To Go Paleo Or Not? PT 4

To Go Paleo Or Not? PT 4

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Evolution of the human GI tract
In Paleo circles, it’s sometimes said that while the world has changed in innumerable ways in the last 10,000 years, our genes have changed very little. And further, that we really only thrive in a world with similar conditions to the Paleolithic era.
Quite frankly, this is not how evolution or genetic expression works.
If humans and other organisms could thrive only in circumstances similar to the ones their predecessors lived in, life would not have lasted very long.
Examples of the ways we have evolved in the past 10,000 years abound.
For example, over the past 8,000 years or so, about forty per cent of us have developed the capacity to consume dairy for a lifetime. As a species, we’re evolving a mutation whereby we continue to produce the lactase enzyme to break down lactose for far longer periods than our ancestors ever could. True, not everyone can digest lactose well, but more of us can do so than ever before.
And studies have shown that even people who don’t digest lactose well are capable of consuming moderate amounts of dairy, tolerating an average 12 grams of lactose at a time (the amount of lactose in one cup of milk) with few to no symptoms.

Additionally, the emerging science of epigenetics is showing that a “blueprint” alone isn’t enough — genes can be “switched off” or “on” by a variety of physiological and environmental cues.

Gut knowledge
Our digestive systems have adapted over millennia to process a low-energy, nutrient-poor, and presumably high-fibre diet. Meanwhile, Western diets have become high-energy, low-fibre, and high-fat.
Our genes produce only the enzymes necessary to break down starch, simple sugars, most proteins, and fats. They aren’t well adapted to cope with a steady influx of chicken nuggets, Potato chips, and ice cream.
So how is it that we can still digest our food, albeit imperfectly at times?
Thank the trillions of bacteria that live in our gut. These friendly critters interact with our food in many ways, helping us break down tough plant fibres, releasing bound phytonutrients and anti-oxidants, and helping us to assimilate many important compounds.
Now, we don’t have direct evidence of which bacterial species thrived in Paleolithic intestines, but we can be pretty confident that our ancestors’ microbial communities would not exactly match our own.
That’s because bacteria evolve and adapt at a rate much faster than our slow human genes. And for us, that’s a good thing.

It helps to explain why, even if the ancient human diet didn’t include grains, legumes, dairy, and other relatively modern agricultural products, we still might thrive on such a diet today – at least, with a little help from our bacterial friends.

The magical microbiome
Thanks to the Human Microbiome Project and other massive research projects around the world, we now know that trillions of microorganisms from thousands of different species inhabit the human body.
In fact, the total genetic makeup of these little creatures is at least 100 times greater than our own! (Essentially, we’re only 1% human. Think about that.)
This vast genetic diversity ensures that our GI tracts can adapt rapidly to changes in diet and lifestyle.
A single meal can change the type of bacteria that populate your gut. And as little as several days on a new diet can lead to dramatic changes in the bacterial populations in your GI tract.
The diverse, complex, and dynamic nature of our microbiome helps to explain why some of us seem to do well on one type of diet, while others will feel and perform better with another type of diet — even though, genetically, we’re all 99% the same!
Many of us can break down the more “modern” food compounds that Paleo advocates claim we do not tolerate well — simply because our intestines harbour bacteria that have evolved to do that job.

For instance, some Japanese people host unique bacteria that can help them digest seaweed.
And many people can alleviate symptoms of lactose intolerance by eating yogurt or other probiotic-rich foods that provide lactose-digesting bacteria.
So even if you don’t naturally break down lactose well, it’s possible, through the right combination of foods and/or probiotic supplements, to persuade the bacteria in your gut to do this job on your behalf.
What’s more, the same strategy could also address gluten intolerance. Recent research shows that some bacteria actually produce enzymes that break down gluten — as well as phytic acid — reducing any inflammatory or anti-nutrient effects.
Which, as we know, are two of the main reasons people recommend starting Paleo diets in the first place.

Modern Paleo research
No matter how you slice it, the Paleo proponents’ evolutionary arguments just don’t hold up.
But that doesn’t mean that the diet itself is necessarily bad.
Maybe it’s a good diet for completely different reasons than they say.
To find out if that is so, a number of researchers have been putting Paleo diets to the test with controlled clinical trials. And so far, the results are promising, though incomplete.

Paleo vs. Mediterranean diets
Perhaps the best known of these researchers is Dr. Lindeberg — the one who also studied the Kitavan Islanders. He and his colleagues have conducted two clinical trials testing the efficacy of the Paleo diet.
In the first, they recruited diabetic and pre-diabetic volunteers with heart disease and placed them on one of two diets:
A “Paleolithic” diet focused on lean meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, starchy root vegetables, eggs, and nuts, or
A “Mediterranean” diet focused on whole grains, low-fat dairy, vegetables, fruit, fish, oils, and margarine.

After 12 weeks, the Mediterranean group lost body fat and saw an improvement in markers of diabetes. Four of the nine participants with diabetic blood sugar levels at the beginning of the study had normal levels by the end. That’s a very good result and must have made the participants happy.

But those in the Paleo group fared even better.
They lost 70 percent more body fat than the Mediterranean group and also normalized their blood sugars. In fact, all ten participants with diabetic blood sugar levels at the beginning of the study reached non-diabetic levels by the end of the study.
By any estimation, that is an astonishing result.
Now, these volunteers were suffering from mild, early cases of diabetes. But a second study of long-term diabetics showed that a Paleo diet didn’t cure them but it did improve their condition significantly.

Other research has found:
The Paleo diet is more satiating per calorie than a Mediterranean diet.
The Paleo diet improves blood pressure, glucose tolerance, and blood lipids.
However, one caveat: Like most low-carb trials, the macronutrients (especially protein) in these studies weren’t matched.
The Paleo group ate a lot more protein, compared to the other diet groups. Plenty of protein helps keep our lean mass dense and strong, stay lean, and feel satisfied by our meals.
So, we’re not just comparing apples to oranges when protein intakes are different; this is more like comparing grains to goat meat. Literally.

The Paleo diet may indeed be the best plan, but it’s hard to know for sure without direct comparisons that match macronutrients and calories.

Conclusion & recommendations
What does the Paleo diet get right?
A. Despite the faulty evolutionary theory it’s based on, in the end, the Paleo diet likely gets more right than it gets wrong.
B. Paleo-style eating emphasizes whole foods, lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and other healthy fats, which is a massive improvement over the average Western diet.
C. Paleo-style eating has been extremely effective for improving several chronic diseases. That alone is a huge plus.
D. Paleo-style eating has made us more aware of how processed and crappy a lot of our 21st century food is.
However, we need more rigorous (and carefully matched) trials before we can reach any definitive conclusions.

What are the challenges?
Despite its obvious benefits over the typical Western diet, the Paleo diet has some flaws.
The evidence for excluding dairy, legumes, and grains isn’t (yet) strong. So as a nutrition coach, I can’t say it’s a one-size-fits-all prescription. Certainly, some people should avoid dairy and gluten, and control legume and grain consumption. But most of us can improve the way we look, feel, and perform without completely eliminating these foods.
The evolutionary arguments don’t hold up. The human body isn’t simply a collection of adaptations to life in the Paleolithic era. Each of us is a dynamic assemblage of inherited traits (and microorganisms) that have been tweaked, transformed, lost, and regained since the beginning of life itself. Such changes have continued over the past 10,000 years — and won’t stop any time soon.

In the broader sense, strictly following a list of “good” and “bad” or “allowed” and “not allowed” foods tends to be problematic for most people. Generally, this approach leads to anxiety and all-or-nothing thinking. Maybe it makes us feel more confident and (falsely) sure of ourselves in the short term. But it’s less effective over the long-term — because ultimately, it decreases our consistency.
This may explain why we are seeing the Paleo diet itself evolve.
It’s evolution, baby
Many Paleo advocates have recently come to appreciate and encourage the addition of moderate amounts of starch (albeit a more limited variety of options than I would prefer), as well as some dark chocolate, red wine and non-grain spirits (such as tequila), and grass-fed dairy.
These additions make life much more pleasant. They make healthy eating more attractive and achievable.
In fact, this new “leniency” may partly explain why the Paleo diet continues to gain traction in mainstream nutrition circles.
Because in the end, moderation, sanity and your personal preferences are more important than any specific food list, anti-nutrient avoidance, or evolutionary theory.

What to do today
Consider the good things about ancestral lifestyles. This includes fresh food, fresh air, lots of movement, good sleep, and a strong social network.
How could you get just a little bit of these in your life today?
Think about how you could move along the spectrum — from processed 21st century life and food — to choices that are a little more in tune with what your ancient body needs and loves.
Learn a little more about your ancestors. Evolution is cool. Dig into your roots: Where did your people come from? What were their ancestral diets?
Keep it simple and sane. Doing a few good things pretty well (like getting a little extra sleep or fresh veggies) is much better than trying to get a lot of things “perfect”.
Stay critical and informed. Avoid dogmatic or cultish thinking. Be skeptical. Look for evidence. Question everything. Primal eating is a super cool idea and may turn out to be more or less right; just keep your late-evolving prefrontal cortex (aka your thinky brain) in the game as you consider all the options.
Help your old body (and your trillions of little buddies) do their jobs. Our bodies are resilient. We didn’t get to be one of the dominant species on the planet by being fussy, delicate flowers.

Nevertheless, think about how you can nourish your body optimally in order to give your body and microbiome the best chance of surviving and thriving.

Eat Clean, Stay Active. Feel Great
Jax

Food FACTS Keep Changing! FATS? WINE?

Last week science helped us clearly establish that wine may or may not be good for you.
‘Here we go again’ I hear you say!

Now, what about fat?

The Big Fat Surprise’ author Nina Teicholz
In the latest is-it-or-isn’t-it nutrition debate, author and cheese advocate Nina Teicholz says fat has been misunderstood and unfairly vilified. Her new book, The Big Fat Surprise, argues that more fat—including the saturated kind found in meat, dairy, and eggs—leads to better health and weight
We all want to know how she decided it was all right to give such seemingly indulgent advice. What follows is an edited, condensed version of the conversation.

So now you would have us get our fill of fat?

You can have a good 50, 60 percent of your calories as fat, and that’s fine.
It won’t damage your heart. Don’t be afraid of those foods. They’re tasty and uniquely satisfying, and we’ve been terrified of eating them. This French woman I ran into said, “I love cheese, but I feel like I’ll be condemning my children to being orphans.” And I said, “Eat the cheese! It won’t cause your early death, and it’s delicious.”

Saturated fat does not cause heart disease, and a high-fat diet over the last decade has been rigorously tested in numerous clinical trials, and it shows that a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet is healthier than a low-fat diet looking at markers for heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

What do you eat?

I start my day with bacon, or egg, or sausage, or meatballs.

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Meatballs?

‘Farmer Boy ‘ author Laura Ingalls

If you read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy they eat meatballs for breakfast, too—I was so amused by that. For lunch I graze because I never really sit down for lunch. I’ll have handfuls of nuts, cheese, tuna fish salad. In the evening, we have some kind of stew or roasted chicken or fish.

But is a data point of one. Science is about looking at large groups of people—data points are anecdotes and they’re interesting, but they don’t establish truth. So you don’t have to eat chicken and fish for the rest of your life.
(1By the way, not all chickens are sources of unsaturated fat due to intensive production methods – but that’s another story!)

And you’re health is fine? Your weight?

The last time I got my cholesterol tested, it looked great; it looked better than when I was in my thirties, and I’m in my forties now. I’m not super thin because I’ve been sitting at my computer for so many months now, but my weight is normal.

Then why do all of us think fat is unhealthy?

The idea that saturated fat causes heart disease goes back to a theory rooted in the 1950s that was proposed by one scientist and became enshrined, first in the American Heart Association in 1961 and became basically over the years a fact. But it had never been tested. Evidence against it—when it was finally shown—[the claim] was really poor and inconclusive and has since fallen apart.

No offense, but why should we trust you?

I have been digging into this research for 10 years. I looked through all of the original research. I did not rely on any summary or review documents. We’re in the third generation of scientists universally believing that fat and saturated fat cause heart disease. That’s accepted, and no one goes back to read what it’s based on. I don’t accept—and have not accepted—any industry money in my research. Almost everyone in nutrition researchers [gets] funding from industry because the government just doesn’t fund that much nutrition research. It doesn’t automatically bias their results, but I came without any preconceptions in this field. I am an outsider who brings a rigorous, science-journalist perspective.

My Comments
I eat 2 or 3 chicken or goose eggs, bacon and spinach, sometimes sausages for breakfast most days of the week. And, have done for the last three or four years. I’m well into my 50’s and my recent cholesterol test brought back shocking results! A very high 7.2 value – I panicked! With a naughty giggle my health care provider then explained that my good cholesterol was very high and the bad stuff was NO problem, PHEW!!

I don’t have any worries recommending a high or higher real fat diet to my Heart Patients.

‘What’s a REAL fat diet?’
Foods that have naturally occurring fats like meat, eggs, fish, nuts and seeds
Yes, saturated and unsaturated fats!
Saturated fats are digested, dealt with easily by your body. We have survived as a species by eating them. The difference these days us that we mess with our food by processing it, adding things to it, feeding poor quality food to our chickens, pigs, sheep and cattle.
If you choose Free Range and Wild caught food you won’t go far wrong.
In the UK, we are lucky, there are many food suppliers that don’t follow the intense production methods that reduce the nutrient value of our basic food stuffs.
We can still buy local fruit and veggies, that aren’t sprayed with tons of chemicals, and we don’t have to buy Organic everything to guarantee that.

If you really want to reduce your chances of Heart Disease, Diabetes and Obesity you must add in real food – high fat – including Real cheese ( NOT Processed)
BUT eliminate as many grain based foods as possible – that beans breakfast cereals! Because the best way to elevate your cholesterol, inflammation, joint pain and lots more nasty conditions is to eat foods containing Omega 6’s and fake processed sugars.

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Think about where you get your calories (energy) from, do you eat a rainbow of foods? ( M & M’s don’t count) if you do and you drink enough fluid, you will have a healthy gut, and have no need for Bran based cereals.

Give it a try, you will feel full. You’re energy levels will balance out over the day, cravings will disappear and so you won’t want high sugar snacks at coffee time or on your commute home.

Eat Clean, Feel Great!

3/10 LIES that Keep You Fat and Sick!

3. Saturated Fat is Unhealthy

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For many decades, people have believed that eating saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease.

In fact, this idea has been the cornerstone of mainstream nutrition recommendations.

However, studies published in the past few decades prove that saturated fat is completely harmless.

A massive metastudy published in 2010 looked at data from a total of 21 studies that included 347,747 individuals. They found absolutely no association between saturated fat consumption and the risk of heart disease (19).

Multiple other studies confirm these findings… saturated fat really has nothing to do with heart disease. The “war” on fat was based on an unproven theory that somehow became common knowledge (20, 21).

The truth is that saturated fat raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol. It also changes the LDL cholesterol from small, dense LDL (very, very bad) to Large LDL, which is benign (22, 23, 24, 25, 26).

Recent training explained to me that the nasty, dangerous cholesterol if produced in our bodies when we eat a grain rich diet! So see bread, biscuits and cakes as the dangerous foods.

We all know fat free foods don’t taste of much- no surprise really as flavour comes with fat- so enjoy real foods, choose animal products without fear, just go for free range options.

There is literally no reason to fear butter, meat or coconut oil… these foods are perfectly healthy!

Bottom Line: New studies show that saturated fat does not increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. It raises the good cholesterol and changes the “bad” cholesterol to a benign subtype.

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#1 Lies That Keep You Fat and Sick!

1. Eggs Are Bad For Your Health

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Eggs are so incredibly nutritious that they’re often called “nature’s multivitamin.”

The nutrients in them are enough to turn a single cell into an entire baby chicken.

However, eggs have been demonized in the past because they contain a large amount of cholesterol, which was believed to increase the risk of heart disease.

But the truth is that despite being high in cholesterol, eggs don’t really raise the bad cholesterol in the blood. In fact, eggs primarily raise the “good” cholesterol (1, 2, 3, 4).

Despite all the warnings about eggs in the past few decades, studies show that they are NOT associated with heart disease (5, 6, 7).

If anything, eggs are pretty much a perfect food for humans. They’re loaded with protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and unique antioxidants that protect the eyes (8, 9).

They are also an excellent source of Choline, a nutrient that is very important for the health of the brain and about 90% of people aren’t getting enough of (10, 11).

Despite being a “high fat” food, eating eggs for breakfast is proven to cause significant weight loss compared to a breakfast of bagels (12, 13).

Bottom Line: Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet and do not raise your risk of heart disease. Eggs for breakfast will help you lose weight.

References can be found at http://www.jaxallenfitness.com

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Find your egg cups, non stick omelette pan, learn how to make a range of frittata and scramble up a healthy breakfast every day.

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Best Tip To Cut Belly Fat – EVER!

Best Tip To Cut Belly Fat – EVER!

If you’re trying to cut body fat, this will help you understand that the No. 1 step is to eliminate wheat, even before sugars.

In fact, given the choice of two slices of whole wheat bread or a Milky Way bar, I’d take the Milky Way. I’d rather choose neither, but the wheat is worse.

That’s not what we’re being told, of course.
We’re given the same story that’s been popular for 40 years- the years that’s seen us fatter and more unhealthy than ever. In fact wheat is the most flagrant trigger of visceral fat, and removing wheat is the most effective path to remove it [visceral fat]. Anyone trying to get cut for a competition will eliminate wheat and reduce carbohydrates for the most effective way to get results.

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Thanks Jax