Friday, February 28, 2014

Which Fats Should You Eat? by Thepaleomom

Which Fats Should You Eat?

December 4, 2011 in Categories:  by 
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First, the answer is YES!  You should eat fat.  Something like 30-50% of your caloric intake should come from healthy fats.  So, which fats are healthy?
 Let’s start with saturated fat.  Saturated fat is found in meat, eggs, coconut and palm oil.  Saturated fat has a wonderful property in that it is very difficult to oxidize, which means two things:  it doesn’t go rancid easily and it doesn’t cause oxidative stress in your body.  The saturated fat in meat and eggs is a long-chain saturated fat.  It is not the unhealthy fat that was once wrongfully accused as the cause of cardiovascular disease, but how healthy it is for you is still under debate.  My suggestion is to not worry about it, but don’t go out of your way to eat more of it either.  Coconut and palm oil contain a medium chain saturated fat and this is very special.  It can actually be used directly for energy by your cells, without modification and without a spike in insulin or blood sugar.  When I desperately need a snack between meals, I often choose coconut as a way of maintaining my insulin sensitivity.
Saturated fats are the only fats you should cook with on a regular basis.  This is because poly-unsaturated fats do something very bad when they get heated up: they oxidize and produce Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs).  This means two things:  they do go rancid much more easily and, if they do produce AGEs, they can cause oxidative damage to the cells in your body.
“Wait, wait, wait.  What are AGEs?” you say.  Good question.  Without delving too deeply into the biochemistry, AGEs are produced inside your body when sugar molecules (most often fructose) bind to fat or protein.  The resulting molecule can cause oxidative damage and inflammation, and is generally considered to be one of the major contributors to aging.  Don’t freak out too much because some production of AGEs is normal and healthy.  The problem is when our bodies produce too much or when we consume too much in our food.  The best way to limit your body’s production of AGEs is to limit your intake of carbohydrates, especially fructose. You don’t need to go crazy; maybe try and keep under 100g of carbohydrates a day (unless you’re trying to lose weight, and then aim for 30-50g).  And while it probably isn’t as important, it’s also generally sensible to try and limit your consumption of AGEs.  This means not burning your food and not cooking with polyunsaturated fats (like olive, sesame, and flax oils).
It is also important to reduce your intake of omega-6 fatty acids to the best of your ability (and budget).  This means no modern vegetable oils or products made from them, like mayonnaise or store-bought salad dressings.  Also, be mindful of your nut consumption and try to eat grass-fed meat, free-range poultry, and wild game whenever it’s not prohibitively expensive.  At the same time, try and increase your omega-3 intake by eating more wild caught fish (canned salmon and sardines are great inexpensive options), omega-3 eggs, and maybe also using a fish oil supplement.
In summary:  You still have lots of great options.  You can get your “raw” fats from avocados, avocado oil, olives, olive oil, flax meal, flax oil, sesame oil, nuts and seeds (in moderation), and coconut and coconut products.  The best sources of “cooked” fats are grass-fed meat, free-range poultry, wild game, omega-3 eggsand wild-caught fish.  For cooking, I suggest using coconut oil (extra virgin or naturally refined), palm oil,grass-fed butter (if you tolerate it–many don’t, so use with caution), suet, lardtallow or other animal fat (especially, if pasture-fed).  And remember, this isn’t supposed to increase your stress.  If you can only affordconventional ground beef (like I can), then don’t worry about it.  Do what you can and know that you will feel better for every positive change you make!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Is Your Brain Shrinking?: What You Need to Know

Is Your Brain Shrinking?: What You Need to Know

Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S.

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Many of you reading this short article already know that hemoglobin A1C is extremely useful revealing what the "average" blood sugar has been over the previous ninety days.  
This is the same standard laboratory measurement used to measure blood sugar control in diabetics.
What many people may not be aware of is the fact that hemoglobin A1C has important implications for your brain health.
In a landmark study published in the journal Neurology, the researchers documented that elevated hemoglobin A1C is associated with changes in brain size.
The study showed researchers looking at MRIs to determine which lab test correlated best with brain atrophy and found that the hemoglobin A1C demonstrated the most powerful relationship.
They commented, “when comparing the degree of brain tissue loss in those individuals with the lowest hemoglobin A1C (4.4 to 5.2) to those having the highest hemoglobin A1C (5.9 to 9.0), the brain loss in those individuals with the highest hemoglobin A1C was almost doubled during a six-year period.

Hemoglobin A1C and Brain Atrophy
Hemoglobin A1C and Brain Atrophy
This profound study strongly indicates that hemoglobin A1C is far more than just a marker of blood sugar balance.
The good news is in most cases you have absolute control over your A1C.
An ideal hemoglobin A1C would be in the 4.8 to 5.4 range. Keep in mind that reducing carbohydrate ingestion, weight loss, and physical exercise will ultimately improve insulin sensitivity and lead to a reduction of hemoglobin A1C.

C. Enzinger, et al., "Risk Factors for Progression of Brain Atrophy in Aging: Six-year Follow-up of Normal Subjects," Neurology 64, no. 10 (May 24, 2005): 1704-11.

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