It’s hard to imagine that manufacturers of processed foods continue to think it’s a good idea to put the term “low-fat” on their labels to enhance sales. Maybe it is a good idea from a sales perspective because so many people still buy into the notion that a low fat diet is a good idea. But that is absolutely in direct contradiction with current science.
In a new study just published in the highly regarded journal Lancet, researchers from multiple highly-regarded institutions around the world studied an incredibly large number of individuals ages 35 to 70 year (135,335), from 18 countries, over an average of 7.4 years. They carried out very specific assessments of the foods that these individuals ate and evaluated their food choices in terms of macronutrient composition (carbohydrates, protein, and fat), and specifically broke the fat consumption down to evaluate saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fats. Further, they compared the diets to the risk of various endpoints including death, major cardiovascular event, stroke, and heart failure.
You may or may not have seen the American Heart Association’s (AHA) latest report, but I’m sure you’ve probably seen the social media frenzy that followed their statements on coconut oil.
An article by USA Today with the headline “Coconut Oil Isn’t Healthy, It’s Never Been Healthy”, has been shared over a half a million times. The AHA rehashed their age-old dietary guidelines for fats and cholesterol, attempting to finger them both as the cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD). But this time they took it one step further and took a stab at coconut oil, stating:
However, because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil.
So what’s going on here? Is coconut oil suddenly not as good for you as we once thought? Or, is the AHA report based on erroneous science? Continue reading
Lately, there has been a really big push to keep people from eating dairy products with justification stemming from ideas such as a relationship between dairy product consumption and stroke as well as type 2 diabetes. Clearly, the idea that dairy products can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes has pretty well been proven false. With respect to the idea that dairy product consumption can increase the risk of stroke, a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition addressed that idea.
Rather than relying on self reported dairy product consumption, in other words, asking people what they ate, this new report actually looked at what are called biomarkers to determine dairy product consumption. Biomarkers are, in this case, specific measurable fatty acids that are unique to dairy products and therefore could be assessed by looking at blood results. Continue reading
As I’m sure many of you are aware, we are getting ready for launch next week of the Grain Brain Cookbook. The mission of the new cookbook is to demonstrate how incredibly wonderful it is to eat low-carb higher fat food in terms of flavor, diversity, and health effects.
Over the past year since the launch of Grain Brain I have done my very best to bring to the public awareness the science that supports our recommendation for a lower carbohydrate, higher fat diet. This is the diet that research has demonstrated to be the most effective not only in terms of various health parameters like markers of inflammation, but weight-loss as well.
So it is certainly highly validating that with just one more week to go until the launch of the Grain Brain Cookbook, the highly respected medical journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, has published a new research study entitled Effects of Low Carbohydrate and Low-Fat diets: A randomized Trial. This study, supported by The National Institutes of Health, looked at a group of 148 men and women, without cardiovascular disease or diabetes, and placed them either on a low-fat diet or low carbohydrate diet. Those consuming the low-carb diet ate considerably more fat than those who were on the low-fat diet who consumed a lot more carbohydrate. Continue reading
It’s clear that we have come full circle in our understanding of the role of dietary fat in human nutrition. For the past two decades, fat has been demonized and Western cultures were directed to an incredibly unhealthy approach to nutrition that favored carbohydrate rich foods while deleting healthful fats. This experiment, exposing humans to a diet unlike anything we have consumed for the past 2 million years, has proven disastrous.
Gratefully, science is now rectifying this situation by providing wonderful support for the recommendation to welcome fat back to the table. Coconut oil for example, one of the fundamental recommendations of the Grain Brain program is made up of 91% saturated (read: healthful) fat with research indication that it’s consumption is associated with improved cardiovascular parameters and a slimmer belly!
How intriguing it is that coconut oil has been used as a health tonic dating back to the Vedic texts from more than 3000 years ago. Yes – full circle indeed.
The last few decades have brought with them the news that we’re supposed to avoid adding saturated fats to our diets. Recent science though, tells another story.
The aforementioned study, from the Annals of Internal Medicine, highlights the research that is paving the way for this breakthrough in our understanding of saturated fat and its relationship to heart health. In the above video I’ll break down the results of that study, so we can understand why it is that high levels of saturated fat intake have absolutely nothing to do with risk for coronary artery disease. Watch this video while enjoying a kale omelet, and you’ll be doing right by your heart, brain, and general health as well.
Part of the triumvirate of foodstuffs that make up my anti-Alzheimer’s trio, coconut oil is one of my favorite ingredients, snacks, and superfoods. It’s an incredible way to increase beta-HBA, one of our brain’s “superfuels,” as well as being a near-perfect source of healthy fat. But the benefits of coconut oil don’t stop there. Importantly, coconut oil is key for fighting inflammation, making it part of a diet that doesn’t just support a healthier brain, but a healthier body. Coconut oil, and the saturated fats present in it, are also to thank for helping us fight off infections, as these fats help the proteins in our immune system more effectively rid our bodies of invading organisms. Continue reading