Showing posts with label Cholesterol. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cholesterol. Show all posts

Jan 8, 2016

US to Drop Warning Against Cholesterol

Every five years, the United States government updates a set of Dietary Guidelines intended to help its citizens make healthier food choices. These guidelines also help inform how companies package and market their products. The 2015 edition of the DGAC says that, "cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for over consumption."

The DGAC is now more concerned that Vitamin D, Vitamin E, potassium, calcium, and fiber are under-consumed in the US. It is placing a greater emphasis on pushing people toward healthy choices like nutrient-dense vegetables.

The human body makes far more cholesterol than it takes in. The liver adjusts its cholesterol production to account for what we eat, and will get rid of any cholesterol it does not need. Eating much cholesterol has little to no effect on what is in your blood.

Mar 13, 2015

FDA Terms Defined

Although the FDA has definitions for terms like reduced sugar, no added sugar, and sugar free, companies sometimes come up with marketing lingo that is just made up. One of those terms is lightly sweetened, which is not defined by the FDA. “Whether Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size is “lightly sweetened” should be determined by federal rules, not the marketing executives of a manufacturer,” according to a CSPI report from 2010.

Cholesterol free does not mean no cholesterol. Cholesterol-free products must contain less than 2 mg per serving while low-cholesterol products contain 20 mg or less per serving. Foods that say reduced or less cholesterol need to have at least 25% less than comparable products. Cholesterol is made by the liver, so only animal products like meat, dairy, eggs, and butter can contain it. If a plant-based product, such as corn oil touts its cholesterol-free status, there is no benefit compared to other vegetable oils, which also do not contain it.

Sugar free does not mean a product has fewer calories than the regular version; in fact it may have more calories. (Food makers are supposed to tell us if a product is not low-cal). Sugar-free products have less than 0.5 grams of sugars per serving, but they still contain calories and carbohydrates from other sources. These products often contain sugar alcohols, which are lower in calories (roughly 2 calories per gram, compared to 4 per gram for sugar). We need to compare labels to see if the sugar-free version is any better than the regular version. (Common sugar alcohols are mannitol, xylitol, or sorbitol).

Products that say trans fat free or no trans fat can contain less than 0.5 grams per serving. If a product says 0 trans fat on it, it may not be zero. If you have two servings, then you may get a good amount added to your diet. Check for words on the ingredient list such as hydrogenated oils and shortening, which mean trans fat is still present.

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat or rye and can cause problems for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Gluten-free products are becoming easier to find, which is great for those with Celiac Disease (less than 1% of the population). For the other 99% of us there is no advantage to buying them. In fact, gluten-free whole grains may have less fiber than the regular version. Unless you have metabolic problems, gluten-free products do not help you lose weight and are not necessarily good for you, but because it’s a buzz word, it is put on packages.

Flushing Fat With Flavor

People have heard horror stories for years that bacon is full of harmful fat, but facts show the opposite, as bacon helps to fully satiate appetite with high protein, low carb energy, helping the body lose weight, raise metabolism, and build leaner, stronger muscles. Bacon actually has less total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than many cuts of beef and chicken. Some fish have less fat and cholesterol than bacon, but bacon has more protein and does not contain mercury toxin. One strip of bacon has 43 calories and .1g carbohydrates.

Feb 27, 2015

Cholesterol and Salt

Hooray, bring on the bacon and eggs! Two recent reports are shaking up the food industry. Salt has recently been vindicated by scientists. "Cardiovascular disease, heart failure, or death in older Americans are not linked to salt intake", according to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine on January 19, 2015. This follows last year’s Institute of Medicine report, which also raised questions about sodium recommendations. The IOM committee found that there was no clear evidence to support limiting sodium to 1,500 milligrams or less per day.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in August 2014 which reported that people who consume less 1,500 milligrams of sodium are more likely to die than people who eat between 3,000 to 6,000 milligrams of sodium per day.

Now this new report says, cholesterol is no longer a "nutrient of concern," according to the US leading nutritional panel in February 2015.

In its 2015 version of the guidelines from the US Department of Agriculture, it will no longer place an upper limit on cholesterol, "because available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol." The draft report said, "Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for over consumption." The recommended changes were compiled by 14 nationally recognized nutrition, medicine, and public health experts. It makes Dr. Adkins appear absolutely prescient.

Health experts agreed it is no longer necessary to consider a food's cholesterol content when making dietary decisions. The committee’s new report also advised eliminating 'lean meat'  as well as 'cutting back on red and processed meats' from the list of recommended healthy foods. The panel also said it OK to have three to five cups of coffee per day.

The science connecting high-cholesterol foods to the accumulation of bad cholesterol in the blood is lacking - not conclusive enough to warrant federal intake recommendations. Even the predictive value of bad cholesterol levels in looking at heart attack risk has shown to be weak by recent studies.

The new enemy is increased carbohydrates, according the current analysis of government data. It says that, "over the past 50 years, we cut fat intake by 25 percent and increased carbohydrates by more than 30 percent." That is what has led to the increase in obesity.

Other countries that offer dietary guidelines have long abandoned specific caps on cholesterol. According to David Klurfeld, a nutritional scientist at the USDA, "The US is the last country in the world to set a specific limit on dietary cholesterol." Finally science begins to trump headlines. Many of my friends know I have been a Cassandra of cholesterol for years. I wonder how long it will take for 'artery clogging' to be banished from the lexicon.

Sep 21, 2013

Cracking Another Egg Myth

The nutritional value of the egg and its yolk has been debated by nutritionists for years. Years ago, the egg received a bad reputation with regard to cardiovascular health, as one large egg contains approximately 187 milligrams of cholesterol. However, most research has shown that cholesterol found in foods isn't fully to blame for increased LDL cholesterol in the body.

“Eggs are an animal product, and they do contain cholesterol, but actually, cholesterol in foods doesn't affect our blood cholesterol as much as saturated fat does. Cholesterol in food, in general you do want to avoid, but it’s not necessarily the main culprit of high cholesterol." Lisa Cimperman, registered dietitian for UH Case Medical Center.

Compared to other animal products, the average egg actually contains relatively low amounts of saturated fats – approximately 1.6 grams per egg yolk. Additionally, various studies from the Harvard School of Public Health and the British Nutrition Foundation have found that eggs have clinically insignificant effects on blood cholesterol, and are not associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Many consumers are still concerned over the yolk’s fatty content, so rather than eat the full egg, they often eat just the egg’s albumin, the egg white. However, some dietitians argue it is important to consume both the egg’s fat and protein, as the combination can have positive health benefits for blood sugar.

“You want the fat, because it not only satiates you, but also slows the absorption of your food, so you stay fuller longer, and it won’t increase blood sugar. A lot of people have toast with just egg whites, but it’s giving them a quicker rise in their blood sugar, but if you have the yolk with it or a different form of fat like avocado, your blood sugar won’t rise as quickly, because it takes longer to break the food down.” Laura Cipullo registered dietitian. Egg yolks are a good source of vitamin A and iron, along with a host of other nutrients. Eggs are also good sources of B vitamin, thiamine and selenium. Eggs also pair very well with bacon.

Mar 19, 2013

A Junk Food Diet Works

Junk food is commonly associated with a coffee break and this junk food diet works. Nutritionist Mark Haub went on a junk food diet to determine if he could eat almost nothing but junk food and still lose weight. His theory was that weight loss is primarily tied to calorie intake, rather than what type of food you eat. He stuck to an 1,800 calorie per day diet of mostly Twinkies, Donuts, Doritos, Oreos, and sugary cereals. He also drank a protein shake and took a multivitamin.

During the two months of his diet, his body mass index dropped from 28.8 to 24.9 and he lost 27 pounds, dropping from 201 pounds to 174 pounds.

In addition to his weight loss, bad cholesterol levels dropped 20% over his normal healthy diet and his good cholesterol levels increased by 20%. He even dropped 39% on his bad fat levels, including triglycerides. This does debunk a number of other "fad" diet claims and proves it is volume that counts when trying to lose weight.

Feb 22, 2013

Top Ten Benefits of Cinnamon

Did you know cinnamon:

  • Can Lower Cholesterol - Studies have shown that 1/2 teaspoon  per day can lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Helps Regulate Blood Sugar - Several studies suggest that it may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.
  • Helps with Yeast Infection - In some studies, it has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.
  • Helps with Cancer Prevention - The U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland showed cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
  • Aids Anti-Clotting - It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.
  • Provides Arthritis Relief - In a study at Copenhagen University, showed half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week.
  • Is Anti-Bacterial - When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage.
  • Aids Brain Health - One study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.
  • Fights E. Coli - Researchers found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.
  • Is High in Nutrients - It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

Jun 29, 2012

Four Healing Spices

Cinnamon significantly decreased the blood sugar in people who had type II diabetes and ate a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day. This powerful bark decreases cholesterol, keeps your teeth and gums healthy, improves digestion and alleviates the congestion that comes from colds and allergies. It is also anti-inflammatory and improves blood circulation. All that and it tastes good.

Turmeric is perhaps a less well-known spice, unless you love Indian food and curry. This spice is bright orange and comes from the root of a plant in the ginger family. It is a powerful antioxidant (just as strong as vitamins C and E) and works as an anti-inflammatory agent. In fact, it can be drunk in the form of golden milk to reduce inflammation and joint pain, or put on a swollen area as a poultice. People with liver problems or hepatitis also drink turmeric or take turmeric capsules because this spice increases the production of bile in the liver and protects it from toxins.

Basil is not only delicious on pizza or ground up in pesto, but also boosts the cardiovascular system. People who have colds or asthma drink basil tea to make breathing easier and to invigorate the lungs. Basil also has a calming effect on the nerves, relieves headaches, brings down fevers, and promotes healing from insect bites and skin infections.

Oregano has always been known to help relieve bad breath. It is also great against swollen throats, coughing, insomnia and headaches. This herb is also a powerful antioxidant. Oregano has “42 times more antioxidants than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and four times more than blueberries.”

Not often the we find so many good tasting things that are actually good for us.

May 8, 2012

Bacon Fat

Almost half of bacon fat is monounsaturated, just like what is found in olive oil. It can actually lower your bad cholesterol.

May 21, 2010

Sausage vs. Steak

A recent study suggests that eating processed meat such as sausages increases the likelihood of heart disease, while red meat does not seem to be as harmful.

A Harvard University team which looked at studies involving over one million people found just 50g of processed meat a day also raised the risk of diabetes, but there was no such risk from eating even twice as much meat, such as beef, lamb, or pork, even though the two forms of meat have a similar fat content.

The researchers speculated that given the similar quantities of cholesterol and saturated fats, the difference may be explained by the salt and preservatives added to processed meats. This is defined as any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting and includes bacon, sausages, salami and other luncheon meats.

The team from Harvard School of Public Health looked at 20 studies involving more than one million participants from 10 countries. On average, each equivalent of a sausage or a couple of rashers of bacon was associated with a 42% higher chance of developing coronary heart disease and a 19% higher risk of diabetes.
Go for lean cuts and aim to cook from scratch using healthier cooking methods like grilling or baking.

"Although cause-and-effect cannot be proven by these types of long-term observational studies, all of these studies adjusted for other risk factors," said Renata Micha, lead author. I love the disclaimer - the results of these studies can't be proven. Hmmm. Maybe I will put a bit less salt on my bacon and sausage, just in case. . .