Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chocolate as a Pre-biotic?

Beneficial bacteria in cocoa?  According to the American Journal of clinical nutrition, our love of chocolate has shown to be beneficial for the gut.

Remember, we carry about 4 lbs. of bacteria in the human body.  The following study cites cocoa showed a significant improvement in the pre-biotics, the bacteria that your bacteria feed on.

Normally you have an abundance of friendly bacteria, however antibiotic therapy, stress and poor dietary choices may all cause intestinal dysbiosis, which is a bacterial imbalance that results in overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeast.

When the bad bacteria and yeast become overgrown in your intestinal tract, you have a condition called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis has been linked with disorders like yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. A common cause of dysbiosis is antibiotic therapy. The antibiotics that you take for killing an infection will also kill the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract. 
Prebiotics and probiotics can restore the balance of bacteria in your digestive tract. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can be found in various foods.
When you eat probiotics, you will add these healthy bacteria to your intestinal tract. Common strains include Lactobacillis and Bifidobacterium families of bacteria.
Prebiotics are non-digestible foods that make their way through our digestive system and help good bacteria grow and flourish. Prebiotics keep beneficial bacteria healthy.  Normally, these prebiotics are found in fibers which can cause some distress.  Inulin is an example of this fiber. 

This study shows, for the first time to our knowledge, that consumption of cocoa flavanols can significantly affect the growth of select gut microflora in humans, which suggests the potential prebiotic benefits associated with the dietary inclusion of flavanol-rich foods.

Don't think you can run out and buy a Hershey bar though!  Not all cocoa is created equal.  The higher the cocoa content, the more beneficial the flavanols.  Remember that sugar can actually disrupt your fine balance of bacteria so I always recommend 85% organic cocoa.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Appetite Out of Control? Phenylalanine May Be the Answer!

If you're really serious about taking charge of your appetite and are tired of battling your cravings and added pounds, here's a safe way to manage your eating habits and finally get your weight under control!

Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that acts as an appetite suppressant by administrating the release of an intestinal hormone—cholecystokinin—which signals the brain to feel satiated after eating.
Here's how appetite control works: cholecystokinin (CCK) is released as food enters the stomach. It tells the digestion to slow down and then gives the message to the brain that you are 'full' . . . so your appetite naturally decreases. This takes time—usually around 20 minutes.

Phenylalanine is found in a variety of foods, including almonds, avocados, bananas, brown rice, cheese, corn, eggs, fish, lima beans, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and soy products. Problem is, you'd have to eat lots of extra calories in order to get an efficacious amount and at that, not all of those food choices are healthy or a part of the Free Healthy Diet Plan. That's why phenylalanine is sold as a convenient nutritional supplement.

If you take 500 mg. of phenylalanine 30 minutes to one hour before eating a meal, you'll notice that you'll feel full faster—so you don't fill up on extra calories that you don't need! And not only that, you'll stay full longer so you don't get that late afternoon or after-dinner snack attack. Before you know it, those extra pounds you've been carrying around will start to melt away—safely and effortlessly.

L-Phenylalanine's ability to suppress appetite by stimulating the production of the appetite-suppressing hormone, cholecystokinin, was proven in a laboratory study with rhesus monkeys. In the first test, the monkeys were given cholecystokinin intravenously after having been deprived of food overnight. Sure enough, the monkey's appetites were suppressed. In the second test, the monkeys again weren't allowed to eat anything during the night previous to testing. Even though they were hungry, after they were given phenylalanine, the monkeys' appetite was suppressed. The test indicates that phenylalanine helps release cholecystokinin, the hormone that suppresses appetite.

According to Priscilla Slagle, M.D., author of The Way Up From Down, "Diet changes and natural supplements can alter your brain chemistry so that you can think and perceive positively."

Phenylalanine, along with two other amino acids, tyrosine and methionine, helps the body produce adrenaline. It is also a precursor for other proteins and enzymes, including norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine. It is available in three different forms: L, D, and DL. The L form is the most common and is the type which is incorporated into your body's proteins. The D form acts as a painkiller, and the DL is a combination of the two.  I often recommend the D form for those who have had a surgery and find it difficult to discontinue their pain killer prescriptions such as oxycodone and hydrocodone (vicodin). 
  1. D-Phenylalanine—one of the three forms of phenylalanine—increases endorphins, your natural pain relievers, thus aiding in pain relief and mood elevation. It has been found to be safer than and as effective as commonly prescribed and/or over-the-counter drugs. It can help alleviate stubborn pain as well as depression, offering hope to individuals who had formerly been despondent about chronic situations.
  2. L-Phenylalanine converts to phenylethylamine, an amphetamine-like stimulatory compound and also converts to norepinephrine and dopamine (via tyrosine) which are mood elevating, motivating, stress protective body chemicals.
  3. DL-Phenylalanine (DLPA) is a combination of L-phenylalanine and D-phenylalanine.  DLPA has also been found to be beneficial in combating depression, elevating mood, producing a feeling of satiety, and boosting the body's natural pain-killing response.
So, if you want to control your appetite, lose weight painlessly, and maintain a good mood, try phenylalanine!
Once you have made up your mind to lose weight, you should make that commitment and go into it with a positive attitude. Think like a winner, and envision yourself the way you want to look and feel. Don't get discouraged if you slip now and then, and eat something you know you shouldn't have. We're all human. If you eat something you know isn't on your plan, don't guilty. Get right back on with the very next meal.  It's not what you do occasionally that counts, it's what you do consistently on a daily basis and most importantly, how you recover.

Caution: Phenylalanine should not be taken by pregnant women, or those who suffer from high blood pressure, phenylketonuria, melanoma or anxiety attacks. It should not be used if taking MAO inhibitor drugs, commonly prescribed for depression.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Do you dread the holiday weight gain?

So many of us dread the holiday weight gain.  It seems to sneak up leaving us feeling bloated, exhausted, foggy creating guilt and low self esteem.  You have the power to prevent that holiday bulge with a few tips I have provided below. 

Whether you're currently on a weight loss journey, trying to maintain your weight or even plan on committing in 2011, the following tips are something that I have practiced with great success for many years in order to maintain my 85lb. weight loss.  How do I maintain?  First, I have told myself that I will never be fat again, second, I committed to a lifestyle not just another diet.

By nourishing yourself well, you are feeding key neuro-transmittors that can be responsible for driving craving and addiction.  

Be sure to consume a high quality breakfast of protein and fat prior to leaving the house for your shopping trips and other errands.  Hunger will create cravings that encourage you to make bad choices.

Pack a snack if you’ll be away from home for an extended period of time.  Walnuts, string cheese, hard boiled eggs, apple and almond butter travel nicely.  It’s cool enough so an ice chest usually isn’t necessary but a good idea. 

If you must choose mall foods, choose the Mongolian BBQ, Salad Bar or meat on a stick without sugary sauces.  Unless you’re blood sugar has hit the floor and you are dizzy, you might be able to wait until you get home for a wiser food choice.  Unless one has blood sugar issues, one will not die without food for a few hours. 

Eat something higher in fat before those holiday parties.  It is an old folk remedy to consume high amounts of butter to protect the liver before drinking in the 18th century.  

When consuming food at parties, load your plate with dips and vegetables.  The veggie is just the delivery for a higher fat choice that will satiate you and prevent cravings for the candy, breads and other dessert or high carbohydrate items.  Nuts, cheeses, deviled eggs and prawns are generally options and the best choices for you. 
Alcohol choices are important as well.  Choose dry wines, clear spirits and tonic waters.  Alcohol is a burden and no amount of grape seed extract out weighs the detrimental effects of wine on the liver.  Remember the butter trick above and try to drink slowly with intermittent glasses of water.  Sip slowly and try a cup of coffee after two drinks if you need something for socialization.  

Be selective and choose your dessert wisely and infrequently.  If you are stuffed, don’t force dessert.  Disrupted digestion leads to disrupted sleep which leads to a production of cortisol, a hormone that causes stomach weight gain.  Pack an 85% high quality chocolate bar and have a couple of squares so you don’t feel deprived.

What drains your brain?

 Skipping Meals
Insufficient Protein

High Glycemic Carbs

Low Minerals

Low B Complex Status

Lack of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Stimulant and Alcohol Use

Artificial Sweeteners

Free Radical Damage


Stress/High Cortisol

Heavy Metals

Low Vitamin D levels found in acutely ill patients

If you learn nothing else from me, you should remember that Vitamin D is as far as I'm concerned the most important supplement one could take. Remember, there are only 2 ways to obtain Vitamin D. The first, through that of the sun and your cholesterol. Cholesterol plays an important role in the uptake of Vitamin D. It is converted in the kidney and without sun or the supplementation of Vitamin D3 in the form of cholecalciferol, you are most likely deficient if you live above the equator.

Now when I ask folks how they are getting their Vitamin D, the first thing women will tell me is "Well it's added to my calcium source". That would be ergocalciferol, Vitamin D from plant matter. Unfortunately, that's not the correct form we're looking for here. Yes, D2 assists in the uptake of calcium and is helpful in the prevention of osteoperosis but it's not the complete picture. The story below from my favorite source, Science Daily is a great example of just how deficient we are. With the current h1n1 virus, your vitamin D is your immune system.

Carlsons Vitamin D3 drops, High Quality Cod Liver Oil like Carlsons Lemon Flavored 500mg DHA as well, 20 minutes exposure to summer sun will help boost your immune system and pave the road to good health. If you suffer pain like fibromyalgia, a 25OHD test might just be in order for you!

Just recently new guidelines were introduced to increase the RDA of Vitamin D to a mere 800 IU.  This, some say is only enough to prevent D deficiency diseases like that of rickets.  Many professionals like Dr. Cannell of the Vitamin D Council argue that the advised upper limits of about 2000IU daily are a minimum for healthy individuals and for ill or obese individuals 5000-10,000 IU are more efficient recommendations.

ScienceDaily (May 2, 2009) — A group of endocrinologists in Sydney have observed that very sick patients tend to have very low levels of Vitamin D. The sicker they are, the lower the levels.

Dr Paul Lee, Professor John Eisman and Associate Professor Jackie Center, researchers at Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, examined a cohort of 42 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients. Forty-five percent turned out to be Vitamin D deficient.

"Until now, the medical community has thought of Vitamin D deficiency as a chronic condition," said Dr Lee. "Little is known about its acute complications."

"Last year, we published several cases showing that Vitamin D deficiency can cause acute complications in the intensive care unit."

"Recently, Vitamin D has been recognised for its many roles beyond the musculoskeletal system. It has been implicated in diabetes, in the immune system, in cancers, in heart disease and in metabolic syndrome."

"Vitamin D appears to have roles in controlling sugar, calcium, heart function, gut integrity, immunity and defence against infection. Patients in ICU suffer from different degrees of inflammation, infection, heart dysfunction, diarrhoea and metabolic dysregulation – so vitamin D deficiency may play a role in each of these common ICU conditions."

"So we did a preliminary study and found that 45% of people in our ICU were Vitamin D deficient. There may be a bias, in that all patients were referred to endocrinology, so the numbers may not reflect the prevalence in a standard ICU cohort. However 45% is still a significant proportion.

When the team correlated the Vitamin D levels with a disease severity score, there was a direct correspondence between sickness and Vitamin D deficiency. In other words, the sicker someone was, the lower the levels of Vitamin D. Out of the 42 patients studied, there were 3 deaths. The 3 patients who died all had the lowest level of Vitamin D in the cohort.

"Perhaps when we are well, we have ways to compensate for organ dysfunction if we run low on Vitamin D," said Lee.

"But when we are very sick, the "sick organs" draw upon any vitamin D available to function properly, therefore we may need extra Vitamin D to maintain organ function during critical illness. However, at this stage, we don't know whether Vitamin D deficiency is just a marker of ill health, or whether it contributes to disease severity."

Lee believes that the study, while preliminary, is important because it highlights the fact that Vitamin D deficiency is common in intensive care units and is associated with disease severity.

The next step will be a randomised control study to investigate whether Vitamin D has benefits in critically ill patients. In simple terms, two groups of patients (who are evenly matched) will be treated, with Vitamin D added to the treatment of one group, but not the other. The outcomes will then be compared.

So should doctors be trying to raise the Vitamin D levels of their patients in the meantime?

Dr Lee hopes the randomised study may provide a more definitive answer to the question. "However, Vitamin D is very safe. It's inexpensive and has a very large safety window, making toxicity unlikely, unless there are underlying diseases causing high calcium. Giving vitamin D to severely deficient patients is very unlikely to cause harm. In addition, ICU patients are lying in bed for a long time, and are at risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. So if nothing else, Vitamin D will help protect their bones."

These findings will be published as a letter in the April 30, 2009 issue of theNew England Journal of Medicine.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Study confirms increase in wheat gluten disorder

Blood samples from '50s show it isn't just improved diagnosis, and researchers wonder if diet is a factor

A Minnesota study using frozen blood samples taken from Air Force recruits 50 years ago has found that intolerance of wheat gluten, a debilitating digestive condition, is four times more common today than it was in the 1950s.

The findings contradict the prevailing belief that a sharp increase in diagnoses of wheat gluten intolerance has come about because of greater awareness and detection, and raises questions about whether dramatic changes in the American diet have played a role.

"It's become much more common," said Dr. Joseph Murray, the Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist who led the study. No one knows why, he said, but one reason might be rapid changes in eating habits and food processing over the last half century.

"Fifty years is way too fast for human genetics to have changed," Murray said. "Which tells us it has to be a pervasive environmental influence."

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota who conducted the study also found that the recruits who had the undiagnosed digestive disorder, called celiac disease, also had a four-fold increase in the risk of death.

Today an estimated one of 100 people suffer from the inherited disorder, though most of the time people don't know they have it.

The disease occurs in people whose bodies cannot digest gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. The undigested protein triggers the body's immune system to attack the lining of the small intestine, causing diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain. Though people live with it for many years, over time it destroys the lining of the small intestine, leading to an inability to absorb nutrients such as iron and calcium. That, in turn, causes serious problems, including anemia, osteoporosis and even infertility.

The only treatment is a gluten-free diet -- no wheat, rye or barley.

Murray said he initiated the study to find out whether the disease is on the rise, and whether it had long-term health consequences if undiagnosed and untreated.

He turned to medical archaeology to find the answers - a treasure-trove of blood samples taken from recruits at the Warren Air Force base in Cheyenne, Wyo., between 1948 and 1954. At the time, strep infections were raging among the recruits, mostly young men on their way to fight in the Korean war. Doctors there drew the samples as part of a study that proved treating the infections with antibiotics would prevent rheumatic fever, a serious heart ailment that can follow strep throat.

One of the doctors in that study took some of the samples with him when he moved to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. When he decided to retire two decades ago, he asked Dr. Edward Kaplan, a strep specialist at the University of Minnesota, to become their guardian. The vials were transported in frozen-pizza delivery trucks to Minneapolis, where they reside today.

"Nobody has anything like it," said Kaplan. "There are other collections, but none go back this far."

In 2000 they were used to help resolve an intense debate among researchers over whether hepatitis C infection meant certain death, or whether many people could live with it for years.
Murray used a similar design for the study on celiac disease, published today in the journal Gastroenterology. He tested more than 9,133 samples for the antibodies that proved the recruits had celiac disease; 43, or about one out of 652, had the disease. He then tested blood samples from groups of men from Olmsted County, more than 12,000 in all. In an older group of men, one in 121 tested positive, and in the younger group one in 106 tested positive, an increase of four to four-and-a-half times.

His findings raise questions about why the number of people with the disease has grown so fast. But rates of other immune diseases have also increased a lot. One theory is that modern, clean living, which has resulted in fewer infections, parasites and microbes in our bodies, causes the immune system to turn on healthy tissue instead. Or it might be the modern diet, Murray said.
"The types of food we eat now are different," he said.

Star Tribune 7-09

Food Customized to your Body's Needs?

The following is what we refer to as Biochemical Individuality. Each of us is unique in our needs as mentioned in the story. Different blood types have different food allergy, some have auto-immune issuse, cognitive trouble, asthma, the list is long. Depending upon your biochemical individulaity, a one size fits all food plan may not work. There are needs that we as homosapians have that are not unique and this is the need for a balance of omega 3:6.

The author also mentions the lack of correlation between immune system boost and specific food consumption. I have to disagree with this blanket statement as lacto-fermented foods feed the gut with beneficial bacteria which is a direct immune system boost. These foods include Saurkraut, Kimchee, Live Vinegar, yogurts and kefir.

What's for dinner? In the future, you should know exactly what's best for your body, experts say. Wouldn't it be great if you knew which foods you should be eating based on your own personal health profile? We know that certain foods are bad for people with particular conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. Advising a generally healthy person on foods that will prevent future disease, on the other hand, is far more complicated, and represents one of the challenges for scientists working in food science. In the future, people should be able to tailor their diets and supplements to their particular biochemistry, said experts presenting at the annual meeting of the American Association of the Advancement of Science this week.

Right now the food industry is centered on products, said J. Bruce German, professor and food chemist at the University of California, Davis. That means profits depend on lowering the cost of production and making things cheaper. "No one's getting healthy in this model," he said. "It's clear we have to move toward a consumer-driven food supply."In a consumer-driven food world, the industry would focus its goals on improving all aspects of the consumer's health, he said. People would receive dietary recommendations based on a very specific individualized health assessment, taking into account age, sex and medical history, he said.

Once scientists have a better understanding of the way metabolism works -- research that is well under way -- people will be able to better personalize their diets to meet their own health needs, German said.Right now, the blanket recommendations are missing the mark. For example, look at omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Although most people don't get the recommended intake of omega-3s, found mainly in fish oils, different healthy people react very differently to these acids, meaning some need them a lot more than others, German said.

Moreover, there's little hard evidence supporting the use of vitamin C and zinc supplements, although they're widespread in pharmacies, said Dr. M. Eric Gershwin, professor of medicine at the University of California, Davis. As for herbal supplements like ginseng, Gershwin and colleagues found in a survey of products in Davis and Sacramento that half of the ginseng they bought actually contained no ginseng.The immune system, "a complicated, multiorgan, chemical and genetic nightmare," evolved about 250,000 years ago, meaning it's unlikely that we can improve it much just by eating certain foods, Gershwin said.

What we do know is that being thin is good for the immune system, and that foods rich in antioxidants have the potential to reduce inflammation that occurs in the body, he said. It's also important to recognize that the immune system slows down with age. When a baby gets hepatitis A, parents may not even know the child is sick, but older adults have a 25 percent chance of death from the disease, he said. In thinking about how to improve diets in the future, age is therefore a huge factor. Educating the immune system at a young age is also key, and that means it's actually good that babies get exposed to some bacteria. Gershwin advises that if your child's pacifier falls on the floor, put it right back in his or her mouth.

In fact, one theory, called the hygiene hypothesis, is that allergies to foods and pollens in America are so rampant because we're too clean, experts say. The bottom line is that being deficient in a nutrient such as vitamin D has harmful effects, but once you achieve a certain level, it's not clear that excess vitamins will help the immune system, Gershwin said. Another direction that food science is taking is genomics. Researchers are looking at the genes of edible organisms to figure out what about them makes them beneficial to humans, knowledge that may enhance diets in the future. Eating a diet plentiful in Grass-fed meats and cold water fish a omega-3 fatty acids, grass-fed beef, lamb, veal, and goat, as well as tuna, sardines, salmon, will not only give you the best in high quality protein, but also help your Omega 3:6 ratio.

Source:Elizabeth Landau, January 2009CNN

Finally, Solid Dietary Advice in the News!

I have a ritual every morning.  As a self employed person, I have the luxury of beginning my day with a cup of coffee, morning news and my laptop.

As I work on my website, check my e-mail and drink my coffee, I generally have the television on streaming our mostly gossip style morning news shows.  More often than not I get frustrated with useless tips about lipstick and electronics, I am tired of hearing about the Royal Wedding and quite frequently, I even wonder why I have the TV on.......

Until today.......

In my normal mode of concentration, I perked up when the comparison between a plate of bacon eggs and a bagel were mentioned.

As I looked up, a gorgeous photo of 2 eggs and bacon sweetly set up as a smiley face sat next to a very large, dry looking bagel and there was Dr. Travis Stork from the show "The Doctors".  Now I must admit, while I like to peek at these shows not because I believe the conventional advice is solid but because I always learn a little something.  I didn't have great confidence in Dr. Travis based on what I have observed on his show though I have noticed through little comments here and there that he is a bit different than the conventional wisdom of other professionals in the media.

Order Today!
To my surprise, Dr. Travis Stork said the magic words "When we reduced fat 20 years ago, we became more obese". 

The Dr. showed steak, eggs and bacon, avocado, nuts and quality oils as food choices as referred to in his new book "The Lean Belly Prescription".  As you watch the video, and if you could have heard me while Ann Curry said "Bacon isn't healthy", I promptly yelled at the TV, "There are 47% monounsaturated fatty acids in bacon!" which is the healthy fat promoted today but so many believe mono-unsaturates are only included in avocado, olive oil and nuts.  I'm sure that if Dr. Travis had enough time, he would have explained that.  (Or I hope)

Here's the clip for your viewing pleasure:

Click To Watch

Weston Price, Dr. Atkins, The Eades, and Barry Groves have with adequate reference been promoting this as the answer for many years but it has fallen on deaf ears because we live in a world of medicine for profit not people and the food manufacturers jump on this band wagon.

I know that the message I am sharing from my years of study and success with my clients will become mainstream and probably hit with more success and positive outcomes than the low fat message.

The moment I advise my clients to remove both wheat and sugar from their diets and increase their fat and protein, the weight practically falls off, the mood and energy increases, the skin clears and before we know it, friends and relatives are smothering them with compliments.  

My fear is that so many will not live to see the "truth" in nutrition if this message takes 5-20 years. 

Sadly, some might not have that long with the current dietary advice.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Truth About Calories

During my weight loss journey I was fairly confident with the way I was eating even though I had so many different folks who questioned my food choices sometimes daily. My own daughter was one of them. Why then did I feel better? Why was I losing weight? Why did I have more energy than ever before? Focus? Wow! I felt like I had hit the jackpot!! For more information, check out "My Journey" as I go into more detail there about my brain and what I figured out is that there is the direction relationship between my cognitive function and nutrition. I practiced my particular lifestyle for more than 7 years being about 75% confident with what I was doing. The nagging 25% was on my mind frequently. Until Gary Taubes hit the scene with his compelling book Good Calories Bad Calories. It was this book along with Mary Enig's work as the foremost lipid researcher (where you will see Gary reference frequently) that had my low fat brain just spinning. 

Now, this isn't an easy read but the following excerpt from one of my magazine subscriptions will give you a taste of what this more than 500 page book has to offer you. I remember in 2003 when Time magazine came out with the cover story "What if it's all been a big fat lie" (also written by Taubes). A colleauge of mine handed me the magazine knowing I was a low carber and just snickered. "Here's a good story for you Misty" all while enjoying his sandwich, chips and cola. You know who you are Jim S and I want to thank you for bringing Gary to my attention and later trusting me as your nutrition educator.

Good Calories, Bad Calories:
What Really Makes Us Fat?

By Gary Taubes
If you had asked your mother or grandmother for diet tips, you might have heard, “Every woman knows that carbohydrates are fattening.” In fact, that’s from a 1963 article in the British Journal of Nutrition, co-authored by one of the leading nutritionists of the era. And for the previous 100 years or so, this was the conventional wisdom: carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, sweets and beer make us fat, and, by implication, foods rich in fat and protein do not.

But since then, the nutritional dogma has changed completely, and we’ve come to accept the idea that there is nothing uniquely fattening about carbohydrates. Rather, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, as nutritionists hasten to tell us. This means that the only way to lose weight is to diligently eat less of everything, to exercise more and hope for the best — a prescription that even the experts will admit rarely seems to work.

As an investigative journalist working in science and health, I’ve spent the last decade assessing the conventional wisdom on diet, weight control and disease. My conclusion is that much of what we’ve been taught since the early 1970s — most of which we’ve all come to accept — is simply wrong. This might explain why those same years have seen unprecedented increases in obesity and diabetes worldwide. When I started my research, I had no idea that I would come to such contrarian views. But now I think that certain conclusions are virtually inescapable:
Obesity and being overweight are not caused by eating too much and certainly not by eating food with “too much” fat.

Carbohydrates, not fat, are the cause of excess weight, just as our grandparents’ generation always knew. Eating carbohydrates triggers a hormonal response — insulin secretion — that signals our bodies to accumulate fat. This is why the fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be. Sugar, flour and other refined carbohydrates produce an exaggerated version of this response, and so are particularly fattening.

Exercise doesn’t make us lose weight, it just makes us hungry.
Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of heart disease. Rather the same foods that make us fat — easily-digestible carbohydrates and sugars — will eventually cause the diseases that are likely to kill us: heart disease, diabetes and even most cancers. As the late Tim Russert’s physician explained in The New York Times shortly after Russert’s death, “if there’s one number that’s a predictor of mortality, it’s waist circumference.” Because carbohydrate-rich foods increase our waist circumference, then it must be these same foods that shorten our lives.

These conclusions about diet and weight loss aren’t exactly new. A carbohydrate-restricted diet is not a “fad diet” as the American Heart Association has insisted on calling it. Rather it had been the standard medical practice for treating obesity until the 1960s, when the American Heart Association began insisting that we all eat low-fat, carbohydrate-rich diets to prevent heart disease. But then, in one decade, the fattening carbohydrate was miraculously transformed — without benefit of scientific data — into heart-healthy diet food.

So What Happened?
Beginning in the late 1950s, a small but influential group of nutritionists and cardiologists decided that dietary fat caused heart disease. First the American Heart Association adopted this position, then Congress, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institutes of Health. Beginning in the late 1980s with the publication of the Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health, an entire research industry arose to create palatable non-fat substitutes for fat, while the food industry spent billions to market the less-fat-is-good message. The USDA’s booklet on dietary guidelines and its Food Guide Pyramid recommended that fats and oils be eaten “sparingly,” while we were now to eat six to 11 servings per day of the pasta, potatoes, rice and bread once considered uniquely fattening.
Three facts were neglected during this national push for a low-fat diet. One was the upturn in obesity and diabetes rates that emerged as this new nutritional advice displaced the knowledge that carbs were fattening.

The second was that when researchers actually did clinical trials to test the hypothesis that eating less fat or less saturated fat prevented heart disease, the evidence failed to support the hypothesis. This was the conclusion of a 2001 review of “reduced or modified dietary fat for preventing cardiovascular disease.” The review was published by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization dedicated to producing unbiased assessments of the science underlying medical interventions. The authors had combed the literature for all possible studies that addressed the question of dietary fat and heart disease. They identified 27 that were performed with sufficient scientific rigor to be considered meaningful. These trials encompassed some 10,000 subjects, followed for an average of three years each. The review concluded that our supposedly heart-healthy diets, whether low in all fat or just saturated fat, had no effect on longevity and no significant effect on the likelihood of actually having a heart attack.
The third fact that was regrettably neglected during the years that we came to believe in the evils of saturated fat was that back in the 1950s and early 1960s, biochemists and physiologists had already figured out what it is that regulates the accumulation of fat in our fat tissue. In other words, scientists have known what makes us fat for almost half a century.

The Skinny on Fat
As it turns out, every hormone in our body works to release fat from our fat tissue, with the singular exception of insulin, which works to put it there. And insulin levels in our blood are determined primarily by the carbohydrate content of our diet. The more carbohydrates we consume, and the easier they are to digest, the higher our insulin. Insulin tells our fat tissue to accumulate fat. So long as insulin levels remain elevated, fat is locked in the fat tissue and can’t escape.

What’s even more remarkable — and completely ignored in all discussions of obesity and weight since the 1970s — is that we must eat carbohydrates to accumulate excess fat in our fat tissue. It’s only by eating carbohydrates that we can obtain alpha glycerol phosphate, an enzyme that is an absolute requirement for storing fat. This enzyme fixes the fat in the fat tissue in a way that it can’t slip back out through the fat cell membranes and escape into the blood stream. This is why the more carbohydrates we consume, the more fat we will store. The less carbohydrates, the less fat.

After a meal is digested, insulin levels should decline. When this happens, fat is released from the fat tissue in the form of fatty acids and these are then burned in cells for fuel. For this reason, another necessary requirement for remaining lean is to have lengthy periods during which insulin levels are low and we burn our fat for fuel. When insulin levels remain elevated, fat can’t escape from the fat tissue. It goes in, but it doesn’t come out, and we can’t use it for energy. A meal without carbohydrates is a meal that doesn’t stimulate any significant insulin secretion. You store very few, if any, calories as fat, and you get plenty of opportunity to burn the fat you had stored.

The reason this science was left behind was a simple one. Diet doctors in the 1960s read the same medical literature that I did decades later, and they then began prescribing carbohydrate-restricted, mostly meat diets to their patients. But a low-carbohydrate diet is high in fat, and fat was thought to be a killer. Indeed, in 1965, the same year that the American Physiology Society published an 800-page Handbook of Physiology describing the recent research in the regulation of fat tissue, the research that implicated carbohydrates and insulin in fat storage, the Harvard nutritionist Jean Mayer was quoted in The New York Times saying it would be the equivalent of “mass murder” to prescribe low-carbohydrate diets to treat obesity. Mayer’s reasoning was that these diets were high in fat and the fat would cause heart disease. That’s how the medical establishment has treated it ever since, even after researchers revealed that high fat diets actually improve cholesterol profiles, rather than worsen them.

Meanwhile, the last decade has witnessed a renewed interest in carbohydrate-restricted diets as obesity levels have risen and a new generation of clinicians have come to question the prevailing wisdom on weight loss. These studies have all confirmed what the underlying science of fat regulation tells us: cut out carbohydrates and you lose fat. Seven independent teams of investigators set out to test low-fat, low-calorie diets of the kind recommended by the American Heart Association in randomized control trials against “eat as much as you like” Atkins-like diets. Together these trials included well over 900 obese subjects. In each case, the weight loss after three to six months was two to three times greater on the low-carbohydrate diet — unrestricted in calories — than on the calorie-restricted, low-fat diet.

In 2003, the prestigious medical journal JAMA published an article that its seven authors from the Yale and Stanford medical schools considered to be the “first published synthesis of the evidence” in the English-language medical literature on the efficacy and safety of carbohydrate-restricted diets. They concluded that the evidence was “insufficient to recommend or condemn the use of these diets,” because it lacked long-term randomized trials that could allow the safety of the diets to be established beyond reasonable doubt. Nonetheless, they did report the average weight loss from 40 years of trials and research. “Of the 34 of 38 lower-carbohydrate diets for which weight change after diet was calculated, these lower-carbohydrate diets were found to produce greater weight loss than higher-carbohydrate diets” — an average of 37 pounds when carbohydrates were restricted to less than 60 grams (240 calories) a day, compared to 4 pounds when they were not.

What Is for Dinner?
The ultimate question is whether a protein- and fat-rich diet lacking virtually all starches and sugars can be a healthy diet, since one conclusion of my research is that to remain lean we would have to follow such a regimen for life. If we give up carbohydrates and lose our excess weight, but then go back to carbohydrates, the weight will come back as well.

Is it possible to eat red meat in any quantity without it being bad for our hearts? This is one question of many where the experts have simply failed us. If you actually look at the fat content of a piece of red meat (or eggs and bacon), you’ll find that the principal fat is not saturated fat — which is supposedly bad for the heart — but the same monounsaturated fat as in olive oil, which is supposedly good for the heart. And much of the remaining fat is still what nutritionists would consider heart-healthy. Consider a porterhouse steak, for example, with a quarter-inch layer of fat. After broiling, this reduces to almost equal parts fat and protein. Of the fat, slightly more than half (51 percent) is monounsaturated, which lowers the (bad) LDL cholesterol and raises the (good) HDL. Slightly less than half (45 percent) is saturated fat, some of which raises LDL, but all of it raises HDL. A third of that saturated fat is stearic acid, which raises (the good) HDL, and has no effect on the bad LDL. The remaining fat (4 percent) is polyunsaturated, which lowers LDL but has no meaningful effect on HDL. (You can look up the numbers yourself in the USDA National Nutrient Database.)

Although nutritionists don’t like to talk about this in an era that considers fruits and vegetables to be the sine qua non of a healthful diet, animal products happen to contain all the amino acids, minerals and vitamins essential for health, with the only point of controversy being vitamin C. And the evidence suggests that the vitamin C content of meat products is more than sufficient for health, so long as the diet is indeed carbohydrate-restricted, absent the refined and easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars that would raise blood sugar and insulin levels and so increase our need to obtain vitamin C from the diet.

Moreover, carbohydrate-restricted diets, as they have been prescribed since the 1920s, do not restrict green leafy vegetables, but only starchy vegetables such as potatoes and refined grains and sugars — only those foods that are virtually absent any essential nutrients unless they’re added back in the processing, as is the case with white bread. A calorie-restricted diet that cuts calories by a third, as the British nutritionist John Yudkin pointed out in the early 1970s, will also cut essential nutrients by a third. A diet that prohibits sugar, flour, potatoes and beer, but allows eating to satiety of meat, cheese, eggs and green vegetables, will leave the essential nutrients, whether or not it leads to a decrease in calories consumed.
If you’ve been trying and failing time and time again to lose weight by dutifully eating less and exercising more, perhaps its time to try your grandmother’s diet instead. Stay away from the fattening carbohydrates, stop worrying about how much fat you eat and see what happens. Let your weight and your waist circumference tell you whether the diet you’re now eating is a healthy one.

Grandma Knew Best
As far back as the 1820s, the French gastronome Jean Brillat Savarin in The Physiology of Taste, insisted that the roots of obesity were obvious. He had spent 30 years, he said, listening to one “stout party” after another proclaim their love for bread, rice and potatoes. His conclusion: obesity was caused by a natural predisposition to put on weight, conjoined with the “floury and feculent substances, which man makes the primary ingredient of his daily nourishment.” And the effects of this fecula — i.e., “potatoes, grain or any kind of flour” — he added, were exacerbated by eating sugar.
For the next 140 years, when physicians discussed weight loss in the medical literature, the two constants were the ideas that starches and sugars — i.e., carbohydrates — must be minimized to reduce weight, and that meat, fish or fowl must constitute the bulk of the diet. “The great progress in dietary control of obesity,” wrote Hilde Bruch, considered the foremost authority on childhood obesity, in 1957, “was the recognition that meat … was not fat producing; but that it was the innocent foodstuffs, such as bread and sweets, which lead to obesity.”

This was also what Dr. Spock taught our parents and our grandparents in five decades, eight editions and more than 50 million copies of Baby and Child Care, the bible of child-rearing in the latter half of the 20th century. “Rich desserts,” Spock wrote, and “the amount of plain, starchy foods (cereals, breads, potatoes) taken is what determines, in the case of most people, how much [weight] they gain or lose.”

If this daunting scientific read is a little too fat for your palate, you can pre-order Gary's new book titled. "Why We Get Fat and What to do About it".  This is the "cliff note" version of GCBC and from what Gary explains, a much easier bed side table read. 

With a bit of resistance, Gary has finally started his own blog which will be of great benefit to all of us seeking the truth about dietary science.  You can find Gary's new site here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Politics on the lunch tray?

The link below is an example of politics once again dictating our health.  I’m proud to live in a country where I can make my own decisions about my belief system, my health and so many other lifestyle decisions.  Though it’s becoming a narrow margin between freedom of choice of food and supplements and some of the proposed “laws” such as S.510 and Codex where potential food devitalization and vitamin supplementation become the sole responsibility of government regulation and big pharma.  It could be likely that at some point I might only be able to purchase a bleached, irradiated steak and request a prescription of Vitamin C from my physician.

Yes, I’m frustrated.  I’m frustrated that our food supply is dictated by dollars.  I’m frustrated that while our First Lady is working hard on a campaign to bring awareness to our obesity epidemic, another is in one breath talking about her own states obesity issues and in another, knocking the other because of political party lines. 

At what point does Sarah Palin think that bringing sugar cookies to children is called freedom of choice?  Why is Sarah Palin now saying that Mrs. Obama is on an “anti-obesity kick” or that the First Lady’s message is a lack of trust of parents feeding of their children?  What message is this sending the children?  It’s only bringing out anger and blame.   Our obesity epidemic transcends party lines.  It is a national health crisis and one that is bankrupting this Country.   

Shame on you Sarah Palin.  While your children are consuming Caribou, Wild Caught Salmon and other fresh foods, the majority of our children are consuming foods that contain no vitamin content what so ever.  Inner city children who only have access to convenience markets, families living off of $300 per month for groceries and now, obvious vitamin deficiencies such as rickets are once again seen in American children.   

Instead of cookies, maybe you can bring school children some high quality protein and the lesson of a healthy lifestyle which begins with what you eat, as you obviously live yourself based on your lean physique.   

Our children should not be used as pawns for political gain nor should they be exploited to garner massive profits for the corporations supplying food to our school cafeterias and vending machines.  

There was once a day when our school children respected our Administration and the President of the United States and the First Lady no matter their political party.  

A campaign such as the Let's Move would have been welcomed into schools and homes.  Sadly, it is now dictated by party belief. 

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not stating we should never question authority but a campaign as positive as this, should be recognized and promoted by all parties because it is in the best interest of our future leaders.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Childhood Obesity and the American Family

The incidence of childhood obesity is rapidly rising throughout the world. The obesity epidemic is especially evident in industrialized nations where many people live sedentary lives and eat more convenience foods, which are typically high in calories and low in nutritional value. In just two decades, the prevalence of overweight doubled for U.S. children ages 6 to 11 — and tripled for American teenagers. The annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about one-third of U.S. children are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. In total, about 25 million U.S. children and adolescents are overweight or nearly overweight. (Mayo Clinic 2006)

The obesity epidemic arrived with astonishing speed. After tens of thousands of generations of human evolution, flab has become widespread only in the past 50 years, and waistlines have ballooned exponentially in the last two decades. In 1980, 46 percent of U.S. adults were overweight; by 2000, the figure was 64.5 percent: nearly a 1 percent annual increase in the ranks of the fat. At this rate, by 2040, 100 percent of American adults will be overweight and "it may happen more quickly," says John Foreyt of Baylor College of Medicine, who spoke at a conference organized by Gifford's Oldways group in 2003. Foreyt noted that, 20 years ago, he rarely saw 300-pound patients; now they are common. Childhood obesity, also once rare, has mushroomed: 15 percent of children between ages six and 19 are now over weight, and even 10 percent of those between the ages of two and five. "This may be the first generation of children who will die before their parents". Foreyt says. (Harvard Magazine 2004)

Research has shown that almost one-third of the U.S. diet consists of sugar-filled cans of soda and bags of potato chips. Even with the rising number of people joining the low-carb craze, a study of 4,700 adults revealed that sodas and sweets, which contain what are known as "empty calories" because of their low nutritional value, were at the top of the list of most calories consumed. Statistics showed that these "empty calories" accounted for almost 25 percent of all the calories eaten by Americans. Salty snacks and fruit juices made up an additional 5 percent. Some experts have placed the blame for the obesity epidemic on these shocking revelations. A survey consisted of the collection of interview responses of 4,760 adults. The survey took place over the years 1999 and 2000 and involved questioning the participants on all the foods they had eaten over the past 24 hours. Results of the study revealed that sweets were the number one calorie consumed followed by hamburgers, pizza and potato chips. The other highly consumed calorie was soda, which made up for 7.1 percent of all the calories consumed. On the other hand, nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables accounted for 10 percent of the total calories consumed by Americans. Experts stressed that a significant portion of American diets were severely lacking essential vitamins and minerals and recommended that people focus on the kind of food they ate, not necessarily on eating smaller portions. (Yahoo News 2004)

As a parent of three and regular grocery consumer, I travel through the aisles of the grocery store in awe of the various prepared items of choice that parents are faced with.  If I have additional time while doing my own shopping, I make it a habit to browse for recommendations for you as well as read the labels of popular items promoted by my clients or in general on a variety of message boards.  Currently, parents are faced with 40+ hour work weeks not including transit time, multiple children with multiple extra curricular activities and hours of homework. The temptation for convenience is brewed above. Frequently, I speak to various people from various socio-economic back grounds about nutrition. The first item of interest that always arises in conversation is fat. My passion for nutrition and a maintained weight loss of 85 pounds has driven my need for research to maintain my success, but I must admit I am truly surprised that few people are aware of the clear and present danger of trans-saturated fats.

The second part of my conversation leads to high fructose corn syrup. Those I have spoken with are also oblivious to this dangerous additive that is difficult to eliminate if you are purchasing the standard American Faire. As an experiment, I strolled the grocery aisles of a conventional grocery store and peered into the carts of unsuspecting Parents with begging children. I wonder to myself “are they so oblivious to the stripping of nutrients and dangerous additives of these so called food items”? I have often heard of these foods referred to as a “chemical soup”. I have a need to share with these parents my knowledge I have obtained and the future danger they and their children will be faced with. They are exhausted, the children are misbehaving, I decide it’s not a good time to educate them rather I shall decide how to advocate in the near future....(hence my website)

Eating too many carbohydrates, particularly simple sugars, can be harmful to blood sugar control, especially if you are insulin resistant, experience reactive hypoglycemia, or are diabetic. Carbohydrate excess, especially consuming too many refined carbohydrates, is also associated with increased risk for obesity, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. Currently, more than half of the carbohydrates being consumed in the United States are in the form of simple sugars being added to foods as sweetening agents. The large increase in the use of corn sweetener, or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the past 30 years is directly related to the overall increase in sugar consumption in the United States. Many different products are using HFCS as an ingredient. These include beverages, cereals and baked goods, dairy products candy and many other processed foods. The consumption of sugar sweetened beverages has played the largest role in the increase of added sweeteners in the American diet. (Murray 2006)

As I mentioned above, these products that are being purchased so mindlessly also contain that dangerous ever increasing in product and waistline hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. This is the most dangerous of fats. A diet that is composed of mostly trans-fatty acids in the form of hydrogenated vegetable oils results in cell membranes that are much less fluid in nature than the cell membranes found in a person who consumes optimal levels of unsaturated fatty acids. According to modern pathology, or the study of disease processes, an alteration in cell membrane function is the central factor in the development of virtually every disease. As it relates to diabetes, abnormal cell membrane structure due to eating the wrong types of fats leads to an impairment in the action of insulin,
resulting in diabetes. (Murray 2006)

Often, I say to my adult children “I wish I knew then what I know now”. Our lives would be very different. I would advise that parents involve their children in the healthy choices. A meal always tastes better when the child is involved in the preparation. Make sure the fruit bowl is always full. Take control as a parent over the media hype. Do not give in. I would also advice parents to start with the elimination of “hydrogenated oils” and “high fructose corn syrup” from any products they purchase. Make sure your child starts their day with a nutritious breakfast that would exclude modern breakfast cereals. We drink green smoothies daily and every child loves a smoothie. Cabbage and spinach are the easiest veggies to mask and this can sustain a child with clearer thinking and brain function. In sharing with your child the importance of healthy choices and the affect on their bodies, we can reverse this preventive epidemic we call obesity. With the ability to operate and maintain the electronic equipment children have access to, we are lacking in the training and care of one very important device, the human body. Don’t forget to play. We all need the exercise and relief.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Low Vitamin D and Obesity in Children

A study published in September of 2010 in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed a positive correlation between low Vitamin D serum levels and an increase in obesity.  The most interesting component of this study of the 400+ school children was performed on Columbian children in 2006 for approximately 30 months. 

The recent deluge of reporting on vitamin d deficiency can't be missed.   It is known that the sun provides us our most bio-available form of vitamin D and most particularly, higher amounts are obtained while living near or below the equator.  Such is Columbia, right above the equator proving that at serum levels below 50, these children are mimicking our North American  hysteria and reducing sun exposure.  

Improve immunity, reduce adiposity, prevent disease, aches, pains and maintain strong bone structure with vitamin d.  

Supplementing with Vitamin D3 drops in the form of cholecalciferol is incredibly important and in my opinion, "non-negotiable" in your supplement regimen.  

2000-5000IU are recommended daily for a healthy adult dose and 800-2000IU for baby and child.  

Background: Cross-sectional studies have indicated that vitamin D serostatus is inversely associated with adiposity. It is unknown whether vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for the development of adiposity in children. 

Objective: We investigated the associations between vitamin D serostatus and changes in body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2), skinfold-thickness ratio (subscapular-to-triceps), waist circumference, and height in a longitudinal study in children from Bogota, Colombia. 

Design: We quantified plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations in baseline samples of a randomly selected group of 479 schoolchildren aged 5–12 y and classified vitamin D status as deficient [25(OH)D concentrations <50 nmol/L], insufficient [25(OH)D concentrations ≥50 and <75 nmol/L], or sufficient [25(OH)D concentrations ≥75 nmol/L]. We measured anthropometric variables annually for a median of 30 mo. We estimated the average change in each anthropometric indicator according to baseline vitamin D status by using multivariate mixed linear regression models. 

Results: Vitamin D–deficient children had an adjusted 0.1/y greater change in BMI than did vitamin D–sufficient children (P for trend = 0.05). Similarly, vitamin D–deficient children had a 0.03/y (95% CI: 0.01, 0.05/y) greater change in subscapular-to-triceps skinfold-thickness ratio and a 0.8 cm/y (95% CI: 0.1, 1.6 cm/y) greater change in waist circumference that did vitamin D–sufficient children. Vitamin D deficiency was related to slower linear growth in girls (−0.6 cm/y, P = 0.04) but not in boys (0.3 cm/y, P = 0.34); however, an interaction with sex was not statistically significant. 

Conclusion: Vitamin D serostatus was inversely associated with the development of adiposity in school-age children.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Love thy saturated fat!

There is so much mis-information out there on the subject of Saturated Fat and its relationship to health.  When did the most natural, oldest fat on earth become the most dangerous or as the so called professionals refer to as "dangerous artery clogging saturated fat"?  Now reading this, do you all realize that we've been on this planet for quite a few more years than just the last 70+ years  that vegetable oils have been here?  Think about it logically if you will. 

Michael Pollan of The Omnivores dilmena said in Food Inc. "The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000".

I often reflect on my childhood and try to count the amount of people I knew with thyroid disruption, gall bladder removal, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and the on slaught of auto-immune diseases out there. None of my grandparents took medications for cholesterol, in fact, I don't remember ever even discussing cholesterol as my Grandfather sat down to his bacon and german pancake breakfast! He lived well into his 90's by the way in quite excellent health. Fortunately, they did not discover spray butter until they were senior citizens.

So, getting back to fat....that macro-nutrient that apparently kills. Saturated fat has saved my life in so many ways. Focus, weight loss, improved blood work, satiety and so much more. I did my stint with McDougal, for a few weeks or so......until I felt the extreme hunger and the thought of gnawing my own arm off at several points sounded appetizing! Take fat away from a girl who has ADHD and absolutely no focus and you have a true recipe for disaster. I'm quite sure my neurotransmittors just became confused!

When advising my clients to increase their fat rather than reduce it, they are quite surprised. Now, we're not just talking any kind of fat, I"m talking about saturated fats from clean, animal proteins fed a species appropriate diet, raw butter and dairy, coconut and palm oils. These are the nurturing fats that will benefit you in the ways below:

You might see this repeated throughout my blog.......while it may seem redundant, redundancy I find assists the memory (as does coconut oil by the way)

Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50 percent of your cell membranes. They are what gives your cells necessary stiffness and integrity.

They play a vital role in the health of your bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into your skeletal structure, at least 50 percent of your dietary fats should be saturated.

They lower Lp(a), a substance in your blood that indicates proneness to heart disease.

They protect your liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol and other drugs.

They enhance your immune system.

They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids. Elongated omega-3 fats are better retained in your tissues when your diet is rich in saturated fats.

Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for your heart, which is why the fat around your heart muscle is highly saturated. Your heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.

Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties. They protect you against harmful microorganisms in your digestive tract.

Following is some great information on studies. Don't just believe me, check out the studies below!

A survey of 1700 patients with hardening of the arteries, conducted by the famous heart surgeon Michael DeBakey, found no relationship between the level of cholesterol in the blood and the incidence of atherosclerosis.

A survey of South Carolina adults found no correlation of blood cholesterol levels with "bad" dietary habits, such as use of red meat, animal fats, fried foods, butter, eggs, whole milk, bacon, sausage and cheese. A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine.

Mother's milk provides a higher proportion of cholesterol than almost any other food. It also contains over 50% of its calories as fat, much of it saturated fat. Both cholesterol and saturated fat are essential for growth in babies and children, especially the development of the brain. Yet, the American Heart Association is now recommending a low-cholesterol, lowfat diet for children! Commercial formulas are low in saturated fats and soy formulas are devoid of cholesterol. A recent study linked lowfat diets with failure to thrive in children.

Numerous surveys of traditional populations have yielded information that is an embarrassment to the Diet Dictocrats.  For example, a study comparing Jews when they lived in Yemen, whose diets contained fats solely of animal origin, to Yemenite Jews living in Israel, whose diets contained margarine and vegetable oils, revealed little heart disease or diabetes in the former group but high levels of both diseases in the latter. (The study also noted that the Yemenite Jews consumed no sugar but those in Israel consumed sugar in amounts equaling 25-30% of total carbohydrate intake.)

A comparison of populations in northern and southern India revealed a similar pattern. People in northern India consume 17 times more animal fat but have an incidence of coronary heart disease seven times lower than people in southern India.

The Masai and kindred tribes of Africa subsist largely on milk, blood and beef. They are free from coronary heart disease and have excellent blood cholesterol levels.

Eskimos eat liberally of animal fats from fish and marine animals. On their native diet they are free of disease and exceptionally hardy.

An extensive study of diet and disease patterns in China found that the region in which the populace consumes large amounts of whole milk had half the rate of heart disease as several districts in which only small amounts of animal products are consumed.

Several Mediterranean societies have low rates of heart disease even though fat-including highly saturated fat from lamb, sausage and goat cheese-comprises up to 70% of their caloric intake. The inhabitants of Crete, for example, are remarkable for their good health and longevity.

A study of  Puerto Ricans revealed that, although they consume large amounts of animal fat, they have a very low incidence of colon and breast cancer.

A study of the long-lived inhabitants of Soviet Georgia revealed that those who eat the most fatty meat live the longest.

In Okinawa, where the average life span for women is 84 years-longer than in Japan-the inhabitants eat generous amounts of pork and seafood and do all their cooking in lard.

None of these studies is mentioned by those urging restriction of saturated fats.
The relative good health of the Japanese, who have the longest life span of any nation in the world, is generally attributed to a lowfat diet. Although the Japanese eat few dairy fats, the notion that their diet is low in fat is a myth; rather, it contains moderate amounts of animal fats from eggs, pork, chicken, beef, seafood and organ meats. With their fondness for shellfish and fish broth, eaten on a daily basis, the Japanese probably consume more cholesterol than most Americans. (Interestingly enough, Japanese men smoke heavily)

What they do not consume is a lot of vegetable oil, white flour or processed food (although they do eat white rice.) The life span of the Japanese has increased since World War II with an increase in animal fat and protein in the diet.

Those who point to Japanese statistics to promote the low fat diet fail to mention that the Swiss live almost as long on one of the fattiest diets in the world. Tied for third in the longevity stakes are Austria and Greece-both with high-fat diets.

As a final example, let us consider the French. Anyone who has eaten his way across France has observed that the French diet is just loaded with saturated fats in the form of butter, eggs, cheese, cream, liver, meats and rich pat├ęs. Yet the French have a lower rate of coronary heart disease than many other western countries.

In the United States, 315 of every 100,000 middle-aged men die of heart attacks each year; in France the rate is 145 per 100,000. In the Gascony region, where goose and duck liver form a staple of the diet, this rate is a remarkably low 80 per 100,000.

This phenomenon has recently gained international attention as the French Paradox. (The French do suffer from many degenerative diseases, however. They eat large amounts of sugar and white flour and in recent years have succumbed to the time saving temptations of processed foods.)

A chorus of establishment voices, including the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and the Senate Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, claims that animal fat is linked not only with heart disease but also with cancers of various types. Yet when researchers from the University of Maryland analyzed the data they used to make such claims, they found that vegetable fat consumption was correlated with cancer and animal fat was not.

So, what does the above tell us? In my opinion, I believe we need more studies. We need to see a study of peoples currently practicing that of more traditional diets and monitor their health through that of blood work for a 10 or more year period. I once watched a great interview with Mary Enig, Phd., when asked why she or anyone else hasn't conducted such a study? Her words "No special interest groups in the field of health and natural food" Yes, it's SAD and when I say SAD, I mean that's our Standard American Diet.

The Weston A, Price foundation can be one of your superior sources of studies on fat.

Our Real Love, Chocolate!

Chocolate comes from the cacao tree (genus name theobroma cacao, meaning 'food of the gods') which grows up to 12 feet tall in the rainforests of Ivory Coast, Belize, and other equatorial countries. 

The tree produces large pods that look like footballs, which contain seeds known as cacao beans. The beans are harvested, fermented, roasted and ground into a powder that is the basis of chocolate. Why does this matter? Because cacoa pods are berries. That's right. Chocolate is a fruit. In its unprocessed form, it is one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. It is full of flavanols, potent antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in the body. 

In fact, Cornell University food scientists discovered that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and three times more than that of green tea.

Chocolate is also high in minerals including magnesium, calcium, and zinc and it contains the substances tryptophan, PEA and anandamide, which trigger the release of numerous feel-good brain chemicals. 
No wonder our love for chocolate is almost euphoric! 
Try a few squares of high quality dark chocolate for some of the less healthy treats you already eat. It's important to choose dark chocolate, since the addition of milk appears to inhibit the beneficial antioxidant effects. So yes, your favorite hershey's milk chocolate is out!

The healthiest ways to indulge your chocolate cravings is by eating raw organic unprocessed cacao beans, also known as cacao nibs which can be purchased at your local health food store. 
They can be eaten by the handful, or added to trail mix. I make a nice trail mix with walnuts, fresh organic coconut shavings, dehydrated blueberries and cacao nibs. 
The next best option is organic unroasted cocoa powder (non-alkalized.) Mix it with heavy whipping cream for a delicious chocolaty drink or use it in baking.

Another great way to get your healthy chocolate fix is by eating organic dark chocolate with the highest percentage of cocoa and lowest amount of refined sugar (bitter or semi-sweet dark chocolate.) Since the good news about dark chocolate is out, it is widely available, even at your supermarket! 
My favorites are Endangered Species 88% (pretty hardcore) and Green & Black's organic 85%.  The photo above is my special "Mock Almond Joy" utilizing coconut butter and almond butter.