Junk Food Can Damage Your Metabolism In Just 5 Days

The human body is an amazing machine. Capable of:

  • Climbing mountains,
  • Adapting to environments as disparate as the arctic and the tropical rain forest.
  • Running for hundreds of kilometres at a stretch,
  • Lifting freakishly heavy weights.
  • Amazing technological advances,
  • Creating art that can elevate the soul

Unfortunately, what your body can’t do is consume junk food – aka the Standard American Diet – without starting to fall apart.

Here’s the science:

According to this new study, after just 5 days of eating a diet that included sausage biscuits, macaroni and cheese, and food loaded with butter, healthy college-age students experienced a significant change in how their muscles processed nutrients. And not for the better.

According to the researchers, eating a starchy, fatty diet disrupts how your muscles metabolize glucose, “which could lead to the body’s inability to respond to insulin”, leading to insulin insensitivity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and a reduced quantity & quality of life.

NOTE: In the study, the test diet was designed to have fat make up 55% of the calories – as opposed to a “normal” 30% fat diet – with the inclusion of foods such as sausage biscuits and mac & cheese. And while I agree that a diet in which 55% of the calories comes from fat can be called a “high-fat” diet, I would argue that it would be more accurate to call it a “high fat AND carb” diet or a “high fat AND starchy carb” diet or a “high fat AND high gluten” diet.

To infer that fat is the villain here may not be wholly accurate. We need a bit more research before we start blaming a single macronutrient.

What does this mean to you?

  1. As yummy as sausage biscuits smothered in gravy and bacon smells, you may not want to eat it very often. Your body hasn’t evolved (devolved) to handle this type of food.
  2. If you can’t resist the siren song of Mac ‘n Cheese, space it out with some healthy food, like a Big Salad, to help your muscles sensitive to insulin.
  3. The next time you hear about a study saying High-Fat or High-Carb diets are bad, take a closer look at what the researchers consider high-fat or high-carb.dia

Reference

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Baby Formula Programs Your Child For Obesity

Researchers from the University of Buffalo have found that babies fed foods high in simple sugars (carbs) immediately after birth are prone to becoming overweight/obese as adults.

This is due to a period of developmental plasticity, extending from fetal development into the immediate postnatal period during which pancreatic islets and neurons continue to mature.

“That’s why an altered nutritional experience during this critical period can independently modify the way certain organs in the body develop, resulting in programming effects that manifest later in life,” UB researcher Dr. Patel says. “During this critical period, the hypothalamus, which regulates appetite, becomes programmed to drive the individual to eat more food.

The Science

For more than 20 years, Patel and his UB colleagues have studied how the increased intake of carbohydrate-enriched calories just after birth can program individuals to overeat.

For this study, the UB researchers administered to newborn rat pups special milk formulas they developed that are either…

  1. Similar to rat breast milk in composition, (higher in fat-derived calories) or
  2. Enriched with carbohydrate-derived calories.

“These pups who were fed a high-carbohydrate milk formula are getting a different kind of nourishment than they normally would,” explains Patel, “which metabolically programs them to develop hyperinsulinemia, a precursor for obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

What happened to the baby rats?

At three weeks of age, the rat pups fed the high-carbohydrate (HC) formula were then weaned onto rat chow either with free access to food or with a moderate calorie restriction, so that their level of consumption would be the same as pups reared naturally.

“When food intake for the HC rats was controlled to a normal level, the pups grew at a normal rate, similar to that of pups fed by their mothers,” Patel says. “But we wanted to know, did that period of moderate calorie restriction cause the animals to be truly reprogrammed? We knew that the proof would come once we allowed them to eat ad libitum, without any restrictions.

“We found that when the HC rat undergoes metabolic reprogramming for development of obesity in early postnatal life, and then is subjected to moderate caloric restriction, similar to when an individual goes on a diet, the programming is only suppressed, not erased,” he says.

What does this mean to you?

  1. It may mean that you choose to breast feed your newborn
  2. It may mean that you choose baby formula with a macronutrient profile similar to breast milk
  3. It may mean that you ignore the study because it was performed on rats…and rats ain’t humans.

What happens if you choose #3?

According to the researchers, periods of moderate caloric restriction later in life cannot reverse the hypothalamic pro-obesity programming. This means that your little bundle of joy has a higher chance of becoming an obese adult…unless they choose to follow a calorie restricted diet for their entire life.

It’s your call Mom & Dad.

Reference

 

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Excess Sugar Linked to Cancer

I’ve got some bad news for everyone who started off their morning with a big bowl of sugary cereal…or a couple of donuts…or cinnamon-raisin bagels…or a giant coffee shop muffin…or a high-cal-caffeine-sugar bomb from Starbucks.

In a new study, Dr. Custodia Garcia-Jimenez has discovered that “high sugar levels increases the activity of a gene widely implicated in cancer progression”.

Dr Garcia Jimenez’s research investigates “how cells in the intestine respond to sugars and signal to the pancreas to release insulin, the key hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Sugars in the intestine trigger cells to release a hormone called GIP that enhances insulin release by the pancreas.

His research showed “that the ability of the intestinal cells to secrete GIP is controlled by a protein called β-catenin, and that the activity of β-catenin is strictly dependent on sugar levels.

sugar-diabetes-cancer

What Does This Mean To YOU?… 

  • Increased activity of β-catenin is known to be a major factor in the development of many cancers and can make normal cells immortal, a key step in early stages of cancer progression.
  • Dr Garcia Jimenez’s study tells us that high (but not normal) sugar levels induce nuclear accumulation of β-catenin and leads to cell proliferation.
  • Ergo…high sugar = increased activity of β-catenin = normal cells become cancerous

Which means…if you are eating the Standard American Diet (high in processed carbs & sugar)…not only are you increasing your odds of obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes…you ARE increasing your odds of dying from pancreatic cancer or colon cancer.

If this bothers you, and you want to make a change, might I suggest you download my FREE eBook – A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century.

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Is Obesity Caused By A Lack Of Protein?

The protein leverage hypothesis proposes that a genetic appetite for protein combined with a widespread decline in the ratio of protein to fat and carbohydrate in our diet is responsible for:

  1. Increased caloric intake and
  2. The resultant explosion in worldwide obesity.

In this study, researchers tested the protein leverage hypothesis in lean humans by disguising the macronutrient composition of foods offered to subjects under ad libitum feeding conditions. Energy intakes and hunger ratings were measured for 22 lean subjects studied over three 4-day periods of in-house dietary manipulation.

Subjects were restricted to fixed menus in random order comprising 28 foods designed to be similar in palatability, availability, variety and sensory quality and providing 10%, 15% or 25% energy as protein.  Nutrient and energy intake was calculated as the product of the amount of each food eaten and its composition.

Results

Lowering the percent protein of the diet from 15% to 10% resulted in higher total energy intake, predominantly from savoury-flavoured foods available between meals.

In contrast, increasing protein from 15% to 25% did not alter energy intake.

On the fourth day of the trial, however, there was a greater increase in the hunger score between 1–2 h after the 10% protein breakfast versus the 25% protein breakfast.

Conclusion

Lowering the protein content of your diet  promotes hunger and over-consumption of calories….enhancing the risk of obesity.

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Remember this the next time you have cereal for breakfast instead of scrambled eggs.

the american heart association loves red meat

Reference

 

I Have a Bad Case of Bread Head :(

Last night was my wife’s birthday.

As part of the celebration, I agreed to make a decidedly non-Paleo meal consisting of the following:

  • Her favorite pasta recipe that I used to make for her in my pre-Paleo days.
  • Homemade garlic pan bread swimming in butter
  • Caesar salad
  • Wine
  • Caramel Crunch ice cream

Needless to say…I awoke this morning with a brutal case of “bread head”.

  • A thumping headache stretching across my forehead
  • Stuffed sinuses
  • Achy joints
  • Puffy eyes and face
  • And a craving for starchy carbs that you would not believe

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Beware the BREAD HEAD!!!!!

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Carbohydrates and Chronic Kidney Disease

Studying data collected from 2600 participants, researchers have found that:

  1. A diet high in “energy-dense, nutrient-poor sources of carbohydrates” results in a significantly increased risk of incident chronic kidney disease.
  2. Conversely, the higher your intake of cereal fiber, the lower your risk of CKD.

So, once again, we have scientific proof that eating a diet of pie, donuts, cake, cookies, pizza, chips, nachos, soda, bread, ice cream, etc…results in your health going down the toilet.

And just in case you have any loved ones who thrive on this sort of  Homer Simpson-esque diet, keep in mind that many people are not diagnosed with CKD until they lave lost much of their kidney function and that there is no cure for CKD.

Untreated, it usually progresses to end-stage renal disease.

Many people are not diagnosed with chronic kidney disease until they have lost much of their kidney function.

There is no cure for chronic kidney disease. Untreated, it usually progresses to end-stage renal disease.

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Reference

The Dreaded Kraft Dinner Hangover

I did something really stupid yesterday.

It was just one of those days where I was:

  • short on time
  • running low on healthy food
  • hungry as a bear
  • and in a bad mood (crappy day, don’t even ask)

As a result of my crappy day, my stress levels were sky high and my serotonin levels were down in the dumps.

As a result of that, I began to have a wicked craving for carbs and was experiencing a generally crappy mood which also caused a craving for a great big dietary hug from Mom.

So, in a moment of emotional weakness, I ripped open a dusty old box of Kraft Dinner from the pantry.

And I ate that glow in the dark orange, mushy, creamy, full of chemicals, pasta slop.

And I loved every spoon/shovelful.

Unfortunately, for the rest of the evening I was craving carbs like a heroin junkie craves heroin.

And this morning, I woke up with everything aching…my head, my back, my muscles feel stiff and sore and I am still craving carbs and feeling generally like crap.

So, what did I do to get rid of my Kraft Dinner hangover?

  1. Exercise – at 4:30 this morn, I woke up and did 30 minutes of joint mobility and muscle flexibility exercises. Nothing too intense – just working the stiffness out of my body
  2. While exercising, I drank a serving of Athletic Greens
  3. I also choked down a Vitamin B Complex pill and another herbal adaptogen product to help get my hormones back in order.

The result:

At 6:30 this morning, I started writing this post and…

  • my headache is gone,
  • my craving for carbs is 82% gone,
  • my muscles feel normal – not optimal, but okay.

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Overall, I feel 91% less crappy and ready to go train another 6 clients.

Conclusion

Just Say No to Kraft Dinner

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Belly Fat = Type 2 Diabetes = Too Much Carbs

Most days, I enjoy sifting through the latest research into weight loss, health, fitness, etc… But not today.

Today I read a study that dooms Mr. Balloon Belly here to a lifetime of popping diet pills and undergoing gastric bypass surgery.

The Research

In this study, researchers used an MRI machine to determine each participant’s level of belly and liver fat along with a blood test to determine insulin sensitivity.

Then, they put all 243 of the test subjects on a nine month lifestyle intervention program which reduced fat intake to a maximum of 30 percent of total calories (including less than 10 percent in the form of saturated fat) and had them engage in moderate physical activity such as walking for at least three hours a week.

Eat less (fat) & move more….classic.

The Results

The patients who started with the most belly fat & were the most insulin insensitive and who were most at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes did the worst on this lifestyle intervention program.

“The participants who improved their health status as a result of diet and exercise started out with lower baseline levels of abdominal and liver fat.”

Their Conclusion

The researchers concluded that patients with a high level of belly fat & a high level of insulin insensitivity were unlikely to ever be successful at improving their situation with lifestyle modification.

Ever.

Ergo…to lose weight, they would need the help of pharmaceuticals and/or weight loss surgery.

My Conclusion

The lifestyle modification plan used in this experiment is crap.

If you want to improve insulin sensitivity, you don’t modify fat intake…you modify carbohydrate intake.

  • Carbs = sugar
  • Too much sugar = insulin insensitivity
  • Insulin insensitivity = belly & liver fat
  • Insulin insensitivity = type 2 diabetes

So, before the medical community tells Mr. Balloon Belly that he is doomed to a life of gastric bypass and anal leakage, perhaps they should retire their old school food pyramids and learn something from us non-experts.

 

Thus endeth the rant…thanks for listening.

Reference

paleo-healthy-food-pyramid

Low Carb beats Low Fat once again.

According to researchers, low carb diets are better than low fat diets for:

  1. Lowering diastolic blood pressure
  2. Lowering triglycerides
  3. Lowering very-low density lipoprotein cholesterol
  4. Increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol

Isn’t that strange.

A low-carb diet consisting of (20 g/d for 3 months) in the form of low–glycemic index vegetables with unrestricted consumption of fat and protein turns out to be healthier than the universally accepted low-fat diet consisting of limited energy intake (1200 to 1800 kcal/d; ≤30% calories from fat).

Strange.

Vegetables & meat are healthier than grains.

Weird.

Who would have guessed that???

BTW, this study was funded by the National Institutes of Health – no Atkins money in sight.

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The Making of the @HealthHabits Diet

Tomorrow, I will be posting the “official” @HealthHabits Diet…one of the most effective fat-burning, muscle building, health improving diets I have ever designed.

But, before I do that, I thought I would show everybody the 3 central rules that I used to create the @HealthHabits Diet.

  1. It’s Not Only What You Eat
  2. It’s When You Eat It
  3. And How Much Of It That You Eat

Simple, right?

Let’s take a closer look.

What You Eat

There are a lot of diets that restrict the types of food you can and can’t eat:

  • Low-Fat Diets
  • Low-Carb Diets
  • Vegetarian/Vegan Diets
  • High Fiber Diets
  • Liquid Diets
  • Organic Food Diets
  • Whole Grain Diets
  • and the list goes on and on and on…

The fact is, certain foods improve your health and certain foods don’t.

  • Certain foods are high in nutrients and low in calories
  • Other foods are high in calories and low in nutrients
  • Certain foods make you hungry
  • Certain foods cause inflammation (that’s bad)
  • Certain foods make you fat

Based upon the most recent research, I have put together my list of the foods that improve your health and the ones that wreck your health.

When You Eat It

What makes more sense:

  • Drinking all of your daily fluid intake at one sitting (think Big Gulp)?
  • Or spreading it out over the course of the day?
  • Skipping breakfast and lunch and then eating a huge dinner?
  • Spacing your food intake out evenly over the whole day?
  • Eating all of your carbs for breakfast, fats for lunch and proteins for dinner?
  • Eating meals balanced in macro-nutrients (carb, fat, pro)?

It’s not just the types of food you eat that’s important, it’s when you eat those foods.

And tomorrow, I will tell the Facebook Group about two incredibly powerful meal timing techniques.

How Much You Eat

This one is a no-brainer.

10,000 calories of the healthiest health food per day is still going to make you fat.

It’s just too bad that most dieters see calories as the end-all and be-all of successful weight loss. If the weight isn’t coming off fast enough, they just drop the calories a little more. And then a little more. And then just a little bit more.

Until 1 of 2 things happens:

  1. They achieve their weight loss goal and then have to maintain their skinny-fat physiques on 1000 calories per day for the rest of their miserable calorie deprived lives, or
  2. Their body revolts and forces them (via hormones, brain chemicals, etc) to eat and eat and eat.

Neither scenario works.

That’s why focusing solely on calories is the worst thing you can do if you’re trying to lose weight.

Now What???

Introducing…the @HealthHabits Diet

 

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mango-shake health nutrition fitness healthhabits food

Peri-Workout Nutrition

Back in the olden days, workout nutrition consisted of a quick run to the water fountain between exercises.

Then came Gatorade.

Then, we were introduced to the magic 20 minute post-workout window of time.

We were told that if we chugged down a  carb/protein shake immediately after working out, we would:

  1. Shift our metabolism from a catabolic state (muscle damaging) to an anabolic state (muscle building) .
  2. Reduce post exercise muscle soreness
  3. Get bigger, stronger, leaner, faster, etc…

And there was (and still is) a lot of scientific research to back up this belief.

As a result, every gym put in a “smoothie bar” and we all chugged down some pretty gross post-workout protein shakes.

But wait, it doesn’t end there, we’re just getting started.

Researchers began to study whether pre-workout carb/pro nutrition might be even more efficient than post-workout carb/pro nutrition.

And their research showed that it was.

mango-shakeAs a result, instead of one post-workout shake, I was now drinking half my shake pre-workout and finishing the rest post-workout.

I thought I had it all figured out.

Not quite.

The next scientific breakthrough discovered that while a combined carb/pro shake pre-workout worked wonders, a carb free protein meal didn’t work near as well.

And that was fine with me. Those heavy pre-workout protein shakes were sloshing around in my stomach and slowing down my workouts.

RECAP

At this point:

  • Carbs before workout – GOOD
  • Carbs & pro before workout good, but made Doug’s tummy upset
  • Carbs during workout – GOOD
  • Carbs & Pro (Amino Acids) immediately post workout – GOOD

In a nutshell, the theory is that:

  1. Carbs raise your insulin levels, increasing the efficiency of nutrient absorption.
  2. Your workout inflicts micro-damage on your muscles.
  3. Your muscles are now screaming for nutrition to re-synthesize newer/stronger/faster muscles.
  4. Then you throw a bunch of protein/amino acids into the mix

And voila, your body recovers faster & more efficiently from your workouts.

End of story, right?

Not yet.

In the past few years, I have been reading more about improving anaerobic endurance during workouts by supplementing with beta alanine or bicarbonates. And while the research shows mixed results, I have personally and professionally seen impressive gains in endurance during some pretty intense HIIT & HIRT workouts.

Since adding these supplements into the mix, I have been able to push some very intense workouts well past the dreaded 45 minute mark.

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So, what does all of this mean?

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It means that for best results, I recommend:

  • Eating a combined pro/carb meal (real food) 1 to 2 hours before working out
  • Drinking a mid-workout beverage containing…a high GI carb like maltodextrin, BCAAs, creatine, bicarbonates and/or beta alanine.
  • Drinking a post-workout shake containing carbs and a fast digesting protein (whey isolate).

Keep in mind this is a best case scenario type of peri-workout nutrition program.

Most of you aren’t going to want to spend the money on all of this stuff.

So, if cost is an issue, I would recommend

  • Eat the pre-workout meal as described above.
  • Drink watered down orange juice during your workout. BCAAs & Creatine if you can afford them.
  • Post-workout shake as described above.

Personally, I have tried 3 different workout beverages with sugar/BCAAs/Beta Alanine/Bicarb and have found that Biotest’s Surge Workout Fuel to be the most effective. It costs approximately $1.10 per serving.

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BTW – peri means around or about…so in this case peri-workout nutrition means nutrition around your workout

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I look forward to hearing your feedback. Workout nutrition is a hotly debated topic amongst all of the “experts” out there on the interweb.

My skin is thick, don’t hold back.

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This is what happens when Health Habits doesn’t eat healthy

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday.

Instead of going out to a restaurant, I offered to cook one of her favorite meals:

  • Vegetable lasagna with 4 types of cheese
  • Garlic bread dripping with butter
  • Caesar salad
  • Ice cream for dessert
  • and a bottle of pinot grigio to wash it all down

veg lasagna

Mmmmmmm good…seriously. It tasted great. I make a really good lasagna.

However, this morning…

I feel like crap.

  • No energy
  • My sinuses are all stuffed up
  • Headache
  • Bloated – my wedding ring feels like it’s be soldered onto my finger
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach rumblin’ & grumblin”
  • I am craving carbs like crazy
  • And my face is all puffy…I have “bread head”

Bread Head…dammit!!!

Drink more soda…it’s good for you

Not everyone is happy with the anti-obesity/anti-soda ad produced by the NYC Dept of Health.

soda obesity nyc

And it isn’t just the people who lost their lunches after seeing that globby/fatty/veiny cup of goo.

It’s groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom.

In fact, the CCF was so upset, that they produced their own rebuttal ad and had it printed in the New York Times

you are too stupid consumer freedom

BTW, a full page ad in the Times costs upwards of $158,004.

$158,004

And we’re not even including the costs associated with creating the ad.

We’re talking big money.

BIG MONEY

And thinking about that big money awakened the skeptic in me. And that inner skeptic started thinking…who is the Center for Consumer Freedom and why are they spending a ton of money defending our freedoms against anti-cola advertisements?

So, I did a little research into the CCF.

My findings?

Apparently, there are a lot of people who don’t like the CCF.

To them, the CCF is nothing but a front group for the restaurant, alcohol and tobacco industries.

It runs media campaigns which oppose the efforts of scientists, doctors, health advocates, environmentalists and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, calling them “the Nanny Culture — the growing fraternity of food cops, health care enforcers, anti-meat activists, and meddling bureaucrats who ‘know what’s best for you.’ ”

Over 40 percent of the group’s 2005 expenditure was paid to Rick Berman’s PR company, Berman & Co. for “management services. As part of its operations CCF runs a series of attack websites.

Sourcewatch

But, don’t take their word for it….Check out the “attack” websites

And, if that ain’t enough, watch this video…

Or listen to the man himself as Rick Berman is interviewed by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow…

So, what do you think?

Is Rick Berman…

  • standing up for your freedom against the American nanny state?
  • or is he spinning lies in order to promote the interests of his anonymous donors?

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In Defense of Farmers

photographer: Alia Malley
photographer: Alia Malley

In my hometown of Toronto, Michael Pollan is a hipster gOD.

His mantra to Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. is spoken with reverence by those Torontonians with a social conscience and enough disposable income to live organic, green and sustainable.

And it isn’t only Toronto. From what I have heard, this new breed of Agri-Intellectuals can be found in every city in North America and beyond.

In fact, according to the most recent census data, Agri-Intellectuals are America’s fastest growing ethnic population.

And that’s great for Michael Pollan’s book sales.

But, not so great for conventional farmers.

And they’re starting to get a little pissed off.

omnivores delusion

This past July, farmer Blake Hurst penned this article.

In the article, Mr Hurst disputes a number of the anti-Big Ag arguments raised by Michael Pollan and other Agri-Intellectual deities.

He reminds us that “farming has always been messy and painful, and bloody and dirty. It still is. This is something the critics of industrial farming never seem to understand”.

He goes on to say that “farmers have reasons for their actions, and society should listen to them as we embark upon this reappraisal of our agricultural system.

“I use chemicals and diesel fuel to accomplish the tasks my grandfather used to do with sweat, and I use a computer instead of a lined notebook and a pencil, but I’m still farming the same land he did 80 years ago, and the fund of knowledge that our family has accumulated about our small part of Missouri is valuable”.

And everything I know and I have learned tells me this: we have to farm “industrially” to feed the world, and by using those “industrial” tools sensibly, we can accomplish that task and leave my grandchildren a prosperous and productive farm, while protecting the land, water, and air around us”.

Please note that this is only a small portion of the article. Please read the rest.

And when you do read the article, keep in mind that way back in 1995, farmer Hurst asked congress to end crop subsidies. At that time, Hurst was quoted as saying that “government farm programs have fleeced taxpayers and stifled farmers’ ingenuity and profits”.

This is not a man content to sit back and let the government nor the Agri-Intellectuals tell him how to do his job.

And he’s not alone.

Last Thursday, Michael Pollan was invited to speak about his book, In Defense of Food to an audience of 8000 at the U of Wisconsin.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Michael Pollan at the U of Wisconsin“, posted with vodpod

Amongst that 8000 were 200 In Defense of Farming protesters.

Luckily, it was all very…civilized.

Dammit.

(media hates civilized protests)

On Friday, the protest continued when the U of W held a panel discussion involving Pollan, a U of W student and two farmers.

I can’t find any video of the event, but according to this review of the panel discussion, the U of W student took the position of Big Ag and went right at Pollan.

She covered the typical Big Ag talking points:

  • America has the safest, most abundant food supply in the world.
  • Global food production needs to double by 2050 if we are going to feed everyone.
  • She said that 99% of Wisconsin’s farmers are family farmers.
  • And she called Pollan “polarizing”

Pollan responded by:

  • commending one of the farmers on his innovations and said that he would love to come and visit his farm.
  • saying that he doesn’t think the world should have only one type of farming. He used the phrase “Let a hundred flowers bloom,” meaning: the more diversity in farming, the better. Let’s try everything and only through that will we see what works best.
  • Pollan went on to say that critique is not necessarily a bad thing, and it’s not necessarily an attack. He said that he’s critiquing the system, not the farmers, and he made the analogy that in our national critique of the health care system, we aren’t criticizing the doctors.
  • He said that in fact, much of his critique is directed at the people who buy the food from the farmers and process it before selling it to the consumer.
  • He also said that the interests of agribusiness is often at odds with the interest of farmers. In fact, agribusiness exploits farmers and squeezes them off the land.

Conclusion

North American food production is becoming an even more important topic as we attempt to climb out of the global recession and hope to reverse current trends in obesity and healthcare.

Now if only the policymakers can act half as civilized as Michael Pollan & the folks from In Defense of Farmers.

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Soda Tax = Tax Grab

coca cola coke

It looks like my prediction of a American Soda Tax may soon come true.

According to ABC News, “several of the nation’s leading health experts are calling for a tax on soda as a means of curbing America’s obesity-epidemic”.

But wait, here’s the good part:

Their paper, appearing in the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, calls for a tax on “sugar-sweetened” drinks in order to reduce the consumption of the drinks and lower health costs as well as fund government-run health programs.

FUND GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH PROGRAMS

“A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is really a double-win,” said Dr. David Ludwig, a co-author of the paper and director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children’s Hospital, Boston.

“We can raise much-needed dollars while likely reducing obesity prevalence, which is a major driver of health care costs, the paper states.

“Ultimately the government needs to raise more money to cover the deficit, and in terms of ways of raising that revenue, a tax on sugar sweetened beverages is really a no-brainer.”

So, there you go.

Just like I said here, the government will take advantage of America’s Obesity Epidemic™ and introduce a soda tax in order to help reverse the defecit.

But will it help reduce the nation’s obesity problem?

According to the latest research, small tax increases will have little effect on behavior.

On the other hand, big tax increases should do the trick. Especially for America’s poor.

So, there you go, just like I predicted:

5 Bucks for a Can of Coke

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NYC Declares War on Soda

soda obesity nyc

New York City’s public health officials opened a new front in their struggle against high-calorie beverages on Monday, unveiling a new ad campaign that graphically depicts globs of human fat gushing from a sideways drink bottle.

Mmmmmmmm….I could rally go for a great big glass of globby liquified human body-fat.

Here Come the Soda Tax

jones-soda-orange-you-glad-for-change-obama-label

Last month, I predicted that America will soon be paying 5 bucks for a can of Coke.

And it looks like that prediction may be coming true.

In an interview with Men’s Health magazine, President Obama was asked “would he consider so-called sin taxes, on soda and other sugar-laden products, or on activities that sabotage the health of the masses?

His response:

I actually think it’s an idea that we should be exploring,” the president says. “There’s no doubt that our kids drink way too much soda. And every study that’s been done about obesity shows that there is as high a correlation between increased soda consumption and obesity as just about anything else. Obviously it’s not the only factor, but it is a major factor.”

But even the most powerful man on the planet needs to keep an eye on what’s politically feasible:

“Obviously there is resistance on Capitol Hill to those kinds of sin taxes,” he says. “Legislators from certain states that produce sugar or corn syrup are sensitive to anything that might reduce demand for those products. And look, people’s attitude is that they don’t necessarily want Big Brother telling them what to eat or drink, and I understand that.

It is true, though, that if you wanted to make a big impact on people’s health in this country, reducing things like soda consumption would be helpful.”

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OrangeGladObamaSomehow, I don’t think that this is the type of change that the people at Jones Cola had in mind when they came up with their Orange “You Glad For Change” Cola to commemorate the inauguration of President Obama.

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Your Omega 3 Prescription

By this point, you should already know that you need more Omega 3 fatty acids into your diet.

The question is: how much?

  • A teaspoon of fish oils?
  • A tablespoon?
  • 3 pills?
  • or a great big slab of smoked salmon?

Well, according to this study, researchers believe that “a 200 mg dose of DHA per day is enough to affect biochemical markers that reliably predict cardiovascular problems, such as those related to aging, atherosclerosis, and diabetes”.

This study is the first to identify how much DHA is necessary to promote optimal heart health.

The Study

To determine the optimal dose of DHA, the researchers examined the effects of increasing doses of DHA on 12 healthy male volunteers between ages of 53 and 65. These men consumed doses of DHA at 200, 400, 800, and 1600 mg per day for two weeks for each dose amount, with DHA being the only omega-3 fatty acid in their diet. (No EPA)

Blood and urine samples were collected before and after each dose and at eight weeks after DHA supplementation stopped. The researchers then examined these samples for biochemical markers indicating the effects of each dose on the volunteers.

They found that supplementation with only 200 mg/d DHA for 2 wk induced an antioxidant effect.

They concluded that “low consumption of DHA could be an effective and nonpharmacological way to protect healthy men from platelet-related cardiovascular events”.

Conclusion

If this study is correct, you need only 200 mg of DHA per day to reap the cardiovascular benefits of the Omega 3 fatty acid DHA.

And how do you get 200 mg of DHA?

5 Bucks for a Can of Coke?

coca cola coke

Yep.

You heard it here first.

$5 for a can of Coke.

And I’ll tell you why:

  1. America is fat…really fat
  2. American media keeps telling Americans to be afraid because they are soooo fat.
  3. American politicians tell the media that they are concerned that so many Americans are fat.
  4. And according to the laws of physics, Media fearmongering + faux Politico concern = Gov’t Intervention

But, what kind of intervention?

  • Public service announcements?
  • A national exercise program?
  • A subsidy on broccoli?

Nah, all of those options cost money.

What we need is an anti-obesity plan that actually makes money for the government.

six packBecause we all know that the government needs money. Between the recession and rising unemployment and the war(s) and the potential cost of President Obama’s healthcare reform package, the feds are strapped for cash.

So, how can the gov’t raise big wads of money in order to give America a collective six-pack?

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Simple.

Taxes

More specifically, sin taxes on the food and/or behaviors that lead to obesity.

But what should we tax?

What we need is a nutritional villain

How about trans fat?

No, that won’t work. Bad PR and gov’t bans have pretty much killed off trans fats.

We need something new.

How about this?

According to the American Heart Association:

  • High intake of added sugars is implicated in numerous poor health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
  • Added sugars and solid fats in food, as well as alcoholic beverages are categorized as “discretionary calories” and should be eaten sparingly.
  • Most American women should consume no more than 100 calories (25 grams) of added sugars per day. That is equal to the amount of sugar in 2/3 of a single 12 oz /355 ml bottle of Coke.
  • Most men, no more than 150 calories (38 grams). That is equal to the amount of sugar in one 12 oz /355 ml bottle of Coke
  • Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet.

And there we go. We have our villain

Sugar

And since we get most of our added or non-naturally occurring sugar from soft drinks, look for a big gov’t/NGO/media push for a sin tax on soft drinks.

Mark my words people.

5 Bucks for a Can of Coke

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Carb Junkie Weekend

ihop-coffee-cake-pancakes

Last week, a client of mine volunteered to act as my personal guinea pig for an completely un-scientific look at the effect of sugar and insulin on the human body.

The Experiment

From Monday to Thursday, my client (Mr.X) followed a diet consisting of fresh vegetables (no root vegetables or squash), berries, small amounts of nuts & seeds, unprocessed animal protein, unprocessed fats, salt, spices, coffee with cream, tea, water and 1 tbsp of fish oil per day.

From Friday to Sunday, he could eat whatever he wanted.

Come Monday morning, we would take some measurements and assess how his body responded to both diets.

The Back Story on Mr. X

First of all, I should mention that Mr.X is a frustrating client.

He has had great results in spite of ignoring at least half of my dietary recommendations. The SOB has lost over 25 lbs and gained 8 lbs of muscle in 4 1/2 months due mainly to his response to the training program. And because he has done so well, he thinks that he doesn’t need to change his eating to get the results he wants.

And I do.

Ergo, our little experiment. 2 guys with 2 big egos make a stupid bet.

I win and he follows the diet with no questions asked.

He wins and I train him for free for the next month (bye bye $960)

Results

Monday was a breeze. He was motivated and followed the diet to the letter.

Tuesday was a little tougher. Cravings for his morning bagel and a date at an Italian restaurant made him cranky. I received an expletive filled email from the restaurant.

Wednesday & Thursday went great. He was starting to get used to the diet and he reported that his energy levels were higher throughout the day. I noticed an improvement in his anaerobic endurance during Wednesday’s workout.

Thursday evening was interesting. He actually began to plan out his meal plans for the coming three days. Like a kid the night before Christmas.

As well, on Thursday we measured his blood pressure & pulse rate – BP dropped from 118/76 to 112/71 and resting pulse from 66 to 58.

He lost 4 lbs.

And, we saw a 1/16″ decrease across his chest and 1/8″ around his love handle region

Next up, the weekend of carb binging.

Friday was interesting. Mr. X wasn’t really hungry. But he wanted to eat. So, instead of reverting to his usual bagel & coffee, he went to a restaurant for a pancake breakfast.

And here’s where things start to go downhill.

He actually fell asleep at work. Head on the desk. Snoring.

But, he woke up in time to go out for lunch with the gang at the office – Fried stuff and beer.

He managed to stay awake through the afternoon.

After work, he worked out with me…sort of. It was one of the worst workouts he has ever had. No energy. No strength. And he almost puked.

Sad.

On Saturday, he slept in, skipped breakfast and had pizza for lunch. Dinner was bbq with salad.

Hmmm grilled meat and vegetables. Sounds like Mon-Thurs diet to me.

On Sunday, he felt better and his appetite was back. Breakfast was his bagel & coffee. Lunch was a sandwich with fries and dinner was pasta at another restaurant. Mr. X was back.

Follow Up

On Monday, we took the measurements again.

Love handles and chest measurements were back to normal.

Blood pressure and resting pulse were 130/87 and 71.  An increase of 18/16

He gained back the 4 lbs. + 2 more.

His face was bloated.

He had an intense craving for carbs, especially wheat products.

And he hadn’t pooped since Saturday.

Conclusion

The Mon-Thurs diet improved numerous markers of health, gave him more energy, improved his athletic performance and helped him drop more weight.

But, he did miss his morning bagel. Boo Hoo

Conversely, the Fri-Sun diet made him weaker, fatter, sicker and changed his hunger for carbs from a 5 out of 10 to a 9 out of 10.

Discussion

Starting this week, Mr. X is back on the Mon-Thurs healthy diet full time.

I am using a compliance graph to help him stick to the diet. Kind of like gold stars on the fridge for grown-ups.

We will report back in a few weeks with his progress.

So, What does this mean to you?

It means that removing the sweets and processed carbs from your diet is the best thing you can do for your health and your appearance.

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Note – If anyone wants a pdf of the compliance chart, click the link

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Why Do I Gain Fat On My…???

  • Why do I gain fat on my belly?
  • Why do I gain fat on my legs?
  • Why do I gain fat on my arms?
  • Why do I gain fat on my love handles?
  • Why do I gain fat on my muffin top?
  • Why do I gain fat on my booty?

Just about every day I am asked some version of this question.

People generally understand why they have gained extra body fat in general…

  • they eat too much processed food,
  • they can’t find time to exercise,
  • they watch too much tv, etc.

But when it comes to figuring out why they have been packing it on a specific part of their body, they have no idea…

Luckily for them, I have a pretty good idea WHY.

It’s HORMONES

  • Different hormones for different areas.
  • Hormones that cause belly fat
  • Hormones that cause love handles
  • Hormones that cause “man-boobs”

So, as a public service, I am posting these two Body-Fat Maps to help you determine your own particular hormonal imbalance.

Ladies first…

Body-Fat Map - Female woman

Now the gents…

Body-Fat Map - Male

Alright…so now you know what your personal problem areas say about your hormone balance or imbalance as the case may be. Maybe you need to look at your growth hormone…maybe you need to be concerned about insulin.

What Do You DO NOW?

Q.  How do you fix the problem?

A.  Start by visiting Page 2

Hormones, Problem Areas and Your Body-Fat Map

We all have problem areas. No matter how healthy you eat or how hard you exercise, certain spots on your body do not want to give up their fat.

It could be your granny-arm triceps or your love handles or that darned muffin-top.

fat tricep     muffin top

But, no matter where your problem area is, I can tell you why you have it. It’s HORMONES. And while some hormones cause belly-fat, other hormones cause flabby arms.

And that’s a good thing. Because at least that points us in the right direction and allows us to devise a fat-loss plan tailored to your specific problem area.

So, as a public service, I have put together these 2 Body-Fat Maps to help you determine your own particular hormonal imbalance.

Ladies first…

Body-Fat Map - Female woman

Now the guys…

Body-Fat Map - Male

So, now you know what your problem area says about your hormone balance…what’s next?

How do you fix the problem?

1. Understand that your hormones are responsible for your personal fat-distribution patterns.

  • For example, women with an excessive percentage of fat on the back of their arms are likely to have elevated insulin levels or low DHEA levels.
  • Men unlucky enough to be lugging around a generous set of man-boobs are likely to have high levels of estrogen (often combined with high insulin and low testosterone)

2. Take a long hard look at your body, identifying your personal fat-storage locations. 

3. Use the Causes lists to identify your personal causes for your hormone imbalance.

4. Use the Solutions listed below to fix your imbalances

 

High Insulin

Causes

  • Eating too much over-processed, nutrient deficient carbohydrates – fast food, frozen dinners, pop, fruit drinks, sugary foods, processed diet foods…you know. Crap.
  • Eating too little protein – real protein, not processed McNugget protein
  • Eating too little fat – real fat, not trans-fat
  • Not enough fiber in your diet – no need for supplements, you should get enough protein from fruit & veg
  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress
  • Not enough exercise
  • Excessive exercise to the point of muscle wasting
  • Steroid based medications
  • Poor liver function
  • Environmental toxins
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Aging – sorry about that one

Solutions

  • Diet – Sugar/Insulin control diet – Paleo/Atkins/Medierranean
  • Botanical – Cinnamon, Chromium – talk to your naturopath
  • Increase consumption of fiber
  • Increase consumption of fish oils
  • Weight loss
  • Exercise
  • Reduce exposure to toxins & improve liver function – talk to your naturopath
  • Sleep
  • Get your hormone levels checked

High Testosterone

While not very common in men, it affects about 10% of women

Causes

  • Increased production by the adrenal glands
  • Polycystic ovaries caused by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Low Estrogen. Estrogen is a potent inhibitor of testosterone production, so anything that decreases estrogen levels beyond the norm is going to increase the testosterone to estrogen balance

Solutions

  • Stress management = lowered cortisol = reduction in adrenal production
  • Insulin control diet – Paleo/Atkins/Mediterranean
  • Pharmaceutical – Troglitazone and Metformin – talk to your doctor
  • Botanical – Saw Palmetto – talk to your naturopath
  • Estrogen replacement – bio-identical or conventional – talk to your doctor
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low Testosterone

Causes

  • Aging
  • Damage  to the testicles
  • Radiation
  • Testicular or Pituitary tumors
  • Serious viral infections
  • Vasectomy
  • Various genetic conditions – Klinefelter’s, Kallmann’s, Prader-Willi syndromes and Myotonic Dystrophy

In addition to these causes, there are a variety of lifestyle causes. These include:

  • Obesity…it’s a vicious circle – low test causes obesity and obesity causes lowered test…sorry
  • Exposure to pesticides
  • Exposure to hormones used in factory farm meat and poultry production. These hormones act like Estrogen in your body, and…
  • Estrogen is a potent inhibitor of testosterone production, so anything that increases estrogen levels beyond the norm is going to negatively impact testosterone production
  • Phthalates (found in soap, cosmetics and plastics) are another estrogen like compound that suppresses testosterone.
  • Alcohol…especially beer
  • Temperature – boxers v.s briefs
  • Sleep apnea
  • Narcotics

Solutions

Female

  • Diet – Dump your low-fat diet and increase your healthy fats
  • Botanical – Tribulus – talk to your naturopath
  • High Intensity exercise
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Male

  • Diet – Dump your low-fat diet and increase your healthy fats
  • Botanical – Tribulus – talk to your naturopath
  • Pharmaceutical – Aromatase blockers and/or testosterone, anabolic steroids – talk to your doctor and/or your lawyer…see Manny Ramierez
  • High Intensity exercise
  • Get your hormone levels checked

High Estrogen or Estrogen Dominance

Causes

  • Pregnancy & menstrual cycle fluctuations
  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress
  • Obesity – obesity causes high estrogen which causes obesity…
  • Poor diet – processed foods, a high fat diet, a high sugar diet, excessive caffeine, low levels of magnesium and B6
  • Birth control pill
  • Exposure to hormones used in factory farm meat and poultry production. These hormones act like Estrogen in your body, and…
  • Phthalates and other xenoestrogens (found in soap, cosmetics and plastics)
  • Low testosterone
  • Impaired liver function
  • Poor digestion
  • Alcohol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Lack of sleep

Solutions

  • Stress management
  • Improve your diet – Paleo/Atkins/Mediterranean/increase your fiber
  • Reduce your exposure to hormones and xenoestrogens
  • Improve liver function – talk to your naturopath
  • Get more sleep
  • Exercise more
  • Pharmaceutical – Testosterone – talk to your doctor
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low Estrogen

Causes

  • Aging – Menopause
  • Premature failure of the ovaries
  • Surgical menopause
  • Unmanaged high levels of stress
  • Smoking
  • Low-fat diets
  • Extremely low body-fat

Solutions

Female

  • Estrogen replacement – bio-identical or conventional – talk to your doctor
  • Get your hormone levels checked

High Cortisol

We all have stress in our lives. The problems begin when we can’t handle the stresses that are thrown our way. That is when stress starts negatively impacting our health. Chronic elevated levels of corisol is just one symptom of that impact.

Causes

  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress

Solutions

  • Stress management – meditation, breathing techniques, psychiatry, psychotherapy, mindfulness practice, biofeedback + a million more techniques available on late-night infomercials and the inter-web.
  • Insulin control diet – Paleo/Atkins/Mediterranean
  • Reduce intake of stimulants
  • Supplements – Multi-Vitamin/Mineral, magnesium, B5, B6, Phosphatidylserine, adaptogens such as ginseng – talk to your naturopath.
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low Growth Hormone

Causes

  • Aging
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of exercise
  • Eating before bed
  • Sleeping with lights on

Solutions

  • Don’t eat before bed
  • Sleep in the dark
  • High Intensity exercise – low intensity (ie cardio) has little effect
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Supplements – GHB and the Amino Acids Arginine, Lysine and Ornithine – talk to your doctor/naturopath
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low DHEA

Causes

  • Aging
  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress

Solutions

  • DHEA supplements – talk to your naturopath
  • Stress management – meditation, breathing techniques, psychiatry, psychotherapy, mindfulness practice, biofeedback + a million more techniques available on late-night infomercials and the inter-web.
  • Insulin control diet – Paleo/Atkins/Mediterranean
  • Reduce intake of stimulants
  • Supplements – Multi-Vitamin/Mineral, magnesium, B5, B6, Phosphatidylserine, adaptogens such as ginseng – talk to your naturopath.
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low Progesterone

Causes

  • Lack of ovulation
  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress
  • Low levels of luteinizing hormone
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Excess prolaction

Solutions

  • Progesterone cream – talk to your doctor/naturopath
  • Stress management – meditation, breathing techniques, psychiatry, psychotherapy, mindfulness practice, biofeedback + a million more techniques available on late-night infomercials and the inter-web.
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Note

I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one on tv. So, if you think something is out of whack with your hormones, go and get them checked.  That doesn’t mean that you have to take the drugs that your doctor is probably going to push on you. But, at least you will have the info to make your best decision.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to shoot them my way. If I don’t feel confident about my ability to answer it, I will try and convince an “expert” to weigh in.

High Carb Diet = Heart Attack

IHOPs Butterscotch Rocks Pancake....mmmmmm distended brachial arteries
IHOPs Butterscotch Rocks Pancake....mmmmmm distended brachial arteries

For the first time in medical history, researchers have been able to visualize what happens inside our arteries before, during and after eating high carb foods.

And it ain’t a pretty sight.

Looking inside the arteries of students eating a variety of foods, Dr. Michael Shechter ( Tel Aviv University visualized exactly what happens inside the body when the wrong foods for a healthy heart are eaten.

He found that foods with a high glycemic index resulted in distended brachial arteries for several hours.

Dr. Shechter continues:

Elasticity of arteries anywhere in the body can be a measure of heart health.

But when aggravated over time, a sudden expansion of the artery wall can cause a number of negative health effects, including reduced elasticity, which can cause heart disease or sudden death.

So, let’s recap:

High GI foods (bread, sugar, desserts, pop, pizza, cereal, 99% of the food sold at any fast food restaurant…) leads to distended brachial arteries which can lead to heart attacks which can lead to death.

The Science

Using 56 healthy volunteers, the researchers looked at four groups.

  1. Group One ate a cornflake mush mixed with milk,
  2. Group Two ate a pure sugar mixture,
  3. Group Three ate bran flakes,
  4. Group Four was given a placebo (water).

Over four weeks, Dr. Shechter applied his method of “brachial reactive testing” to each group. The test uses a cuff on the arm, like those used to measure blood pressure, which can visualize arterial function in real time.

The results were dramatic. Before any of the patients ate, arterial function was essentially the same. After eating, except for the placebo group, all had reduced functioning.

Enormous peaks indicating arterial stress were found in the high glycemic index groups: the cornflakes and sugar group.

“We knew high glycemic foods were bad for the heart. Now we have a mechanism that shows how,” says Dr. Shechter. “Foods like cornflakes, white bread, french fries, and sweetened soda all put undue stress on our arteries.

We’ve explained for the first time how high glycemic carbs can affect the progression of heart disease.”

During the consumption of foods high in sugar, there appears to be a temporary and sudden dysfunction in the endothelial walls of the arteries.

Endothelial health can be traced back to almost every disorder and disease in the body.

It is “the riskiest of the risk factors,” says Dr. Shechter.

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So how come my doctor tells me to eat cereal for breakfast?

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Sadly, Mikey never made it past his 25th birthday.

Damn you Life brand cereal, damn you.

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The Atkins Diet for Vegans

flintstone ribs

Quick…What comes to mind when I say… Atkins Diet?

  • Steak?
  • Bacon?
  • Ribs?

How about textured vegetable protein?

Textured_Vegetable_Protein

Or, smoothies made from vegan protein powder?

rice protein vegan

Well, according to this research, test subjects who followed a “low-carbohydrate (26% of total calories), high–vegetable protein (31% from gluten, soy, nuts, fruit, vegetables, and cereals), and vegetable oil (43%) plant-based diet” for 4 weeks, saw improvements in blood cholesterol levels and other heart disease risk factors…including weight loss.

In comparison, the control diet (a high-carbohydrate lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (58% carbohydrate, 16% protein, and 25% fat)), produced improvements in weight loss but little change in the other heart disease risk factors.

Conclusion

A Vegan-Atkins diet is superior to a high carb, Lacto-Ovo, low-fat dairy, whole grain diet.

Question

Is a Vegan-Atkins diet superior to:

  • a traditional “Fred Flintstone” Atkins diet?
  • or a Paleo style diet based on animal protein, fruits & vegetables?
  • or a Mediterranean style diet?

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Lack of Sleep = Weight Gain

sleep garfield

Did you get 8 hours of sleep last night?

According to some new research, sleep restriction results in:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased food cravings
  • Decreased food consumption, and
  • Increased bodyweight

What???

Sleep less…Eat Less…Weigh more???

The Science

The study involved 92 healthy individuals (52 male) between the ages of 22 and 45 years who participated in laboratory controlled sleep restriction. Subjects underwent two nights of baseline sleep (10 hours in bed per night), five nights of sleep restriction and varying recovery for four nights. Nine well rested participants served as controls. Food consumption was ad libitum (subjects had three regular meals per day and access to healthy snacks, and during nights of sleep restriction subjects were given a small sandwich at one a.m.).

Results indicate that people whose sleep was restricted experienced an average weight gain of 1.31 kilograms (2.9 lbs) over the 11 days of the study.

Conclusions

I am sorry to say that there are no conclusions. The researchers have no idea what happened.

The researchers had hoped to see a link between sleep deprivation and an increased craving for carbs.

When that didn’t happen, they had to scramble. here’s what they came up with:

  • Lack of sleep may result in less activity (not measured), and
  • “the ability to snack for longer due to reduction in time spent asleep might have influenced the weight gain”. (and yet their measurement showed a reduction in caloric consumption)

My Conclusion/Assumption

I think that if the researchers had done some blood tests pre and post experiment, they would have seen some interesting changes.

Anyone who suffers from insomnia knows that lack of sleep has a huge impact upon both your physical and mental state of health.

I would have been curious to see the changes in levels of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, etc along with insulin and various other obesity related hormones/brain chemicals.

Maybe next time.

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This research was presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies

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Grilled Wild Shrimp and Veg

Grilled Wild Shrimp & Veg

Barbecue season is here! In the States this weekend is a holiday weekend celebrating Memorial Day, which also marks the beginning of summer. That means it’s time to fire up your grills. I love manning the grill. To kick off summer recipes I’ve decided to do a very simple grilled platter of shrimp and veg. If you saw my last post with shrimp you’ll recall why I’m a fan of shrimp–a four oz. serving supplies 23.7 grams of protein for a mere 112 calories and less than a gram of fat. Perfect for getting my body into that mankini.

Serves 4

RECIPE:

20 medium wild shrimp (peeled & deveined) – skewered, 5 on each skewer
2 tbsp fresh rosemary – chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro -chopped
1 lemon – zested
1/4 tsp chili flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
1 garlic clove – minced
3 tbsp olive oil
Toss all above ingredients together in a small mixing bowl and coat. Once coated, assemble 4 skewers with 5 shrimp on each. Set aside.

Fresh lemon or lime

Preheat barbeque or indoor grill pan.

1 zucchini – halved lengthwise
1 yellow squash – halved lengthwise
1 Japanese eggplant – halved lengthwise
1 portabello mushroom
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Once all veggies are cut and marinated, grill each piece for 4-5 minutes each side. When veggies are grilled and cooked through, remove and cut each into thirds for serving.

Grill each shrimp skewer for 3-4 minutes each side until pink in color, firm to the touch and cooked through.
Give the skewers a good squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and you’re good to go. Welcome to summer!

All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients.

THEHEALTHYIRISHMAN.COM

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Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

Copyright © 2009 The Healthy Irishman. All rights reserved.

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Ryan Seacrest and Jamie Oliver take on America’s Obesity Epidemic

jamie oliver ryan seacrest

Attention America!!!!….celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and Ryan Seacrest have teamed up to take on America’s obesity epidemic.

In their new reality tv series, chef Jamie Oliver will travel to America’s fattest cities and “find ways to use nearby resources to improve local eating habits”. It’s kind of like the Biggest Loser, but with more cooking and less sweating.

 

According to the Hollywood Reporter,the series is loosely inspired on Oliver’s acclaimed school lunch project in the U.K., where the chef set about to improve kids’ nutrition. His effort to improve one school’s offerings, documented in the 2005 series “Jamie’s School Dinners,” shamed educators into passing new measures to ban certain junk foods.

Seacrest said he talked about school lunches during a segment on his KISS FM morning radio show and was struck by the amount of listener response. Then he heard Oliver was looking to bring his public service campaign stateside. The resulting ABC show will not only tackle a city’s schools, but workplaces and other avenues for change.

“I couldn’t do what I do in terms of my schedule if I didn’t eat right and exercise right,” Seacrest said. “As a kid I was chubby, and I’m a firm believer that the fuel we put into our body results in a healthy lifestyle. Jamie’s going to come over here, roll up his sleeves and use the resources of each town to help condition living habits to make it a better and healthier place.”

At this time, ABC has committed to 6 episodes of the Seacrest produced show.

The target city has yet to be chosen. Perhaps they will chose from one of the cities ranked by Men’s Fitness as the 10 Fattest Cities in America.

  1. Miami, FL
  2. Oklahoma City, OK
  3. San Antoni, TX
  4. Las Vegas, NV
  5. New York, NY
  6. Houston, TX
  7. El Paso, TX
  8. Jacksonville, FL
  9. Charlotte, NC
  10. Louisville-Jefferson, KY

But, then again, I’m sure that there are lots of cities all across America that could use a Seacrest/Oliver weight loss makeover. And seeing as this show is still in the pre-pre-production stage, perhaps an organized email campaign could bring Jamie Oliver and his low-fat skillet to your town.

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Tomato Egg Cups

Eggs in Tomato Cups

In the States, May is the month we celebrate our Mums. Mother’s Day is May 10th this year (for those of you who need a little reminder). What does every mum want for her special day? Breakfast in bed and a trip to the spa (so I’ve been told). We can handle that, right guys? Here’s a recipe that even the kids can get involved in, which means they’re likely to eat it, too. Getting the kids to eat a nutritious meal while making the Missus happy—Priceless!
It’s also a great spring/summer brunch idea, especially delicious when heirloom tomatoes are in season. The combination of the roast tomato works great with the eggs. I used one whole egg and one egg white in each to decrease the cholesterol and increase the protein in each portion. Speaking of portion, this dish is also makes perfect portion sizes. I’ve thought of everything!

Serves 6

6 large beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes
6 whole eggs
6 egg whites
1 tablespoon of  fresh thyme
Sprinkle of feta cheese
Chopped chives to garnish

Preheat oven to 450F.
Begin by cutting the top from each tomato, about ¼ of the tomato. With a pairing knife, cut around the inner flesh of the tomato and using a spoon scoop out all the seeds. Make sure you don’t scoop too much from the bottom or the egg mixture will leak out.
Making Tomato CupsSeason each tomato with S&P and drizzle of olive oil. Crack one egg white in each tomato. Sprinkle a little feta cheese and fresh thyme in each. Follow that by adding a whole egg in each tomato.
Place gently on a foiled oven tray and pop in oven for 25 minutes, approx or until eggs are firm.
When they’re ready, sprinkle with fresh chopped chives and serve with Spanish Potatoes.

All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients.

THEHEALTHYIRISHMAN.COM

Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

Copyright © 2009 The Healthy Irishman. All rights reserved.

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fat-smoker health fitness healthhabits cancer smoking cigarettes

The Top 12 PREVENTABLE Causes of Death

According to a new study by Harvard public health researchers, the leading preventable risk factors for premature death in the United States are:

  1. Smoking: 467,000 deaths.
  2. High blood pressure: 395,000 deaths.
  3. Overweight-obesity: 216,000 deaths.
  4. Inadequate physical activity and inactivity: 191,000 deaths.
  5. High blood sugar: 190,000 deaths.
  6. High LDL cholesterol: 113,000 deaths.
  7. High dietary salt: 102,000 deaths.
  8. Low dietary omega-3 fatty acids (seafood): 84,000 deaths.
  9. High dietary trans fatty acids: 82,000 deaths.
  10. Alcohol use: 64,000 deaths.
  11. Low intake of fruits and vegetables: 58,000 deaths.
  12. Low dietary poly-unsaturated fatty acids: 15,000 deaths.

bad-habits-causing-death-both-sexes

This study is the most comprehensive look at how diet, lifestyle and various other chronic disease risk factors contribute to mortality in the U.S.

And it produced some interesting observations:

  • Smoking is responsible for approximately 20% of all deaths in the U.S.
  • High blood pressure is responsible for 1 in 6 deaths
  • Obesity + physical inactivity = 407,000 deaths per year ≈ 17% of all deaths
  • High blood pressure kills 5x as many women as breast cancer
  • 70% of the alcohol related deaths happened to men…way to go guys
  • High blood sugar killed 3x as many people as alcohol
  • 2/3 of the deaths attributed to high blood sugar, obesity and high blood pressure occurred in only 10-33% of the overall population.
  • 1,051,000 deaths can be attributed to poor dietary choices. That’s 45% of all deaths.

Maybe you should print this out and stick it to your fridge.

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You Drink Pop = You Get Fat


image: Rodrigo Dantas
image: Rodrigo Dantas

Science is finally catching up with common sense.

A new study shows that sugar-sweetened beverages (pop, fruit drinks, fruit punch, energy drinks, slurpees, or any other high-calorie beverage sweetened with sugar) have a stronger effect on obesity than any other beverage as well as any type of solid food.

The Science

The researchers tracked the dietary habits of  810 men and women aged 25-79 years old via food logs.

Beverages were divided into 7 categories:

  1. Sugar-sweetened beverages or SSBs
  2. diet drinks (diet soda and other diet drinks sweetened with artificial sweeteners)
  3. milk (whole milk, 2% reduced-fat milk, 1% low-fat milk, and skim milk)
  4. 100% juice (100% fruit and vegetable juice)
  5. coffee and tea with sugar (sweetened with sugar)
  6. coffee and tea without sugar (unsweetened or sweetened with artificial sweeteners)
  7. alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, spirits, and other alcoholic drinks).

Results

At the end of the 18 month long study, researchers found that:

  1. a reduction in liquid calorie intake was significantly associated with weight loss at both 6 months and 18 months
  2. the weight-loss effect of a reduction in liquid calorie intake was stronger than that of a reduction in solid calorie intake
  3. a reduction in sugar-sweetened beverage intake was significantly associated with weight loss at both 6 and 18 months
  4. no other beverage type was associated with weight change

Conclusion

The first and most successful step to losing weight is eliminating all sugar-sweetened beverages from your diet.

Period.

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Weight Loss & Breakfast: Eggs are Better

Need to lose a few pounds?

Try this…tomorrow morning, instead of wolfing down a bagel as you run out the door, scramble up a few eggs with some cheddar cheese and black forest ham.

According to a bunch of new studies, this high protein breakfast will help you manage your hunger while also reducing the amount of calories that you pack away throughout the day.

The Science

University of Conneticut researchers found that adult men who consumed eggs for breakfast:

  1. Consumed fewer calories following the egg breakfast compared to the bagel breakfast
  2. Consumed fewer total calories in the 24-hour period after the egg breakfast compared to the bagel breakfast
  3. Reported feeling less hungry and more satisfied three hours after the egg breakfast compared to the bagel breakfast

This study was presented at Experimental Biology 2009. This research builds upon previous work by Dr. Fernandez which showed how the cholesterol from egg yolks  improves the level of good (HDL) cholesterol.

A second study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, concluded that eating eggs for breakfast as part of a reduced-calorie diet helped overweight dieters lose 65 percent more weight and feel more energetic than dieters who ate a bagel breakfast of equal calories and volume.

And if that isn’t enough proof, you can check out this study which showed that getting your protein with breakfast was more effective at controlling hunger.

But what about the cholesterol?

For years, we have been told to avoid eating too many whole eggs.

We’ve been warned by the experts that the cholesterol found in those egg yolks are going to clog our arteries.

Maybe the experts are wrong.

New research (presented at Experimental Biology 2009) out of the University of Florida State  examined the relationship between cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors such as body mass index, serum lipids and levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), and the degree to which these factors are influenced by dietary intake of fiber, fat and eggs.

The study found:

  • no relationship between egg consumption and serum lipid profiles, especially serum total cholesterol,
  • no relationship between egg consumption and hs-CRP,
  • a positive correlation between dietary trans-fat intake (the margarine on your bagel) and CVD risk factors, as well as a negative correlation between fiber and vitamin C intake and CVD risk factors(6)

In addition, research presented at Experimental Biology, investigators with Exponent, Inc. evaluated egg consumption data from the NHANES III Follow-Up Survey to determine the association between egg consumption and heart health.

The researchers developed a statistical model which showed:

  • no increased risk of death from coronary heart disease with increased egg consumption
  • a reduced risk of mortality among men who consumed one to six eggs/week compared to less than one egg/week
  • a significant reduction in risk of stroke among women who consumed one to six eggs/week and one or more eggs/day<

So, while I am not advocating that you chug back a dozen raw eggs at breakfast a la Rocky, I am suggesting that you replace your morning toast with an omelette.

Your shrinking love handles will thank you.

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How to Carbo-Load without Eating any Carbs

spaghetti-head

According to a study published in the Journal of Physiology, it is possible to reap some of the athletic performance rewards of a carbo-load without actually eating any carbs.

The Science

Previous studies have shown that the presence of carbs in your mouth activates regions of the brain that can improve athletic performance.

The primary aim of this study was to see how “rinsing the mouth with solutions containing glucose and maltodextrin, disguised with artificial sweetener, would affect exercise performance”.

The secondary aim was to identify those regions of the brain activated by the sugars and artificial sweetener. A functional MRI (fMRI) machine was used to map the brain.

The Test

Prior to completing a cycling time trial, the eight volunteers rinsed their mouth out with a solution of glucose or maltodextrin or a placebo solution containing the artificial sweetener saccharin.

After the rinse, they hopped on their bikes and pedaled as hard and as fast as their legs could go.

Results

  • In study 1A, test subjects “completed a cycle time trial significantly faster when rinsing their mouths with a 6.4% glucose solution compared with a placebo containing saccharin.”
  • The corresponding fMRI study (1B) revealed that oral exposure to glucose activated reward-related brain regions, including the anterior cingulate cortex and striatum, which were unresponsive to saccharin.
  • In study 2A, cyclists who rinsed with the maltodextrin solution once again outperformed their saccharin-swilling brethren.
  • The second neuroimaging study (2B) “compared the cortical response to oral maltodextrin and glucose, revealing a similar pattern of brain activation in response to the two carbohydrate solutions, including areas of the insula/frontal operculum, orbitofrontal cortex and striatum”.

Conclusions

The results suggest that the improvement in exercise performance caused by the carbo-rinse may be due to the activation of brain regions believed to be involved in reward and motor control.

The findings also suggest that there may be a class of so far unidentified oral receptors that respond to carbohydrate independently of those for sweetness.

What does this mean to you?

  • One of the primary benefits of cardio-vascular training is that fat is the primary choice of fuel.
  • This is why cardio training is one of the most popular weight loss tools.
  • However, a lot of trainees hurt their own cause by carbing up prior to a cardio session.
  • Carbo-loading before a cardio session impairs the use of body-fat as fuel.
  • It shifts you from being a fat-burner to a carb-burner
  • However, because of this study, you can have the best of both worlds. The performance boosting effect of carbs combined with optimum fat burning.

Yay!

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Journal of Physiology

How the Free Market makes you FAT and why “Big Food” likes it that way

Why are more and more of us getting fatter and fatter?

Is it…

or

Is it because “Big Food” wants us to be fat?

Now, before someone labels me as a conspiracy theorist, hear me out…

  • Food producers earn more profit from processed foods – i.e potato chips v.s. potatoes
  • Processed foods (high calorie, high glycemic index and low nutrient value) increase your appetite
  • Your increased appetite causes you to eat more food
  • And when you eat all of the food in your house, you have to rush out and buy more food
  • And the food producers make more money

And, there’s nothing wrong with that…It’s a free market

Or, is it?

According to Dr. Peter Ubel, in his new book – Free Market Madness – food producers spend a lot of money learning why you buy the things that you buy.

In some supermarket today, an anthropologist is wandering the aisles watching how you shop, observing whether your eyes roam the shelves from top to bottom or bottom to top, and measuring how long you linger in front of display cases if you have toddlers in tow.

The simple fact is, you know less about your own shopping behavior than the people running the stores that you shop at.

Because of this, is it any wonder, that people have purchased themselves into debt, with the American citizenry demonstrating a negative savings rate in recent years?

And is it really surprising that our hospitals are teeming with people whose diseases are a result of smoking, drinking, and overeating?

Western-style democracies pride themselves on freedom: freedom to assemble, freedom to elect legislators, and freedom to interact in the marketplace. Indeed, capitalism and democracy seem to go hand in hand.

But freedom to choose is accompanied by the freedom to make bad choices.

And in the current marketplace, filled with companies that make a practice of studying human behavior, freedom too often leads to harm and misery.

(and obesity and type 2 diabetes and fatty liver and hip replacement surgeries and gastric bypass operantions and…)

Proctor & Gamble owns multimillion-dollar functional (fMRI) MRI machines, which enable the company to visualize which part of your brain “lights up” when you view its products.

Psychology and sociology PhDs leave academia to work for industry or Madison Avenue, where they can employ their knowledge of human behavior in the service of selling consumer goods.

We might think that we’re impervious to television ads or supermarket sales schemes.

But marketers and sales experts know more about our behavior than we do, and they know how to influence us without our awareness.

So, how do you defeat all of the psychological tricks that the food producers and marketing gurus are throwing at you?

  1. Before you go to the supermarket, decide what food you NEED. (if you’re confused about which foods you NEED, here’s a cheat sheet – vegetables, non-processed protein, fruit, non-inflammatory fats, spices, herbs)
  2. Write out your food list.
  3. And then stick to that list

That’s it.

Note – If you are interested in learning more about how the free market isn’t as free as you think it is, check out Free Market Madness by Dr. Peter Ubel. Amazon Indigo Barnes & Noble

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore
2-4 Servings
Chicken Cacciatore, in its most traditional form, uses the dark meat of the chicken which is fattier but has more flavor. Nowadays a lot of chefs choose to use a combination of white and dark but in my version I only use the chicken breast as it’s lean protein. The meat is cooked until it literally falls off the bone.
When finished, the dish can be served alone or over either rice or pasta.

RECIPE:
2 x 8 oz skinless chicken breasts on the bone
½ x red pepper, thinly sliced
½ x green pepper, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (or as much as you can handle)
1x 28 oz. tin chopped tomatoes
1x lemon, zested
1 cup chicken broth
2 x tbsp olive oil
1x bouquet garni (oregano, thyme, bay leaf)
S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS:
In large soup pot, saute peppers in 1 tbsp olive oil over med-low heat for 5 minutes. Add minced garlic, saute for 1 minute.  Add chopped tomatoes, chili flakes, bouquet garni & broth. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer on medium low heat.
Meanwhile, cut chicken breast in half and season with a pinch S&P on both sides. Preheat medium sauté pan on high heat for 2 minutes.  Once hot, add 1 tbsp olive oil and sear breasts until golden (3 minutes each side). Add to tomato sauce. Partially cover with lid and cook until chicken is very tender (falling apart), approx. 1 hour.
Just before serving add fresh lemon zest and season with S&P to taste.

TIP: Cooking the Cacciatore for too long tends to result in creating a pile of little pieces of chicken which end up having to be fished out of the stew and looses the overall appearance. Not to be confused with the picture below–that’s for the vegetarians.

Seitan Cacciatore

For all of you vegetarians I tried the recipe with Seitan and substituted veg. for chicken broth.
Seitan is made from wheat and has has little in common with flour or bread. Also known as “wheat meat”, “wheat gluten” or simply “gluten”, seitan becomes surprisingly similar to the look and texture of meat when cooked, making it a popular meat substitute. Seitan is also high in protein, making it a popular protein source for vegetarians. To my surprise it worked great although I’d recommend cooking it for 20 minutes longer to absorb the flavor.

Let me know how you get on with this recipe. If you have any requests or questions, please leave a comment! To see more of my recipes and learn about me and my healthy food philosophies head over to thehealthyirishman.com.

The Healthy Irishman Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

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National Heart Health Strategy

healthy-heart

Canada may be on the verge of something revolutionary in the annals of Western Medicine.

Today, in Ottawa, Dr. Eldon R. Smith, chairman of the Canadian Heart Health Strategy and Action Plan steering committee, presented the federal government with a  new nationwide strategy aimed at combating heart disease and stroke.

The CHHS-AP plan would cost an estimated$700 million to implement over the next seven years.

However, by 2020, the plan could save Canada’s health care system over$22 billion in direct and indirect costs.

That’s over $30 of savings for every $1 invested in the plan.

And just how do they plan on saving all of those health care dollars?

According to Dr. Smith, “”We need to find ways to have people eat healthier foods, do more exercise, and we need to have less people smoking.”

“We think that with a combination of education, legislation, regulation, as we did for smoking in the past, and perhaps some incentives, that we’ll be able to create better environments for heart health in Canada.”

jaw-drop-genie-alladin<jaw drops to floor>

Whaaaattt?

Promote a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent disease.

What a truly shocking and inspired idea!

<sarcasm>

The Plan

The plan makes six key recommendations to fight heart disease and stroke, including:

  1. Creating “heart-healthy” environments through education, legislation, regulation and policy.
  2. Helping Canadians lead healthier lives.
  3. Ending the cardiovascular disease crisis within Aboriginal communities.
  4. Continuing to reform health care with improved delivery of patient-centered services.
  5. Improving the surveillance and electronic medical records system to enhance prevention, care and research into vascular diseases.
  6. Developing the right number of health-care service providers with the right education and skills.

Okay, sounds good….a little vague, but good.

“The CHHS-AP will allow us to focus more on prevention, among other key areas, and tackle this health challenge head-on,” said Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, one of three lead organizations involved of the plan.

Still vague.

Seriously, we need some details.

Details

According to the CHHS-AP, implementing this strategy will result in the following benefits:

Health

  • By 2015, working with partners,
    • 20% more Canadians eating at least five servings of vegetables and fruit per day
    • 20% more physically-active Canadians
    • 20% fewer obese or overweight adults
    • fewer obese children (from 8% to 5%)
  • By 2020,
    • decrease annual rate of CV deaths by 25%
    • bring CV diseases burden among Aboriginal/indigenous populations in line with other Canadians
    • decrease prevalence of hypertension in adults by 32%
      • increase awareness by 64% among adults with hypertension
      • Increase by six-fold those hypertension treated to recommended targets
    • decrease (risk adjusted 30-day) hospital mortality rate
      • from heart attacks by 32%
      • from stroke by 25%
    • decrease hospitalizations for treatment of heart failure by 25
    • decrease hospitalizations for treatment of acute stroke by 25%
    • have 90% of Canadians aged 45+ with CV risk assessments
    • decrease (by working with partners) the smoking rate by 25%

The Economy

  • Significant savings in costs of CV diseases by 2020,
    • decrease $7.6 billion in direct costs  (2008 dollars)
    • decrease $14.6 billion in indirect costs (2008 dollars)

Canadians and our Country

  • Canadians will know their CV risk and how to reduce it to lead longer, healthier lives.
  • All regions of the country benefit from more sustainable health care systems.
  • Governments, the health care system, the private sector, communities and individuals work together, making a long-term commitment to change.
  • Patients will be partners in their own health and care.
  • Interprofessional health teams are well equipped to promote health, prevent CV disease, and provide timely, comprehensive, patient-centred care.
  • Canada is internationally recognized as a productive, economically competitive and heart healthy nation.

DETAILS!!!…for the love of god, less rhetoric and more details.

Seriously, two years and $2.5 million to come up with this?

<underwhelmed>

So, where do we go from here?

According to the experts:

What needs to happen?


Work with federal Health Minister Aglukkaq to maintain momentum to:

  • Initiate the processes for change.
  • Develop effective partnerships, within and outside the health sector, to engage citizens, care providers, their professional organizations, non-governmental organizations, industry and the media to enable Canadians to become international leaders in heart health.

ARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!

Please, somebody give me some details.

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Oh, forget it. I ‘ll do it myself.

Here are some of my suggestions for how to spend the $700 million:

  • Tax refunds for participating regularly in exercise programs
  • Tax credits to private health clubs for administrating these exercise programs
  • Tax credits for private individuals organizing fitness clubs
  • Eliminate inequalities in federal food subsidy programs – quit subsidizing grains and soy at the expense of fruits and vegetables
  • Promote local and organic farming practices
  • Promote exercise and fitness – advertising, contests, athletes, amateur competitions
  • Tax credits to grocery chains to supply local and organic foods
  • Also, let’s stop listening to the same “experts” who have been telling us to follow those stupid healthy food pyramids all these years. Let’s talk to the fitness experts in the “real world” who get “real” changes out of their “real” clients in order to pay their “real” bills and keep “real” food on their “real” tables.
  • We should also structure the funding of these programs to encourage results. There will be lots and lots of experts lining up to collect their share of the $700 million. How many of them are willing to guarantee their work? How about we structure the contracts with a balloon payment to be paid at the end of the contract. The amount of that payment could be directly tied to the results that their program achieves.

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Any other bright ideas?

And not just my Canadian readers.

Us Canucks are not the only overweight, diabetic, just waiting to have a heart attack, couch potatoes out there.

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Loneliness worse for your health than smoking and obesity

Picasso - the old guitarist
Picasso - the old guitarist

According to the research of Dr. John Cacioppo, loneliness has a major impact on your overall health – both mental and physical.

In his research, Dr. Cacioppo employed brain scans, monitoring of autonomic and neuroendocrine processes, and assays of immune function to test the influence that social connection has upon our health. His research showed how our perceptions, behavior and physiology are strongly affected by a loss of that connection.

In fact, Dr. Cacoppo’s research has shown that loneliness can cause:

  • an increase in your blood pressure

  • an increase in your level of stress and cortisol production

  • a negative impact on your immune system

  • an inability to get a good nights sleep

  • an increased level of depression and anxiety

  • an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease

  • a reduction in your will to exercise

  • an increase in your cravings for comforting foods high in processed carbohydrates

  • an increase in caloric consumption

  • an increase in alcohol consumption

  • an increase in the consumption of a variety of drugs…both legal and illegal, and…
  • a feeling of sadness that feeds upon itself, causing even more isolation and an even greater sense of loneliness.

These finding were presented by Dr. Cacioppo at the most recent conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

According to Dr. Cacioppo, “healthwise, the difference between a lonely person and a popular person was akin to “a smoker and a non-smoker”.

“That stunned all of us, myself and all my colleagues in terms of the effects it had,” he said. “It shows just how powerful it is.

“Loneliness lowers the ability to control yourself. It is really easy after a bad day to have a second scotch and a third to get some comfort.”

Dr. Cacioppo’s research has led him to believe that our need for connection can be traced back through our evolutionary roots.

In order to survive in the past, humans needed to bond to rear their children. In order to flourish, they needed to [increase their levels of altruism and cooperation].

Just as physical pain is a prompt to change behavior, such as moving a finger away from the fire, loneliness evolved as a prompt to action, signaling an ancestral need to repair the social bonds.

The problem of social isolation is likely to grow as conventional family structures die out, said Dr. Cacioppo.

People are living longer, having fewer children later in life and becoming increasingly mobile around the world.

Surveys also show that people report significantly fewer close friends and confidants than those a generation ago.

All of this adds up to more loneliness and more health problems because of that loneliness.

According to the good doctor, we need to realize that “human beings are simply far more intertwined and interdependent—physiologically as well as psychologically—than our cultural prejudices have allowed us to acknowledge”.

And if we don’t address our very real need for connection, we are risking our own psychological and physiological health.

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“If you want to go fast,” says an African proverb, “go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

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Zucchini Wrapped Wild Halibut

Zucchini wrapped Halibut

This is one for all you healthy romantics who want to make a big impression. Though this recipe isn’t difficult you may need to put on your patience cap. Believe me, it looks harder than it really is,   but the ‘wow’ factor will definitely earn you brownie points.

Serves 4

RECIPE:
4 x 6oz portions wild halibut
2-3 large zucchini – thinly sliced lengthwise 1/8″ thick
1/2 lemon – zested
S&P
olive oil

DIRECTIONS:
Begin by washing and drying the zucchini. Top and tail them and very carefully slice them lengthwise either with a sharp knife or, as I have, a Chinese mandoline. You can pick one up in an Asian market or a kitchen/home supply store. It’ll make this task a lot easier. Once all the zucchini are sliced, set aside.

Lay the fish on a cutting board and season with S&P and sprinkle of lemon zest. Rub the seasonings into the fish very gently.
To assemble halibut:

On a clean surface lay 4-5 zucchini slices, slightly over lapping and parallel with each other. Place seasoned halibut on one end perpendicular, across the zucchini. The idea here is to wrap the fish in the zucchini. Fold one end of the zucchini under the fish and roll the halibut over thus keeping the halibut neatly wrapped so that the ends of the zucchini overlap each other making that side the bottom.

Preheat large non-stick pan on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 tbsp olive oil. Holding the halibut securely, lay the bottom of the fish in the pan first. The objective here is to seal the bottom thus fastening the zucchini around the halibut. Sear for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Gently flip fish over on all sides until nicely browned. Remove to foiled oven tray.

Preheat oven to 420F.
To finish, pop fish in oven for 4-5 minutes to cook through.

This can be done slightly ahead of time and refrigerated until your significant other arrives, just be sure to remove the fish from the fridge 1 hour head of cooking so it comes up to room temperature.

Serving suggestion:
Saute French Beans and for a little added spice, try some wasabi mash potatoes. Make mash as usual and add enough wasabi paste to your own personal taste. Don’t go nuts with it as you’re having a romantic evening, use with caution.
Now that you’ve made the big splash, why stop there? Go for the gold with some Chocolate dipped strawberries.

Let me know how you get on with this recipe. And if you have any requests or questions, please leave a comment! To see more of my recipes and learn about me and my healthy food philosophies head over to thehealthyirishman.com.

The Healthy Irishman Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

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High Fructose Corn Syrup: Now with 33% More MERCURY

homer-donut-high-fructose-corn-syrup-mercury

I am almost starting to feel sympathetic for the folks over at the Corn Refiners Association.

cornFor years and years, we (the government) have been encouraging them to find new markets for their highly subsidized product. And boy oh boy, they have done a heck of a job.

Just look at all of the different products that are “hooked on corn”.

And how do we repay them for their ingenuity?

I’ll tell you how:

By bitching and complaining about HFCS and it’s links to obesity and depression and diabetes and high blood pressure and dementia and Alzheimer’s and coronary artery disease and anxiety and…..

What a bunch of spoiled babies!

It’s not like they found mercury in the HFCS.

Ooops

They just found mercury in the HFCS.

The Story

washington-post

Study Finds High Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury

Wednesday, January 28, 2009; 12:00 AM

MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) — Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.

HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent more HFCS than average.

Mercury is toxic in all its forms.

Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered.

We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply,” the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement.

And what do the “corn people” have to say in rebuttal?

MERCURY STUDY OUTDATED; BASED ON DISCONTINUED TECHNOLOGY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2009

CONTACT: Audrae Erickson, President
(202) 331-1634

WASHINGTON, DC – The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) today challenged the relevance and accuracy of information published by Environmental Health asserting that certain tests found measurable levels of mercury in high fructose corn syrup.

This study appears to be based on outdated information of dubious significance. Our industry has used mercury-free versions of the two re-agents mentioned in the study, hydrochloric acid and caustic soda, for several years. These mercury-free re-agents perform important functions, including adjusting pH balances,” stated Audrae Erickson, President, Corn Refiners Association. “For more than 150 years, corn wet millers have been perfecting the process of refining corn to make safe ingredients for the American food supply.”

“It is important that Americans are provided accurate, science-based information. They should know that high fructose corn syrup is safe,” continued Erickson. “In 1983, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration formally listed high fructose corn syrup as safe for use in food and reaffirmed that decision in 1996.”

“High fructose corn syrup contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives and meets FDA’s requirements for the use of the term ‘natural.” Erickson said.

Hmmmm

That seems odd.

The Washington Post tells the world that High Fructose Corn Syrup is loaded with toxic mercury and all the Corn Refiners Assn. can say in their defense is that “This study appears to be based on outdated information of dubious significance“.

It APPEARS to be based on outdated information?

That doesn’t sound very positive, does it?

It’s almost as if they didn’t want to come right out and say that HFCS is 100% Mercury free.

Now, why wouldn’t they want to say that?

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Is Your Diet Making You Stoopid?

big-bowl-of-stupid

New research shows that type 2 diabetics suffer from impaired cognition.

More specifically, type 2 diabetics show significant impairment in the areas of:

  • Executive Functioning, and
  • Speed

executive-functionExecutive Functioning

Executive function refers to the business of making decisions and carrying them out, as when one is deliberately trying to solve a problem.

Executive functions include identifying problems, making decisions, planning, staying focused on a task, adapting flexibly to changing situations, controlling impulses, and regulating emotions and behavior.

Executive functions are important for moment-to-moment activities, and for activities that take place over longer periods.

Example:

Let’s say a typically overweight type 2 diabetic reads about this study and decides that he/she had better do something about their condition.

So, they decide to change their diet and get back into shape.

In order to solve this weight loss / health problem, they need the “executive function” part of their mind to co-ordinate all of steps required for a successful transformation.

  • Identify Problems – Their diet has resulted in diabetes and impaired brain function.
  • Making Decisions – Do they want to change?
  • Planning – What do they need to do to cure their type 2 diabetes? Research & plan implementation
  • Staying focused on a task – Most New Year’s Resolutions have already been broken.
  • Adapting to changing situations – What happens when weight loss stops?
  • Controlling impulses – Can you resist your sugar cravings?
  • Regulating emotions and behavior – Sugar withdrawal is not a pretty sight. Think “temper tantrum”

rubiks-cubeSpeed

Speed refers to, well…speed.

How…fast…can..you…think?

Conclusions

According to the researchers: “Speed and executive functioning are thought to be among the major components of cognitive health.”

With Type 2 diabetes a growing concern among adults of all ages, but especially those above age 30, lead researcher Roger Dixon recommends that we:

  • Check the cognitive status of people with more advanced or severe cases
  • Ensure that diet and medications are effectively employed in all early diagnosed cases; and
  • Enact possible cognitive monitoring or training programs for people with diabetes.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, new cases of diabetes nearly doubled in the past decade, with nearly one new case for every 100 adults between the years 2005 and 2007.

And if that wasn’t bad enough…

Diabetes is a known risk factor for late-life neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Although the deficits detected in the current sample were not clinically significant, they appear (according to subsequent research by the authors) to foreshadow additional deficits. Only further study would reveal whether it’s possible to “connect the dots” between mild early deficits in speed and executive function, and later signs of a progressive cognitive impairment.

donutsMy Recommendations

  • Stop eating processed carbs
  • Stop drinking processed carbs
  • Eat real food

For more specific tips, take a look at the links below.

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References

How Your Diet Can Wreck Your Waist to Hip Ratio

According to some of the luckiest scientists on earth, a woman’s waist to hip ratio may be the most important factor in determining her physical attractiveness.

Along with a variety of other factors, a relatively small waist and large hips is one of nature’s tricks to guarantee the evolution of our human race. To be blunt, a woman’s curves tells any available men that she is young and healthy and capable of makin’ babies.

So there you have it: Men are genetically programmed to be attracted to a woman’s curves.

salma_hayek

So, how come America’s women have added an average of 6″ to their waistlines since the 1950s?

Where has the hourglass shape gone?

Why are more and more women looking less like this?

http://www.nzgirl.co.nz
photo credit: http://www.nzgirl.co.nz

and looking more like this:

fat-belly-woman

Well, according to a whole lot of research:

It’s your diet.

More specifically, it’s all of the processed carbs in your diet. Like this:

greasy-burger

and this:

donuts-glazed

and this:

slurpee

But, don’t believe me.

Researchers from McMaster University found that the ratio of protein to carbs in your diet will determine your waist to hip ratio.

Eat more protein and less carbs…and you have curves.

sophia_loren

Eat less protein and more carbs…and you will turn into a sausage

belly-fat1

Want more info?….Here’s the study.

Insulin, Insulin, Insulin

It’s official:

Hell has frozen over.

The MSM (Main Stream Medical) Community has actually come around and agreed that diet and lifestyle changes have been successful in preventing Type 2 Diabetes in high risk populations.

  • Not DRUGS.
  • Diet and Lifestyle.

And wait, it gets better.

They are also beginning to realize that anti-hyperglycemic medications (designed to improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetes) may not be the cardiovascular superstars that their manufacturers make them out to be.

sugar-lips

That realization is growing thanks to research like this:

Effect of a Low–Glycemic Index
or a High–Cereal Fiber Diet on Type 2 Diabetes

David J. A. Jenkins, MD is the man credited with developing the Glycemic Index.

The goal of his new study was to assess the effect of a low–glycemic index diet in an adequately powered study of patients with type 2 diabetes controlled by oral medications with HbA1c concentrations between 6.5% and 8.0%. At these levels, a reduction in glycemia and associated risk factors for diabetes complications are likely to be observed more clearly.

He selected a high–cereal fiber diet treatment for its suggested health benefits for the comparison so that the potential value of carbohydrate foods could be emphasized equally for both high–cereal fiber and low–glycemic index interventions.

And here are the low-glycemic-vs-high-fiber-diet-menus.

These are the only differences between the two diets:

  • High Fiber v.s Low Glycemic
  • Weetabix v.s Red River cereal
  • Whole wheat bread v.s Quinoa bread
  • Margarine v.s Peanut butter
  • Cantaloupe v.s orange
  • Brown rice v.s Spaghetti, al dente
  • Grapes v.s. Apple
  • Baked potato v.s Lentils
  • Margarine v.s Tomato sauce
  • Whole wheat toast v.s Finland rye pita

The Results

Dr. Jenkins was most interested in the dietary effects on A1c blood levels (A1c reflects long term blood glucose levels)

After 6 months, the low GI group lowered their A1c by 0.50% while the high fiber group lowered it by only 0.18%

Additionally, The low GI group saw an increase in their HDL (the “good” cholesterol), while the high fiber group saw a decrease.

Their conclusion:

In patients with type 2 diabetes, 6-month treatment with a low–glycemic index diet resulted in moderately lower HbA1c levels compared with a high–cereal fiber diet….or in English

Low-glycemic index diets may be useful as part of the strategy to improve glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes taking (glucose-lowering) medications

My conclusion:

It’s the insulin, stupid.

  • Control your insulin and you regain some control over the chronic diseases and conditions so many of our neighbors are plagued with – obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc…
  • Control your insulin by controlling your carbohydrates.
  • Control your insulin by following a Mediterranean style diet or a Paleo / Caveman diet or an Atkins / low carbs diet.
  • Or, control your insulin by replacing processed foods with natural, home-made versions.
  • Or, control your insulin by eating less bread
  • Or…

 

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Is Sugar Addictive?

Researchers from Princeton University have found that SUGAR is ADDICTIVE

The Research

Professor Bart Hoebel and his team in the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute have been studying signs of sugar addiction in rats for years. Until now, the rats under study have met two of the three elements of addiction.

They have demonstrated a behavioral pattern of increased intake and then showed signs of withdrawal.

His current experiments captured craving and relapse to complete the picture.

i love sugar

“If bingeing on sugar is really a form of addiction, there should be long-lasting effects in the brains of sugar addicts,” Hoebel said. “Craving and relapse are critical components of addiction, and we have been able to demonstrate these behaviors in sugar-bingeing rats in a number of ways.”

The Sad, Sad Story of Dr. Hoebel’s Sugar Addicted Lab Rats

As part of his experiment, Dr. Hoebel got a bunch of lab rats hooked on the white stuff. They would binge on that sweet powder like it was going out of style.

Then Dr. Hoebel would take away their sugar for a prolonged period of time….the bastard.

Then, like any good pusher, he returned with a brand new supply of that junk. And the rats went nuts. They consumed more sugar than they ever had before, suggesting craving and relapse behavior. Their motivation for sugar had grown.

“In this case, abstinence makes the heart grow fonder,” Hoebel said.

And it gets worse. He got them drunk.

The rats drank more alcohol than normal after their sugar supply was cut off, showing that the bingeing behavior had forged changes in brain function.

These functions served as “gateways” to other paths of destructive behavior, such as increased alcohol intake. And, after receiving a dose of amphetamine normally so minimal it has no effect, they became significantly hyperactive.

The increased sensitivity to the psychostimulant is a long-lasting brain effect that can be a component of addiction, Hoebel said.

Dr. Hoebel’s research has been submitted to the Journal of Nutrition for publication.

And the rats are serving time for the break and enters they committed in order to feed their addictions. Dr. Hoebel; I hope that you are proud of yourself.

But seriously, SUGAR is ADDICTIVE

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In Defense of Lard

After decades on the nutritional blacklist, lard may be ready to make a comeback.

That’s right…lard.

  • The same product that the AHA, AMA and USDA blackballed for fear of an epidemic of elevated cholesterol and heart disease.
  • The same product that we replaced with hydrogenated vegetable fats.
  • The same product that has become synonymous with obesity.

lard

So, how come lard is on the comeback trail?

2 Reasons

  1. Because chefs are re-discovering the culinary benefits of cooking / baking with lard
  2. Because the scientific case against lard is beginning to fall apart…just like a nice flaky pie crust made with 100% leaf lard.
Pie Crust by Angelique B
Pie Crust by Angelique B

Lard Tastes Better

Way back in the day, lard was the fat of choice in North American households.

It was cheap, plentiful, great for frying and without peer when it came to shortening a tender pastry crust.

However, shortly after WW2, American research into nutrition came to the conclusion that saturated fats were the cause of increased cholesterol and heart disease. And since lard and other animal fats are higher in saturated fats than vegetable oils, they became the ugly nutritional stepchild and fell out of favor.

And in it’s place, stepped Crisco and various other hydrogenated vegetable oil products.

crisco-ad-1

And we all know how well those hydrogenated oils worked out.

Hydrogenation, the process of adding hydrogen atoms to unsaturated oil, makes vegetable shortening shelf stable and solid at room temperature, but it also turns good fats into that evil man made creation…trans fats.

Although hydrogenated vege­table shortening doesn’t look like a saturated fat under a microscope, it acts like one, raising bad LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

Even worse, it can also lower your levels of HDL cholesterol.

Not good.

With this new tidbit of knowledge, food manufacturers around the globe have been desperately searching for a replacement for their hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Most of the large food producers have reverted back to industrial grade palm oils. Many smaller producers and most professional chefs went another route.

Artisnal Butter
Artisnal Butter

They went back to animal fats.

Initially, they went back to butter. But not just any butter. Fancy schmancy, organic artisnal butters. Butter like your great grandma used to churn by hand.

And after the use of butter became mainstream, a few brave souls began to experiment with lard.

But of course, they didn’t tell their customers. Most chefs simply neglected to mention that their dishes contained lard.

Some, like celebrity chef, Mario Batali, opted to simply avoid lard’s bad public image by re-branding it with an Italian sobriquet: Prosciutto Bianco

lardo-lard-prosciutto-bianco
Prosciutto Bianco

It should also be noted that, like the artisnal butters used in the best kitchens, the chefs and bakers using lard in their recipes do NOT use the bricks of highly processed lard that you might find in your grocery store.

lard-hydrogenated

They are either producing their own lard or are buying their supplies from small producers or organic butchers eager to service this niche market.

lard-organic

Okay, enough with the gastronomical history lesson, what about the science?

THE SCIENCE

As I mentioned previously, way back in the day, the medical powers that be told us to stop cooking with saturated fats and replace them with vegetable fats high in polyunsaturates.

With this stamp of approval, clever advertisers created ad campaigns designed to decrease the consumption of lard & butter and increase the consumption of their clients’ products

anti-lard-ad
Anti-Lard Advertisement

Lard Habit???…The next thing you know, Maury Povich is going to be doing a 2 week special on unwed mothers addicted to lard.

shortening-ad

 

Obviously the advertising campaigns were successful.

But what about the science?

  • Are animal fats the killer ingredient that Ancel Keys et al said they were?
  • What about olive oil and the Mediterranean Diet?
  • What about canola oil and coconut oil and…?

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Why Do We Crave Carbs?

  • Why do I crave carbs?
  • Why does the smell of baking bread or chocolate cake or cookies or  hot chocolate or popcorn or…well, you get the idea…why does that stuff make me so hungry?
  • Why don’t I crave broccoli or tuna fish or butter?
  • Why am I such a slave to sugar?

Insulin, my friends, insulin. And here’s why….

The Science behind Insulin and our Addiction to Carbs

  • Insulin is secreted by the pancreas.
  • It’s job is to take glucose from your blood, store it in your liver and muscles as glycogen and stop the use of body-fat for fuel.
  • It’s your storage hormone.

This you may know. You probably also know that the glucose in your blood comes from eating carbohydrates.

  • Carbs = Sugar.

What you may don’t know is that insulin isn’t being secreted all the time. It is produced in waves or pulses.

In Fact:

  • The first insulin pulse comes just seconds after you eat carbs
  • This insulin pulse occurs before the sugar in the food even reaches your bloodstream
  • This burst of insulin lasts for 20 minutes before dying down
  • As the first insulin pulse fades away, a second, more gradual injection of insulin is released by the pancreas
  • This pulse lasts for several hours

So what does this all mean?

This means that:

  • The first insulin pulse is designed to prime your body for what is about to happen.
  • Your mind tells your pancreas that sugar is about to be released into the bloodstream and that it had better get ready
  • Ergo, it starts squirting out the insulin

Why does the pancreas need advance notice?

It takes 20 minutes for insulin to have any significant effect on blood-sugar.

Without the advance notice, and the pancreas’ early warning system, a heavy carb meal could result in symptoms of hyperglycemia:

  • A feeling of nervousness or jitteriness
  • A racing heart and pulse
  • Sweaty palms
  • And also a headache

So, is this is a good thing?

  • Yes and no.

Here’s the bad news.

This first wave of insulin secretion has also been described as increasing the “metabolic background of hunger.” As the insulin grabs hold of the blood-sugar and stores it away for later use, it also shuts down the release of body-fat as fuel.

Temporarily, this leaves your body starved for nutrients. You can’t use the energy from the meal or the fat from your love handles. Ooops.

As a result of this, you get hungry!

As a result of this, that meal starts to look better and taste better. And that’s why you keep making trips to the buffet. Your body is searching for energy. More importantly, it’s fuel of choice is sugar…fast absorbing sugar.

After some time, your metabolic system does balance out, and nutrients are released to be used as fuel and your hunger decreases.

So What Does This Have To Do With My Carb Addiction?

  1. Our diet is based on carbs – wheat, corn, rice, sugar
  2. When we eat meals based on carbs, our insulin spikes
  3. When we eat meals based on carbs, our appetite increases
  4. When we eat meals based on carbs, food (carbs in particular) tastes better
  5. When we eat meals based on carbs, we overeat trying to fuels our cells
  6. As a result, when we eat meals based on carbs, we force our bodies to crave carbs

And this is a best case scenario.

I am not even going to discuss how this pattern of overeating carbs can and does lead to Type 2 Diabetes. I will save that discussion for another day.

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Does Your Diet Make Your Skin Look OLD?

skin-care

The global skin care market is estimated to be USD $43 billion per year.

$43,000,000,000

That’s greater than the GDP of 120 of the world’s 190 countries.

And how about all of the money being spent on Botox, Restylane, chemical peels, laser treatments, goat placentas, human sacrifices, etc…

What if I told you that a big reason for the success of the skin care industry is all of the sugar found in the now global “Western Diet“.

frappuccinoWhat if I told you that even if you kicked your cravings for Big Macs and Venti Mocha Frappuccino® Blended Coffees with whipped cream, and began eating a diet based on the USDA’s Food Pyramid, you would still be doing major damage to your skin.

food-pyramid

Here’s Why…

Your skin is 75% collagen.

Collagen is the body’s major structural protein. It makes up 33% of the protein found in your body. It supports tissues and organs and attaches muscles to bones. In fact, your bones are made up of a combination of collagen and various minerals such as calcium and phosphorous.

So, what does that have to do with keeping my skin wrinkle free?

Like I said, collagen makes up 75% of your skin. But what I didn’t say is that the smooth, plump appearance of young, healthy skin is due in large part to the presence of healthy collagen levels.

This is why beauty seekers around the world search for new ways to boost collagen levels and repair past collagen damage—some go so far as to inject collagen proteins into the skin to plump wrinkles and add volume to the lips.

This is where it gets interesting.

It has always been believed that the breakdown of healthy collagen and the decline in collagen production was a natural and unavoidable side effect of aging. Because of that, we are doomed to wrinkles, age spots and thin, drooping skin.

Maybe Not

We all know that sun damage and cigarettes are not conducive to healthy skin.

What we didn’t know was that a diet based on carbohydrates was an even bigger threat to healthy, youthful skin.

Here’s Why

  • Eating a diet based on carbohydrates raises our blood sugar
  • Raised blood sugar increases the production of Reactive Oxygen Species and Advanced Glycation End-Products
  • Advanced Glycation End-Products or AGEs are linked directly to the aging process (hence the acronym)
  • Collagen is especially prone to damage caused by AGEs
  • It is the collagen that has been damaged by AGEs that causes the loss of elasticity in your skin.

And it’s not just your skin.

The same diet that causes your skin to droop and wrinkle does the same type of damage to the rest of the collagen in your body…in your joints, arteries, heart and lungs.

So What Should You Do?

This isn’t going to sound very revolutionary, but:

  • Stop eating a diet based on processed and refined carbohydrates
  • Start eating more vegetables
  • Don’t avoid fruit, but treat it more like a dessert and not a main course.
  • Eat meat – beef, chicken, pork, etc…
  • Don’t be afraid of natural fats…animal fats, olive oil, the less processed the better
  • Basically, stop eating processed junk and start eating foods that come without labels and long lists of ingredients

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Is Your Diet Giving You Alzheimer's Disease?

For the past 20 years, scientists have wondered whether Alzheimer’s Disease might be a neuro-endocrine disorder, like diabetes. In 2005, Dr. Suzanne de la Monte had a breakthrough.

During her research, she made two discoveries:

  1. the brain makes its own insulin, and
  2. Alzheimer’s disease depletes insulin

Based on these discoveries, Dr. de la Monte went beyond theorizing that there is a connection between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

She actually identified the Alzheimer’s Disease process as Type 3 Diabetes.

What Is Type 3 Diabetes?

To understand Type 3 diabetes, you have to understand Types 1 and 2. So, bear with me for a minute while I give you a refresher course on Diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease results when the body’s system for fighting infection (the immune system) turns against a part of the body. In diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. A person who has type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to live.

..
Type 2 Diabetes

.Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. About 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2. This form of diabetes is most often associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, previous history of gestational diabetes, physical inactivity, and certain ethnicities. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.

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Type 3 Diabetes

  • Insulin has numerous functions within your body.
  • The most well known function is that it helps convert food into energy.
  • What you may not know is that insulin is also active in your brain.

It helps us to learn and to make new memories.

Here’s how it works:

  • In the spaces across which brain cells communicate (called Synapses) and where memories are conceived, neurons reserve special parking spots just for insulin.
  • When the hormone pulls in, a connection is made that enables new memories to form.
  • Since new memory formation is one of the first things to go awry in people with early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, this insulin-initiated process has been a popular research topic for neuro-scientists for the past 20 years.

In August, a team of scientists at Northwestern University were the first to show why the brain’s “memory function” fails in the face of an insulin shortage.

Earlier research had already identified the culprit: toxic proteins called amyloid beta-derived diffusible ligands (ADDL), which are known to pile up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

Scientists also knew that Alzheimer’s patients’ brains have lower levels of insulin and are insulin resistant.

But what the Northwestern team discovered is the molecular mechanism behind that resistance: when ADDLs bind to neurons at synapses, they obliterate the receptors that are normally reserved for insulin.

Without those parking spaces on the brain cells’ surface, insulin has no place to connect, and memory fails.

Q:  So Where Do The ADDLs Come From?

A:  The ADDLs are a side effect of inflammation in the brain.

Q:  So Where Does The Brain Inflammation Come From?

A:  The brain inflammation is a result of high insulin levels.

Q:  So Where Do The High Insulin Levels Come From?

A:  High Insulin levels are produced when we eat a diet high in carbohydrates.

More specifically, a diet that consists of meal after meal of high glycemic load foods results in:

  • high blood sugar,
  • high insulin levels,
  • Metabolic Syndrome,
  • Type 2 Diabetes, and now, thanks to the wonders of science,
  • Type 3 Diabetes / Alzheimer’s Disease.

And if you don’t believe that high insulin levels are the culprit behind those nasty little ADDLs

The Research

University of Washington researcher Dr. Suzanne Craft and her research team signed up 16 very brave volunteers to test this hypothesis. These men and women, ranging in age from 55 to 81, let research doctors give them two-hour infusions of both insulin and sugar. This kept their blood sugar at normal levels while creating the same kind of high insulin levels seen in people with insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is a common symptom of people who eat the typical American diet. Though to be fair, it is not just Americans who eat this way. Like many other cultural contributions, the Golden Arches et al have spread across the globe. Even the French are buying into the American diet.

Back to the study…..The volunteers then let the researchers give them a spinal tap so they could analyze their spinal fluid.

OUCH

Just this brief rise in insulin levels had what Craft calls “striking” effects:

  • It set off inflammation in the brain.
  • The spinal fluid had increased levels of a compound called F2-isoprostane. Alzheimer’s patients have unusually high brain levels of F2-isoprostane.
  • Brain levels of beta-amyloid increased.

Except for the spinal tap, many Americans already are undergoing the same experiment as the study volunteers did. And they are doing it for a lot longer than two hours.

Conclusion

According to Samuel Gandy, MD, PhD. Gandy, chairman of the Alzheimer’s Association’s medical and scientific advisory committee, director of the Farber neuroscience institute at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia and all around good guy:

“I think this reinforces the idea that it’s wise to maintain your brain. Controlling blood sugar and body weight…all those things we know are good for your heart health are also really good at preventing Alzheimer’s disease. So there are more and more reasons not to be slouchy about getting these things under control.”

Craft and colleagues reported their findings in the October issue of Archives of Neurology.

My Two Cents

For all of you people that don’t think that eating a diet based on processed foods is a big deal, listen up:

This is your BRAIN
This is your BRAIN
This is your BRAIN on Big Macs, pizza, Coke, Twinkies, Slurpees, Chalupas, Crispy Cremes and all you can eat chinese buffets
This is your BRAIN on Big Macs, pizza, Coke, Twinkies, Slurpees, Chalupas, Crispy Cremes and all you can eat chinese buffets
Your choice...Alzheimer's BRAIN or Healthy BRAIN
Your choice…Alzheimer’s BRAIN or Healthy BRAIN

Super Carbs!!! – Obesity Research Update #5

Able to reduce a Glycemic Index in a simgle bound...
Able to reduce a Glycemic Index in a single bound...

Researchers at the National Institute for Agricultural Botany in the U.K. have produced a genetically modified form of SUPER wheat.

This wheat has the SUPER ability to release fewer calories into the body compared to other varieties of wheat created by God or man.

Yay, scientists!!!

So, how does it work?

According to this article, “The new wheat has been engineered to produce a form of starch, known as resistance starch, that is harder for the body to break down in the stomach. When the wheat is milled, processed and cooked it retains this resistance to digestion, unlike flour containing normal starch”.

Let’s hope this resistance to digestion is easy on the digestive system and doesn’t result in any embarrassing Xenical/Orlistat/Alli episodes.

“The scientists, who are developing the wheat as part of a three year research project into new starch products, are now planning to test the fat fighting wheat to see if can produce good quality products like bread”.

“They also hope to find ways of creating the new crop without using genetic modification, as GM crops are currently banned from being grown for human consumption in the UK”.

But not in North America…

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Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

Can a Low Glycemic Diet Reduce the Risk of Diabetes?

A 20 year study that looked at the association between a low glycemic load diet and the risk of acquiring Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) concluded that a low glycemic load diet decreased the risk of type2 diabetes in women.

This study not only concluded that:

  1. eating a low glycemic load diet has long term positive health benefits, but that,
  2. a higher dietary glycemic load was strongly associated with an increased risk of T2DM.

Surprise, surprise, surprise…

So what are you supposed to do with this information?

This is not going to sound original, but:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat less bread, pasta, rice, fruit juice, beer, wine, candy, cake, pie…
  • Eat more protein – healthy protein, not chicken fingers, bacon and hot dogs
  • Eat more ‘non-animal’ based oils like coconut, olive, walnut, flax, and hemp. Fats from game animals are acceptable for all of you hunters out there. Fish oils (high in Omega 3 fatty acids) have also been shown to have a positive effect on blood sugar.
  • Eliminate most processed foods in general

Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

  • And if you can’t/won’t eliminate the high glycemic load foods, at least try to start each meal with the veggies. At least that way, you may get full before you get to the high glycemic load foods. Start with a big salad or some grilled veggies or a big bowl of soup.

So what is Glycemic Load?

Glycemic load (GL) is a measurement and ranking system for the carbohydrate content in different foods, based on their glycemic index (GI) and the portion size.

Glycemic Index (GI) is a measurement of how quickly a fixed portion (usually 50g) of the carbohydrates in different foods breaks down into sugar.

And what exactly does that mean?

  • Carrots have a high glycemic index. That’s bad. That means that the carbohydrates in carrots are quickly digested into sugar. Scary stuff. That is why some nutritionists actually advise their clients to avoid baby carrots as a snack food.
  • But, since carrots are loaded with water and fiber, the glycemic load is reduced to a low level. Yay carrots.

Lesson Learned?

  • Sugar without fibre is bad
  • Sugar with fibre is better

Here is an abridged GI and GL list of foods – Keep in Mind that a Glycemic Index of 55 is low and a Glycemic Load of 10 is low.

List of foods and their glycemic load, per 100g serving

Food

Glycemic index

Glycemic Load
Baguette, white, plain (France)

~95

~48

Banana, Mean of 10 studies

~52

~10

Carrots, Mean of 4 studies

~47

~3.5

Corn tortilla (Mexican)

~52

~25

Potato, Mean of 5 studies

~50

~9.3

Rice, boiled white, mean of 12 studies

~64

~15.4

Watermelon

~72

~3.6

For more info on this subject, check out the queen of the glycemic index, Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller.

 

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bagel-fuls health kraft food nutrition healthhabits junk-food fast-food processed-food

Re-name the Bagel-ful

While I am sure that Kraft spent a bazillion dollars coming up with the perfect name for this engineered food-type product, I think I can do better.

How about you?

Here is what I came up with:

Bagel-ful-of-goo
Bagel-ful-of-artificial cheese product
Bagel-ful-of-chemicals & preservatives
Bagel-ful-of-impaired insulin sensitivity
Bagel-ful-of-why-is-my-butt-so-big
Bagel-ful-of-my-mom-is-to-lazy-to-even-make-a-real-sandwich

Bagel-ful-of-crap?