook on your own.
And this is less rigorous
'cause you won't be able to do it
as good as when we mailed it to you.
And after four weeks,
they're gonna make and buy their own food.
This is more like the real world,
when we don't have as much control
over that aspect of their lives.
The study aim here
is to investigate the impact of you guys
on these two different diets
for cardiovascular health,
metabolic status, and the gut microbiome.
And these two different diets will be
Are you ready?
Vegan versus omnivore.
High in fiber, high in probiotics,
high in phytochemicals,
high in antioxidants,
low in saturated fat.
The most recent nutrition research
suggests some benefits
to eating a plant-based diet,
but some nutrients,
like calcium, iron, and protein,
are easier to get from meat and dairy.
So for the next eight weeks,
we'll be investigating the pros and cons
of a healthy diet
that contains meat and dairy
versus a healthy diet
without either of them.
[Carolyn laughing]
That sounds like both lousy diets.
[Wendy] Pam is not as, you know
- Pam is not a very big meat person.
- [Pam] Yeah.
[Wendy] Where I, you know what,
if steak was not unhealthy
to consume every single day,
yes, I would be I would eat steak.
She would eat steak.
- Okay, this one is
- That one's the carrots. That's the beef.
[Pam] We're both chefs.
And we do corporate catering
and private catering.
[Wendy] I've never been
on a plant-based diet.
I've consumed, um,
like, you know, Impossible Burgers.
I've also never been
on a plant-based diet, but I think
Why you cutting me?
- Because you're not answering properly.
- I am answering it. You just wanna talk.
- You do it then.
- Okay. All right.
- Let's start again. All right.
- Okay.
[both chuckle]
[Christopher] Okay.
During these eight weeks,
we're gonna get some poop and blood.
That looks like stool, right?
[Rosalyn] I'm counting the times.
Two, four, six, seven, eight, nine.
Is that Did I count right?
- There's a lot of poop. Yeah.
- That is a lot.
- [Christopher] 'Cause it's at home.
- So you don't need two people for it?
Don't need two people?
- Just one person can do it.
- No Wait, now you're confusing me.
Two people?
- He doesn't have to be there.
- I mean, like, go like
[Christopher] Oh, no. You don't have
to be there to catch the poop.
[Charlie] Growing up
as identical twins was
I mean, I'm without a reference,
'cause I didn't grow up without one,
but what I can say is, we always
had somebody to play with.
Like, things like this.
"I need some time alone, you know?"
"I'm gonna go take a walk by myself.
Come on, Charlie. Let's go."
[glasses clink]
[speaking in French]
[Charlie] We're known as the Cheese Twins.
We did work in cheese for a long time.
We ended up on The Great Food Truck Race.
We were also asked to do our own pilot.
I really enjoy touching cheese,
smelling cheese. Tasting it's great.
I don't think I'm gonna give up cheese.
So, at the end of the week or so,
you guys are gonna be randomly assigned
these two different diets.
I want you to turn to your beloved sibling
and look them in the eye and say,
"Which one do I want least?"
"I know that's the one I'll get."
And if you're not prepared
to do the one you want the least,
you can't sign up for this study.
You can't switch later.
We're taking a comprehensive approach
to this study,
looking at body composition,
the epigenome, or biological clock,
the microbiome,
and the brain.
This study is unique 'cause no one's
really attempted this before,
to see whether we can really change
people's underlying biochemistry
in just eight weeks.
And the twin model
is the perfect way to do it.
So I'm super excited to see these results.
[foghorn blows]
[birds chirping]
[bright music playing]
- [Carolyn] This is one of my favorites.
- [Rosalyn] Even if it shows our underwear.
- [in Filipino] Undies are showing.
- [laughter]
[Carolyn, in English]
We were born in the Philippines.
Lived there until we immigrated
to the United States.
- Okay.
- [in Filipino] Okay. Give me the butter.
[in English] People think
that Filipino food is a lot of pork.
- No, well, that's here.
- A lot of pork.
- [Carolyn] Wait. We're making arroz caldo?
- [Rosalinda] Yeah.
[Carolyn] Pork, which seems ubiquitous
in the Filipino diet now,
at one time was prepared
maybe once or twice a year,
and that was a treat.
Processed foods were introduced
into the Philippine islands
around World War II.
So that's why, growing up,
we ate foods that were not part
of the Filipino person's diet.
As an immigrant,
there are so many health issues
in the Filipino-American community.
We have heart disease.
- Diabetes.
- Diabetes.
Something that I'm curious about,
how much are our diets part of that?
[Rosalyn] On this study, I was told
I shouldn't eat ice cream anyway.
[Carolyn] That sucks.
Everything in moderation,
and you'll be in good shape.
Well, I'm, I'm, I'm Team Omnivore, so
[Rosalyn] Yeah! Team Omni!
- [Markus] So I'm not for the plant thing.
- Whoo! Team Omni!
You don't wanna try
How about if it's good?
- [Markus] Uh-uh.
- No?
Yeah. Real meat is
That's why people make fake meat.
- Because real meat's good.
- [laughter]
So, for me, this study can help to also
motivate people to to change behavior.
[drive-thru attendant]
Hi. How may I help you?
[woman] There's this paradox
that I come up against, which is
[phone chimes]
we are excited to try new foods,
we're eager to see
what the best new restaurants are,
and then that we're also
stuck in our ways,
that the American diet is what it is,
and we can't change.
And, to me, only one of those is true.
[TV narrator 1] One of the most popular
and convenient foods in the world
is the American hot dog.
[Jennifer] But there's a history
in this country.
There's a cultural reason
for us to continue eating this way.
[TV narrator 2] What you really need
is food with protein in it.
Food like eggs and milk and fish and meat.
Remember my name, Protein.
[Christopher] To understand
a Standard American Diet,
you really have to go back
to sort of post-World War II,
where a lot of Americans
weren't qualifying for the military
'cause they were too thin.
They were undernourished.
And there was a huge push
to get enough calories out there,
be as efficient as we could.
We saw a growing availability
of convenience foods,
a lot of low-cost food,
which then started to morph
into more and more
processed and packaged foods.
[TV narrator 3]
Complete delicious dinners.
Taste pretty good?
Delicious. Like my own home cooking.
[Christopher] And we saw the same thing
with animal-sourced foods.
Beef, pork, chicken, eggs,
dairy products, cheese.
[TV narrator 4] Choose cheese.
The animal agriculture sector
using a very production-line model.
And, over time, factory farms
took over to improve efficiency.
That decreased the cost of animal products
and greatly increased
the amount of animal products
entering into people's diets.
[man] The thought then was,
how can we make a cheap,
industrialized food system
to get people calories?
And that was what fixed our food system
the way it is right now.
And we're at a critical point that,
if we do not change,
this is going to affect us in ways
that many Americans don't imagine.
[Michael Greger] When the federal
dietary guidelines
come out with their "eat more" messaging,
they come out very clearly.
Dietary guidelines say,
"Eat more fruits and vegetables."
But what if you don't have access
to fruits and vegetables?
[Cory] You often see
these areas of America
where access to healthy fresh foods
is not available.
That's what creates food deserts.
[man] The first McDonald
that ever opened up in America
was in San Bernardino.
The people in San Bernardino,
like the rest of the country,
they eat
the regular Standard American Diet.
Lots of processed meats,
and lots of fat and oil.
And with diabetes,
heart disease, and dementia,
the numbers
are just astonishing and scary.
But five miles away,
right across Highway 10,
you have Loma Linda.
This population lives
more than a decade longer
and healthier than everyone else.
I just want to repeat that.
A decade longer.
And you live a decade healthier.
Why was that the case?
That was an enigma to me.
The environment is not much different.
They get the same water.
They get the same air.
But in Loma Linda, most of the population
has access to healthy foods,
such as vegetables, beans,
legumes, and fruits.
And because a lot of them
are Seventh-day Adventists,
the majority of them are vegetarians.
And even when they're not,
they eat meat sparingly.
Two areas just five miles apart,
and the biggest difference is food.
That's profound.
[airplane whooshing]
- [bright music playing]
- [birds chirping]
[Christopher] Today's an important day
of the study.
It's diet assignment day.
[Wendy] Ah, my little kidney donor.
It'll be interesting to see, like,
how these diets impact our growth.
[Rosalyn] What if one of us loses
a ton of weight and the other doesn't?
- That'll make us less twin-like.
- [Jevon] No more identical twinning.
All right. It's time for the diet
assignment randomization reveal.
- Okay, you're Carolyn, right?
- I'm Carolyn.
- Okay.
- Mm-hm.
You ready for this one?
Ah, I can taste the kale now.
[woman] Three, two, one.
- Activate!
- [drumming]
- Yeah!
- [cheering]
- [Rosalyn] I feel relieved.
- [giggling]
[Rosalyn] I feel relieved.
I'm pretty excited.
I'm kind of feeling it for you though.
- Wa, wa, wa.
- But [laughing]
- [Pam] Who's next?
- [chuckling]
- [woman] Which one's Wendy? Pamela?
- I am.
[Wendy] I was really praying
that I'd be on the omnivore diet.
Omnivorous. Oh, omnivore diet. Yeah.
I was hoping to be on the omnivorous diet,
only based on me being an evil twin
wanting to torture my sister.
- [woman] Okay, three, two, one.
- [drumming]
- Yes!
- Oh, no!
[laughter and applause]
Yes! Thank you, Jesus!
- No!
- [laughter]
[Pam] Being on two different diets
for the next eight weeks,
it's gonna be a challenge on me
based on the fact that
- it's not like my life stops.
- [Wendy] Exactly.
- My job continues.
- Yeah.
- And my job consists of making
- Chicken.
- Chicken. And
- Chicken curry.
I'm probably gonna catch myself
doing, like, putting meat,
and then probably having to spit it out
'cause I'm gonna remember,
like, "Oh, damn.
Okay, I'm not supposed to."
[Wendy laughs]
- Which of you is Jevon?
- [laughter]
That's you? Okay.
[Jevon] I've never been
on a plant-based diet.
And this is yours.
Chicken, definitely. [chuckles]
Steak. Love steak.
Every time I bring it up,
John's like, "Oh, I'll do either-or,"
but I do hope I get the plant-based diet.
I'd say I'm more excited than John is.
- [woman] All righty.
- [drumming]
Three, two, one.
- [ding]
- No!
[laughter and applause]
Oh my God.
- [Rosalyn] Oh, goodness. I just hope
- [Carolyn] They're both unhappy.
You were right.
We were gonna get the ones we didn't want.
And Charlie.
One of you
is about to not have cheese for a while.
- [drumming]
- Three, two, one.
- Hey! All right!
- Oh. Damn.
- That makes two.
- That's gonna be hard.
- Yeah.
- We both wanted
Giving up cheese for eight weeks,
that will be you know
It will feel, in my world,
like a bit of a sacrifice.
Like, I love cheese.
- [Pam] Wait, I'm confused.
- [Wendy] So he
I kind of wanted it,
but it's gonna be hard.
- [Pam] You wanted vegan?
- [Wendy] No, he wanted.
- Kind of.
- I wanted to try it.
- I did, but I didn't.
- Yeah.
[Wendy] I need my cheese.
- [laughter]
- I know. I know.
- [Wendy] I need my meat.
- [Michael] Someone's gonna
[woman] It's so interesting about cheese
that people can't give it up.
I meet people all the time who say,
"I would go vegan, except for the cheese."
[gentle piano music playing]
Growing up in Japan, we didn't eat dairy
because dairy was not a food
that Japanese ate.
In fact, the Japanese culture
has never had dairy in it
until after World War II.
The first time I had dairy products,
I remember that so well.
I was eight years old,
and it was a birthday party,
and they were going to have pizza.
And I thought, "If I eat this pizza,
I can finally become an American."
And I took a bite of this pizza,
and I was just like, "Oh my God."
It just was transformative.
Cheese is something
that speaks to the soul.
There's something romantic
about beautiful oozy Bries and Camemberts
that do something to you.
All I ever really wanted in life
was to be able to enjoy
a bottle of great wine
and some fancy cheese.
And a good baguette as well too.
The reason for that,
it's because it's biologically addicting.
Cheese actually
has something called casomorphin,
which is a hormone
that's released when casein,
which is milk protein,
breaks down in your body,
and it's a feel-good hormone.
So when you eat it,
somehow, you just feel high.
And that's why all milk
Apparently, even we have it
because it puts babies to sleep.
They're comforted. They feel good.
And it makes it really hard to give up.
The problem is that cheese
is full of saturated fat.
[Christopher] The saturated fat
that is found mostly in animal products
can raise levels of blood cholesterol
and clog your arteries.
And this can put you at risk
for diabetes and for heart disease.
[Michael Greger]
Too much dairy consumption, in general,
increases the risk of Parkinson's disease,
increases the risk of prostate cancer.
[cow moos]
This is why milk is meant for baby calves.
It's not meant for us.
Drink your milk, kids.
Well, Mr. Miller told me
he never drinks milk.
[woman] The dairy industry spent decades
trying to demonstrate dairy foods
were not only good for you
but were absolutely essential in the diet,
and that if you didn't eat dairy foods,
you weren't gonna be getting
enough calcium.
[narrator] Got milk?
[Marion] The milk mustache campaign.
That's the famous one.
They got celebrities,
sports figures, music figures,
to pose with the milk mustache,
and kids loved it.
[woman] If you think about it,
back when we were hunters and gatherers,
we had to find an animal
and hunt it down and kill it.
Dairy products weren't available.
And so I think that, you know,
this is what part of the problem is now,
that in our modern food society,
we have meat and dairy
in so many products,
and in the abundance
of which we're consuming it,
it's actually quite dangerous.
[Christopher] Americans have been
estimated to eat about 60 pounds of beef,
100 pounds of chicken,
and more than 650 pounds of dairy products
per person per year.
[Miyoko] It's really funny
that people think dairy is necessary
because most people in the world,
including Asians, are lactose intolerant.
Also, it's really interesting
because people today
think that we have to eat meat or dairy
to get protein.
But if you think about it
in the context of human history,
you'll find that most populations
did not eat meat or dairy
except in very, very small amounts,
if at all.
[footsteps approaching]
[John] My name is John. I'm 22.
[Jevon] My name is Jevon. I'm 22.
John has a very dark, rusty kind of voice.
- And I have this slightly nasally
- Bright.
- Brighter.
- Boyish.
- Bright. I won't say boyish, but, um
- [laughs]
I've been described as stoic,
um, quiet, a man of few words.
I'm definitely more quiet than Jevon.
[Jevon] In high school, people said
they were scared to come up to John
'cause of his face,
but they weren't scared to come up to me.
That's an interesting thing to say
to somebody who looks like that person.
- You know.
- [laughs]
I'm just laid back, I guess, is the
And mean-looking, apparently.
You know, they have a bruise
that looks like it's healed,
but another one on their
[Jevon] We're about to graduate
nursing school,
and we work with older people
who don't eat, you know,
the way they should,
and that's something
that it would be a good thing to change.
We do work out together.
Our dad has been a mentor.
He was a bodybuilder
back in, like, the '80s, '90s,
and he won a few competitions,
which is really cool.
[man] So we gotta pour
the whole thing in there?
- 80% of bodybuilding is diet.
- [food sizzling]
Basically, it's a high-protein,
high-carb, low-fat diet.
Don't they smell good?
- Yeah.
- [Jevon chuckles]
[John Sr.] I'm glad y'all ate
'cause y'all not getting any.
[Jevon] I have a short stature,
a very lean stature.
My friends still refer to me as skinny,
which is frustrating
because I've, you know,
put in almost four years of working out
to, you know, build myself the way I have.
I don't think
that I even have the appetite
to eat as much as I would need to to bulk.
[man] Wow, that's incredible.
Which one's your favorite pose?
[John] And on top of that,
I'll be eating vegan,
so getting enough protein
sounds pretty difficult.
[man] He was a really great poser.
You can tell by these shots.
That's awesome.
That's why I'm very excited
to work with a a trainer.
[man] My name is Nimai Delgado.
I am a professional bodybuilder
and health coach
that specializes in helping people
build muscle and lose fat
on a plant-based diet.
[announcer] physique champion, Nimai.
[man] Yeah!
I was born and raised
into a lacto-vegetarian family,
so I've never eaten meat.
There's been a strong push in the media
that has convinced people
that you cannot get adequate protein,
you cannot get adequate nutrition
without meat and dairy.
But there's been about 15,000 people
that have come through my programs,
and, about the two to three-week mark,
they'll start to noticeably feel different
in their energy levels,
in their ability
to get better quality sleep,
maybe even in their sex life.
But before the twins start
the actual training program
that I'm gonna give them,
we're gonna do tests
to measure their starting conditions.
- Okay, so, body-fat time.
- Okay.
- Yeah.
- You're up.
[birds chirping]
[Christopher] This is week zero,
or baseline testing,
and today, we are measuring
body weight and body composition.
We're not actually worried
about excess weight,
we're worried about excess body fat.
And there's ways to measure body fat.
[woman] We're gonna do a DEXA scan.
We're gonna measure your body fat,
your lean mass, and your bone density.
- What's my lean mass?
- Muscle.
I need you to remove your shoes.
The first test is called a DEXA scan.
And you're gonna breathe normally.
You do not have to hold your breath.
Please don't.
[Nimai] The DEXA scan
will be able to distinguish
how much muscle mass you have,
how much body fat you have,
and where it's distributed.
So a DEXA scan will be able
to accurately tell us how much muscle mass
each twin will be able to put on
and how much fat they'll be able to lose
in the course of this study.
[woman] When we stand on a bathroom scale,
we are not looking at fat and lean mass,
and we don't really understand
what the health ramifications
of having those things not in balance are.
If you don't have muscle,
you are unhealthy,
regardless of your pant size
or the scale weight.
So just breathe normally.
We'll start the scanner.
[device beeping]
[scanner whirring]
This device is going to measure
the twins' body composition
at the beginning
and at the end of the study.
And it will be a lot more accurate
than your BMI, or your Body Mass Index.
Typically, when I'm asked about BMI,
my blood pressure goes up.
So we'll, we'll, we'll stay calm.
BMI, or Body Mass Index,
looks at height and weight,
and it spits out sort of a health status.
This is a rudimentary way
in which we try to characterize
whether or not someone
is normal weight or overweight.
I personally don't like it
because it doesn't factor in muscle mass
or other features that are associated
with someone's body composition.
[Amy] If you have a six-foot,
250-pound bodybuilder
with 10% body fat,
by a BMI calculation,
they fall in the obese category.
A 120-pound female
that's nearly 40% body fat
would be normal.
That's why BMI is dogshit.
One important question
is where the fat is located.
If you have the right equipment,
and we do,
you can look at the difference
between body fat and visceral fat.
[Amy] Visceral fat is fat that lies
in and around the organs.
It's the dangerous fat.
And it increases your risk
for type 2 diabetes
and metabolic syndrome.
[Nimai] If you are consuming
high amounts of animal products
as well as processed foods,
you're getting trans and saturated fats,
which is going to increase your chances
of storing visceral fat
around your organs,
which puts you at risk for certain types
of cardiovascular disease.
[scanner whirring]
[Amy] I think the visceral fat
will be a really fascinating component.
How will different diets
affect visceral fat?
I don't know the answer,
and I'm anxious to find out.
[wind whistling]
[birds chirping]
[woman] Good morning.
I'll help you over here.
[Rosalyn] Oh, good morning.
[man] Jenny's gonna take you both
to height and weight.
- [Charlie] Okay.
- [man] Then you'll come in here.
We're gonna do
your blood pressure three times,
draw your blood,
you're gonna go pee in a cup.
- [twins] Okay.
- [man] Okay?
- [Pam] Okay, five pounds off.
- [Wendy] Okay.
[Pam laughing]
[scale beeps]
[Charlie] 212. Should I take off my pants?
'Cause this is
- [Michael] 212!
- [Charlie] That's way overboard.
[Christopher] The second set of tests
for the twins
will be measuring their cholesterol,
insulin, and glucose.
[man] Jevon, John.
It doesn't matter, you guys.
We'll also be measuring
their markers of inflammation.
That's related to immune function.
And the fascinating microbiome,
which is a really hot topic
in the health world right now.
The microbiome
is this complex community of microbes
that lives in our digestive tract.
For a long time,
we've actually known that our gut microbes
are fundamental to digestion of food,
but now we're finding out
that this microbial organ
is absolutely fundamental to our health.
[woman] How quickly you burn calories,
how quickly you fight off an infection,
whether you develop an allergy,
moods, behavior.
It'll be almost impossible
to find an aspect of your physiology
that is not touched
in some way by your microbiome.
[Justin] One of the big questions
in the field of microbiome research is,
"What is a healthy microbiome?"
[Tim] Our gut microbes,
they produce all the chemicals
that keep us alive
and make us live longer.
There are certain microbes
that are associated with unhealthy foods,
and there are others
that are associated with healthy foods,
and the ratio of these
is really important.
If we eat healthy foods,
we get more and more species,
more diversity.
You will actually acquire
a healthier gut microbiome.
[Erica] But the default diet
in our society
is foods that are devoid
of beneficial microbes,
and it's making us all very sick.
The really cool thing about twins
is that their microbiome,
while they're different from one another,
are more similar than non-twins.
- [man] Next stop is the bathroom.
- Woo-hoo!
And so to see how different diets
change the trajectory of this microbiome
that starts out in a similar place
Are you guys coming in?
will be the most exciting thing
to learn from this study.
[Erica] What's gonna happen
if you don't take care of your microbiome?
Well, for example, within our colon,
we secrete mucus,
and it forms this barrier
that keeps our gut microbes
separate from our intestinal cells,
and this mucus lining
contains carbohydrates.
And so when there's
no plant-based carbohydrates
for these gut microbes to consume,
they start consuming the mucus lining.
So, in many ways,
if you don't eat plant carbohydrates,
your microbes actually start eating you.
[seagulls squawking]
- [Charlie] We gotta enjoy it. This is it.
- [Michael] I know.
Well, I mean,
nothing's changing for me, but
Yeah, that's true.
Smell this.
[Charlie] Changing my diet,
it's gonna be a little challenging.
From a health perspective,
it's gonna be great.
Eat more vegetables.
[Michael] Oh, it's melting.
[Charlie] But from an enjoyment
point of view,
maybe not as exciting?
[Charlie] Oh man.
- [Michael] Is it good?
- That's good.
[Michael] What do you think
the others are eating?
That's a good question.
[gentle piano music playing]
[Nimai] A big concern of mine
is whether or not the twins
are going to actually
stay vegan.
It's a big ask
for somebody to go vegan overnight,
especially somebody that is not
willingly making this decision.
So we're making safari rice, right?
Yeah. We're gonna make safari rice.
- Okay. Perfect. Then I'm gonna make
- I miss my other knife that I lost.
[Pam] I know.
[Wendy] Today's dinner is more or less
telling our friends
that Madame Pam here is gonna be
vegan for eight weeks.
We decided we're gonna go
- traditional South African.
- Yes.
[Wendy] South African food,
it's a melting pot
of Dutch, English, French
- German, because they're the ones
- Dutch. Not German. Dutch.
No, but we had the, the, the,
the German Huguenots.
We're not gonna argue.
- It was Dutch.
- French Huguenots taught us to make
It was the Dutch Huguenots
and the French Huguenots, Pam.
- Aren't they all the same?
- No.
- Oh, okay.
- No. No, no.
- [Pam] Is it smelling all right?
- [Wendy] Mm-hmm.
[Wendy] With us being
in the food industry,
a lot happened during Covid.
Corporate catering came to a standstill
because people are working from home
versus working at the office.
- That one's good.
- [Wendy] Okay.
- [Wendy] We were forced to shut down.
- [Pam] Shut down.
And we started stress eating.
Yeah, so we started really stress eating.
I just developed this very unhealthy
relationship with food,
where I could eat ice cream
and, like, eat the whole
- Tub.
- Tub.
[Wendy] And we can start eating.
[woman] It's so pretty.
[Wendy] A lot happened during the past
two years that brought us to this point.
You know. You know I love cheese, right?
[Wendy] So this diet
came at the right time,
and I feel like it's gonna
kind of jumpstart
this healthy way
of thinking of food again.
[man] If you find out
this is healthier, would you go vegan?
- [woman 2] Ooh, interesting.
- [man 2] You see Pam.
She's gonna be
on the South African Olympic team.
[Christopher] With the twins
about to start their diets today,
an interesting new component
of the study to assess
will be the epigenome,
or biological clock.
[woman] Let's put on
your heart rate monitor.
Can you hold that there for me?
This is gonna stay on
for the next two tests.
[woman 2] This goes here.
I'll have you hold it.
And this goes over your head.
[woman 3] Epigenetics is often described
as the science
that explains why DNA is not destiny.
[man] Your body is made of DNA,
and that collection of DNA
is organized in a chain.
That is your genome
and is not really going to change.
Epigenetics, or the epigenome,
is the flags that control
how your genome is being read.
Unlike genetics, epigenetics is flexible.
This means that while we can't change
the genetic sequence,
we can change, through epigenetics,
the way we use our genes.
Nutrition is one of the most
powerful signals for our epigenome.
[woman] The idea of this test is,
you wanna go until you feel like,
"I'm gonna die if I go any further."
Because of good nutrition
and regular exercise,
you could be aging slower.
[device beeps]
This is the first study
looking at epigenetics, or biological age,
in identical twins.
Chronological age
is the number of years since birth,
whereas biological age
is the true age of our cells and tissues.
[Varun] If your biological age
is actually higher than the age
that is dependent on your date of birth,
that actually
has significant clinical implications.
- [woman] Done?
- [Pam] Yeah.
[Varun] You might be
higher at risk for diseases.
But the marks that we study,
they're not fixed.
They can be changed
based on different exposures.
[woman] Push.
[Varun] Things like diet, exercise
can allow you
to decrease your biological age.
That's where it was really interesting
for us to get into this project.
[woman] Fifteen more seconds.
Can you go to the next one? No?
I have to be honest.
I'm very skeptical that, in eight weeks,
you could change biological clock.
[woman] Done? Okay.
[Christopher] The work that I've seen
goes on for years,
and they don't see a change.
I really think this biological-clock thing
is a little far-fetched,
but it's a new area for me to look into,
and so it will be fun exploring this
with some new colleagues.
- [woman] How was that?
- [panting]
- That was something.
- [woman] Brutal? [laughs]
[Christopher] The last baseline test
we need to do
before the twins
start to change their diets in the study
is brain function.
[automated voice] Before you begin,
please make sure you are
seated comfortably in a quiet area.
Now you are going to move on
to the assessment.
We're very excited about this study,
especially the genetic aspect of things,
because people just assume
that Alzheimer's disease
is a genetic disease.
That if their parents
or their grandparents
had Alzheimer's disease,
that they're bound to develop it.
And that couldn't be
further from the truth.
[automated voice] Now touch the box
where you saw this pattern.
[computer chimes]
And where did you see this pattern?
[computer chimes]
You have completed the level.
- Yes!
- This time, there will be four
For Alzheimer's disease, only 3% of cases
have that kind of a genetic pattern,
where if they have the gene,
they will develop it.
In more than 90% of the cases,
lifestyle is what pushes
the manifestation of the disease.
[automated voice] Let's have a go now.
Press Good.
[Dean] What makes a processed-foods diet
a risk factor for dementia
is the fact
that it's laden with saturated fat,
it's laden with hormones,
and so many other chemicals
that we don't even measure.
And for the brain,
it's much more of a threat.
Remember, this is an organ
that's three pounds,
2% of our body's weight,
but consumes 25% of the body's energy.
That means it's working constantly.
It needs clean energy.
[computer chimes]
By reducing the kind of foods
that are laden by hormones
and other chemicals,
the brain will actually heal itself.
[computer chiming]
[automated voice] Well done.
You have completed the task.
I struggled with that one.
- [chuckling]
- [automated voice] Next, there will be
[Christopher] With baseline
data collection completed,
now we'll be able to find out
what measurable aspects of health
we'll be able to change
in just eight short weeks.
[Cory] So many people
in America in general
are dying from diet-related diseases,
and a lot of it is because
what we're putting in our mouth.
[cows mooing]
[man] 96% of all beef in this country
was, at some point,
in an industrial feedlot.
[pigs grunting]
[woman] All of the waste sits
until the farmer sprays the liquid
onto adjoining fields.
[woman 2] The grandkids,
they was coming in the house
saying it was raining outside,
and we was like, "No, it's not raining."
It was feces.
[Cory] Racial issues, economic issues.
[man 2] You know, when you see tumors
and you see bacterial infections,
kind of dadgum
ruins your appetite for chicken.
[Cory] Issues of climate change.
[cow mooing]
Why aren't we talking about this?
[Michael Greger] The good news is,
we have tremendous power.
People don't realize
that what we put in our mouths
is more important than anything else.
My first week.
[Ayesha] For us to be able to show
that, during this study,
twins who have the same genetic patterns
but they're exposed
to two different lifestyles,
can show differences
I'm very excited for a new change
and to see how my body transforms.
is a game-changer.
[gentle electronic music playing]
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