Wheat Belly Review

Wheat Belly by William Davis MD is a popular diet book in which he advocates for a diet free of wheat and some similar grains.  Dr. William Davis MD is a preventive cardiologist who over many years of his work and his own experience often found an improvement in his own and patient’s health with the removal of wheat.  He observed that for him, following the recommendations to consume more whole-grains resulted in torpor and weight gain,.  Once he removed the wheat from his diet he found that he had more energy, and very quickly lost the weight.  This was a telling moment for him, because it was when he started to question the established recommendations and consider alternative diet options. Continue reading “Wheat Belly Review”

Ultimate Guide to Fats

A space-filling model of an unsaturated triglyceride.

Introduction To Dietary Fats

Read this for a quick introduction to dietary fats.

Saturated Fats

Are Saturated fats as dangerous as commonly thought? Can they be included comfortably in a diet?

Unsaturated Fats

Are unsaturated fats the guilt free fat? Are they the secret to longevity?

Omega 3’s

Are the fishy fats the savior we have been promised?

Cholesterol

We’ve been told that cholesterol is dangerous and can lead to an early death.  Is that the truth?

Trans Fats and Very Low Fat Diets

Are Trans Fats as dangerous as they are portrayed? Are low fat diets effective?

For any  and all of these it is always important to consider the science and not just the recommendations.  Nutrition is more nuanced than the recommendations make it seem.

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Trans Fats and Low Fat Diets

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Trans Fats are a form of unsaturated fat, but because of their different molecular arrangement they have a very different biological effect.  There is  no evidence of trans fats contributing to positive health and have been linked to several negative health effects.  These effects include diabetes and heart disease, and they can occur with a very small amount of consumption. (Derbyshire)  I personally avoid consuming any trans fats. Continue reading “Trans Fats and Low Fat Diets”

Cholesterol: Bacon and Eggs a Secret to Health?

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Cholesterol in the blood can be one of the best predictors for heart disease, especially if the ratio between high density lipoprotein (HDL(Good Cholesterol)) and low density lipoprotein (LDL(Bad cholesterol)) is considered.  Cholesterol is fat bound up in lipoproteins in order to make it soluble (Fats and Cholesterol). Continue reading “Cholesterol: Bacon and Eggs a Secret to Health?”

Omega 3’s: Fishy Fats

Omega 3 fatty acids have recently been touted as almost a universal cure all, and the solution to many of America’s problems with fats.  Omega 3’s are a polyunsaturated fat, however, I separated them from my previous post.  The majority of polyunsaturated fats that Americans consume are Omega 6, so I separated Omega 3s in order to truly consider their heath impacts.  Polyunsaturated fats are defined by where the first double bond is located, and that is where the difference between Omega 3 and Omega 6 comes from, where the double bond is located (American Dietetic Association 1599).  The current dietary recommendations of the Mayo Clinic, the ADA, and Willett, all state that increased consumption of Omega 3’s is important for health (American Dietetic Association 1599; Willett and Skerrett; Mayo Clinic Staff). Continue reading “Omega 3’s: Fishy Fats”

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”