Tag Archives: fats

Chemists develop foolproof test to track fats we consume – McMaster U

A team of researchers at McMaster University has developed a reliable and accurate blood test to track individual fat intake, a tool that could guide public health policy on healthy eating.

Establishing reliable guidelines has been a significant challenge for nutritional epidemiologists until now, because they have to rely on study participants faithfully recording their own consumption, creating results that are prone to human error and selective reporting, particularly when in the case of high-fat diets.

For the study, published in the Journal of Lipid Research, chemists developed a test, which detects specific non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs), a type of circulating free fatty acid that can be measured using a small volume of blood sample.

“Epidemiologists need better ways to reliably assess dietary intake when developing nutritional recommendations,” says Philip Britz-McKibbin, professor in the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology at McMaster  and lead author of the study

“The food we consume is highly complex and difficult to measure when relying on self-reporting or memory recall, particularly in the case of dietary fats.  There are thousands of chemicals that we are exposed to in foods, both processed and natural,” he says.

The study was a combination of two research projects Britz-McKibbin conducted with Sonia Anand in the Department of Medicine and Stuart Phillips in the Department of Kinesiology.

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Why the Low-Fat Diet Failed – Tufts

In the 1980s and 1990s, Americans were told that eating less fat would reduce risk for cardiovascular disease and obesity. Why didn’t it work? Essentially, reducing total fat led to intake of more refined carbohydrates and less healthy fats, and both of these changes had negative health impacts.

grilled salmon fish on rectangular black ceramic plate

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Evolving Guidelines: Dietary advice on fat intake has evolved over the years. Based on strong evidence that diets high in saturated fats and cholesterol were associated with high blood cholesterol levels and a greater risk of heart attack, the 1980 U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended Americans “avoid too much fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.” The 1990 Dietary Guidelines added risk for obesity to the list of reasons to cut back on fats. (Since a gram of fat has more than twice the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrate, reducing fat intake is the fastest way to reduce calorie intake.) But, soon thereafter, data began to emerge that low-fat diets were not having the expected results. “The 2000 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee noted the adverse effects of low-fat diets, and for the first time since their inception changed the guidance from low fat to moderate fat,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, a member of that committee who is now a senior scientist at Tufts’ HNRCA and executive editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. From 2000 on, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommended consuming a diet moderate in total fat that keeps saturated fat intake to under 10 percent of calories. The 2015 DGA emphasizes consuming foods rich in polyunsaturated fat. Some scientists feel that even this moderate fat restriction goes too far. Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, dean of Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and editor-in-chief of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter sites evidence that a higher proportion of calories from fat is not harmful for either cardiovascular disease (CVD) or obesity, and in fact can lower risk if healthy (poly- and mono-unsaturated) fats replace refined starches and sugars. Continue reading

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Filed under carbohydrates, carbs, Fats, healthy fats, low fat diet, saturated fats, Uncategorized

One avocado a day helps lower ‘bad’ cholesterol – Study

As I have written numerous times here, I advocate the avocado. Just type in a v o c a d o in the SEARCH  box at the right to read further on them.

New research from Penn State suggests that eating one avocado a day may help keep “bad cholesterol” at bay.

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According to the researchers, bad cholesterol can refer to both oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and small, dense LDL particles.

In a randomized, controlled feeding study, the researchers found that eating one avocado a day was associated with lower levels of LDL (specifically small, dense LDL particles) and oxidized LDL in adults with overweight or obesity. Continue reading

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Filed under avocados, cholesterol, Fats, HDL Cholesterol, healthy fats, LDL Cholesterol

5 Weight loss tips from Tufts

Try these tips to avoid some common weight loss myths, according to Tufts Health & Nurtrition Letter.

plate of rice and cooked meat

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-Avoid refined starch and sugar, not all carbs. Cut back on or eliminate white bread, white rice, refined breakfast cereals and crackers, potato and corn chips, fries, bakery desserts, sweets, and soda.-Fill up with minimally processed, high fiber, phytochemical-rich foods. Seek out fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and less processed whole grains (steel-cut oats, cracked wheat, barley, millet). These healthy choices help stave off hunger.

-Enjoy healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, avocados, and plant oils (olive, avocado, soybean, canola, etc.), as well as fish and unsweetened yogurt, are all great choices for weight and your overall health. Moderate consumption of cheese, eggs, and poultry is also better than choosing starchy and sugary foods.

-Maintain or build muscle. Keep active and eat adequate protein to preserve or even increase muscle mass. This will help to achieve healthy, long-term weight loss and maintenance.

-Combine diet and exercise. Physical activity is important for weight maintenance, but on its own isn’t likely to have as much impact as when you also change your diet.

-Time MEALS right. The ideal meal frequency is the one that fits your lifestyle and makes you feel and perform your best.

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Some common sense ideas on fat- Tufts

Fat is a much maligned element of the modern diet. High-fat, Low-fat, Fat-free – which way to go? Here are some common sense observations from Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.

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Fat (especially unsaturated fat) is part of a healthy dietary pattern. If you have a fear of fats, try these tips:

-Include healthy fats from reasonable quantities of vegetable oils, nuts, fish, and avocados

-Avoid “reduced-fat” foods high in refined carbohydrates and added sugars

-Limit red and processed meats, butter, and tropical oils

-Strive for a balanced diet that includes (healthy) fats, (mainly unrefined) carbohydrates, and protein (from sources other than red and processed meats) Continue reading

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I advocate the avocado

I have posted on the nutritional value of the avocado a number of times. I wanted to run this as a refresher and also I thought it was beautiful. Sometimes folks are doubtful about avocados because they have fat, but it happens to be a very valuable fat that our bodies like.

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Here are other posts on the avocado:

Are avocados good for you?

How avocados and nuts could boost intelligence – MNT

What about Krispy Kreme vs. an avocado?

A chicken-avocado sandwich – Mr. Lazy Cook

Tony

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How Trans fats affect the blood – Study

Make sure you are clear on what trans fats actually are. Here is how Wikipedia describes trans fats, “Trans fats, or trans-unsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, are a type of unsaturated fat that occur in small amounts in nature but became widely produced industrially from vegetable fats for use in margarine, snack food, packaged baked goods and frying fast food starting in the 1950s. Trans fat has been shown to consistently be associated, in an intake-dependent way, with increased risk of coronary heart disease, a leading cause of death in Western nations.

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“In 2003 the World Health Organisation recommended that trans fats make up no more than 1% of a person’s diet.  In 2013, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (which contain trans fats) are not “generally recognized as safe“, which was expected to lead to a ban on industrially produced trans fats from the American diet.  On 16 June 2015, the FDA finalized its determination that trans fats are not generally recognized as safe, and set a three-year time limit for their removal from all processed foods.”

Tohoku University researchers have found that trans-fatty acids promote cell death in a more direct manner than previously thought, leading to the development of atherosclerosis, a major cause of heart attacks and strokes.

Trans-fatty acids are unsaturated fatty acids produced as by-products during food manufacturing. Trans-fatty acid consumption is strongly linked to atherosclerosis, an inflammatory disease in which plaque clogs arteries. Atherosclerosis is a major cause of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. Continue reading

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Saturated fat could be good for you

A Norwegian study challenges the long-held idea that saturated fats are unhealthy

Regular readers know that I am a big supporter of coconut oil – a saturated fat. You can check out my Page – Coconut oil – Why you should include it in your diet for more details.

A new Norwegian diet intervention study (FATFUNC), performed by researchers at the KG Jebsen center for diabetes research at the University of Bergen, raises questions regarding the validity of a diet hypothesis that has dominated for more than half a century: that dietary fat and particularly saturated fat is unhealthy for most people.

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The researchers found strikingly similar health effects of diets based on either lowly processed carbohydrates or fats. In the randomized controlled trial, 38 men with abdominal obesity followed a dietary pattern high in either carbohydrates or fat, of which about half was saturated. Fat mass in the abdominal region, liver and heart was measured with accurate analyses, along with a number of key risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

“The very high intake of total and saturated fat did not increase the calculated risk of cardiovascular diseases,” says professor and cardiologist Ottar Nygård who contributed to the study. Continue reading

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Filed under Fats, HDL Cholesterol, healthy fats, LDL Cholesterol, saturated fat, saturated fats

Harvard study sheds light on dairy fat cardiovascular disease risk

Because  low fat diets were the rage for a while, people have become confused about the value and necessity of including fats in their diets. I love coconut oil, a saturated fat. I eat it every day and have a Page of information – Coconut Oil – Why you should include it in your diet on it.

Until recently, when you visited the dairy aisle, chances are you headed straight for the blue carton of milk—the skim milk that is. But recent buzz about dairy fat may cause shoppers to pause in front of the oft-shunned red carton of whole milk or other full-fat dairy products, as research suggests that their relationship to heart health is more complex than was once believed. While most studies to date have focused on the association between dairy fat and cardiovascular risk factors, few have examined the relationship to actual onset of cardiovascular disease.

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Low-fat diets – a failed experiment – Harvard

I have written numerous times about the nutritional benefits of coconut oil. For starters you can check my Page – Coconut Oil – Why you should include it in your diet. But that is just coconut oil – a saturated fat – but only one kind of fat.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health nutrition expert David Ludwig says that the low-fat diet remains “deeply embedded in public consciousness and food policy.” Recent research suggests that eating a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet—which Americans were advised to do for about 40 years—is not a good idea.

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In an October 6, 2016 CNN.com article, Ludwig, professor in the Department of Nutrition, wrote that longstanding recommendations about avoiding dietary fat—from the government and all major professional nutrition associations—were based on limited scientific evidence. Experts who touted a low-fat diet said it would help people stay lean and healthy. But, instead, rates of obesity and diabetes surged.

Experts now say that not all fats are bad—in fact, some are healthy and important in a balanced diet. Several recent studies found that high-fat diets actually produce greater weight loss than low-fat diets. And while the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have now lifted the limit on dietary fat, “you’d never know it, because a full accounting of this failed experiment has not been made,” Ludwig wrote. He called for a rigorous examination of “the low-fat diet debacle” and for more government funding to test new ideas in nutrition.

Read the CNN.com article: Doctor: Low-fat diets stuffed with misconceptions.

As I have said previously, living a healthy life and eating intelligently is the answer, not fad diets that don’t work and often throw your body out of balance.

Tony

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7 Foods That Might Be Making You Anxious

Some useful ideas here if you are looking to eat healthy.

Please check out my Page – What’s wrong with soft drinks? for more on them.

french-fries

Tony

Our Better Health

A lifelong friend of mine suffered from debilitating anxiety for years. It was hard to watch her have panic attacks, knowing that people did not understand her behavior. Although anxiety disorders are the most common mental health illness in the United States, only about one-third of affected individuals receive some form of treatment.

From a young age, I read books every chance I got. Taking a particular interest in the human brain, it was only natural that I would go on to study psychology and neuroscience at a university. Focusing on both mental health and nutrition, I quickly realized how one’s diet influenced brain health and overall well-being  — my attention shifted and this connection has been the focal point of my research ever since.

Anxiety and food — what’s the connection?

Anxiety disorders are complex and although various factors play a role, chemical imbalances within the brain cannot be…

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Less meat, more plant-based protein may prolong your life – JAMA

In my youth, I became a vegetarian for a period of about five years. In that time, I tipped the scales in the high 140 pound bracket (I was around 5’11” at the time). I did yoga most days and felt like a million dollars. Those days are past (I am now down to around 5’9-1/2″) and I ride my bike pretty much daily for exercise. I eat meat sparingly, because of the fats. So, I was not surprised to see the latest from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Eating more protein from plant sources was associated with a lower risk of death and eating more protein from animals was associated with a higher risk of death, especially among adults with at least one unhealthy behavior such as smoking, drinking and being overweight or sedentary, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

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“The consideration of food sources is critical to better understanding the health effects of eating protein and fine-tuning dietary recommendations. Continue reading

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Why You Should Not Cut Fats From Your Diet

A little knowledge is dangerous. Cutting out fats from our diets because they are ‘bad’ is a perfect example of that.

Not all fats are bad, according to the American Heart Association.

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Proper dietary guidelines say that fully 30% of our daily food calories intake should be in the form of fats. Also, 30% should be protein and 40% carbohydrates. So, fat is equally as important to us as protein.

Granted there are good fats and bad fats. The good fats serve important functions in our bodies. Life Clinic says, “Fat is the body’s major energy storage system. When the energy from the food you eat and drink can’t be used by your body, the body may turn it into fat for later use. Your body uses fat from foods for energy, to cushion organs and bones, and to make hormones and regulate blood pressure. Some fat is also necessary to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails, so you shouldn’t cut all fat out of your diet.”
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A Physiologic Link Between Heart Disease and A Sedentary Lifestyle

There are some wonderful thoughts here on achieving good health. I hope you will read it and reap.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

I think it might be worth checking out my Page – Do You Know the Dangers of Too Much Sitting?

Tony

D.I.G.

And A Discussion About Exercises

The concept that being inactive and heart disease are related is a pretty well-accepted idea in our society today. There are many explanations for why this occurs and they all mainly have to do with metabolism, food intake, and energy expenditure.  (This is why you’re supposed to run 10 miles if you eat a strip of bacon, right?)

While these ideas are certainly not wrong, I think there’s an important concept that many of us are missing when we try to lower our heart and vessel disease risk.

What I’m talking about here is the concept of a rising “vascular age” due to inactivity and stiffness of our bodies.

But first, let’s talk about blood flow in the body.

How Blood Normally Flows In The Body

For the sake of discussion, let’s start thinking about blood flow at the level of the heart. The heart is a…

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Healthy Reasons To Enjoy Chocolate Every Day

“In the right form, chocolate is a true super food. Of all the foods available on planet Earth, chocolate is perhaps the most magical and maybe one of the best health foods around. Fortunately, it’s also one of the most delicious, so enjoy it in good health.”

And also remember that you must be scrupulous in your portion control. One to two ounces will do the trick.

One to two ounces are sufficient for excellent health benefits

One to two ounces are sufficient for excellent health benefits

Tony

Our Better Health

BY MICHAEL T. MURRAY    JUNE 10, 2013

Is there such a thing as a guilt-free pleasure when it comes to food? Absolutely, and chocolate is one of them. This delectable, seemingly addictive food is produced from the beans of the cacao tree, whose official name is Theobroma cacao. Its scientific name reflects our long-standing love of chocolate that’s endured for millennia (theobroma is the Greek word for “food of the gods”).

Here are a few scientifically proven health benefits of consuming moderate amounts of heavenly, high-quality chocolate.

1. It improves your mood.

Chocolate has long been associated with love, and now scientists have discovered a possible chemical connection. Chocolate contains a compound known as phenylethylamine (PEA), a brain chemical that’s released during moments of emotional euphoria. In addition to PEA, controversial findings suggest that chocolate contains pharmacologically active substances with the same effect on the brain as marijuana. The…

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3 Diet Changes to help lower cholesterol levels – Harvard

If you have concerns about your cholesterol levels, there are several steps you can take to lower them, according to Harvard HEALTHbeat. They include losing weight if needed, being more active, and choosing healthy foods.

choleshtline“Here are three simple steps toward a healthier, cholesterol-lowering diet:

•    Choose healthy fats. Avoid saturated fats, which increase unhealthy LDL levels, and steer clear of trans fats, which both raise LDL and lower protective HDL. Instead, substitute healthier unsaturated fats found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
•    Go with whole grains. Whole-grain breads, pastas, and cereals help prevent a blood sugar roller coaster and make you feel full longer. Many of these foods contain fiber, which can help lower LDL levels.
•    Make other healthy choices. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Ideally, substitute these for processed foods and sweets. Choose fat-free milk instead of whole milk. Opt for low-fat yogurt and pick brands that are not loaded with sugar.

•    For the record, I believe not all saturated fats are unhealthy. This blog is firmly behind coconut oil, a saturated fat. Check out my page – Why You Should Include Coconut Oil in Your Diet.

For more on how to reduce your risks of conditions from heart disease to dementia, buy Men’s Health Fifty and Forward, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

Tony

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Filed under cholesterol, fat, HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol