Check out this post from Stephan at Whole Health Source and find out how your eggs stack up.
What’s on our plate? April 30, 2009
Some of our favorites lately from the food Co-op. Let us know if you’d like to get involved in eating some high quality foods.
Why I eat red meat. April 22, 2009
From the Weston A. Price Foundation
The Benefits of Saturated Fats
The much-maligned saturated fats-which Americans are trying to avoid-are not the cause of our modern diseases. In fact, they play many important roles in the body chemistry:
- Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50% of the cell membranes. They are what gives our cells necessary stiffness and integrity.
- They play a vital role in the health of our bones.
- For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated.
- They lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease.
- They protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol.
- They enhance the immune system.
- They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids. Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats.
- Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for the heart, which is why the fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated. The heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.
- Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties. They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract.
The scientific evidence, honestly evaluated, does not support the assertion that “artery-clogging” saturated fats cause heart disease. Actually, evaluation of the fat in artery clogs reveals that only about 26% is saturated. The rest is unsaturated, of which more than half is polyunsaturated.
Read the whole article- The Skinny on Fats
Skin Texture, Cancer and Dietary Fat April 14, 2009
This is a great post from Stephan at Whole Health Source detailing some differences in people who consume high amounts of saturated fats like coconut oil and animal fats versus polyunsaturated fats (particularly omega 6 fats from vegetable oil). Definately worth your time reading.
People who eat predominantly traditional fats like butter and coconut oil usually have nice skin. It’s smoother, rosier and it ages more gracefully than the skin of a person who eats industrial fats like soy and corn oil. Coconut is the predominant fat in the traditional Thai diet. Coconut fat is about 87% saturated, far more than any animal fat*. Coconut oil and butter are very low in omega-6 linoleic acid, while industrial vegetable oils and margarine contain a lot of it.
I saw a great movie last week called “The Betrayal”, about a family of Lao refugees that immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1970s. The director followed the family for 23 years as they tried to carve out a life for themselves in Brooklyn. The main fats in the traditional Lao diet are lard and coconut milk. The mother of the family was a nice looking woman when she left Laos. She was thin and had great skin and teeth, despite having delivered half a dozen children at that point. After 23 years in the U.S., she was overweight and her skin was colorless and pasty. At the end of the movie, they return to Laos to visit their family there. The woman’s mother was still alive. She was nearly 100 years old and looked younger than her daughter.
Well that’s a pretty story, but let’s hit the science. There’s a mouse model of skin cancer called the Skh:HR-1 hairless mouse. When exposed to UV rays and/or topical carcinogens, these mice develop skin cancer just like humans (especially fair-skinned humans). Researchers have been studying the factors that determine their susceptibility to skin cancer, and fat is a dominant one. Specifically, their susceptibility to skin cancer is determined by the amount of linoleic acid in the diet.
In 1994, Drs. Cope and Reeve published a study using hairless mice in which they put groups of mice on two different diets (Cope, R. B. & Reeve, V. E. (1994) Photochem. Photobiol. 59: 24 S). The first diet contained 20% margarine; the second was identical but contained 20% butter. Mice eating margarine developed significantly more skin tumors when they were exposed to UV light or a combination of UV and a topical carcinogen. Researchers have known this for a long time. Here’s a quote from a review published in 1987:
Nearly 50 years ago the first reports appeared that cast suspicion on lipids, or peroxidative products thereof, as being involved in the expression of actinically induced cancer. Whereas numerous studies have implicated lipids as potentiators of specific chemical-induced carcinogenesis, only recently has the involvement of these dietary constituents in photocarcinogenesis been substantiated. It has now been demonstrated that both level of dietary lipid intake and degree of lipid saturation have pronounced effects on photoinduced skin cancer, with increasing levels of unsaturated fat intake enhancing cancer expression. The level of intake of these lipids is also manifested in the level of epidermal lipid peroxidation.
Moderate-protein diet may beat high-carb diet March 18, 2009
By Amy Norton
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – People lose weight when they cut calories, but a diet with some extra protein may be especially effective at trimming body fat and improving blood fats, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that over one year, a moderate-protein diet was better than a standard high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet at helping overweight adults shed body fat. What’s more, it had greater benefits when it came to boosting “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering triglycerides, a type of blood fat that contributes to clogged arteries.
The findings, reported in the Journal of Nutrition, suggest that trading in some carbs for protein may do dieters good.
For the study, 130 overweight adults were randomly assigned to one of two calorie-restricted diets: the commonly recommended higher-carb diet, with about 15 percent of calories coming from protein, 55 percent from carbohydrates and 30 percent from fats; or a moderate-protein diet where 30 percent of calories came from protein — including lean meat, low-fat dairy and nuts — while 40 percent came from carbs, and 30 percent from fats.
All participants were given menu plans and attended weekly meetings with a dietitian to help them stick with their new lifestyle.
After one year, the average weight losswas similar in the two groups — 23 pounds with the moderate-protein diet, versus roughly 19 pounds with the high-carb diet.
However, the moderate-protein former group lost more fat mass, and had greater improvements in both HDL and triglyceride levels.
The extra protein at each meal helps dieters preserve “metabolically active” muscle mass, explained lead researcher Dr. Donald K. Layman, of the University of Illinois in Urbana. At the same time, he told Reuters Health, the diet’s lower carbohydrate content means lower levels of the blood-sugar-regulating hormone insulin.
So the diet encourages the body to shed more stored fat, according to Layman.
The greater improvement in triglycerides, he said, is largely the result of cutting carbs, which can raise triglyceride levels.
A problem with any diet is that people have to do it right to be successful. In this study, dieters in both groups got a lot of help, with planned menus and weekly educational sessions. Whether people would fare as well on their own is unclear.
“One of the problems with moderate protein diets is that people bring old diet concepts to their approach,” Layman said.
For example, he said, the concept of eating “lots of small meals” throughout the day works when the diet is high-carb, low-fat because people are hungry more often — but it’s a bad idea with a moderate-protein diet.
“The important change is three consistent meals with balance of protein and carbohydrates at each meal,” Layman advised.
“A higher protein diet is not more protein at dinner, but balanced protein at breakfast and lunch.”
SOURCE: Journal of Nutrition, March 2009.
Did you catch that? The difference in the two groups (moderate protein vs. high carb) as far as weight loss was only 4 pounds in the one year study. BUT the moderate protein group lost more more fat mass AND had improved good cholesterol as well as triglycerides. The researchers are attributing most of the benefit to decreasing overall levels of insulin. It’s a good start. Now go eat some beef!
Where do you get your info? March 2, 2009
Where do you go for information on health related topics? It would be nice to believe that an unbiased source exsited and that hidden agendas didn’t cloud research and marketing. That you could find answers to your questions without being sold a product or pushed a pill. But the truth is that every day we are being sold a big fat lie by someone. Jon Gilson of Again Faster talks about the USDA’s role in this in one of the best articles I’ve read in a while-
If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the United States Department of Agriculture is an asphalt factory.
The USDA is responsible for providing Americans with dietary recommendations. Unfortunately, they’re also responsible for creating national and international markets for American crops, a money-driven mission that makes a mockery of diet and health.
The United States’ primary agricultural products—wheat, corn, and milk—are all carbohydrate-rich. This is not a problem in and of itself, were the USDA to recommend their consumption in moderation. They do not. The USDA asks Americans to consume over of 70% of their calories from these sources.
The financial incentive for this request, embodied by the Food Pyramid, is easy to ascertain. More carbohydrate consumption, in the form of wheat, milk, and high fructose corn syrup, subsidizes American crops and keeps the USDA in business. It benefits the economy and the American farmer, a worthy endpoint.
Regrettably, it also prescribes hyperinsulinemia to 300 million trusting souls.
Hyperinsulinemia is a state of chronically elevated blood sugar, brought about by the incessant overconsumption of carbohydrates. It is linked to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity through a very simple and undeniable causal chain.
Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, removes sugar from the bloodstream, putting it into cellular storage for later energy production. When blood sugar is chronically elevated, insulin is unable to remove the bulk, and the pancreas ramps production back, recognizing the futility of rampant insulin release. Sugar remains in the blood stream, where it oxidizes with LDL cholesterol and creates arterial plaques.
Artery walls harden, and people die.
Clearly, money and health are at odds at the USDA, yet the conflict of interest goes unaddressed. As their mission statement illustrates, the organization is more interested in the economic benefits of high carbohydrate consumption than they are in health of the American people:
“USDA has created a strategic plan to implement its vision. The framework of this plan depends on these key activities: expanding markets for agricultural products and support(ing) international economic development, further developing alternative markets for agricultural products and activities, providing financing needed to help expand job opportunities and improve housing, utilities and infrastructure in rural America, enhancing food safety by taking steps to reduce the prevalence of foodborne hazards from farm to table, improving nutrition and health by providing food assistance and nutrition education and promotion, and managing and protecting America’s public and private lands working cooperatively with other levels of government and the private sector.”
Nutrition warrants a brief mention, but actions speak louder than words. Visiting mypyramid.gov, I plugged in my statistics to get a dietary recommendation. As a 5’9”, 170-pound male with less than a half-hour of physical activity per day, the site recommended I eat 2600 calories per day, including a whopping 9 ounces of grains and 24 ounces of milk, while consuming only 6.5 ounces of meat.
Per the Zone Diet, my recommendations amounted to 27 blocks of carbohydrates, 9.5 blocks of protein, and 24 blocks of fat, a short path to hyperinsulinemia and more than enough to induce obesity.
Seemingly unaware that they’d just doomed me to poor health, the USDA left me this little gem:
“The weight you entered is above the healthy range for your height. This may increase your risk for health problems. Some people who are overweight should consider weight loss. Click here for more information about health risks and whether you should try to lose weight, or talk with your health care provider.”
The irony is palpable.
Given the USDA’s (colossally laughable) position as America’s foremost authority on nutrition, this ignorance is unforgivable, and worth fighting. The power to dictate diet needs to be removed from the hands of an organization with so much skin in the game, and transferred to individuals with the knowledge and freedom to act in the best interests of the American people.
This will not happen at the top level. Billions of dollars and an extraordinarily powerful farming lobby dictate that grassroots education and individual change are the only tenable way to affect a diet revolution in America.
American farmer or no, this will not stand. We will bring the USDA’s elemental flaw to light, one person at a time. The road to hell is still under construction, but we’re bringing the jackhammers, and the asphalt will crumble.
Eating real food can be difficult. February 22, 2009
I know for a lot of us, eating real food can be difficult. It takes a lot of time, effort, and energy. With processed foods it can be so simple to just rip open a package and have a meal ready in no time. The real stuff you have to peel, chop, slice, dice, mix and sautee. It’s just not fair, right? Besides does it really matter that much what I eat?
Let me tell you, in the long run it really does make a difference. Food is a drug. It’s one that we all have access to and we’re self medicating 3 to 6 times a day. The types of foods we eat can be the cause of most if not all of our current health challenges. From obesity to diabetes certainly, as well as chronic inflammation that can potentially wreak havoc on all of our major body systems.
So I challenge you- find out what is standing in the way of you at least trying to eat real foods and take action. If it leads to less medication, weight loss and better health, then I’d say the trade off of a little extra time and effort is definately worth it.
Be RELENTLESS in your approach to eating real foods so you can BE HEALTHY. FOR LIFE.