Dr Dingle's Blog / good fats
Another reason to add some of the cabbage family to your daily diet, preferably raw is because of their gut healing properties and how they promote gut health through the gut microbiome. The Brassica family including cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, arugula (rocket), bok choy, cauliflower, collard greens, radish, turnip and others have been recognized for their gut healing and gut health properties for hundreds of years and modern epidemiologic studies have shown a frequent consumption of cruciferous vegetables is associated with lower risk of cancer, especially cancers of the digestive tract, bladder, breast, prostate, and lung. However, only now are we recognizing that many of these benefits are mediated through the microbiome and that their frequent consumption alters the composition of the microbiome.
Cruciferous vegetables are a rich source of glucosinolates a precursor to the Isothiocyanates (ITC), which exhibit powerful biological functions in fighting cancers, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative diseases and gut healing. The Isothiocyanates are a by product of specific plant enzymes (myrosinase) active during chewing or crushing when broccoli is consumed raw or lightly steamed, however, like all enzymes myrosinase is deactivated by cooking and ingestion of cooked broccoli typically provides only about one tenth the amount of isothiocyanates as that from raw broccoli. So to maximize the gut healing, gut health and overall benefits of these foods they are best eaten raw or just lightly steamed.
Instead when cooked cruciferous vegetables are consumed, gut bacteria are mainly responsible for ITC production in the gut. This is highlighted after taking oral antibiotics, the ITC’s availability and uptake decreases after eating cooked cruciferous vegetable. It also appears that there is considerable difference in the ability of individuals, due to individual differences in gut microbial community, to produce the isothiocyanates. Although, the gut community’s ability is altered over just 4 days. In one study feeding raw or cooked broccoli for four days or longer both changed the microbiota composition and caused a greater production of isothiocyanates. Interestingly, a three-day withdrawal from broccoli reversed the increased microbial metabolites suggesting that the microbiota requires four or more days of broccoli consumption and is reversible.
The lactic acid bacteria appear to have myrosinase-like activity and the fermented Brassica food products, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, are particularly rich in Lactobacillus, and a diet rich in Brassica may promote Lactobacillus growth in the colon.
A large amount of evidence has shown a high intake of tree nuts is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), mortality from type 2 diabetes (T2DM), and all-cause mortality.
In this study after 4 weeks on a pecan-rich diet the researchers saw beneficial changes in serum insulin, insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and beta cell function (HOMA-β) as well as cardiometabolic disease. That is a significant reduction in the risk of diabetes2, heart attacks and stroke.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a leading cause of death worldwide, and is primarly caused by inflammation and oxidation. Within the past few decades, there has also been a dramatic increase in diet-related chronic diseases related to CVD risk, i.e., diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, in both industrialized and developing nations. The problem is only getting worse even though we spend more money on pharmaceuticals and the medical system than ever before. Increased production of reactive oxygen species, oxidative stress, and inflammation, are the leading causes of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), arterial hypertension, and dyslipidemia.
A growing body of evidence has shown that a high intake of nuts (all types) is associated with a reduced risk of CVD development, all-cause mortality, and mortality from diabetes. Indeed, a nut-containing diet also contributes to weight control and weight loss despite the large number of calories.
Bioactive compounds present in nuts, include essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals, have all been shown to reduce inflammation, improving vascular reactivity as well as fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity, and by lowering oxidative stress. Numerous studies have now shown that consumption of nuts is effective in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. Other studies have shown frequent nut consumption is associated with lower concentrations of inflammation (CRP, IL-6) and some endothelial (the artery lining) markers in clinical trials. In a study of 5,013 participants, a greater intake of nuts was associated with lower amounts of inflammatory biomarkers. Subjects with nut intake of five or more times per week had a 20% nearly 20% reduction in inflammation compared to those who never or almost never consumed nuts. Pistachio nuts, for example, reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Pistachio kernels have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties at lower doses than reported previously and decreased inflammation (TNF-α and IL-1β) in a dose-dependent way. That is, the more the participants consumed, the lower the inflammation.
EAT MORE NUTS
But not peanuts and cashews
For much more information on how to reverse diabetes and cardiovascular disease (and all chronic illness) “Overcoming Illness” our latest book is a must read.
A Pecan-Rich Diet Improves Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Diane L. McKay 1,*, Misha Eliasziw 2, C. Y. Oliver Chen 1 and Jeffrey B. Blumberg 1http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/3/339/htm
The rapid increase in obesity which began in the 1980’s coincides with the emphasis on low fat diet and the food pyramid promoting grain and carbohydrate consumption in place of fat. While this is only circumstantial evidence a large number of studies now show the low-fat dietary approach to be wrong. In a review of data from 23 random controlled trials comparing low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets and most of the studies were conducted on people with health problems, including overweight/obesity, type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The low carbohydrate groups often lost 2-3 times as much weight as the low-fat groups. This is despite the fact that in most cases, calories were restricted in the low-fat groups, while the low-carb groups could eat as much as they wanted. When the researchers looked at abdominal fat (the unhealthy visceral fat) directly, low-carb diets had a clear advantage.
Despite what we have been lead to believe fat is not the enemy. The type of fat that is found in our food is more important than the overall reduction of total fat. Fast foods and processed foods targeted to children and busy families are commonly high in processed vegetable oil, saturated, oxidised and trans-fats. A decrease in processed fats, trans and saturated fats in a controlled diet has been found to result in an overall decrease in body mass index in obese children so overeating the wrong fats may contribute to obesity development even without excessive energy intake. In fact the consumption of some fats, in particular medium chain triglycerides (found in coconut) have been shown to speed up weight loss. Despite the high fat content in nuts and some fruits like avocados they don’t contribute to weight gain. In fact in one study, those who consumed more nuts were the ones who did not put on weight compared to the low nut consumption groups. This is probably due to eating fewer junk food snacks and the benefits of the nutrients on the body’s metabolism. Raw nuts with no added sugar, salt, oil or any other coatings are the most nutritious.
In our body fat has many functional roles including protecting the internal organs from knocks and trauma. It insulates and keeps us warm and cushions our joints, it cushions our heels to stop jolting and jarring during walking and the fat on our fingertips enable us to feel, without pain, every touch. The fats keep our body protected and well oiled and serve hundreds of functions in all parts of the body from cells to organs and whole systems. We should derive around 20% of our bodies calorie requirement from fat and fat is an important source of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, K and inositol and choline. These fats are essential to maintain and build cellular structure. Including the brain and nervous system, and are major building blocks of steroid hormones eg estrogen and testosterone.
The oils we consume can also alter the sense of fullness. Obese people receiving supplements of 1300 mg per day of omega-3 for eight weeks compared to 260 mg per day while following a weight loss programme, experienced a feeling of fullness for longer. Consumption of the weight loss diet and the high-dose omega-3 led to fewer hunger sensations immediately after the test meals, as well as two hours later..
The research on Omega 3 oils is now overwhelming. Our problem now though is not just a shortage of the omega 3 oils it is too much omega 6 oils and processed fats which can out compete the good oils. We have been sold this story from the vegetable oils and margarine industry. However, they just forgot to tell you that we also have about 10 times too much omega 6 oils (vegetable oils like sunflower, safflower, grape seed etc) in the typical western diet. They are not necessarily bad in their fresh form but just too much of them. In addition most of them come highly processed already hidden in foods. Even if we don’t eat much of these oils on our salads or in cooking, the omega 6 oils are used extensively in the food industry so most of your processed foods contain the omega 6 oils. Including breads, pastries, prepackaged foods, especially the ones that say no or low cholesterol, and to add salt into the wound you even find them in your packaged fish such as sardines. Other foods that contain high omega 6 concentrations include:
Deep fried food such as chips
Sun dried tomatoes and other preserves stored in vegetable, sunflower or any other oil mentioned above
Most Soya milks
Many pre-made meals
Omega 3 oils are largely from marine sources, such as fish and seaweed, and land sources such as linseed (flaxseed), nuts (especially walnuts) and green vegetables. A number of studies have now shown omega 3 fatty acids to help with weight management. Studies have shown omega-3s reduce fat levels in animals fed a high-fat diet. In one study the omega-3 fatty acid, (docosahexaenoic acid -DHA), suppressed the development of fat cells in laboratory studies. The studies also show Omega-3 to 6 ratio in pregnancy in linked to childhood obesity and a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy lowers the risk of childhood obesity by 32 per cent. This is the time when large amounts of DHA are transferred from the mother to the infant to support brain development.
Plant based omega 3 oils (alpha linolenic acid -ALA) is found in very high concentrations in Linseed (flaxseed) and chia seed. Which are also both great sources of other nutrients including fibre and regularly shown as an effective component of weight loss programs.
Coconut oil is another great food demonised by the Heart Foundation because it has lots of saturated fat. It is a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which get metabolized differently compared to other fats. They bypass adipose tissue and are transported directly to the liver and promote up to a 5% increase in thermogenesis (the production of heat), which increases body metabolism by about 120 calories per day. The MCTs also increase to a feeling of fullness and in one study of 6 healthy men saw a reduction of 256 calories per day. This may be related to the way these fats are metabolized. It is well known that ketone bodies (which the liver produces when you eat coconut oil) can have an appetite reducing effect. Another study of 14 healthy men, who consumed MCTs at breakfast ate significantly lower calories at lunch.
In addition studies have shown that consuming coconut oil can contribute to reductions in weight and waist circumference. In a study of 40 women given either 30 grams (2 tablespoons) of either coconut oil or soybean oil for 28 days and told to eat fewer calories and walk every day. While both groups lost weight, just under 1 kg, the coconut oil group had decreased waist circumference and decreased HDL cholesterol while the soybean oil group had a mild increase in waist circumference and reduced HDL and increased LDL. In another study in obese men, 30 grams of coconut oil for 4 weeks reduced waist circumference by 2.86 cm. While a study of just adding MCTs to the diet of 40 people for 90 days resulted in a reduction in body weight, waist circumference, a number of risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Coconut oil is also a great source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and mice fed a diet rich in coconut oil were more trim and fit than mice fed a diet high in soybean oil due to coconut oil’s level of CLA. Extra virgin coconut oil is fully saturated oil, making it the perfect oil to use in high heat cooking and even frying. Use it for everything from popping corn to making a morning smoothie.
Butter also has lots of CLA (conjugated Linolenic Acid), and has been shown to inhibit the body’s mechanism for storing fat. Eating butter results in the body’s utilization of fatty reserves for energy rather than for creating obesity. The association between intake from 21 food and beverage groups and the subsequent 5-year difference in waist circumference found that those who consumed butter tended to maintain or reduce their waist measurement, compared to those who did not consume butter. CLA has been shown to inhibit lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat in the blood so that fat cell uptake, or body fat accumulation, can occur. This inhibition results in reduced fat deposits. CLA also increases the breakdown of fatty acids stored in the body’s fat cells so they can then be returned to the blood stream to be used as an energy source for muscle cells, meaning simply that CLA directs the body to use fat reserves for energy.
Unlike saturated fats and omegas 6 oils, olive oil which is mainly Omega 9 oils don’t compete with the Omega 3 oils. Used with vegetables it increases the absorption of important antioxidants such as lycopene, the red colour found in tomatoes. Oil rapidly oxidises in heat, sunlight and exposure to oxygen so buy oils in dark glass bottles. Store oils in the fridge or dark, cool places. If heat and sunlight break them down, they’ll form free radicals that damage your body. Heating oil makes even the best oil toxic. Cooking with oil destroys many of its nutritional components and causes other toxic components to form. Deep-fried oils whether they are vegetable oils or animal fat are all toxic. Deep fried foods should be avoided altogether
Despite the claims, margarines are no better and are much worse. Many of these products contain trans- fatty acids, sometimes called hydrogenated fats, and are a notorious culprit in weight gain and heart disease. These toxic hydrogenated vegetable oils are in a solid, or semisolid state because it makes them easier to spread. They are included in biscuits, cakes, breads and many other commercial products. Some of the manufacturers take out the trans fatty acids and add other things that they claim are good for you and then get a special tick to say they are “healthy”. They are over processed and we already consume too much of the Omega 6 (vegetable) oils. Any Omega 6 added to our modern diet is too much.
While we are advocating changing our attitudes to fat and certainly changing the type of fats we eat we don’t suggest you go on a high fat diet. High fat diets also have significant problems. After just five days of eating a high-fat diet (55% of calories from fat- A normal diet is made up of about 30 percent fat), the way in which the body’s muscle processes nutrients changes, which could lead to long-term problems such as weight gain, obesity, and other health issues which shows that those high-fat diets can change a person’s normal metabolism in a very short timeframe. They found that muscles’ ability to oxidize glucose after a meal is disrupted after five days of eating a high-fat diet, which could lead to the body’s inability to respond to insulin, a risk factor for the development of diabetes and other diseases.