Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cholesterol, in laymen's terms

Over the past year I have read countless articles on the importance of fat and cholesterol as part of a healthy diet.  So much so that experts in the field actually go as far as suggesting that 50-70% of your diet should come from healthy fat (including saturated fats) and cholesterol!  

Sound too crazy to be believable?  Maybe that's because mainstream medical (and media) are still basing today's diet recommendations on 50+ year old information. 

And why does it appear there is no real sense of urgency in allowing this new crucial information to trickle down to you the public?  When the majority of medical research is funded by those that profit most from today's unhealthy food industry (pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies, genetic research companies), there will always be a major conflict of interest.

Another major problem with this false notion (fat and cholesterol are bad) that directly affects your health, is in the way doctors are testing for what they consider unhealthy cholesterol levels.  Most doctors evaluate cholesterol levels under the assumption that you have "good" (HDL) cholesterol and "bad" (LDL) cholesterol, with the common notion that high LDL leads to health problems.  However many studies have shown that a person can have "high" LDL but not be at risk for heart disease, yet others with low LDL may indeed suffer the effects of unhealthy cholesterol levels.  And the latest research shows that doctors should be more concerned with your LDL particle number rather than overall LDL levels.

So what are LDL particles?  One of the leading experts in the field has explained fat/cholesterol within the blood stream using a very creative analogy.  

"The first thing to understand is you don’t have a cholesterol level in your blood, actually. Cholesterol is fat-soluble, and blood is mostly water. For it to be transported around the blood, cholesterol needs to be carried by a protein, specifically by a lipoprotein. These lipoproteins are classified by density. So, you have very low-density lipoprotein or VLDL, low-density lipoprotein or LDL, and high-density lipoprotein or HDL, which are the main ones... If you imagine your bloodstream’s like a river, the LDL particles are like the boats that carry the cholesterol and fats around your body. The cholesterol and fats are like cargo in the boats. Right now doctors are usually measuring the amount of cargo or cholesterol in the LDL particles. But what we should be measuring is the number of LDL particles, or the number of boats in the river, so to speak, because that’s a much more accurate risk factor for heart disease.”  Chris Kresser

He goes on by explaining the importance of cholesterol within the body and how it is used by nearly every cell.  In fact it is so important that the body can't rely on food as its only source and therefore produces its own, nearly 75% to be exact.  That means only 25% comes from diet, and it's regulated so closely that if you do not consume enough dietary cholesterol the body makes more.  But to get back to Chris's analogy, in order for cholesterol to be utilized each cell must activate LDL receptors which sit on the outside of the cells and acts as a docking station for the LDL particles (boats) to dock and offload.  Without proper LDL receptor signaling the boats (LDL particles) simply drift around within the blood stream. 

And therein lies the problem... just as an over consumption of sugar and grains will eventually lead to insulin resistance; it also leads to leptin resistance, which means the cells never activate the lipoprotein receptors (docking stations).

For more information see NMR Lipoprofile

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Poor research once again misleads the public

With recent health news headlines making unwarranted connections between red meat consumption and heart disease, I thought this was a good article to help clear things up and set things straight.

Will eating red meat really increase your risk of heart disease?

The latest in a long line of unwarranted conclusions linking red meat with poor health is once again based on incomplete cherry picked biased data led by the false notion, accepted by the medical community and many nutritionist alike, that red meat should be avoided.  Only this time the focus of the research was not on the ever popular 'fat and cholesterol' angle but rather what happens when the body metabolizes L-carnitine (a substance found in red meat) producing a byproduct called TMAO.  And it's this byproduct (TMAO) that they're suggesting encourages "fatty plaque deposits" to form in the arteries, and from this linking red mead to heart disease.

The problem with this conclusion however, is that in an earlier study from over a decade ago where over 40 different foods were analyzed it turned out that red meat generated no more TMAO in the urine of the subjects who participated than many fruits and vegetables.  And in fact red meat fell somewhere in the middle, with vegetables like peas and cauliflower generating far higher levels.  But the biggest culprit of all was the very food that is touted by all of the so called experts as being part of the healthiest diets... fish! 

So if we look at all of the facts, rather than just pull out what coincides with a predetermined baseless conclusion, we find that if the metabolization of red meats (producing TMAO) was a direct link to heart disease (which of course it's not) then many of the foods in a vegetarians diet as well as the key food in the so called healthy Mediterranean diet would be even worse for you since they've been found to generate far greater levels.

It's a shame we have people out there wasting research money on trying to support some predetermined conclusion (like red meat = heart disease or saturated fat and cholesterol = heart disease) with no true evidence to back them up.  Unless of course they cherry pick the data that works best for them, and message the results into whatever coincides best with the false baseless notion or assumption that is driving the research in the first place. 

It's time to accept the fact that saturated fat and cholesterol and meat be it chicken, beef, or pork when raised right (organic pastured) are indeed part of a HEALTHY diet!

Friday, April 19, 2013

The U.S. Gov. chases their tails over food poisoning

I realize this is 2 posts in 2 days on the same topic, but if its worthy enough to make headlines two days in a row then its worthy enough for me to comment on.  Especially when it only proves that the U.S. government is simply chasing its tail when it comes to controlling food poisoning.

Today's headline indicating food poising is on the rise in the US is not, nor should it be, shocking news to anyone.  Every month there is at least one headline making mainstream news regarding some sort of food recall over food poisoning or "possible food contamination".

The bigger story here however is not necessarily the number of food poisoning instances but rather how our brainless government agencies continues to police the issue.  Case in point...

Claiming that "Many of the bugs that sicken people live naturally in the digestive systems of animals, including people. Outbreaks of disease have been linked to unclean slaughtering processes and unhygienic meat handling." , which leaves much of the blame on slaughter houses is more of a scapegoat conclusion in an effort to avoid the BIGGER problem... Factory Farming!

Factory farming, CAFO's (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) to be exact, breed disease.  This is where the problem starts; not at the slaughter house where these sick unsanitary animals are brought in droves to be slaughtered and packaged.  With thousands of livestock standing, feeding, sleeping, and defecating in the same fenced in or caged in cramped area, the resulting food poisoning is an unavoidable consequence.  When the skin of cattle is literally caked with crap, teeming with harmful bacteria, as they're sent to the slaughter house, passing this on to the consumer is once again unavoidable.

It really doesn't take a genius to make the connection.  And with government officials blatantly stating the obvious, "Many of the bugs that sicken people live naturally in the digestive systems of animals" without actually addressing this problem only further adds to their ignorance.

It is not a secret that factory farmed animals are fed unhealthy diets typically consisting of GMO grains & soy, rather than what nature intended (pasture and forage).  As with humans, the immune system of an animal resides in the gut, and just as with humans an unhealthy diet that promotes inflammation and disease rather than promoting healthy gut flora can only lead to disaster.  And NO, giving these animals a cocktail of pharmaceuticals with every meal to try and lessen the chance of disease from occurring is NOT the answer!

In fact the answer, just as with humans, starts with a healthy diet.  It's an unavoidable truth.  The only thing an unhealthy diet leads to in both humans and farm animals is profit for those that fund poor diet (chemical companies, pharmaceutical companies, processed food companies) and disease for those consume it!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why tracking sick animals is not the answer

I read an article yesterday about the USDA's new program to track farm animals.  Their reasoning is that by tracking the farm animal's movement (from CAFO to store) they will be able to better address contaminated food issues when they occur.  This is an expensive task that will no doubt waist tons of money and resources, with costs guaranteed to be passed down to the consumer in some way shape or form, all in an effort to aid a useless government agency in doing a job ASS Backwards!  Excuse my language...

Wouldn't it make far better sense to put the money and resources into fixing the problem (factory farming) instead of wasting far more money trying to address the unavoidable resulting problems created by our wrong doing in the first place?

Obviously to anyone with half a brain the answer is yes, but remember we are talking about a government agency here... NO BRAINS NECESSARY!

When animals are allowed to free range and not forced to live in overcrowded inhuman unsanitary conditions like cages and CAFOs, and when they're allowed to consume a diet nature intended (pasture and forage) with healthy vitamin D rich sun rays warming their feathers and fur while giving back to the land as much if not more than they take, we ensure that Natures perfect 'zero waste system' benefits all parties involved.

On the other hand when we feel we have the right to treat farm animals like widgets on a factory assembly line, then we are forced to pay the price... with interest!

Do the right thing and support your local organic sustainable farmer!  Only then will you truly know where your food came from.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Let Otzi the Iceman be a lesson to all

I firmly believe that 90% of dental health is related to diet.  And if the modern high sugar high grain high processed food diet and poor overall dental health doesn't make the case, then lets take a trip back in time... about 5000 years ago or so.

A story in today's health news reads Otzi the Iceman could have used a dentist, but should say "could have used a better diet".  That is a less agricultural (grains) and more hunter-gatherer diet.  Two particular points of this article clearly make the connection between a heavy agricultural based diet and disease.  Case in point:

"These extensive studies revealed that Ötzi was a middle-age, well-to-do agriculturalist who lived not far from where he died. He also suffered from heart disease and joint pain, and probably had Lyme disease."

Read a little further and we come across this gem...

"But somehow, scientists had never analyzed his teeth before. So Ruhli and his colleagues used a CT scanner to analyze the condition of Ötzi's teeth. They found that the ancient farmer had several cavities, likely caused by his carbohydrate-rich diet.

Ötzi also showed severe wear of his tooth enamel and severe gum disease. Hard minerals in milled grains abraded the surface of his teeth and gums, exposing the bone below and making the roots loose. Similar wear-and-tear is found in the teeth of Egyptian mummies who ate milled grains, Ruhli said."

And finally to sum up...

"Ötzi's dental problems show the results of switching from a strict hunter-gatherer diet to an agricultural one, Ruhli said.

"Hunter-gatherers were depending on meat and berries, whereas (Ötzi) had processed food," Ruhli said. "The processing added a bigger variety of food but also impacted the quality of the teeth."

Need I quote more!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Gut - Brain Connection

I have read a lot lately about the "gut-brain" connection, that is the level of healthy bacteria within the gut and proper (or lack of) brain development in humans.  Some of today's leading researchers in the field, like Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, are highlighting the importance of a healthy gut and how the state of your gut influences the state of your overall health.

It's not necessarily 'new news' that a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system, since the majority of your immune systems is located within your gut, but what scientists and researchers are now finding out is that there is a microscopic world of its own going on right now in each and every one of us.  And it's the communication and interaction between gut flora and the countless colonies of healthy bacteria throughout the body, or our "inner ecosystem" as its being called, that is the hot topic within the field.  And it's this communication between the two that has researchers like Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride convinced that many if not all of the mental disorders on the rise within our society originate within the gut.

"Your gut quite literally functions as your second brain, as it is created of the same tissue. During fetal development, one part turns into your central nervous system while the other develops into your enteric nervous system. These two systems are connected via the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen."  

As you probably know brain related disorders (Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Depression, etc.) are increasingly on the rise in the U.S., with the latest numbers by the CDC showing 1 in every 50 children suffer from some form of Autism!  If that's not shocking and terribly frightening I don't know what is.  And more and more research is pointing to poor unhealthy gut development rather than genetics as the cause.

This means a 'Gut-Healthy' diet, one low in sugar and grains and high in fermented foods, is especially important for expecting mothers.  Brain and gut development starts before a child is born and with the typical American diet high in processed foods, sugar, and grains and nearly absent of bacteria friendly fermented foods, poor diet may just be playing a bigger role in the rapidly increasing number mental disorders and disabilities then previously thought.  Add to that the ever growing level of toxic exposure today's unborn and newly born children are being exposed to with vaccinations and antibiotic use on the rise, and the effects on this compromised immune system (gut) and its connection with the brain that can only spell disaster!

So what can you do?

  1. Start by eliminating the majority of processed foods from your diet, and making sure that any processed foods consumed are organic and contain the least amount of ingredients as possible.  
  2. Secondly, it is crucial to greatly reduce sugar consumption, while eliminating altogether any high fructose corn syrup as well as artificial sweeteners from your diet.  
  3. Next, start incorporating unpasteurized fermented foods like sauerkraut and kombucha into your diet.  
  4. Check out these sites: Caroline Barringer and Dr. Natasha

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