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Cholesterol

Is fat from dairy like butter and cheese decreasing or increasing cardiovascular risk?

Posted by on 9:25 am Body fat, Cardiovascular Disease, Cholesterol, Diet, Eating, Fat, General Health, Stay healthy, The Learn to Eat Plan, Tissue Recovery Blog, Wellness | 0 comments

Fat from butter and cheese is mainly saturated fat. We used to be warned about saturated fat and it was recommended to reduce the intake of saturated fat because it increased the risk of cardiovascular disease. Now many are recommending to eat saturated fat claiming it is healthy, and that it will not increase cardiovascular risk.
So what does the science say?

When 43,652 men and 87907 women and another 90675 women were followed for several years, a total of 5,158,337 person-years of follow-up, this was the results (Chen M, et.al., 2016).

The replacement of 5% of energy intake from dairy fat with an equivalent energy intake from polyunsaturated fat was associated with 24% reduction in cardiovascular risk. You find polyunsaturated fat in some fish like salmon, nuts, seeds and vegetables.

Are all saturated fats producing the same results? This is the results when extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and unsalted butter were compared (Khaw KT, et.al., 2018).

LDL cholesterol was significantly increased on butter compared with coconut oil and olive oil. LDL is the harmful lipoprotein and is associated with increase cardiovascular risk.

It’s interesting while coconut oil is a source of saturated fat, it did not increase LDL like butter.  The coconut oil needs to be processed in such a way that the nutrients are still intact because there is other research showing it may increase LDL.

References

Chen M, Li Y, Sun Q, Pan A, Manson JE, Rexrode KM, Willett WC, Rimm EB, Hu FB.Dairy fat and risk of cardiovascular disease in 3 cohorts of US adults.Am J Clin Nov;104(5):1 209-1217. Nutr.2016 Nov;104(5):1209-1217.

Khaw KT, Sharp SJ, Finikarides L, Afzal I, Lentjes M, Luben R, Forouhi NG.Randomised trial of coconut oil, olive oil or butter on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors in healthy men and women.BMJ Open. 2018 Mar 6;8(3):e020167.

 

 

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Can nuts reduce the formation of vascular plaque?

Posted by on 9:54 pm Antioxidents, Cholesterol, Diet, Eating, Fat, Health, Low glycemic meals, The Learn to Eat Plan, Wellness | 0 comments

 

Plaque formation in the vascular system is something we are better off without, not only because it will increase cardiovascular risk, but we need good blood circulation to all tissue we have. Blood vessels in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients have, for example, been found to have a lot of plaque.

What can we do to help reduce plaque formation?

A high nutrient, low-glycemic index plant-based diet is a good choice, but is it possible to only add one food, and see a significant reduction in vascular plaque?

That’s exactly what the researchers of the following study investigated.

They measured the internal carotid intima-media thickness and plaque height using ultrasound at the start and after an average follow up of 2.4 years(Sala-Vila A, et.al, 2014).

Carotid intima-media thickness is the thickness of the inner layer of the blood vessel.

The participants consumed a Mediterranean diet. One group added either virgin olive oil or 30 grams of nuts every day to their diet. The control group consumed a low fat diet.

These were the results:

Compared with the control diet, consumption of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts was associated with delayed progression of  intima-media thickness and plaque.

It is also interesting that there were no changes after the Mediterranean diet with the added virgin olive oil.

What could be the reason for that?

A good assumption would be that nuts contain nutrients the olive oil is missing, especially antioxidants.

Oil even if it is a good oil is not as good as natural unprocessed food.

30 grams of nuts is only one big handful.

Get in the habit of reducing your intake of grains and use some nuts instead. That will work a lot better for you (unless you are allergic to nuts). 

Reference

Sala-Vila A, Romero-Mamani ES, Gilabert R, Núñez I, de la Torre R, Corella D, Ruiz-Gutiérrez V, López-Sabater MC, Pintó X, Rekondo J, Martínez-González MÁ, Estruch R, Ros E.Changes in ultrasound-assessed carotid intima-media thickness and plaque with a Mediterranean diet: a substudy of the PREDIMED trial.Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2014 Feb;34(2):439-45.

 

 

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How and when does cardiovascular disease start?

Posted by on 8:55 pm Anti-aging, Cardiovascular Disease, Cholesterol, Eating, Fat, HDL, Heart disease | 0 comments

 

The clogged pipe analogy is the old, but outdated model of explaining cardiovascular disease which still is used most of the time because of lack of understanding and lack of exposure to research (Rothberg MB, 2013).

According to this model, cholesterol plaque in the arterial walls slowly reduce the opening of the artery, first causing decreased blood flow without symptoms, then it causes angina (chest pain), and eventually it results in an infarction.

Treatments based on this theory include both coronary bypass surgery and angioplasty opening the blood vessel with a stent or a balloon.

While a massive plaque eventually can close up an artery, a heart attack is usually caused by unstable plaque thatmay not be easily detected, but can rupture and form a clot.

This is what happens according to more in depth research.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) mainly produced in the liver may infiltrate the vascular endothelium (the inner wall of the blood vessel), where it can initiate a complex inflammatory response. This inflammatory response can lead to arterial remodeling, in which plaque growth within the vessel walls is accommodated by outward enlargement of the vessel.

In that case, large plaques may not reduce the opening of the blood vessel and are therefore hidden from angiography.

These plaques are particularly dangerous both because they are prone to rupture, they are unstable, and because before rupture they do not limit the blood flow and therefore do not induce formation of protective collaterals.

If the blood flow slowly gets restricted as in stable plaque, the body will compensate by making new blood vessels to support the area in need, that’s why stable plaque is less dangerous.

A lot of people apparently have several plaque ruptures in their vascular system without symptoms.These ruptures can heal and is later impossible to detect.

For these reasons it’s very difficult to use available scanning methods as reliable tools to predict  a deadly plaque rupture.

There is however strong evidence that addressing the extent and activity of the atherosclerotic burden and thrombosis-promoting risk factors will improve risk (Arbab-Zadeh A, et.al., 2015).

Oxidized LDL is especially damaging to the endothelium, the inner lining of the blood vessels (Gradinaru D, et al., 2015).

Oxidized LDL cholesterol is associated with early atherosclerosis (Calmarza P, et.al., 2014).

When does atherosclerosis start?

It start at a very young age.

Atherosclerosis varied from 17% in individuals less than 20 years old to 85% in people 50 years old or older (Tuzcu EM, et.al., 2001).

If you have children, this is something to keep in mind. It is very important to have a healthy diet even for a child.

References

Arbab-Zadeh A, Fuster V.The myth of the “vulnerable plaque”: transitioning from a focus on individual lesions to atherosclerotic disease burden for coronary artery disease risk assessment.J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Mar 3;65(8):846-855.

Calmarza P1, Trejo JM, Lapresta C, López P,LDL oxidation and its association with carotid artery intima-media thickness and other cardiovascular risk factors in a sample of Spanish general population.Angiology. 2014 Apr;65(4):357-62.

Gradinaru D, Borsa C, Ionescu C, Prada GI,Oxidized LDL and NO synthesis–Biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction and ageing.Mech Ageing Dev. 2015 Nov;151:101-13.

Rothberg MB,Coronary artery disease as clogged pipes: a misconceptual model.Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2013 Jan 1;6(1):129-32.

Tuzcu EM1, Kapadia SR, Tutar E, Ziada KM, Hobbs RE, McCarthy PM, Young JB, Nissen SE.High prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis in asymptomatic teenagers and young adults: evidence from intravascular ultrasound.Circulation. 2001 Jun 5;103(22):2705-10.

 

 

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Green Tea Provides many Benefits, but you Need to Know this Before you Drink it.

Posted by on 8:56 am Bloodsugar, Cholesterol, General Health | 0 comments

The antioxidants called catechins in green tea is the main reason for the many benefits green tea provides.

It is very important to be insulin sensitive and have good glucose control because elevated blood glucose levels and insulin resistance cause inflammation and damage tissue.

When 17 studies were reviewed which included 1133 participants, the researchers found that green tea consumption significantly reduced fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c (Hb A1c) (Liu K, et.al., 2013). Subgroup analysis also found that green tea significantly reduced fasting insulin.

 

As you get more insulin sensitive, you don’t need as much insulin to transfer the blood glucose into the cells. As blood levels of insulin go down, you will also start to use more fat for energy.
The following study investigated green tea extract in capsule form instead of drinking green tea. (Bogdanski P, et.al., 2012).The participants were obese, had high blood pressure and took either a capsule of 379 mg of green tea extract or a placebo capsule for 3 months. This was the results.

 

 

 

Total cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and triglycerides decreased, while HDL (high-density lipoprotein) increased in the treatment group, but not in the placebo group. The group taking the green tea extract also had a significant decrease in diastolic and systolic blood pressure as well as a significant decrease in TNF-alpha and CRP, both inflammatory markers. Glucose, insulin and insulin resistance also improved.

 

This is all very good, but you need to be careful when you buy green tea.

 

 

When black, green, white and oolong tea sold in tea bags were steeped for 3-4 minutes and the tea tested, this is what was found (Schwalfenberg G, et.al., 2013).

73% of teas brewed for 3 minutes and 83% brewed for 15 minutes had lead levels considered unsafe for consumption during pregnancy and lactation. Aluminum levels were above recommended guidelines in 20% of the brewed teas. 

 

No mercury was found at detectable levels in any of the brewed samples.

Tea can possibly also be contaminated with pesticides.

You need to be sure that the tea you buy is of high quality and not grown in contaminated soil. This is something to keep in mind when you buy green tea extract also.

 

 

References

Bogdanski P, Suliburska J, Szulinska M, Stepien M, Pupek-Musialik D, Jablecka A. Green tea extract reduces blood pressure, inflammatory biomarkers, and oxidative stress and improves parameters associated with insulin resistance in obese, hypertensive patients. Nutr Res. 2012 Jun;32(6):421-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2012.05.007.

Liu K, Zhou R, Wang B, Chen K, Shi LY, Zhu JD, Mi MT. Effect of green tea on glucose control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;98(2):340-8.

Schwalfenberg G, Genuis SJ, Rodushkin I.The benefits and risks of consuming brewed tea: beware of toxic element contamination. J Toxicol. 2013;2013:370460.

 

 

The Better Green Tea Formula
Polyphenols (catechins) are the active ingredients in green tea providing a variety of benefits.

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Is Saturated Fat Bad For You?

Posted by on 9:20 am Cardiovascular Disease, Cholesterol, Diet, Eating, Eating, Fat | 0 comments

 

It is important to know the facts about saturated fat, because there are different opinions on this topic.

 

If you get it wrong, there may be serious health consequences as a result.

 

I think you agree that it is important to have a healthy cardiovascular system, because the blood is supplying the tissue with nutrients. It is especially important for the heart. Any chance that the blood supply to the heart gets compromised, you will be in big trouble.

 

If somebody claims that saturated fat is healthy, and it will not increase your cholesterol, a reference with good evidence should be provided. Moreover, if the author is not providing any evidence, or is referring to an article in the popular press, the author is only presenting his or her opinion.

 

You need evidence in the form of research published in a medical journal.

 

Even if the research is published in a medical journal, it may still not be designed well and could be biased. That’s why you will always find references with a link to the original abstract in the articles I write, to make it easy for you check the facts.

 

I have not found any reliable research so far supporting that saturated fat is healthy. I have however found studies showing that saturated fat is increasing cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol, the most harmful type. This means that saturated fat will increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.

 

In a very recent research, 92 men and women were put on a diet. The first group has a diet which consisted of high in saturated fat from either cheese or butter. Some of them are on a diet high in monounsaturated fat or polyunsaturated fat. Moreover, the remaining participants were in a low-fat diet high in carbohydrates. Each of the group had the diet for 4 weeks. This is what was found (Brassard D, et.al., 2017).  

 

LDL cholesterol increased the most after the butter diet, even more than after the cheese diet. Both the butter and the cheese diet increased the LDL more than the high carbohydrate diet. The diets are also high in monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.  

 

The following research is a summary of 12 studies. It also compared butter with cheese, and found the following. Cheese intake lowered LDL when compared to butter, but when compared to tofu, it increased LDL (de Goede J, et.al., 2015). This is the same as saying butter increased LDL more than cheese, and both butter and cheese increased LDL more than tofu.     

 

The HDL cholesterol, which has been considered protective for cardiovascular disease, was increased after the butter and cheese diets. It was significantly higher than for the carbohydrate diet. This may look like a benefit until you look at this study published in one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world the Lancet (Voight BF, et.al., 2012).

 

When people with genetically high HDL were compared with people without these genes, it did not seem to lower the risk of myocardial infarction.  

 

What would be found if people with genetically low LDL were examined? This has been done.  That particular study was published in another of the world’s most prestigious medical journals (Cohen JC, et.al., 2006).

 

It was found that people with genetically low LDL had a substantial reduction of coronary events. This is still the case even in the populations with a high prevalence of other non- cholesterol risk factors.

 

In another research, men with low cholesterol levels at the start were followed for many years. They had an estimated increased life expectancy of 3.8 to 8.7 years (Stamler J, et.al., 2000).

 

Research shows us that saturated fat from animal sources is not good, it will increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.

 

The good news is that you can control that to a large extent by changing what you eat. By doing so, you can produce the results you want.


References:

Stamler, J., Daviglus, M. L., Garside, D. B., Dyer, A. R., Greenland, P., & Neaton, J. D. (2000). Relationship of baseline serum cholesterol levels in 3 large cohorts of younger men to long-term coronary, cardiovascular, and all-cause mortality and to longevity. Jama284(3), 311-318.

Voight, B. F., Peloso, G. M., Orho-Melander, M., Frikke-Schmidt, R., Barbalic, M., Jensen, M. K., … & Schunkert, H. (2012). Plasma HDL cholesterol and risk of myocardial infarction: a mendelian randomisation study. The Lancet380(9841), 572-580.

de Goede, J., Geleijnse, J. M., Ding, E. L., & Soedamah-Muthu, S. S. (2015). Effect of cheese consumption on blood lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrition reviews73(5), 259-275.

Brassard, D., Tessier-Grenier, M., Allaire, J., Rajendiran, E., She, Y., Ramprasath, V., … & Jones, P. J. (2017). Comparison of the impact of SFAs from cheese and butter on cardiometabolic risk factors: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition105(4), 800-809.

Cohen, J. C., Boerwinkle, E., Mosley Jr, T. H., & Hobbs, H. H. (2006). Sequence variations in PCSK9, low LDL, and protection against coronary heart disease. New England Journal of Medicine354(12), 1264-1272.


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Recommendations that work. Improve your memory with the food you eat. This is not a regular diet program

Eggs: What research reveals.

Posted by on 9:30 am Cholesterol | 0 comments

You may have heard that high cholesterol does not significantly increase the risk for cardio vascular disease.

You may also have heard that high cholesterol food like eggs will not increase your total cholesterol and LDL, the so called bad cholesterol.

However, if you look a little bit closer at the research claiming that eggs will not raise the cholesterol, you will find that the design of those studies is such that the outcome was already known before the research started.

Here are a couple of examples of how it can be done.

If you use study participants that already have high cholesterol and give them a couple of eggs a day, you will not see a significant increase in cholesterol in those who are eating the eggs compared to those who are not. The reason is that it would take a lot more to further increase the cholesterol of somebody who already has high cholesterol.

You can safely give them two eggs a day knowing that you will not see any difference.

You can also compare participants who eat a diet high in glycemic index carbohydrates known to raise cholesterol with a group who eats low glycemic index foods high in cholesterol. Even if the high cholesterol foods increase the cholesterol, it will not increase it more than the high glycemic index carbohydrates, so when the two groups are compared there is no significant difference.

If, however, you have study participants with low cholesterol and gave them two eggs per day, their cholesterol would go up.

This study is interesting because I don’t think anybody would disagree with the opinion that plaque of the carotid artery is a cardiovascular risk. 1,262 participants with an average age of 61.5 years (47% were women) had the buildup of plaque in their carotid artery measured. Other relevant information was also collected.

The results showed that after the age of 40, carotid artery plaque increased linearly with age, and increased exponentially with packs of cigarettes per year of smoking, and also with years of eating egg yolks (Spence JD, et al. 2012). A difference was seen between those eating less than 2 egg yolks per week compared to those who ate 3 or more per week.

In this study, consumption of 2 eggs per day for 3 weeks increased total cholesterol by 11% as a result of increased LDL cholesterol (Levy Y, et al. 1996). HDL the so called good cholesterol decreased by 11%. It’s better to have high HDL levels.

Cholesterol is not the only thing that is undesirable when it comes to eggs.

Choline is an ingredients in eggs, and while we need some choline, we don’t need too much. Choline is metabolized by gastrointestinal bacteria to the metabolite TMAO and in this study the levels of TMAO were measured after ingestion of 2 hard boiled eggs (Tang WH, et al. 2013). I am not going into details of the research here, you can read the whole article yourself if you like, just click on the link below.

The researchers concluded that increased levels of TMAO from dietary choline are associated with an increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular events.

Some years ago I used to tell people that eggs were good, but I have changed my mind, there is just too much research indicating that it’s not.

The truth is that eggs don’t have enough beneficial nutrients to overcome the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Levy Y1, Maor I, Presser D, Aviram M. Consumption of eggs with meals increases the susceptibility of human plasma and low-density lipoprotein to lipid peroxidation. Ann Nutr Metab. 1996;40(5):243-51.
Spence JD1, Jenkins DJ, Davignon J. Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque. Atherosclerosis. 2012 Oct;224(2):469-73. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2012.07.032. Epub 2012 Aug 1.
Tang WH1, Wang Z, Levison BS, Koeth RA, Britt EB, Fu X, Wu Y, Hazen SL. Intestinal microbial metabolism of phosphatidylcholine and cardiovascular risk. N Engl J Med. 2013 Apr 25;368(17):1575-84. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1109400.

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