Name: Joseph Everett
Occupation: YouTuber, with the channel What I’ve Learned
Likes: Video games, books, exercise, interesting facts and, believe it or not, carbs
Dislikes: Rules that don’t make sense, fiction that relies on magic and video games that don’t have a clear end
1. How long have you been doing What I’ve Learned? Since 2016.
2. Did you imagine that you would get to 1.3 million subscribers? No! I started because I was looking for a good video that explains how low-carbohydrate diets work, but I couldn’t really find anything. I thought I would make one, and if it got 1,000 views — great. I definitely wasn’t expecting millions of views and subscribers, or for it to be a profitable endeavor.
3. What are your videos about? I bring attention to unusual but interesting topics, or the areas of “common” knowledge that are out of line with what the actual science and research says. I cover several topics but mostly health and nutrition. The idea is to help people to understand the science behind certain ideas and claims, and that this will lead to some useful action they can take in their own lives.
4. If you could correct just one common misconception about health, which would it be? The idea that saturated fat and cholesterol are necessarily bad for you, and everything that flows from that misconception, like the idea that we should eat vegetable and corn oil, or that we should replace fat with carbohydrates.
5. Why do you research and contradict popular ideas? It was mind-blowing that facts can actually be completely different from what we’re taught. I thought I must be late to the game or that maybe I didn’t read enough and that many people knew about this. But it was hard to find the information explained in an accessible way. I wanted to explain that there’s data that show some ideas are just wrong and the research supporting them doesn’t stand up.
6. Do you question everything? If someone tells me something and it doesn’t make sense, I want to look into it myself. It’s not that I don’t trust them, it’s just that I like to ask questions and confirm things for myself.
7. How would a friend describe you in five words? Goofy, positive, nerdy, funny and open-minded.
8. Why did you move from Texas to Japan? I originally came here to do a study abroad program.
9. Do people ask if you have a medical background? Sometimes ideas are not questioned or refuted because they come from a medical doctor or someone else with authority. But their information has to come from somewhere, and you can check that source yourself. I’ve gotten comments like, “Why should we trust you? How do we know you’re not biased?” I’m not asking you to trust me, I’m just showing the data and the reasoning behind ideas. You can make your own decisions based on that.
10. Is America doomed to high rates of obesity compared with Japan? It really depends on where in the U.S. you live and your income level. There are food deserts where the only food available is “shelf stable” food — highly processed, filled with vegetable oils and sugar, and definitely not good for you. I don’t know if Americans are doomed, but I don’t see any revolutionary change happening any time soon.
11. Are there any downsides to the Japanese diet? Perhaps the drinking culture could use some work.
12. What’s the most controversial popular idea that you’ve challenged? That a vegan diet is the epitome of health.
13. Has your research changed the way you eat? If a friend makes bread or brings me sweets, I’ll eat it. But over the month, I would say I’m 90 percent low-carb, 70 percent keto and about 80 percent of the time I eat within a seven-hour window.
14. Do you measure your macronutrients and keep track of everything? No, I’m not organized enough.
15. Why do incorrect ideas about health and well-being persist? When you have people who are very respected, and they’ve written books and been saying the same thing for 30 to 40 years, it’s not easy or in their interest to come out and say, “I was wrong.” There are a lot of people who have a lot riding on conventional knowledge.
16. What have you learned from running a YouTube channel? People are really perceptive; they watch very closely. Sometimes people bring up really good points in the comments and I like it when there’s someone who is into the details as much as I am. I’ve also learned a lot about narration and how I can use intonation to emphasize the most important points.
17. How did you learn to make and edit videos? That’s self-taught.
18. How long does it typically take to make one of your videos? Somewhere between 40 and 70 hours, more or less.
19. Lots of YouTubers make their face their brand, but you don’t. Why not? I never really thought it would be appealing to be recognized in the street, so I guess I’m just a little shy. But I also wanted to put the emphasis on the data, so it’s not about me portraying myself as an expert. The whole point is that anyone can understand these ideas if they put in a little effort. This information is not locked behind a Ph.D.
20. What advice would you give someone starting a YouTube channel? Make the best content you can before you bother about branding, marketing, SEO or anything else.
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