Frequently Asked Questions

Which Is The Main Contributor To Heart Disease: Sugar Or Fat?

A major contributor to heart disease is refined sugars and refined carbohydrates (white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white flour, etc.).   Sugar may be considered more dangerous to your heart than fat.  By reducing refined sugars you automatically reduce triglycerides in your blood.  Bacon fat (50% of bacon fat is monounsaturated, 10% polyunsaturated and 40% saturated), eggs, butter and cream are not the enemies of the American diet.  Trans fat, partially hydrogenated fats, and deep-frying in poor quality fats are the problem.  Cholesterol is not the enemy.  Our bodies must have cholesterol to survive.  Generally speaking, good fat does not cause heart disease; bad sugars and bad fats contribute to heart disease and its consequences.

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How Can I Support My Bones And Teeth Nutritionally?

Nutritional Support for Bones and Teeth

Bones provide the framework support for our bodies and bone tissue supports both teeth and jaws.  Bones are made up of primarily two large compounds:  Collagen and Calcium Phosphate.

More than 99% of the bodies calcium is contained in bones and teeth.  Osteoporosis and osteopenia are bone diseases that cause a weakening or brittleness to bone tissue.  Our bones are constantly being “remodeled” which means new and old bone cells are being made and lost.  As we age, we do not make new bone as fast as we lose old bone which may lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis.  We can prevent and treat osteoporosis by vitamin and mineral supplementation, weight-bearing exercises, sunlight, and hormone replacement therapy if needed.

Building dense bone requires adequate intake of many compounds:  different types of calcium, vitamins D, C, and K, collagen, silica, boron, manganese, magnesium, strontium, and phosphorus to name a few.  The addition of whole foods and compounds will increase the absorption and deposition of new bone.  A partial list includes broccoli, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, yucca fruit, and horsetail.

There are many calcium types that may be taken as supplements.   Calcium carbonate (chalk) for example is cheap but also poorly absorbed.  Other types may be contaminated with heavy metals or processed under poor conditions.  I recommend whole food bone formulas which include MCHA (microcrystalline hydroxyapatite) calcium.  This calcium is made from veal bones and comes from New Zealand and is highly absorbable and free of contamination.

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Is There A Difference In The Oils And Fats That I Cook With?

Cooking with Fats and Oils

Various fats and oils are used for cooking and flavoring in all kitchens and bakeries.  Depending on the need (salad dressing, frying, sautéing, baking, etc.), fat and oil selection is critical in a successful kitchen.  In quality kitchens, only the finest oils are chosen.  Oils must be of high quality. High quality means organic, not processed with solvents (hexane), not dated, not mixed with cheaper oil blends and always cold pressed, stored properly and not abused by high temperatures.  It is always important not to over-heat any fat or oil beyond the physical properties of the oil or fat.  For example, various oils have “smoking points.”  Smoking points are defined as temperatures (Centigrade and Fahrenheit) during cooking at which various oils and fats breakdown and become not acceptable.  For example, peanut oil has a very high smoke point of approximately 440 degrees.  Soybean oil is higher at 495 degrees.  Both oils are very suitable for frying and stir-frying applications.  However, butter has a lower smoke point of just 300 degrees.  Clarified butter, also known as Ghee (butter which contains no water and no milk fat solids), has a higher smoke point than plain butter, needs no refrigeration, but has a much weaker butter flavor than plain butter.  It is important to note that after oil is cooked, the smoke point is reduced, and cooked oil needs to be discarded.

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Are Genetically Modified (GM) Foods Safe?

GM foods are NOT safe to consume.  The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) confirms this. The Academy reported that many health risks are associated with GM foods.  These include infertility and immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the GI system.  The AAEM asked physicians to advise patients to avoid GM foods.

Monsanto, the largest producer of GM foods, produces 90 percent of all GM foods in America. They are also the largest producer of GM foods in the world.  Dow Chemical and Syngenta AG make up the remaining 10 percent of produced GM foods.  Monsanto and the U.S. Government’s position on GM foods are the following:  GM foods are safe to consume, are disease resistant, and can provide much needed food for third world and developing nations. The European Union (EU) says the opposite!  The EU does NOT allow GM foods at all.  Third world countries have no choice.  They are forced to buy GM seeds, and they are forced to buy GM fertilizers and GM pesticides and herbicides that match the GM seeds.  The US Supreme Court recently decided in favor of Monsanto that GM seeds are considered intellectual property and are protected by law and cannot be replanted without permission of Monsanto.  Many American farmers are being sued and losing their farms because of litigation filed by Monsanto.

The FDA, EPA, and USDA do not regulate GM foods in America.  This is because, by definition, they are considered “substantially equivalent” or the same as non-modified foods.  As a matter of fact, there appears to be a “revolving door” between employees and executives of the FDA and USDA and Monsanto.  Executives in the U.S. Government have worked for Monsanto and executives of Monsanto have worked for the USDA and FDA.

Currently in America, food companies are not required by law to label foods containing GM ingredients.  This policy is essentially giving American consumers no choice in food selection.  We need to protect our food chain from multi international food and chemical corporations that control agriculture.  The food we consume is essentially the only variable that we can control on a daily basis.  We have little or no control over the air we breathe, our housing and work environment, and the pollution on public transportation and highways.   However, we do become what we eat!

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How Are Government Policies Making Me Sick?

Government Policies Are Making Us Sick

Around 1980, the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), U.S. Public Health Service, and eventually the FDA started a government campaign to limit dietary fat and cholesterol from the typical American diet.  Their mantra was to limit red meat, saturated fats, eggs, bacon, heavy cream, and animal fats in general, and to encourage people to eat vegetable oils, margarines, soy products, grains, and skim milk products (no and low fat dairy products).  They gave us the American Food Pyramid with the bottom of the pyramid loaded with grains and cereals and the top of the pyramid with minimal animal products and fats.  At this time in American dietary history, genetically modified grains and the high fructose corn grains became profitable for corporate food giants.

The 30-year experiment has given us a giant fast food industry that centers around highly processed, fried, sodium and sugar laden dead food. Gluten intolerance, increases in blood sugar, abdominal obesity, has added to the increases in health care costs.  It is no accident that diabetes costs us over $200 billion per year and that “big pharma” is promoting drugs to solve our dietary dilemma (diabetic drugs and statins).  Its no accident that the pharmaceutical lobby is one of the largest in Washington D.C.!

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How Much Water Should I Drink Daily?

Staying hydrated throughout the day is very important. Generally the amount of filtered water a person should drink is half their body weight in ounces. This is not a hard fast rule but just a guideline. It is also important to drink your water in between meals verses during meals. Drinking too much when eating meals only dilutes your digestive enzymes needed to digest your foods.

How Can I Maintain My Blood Sugar Throughout The Day?

The best way to maintain consistent blood sugar levels throughout the day is to consume 3 balanced meals which include good protein sources such as fish, lean meats, legumes, eggs and beans; complex carbohydrates such as vegetables and good fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, avocados and raw nuts. In between meals it is helpful to consume two small snacks such as fruit, raw or cooked vegetables, raw nuts and yogurt.

Can Taking Too Much Supplementation Vitamins And Minerals Harm Me?

Vitamins and Minerals

There are several vitamins and minerals that need to be discussed.   Let’s start with magnesium.  Magnesium contributes as a cofactor to more than 300 hundred specific chemical reactions in the human body.  Perhaps two major roles of magnesium is in cardiovascular health and the production of ATP (the energy currency of all cells.)  Magnesium also plays a role in DNA and RNA synthesis and is required for the production of all proteins. Vitamins A and D need magnesium for their metabolic roles in calcium metabolism. Magnesium is also a cofactor in the transmission of nerve impulses, temperature regulation, detoxification in the liver and in the formations of bone and teeth.  Unfortunately, magnesium can be depleted by estrogen compounds prednisone, blood pressure medications, and antibiotics.  Whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables (especially dark leafy greens) are a good source of magnesium.

Fat-soluble vitamins like D, E, A and K are major players in over all health.  They are implicated in immune function, blood clotting, gene expression, vitamin K-dependent proteins, supporting growth, protecting soft tissues from calcification, supporting bones and teeth, supporting the absorption of zinc, playing a role in vision, to name a few examples.  Cod liver oil is an excellent source of both A and D in the correct ratio.

The challenge of the typical depleted American diet, in conjunction with the fast food industry and industrial agriculture, is getting adequate vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants on a daily basis.  A typical American diet is pro-inflammatory and increases oxidative stress on the entire body.  The causes are refined carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, deep fried fast foods, etc.  These junk foods support poor health and have a high addictive potential because fat, sugar and salt sells!   We now know that many drugs deplete nutrients also.  Oral contraceptives deplete major nutrients:  many B vitamins, folic acid, zinc and vitamin C to name a few.  Diabetic drugs (metformin) can cause mal-absorption of B12 and folic acid. There are many other examples like, Pepcid and Zantac (for GI diseases like gastro-esophageal reflux disease.)  These drugs inhibit gastric acid secretion and raise the pH of the stomach.  These effects impair B12 absorption and lead to decreased absorption of calcium, iron, zinc, folic acid, and beta-carotene.

Statins drugs have been linked to liver damage, muscle weakness and pain (myopathy), memory loss and depletion of CoQ10.  Statins tend to increase insulin levels, blood sugar levels and increase abdominal adiposity.  Statins are also toxic to the liver and frequent blood tests are needed to check the status of liver enzymes. The list goes on and on!  Proper supplementation and nutritional counseling is needed to neutralize the negative effects of drugs.

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How Do I Know How When To Take And How Much To Take Of Nutritional Supplementation, Vitamins And Minerals?

Nutritional Supplementation

Because of our toxic civilized world, nutritional supplementation is necessary.  Our foods are highly processed and devoid of nutrition, soils are depleted because of over farming, people are consuming more genetically modified foods (high fructose corn syrup, for example) than ever.  Fast foods are extremely common in the American diet, people are over weight and under nourished, over medicated, and over stressed and we do essentially nothing as a culture to stop this cycle from generation and generation.  Our children are overweight and out of shape, over vaccinated, and are following in the footsteps of their parents by eating a poor quality diet (parents are our first role models.)  Childhood and adult obesity is increasing at an alarming rate in America.  Proper nutritional supplementation may be the partial answer to help “fill in the nutritional gaps.”

What is a nutritional supplement?  Nutritional supplements can be plant, mineral or animal based.  Depending on the manufacture, they can be made from live whole foods with better absorption potential (biologically active) or they can essentially be synthetic or combinations of each.  Not all supplements are created equal.  Some are poor quality and contain toxins and potential carcinogens (petroleum derivatives, formaldehyde, heavy metals, etc.), allergens (glutens, monosodium glutamate, known as MSG), lubricants (calcium, magnesium stearate, and stearic acid), binders and fillers.

There is never and substitution for eating fresh live foods.  Supplements are not intended to replace nutrient dense foods.  Over the past several decades large scale farming, genetically modified foods, and poor food production practices have caused the nutrient content of the American diet to decline. We are all aware of the concept of “junk” foods. The following is a list of common dietary supplements by major categories:

  • Vitamins and minerals in liquid, tablets, capsules and powder
  • Amino acids to supply protein (rice, whey, pumpkin, etc.)
  • Phytonutritionals to supply antioxidants (pine bark, bilbery, grape seed, etc. extracts)
  • Enzymes that are anti-inflammatory and digestive
  • Glandulars from animal extracts to support adrenal and thyroid function
  • Probiotics to supply beneficial bacteria for the GI tract
  • Tinctures that are made from plant extracts (hawthorne, ginseng, etc.)
  • Immune support like mushrooms (reishi, shitake, cordyceps, etc.)
  • Whole foods from A to Z (alfalfa, algae, cilantro, guava, seaweed, etc.)
  • So-called “super foods” (bee pollen, blue-green algae)
  • Trace minerals (boron, vanadium, strontium)

Always look for so-called natural, organic, vitamins that are non-toxic, hypo-allergenic, absorbable and free of synthetic byproducts, such as soy, gluten, artificial colors and stabilizers, sugar, yeast, salt, artificial dyes, and preservatives.  Whole food supplements are the best but may be hard to find.  Whole food supplements are rarely found in large commercial box stores and pharmacies.  “You get what you pay for” is especially true in the supplement industry!  It is important to note that words like natural and organic have very little meaning in the vitamin industry.  You must read labels and educate yourself.

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What’s The Difference Between Live Food And Dead Food? How Can Eating More Of One Type Of Food Category Impact My Health?

Live Food vs Dead, Highly Processed Food 

The concept of live food and dead highly processed food is critical to one’s health.  All calories are not created equal.  All foods impact our metabolism and general health differently.  You can be malnourished eating 2000 calories/day and no one diet is universally accepted by all cultures.  Organic is better than non-organic, local fresh is better than store bought old, unprocessed is better than processed (pre-cooked, frozen, canned.)  An example of a live food is a fresh organic apple in season eaten with the skin.  A dead food might be apple sauce or apple juice in a juice box, can or jar.  You can use this example as a concept that applies to all food.  So-called organic milk may be hormone free, but is still ultra-pasterurized and ultra-homogenized as the shelf life can be in excess of six weeks.  This type of milk is a sterilized dead food compared to minimally pasteurized, non homogenized milk which is better to consume.  Local dairies in the Hudson Valley I recommend are Hudson Valley Fresh, Ronnybrook Farms, and Hawthorne Valley Farms.  Raw milk is safe and ideal to consume. Raw milk cannot be purchased in New York State unless you belong to a food club.  It can be legally purchased in Connecticut and other states in the northeast.

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What Is The Cholesterol Myth?

Myths and the Saturated Fat Conspiracy

Certain myths are ingrained in our culture and are hard to change.  One major nutritional myth is that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease and that a diet low in fat, high in carbohydrates with a dose of statin drugs will help prevent and treat cardiovascular disease.   Another myth is that the reduction of dietary fat will result in improved health status.  The “bad fat good fat” hypothesis emerged in the 1950’s. The theory stated that saturated fat found in animal products and tropical oils contributes to heart disease by raising cholesterol levels and that the opposite effect of lowering cholesterol would be achieved by consuming polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) found in vegetable oils.  “Fat quality” has largely been ignored and saturated fat has become the evil culprit responsible for weight gain and heart disease.

Food industry advertising and pharmaceutical advertising have promoted “heart healthy” foods that have caused fear in the minds of many Americans.  They said low fat, non fat foods, and egg substitutes are effective in reducing cholesterol.  Their anti-saturated fat agenda has essentially worked because the average American, physicians, nutritionists, dietitians, and cardiologists all mistakenly believe and promote that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. All these professions recommend taking statin drugs to control cholesterol.  Unfortunately, statin drugs tend to stress the liver, are associated with impaired mitochondrial (tiny energy units within the cell) function and are linked to skeletal muscle myopathy. This “Standard of Care” has become the medical mantra which ignores the consequences to health.  We cannot change this medical model; therefore, we are compelled to educate ourselves.

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How Does Nutrition Impact Dental Health?

Tooth decay or “caries” is the most common chronic childhood disease.  Tooth decay is also preventable.  Foods that contain sugar (refined and natural) of any kind can contribute to tooth decay.

Generally speaking, people with poor nutritional status will tend to have dental disease.  This statement applies to children, adolescents and adults.  Constant poor nutrition will eventually take its toll on general and dental health.  What you eat impacts your entire physiology.

It is important to read labels and to teach children and young adults about food choices.  Education is the best method for achieving knowledge concerning dental health.  Below is a list of common added sugars that may be found is processed and non processed food.  Please note that honey in its natural form will also promote tooth decay.

  • table sugar
  • brown sugar
  • cane sugar
  • raw sugar
  • confectioners glaze
  • powered sugar
  • corn sweeteners
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • invert sugar
  • honey
  • fruit juice in any container
  • evaporated cane juice
  • evaporated cane sugar
  • glucose
  • fructose
  • dextrin
  • turbinado sugar
  • sucrose
  • maltose
  • corn syrup
  • rock sugar
  • malt syrup
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • fruit extracts and concentrates
  • imitation syrups

Schools and parents need to make nutrition a priority.  Well-nourished students learn and pay attention better than nutritionally compromised students.  We need to remove vending machines that sell junk food to hungry students (soda, candy, chips and pretzels, ice tea, etc.) and offer quality snacks like fresh fruits, nuts and seeds, full fat yogurts, cheese, and  whole grain snacks and quality energy bars.  We need to control blood sugar in children and adults because it is primary to good health.   Excessive dietary sugar is a risk factor for diabetes at all ages!

After school snacks should be of sound quality too.  A handful of commercially baked cookies, pop tarts, fake cheese, juice boxes, soda, etc. will not contribute to quality nutrition.  Most commercial cookies and energy bars are made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and high amounts of refined sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup and many of the sugar listed above.  Organic natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, maple sugar, molasses, stevia powder, dehydrated can sugar juice and raw honey are the better choices from the above list.  Homemade cookies made with natural sweeteners, butter, coconut oil and other traditional fats are the best choice.  The second best choice is to find commercial cookies and bars made from similar ingredients.  It is best to avoid all snack foods cooked in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, MSG, and nitrates, for example, microwave popcorn, potato and corn chips and pretzels.

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What Is Nutritional Medicine?

Poor nutrition contributes to many of the leading causes of death and disability in America.  Six of of the ten leading causes of mortality (death) and morbidity (sickness) are nutritionally related.  Cancer, coronary artery disease, diabetes, M.S., arthritis, colitis, Alzheimer’s dementia, to name a few, all have several components in common.   All chronic diseases share concepts of inflammation, oxidative stress, protein glycation (sugar attached to proteins) infection, toxic chemical exposure, etc., as mechanisms that destroy or damage cellular nutrition.  The body’s optimal immunity depends upon the integrity of the GI system, cellular nutrition, and the ability of the body to excrete.  No single concept, or explanation or theory, is paramount to health, because the human body is too complex an instrument to think that drugs, nutritional supplements, therapy, diet, exercise, life style factors, genetic predispositions, or dark chocolate alone will cure or treat all diseases.  The process of inflammation is generally known to be the root cause of essentially all chronic health conditions, including one of the major health concerns facing America–OBESITY.   A high glycemic diet (refined sugars), nutrient deficiencies, poor meal planning, stress at the dinner table, eating foods that cause food intolerances and allergies all support the process of systemic inflammation.  We need to go back to basics concerning meal planning and snacks.  Whole, unprocessed foods, in nature’s original form need to be consumed daily.  Fresh fruits and vegetables (organic if possible), whole milk products that are minimally pasteurized, non-GMO foods (like genetically modified grains), quality cold pressed oils (olive, coconut, grape seed, etc.) butter and Ghee (clarified butter,) grass feed beef, free range eggs, as several examples, all contribute to a healthy immune system and support mental health.  Issues of emotional eating, addictions, blocked emotions, feelings of self-worth, isolation, inadequate sleep, the inability to respond to stress in a positive way, also affect immune functioning.

Medical education has not focused on nutritional training for medical doctors. Their American model of medicine is based on the notion that one is well until proven sick.  Treating a blood test and controlling symptoms with drugs is the “standard of care.”  Integrating a comprehensive approach to mental and physical health is what should define our American healthcare system.  It’s much easier to spend 11 minutes with a patient, write a prescription and hope for the best.  Therefore, patients are being treated by M.D.’s who essentially have little or no knowledge concerning nutrition and who are overprescribing drugs as the “only way” to help the sick.  The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) lists the number of prescriptions ordered under the Medicare drug benefit program for the year 2010:

  • 94 million prescriptions for cholesterol lowering drugs.
  • 87.4 million prescriptions for thyroid drugs.
  • 87.5 million prescriptions for blood pressure drugs.
  • 48.3 million prescriptions for diabetes drugs.
  • 53.4 million prescriptions for antacids drugs.
  • 131.2 million prescriptions for pain drugs.

Prevention and nutritional counseling, for all practical purposes, is missing in the American health care system.  There will always be a place for drugs and surgery in medicine; however, this cannot be the only answer for treating patients and should not be the first strategy when working-up patients.  The current health care system (medical-pharmaceutical-hospital industrial complex) believes that overmedication is “the standard of care” and that invasive procedures, over testing, over imaging and over billing are part of the system.  The health care delivery system in America is strangling our budget by rewarding hospitals and physicians that support the status quo.  The more diagnosis the more insurance reimbursement.  This approach supports disease and rewards disease.

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Why Is The Immunity Tied Into The Gastrointestinal System?

The gastrointestinal tract has a profound impact on general health and immunity.  The GI tract or gut isn’t just for digestion, absorption and  elimination.  70% of the body’s lymphocytes come from the GI tract.  This has a major impact on the body’s central nervous system, the ability to fight disease, and on brain health.  The gut is a factory for producing helpful good bacteria (approximately 400 strains of different bacteria between our mouth and anus).  Conversely, some dangerous bacteria and toxins like H. Pylori and neurotoxins like ammonia also are synthesized in the intestinal tract. Please note that not all strains of H. Pylori are dangerous.

When the small intestine has micro holes (leaky gut) in its walls, toxins and food allergens can pass into systemic circulation and cause immune suppression, systemic inflammation, increased risk of insulin resistance and excessive fat storage.  This will cause a weakened state of health.  Leaky gut will also increase the incidence of food sensitivities and food intolerances.  Nutritional supplementation, probiotics, dietary analysis and restriction, as well as the removal of gut pathogens, endocrine support, and mental health support may be needed to restore proper gut health.

The nature and quality of fat, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, water quality, and levels of stress all will impact the risk of developing some kind of inflammatory bowel disorder.

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Are All Fats Bad?

The theory that elevated cholesterol and excessive fat cause heart disease is being questioned by many integrative clinicians.  The idea that the best diet for preventing heart disease is a low saturated fat diet, high in carbohydrates is now not universally supported by clinical trials.  The concept of “bad ” and “good” cholesterol is becoming outdated.  It is becoming more apparent that knowing whether a particular dominating pattern of small, dense, inflammatory cholesterol particles are present in the blood than just the total cholesterol or the ratio of total cholesterol to LDL cholesterol.  The ratio of triglyceride/HDL may be more important for assessing cardiovascular risk than cholesterol/LDL ratio.  Scientists have identified over 100 risk factors for heart disease over the past 30 years.  Also, a key factor in assessing the potential for heart disease is genotyping.  We all inherit genes from both parents.  This nascent technology will play a major role is assessing a person genetic risk for developing heart disease because cholesterol metabolism has a strong genetic component and certain diets can help or hinder a particular inherited genetic pattern.

A major contributor to heart disease is refined sugars and refined carbohydrates (white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white flour, etc.).   Sugar may be considered more dangerous to your heart than fat.  By reducing refined sugars you automatically reduce triglycerides in your blood.  Bacon fat (50% of bacon fat is monounsaturated, 10% polyunsaturated and 40% saturated), eggs, butter and cream are not the enemies of the American diet.  Trans fat, partially hydrogenated fats, deep-frying in poor quality fats, are the problem.  Cholesterol is not the enemy.  Our bodies must have cholesterol to survive.  Generally speaking, good fat does not cause heart disease; bad sugars and bad fats contribute to heart disease and its consequences.

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If I Eliminate All Fatty Foods From My Diet Will I Lose Weight?

Fat Restriction is Bad

When we eat a diet that is low in fat we are essentially depriving ourselves of nutrient-dense animal foods, which are an excellent source of quality fat and protein. When animals and fish are raised under ideal and humane conditions by farmers committed to traditional methods of agriculture, the result is quality fat that does not contribute to chronic diseases.  When a person restricts total fat in their diet they tend to substitute processed foods made from poor quality refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils, excessive salt, sugar and refined grains to meet their caloric needs.   These so called “junk foods” also affect the hypothalamus in our brains.  The hypothalamus monitors the day’s energy supply by tracking chemical messengers in the blood stream called hormones.  Leptin is a fat based hormone and insulin is a glucose or blood sugar hormone.  When you eat a meal with adequate fat, the hypothalamus sends a message to your brain that you are less hungry.  The hypothalamus is also hard wired to other brain control centers that control taste, emotion, reward, to name a few. So quality fat is absolutely essential for healthy brain signalingMilk, butter, cream, yogurt, kefir and cheese from grass-fed cows, pastured free running poultry and their fresh eggs, wild fresh fish, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, venison and game meat are the best to consume. 

Conversely, so-called “feedlot-raised” animals are fed grains like corn, soy and sorghum (sometimes force fed) and their meat is high in poor quality fat. The animals are also in a state of chronic stress due to poor hygiene and living conditions.   Avoid ultra pasteurized and ultra homogenized milk products because of their extended shelf life, even if they are called organic.  The extended shelf life renders the milk essentially dead.  Raw milk would be the best choice but is not always available. No-fat, skim, two percent milk products are essentially sterile and have little food quality.  Avoid low fat and processed cheese, cheese slices, cheese spreads and imitation cheese made from soy and cheese-like substances.  Avoid partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, shortenings, spreads combined with vegetable oil and all margarines.  Margarines do not occur naturally in the food chain.  Margarines and other shortenings are considered synthetic, colored, additive filled, and made with cheap grade oil that is refined in an industrial facility!  Hydrogenated oils are fats that do not support a healthy heart.

When saturated animal fat products are of poor quality and processed with excessive additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed protein, citric acid, excessive nitrates and nitrites, the cholesterol in these products has a tendency to become oxidized (the cholesterol is exposed to free radical damage) and, therefore, is toxic to our cardiovascular system.  We want to avoid oxidized cholesterol in our diets and we want to avoid rancid oils in our diets.  Which oils work best under different cooking conditions (high, medium, and low-heat) and storage conditions are important when considering oil usage.

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What Is “Gene Expression”?

Weight Loss, Gene Expression and Excretion

Losing weight is NOT about counting calories because not all calories (foods we eat) are created equally.  A calorie consumed is different than a calorie of energy that you burn off through exercise because of a concept called “gene expression.”  The foods you eat affect your body’s ability to alter gene expression.  There are two basic types of genes:  constitutional and inducible.  Constitutional genes encode DNA and RNA messages that are expressed in a constant fashion and are not generally modified by environmental or lifestyle choices.  Inducible genes, however, are sensitive to toxins, nutritional influences, and the environment and can be up-regulated or down regulated in their expression.  These inducible genes play a large role in the aging process and in the liver’s ability handle detoxification and excretion.

Our genetic inheritance also plays a large role in how vulnerable we are to age-related diseases via the inducible gene system.  A good example of this is the livers ability to biotransform drugs, hormones, vitamins and minerals, and xenotoxins (foreign toxins).  Certain foods like high fructose corn sugar, hydrogenated fats, fried foods, genetically modified foods (GMO’s), and highly processed foods, will, in reality, cause your genes to react in a negative way by increasing abdominal fat, increasing insulin resistance, and affecting leptin (a fat hormone.)  Over a long period of time, these toxic foods will increase the risk of developing chronic diseases and increase the aging process.  The liver is the main organ of excretion in the body and good health depends on the body’s ability to excrete toxins.

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What Does Food Have To Do With Healthy Aging?

Six Changeable Factors of Unhealthy Aging and Chronic Disease

Research of the past twenty years has identified several important factors in premature aging and in the development of chronic diseases.  These six major factors all are interrelated in the big picture of “dis-ease.”

1.  Chronic Inflammation of the Intestinal Tract (Gut):  The gut is now considered a major organ of immunity.  70% of lymphocytes (white blood cells) are produced by the intestinal tract.  The GI tract has its own immune system and its own bacterial colonies that are essential for life.  One function of the small intestine is to selectively prevent toxins and antigens from being absorbed.  The small intestine, when damaged by parasites, pathological bacteria, food antigens, etc., will cause a break down in intestinal barrier function, and the result is not only abnormal intestinal permeability, but also an increase in pro inflammatory cells that induce systemic inflammation.  This process contributes to the aging process and increases the rate of chronic disease progression.  Chronic inflammation is a major player in the breakdown of the human body.  Many nutritional supplements including L-glutamine, aloe, probiotics, zinc, and herbal extracts, have been found helpful in reducing bowel inflammation and sealing so-called leaky gut.

2.  Glycation:  Glycation is caused by a diet rich in refined sugars (glucose) in the blood and in tissues and cells that attach to proteins and alters the functions and structure of those proteins.  Insulin resistance (a major cause of diabetes) and other defects in glucose metabolism add to this problem by causing oxidative stress and inflammation that damages cells and mitochondria (energy producers in cells).   Refined sugars in the SAD (standard American diet) are the major player in poor glucose metabolism and insulin control.  The average adult consumes more that 100 pounds of white sugar per year.  It is no wonder that America spends in excess of $200 billion per year treating diabetes and its effects on the body.

3.  Compromised Detoxification:  We live in a toxic environment.  Studies have found pesticides, chemicals, flame retardants, heavy metals, drugs, etc., in breast milk.  Children become toxic from day one!  Overuse of antibiotics, vaccines, GMO foods, fast foods, exposure to sick children in day care, family stress, all contribute to a child that not only is nutritionally compromised, but also whose detoxification and excretion pathways are also compromised. This can be a short term or long term process  before chronic diseases manifest.  An excellent example of this process is the suppression of inflammatory issues like serous otitis media (middle ear infections in children), or tonsillitis, or sinusitis in children that are chronically treated with various antibiotics over many years.  For many of these children they then develop skin issues (exema, psoriasis,) respiratory issues (asthma,) food allergies (gluten and casein intolerance) and psychological, behavioral, and learning issues.  If left untreated, they become chronically sick adults.  In order to be healthy the body must constantly detox and excrete.

4.  Infection:  Infection caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, mycoplasmas, fungal infections, etc., all contribute to the process of inflammation and immune dis-regulation.

5.  Altered Mitochondrial Function:  Mitochondria make up approximately 10% of our entire body weight.  Besides providing energy for cells, they also have their own genetic information that is different from the DNA in chromosomes located in the nucleus of cells.  Mitochondrial DNA is only inherited from the mother, which may account for more that 50% of ones genetic makeup and genetic susceptibility.  Nuclear DNA is more resistant to oxidative damage than mitrochondrial DNA. This means that mitochrondrial DNA is more likely to be damaged by oxidative chemical reactions than nuclear DNA. This damage may translate into chronic fatigue, accelerated aging, fibromyalgia-like symptoms, and dementia-like disorders.  Free radicals, lipid peroxides, infection, pro-inflammatory cells, poor liver function, nutritional deficiencies, stress, etc., all contribute to over-all energy reserve deficiencies.  Exercise, nutritional supplementation and intervention, and caloric restriction have been proven to help mitochondria proliferation.

6.  Defective Methylation and Homocysteine metabolism:  Vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin B6 all play a role in the metabolism of a compound called homocysteine.  This compound is an amino acid (building blocks of proteins) that is now considered a bio-marker for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and dementia among susceptible individuals. Homocysteine can be measured on a blood test.

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