Update on Fats: 2017

Since I first posted this in 2013, we’ve gotten even more research, especially about saturated fats, and the news is good:  they help decrease heart disease and they truly help inflammation.

Here is the latest:

You need fats.  Do NOT try and lose weight by turning to low fat options.  Guess what they trade for fat so that the product tastes ok?  SUGAR = CARBS.  The trade off is that you’re hungry in an hour!  Why?  Your insulin just spiked.

 

How many times have you eaten a meal only to feel hungry in an hour or two?  Fat gives us satiety, the feeling of “I’ve had enought to eat”.  So, fat is your FRIEND, especially if you want to lose weight.  Here’s simple guidelines for fat consumption.  Did you know you don’t absorb certain vitamins without fat?  Vitamins A, D, E and K are considered “fat soluble” and are absorbed MUCH better when paired with fat.

List of “Good” Fats:

vary where they come from, add them to your meals, and find you’ll stay full longer.

 

  • Cold Pressed, unrefined Olive oil
  • Grass Fed, pasture raised Ghee, which is clarified butter from milk from grass fed cows, which is their normal diet (this butter has high amounts of healty Omega 3’s, unlike our “regular” butter)
  • Coconut oil (yes, it’s saturated, but healthy despite that, see references below)  Refined coconut oil is one of the BEST cooking oils, and it doesn’t have a huge “coconuty” flavor, but it is one of the best oils for handling higher heats. I use almost nothing but olive and coconut and walnut (salad drsg) in my food prep
  • Sesame, flax and pumpkin seed oil
  • Avocados
  • Cold water fish:  (sardines, salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, crab, cod, anchovies)
  • Eggs (yes, eat the yolk!!  they do NOT raise cholesterol!)
  • Olives
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Almond butter, cashew butter
  • Whole Seeds:  Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, pine nuts

 

 

Further Reading, Links updated 2017:

 

Why Fat Doesn’t Make you Fat

Saturated Fat Probably Good for You

Saturated Fat Does Not Clog Your Arteries

Coconut Oil Benefits

A List of High Fat Foods and Why they are good for You

Is Saturated Fat Bad for You?

 

A Great Book:  Eat Fat, Get Thin by Dr. Mark Hyman (see below for a short video on it)

 

 

 

How to survive Holiday Parties

Have you lost weight and want it to stay off? Are you actively trying to lose weight… or, are you a good weight but don’t want the upcoming months, holidays and winter to add on the post-holiday ten pounds?

One of the hardest things is dealing with food and social gatherings.   No matter what holidays you celebrate, food is pivotal in all of them.  Here are the guidelines that work well for me.

The basic thing to avoid is the one component that makes your insulin shoot up, making you WANT more food:  CARBOHYDRATES!

Here’s a good strategy:

  1.  Be absolutely sure you eat protein.  Chicken, shrimp, beef, fish, nuts.  Buffets often have smaller portions, so pick your selections so you get your 4 oz. serving by end of night.
  2.  EAT FAT.  Yes, I said EAT FAT.  That’s what will satiate you.  So, dips, cheese (if you can tolerate dairy), bacon, dressings that aren’t loaded with sugar.  Fat will make you feel full.
  3.  AVOID CARBS AT EVERY TURN.  Put dip on veggies, not crackers.  Skip the treat area and have more chicken skewers!
  4. Eat lots of vegetable options, especially raw veggies.  Get your fill of fiber.  Fiber will not only stabilize your blood sugar, but it will make it so that you will take longer to digest your meal.
  5. Avoid hidden carbs like processed cheese, certain deli meats that are made with fillers, most fruit, (especially dried fruit like apricots and raisins) and dishes made with honey, agave, and other “sugar” alternatives.
  6. A number of cocktails can also contain carbs, especially drinks made with a fruit-juice-concentrate mixer or tonic water.  Stick with a martini and you have zero carbs!  Actually, vodka, gin, rum and whiskey have no carbs.  I often use Club Soda (sorry, tonic has carbs) as a mixer.  Wine has some carbs, but much less than sugary drinks like margaritas, old fashioned, pina coladas, cosmos or mojitos (which can hide 10 to 35 carbs depending on the size).
  7. If you are still hungry, eat more fat or have a few more bites of protein or veggies with dip.
  8. Finally, if someone pressures you to eat something you don’t want, just say:

“My doctor has prescribed a food plan for me that doesn’t include that, I’d love to eat it but I just can’t.”  That usually stops them cold!

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 10

day10Ok, Day 10 of 10!  For my “finale” (thank God, this has been hard to post 10 days in a row!),  I’ll talk about supplements to add to your regimen and some general guidelines and links to articles that I think have important information about insulin resistance, weight loss, and staying healthy.

 

Here are a few supplements that can help stabilize your insulin levels and lower your blood sugar:

pillsIt’s important you take a good multi-vitamin, even if you are eating totally healthy.  (read why here and more here).  I take Multigenics Phyto Multi which contains vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  It is widely available.

Vitamin D is not really a vitamin, but plays a very important role in metabolism.  Many of us are Vitamin D deficient.  As you doctor to check your level.  Taking 1,000-5,000 units/day of Vitamin D3 is considered pretty safe in most people. read more here

There are a few other things that can help your insulin levels stabilize if you’ve struggled with your weight, or if you want to lose weight*:

  • chromium
  • biotin
  • magnesium (helps relax you, lowers blood pressure and a low Mg+ is shown to increase insulin resistance) read more here
  • alpha lipoic acid:  among many other things, ALA increases insulin sensitivity, recycles CoQ10 and is a great anti-oxidant
  • other herbs including green tea and cinnamon can also help stabilize blood sugar and insulin response
  • omega 3 fats (EPA/DHA) like fish oil help reduce inflammation
  • Fiber powder like PGX, which I devoted an entire post to, read here

A Few final thoughts, since this is Day 10:

  1. Consider intermittent fasting along with a low carb food plan.  Read my article on fasting here.
  2. Educate yourself.  There are several good books out there.  One is Mark Hyman’s 2016 “Eat Fat, Get Thin” and another is David Ludwig’s 2015 “Always Hungry?  Conquer Cravings, Retrain your Fat Cells and Lose Weight”   Here is a great interview with Ludwig, a Harvard researcher.
  3. It takes 28 days to change a habit.  If you mess up, start again.  And again.  Until it sticks.
  4. WHAT YOU EAT is way more important than WHAT YOU WEIGH.  Think of food as fuel for your body.  You wouldn’t put crappy fuel in your car, so why would you fill your body up with garbage?  Think of it as a way of extending the number of years you will be HEALTHY.  So much of our chronic disease is directly related to our intake of processed food and carbs!  (read a study here if you need to be convinced)
  5. You must exercise to lose weight.  Increasing muscle mass burns more calories even when you’re asleep!

*All these recommendations are for an average healthy person.  If you have medical problems, please talk to your doctor before starting any new plan.  And find a doctor who will work with you, assess your fasting insulin levels, levels of inflammation, and is willing to help you on your path to wellness. It’s easier than you think.  Food IS medicine.

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10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 4

This one is simple once you see it in facts.  Stop drinking ALL juice.  Here’s why:

day4Let’s take something you’d never eat on a diet.  How about a “fun size” snickers bar?  That’s clearly in the “no-no” zone, right?  Well, what if I told you that when it comes to blood sugar, insulin, and weight gain, orange juice is worse?  Would you be incredulous?  Here are the facts, based on TWO tiny snickers vs. 1 cup of OJ:

snickers.oj

From caloriecount.com

So, the calories are a bit higher in the snickers bars.  But, although nutrient devoid (and that’s another post), they have less sugars than the OJ!  Now, this does not mean I want you to go out and eat snickers, but it does mean your use of juice should be negligible to NONE.  These calories go straight into your bloodstream, as there is no fiber in the juice to slow digestion.  Juice is not an item you want in your food plan at all.  In case you’d like more information, all the juices are listed here I also think, if you’re a parent of young kids, you need to GREATLY RESTRICT their juice intake.  It is just triggering all the things carbs trigger (see Day 3 post)

I’m placing some below, but the link above has more.  You’d think cranberry juice would be lower, right?  NOPE, 34 carbs!  And do I even need to say don’t drink soda?  DON’T DRINK SODA!  (read why here, and it’s not just the carbs, unless you like dentures….)

juice

 

Alternatives to juice and soda:  sparkling unsweetened water (like LaCroix), iced herbal tea, iced tea (no sugar!), iced tea with lemon, water with cucumber slices, water with a few strawberries for flavor, coffee (no sugar), and of course, plain old water!

10 Days, 10 Ways to lower carbs: Day 1

The secret to staying healthy is lowering your carbohydrate intake.

And I don’t just mean losing weight, I’m talking about lowering your cholesterol, triglycerides and inflammation.  The stuff that makes us chronically sick.

I’m going to post 10 days/10 ways you can lower your carbohydrate intake.

day1DAY ONE: Ditch Dairy, specifically Milk

MILK is nutritious, but it’s also fairly high in carbs because it contains a type of sugar called lactose. (Remember, its purpose in life was to GROW baby cows!). An 8-ounce (240 ml) glass of full-fat or low-fat milk contains 12–13 grams of carbs. This is especially important if you drink milk by the glassful or in lattes or shakes.
SWITCH TO: coconut, almond milk, hemp milk. (Again, this isn’t about dairy, it’s about CARBS:  case in point?  Rice milk is a dairy alternative, but is FULL of carbs, and isn’t any better than milk, in fact it is the highest in carbs.). Look for unsweetened varieties that have less than 2 carbs per serving (carbs minus fiber = total carbs).  Look at this comparison I’ve done of the various milk/milk substitutes.  If you can’t change, start weaning yourself by adding one of the alternatives to your milk.  I promise you, it is doable, and will save you calories and weight.
milksubstitutes

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Fat Shaming Never Works

In fact, as you read this excellent article from Kris Gunners, who authors the website Authority Nutrition, you will see that shaming never works —  it does the exact opposite. If you know someone who is frustrated with a family member or a friend’s weight and you see them shaming that person or dictating what they should eat, show them this article and ask them to really think about what it is they’re doing to that person emotionally. I would like to thank Kris for letting me re-post this here. I have given a lot of links to his website in the past, and I would encourage you to routinely check it out.

Science Confirms: “Fat Shaming” Just Makes Things Worse

By Kris Gunnars, BSc | September, 2015 |

There has been a lot of talk about “fat shaming” on the internet in the past few weeks. This was sparked by a couple of viral videos, one serious and the other a (bad) joke, that harshly criticized overweight people. Some believe that making overweight people feel ashamed of their weight or eating habits actually helps motivate them to lose weight. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Psychologists have done a lot of research on this, and the evidence is very clear. Fat shaming does NOT motivate people, but makes them feel terrible about themselves and actually causes them to eat more and gain more weight (1).

Obese Woman Eating Junk Food

What is Fat Shaming?

Fat shaming is criticizing and harassing overweight people about their weight or eating, in order to make them feel ashamed of themselves.

Apparently, some people believe that making overweight people feel ashamed of themselves will motivate them to change their behavior so they start eating less, exercising more and finally start to lose weight.

Others are just horrible human beings, plain and simple. Horrible people often feel comfortable saying things over the internet that they would not say in real life.

In the majority of cases, the people who do this are skinny. They have never had to struggle with a weight problem themselves and don’t understand what it is like.

There are actually entire communities on the internet where people gather in order to make fun of overweight people. Often it turns into downright group harassment.

A high-profile example is reddit’s fatpeoplehate forum, which was recently closed down because their members would storm pages and videos from overweight people in order to harass them.

Research shows that a very large percentage of discussions about obesity on social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, are of a fat shaming nature. This often turns into downright harassment and cyberbullying – especially against women (2).

Whatever your opinion of fat shaming is, the research is very clear that stigma and discrimination against overweight people causes major psychological harm and makes the problem worse.

Bottom Line: Fat shaming is the act of criticizing and harassing overweight people about their weight or eating behavior. It is often justified as a means to motivate people, but research shows that it has the opposite effect.

Fat Shaming Causes Overweight People to Eat More

Weight ScaleWhen people are discriminated against, it causes stress and makes them feel bad.

In the case of overweight people, this stress can drive them to eat more calories and gain even more weight (3).

In a study of 93 women, exposure to weight stigmatizing information made overweight women, but not normal weight women, eat more calories and feel less in control of their eating (4).

In another study, this time in 73 overweight women, those who watched a stigmatizing video ate 3 times as many calories (302 vs 89) afterwards compared to women who watched a non-stigmatizing video (5).

This is supported by numerous studies showing that “fat shaming” in any shape or form causes overweight people to become stressed and end up eating more calories and gaining more weight (3).

Bottom Line: Many studies show that weight discrimination (like fat shaming) causes stress and leads overweight people to eat more calories.

Weight Discrimination is Linked to Increased Risk of Obesity

obese-man-on-a-scale-smallerMany observational studies have looked at weight discrimination and the risk of future weight gain and obesity.

In one study of 6,157 people, non-obese participants who experienced weight discrimination were 2.5 times more likely to become obese over the next few years (6).

Additionally, this study found that obese people who experienced weight discrimination were 3.2 times as likely to remain obese over the next few years (6).

This shows that fat shaming is certainly NOT likely to motivate people to lose weight.

Another study in 2,944 men people found that weight discrimination was linked to a whopping 6.67 times greater risk of becoming obese (1).

Bottom Line: Many observational studies show that weight discrimination is linked to weight gain and a drastic increase in the risk of becoming obese.

Fat Shaming Has Various Harmful Effects on Obese People

The harmful effects of fat shaming go beyond just increased weight gain, which is serious enough as it is.

Obese vs Thin Woman

Here are some other harmful effects that are supported by studies (6, 7, 8):

  • Depression: People who are discriminated against due to weight are at higher risk of depression and other mental issues (no surprise there).
  • Eating disorders: Fat shaming is linked to an increased risk of eating disorders, such as binge eating disorder.
  • Reduced self-esteem: Fat shaming is linked to reduced self-esteem.
  • Others: By causing stress, weight gain, increased cortisol levels and mental problems, weight discrimination may raise the risk of all sorts of chronic diseases.

Looking at the literature, the research is very clear that fat shaming harms people, both psychologically and physically (8).

Bottom Line: Weight discrimination can cause depression, eating disorders, reduced self-esteem and raise the risk of all sorts of mental problems.

Can Fat Shaming Literally Kill People?

As mentioned above, studies show that weight discrimination is linked to increased risk of depression.

For example, one study found that those who had experienced weight discrimination were 2.7 times as likely to be come depressed (9).

There are also numerous studies showing that depression is very common among people who are obese, especially in extreme obesity (10, 11).

As is common knowledge, one of the consequences of depression is suicide.

In a study of 2,436 people, extreme obesity was associated with 21 times greater risk of suicidal behavior and 12 times greater risk of suicide attempts (12).

Could fat shaming drive a vulnerable and depressed obese person to suicide? It’s a speculative leap, but it seems plausible.

Fat shamers are not only making obese people gain more weight and making them feel horrible, they may literally be killing them.

see all of Kris’ posts at authoritynutrition.com

Original post of this article:  http://authoritynutrition.com/fat-shaming-makes-things-worse/

Feel you’re shaming yourself?  It is common in overweight people.  Read this post I wrote on body image.