The Futility of Dieting

 

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Image Courtesy of A2zdiet-plan

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I’m sure this title is catching some of you off guard.  It certainly appears if you look around my site that I run a diet website (all these go to different articles about weight loss).  But that misses the purpose of this website.  The tagline for this site is:

Eating for health, happiness, and longevity

That is what I study, and what I am trying to understand how to accomplish.  Oftentimes a diet is counterproductive to one or many of these goals. Continue reading “The Futility of Dieting”

Wheat Belly Scientific Review: Chapter 1

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I previously reviewed Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis here.  However, because this is a dense book relying on a variety of scientific studies I wanted to give the book the analysis it deserves.  This will involve both a look at the way he structures his arguments and a look at whether the studies he cites support his argument.

Continue reading “Wheat Belly Scientific Review: Chapter 1”

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?”

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?”

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”