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EP153 The One About Splenda, Soda, And Insulin

Transcript Of Today's Episode

Dr. Martin Jr.: Hello. I'm Dr. Martin Jr.

Dr. Martin Sr.: And I'm Dr. Martin Sr.

Dr. Martin Jr.: And this is The Doctor Is In Podcast, and this is episode 153. Today, we want to talk about [00:00:30] a couple of studies that came out in the last two weeks, some of them newer than that, but we find quite interesting, and it really deals with a lot of the questions that we get asked about sweeteners, specifically non-caloric artificial sweeteners type things, and also sugary drinks. So, we'll talk about those two things, two fascinating studies that really it's not surprising, however, very practical, because it involves a big portion of the [00:01:00] population.

So, what we'll do is we'll start off talking about a study that was just done on Sucralose, which is another name for Splenda. What's interesting is we get a lot of people emailing us or asking us questions about all these different types of sweeteners, "What do you think of this one? What do you think of that one? What do you think of this one?" So, then you have a lot of, quote unquote, natural sweeteners, and then you have these other more synthetic types, like the Splendas and the-

Dr. Martin Sr.: Aspartame.

Dr. Martin Jr.: ... [00:01:30] aspartame and all that kind of stuff, right? We got a lot of people asking us this, because rightfully so. I mean, they want to throw some of these things into the foods that they're eating, and they want to know what we think about them. Now, the information on these things are coming fast and furious in a lot of ways.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. The jury was out on the artificial sweeteners for a long time. You know, you sort of knew that they weren't ... because patients used to ask me in the 70s, and the 80s, and the 90s, [crosstalk 00:01:57]-

Dr. Martin Jr.: Well, it was saccharin back then.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. Right? I remember [00:02:00] my dad ... I mean, I was thinking about this the other day. You know, my father found out in 1967 ... I'll never forget, because he had been unwell for a couple of weeks, and I didn't know what was going on. I was 15 or 16. My mom was saying, "Dad's getting some tests done, and he's not feeling that good." You know, that worried me to some extent, but he'd come home one day ... I'll never forget. He said, "Well, I'm a diabetic." Okay. I knew my grandfather had died of diabetes, but I didn't know anything [00:02:30] much more than that. But, you know what? I saw my dad, it was incredible, like completely change his ... Well, one of the things, he got up the next morning, and I'm not kidding you, my dad was running on the spot on the carpets. I thought he was crazy, like what?

Dr. Martin Jr.: He was jogging before people were jogging.

Dr. Martin Sr.: He was jogging before people were jogging. My mom kicked him out of the house, because she said, "You're gonna ruin my carpets," right? Now-

Dr. Martin Jr.: Here's the thing. Did he ever reverse his diabetes?

Dr. Martin Sr.: No.

Dr. Martin Jr.: See? [00:03:00] It's interesting, right? Because now all the information is coming out, you can pretty much reverse or put into remission.

Dr. Martin Sr.: You know why? Well, two things. My dad didn't reverse his diabetes, because even though he big time changed his diet ... He really did. I mean, my dad went from ... My dad literally had steak five, six days a week. My mom would make him .. He'd always come home later anyways from the office, but my dad would get a steak like every night. Whatever we had [00:03:30] my dad didn't eat, because he knew enough that he had to cut out his ... My dad cut out all his sugar, wouldn't have dessert anymore, whatever. So, you know what the problem was? He drank too much.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. That's just-

Dr. Martin Sr.: You know, he had too much. My dad still loved his wine. My dad still loved to drink.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. Now we know how hard it is to control insulin and blood sugar.

Dr. Martin Sr.: On the artificial sweeteners, I just want to say one thing. I laugh, because you have never tasted anything as awful [00:04:00] as the first diet sodas that came out. I mean, they were called Tab, and Tab, you have never tasted anything ... It was like rat poison. I said, "Dad, what are you drinking?" But he was so concerned about his blood sugars that he wouldn't drink pop. He wouldn't put it in ... If he was having a rye and Coke, my dad wouldn't have rye and Coke. Well, in those days, they didn't have the Diet Coke yet, [00:04:30] so that's how far back it goes with artificial ... but the first ones were horrendous. There was no way they knew how to make them taste any good. I mean, it was gagging, it was so bad.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Now, it's a massive industry. There are so many of them out there, and it seems like there's a new one coming out all the time, right? It's a legitimate question that people ask us. We kind of, over the years, have used kind of three questions that we ask about a sweetener, as we evaluate it. [00:05:00] Sometimes the information's just not available yet, but generally these are how we approach any sweetener. The first question we ask is does it affect blood sugar levels, right? A lot of them don't. A lot of them don't affect blood sugar levels. The second question we ask is does it affect insulin levels? That's harder to know. However, more research is being done, and that's what we're gonna talk about today is that a lot of these may not trigger a actual blood sugar affect, but it may trigger a little bit of an insulin spike, [00:05:30] especially if somebody's really metabolically damaged.

So, imagine a zero calorie sweetener triggering a little bit of insulin response, or does it affect insulin down the road? That's what we're gonna talk about in the study that came out. So, that's the second question. First is does it affect your blood sugar levels? Two is does it affect insulin one way or the other. The third question is does it kill your good bacteria, because we're finding out a lot of these sweeteners kill or affect your microbiome, your good [00:06:00] bacteria. That's never a good thing, right? Like I said, the information on them is difficult to know to answer those three questions. If we can't answer those three questions, it's kind of like one of those things, buyer beware in a sense.

We don't know. The data may be there in a few years, but at this point now we would recommend something that we know doesn't affect sugar, doesn't affect insulin, or doesn't kill your good bacteria, right? That's what we would recommend, but they're not [00:06:30] in all foods. You can use them for baking. I mean, you can buy them for baking, but to go buy a diet food, in a sense, or a diet soda, or a diet pop, depending on where you're from ... I say diet pop. My wife would say diet soda. But depending on where you're from, they come with very specific sweeteners. For example, in Canada, diet drinks here still use aspartame, but in the states, like Diet Pepsi, Diet Coke, and all that, they've switched to Splenda.

[00:07:00] People love yogurt, and people are eating yogurt like crazy. Then they found out that yogurt was very sugary, so then they started adding like aspartame of Splenda. It's in a lot of foods, right? Those are really commercial grade sweeteners, because they're in a lot of the main foods. You know what's funny is I saw a commercial last night, because I was watching the hockey game, like five times on yogurt. It's called like Triple Zero yogurt [crosstalk 00:07:25].

Dr. Martin Sr.: No fat?

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. It's a little off topic.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Triple Zero.

Dr. Martin Jr.: It's like Triple [00:07:30] Zero, so like zero fat. I kept on watching it, and I was like, "Well, I think you want a yogurt with fat." I may be wrong on that one, but I mean, the evidence is pretty clear. Then it said like zero artificial sweeteners. Okay. That's great. They said, "Oh. It has 25% less sugar." What they're saying is somebody would rather have sugar than an artificial sweetener, and that's a question we get asked all the time. People ask us this. Is it better to drink a Diet Pepsi or a regular Pepsi? [00:08:00] Well, the answer to that question is is that, well, it depends, right? Are you a diabetic?

Dr. Martin Sr.: Well, first of all, neither one of them is good.

Dr. Martin Jr.: No. That's what I mean. If somebody says, "Gun to your head, which one should you drink?", well, again, a diabetic should definitely be staying away from a sugary drink. There's no question, but-

Dr. Martin Sr.: Here's how I see it, look at it. When you look at the way the world is today, when the average North American is consuming 180 to 200 pounds of sugar a year, I would tell them, " [00:08:30] Look. If you're gonna ... I don't like it. I hold my nose when I say it, but you're better off probably having an artificial Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke, compared to a Pepsi, because I just cannot fathom in this day and age, with what we see in our clinic, people that are so stinking insulin resistant that when you put 12, 14 teaspoons of sugar into a drink, I I just think-"

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. That's insane.

Dr. Martin Sr.: ... that is rat poison.

Dr. Martin Jr.: We'll talk about the two studies that kind of would not back that up in a sense, [00:09:00] but, I mean, it's the ... We get asked that question a lot. First, let's talk about Splenda, right? Because that's in a lot of things.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. That's huge now.

Dr. Martin Jr.: That one there has exploded onto the scene, and a lot of foods now have replaced aspartame.

Dr. Martin Sr.: They sort of almost tell you like it's more natural-

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. They'll say it's more natural.

Dr. Martin Sr.: ... than aspartame.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. That's right. So, one of the questions, again, if we were to evaluate, is does it affect sugar level? The research on that is it does not affect blood sugar level. The next question is is does it affect insulin? [00:09:30] Here's what's interesting. A study that just came out not long ago, again, is saying this. Consumption of Splenda or Sucralose will decrease your insulin sensitivity, even in ... This was done in healthy subjects. So, what does that mean? Why is that important? Well, there are two terms that you should probably know to understand why this is a big thing. One is insulin resistance-

Dr. Martin Sr.: Bad.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. ... and the other one is insulin sensitive.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Good.

Dr. Martin Jr.: That's right. [00:10:00] For example, once you consume sugar or a food that breaks down quickly, your blood sugar levels spike up really quickly, right? In a soda or a pop, a sugary drink, fruit juices ... In the newsletter, we called it Starbucks frapa-whatever they call it. There's so many of them now.

Dr. Martin Sr.: But any fruit juice.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. So, what ends up happening is because there's nothing to digest, it goes into your blood stream very quickly. Your sugar levels just shoot straight up. Then what happens is [00:10:30] you have to lower that down, because it's-

Dr. Martin Sr.: What goes up must come down.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. Blood sugar is very toxic. You don't need a lot of it, so you have to bring it down quickly. If you have high blood sugar level for too long, that's diabetes. That's dangerous. If it's too low, that's dangerous as well, right? So, it's very, very tightly regulated. However, in order to bring the blood sugar back down, your body will secrete insulin, and insulin will help lower your blood sugar levels down. That's what normally happens throughout the day, right? You eat a food. Your blood sugar level goes up. Your [00:11:00] insulin level goes up. Blood sugar level comes down. Then insulin level slowly comes down over a period of time. That's pretty much what happens throughout the day. The higher the spike in sugar, that's bad. It just causes your body to overreact, but anyways. What happens with insulin resistance it because you've been doing that so much, your cells basically just stop listening.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. They hate insulin. They hate the presence of it.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. They just don't react the same way. So, now what happens, the body can only do one thing. [00:11:30] It's like, "Hey. If I'm gonna make a little bit of insulin, and you're not gonna listen, I'm gonna make more insulin." Then the cells listen again. Then eventually, you become more insulin resistant, and the body says, "All right. I'm just gonna make even more." That's what happens, right? When a person is insulin resistant, they need more insulin to get the same job done. That's never a good thing. They end up with a condition that you and I call all the time, and it's really the foundation for a lot of disease, which is high circulating insulin, because they always have insulin circulating in their system, [00:12:00] because they always need to lower their blood sugar, and they make so much of it, they can't clear it out that quickly. On the flip side is something called insulin sensitivity.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Good.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Which is very good, because when you are sensitive to insulin, when your cells are sensitive to insulin, it doesn't need much. Your body can secrete just a little bit of insulin, and it's gonna get the same job done. Then you have lower insulin levels, and everything functions better. You feel better. You have less inflammation. [00:12:30] You're less likely to get all these different types of diseases. You want to be insulin sensitive, right? There are certain things that you can do to increase insulin sensitivity. We've talked about this before.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Fasting.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Fasting is one. It increases insulin sensitivity.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. Big time. It really does.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Weight. Weight training.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. Weight training. Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Good exercise, but weight training, high intensity interval training really affect your insulin sensitivity. It makes you way more insulin sensitive, right? There's a few things that you can do on the side, however ... So, this study [00:13:00] in Splenda, which was fascinating, found that a healthy individual ... So, these are not even people who are metabolically damaged, so you can imagine the effect it has on somebody who already has a little bit of metabolic disorder going on. They found that consuming Splenda for a couple weeks decreased their insulin sensitivity. So, even though it wouldn't affect insulin at the moment ... It's not like you're gonna release insulin necessarily when you're drinking Splenda. However, the next time you go to eat sugar or eat carbs [00:13:30] that you need insulin, you're gonna need a little bit more.

That's really a first step towards a problem. That's the thing. Here you have somebody who's healthy. They consume Splenda for a few weeks, and they found out that it actually affects their insulin sensitivity, so that's not a good thing. That alone would be a reason to limit or avoid Splenda as much as possible, let alone the fact that it kills your good bacteria as well.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. Because we have talked about that I think on a previous podcast.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. So, [00:14:00] Splenda really would fail two of the three criteria that we would use to evaluate an artificial sweetener. Now, I mean, listen. We can go next level deep and then talk about how long does it stay in your system? Does it affect your neurology at all? Is it a toxin? I mean, those are a lot of ways to evaluate, and there's a lot of data on both sides sometimes, right? Because you can imagine big sugar companies don't like artificial sweeteners, and there's a lot of [00:14:30] fog of war between them in a sense, right? It's hard to sometimes know what you're reading. Anyways, at the end of the day, Splenda, based even on our simple criteria, is not ideal in any way. So, that would tell you to limit Splenda or avoid it, if you can. If you are gonna consume Splenda, then you want to take a probiotic, and just bear in mind that it's gonna affect how you respond to carbs later on that day. It's really interesting.

It's amazing to think that a little [00:15:00] chemical, a little chemical, a few grams of something, can affect your biochemistry that much, which is amazing to think about. It's not like they're consuming a ton of it. Just a small dosage for a couple weeks will affect how your body reacts to things. It's amazing. To me that's the amazing thing about these chemicals, the stuff that they can do inside your system.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Well, your body doesn't know what it is really. Your body was never made for that, right? Even to detect that. [00:15:30] The human body is fearfully and wonderfully made, but it was never made really to have to deal with chemicals, right? The chemicals are just a new thing in the last 40, 50 years.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. Some stuff just your body can handle, like no big deal. Other things-

Dr. Martin Sr.: I mean, you don't croak right away, right?

Dr. Martin Jr.: No. And a lot of chemicals now mimic estrogen, so even though you may dispose of that chemical, your body reacts as if it's just come into contact with estrogen, so you get this real imbalance between [00:16:00] estrogen and progesterone, if you're a woman. If you're a man, you get a real imbalance between estrogen and testosterone. That creates a lot of issues in men. We're coming out with a natural testosterone booster that we've been working on for a while. That's coming out shortly, so we've been doing a lot of reading on testosterone again. That's a big problem in men as well right? It's just amazing to think what these chemicals do. That's the first thing we wanted to talk about based off of a study, and I hope that answers some questions on artificial sweeteners.

Now, the second thing we want to do is look at another [00:16:30] study that I find equally fascinating. Earlier this year we did a newsletter on if I wanted to do a study today, and part of my study I wanted to look at, for example, the effects of obesity, or I wanted to look at the effects of type-2 diabetes, and I wanted to do it in mice, I wanted to do a lab experiment, then, well, I'd have to somehow get that mouse to be fat, right? I'd have to fatten up that mouse for that study. So, [00:17:00] they use a chow that they ... It's kind of like a rat chow or a mice chow, and it's really a combination of high carb, processed carb, high junky fats, like vegetable oils, right? So, it's a combination of high carb, high fat vegetable oil, so real inflammatory. It's a real disrupter of hormones, and it just causes a rapid fat gain. Think potato chips basically, but they're not potato chips. They're like a combination of all these things.

Dr. Martin Sr.: [inaudible 00:17:29]

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. All those things, like the worst [00:17:30] combination. That's the point, the worst combination. The worst thing you could do nutritionally is combine carbs and fat at the same time, right? They're not really found in nature. I mean, that's just unfortunately the way it is, and a lot of the foods that we like. Imagine the two best things that make food taste awesome, which is fat and sweetness, right? I mean, that's like your brain is just exploding. All the neurotransmitters are popping like fireworks in your brain. It gets really [00:18:00] excited. That's why, but it's a terrible combination. It is used to-

Dr. Martin Sr.: You mean milkshakes are no good for you?

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. All those things, especially like the old fashioned ... Oh, yeah. I mean, it's just-

Dr. Martin Sr.: Ice cream and-

Dr. Martin Jr.: ... highly, highly, highly insulinogenic foods, right? But that's what they would do for a mouse, and it would cause rapid weight gain, which a lot of good dietary advice is basically you can do ... We're massive fans of low carb obviously, because we see the effect that it has [00:18:30] and the benefits it has on people's health, but you could do low carb. You better do low carb and high fat. You better not do both. You better not do high fat, high carb, because that's just a recipe for disaster. You could do high carb, low fat, but that's ... I mean, it's been a failed experience for a long time, right? It's just it's very difficult to do. But at the end of the day, you just don't want to combine carbs and fat. I mean, you just don't want to do that as a rule of thumb.

That's the first thing that we talked about in the study a while ago, [00:19:00] but a new study's coming out as well. This is another way to rapidly gain weight, rapidly gain fat, rapidly put fat around your liver, right? Of course we're talking about drinking your sugar. There's something especially nasty that goes on inside your body when you drink sugar. I mean, sugar in food has its issues. At least it may take longer to digest. It will spike [00:19:30] your sugars, but it's not gonna be as quick, and it's not gonna be as violent. Sugary drinks just cause an absolute explosion of blood sugar levels. It's interesting.

This study looked at the effect that sugary drinks have on our bodies, right? So, we had talked about what happens biochemistry-wise when you have a real sugary drink, but what they found is the insulin levels never really quite come back down for the rest of the day. Because it shoots [00:20:00] it up so much, your body overreacts for a long time after, and it's not like you're not gonna eat again, so it just never comes back down between meals after. They found that two sugary drinks a day is all it took to keep insulin up all day, just the pancreas never gets a break. Again, when that happens ... See? This is something that people have to understand is when you have insulin present, lipolysis, which is the breakdown of fat [00:20:30] for energy, stops.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. It stops.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Insulin-

Dr. Martin Sr.: I love your thing with the ... when you put on the PowerPoint as part of our program, Serial Killers Revisited, and also in the metabolic storm, you see fat that's behind bars, and the jail guard is insulin, right?

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. It just won't let it out.

Dr. Martin Sr.: It won't let it out. If you've got insulin present ... Think about that. A lot of people too, as you were saying, when you think of it, they even think they're drinking healthy. So, they're juicing.

Dr. Martin Jr.: They're having [00:21:00] a big fruit smoothie.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. Like I tell people, don't do that, you know? You can have protein powder drinks and whatever, but don't flavour ... like don't make them ... maybe a few berries, but I wouldn't-

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. Low sugar berries.

Dr. Martin Sr.: ... I wouldn't throw a banana in there. Now, you got a very sweet ... It's the same thing. Your body-

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. It spikes it faster than it should it digests faster than it should, right? Then the worst thing you could do after that is do all that and add [00:21:30] a ton of fat to it, right? We love fat, but it has to be in context. You can't just have a high carb diet, and then just start consuming all this fat, and thinking you're gonna be healthy. That's not how it works. It doesn't work that way. At the end of the day, you're gonna store something. If you consume a ton of carbs and a ton of fat, you're gonna burn the carbs off for energy, but that fat never breaks down. It's just gonna get eventually stored as fat. People, they hear us say that fat doesn't [00:22:00] get scored as fat, which is true. However, in the presence of a ton of carbohydrates, it does. Anything can get stored as fat, right? Anything has that possibility.

Basically, if you're consuming sugary drinks, it is just causing a ton of issues inside your body. It's causing fatty liver. It's causing spiked insulin. It's stopping your body's ability to use fat as energy, so you're in a storage mode. Basically bad news, bad, bad [00:22:30] news. Now, as a hypothetical people ask this all the time, you know, "Should I have a diet drink or a sugary drink?" It's so funny, because on the one hand, we know now, like with Splenda, it can affect how your body responds to insulin down the road, but it doesn't have the same insulin effect as a sugary drink does. Plus, the sugary drink is a ton of calories. It's a ton of energy that you just don't need, so your body has to do something. It has [00:23:00] to store it somewhere. So, it makes for a really interesting hypothetical. I mean, they're both bad outcomes. There's no question.

My kids like doing this all the time. They like giving me hypotheticals, and I don't play along ever. I'm like, "Well, why would anybody in the world ever force me to make a decision between those two points?" They're like, "Just answer. Just play along." I'm like, "Well, it makes no sense. Why would somebody give those only two choices on the planet?" But hypothetically, if there was only two choices, it makes for an interesting discussion, right? Again, [00:23:30] if you already have diabetes, then there's no question. There's no question, right? That's why we always say water or sparkling water, all those kind of things.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Coffee.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Coffee. That's another way. Coffee helps improve insulin sensitivity, which is another reason why we love coffee. Anyways, a couple of really interesting studies. I guess let's just end this off. We're out of time, but it's something that you had mentioned just before coming on the podcast. We were talking about these sugary drinks and the effect it has on uric acid, which was fascinating.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. I had just read this [00:24:00] this morning actually, and I mentioned it I think on Facebook today, that a new study came out that shows, let's say you do have a soft drink, or you drink an orange juice or whatever, within an hour your uric acid levels spike through the roof. Again, what is uric acid, right? Uric acid is obviously it's very pro-inflammatory. It damages I believe over a period of time can damage your joints. It's the reason for a lot of [00:24:30] unexplained pain, because a lot of people think they, "Oh. I got arthritis." Yeah, but what kind of arthritis do you have?

Dr. Martin Jr.: Even think of the effect it has on kidney stones.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Exactly.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Right? A lot of people will never attribute drinking soda or pop to kidney stones.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Uric acid, it's a negative thing in the body, because it's, like I said, it's very ... A lot of people will ask us, what do we do in our office in our biomarker? What are we looking for for inflammation markers? Well, one of them is uric acid. [00:25:00] Insulin creates inflammation, but uric acid ... This is why we always tell people, "Look. Are you a big fruit eater?" They say, "Yeah. Isn't that good?" Well, not if you're making uric acid. I wouldn't have a lot of it. I call them God's candies. You can have berries and stuff like that, but don't like on bananas and grapes. I'm not saying never have any, but don't have a lot of that, because again, the world's changed today, where we're dealing [00:25:30] with a whole completely ... We have had a complete change now, because of the amount of sugar, like I said.

We're on around 200 pounds of sugar a year. The body was never made for that. The body can't deal with that. This is why we're seeing such an enormous raise in the levels of uric acid. I see it every day in the office. I always tell people, "Look. Your sin will find you out. You're consuming too much sugar," and sometimes even too much [00:26:00] fruit for them. I say, "Well, look. You just can't have that anymore, not like the way you used to." Right?

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. I mean, yeah, just fascinating stuff. Anyways, I hope this information was helpful. It answers two of the questions we get asked a lot of times. Again, if you have any questions, feel free to email us at information.martinclinic.com. You can go to our website, MartinClinic.com. You can sign up for our newsletters there. We put a lot of these things out in newsletters as well. Also, every Thursday morning you do a Facebook Live. I get a ton [00:26:30] of people there asking a lot of questions. We also have a private Facebook group, Martin Clinic Club. You can go in there. Awesome conversations, right?

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. It's really good.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Actually, I enjoy reading some of the stuff in there. It's really interesting. You could join that as well. There's a lot of ways to get ahold of us, a lot of ways to ask us questions. Again, we want to thank you for listening, and have a great day.