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jueves, 20 de julio de 2017

Are You a Carboholic? Why Cutting Carbs Is So Tough

I’ve been eating a high-fat, carb-restricted diet for almost 20 years, since I started as an experiment when investigating nutrition research for the journal Science. I find it’s easy for me to maintain a healthy weight when I eat this way. But even after two decades, the sensation of being on the edge of a slippery slope is ever-present.
The holidays and family vacations are a particular problem. Desserts and sweets, it seems, will appear after every lunch and dinner, and I’m not particularly good at saying no when everyone else is partaking. The more sweets I eat, the more we eat as a family, the longer it takes upon returning home before that expectation of a daily treat fades away.
What I’ve realized is that eating a little of a tasty dessert or a little pasta or bread fails to satisfy me. Rather it ignites a fierce craving for more, to eat it all and then some. I find it easier to avoid sugar, grains and starches entirely, rather than to try to eat them in moderation. The question is why.
To begin to answer that question requires understanding that researchers are generally divided not only on what causes obesity, but also why we have cravings and often fail to stay on diets.
The conventional thinking, held by the large proportion of the many researchers and clinicians I’ve interviewed over the years, is that obesity is caused by caloric excess. They refer to it as an “energy balance” disorder, and so the treatment is to consume less energy (fewer calories) and expend more. When we fail to maintain this prescription, the implication is that we simply lack will power or self-discipline.
Continue reading the main stor
“It’s viewed as a psychological issue or even a question of character,” says Dr. David Ludwig, who studies and treats obesity at Harvard MediSchool.
The minority position in this field — one that Dr. Ludwig holds, as do I after years of reporting — is that obesity is actually a hormonal regulatory disorder, and the hormone that dominates this process is insulin. It directly links what we eat to the accumulation of excess fat and that, in turn, is tied to the foods we crave and the hunger we experience. It’s been known since the 1960s that insulin signals fat cells to accumulate fat, while telling the other cells in our body to burn carbohydrates for fuel. By this thinking these carbohydrates are uniquely fattening.
Since insulin levels after meals are determined largely by the carbohydrates we eat — particularly easily digestible grains and starches, known as high glycemic index carbohydrates, as well as sugars like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup — diets based on this approach specifically target these carbohydrates. If we don’t want to stay fat or get fatter, we don’t eat them.
This effect of insulin on fat and carbohydrate metabolism offers an explanation for why these same carbohydrates, as Dr. Ludwig says, are typically the foods we crave most; why a little “slip,” as addiction specialists would call it, could so easily lead to a binge.
Elevate insulin levels even a little, says Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and the body switches over from burning fat for fuel to burning carbohydrates, by necessity.
“The more insulin you release, the more you crave carbs,” he said. “Once you’re exposed to a little carbohydrate, and you get an insulin rise from it, that forces energy into fat cells and that deprives your other cells of the energy they would otherwise have utilized — in essence, starvation. So you compensate by getting hungry, particularly for more carbohydrate. High insulin drives carb-craving.”
Sugar and sweets might be a particular problem because of several physiological responses that may be unique to sugar. Sugar cravings appear to be mediated through the brain reward center that is triggered by other addictive substances. Both sugar and addictive substances stimulate the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, producing an intensely pleasurable sensation that our brains crave to repeat. Whether this really is a significant player in sugar cravings is one of many areas of controversy in the field.
Researchers like Dr. Ludwig and Dr. Lustig who also see patients, and physicians, nutritionists and dietitians who promote carb-restricted diets, believe that a person can minimize these carbohydrate cravings by eating lots of healthful fats instead. Fat is satiating, says Dr. Ludwig, and it’s the one macronutrient that doesn’t stimulate insulin secretion. Eating fat-rich foods, “helps extinguish binge behavior,” Dr. Ludwig says, “as opposed to high-carb foods which exacerbate it.” (Although the definition of a “healthful” fat is another topic of debate.)
Whatever the mechanism involved, if the goal is to avoid the kind of slip that leads from a single forkful of rice to a doughnut binge or falling off your diet for good, then the same techniques that have been pioneered in the field of drug addiction for avoiding relapses also should work in this scenario as well. These basic principles have been developed over decades, says Laura Schmidt, an addiction specialist at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine who now studies sugar as well. They can “work for anyone who’s gotten clean and sober and wants to stay that way.”
The first and most obvious strategy is to stay away from the trigger. “Alcoholics who care about staying sober won’t get a job in a bar or even walk down the alcohol aisle in a grocery store,” says Dr. Schmidt. “It’s harder to avoid junk foods in the food environment around us, but we can certainly clean up our home environment and avoid situations where sugar and other treats are easily available.”
Changing our social networks may be necessary as well — convincing our families and our communities to be invested in eschewing these foods, just as they would help if we were trying to quit cigarettes or alcohol or a harder drug.
Another valuable technique is to learn to identify, plan for, and avoid situations that weaken resolve or increase cravings. “If I know that at 3 p.m. I have a little slump and will want to go to the vending machine, then I can have food available that’s the equivalent but that won’t trigger a binge,” says Dr. Schmidt. “Instead of sugary soda, I can drink sparkling water with a lime in it.”
Ultimately, any successful diet is by definition a long-term commitment. We tend to think of diets as something we go on and off. And if we fall off, we think the diet failed. But if we buy into the logic of carb-restricted diets, then it implies acceptance of a lifetime of abstention. As with cigarettes or alcohol, if we fall off the wagon, we don’t give up; we get back on.
“It’s a very powerful system that has to be undone, whether it’s addiction or metabolic disease,” says Dr. Schmidt. “It is knitted into the body and mind over years, and getting healthy requires taking the long view as well.”

martes, 18 de julio de 2017

Top Cardiologist Blasts Nutrition Guidelines

Salim Yusuf says new evidence fails to support many major diet recommendations.

by Larry Husten, CardioBrief February 27, 2017 

One of the world's top cardiologists says that many of the major nutrition guidelines have no good basis in science.

"I'm not a nutrition scientist and that may be an advantage because every week in the newspaper we read something is good for you and the same thing the next week is bad for you," said Salim Yusuf, MD, DPhil, (McMaster University), at Cardiology Update 2017, a symposium presented by the European Society of Cardiology and the Zurich Heart House.

Yusuf presented evidence that many of the most significant and impactful nutrition recommendations regarding dietary fats, salt, carbohydrates, and even vegetables are not supported by evidence.

Yusuf's talk relied heavily on findings from the PURE study, a large ongoing epidemiological study of 140,000 people in 17 countries. Though PURE is an observational study, "its design and extensive data collection are geared toward addressing major questions on causation and development of the underlying determinants of cardiovascular disease."

Much of the data presented by Yusuf has not been published yet and should be considered preliminary, he said. In 2014 publication of the sodium results stirred considerable controversy.

The results from PURE will likely add fuel to the ongoing fiery debate over carbohydrates and fats. Yusuf displayed data showing that the incidence of cardiovascular disease in the PURE population increases as carbohydrate intake (as a percentage of total calories) rises.

"Previous guidelines said reduce fats and compensate for it by increasing carbohydrates ... and so essentially we've increased carbohydrate intake in most Western countries and this is likely damaging. We were in for a big surprise. We actually found that increasing fats was protective."

The PURE data show a steep increase in CV risk as carbohydrate intake increased beyond 55% of total energy. WHO guidelines state that up to 75% of energy can come from carbohydrates. "But that is wrong," said Yusuf.

Dietary Fat

"We actually found that increasing fats was protective," he said. Low consumption of total fat was associated with increased risk. Very high fat is also "probably bad," Yusuf said, based on earlier studies from Finland with people who had "extremely high fat levels, not the usual fat levels that populations consume."

No clear patterns emerged for different types of fats, Yusuf reported. Trends suggested that saturated fats were not harmful and perhaps even beneficial, while monounsaturated oils appeared beneficial. Polyunsaturated oils had a neutral effect, he said.

"You've got to think about the change in oils that have occurred in the world in the last 30 years," said Yusuf. "It was entirely industry driven. We went from natural fats, which are animal fats, to vegetable fats, because they [industry] can produce it and therefore charge for it, and this was swallowed hook, line, and sinker by the AHA, and the WHO just repeated it."

Yusuf also took aim at milk consumption trends in the US. "Even if you consume milk they want you to consume 2% or 1% of fat" but, he asked, "what is the evidence?" "A big, big, zero," he said. In fact, he said, there "really are no data at all to reduce the fat content of milk."

Yusuf came down squarely in favor of fats over carbohydrates: "Fundamentally, some fats are good, some fats may be neutral, but it's carbohydrates that are the worst thing." He offered a piece of advice: "so when you eat a hamburger throw away the bun and eat the meat."

Yusuf summarized the PURE findings, which found that saturated fats from dairy sources were protective and saturated fats from meats were neutral. White meat from chicken or fish appeared to have a beneficial effect, while red meat in moderate quantities was not associated with harm.

Yusuf volunteered a strong endorsement for Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise, who has been heavily criticized by the nutrition establishment for her defense of dietary fat. "She shook up the nutrition world but she got it right," said Yusuf.

"Why did we go wrong? We went wrong because of surrogate endpoints."

The demonization of fats -- saturated fats in particular -- stemmed from earlier observations linking saturated fat consumption to LDL levels. Yusuf reported that PURE confirmed this finding, but he also noted that the overall difference in LDL was small and that there was a large amount of variance. More importantly, randomized studies that have looked at fat reduction to reduce cardiovascular events have not shown benefit, except in cases where fat levels were extremely high, he said.

Yusuf said that the ApoB/ApoA ratio is a much more highly sensitive marker of risk. Data from PURE shows that this ratio goes up with carbohydrate consumption but is neutral with saturated fats or polyunsaturated fats and declines with monounsaturated fats.

Regarding salt consumption Yusuf restated findings from the previous published reports from PURE and the more recent report from a working paper from WHO. He said the low sodium position was based on the well-established relationship between sodium and blood pressure. But, he argued, the benefits of extremely low levels of sodium have never been tested in a randomized controlled trial. Further, since sodium is an essential nutrient it is inevitable that taking sodium levels too low will be harmful. He also pointed out that although reducing blood pressure through sodium reduction may turn out to be beneficial in people with hypertension, it is entirely possible that non-hypertensives will derive no benefits from sodium reduction but they may well be susceptible to the harms associated with low sodium levels.

Fruits and Vegetables

Yusuf also raised questions about fundamental recommendations that are almost never subject to critical scrutiny. "Where on earth did the concept that we should eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables come from?" asked Yusuf.

"Why not 4, why not 3, why not 6, why not 7? Is it all fruits, is it all vegetables, is it what kinds of fruits, what kinds of vegetables?"

He reported that the PURE data found a neutral effect for vegetables, and that the literature is "really inconsistent." More importantly, he dismissed the idea that foods need to be judged based on their effect on health. "But I have to tell you, when it's regarding diet, neutral is good. You have to eat something. If you like it eat it. Not every food has to be good or bad."

Yusuf then pointed out that it is almost impossible for a large portion of the world to follow these fruit and vegetable recommendations. "Why are fruits and vegetables not consumed? All the guidelines are written by people sitting in Geneva or Dallas who are white, rich, and male. They are male, and so they don't know the cost of foods, they don't go do the grocery shopping. They're white and they only think of what happens in their countries." In high income countries like Canada and Sweden people spend only about 10% of their income on food. But in lower income countries like Pakistan, India, Zimbabwe, 65% of income is spent on food. It is then "no wonder that they're going to buy the cheapest food," he said. The cost of buying 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables, as recommended by WHO, is completely unaffordable for many.

jueves, 6 de julio de 2017

The Scary Mental Health Risks of Going Meatless

                                 Vegetarianism can come with some unexpected side effects.

More and more women are vegging out...of their minds. New research suggests that along with shedding pounds, slashing cancer risk, and boosting life expectancy, vegetarianism could come with lesser-known side effects: Panic attacks. OCD. Depression. WH investigates the puzzling blow of going meatless—and how to stay plant-based without going mental.

Her symptoms were sudden and severe. Drew Ramsey's 35-year-old patient had always been fit and active, but her energy had flatlined. When she did manage to drag herself to the gym, it didn't help. She felt anxious and was often on the verge of tears for no reason, even when she was with friends. Worst of all were her panic attacks, a rare occurrence in the past but now so common that she was afraid of losing her job because she had trouble getting out of bed, and she'd become terrified of taking the New York City subway.

Ramsey, a Columbia University professor and psychiatrist with 14 years of experience, wanted to put her on medication. His patient demurred. She was so conscious of what she put in her body, she'd even given up meat a year ago, having heard about all the health benefits of vegetarianism. So Ramsey prescribed something else: grass-fed steak.

It may sound like an episode of House, but Ramsey had a hunch. He'd seen a dramatic link between mood and food before (he even researched it for his forthcoming book Eat Complete), and guessed that his patient's well-intentioned meat-free diet was the very thing causing her mental deterioration. Sure enough, six weeks after adding animal protein back onto her plate, her energy rebounded and her panic attacks dropped by 75 percent.

Her case is far from unique. "I hear from vegetarians every day; they have this terrible depression and anxiety, and they don't understand why," says Lierre Keith, author of The Vegetarian Myth. "People think they're eating a beautiful, righteous diet, but they don't realize there's a potential dark side."

It's true that many of America's estimated 8 million vegetarians are drawn to the diet's promise of a healthier weight, heart, and planet. They pass on beef, poultry, and pork, unaware that a growing body of research suggests a link between going meatless and an elevated risk for serious mental disorders.

Garden State
Paleo aside, it's been decades since meat eating has been considered truly healthy. Practically every day, it seems, a new study emerges showing that vegetarian diets are the key to everything from shedding pounds to beating cancer. One group of California researchers even found evidence that ditching meat can tack more than three years onto your lifespan.

The plant-based love has gone well beyond medical opinion—it's become part of a cultural shift. Some 29 million U.S. adults now take part in Meatless Monday. Amazon alone has more than 7,000 vegan cookbooks in its inventory (60 of those are best sellers). Open Table has scores of "top restaurants for vegetarians" lists, highlighting star chefs experimenting with zero-meat meals. Even chains like Wendy's and White Castle are grilling up veggie burgers.

"I hear from vegetarians every day; they have this terrible depression and anxiety, and they don't understand why."

It's tough to argue with the science—and with a movement that's been endorsed by everyone from Gandhi to Beyonce. And it's natural to assume that peak mental health and a perpetually blissed-out attitude are just two more side effects of the glowing vegetarian lifestyle.

So it was startling last year when Australian researchers revealed that vegetarians reported being less optimistic about the future than meat eaters. What's more, they were 18 percent more likely to report depression and 28 percent more likely to suffer panic attacks and anxiety. A separate German study backs this up, finding that vegetarians were 15 percent more prone to depressive conditions and twice as likely to suffer anxiety disorders.

Even the pros find the stats confounding in a chicken-or-egg way. "We don't know if a vegetarian diet causes depression and anxiety, or if people who are predisposed to those mental conditions gravitate toward vegetarianism," says Emily Deans, M.D., a Boston psychiatrist who studies the link between food and mood.

Most likely, says Deans, there's truth to both theories. People with anxious, obsessive, or neurotic tendencies might be more inclined to micromanage their plates (in one study, vegetarians had triple the risk of developing an eating disorder compared with meat lovers). Yet experts all agree that, regardless of where you rank on a scale of 1 to OCD, what you swallow plays a major role in what happens in your head.

"Food is a factor in mental health," says Ramsey. "We should be talking about it. You can't just make a sweeping change to your diet and expect it won't have any effect on you mentally."

Risky Nutrition
Quick: Name some "brain foods." Well, there's avocado. Olive oil. Nuts. Red meat? Not so much. Yet anthropological evidence shows that, long before we could choose to subsist on cashew cheese and tofu, animal flesh provided the energy-dense calories necessary to fuel evolving cerebellums. Without meat, we'd never have matured beyond the mental capacity of herbivores like gorillas.

Today, stronger brains are still powered by beef—or at least, by many of the nutrients commonly found in animal proteins. At the top of the list are B vitamins, which your noggin needs to pump out neurotransmitters such as glutamate; low levels of it have been linked to depression, anxiety, and OCD (sound familiar?). Similarly, meager levels of zinc and iron, two nutrients far more prevalent in meats than veggies, may manifest as moodiness—or worse. "I've had vegetarians come in thinking they're having panic attacks when it's really an iron deficiency," says Deans. Without iron to help blood shuttle oxygen around, the brain gets less O2, leaving it sluggish and more prone to misfiring. Then there's tryptophan, an essential amino acid found almost exclusively in poultry. Your body can't make it on its own and needs it to produce serotonin, a hormone that acts as the brain's natural antidepressant.

"Today, stronger brains are still powered by beef—or at least, by many of the nutrients commonly found in animal proteins."

Some vegetarians inadvertently dig themselves in deeper by filling up on white bread, rice, and pasta; sugar-laden cereals; and cookies. This so-called carbitarian diet is free of meat but rich in problems, says internist Vincent Pedre, M.D., author of Happy Gut. "The resulting seesaw of blood sugar and hormone levels may lead to even more irritability, depression, and anxiety."

Meat in the Middle
Of course, plenty of vegetarians never experience so much as a single mental-health hiccup, and savvy ones are able to eat around the aforementioned nutritional deficiencies (see "Eat Your Feelings," page 143). Clearly, it's possible to adjust to, even thrive on, a meat-free existence.

But quitting meat shouldn't be done cold turkey, cautions Deans. Consult a nutritionist or doctor beforehand, especially if you're susceptible to mood disorders or have a family history of them. Then cut down gradually. "Start using meat as a garnish in a dish rather than as the main attraction," suggests Diana Rice, R.D., a dietitian in New York City. Other healthy ways to lean in to veggie-based eating: Scale back to just one meaty meal per day; nix meat only on weekends or certain weekdays; or practice flexitarianism—the term for when you eat meat only on occasion, or don't do meat but still eat dairy, eggs, and fish.

As you go, keep tabs on how you feel, physically and mentally. "Everyone responds to going vegetarian differently," says Rice. "Some feel amazing right away, some may feel the same, and some realize they're better off with a little bit of animal protein in their diets after all."

Isabel Smith, 27, was one of the latter. Just like Drew Ramsey's patient, she was active and energetic and thought a vegetarian diet was the perfect complement to her health-conscious lifestyle. But after a few weeks sans meat, she found herself uncharacteristically weepy. "I was tired and frustrated and got upset more easily, especially over things that wouldn't normally bother me," she says. "I would find myself sad for no reason." Shortly after she started eating meat again, she noticed an uptick in her mood.

The twist? Smith is a registered dietitian. One who now understands personally what she studies professionally: Not everyone is cut out for a life without meat. For many people, it's crucial to realize that the emphasis in food writer Michael Pollan's oft-quoted advice to eat "mostly plants" shouldn't always be on the second word.

Learn which meat substitutes are our favorite and get other healthy-eating tips in the December issue of Women's Health, on newsstands now.

sábado, 10 de junio de 2017

Why Doctors Finally Called A Truce On Cholesterol in Food


Cholesterol is in every cell in your body. It’s an integral part of your cell membranes, helping good molecules pass into cells while keeping others out. It’s not well known, but most of your cells — and your liver in particular — make a lot of the cholesterol you use to function (about 1,000-1,500 mg per day). The rest you get from food.

After waging a 30-year war against cholesterol, the government and the American Heart Association are reversing their stance on this vital compound. A recent report from the US Department of Health’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reversed its previous ruling on cholesterol, announcing that “cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”[1]’s new 2015 Dietary Guidelines have moved slightly closer to the recommendations in the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap.

Contrary to what we have read in the media for years, dietary cholesterol itself is not the bad guy. This post explains what cholesterol is, what the different types of cholesterol do, and how they help your body and brain.

Cholesterol keeps your brain running smoothly

Cholesterol is particularly important for cognitive function. Your brain makes up only 2% of body weight but contains 25% of the body’s cholesterol![2]

Why so much in such a small space? Cholesterol helps your neurons communicate with one another.

Many neurons are encased in fatty covers called myelin sheathes. Neurons are like electrical wires, and myelin sheathes are like the insulation around the wire – they keep electricity contained in your nerve pathways, allowing messages and signals to move much more quickly. Myelin is one-fifth cholesterol by weight, so eating plenty of cholesterol is crucial to maintaining your myelin and keeping your brain’s signaling both fast and efficient.

Cholesterol deficiency is linked to a decline in cognitive function and memory, especially for anyone following a Western Diet (i.e., eating lots of carbohydrates and dutifully limiting fat and cholesterol). According to a 2011 study in the European Journal of Internal Medicine: “an excess of dietary carbohydrates, particularly fructose, alongside a relative deficiency in dietary fats and cholesterol, may lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease”.[3]

Cholesterol is the building block for sex hormones

Cholesterol is the building block for every single known sex hormone. That includes estrogen, testosterone, progesterone — the whole lot. Vitamin D is also essential for sex hormone production, and people who don’t eat enough fat or cholesterol are often vitamin D deficient.

Cholesterol is also a key player in bile acid production. Bile acid helps your body regulate fat, cholesterol, and glucose metabolism.[4] It’s also required for you to absorb fat soluble vitamins.
What exactly IS cholesterol? Why is it so controversial?

A common misconception is that cholesterol is a fat. Cholesterol is not a fat, although it travels through the bloodstream along with fats and it’s found in the fatty parts of foods.

Actually, cholesterol is a type of alcohol called a “sterol.” Sterols have two distinct parts: one that dissolves in water and one that dissolves in fat. The split allows sterols to travel in water-based compounds (like blood) while carrying fat-based products.

Cholesterol travels through the blood with packages called “lipoproteins”, which are like little containers full of fats, proteins, and other nutrients (like fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin D). These nutrients won’t dissolve fully in water, so they rely on lipoproteins to carry them through your system.

Cholesterol is controversial because it’s one of the first things we could separate out of blood, so we’ve been studying it for a long time. It’s been associated with all kinds of disorders, but the causal factors are still not determined. In other words, cholesterol can be a symptom, not a cause.

There is even an argument that cholesterol makes you stronger (you’ll survive poisoning better and put on muscle more easily when you have more cholesterol!). High cholesterol in conjunction with inflammation is bad news for sure – inflammation is a problem, but it’s harder to measure than cholesterol, and harder to control.

When we figured out cholesterol in food wasn’t a problem, the debate shifted to whether one type of cholesterol or another was the main problem, leading to the HDL vs. LDL debate.
What’s really going on in the HDL versus LDL debate?

Lipoproteins initially form in the intestines, where they gather and bind fat, cholesterol, and other nutrients. After they load up they move into the bloodstream to deliver those nutrients to various tissues.

During their journey, lipoproteins change form. There are a few different types, but the two most famous ones are: 
“high-density lipoprotein”, or HDL 
“low-density lipoprotein”, or LDL 

The media and the mainstream medical community like to talk about LDL as the “bad type of cholesterol”, and HDL as the “good type.” The common argument: LDL delivers cholesterol to tissues (supposedly a bad thing) while HDL takes cholesterol from tissues (supposedly a good thing).

Labeling lipoproteins as “good” and “bad” is both imprecise and misleading. This carelessness with language wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t have the consequence of causing people to avoid consuming cholesterol altogether— driving them away from healthful, fat-rich animal products and toward an inflammatory, carbohydrate-rich diet based mostly on flour, sugar, and toxic industrial (but cholesterol-free!) vegetable oils.

So if the cholesterol in food isn’t the cause of the cardiovascular problems far too common in the Western world, then what is?
Cholesterol itself does not cause heart disease: oxidized PUFAs do!

It’s not true that a lot of cholesterol in the blood causes heart disease. It’s actually the result of LDL particles depositing cholesterol inside artery walls, and that happens because of inflammation.

It matters if the LDL particles are carrying a lot damaged, oxidized fats, and that is more likely to happen if you eat a lot of polyunsaturated fats, or PUFAs, that are poorly processed and found in vegetable oils like soybean, corn, canola, cottonseed, and the like.

PUFAs are very fragile. They’re susceptible to oxidation by free radicals, and having too many of them (in cell membranes, LDL particles, and elsewhere) can trigger out-of-control inflammation and disease.

So now the question becomes not, “How much LDL cholesterol do you have?” but, “How oxidized is the LDL cholesterol you have?”

If you’re eating a Bulletproof Diet and staying away from kryptonite foods, you shouldn’t have much of a problem with excess PUFA intake. If you’re eating a typical American diet with processed foods high in vegetable oils, consider changing your routine and eating higher-quality fare.
The myth about cholesterol and plaque buildup

Also important is how long the damaged particles stay stuck where they don’t belong. Once inside the artery wall, these oxidized LDL particles attract macrophages and other well-intentioned white blood cells hoping to clear the obstruction; unfortunately, though, the white blood cell response leads to runaway inflammation and the production of a hard “plaque” that blocks blood flow.[5] Because cholesterol is stuck in these plaques, it’s often implicated as the “cause” of heart disease. But if you assay them, you find PUFAs.

Damage to the artery, which comes from inflammation and oxidized LDL, is the root cause of arterial plaque LDL buildup. HDL particles, which contain a good deal of the antioxidant vitamin E, can reduce the oxidation of particles in their place, thus lessening the inflammation and protecting the artery from plaque formation—which is why higher HDL levels predict a lower risk of heart disease.

HDL’s good deed is not so much that it removes cholesterol from these plaques. More accurate is that HDL protects and repairs LDL and fats from oxidative damage.
Boost Your Cholesterol Radar

One way to combat plaque formation and cholesterol-based inflammation is to eat a diet that’s rich in undamaged saturated and monounsaturated fats. Just as important is to avoid the poor quality PUFAs found in processed and packaged foods and low-quality restaurant meals!

Following a diet rich in high-quality, oxidation-resistant fat will raise HDL and reduce oxidized LDL (shameless plug: get the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap). It will also lessen oxidative damage and system-wide inflammation. Consume lots of coconut oil, grass-fed butter and animal fats from healthy animals (where you’ll also find cholesterol), fish, and avocado, and stay away from corn, soybean, vegetable, canola, and cottonseed oil and the like.

It is time to repair cholesterol’s good name once and for all. Consider too that the federal government—an entity harshly critical of cholesterol-containing foods for most of the last century—recently changed its mind. The government of Sweden went even further (perhaps because Sweden’s government is on the hook for the cost of healthcare) and is recommending a diet high in saturated fat. 

Now you can enjoy those yummy, pastured eggs even more!

viernes, 10 de marzo de 2017

Eat only these 9 types of food and you will melt off pounds of fat

Eat only these 9 types of food and you will melt off pounds of fat

I’ve decided to write this article for my clients, LCHF online co-warriors and anyone who has decided to embark on the low carb high fat or LCHF diet but have been encountering criticisms from well-meaning close friends, family members and even netizens who are totally ignorant about the health benefits that the LCHF diet brings to the individual.
I’ve had my fair share of criticisms mostly from friends and health forum members who actually warned me that adopting such an unorthodox diet, helping and coaching others on it may actually be harmful to both myself and my clients in the long run.

The Low Carb Diet is a Fad Diet

LCHF is Not a Fad Diet

This criticism is just about the most common one I encounter both online and offline in real life. My counter is very simple. I only ask,
“Now if someone who has had Type 2 diabetes for a decade, has listened to his doctor’s advice and is still having trouble controlling his blood sugar, comes to me for advice, I give him a personalized LCHF diet plan and for the first time in 10 years, his blood sugar drops 5 mmol/l within 4 weeks, how is this harmful?”
This usually does the trick.
Now if you have type 2 diabetes and is giving the LCHF diet a shot, you may encounter this criticism, maybe not from your spouse but probably from your siblings, close friends or even your parents.
You can’t blame them – the mainstream media, governmental health authorities and the medical community in most countries are STILL advocating a low fat, high carb “healthy” diet and this brainwashing, has instilled this deeply ingrained fear that any fat is unhealthy.
What you can do is just present the facts of YOUR personal experience that the diet is working because your blood sugar readings are gradually going down. There’s nothing stronger than your personal testimony!
If you’ve also started a detailed food journal like what I advised in my earlier article on How To Start a Low Carb Diet Correctly, jot down your blood sugar readings as well – then show them your food journal with the declining blood sugar readings.
Now, if you’ve embarked on the LCHF diet because you have weight to lose, then don’t say anything yet! Just smile and walk off. 3 to 6 months or even a year down the road, when you’ve lost all the fat – and they see you trim and healthy, THEN you can tell them, “See, I told you this diet would work!”
All that being said, you may STILL get some criticisms: this high fat diet will give you heart disease, which brings me to the next criticism.

The Low Carb Diet is Not Healthy in the Long Term

You Get Heart Disease from Sugars, Processed Foods & Refined Carbs, not LCHF

Some folks will not believe you even if you tell them the personal health benefits that you’ve experienced from LCHF. That’s perfectly okay.
They need to be convinced themselves so just show them this video by Dr. Mark Hyman, who is a family physician, a ten-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator and advocate in the field of natural medicine. He is the Director the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.
If they are open to discussion, let them know that low carb diets are perfectly safe and healthy, even in the long term. Show them this 2-year study that confirms this fact.
I personally found that the more I read up and researched on LCHF, the more convinced I was that I’m doing the right thing for my health and those of the folks I coach. So if you’re a newcomer in LCHF, read as much as you can so that you’ll have all the knowledge in the world to counter criticisms you encounter.
What I’ve also found out that worked for me is that when I listen to my detractors and their criticisms before I counter them, my critics are usually more open and receptive to what I have to say.
This gives me a great opportunity to get them on my side slowly, not so much to win an argument but for them to be enlightened about LCHF and what it can do to improve their health. This is much easier to do when talking in person.
Online criticisms are a different ball game altogether, especially when you’re in health forums and their nicknames know everyone. What I do online is this – say my piece, then back it up with evidence such as these studies:
If an opportunity arises, I will post my personal experiences: how I benefitted from going LCHF, the inches I lost from my waist and my health markers.

LCHF is an Extreme Diet: Eating Everything in Moderation is Healthier!

Everything in Moderation Diet Advice is Nonsense!

A friend of mine that I was coaching on LCHF has Type 2 diabetes, and he told me his doctor gave him exactly this piece of advice: just cut down on sugar and eat everything in moderation!
No wonder his diabetes wasn’t getting better; in fact, it got progressively worse despite all the diabetic medications that he was on because he was taking his doctor’s advice on “eating moderately” literally. 
This criticism very often is disguised as well-meaning advice by friends, relatives, family members and even physicians and dieticians who are totally clueless about the benefits of nutritional ketosis and natural fats.
It’s just pure garbage! Taken literally it can mean eating that tiny piece of Oreo cheesecake is okay even if you’ve got Type 2 diabetes with blood sugar level of 10 mmol/l because you’re eating in moderation!
He was extremely skeptical when I told him that this was the worst diet advice anyone can give and the only way for him to control his diabetes was to eliminate all grains, roots, sugars, fruits and processed foods, in other words, go on LCHF.
I told him if his blood sugar didn’t show any reduction within 4 weeks, he could ignore my advice. Within 3 weeks his blood sugar dropped 7 mmol/l, and he continued with LCHF.
The point I’m making is that if you don’t get specific what or how much exactly moderation is folks will have their definitions and interpretations of what it is and eat as they deem fit.
Decades back, when I was still in the corporate world, I trained front line staff on customer service skills. One cardinal rule that I gave my trainees back then was: never give “as soon as possible” as a timeframe because everyone’s interpretation of it is different. It may be within the same day for some, while for others it may mean within the next 3 hours!
Same with moderation in eating – people have taken this ambiguous advice literally and because of this chronic disease rates have skyrocketed because folks believed that eating everything moderately was healthy, whatever that meant!
In fact, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University did a study on the Everything in Moderation diet advice. Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., senior author and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston concluded that the study showed,
“Americans with the healthiest diets actually eat a relatively small range of healthy foods,” “These results suggest that in modern diets, eating ‘everything in moderation’ is actually worse than eating a smaller number of healthy foods.”
My advice is: disregard this eat everything in moderation garbage! Eat as much natural whole, unprocessed foods as you possibly can for your meals. Avoid all sugars, refined carbs, and processed foods at all costs.
Get your carbs down to between 20 grams and 50 grams a day if you’re prediabetic, a Type 2 diabetic and/or have weight to lose. If you’re healthy and don’t have any chronic conditions, you can slightly increase the number of carbs by eating more natural and nutrient dense whole foods like roots, tubers, lentils, and fruits.

The Low Fat High Carb Diet is Much Healthier than the Low Carb High Fat Diet

A Low Fat Diet can Harm Your Health

This criticism and misdirected advice is again usually by well-meaning but clueless friends, close relatives and family members who know nothing about the studies that have long proven that it’s the reverse.
In many quarters this is also the usual advice given by health authorities, doctors and dietitians who are not up to date with their knowledge on the rigorous research done on low carb diets that have proven this advice and criticism to be entirely untrue.
On the other hand, there are now studies that actually prove that the much lauded low-fat diets did nothing to curb obesity and Type 2 diabetes rates and heart disease risk factors. In fact, these studies show that low-fat, high carb diets increase the risk of chronic illness like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes.
Despite low-fat diets being promoted by health authorities worldwide as healthy diets, they increase the risk of heart disease rather than the other way around.
I’m sure you’ve heard that the bad cholesterol or LDL is the one that increases cardiovascular disease risk. Well, that’s only half the story because the size of the LDL particle matters. The small dense particle LDL are the malignant ones that increase atherosclerosis i.e. the build-up of plaque in the arteries which causes heart disease. The more of this small particle LDL you have, the greater your risk of heart disease.
What is so troubling is that low-fat, high carb diets change the size of the LDL particles from the benign large fluffy ones to the harmful small dense ones.
Studies also show that low-fat, high carb diets decrease HDL, the good cholesterol that prevents heart disease and increases triglycerides – all these increases the risk of heart disease.
In addition to all these negative effects of the low-fat, high-carb diet, it actually makes you hungry all the time.
Watch this video by Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, a husband and wife doctor team who have been in private practice devoting their clinical time exclusively to bariatric and nutritional medicine, gaining firsthand experience treating over 6,000 people suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, and obesity with their nutritional regimen. Listen to these 2 experts have to say about why low-fat diets make you hungry all the time.
What’s more, the low-fat diet discourages the consumption of healthy whole foods like eggs, animal fats, coconuts, red meat and full-fat dairy. Let’s see these myths being debunked one by one.

Vegetarian or Vegan Diets are Much Healthier!

An LCHF Vegan Diet is Entirely Possible

Most vegetarians and vegans are on this diet because of 2 main reasons:
  • Religious – Many Buddhists and Hindus are vegetarians and vegans because their religious philosophies forbid the consumption of meat.
  • Personal – An increasing number of folks become vegetarians and vegans because they see the atrocities committed against animals in the meat, dairy and poultry industries and are convinced that all animal life should be respected.
Now it might seem that with traditional LCHF/keto being high in animal products and vegetarianism and veganism abstaining from such products, these 2 diets would be at the opposite ends of the pole for each other. Initially, that was what I thought too as well.
But when I explored further I discovered that it is possible to marry the 2 in more ways than one – folks on traditional LCHF/keto could adopt some vegan ideas and vegans could eat a plant based LCHF/keto diet.
So how do you counter this criticism? You don’t – you can introduce vegan LCHF/keto to the other party/ies, and everybody wins!

Is Vegan LCHF/Keto Actually Possible?

Sure, why not? Let’s take fats and oils, for example, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and macadamia oil – these are all natural plant based oils that vegans can use as much as they need or want.

Coconuts, Avocados, and Olives

These are fruits with high-fat contents.

Nuts and Seeds

These are naturally high in fat and protein: macadamias, pecans, Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts and pumpkin seeds are great examples. Chia and flax seeds are great sources of fiber and chilled coconut milk/cream with chia seeds make an excellent LCHF desert.

Low Carb Vegetables

These include cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, bak choy, eggplant, capsicum or ball peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, collard greens, tomatoes, and onions.

Low Carb Fruits

These include blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Depending on your daily carb count, you can include other low carb/sugar fruits as well.


These include some chickpeas, green beans, and others depending on daily carb count.


Soy contains both protein and fat and is low in carbs. If you decide to take soy, be sure to get non-GMO unprocessed soy for your tofu, soy milk, and tempeh. But is soy as harmful it’s made out to be by most natural healing experts?
Read Dr. Mark Hyman’s post on soy and decide for yourself:
“As some of you may be aware, I often recommend soy as part of a whole foods diet. Many people question why I include these foods in light of such startling media coverage on the dangers of soy. The reason is relatively simple.”
“I have reviewed reams of research and many claims for and against soy foods. From the studies available, I can tell you that soy is neither as good as the proponents say, nor as evil as the critics claim. I wish we had more convincing science to report, but we don’t. The key is to take all the available evidence together and see what shakes out.”
There you have it, 4 common criticisms against the low carb diet that I’ve personally come across and how to handle them. If you’re an LCHF newbie and need some hand holding, please send me an email: