Did You Know Saturated Fat is GOOD For You?

Butter, bacon, steak…. all of these foods can be good for you? Say whaaat?

saturated fat is good for you

            

It’s true! These foods have been demonized in the past due to their high content of saturated fat. However, our bodies actually need a balance of BOTH saturated and unsaturated fats for optimal health. Read on to learn why saturated fat has received such as bad rep in the health industry, and how this has led to an epidemic of misdiagnosed health issues, over-prescribing of medications, and inappropriate diet recommendations. Plus, I’m also going to explain why saturated fat is good for you and the right way to incorporate saturated fat into your diet. 

What is saturated fat?

A saturated fat is a type of fat in which the fatty acid chains have all single bonds (the carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms, hence the name). Saturated fats tend to have higher melting points than unsaturated fats, which is why saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature and unsaturated fats are liquid.

Saturated fat is also the most stable of all fats, which makes it great for cooking. Cooking with high heat with oils that contain fragile fats like omega-3s, omega-6s, and monounsaturated fats can be inflammatory because these fats break down when you expose them to heat. Saturated fats maintain their integrity, even when you heat them to roughly 400 degrees F. 

What does saturated fat do for your body?

Moderate amounts of high-quality, organic saturated fats from grass-fed/grass-finished meats, butter, and ghee, or plant-based sources such as coconut oil, avocados, olives, nuts and seeds, can offer big benefits to the body. Below are the top five benefits of saturated fat. 

1. Brain health

Saturated fats are essential to keeping your cell membranes strong. In fact, saturated fat makes up nearly 50% of all cell membranes in your body, and the majority of fats in your brain are saturated. Eating a diet that is low in saturated fat deprives your brain of the building blocks it needs to grow, regenerate, and stay healthy.

2. Nervous System health

Saturated fats are necessary to maintain a healthy nervous system, the network of nerve cells and fibers which transmits nerve impulses between parts of the body. A blog post on The Model Health Show uses this analogy: “Think of saturated fat as the “insulation” coating for your nervous system (aka your internal wiring). When you lack this insulation you become more susceptible to external and internal stress. Certain saturated fats even function as signaling messengers themselves.” Thus, a diet with little or not saturated fat can cause poor communication between the cells of your body, and resulting in pretty big problems. 

3. Cardiovascular health

Saturated fats improve the quality of your LDL, reduce levels of lipoprotein(a), and certain saturated fats (i.e. lauric acid and stearic acid) can help regulate cholesterol  levels. But wait - doesn’t saturated fat cause heart disease? The next section below is all about why this is simply NOT TRUE!

4. Bone health

Saturated fat is necessary for calcium to be effectively incorporated into bone. Without fat, your bones will be weak. And with poor bone density comes increased risk of degeneration and injury.

5. Immune health

When white blood cells don’t have sufficient saturated fats, their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, and fungi is impaired.

Doesn’t saturated fat cause heart disease?

Beginning in the 1960s, saturated fat was demonized for two main reasons: the work of scientist Ancel Keys and the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF). Ancel Keys had done some preliminary research about a possible link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease. Being charismatic and politically savvy, Keys confidently presented this preliminary research while publicly mocking any hypothesis that contradicted his own. His research was also very flawed, for example, he combined poorly designed studies with misguided statistical analysis and heralded his findings as the absolute truth. Other researchers pointed out these flaws almost immediately, but they didn’t get enough attention to stop the misinformation from being spread. 

The Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) is a major lobbyist group for the sugar industry that was also researching heart disease during the 1950s and 1960s. The SRF wanted to "refute" concerns about sugar's possible role in heart disease, so they sponsored research by Harvard scientists that did just that. The result was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1967, with no disclosure of the sugar industry funding. The research downplayed the role of sugar in heart disease and promoted saturated fat as its cause instead.

You may be wondering about other studies that have found a link between saturated fat and heart disease. Well, it’s worth noting where most Americans that are included in these studies get their saturated fat (i.e. pizza, ice cream, grain-based desserts like cookies and cake, processed meat, etc.) So, in studies that have found a link between saturated fat and heart disease, is it the saturated fat itself? Or is it the fact that the saturated fat is coming from processed junk food, like pizza, ice cream, cookies, cake, and candy?            

According to an article on the Bulletproof blog, in the last ten years, 4 large-scale independent review articles (one including data from more than half a million participants) found no link between saturated fat and heart disease.

While studies show that saturated fat raises LDL (your so-called “bad” cholesterol), it improves the QUALITY of the LDL, causing a beneficial shift in the types of LDL-particles, from small, dense LDL particles (the kind that are correlated with heart disease in some studies) to higher numbers of larger LDL particles (which are not harmful and can be useful metabolically). Saturated fat also raises HDL (“good” cholesterol). 

Why you need just the right amount of cholesterol

As I just mentioned above, saturated fat WILL raise your total cholesterol. This is a good thing because it improves the quality of LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol. 

In conventional medicine, when someone has high cholesterol, they are often immediately prescribed a statin (a type of medication used to lower cholesterol, such as Lipitor and Crestor) and are told to avoid foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol. But is high cholesterol really the problem? According to Dr. Stephen Sinatra, the author of The Cholesterol Myth, only half of the patients hospitalized for heart disease actually have high cholesterol. In fact, more current research doesn’t even support the idea that high levels of cholesterol contribute to heart disease. 

The real culprit… damaged arteries and chronic inflammation. 

You see, one of the most important roles of cholesterol in the body is to heal and repair. It has to be present in order for new cells to be made. And inflammation is a reaction to injury or infection in the body meant to also heal and repair. In a generally healthy body, when there is an injury, inflammation is triggered, which then communicates to the liver to release more cholesterol into the blood to help repair the injury site. The cholesterol works to cover the site and form a scar or “plaque” as a way to repair the injury. 

Now here is where the confusion comes in… when the body is under constant attack and in a state of chronic inflammation (due to toxins, excessive sugar intake, etc.) cholesterol is always busy forming these “scars” trying to repair the injuries leading to elevated cholesterol levels in the blood and an accumulation of plaque. So say a patient suffers a heart attack, in conventional medicine, when a physician sees high levels of cholesterol circulating in their bloodstream afterwards, they conclude that it — not the underlying damage to the arteries — is the cause of heart attack. When in fact, its intention was to HELP repair the damage to the arteries.

This kind of conclusion often results in physicians prescribing statins and other unnecessary medication, along with a diet with little to no saturated fat or cholesterol. The problem with that is, they are not addressing the issue of inflammation and now there will be less healthy fat and cholesterol to help repair. In addition, lowering cholesterol levels too much can lead to disruption in healing, Vitamin D production, the making of important hormones, and a number of other factors. 

The final verdict: saturated fat is GOOD for you!

Overall, eating a balanced diet that includes both saturated AND unsaturated fats from high quality sources is key for optimal health. Saturated fat is necessary for your brain, nervous system, immune system, bones, and even your cardiovascular system. Saturated fat improves the quality of your LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol. Below are some of the best sources of saturated fat from both animal and plant sources:

Animal sources of saturated fat

  • Grass fed/grass-finished meats

  • Grass fed butter or ghee

Plant sources of saturated fat

  • Coconut oil

  • Cocoa butter

  • Avocados

  • Olives

  • Macadamia nuts

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturated_fat

https://blog.bulletproof.com/is-saturated-fat-bad/

https://blog.bulletproof.com/high-cholesterol/

Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91(3):535-46.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ldl-cholesterol-size-does_b_8372366

https://drhyman.com/blog/2016/04/06/is-coconut-oil-bad-for-your-cholesterol/

https://themodelhealthshow.com/benefits-of-saturated-fat/

Bulletproof Collagen Protein - What Are The Benefits?

I love everything about the Bulletproof brand, from Dave Asprey’s podcast Bulletproof Radio to all of the high quality products created to “biohack” your life. This blog post is all about Bulletproof Collagen Protein, a product that I have been using for about 6 months now. I’m pretty impressed with the results I’ve seen from this product and I want to share with you what Bulletproof Collagen Protein is and how it can benefit you.


What is Bulletproof Collagen Protein?

Bulletproof Collagen Protein contains just one ingredient: hydrolyzed collagen powder. The term “hydrolyzed” means that the collagen protein has undergone hydrolysis, a process that breaks the collagen protein into smaller chains of amino acids by reaction with an enzyme. The enzymatic hydrolysis ensures that the collagen is not damaged by heat.  Hydrolysis creates a low molecular weight product, which makes digestion, absorption, and distribution of the amino acids throughout the body easier.

One of the main advantages of Bulletproof Collagen Protein compared to other brands of collagen proteins is that the hydrolyzed collagen powder comes from pasture-raised, hormone-free cows. It is odorless and does not have any taste once mixed with coffee or some other type of beverage. I typically mix my Bulletproof Collagen Protein in my coffee along with grassfed butter + Brain Octane Oil in my NutriBullet. Of note, when I just stir the collagen into my coffee without the help of my NutriBullet, it sometimes forms small clumps.

What are the benefits of Bulletproof Collagen Protein?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is a major component of connective tissues that make up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles, and skin. Collagen is often referred to as the “glue” that holds the body together. Here are some of the benefits of taking Bulletproof Collagen Protein:

  • Support overall bone and joint health

Collagen plays an important role in the building of joint cartilage and it may have anti-inflammatory effects. Taking a collagen supplement has been suggested to help those with osteoarthritis since this disease is caused by the breakdown of the cartilage matrix, which is made up of collagen.

  • Promote healthy, firm skin

Collagen plays a role in strengthening skin, plus may benefit elasticity and hydration. After the age of 20, a person produces about 1 percent less collagen in the skin each year. Moreover, environmental free radicals, such as UV overexposure and cigarette smoking, can degrade collagen proteins. The result is skin that becomes thinner and more fragile with age. By taking Bulletproof Collagen Protein, your skin should appear more firm, plump, and hydrated.

  • Stimulate hair growth

Similar to how collagen affects the skin, supplementing with collagen protein can help to promote stronger hair that grows faster. Specifically, the amino acids in hydrolyzed collagen enable the hair follicle to produce keratin, the protein that makes up 95% of the hair shaft.

Benefits I’ve noticed after taking Bulletproof Collagen Protein

  • Decreased cellulite

The reason why I initially started taking Bulletproof Collagen Protein was to help decrease the appearance of cellulite on my legs. Cellulite is caused by the herniation of subcutaneous fat within fibrous connective tissue of the hypodermis. Since the root cause of cellulite is breakdown of connective tissue, I figured using collagen to help repair my connective tissue would decrease the appearance of my cellulite. And I was right! I still have some cellulite, but I attribute this to slacking on my diet. Overall, I would say I have definitely noticed a decrease in my cellulite after taking Bulletproof Collagen Protein.

  • Improved skin tone

This may sound cliche, but I have definitely noticed a “glow” to my skin after taking Bulletproof Collagen Protein. My skin is clear, bright, and firm. Plus, if I do get a blemish, I’ve noticed that it heals much faster than when I was not taking collagen.

  • Stronger nails

The first sign that indicated my daily intake of Bulletproof Collagen Protein was working effectively was my stronger nails. They also grow much faster, too!

  • Longer eyelashes

I didn’t start to notice my longer eyelashes until several months of Bulletproof Collagen Protein. It looks like I have mascara on even when I don’t! I’m very pleased with this result and I am hoping the same thing will happen with my eyebrows, however, I haven’t noticed any difference as of yet.

Where to buy Bulletproof Collagen Protein

You can buy Bulletproof Collagen Protein on the Bulletproof website or on Amazon.

Bulletproof offers several varieties of their collagen protein:




Five Reasons to Quit Sugar Now

This article first appeared on Sweetdefeat.

Why it’s so important to cut back on your sugar intake—and take back control of your health.

Over three-quarters of packaged food in grocery stores today comes with copious amounts of added sweeteners, making it easy to overindulge, even if you pass on dessert. Most Americans eat over 82 grams of sugar daily, which is triple the amount recommended by the American Heart Association.

Over the course of a year, that equals 150 pounds of added sugars per person. Feeling gross yet?   

Top Five Dangers of Added Sugar

It’s time to resolve to cut your sugar consumption levels down this year. Below are five health risks of overeating sugar and sugar substitutes, and the damage that they wreak on your body.

1. Driving Force Behind Type 2 (and Type 3) Diabetes

The results are in: eating too much sweet stuff raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC, an estimated 100 million Americans have the disease, and millions more are at risk. Insulin resistance is the trigger for diabetes, and foods filled with fat and sugar reduce your sensitivity to insulin, meaning your blood sugar levels go unchecked.

Sugary drinks tend to be the most dangerous. When the British Medical Journal conducted an analysis of fruit juice and soda, they found that even eight daily ounces raised diabetes risk by 13 percent. Likewise, research published on PLOS One shows that every extra 150 calories of sugar (the amount in a single can of soda) every day increases diabetes risk by one percent, compared to just 0.1 percent for non-sugar calories.  

Now, new evidence from the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology shows that sugar-filled diets might increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, the link between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s is so strong that some scientists are considering renaming the disease as “type 3 diabetes.”

2. Promotes Addiction and Brain Fog

Eight times more addictive than cocaine. That’s what research from Princeton is reporting about the sinister side of sugar. Your body craves this sweet substance like it’s a drug because, well, it is. And like many other drugs, sugar only hurts your body in the process.  

The taste of sugar triggers signals in your brain that light up its reward pathway and create a surge of feel-good hormones. Too much stimulation reduces their effectiveness, meaning you start needing larger amounts of sugar to feel the same way. Likewise, sugar-induced insulin resistance weakens the synaptic connections between brain cells, leading to impaired cognition, higher depression rates, and emotional mood swings that leave you depleted.

3. Develops into Dangerous Belly Fat

Eating refined sugar overloads your liver with fructose, and anything you don’t immediately burn is turned into fat—predominately around your belly. Not only does this leave you looking bloated, but it also leads to lingering health challenges. In fact, reports from Harvard reveals that abdominal fat can raise your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, and premature death.

4. Triggers Premature Aging

Wrinkly, saggy skin is hardly the fresh start you want this year. Yet, sugary snacks might make it a reality. A study conducted at Dartmouth Medical School states that overindulging on sugar leads to glycation, a process where excess sugar molecules attach to collagen fibers, causing them to lose flexibility and strength. As a result, your skin loses elasticity and becomes more vulnerable to skin damage and sagging. A high-sugar diet also deactivates your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, which leaves you more susceptible to sun damage and skin cancers.   

5. Zaps the “Good” Bacteria in Your Gut

Your digestive system is a zoo of beneficial bacteria that keep things functioning as they should. Research funded by the American Cancer Society show that sugar alters gut bacteria in ways that affect mental performance and potentially raise toxin levels in your bloodstream. Because most sugars are digested without microbial help, these hungry bugs turn to nibbling on your intestinal lining instead. Permeating this barrier allows food particles into the rest of your body, which can cause inflammation and fungal growth like candida.

Further research from Tel Aviv University also shows that artificial sugar might promote the growth of harmful gut bacteria, which can lead to irritation, allergies and skin conditions, as well as digestive distress.

This Year, Cut Out Sugar for Better Health

The facts don’t lie.

Sugar is terrible for your health, and cutting it out only does your body a favor. So, commit to eat less sugar, and you’ll experience profound benefits in the process.   



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Try the Ketogenic Diet for Healthy Skin

I’ve been following the ketogenic diet for the past several months and I must say that my skin is looking better than I’ve ever seen it!

I haven’t had any acne breakouts (besides the one or two blemishes that I get during PMS) and I’ve noticed a glow to my complexion that I’ve never been able to achieve before. At first, I didn’t even realize that my new style of eating was contributing to my healthy, vibrant skin. Since I haven’t changed anything with my skincare routine, however, I knew the ketogenic diet was the reason behind my improved complexion.

If you want to learn more about how to try the ketogenic diet for healthy skin, keep reading below.

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What is the ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet involves following a low carb, high fat diet in order to shift the body from a sugar burning state to a fat burning state. According to Diet Doctor, the “keto” in a ketogenic diet comes from the fact that this style of eating leads the body to produce ketones as its fuel source, which will put the body into a state of ketosis.

When people follow the standard American diet (high carb, low fat), the body depends on glucose (blood sugar) for fuel. The problem with this style of eating, however, is that excess amounts of glucose in the blood signal to the pancreas to release insulin. Subsequently, insulin signals for the body to store glucose in the form of fat. Yes, that’s right, carbs and sugar are what cause you to get fat! 

 

Therefore, one of the many benefits of the ketogenic diet is fat reduction and weight loss. Additional benefits of the ketogenic diet include:

  • Decreased brain fog

  • Higher energy level

  • Improved hormone balance

  • May decrease risk of cancer

  • And many more!

 

Now that you know the basics of the ketogenic diet, let’s dive into one of my favorite benefits of this style of eating: healthy skin!

 

The benefits of cutting out carbs and sugar

The ketogenic diet can give you healthy skin by helping with acne symptoms.

There are several factors that contribute to the formation of acne, one being consumption of high glycemic index foods (bread, soda, cake, pasta, rice, etc.) These types of foods have a negative impact on your skin because they cause major spikes in blood glucose levels, which leads to insulin secretion. Studies have found that insulin can increase sebum production as well as lead to the colonization of the stratum corneum by Propionibacterium acnes (the bacteria that causes acne). Both of these insulin-mediated actions lead to inflammation and blemishes.

 

According to a review published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, evidence from several studies reports that the prevalence of acne varies significantly between different populations and is substantially lower in non-Westernized populations that follow traditional diets, a common factor among these traditional diets being a low glycemic load.

 

While the evidence is not yet conclusive, cutting out sugar and carbs by following the ketogenic diet could improve your acne symptoms.

 

The benefits of including healthy fats

Healthy skin needs healthy fats. Period.

Specifically, the skin needs essential fatty acids (EFAs) like omega-3 fatty acids. These are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes and also help produce the skin's natural oil barrier, which is critical in keeping skin hydrated, plumper, and younger looking. According to WebMD, if you're not getting enough EFAs in your diet, your skin may be dry, inflamed, and prone to whiteheads and blackheads.

The good news is that the ketogenic diet encourages eating a lot of fat. Examples of foods that are full of healthy fats include the following:

  • Avocados

  • Fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, herring)

  • Nuts

  • Olive oil

  • Coconut oil

  • Animal fats (butter, eggs, meat, etc.)

If you want to add even more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet you could also take a fish oil or krill oil supplement. According to the Bulletproof blog, krill oil is superior to fish oil because because the polyunsaturated fats are packaged as phospholipids, which can be used immediately by your body. The healthy fats in fish oil, on the other hand, are typically packaged as triglycerides and have to undergo additional processing in order to make them bioavailable.

I take this krill oil supplement to ensure that I'm getting enough omega-3 fatty acids! (Amazon, $16.98)

Increasing your intake of healthy fats can help to give your skin a more youthful look!

The benefits of eating your veggies

Low carb vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, kale, spinach, etc., are permitted while following the ketogenic diet. The bonus to eating these types of veggies is healthy skin!

 

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Specifically, deeply colored vegetables and low fructose citrus fruits can help to give you glowing skin due to their vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, the protein that keeps your skin looking firm and young. Additionally, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect your skin from free radicals that your skin is exposed to during the day, such as too much sun exposure, environmental toxins, etc.

The benefits of drinking Bulletproof coffee

Bulletproof coffee is a staple of my ketogenic diet. I drink a cup (or two!) every single morning. If you’re not familiar with Bulletproof coffee, it’s coffee with grass-fed butter + Brain Octane Oil blended together to make a delicious drink that gives you a boost of energy and staves off hunger for hours.

Image via  Bulletproof

Image via Bulletproof

 

So how does including Bulletproof coffee in my ketogenic diet improve my complexion? In addition to the healthy fats that are found in grass-fed butter and Brain Octane Oil, the caffeine in coffee improves skin health by reducing inflammation, boosting circulation to the skin, repairing DNA, soothing sun damage, and reducing redness from irritation.

 

Try the Ketogenic Diet for Healthy Skin

Trying the ketogenic diet has honestly been the best thing I’ve ever done for my health. As I said, the stable energy all day long is what really got me hooked, but seeing improvements in my complexion is an exciting bonus! In my opinion as a skincare addict and pharmacist, I would definitely recommend trying the ketogenic diet for healthy skin!