Tag Archives: cancer

Top Five “Fat” Superfoods

“Superfood” is a term used to describe foods that are nutrient dense and that may contribute to better health or provide health benefits.  These power foods are natural, not created in a food lab and provide the most nutrient “bang” for the calorie “buck”. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, co-enzymes, fiber, anti-oxidants or phyto-nutrients.

Typically low fat fruits, vegetables and grains are categorized as superfoods (for example blueberries are considered a superfood because of the health promoting properties they contain: antioxidants, anthocyanins, vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber).

My list, contains superfoods that are higher in fat and are not typically considered “super” because of the fat content. Yet, by definition they should not be forgotten on any super food list. These high(er) fat nutrient dense superfoods contribute to optimal health and they should be included in your diet as part of a balanced healthy nutrition plan.

SUPERFOOD #1: Hass Avocado

A fruit also known as the “alligator pear” because of its dark coarse skin, avocado tops the list. Despite its soft creamy texture, half  an avocado contains 6.5g fiber which is more than most other fruits, vegetables or grains. Eighty percent of the calories from avocado comes from fat. So if you take a fat soluble vitamin like vitamin D, an avocado should help with its absorption. This superfruit is dense in other nutrients as well including:

Vitamin A

Vitamin C

Vitamin D

Vitamin E

Vitamin K


Vitamin B6


Pantothenic Acid







…And there is much much more avocado has to offer as a superfood; it contains phytonutrients like beta-sitosterol (lowers LDL and decreases prostate cancer cell growth,,  antioxidants such as lutein (important in eye and heart health) and oleic acid (an abundant monounsaturated fat component of the avocado) which according to a review in Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry entitled “An overview of the modulatory effects of oleic acid in health and disease,”, there are multiple health benefits linked to avocado consumption including reducing inflammation, lowering risk for heart disease and wound healing.

Very recently avocado fat is being investigated as an agent that may be effective at destroying the stem cells of acute myeloid leukemia (AML),

Nutritional benefits have also been linked to anti-aging, helping maintain blood sugar levels, lowering chances of neural tube defects for the baby during pregnancy and improving gut and bowel health.

The broad spectrum of nutrients benefiting different health parameters gives this fat filled fruit its Superfood status. Eating an avocado or veggies with some guacamole  everyday is not just delicious but gives you a wide range of nutrients that can contribute to wellness.

Limiting fat can jeopardize good health decisions and interfere with good choices to eat foods like the avocado just because they contain fat. Health conscious decisions should not be solely based on the narrow scope of macronutrient distribution as carbohydrates, fats and protein consumption only scratches the surface of health as a whole and should be considered only as one piece of an intricate health puzzle.

The countdown continues next week…


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The King of Ketosis

Dr. Atkins


Ketosis simply means burning fat. When your body burns fat it helps correct metabolic health and weight issues. If you are not healthy or cannot seem to lose weight, Make a change in your way of eating.

At a minimum, Dr. Atkins should be known as the “King of Ketosis”. It’s been awhile since I worked with Dr. Atkins and embarked on my own high fat, low carb journey. Back then, although we cited Keckwick and Pawan and a few others, we had NO “current” research. We barely even understood what happened biochemically in the body but we did know that our patients reaped the benefits much before the sea of results with today’s “current” research and monumental low carb following.

We understood the power of ketosis (controlling carbohydrates) and the health benefits of fat. Because eating real food and avoiding the push for commercially prepared low-fat products tainted with trans fat and high fructose corn syrup was and is healthier. We witnessed health and weight improvements. We did not need to wait for research when right in front of our eyes was this nutritional blessing of ketosis that helped improve quality of life and we would not bury our heads in the sand of denial no matter who said otherwise. It is hard to imagine what would have happened if Dr. Atkins retaliated in fear or lost his endurance to the wolves that hunted him. There were so many attacks.

I was a registered dietitian (RD), a vegetarian at the time eating low-fat foods, but Dr. Atkins hired me anyway. He was extremely bright. I think he knew what he was doing when he hired “the enemy”. He used to call registered dietitians “airheads” because he was so frustrated at the medical establishment trying to denounce what he was doing and label him a “quack”. When I reminded him I was a RD, he smiled ( a charismatic smile ) and said “not all of them”.

I, on the other hand, had no idea what I was about to experience and even explain how this job would become my life. However there were four main reasons  I switched from being a vegetarian to an Atkins for lifer!

  1. As a vegetarian, it was difficult to make creative eating suggestions for my flesh-eating clients.
  2. I was about ten pounds overweight and I wanted to experience the excitement my clients felt and, of course, the fast weight loss results.
  3. I saw patients clinical labs and they all improved: cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and all the rest, including the clients reported benefits:
  • improved energy
  • stable moods
  • mental focus
  • less gas/ bloating
  • better sleep
  • less acne flare ups and episodes
  • less appetite

oh, there were so many…

  1. As I dug through the published data and paced the shopping aisles of the grocery store. I realized this “Atkins” diet was healthier than anything I had recommended during my whole nutrition career. I realized I was brain washed by the establishment. Fast forward, while I completed the nutritional analysis of the menus in my book, “The Stubborn Fat Fix” (, the less carbs the more nutrient dens the meal. As carbs were placed back into meals, not too many of course, it diluted what I call the “nutrient bang for the calorie buck”.

We did not have sexy marketing lingo like “nutritional” ketosis.  Although it is a great descriptor as being in ketosis  equates to eating nutrient dense meals. Today we may just take for granted what seems to be the obvious.

Cristi Vlad does a great job at explaining ketosis, He describes his own weight and fat loss but the advantage of lowering carbs goes beyond what you see on the outside.

The true magic of ketosis is buried deep within at the hormonal level and hormones influence our lives (men, women and children) much more than we know.

If you want to read up on the research, Ellen Davis has a no holds barred  website, on almost everything you may want to know about a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet and how it contributes to slowing the aging process and healing:

  • any blood sugar disorder, including diabetes, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • parkinson’s disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • epilepsy
  • autism
  • fatty liver
  • stomach issues like reflux, ulcers, gas bloating

and the list goes on.

Don’t be afraid of ketosis or living low carb.  Jimmy Moore,, has been living low carb, writing books, doing podcasts, hosting cruises and even has a list of practitioners who can help you, Burning fat to supply body energy (ketosis) is not only an optimal way of eating, it is prudent for quality of life and longevity.


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Seeking Saturated Fat


Hopping back from the diabetes debate,, and on to more of the beneficial functions of saturated fats. It started with the heart, brain and lungs,, 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,  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,

  • 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, 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, and

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!


Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Uncategorized


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New Year, New Diet and Weight Loss Information

English: Nutrigenomics: bring disease, cancer,...

English: Nutrigenomics: bring disease, cancer, diet and genetics together (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are so many reasons why people choose to follow a certain diet.  It is “in” to be thin. So, if you follow a diet that cuts calories or fat, maybe you choose to eliminate meat for ethical reasons or you reduce your cravings by minimizing carb intake, you might want to consider genetic markers that influence disease risk to truly feed your body the right fuel.

Your genes are not only involved with your physical appearance but also involved in daily interactions that effect your health and your weight. Scientists are now beginning to understand how genes play part in the direct effect on health and weight loss. The metabolism, storage and absorption of macronutrients (calories, fats carbohydrates and proteins)  are directed by your genes. This may explain why, you and a friend may follow the same diet but you do not lose the same amount of weight.  Various genes have different working  mechanisms. These interactions are affected by the environment and yes that includes the food you eat.

How can body weight be affected by genes? Just a few ways are featured at,, and they list: appetite, fat storage, Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and lean body mass to fat ratio.

Genes and related Factors on Weight and Blood Sugar (Diabetes):

These are just a few examples of contributing factors effecting excess weight and diabetes beyond the calorie hypothesis.


Nutrigenomics (the study of the effects of foods on genetic behavior) is a new field that is likely going to prove how much we DO NOT know about nutrition and current dietary recommendations.

If the diet you are now following does not work, it may simply be because you and your body are not in sync, you have not found the diet that your body is looking for.  You may need to explore subtle variations in your current eating regimen. You may need to work with an experienced weight loss expert who can assist you in your weight loss and improved health journey. There is hope, keep trying.

It may not be your fault that you are trying to lose weight and are not successful.

What is important to realize is that individualized diets based on genetics, will be more available in the future.



Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Diabetes, diet, genes, weight gain, weight loss


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A is for Arsenic in Apple Juice…

Dr. Oz. was attacked from many different fronts after his show exposed the contamination of apple juice with arsenic , (there are a few interesting links here you may want to surf,  Sen. Schumer Calls on the FDA to Regulate Juice Companies, FDA Statement, Current Standards, Research Results…).

A part of this controversy stems from the fact that the apples used to make the juice are grown in China, where food regulation laws are not as stringent, are contaminated as a result of pesticide spraying. I did some research on this and came up with an interesting study conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences,, entitled, “Inorganic Arsenic in Chinese Food and its Cancer Risk”.

Shockingly, I found more information about arsenic in U.S. chickens, Apparently chickens ingest the arsenic in the feed they are fed.

Dr. Michael Greger quotes the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration,  “Chicken consumption may contribute significant amounts of arsenic to total arsenic exposure of the U.S. population….Levels of arsenic in chicken are so high that other sources may have to be monitored carefully to prevent undue toxic exposure among the population.” Read more at

These reports seem to support the fact that arsenic is not foreign to our food supply and before we go burying the hatchet on apple juice, maybe we need to turn over a few more stones to uncover just how deep-rooted arsenic and other toxic contaminants are in our food supply.
What does this mean for the unsuspecting consumer?
Arsenic is linked to poor mental health in children as well as diabetes, heart and nerve disease for the entire population.

Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Arsenic, Dr. Oz


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Cancer Warning Labels on Soda for California in 2012

Cola is usually colored dark brown using caram...

Image via Wikipedia

California is requiring that a cancer warning label be placed on brown colored sodas that contain caramel coloring because toxicology reports, in 2003 and 2005 from The National Institute of Health‘s National Toxicology Program, suggest that ingredients contained in caramel coloring are linked to cancer. It is believed that the caramel color contains two cancer causing ingredients, 2-methylimidazole (2-MEI) and 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI). I’m a label reader and have never seen 2 or 4-MEI listed on the label of any bottle of brown colored soda. If you are interested in reading USA reporter Elizabeth Weise’s story, here’s the link,  I guess caramel coloring is a more friendly sounding term than each of the chemical components in question that sound like they  may be something that actually might cause cancer. 

Just to be fair…The American Beverage Association denies the caramel color/cancer connection. However, if it is true, I wonder how much money they lose if they stop production NOW!?

Here’s the stuff that got me when I went to, “caramel color is made by a carefully controlled heat treatment of carbohydrates, generally in the presence of acids, alkalis, or salts, in a process called caramelization. It is fully oxidized has an odor of burnt sugar and a somewhat bitter taste. Its color ranges from pale yellow to amber to dark brown .”  In my readings, I recall, oxidation and burnt foods have been linked to the aging process and cancer.

It’s not just the caramel color and cancer link you should be worrying about when you drink soda. Awhile back I wrote about the risks of drinking soda,, and listed a few reasons why you should trade in soda for healthier beverages, such as tea, tomato juice or V-8,  homemade lemonade, Greens+(…

Other foods that contain caramel color are: beer and liqeour, brown bread and custard, doughnuts, cookies, fruit preserves and I guess you’ll have to start checking the ingredient section on the label to see just how many products contain caramel coloring.

Bottom line just like anything else, you need to be the judge and make the right choice for you. Would love to hear your thought, please let me know which side you are on.

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Posted by on February 25, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Acrylamide: A Carcinogen You May Want To Know About

Acrylamide is a “natural” chemical that has been classified as a carcinogen and it can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled or ingested. Despite this “cancer causing label” and its association with nerve damage, skin irritation and possibly reproductive health, acrylamide is used for many purposes ranging from building materials and auto parts to ink and adhesive tape. Acrylamide has been found in municipal drinking water, dental and hair products, soaps/creams and make-up. Here’s some background from the World Health Organizations,

Interestingly enough acrylamide is “naturally” formed when foods that contain both asparagine (an amino acid/protein) and sugar (or carbohydrate) are fried, grilled or baked at temperatures higher than 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooked potatoes and cereal products have been identified as having high levels of acrylamide. For example, french fries contain high amounts of acrylamide for three reasons:

1. high amounts of aspargine
2. starch/carbohydrates
3. high heat cooking temperatures

I continually hear about the health implications associated with eating fat, or carbohydrates and avoiding meat because of the fat content. When you hear about food and how it affects health remember it’s not always so simple. You need all 3 factors (asparagine, starch, high heat) to form the carcinogen acrylamide. Sweden seems to have taken the lead on this and I found a list of foods (crackers, cereal, waffles, pizza etc…) that were measured to determine the amount of acrylamide they contain,

Whether you are trying to eat more healthy or if there is a history of cancer in your family you may want to avoid foods that contain  higher levels of acrylamide.

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Posted by on September 17, 2010 in Breast cancer, cancer, cooking


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