Fats and Cholesterol

October 24, 2013 by  
Filed under A Healthy Diet

Let’s explore the relationship between fats and cholesterol. After all, we all know that fat causes an increased level of cholesterol in our arteries which is bad for our health. Is it this simple? No, it certainly is not. Many of us were brought up in the belief that high blood cholesterol levels were caused by the consumption of foods like egg yolks, cheese, liver and crustaceans. Scientific studies have subsequently shown that there is a very weak relationship between the amount of cholesterol contained in food items and your blood cholesterol level.

The truth is that the biggest influence on blood cholesterol is not the amount of fat you eat but the mix of fats in your diet. I have written a separate blog post about the good and the bad fats. The bad fats are saturated fats and trans fats (hydrogenated fats) while the good fats are the unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats).

What is cholesterol?
In scientific terms, cholesterol is a waxy steroid of fat (an organic compound). It is one member of a family of chemical compounds known as lipids. The more common name for lipids is fats. Five major classes of lipoproteins have been identified. Two (LDL and HDL) are commonly measured by blood tests and are linked to risks for coronary heart disease.

  • Sterols (cholesterol and some hormones)
  • Fat soluble vitamins (A, E, K)
  • Glycerol esters (dietary and body fats)
  • Sphingolipids (components of cell membranes)
  • Fatty acids (saturated and unsaturated)

Cholesterol is not synonymous with fat but, as can be seen in the above list, it is a special type of lipid. It is essential for life because your body membranes need it. It is also the substance that your body uses to make vitamin D, steroid hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and, most significantly, bile acids for digestion.

Low density lipoprotein (LDL) is composed largely of lipid (triglyceride and cholesterol) with only a small amount of protein. LDL-cholesterol is generally deposited in tissues, including the artery wall. High levels of LDL-cholesterol are associated with increased health risks. An LDL level less than 130 mg/100 ml of blood is desirable.

High density lipoprotein (HDL) contains less cholesterol and more protein. Higher HDL-cholesterol levels are associated with reduced risk for coronary heart disease. Some of the HDL cholesterol is converted to bile acids in the liver. Both cholesterol and bile acids are then secreted (separated from your body fluids) into the intestine.

How does cholesterol appear in your body?
Cholesterol, as well as fat, does not dissolve in water or blood. In order to transport these substances throughout the body, they are packaged into particles called lipoproteins. The different types of lipoproteins also explain the difference between good and bad cholesterol.

  • Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. Cells latch onto these particles and extract fat and cholesterol from them. When there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, these particles can form deposits on the walls of the coronary arteries and other arteries throughout the body. Such deposits, called plaque, can narrow arteries and limit blood flow. When plaque breaks apart, it can cause a heart attack or stroke. Because of this, LDL cholesterol is often referred to as bad, or harmful, cholesterol.
  • High-density lipoproteins (HDL) scavenge cholesterol from the bloodstream, from LDL, and from artery walls and ferry it back to the liver for disposal. Think of HDL as the garbage trucks of the bloodstream. HDL cholesterol is often referred to as good, or protective, cholesterol.
  • Triglycerides make up most of the fat that you eat and that travels through the bloodstream. As the body’s main vehicle for transporting fats to cells, triglycerides are important for good health. But as is the case for so many things, an excess of triglycerides can be unhealthy.

Where does cholesterol come from?
Although you can and do obtain cholesterol from foods, your body is capable of making all the cholesterol you need. The pool of cholesterol in blood comes from two sources:

  • Cholesterol contained in the foods you eat. Major dietary sources of cholesterol include cheese, egg yolks, beef, pork, poultry, fish, and shrimp.
  • Cholesterol manufactured inside your body.

As already mentioned above, the primary influence on blood cholesterol level is the mix of fats that you eat, not the dietary fats themselves. The important issue is the amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream.

To fully comprehend what I just wrote in the previous paragraph, you need to understand that cholesterol is made in the liver and intestine from fragments of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. The typical western diet provides approximately one third of the cholesterol the body needs on a daily basis (300-500 mg). The balance is manufactured in your liver (700-900 mg).

How does the body use cholesterol?
Cholesterol is withdrawn from blood for use in cell membranes; in tissues such as heart, liver or muscle; and for making hormones and bile acids.

How is it transported?
Cholesterol, being a lipid, does not mix with water. In order to travel through the blood, a watery system, cholesterol is coated with protein. The resulting macro-molecule is a lipoprotein. Lipoproteins are carriers for transporting cholesterol throughout the body.

Where does it go?
Unlike fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, cholesterol cannot be used for energy. Small amounts of cholesterol can be used up making hormones and vitamin D. However, the major substance made from cholesterol is bile acids. Formed in the liver, bile acids are secreted into the intestine where they help digest fat. Some of the bile acids are excreted with waste from the digestive tract. Most of the bile acids are recycled and reused. The body excretes approximately 1,000-1,400 mg cholesterol each day. One way cholesterol-lowering drugs act is to bind bile acids so they cannot be recycled. This continually drains cholesterol from the body to make new bile acids. Some types of dietary fiber may also act this way.

In general, the lower your LDL and the higher your HDL, the better your chances of preventing heart disease and other chronic conditions.

For more information about fats, refer to my blog post Good Fats vs. Bad Fats.

You may be also interested in watching the following video, presented by Dr. Ron Rosedale (courtesy articles.mercola.com/videos.aspx).

10 Foods That Will Harm Your Health

October 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Unhealthy Food, Unhealthy Body

Food shopping, like many of our daily activities, involve decisions, decision, decisions…. Our modern life style often prevents us from making good nutritional decisions. There’s not enough time, convenience takes precedence, old habits dictate. As far as nutrition is concerned, the ugly truth is that poor decisions will play havoc with your health. Have you ever stopped and considered the research you do and the decisions you make about your nutrition and compared these decision with those you undoubtedly make in regard to your most valuable possessions, e.g. you house, car, computer or washing machine etc. You would not knowingly put toxic substances into your car engine, or infect your computer with viruses, would you? Neither would you knowingly tolerate termites eating their way into your home. Yet, this is exactly what a great many people do to the most precious possession they have – their own body. The foods produced by our modern day food industries – who have existed less than the last 5% of human existence – are the main cause of modern day diseases like coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and others. Moreover, they are the cause of what has now become a worldwide epidemic – obesity. The food producers stock our supermarket shelves with unhealthy and outright poisonous foods, often with false and totally misleading labeling. False advertising is supposedly illegal in most countries but this law does not seem to apply to the food industry. However, you do have a choice; you are under no obligation to consume these foods.

You just need to make sound decisions when you stand at the doorstep of your supermarket, or when you are ordering your take-away food for lunch or fast food at a restaurant or food stall. So, let’s reveal the food choices you should limit or not consume at all if you care about your health and well being. Beware that this is a LONG blog post. It is full of depressing information but ends with some recommendations on the type of decisions you can make to better look after yourself and your family.

Beware These Foods

Wheat

The wheat produced today is not the wheat our forefathers consumed. Instead, it is a genetically modified and scientifically engineered food product that has been developed and “refined” over the last 50 years. Tragically, it has also been observed that the history of wheat parallels the history of modern day chronic disease and obesity. To quote Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D. (Huffington Post, 18 Feb 2012) “There are 3 reasons why wheat products, not just gluten, in parallel with sugar consumption, is a major contributor to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression and so many other modern ills.” This new modern wheat is different in three important ways:

  1. It contains a super Starch, a substance that contains high levels of a starch called amylopectin A which is very fattening.
  2. It contains a form of gluten that causes several inflammatory diseases like diabetes and obesity.
  3. It contains forms of an addictive drug that causes hunger feelings and makes you more hungry.

Gluten itself can trigger inflammation, obesity and chronic disease in several major ways.

  1. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation that can lead to insulin resistance. This, in turn, may cause weight gain and diabetes as well as autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel, reflux, cancer, depression, osteoporosis and more.
  2. Low-level inflammation reactions to gluten trigger the same problems even if you don’t have full-blown celiac disease but just have elevated antibodies.
  3. Recent research has also revealed that adverse reactions to gluten may result from problems in very different parts of the immune system than those implicated in celiac disease. This means that people can be gluten-sensitive without having celiac disease or gluten antibodies and still have inflammation and many other symptoms.
  4. Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) present in whole wheat causes body inflammation as well. It can lead to heart attacks.

Sugar

There is little doubt that sugar, as far as nutrition goes, is public enemy number one. If in doubt, watch the video that appears in my blog post titled “The Uncomfortable Truth About Sugars“. Food products rich in sugar are cakes, biscuits, muffins, bagels, fruit juices, soft drinks and also breads.

Artificial Sweeteners

These substances are most commonly added to soft drink products. The greatest fallacy is their presence in the “diet drinks” and “sports drinks”, often advertised as “health drinks”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin actually cause greater weight gain than sugar. The dishonesty of drink suppliers does stop there either

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), a sweetener first manufactured in Japan as early as 1965. Also called glucose/fructose, it is a substance that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert glucose into fructose to improve the sweetness. Fructose is essentially a toxic substance that our bodies do not digest properly. HFCS is a very common additive in all sorts of foods. Check your food labels and you will find that it commonly appears in packaged and processed foods.
  • Aspartame, made up of aspartic acid and synthetically modified phenylalanine which, in this sweetener, creates methanol. The methanol easily enters sensitive body tissue like brain and bone marrow where an enzyme converts it into a substance which damages proteins and DNA. Certain studies claim this toxin aids in the development of dementia like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease. Stay clear of it.
  • Splenda (sucralose) is an artificial sweetener that contains no elements of natural sugar. In fact, it contains a degree of chlorine. Splenda destroys healthy essential gut bacteria.

Soy Products

For many years, I believed the hype about soy milk being a healthy drink. The truth is the most soybeans that enter the food chain today are genetically modified in order to withstand high levels of pesticide. The ONLY soy products which are healthy are those made from organic soy that has been properly fermented. Unfermented soy products have, in numerous scientific studies, been linked to immune system degradation, thyroid problems, cognitive damage, reproductive disorders and infertility, even cancer and heart disease. The damaging ingredient in unfermented soy is called glyphosate and can be found in products like protein bars, soups and sauces, baked goods, breakfast cereals, dietary supplements and bottled fruit drinks. It is simply amazing that soy industry representatives, either active within regulatory bodies or influencing such bodies, have been able to hide the ugly truth from the public. Food producers even get away with using synonym names for soy to label their products; names like bouillon, natural flavor or textured plant protein.

Processed Meats

A 2011 review, produced by the World Cancer Research Fund, which was based on more than 7,000 clinical studies, found that processed meats are unhealthy and should be entirely excluded from your diet. These foods include deli meat like sausages, salami and ham. The problem with these foods is the origin of the meats used and the chemical processes used to prepare the foods. Most meats used originate from animals raised in feed lots where they are given growth hormones, antibiotics and other drugs meant to promote their growth despite deplorable living conditions. These meats contain sodium nitrite which is a preservative that also contains an agent that destroys microorganisms that might carry disease. Good for the animals, maybe, but read on to discover what it does inside your body. Nitrates are converted in your body into cancer producing chemicals (nitrosamines) which are linked to colon, stomach and pancreatic cancers. And it doesn’t stop there. Most deli products may also contain harmful chemicals that do not originate in animal feed lots but are produced during the manufacturing process. These include:

  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs). Many deli products are smoked as a curing process and excess smoke generated during this process can transfer PAHs to the meat. PAHs are known cancer producing chemicals.
  • Heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These compounds are created when meats, or other foods, are cooked at high temperatures. They are associated with stomach, colon and breast cancers.
  • Advanced glycation products (AGEs). Again, these compounds are formed when foods are cooked at high temperatures and particularly when grilled or fried without water. AGEs absorbed in your body increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and disease.

See separate blog post about Advanced Glycation End Products here. Further References .If You Eat Processed Meats, Are You Risking Your Life at Mercola.com.

Vegetable Oils and Margarine

Vegetable oils include palm oil, soybean oil, corn oil and even canola oil. I choose to quote Mike Geary, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and originator of The Truth About ABS program, who explains the dangers of hydrogenated oils and margarine in a no-nonsense fashion . “Hydrogenated oils are industrially produced, chemically altered oils subjected to extremely high pressure and temperature, with added industrial solvents such as hexane for extraction, and have a metal catalyst added to promote the artificial hydrogenation, followed by bleaching and deodorizing agents…..and somehow the FDA still allows this crap to pass as food. These oils aren’t even worthy of your lawnmower, much less your body! They’ve been linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. Even small quantities have been shown in studies to be dangerous. If you care about your health, check the ingredients of everything you buy, and if you see partially hydrogenated oils of any kind, margarine, or shortening, protect yourself and your family by choosing something else.” If you don’t believe him, then allow me to quote Dr. Mercola, in his article on foods to avoid: “Of all the destructive foods available to us, those made with heated vegetable oils are some of the worst. These oils may be healthy in their natural stage but are anything but healthy after the manufacturing process they undergo to become commercially available.” Oxidized cholesterol is introduced into your system every time you eat something cooked in vegetable oil. The oil you use for cooking should be stable enough not to change its chemical structure when heated. Processed vegetable oils DO change their chemical structure and become oxidized (rancid). This oxidization converts good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. In introduces oxidized cholesterol into your blood and this will cause build-up of plaque like substances in your arteries. The manufacturing process for vegetable oils also introduces trans fats which happen to be the worst fat you can consume. And, finally, you should be aware that many of these commercial oils are made from genetically modified crops Further Reference: Why Hydrogenated Oils Should be Avoided at All Costs”.

Foods Packaged in Grease Proof Food Wrappers

The best example of foods packaged in these types of toxic materials may be microwave popcorns. Chemicals in a group called perfluoroalkyls which contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are embedded in grease proof food wrappers in order to stop grease leaking through the wrapper. Bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency has classified these chemicals as “likely carcinogens” and claimed that PFOA causes reproductive risks for humans. Various researches have also linked PFCs to health dangers like infertility, thyroid disease, cancer, immune system damage and increase LDL cholesterol levels. So, how do you protect yourself from this type of industrial food packaging assault? Be aware that these substances occur in non-stick cookware, foods sold in grease-proof food packaging such as fast foods and microwave popcorn.

Canned Foods

The problem here is the protective coating applied to canned food containers. The epoxy resin used contains Bisphenos A (BPA), a chemical widely used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy raisins. This chemical is linked to reproductive abnormalities, breast and prostrate cancers, diabetes and heart disease. The canned foods identified as high risk are acidic foods which can cause the chemical to leach into the food stored. Canned tomatoes have been identified as the acidic food product most likely to be contaminated. BPA can leach into the food you consume from products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles. The leakage is said to depend on the temperature of the liquid stored and the age of the container. To minimize exposure to this chemical, do NOT microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers , avoid canned foods, and choose glass, porcelain or stainless containers as a preference.

Fruit Juices

A great many people would consider fruit juices a healthy addition to their nutrition. However, I caution you to read the label to determine the sugar content in juice you purchase. In many cases, it is as high as 10%. Such a ratio of sugar would put the juice into the same category as Coke or Pepsi.

Table Salt

The problem with table salt is that it is a processed product, not a natural product. Processed salt contains 98% sodium chloride to which has been added chemicals such as iodine, moisture absorbents and, in some European countries, fluoride. By contrast, natural, unprocessed salt is made up of 84% sodium chloride. The remaining 16% of its content are natural minerals such as silicon, phosphorous and vanadium.

Further Bad News

I have outlined a large range of foods which are best avoided if you care about your health. To add to the list, and I apologize if this blog post is getting just a bit depressing, recent research has revealed another range of poisonous substances that may well have found their way into your food supplies. The following substances are banned in most countries but, depending in which country you live, may well appear in common foods you purchase.

  • Ractopamine. This substance is banned in the EU and China. However, various consumer reports have found this substance in 20% o all pork products.
  • Antibiotics. Recent studies have found that no less than 80% of supermarket meats in the U.S. contain antibiotics which damage your gut flora.
  • rBGH. This substance commonly appears in milk production in the U.S. This substance has been banned in Canada, EU, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Israel because it the levels of the hormone IGF-1 which, in turn, increases the risk of cancers.
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Although more than 50 countries around the world require GMO foods to be labeled, and many countries have banned such foods, GMO foods are NOT labeled in the U.S. The disturbing fact is that close to 90% of soy, corn, canola and sugar beet products in the U.S. are not genetically modified. A 2012 study on animals revealed that GMO foods revealed serious health risks from the consumption of GMO foods, including the development of tumors and liver damage.
  • Potassium bromate. This substance appears in breads and was identified by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSP), a non-profit Washington based consumer advocate group, as a potential cancer risk in 1991. This substance has been banned in several countries.

The horrible truth is that the best way to avoid foods that are bad for your health, is to steer clear of food products labeled as “health claims”. Such labeling is often a blatant scam that promotes “whole grains” in processed foods that are full of sugar and wheat.

 

AGEs Cause Premature Aging and Disease

October 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Unhealthy Food, Unhealthy Body

AGEs stands for “Advanced Glycation End Products, a term which prompts an immediate further question: “What is glycation?”

Disclaimer

I am neither a medical expert, nor a nutritionist. However, I can read and I can pass on information provided by qualified experts. Medical science is not static, so I urge you to surf the Internet to verify, question or comment on what I am saying. I should also mention that I have not attempted to explain the biochemistry associated with AGEs as I am in no way qualified to do so. Let’s concentrate only on the essentials of AGEs.

What Is Glycation?
In biological terms, it is the bonding of protein and fat (lipid) molecules with sugar molecules. Some experts explain it as a process in which glucose molecules attach themselves to hemoglobin in a destructive process called glycation. Hemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells. These molecules carry oxygen to body tissues and expel carbon dioxide. To summarize:

  • Glycation interferes with your body’s cellular functions.
  • Glycation is mainly caused by the presence of high blood sugar levels.
  • Glycation affects the ability of your red blood cells to carry oxygen to your organs.

So far, this probably does not make any practical sense. However, the damage these processes cause should wake you up and pay attention.

Skin Problems Caused by Glycation
Let’s start with the skin problems. Glycation causes glucose molecules to attach themselves to skin proteins like collagen and elastin which are the proteins that give people a youthful complexion. The sugar molecules cause the skin proteins to become discolored and weak which then causes skin wrinkles and skin sag. Smoking exasperates the damage as a recipe for premature aging.

Diseases Caused by Glycation
There are many more serious issues at stake here:

  • Detructive effects of your blood vessels – primarily damage to collagen in blood vessel walls – which can cause high blood pressure, heart disease or strokes.
  • Microvascular effects –like damage to the pancreas – that can cause diabetes.
  • The formation of plaque-like substances in your brain cells and nerve tissue – a pre-cursor or cause for memory loss, dementia or the dreadful Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Nerve damage which can affect hearing and eye sight.

AGEs are formed by food you eat or formed naturally inside your body (in technical terms, when sugar molecules attach to protein or fat molecules without an enzyme).
The lining of blood cells are particularly sensitive as are blood capillaries of the kidneys and eyes, brain and nerve cells. As already said, they are a major cause for skin wrinkles and sagging skin tissue.

Nutritional Aspects of Glycation
It is the presence of glucose (sugar) molecules in your blood stream which, in combination with certain foods and cooking processes, that cause glycation.

  • Animal foods high in fat and protein are more susceptible to the formation of AGEs.
  • Browned and roasted foods like fried meats and packaged foods.
  • Modern diets are largely heat-processed and, as a result, contain high levels of AGEs.
  • Cooking of food at high temperatures without water (frying) causes the sugar in foods to bind with the proteins or fats to form AGEs.

How To Protect Yourself and Minimize Glycation

  • Reduce or eliminate sugars from your diet, particularly High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and fructose.
  • Cook meats at lower temps. Cook in broth.
  • Do NOT eat the crispy skin from turkey or pork. It is as bad as your fried breakfast bacon.
  • Avoid or reduce the amount of “browned” foods you consume. These include brown bread, browned or grilled meat, bacon, crispy brown cookies, donuts, chips, and crackers.
  • Minimize the amount of sodas and sweetened drinks that you consume, including sweetened fruit juices.
  • Avoid processed foods – they often have high sugar content.
  • Avoid browned, roasted, grilled or fried foods.
  • Avoid dark colored sodas as they contain caramel coloring.
  • Endeavor to keep your blood sugar level at or below 90 mg/dl.
  • Avoid or minimize grains – especially wheat and corn (they raise blood sugar levels). Don’t eat brown breads because they are baked or fried. Don’t eat donuts, muffins, pastries and bagels.

The End Benefits
Make these simple change and you will feel leaner, stronger, more alert and in a better mood. You will also sleep better, your joints will be stronger and your sex drive will improve.

Where To From Here
You will find several blog posts about nutrition on this site and I am progressively adding more.
I do it because of personal interest and because I am getting horrified discovering what the farm, fish, processed food and drink industries have done to an entire generation of people. The effects of the unhealthy foods we are sold is a worldwide obesity epidemic. If in doubt, just look around you.

Learning how to buy or access healthy foods and how to prepare healthy meals would require an entire book. Let’s leave this to the experts who are telling the truth and ignore the misleading propaganda and advertisements that you are exposed to every day, on TV and in magazines and newspapers. Fortunately, I have found experts who tell the truth in print and via easy to absorb videos.

The road towards a healthy diet and a healthy body involves 85% nutrition and 15% exercise. The first step is to acquire a sound eating plan.

I always place “diets” inside quotation marks because the term itself is contradictory. The word has two separate meanings, but is too often interpreted as a reduction in the amount of food you consume. This is entirely unnecessary. By eating the right kinds of food, you can actually eat more and still lose weight.

Nutrition Facts About Sugar

March 26, 2013 by  
Filed under A Healthy Diet

I think I can safely say the most of us know the differences between good and bad fats but our knowledge about different types of sugar is a lot weaker.

Did you know that a United Nations sponsored research about sugar and obesity has revealed that people in general, and in the U.S. in particular, have reduced their consumption of fat but increased the consumption of foods that contain sugar? Yet, obesity has increased dramatically and is now a worldwide epidemic. This suggests that obesity has more to do with sugar consumption than fat consumption.

Like it is with fats, we need a reasonable understanding of different sugars in order to make the right choices. As this may get a little too technical for some people, I have relegated a list of definitions to the end of this post. Sugars of one type occur naturally in foods like fruits and vegetables. Processed sugars which have a different constitution are added to foods, fruit juices and other drinks as sweeteners in order to make the products more palatable. Herein lies the difference between what is good and what is bad. We need to differentiate between sugars classified as monosaccharides and disaccharides and then we need to get familiar with the terms fructose, sucrose, glucose, lactose and galactose.

Then, there’s the role glucose vs. glycogen in our bodies. It gets complicated so let’s keep to the essentials.

Monosaccharides

Monosaccharides are the simplest form of sugar and include fructose, glucose and galactose. Fructose occurs naturally in fruits, honey, berries and most root vegetables. Your consumption of the foods in which it occurs naturally is healthy. Other monosaccharides include glucose and galactose. A U.S. survey reveals that about 9% of average caloric intake comes from fructose. Only one third of this fructose comes from fruit, while the other two-thirds come from added refined sugars; this is where you will find a correlation between unhealthy sugar consumption and obesity.

Disaccharides

Disaccharides are carbohydrates that are created when two monosaccharides are joined. The best known disaccharides is sucrose, commonly known as table sugar, in which a fructose molecule is joined with a glucose molecule. Another common disaccharide is lactose, found only in milk, in which a glucose and a galactose molecule are combined. Glucose Glucose is a sugar that our metabolism converts into energy. Our brain and other tissues require a constant supply of blood glucose to survive. Glucose, transported via the bloodstream, is the primary source of energy for the body’s cells; it is the prime metabolic fuel source for most organisms, from bacteria to humans. Our body produces glucose when we digest the sugar and starch that are contained in carbohydrates. Such foods include rice, grains, pasta, potatoes, fruits and vegetables. Enzymes break down the starch and sugar into glucose which is absorbed into our bloodstream. The glucose combines with insulin and together they provide the energy for our muscles and brain. It is vital to our health to keep glucose levels within a normal range. Because the energy originates from the foods we eat, our body has a mechanism for maintaining a normal range. This mechanism is seated in our liver which stores excess glucose as glycogen.

Glucose and glycogen

Our body absorbs glucose from the foods we eat and this may obviously occur irregularly. The glucose that the body does not use immediately is converted into glycogen. Glycogen is a chain of glucose sub-units stored primarily in the liver and in our muscles. This glycogen is used to buffer our blood glucose level. For example, our muscles use the glycogen stored in the liver for energy during strenuous exercise. What is important in our pursuit of fat loss is the fact that any glucose in excess of the needs for energy and storage as glycogen is converted to fat. This is the underlying cause for the common argument that claims as follows:

  1. Fruit contains fructose.
  2. Fructose turns to fat.
  3. If you want to lose fat, do not eat fruit.

This argument is essentially false because it ignores the way in which our body metabolizes fructose.

Fructose and glycogen

Fructose can stimulate lipogenesis which means the accumulation and storage of fat. However, fructose is primarily stored in our liver as glycogen. The liver can comfortably handle a daily intake of 50 grams of fructose without storing any extra fat and it can store 100 grams of glycogen. This is an important observation. A normal piece of fresh fruit contains approximately 6-7 grams of fructose so you would need to eat more than 5-7 pieces of fruit in a day to absorb 50 g. In contrast, you can very easily absorb more than 50 g of fructose by drinking a lot of carbonated soft drinks, or drinks sweetened with fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) consumption has increased dramatically and is now a main contributor to obesity. You need to understand the following misconceptions:

  • People confuse HFCS with fructose that occurs naturally in fresh fruit.
  • Do not believe that the entire weight of a piece of fruit is made up of fructose; most of the weight is fiber.

Conclusion You will suffer no ill effects from eating several pieces of fresh fruit on a daily basis. What you need to steer away from is HFCS consumption and processed sugars added as sweeteners to food products and drinks.

Additional definitions:

Fructose Fructose, or fruit sugar, is one of three dietary monosaccharides, the other two being glucose and galactose. All three are absorbed into our blood stream during digestion. Fructose is a naturally occurring sugar, typically found in fruits, honey, berries and most root vegetables. It is the most water-soluble of all sugars. In plants, fructose may exist as a monosaccharide and/or a component of sucrose, in scientific terms called a disaccharide. Commercially, fructose is derived from sugar cane, sugar beets and corn. Derived from these sources, it comes in three forms:

  • Crystalline fructose is the monosaccharide and has high purity when it has been dried and ground.
  • High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a mixture of glucose and fructose.
  • Sucrose (see definition below) is commonly added to foods, fruit juices and other drinks as a taste enhancement.

Sucrose

Sucrose is a complex carbohydrate that exists naturally in fruits and vegetables and occurs in greatest quantities in sugar cane and sugar beets. The food industry separates the sugar from these plants to produce table sugar and sweeteners which are added to foods, fruit juices and other drinks. During digestion, sucrose is broken down into its constituent monosaccharides, glucose and fructose. The glocuse and fructose molecules are absorbed into our blood stream and cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels. This can cause problems for people who suffer from hypoglycemia or diabetes.

Galactose

This is a simple sugar found in lactose that is less sweet than glucose (table sugar). It is a monosaccharide (see above) that comes mainly from milk and milk products. Galactose is metabolized primarily in our liver into glucose 1-phosphate.

Lactose

A sugar formed by galactose and glucose found mainly in milk where it occurs at 2-8% by weight. When we consume milk, an enzyme called lactase breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose. Because of hereditary factors of food sources, European people are generally far more tolerant of lactose than people from Africa and Asia. People who are intolerant to lactose may suffer bloating and flatulence when they consume milk products.

The Uncomfortable Truth About Sugars

I was utterly stunned when I stumbled upon the video shown below. It is a long video, it is very technical but I do feel it is absolutely essential viewing if you want to learn and appreciate the blatant adulteration of our food supply that has now been going on for some 30 years.

What Dr. Robert Lustig, a Professor at UCSF, reveals in this video is essential if you want to avoid the curse of obesity that has now become a worldwide epidemic.

Here are some of the issues you will appreciate after listening to Dr. Lustig.

  • Why fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), commonly used in a vast variety of processed foods, poison your body.
  • The myth about low-fat nutrition.
  • The inaccurate research that has guided nutritional advice for the last 30 years.
  • The Coca-Cola conspiracy and the bitter truth about sodas and fruit juices.
  • The complete story about on how your body metabolizes good and bad foods.
  • The bitter truth about bad sugars and how they are the underlying causes of obesity and diabetes type 2.

And much, much more. It’s a long video but you’ll be well advised to sit through it all. There’s some good humor included as well.

Original source: UC Television.

The Foods that Fight Aging

December 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Unhealthy Food, Unhealthy Body

This is a MUST-READ if you want to protect your skin, organs, muscles, and joints from aging…

Mike Geary, of “The Truth About ABS” fame, has turned his attention to what he claims to be his newest passion – Healthy Eating and Nutrition.

The FREE article, referenced by the first link below this post, will identify the #1 worst food (marketed as “healthy”) that harms your blood sugar levels, and how this also ages your body faster. This particular food also happens to be the subject of the top ranked Nutrition book on Amazon, a book written by a medical practitioner.

Mike has partnered with Catherine Ebeling to release a brand new manual called “The Top 101 Foods that FIGHT Aging”, and they’re celebrating this release by offering this little gem to you for UNDER ten bucks! That’s a whopping $30 savings by grabbing it today. Once you know the No1 worst food the causes aging, continue on to find out what particular foods PREVENT aging. I have the book myself and I  can thoroughly recommend it as an eye-opener.

The manual is MUCH more than a list of foods… it’s actually 83 pages jam packed with all sorts of unique foods, herbs, spices, teas, little-known nutrients, and dozens of other tips and tricks to help you FIGHT the aging process and keep youthful joints, skin, organs, and muscles so that you look and feel 10 years YOUNGER than your real age!

I think you’ll love this new manual as it has so many powerful tips that will protect your health and the youthfulness of your body.

Here’s the links you need:
The WORST Food that CAUSES Aging
The Top 101 Foods that FIGHT Aging.

Transform Your Bodyshape – My Best Method

June 7, 2011 by  
Filed under A Healthy Body, Featured

I have written my personal experience and success with weight loss on the About page. Just click this link to share my story.

My conviction is that there are three essential ingredients to a successful weight loss and fitness program.

1.       Nutrition
2.       Exercise
3.       Commitment and lifestyle.

My additional advice is not to take water over your head. Don’t make drastic changes to your lifestyle. Instead, make one simple change at a time but make it a permanent one. This particularly applies to your diet. Did you know that there are more than 50,000 diet books on Amazon and a prominent health and medical website lists no fewer than 89 different diets. They can’t all be right, can they, and the problem you have is to find a diet that you can live with and one that produces the results you crave. The truth is that the entire weight loss industry is full of myths, contradictions and outright lies.

Those of us who fit into the “baby boomer” generation were told to quit fatty foods like red meat and butter to forestall the development of heart disease. Later we were told to quit carbohydrates like breakfast cereals because they contain sugar levels that can produce diabetes. The latest research tells us to east like the “cave men”: vegetables, fruits and lean meat. The key is to eat foods that “burn fat”. More accurately, they improve your metabolism which in turn burn more fat.

I always believed that exercise involved long and tedious cardio workouts like jogging or peddling an exercise bike. Not so, I have discovered. A simple 45 minute workout done 3 times a week, combined with a healthy diet will product amazing results. I personally like what is called “interval training” in which you alternate intensive 1 minute exercises like sprinting with 2-3 minute sedate exercising like walking, then repeat the cycle several times.

The most difficult step is to overcome what I call “the resistance barrier”.  Most of us don’t like to change our lifestyle, do we? However, it is essential if you want to transform your bodyshape, become fit and full of energy and enjoy the   pleasure of looking at your new bodyshape in a mirror. Make a plan, stick with the routine for 30 days and you just won’t want to quit because you will feel such an improvement in the level of  your fitness and energy.

 

The Obesity Paradox

April 26, 2011 by  
Filed under A Healthy Body

Is there a direct association between obesity and ill health?  A number of studies have found a direct association between higher body mass index (BMI) and the risk of diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular problems.

Why, then, is it that some people are obese but healthy and happy. It leads to an obvious question: “If you are fat but healthy, should you bother about losing weight at all?”

There are several interesting paradoxes about obesity. Let’s have a look at the most well-known of these. Studies originating from the Winston-Salem State University of North Carolina confirm the existence of these paradoxes and look at the reasons why some people are clinically obese but do not attract obesity-related diseases. The study found that 25-30% of obese people present normal blood glucose and normal blood lipids. Here are the reasons why this is so. Read more

Six Easy Steps to Burn Belly Fat

March 14, 2011 by  
Filed under A Healthy Diet

Are you still wondering how to find diets that work for burning belly fat? In previous posts, I have emphasized the need to combine good workouts with a diet that focuses on fat burning foods that boost your metabolism. Here are six simple steps you can take. Make one change per week to make it easier on yourself but make it permanent.

Exclude Dessert Food for Breakfast

Who eats dessert for breakfast, I can hear you say. How about muffins, sugary cereals and bagels? Eaten at any other time of the day, these foods would classify as sweet deserts. Avoid these if you want to lose weight fast.

Modify Your Eating Schedule

Stop binge eating late at night. A pint of ice cream and a bag of potato chips while watching late night TV will make you fat. Have a bigger late afternoon healthy snack and a healthy dinner later in the evening. There is no problem with having a healthy dinner 30 minutes before going to sleep.

Cut the Junk from Your Shopping Tray
Avoid stocking your kitchen with sweet “treats” and replace them with bowls of fresh fruit. If your household demands sweets, then keep them out of sight and out of reach. Instead, make your fruit bowl visible to everybody. Stock your fridge the same way. Make healthy foods visible and hide the junk in the back.

Avoid Processed Foods in Favour of Natural Foods

This is what the processed food industry does not want you to know. Processed foods are all “modified” foods including bread, biscuits, cereals, chips, fruits canned in syrup and many more. Replace these foods with fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts. Read more

Bodyshape and Sixpack ABS – How to Plan for Success

February 26, 2011 by  
Filed under A Healthy Body, Featured

Are you looking for the fastest method to lose weight or, if you are younger, a quick method for acquiring a six pack abs.   Will it be a gym workout schedule, home based workout routines or a regular morning or evening jogging program? If you choose any of these methods you may need to be very patient because it is not the quickest way to lose weight fast.

I will share my personal experience and couple it with the quantitative research I have done on this particular subject. While patience may possibly the final ingredient in a successful program, there are more important factors that will determine whether you succeed or fail.

As human beings, we tend to resist changes, particularly to our daily routine or to our life style in general. Herein lies the first difficulty with a bodybuilding or weight loss program. The very first thing you must do is to establish a strong motivation for change and translate this into a realistic goal. What precisely is it that you really want to accomplish?

Here is a road map I myself have used with some success: Read more

How to Lose Fat Fast – Myth vs. Facts

February 23, 2011 by  
Filed under A Healthy Body, Featured

You should do cardio exercises in the morning on an empty stomach

There is no specific advantage in doing cardio exercises on an empty stomach. In fact, slow and boring cardio exercises are NOT the most effective method to reduce weight. If you want to lose weight fast, then interval training is a far more effective solution and you can do this at any time in your own home. Interval training consists of mixing regular exercise routines with high energy intervals. For example, you can repeat a pattern of jogging for 4-5 minutes then sprinting for 45 seconds to a minute.

You should do all your cardio exercises in the fat burning zone

The so-called “Fat Burning Zone” is a defined “stress” or “energy” level where you supposedly burn your body fat. Not so! As already stated, you need to mix your regular exercises with short intervals of high energy, burst type of exercises.

You must do cardio exercises every day

Save your breath! There is no need to punish yourself with long, daily workout routines. Well designed home exercises of 45 minutes duration done 3 times a week is sufficient for losing weight rapidly. However, you need to combine these workouts with a proper weight loss diet.

You only start burning fat after you exercise for 20 minutes

This is another nonsense. The truth is that we burn fat all the time, even while sitting down. It is true that exercising accelerates fat burning but there is nothing magic about the duration past 20 minutes. The more effective way is the short, burst exercise system that achieves better fat loss in less than half the time of regular cardio workouts. Combine this with eating fat burning foods.

You cannot lose fat and build muscle at the same time

Yes, you can! Current research shows that men and women can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Discover the short, burst exercise system that will help you boost your metabolism, increase your fat loss, and burn belly fat, and then make your choice.

You need to do hundreds of crunches and sit-ups to lose belly fat

Back breaking stomach crunches and sit-ups will not burn the belly fat that covers your abs. Instead, you should use fat burning interval training coupled with total body abdominal exercises.

You can buy a miracle working six pack abs machine in four easy payments of $29.00

These abdominal exercise contraptions do not burn belly fat, the only thing they flatten is your wallet.

You have to use fancy machines at a gym

It is a well known fact that many abdominal machines are dangerous for your lower back. You can achieve a better result by doing simple, safe and effective abdominal bodyweight exercises and interval training at home.

Fat Loss Nutrition

December 19, 2010 by  
Filed under A Healthy Diet

The question we all face is what to eat, and what not to eat, in order to lose fat. There is an abundance of information available in the public arena, including the Internet. The trouble is that the more you read the more conflicting information you will encounter.

However, you need to accept that nutrition is absolutely essential for getting a lean stomach. In fact, it is more important than the exercises you also need to maintain.

Well “established” nutrition advice tells you, on the one hand, to reduce fat intake in order to prevent heart disease and, on other hand, to reduce carbohydrates in order to reduce blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes. If you do both, there is preciously little left to eat so there is a controversy here.

You need to eat both fat and carbohydrates to maintain mental and body strength. The key to losing body fat is to know which foods accelerate fat burning in your body and which foods prevent fat burning. Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »