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The Keys to Metabolic Balance with Cherry Wills

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The Keys to Metabolic Balance with Cherry Wills

What is Metabolic Balance and how does it help with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)?

In today’s episode nutritionist Cherry Wills takes us through the high prevalence of NCDs throughout Australia and the world, which include diabetes, metabolic syndrome,  and the core principles of the Metabolic Balance program. She discusses how personalised nutrition helps bring our bodies back into balance, creating the perfect synergy for optimal health, and why we should avoid “aspirational nutrition” and instead focus on what our bodies actually need. 

Covered in this episode

[00:57] Welcoming Cherry Wills
[01:40] What are NCDs?
[03:59] Prevalence of NCDs
[07:39] Avoiding body shaming
[11:30] What is Metabolic Balance?
[18:17] Getting comfortable with hunger
[22:11] The problem with “aspirational” nutrition
[30:24] Using clinical markers to track progress
[35:01] Incorporating lifestyle aspects into metabolic balance
[40:01] Metabolic dysregulation impairs immune response
[44:01] Tweaking the program with new research
[45:41] Thanking Cherry and closing remarks

Andrew: This is FX Medicine. I'm Andrew Whitfield-Cook. Joining us today is Cherry Wills. With her first career and PhD in colour chemistry, Cherry saw the light - forgive the pun - and decided to study nutrition. Her passion is a food-focused approach concentrating on Metabolic Balance. Welcome to FX Medicine, Cherry. How are you going?

Cherry: Thank you, Andrew. Yeah, I'm good. Thank you.

Andrew: Now, I have to say, what a fortuitous name to have, Cherry.

Cherry: I know. I, kind of, almost wonder if my mom's destined me this way. It's often what I say, “I am a nutritionist called Cherry.”

Andrew: So let's start right at the beginning. We're talking about this whole group of metabolically inclusive diseases called non-communicable diseases, or NCD. What exactly is involved or included in the NCDs?

Cherry: Really, it is all of those conditions like hypertension. It's heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer. It is those conditions that are so widespread within our community and our society, but they are not catching, they're not contagious. But they are very much a part of our lives, and it creates such ill health in society. And that is really where we know that diet and lifestyle plays an enormous role in these NCDs.

The World Health Organization estimates that a third of deaths worldwide can be attributed to NCDs. That may even be very much an underestimation. And it's all the standard risk factors: hypertension, tobacco use, hyperglycaemia, physical inactivity, and being overweight, obesity. Those are the key risk factors that are all associated with NCDs.

Andrew: So I'm going to assume that it excludes those factors like genetic factors, and includes only those diseases that have significant diet and lifestyle modifiable factors. Is that correct?

Cherry: Yeah, absolutely. But then I would even question whether we know how the environment and we know how lifestyle can even impact on the genotype. So, are we even in today's society leading to more potential future NCDs because of the way...?

Andrew: Oh.

Cherry: It's a whole minefield that I think that we are opening up for our future because we are not addressing the NCDs now.

Andrew: So, got to ask the government to think ahead?

Cherry: Yes.
Andrew: So they're asking the government to do that?

Cherry: Yeah.

Andrew: So let's talk a little bit about the prevalence of these NCDs, particularly things like obesity. I mean, I don't know about now, but I think at one stage, Australia was the fifth obese country in the world, is that right?

Cherry: I am pretty sure that the stats, on average, at least 70% of Australian adults are either overweight or obese

Andrew: Right.

Cherry: And just that statistic in itself is incredible. Other statistics I find quite incredible, like less than 5% apparently eat five fruit and veg servings a day. And even just drinking water, and getting out in sunlight, and getting enough sleep, and having good stress management techniques, all of that plays a big role in why we have such a high prevalence of NCDs.

Diabetes itself has been very much shown to be highly influenced by physical activity. If you take away the genotype influence, or even the dietary influence, if somebody isn't active enough, that massively ramps up their risk of diabetes. 

So it's almost like we've created this perfect storm of all of the factors that come together in our society to bring on this incredible health burden, which is just misery for so many people.

Andrew: Is the most dangerous word that we've ever made for ourselves the word "convenient?" Convenient food, convenient travel?

Cherry: Yeah, it is. I would say we have never had so much excess on our doorsteps in many ways. One of my little theories is actually, as a society, we've become quite intolerant to the feeling of hunger. Nobody has to be hungry in our society for more than a couple of minutes. You can feel a bit peckish. I'll just get rid of that. And so we have this grazing attitude. We can have breakfast 24 hours a day. We can have any meal at any point, and we can get Uber to deliver it to us, so we didn't have to get off our bums and get out, walk to the shop even.

And I think that's part of this loss of even the structure in our day. It used to be only, say, 30 years ago, you had to have lunch between 12:00 and 2:00, otherwise the cafe was closed. Now, well, you can have it at any time. And that's why food and meals have almost become the lowest priority of somebody's day. They will fit every other meeting in place, they will do all the other things that they have to do. And they'll just, "Oh, yeah, I'm hungry now. I'll just grab that, and I'll just go." And yet what we are eating every single day is what actually has the biggest impact on our health.

So it's almost this complete, topsy-turvy world. And then it's like, "Well, why am I ill? Why am I overweight? Why do I feel tired and lethargic? Give me a magic pill. Do some tests to me that will just say it's not my fault, and it will fix me." So, yeah, it's an incredible world that we're living in.

Andrew: Absolutely. I have to cover a question early off. And that is, it's almost like politically incorrect to say somebody is overweight now. I mean, I know I'm overweight. I'm fat. I used to be very, very slim and fit, and things like that. I'm fat, because I sit down most of the day, I don't get off my bum, and I rely on convenience. I own that. But it's almost like you can't say the word "fat" to a patient, because then you're body shaming. So, where do you, like, cover or jump over this line? How do you cover this with patients?

Cherry: It's a fascinating question, actually, because I am very much about creating the ideal health for a person. So I don't even really talk about doing diets. I actually talk about, "We want to create a healthful environment for your body so that all of your body processes actually start to work." I actually do think, like you, many people own the fact that they're fat. I mean, I do think it's very much a fact of life, that this is the case.

Andrew: Yes.

Cherry: And what I find incredibly...I get so angry about and very frustrated about, is when it is seen as some kind of shaming situation. People are shamed into it. And often, even there's awful programs like the Biggest Loser, where they literally are putting a person who is in such an unhappy place, and they are shining this massive light on them and telling them, "You should be ashamed of yourself," and it's absolutely terrible.

What it is, is helping people really just take control of their health. And actually, we get you into a healthier place, and then we see what your body does. And I like to also have the health goal, not a weight goal. We are talking about ways we can get you healthy. 

And that is very empowering, as well, for some people because the other thing, if you talk about weight and you talk about losing weight, that's kind of a short-term goal. So, okay, somebody crosses that line. And then, okay, "I'm there now. I'm end of the race, so to speak, or end of that. I'm there, and I'll just abandon everything I've just done because I'm now here. I've arrived." 

And actually, I talk also so much about your health journey is until you die. So it's 'til you literally take that last breath. And you're always going to have different moments where you are leaning in and allowing your body to be...you're focusing on your health, whereas other times you might be a bit more relaxed about that focus.

So, it's so important to talk about health and where you ultimately want to be in 2 weeks, 6 months, 5 years, 25 years' time. And I feel if we keep that eye on the goal, because so many people, they find themselves in a situation of unbalance, they're unbalanced, their whole metabolism is out of sync. They can't do anything about it. And all they're seeing is potentially doctors' waiting rooms and diabetes around the corner.

Andrew: I want to get into exactly what metabolic balancing or Metabolic Balance is in a tic. Forgive me. No. I want to do that now, because I want to get into these, like, aiming for health a little bit later. So, metabolic balance, what exactly is it?

Cherry: Metabolic Balance is a program that was developed by a German doctor and nutritionist team back in 2002. And it's Dr Funfack, Sylvia Bürkle, and Birgit Funfack. And Dr Funfack, his whole PhD, his whole research was all on metabolic disorders and helping his patients in clinic, and he was very frustrated by the lack of progress that they were getting with the standard approaches. And they really set about trying to find a way of personalising the food intake for their patients. 

So they've created this system where we take 35 blood parameters, and we take a client's body measurements, and their current medications, and their health conditions that they have. We put it all into this database, and then it generates their personal food list and menu plans. So it's a purely food approach. And that is what somebody then follows.

And it's almost like this kitchen table approach that has now, through word of mouth, spread around the globe into 35 different countries, and it's practitioner-only. So it is about a real great integrity and real results for clients, because practitioners...I certainly would not be using it eight years later, I’ve been using it for eight years now. And I certainly wouldn't be talking about it if it didn't give real key changes to clients.

Andrew: So, anybody with half a brain knows that the Standard Australian/American Diet, SAD, whichever one you choose. What do you say in England? SED? We know that for most people it's unachievable. 

Cherry. Yeah.

Andrew: It certainly isn't adhered to. One of the biggest issues is portion sizes. But one of the questions I have is, where did Dr Funfack get the data, if you like, to spring from? To start looking at these parameters and be able to say, "Well, that's what the goal should be?"

Cherry: Everything is based on nutrition science. It is also based on his observations in his clinic with his patients. And it was a trial-and-error thing, I would imagine. I have to say. Unfortunately, Dr Funfack did pass away in 2013, so I've not, unfortunately, had a conversation with him exactly how this came about, which I wish I could have done. But he very much took a completely different view to metabolic syndrome and the diabetes approach.

To go down the role of balancing insulin and carbohydrate intake is always going to be a completely crazy balancing act. Whereas if you actually properly control the glycaemic response, actually put in the correct order of foods in meals, do that time-restricted feeding. This is why I really do talk about Dr Funfack as being very visionary with his approach, because now the research is catching up with what he presented 20 years ago.

Andrew: Right.

Cherry: We have so much research that talks about time-restricted feeding and interval control of foods: portion sizes, the influence of the gut microbiome, the digestive function, liver function, hormone balance. So all of this is coming into fruition, and it's even giving more validity to the original ideas of Dr Funfack.

Andrew: Does it have anything to do, not all to do, but does it have anything to do with that old adage about breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper?

Cherry: Well, actually, metabolic balance is the opposite way around. We actually do suggest having a smaller breakfast, a medium lunch, and a bigger dinner. 

Andrew: Wow.

Cherry: So that's actually almost...it is different to that. But we definitely recommend the three meals a day. You have to fuel yourself, and you also have to give your body time to properly process all of those foods. There's no snacking. Snacking, and a little bit like where, at the beginning, when I mentioned we don't have to be hungry for more than three minutes. We can just reach for something.

And that is a very dangerous place to be because you don't know how much you're eating often. And the glycaemic control is very much dysregulated because the body's never really able to get everything back into play and back into balance again, and level things out. I fully believe that the human body is the most amazingly engineered system that when it's given the opportunity, it will all synchronise in a very, very balanced way. And you can go through the day very easily and naturally without having those dips in blood sugar level.

And I'm a classic example. Throughout my 20s, I had terrible glycaemic control. I was known as “the snack queen." I had the snack drawer in the office that everyone knew was where the chocolates and the crisps were kept. And I couldn't go through the day without snacking. I was terrible. And I knew things weren't right, and that was when I saw a nutritionist. But it wasn't until 2012 when I introduced MB, and I did it for myself, that I actually got my glycaemic control under control, and now, no issue whatsoever.

Andrew: Okay. So, talking about hunger, what is it? Hunger, tiredness, and lack of time, they're the three biggest hurdles for weight loss. Now, I get that we're not talking about weight loss. I get we're talking about health. But if somebody is going to enter into a program where they have to become comfortable with hunger, how do you get them comfortable with hunger?

Cherry: I definitely do not say that with MB you are hungry. That is one of the key things. When you actually do the process correctly, there is no hunger.

Andrew: Not even like on a ketogenic diet, getting three to five days of going AWOL? Doesn’t happen?

Cherry: No. If they are hungry, then we need to tweak it. And I know all sorts of ways to tweak it. So, if a client of mine is hungry between meals, I want to know almost immediately, and I want to then work on that to tweak it and different. And that might be changing the breakfast.

It also depends on which interval of the day people are feeling peckish. It's not necessarily the meal just before that. It's actually the meal before that, because it's the ripple effect that then becomes more manifest. So, if somebody is hungry mid-afternoon, I'll be wanting to look at their breakfast. How do we make breakfast a better foundation for their day, that ensures that their whole glycaemic control through the day is properly balanced? And that's where we tweak it.

But it's also the food order. That plays a massive role. We like to have that first mass of protein because that equally gets, like, glycogen and insulin into the right balance. That plays a massive role. 

Andrew: Now this is interesting.

Cherry: So this is where MB...Dr Funfack, he was ahead of his time. We now have even more research demonstrating what he brought in 20 years ago.

Andrew: Okay. So, this is really interesting because I thought it was debunked about this sort of, "Don't have this food with that type of food."

Cherry: It's not food combining. It's the food order.

Andrew: That's right. So, what you're talking about, though, is not what was originally thought about the digestive juices, but what you're talking about is the responses, the body responses.

Cherry: Yeah. And that is going into what personalised nutrition really is, and what do we use as the medium to find that out? Because there was a study last year in...2019, there was a study that looked at 1,000 people. It was King's College London and Boston, Massachusetts General Hospital. And 60% of those respondents were twins. And they basically gave them the same meals and then measured their glycaemic responses, what actually happened as a result of eating that exact same meal. And they showed that even between twins, they had very distinct differences with what happened.

So, giving the same food to two people with the same genotype, you get two different responses. So, to me, this is saying, can we really go down the route of saying a genotype personalised approach? Because if that's even the case, that's totally not going to give us what we need. And this is where I fully believe that we have to look at all of the aspects that come into play for a person's health, and where they are, to find the right foods for them.

Andrew: But what about people who choose different diets, like vegetarians, pescatarians, vegans?

Cherry: Well, I talk about a lot of that with a sort of an aspirational idea of what you would like to be eating. So, aspirational nutrition as opposed to personal nutrition. And it's like, it's trying to say, "Well, from my own desire, I'm going to make my body work on that fuel." It's a little bit like saying a cat should be a vegetarian. That's not going to work for a cat to be optimally healthy. Yes, you can argue it will kind of survive, but will it? And it's the same way with a person. And we have to take it all into account as to what really is right for that person.

So, for somebody who has a genetic background, and an environment, and that needs more of an animal meat approach to say, "Look, I want to be vegetarian, and I want to be healthy. I will be healthy," and yet ignore all of the symptoms that might be arising from that, I just find it really bizarre. I had one client who I very much remember, she came to me because she was feeling terrible, tired all the time, horrific hormonal, menopausal symptoms, put on about 10 kilos of weight in about 10 months, and just felt terrible. But when questioning, it was like, well, she went vegetarian about a year ago.

So it was like, "Well, I just do not think that the diet you're choosing right now is actually sustaining you, and we need to relook at that." And her response to that was, "I'm not sure I can sacrifice my principles for the sake of my health." And I just remember being...those words have stuck with me ever since, because I was taken aback that somebody can decide so strongly that they have to eat a certain way, and ignore all of the aspects.

Now, what I would definitely say is some people definitely suit a vegetarian diet, or are more leaning towards a vegetarian diet, whereas other people most definitely do not. And it's about actually finding what that is for you, and kind of accepting it as that is your reality as opposed to being...it's like an inconvenient truth in many ways. This is the truth of the situation and we can’t change it. It's like deciding I want curly hair, but I've got straight hair.

Andrew: What about, though, long-term health or disease issues? When you've got like, for instance, if you say somebody is more suited to a meat diet, but we know…well, do we know? Overall on a population that we know a plant-based diet, not a plant-total diet, but a plant-based diet, certainly more plant protein than what we're currently receiving is healthy for long-term cardiovascular, stroke, and cancer effects, particularly bowel cancer?

Cherry: But you see, that again is going… Sorry to interrupt you there, Andrew.

Andrew: No problem.

Cherry: I would say that's really playing into sort of the epidemiological studies that are not really looking at a personalised level. In my opinion, it is the individual inflammation in a person that leads to all of those conditions: cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes. And to simply say that it's exactly the same foods that are leading to that inflammation in that person, that is where you're coming back to the one-size-fits-all approach. 

Andrew: Got you.

Cherry: And when you genuinely go down that personalised route, and really find, which are the right proteins for that individual? And we can find that down to which cuts of meat, whether somebody should be having a pork chop or a pork fillet, because that is a different protein structure, and give different nutrients. And that is the depth of the analysis that we can do. It's finding the different parts of a meat, or even whether you should have the whole cauliflower or the cauliflower leaves. That's because we're talking about different nutrients there.

Andrew: Please make mine the eye fillet!

Cherry: Well, I remember so many clients who, they pop into my mind, but there was a tradie, big guy. He was like 6-foot-4. He was 160 kilos, definitely needed to lose weight. And when his plan came back, there was no meat on it. And he looked at it, he goes, "Well, where's my meat?" And he's like, "A barbie is, you don't put salad. You don't do salad with a barbeque. It's just your meat."

Andrew: Yes, you can.

Cherry: And that is what your body needs. And that's the thing. When you have an analysis that does that for you, it's like, well, there's no arguing. There's no negotiation. "Look, you're doing this. This is what you're doing. This is what your body needs."

Andrew: So, what was his adherence seeing as it was so dystonic to his previous life?

Cherry: It was great. Honestly, that's one of the key things because you have an analysis that is done on a person's blood. They are fully committed because they've gone down the route of going and having their blood done. They are there and they want change. That is actually the key thing. It's so rewarding to be able to help people get the change they want, because so often, people are helpless. They've tried all sorts of diets, all sorts of approaches, and nothing. They’re killing themselves in the gym, and nothing is really shifting. And when you give somebody just a key plan, "This is what you are doing," and also the key point as well, is that they are actually getting results quickly. 

When we talk about personalised nutrition and bringing everything together all at the same time, I like to really see it as like that perfect synchronicity, which is the opposite of the perfect storm. We know about the perfect storm for ill health, stress, and accidents. And pharmaceuticals, and antibiotics, and all that kind of stuff comes in and creates this environment that leads somebody on a cascade of ill health and getting one thing after another, and just going down that pitfall. 

Well, flipping that on its head, how do we bring that perfect environment of all of the aspects together, that actually is that perfect synergy that just when you have that person in the centre, and all these aspects genuinely match that person, suddenly, it does not take long. It's a matter of days, and you've got change.

Andrew: Right.

Cherry: And I'm not talking about rapid weight loss, I'm talking about change. I'm talking about just that brain fog lifting, the headaches going, the body aches, the joint pain disappearing. Those kind of things are all signs of imbalance and inflammation. So when somebody has those differences, they're like, "I'm not changing this." And their compliance is…. Sorry, what was that?

Andrew: What about measurement, though? So you're saying that you're looking at these numerous markers. You can see change subjectively, "I feel better. The brain fog's lifted," that sort of thing. What about objective markers, though, hypertension, reduction of, say, coronary artery calcium score, CRP, tumour necrosing factor? Can you see these objective changes, and how often do you test?

Cherry: So, because we have the initial pathology, that is what we use to create. So we have the starting point. So that is our baseline. And then, yes, you can test as often as you want. I would say I like to retest around the three to six-month mark again. I always want to have a retest, and then we can analyse it and see the differences.

Also, you're monitoring waist, hip, thigh measurements on a daily basis. And, also, the other thing that I do with every client is I'm looking at their body composition analysis so using a quad scan, that really changes things. And you can see on the screen the changes in the fat, the hydration, the inflammation markers. Those are all shifting from day one, because I'd like to see somebody on day five, actually. So I'm doing my second scan on day five, and you are seeing a change. And that's what I talk about when you do bring that perfect synergy into play, everything comes together, and you wake up the body. You're waking up all the body processes.

Andrew: Do you find, or is there that risk, I guess, that on most diets, you'll get an initial fluid loss and people going, "Oh, I've lost weight," but then a plateau. So, when you hit that barrier, do you hit that barrier with this sort of metabolic balancing?

Cherry: I would say there's always a fluid loss. Pretty much, that's the inflammatory loss. But we very much kick in very quickly into that fat burning. And that's one of the key things that metabolic balance does. It actually does change the basal metabolic rate, because that is actually the key thing that we have to shift in order to get real weight loss happening, and while we're protecting the muscle.
Protecting the muscle has to be your key priority as well because if you're...that's one of my biggest dislikes often about the ketogenic approach. You lose so much muscle. I've had clients, postmenopausal women who have actually created pretty much a state of ill health, of low muscle sarcopenia going on. So you've got to protect the muscle, and you want to lose the fat mass.

I would say, the key thing about MB is when somebody really does focus on their foods, when you keep that perfect synergy, it's like you're walking down a set of stairs. It's a gradual, nice release. But the more you bring in other aspects that are going to break that synergy, then you get a slowing down, which isn't always a bad thing in many ways because what we really want to try and do is bring somebody into a great place that this becomes their lifestyle.
They do not see that they have to always be strict. But as long as they're going in the right direction, that is really the real aim of changing that lifestyle for the long term. And then people know, when they really want to have significant change again, they just come back to those key foods. They really focus in, they lean in, and they really stick to their metabolic balance food list.

And it's like that intermittent dieting. There's great research that talks about the benefits of intermittent dieting, because especially when you've got somebody that wants to lose 40, 50, 60X, more kilos, you have to have that real nice balance of a good quality of life for it to be long-term.

Andrew: Well, you just mentioned lifestyle, and, of course, lifestyle isn't just food. It's the stress, and the sleep, and exercise, which we always forget to do. So, how do you incorporate these aspects into Metabolic Balance?

Cherry: That is very much naturally done over the coaching period because that's one of the key visions, as well, of Dr Funfack, and when MB was founded, is that people need support. They need to have that coach, that professional who is really there for them and supporting them while they're doing the lifestyle change. And that, again, is being very much borne out in the research for long-term sustainable success. It works so much better when people are supported. So we know this.

Andrew: Always. They’re the ones that have gained long-term benefit. What was it? Longer than two years, those which had support. There were two main ones. We're not product-orientated, so we're not going to mention them. But the other one that I think is interesting was in a controlled environment. There was an Israeli trial. And this was...

Cherry: Was that with soldiers?

Andrew: They worked at an atomic energy facility. So they had their cafe, and they had the different dots on there, what they were allowed to eat. And so, there was the high carb diet, the, let's say, ketogenic diet, and then there was the Mediterranean-style diet. And the ketogenic diet was better for quick weight loss, and quick cardiovascular parameter drop, or normalisation. But over two years, it basically evened out to the same as the Mediterranean diet. But the interesting thing there is that they had the dots. They had, "That's my food.” Great, in a controlled environment. So, I guess the question is, how do you overcome the slick marketing of really bad food?

Cherry: I just think that is in education. And is that not part of what our role really is? Is to help educate that person in front of us to make the right choices and recognise what is driving their choices. It leads us a little bit back to, my background is in market research of food and drink. And I know the billions of dollars that is spent by the food industry to make food desirable. So I'm educating clients on this, which I know, trying to say.

And the other key thing that I would also point out is, when you have taken somebody from a relatively processed diet to eating whole foods for a sustainable period, you've awoken their taste buds. They are suddenly feeling energised and they know what real food tastes like. And they go back to essentially the cardboard food, and they realise, "Oh, my God. This actually tastes rubbish." So, again, it's the education. It's always education.

Andrew: What about portion size, though? I mean, they can eat healthy food, but you're going to eat up too much of it.

Cherry: Oh, absolutely. But I would also say, when you are actually having three meals a day, it's actually relatively hard to eat a massive portion of really fresh whole foods beyond your natural satiety level. But this is, again, what we do use. Portion control is part of the education with the program.

Andrew: Can you have excess Brussels sprouts, though, please? I love Brussels sprouts.

Cherry: You can have all Brussels sprouts as your vegetable portion, definitely. But if you are saying, "Look, no snacking," that is actually where you really can do the portion control. The snacking, that constant picking through the day. And I think if many people really saw what they snacked on a day on one plate, probably wouldn't fit on one plate. It would be a bench top of food. And they'd be like, "Oh, my God. I really eat all of that?" 

So, again, getting the three meals a day and getting people to really recognise that that period, that interval between the meals is almost sacred, that's when your digestion is tidying up. That's when your body is really processing, absorbing, and levelling out and getting everything really ready for the next meal. That is the balance that we really want to get, and the education.

Andrew: There is so much to cover here. We could go into neurobehavioral disorders, we could go into… Well, here's one. Immunity. So, we know, for instance, that diet has a reasonable impact, at least, on how our immune system works. We are now in this horrible age of COVID-19, and we know that there are those people with comorbidities, cardiovascular and diabetes, the major two. 
Tell us a little bit about how this works with the risk of having...I think you might have actually mentioned that before. I can't remember what you said, though, but it's rather perfect...

Cherry: The perfect storm. 

Andrew: Yeah.

Cherry: So, I am not a virus expert in any way. I'm not, and I will definitely say I’m not. But what I do say is that we know the research is very sound to say that people with metabolic disorders have got increased risk. And it's hypertension, obesity, insulin resistance, glucose resistance, this all affects the whole endothelial dysfunction. Metabolic dysregulation seriously impairs that immune response and creates the cytokine storm, which then can lead down that path to very much adverse outcomes with COVID.

Andrew: But we're not talking about a treatment, we're talking about prevention?

Cherry: No. Changing the risk. You can actually change the risk factor as to whether somebody goes down that cytokine storm. And that's really where we come from with, let's just really get the diet right. Let's get all of that lifestyle factors into play that allows balance to be restored.

One of my theories, and I would love the research to be done on this, and I think it will be, but this virus that particularly seems to be impacting on metabolic dysregulation and metabolic conditions, is it almost that perfect virus for our society today? If this particular virus had been created or generated, whatever, in 1918, would it have had the same pandemic response?

Because we didn't have the diabetes rates, we didn't have the metabolic syndrome rates in 1918. And the demographics of that virus, I believe, if I'm correct, was all about really young people. Young men in their 20s were affected. And it's like if COVID-19 was...if we didn't have the metabolic issues that we had, would it even be a pandemic? Or would it be a fairly benign virus that is just not so deadly?

Andrew: That's an interesting point. There's still younger people getting COVID-19.

Cherry: Yeah. You also have younger people with very poor metabolic health as well. Unfortunately, today, age doesn't necessarily determine your health at all.

Andrew: Good point.

Cherry: So, again, the research will be done and we'll...

Andrew: We’ll be learning about this for years to come.

Cherry: And more and more research will be happening on this for years to come. But it's just a question I have, that's all.

Andrew: So, is there data collection so that more clarity can be gained for future dietary tweaks, for instance?

Cherry: So, I would say Metabolic Balance is constantly tweaking the database with the new research that comes out. It's a passion for the team in Germany. And it's very much the database of the food is tailored to individual countries, because once you have the theory, you can actually just apply it to the different nutrients and foods available in the different countries.

Andrew: Right.

Cherry: And it's always evolving, because research is evolving, and that's the exciting thing about the world of research, isn't it?

Andrew: Yeah. That's amazing. When you think about cultural issues with even eating, let alone the food. Wow.

Cherry: Yeah. You have to take into account what fish can we buy here in Australia? It's totally different to the fish you can buy in England. And you have to take that into account. So, yeah, we have to know. Again, coming into real personalised nutrition, it's a game-changer with giving people a real change.

Andrew: There is so much more to learn. You said, "Get rid of the headache." I’ve got one now. You said...

Cherry: Let's get you on an MB plan and we'll resolve all those headaches.

Andrew: Cherry Wills, thank you so much for sharing. This really is a tiny, tiny bit of what's going on with Metabolic Balance, but I really thank you for sharing with us. This is just so interesting. Thanks so much for sharing this with us today on FX Medicine. It's really brilliant work you're doing.

Cherry: Thank you. Thanks ever so much for your time.

Andrew: This is FX Medicine. I'm Andrew Whitfield-Cook, who's going to eat differently now.


The information provided on FX Medicine is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice or care. Please seek the advice of a qualified health care professional in the event something you have read here raises questions or concerns regarding your health.

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