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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).

 

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

 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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