The Meal Matters Most

What Makes Healthy Food Healthy: From a Stress Perspective

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The Clear Science on Fats is Really Fuzzy

“The main problem with the past decades’ low-fat trend is that it has been misinterpreted.”

That’s how the Los Angeles Times article begins (it reminds me of being on the playground with that know-it-all who is never wrong just misinterpreted). And then it is elaborated upon by Dr. David Heber, founding director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition:  “There is no real low-fat controversy, the problem wasn’t low fat; the problem was that when we lowered fat content, we increased carbohydrate and sugar content.”

Here’s the problem with that statement and they say it themselves: “If you cut back on saturated fat, you’re going to replace it with either unsaturated fat or carbohydrates. The type of replacement can have a major impact on health outcomes.” (at the time of the advice, they believed “fat was fat” btw) Continue reading

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Is drinking a Coca-Cola equivalent to drinking Apple Juice?

So I was out to lunch with a friend when he expressed to me that drinking a coke was no different than drinking an apple juice. That side-by-side the sugar content is similar (sugar, is sugar, is sugar) and therefore the potential negative impacts were equivalent. (*Note: My friend stated “no matter how fresh squeezed, cloudy or full of nutrients it was”).

apple juice

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Yoni Freedhoff and the Flawed Calorie Perspective: Would a Stress Perspective be better?


Yoni Freedhoff, MD, founder and medical director of Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute has written an article entitled “Counting Calories Is Flawed but Here’s Why I Still Do It”.  His article takes the complex math of unique burn rates of foods and people and assumes these differences are irrelevant to calorie counting validity.  And hence why counting calories continues to be Yoni’s go-to obesity management tool.  Yoni says because it’s simple, it’s scientific and there’s nothing better yet, even if it’s technically not correct that a calorie is a calorie or that the human system complicates the math. Yoni feels he can still keep it simple by counting calories, just whole foods are less, some people can eat all they want and some can’t.

Yoni describes the differences in people:

Some of us are walking around driving Humvees while others drive hybrids. The Humvee drivers are the folks who get virtually no fuel economy for their energy stores and consumption. Humvee drivers are like that study subject who barely gained weight despite eight weeks of over feeding, eating whatever they want without having to worry about their waists. The hybrid drivers are the folks who can look at an indulgence and gain weight.

I see a lot of scientists reducing these concept to linear assumptions: that you can count them more or less in straight lines.  It certainly makes them easier to conceptualize and work with. Yoni reduces this down to burning rates with his car analogy; how many calories one burns. However this is a over-simplified version that leaves out the why.  Continue reading

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Skipping breakfast leading to heart attacks? Well yes, if it causes stress.

In July of this year (2013) there was a barrage of articles and reblogs about a study done on breakfast and exasperation of health conditions. Here is the study: “Prospective study of breakfast and incident coronary heart…”

The interpretation is sort of our classic oversimplification and very linear (which is a single thing creates a single outcome) view of the evidence. “Skipping Meals Leads to Heart Attacks”.

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If fructose is so bad for us why does it taste so awesome?

Lollipop ~

Lollipop ~ (Photo credit: J I N N e e Răng Thỏ :x)

In a recent lawsuit a family is suing the Corn industry for $5 million dollars saying HFCS caused their 14-year-old daughter’s type II diabetes. I have no idea how that is going to turn out, but it will be interesting to watch.

It makes one wonder that we know this ingredient has these potential dangers but why is it in everything and why are we as human beings so attracted to it?

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Is sugar a toxin or a stressor?

Peter Attia, MD  in his article on his blog asks the question “Is sugar toxic?”.  Within the article Dr. Attia discusses his belief that while sugar may not be an acute toxin, sugar is a long-term chronic toxin that will slowly kill us. He suggests that what determines how quickly it kills us are the variations in our tolerance levels.  I’m going to suggest that in addition to our (movable internal and external) tolerance levels is our ability to recover and buffer these responses. That these responses vary (not just when but how) and response levels can be altered early in life or regularly during our lives. I’m going to discuss toxicity in the context of synergy, chaos dynamics, hormesis and stress balancing.

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Is it a problem not to eat fruits and vegetables on a ketogenic diet?

Organic market fruits and vegetables

Organic market fruits and vegetables (Photo credit: SalFalko)

I was thinking about this the other day. If our current accepted reasoning for why fruits and vegetables are important in our diet is for their antioxidant content (their ability to counter oxidant stress and free radical damage that can lead to diseases), then the problem with saying they are amiss when excluded in a ketogenic diet, a high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrates (very few fruits and vegetables) diet, is that when the body goes into ketosis this oxidant balance is in part balanced by the diet amplifying our own level of internal antioxidants.   Did you know we could produce our own antioxidants? We have several pathways and enzymes such as glutathione which when under duress (ketosis is a form of nutrient starvation) it produces more defensive mechanisms, hence greater antioxidant production. So in ketosis, for some, these internal mechanisms are kicked in and dampens the reactive oxygen species that lead to disease. So it is conceivable for those that are on this type of diet may not need these outside sources of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables while on a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet, since it abates oxidants in their own way.

Peter Attia of NuSi doesn’t feel he needs vegetables either, his ketogenic lifestyle diet consists of high fat, protein and just a few fruits and vegetables (see: “What i actually eat” by Peter).  Continue reading