Unsaturated Fats: The Mediterranean Savior?

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Unsaturated fats are often pushed as a replacement for the allegedly dangerous saturated fats that people consume.  There are two primary types of unsaturated fat, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats; they are named based on whether they have one or more double bonds.  A fat with only a single double bond is considered monounsaturated and a fat with multiple double bonds is considered polyunsaturated.  Here we are going to primarily focus on polyunsaturated fats, which are often pitched as a healthful alternative to saturated fats.  However, some scientists believe that consumption of polyunsaturated fats can actually increase the risk of cardiovascular heart disease, and the Institute of Medicine recommends no more than one tenth of your calories coming from this source (Mozaffarian, Micha and Wallace 2). Continue reading “Unsaturated Fats: The Mediterranean Savior?”

Saturated Fats: The Villain We’ve Been Promised?

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Saturated fats are one of the most vilified dietary compounds in America.  Almost every single organization recommends that you should reduce your saturated fat consumption.  This belief originated in the famous Seven Countries Study by Dr, Keys, where by looking at the diets of seven countries and there fat content, and plotting against mortality he found an association between fat and mortality (Keys, Menotti and Karvoven).  His data suggested that increased consumption of saturated fats was strongly and significantly associated with  death.  However there have been criticisms from many scientists who have found flaws in his methodology and data analysis.  They found that either sugar consumption or exercise were a much  better predictor for mortality. Continue reading “Saturated Fats: The Villain We’ve Been Promised?”

Introduction to Dietary Fats

Note: This article is more about technical basics than advice.  Read if you want to understand more about the underlying science.

One of the most confusing aspects of modern nutrition is fat.  The recommendations seem to be more liquid than the ocean, so trying to figure out what to do is exhausting and sometimes nearly impossible.  Walk into a store and you will see hundreds of items advertising themselves as “Fat-Free”, “Reduced Fat”, “Low Fat”, and “Fat removed”.  Looking at these it would be easy to assume that fats are dangerous and we must be incredibly careful with their consumption.  However, as with most things in life, the truth is more complicated than that.    Fats are one of the basic nutrients required for survival.  Fats are critically important to the maintenance of the myelin sheaths on nerves.  It is also critically important for certain vitamins as they are fat soluble, without enough fat certain vitamins cannot be processed (Mayo Clinic Staff).  Without fats there is an immediate decline in human health.  Knowing how important these fats are the movement towards a low fat diet seems a little perplexing.  However low fat advocates believe that because fat is high in calories it is easy for it to contribute to weight gain, and because excess weight causes significant health problems it is therefore important to limit fat (Mayo Clinic Staff).  In this first article in this series I am going to discuss some general classifications for fats.

Continue reading “Introduction to Dietary Fats”

Hypnosis: An Effective Weight Loss Tool?

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Image courtesy of Иван Дерусов. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mzm.dzxqpqpo.png

Hypnosis always seemed to me like a quack technique.  I was very skeptical that it would have any place as a scientifically founded weight loss technique.  However, there is some intriguing research into hypnosis as a weight loss tool. Continue reading “Hypnosis: An Effective Weight Loss Tool?”

Trend Line Dieting

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What we see above is an example of my weight trend for the past five days.  As explained in the previous post (here).

Trend line dieting is one of the simplest but also a surprisingly effective form of dieting.  Basically the idea is that all you track is your weight and using a trend line all you have to do is ensure that the line is moving the direction that you want.  For example, I want to lose weight, so it is my goal to make sure that the pictured trend line keeps decreasing, and as long as it does I do not need to worry. Continue reading “Trend Line Dieting”

How to Track Weight Effectively and Easily

Image courtesy of Angelsharum.  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bathroom_Scale.jpg

Weight tracking seems like one  of the easiest things you could do.  You just weight yourself and then keep track of how it changes.  However, this method can cause people to very quickly lose motivation, so instead we are going to focus on several principles that will help eliminate the motivation destroying spikes. Continue reading “How to Track Weight Effectively and Easily”

Welcome!

The world is awash with diet advice.  Eat paleo, or maybe vegan, Atkins? Despite this multitude of diet advice there is still an inescapable obesity problem.  More than one third of United States adults are obese according to the CDC.  This has an estimated medical cost of $147 Billion.  There is no doubt that there is a fundamental problem with the American diet, but the solution seems murky.

The simple goal of this site is to use scientific reasoning and research to try to understand the truth about diet and nutrition.  This will include analysis of popular diets and attempts to break down the research to try to suss out the essential nutrition facts.

I have a feeling that you are wondering why you should trust my information over any other blogger on the internet.  And there are a lot of bloggers out there all who claim to have the secret cure.  Unfortunately, there is no secret cure.

I’m a biochemistry and pre-medicine double major at Augustana College in Illinois planning to head to medical school.  My passion is human nutrition and I especially love research analysis, and those are the skills I will use to attempt to form a diet grounded in scientific principles.  There will be no quick tricks, no magic bullets, and it will almost definitely require effort, but I think we can come close to an optimal diet.

Despite my passion for nutrition I am currently obese.  One of my goals is to find a diet that will effectively allow me to lose weight after I have failed countless times before.  However, this will not just be a diet for weight loss, but instead for long term sustainable health.

Mission Statement: To provide clear nutritional insights grounded in science.

Current Stats:

Age: 20

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 251.6

BMI: 35.1

In short I’m Class 2 obese, and this is down 50 pounds from the peak I was at two years ago.  I played offensive line for ten years and just retired.  Because of this I have eating habits meant for a very specific goal.  This goal is not congruent with general health and so it’s time for a change

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Add me on any of these.  I want to make my process as accessible as possible so that people understand what goes into it.

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