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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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Does it matter how we cook our food?

Posted by on 11:36 am Eating | 0 comments

Yes, how food is prepared can make a big difference.

Heat-processed foods contain high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) (Uribarri J, et al. 2010).

AGEs are produced when glucose and protein react with each other, and they are known to contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation.

Oxidative stress and inflammation are again linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and also other chronic conditions.

Certain foods generally have higher levels of AGEs and are even more susceptible to new AGEs formation when cooked.

This is especially true for animal derived foods that are high in fat and protein.

Vegetables, fruit, beans and grains contain a lot fewer AGEs; this holds true even after they have been cooked.

The most damaging way to cook is dry heat. This increases the AGEs formation by10-100 folds compared to the uncooked food.

Does this mean that we have to eat everything raw?

No, not all food (even if the food is healthy) can be eaten raw.

This has been shown to decrease the AGEs formation significantly.

Cooking with moist heat at lower temperatures for a shorter time, and also using acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar.

While the brown color of grilled or baked chicken or the brown crust of bread may look appealing to you, it is not healthy.

Uribarri J1, Woodruff S, Goodman S, Cai W, Chen X, Pyzik R, Yong A, Striker GE, Vlassara H. Advanced glycation end products in foods and a practical guide to their reduction in the diet. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Jun;110(6):911-16.e12. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2010.03.018.

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Glutathione is your primary defense against aging, but regular glutathione is oxidized (destroyed in the stomach) and provides little value. S-Acetyl Glutathione is easily absorbed and provides protection.

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Easy way to improve your circulation.

Posted by on 9:45 am Eating | 0 comments

Decreased circulation to the arms, hands, legs, or feet can be caused by atherosclerotic plaque.

You can improve that quite easily without making a lot of changes.

In the following study participants with peripheral artery disease were asked to add half a cup of cooked legumes(either beans or lentils) to their diet, every day, for 8 weeks (Zahradka P, et al. 2013).

This is what happened.

Total cholesterol decreased by 5% and LDL cholesterol (the so called bad cholesterol) decreased by 8.7%

The ankle-brachial index increased by 5.5%.

Acylcarnitine levels were also altered indicating improvements in skeletal muscle metabolism due to increased delivery of blood to the capillaries in the tissue.

I think that’s amazing, just half a cup of beans a day will accomplish that.

What we eat really makes a big difference.

This was only one example of a small change.

Zahradka P1, Wright B, Weighell W, Blewett H, Baldwin A, O K, Guzman RP, Taylor CG. Daily non-soy legume consumption reverses vascular impairment due to peripheral artery disease. Atherosclerosis. 2013 Oct;230(2):310-4. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.07.048. Epub 2013 Aug 6.

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You can slow down your resting heart rate without exercising

Posted by on 9:45 am Eating | 0 comments

It’s a well established fact that the better physically fit you are, the lower resting heart rate you will have.

Exercise provide numerous benefits and this is one of them.

A lower resting heart rate has been documented to lower the risk of death, so I really recommend you to exercise (effectively) regularly.

I have written about that in other articles.

You can also slow your heart rate without exercising, and I suggest that you also incorporate this habit.

There are drugs that will slow your heart rate, but as you know drugs tend to have side effects, and they don’t improve your physical fitness.

It is, however, interesting that even if the heart rate is reduced with drugs, the slowing of the resting heart rate itself reduces the risk of mortality.

As long as you reduce your resting heart rate, you will get benefits even if you don’t get in better physical shape.

Since that’s the case, why not do it with a specific type of food since we need to eat anyway.

What kind of food would do something like that?

Beans would do that.

When study participants were eating either a low glycemic index diet and adding at least 1 cup of beans or lentils per day or by increasing the fiber intake by eating whole wheat products, the group that ate the beans saw more benefits than the group eating the wheat (Jenkins DJ, et al. 2012).

One of the benefits was a slower resting heart rate of 3.1 beats per minute which was not seen in the other group.

If you add beans to your diet you will also see a lot of other benefits.

If you also add exercise using the principle of high intensity short interval training, you will get huge benefits, and it does not have to be either difficult or time consuming.

Jenkins DJ1, Kendall CW, Augustin LS, Mitchell S, Sahye-Pudaruth S, Blanco Mejia S, Chiavaroli L, Mirrahimi A, Ireland C, Bashyam B, Vidgen E, de Souza RJ, Sievenpiper JL, Coveney J, Leiter LA, Josse RG. Effect of legumes as part of a low glycemic index diet on glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Nov 26;172(21):1653-60.

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Does intermittent fasting make you tired?

Posted by on 8:00 am Eating | 2 comments

 

Maybe you think intermittent fasting will make you tired and you will not be able to do much.

That may be a logical expectation since we need food to produce energy, or do we?

No, not really, we don’t need food to produce energy when we do intermittent fasting because we don’t go without food for very long.

This has been researched, and even if some of the very first studies on energy and starvation showed some conflicting results, more recent research done over 84 hours (4 days) showed that energy expenditure increased significantly (Zauner C. et al. 2000).

This was associated with a significant increase in nor-epinephrine, one of the stress hormones, and a decrease in blood glucose.

Instead fatty acids are mobilized which leads to increased ketone bodies in the blood, increasing the fatty acid oxidation.

This means that we are burning more fat as fuel for energy.

The nor-epinephrine gives us energy.

This makes sense because as humans evolved there was not always enough food, so periodic starvation was a fact of life.

We needed energy to go and catch some food.

If we did not have the energy to do that, we would not have survived, so this makes a lot of sense.

The fact is that if you want to implement intermittent fasting, you don’t have to worry about being tired.

If the fasting does not last for more than one day, that should not be a problem.

You don’t even have to do it for 24 hours. There are several ways to implement this.

You can for example stop eating after lunch, and not eat again until breakfast the next day.

When you fast don’t drink juice, it’s too sweet, drink water instead that’s much better for you.

Zauner C1, Schneeweiss B, Kranz A, Madl C, Ratheiser K, Kramer L, Roth E, Schneider B, Lenz K. Resting energy expenditure in short-term starvation is increased as a result of an increase in serum norepinephrine. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jun;71(6):1511-5.

smiling womanLearn to Eat:  Recommendations that work. This is not a regular diet program.

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What intermittent fasting can do for you.

Posted by on 8:51 am Eating | 0 comments

Fasting for several days is not very appealing to most people and may not even be desirable, as it can produce some unwanted side effects in addition to benefits.

Intermittent fasting however is not that difficult and can be implemented several ways without any negative effects.

Research on alternate day fasting from 3 to 12 weeks has shown it to be effective for weight loss, reduction of cholesterol and triglycerides (Tinsley GM, La Bounty PM, 2015).

These are, however, not the only benefits you can get from intermittent fasting.

When the inflammatory cytokines IL-1, IL-6 and TNF-alpha were measured before and after 3 weeks of intermittent fasting they were all significantly lower after the fasting (Faris MA, et al. 2012).

Not only that, but systolic and diastolic blood pressure, body weight and fat percentage were all significantly lower after the fasting.

There are several ways to implement intermittent fasting, and if it is combined with a very healthy diet, you can get even better results.

Faris MA1, Kacimi S, Al-Kurd RA, Fararjeh MA, Bustanji YK, Mohammad MK, Salem ML. Intermittent fasting during Ramadan attenuates proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells in healthy subjects. Nutr Res. 2012 Dec;32(12):947-55. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2012.06.021. Epub 2012 Oct 4.
Tinsley GM1, La Bounty PM2. Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans. Nutr Rev. 2015 Oct;73(10):661-74. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv041. Epub 2015 Sep 15.

Learn to Eat:  Recommendations that work. This is not a regular diet program.