All About Fats - Part 1: MCTs

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All About Fats - Part 1: MCTs

TLDR Summary:

Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) are fat molecules containing one of four different medium chain fatty acids (MCFA).  Unlike most fats, MCTs are absorbed quickly and MCFAs are able to be metabolized directly by the brain and nervous system.  They are metabolized rapidly in the liver, creating an influx of ketones in the process.  The combination of  rapid absorption, access to the brain/nerves, and nearly instantaneous ketone production makes MCTs the ideal fuel.  Like all fats, they keep blood sugar/insulin low and control hunger, but provide instant energy that can be used by the entire body like a carbohydrate.

MCTs are digested quickly like carbohydrate and their MCFAs are available for use by brain/nerve cells.  You also create ketones from MCFAs much quicker than from other fats.  The MCFAs and ketones combine to provide quick, sustained energy, and their fast metabolism allows you to generate ketones even with slightly higher carbohydrate intake.  

MCTs are found in coconut oil (62%), palm kernel oil (50%), full-fat dairy (10%), and MCT oils & powder (~100%).  

MCTs Long-term benefits:   

  • Helps fat loss by boosting metabolism and satisfying your appetite
  • Improves cognitive function and memory by generating ketones which feed and “protect” neurons.  Helps treat epilepsy or neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
  • Fights infections due to antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.  
  • Improves nutrient absorption (vitamins, minerals, etc) from other foods.  Helpful for those with gut disorders like Crohn’s and leaky gut.
  • Reduces cardiovascular disease risk by helping control weight, raising HDL cholesterol, and lowering inflammation.  

The only downside is the potential for “disaster pants” if you consume too much at one, you’ll be running to the bathroom, but this goes away with tolerance.  

What Are They?

Triglycerides are the food and storage form of fat.  Each triglyceride contains a glycerol molecule and three fatty acid chains, each containing any number of carbon molecules (usually an even number).  The number of carbons determines the length of the fatty acid chain, and we categorize them as:

  • Short Chain: 2-6 carbons
  • Medium Chain: 8-12 carbons
  • Long Chain 14-18 carbons
  • Very-Long Chain: 20+ carbons

 Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) contain fatty acids with anywhere from 8-12 carbons.  Specifically, the medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) are (The “C” stands for carbon and the “0” means it’s saturated):

  • Caproic Acid  (C6:0)   - fastest metabolism but only small amounts in food
  • Caprylic Acid  (C8:0)   - very ketogenic, very fast metabolism in brain
  • Capric Acid     (C10:0) - slightly less ketogenic and a little slower metabolism in brain
  • Lauric Acid*    (C12:0) - digests slower like LCFAs, not metabolized in brain*, most antimicrobial

 * Technically, lauric acid has a medium-length chain, because that’s how chemist categorized it. However, it’s metabolized like a long-chain fatty acid.  

 Why Size Matters

Most fats in our diets are of the long or very-long chain variety.  What this means is that they take much longer to digest, since they require an extra enzyme in order to be absorbed through the intestines.  It also means they cannot be directly utilized by your brain and nervous system.  Normally, no big deal; as a ketogenic eater, you already have a steady supply of fatty acids being released into the blood from body fat.  You also know from "How Food Works" that even long chain fatty acids are metabolized through beta-oxidation, and that beta-oxidation in the liver creates ketones that can be taken up by your thirsty brain.  

 It may seem terrifying, but we all leave ketosis from time to time, maybe due to a cheat or a little too much protein.  MCTs can get you back faster.  Or perhaps you’re starting your day or about to do some heavy mental lifting and want a quick boost of energy, but you want it sustainable and without the crash than comes with eating carbohydrates.  MCTs are the perfect fuel for these situations.  They might just be the perfect fuel, period.  The Ryan Gosling of foods.   

 Which Foods contain MCTs?

The most common source of MCTs is in coconut oil, although only about 15% of the fats are “fast acting ” MCTs of C6 Caproic, C8 caprylic and C10 capric acid.  Other sources of MCTs are as follows (1, 2, 3):

Coconut oil  -          C6: <1%   C8: 7%   C10: 8%   C12: 48%;  62% total MCFA

Palm kernel oil -     C6: <1%   C8: 3%   C10: 5%   C12: 46%;  54% total MCFA

Full-fat dairy  -       C6: 2%    C8: 2%   C10: 3%   C12: 3%;      10% total MCFA

MCT oil / powder   ratios vary by product;  100% total MCFA

Coconut and dairy (especially grass-fed) contain decent amounts of MCTs, but by far the easiest way to get a big dose is by taking them in an oil or powder.  They are minimally processed and make great additions to coffee, baked goods, and dressings.  

 What’s Unique About MCTs?

Due to their shorter chains, MCTs are not only rapidly absorbed through your intestines and directly into the bloodstream, but unlike most fats, can cross the blood brain barrier and fuel your brain cells with a quick, yet long lasting energy source. Also, the shorter the chain, the quicker a fatty acid can be oxidized, and the quicker it produces ketones.  And like all fats, since there’s no insulin released, there’s no blood sugar crash afterwards.  This makes MCTs the perfect breakfast food (i.g., keto or bulletproof coffee), and great before anything where you want to feel on fire (in a good way).

 MCTs/MCFAs are as strong, clean and efficient a fuel as you can get your paws on.    

 Lauric acid is technically a medium chain fatty acid.  However, it acts just like a long-chain fatty acid in that it can’t be directly absorbed through the intestine and can’t cross the blood brain barrier.  For this reason, some people don't consider lauric acid to be a MCFA.  Although it has it’s own sexy qualities (its the most antimicrobial), lauric acid does not provide the fast digestion and quick energy of the other MCFAs.  

 What are the Long-Term Benefits?  

Besides giving you quick, sustained energy, MCTs have the potential to help you:   

  • Improve cognitive function and memory
  • Lose fat or maintain weight
  • Fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi
  • Improve digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Improve heart health

Cognitive Function and Memory

Because of their ability to rapidly reach your brain both directly and through fast conversion to ketones, MCTs can improve cognitive function and memory (4, 5, 6, 7).  It’s known that ketones activate special proteins that repair and protect brain and nerve cells.  This characteristic is extremely beneficial to those suffering from loss of neurons due to aging or neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.  This study on Alzheimer’s treatments noted, “In small scale human trials, MCT supplementation boosted cognition in individuals with cognitive impairment and mild forms of Alzheimer's disease after just a single dose." (8)    Ketones are also known to reduce the symptoms of epilepsy (9).

 Body weight and body fat

This site is centered around the idea that a high-fat, low-carb diet will help you lose fat through the removal of high amounts of glucose and insulin and the appetite-suppressing effects of high fat intake, and MCTs use these mechanisms just like any other fat source.  In addition, there’s even some research showing that MCTs may have even more fat-burning properties than long-chain fats by slightly increasing the amount of energy expended with the same amount of calorie intake (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18).   This makes MCTs a powerful weapon in the fight against all the things we are trying to destroy - insulin resistance, Type-II diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, heart disease, and cancer.  And because MCTs produce ketones so readily, this may enable you to enjoy some of the other benefits of ketone production, even while eating slightly more carbohydrates.  You can’t eat an entire fruitcake, but maybe an extra 25 carbohydrates a day (this is highly individual).  

 Antimicrobial effects  

MCTs/MCFAs act as a natural antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal by coating the surface of these microbes and killing them (19, 20).  It’s been shown to be especially effective against candida and yeast infections (21, 22, 23). It’s also known to kill:

  • staphylococcus (causes food poisoning and UTIs)
  • streptococcus (causes strep throat, pneumonia and sinus infections)
  • neisseria (causes meningitis, gonorrhea and pelvic inflammatory disease)

Most of this antimicrobial effect comes from the lauric acid (C12).  Lauric acid is prevalent in coconut oil, but many MCT products are made without it, since it takes longer to digest.

 Digestion and Nutrient absorption

The aforementioned antimicrobial effects of MCTs have the added benefit of aiding digestion, because they kill a lot of the bacteria that cause digestive issues.  This could help those suffering from leaky gut, Crohn’s disease, and gallbladder infections.  In addition, fats are required to absorb certain vitamins like A, D, E, and K, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.  Eating all the plants in the world will not allow you to fully absorb the nutrients they contain without the addition of fats.   

 Heart health

MCTs are saturated fats.  Generally speaking, saturated fats can raise the total level of cholesterol in your blood, particularly raising HDL cholesterol.  We now know that total cholesterol is not associated with risk of heart disease (24), and HDL cholesterol protects against heart disease (25).  We also know that the true root cause of heart disease is inflammation.  MCTs have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties (26, 27).  When you consider its effects on weight loss, MCT’s ability to raise HDL and lower inflammation means that it could help prevent heart disease.   

What are the Downsides?

Not much.  The only common issue with MCTs are their tendency to cause disaster pants when you take too much at once.  However, this is easy to rectify - simply take a ½ dose and see how you feel, then gradually increase the dose over the course of 2 weeks until you build up a tolerance.  Some people (especially if you have been keto for a while) have no issues with a full dose or more right off the bat.  As you get used to them your digestive tract gets more efficient at absorbing them.

So, now you understand what MCTs and MCFAs are, where they are found, how they work and what they are good for.  

As far as I’m concerned, there aren’t many nutrients  as important as MCTs.  It’s got both immediate and long-term benefits with very little downside.  Lucky for us, there market is exploding with new oils and powders, and there are many quality products to choose from.  In my next article we'll give you a look at the different MCT products to help navigate these choices.  

Sources

  1. Fatty acids in bovine milk fat

  2. The component fatty acids and glycerides of palm-kernel oil

  3. Fatty Acids Composition of Vegetable Oils and Its Contribution to Dietary Energy Intake and Dependence of Cardiovascular Mortality on Dietary Intake of Fatty Acids

  4. Optimizing Diagnosis And Management In Mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s Disease

  5. Coconut oil attenuates the effects of amyloid-β on cortical neurons in vitro.

  6. A new way to produce hyperketonemia: use of ketone ester in a case of Alzheimer's disease.

  7. Role of Medium Chain Triglycerides (Axona®) in the Treatment of Mild to Moderate Alzheimer's Disease.

  8. Study of the ketogenic agent AC-1202 in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial

  9. Efficacy of dietary treatments for epilepsy

  10. Impact of medium and long chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men

  11. The application of medium-chain fatty acids: edible oil with a suppressing effect on body fat accumulation

  12. Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue

  13. Medium chain fatty acid metabolism and energy expenditure: obesity treatment implications.

  14. Physiological effects of medium-chain triglycerides: potential agents in the prevention of obesity.

  15. Medium-chain triglycerides increase energy expenditure and decrease adiposity in overweight men.

  16. Medium-chain fatty acids: Functional lipids for the prevention and treatment of the metabolic syndrome

  17. Enhanced thermogenesis and diminished deposition of fat in response to overfeeding with diet containing medium chain triglyceride.

  18. Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and urinary catecholamines of humans consuming low-to-moderate amounts of medium-chain triglycerides: a dose-response study in a human respiratory chamber.

  19. Antimicrobial effects of virgin coconut oil and its medium-chain fatty acids on Clostridium difficile.

  20. Fatty Acids and Derivatives as Antimicrobial Agents

  21. In Vitro Killing of Candida albicans by Fatty Acids and Monoglycerides

  22. Antimicrobial property of lauric acid against Propionibacterium acnes: its therapeutic potential for inflammatory acne vulgaris.

  23. Antimicrobial activity of lipids added to human milk, infant formula, and bovine milk

  24. Exploring the factors that affect blood cholesterol and heart disease risk: is dietary cholesterol as bad for you as history leads us to believe?

  25. Cardiovascular disease risk reduction by raising HDL cholesterol – current therapies and future opportunities

  26. Polyphenolics isolated from virgin coconut oil inhibits adjuvant induced arthritis in rats through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action

  27. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil

 

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Heart Surgeon Speaks Out About What REALLY Causes Heart Disease

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Heart Surgeon Speaks Out About What REALLY Causes Heart Disease

Sott.net We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.

I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled "opinion makers." Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.

The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice. (1)

It Is Not Working!  (1)

Dr. Dwight Lundell is one of the many medical professionals who is speaking out against mainstream views on dietary fat and cholesterol. Dr. Lundell was a surgeon for more than 25 years and has performed more than 5000 open heart surgeries. He is also the author of the book The Great Cholesterol Lie.

In his viral letter he explains how the dietary guidelines are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The very guidelines that most Americans continue to follow have long since been debunked. I am talking about low fat, high carbohydrate diets. The same guidelines that told you to avoid saturated fats like red meat, dairy and eggs and to eat polyunsaturated fats like canola oil, to prevent heart disease.(1)

But there’s one major problem… It’s been over 40 years and we are sicker than ever. According to a new statistic from the American Heart Association one of every three U.S. deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease (2),  with nearly every man in America (between the ages of 40 to 75) qualifying for statin drugs. (3)

The recommended method of defense against this problem isn't even designed to fix the problem. It's just meant to suppress the symptoms.

So what is the solution? What will actually prevent us from cardiovascular disease?

According to Dr. Lundell (and many many others), the answer isn't in the lowering of overall cholesterol, the answer is in avoiding inflammation:

In the absence of inflammation, cholesterol would pass freely through the body as intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to plaque up the artery walls.

Inflammation is your body's natural defense to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process,a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.(1)

Simply stated, without inflammation our cholesterol wouldn't ever reach a point where it would be in such an abundance that it would get "clogged." On top of that, by eating inflammatory foods on a regular basis you are reaching chronic inflammation.

Rub a piece of sandpaper against your skin for an hour… inflammation is that, but on the inside.

So what foods are inflammatory? Well, the very foods we were told to eat on the low fat high carbohydrate diet! Trans fats and refined carbohydrates (this includes “heart healthy” grains)

Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed with omega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone(1)

The pantry items and low fat foods that you were told to buy as part of a heart healthy diet are really the ones making you sick. This information is very widely accepted in the scientific community. However, these findings haven't translated into the mainstream or into the medical community. This isn’t the fault of the medical professionals, they have a set of guidelines to follow and without those guidelines being updated they haven’t been instructed to prescribe otherwise.  

**After reviewing my own blood work and DEXA body scan information from 10 months of a ketogenic diet, my doctor was more than thrilled with my health and interested to try this diet himself.

So this means it’s up to us...We can avoid the need for expensive pharmaceuticals or risk facing diabetic precautions by just eating whole foods and eliminating manufactured foods. It's as simple as that and no amount of prescription drug can change that fact.

Click here for a comprehensive look at the foods to eat and foods to avoid

  1. https://www.sott.net/article/242516-Heart-Surgeon-Speaks-Out-On-What-Really-Causes-Heart-Disease

  2. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/new-statistics-show-one-of-every-three-u-s-deaths-caused-by-cardiovascular-disease

  3. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/13-million-more-americans-would-take-statins-if-new-guidelines-followed-study/

 

 

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5 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds make for a great keto snack. They are a good source of fat, low in carbohydrates and pretty versatile when it comes to applying them to different foods. Not to mention cheap compared to most nuts/seeds. Those factors aside they are also a very nutritious snack. Dense with powerful antioxidants and heart healthy properties. Here are 5 significant benefits to pumpkin seeds:

Heart Healthy Magnesium

  • Magnesium is an important micronutrient, particularly on a ketogenic diet. Electrolytes help reduce "keto-flu" symptoms. Magnesium is also essential in: controlling blood pressure, reducing heart disease risk, forming and maintaining healthy bones, and regulating blood sugar (1)

  • Magnesium plays an important role in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body, including the metabolism of food and synthesis of fatty acids and proteins. (2)

Plant Based Omega 3 Fat Source

  • Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids (3). They are well known for their anti-atherogenic properties, meaning that they help against the formation of fatty plaque in the arteries. 

Heart and Liver Health

  • Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants and fibers, may provide benefits for heart and liver health, particularly when mixed with flax seeds. (4)

Anti Inflammatory

  • Pumpkin seed has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. One animal study even found it worked as well as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in treating arthritis, but without the side effects. Another study showed that the oven dried pumpkin seed samples showed higher phenolics and antioxidant activity values (5)

Immunity Support

  • Zinc is often taken as a natural cold remedy as it has been shown to fight off the common cold very effectively and can interfere with the molecular process that creates bacteria and mucus, effectively making you less sick. Often women tend to be zinc deficient. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source (6)

Get my super easy, roasted pumpkin seed recipe right here: <Link>

Sources:

  1. https://authoritynutrition.com/11-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds/

  2. https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/magnesium

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18938206

  4. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/09/30/pumpkin-seed-benefits.aspx#_edn6

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325009/

  6. https://draxe.com/zinc-benefits/

Sugar Is The New Tobacco

Sugar Is The New Tobacco

Imagine this scenario... You are sitting on an airplane. It's a 6-hour flight from LA to Boston and you have the window seat, you love the window seat. You have a couple good podcasts queued up and your neck pillow is in place, nothing could go wrong. The woman sitting in the middle seat is relatively small and does not seem particularly interested in the arm rest, jackpot. You close your eyes and listen to the sweet sounds of Tim Ferriss interviewing Dr. Dom D'Agostino about ketosis* and then all of a sudden, you smell something. What is that that smell? Is that, no it can't be. WTF! It is? It's cigarette smoke! Is this lady seriously smoking a cigarette on the plane?

*If you interested in a ketogenic diet and haven't listened to any of these episodes, I highly suggest you do so. Some of the best information on the benefits of ketosis with one the leading experts in ketogenic research. It's podcast bliss.

This could have been the case up until the early 1990's when a federal ban was passed by Congress officially banning inflight smoking (1). That wasn't very long ago. Nirvana was up there smoking on airplanes. If the Fresh Prince of Bel Air smoked cigarettes, he'd be able to do it on an airplane and it would still be possible today if government had not intervened. 20 years earlier, in 1970 Congress banned the advertising of cigarettes on television and radio. So, after congress banned cigarettes from being advertised because they were so unhealthy it STILL took 20 years for the airlines to get behind it (2). A few years before that, in 1964, the Surgeon General took a definitive stand and published a report regarding the risks and mortally damaging effects of cigarettes. The government took a stand 53 years ago on the dangers of smoking, and since then tobacco usage has greatly decreased and cigarettes have become very unwelcome. 

These huge advancements came didn't happen overnight, as you can seer. The first state to begin taxing cigarettes was in 1921 and by 1950 40 states had adopted the same policy (4). Before the 1964 Surgeon General warning people generally viewed cigarette smoke as bad, but didn't truly know what kind of poison they were putting into their bodies. Many scientists argued against it, while some argued for it. It is pretty widely known now that many of those scientists were given unrestricted grants, which is basically just a legal way of saying they bribed them to position the study in a way that would give the cigarette companies the response they wanted to hear. But, once this became too difficult to argue the public relations tactics of tobacco shifted to a "there is no definitive evidence" approach, until the government stepped in and put the official stamp on it.

It seems like lunacy now though. In 2017 CVS doesn't even sell tobacco products at all and many cities, including many of the neighborhoods and surrounding towns of Los Angeles have banned smoking in public. You're a social pariah if you smoke cigarettes in 2017.

Now, let's talk about sugar...

Sugar has been the major topic of date of debate within the nutrition community for several years now. Many scientists and doctors are speaking up to talk about the dangerous and toxic effects that sugar plays in our diets, including Dr. Robert Lustig, a San Francisco based Pediatric Endocrinologist, "Sugars are toxic calories... Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease wasn't even a disease until 1980, and now it affects 35% of all Americans." He understands that this is a touchy subject, "Sugar is celebratory. Sugar is something that we used to enjoy. Now, it basically has coated our tongues. It's turned into a diet staple and it's killing us."

Several countries have enacted a tax on sugar sweetened beverages including several United States localities including San Francisco, Boulder, Philadelphia, Berkeley, Seattle and Cook County, IL.

However, this issue isn't as simple as tobacco. How are you supposed to tell someone what they can and can't eat? And the food industry is taking full advantage of the lack of regulation by hiding sugar in everything. Sugar has around 60 different names they can use on the back of a food label and it doesn't matter if it says sugar, high fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, honey or agave. Sugar is sugar and it's killing us.

(http://fedup.s3.amazonaws.com/2014/09/Hidden-Sugar-.jpg)

(http://fedup.s3.amazonaws.com/2014/09/Hidden-Sugar-.jpg)

And the worst offender of them all is fruit juice and the entire sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) industry. Now, many fruit juices claim to be "No Sugar Added" but that is still pretty irrelevant considering the fact that fruit juice is entirely sugar. For example, a single 12-ounce glass of orange juice has about 39 grams of sugar in it. The World Health Organization made the recommendation of limiting free sugars to 25 grams per day for significant health benefits (5). A glass of orange juice is 150% of that amount. When you concentrate fruits into juices or fruit candy all you are left with is the sugars. The fiber and much of the nutritional benefit is gone. Not to mention that much of this sugar is fructose, which is extremely damaging to the body. It can only be metabolized by the liver and the liver can only handle limited quantities of it, so when a flood of fructose hits your liver, which is the case with all sugary beverages because the mode of delivery is fast and requires less processing, your liver goes into panic mode and starts pushing it to fat storage or it builds up as fat in the liver. It also has wildly damaging effects to your insulin resistance (6,7,8).

 

 POM Wonderful contains 48 grams of sugar per 12 ounces compared to 39 grams in a can of Coca Cola. 

 POM Wonderful contains 48 grams of sugar per 12 ounces compared to 39 grams in a can of Coca Cola. 

 

Dr. Robert Lustig isn't the only one talking and this isn't exactly a new movement. Back in 1972 John Yudkin a British Physicist and Nutritionist wrote "Pure, White and Deadly" which detailed all the damaging and toxic effects of sugar that we are discussing today, he wasn't the only one either. It was getting more and more press, and the Sugar Association was fearful of being "legislated into extinction" as one previously confidentiality document mentioned. So, they pooled all their efforts and hired some very prominent Ad men to change the public perception, and they did a pretty good job. So, good that they won the Silver Anvil Award for its PR campaign to counter growing health concerns about sugar. The Silver Anvil is the Oscar Award of the PR world. It's the top award

The other problem was Yudkin wasn't a very charismatic guy, he wasn't a showman. On the other end of the argument was Ancel Keys, a handsome, witty and very charismatic Physiologist from the United States. In 1978 Keys published the Seven Country Study and it would go on to be one of the most influential publications the world has ever seen. It became the basis for much of the world's population. See, Keys was under the school of thought that dietary fats were the problem. He believed that dietary fats, particularly saturated fat was to blame for increases in obesity and chronic disease.

He was also heavily funded by the Sugar Association. The Seven Country Study showed a direct correlation between high levels of dietary fat and increased risk of heart disease. However, what he failed to mention was that he visited 22 countries and cherry picked the 7 that would fit his narrative. When all 22 countries were factored in there was no correlation at all, but the damage was done. The American Government made a recommendation to lower total fat consumption and to limit things like meat, dairy, cheese, eggs, butter, oil and lard on the basis that they had very damaging effects. After this John Yudkin faded into oblivion and his anti-sugar movement died.

But the fight is back on, this time with the power of the internet. We are living in a world with more transparency than ever and the people now have a platform and the audience is growing quickly. But, will it go as far as tobacco did? To ban advertisements and tax products?

Can you imagine the outrage? People would be beside themselves and the Food Industry would launch the largest "government can't control what we eat campaign" and strike dictatorship fear into the eyes of Americans, but at this point sugar causes far more deaths than cigarettes. So, is it time we take a page from the history books?

There are no charismatic showmen backing up sugar and blaming fat this time around either. And with popular diets like Ketogenic, Paleo, Whole 30, focusing on fat consumption and carbohydrate and sugar reduction it doesn't look like the war against sugar is going down this time. The numbers are too big and the internet is too loud and as more and more people get behind this movement, more people will see the incredibly positive impact of a sugar free life.

 

It' seems like it's time for the Government to step in.

Just like cigarette usage there is no smoking gun, no definitive evidence, because a definitive study of that magnitude in young people would be nearly impossible, not to mention pretty unethical. You would need to sample a large group of people, and have them follow a strict high sugar vs low sugar diet study, follow them for 50 years and then figure out which ones die or get sick. We have enough evidence for the government to say cut back on the sugar, Michelle Obama attempted back in 2008 but the campaign took a sharp pivot after corporate funding got involved. The focus was off of food and on exercise.

Who were her sponsors? Walt Disney, Nestle, Kellogg and General Mills -- to name a few.

We need a conclusive ruling on sugar and one free from big food and sugar industry intervention. They've maintained control of the narrative by paying for the studies and getting the answers they've wanted to hear. The answers that keep them in business.

Two industries who seem to have the same fate. Sugar did a good job fighting them off back in the 1970s and 80s but anti-sugar is back for round two and this time people are listening.

Learn more about sugar and the work being done by Dr. Lustig here with a short Ted Talk He did back in 2013: 

Sources 

  1. http://articles.latimes.com/1987-07-26/news/hd-1151_1_ban-smoking

  2. https://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/Narrative/NN/p-nid/60

  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Health_Cigarette_Smoking_Act

  4. http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/nc/nc2b.htm

  5. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/

  6. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/76/5/911.short

  7. http://www.journal-of-hepatology.eu/article/S0168-8278(08)00164-5/abstract

  8. http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/54/7/1907.short

Why Intermittent Fasting Pairs So Well With A Keto Diet

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Why Intermittent Fasting Pairs So Well With A Keto Diet

Ketogenic Diets and Intermittent Fasting are pretty hot in the street right now and for very legitimate reason. These two diet strategies combined are a fat burning super team. They go together like Jordan and Pippen, Many people have asking me about what it is and how it works...

“Not eating breakfast, don’t you do something like that?”

A lot of people are using intermittent fasting as a method of weight loss, despite this going against the old theory of eating 5 to 6 small meals per day. The 5 to 6 meals per day theory is designed for elite athletes who work out for many, many hours.

The problem is that every time you eat you are spiking your glucose and insulin levels, which will store in the muscles first and then the fat second. So, for an athlete working out 6 hours per day this method works, but for the vast majority of us who are not working out 6+ hours per day, this type of repeated insulin spike puts your body into a fat storing mode. 

So, the less times you spike insulin the better, right? Right. You accomplish this by eating less meals. 2 huge meals within a 6 hour window as opposed to 6 small meals throughout the day. 

Let’s breakdown the science behind this a bit…

Insulin, is the key to it all. It can affect people differently, but insulin, above all, is an energy storing hormone. It signals the body to store energy, either as glycogen for stressed muscles (post workout) or as stored FAT. In abundant quantities inslin will blocks leptin signals to the brain.

What’s leptin? Leptin is a hormone that is secreted from the fat cells and tells your brain when you’ve stored enough, aka when you’ve had enough to eat. (1)

To sum it up so far… spiked insulin tells your body to store fat and eat more than you need.  (2)

In one study performed at the University of Tennessee in 2004 patients showed that a reduction in insulin improved weight loss. The summary concludes that this study highlights the promise of reduction of insulinemia as a primary goal in successful weight loss therapy (3)

This is why keto diets work so well… they are all diets that center around the reduction of glucose and insulin levels.

So how does this tie into intermittent fasting?

Think about it like this… every time you eat your insulin rises, when your insulin rises your body activates its fat storing hormones. Carbohydrates, particularly sugar, have the most dramatic effect on insulin spikes.

So, by not eating for the 16-20 hour window (this would be the 16-8 method or the 20-4 method of IF) you are mitigating that insulin spike to a much smaller, finite amount of time. Vice versa when you eat 5 to 6 times per day, your insulin levels are consistently elevated.

The reason this pairs so well with a ketogenic diet is because:

  • You are already eating a low insulin based diet, meaning even when you eat your body is keeping those fat storing hormones at bay.
  • The keto diet makes you fat adapted, meaning that your body is going to turn to fat as it’s primary fuel source and burn off that fat storage much faster and more efficiently

Here is what a perfect day looks like for me…

~6am. I drink my coffee or tea and plenty of water throughout the day, but no calories! Some include artificial sweeteners and “natural flavors” because they are calorie free, but in my opinion your body still needs to process it to some level, so that is less time for the body to perform it's internal cleanup. I suppose coffee, even black coffee would be no different, but I need my coffee and I can do without the sweetened beverages, artificial or not.

~3pm. I will break my fast. I usually try and make this meal particularly fat heavy. I will do coffee with a shot of MCT oil and heavy cream. I prefer it over butter because I think it tastes and mixes better. I will drink that with some avocado and a few nuts.

~5pm. get my workout in.

~7pm eat my face off. Now by this point, I’ve worked out and I’m pretty hungry. This is when I take in the bulk of my veggies and proteins. Sticking to the keto rules I will try to keep my protein moderate, a few big helpings of veggies and whatever fat source I need to round out the macros, whether that be a fat bomb or some coconut oil in my tea. I love tea.

**Once you’re fat adapted 70% fat isn’t necessarily needed. It’s now your primary energy source, but it’s also locked and loaded, ready to be burned up, so you don’t need to force it. Your body understands that this is now the goto energy source. Point being, eat fats to satisfaction and and your body will metabolize the rest from your stored fat. 

Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16932309

  2. https://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v28/n10/pdf/0802753a.pdf

  3. International Journal of Obesity (2004)- Obesity, leptin resistance, and the effects of insulin reduction

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