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Eat More Healthy Fats. Here’s Why & How You Can Revolutionize Your Health

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Increasing the amount of high quality fat, including saturated fat, in your diet may be the best thing you can do for your health. It’s time to put aside the low-fat diet schemes that have dominated the diet industry for over 40 years.

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Sound, scientific research supports the reasonable consumption of healthy fats, including saturated fat, as part of a healthy lifestyle. This article takes a brief look at how we lost our way, what science now says about dietary fats, and which foods may be safely added to our diets.

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How Did We Get Here?

In 1977 the USDA, through the National Advisory Committee on Nutritional Education (NACNE), recommended that Americans:

1 – Reduce total dietary fat to 30%

2 – Reduce saturated fat to 10% of total calories.

These recommendations were made without scientific, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) being performed to test their validity before being implemented. Furthermore, there were only five randomized trials of unhealthy men (no women) available to the committee at the time.  The committee was also heavily influenced by the now controversial and partially discredited Seven Countries Study of Ancel Keys which implicated saturated fat in cardiovascular disease.

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Significantly, the rise in obesity corresponds with the publication of the government’s dietary standards:

saturated fat and obesity

New Research

A recent meta-review of the 1977 recommendations appeared in the prestigious British Medical Journal’s OpenHeart and put them to rest. The authors, Harcombe, et al, concluded:

  • “It seems incomprehensible that dietary recommendations were introduced to 220 million US and 56 million UK citizens given the contrary results from a small number of unhealthy men.”
  • “The results of the present meta-analysis support the hypothesis that the available RCTs did not support the introduction of dietary fat recommendations in order to reduce CHD risk or related mortality.”
  • And that the dietary recommendations  “should not have been introduced.”

Implementing these dietary measures has been devastating. According to the CDC: “Between 1980 and 2000, obesity rates doubled among adults. About 60 million adults, or 30% of the adult population, are now obese.” Obesity rates continue to soar with Type 2 diabetes now at epidemic proportions.

What Does Current Nutrition Science Say About Saturated Fat?   

Much of current research paints a very different picture of the role of saturated fat in our diets. Let’s look briefly at four major studies that represent current thinking about dietary fat and specifically saturated fat.

Study 1 – The first study is a retrospective look at a trial completed in the early 1970s, the data from which had been lost. Dr. Christopher E. Ramden led an Australian and US team to evaluate “recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study, a single blinded, parallel group, randomized controlled trial conducted in 1966-73; and an updated meta-analysis including these previously missing data.” The original study attempted to evaluate the effectiveness of replacing saturated fat with omega 6 linoleic acid, a vegetable oil. Participants included 458 men aged 30-59 who had experienced a recent coronary event.

Conclusion: “In this cohort, substituting dietary linoleic acid in place of saturated fats increased the rates of death from all causes, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. An updated meta-analysis of linoleic acid intervention trials showed no evidence of cardiovascular benefit.”

Study 2 – In 2010 a meta-analysis of 21 prospective studies evaluated the association of saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and led by Patty W Siri-Tarino of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute.

Conclusion: “A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.” In other words, there is no verifiable link between eating saturated fat and the occurrence of coronary heart disease.

Study 3Cambridge scholar, Dr. Chowdhury, and an international research team in 2014, evaluated nearly 80 studies, including 27 randomized controlled trials (RCTs, the gold standard of scientific research) that involved half a million people. The research included not only what people reported they ate but measured the composition of fatty acids in their blood and fatty tissues.

Conclusion: The researchers found that “…current evidence does not support guidelines which restrict the consumption of saturated fats in order to prevent heart disease.” According to the NY Times: “The researchers did find a link between trans fats… and heart disease but ‘they found no evidence of dangers from saturated fat, or benefits from other kinds of fats.'”

Study 4 – In 2014, Dr. Jeff Volek, a professor of Human Sciences at Ohio State University, and his research team, recruited 16 adults, all of whom suffered from metabolic syndrome. Participants were fed diets that changed every three weeks up to 18 weeks. Every three weeks the amount of saturated fat was decreased and the amount of carbohydrates increased, and the amount of palmitoleic acid in the blood was measured. Palmitoleic acid has been linked to obesity, inflammation, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and prostate cancer.

Conclusion: “When looking at palmitoleic acid… the scientists found that it consistently decreased on the high-fat/low-carb diet in all participants. The fatty acid then showed a step-wise increase in concentration in the blood as carbs were progressively added to the diet.”

In other words, as carbohydrates were added to the diet, levels of the deadly palmitoleic acid increased, thus heightening the risk of CVD.

Dr. Volek concluded: “There is widespread misunderstanding about saturated fat… there’s clearly no association of dietary saturated fat and heart disease, yet dietary guidelines continue to advocate restriction of saturated fat.”

What Have We Learned from These Scientific Studies?

  1. The 1977 dietary recommendations to limit saturated fat were not scientifically valididated
  2. There is no clear association between saturated fat and heart disease
  3. Trans fats (found in processed meats and foods, and vegetable oils) are linked to increased cardiovascular disease
  4. High fat/low carbohydrate diets lower dangerous levels of palmitoleic acid, which is associated with heart disease and other chronic diseases
  5. High levels of Omega 6 fatty acids in the form of linoleic vegetable oil showed no positive cardiovascular benefit.

What High-Fat Foods Should We Be Eating?

The following foods, some high in saturated fat, are healthy to consume as part of a natural, whole foods diet:

Avocado, tahini, dark chocolate, eggs, fatty fish, nuts, coconut, and liver. When combined with low carbohydrate foods, (spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and others) coconut and olive oil, fresh fruits in moderation, and meat (preferably grass fed organic), a wholesome and healthy diet that guards against heart and other chronic diseases can be attained. Keep in mind that calories do count. It behooves us to eat reasonable portions as well as reduce carbohydrate levels in our diets. It’s both what we eat and how much we eat that matters.

*These foods are recommended given we are all driven towards various diet types and making healthier choices in each diet type is a step in the right direction.

A complete meal plan based on low carbohydrate and healthy fat intake can be found at Authority Nutrition.

Conclusion

Deciding on a diet best for you should be done with an awareness of current scientific thinking and in consultation with your physician or health provider. One diet does not fit all. The best diet for each of us is one that meets our individual needs.

The information in this article is not meant as medical advice and should be used for educational purposes only.

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Autistic, Alzheimer’s & Multiple Sclerosis Brain Tissues Have Significant Amounts of Aluminum In Them

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CE Staff Writer 5 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A 2020 study found that the aluminum content in brain tissue of people with Alzheimer's disease, familial Alzheimer's disease, autism spectrum disorder and multiple sclerosis is significantly higher compared to tissues used in the study as controls.

  • Reflect On:

    Could aluminum be playing a role in these, as well as other diseases? How does it get into our brain?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

There is no shortage of studies demonstrating that aluminum is present in human brain tissue. This is a problem given the fact that aluminum is neurotoxic and wreaks nothing but havoc on biology. This is firmly established in scientific literature. There is no debate on whether or not aluminum exists within human brain tissue, the science is settled. The debate is now focused on how much aluminum is too much. How much aluminum does it take to impact the health of a human being in a negative way?

A study published in the journal Nature compared the aluminum content in human brain tissue of people with Alzheimer’s disease, familial Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder and multiple sclerosis with healthy controls. According to the authors, “detailed statistical analyses showed that aluminum was significantly increased in each of these disease groups compared to control tissues.” They go on to mention that,

We have confirmed previous conclusions that the aluminum content of brain tissue in Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder and multiple sclerosis is significantly elevated. Further research is required to understand the role played by high levels of aluminum in the aetiology of human neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disease.

The researchers used tissue from twenty control brains of healthy individuals to compare against the brain tissue of people who have had a diagnosis of the neurodegenerative conditions mentioned. The fact that all disease groups had significantly higher brain aluminum content than the control group is quite concerning. That being said, it’s not proof that aluminum actually plays a direct role in each of these diseases. The important takeaway from the study and what we know about aluminum toxicology is that there is absolutely no debate, at all, as to the neurotoxicity of aluminum in humans. It’s just not a good thing to have in your body.

The study emphasizes,

Animal models of aluminum intoxication reproduce the neuropathologies and neurodevelopmental effects of human neurodegenerative disease, if not the diseases per se. Cell models and in vitro studies demonstrate mechanisms of aluminum toxicity known to be involved in human neurodegenerative disease. Perhaps the information that is still missing from understanding of aluminum’s role in each of the diseases compared herein is how much aluminum is too much in human brain tissue. The comparison we have made herein between control brain tissue showing no signs of neurodegenerative disease and the disease groups…is beginning to answer this question. Only further measurements on more donor brains will enable a definitive conclusion to be reached on the role played by aluminum in human neurodegenerative disease.

The authors make it clear that aluminum and its presence in human brain tissue “cannot be without consequence” given everything that’s been discovered about aluminum toxicity. There is a great need for further study here and to determine how much aluminum the brain, and other organs for that matter, can tolerate before there are detrimental effects. These effects may be short term as well as long term, and they may play a role in neurodegenerative disease like the ones the study examine. It’s hard to think that the high aluminum content in the brain tissue of people with these diseases  is simply a coincidence, especially given the fact that the aluminum content in “normal” brains is significantly less.

Once you start to see these sort of data together, once you start to see the levels of a known neurotoxic metal accumulate to these levels, it is absolutely inevitable that they will contribute to disease. – Professor Christopher Exley, lead author of the study, taken from the interview below.

Exley is a Professor at Keele University, and arguably the world’s leading expert in aluminum toxicology. Exley and his work is supported by many scientists from around the world, yet he is facing a potential set back with regards to continuing his research on aluminum and disease. One hundred scientists came together and recently wrote a letter of support, stating,

We are writing to express our concern over the possible interruption of research on aluminum and disease conducted by Christopher Exley and his group in your (Keele) University. We feel that Christopher Exley’s work conducted for so many years in line with the previous research of late Pr Birchall at Keele University has been an important service to the scientific community, patients and society in Europe and globally. We firmly declare that Pr Exley has always defended rigorous research independent of commercial conflicts of interest, and has freely carried out his research without any control by any of his sponsors.

You can read more about what’s going on with regards to this situation, and access the correspondence that’s happened between Keele University (Exley’s employer), Exley, and the academics who support his work, here.

Below is a very informative interview with Exley if you’d like to learn more about aluminum and its accumulation within humans. On a side note, ask yourself, what products and substances may contain aluminum that could be contributing its accumulation in various human organs like the brain?

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Awareness

Lebanese Hospital Becomes The World’s First To Go 100 Percent Vegan (Food)

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A hospital in Lebanon has become the first in the world to adopt a completely vegan menu.

  • Reflect On:

    Are people aware of the physical and emotional torture the majority animals we eat go through? Are people aware that a diet free of animal products can be very beneficial for human health. Are people aware that animal agriculture is destroying Earth?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

At the beginning of March, Hayek Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon became the first hospital in the world to serve 100 percent vegan only meals. Prior to this change, patients had a choice between animal based meals and vegan meals, and included with that was information about the health benefits of choosing plant-based foods versus the dangers of consuming animal products. The hospital made the announcement via their Instagram page, stating that “Our patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk, and eggs…the very food(s) that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.”

When the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a group 1A carcinogenic (causes cancer) same group as tobacco and red meat as group 2A carcinogenic, then serving meat in the hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital. When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) declare that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious disease comes from animals. When adopting a plant based exclusive diet has been successfully proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them. We then, have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions. Taking the courage to look at the elephant in in the eye.

Their various statements also point to the role that animal agriculture plays in spawning infectious diseases, citing the Centers for Disease Control’s estimate that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. “We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms,” they note.

This was a great statement. The modern day medical industry only seems to be focused on medications, and only medications that can turn a hefty profit, to treat and cure disease instead of addressing root causes. It’s good to see things changing, but a big problem remains. If a plant that grows in abundance, for example, has the potential to cure a disease, will we ever hear about it? Will the medical industry be interested in it? Probably not, but when a drug is made and patented from that plant in a specific way, that’s when we will. This is not to say that modern day medicine is useless, but today now more than ever a big problem exists, and this problem may be killing more people than it’s helping.

Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), a Harvard professor of medicine and also a former Editor-in-Chief of NEMJ, was frustrated that “the medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.” (source)

According to Forks Over Knives,

While Hayek is the first hospital to completely purge animal products from its menu, a number of hospitals have begun offering more plant-based options in recent years. Both New York and California have enacted laws requiring hospitals to offer a plant-based option with every meal. In 2018 NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue launched the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program to help patients transition to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.

The American Medical Association passed a resolution in 2017 calling on U.S. hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals to promote better health in patients, staff, and visitors. The American College of Cardiology has issued similar recommendations.

In my opinion, “veganism is a very fine form of nutrition” (Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, heart surgeon), and as mentioned above, there is plenty of science to back up that statement.  I’ve written about it many times before from a health perspective.

Here’s an article that goes into more detail and science if you’re interested, it also addresses history, and how our teeth and guts are designed and more. Here’s another one regarding a study that found a strong association between eating animal protein and a premature death from all causes, including multiple cancers and type 2 diabetes.

The studies cited in that article note that meat eating is strongly associated with up to a 75 percent increased chance of early mortality, and that protein from animals may cause harm, while protein from plants may help reverse disease and have a protective effect.

There are hundreds of these studies, and the ones I cite are just a few examples.

This is obviously a very controversial topic in the eyes of many, and it’s not hard at all to find conflicting information on the subject. I am no doubt bias in my beliefs and opinions here.

One thing is for certain, the way we treat animals on this planet is extremely heartbreaking and unnecessary. Animals are separated from their families, raised for slaughter and are kept in torturous conditions on a daily basis. It’s truly unbelievable and horrific. It’s the biggest genocide and example of both physical and emotional torture the world has ever seen. I don’t think anybody can witness what really goes on in most slaughterhouses can come out not being impacted.

On top of this, animal agriculture is one of, if not the greatest contributer to environmental degradation and pollution on our planet. Animal agriculture is actually the leading cause of deforestation. Every single day, close to 100 plant/animal/insect species are lost because of this practice.

Final Thoughts: At the end of the day it seems that, from a health perspective, processed meats, and other meats are no doubt harmful to human health. People can make the argument that other animal products may not be and that we are meant to consume them. People can also make the complete opposite argument. One thing that can’t be argued is, again, the torture, physical and emotional abuse that comprise the source of where animal products come from for the majority of people who eat them.

There is a big split, as with many other topics, amongst people on this issue. There are even vegan influencers who are creating splits within the ‘vegan community’ itself, which is unfortunate. I personally believe that, from a health perspective, animal products are not at all required for anybody and are again, overall, harmful to human health.

The more pressing issue, again, is the treatment of our animal brothers and sisters, and how we are constantly using and abusing them. It’s indicative of world that lacks empathy, compassion, understanding and love, as well as our inability to see ourselves in another. This can be seen in many aspects of the current human experience, be it war, human trafficking and more. That being said, it’s great to see human consciousness shifting towards a more compassionate, empathetic type of awareness. This is evident by the “vegan” movement alone, as it’s become quite large over the past few years and will continue to grow. Some of the biggest animal food producers have already gone out of business, and it’s great to see more people in the health community as well recognize that it’s a win for health, a win for environment, and most importantly, a win for the very emotional, intelligent, animals, who are similar to us in so many ways. We have so much to learn from them.

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Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Awareness

Caloric Restriction vs. Fasting: Why One Can Result In Weight Gain While The Other Helps Burn Fat

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By

CE Staff Writer 3 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In the video below, Dr. Jason Fung explains the difference between caloric restriction and sending the body into "starvation" mode compared to fasting.

  • Reflect On:

    Fasting has been used as a health intervention for thousands of years, and is being used today by doctors who are educated on the topic. Why is it completely ignored by mainstream medicine? Is it because "big pharma" can't make any money off of it?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Some would say that the best solution to weight gain is eating right and exercising. I couldn’t agree more. Obesity is one of the deadliest problems humanity faces today, and just as important as diet and exercise is for addressing this issue, even more important are the emotional and personal reasons as to why so many people damage themselves and make themselves more prone to serious disease.

Apart from diet and exercise, initiating a proper fasting regimen can have tremendous health outcomes, especially for overweight people. It wasn’t but a decade ago when fasting to lose weight was considered unhealthy and dangerous. Today, we have a tremendous amount of science that’s been published clearly showing that fasting can be an effective health intervention for people of all body types, especially for people who are overweight and suffer from certain diseases. It’s an excellent way to help your body burn fat. Fasting has been used and is currently being used as an intervention for type two diabetes, cancer and more. Fasting has been shown to trigger stem cell regeneration, autophagy, which in turn can help clear out toxins and damaged cells, repair DNA, improve metabolism, lower blood sugar, boost brain function, reduce the risk of age related disease, lessen inflammation which improves a wide range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and more. It’s no wonder why so many ancient cultures from different parts of the world used fasting as medicine and as a health intervention.

As shown in the science, fasting is generally safe for everybody. This many not be true if you already have underlying health conditions or are taking certain medications. This is why it’s important to consult a health professional about it, but the issue is, the majority of health professionals are not well educated in fasting interventions. Those who have educated themselves have been treating their patients with fasting and are drawn to it due to its ability to provide so many benefits.

One of these doctors is Dr. Jason Fung, who on his blog and his YouTube channel, as well as the books he’s written provides a wealth of information and science regarding fasting. I often refer people to the work of Fung, or others like Dr. Valter Longo if they want to begin their own research about fasting. Again, there is a wealth of science and “scholarly” articles available on the subject for anybody who wants to search for it as well. It’s not heard to find.

In the video below, Fung explains why fasting is much different from caloric restriction or having your body go into “starvation mode.”  You can also check out his article, “The difference between calorie restriction and fasting” for some great information as well.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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