Category Archives: HDL

Andrew Weil:”Saturated Fat IS NOT associated with an Increased Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke or Vascular Disease.”

For many years I’ve been trying to educate people on the importance of fat in our diets. I try to explain that, one, fat is not the devil and , two, not all low fat-high carbohydrate (sugar) foods are good for you.

I admit, I’m not pushing the right buttons to be seen by the big guys but now Andrew Weil, one of the big guys, has spoken and I am sooooo happy to see that saturated fat is not being vilified as usual.

Here’s what Dr. Weil has to say,

Two points that stick out and should be considered:

He is not promoting meat consumption and that’s fine be me. Hey, I’m all with eating meat that are grass-fed and natural vs. those pumped with antibiotics. Read my book, The Stubborn Fat Fix and you’ll understand how the food supply affects our health, . However the reason most people avoid meat is to cut saturated fat from their diet. If there is no link between eating red meat and heart disease then we can start eating meat to help supply our bodies with important vitamins and minerals like iron and B12 that we are not nourishing our bodies with when we omit red meat from our diet.

The other point worth paying attention to is that he underscores the fact that carboydrates can upset hormonal balance, fructose and glucose can overload the liver and raise insulin levels and “refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes.”

Now that you know that saturated fat is not a one way ticket to death and that sweets/added sugars and sweeteners are at the top of the evil food list, what foods will you choose to consume?


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Weight Loss: It’s Not Just Your Jeans You Need To Worry About

Not fitting into your jeans is a tell tale sign that you need to start thinking about losing weight. However, it’s not just your jeans that you may want to consider. Cutting edge science has revealed that your genes (genetic material responsible for building, maintaining and regulating every process in your body) can be affected by what you eat. Scientists are just beginning to learn about how the food we eat affects our individual health. So for all of you who have said, “I eat just what she eats and she has lost lots of weight and I have not lost a pound”, you have an explanation. It’s all in the genes.

Although this new concept of nutrigenomics (the connection between nutrition and genetics) has recently received a lot of press, I have read research dating back over a decade that shows the ill effect of eating a low fat, high carbohydrate diet on heart health for people who are genetically susceptible.

Here are a few studies that I recommend you show your doctor. Reading this stuff by someone other than a healthcare professional could be hazardous to your brain health. So give a copy to your doctor and let him/her explain it to you. Each study uses a different group (men, women and children).

1. “A very low-fat diet is not associated with improved lipoprotein profiles in men with a predominance of large, low-density lipoproteins”, Fernstrom HA et al. Am J Clin Nutr 1999.

2. “LDL subclass patterns and lipoprotein response to a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet in women” Dreon DM, et al. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 1997 Apr;17(4):707-14.

3. “Reduced LDL particle size in children consuming a very-low-fat diet is related to parental LDL-subclass patterns”, Dreon DM et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jun;71(6):1611-6.

Bottom line: These studies show that using a low-fat diet increases the risk factors for heart disease.

Here’s a question for you, if this stuff has been out there for so long why are so many people still using general nutrition information for everyone? Why aren’t more people embracing various diet options for the diversity of each individual person?

More recently genes that influence your ability to lose and manage weight loss have been identified. I’ll talk about this next time but will leave you with more than just a word to the wise.

If you think you are going to lose weight because you watch a celebrity lose weight or because your friend tried the latest diet and you know it’s gonna work the same for you. Think again. Figure out how you can make your food work to help you lose weight successfully.

I will discuss weight loss specifics and various other nutrients that are associated with health promotion next week.


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Diet Comparisons: High, Moderate and Low Carbohydrate

While working at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, my supervisor C.J. Segal-Isaacson, asked me to coauthor a paper that compared three different types of diets: High carbohydrate, moderate carbohydrate and low carbohydrate. We chose Dean Ornish’s, “Eat More Weigh Less”, The American Heart Associations “TLC” diet and “Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution”.

While doing the research, we separated the data into these specific categories: Goals, nutrient composition and food consumed. A sample menu for each diet was added for people to be able to see which diet closely mimicked a typical day on their own food plan. I thought you might be interested in the differences between the diets and just where your diet pattern falls within any of the plans. You just may be surprised at the findings.


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Insulin Lurks As An Underlying Cause to Many of Your Health Concerns

The link between insulin, diabetes and breast cancer is not the only health concern we should worry about. Insulin’s association with the manifestation and prognosis of these risk factors and diseases has been shown time and time again:

1. colon cancer
2. prostate cancer
3. pancreatic cancer
4. breast cancer
5. diabetes
6. metabolic syndrome
7. obesity
8. high blood pressure (kidney damage)
9. congestive heart failure
10. high levels of triglycerides (liver damage)
11. low HDL (good) cholesterol (liver damage)
12. heart disease
13. high C-reactive protein levels (heart disease)
14. polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
15. inflammation
16. infertility
17. aging, common characteristics of those who live the longest include low normal values for:
• fasting insulin levels
• fasting glucose
• triglycerides
• body fat found around your organs, typically you carry weight around the mid-section of your body

High insulin levels affect children too! Here are risk factors associated with high insulin levels and diseases that are common in children who are overweight.

1. overweight
2. diabetes
3. metabolic syndrome
4. high homocysteine levels (a risk factor for heart disease and stroke)
5. high LDL (bad cholesterol)
6. non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
7. acanthosis nigricans (a brown or black velvety color to the skin).

If the information is out there, ever wonder why the smart guys making big money do not focus on this? Me too, the bottom line for early detection of the illnesses mentioned above is to speak with your doctor about checking insulin levels (fasting and after you eat along with a glucose tolerance test) at routine visits. Eat low carbohydrate/low glycemic foods that will help keep insulin levels low.


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Top 5 Forgotten Superfoods (Four)

Can you say Ch, Ch, Ch, Chia? The 4th forgotten Super food is chia seed. What is Chia seed? It is the seed from the desert plant Salvia hispanica and a member of the mint family. The word chia is derived from the Aztec word chian, meaning oily ( Chia is grown in South and Central America and has been around for over 3000 years. Chia seeds can be stored for
several years without ever going rancid or losing potency. My friend David Mendosa has already written about this,

Chia is on the list because of its wide array nutritional value. A one ounce serving size provides:

137 calories
12 grams of carbohydrates (11 grams of which are fiber and there is almost no starch or sugar)
9 grams of polyunsaturated fat (4915 milligrams of omega three); the balanced fat ratio (3:1 Omega 3 vs. Omega 6) makes it the best whole food source of Omega 3
4 grams of protein

Chia seeds contain significant levels of antioxidants (chlorogenic and caffeic acids, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol flavonols) and is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc.

Greens plus,, is a company that has its priorities in the right place…good health and a growing list of products that help people make better food choices! I highly recommend the green drinks (original, berry burst, orange-greensicle-be creative use a blender to mix the powder with cream and low-glycemic fruit, ice and water) and protein bars. They now have a Chia drink, “Omega 3 Chia”, If you happen to check out the website, you do not want to miss the story of Lani Deauville, and her blog She has an amazing life and is an inspiration to us all. I hope to one day meet her in person.

Above and beyond the nutrients, claims for Chia seed include:

The high amount of fiber helps to reduce cravings and keep you full while maintaining steady states of blood sugar. Despite its high fiber content chia seeds seem to be more easily digestible.

Research on Chia has shown benefits for improving cardiac risk factors by increasing HDL, lowering Triglycerides(1) especially for diabetics (blood pressure, hemoglobin A1c (if you are diabetic and do not know what this is do a Google search now and speak with your healthcare professional to get it done immediately…actually that goes for any of the clinical terms I mention), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein)(2), Dietary chia seed reduced fat found around the stomach of rats that had insulin resistance. This study may provide hope for humans that have similiar symptoms. (3)

1. Ricardo Ayerza, Jr., Wayne Coates Ann Nutr Metab 2007;51:27-34 Effect of Dietary -Linolenic Fatty Acid Derived from Chia when Fed as Ground Seed, Whole Seed and Oil on Lipid Content and Fatty Acid Composition of Rat Plasma
2. Vladimir Vuksan et al., “Supplementation of Conventional Therapy With the Novel Grain Salba (Salvia hispanica L.) Improves Major and Emerging Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Type 2 Diabetes,
3. Adriana G. Chicco et al., Dietary chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) rich in α-linolenic acid improves adiposity and normalises hypertriacylglycerolaemia and insulin resistance in dyslipaemic rats,

You can easily add chia seeds to your diet, just like flaxseeds, Greek Yogurt, smoothies and shakes, salads, cottage cheese, soup, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches or oatmeal.

Chia is a super food with lot of health benefits. I’m not sure how it is so easily forgotten especially because I can’t get CH, CH, CH Chia out of my head!


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Top 5 Forgotten Superfoods (Two)

2. Coconut, Palm & Red Palm Oil (Tropical Oils) & Ghee (India, Egypt, throughout the Middle East, and North Africa)
Lose your fear of fat, not all fats are bad for you and this is true for saturated fats too. Fats are essential for your good health. Saturated fats have been given a bad wrap and unfortunately many people suffer because of this. Most people eat too much corn and soy oil, these are omega 6 fats, and not enough omega 3 and healthy saturated fats. It is important to balance the fats you consume. Saturated fats have higher smoke points, over vegetable and olive oil, making them healthier options when cooking because they are less likely to form dangerous free radicals or advanced glycation endproducts (AGE’s).

Coconut and palm oil are saturated (medium chain, not long chain)fats that contain lauric acid (anitviral and antimicribial) is found in mother’s milk and baby formulas, and caprylic acid is an anti-fungal. The tropical oils provide more than healthy fatty acids when you eat them. They promote good health with the nutrients they contain:

Read the rest of this entry »


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Top 5 “Forgotten” SuperFoods (One)

You may have read about “Superfoods”. Wikipedia defines “Superfood” as a term used to describe nutrient dense foods that are believed to provide health benefits. For example, blueberries have been categorized as a superfood because of health benefits they provide from the health promoting properties they contain: antioxidants, anthocyanins, vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber. Typically superfoods fall into a few food groups: fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and omega-3 fats.

My list of foods fall into these food groups but are not typically considered “Superfood” or encouraged to eat because of the fat content. Yet, by definition they should not be forgotten and because of the health benefits they should be included in your diet as part of a balanced healthy nutrition plan.

1. Hass Avocado, a fruit also known as “alligator pear” because of its dark coarse skin, tops the list because of its health benefits:

Heart health including raising HDL, lowering total cholesterol and LDL, lowering blood pressure and stroke and producing healthy red blood cells. The nutrients responsible for this include monounsaturated fat, folate (good for pregnant women) and potassium

Cancer Prevention (mouth, breast and prodtate)inhibiting cancer cell growth without causing harm to normal cells monounsaturated fat (oleic acid), carotenoids (zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene), tocopherols (Vitamin E) lutein

Bet you can’t wait to find out what the others are, stay tuned I think your gonna be surprised.

If you want to read more about the health benefits of avocados you may be interested in these sites:


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