The diet targets FIVE ASPECTS of your health to help you gain victory over any illness:
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The Healing Foods Diet consists of eating equal amounts (33% each) of clean protein sources, healthy fats, and low glycemic carbohydrates in the forms of fruits and vegetables.
1. Removing the BAD FATS Replacing them with GOOD FATS.
Bad fats such as hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, soybean oil, canola oil and vegetable oils cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, chronic fatigue, and neurotoxic syndrome. Bad fats create chronic inflammation throughout the body inducing disease. Good fats are essential to hormone production, cancer prevention, brain development, weight loss, cellular healing, and anti-inflammation.
2. Change the MEATS that you EAT.
There are hundreds of studies that link commercial meats with cancer and heart disease. The grain fed to animals that were created to eat grass changes fatty acid ratios (too much omega-6, not enough omega-3) and denatures good fats, leading to modern day disease. The bioaccumulation of commercial pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and hormones in meats are causing a toxic onslaught, which leads to many cancers, neurological disorders and chronic illness. Grass fed and free range meats offer many fatty acids missing in the Standard American Diet (SAD) such as: aracodonic acid, congegated linoleic acid, and Omega 3 fatty acids.
3. Remove ALL Refined SUGARS and GRAINS from your Diet.
This includes white rice, white pasta, and white bread. 1/3 sugar comes from soft drinks, 2/3 from hidden sources including: lunch meats, pizza, sauces, breads, soups, crackers, fruit drinks, canned foods, yogurt, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc. High glycemic or refined sugars cause elevated glucose, which elevates insulin leading to premature aging and degenerative diseases such as type II diabetes, heart disease (inflammation of the arteries), and cancer.
Sugar is an anti-nutrient offering insignificant amounts of vitamins and minerals and robbing your body of precious nutrient stores. This inevitably leads to diseases of the new millennium such as chronic fatigue, ADD, ADHD, heart disease, diabetes, and cancers.
Low glycemic carbohydrates in the forms of fruits and vegetables have high amounts of fiber, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help you age slower, improve energy levels, lose weight, and naturally detoxify your cells.
In today's society, we have an epidemic of obesity. With this there is also a growing trend of people who are tired of living a suboptimal life and are looking for ways to be healthy. Considering excess body fat is a risk factor for many of Americas top chronic diseases, using these fat burning strategies to slim down is a great place to start turning your life around.
Additionally, these strategies will help you build muscle and rev up your metabolism so that you can keep fat off for good. In addition to eliminating sugar and grains from the diet, and in general following a low-carb high-fat diet, there are five fat burning strategies that come to mind to help burn fat faster than ever before (1).
Today it seems like everybody with excess weight to lose has trouble actually getting it off. Unfortunately, there is an explosion of companies trying to capitalize on this trend by selling get-skinny-quick schemes that often times straight up don't work.
When it comes down to it, there could be an infinite number of factors that are contributing to the obesity epidemic we are seeing. We consume way too much sugar, we have environmental toxins that throw off our hormones, we are living increasingly sedentary lifestyles, and many of us just don't know what were doing to our bodies.
While it is important to learn about these factors in detail to make smarter choices for your health, there are foundational factors and fat burning strategies that will help put you on the right track.
While the fat burning strategies in this article are important, there are some foundational principles that help make this fat loss more sustainable.
While exercise plays a large role in burning fat, I find that most people are just going about it the wrong way. You may have heard this before but the majority of fat loss happens in the kitchen. This is why I recommend a low-carb, high-fat diet to almost every single one of my patients.
Eating this way helps balance blood sugar, lower inflammation, balance hormones, and as a side benefit, fat seems to melt off (2). I also like to emphasize that meats on this diet come from pasture-raised or wild caught sources, produce comes from organic sources, and water you are drinking is properly filtered.
Following these principles help to ensure that you are limiting your exposure to environmental toxins while maximizing nutrition, both of which can contribute to a healthy weight. To dive deeper into these principles check out my article on steps to following aHealing Diet.
Now that we understand the foundation for sustainable weight loss, your five strategies that I use every day to help increase fat burning potential in my own body. These strategies are designed to rev up your metabolism and help keep you in a ketogenic state so that fat burning comes naturally.
Typically, I will fast throughout the morning, consuming my first meal around noon. During this time, I make it a priority to super hydrate my body by drinking close to a gallon of water before I take my first bite of food.
This helps to give my cells the water they need to produce energy, helps to move my bowels, and promotes the release of toxins out of my body. This means that when I do consume my first meal Im not stressing an already stressed system. Instead, I feel great, Im full of energy, and I have likely begun to produce ketones.
When I tell people how much water they should be drinking, they sometimes look at me like I'm crazy. Most people simply are not drinking enough water and wind up chronically dehydrated. I will agree that water isn't really the greatest tasting beverage in the world and there are ways you can spice it up.
Diluted Organic Broths :These help provide sodium and minerals for nervous system health. If you drink bone broth, you will also get tons of extra benefits for your gut.
Organic Mold-Tested Coffee:Although it contains fat, I find that drinking a Tumeric Fat-Burning coffee can help keep me full and focused throughout the morning, especially on my demanding days. The medium chain triglycerides in this help me produce ketones and rev up my fat burning potential.
Water With Lemon or Apple Cider Vinegar:Combining a Tbsp of either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar provides the body with beneficial acids and enzymes to promote gut health and fat-burning. This is one of the rarely known fat burning strategies.
Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic:They make bottled varieties of these today but here is my favorite. Steep a spiced tea such as Chai, cinnamon, or ginger, add a splash of apple cider vinegar and a bit of stevia or monk fruit to make a delicious keto-friendly spiced apple cider. Try out a few of my favorite recipes below!
Fasting is simply an amount of time where you do not consume any calories. As I mentioned, I perform an intermittent fast every day and typically don't consume my first meal until noon or later. During this time, I feel absolutely full of energy, clear minded, and have laser focus.
Fasting mimicks a state of starvation. Although this might sound unpleasant, most people experience a ton of benefits when they practice this on a regular basis. In addition to being one of the best fat burning strategies, it is one of the most powerful strategies for overall health and longevity.
Improved State Of Ketosis (Increased Fat Burning)
Boosted Immunity (4)
Improved Gut Health
Recycling and Removal Of Old Damaged Cells
Increased Repair of DNA Damage
Lowered Inflammation (5)
Improved Insulin Sensitivity
Fasting can be implemented in several ways. I usually recommend starting with a simple fast of 12 hours. For example, if you finish eating dinner at 6PM at night you should not consume any more calories until 6AM the next morning. Most people will have no problem with this unless they have severe blood sugar dysregulation.
Once you feel good following a simple fast for 1-2 weeks, you can bump it up to 14 hours, then 16, and so on. Most people, including myself, respond very well in the range of 16-18 hours. Men tend to be able to fast longer than women so listen your body and settle where you feel your best.
If you find that you are having trouble with hunger and poor energy, consuming a high-fat beverage with no carbs or protein during the morning can be very helpful.
I must stress again that during this time it is important to drink plenty of water and other hydrating beverages such as broths and herbal teas to help clear out toxins and supply minerals to the body. This is very important in order to get the best results with these fat burning strategies.
Working out while fasted will burn up your glucose stores and help shift your body into a deeper fat burning state. This is especially true if you have trained your body to burn fat for fuel with a ketogenic diet. At the same time, once your body has adapted to burning fat as its primary fuel, your body becomes more efficient at building lean muscle.
Getting into a state of ketosis is key for making fasted workouts work for you. This is when you will start to see an improvement in both muscle building as well as fat burning. Follow these tips to ensure you maximize the benefits of your fasted workouts.
Timing your exercise and firing up the intensity is one of the key fat burning strategies. Working out fasted can be great but can easily become harmful to the body if you do not follow this principle.
Workouts should be high intensity, strength oriented, and no longer than 10-30 minutes. This kind of exercise has been shown to optimize sex hormones, boost endogenous antioxidant systems in the body, and keep your body in an anabolic state (muscle building) (6).
Working out too strenuously for too long will cause a sharp increase in cortisol which will increase blood sugar and increase the likelihood of catabolism (break down of muscle).
I have found that I respond the best to high intensity strength workouts of 20-30 minutes, 4 times per week. What I do is the same as I recommend to most of my patients as it is scientifically proven to help burn fat and balance hormones.
My weekly workout routine is a simple split as follows:
Upper Body Push & Pull Exercises (2 times per week):On these days, I will perform exercises such as bench press, rows, pull-ups, dips, and overhead presses.
Lower Body (2 times per week):On these days, I will perform compound movements such as squats and deadlifts. Full body movements that implement the core, such as burpees or mountain climbers, are a great finishing exercise to get your metabolism fired up.
For the best results with intermittent fasting weight loss techniques I recommend exercising 4 days per week after having water or fat fasted for 12-16 hours. This means that you miss either dinner the night before and drink a lot of water and coffee (and you can do grass-fed butter and MCT oil in your coffee if you like) and exercise about an hour after rising in the morning.
Otherwise, you consume dinner the night before but fast through breakfast (other than lots of water and possibly a fat fuel coffee or keto matcha green tea) and then you exercise around lunch time. I typically recommend hydrating after your exercise session and then having a protein shake about 30-60 mins after you finish your exercise.
For many, as they get more accustomed to the intermittent fasting are able to wait a few hours after their workout before they eat. I typically like to tell people to wait until you are hungry after your exercise session to consume food as this is a more advanced way to boost human growth hormone production.
Over time, you may notice that you are able to go 18-20 hours without consuming carbohydrate or protein and exercise right at the end of your fast. This peak fasting exercise session can have a profound impact on your growth hormone production and be an amazing stimulus for fasting weight loss.
The key is to stay hydrated and use some pink salts to keep your mineral balance in order. You can also do some diluted broth and some fat burning coffee or keto matcha green tea to keep your energy up while fasting.
Read the full article here: https://drjockers.com/intermittent-fasting-weight-loss/
Maybe you’ve been meaning to start but just haven’t found the right routine … or even the right exercise hack. Perhaps you’re recovering from an injury or haven’t gotten around to it. Whatever your excuse, I’m here to tell you that today is the day to start working out.
That’s because the benefits of exercise are far more than just losing weight or achieving that “bikini body.” Exercise benefits everything from your sleep quality to your energy level, and even your memory. From making you happier to helping you live longer, regular exercise is key to living a healthy, balanced life.
Whether we’re fully conscious of it or not, we’re always looking for how to be happy. And exercise is one of the most obvious steps to take, as it’s not a coincidence that you feel better after a good workout: It’s science. A Penn State University study found that people who exercised, whether it was a mild, moderate or vigorous workout, had more pleasant feelings than those who didn’t.
These same people were also happier on days when they were more physically active than usual, meaning that upping the ante on workouts can provide even more of a happiness boost. The takeaway? Working out can make you happy long term; adding extra intensity can make you feel even better.
Another experiment used a smartphone app to have participants track their activity, location and happiness levels throughout the day. It received more than 3 million responses a year — and users were at their second-happiest post-workout.
Whether it’s deciding to run a 10K, increasing the amount you can deadlift or increasing your bike mileage, setting and achieving fitness goals is an incredible self-confidence boost. But if you find your resolutions falling to the wayside, science has uncovered the secret to success: setting clear intentions.
A 2002 study examined three groups of people. Group one, the control group, was told to track how often each person exercised throughout the week. The second group, the motivation group, was given the same instructions, but also read a motivational speech. Group three, the intention group, added on to the previous groups by asking people to create a plan that set a specific day, time and place to exercise.
Guess who was most successful? Group three had a much higher rate of actually following through, at a tune of 91 percent, while the control group exercised at least 38 percent of the week. The motivation group actually exercised the least, with just 35 percent.
By discovering the power of goal setting by committing to reaching an exercise milestone and then working out just how you’ll achieve it, you can enjoy the benefits of exercise and the confidence that comes along with it.
Get out of the medicine cabinet and reduce your risk of heart disease the natural way. A meta-review of a variety of studies and trials conducted by researchers in 2013 — encompassing 305 trials with more than 339,000 participants — found that no statistically detectable differences existed between those who exercised and those who were given medications in the prevention of coronary heart disease and prediabetes.
In fact, in those patients who already had suffered a stroke, physical activity interventions were more effective than drug treatment. Work with your doctor to set up an exercise plan that works for you.
If you can’t sleep and instead are prone to tossing and turning, exercising can help you sleep better. By strengthening circadian rhythms, exercising can help keep you more bright-eyed during the day and bring on sleep at night. It also promotes better quality sleep.
While the effects may not be an immediate quick fix — a recent study found that it can take up to four months for those beginning an exercise routine to have a positive effect on sleep — starting a working out plan is the only way to ensure you’ll sleep soundly every night.
When you’re feeling exhausted, the last thing you might want to do is squeeze in a workout. But, according to experts, that’s exactly what you should do. They found that low-intensity exercise, the equivalent of a leisurely stroll, experienced a drop in fatigue levels and a 20 percent energy boost.
Even more exciting is that the low-intensity exercise group’s fatigue levels dropped more than the higher-intensity group, great news for those who might skip a workout because they don’t have time or energy for a more intense session. Both groups reported steadily increased energy over the span of the six-week experiment.
If strength training and stretching aren’t a part of your fitness routine, it’s time to incorporate them. Though many adults engage in cardio activities, quite a few stay away from resistance training and building muscle — and that’s a mistake.
Strength training, whether you’re lifting weights, doing bodyweight exercises or incorporating yoga moves, helps improve muscle strength and muscle mass, particularly important as we age. It also keeps bones strong, thus serving as a great natural treatment for osteoporosis. Plus, increased muscle helps your body burn calories more efficiently long after your workout is over.
And don’t forget about stretching: It increases your body’s flexibility, helping everyday tasks become easier. It also sends more blood to your muscles, improving circulation, and can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Just a few minutes a day of deep stretching can make a difference.
Are you constantly misplacing your keys or struggling to recall names? Exercising regularly can help jog your memory. A 2014 study found that aerobic exercise, like running or swimming, boosts the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning, in women with a recognized risk factor for dementia. Besides looking to brain food to boost your memory and mental skills, start breaking a sweat!
Feeling down on yourself? Exercising can help you feel better about yourself — no matter what type of workout you do or how fit you are. One study found that “the simple act of exercise and not fitness itself can convince you that you look better.” With so much emphasis on our outward appearances in society today, it’s comforting to know that one of the benefits of exercise helps people feel better about themselves and how they look naturally.
Could the key to being more productive and happier at work lie in exercise? One study thinks so. It found that those employees who worked out before work or during their lunch hour reported feeling less stress and being happier and more productive than days when they skipped a workout. Not only that, but they also performed better on exercise days. It’s the perfect excuse for a lunchtime stroll or walking meeting.
From fortifying your immune system against future cancers to reducing the risk of breast cancer, regular exercise helps protect your body. Although researchers aren’t entirely sure how exercise boosts immunity, theories range from bacteria being flushed out of the body to a reduction in stress-released hormones that might increase the risk of illness.
While we wait for the science to catch up, it’s clear that engaging in moderate to intense exercise benefits your body in ways we’re not even sure of yet.
Being there for our loved ones and enjoying as many special moments together as we can — that’s what life really is all about. Keeping your body happy and healthy to help you live a longer, fuller life is one of exercise’s biggest benefits. Therefore, it’s great news that research published in 2012, which studied more than 650,000 people, found that 150 minutes of moderate exercise (or about half hour five days a week) increases your life span by 3.4 years.
So short of moving to a blue zone, exercising for just 10 minutes a day, or 75 minutes a week, can earn you an extra 1.8 years. The findings held true even for those individuals who were overweight or obese; adding exercise helped them live longer, while being obese and inactive decreased life span by up to 7.2 years. The benefits of adding more exercise increased and then plateaued at about 300 minutes of weekly exercise (or an hour five days a week) adding an extra 4.2 years of life.
So the next time you think you’re too busy, think about it this way: You’re shaving off years of life. Is that TV show really worth it?
Low-carb. Low-fat. Cayenne pepper and cabbage soup. Strictly yellow M&M’s and water.
Each day, it seems, there’s a new diet plan to lose weight that promises quick results, ranging from the sensible to the downright insane.
Losing weight fast, and choosing the best plan to do so, is something most of us have attempted at least once … or twice … or, let’s face it, many times. What makes dieting especially difficult is that, unlike “quit smoking to increase your life span” or “deep-fried fast food is bad for you,” there seem to be no one-size-fits-all rules in place.
Your cousin Margaret swears that giving up bread for a few weeks helped her shed pounds just in time for her high school reunion. You, on the other hand, haven’t eaten a slice of toast in five years and still haven’t lost those last few pounds. As soon as you’ve learned the ropes of one diet, another swoops in, threatening to be even more effective.
Take, for example, this study released in August 2015. (1) It found that, among obese adults, cutting fat helped them lose weight at a rate 68 percent faster than when cutting carbs. What great news!
But before you start tossing out your full-fat dairy products, check out this other study released just two months later. (2) According to this one, following a low-carb diet as well as a Mediterranean diet is more effective than restricting carbs. The real kicker is its statement that no diets work particularly well in the long term, and low-fat diet risks are real. That’s right: Even science says your diet is doomed.
All hope isn’t lost, however. You see, there is an optimal diet plan out there to help you lose weight. It’s the one that works for you. Not your spouse, your cousin or your co-worker, but the one that works with your body’s needs and, when combined with regular exercise, makes you feel great.
So, what are the best diet plans to lose weight? A diet plan shouldn’t be looked at as something to follow for a few weeks or months until you’ve reached a goal weight and then it’s back to your old ways. In fact, that’s the exact reason researchers say diets don’t work.
Instead, a diet plan should be a lifestyle change, something you’re able to stick to because, unlike starving yourself or eating weird concoctions, it’s something sustainable. The way you eat should leave you feeling your best while providing your body with the nutrients it needs so you can live a long and happy, healthy life.
Because abs are made in the kitchen, I’ve rounded up information on the supposed best diet plans to lose weight to help you make the most informed decision.
In a low-carb diet, or a ketogenic diet (an extremely low-carb diet), you drastically reduce or completely eliminate the amount of glucose you eat. Once glucose has been eliminated from the body and there are no carbs available for your body to use for energy, the body will turn to stored fat instead, helping you lose weight fast.
Low-fat diets reduce the amount of (you guessed it) total fat you eat in a day. The diet became especially popular in America following the release of the federal government’s dietary guidelines in 1980, leading to the proliferation of low-fat food availability.
Made popular by the fortunate folks living in one of the most beautiful regions on Earth, people on the Mediterranean diet enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, embrace fats like olive oil, and eat high-quality poultry and seafood, all in close-to-natural states.
While there are different levels of vegetarian and vegan, most vegetarians steer clear of eating meats, including seafood and poultry. What do vegans eat? Well, they take it a step further and avoid all products that come from animals, including dairy and eggs.
What about the Paleo vs. vegan diet? They’re two of the trendiest diets out there. “Going Paleo” is something you hear more and more these days, especially in athletic communities such as CrossFitters. It’s modeled after what our ancient (specifically, Paleolithic) ancestors would have eaten thousands upon thousands of years ago.
Remember, you don’t have to follow a specific diet’s rule completely, especially for these supposed best diet plans to lose weight. Some aspects of a particular diet might appeal to you while others don’t.
For example, you might want to be vegetarian one or two days a week to give your wallet a little breathing room and encourage your family to try a variety of seasonal veggies.
Or you might reduce your carb intake for a few weeks to level out your insulin levels and jump-start your diet, then switch to a Mediterranean diet, where whole grains are consumed in moderation. It’s all good!
For some, a health issue is what prevents them from losing weight, so I encourage anyone that fits this description to try a healing diet. After all, the “best” diets will come and go, but eating in a way that enables you to give every day 100 percent never goes out of style.
Lectins can be a common and hidden source of health problems and weight gain, even if you eat an otherwise healthy diet. Lectins have been linked to autoimmune reactions and inflammation, and many are toxic to your cells and nerves. Certain types of lectins may increase your blood viscosity, interfere with gene expression and disrupt your endocrine function.
If you are dealing with an autoimmune disease, you will need to be especially careful with lectins, and you may benefit from a lectin-restricted diet. That said, it is nearly impossible to avoid lectins 100 percent of the time. I do not recommend a lectin-free diet simply because you’d miss out on antioxidants and other nutrients in lectin-containing foods, including many otherwise nutritious vegetables. A better approach is to consume lectins occasionally and pay attention to how they affect you.
If you consistently experience bloating, gas and joint pain after eating beans, for example, your body may be reacting to the lectins. How you prepare lectin-containing foods makes a big difference in your body’s ability to handle them, and using a pressure cooker is by far the best approach. If you’ve been eating a whole-food diet yet find yourself struggling with unexplained weight gain and/or stubborn health problems, it might be time to limit the lectins.
Lectins are sugar-binding plant proteins that attach to your cell membranes. They are a form of protein found in all kinds of plants and animal foods, which some consider to be a low-level toxin. Lectins provide a built-in defense mechanism that triggers a negative reaction in predators, aiding in their survival. About plant lectins, Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof.com, states:1
“There are countless varieties of lectins in nature … Plants evolved to reproduce. They actually have no interest in being a food source for you, or even for insects or fungi. Since they are not good at running away, plants developed natural pesticides and repellents to protect themselves and their seeds from hungry animals.”
Precision Nutrition shares some additional information regarding lectins:2
“Lectins are abundant in raw legumes and grains, and most commonly found in the part of the seed that becomes the leaves when the plant sprouts, also known as the cotyledon, but also on the seed coat. They’re also found in dairy products and certain vegetables.
Lectins in plants are a defense against microorganisms, pests and insects. They may also have evolved as a way for seeds to remain intact as they passed through animals’ digestive systems, for later dispersal. Lectins are resistant to human digestion and they enter the blood unchanged.”
According to Healthline,3 “The ‘stickiness’ of lectins makes them prone to attaching to your intestinal wall. This is the main reason why excessive lectin intake causes digestive distress.” High levels of lectins are found in beans, grains and legumes, as well as dairy and vegetables within the nightshade family. Many other foods contain lectins, at lower and less potentially toxic amounts.4
Because they resist digestion, lectins act as "antinutrients," which means they have a detrimental effect on your gut microbiome by shifting the balance of your bacterial flora. One of the worst culprits is wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which is found in wheat and other seeds in the grass family. I consider Dr. Steven Gundry, author of the book "The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in ‘Healthy’ Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain," to be one of the best sources of information regarding how lectins can harm your health.
He suggests some plant lectins can contribute to leaky gut by binding to receptor sites on your intestinal mucosal cells, thereby interfering with the absorption of nutrients across your intestinal wall. Compared to WGA, gluten is a minor problem, says Gundry. That’s because WGA has been shown to be one of the most efficient ways to induce heart disease in experimental animals. Due to their negative autoimmune and inflammatory effects, lectins are particularly toxic to anyone dealing with an autoimmune disorder.
If this is you, you may want to consider eliminating lectins or drastically reducing your intake. One manner in which lectins stir up trouble in your body is through molecular mimicry. For example, by mimicking proteins in your thyroid or joint spaces, lectins can trick your body into attacking your thyroid gland and contributing to rheumatoid arthritis. Part of this disease process results in lectins and lipopolysaccharides (also known as endotoxins) penetrating your gut wall, causing a strong immune response.
If you are struggling with an inflammatory or autoimmune condition, you may be among those who need to be careful with respect to lectin-containing foods — specifically beans and legumes, grains and nightshade vegetables. Gundry said, “My research and others suggest that lectins cause most heart disease, arthritis, dementia, diabetes and all autoimmune disease.”5 A lectin-restricted diet may be helpful if you are dealing with:6,7,8
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Thyroid dysfunction (especially Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)
While Gundry declares lectins the greatest danger in the American diet, especially for those with an autoimmune disease, the truth is some lectins, in small amounts, can provide valuable health benefits. Precision Nutrition states: “Lectins are thought to play a role in immune function, cell growth, cell death and body fat regulation.”9 It seems most problems arise from overconsumption or continued consumption, even in small amounts, of certain lectins your body simply cannot tolerate.
From my perspective, it would be a mistake to assume all lectins are bad for you. One of my favorite foods, avocados, contain the lectin agglutinin (persea Americana agglutinin), but I continue to eat them regularly and would not consider them to be a food to avoid. Avocados are a healthy food, and research indicates the agglutinin found in them is devoid of specificity for carbohydrates — it interacts with proteins and polyamino acids instead.10
Although tomatoes, as part of the nightshade family, are often listed among the most problematic lectin-containing foods, the heat of cooking them brings about some positive benefits. The antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes has enhanced bioavailability from heating,11making tomatoes healthy in other ways. Bean lectins, however, are accompanied by more potentially toxic or allergenic effects. Beyond their lectin content, beans also are high in net carbs.
For this reason, they are best avoided in the initial transitional stages of a ketogenic diet. As you can see, the choice for or against lectins hinges on the particular food in question and the effects lectins have on the eater. While a good deal of controversy has been stirred, the presence of lectins is by no means a sole determinant of the overall value of a particular food to your diet.
Most lectins are proinflammatory, meaning they trigger inflammation and create advanced glycation end products. C-reactive protein is one example of the many lectins you have circulating in your body right now, and it’s used as a marker of inflammation. Lectins are also immunotoxic (capable of stimulating a hyperimmune response), neurotoxic and cytotoxic, meaning they’re toxic to your nerves and cells and may induce apoptosis (cell death).
Certain lectins can increase your blood viscosity by binding to your red blood cells. This makes your blood cells sticky, resulting in abnormal clotting. Some lectins, such as WGA, have been known to interfere with gene expression and disrupt your endocrine function.
Equally worrisome is the reality lectins promote leptin resistance, thereby increasing your risk of obesity. All of these factors can predispose you to disease. If you have any kind of health problem in which lectins are a suspected contributor, you’d be wise to eliminate the following foods from your diet entirely:14
You may have mistakenly believed you’re lactose intolerant when the effects could actually be a response to the casein A1 in certain types of milk. The best milk to drink is raw milk from organic, grass fed, casein A2-producing cows. Jersey cows produce either casein A1 or A2, so you'll need to check with the farmer to confirm the type of milk produced. Avoid milk from Holsteins because they produce casein A1.
After eliminating the worst offending high-lectin foods from your diet, you can further reduce lectins in your diet with the following tips:
If you choose to eat beans, it’s imperative you prepare and cook them properly, mainly because eating raw or undercooked beans can have acute, toxic effects. The toxin phytohemagglutinin is common in many varieties of beans, and concentrations are especially high in raw, red kidney beans.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)20 states eating as few as four or five raw beans may cause phytohemagglutinin toxicity, which is often marked by extreme nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The FDA notes several incidents of poisoning with respect to the undercooking of beans using slow cookers and Crockpots.21 To make beans safer to eat, be sure to:
The lectin content in potatoes, which are a member of the nightshade family, will also be reduced by cooking, although only by 50 to 60 percent. On the positive side, most potatoes contain digestive-resistant starch, which consists of complex starch molecules that resist digestion in your small intestine. These starches slowly ferment in your large intestine, where they act as prebiotics that feed your healthy gut bacteria.24
Some researchers, like Anthony Samsel, believe the lectin damage is related to their glyphosate contamination. Gundry and others make a strong case against lectins due to their potential to wreak havoc on your health. Given the number of lectin-containing foods, however, it would be nearly impossible to eliminate them from your diet entirely. The list of lectins within the vegetable kingdom alone is lengthy, and some lectins do have health benefits.
Many lectin-containing vegetables also contain polyphenols, which are micronutrients with antioxidant activity that play an important role in preventing and reducing the progression of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurodegenerative conditions. Polyphenols are also regarded as prebiotic, increasing the ratio of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which is important for disease prevention and weight management.
While you don’t want to miss out on the polyphenols, it’s well worth your time to experiment and identify lectins that may be problematic for your body. Particularly if you are eating a healthy, whole-food diet but continue to have health problems, it may be time to limit the lectins. Such a change might possibly be the key to improved health and healing.
If you've ever reached for another serving of that lasagna even though you feel full (it tastes so good!) or reached for that second slice of cake, congratulations. You're overeating.
Sometimes its painfully obvious that were overeating, but other times you might not even realize its happening. So why are we overeating, and how to stop overeating once and for all? Lets dig in.
If you're an overeater, the reality is that in America, you're far from alone. In fact, were a nation of overeaters. More than one-third of American adults are obese. Obesity-related health conditions, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers, make up some of the leading causes of preventable death in the country. In 2008 alone, the annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion. (1)
And that's just obese individuals. When you add in the amount of people who are overweight, the percentage of U.S adults shoots up to more than 70 percent. (2)
There are a number of reasons Americans are overweight and obese. But one of the major reasons is simple: Were eating more than ever before.
The reasons so many U.S. adults are overweight or obese are varied. Too many grams of added sugar in our meals, processed foods and a lack of exercise all contribute to the epidemic. But overeating is also a major factor, and one that's often overlooked. And while it seems pretty basic at face value you're eating too much food, duh overeating causes can be a bit more complex at their core. What compels us to eat more than we mean to?
You're responding to your habits and outside cues. If you normally settle down at 8 p.m. to catch up on your favorite TV programs and eat a few pieces of chocolate, you'll likely find yourself reaching for chocolate even on those nights when you had a late dinner and aren't hungry. You've created a habit that associates TV time with chocolate.
The same goes for external clues, like TV commercials or even just the availability of food (like snacks in the break room at work, for example). Because food used to be scarce, our bodies are designed to eat when we spot food.
And while were no longer foraging for food and stowing away calories for days when food isn't readily available, our bodies haven't changed much from those days. When we see food, our brains think, Hey, there's food there! Lets eat.
You're eating foods that make you hungrier. Did you know that some foods are actually making you more hungry? If you're eating foods with little to no nutritional value, particularly sugary foods, refined carbohydrates (like white bread and pasta) and artificial sweeteners, your blood sugar levels are likely to spike up, leaving you feeling hungry sooner.
Additionally, sugar activates the brain in a way unlike other foods, keeping it from feeling full. (See how else sugar destroys your body.)
You're affected by one of these weird triggers. Just eaten but find yourself hungry again? Salty foods, certain medications and even air conditioning are hunger triggers that can be causing you to overeat.
You're not eating enough regularly. The very American way of dieting severely restricting calories until you're starving, bingeing on whatever's nearby, and then re-starting the diet all over again plays a role in overeating causes.
When we restrict calories to a level under what's needed to function optimally, our bodies think they're starving. When we finally do eat, were more likely to stuff our faces, eating well past the point of satiety.
You're stressed. You're more likely to crave unhealthy, fatty foods when you're stressed, especially if you're female: women are more affected by stress eating than men. Interestingly (but not surprisingly), those people who are dieting, tend to increase their food consumption when stressed. But they're not overeating carrot sticks; they opt for the same food they normally shun. (3, 4)
You're hungry but not for food. Similar to stress, when were dealing with difficult emotions, we often turn to food to soothe our feelings and help us escape. They don't call it comfort food for nothing, after all.
You're not paying attention to your food. If you're scrolling through your newsfeed, watching TV or working at your desk while eating, its likely that you're overeating. When you're not practicing mindful eating, its easy to eat more than you intended in one sitting.
If you're a snacker, you might also be eating more than you realize as you graze throughout the day. Even if they're healthy snacks, if you're not keeping track, you may be surprised to find that you're eating well over what you thought.
You're eating bigger portion sizes. This one isn't entirely our own fault. But portion sizes began increasing in the 1970s and haven't really stopped. Its not just the usual culprits like fast food, either; restaurants are serving food on larger plates, muffins are getting bigger and those sugary coffee drinks are getting taller. With these bigger sizes comes overeating; as one study found, when portion sizes are increased, people eat more. (5)
You might have recognized yourself in some of the overeating causes. But how to stop overeating and reduce how much you're chowing down? These natural overeating treatment options will help.
1. Eat nutrient-dense foods
Processed foods, refined carbohydrates, sugary drinks, artificial sweeteners these are all food-like substances that add very little nutritional value. Eat them and you'll find yourself hungry soon after.
Instead, reach for rich, nutrient-dense foods, like kale, berries, wild salmon, grass-fed beef, tomatoes, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and black beans. These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which not only will leave your body feeling good after eating, but they're also filling. Choosing whole foods can also help you form a healthier relationship with food, where you're less worried about overeating Cheetos and more in tune with your body's nutritional needs.
2. Eat more fats
Conventional wisdom used to be that in order to lose weight, shunning fats were necessary. Now we know that low-fat diets aren't that effective or even that healthy. Low-carb, high-fat diets like the ketogenic diet have been proven to be super effective at shedding pounds. Fats have the added bonus of being especially satiating and signaling to our brains that were full, reducing cravings and the urge to overeat.
Of course, you'll want to stick to natural, healthy sources of fat, like avocados, high-quality dairy, coconut and olive oils and nuts and seeds.
3. Reduce stress levels
Its easier said than done, but chronic stress affects your health in so many ways, and overeating is one of them. Activities like meditation, yoga, journaling and exercise are all proven ways to help manage stress, and wont result in excess pounds the weight stress eating does. In fact, reducing stress levels is one of the best ways to lower cortisol, a hormone that, when we have too much of it, can lead to belly fat.
4. Incorporate natural appetite suppressants
If you're wondering how to stop overeating, suppressants can help. Now, Im not talking about the shady diet pills you find at the drugstore. Instead,natural appetite suppressants include high-fiber foods like chia seeds and legumes, hot spices like cayenne and turmeric and grapefruit essential oil, which helps curb cravings. These all-natural, fat-burning foods will help keep you from overeating without the health risks that come with traditional suppressants.
5. Eat more mindfully
One of the best ways to keep yourself from overeating out of boredom or losing track of how much you've consumed in one sitting is to practice mindful eating. Mindful eating is the opposite of the emotional eating that often leads to overeating. It makes eating a much more thoughtful process. You'll be paying attention to when you're actually hungry, not just when it feels like you should be eating because of the time of day or external cues.
It takes into account what youfeel like eating, too, like perhaps you want something warm for lunch because its cold out. When you do sit down to eat, even for snacks, mindful eating asks that you give food your full attention and take note of how you're engaging your senses. And finally, you slow down so that you can observe when you're full.Intuitive eating is quite similar, too.
6. Consider intermittent fasting
Still searching for ways for how to stop overeating? If you're someone who struggles with eating between meals, intermittent fasting can be helpful in preventing consistent overeating. The benefits of intermittent fasting and alternate day fasting range from regulating the hormones that decide when you feel hungry or full to weight loss. It doesn't need to be drastic, either.
While there are tons of options for intermittent fasting, ranging from to just not eating for 1216 hours, essentially you stay away from food for a determinate amount of time and then, during eating hours, you enjoy what you want, with a focus on protein and quality, complex carbohydrates. With intermittent fasting, the pressure is off on overeating to some extent, since you'll completely ban food outside of eating hours and then have the freedom to enjoy as much as you'd like during meal times. You're likely to find that eventually, you're practicing more mindful eating naturally.
7. Keep track of what you're eating
If you think you might overeat at times but aren't too sure when or how much, keeping a food journal is a good way of identifying problem spots. Journals can be really handy in helping you uncover not just how much you're eating daily when you actually tally up all your meals and snacks, but whether certain things trigger overeating.
Jot down everything you eat and how much (be honest!) shortly after you have it so that you don't forget. But also take note of how you're feeling before and after. Are you tired and reaching for an afternoon muffin? Do you find that when you go to a certain lunch spot, you tend to make healthier decisions? Look for patterns that can help identify where your overeating blind spots are.
Another way to keep track of what you're eating? Learn what recommended portion sizes look like. There are handy visuals online, like this one, that illustrate what one serving of some of your favorite foods looks like.
Overeating is something that many of us might struggle with at some point in our lives, or during an emotional period like a breakup. However, its not the same as binge eating, a serious eating disorder where you binge on forbidden foods and then experience intense feelings of shame, guilt and anger at yourself, followed by serious dieting and deprivation and then bingeing once again.
Its normal to have times where you might eat more than you'd like, but if you find yourself in a cycle of binge eating, please reach out for help.
Additionally, if you find that much of your overeating stems from emotional issues, you may find it helpful to see a mental health professional in tandem with the natural tactics to overcome eating. Working through some of the deeper, underlying issues that are contributing to your overeating with a professional could really make a difference.
Dr. John is available for nutrition and weight-loss counseling, we are here to help you reach your health goals!
Few driving factors have had such a profound influence on the transition from traditional to modern industrial diets as the campaign against animal fats and tropical oils. We have responded to this campaign not only by depriving ourselves of the nutrient-dense animal foods so important to human health, but also by replacing these traditional fats with processed foods laden with refined vegetable oil, flour, and sugar.
Since its inception, this campaign has been based on a series of myths. These include the myths that saturated fat is the “bad fat” while polyunsaturated fat is the “good fat,” that arachidonic acid is the “bad fat,” and that so-called “solid fats” are empty calories with no nutritional value. We will consider each of these myths in the pages that follow.
The myth that saturated fatty acids are “bad fat” while polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are “good fat” emerged in the 1950s as the diet-heart hypothesis. This hypothesis stated that the saturated fat found in animal fats and tropical oils would contribute to heart disease by raising blood cholesterol levels while the PUFA found in vegetable oils would do just the opposite.
If the nutritional and medical establishments had taken the approach of Weston Price and endeavored to begin unraveling the causes of heart disease by studying the diets and lifestyles of populations that were immune to the disease, it is unlikely the diet-heart hypothesis would ever have emerged. The traditional diets of Pacific islanders free of heart disease, for example, vary widely in their proportions of fat and carbohydrate, but as can be seen in Figure 1, they are all rich in saturated fat and low in PUFA when compared to the standard American diet.1,2,3 Each of these traditional diets is based primarily on starches, fruits, coconut and fish, so the PUFA comes mostly from fish rather than from vegetable oils.
The foundation of the establishment’s approach to the riddle of heart disease featured no such investigation of traditional diets, and the result of this negligence was the diet-heart hypothesis. Advocates of this hypothesis supported it in the early 1950s with two key pieces of evidence. The first was that blood cholesterol levels were statistically associated with heart disease risk.4 The second was that, in highly controlled laboratory experiments, replacing saturated fats like butter, lard or coconut oil with polyunsaturated oils like corn or safflower oil would lower blood cholesterol levels.5,6 Playing a game of connect the dots, they argued that substituting vegetable oils for traditional animal fats and tropical oils would lower the risk of heart disease.
In 1957, the American Heart Association called the hypothesis “highly speculative,” and concluded that “the evidence at present does not convey any specific implications for drastic dietary changes, specifically in the quantity or type of fat in the diet of the general population, on the premise that such changes will definitely lessen the incidence of coronary or cerebral artery disease.”7 Four years later, the state of the evidence remained the same but three members of the committee were dropped and replaced by four new members, including Ancel Keys, a leading proponent of the hypothesis. The updated report recommended that men who are overweight, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, lead “sedentary lives of relentless frustration,” or have a strong family history of heart disease should replace part of the saturated fat in their diets with PUFA.8
The hypothesis nevertheless remained controversial in the scientific community for decades. The tide turned in 1984 when the Coronary Primary Prevention Trial showed that cholestyramine could prevent heart attacks.9 Cholestyramine is a drug that binds bile acids in the intestine and causes their excretion in the feces. As a result, the liver takes cholesterol in from the blood in order to make more bile acids and the concentration of cholesterol in the blood falls. Time magazine hailed the trial as a vindication of the American Heart Association’s twenty-three-year-old stance against animal fats. Butter, eggs, and bacon were all conspicuously absent from the treatment protocol of this trial, but Time nevertheless ran a cover story entitled “Hold the Eggs and Butter,” which artfully featured a frowning face with eyes of sunnyside up eggs and a downturned mouth of a slice of fried bacon. The article declared, “cholesterol is proved deadly, and our diet may never be the same.”10
In our own day, the American Heart Association continues to promote the hypothesis with vigor. In 2009, it updated its official stance, recommending at least 5 to 10 percent of calories as omega-6 PUFA with additional PUFA coming from omega-3 sources, and concluded that intakes even higher than this “appear to be safe and may be even more beneficial (as part of a low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol diet).”11 It was one thing to promote this hypothesis in 1961 when it had never been tested, but to throw a PUFA party in 2009 and suggest we all wash away our cardiovascular concerns with swigs of soybean oil is to ignore with callow abandon all the lessons we have learned from clinical trials published in the intervening decades.
Six randomized, controlled trials specifically testing the effect of the substitution of polyunsaturated vegetable oils for animal fats on heart disease have been published.12-17 These trials were all published between 1965 and 1989. Two of them found that vegetable oils increased the risk of heart disease,12, 14 although one of these creatively concluded from this that “men who have had myocardial infarction are not a good choice for testing the lipid hypothesis.”14 Two of them reported no effect of vegetable oil.13, 15 The authors of one of these two trials, however, only reported the results half-way through the study.15 In the final report, they pooled the two groups together and compared them to a new control group that had not received any dietary advice at all.18 As a result, we have no way of knowing the true effect of vegetable oil in that study. Two of the six trials were double-blind, and deserve special attention.16, 17 These are the Minnesota Coronary Survey and the Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital Study.
The Minnesota Coronary Survey tested the effect of substituting vegetable oils for animal fats in hospital patients who were on the diets for an average duration of only one year.16 As shown in Figure 2, vegetable oil had no effect on cardiovascular disease. While its effect on total mortality was not statistically significant, however, total survival was nevertheless better in the group eating saturated fat. We naturally must wonder what would have happened to total mortality had the subjects been on the diets for longer than one year.
Figure 2. Vegetable Oil Produced a Statistically Insignificant but Nevertheless Unfavorable Trend in Total Mortality
The dotted line represents the survival of the group eating a diet rich in saturated fat, whereas the solid line represents the survival of the group eating a diet rich in PUFA. Although the duration of the graphs extends up to 4.5 years, subjects were continually entering and exiting the study, so that the average subject was on the diet for only one year. The graphs exaggerate the difference between the two lines because the vertical axes do not begin at zero. Nevertheless, the trend for total survival, though not statistically significant, favors the saturated fat group.
The Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital Study lasted over eight years, and most of the subjects were enrolled for at least six years.17 It is the only one of these six studies where the mean age of the subjects was greater than sixty, so it allows us to better see the effect of vegetable oils on the risk of cancer, if such an effect exists.
Subjects eating the diet rich in vegetable oils had a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, but a higher risk of mortality from other causes. As a result, diet had no effect on total mortality. This is clearly shown in Figure 3. As shown in Figure 4, deaths from cancer began to increase in the vegetable oil group after two years, and the increase became much larger after five years.19 As shown in Figure 5, the difference in the incidence of all deaths from non-cardiovascular causes began to increase in the vegetable oil group only after four years and remained extremely small until seven years.17 After seven years, non-cardiovascular mortality began to increase rapidly. The disturbing possibility that the true harms of vegetable oils take years to emerge did not escape the authors, and they concluded that “future clinical trials of diets rich in unsaturated fat must be planned for periods well in excess of eight years, rather than for the five-year periods that have been the usual goal.” Such longer trials have never been conducted.
Although a superficial analysis of this study would suggest that vegetable oils decrease the risk of heart disease while increasing the risk of cancer and other diseases, this may not be the case. Even though the investigators randomly allocated the subjects to each group, the randomization failed to equally balance rates of smoking between the two groups. There were twice as many heavy smokers and 60 percent more moderate smokers in the group consuming traditional animal fats, while there were more light smokers and non-smokers in the group consuming vegetable oils.17The diet rich in animal fats, moreover, was deficient in vitamin E. Animal experiments suggest that we should obtain 0.6 milligrams of vitamin E for every gram of PUFA we consume. The vegetable oil diet came close to this requirement, supplying a ratio of over 0.5, but the animal fat diet fell miserably short of it, supplying a ratio of less than 0.2.20
Animal fats are not intrinsically deficient in vitamin E, however. The average store-bought butter, for example, easily meets the vitamin E requirement, and a high-quality pastured butter can provide more than double this requirement. 21,22 It is thus unclear why the animal fat diet was so deficient in the vitamin, but this deficiency in combination with the higher rate of smoking may have contributed to the greater risk of cardiovascular disease in the animal fat group.
It appears from these studies, then, that vegetable oils promote cancer while animal fats protect against it even in the presence of smoking and vitamin E deficiency. Vegetable oils may promote heart disease as occurred in two studies,12, 14 but the results of the LA Veterans Administration Hospital Study make this unclear. The authors of this study themselves concluded as follows: “. . . we consider our own trial, with or without the support of other published data, to have fallen short of providing a definitive and final answer concerning dietary prevention of heart disease.”
The solid line represents the survival in
the group fed vegetable oils while the dotted
line represents the survival in the group fed
traditional animal fats. There is no difference
in total mortality between the two groups.
As shown in Figures 4 and 5, however, non-cardiovascular
deaths began to increase in the
vegetable oil group rapidly only towards the
end of the study, raising the question of what
would have happened to total mortality had
the study lasted longer.
|Figure 4. Vegetable Oil Increased the Risk of Cancer in the Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital Study.19The solid line represents the incidence of cancer in the group fed vegetable oils while the dotted line represents the incidence of cancer in the group fed traditional animal fats. The increased incidence of cancer in the group fed vegetable oil did not begin to appear until after two years and the difference became especially large after five years. The difference between the groups reaches the border of statistical significance at P=0.06, meaning we can be 94 percent confident that the difference is not due to chance.|
|Figure 5. Vegetable Oil Increased the Risk of Non-Cardiovascular Mortality Only After Seven Years.17The graph represents survival after excluding deaths from cardiovascular disease. Thus, as the lines fall, non-cardiovascular deaths increase. The solid line represents the survival in the group fed vegetable oils while the dotted line represents the survival in the group fed traditional animal fats. Non-cardiovascular mortality increases rapidly in the vegetable oil group only towards the end of the study, after seven years have passed. Analyzed over time, the difference only reaches borderline significance as indicated in the figure, but when the time points are pooled together the difference between the two groups is statistically significant.|
These studies leave many questions to be answered. Are the effects of vegetable oils with different proportions of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids different from one another? What is the effect of vegetable oils over a lifetime, beginning in youth? Are there certain dietary contexts that make vegetable oils harmful, and others that make them safe? The larger question, however, is whether, given all this uncertainty, we should make ourselves guinea pigs for these newfangled foods. No one has yet offered a better summary of the issue than that offered by the late endocrinologist Broda Barnes in his 1976 book, Solved: The Riddle of Heart Attacks:
Everyone should have the privilege of playing Russian Roulette if it is desired, but it is only fair to have the warning that with the use of polyunsaturated fats the gun probably contains live ammunition.23
The second myth is that animal fats promote inflammation because they contain a small amount of the omega-6 PUFA arachidonic acid, found primarily in liver and egg yolks with smaller amounts in butter and meat fats. This hypothesis emerged in the scientific literature in the 1980s and 1990s as researchers began attributing the low rate of heart disease among traditional Inuit to their consumption of large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from marine oils.24 Researchers argued that these omega-3 fatty acids were protective precisely because they counteracted the inflammatory effects of arachidonic acid. Barry Sears popularized this idea in his best-selling 1995 book The Zone Diet.25 Therein, he proclaimed excess arachidonic acid “your worst biological nightmare.” Not only is it inflammatory, he wrote, but it “is so potent and so dangerous that when you inject it into the bloodstream of rabbits the animals die within three minutes.”
Despite these sensational claims, arachidonic acid is not inherently inflammatory. Its deficiency, in fact, produces a number of inflammatory symptoms, including dandruff, hair loss, infertility and irritated, red, sore, swollen, and scaly skin.26,27 Inhibiting supposedly “inflammatory” products made from arachidonic acid such as prostaglandin E2 using over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can produce a number of inflammatory outcomes. These drugs induce intestinal pathologies that closely resemble celiac disease in laboratory animals in response to gluten or even egg white,28,29 and they interfere with the resolution of autoimmune conditions.30
Although it is true that our bodies use arachidonic acid to initiate inflammation—a vital process if we want to survive to adulthood without being wiped out by pathogenic microbes —our bodies also use this fatty acid to suppress inflammation or to resolve inflammation once it has run its course. We use arachidonic acid to make cell-to-cell junctions that form physical barriers against toxins and pathogens,31-33 to create a unique environment in the gut that causes our immune system to react to food proteins with tolerance instead of intolerance,34 and to make important molecules called lipoxins that help resolve existing inflammation.30,35 We even use arachidonic acid to signal the conversion of omega-3 fatty acids to resolvins, another class of molecules that help resolve inflammation.30 It makes little sense to characterize this fatty acid as singularly inflammatory in nature when it has so many anti-inflammatory functions, and when it is present in so many traditional foods consumed by populations free of inflammatory diseases.
The third myth, that “solid fats” are empty calories with no nutritional value, has emerged more recently with the latest revision of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This document defines a “nutrient-dense” food as one whose “nutrients and other beneficial substances . . . have not been ‘diluted’ by the addition of calories from added solid fats, added sugars, or added refined starches, or by the solid fats naturally present in the food.”36 This peculiar definition of “nutrient-dense” allows the addition of liquid oils but requires the removal of natural solid fats. “Solid fats” are defined as “fats with a high content of saturated and/or trans fatty acids, which are usually solid at room temperature.” Using this definition, one could ostensibly make milk more “nutrient-dense” by replacing its natural butterfat with corn oil.
The natural fats present in foods carry all of their fat-soluble vitamins, and added fats further increase their bioavailability. Human trials, for example, have clearly shown that butterfat increases the absorption of vitamin E,37 and that canola oil increases the absorption of carotenoids from salad.38 The more fat one adds, according to these studies, the greater the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients. This can hardly be considered a decrease in nutrient density!
Animal experiments, moreover, suggest that fats and oils low in PUFA provide the best absorption of fat-soluble nutrients. When compared to corn oil, for example, olive oil roughly doubles the absorption of lycopene and astaxanthin in rats.39 If the lower absorption seen with corn oil is a result of its higher PUFA content, then so-called “solid fats” might prove superior even to olive oil, and certainly to canola oil.
Clinical trials have failed miserably to support the hypothesis that replacing saturated animal fats with polyunsaturated vegetable oils would prevent heart disease. They have shown instead that vegetable oils likely promote cancer and perhaps even heart disease. Arachidonic acid in animal fat is not “deadly,” but is necessary for our bodies to initiate, suppress, or resolve inflammation as needed. These are all vital processes that allow us to respond appropriately to our environment. “Solid fats” do not “dilute” the nutrient density of our food. On the contrary, they carry fat-soluble nutrients and provide for their absorption.
When we observe the ease with which these myths arise and the vigor with which they are promulgated to the public, it is important for us not to create our own equal and opposite myths. We should keep in mind that traditional diets varied widely in their fat and carbohydrate contents. Nutritional needs vary from person to person, and from one stage of life to another. Any health-promoting component of the diet, including animal fat, can become harmful if it displaces other health-promoting components. It is thus entirely plausible that some people under some circumstances may benefit by reducing their intakes of animal fat and increasing their intakes of other traditional foods. We should thus beware of promoting any “correct” amount of animal fat to consume. We should instead look upon the earth’s menu of natural, traditional foods without fear, and choose those foods we need and enjoy in freedom.
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This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2012.
We all know the type: those that can eat whatever they want, not be anchored to the gym and yet always look amazing and healthy. Studies show they all share some of the same habits - embrace these and it may work for you! Researchers are Cornell University’s Food & Brand Lab created the online Global Healthy Weight Registry (GHWR) to study the everyday behaviors of people who maintain their weight. Their analysis of these people found some interesting facts.
They Don’t Diet - The study showed that diets never work because, like medicine, you take it until you feel better then stop. Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D. says, “Out of 10 people who have deliberately lost weight, five years later one of them will be thinner than when they started, four of them will be heavier, and five will be back to the same weight.”
They Weigh Themselves Often - The scale is not your enemy. In fact, it helps you monitor your weight. Fifty percent of those in the GHWR who weigh themselves regularly are quick to catch the minor weight gains and take action to reverse them. The same is true for 75% of participants in the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR).
They Eat Mindfully - Ninety-two percent of those in the GHWR consciously eat and are aware of everything they put in their mouths. They pay attention to their body’s cues and stop eating when they’re satisfied.
They Walk it Off - Forty-two percent of the people in the GHWR exercise five or more times a week, and 90% of those in the NWCR exercise, usually by walking, for about an hour a day.
They Keep the Kitchen Clean - A 2016 Cornell study found that women will eat twice as many cookies in a messy kitchen. The disarray primes us for a lack of self-control and all can cause stress. However, when women have a meditative mind-set and feel in control, they’re better able to resist temptation, the study showed. So keep your kitchen clean or learn to meditate.
They Don’t Feed Their Feelings - A 2014 study in Health Psychology showed that eating comfort foods isn’t any more comforting than eating anything else. Most people in the NWCR report that they rarely overeat in response to internal or emotional cues.
They Start Over Every Week - According to a 2014 survey of more than 1,000 people found that 58% of healthy people see Monday as a fresh start. They kick off each week with a workout, nutritious meals and being positive. This helps them keep on track in the days ahead. Plus, people who diligently resume their healthy eating habits after a weekend splurge are more successful at maintain a steady weight, a recent study in Obesity Facts showed. So, consider each Monday a chance to hit reset and make health a priority.