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Seeking Saturated Fat

Image: http://coconutoil.com/enjoy-saturated-fats-theyre-good-for-you/

Hopping back from the diabetes debate, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/diabetes-debate-on-carbohydrates/, and on to more of the beneficial functions of saturated fats. It started with the heart, brain and lungs, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/when-it-comes-to-saturated-fat-use-your-noggin/, but there is more.

Fat soluble vitamins, (for example, vitamins A,D,E,K) and minerals are not well absorbed without fat. Thus the health benefits of these nutrients are not being attained, if adequate fat in the diet is not present. And just like the body systems working together, fat soluble nutrients work synergistically along with all nutrients to attain good health. I never realized the impact that saturated fat has on nutrient absorption when compared with unsaturated fat.

A perfect example of this is a study showing that saturated fat from beef tallow as compared with polyunsaturated fat from sunflower oil increases beta-carotene absorption from a salad 11 to 17 percent, http://www.westonaprice.org/fat-soluble-activators/nutritional-adjuncts-to-the-fat-soluble-vitamins.  In this linked article, Chris Masterjohn specifically mentions that the “absorption of beta-carotene from a salad with no added fat was close to zero”. The saturated fat dressing was a superior vehicle in delivering nutrients to the body. It seems that monounsaturated oil (olive oil) was better in aiding absorption than the polyunsaturated oil.

“The reason for this is unknown, but it may be that oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids promote the oxidative destruction of fat-soluble vitamins in the intestines before we are able to absorb them. Thus, the more fat we eat, and the lower those fats are in polyunsaturated fatty acids, the more fat-soluble vitamins we absorb.”

More interesting saturated fat functions from Dr. Mercola lists specific saturated fats that benefit many facets of health, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/12/24/cbs-sings-praises-of-fat.aspx:

  • caprylic acid found in coconut and palm oil (antifungal, antiviral)
  • lauric acid is attained from palm, coconut and butter (cavity and plaque fighter, antifungal)
  • stearic acids are derived from vegetable oils and animal sources: cocoa butter, pork beef, lard, dairy (lowers cholesterol)
  • butyric acid mostly in dairy products has been shown to help prevent colon cancer and

James Carlson board certified MD who just happens to have an undergraduate degree in biochemistry and microcellular biology says that biochemical pathways in the body work better when carbohydrates are lower and animal fats are higher.

He uses saturated fat, not drugs, to help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and weight on “thousands and thousands of patients”.

He points out that while we have been led to believe that lard is one of the unhealthiest types of fat, more than half of its fat (60%) is unsaturated fat. Yes, and while you are gasping for air at the thought of this, I know I was. Fifty-five percent of beef fat is unsaturated. So, if you like the skin on the chicken but discard it because you were told it is healthier, you may want think twice before peeling off the fat because 80% of that fat is unsaturated, http://web.pdx.edu/~wamserc/C336S06/fat.pdf. Where did all the hype come from in regards to an all or nothing saturated fat content from animal meats?

Listen for yourself, to Dr. Carlson  speak at this “Dietary Guidelines Press Conference” it is important to keep this stuff upfront in our minds,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TlBEf-v5fQ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ri7rt7AzzUY.

If your doctor is not at least giving you a low carb high fat diet as an option to lose weight and improve your health, before putting you on drugs, get a second opinion…FAST!

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Diabetes Debate on Carbohydrates

  This week I am supposed to talk about more of the health benefits of saturated fat but that will happen next week. I am delaying it because I was side tracked by a debate that I watched on diabetes and carbohydrate intake. It is a debate between Hope Warsaw registered dietitian and Dr. Richard Bernstein. You can watch it yourself, http://youtu.be/3PZno7Nkuuw, make your own decision.

My two cents, the dietitian has it ALL wrong.

  • The first words out of her mouth, “The research shows that low carb diets don’t work”.

Research shows that people do not stay on diets period. I have seen research, where compliance is far better on a low carbohydrate diet. Maybe she has not seen the studies but this is why you must rely on yourself and be your own best advocate.  

  • “People simply can’t stay on low carb diets long-term.”

The doctor sitting next to you is just one living example of how an intelligent person with diabetes, or any medical condition involving blood sugar/insulin,  can be healthy and live without related diabetes complications when blood sugar and A1C levels are maintained within normal?

  • “Eating a low carbohydrate is not a healthy way of eating. “

See my comment above. I will also share that when I calculated the menus for my book, The Stubborn Fat Fix (http://www.amazon.com/The-Stubborn-Fat-Fix-Metabolic/dp/159486828X), as carbs are added back into the nutrition plan, the nutrient density fell.

  • “People with diabetes deserve to eat healthy and enjoy food?”

Yes, agreed. Deprivation is a mindset. Low carb foods are healthy and include some of the most tasty g-d-given foods on the Earth.  Who does not like lobster with butter or steak and sautéed spinach, guacamole???? People with diabetes also deserve to live; live without complications, live without hunger, live without the need for medication.

  • She is correct that most people eat too much added sugar.

Where she misses the boat is: Most people who are overweight, have diabetes etc…eat too many “healthy” carbs like whole wheat bread or brown rice or any starch, grain or fruit. One hundred percent of those “healthy” carbohydrates converts into sugar.

  •  “The vast majority of people with diabetes need medication.”

Yes absolutely if you follow what she says and the diet she recommends! Question Hope, how do you get good blood sugar control when you feed a diabetic the very things that spike blood sugar? Oh yes, the medication you are suggesting, there is a huge financial and quality of life burden that goes along with taking medication. While chasing high blood sugar with medication that lowers blood sugar, how do you fend off the hunger that accompanies the blood sugar low without getting into a tail spin?

This is a perfect example of how things go wrong. Why? I was in the same camp as most dietitians a long, long time ago. I was drinking the same “high carbohydrate Kool-Aid” that was so willingly poured from the conventional nutrition pitcher.

When you do not think for yourself and you think you have all the answers, you don’t! Until the day I started working for Dr. Atkins, I didn’t not question the establishment, I disseminated all the same fallacies.

When I saw the research supporting low carb diets, read the labels of what I used to suggest as healthy foods, and witnessed all the positive client results while eating low carb foods, there was no turning back. I was not going to bury my head in the sand because I wanted to believe that I was too good at what I did to ever be wrong or that there was simply no other way but my way to help people.

The only difference between Ms. Warsaw and myself is that I was able to keep my eyes and mind open. You cannot tell people carbs spike blood sugar and then recommend that half their calories should come from those very same foods. Well I guess you can and that is what the establishment does, but isn’t that counterintuitive?

Dr. Bernstein states it simply, “A diabetic needs normal blood sugar to escape the complications of diabetes!” The most direct and simple way to normalize blood sugar is a low carbohydrate diet.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in blood sugar, Diabetes, health

 

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When It Comes to Saturated Fat Use Your Noggin’

When It Comes to Saturated Fat Use Your Noggin’.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

When It Comes to Saturated Fat Use Your Noggin’

 

“Follow The Nutrition Guidelines or Follow Your Heart, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/follow-the-nutrition-guidelines-or-follow-your-heart/” came to be because it is important to understand that following mainstream advice without using your noggin’ is not always the right way. Cutting fat from your diet is a theme that has been used to brainwash people for way too long. Know that saturated fat is healthy for more than just your heart (60% of the hearts energy comes from burning fat) and there are healthcare professionals and research that supports this way of thinking.

Data relating saturated fat as supporting body organs and vital body functions exists and the next few blogs will hopefully open more discussions on this topic.

After last weeks blog on the heart, the brain tops this list as an organ that depends on monounsaturated and saturated fats and cholesterol for proper functioning. Fats compose 60% of the brain and is especially important for fetal brain development. This may be why human breast milk is one of the best sources of saturated fat. The brain also houses twenty-five percent of total body cholesterol.

Monounsaturated fats can help boost moods and help improve psychological health related disorders but these fats may be especially important for aging brains and the elderly, specifically in regards to memory and visual-spatial recognition (important for driving).

Saturated fats and cholesterol are just as important as monounsaturated fats in regards to brain health. In this interview for Psychology Today, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-optimalist/201310/your-healthy-diet-could-be-quietly-killing-your-brain, David Perlmutter (Board-Certified Neurologist and Fellow of The American Board of Nutrition) describes the benefits of both these nutrients. He says that saturated fats “are “building blocks for brain cells” and cholesterol is a “brain protective” antioxidant that is a precursor to vitamin D too, which also plays a role in brain health and indirectly is a precursor to the sex hormones.

He cites two examples that measured saturated fat and cholesterol intake in elderly volunteers. The results are not those you will likely hear from a typical doctor. One is a study that found a 36% lowered risk for developing dementia in individuals who ate the most saturated fat; the other study, resulted in a 70% risk reduction for dementia in volunteers with the highest cholesterol levels. He mentions this phenomena as a possible issue with medicine intended to lower cholesterol. Even the FDA acknowledges this, as they now require “memory decline and cognitive health concern” warnings on the labels of cholesterol lowering medicine. In another study, results showed an 89% increase in dementia risk in those who ate more carbohydrates.

The lungs need saturated fat too. Lung surfactantis a fluid made of fats and protein. It works to prevent the lungs from collapsing and helps protect the lungs from bacteria and viruses. Studies on animals with poor lung function were tested using three diets, (unsaturated, monounsaturated and palmitic saturated fat). Unsaturated fat made lung function worse.*

* The study appeared in Nutrition,2002 Jul-Aug;18(7-8):647-53 and the author and title: Wolfe et al., Dietary fat composition alters pulmonary function in pigs.”

This may be due to the fact that 68% of surfactant in the lungs is saturated palmitic fatty acid. Palmitic acid is one of the most common saturated fats found in the food supply, 14% in olive oil and 25% in beef, lamb and butter, http://dietheartnews.com/2012/01/you-cant-fool-the-body-saturated-fats-are-converted-into-unsaturated-fats-and-as-needed-unsaturated-fats-are-converted-back-into-saturated-fats/.

I’m not here trying to bring down unsaturated fats, I’m trying to shed light on the health importance of saturated fats to even the playing field in regards to your thoughts on saturated fats and optimizing your diet with a variety of all types of foods and fats. Next week I will continue to describe the helpful role saturated fats play in good health.  

 
 

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Follow The Nutrition Guidelines or Follow Your Heart?

Well until I “fell” into a low carbohydrate lifestyle, I would have told you that fat functions to make you fat and that too much fat will negatively impact health leading to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and a whole slew of horrible diseases that in the end result in an early death. Now that my focus on attaining health and weight goals for myself and my clients  are through nourishing the body, I sing a much different tune. Many people live healthy lives eating fat. All kinds of fat, not just unsaturated fat but saturated fat too.

Just recently (March 18, 2014) evidence of the benign nature of saturated fat on heart disease was presented in the scientific journal of the Annals of Internal Medicine (1. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1846638). Rajiv Chowdhury, MD, PhD and his colleagues reviewed almost 80 studies that included half a million people and focused on the risk of heart disease and fat intake.

An important specific risk factor for heart disease is a small dense LDL (pattern B) and not necessarily larger more buoyant LDL (pattern A). These subfractions of LDL can be identified by your doctor so make sure to request  that this test be done when getting your cholesterol checked. The test is The NMR LipoProfile® test. You can learn more here, http://www.liposcience.com/. If you are trying to get a better understanding about this, the information here will be helpful, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/28/nmr-lipoprofile.aspx.

Here are the findings from the study:

·         NO evidence that eating saturated fat increases heart attacks and other cardiac events.

·         The unsaturated fats such as soy or corn oil and the “trans” saturated fats found in commercially prepared foods can increase heart disease risk.

·         Fatty acids in saturated or unsaturated fats may be helpful or harmful to health based on unique characteristics of each fat.  For example the saturated             fat in dairy products was not harmful to heart health. In other studies full fat dairy helped lower the incidence of infertility.

Dr. Chowdhury discusses the need to change focus of the dietary guidelines to keep up with the science. “The smaller, more artery-clogging particles are increased not by saturated fat, but by sugary foods and an excess of carbohydrates. It’s the high carbohydrate or sugary diet that should be the focus of dietary guidelines. If anything is driving your low-density lipoproteins in a more adverse way, it’s carbohydrates.” (2. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/17/study-questions-fat-and-heart-disease-link/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0)

He also clarifies that saturated fat may increase LDL cholesterol but it is not the small dense dangerous type, it is the larger less dangerous floating type) and it also raises HDL (good) cholesterol.  In essence, it may be possible that eating saturated fat has a neutral effect on cholesterol for this reason.

Over the years, the mantra has been to stay away from fat to avoid heart disease. Despite the lack of attention and support from health care agencies and experts, the current research is here supporting the benefits of all types of fats including saturated fat as part of diet that is healthy.

Two evils to avoid as best as possible when trying to eat healthy is:

·         commercially used unsaturated and trans fat  (soy, corn, hydrogenated oils and trans fat)

·         sugar and excess low or non-fat, high carbohydrates (even “healthy” carbohydrates turn into unhealthy LDL if you eat too much)

Your heart health is in your hands. Follow the nutritional guidelines or follow your heart?

 

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NO Weight Loss & Fit Plan

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Photos provided by Grant Cochrane

Typically when we think weight loss or good health, we cut back on food, lower fat and calories. Seems like a  logical approach, no? NO! Actually, this thinking is incorrect.

NO (nutrition optimization) means using foods that have more nourishment and limiting foods that have fewer nutrients. Feeding yourself foods that are rich in nutrients and optimizing any nutrition plan will satisfy hunger and keep your body running at peak performance. No matter what your goal is, weight loss, sports performance or health, the power of nutrition can work for you. Eating healthier by substituting nutrient dense real foods that are void of additives/dyes/preservatives/sweeteners etc…for the foods you think may be saving you calories or bettering your energy levels.

Many people eat pretzels because a serving is only about 100 calories and no fat. What nutritional value does it add to your food intake?  Not much except 100 extra calories and likely the carbs will leave you hungry soon after. So you end up eating twice or three times as much food as you would have if you had eaten something a little more substantial like sliced mozzarella and tomato with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If you chose to snack on tomato and mozzarella cheese instead of pretzels, not only do you optimize the nutritional value of a snack, you take a thoughtless moment of grabbing a handful of pretzels and create a more meaningful food experience: the aroma and taste of real food,  greater visual palatability and a higher fullness factor!

Or, maybe you are hungry and you eat a small salad (with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, broccoli and carrots and you dress it with lite Italian) because you are trying to cut calories. Although healthy, this salad is not really enough calories to sustain your appetite.  Instead, optimize the nutrition of this salad by adding turkey (protein, B6, niacin and selenium) and avocado (carotenoids, vitamin E, monounsaturated fat, fiber, potassium; and switch the dressing from the ‘lite” version that contains a myriad of additives, i.e. corn syrup, sodium benzoate, disodium EDTA) to olive oil, lemon juice and natural herbs. By optimizing the nutrition, the snack becomes more satisfying.

The substitute salad with turkey and avocado has staying power. Yes you add calories and natural fat but your body is being nourished with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other health boosting nutrients as well. You are full. Cutting back on calories, only makes you hungry.

Sports players and athletes who are not concerned with weight may try to increase calories with milkshakes and high calorie junk food, that is not good either. Where is the nutrition, the vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and healthy fats that will help improve performance??? Sugar will rev you up and slam you back down.  Real food, nutrient dense meals and snacks will amp up fitness ability.

Optimizing nutrients to keep your body running at its best should be the focus no matter what the goal. The NO method is a compelling approach with many benefits. Try it and please share your experience with us.

NO is the only way to go!

 

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WTE on a Healthy Balanced Diet?

anti-inflammatory-food-pyramid

Dr. Weil’s food pyramid, http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02995/Dr-Weil-Anti-Inflammatory-Food-Pyramid.html,

USDA_MyPlate_green

The United State’s Department of Agriculture’s, “MY Plate”, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/.

bg_food-pyramid3 The Atkins Food pyramid, http://www.atkins.com/Science/Atkins-Food-Pyramid.aspx 

On the heels of “WTF am I eating”, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/wtf-am-i-eating/, I thought it would be nice to also shed some light on WTE (what to eat) on a healthy balanced diet. There are so many different nutrition philosophies out there, so much confusion about what is healthy, and, not so healthy to eat and way too much controversy on what really is the “perfect” diet for you.

Take a look at the pictures above. Different food suggestions, different ideas of how to eat healthy. Yet, they have one big similarity.  There is no mention of chips, cookies or ice cream. Sure it is ok to dabble a little bit once in a while but junkie convenience foods have crept their way into daily eating and for some of us desserts are a staple after each meal.

These three diets (shown above) are examples of  the anti-inflammatory diet, the low carb diet and the calorie controlled diet; just a few of the hundreds of thousands of different ways to feed yourself. With so many diets out there, which is best? What food plans work and how are you supposed to know WTE?

A balanced diet, or food plan, is not the same for everyone. By definition, balanced eating  would apply solely to consuming a balanced ratio of nutrients from carbs, protein and fat (1:1:1) where calories are distributed evenly across the board at about 33% of total calories for each macronutrient.  You should understand that most “healthy” plans do not emphasize this balanced equation. Also, personal situations may dictate and override a general balanced diet formula.  A healthy diet will be different for everyone based on their own special circumstance. For example:

  • Being athletic can change the nutritional playing field. Athletes may benefit from eating a balanced ratio of nutrients but the formula may need a little tweaking to account for their goals to fuel,  recover and repair from the stress of long bouts of physical activity and the additional specialized needs for any particular sport.
  • Hippocrates, 460 BC377 BC,  is noted for his famous quote “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. This means that if you have a medical condition, such as diabetes, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, polycystic ovarian syndrome etc… a “balanced” diet may require tipping the scales more towards certain nutrients like healthy fats and away from others, like carbohydrates, to assist the body in equalizing the medical imbalance of that particular health condition.
  • If you are healthy, exercise and within your goal weight, eating an equal amount of calories from protein, fats and carbs should be the goal.

There is a lot of information out there on WTE. My best advice is to understand what your personal needs are and mold a healthy balanced nutrition plan that will work for you.  Nutrients can act in your favor or against you. It is your choice. If you need to use these general plans to jump start your healthy eating use them but long term, strive to “balance” and personalize your eating, tailored just for you.

 
 

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