The U.S. government is poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol


The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, a move that could undo almost 40 years of government warnings about its consumption.

The group’s finding that cholesterol in the diet need no longer be considered a “nutrient of concern” stands in contrast to the committee’s findings five years ago, the last time it convened. During those proceedings, as in previous years, the panel deemed the issue of excess cholesterol in the American diet a public health concern.

The finding follows an evolution of thinking among many nutritionists who now believe that, for healthy adults, eating foods high in cholesterol may not significantly affect the level of cholesterol in the blood or increase the risk of heart disease.

The greater danger in this regard, these experts believe, lies not in products such as eggs, shrimp or lobster, which are high in cholesterol, but in too many servings of foods heavy with saturated fats, such as fatty meats, whole milk, and butter.

The new view on cholesterol in food does not reverse warnings about high levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, which have been linked to heart disease. Moreover, some experts warned that people with particular health problems, such as diabetes, should continue to avoid cholesterol-rich diets.

While Americans may be accustomed to conflicting dietary advice, the change on cholesterol comes from the influential Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the group that provides the scientific basis for the “Dietary Guidelines.” That federal publication has broad effects on the American diet, helping to determine the content of school lunches, affecting how food manufacturers advertise their wares, and serving as the foundation for reams of diet advice.

The panel laid out the cholesterol decision in December, at its last meeting before it writes a report that will serve as the basis for the next version of the guidelines. A video of the meeting was later posted online and a person with direct knowledge of the proceedings said the cholesterol finding would make it to the group’s final report, which is due within weeks.

After Marian Neuhouser, chair of the relevant subcommittee, announced the decision to the panel at the December meeting, one panelist appeared to bridle.

“So we’re not making a [cholesterol] recommendation?” panel member Miriam Nelson, a Tufts University professor, said at the meeting as if trying to absorb the thought. “Okay … Bummer.”

Members of the panel, called the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, said they would not comment until the publication of their report, which will be filed with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.

While those agencies could ignore the committee’s recommendations, major deviations are not common, experts said.

Five years ago, “I don’t think the Dietary Guidelines diverged from the committee’s report,” said Naomi K. Fukagawa, a University of Vermont professor who served as the committee’s vice chair in 2010. Fukagawa said she supports the change on cholesterol.

Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, also called the turnaround on cholesterol a “reasonable move.”

“There’s been a shift of thinking,” he said.

But the change on dietary cholesterol also shows how the complexity of nutrition science and the lack of definitive research can contribute to confusion for Americans who, while seeking guidance on what to eat, often find themselves afloat in conflicting advice.

Cholesterol has been a fixture in dietary warnings in the United States at least since 1961, when it appeared in guidelines developed by the American Heart Association. Later adopted by the federal government, such warnings helped shift eating habits — per capita egg consumption dropped about 30 percent — and harmed egg farmers.

Yet even today, after more than a century of scientific inquiry, scientists are divided.

Some nutritionists said lifting the cholesterol warning is long overdue, noting that the United States is out-of-step with other countries, where diet guidelines do not single out cholesterol. Others support maintaining a warning.

The forthcoming version of the Dietary Guidelines — the document is revised every five years — is expected to navigate myriad similar controversies. Among them: salt, red meat, sugar, saturated fats and the latest darling of food-makers, Omega-3s.

As with cholesterol, the dietary panel’s advice on these issues will be used by the federal bureaucrats to draft the new guidelines, which offer Americans clear instructions — and sometimes very specific, down-to-the-milligram prescriptions. But such precision can mask sometimes tumultuous debates about nutrition.

“Almost every single nutrient imaginable has peer reviewed publications associating it with almost any outcome,” John P.A. Ioannidis, a professor of medicine and statistics at Stanford and one of the harshest critics of nutritional science, has written. “In this literature of epidemic proportions, how many results are correct?”

Now comes the shift on cholesterol.

Even as contrary evidence has emerged over the years, the campaign against dietary cholesterol has continued. In 1994, food-makers were required to report cholesterol values on the nutrition label. In 2010, with the publication of the most recent “Dietary Guidelines,” the experts again focused on the problem of “excess dietary cholesterol.”

Yet many have viewed the evidence against cholesterol as weak, at best. As late as 2013, a task force arranged by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association looked at the dietary cholesterol studies. The group found that there was “insufficient evidence” to make a recommendation. Many of the studies that had been done, the task force said, were too broad to single out cholesterol.

“Looking back at the literature, we just couldn’t see the kind of science that would support dietary restrictions,” said Robert Eckel, the co-chair of the task force and a medical professor at the University of Colorado.

The current U.S. guidelines call for restricting cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams daily. American adult men on average ingest about 340 milligrams of cholesterol a day, according to federal figures. That recommended figure of 300 milligrams, Eckel said, is ” just one of those things that gets carried forward and carried forward even though the evidence is minimal.”

“We just don’t know,” he said.

Other major studies have indicated that eating an egg a day does not raise a healthy person’s risk of heart disease, though diabetic patients may be at more risk.

“The U.S. is the last country in the world to set a specific limit on dietary cholesterol,” said David Klurfeld, a nutrition scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Some of it is scientific inertia.”

The persistence of the cholesterol fear may arise, in part, from the plausibility of its danger.

As far back as the 19th century, scientists recognized that the plaque that clogged arteries consisted, in part, of cholesterol, according to historians.

It would have seemed logical, then, that a diet that is high in cholesterol would wind up clogging arteries.

In 1913, Niokolai Anitschkov and his colleagues at the Czar’s Military Medicine Institute in St. Petersburg, decided to try it out in rabbits. The group fed cholesterol to rabbits for about four to eight weeks and saw that the cholesterol diet harmed them. They figured they were on to something big.

“It often happens in the history of science that researchers … obtain results which require us to view scientific questions in a new light,” he and a colleague wrote in their 1913 paper.

But it wasn’t until the 1940s, when heart disease was rising in the United States, that the dangers of a cholesterol diet for humans would come more sharply into focus.

Experiments in biology, as well as other studies that followed the diets of large populations, seemed to link high cholesterol diets to heart disease.

Public warnings soon followed. In 1961, the American Heart Association recommended that people reduce cholesterol consumption and eventually set a limit of 300 milligrams a day. (For comparison, the yolk of a single egg has about 200 milligrams.)

Eventually, the idea that cholesterol is harmful so permeated the country’s consciousness that marketers advertised their foods on the basis of “no cholesterol.”

What Anitschkov and the other early scientists may not have foreseen is how complicated the science of cholesterol and heart disease could turn out: that the body creates cholesterol in amounts much larger than their diet provides, that the body regulates how much is in the blood and that there is both “good” and “bad” cholesterol.

Adding to the complexity, the way people process cholesterol differs. Scientists say some people — about 25 percent — appear to be more vulnerable to cholesterol-rich diets.

“It’s turned out to be more complicated than anyone could have known,” said Lawrence Rudel, a professor at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

As a graduate student at the University of Arkansas in the late 1960s, Rudel came across Anitschkov’s paper and decided to focus on understanding one of its curiosities. In passing, the paper noted that while the cholesterol diet harmed rabbits, it had no effect on white rats. In fact, if Anitschkov had focused on any other animal besides the rabbit, the effects wouldn’t have been so clear — rabbits are unusually vulnerable to the high-cholesterol diet.

“The reason for the difference — why does one animal fall apart on the cholesterol diet — seemed like something that could be figured out,” Rudel said. “That was 40 or so years ago. We still don’t know what explains the difference.”

In truth, scientists have made some progress. Rudel and his colleagues have been able to breed squirrel monkeys that are more vulnerable to the cholesterol diet. That and other evidence leads to their belief that for some people — as for the squirrel monkeys — genetics are to blame.

Rudel said that Americans should still be warned about cholesterol.

“Eggs are a nearly perfect food, but cholesterol is a potential bad guy,” he said. “Eating too much a day won’t harm everyone, but it will harm some people.”

Scientists have estimated that, even without counting the toll from obesity, disease related to poor eating habits kills more than half a million people every year. That toll is often used as an argument for more research in nutrition.

Currently, the National Institutes of Health spends about $1.5 billion annually on nutrition research, an amount that represents about 5 percent of its total budget.

The turnaround on cholesterol, some critics say, is just more evidence that nutrition science needs more investment.

Others, however, say the reversal might be seen as a sign of progress.

“These reversals in the field do make us wonder and scratch our heads,” said David Allison, a public health professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “But in science, change is normal and expected.”

When our view of the cosmos shifted from Ptolemy to Copernicus to Newton and Einstein, Allison said, “the reaction was not to say, ‘Oh my gosh, something is wrong with physics!’ We say, ‘Oh my gosh, isn’t this cool?’ ”

Allison said the problem in nutrition stems from the arrogance that sometimes accompanies dietary advice. A little humility could go a long way.

“Where nutrition has some trouble,” he said, “is all the confidence and vitriol and moralism that goes along with our recommendations.”

Source:The Washington Post

Scientists Confirmed Why A Himalayan Salt Block Is One Of The Greatest Things You Could Own


Himalayan pink salt is the purest salt known to mankind, layered far away from insudtrial pollution

 The salt beds are set deep in the Himalayan Mountains. Some refer to it as “pink gold.” It’s been praised since forever, and people have always used in their diet.

When exposed to high temperatures, the Himalayan salt block develops a patina, same as cast-iron skilled does.

Himalayan pink salt is rich in calcium, iron, and 84 trace minerals

The pink salt is rich in 84 elements that are naturally found in the human body, which means that by consuming it regularly, you’ll give your body all the minerals it needs.

 Himalayan pink salt also contains calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. It’s low in sodium, which makes it a great substitute for table salt. The minerals are incorporated in tiny particles of colloidal size, and the body can absorb and metabolize them easily.

The pink salt makes your food tasty

Prepare your food using Himalayan salt block, and the taste will amaze you. You can never possibly over- or under-season your food. It’s all about the taste.

Antimicrobial power

Himalayan salt blocks are the safest cooking utensils you’ll ever get. The pink salt acts as an antimicrobial agent, and its main purpose was to destroy microbes and preserve food.

Temperature resistance

These blocks can ‘survive’ high temperatures. You can practically chill it in your fridge, and use it to serve cold cuts and food. Set it on the grill or your gas stove and cook your food on it. Amazing!

Experts have confirmed that Himalayan salt blocks work well in temperatures between 0°F and 900°F (-17°C to 482°C).

But, keep in mind that sudden temperature changes may damage your block. It should rest for 24 days between each use.

Cook on your Himalayan salt block

Placing the salt block on your grill or gas stove is the best way to use it. You should never put it in the oven.

If you decide to go for the gas stove. Turn the heat on low, then increase it gradually. Your salt block will reach 300°F (149°C) after half an hour.

Heat the block for 40 minutes before every use, and let it cool completely before you clean it.

Source: livingtraditionally.com

Slow Down Diet Helps with Weight Management


Story at-a-glance

  • Most people eat too fast, which causes stress and cuts you off from your body’s innate intelligence; slowing down the pace at which you eat is an important part of reestablishing this natural connection
  • Stress and fear results in sympathetic nervous system dominance, increased insulin, increased cortisol, and increased stress hormones — all of which deregulates your appetite and makes you eat more
  • Eating a very low-fat diet may prevent weight loss. One of the signs of essential fatty acid deficiency is weight gain or inability to lose weight.

Many people have a problem with their relationship with food. Some overeat, others unde reat, and many struggle with their weight despite doing everything right “on paper.”

“Sonoma State University allowed me to do an independent study for my master’s degree in Eating Psychology. I put an ad in a newspaper that said, ‘Graduate student looking to start Eating Psychology study group.’ That was the beginnings for me of learning on the job.

I had a group of 20 plus people — a handful of anorexics; a handful of some of the most obese people I’d ever seen; a beautiful model who had an eating disorder; and a handful of women in their 50s who looked fine to me but [spent their] life chronically dieting.

That was my beginnings of starting to understand eating psychology, counseling psychology, and coaching psychology. I looked at all the different modalities, started doing clinical practice, and said, ‘OK. What works and what doesn’t?'”

Why Does Dieting Oftentimes Fail?

Gradually, over the course of about 15 years, David developed a number of strategies that effectively address weight, body image, overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, and endless dieting.

The key was to distill the science and psychology down into simple, clear, and straightforward strategies that could empower people to take action and get desired results.

For example, many people diet and exercise yet don’t lose weight. Why is that? Oftentimes there are secondary complaints that can offer clues.

“Maybe they have digestive issues. Maybe they have mood, irritability, or fatigue. Maybe they have dry skin and dry hair. Then I look at their diet and find that they’re eating extremely low-fat.

Now, why are they eating extremely low-fat? They’re [doing it] because they have what I call the ‘toxic nutritional belief’ that ‘fat in food equals fat on my body.’ That’s a piece of nutritional information that they’re practicing, using, and abiding by.”

The problem with believing and following this myth is that lack of dietary fat may actually be part of why you can’t lose weight. One of the signs of essential fatty acid deficiency is weight gain or inability to lose weight.

This seems counter intuitive to many, but the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes, and if you’re not losing weight even though you’ve cut out nearly all fat, then perhaps it’s time to reassess your belief system.

“Then I have to do what I call an intellectual intervention,” says. “This is my opportunity to deliver information… and let them know that ‘here is where your belief is impacting the goal that you want.’

[I’ll tell them] ‘let’s do an experiment because you’ve been doing it this way for a dozen years. So now we’re going to include more healthy essential fats in your diet for the next several weeks. Then we’re going to see how you feel.'”

More often than not, adding healthy fats back into your diet will result in more regular bowel movements, an increased sense of well-being, improved appetite control, and, eventually, weight loss.

Reconnecting to Your Body’s Innate Intelligence

Part of the challenge, David notes, is that most people have lost their connection to body intelligence. “There’s a brilliant wisdom that’s activated once we start to clean up our diet and eat healthier food,” he says.

Most people also eat too fast, and this too cuts you off from your body’s innate intelligence, so slowing down the pace at which you eat is a very important part of reestablishing this natural connection.

If you’re a fast eater, you’re not paying attention to the food you’re eating, and you’re missing what scientists call the cephalic phase digestive response (CPDR).

Cephalic phase digestive response is a fancy term for taste, pleasure, aroma, and satisfaction, including the visual stimulus of your meal. Researchers estimate about 40 to 60 percent of your digestive and assimilative power at any meal comes from this “head phase” of digestion.

“In other words, you look at a food and your mouth starts to water,” David explains. “You think of a food and your stomach starts to churn. That’s digestion beginning in the mind. When we are not paying attention to the meal, our natural appetite is deregulated. On top of that, eating very fast puts your body in a stress state.”

Stress Effectively Hinders Weight Loss

When you put your body in a stress state, you have sympathetic nervous system dominance, increased insulin, increased cortisol, and increased stress hormones.

Not only will this deregulate your appetite, you’re also going to eat more, because when your brain doesn’t have enough time to sense the taste, aroma, and pleasure from the food, it keeps signaling that hunger has not been satisfied.

You’ve undoubtedly experienced this at some point: You quickly gorge on a huge meal, but when you’re finished, your belly is distended yet you still feel the urge to eat more. At the heart of this problem is eating too quickly, which causes stress. As David explains:

“I want to steer people towards more soulful eating,” David says. “Be present. Feel good about what you’re doing. Get pleasure from that meal. Taste it. Stress is arguably one of the most common causative or contributing factors to just about any disease, condition, or symptom we know of.

When I can start to help a person slow down with their meal and get in a relationship with their food, first and foremost, what’s happening is they’re stepping into parasympathetic nervous system dominance.

If you take five to 10 long, slow deep breaths before a meal, or five to 10 long, slow deep breaths before anything you do, you are training your system to drop into the physiologic relaxation response. When I can help somebody drop into that place, magic starts to happen. People start to go, ‘Oh my goodness, I paid attention to my meal. I was present and I slowed down. I’m not overeating anymore.'”

In David’s experience, a person’s problem with overeating or binge eating can disappear within days when they get into right relationship with food and life, which means being present to it. Being present and mindful can actually affect your physiology in a very direct and profound way.

So if you typically reserve five minutes for breakfast, make that 15 or 20 minutes. If you’re taking 10 minutes for lunch, take 30, 40, or better yet, as much as an hour or an hour and a half, which is common practice in many European countries.

Approaching Food from a Place of Inspiration Rather than Fear

Many people also suffer from what David calls a “high fact diet,” meaning they have amassed a great deal of nutritional information, but they don’t have the expertise to determine fact from fiction, and thus they get inundated with minutia and overwhelmed by contradictions. “From that place, they can easily go into breakdown. They can easily go into ‘Oh, screw it. I don’t know what to do,'” he says.

Others eat very healthy foods, but are motivated to do so not because of the health benefits they get, but because they fear they’ll end up diseased or dead if they don’t. You might think that the end result would be the same, regardless of the motivation driving their food choices, but doing anything from a place of fear can set you up for failure.

“Start to notice… ‘What are the thoughts that are serving you and what are the thoughts that aren’t serving you?’ Living in a constant state of ‘I’m no good, I’m not eating the right diet, I know I’m supposed to eat paleo but I didn’t do it perfectly so now I have to punish myself,’ [will cause] people to quit a great nutritional program because they made one little mix up!

I’ve helped so many people who were following a healthy diet out of fear. Follow a healthy diet out of inspiration. What do you want to do when you’re healthy? Who do you want to be when you’re really healthy, when you have all this energy, and when you have the perfect weight?”

The strategy David recommends here is to turn eating into a meditative act; to slow down, and become aware — of your food, and of how your body responds to the food.

“It becomes a meditation of ‘What am I thinking about when I eat? Am I present? Am I tasting the food? What does this food taste like? Am I full? Do I need to eat more?’ Then it becomes a meditation after the meal. I ask people to check in 20 or 30 minutes later. ‘How’s your body feeling now? Are you noticing anything? Are your sinuses clogged?’ They might say, ‘Yeah, I’m noticing I have a little head congestion.’ Does that connect to what I ate then in terms of how I’m feeling right now?’ It’s all about awareness. It’s all about questioning.”

Why Intermittent Fasting Might Not Work for Some People

Most people who seek to lose weight are insulin resistant, and in over 35 years of experience in clinical medicine, I’ve not discovered a more effective intervention than intermittent fasting, where you skip either breakfast or dinner, thereby restricting your eating to a narrower window of time each day. Restricting your calories to a six to eight hour window is a powerful intervention that will jumpstart your metabolic systems to start burning fat for fuel.

David agrees, but notes that many people who skip meals from a fear-based place with the intention to cut calories often still fail to lose weight.

“I’ve seen hundreds of these clients,” he says, adding that, “there is a huge subset of people who have been taught that weight loss is calories in and calories out, period. From that understanding, they are trying to limit their number of calories. Oftentimes that is done from a place of fear and anxiety, i.e. ‘stress.’

And one of the factors that creates weight loss resistance is the constant state of stress that we live under. Because if you’re not losing weight on a weight loss strategy where you’re undereating for years, that creates stress and upset. To me, that low-level and that chronically elevated insulin and cortisol impacts the body and the sympathetic nervous system.”

In essence, what’s happening in such a situation is that even though skipping meals should improve your ability to lose weight, the fear and stress overrides the process by upregulating your sympathetic nervous system. Also, from a stand point of bio-circadian nutrition, some people find it easier to lose weight when they’re eating the bulk of their calories in the first half of the day as opposed to the latter part, so maybe you’d do better eating breakfast and skipping dinner (or vice versa).

Are You on a Sumo Diet?

Dr. Lee Know’s book “Life – The Epic Story of Our Mitochondria,” really brought home the importance of meal timing for me. Most people eat their biggest meal at night, which could be a massive mistake because your mitochondria — the powerhouses inside your cells — are responsible for “burning” the fuel your body consumes and converting into usable energy.

When you add fuel close before bedtime — a time when you actually need the least amount of energy — you end up generating metabolic complications, caused by free radicals and an excess of electrons produced in the process.

In a nutshell, late-night eating tends to generate excess free radicals, which promotes DNA damage that contributes to chronic degenerative diseases and promotes accelerated aging. To avoid this, stop eating at least three hours before bedtime. David also notes that, according to the concept of bio-circadian nutrition, your ability to metabolize food is related to your body temperature.

Your body temperature is highest right around solar noon, and that’s when your body is metabolically operating at peak efficiency, burning the most calories. Moreover, he says that:

“Historically, the one place I could find that this was being put to use was in the traditional sumo wrestler community. You ask yourself, ‘How did all those Japanese guys get so big?’ As it turns out, back in the 1400s and 1500s when they didn’t have cookies and ice cream, they were eating more food than their average countrymen, and they would wake themselves up in the middle of the night and eat the bulk of their food when everybody else was sleeping.

The sumo community, the sumo wrestlers, discovered that if we want to gain massive amounts of weight, just eat it all in the middle of the night! So if you’re eating the bulk of your calories late at night, you’re on the sumo diet. This is a very simple piece of nutrition information, which is so crucial and so key.”

Exercise, but Choose Something You Love

David often recommends yoga, especially to people who have been eating right and exercising yet still fail to lose weight. Part of the problem here, he says, again goes back to stress — in this case, engaging in exercise you hate, or feeling that exercise is a form of punishment for eating or punishment for being overweight. By doing something you can’t stand, you enter into sympathetic nervous system dominance, which cancels out many of the benefits of exercise.

He noticed that simply by switching to a form of exercise they found enjoyable was enough to provoke a shift, allowing them to start losing weight.

“When you put people on exercise that they love, or movement that they love, something happens. They get happy. They get more in love with their body. They get more present. People who are weight loss-resistant will start to lose weight finally. So that’s an observation. I believe that it has to do with, once again, the person’s kind of metabolic posture, the state that their nervous system is in. If you’re doing exercise you can’t stand, you’re probably going to be locked in sympathetic nervous system dominance,” he says.

Minding Your Posture While Eating

David has also found that when it comes to addressing overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, and endless dieting, your posture can play a role. Are you sitting up straight when eating, or are you slouched over your plate? People who slouch while eating tend to eat more quickly, but it also affects how you relate to your food. David xplains:

“We have a different relationship with food when we’re upright. First of all, there’s more of a sense of dignity. There’s a sense of authority. When I’m slouched, I’m more energetically collapsed. This posture has an emotional kind of texture to it and the texture tends to be one more of subservience, defeat, or I’m making myself small. [Sitting upright makes] people feel more empowered and more dignified about their own self, their own body, and their relationship with food.

Also, when sitting upright, it will make breathing easier. It will make the breath more full. The breathing pattern of relaxation is regular, rhythmic, and deeper. The breathing pattern of distress response is arrhythmic, shallow, and infrequent. If you’re hunched over, you will breathe more as if you’re in sympathetic nervous system dominance. You’re going to be breathing shallower. When you’re upright, when your chest is expanded, you can breathe more regular, rhythmic, and deep.

Just adopting the breathing pattern of parasympathetic nervous system dominance will put you in that place in less than two minutes easily, which will then put you in the optimum state of digestion and assimilation. It will put you in the optimum state of being aware of your own appetite. So, one simple shift in the body can be very profound.

Also, when we start to become more erect, what we’re doing is we are changing our personality. We are really stepping into our own personal growth program where we’re claiming a sense of empowerment. Yes, it is good, structurally. But it’s good for who we are as human beings inside as well.”

If You’re Stuck, Go Back to the Basics

The more I study and the more I learn, the more I realize how simple it is. Health and weight loss are not nearly as complicated as we’ve been led to believe. It comes down to understanding and applying some very basic principles, because your body was actually designed to stay healthy. It wants to be healthy. It does not want to be diseased or to rely on medications. Once you give your body what it needs, it will go into self-repair mode and heal quite efficiently.

Besides a healthy diet and physical activity that you enjoy, the ability to self-reflect and grow may also play a more important role than most people suspect.

“There’s a subset of people who, until they do work on their self, they don’t get the body to shift where it naturally needs to go. What I’m saying is, in my observation, there’s a connection, oftentimes, between personal growth and metabolic potential. I like to use the formula: personal power equals metabolic power. Meaning, as I become the person that I’m meant to be; as I do work on self; as I become better in my character, and as I look at what life is trying to teach me, how do I learn my lessons? How do I become a better person?

How do I fulfill my mission in the world? How do I deliver my gifts? As I do that, I’ve noticed that my body has the best chance to step into its metabolic potential. Do I need to eat all the right foods? Of course I do. But as I’m stepping into my personal potential, I naturally gravitate towards the information, the kinds of foods, or the kinds of practices that serve me. That, I think, is a missing piece in the conversation around weight, or even the conversation around health in general.”

By Dr. Mercola

Many people have a problem with their relationship with food. Some overeat, others unde reat, and many struggle with their weight despite doing everything right “on paper.”

“Sonoma State University allowed me to do an independent study for my master’s degree in Eating Psychology. I put an ad in a newspaper that said, ‘Graduate student looking to start Eating Psychology study group.’ That was the beginnings for me of learning on the job.

I had a group of 20 plus people — a handful of anorexics; a handful of some of the most obese people I’d ever seen; a beautiful model who had an eating disorder; and a handful of women in their 50s who looked fine to me but [spent their] life chronically dieting.

That was my beginnings of starting to understand eating psychology, counseling psychology, and coaching psychology. I looked at all the different modalities, started doing clinical practice, and said, ‘OK. What works and what doesn’t?'”

Why Does Dieting Oftentimes Fail?

Gradually, over the course of about 15 years, David developed a number of strategies that effectively address weight, body image, overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, and endless dieting.

The key was to distill the science and psychology down into simple, clear, and straightforward strategies that could empower people to take action and get desired results.

For example, many people diet and exercise yet don’t lose weight. Why is that? Oftentimes there are secondary complaints that can offer clues.

“Maybe they have digestive issues. Maybe they have mood, irritability, or fatigue. Maybe they have dry skin and dry hair. Then I look at their diet and find that they’re eating extremely low-fat.

Now, why are they eating extremely low-fat? They’re [doing it] because they have what I call the ‘toxic nutritional belief’ that ‘fat in food equals fat on my body.’ That’s a piece of nutritional information that they’re practicing, using, and abiding by.”

The problem with believing and following this myth is that lack of dietary fat may actually be part of why you can’t lose weight. One of the signs of essential fatty acid deficiency is weight gain or inability to lose weight.

This seems counter intuitive to many, but the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes, and if you’re not losing weight even though you’ve cut out nearly all fat, then perhaps it’s time to reassess your belief system.

“Then I have to do what I call an intellectual intervention,” says. “This is my opportunity to deliver information… and let them know that ‘here is where your belief is impacting the goal that you want.’

[I’ll tell them] ‘let’s do an experiment because you’ve been doing it this way for a dozen years. So now we’re going to include more healthy essential fats in your diet for the next several weeks. Then we’re going to see how you feel.'”

More often than not, adding healthy fats back into your diet will result in more regular bowel movements, an increased sense of well-being, improved appetite control, and, eventually, weight loss.

Reconnecting to Your Body’s Innate Intelligence

Part of the challenge, David notes, is that most people have lost their connection to body intelligence. “There’s a brilliant wisdom that’s activated once we start to clean up our diet and eat healthier food,” he says.

Most people also eat too fast, and this too cuts you off from your body’s innate intelligence, so slowing down the pace at which you eat is a very important part of reestablishing this natural connection.

If you’re a fast eater, you’re not paying attention to the food you’re eating, and you’re missing what scientists call the cephalic phase digestive response (CPDR).

Cephalic phase digestive response is a fancy term for taste, pleasure, aroma, and satisfaction, including the visual stimulus of your meal. Researchers estimate about 40 to 60 percent of your digestive and assimilative power at any meal comes from this “head phase” of digestion.

“In other words, you look at a food and your mouth starts to water,” David explains. “You think of a food and your stomach starts to churn. That’s digestion beginning in the mind. When we are not paying attention to the meal, our natural appetite is deregulated. On top of that, eating very fast puts your body in a stress state.”

Stress Effectively Hinders Weight Loss

When you put your body in a stress state, you have sympathetic nervous system dominance, increased insulin, increased cortisol, and increased stress hormones.

Not only will this deregulate your appetite, you’re also going to eat more, because when your brain doesn’t have enough time to sense the taste, aroma, and pleasure from the food, it keeps signaling that hunger has not been satisfied.

You’ve undoubtedly experienced this at some point: You quickly gorge on a huge meal, but when you’re finished, your belly is distended yet you still feel the urge to eat more. At the heart of this problem is eating too quickly, which causes stress. As David explains:

“I want to steer people towards more soulful eating,” David says. “Be present. Feel good about what you’re doing. Get pleasure from that meal. Taste it. Stress is arguably one of the most common causative or contributing factors to just about any disease, condition, or symptom we know of.

When I can start to help a person slow down with their meal and get in a relationship with their food, first and foremost, what’s happening is they’re stepping into parasympathetic nervous system dominance.

If you take five to 10 long, slow deep breaths before a meal, or five to 10 long, slow deep breaths before anything you do, you are training your system to drop into the physiologic relaxation response. When I can help somebody drop into that place, magic starts to happen. People start to go, ‘Oh my goodness, I paid attention to my meal. I was present and I slowed down. I’m not overeating anymore.'”

In David’s experience, a person’s problem with overeating or binge eating can disappear within days when they get into right relationship with food and life, which means being present to it. Being present and mindful can actually affect your physiology in a very direct and profound way.

So if you typically reserve five minutes for breakfast, make that 15 or 20 minutes. If you’re taking 10 minutes for lunch, take 30, 40, or better yet, as much as an hour or an hour and a half, which is common practice in many European countries.

Approaching Food from a Place of Inspiration Rather than Fear

Many people also suffer from what David calls a “high fact diet,” meaning they have amassed a great deal of nutritional information, but they don’t have the expertise to determine fact from fiction, and thus they get inundated with minutia and overwhelmed by contradictions. “From that place, they can easily go into breakdown. They can easily go into ‘Oh, screw it. I don’t know what to do,'” he says.

Others eat very healthy foods, but are motivated to do so not because of the health benefits they get, but because they fear they’ll end up diseased or dead if they don’t. You might think that the end result would be the same, regardless of the motivation driving their food choices, but doing anything from a place of fear can set you up for failure.

“Start to notice… ‘What are the thoughts that are serving you and what are the thoughts that aren’t serving you?’ Living in a constant state of ‘I’m no good, I’m not eating the right diet, I know I’m supposed to eat paleo but I didn’t do it perfectly so now I have to punish myself,’ [will cause] people to quit a great nutritional program because they made one little mix up!

I’ve helped so many people who were following a healthy diet out of fear. Follow a healthy diet out of inspiration. What do you want to do when you’re healthy? Who do you want to be when you’re really healthy, when you have all this energy, and when you have the perfect weight?”

The strategy David recommends here is to turn eating into a meditative act; to slow down, and become aware — of your food, and of how your body responds to the food.

“It becomes a meditation of ‘What am I thinking about when I eat? Am I present? Am I tasting the food? What does this food taste like? Am I full? Do I need to eat more?’ Then it becomes a meditation after the meal. I ask people to check in 20 or 30 minutes later. ‘How’s your body feeling now? Are you noticing anything? Are your sinuses clogged?’ They might say, ‘Yeah, I’m noticing I have a little head congestion.’ Does that connect to what I ate then in terms of how I’m feeling right now?’ It’s all about awareness. It’s all about questioning.”

Why Intermittent Fasting Might Not Work for Some People

Most people who seek to lose weight are insulin resistant, and in over 35 years of experience in clinical medicine, I’ve not discovered a more effective intervention than intermittent fasting, where you skip either breakfast or dinner, thereby restricting your eating to a narrower window of time each day. Restricting your calories to a six to eight hour window is a powerful intervention that will jumpstart your metabolic systems to start burning fat for fuel.

David agrees, but notes that many people who skip meals from a fear-based place with the intention to cut calories often still fail to lose weight.

“I’ve seen hundreds of these clients,” he says, adding that, “there is a huge subset of people who have been taught that weight loss is calories in and calories out, period. From that understanding, they are trying to limit their number of calories. Oftentimes that is done from a place of fear and anxiety, i.e. ‘stress.’

And one of the factors that creates weight loss resistance is the constant state of stress that we live under. Because if you’re not losing weight on a weight loss strategy where you’re undereating for years, that creates stress and upset. To me, that low-level and that chronically elevated insulin and cortisol impacts the body and the sympathetic nervous system.”

In essence, what’s happening in such a situation is that even though skipping meals should improve your ability to lose weight, the fear and stress overrides the process by upregulating your sympathetic nervous system. Also, from a stand point of bio-circadian nutrition, some people find it easier to lose weight when they’re eating the bulk of their calories in the first half of the day as opposed to the latter part, so maybe you’d do better eating breakfast and skipping dinner (or vice versa).

Are You on a Sumo Diet?

Dr. Lee Know’s book “Life – The Epic Story of Our Mitochondria,” really brought home the importance of meal timing for me. Most people eat their biggest meal at night, which could be a massive mistake because your mitochondria — the powerhouses inside your cells — are responsible for “burning” the fuel your body consumes and converting into usable energy.

When you add fuel close before bedtime — a time when you actually need the least amount of energy — you end up generating metabolic complications, caused by free radicals and an excess of electrons produced in the process.

In a nutshell, late-night eating tends to generate excess free radicals, which promotes DNA damage that contributes to chronic degenerative diseases and promotes accelerated aging. To avoid this, stop eating at least three hours before bedtime. David also notes that, according to the concept of bio-circadian nutrition, your ability to metabolize food is related to your body temperature.

Your body temperature is highest right around solar noon, and that’s when your body is metabolically operating at peak efficiency, burning the most calories. Moreover, he says that:

“Historically, the one place I could find that this was being put to use was in the traditional sumo wrestler community. You ask yourself, ‘How did all those Japanese guys get so big?’ As it turns out, back in the 1400s and 1500s when they didn’t have cookies and ice cream, they were eating more food than their average countrymen, and they would wake themselves up in the middle of the night and eat the bulk of their food when everybody else was sleeping.

The sumo community, the sumo wrestlers, discovered that if we want to gain massive amounts of weight, just eat it all in the middle of the night! So if you’re eating the bulk of your calories late at night, you’re on the sumo diet. This is a very simple piece of nutrition information, which is so crucial and so key.”

Exercise, but Choose Something You Love

David often recommends yoga, especially to people who have been eating right and exercising yet still fail to lose weight. Part of the problem here, he says, again goes back to stress — in this case, engaging in exercise you hate, or feeling that exercise is a form of punishment for eating or punishment for being overweight. By doing something you can’t stand, you enter into sympathetic nervous system dominance, which cancels out many of the benefits of exercise.

He noticed that simply by switching to a form of exercise they found enjoyable was enough to provoke a shift, allowing them to start losing weight.

“When you put people on exercise that they love, or movement that they love, something happens. They get happy. They get more in love with their body. They get more present. People who are weight loss-resistant will start to lose weight finally. So that’s an observation. I believe that it has to do with, once again, the person’s kind of metabolic posture, the state that their nervous system is in. If you’re doing exercise you can’t stand, you’re probably going to be locked in sympathetic nervous system dominance,” he says.

Minding Your Posture While Eating

David has also found that when it comes to addressing overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, and endless dieting, your posture can play a role. Are you sitting up straight when eating, or are you slouched over your plate? People who slouch while eating tend to eat more quickly, but it also affects how you relate to your food. David xplains:

“We have a different relationship with food when we’re upright. First of all, there’s more of a sense of dignity. There’s a sense of authority. When I’m slouched, I’m more energetically collapsed. This posture has an emotional kind of texture to it and the texture tends to be one more of subservience, defeat, or I’m making myself small. [Sitting upright makes] people feel more empowered and more dignified about their own self, their own body, and their relationship with food.

Also, when sitting upright, it will make breathing easier. It will make the breath more full. The breathing pattern of relaxation is regular, rhythmic, and deeper. The breathing pattern of distress response is arrhythmic, shallow, and infrequent. If you’re hunched over, you will breathe more as if you’re in sympathetic nervous system dominance. You’re going to be breathing shallower. When you’re upright, when your chest is expanded, you can breathe more regular, rhythmic, and deep.

Just adopting the breathing pattern of parasympathetic nervous system dominance will put you in that place in less than two minutes easily, which will then put you in the optimum state of digestion and assimilation. It will put you in the optimum state of being aware of your own appetite. So, one simple shift in the body can be very profound.

Also, when we start to become more erect, what we’re doing is we are changing our personality. We are really stepping into our own personal growth program where we’re claiming a sense of empowerment. Yes, it is good, structurally. But it’s good for who we are as human beings inside as well.”

If You’re Stuck, Go Back to the Basics

The more I study and the more I learn, the more I realize how simple it is. Health and weight loss are not nearly as complicated as we’ve been led to believe. It comes down to understanding and applying some very basic principles, because your body was actually designed to stay healthy. It wants to be healthy. It does not want to be diseased or to rely on medications. Once you give your body what it needs, it will go into self-repair mode and heal quite efficiently.

Besides a healthy diet and physical activity that you enjoy, the ability to self-reflect and grow may also play a more important role than most people suspect.

“There’s a subset of people who, until they do work on their self, they don’t get the body to shift where it naturally needs to go. What I’m saying is, in my observation, there’s a connection, oftentimes, between personal growth and metabolic potential. I like to use the formula: personal power equals metabolic power. Meaning, as I become the person that I’m meant to be; as I do work on self; as I become better in my character, and as I look at what life is trying to teach me, how do I learn my lessons? How do I become a better person?

How do I fulfill my mission in the world? How do I deliver my gifts? As I do that, I’ve noticed that my body has the best chance to step into its metabolic potential. Do I need to eat all the right foods? Of course I do. But as I’m stepping into my personal potential, I naturally gravitate towards the information, the kinds of foods, or the kinds of practices that serve me. That, I think, is a missing piece in the conversation around weight, or even the conversation around health in general.”

Source:mercola.com

You should eat more spicy food


The Spice Girls were onto something when they released their hit song “Spice Up Your Life” in the ’90s. Turns out, a wealth of research supports the idea that adding spice to your food can offer some major health benefits.

Although there’s a slew of unexpected perks to giving your food a kick, capsaicin is the ingredient to keep in mind. The compound is found in jalapeños, habaneros, cayenne and most other chili peppers, and it’s the underlying reason spicy foods can help you lose weight and live a longer, healthier life.

Here are five reasons to consider spicing up your food:

1. You’ll lose more weight.
Capsaicin is a thermogenic substance, meaning it causes the body temperature to rise, temporarily boosting metabolism and revving its ability to burn calories. Capsaicin may also decrease appetite and help curb cravings. A 2005 study in the International Journal of Obesity found that exposure to capsaicin increased participants’ satiety, and reduced their calorie and fat intake.

Consider adding tabasco sauce to your eggs at breakfast to give your metabolism an early-morning boost.

2. Your heart will thank you.
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death among men and women in America, but spicing up your food may help reduce your risk of developing the ailment. Studies suggest capsaicin may lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol, which accumulates on artery walls and constricts blood flow to the heart. Spicy food can help dilate blood vessels, promoting circulation and helping to manage your blood sugar, research presented during a 2012 American Chemical Society meeting suggests.

Unfortunately, eating spicy food won’t totally undo a bad diet. For optimal heart health, skip greasy foods like hot wings in lieu of adding peppers or hot spices to your favorite dish with lean protein like turkey or chicken.

3. You may reduce your cancer risk.
You probably already know maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly can reduce your cancer risk, but consider adding a kick to your dish to further lower your chances. A 2006 study in the journal Cancer suggests capsaicin may inhibit the spread of prostate cancer cells. Spicy foods also are known to boost immunity. Studies suggest they can act as a decongestant, protecting against irritants and pollutants, like dust and smoke.

4. You’ll eat more mindfully.
Research suggests people who eat spicy foods are often more satiated than those who don’t, which can reduce the chances of overeating. That may be because spiciness in food naturally slows the eating process, giving the brain more time to realize the body is full. The end result: fewer calories consumed.

If there’s a food you tend to eat mindlessly, try turning up the heat with a squirt of Sriracha sauce to slow you down.

5. You may live longer.
If the aforementioned perks weren’t persuasive enough, consider this suggested benefit: Eating spicy foods may help lengthen your life. A Harvard University study suggested that people who ate spicy food every day saw a 14 percent lower risk of death compared to people who ate spicy food only once a week or less. Consider sprinkling dried chili flakes on whole-wheat pasta, vegetables or soups to add a kick of flavor and potentially lengthen your life.

Sugar Addiction: 76 Ways Sugar Can Ruin Your Health


Sugar, in moderate amounts, is essential to our body. As a carbohydrate, it helps supply you with the energy you need for your daily activities. All of your cells use it. But at the same time, sugar is also a calorie, and once it is in consumed in excess, negative effects to your health will follow. Massive sugar addiction can result in obesity, diabetesheart damage or failure, cancer cell production, depletion of brain power, and shorter lifespans.1

Moderation is important in this case. Yet avoiding food with high sugar content is definitely easier said than done these days, given the variety of options in stores. Some of the usual suspects include energy drinks, sodas, candy bars, artificial sweeteners, and so much more. Everyone has access to them.

Sugar Addiction

Story at-a-glance

  • Sugar addiction happens due to intense cravings for sweet food. It is triggered by the brain by sending signals to the receptors in our tongue that were not able to develop from the low-sugar diets of our ancestors
  • Here are 76 ways in which sugar could pose a significant threat to your health, divided into four categories: Increased Risk of Diseases and Sicknesses, Nutrient Imbalance or Deficiency, Bodily Impairments, and Behavioral Changes
  • Your emotions might be more important than you think, as newer and more recent studies show that conditioning yourself and analyzing the impacts of your eating habits can help you curb bad practices – sugar addiction included

What Lies Behind Sugar Addiction

Sugar addiction obviously begins when you crave anything that contains this sweet ingredient. Eating sugar triggers production of natural opioids in your brain. These hormones aid in relieving the pain and are triggered in the same way one would consume illegal drugs.2

According to researchers, your tongue has two sweet receptors in it, which evolved during the early times, when our ancestors ate a typically low-sugar diet. As the years went by, people’s tongues were still not able to adapt to sweet treats. This is why when the receptors in your tongue are highly stimulated, it results in your brain sending out excessive reward signals whenever you eat something with sugar in it, which end up overriding your self-control mechanisms. This leads to addiction.

Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, wrote in The Atlantic that:

“The brain’s pleasure center, called the nucleus accumbens, is essential for our survival as a species… When you consume any substance of abuse, including sugar, the nucleus accumbens receives a dopamine signal, from which you experience pleasure. And so you consume more. The problem is that with prolonged exposure, the signal attenuates, gets weaker. So you have to consume more to get the same effect — tolerance. And if you pull back on the substance, you go into withdrawal. Tolerance and withdrawal constitute addiction.”3

Another major player in possible sugar addiction is the hormone leptin. It is responsible for telling the brain how energy that is stored from fat is to be used. Moreover, it targets taste receptors in your tongue, which could increase or decrease your food cravings. When you lack leptin or if there is a problem with your body’s leptin receptors, then your chances of craving food will be bigger, and more often than not, sugar is always the first pick when it comes to combatting cravings.

76 Ways Sugar Can Ruin Your Health

Too much sugar can lead to detrimental effects to your health. I counted at least 76 ways (yes, you read that right!) in which sugar can cause serious health risks for you. These hazards are divided into four categories: Increased Risk of Diseases and Sicknesses, Nutrient Imbalance or Deficiency, Bodily Impairments, andBehavioral Changes.

Nutrient Imbalance or Deficiency

  1. Upsets the mineral relationships in your body
  2. Chromium deficiency
  3. Interferes with the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and protein
  4. Increases total cholesterol, triglycerides, and bad cholesterol levels
  5. Decreases good cholesterol levels
  6. Lowers vitamin E levels
  7. Body changes sugar into two to five times more fat in the bloodstream compared to starch

Behavioral Changes

  1. Addictive and intoxicating, similar to alcohol
  2. Rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, and anxiety
  3. Leads to difficulty in concentration, drowsiness, and crankiness in children
  4. Results in decreased activity in children
  5. Reduces learning capacity and can cause learning disorders that could affect schoolchildren’s grades
  6. Increases risk of antisocial behavior
  7. Decrease in emotional stability
  8. Depression
  9. Alcoholism

Increased Risk of Diseases and Sicknesses

  1. Feeds cancer cells
  2. Can induce cell death
  3. Increases fasting levels of glucose
  4. Increases systolic blood pressure
  5. Significant increase in platelet adhesion
  6. Leads to formation of kidney stones and gallstones
  7. Rapid sugar absorption promotes excessive food intake
  8. Obesity
  9. Decreases insulin sensitivity, leading to high insulin levels and eventually diabetes
  10. Reactive hypoglycemia
  11. Headaches, including migraines
  12. Dizziness
  13. Gastrointestinal tract problems
  14. Food allergies
  15. Promotes chronic degenerative diseases
  16. Causes atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases
  17. Causes cataracts and nearsightedness
  18. May lead to autoimmune diseases like arthritis, asthma, and multiple sclerosis
  19. Causes emphysema
  20. Contributes to osteoporosis
  21. Contraction of appendicitis, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins
  22. Parkinson’s disease (people with said disease have high sugar intake)
  23. Increases risk of gout and Alzheimer’s disease
  24. Acidity in saliva, tooth decay, and periodontal diseases
  25. Gum disease
  26. Greatly promotes uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections)
  27. Toxemia in pregnancy
  28. Contributes to eczema in children
  29. Worsens symptoms of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  30. Increases risk of polio
  31. May lead to epileptic seizures
  32. Could lead to high blood pressure in obese people
  33. Increased consumption in intensive care units can induce death

Bodily Impairments

  1. Has potential to induce abnormal metabolic processes in a normal healthy individual
  2. Suppression of immune system, increasing risk of contracting infectious diseases
  3. Loss of tissue elasticity and function
  4. Weaker eyesight
  5. Premature aging
  6. Increases advanced glycation end products wherein sugar molecules attach to proteins and end up damaging them
  7. DNA structure impairment
  8. Can cut off oxygen to brain via intravenous feedings
  9. Change in protein structure and causes a permanent alteration of protein acts in your body
  10. Changing of collagen structure
  11. Skin aging
  12. Impairs physiological homeostasis of bodily systems
  13. Lowers ability of enzymes to function
  14. Increases liver size by making liver cells divide, increasing the amount of liver fat
  15. Increase kidney size and producing pathological changes
  16. Pancreatic damage
  17. Increase in body’s fluid retention
  18. Affects urinary electrolyte composition
  19. Slows down ability of adrenal glands to function
  20. Compromises lining of capillaries
  21. Brittle tendons
  22. Can cause an increase in delta, alpha, and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind’s ability to think clearly
  23. Causes hormonal imbalances
  24. Increases free radicals and oxidative stress
  25. Leads to substantial decrease in gestation, with a twofold increased risk for delivering a small-for-gestational-age infant
  26. Dehydration among newborns
  27. Affects carbon dioxide production when given to premature babies.

How to Break Sugar Addiction

Don’t fret – it’s not too late to kick those bad habits to the curb. I have a couple of recommendations on how to safely consume sugar without sacrificing your health.

The first would be to appeal to your emotions. Sometimes, when you crave food, it is triggered by an emotional need such as wanting to relieve stress or feel a little bit happier after a tiring day. More often than not, people tend to ignore their emotions when considering whether to eat healthy or otherwise.

I highly recommend the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), a simple and effective psychological acupressure technique that could help you manage the emotional components of your cravings. It has been proven to relieve a lot of emotional traumas, abolish phobias and post-traumatic stresses, break down food cravings, and lessen physical pain and discomfort.

What EFT entails in its practitioners is to have the right mindset when going on a diet or just taking steps to improve on their health. If you’re already curious, you can browse through the basics of EFT here.

Another way to reduce sugar consumption would be to lessen the amount of sugar that you consume on a daily basis – below 25 grams to be exact – including that from whole fruits.

I also advise you to avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) at all costs. This is a sweetener that is made from corn and found in many of the food items that we eat and drink today. Now, this is considered to be deadly not only because of the amount of sugar that goes in it, but also because of the health risks that can it can cause, most of which were already mentioned above.

Choosing a well-balanced diet tailored to your specific body type helps, with extra emphasis on food rich in fiber, which helps slow down the absorption of sugar, and food rich in high quality omega-3 fats, which are also crucial to lessening the impact of eating excessive sugar. Avoiding food with high sugar content and constantly rehydrating with fresh and pure water are also recommended.

Lastly, exercising every day, along with optimizing your vitamin D levelsgetting enough sleep, and managing your stress levels can also help minimize the effects of excessive sugar intake. Exercise in particular is known to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce stress levels, suppress ghrelin (the appetite hormone), speed up metabolism, strengthen bones, and boost your mood.

It can be quite difficult to say no to sweets, especially if you have been  consuming them on a daily basis, but trust me, once you feel the effects that lowering your sugar intake has on your body,  it will all be worth it.

Source:mercola.com

5 Foods That Can Cause Depression


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The food you eat directly affects your brain

Food is the best medicine. All your cells, bones, signaling molecules, and tissues are built from what you eat. For example, dietary fats are the building blocks of brain tissue and help balance hormones, and muscles are built from protein. Different vitamins and minerals are used to create energy and send electrical impulses along neurons so that we can move, think, and feel. A nourishing diet is the best strategy against depression.

The food we eat affects both our human and microbial cells. Numerous studies have shown that food changes the collection of trillions of beneficial bacteria in our guts, called the microbiome (1). In the name of convenience, flavor, or simply habit, so many of us consume inflammatory foods on a daily basis that increase intestinal permeability (leaky gut), harm the microbiome, and create chronic inflammation that can lead to depression.

Many studies have shown that people who eat an anti-inflammatory diet have significantly lower risks of depression (2-5). A recent study that tracked about 6,500 women over 12 years showed that women eating an anti-inflammatory diet had a 20% lower risk of developing depression than their peers (6). These anti-inflammatory diets consist of healthy fatsvitamins and antioxidants, and plenty of high-quality protein. On the other hand, many foods in the Standard American Diet (SAD) create chronic inflammation. These five inflammatory foods are the most frequent offenders I see when treating patients for depression:

Gluten

By now almost everyone has heard of gluten, the glue-like protein found in wheat. Grains like barley, rye, and contaminated oatmeal contain proteins that may be recognized by your body as gluten. Gluten and gluten-like proteins are some of the most inflammatory foods you can eat.

Many people think that gluten doesn’t affect them since they didn’t test positive for Celiac Disease. However, there are often false negatives on these tests because they don’t test for the full range of gluten proteins. Whether or not you have a diagnosed sensitivity to gluten, it isn’t doing you any favorsas it is almost exclusively present in processed foods.

Gluten drives inflammation by irritating the gut and gut microbes as well as intestinal tissues. This protein causes gut cells to produce a compound called zonulin, leading to intestinal permeability (or leaky gut). Gluten, which is a sticky protein, can also interfere with digestion by clumping together food particles. A recent study showed that gluten caused inflammation in gut cells of healthy volunteers, suggesting that gluten may cause adverse effects that can lead to depression in everyone (7).

Gluten consumption has been linked to depression, seizures, headaches, anxiety, nerve damage, and ADHD-like symptoms (8-10). Gluten has been linked to over 200 conditions, with neurotoxicity topping the list.

I’ve seen amazing recoveries from people who ditched the gluten – including myselfGluten-free diets have helped people heal from too many seemingly hopeless diagnoses, like depression, to count!

Dairy

Believe me: I understand that dairy can be deeply pleasurable. Growing up in an Italian family, many of my fondest memories involve cheese, ice cream, ricotta, and yogurt. Science supports our attachment to dairy. On a molecular level, dairy contains morphine-like compounds which engage our opiate receptors and create mild dairy addiction (11).

A number of studies have shown that casein, a protein found in dairy products, can drive inflammation. Casein has been linked to several psychiatric conditions, ranging from schizophrenia to depression. Dairy may not be a problem for everyone, and some people can tolerate certain types of dairy, like raw milk. Fortunately, grassfed ghee is a wonderful substitute for butter.

If you’re suffering from symptoms of depression or anxiety, it’s worth eliminating dairy for 30 days and seeing how you feel. Some people are able to re-introduce dairy after a month off with no problems, while others totally lose their taste for it and even vomit when trying it again!

GMOs

Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) have become a staple in the Standard American Diet. Beyond being a population-wide experiment in manipulating nature’s design, these foods, by definition, have been heavily treated with pesticides and herbicides. Since these chemicals have been designed to kill, it make sense that they’re quite toxic to our own human and microbial cells. Indeed, studies have shown that the common pesticide Roundup (glyphosate) causes cancer.

Alarmingly, these chemicals have been found in fetuses and breast milk, showing that the toxins used in modern farming are harming generations to come. Roundup is toxic to fetal cells and can lead to birth defects. This toxicant disrupts our microbiome, messing with the production of essential amino acids like tryptophan, absorption of minerals, and detoxification in the liver.

In addition to Roundup, the primary herbicide sprayed on GMOs like soy, GMOs also carry a variety of other toxicants that may be even more harmful in combination than alone. As even non-GMO foods can be contaminated with pesticides, I advise my clients, especially those suffering from depression, to eat organic.

Think eating organic is too expensive? Our Vital Mind Reset community support director, Shauna, has written an excellent article about eating healthy on food stamps!

Sugar and Artificial Sugar

Americans love sugar. The average American eats a staggering 164 pounds of sugar per year (12,13). Think about that for a moment. Even worse, sugar is highly addictive – the more we eat, the more we want.

Our bodies were not designed to handle the blood sugar and insulin roller coaster that many of us are on. Here’s how it goes: when you eat sugar, whether it’s in an obvious form like soda or a non-obvious form like pasta, your blood sugar increases quickly. This fast increase then spikes insulin. When insulin removes blood sugar, you then have a blood sugar crash, and cortisol comes in to compensate and try to move sugar out of storage and back into the bloodstream. This process, often called reactive hypoglycemia, is responsible for carb and sugar cravings (since your brain needs steady sugar to function), which leads to anxiety, headaches, irritability, and ultimately depression.

Overall, high blood sugar causes inflammation, which is one of the most significant risk factors for depression. Balancing blood sugar is one of the most effective treatments for depression and anxiety.

Sugar messes with our brain health in three main ways. First, sugar creates inflammation, often by spiking insulin and harming our gut microbiome. Next, sugar derails hormones, ultimately increasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol and disrupting the balance of sex hormones. Finally, sugar starves the brain and damages important structures in our bodies, like cell membranes and blood vessels (14). All this can lead to depression.

Because of all the research showing how harmful sugar is (15-18), food manufacturers have gotten creative with its naming. Don’t be fooled by code names like cane sugar, crystalline fructose, maltodextrin, high-fructose corn syrup – it’s all sugar.

It’s tempting to swap out sugar for artificial sweeteners. Artificial sugars, like aspartame and sucralose, are ‘zero calorie’ because they cannot be digested by the human body. But these chemicals don’t just pass through your body with no effect. Artificial sugars confuse hormones and change your microbiome. A high-profile scientific article showed that artificial sugar consumption leads to metabolic syndromes like insulin resistance and diabetes (19). Choose sweeteners that your body recognizes, like honey.

Vegetable Oils

The Standard American Diet contains large amounts of unhealthy fats, mostly in the form of commercial vegetable oils. Many processed foods, ranging from store-bought cookies to salad dressing, contain these oils. Vegetable oils include safflower oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, and canola oil. These oils are considered ‘processed’ because many high-heat and high-pressure steps, as well as chemical solvents, are required to create them. Further, many of these oils are made from GMOs.

For example, have you ever seen a canola plant? Canola oil, which has been touted as “heart healthy,” is derived from the Canadian rapeseed plant. Recognizing that “rape oil” was not a good marketing tactic, this invention was given a new name as a combination of “Canada” and “ola,” which means oil. Today, it is genetically modified by Monsanto to withstand saturation with Roundup herbicide (20, 21).

In short, our bodies do not recognize vegetable oils, especially when they’re heated and distorted. Consuming vegetable oils sounds the alarm of inflammation. Processed vegetable oils have been linked to thyroid dysfunction, cardiovascular diseases (22), nutrient deficiencies, cancer (23), and psychiatric disorders like depression (24, 25).

So what do I eat?!

I recommend that people give themselves 2-4 weeks to kick the sugar, gluten, and dairy habit. In this time, you can try non-GMO foods and healthier fats like olive oil and lard. People are amazed by how good they feel and how quickly their tastes change.

It’s can be overwhelming to try to overhauling your diet, and we’ve been led to seek quick and easy fixes. As someone who’s radically changed her diet and outlook on eating, I assure you that the deep commitment to yourself and your health is worth it. When you remove these inflammatory foods, you can more easily tap into your intuition to properly nourish yourself.

 

References

  1. http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/1/6/6ra14
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26344165
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27788314
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26586104
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27592562
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27498949
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1954879/
  8. http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/72/5/560.full
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19758171
  10. http://www.drperlmutter.com/about/grain-brain-by-david-perlmutter/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26877644
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27327801

13.https://bamboocorefitness.com/not-so-sweet-the-average-american-consumes-150-170-pounds-of-sugar-each-year/

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27358413
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27312321
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27226903
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28035340
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28024276
  6. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v514/n7521/full/nature13793.html
  7. https://draxe.com/canola-oil-gm/
  8. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/047167849X.bio018/abstract
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24632108
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18584483
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26393778
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25499313

Source:http://kellybroganmd.com

Apple Cider Vinegar For Heart Health


Can Apple Cider Vinegar Protect Your Heart?

The short answer is yes. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is heart healthy and has a multitude of other health benefits. Let’s take a look.

Vinegar comes from the French words for “sour” and “wine”. All vinegars are mostly a mixture of acetic acid (CH3COOH) and water. Vinegar is made in a two-step fermentation process. Take ACV for example. The first step uses yeast to ferment apple juice into cider. The next step uses bacteria to change cider into vinegar. According to the makers of the most famous product, Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, the laundry list of benefits is extensive. But let’s look at the research on ACV.

Cholesterol

In a study from 2008, diabetic rats fed with ACV had lower LDL, lower triglycerides, and better blood sugar control while increasing HDL (1). This is animal data that cannot always be applied to humans. Can’t hurt though.

Blood Sugar

A 2004 trial showed vinegar (not specifically ACV) improves insulin sensitivity, limits sugar breakdown from dietary sources, and increases cellular uptake of glucose into skeletal muscle. These are fascinating findings for those with diabetic or pre-diabetic conditions. ACV can help everyone (2). Multiple studies have replicated these findings. In fact, 2 tablespoons of ACV at bedtime led to significant improvements in glucose control (3).

Antioxidant

A 2014 study found that ACV decreased oxidative injury in the rodent model and improved lipid control (4). Limiting oxidation is always a good thing, especially when it comes to the human body.

Other cardiovascular benefits likely come from ACV’s ability to promote digestion and overall gut health.

But there’s more

Vinegar may help with:

  1. Weight loss (5)
  2. Cancer (6)
  3. Skin conditions (my clinical experience)

Vinegar has been used for thousands of years as a disinfectant. Multiple studies have found vinegar to be very effective against bacteria such as E. coli and even mycobacteria such as tuberculosis! (7)

You see, those old home remedies do work.

How to use Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a great addition to olive oil and sea salt for a delicious salad dressing.olive oil

For people with heartburn or reflux, try 1 tablespoon of ACV in a little water prior to a meal. Sip on ACV in water at 50/50 combo in between meals and before bed. Brush your teeth afterward.

For skin warts or fungal toes, “paint” the area with a Q-tip 2-3x per day. This may take 2-3 months to resolve the affected area. No risk in trying and 100% safe compared with toxic prescription drugs.

Sources:

  1. Pak J Biol Sci. 2008 Dec 1;11(23):2634-8.
  2. Diabetes Care January 2004 vol. 27 no. 1 281-282
  3. Diabetes Care November 2007vol. 30 no. 11 2814-2815
  4. J Membr Biol. 2014 Aug;247(8):667-73.
  5. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009 Aug;73(8):1837-43.
  6. Biofactors. 2004;22(1-4):93-7.
  7. J Food Prot. 1998 Aug;61(8):953-9.

Source:www.thedrswolfson.com

10 Foods to Boost Nitric Oxide


One of the most important molecules for blood vessel health is nitric oxide (NO). It is a major vasodilator, as it keeps blood vessels open. Doctors have prescribed nitroglycerin to patients for many years for patients with chronic chest pain (angina pectoris). Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson lived on the stuff. Nitroglycerin gets converted to nitric oxide.

Our Body Makes NO- if we give it the tools it needs.

There are two cellular pathways in the body that generate nitric oxide. Dietary sources of nitrates and nitrites enter the body through the gastrointestinal tract and are subsequently converted into nitric oxide. In a second pathway, an enzyme known as nitric oxide synthase (NOS) synthesizes nitric oxide from the amino acid L-arginine and oxygen. Nitric oxide can then impact vasodilation, blood pressure regulation, inhibition of endothelial inflammatory cell recruitment, and platelet aggregation.

The 3rd way to boost nitric oxide…GET SUNSHINE.

In short, nitric oxide can reduce blood pressure, prevent heart artery blockage, and prevent stroke. So let’s talk about 10 food items that can boost your nitric oxide levels AND improve your health.

  1. Dark Chocolate

Guess what, chocolate is healthy. Well, that is only partially true, but at least we got your attention. The raw cacao bean increases nitric oxide and is loaded with antioxidants. Cacao can lower blood pressure and markers of inflammation. Unfortunately, chocolate is loaded with sugar. Save it for special occasions and skip the milk chocolate. Only go for the dairy-free dark variety. I like to add raw cacao to my breakfast “cereal” of nuts and seeds along with coconut flakes and homemade nut milk.

  1. Citrus

Oranges, lemons, and grapefruit contain high amounts of vitamin C, which has been shown to protect your precious nitric oxide molecules from free radicals. Vitamin C from any source raises levels of nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme that converts L-arginine into nitric oxide. Vitamin C is also a co-factor in reducing dietary nitrite to nitric oxide.

  1. Pomegranate

This delicious fruit boosts nitric oxide and is a tremendous anti-inflammatory. It also reduces oxidative stress, a leading factor in the production of coronary artery disease. Polyphenols in the pomegranate assist in converting dietary nitrite to nitric oxide. These same polyphenols block nitric oxide from converting back to nitrite.

Pomegranate inhibits the formation of monocyte chemoattractant protein, a molecule that recruits inflammatory cells to the blood vessel lining. This is a major factor in coronary artery disease. Cranberries and other berries would have similar benefits. Pomegranate juice powder is found in our Vessel Support.

4. Walnuts

Most people know that walnuts are high in heart healthy vitamin E. But because of their high amount of L-arginine, walnuts keep the blood vessels running freely. Interestingly, walnuts look a lot like the human brain, so eat them for brain health as well. Most other nuts are a good source of arginine. Soak your nuts for six hours prior to using.

5. Arugula

Also known, as rocket lettuce, arugula is the highest source of nitrates known. This bitter green is perfect in salads or sautéed with other veggies. We mix with grilled onions and use on top of our grass-fed burgers. I usually eat it straight out of the bag in handfuls.

6. Spinach

Want to be strong like Popeye? Eat your spinach (but fresh, not out of the can). This leafy green is packed with nutrients, and of course, nitrates. Add to salads, soups, sautéed or just straight out of the garden.

  1. Watermelon

Watermelon is loaded with the amino acid, L-citrulline, which gets converted into L-arginine and ultimately nitric oxide. So many people reach for L-arginine supplements, but the body does not absorb it well. L-citrulline is easy absorbed.

8. Beets

Beetroot is loaded with nitrates. There are plenty of studies that confirm this food as a vasodilator which lowers blood pressure. Also, beets are an excellent source of anti-oxidants and contain betalains, which are anti-inflammatory. Check out our organic beetroot powder here.

  1. Meat and Seafood

Grass-fed meat and wild seafood are a wonderful source of CoQ10. This nutrient is a necessary co-factor to raise nitric oxide. Liver and other organs contain the highest amount of CoQ10. Statin drugs lower CoQ10 by 40%!

  1. Garlic

Garlic does not contain much in the way of nitrates, however it jump-starts their production by boosting the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS). NOS converts L-arginine into nitric oxide in the presence of other cofactors such as vitamin B2 and B3. Studies also confirm that garlic supplements lower blood pressure and have many more benefits.

Source:www.thedrswolfson.com

Coca-Cola’s secret influence on medical and science journalists.


A series of journalism conferences on obesity received covert funding from Coca-Cola.

 Paul Thacker investigates

Industry money was used to covertly influence journalists with the message that exercise is a bigger problem than sugar consumption in the obesity epidemic, documents obtained under freedom of information laws show. The documents detail how Coca-Cola funded journalism conferences at a US university in an attempt to create favourable press coverage of sugar sweetened drinks. When challenged about funding of the series of conferences, the academics involved weren’t forthcoming about industry involvement.

For drinks manufacturers such as Coca-Cola the idea that consuming their products is fine as long as you exercise—reinforced with expensive advertising campaigns associated with sport—has been an important one. As Yoni Freedhoff, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa, told The BMJ, “For Coca-Cola the ‘energy balance’ message has been a crucial one to cultivate, as its underlying inference is that, even for soda drinkers, obesity is more a consequence of inactivity than it is of regularly drinking liquid candy.”

The six figure bill for funding these journalism conferences was more than repaid in favourable press coverage, say critics. Documented evidence of the industry’s covert influence on the media is rare. In 2004, researchers examined secret documents made public during tobacco litigation. Attempting to derail the effect of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s 1993 report on secondhand smoke, the tobacco industry successfully placed stories in major print publications about the report’s “scientific weakness” to help “build considerable reasonable doubt . . . particularly among consumers,” the researchers wrote.1 They concluded that even journalists can fall victim to well orchestrated public relations efforts, regardless of the quality of the science used in these PR exercises.

Source:bmj.com

This Popular Ketchup Damages Your, Liver, Metabolism, Immune System, Nervous System and Brain


Many of you are not aware of the method of labeling ingredients in food products. Namely, companies list the ingredients according to the amounts added to the food, from the most to the least.

 This is important as it gives you an opportunity to control what you consume.

When it comes to Heinz ketchup, we strongly advise you to stay away from it, and we give the most important reasons:

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Heinz ketchup is loaded with high fructose corn syrup, and this would have been evident if the company did not list the same ingredients twice under a different name, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup.

This ingredient acts as sugar in the body when metabolized, and raises the blood sugar levels, and endangers the functioning of the liver. It is derived from GMO and causes obesity, weight gain, heart diseases, diabetes, and weakened immune system.

Distilled Vinegar and Sugar

Despite the high fructose corn syrup, they have also added additional sugar- even 4 extra grams of sugar per tablespoon!

In the end, they add distilled vinegar, which is another GMO corn ingredient.

Therefore, this product contains three GMO ingredients, sugar, chemicals, and actually no place for any nutrients! Does this sound healthy, does it actually sound like a food?

The list of ingredients continues with additives, salt, onion powder, no fiber, no protein, and no nutritional value.

Therefore, we advise you to never consume this ketchup again!

Source: healinglifeisnatural.com