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Ask the Health Expert

Author: JJ Virgin

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JJ Virgin’s Ask the Health Expert Podcast is THE go-to podcast to stop dieting as a hobby, lose weight, and prevent weight regain.

With over 15 million downloads (and counting!), we empower people to take control of their health with simple, actionable strategies to use right now.

Real Food, Real Change, Real Results.

Every information-packed episode combines cutting-edge science, pearls of wisdom from JJ’s 3 decades as a health and wellness leader and the world’s leading experts on weight loss, metabolism, menopause, and much more.

At Ask the Health Expert, we take a different approach to weight loss. Diets do work... to a point. They help people eliminate hidden food intolerances and lower their sugar impact.

In the bigger picture, though, they don't honor our intuitive GPS, which helps people learn what works (and what doesn't work) for their unique biochemical makeup.

If you're fed up with outdated, flawed, or outright incorrect information, the Ask the Health Expert Podcast takes a different, science-based approach to weight loss... one that works, even when nothing else has.

For over 3 decades, JJ Virgin has helped people lose weight and stop weight regain by eliminating hidden food intolerances and lowering their sugar impact. As a triple-board certified nutrition expert and Fitness Hall of Famer, JJ helps you stay fired up and focused on being your healthiest rockstar self.

In addition to hosting Ask the Health Expert, JJ is a prominent TV and media personality. She was co-host of TLC’s Freaky Eaters and the on-camera nutritionist for Weight Loss Challenges on Dr. Phil.

Over the years, JJ has made numerous appearances on PBS, Dr. Oz, Rachael Ray, Access Hollywood, and the TODAY Show. She also speaks regularly and has shared the stage with notables including Seth Godin, Lisa Nichols, Gary Vaynerchuk, Mark Hyman, Dan Buettner, and Mary Morrissey.

JJ is the author of 4 New York Times bestsellers: The Virgin Diet, The Virgin Diet Cookbook, The Sugar Impact Diet, and The Sugar Impact Diet Cookbook.

Her upcoming book (coming soon!), teaches people how to lose weight and avoid weight regain by ditching dieting and trusting their intuitive GPS.

JJ is also the author of Warrior Mom: 7 Secrets to Bold, Brave Resilience. She regularly writes for major blogs and other publications including mindbodygreen and Medium.

Visit for hundreds of free recipes and resources, plus state-of-the-art programs, products, and plenty of support to help you lose weight, stop weight regain, and build your dream life.
985 Episodes
When you want to lose weight, you probably think of diet and exercise, right? But working out too much might be stalling fat loss! Exercise has so many benefits, but it may not help you lose as much weight as you think. Here, you’ll learn why over-exercise spikes stress hormones (leading to a cascade of problems), the FIRST thing you should do to get more exercise (hint: it’s not going to the gym!), and the best workout for your metabolic buck (and you can do this in under 10 minutes total). I’ll also reveal the most important aspect of exercise to get all of its benefits (many people aren’t doing this!), how to recover smartly, and how I exercised LESS to get much better results!
Author and founder of the Kalish Institute, Dr. Dan Kalish is dedicated to training practitioners in functional medicine philosophies and practices. He joins JJ in today's podcast episode to talk about the powerhouse of your cell: the mitochondria! Listen as Dr. Kalish explains the role of your mitochondria in regulating your metabolism, as well as why your ability to burn fat and maintain your energy levels can suffer if your mitochondria aren't functioning properly. Dr. Kalish also shares the top sources of oxidative stress that can damage your mitochondria like excessive endurance exercise and exposure to environmental toxins. Plus, Dr. Kalish reveals how to rebuild your mitochondria, including the simple diet and lifestyle tips you can start putting into action today to jumpstart fat burning, regain energy, and take back your health! Get Dr. Dan Kalish’s free Mitochondria Masterclass
It’s my mission to help you get off sugar! In this video, you’ll learn 5 ways to lower your sugar impact to flip the switch, drop fat fast, and keep it off. Unfortunately, sugar is sneaky: It hides in strange, unsuspecting places and in “healthy sounding” names. You’ll learn why cutting out sugar is so hard (willpower doesn’t apply here!), why natural or “healthy” sugar is still sugar, the sneaky places where sugar hides, how to determine how much sugar your body can handle, and the sugar-dementia connection (this is shocking!). Plus, I’ll give you simple sugar swaps, how to build your plate to crush cravings, the super nutrient that balances blood sugar and lots more, and the surprising connection between sugar and gut health. With these strategies, you’ve got everything you need to step off the sugar roller coaster for good so that you can shift from being a sugar burner to a fat burner.
Research shows that only 12% of adults are metabolically healthy. Since that data was published, metabolic conditions including obesity and diabetes have only become worse. In this episode of Ask the Health Expert, cardiothoracic surgeon and bestselling author Dr. Philip Ovadia explains why the answers to these problems can be found in metabolic health. As a morbidly obese and pre-diabetic surgeon, Dr. Ovadia realized that he was going to end up on his own operating table. He tried everything he learned in medical school: The same advice he gave to patients to eat less, move more, and pay attention to the U S. Dietary Guidelines. Only problem was, that advice was failing him and his patients. Eventually, Dr. Ovadia found that by focusing on metabolic health, he was able to improve his own health. He lost over a hundred pounds and reversed his pre-diabetes. With that same focus and passion, he helps patients reach those same results. In this podcast, Dr. Ovadia talks about why our modern food environment has hijacked our health and made us metabolically unhealthy. He explains the difference between clean and dirty processed foods, the link between disease and poor metabolic health, and why you may be metabolically unhealthy even if you are normal weight or even underweight. Plus, Dr. Ovadia provides 5 health markers to help you shift gears and reclaim your metabolic health. In just 30 days, these strategies can create a measurable impact on your metabolic health. Whether you or someone close to you struggles with metabolic issues including obesity and diabetes, you won’t want to miss this informative episode to reclaim and maintain your metabolic health. Get Dr. Ovadia’s FREE Metabolic Health Assessment Tool
Can’t lose weight? Struggle with symptoms like achy joints, brain fog, acne, fatigue, and moodiness? Leaky gut could be the cause… and you may not even know that you have it! In this video, you’ll learn what contributes to leaky gut (spoiler alert: stress is a biggie!), the foods and beverages to use (and lose), the right supplements to heal your gut, and my favorite meal-timing strategy that heals your gut fast. With these gut-healing 3 tips (in just 3 weeks), you’ll look better, feel better, and finally break that weight loss plateau.
Geneen Roth is a bestselling author, international speaker, and one of JJ's long-time personal sheroes! She joins JJ today to talk about how to heal your relationship with food and live your life to the fullest. Listen as Geneen explains the steps you need to take to break free from emotional eating and achieve permanent weight loss, including why it's important to listen to your body and create personal boundaries for yourself. Don't wait until your life is "in order" to make a change – life is messy, and Geneen shares how that messiness can be used as a doorway to magnificence! Get Geneen Roth’s free guide, The Breaths I Have Left
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight – or you’ve lost weight but you gain it back (plus more) – you’ll want to watch this video. I’ll give you 3 simple steps to break this vicious cycle and lose fat fast. You’ll learn the one thing you MUST do before you start a weight loss program, why cold turkey doesn’t work, why I’m anti-diet, how “healthy” foods might be hurting you, and the hidden cause of most weight gain. You’ll learn how swapping out 7 foods can be a game changer for weight loss and feeling better. And don’t worry, I’ll show you how you can STILL enjoy your favorite foods and beverages… without the guilt.
Which foods are natural fat burners, and how exactly does that work in our bodies? Dr. William Li is back with the book that I have been waiting for. We’ll discuss which foods you should choose for health and fat loss, how you may damage your metabolism, and how he came up with the Mediterrasian diet. William W. Li, MD, is an internationally renowned physician, scientist and author of the New York Times bestseller, Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself. His groundbreaking work has led to the development of more than 30 new medical treatments and impacts care for more than 70 diseases including cancer, diabetes, blindness, heart disease and obesity. In this interview, Dr. Li dives into what emerging research teaches us about human metabolism, and how the quality of your food makes all the difference in terms of what that fuel is able to do for you. He walks us through the grocery store to help us choose the foods that stoke our metabolic fire. Ingredients that are good for our metabolism have been core ingredients in the recipes from the Mediterranean and Asia—two of the oldest, most delicious, and healthiest cuisine food traditions in the world. Stay tuned at the end to learn about the bonus meal plan that Dr. Li is sharing with listeners of this podcast! Get Dr. Li’s FREE Eat to Beat Disease Mediterranean Meal Plan
I broke up with my Cabernet! It may be a temporary breakup, but the incredible things that happened have turned my nightly wine date into more of an occasional hangout. After my husband and I decided to take a break from alcohol for a couple of months, I immediately started sleeping better. I lost my little bit of belly bloat. My fasting blood glucose level dropped in the morning. I have more energy. If you've been thinking about trying dry January, sober October, or just taking a break from alcohol, let’s unpack all of it. The good, the bad, the ugly. So you can make the best decision for you, in terms of your weight loss, your sleep, your energy, and your overall health. In this episode, we’ll answer questions like: - Are there health benefits of alcohol? - How does alcohol impact fat loss? - What is it about alcohol that makes it toxic? - What is the correlation between alcohol and cancer? - How does alcohol affect mental health? - What impact does alcohol have on gut health? - What is the effect of alcohol on sleep quality? There may be some potential benefits to alcohol, and we’ll also talk about how often and what forms of alcohol to drink to enjoy the pleasure of that glass of wine without all of the negative side effects.
Did you know that the gut and brain are connected? Maybe you’ve heard of the gut-brain axis, and that your diet impacts mental health, but did you know that significant amounts of serotonin and dopamine are made in the gut? To truly heal, it takes both a dietary and mental-health approach. Dr. Will Cole is an expert in functional medicine with a focus on thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions, hormone imbalances, and digestive disorders. He is the author of several bestselling books, including The Inflammation Spectrum and Intuitive Fasting, and was one of the first doctors to embrace telehealth as a means of reaching more patients. In this episode, we talk about Dr. Cole’s newest book, Gut Feelings, and the relationship between mental and physical health. We tend to separate the two, but they are actually intimately connected. “Shameflammation,” as Dr. Cole calls it, is the intersection between mental/emotional issues like stress and shame and how that impacts your physical body. He also explores what stress can do to your gut and how practices like meditation and breathwork can help regulate the nervous system. You’ll learn how diet, chronic infections, and nutrient deficiencies impact why you feel the way that you do, specifically when it comes to brain fog, fatigue, and other mental-health concerns. And conversely, how stress, shame, trauma and other mental health issues impact your physical body. Pre-order Dr. Cole’s new book: Gut Feelings, and you will get FREE VIP access to exclusive swag delivered straight to your inbox!
Are you looking for a natural mood energizer that can help support everything from your workout, recovery, and stress relief to immune and heart health? In this week’s episode, I'm going to show you how to chill out and level up your health with cold therapy. Cold therapy refers to exposing your body to cold water or air, cooler than 59°F. The concept has been around for millennia, but it’s gained popularity recently as studies are showing the potential benefits for everything from mental health and mood to a healthy inflammatory response and better metabolism. Exposure to cold water causes the blood vessels to constrict and push all of the blood toward the organs. As a result, the blood acquires more oxygen and becomes super nutrient-rich. As the body starts heating up again, the blood vessels expand, allowing oxygen and that nutrient-rich blood to flow back to the tissues. This increased circulation can help support focus and concentration because the brain is getting oxygenated—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of cold immersion! I’ve been using my cold plunge for a while now, and I can’t say enough about the benefits I have personally experienced. Tune in to learn about the 10 incredible benefits of cold therapy that just might convince you to give it a try!
Energy can feel harder and harder to come by as we age. But what is the underlying cause of low energy? For a long time, this topic has been poorly understood, but my guest on this episode has devoted the past decade to finding the answers and is sharing them with us today. Ari Whitten is an energy and longevity coach, host of the Energy Blueprints Podcasts, and bestselling author of The Ultimate Guide to Red Light Therapy and Eat for Energy. He’s also a natural health expert with a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. In the episode, Ari talks about the various mechanisms that act on our energy and the important role our mitochondria play as cell defenders within our bodies. He discusses the benefits of circadian-rhythm optimization, as well as the importance of light exposure, the best foods for energy, and physical activity in order to get the most out of your day. You’ll learn how to reduce stress levels, optimize your sleep cycle, and increase mental clarity. Plus, listen for actionable tips on how to optimize your energy levels and boost your productivity, including strategies to balance hormones and keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Ready to feel energized? Tune in now! Watch Ari’s FREE Breathing For Energy Webinar
Have you noticed the workouts you were doing in your 20s and 30s that worked so well aren't working for you anymore? That it feels harder to stay in shape as you get older? In this episode, I talk about the best ways for people over 40 to build muscle and burn fat. We discuss the importance of consistency, rest, and nutrition, and my recommendations for exactly what kind of workouts you should be doing and how often you need to do them. We also talk about why it’s so important to eat high-protein meals and get adequate rest. Additionally, I give you specific pointers for increasing the intensity of your workouts gradually, not overtraining, and focusing on compound exercises to optimize results. Turns out… you may be doing just the wrong exercise for your age, so stay tuned! I walk you through exactly what you need to do to switch up your routine to build muscle and lose body fat more efficiently in your 40s, 50s, and beyond!
Frailty doesn’t have to be your reality as you age. With the right approach, it's possible to maintain a vibrant and active lifestyle, even in your 60s, 70s and beyond. In this episode, I talk with Dr. Anurag Singh, the Chief Medical Officer at Timeline Nutrition, who also runs a Switzerland-based research company working to discover and develop novel nutritional compounds that target improvements in mitochondrial health.  We delve into the three essential elements that contribute to your overall well-being as you age: diet, exercise, and supplementation. According to Dr. Singh, one of the most important factors is maintaining the health of your mitochondria. With age, these powerhouses of your cells can decline, leaving you feeling tired and unable to do the things you enjoy. You’ll discover how to know if your mitochondrial health is declining and steps you can take to keep them functioning at their best. Muscle health is critical, and maintaining it requires a sufficient intake of protein. After focusing on diet and an active lifestyle, specific supplements can further promote your health and support your energy levels, which we explore in this enlightening discussion. We also discuss the exciting area of mitophagy, the process by which faulty mitochondria are eliminated and replaced with healthy ones. Dr. Singh shares information about a test he developed and the latest research on urolithin A, a food-based compound that plays a role in mitophagy and cellular health in ground-breaking ways. Get 10% off all Timeline products by using code JJ10 Get a free Mitopure Sample Pack from Dr. Anurag Singh (limited to the first 1000 listeners)
In just 3 weeks, Kim Kardashian lost 16 pounds to fit into a dress for the Met Gala. I’ve helped actors get ready for roles, including Brandon Ralph when he debuted as Superman, and I see this situation as similar to getting ready for a film. In this episode, I critique Kim’s weight loss plan, revealing the good and the bad—and what you actually want to do for fast and lasting fat loss. You’ll learn all about the diet and exercise plan Kim went on. To be honest, some of the things she did, I’d do myself and recommend to others! But other parts of her plan have some serious health risks, and will cause you to actually hold on to weight, not lose it! Ultimately, Kim Kardashian’s diet may work for a one-night role, but it’s not a healthy or sustainable solution for long-term weight loss. If you want to lose weight fast, I reveal what you need to do to make it healthy and sustainable. If you’re going to go for fast weight loss, you’ve got to do it right, or it’ll backfire and you’ll have another yo-yo diet on your hands. Be sure you listen to the whole conversation to get my nutrition and exercise tips, plus two strategies I recommend for boosting your metabolism and losing body fat.
Do you struggle with gas and bloating and other common functional stomach problems? In this episode, I discuss five steps to resolving your gut issues for good. The good news is, you can turn this around quickly. You’ll ditch the stretch pants and get into your skinny jeans before you know it! The most important thing you need to do is remove Hi-FI food from your diet, which can contribute to leaky gut. This can launch an immune attack and wreak havoc on your body, which can exacerbate gas and bloating, constipation, pain, fatigue, and more. In addition to swapping out the foods that are harming you, you want to add gut-healing foods. I talk about eight foods and why science says they benefit your GI system. Lowering your sugar impact is also crucially important. What can you have instead? I provide some of my favorite low-sugar-impact options, so you can still enjoy some sweetness in your life. Stress has a massive impact on your gut, so another thing you want to do is improve your stress tolerance. I include some of my favorite ways to help regulate your nervous system. Because just like we take our muscles to the gym, we need to tone up our nervous system, too.
Menopause changes your life... and your health. It can be a tough transition, but we need to shift our perspective on this important time. Menopause is not a disease; it’s a normal stage of life—and it’s a privilege to still be alive. In this episode, I talk with Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz, a conventional board-certified OB-GYN who also practices integrative, holistic, and Ayurvedic medicine. We discuss the ways that the stages of menopause change your life for the better, and what you can do to protect your health throughout the transition. As you start to enter perimenopause and menopause, you can make adjustments and build healthy habits to mitigate long-term health issues, including heart disease, which is not discussed enough. The place to start is with hormones, according to Dr. Gilberg-Lenz, and also incorporating botanicals, herbs, and supplements as well. Another big factor that needs to be addressed is lifestyle. You’ll learn about adjustments you should make and why you must make yourself a priority during this time. Because with the right approach, your fifties can be a truly magical decade. Get the FREE introduction to Suzanne’s book Menopause Bootcamp to optimize your health, empower yourself, and flourish as you age
Myth debunked: your metabolism doesn't slow down automatically with age. But there are a few factors you need to consider that can have a negative impact. In this episode, I discuss why you might have a slow metabolism, the two things you want to check if you’re over 40, and steps you can take to have a faster metabolism. If you want to lose weight, you must make sure you’re holding on to muscle mass and getting optimal protein in your diet. I discuss how you can accomplish both. Another important, but often overlooked, factor to address is low thyroid function. In this episode, I highlight specific spices, beverages, and foods that are shown to support a healthy blood-sugar response to a meal, help burn fat, and support a healthy metabolism. You don’t want to miss the daily beverage I drink that can promote fat and calorie burning... even at rest. To avoid weight struggles, hair loss, mood disruptions, and other challenges women often experience with age, you must take steps to maintain a healthy metabolism. It’s worth it—because when you embrace aging powerfully, you can feel great in your 40s and beyond!
One of the biggest things that can take down your health is toxins, particularly mold. In this episode, I talk to air-quality expert Michael Rubino, the author of The Mold Medic, An Expert’s Guide on Mold Removal about why mold is such a problem in homes today, and how often you should test for mold in your house. Signs of mold exposure aren’t always obvious. We discuss common symptoms of mold toxicity, like brain fog and fatigue, and explore how mold exposure can show up in your body in a variety of ways. Mold poisoning could very well be a root cause for weight loss resistance, and you’ll learn why your body holds on to toxins in this way. How do you test for mold in your house? Michael gives suggestions for affordable testing, and how often you should test for mold. I’m convinced that detoxification is one of the most important things we have to do to support our health, so you don’t want to miss this conversation. Get Michael’s Free PDF guide 10 Mold Hacks to Prevent Mold in your Home
Sugar poses a huge threat to our health today. There are the obvious sources, like candy and soda, but it’s the sneakier sugars in your food that may be causing an addiction. I share five warning signs that you’re addicted to sugar, and reveal exactly what you need to do to break your sugar problem fast. I literally wrote the book on it! I have a wealth of tips and tools to share with you, including ways you can balance your blood sugar and retrain your taste buds, so you can finally conquer your sugar addiction... for good!
Comments (9)

God of Misery

come eat my penis

Dec 10th

Rasa Fournier

tony robbins is revoltingly self serving. you're too smart to fall for that narcissist's nonsense

Mar 23rd

Rasa Fournier

ghee is the best oil for seasoning cast iron

Mar 11th

Rasa Fournier

you have a great range of guests with invaluable information. but you tend to smack your lips and the noise is so annoying for the listener.

Nov 11th
Reply (1)

Niclas Daniels

17:52 #mold causing #twitching

Aug 7th

Michele Burkhardt Houghton

Spit or swallow? I'm embarrassed for you. dont ruin a good thing by offending us.

Jul 5th

Aida Woodward


May 6th

Debbie Miller

very interesting, hit home and make a lot of sense!! I want to be a fat burner. what about headavhes. I get doing IF!

Jan 21st
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