Fatty food may feel like a friend during these troubled times, but new research suggests that eating just one meal high in saturated fat can hinder our ability to concentrate — not great news for people whose diets have gone south while they’re working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study compared how 51 women performed on a test of their attention after they ate either a meal high in saturated fat or the same meal made with sunflower oil, which is high in unsaturated fat.
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.
Fatty food may feel like a friend during these troubled times, but new research suggests that eating just one meal high in saturated fat can hinder our ability to concentrate – not great news for people whose diets have gone south while they’re working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study compared how 51 women performed on a test of their attention after they ate either a meal high in saturated fat or the same meal made with sunflower oil, which is high in unsaturated fat. Continue reading →
A plant-based diet can help prevent and manage asthma, while dairy products and high-fat foods raise the risk, according to a new review published in Nutrition Reviews.
Asthma is a common chronic condition in which the airways become narrow and inflamed–sometimes leading to difficulty with breathing, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
“Asthma is a condition that affects more than 25 million Americans, and unfortunately it can make people more vulnerable in the COVID-19 outbreak,” says study author Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee. “This research offers hope that dietary changes could be helpful.” Continue reading →
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.
“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 →
Following is one of those helpful email I get from Harvard from time to time. I thought you might find it interesting.
Many people can reduce cholesterol levels simply by changing what they eat. For example, if you are a fan of cheeseburgers, eating less meat (and leaner cuts) and more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can lower your total cholesterol by 25% or more. Cutting back on saturated fat (found in meat and dairy products) and trans fat (partially hydrogenated oils) can reduce cholesterol by 5% to 10%.
Here are four steps for using your diet to lower your cholesterol.
Stick with unsaturated fats and avoid saturated and trans fats. Most vegetable fats (oils) are made up of unsaturated fats that are healthy for your heart. Foods that contain healthy fats include oily fish, nuts, seeds, and some vegetables. At the same time, limit your intake of foods high in saturated fat, which is found in many meat and dairy products, and stay away from trans fats. These include any foods made with “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.”
Get more soluble fiber. Eat more soluble fiber, such as that found in oatmeal and fruits. This type of fiber can lower blood cholesterol levels when eaten as part of a healthy-fat diet. Continue reading →
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.
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 →
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.
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.
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.
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.” Continue reading →
From the 1950s on, these hardened oils became the backbone of the entire food industry, used in cakes, cookies, chips, breads, frostings, fillings, and frozen and fried food. Unfortunately, hydrogenation also produced trans fats, which since the 1970s have been suspected of interfering with basic cellular functioning and were recently condemned by the Food and Drug Administration for their ability to raise our levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.
“Saturated fat does not cause heart disease”—or so concluded a big study published in March in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. How could this be? The very cornerstone of dietary advice for generations has been that the saturated fats in butter, cheese and red meat should be avoided because they clog our arteries. For many diet-conscious Americans, it is simply second nature to opt for chicken over sirloin, canola oil over butter.
The new study’s conclusion shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with modern nutritional science, however. The fact is, there has never been solid evidence for the idea that these fats cause disease. We only believe this to be the case because nutrition policy has been derailed over the past half-century by a mixture of personal ambition, bad science, politics and bias.
Mickey D’s has announced it will roll out its newest creation – “Mighty Wings” – next month. The Wings have been tested in three big markets since the beginning of the year. My town, Chicago was one of them.
The wings will come in three, five and 10 piece orders and there will be nine different sauces available. Prices start at $2.99.
Their national debut is scheduled for September 9.
Of course, many of us want to know about the nutritional content of these new creations. I checked with the Mc Donald’s website and could not find anything. This is interesting as they are already promoting the dish. However, there are figures around the web.
My Fitness Pal offered the following breakdown for a five piece serving:
Total fat 31 g
Sat fat 7 g
Sodium 1450 mg
Carbs 20 g
Fiber 2 g
Protein 30 g Continue reading →
It is the medium chain fatty acids MCFA in coconut oil that gives it most of its remarkable healing properties and makes it uniquely different from other oils. Palm oil does not have this unique feature. The primary saturated fatty acids in palm oil are palmitic acid (44 percent) and stearic acid (4 percent). These are common saturated fats found in all vegetable oils.
In some ways coconut and palm oils are very similar. They are unique in that they are vegetable oils that contain a high percentage of saturated fat. Because of this they are highly resistant to oxidation and make excellent cooking oils. Because of their high saturated fat content they both have high melting points and may be solid at room temperature. Both are products of palm trees, hence they are often referred to as the tropical oils. Both oils are good and offer many health benefits. This, however, is where the similarity ends.
Coconut and palm oils are very different from one another in chemical composition, appearance, and character. Even their influence on health is uniquely different. They come from different species of palm and from different parts of the plant. Coconut oil comes from the seed of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). Palm oil comes from the fleshy fruit…
I wrote about food sensitivity in late March. In that post, I also mentioned that I feared I suffered from food sensitivity as I have arthritis, nasal congestion and post nasal drip. Since that time, I have contacted a nutritionist and am beginning the elimination diet. Briefly, in the elimination diet, I will be eliminating dairy and gluten foods from my consumption. After a couple of weeks, I hope to see the symptoms of my ailments becoming less aggravating. If that is the case, I will have established that I have a sensitivity to either (or both) gluten and/or dairy.
The nutritionist was great to talk to. She gave me lots of materials to read that will aid in my following the diet.
This snack consists of apple slices eaten with crumbled gorgonzola cheese. I love it and eat it every day. However, now that I am eschewing as opposed to chewing dairy, I can not have it. To put it mildly – darn! Continue reading →
That’s what I was asking myself the last time I was in Costco and passed one of their giant displays of 3+ pound jars of it. I could see the white substance inside that was solid at room temperature. Oil?
Coconut oil is a saturated fat and we need to avoid saturated fats, right? I can’t count the times I have written in negative terms about the saturated fat content of various food items.
Nonetheless, I found myself intrigued by the coconut oil. So, I bought some.
When I got home, I learned some very positive things about coconut oil on the web.
Coconutoil.com says, “Coconut oil is an edible oil that has been consumed in tropical places for thousands of years. Studies done on native diets high in coconut oil consumption show that these populations are generally in good health, and don’t suffer as much from many of the modern diseases of western nations where coconut oil is seldom consumed anymore.”
That’s certainly a positive start.
Livestrong.com had especially good things to say about coconut oil for endurance athletes, like bike riders, “Raw coconut oil is different from most other oils because it has a high content of medium chain triglycerides – MCTs – which are also sometimes called medium chain fatty acids … according to Paul Insel, R. Elaine Turner and Don Ross, authors of ‘Discovering Nutrition.’ This means your body uses them for fuel immediately, unlike other types of fat. As a result products with coconut oil are popular with endurance athletes who need high-energy food.”