Portland is a little like New York City in the sense that almost everyone here has some sort of passion project. Maybe they work full-time but are super passionate about sewing, or writing poetry, or teaching fitness classes. Or, in the case of my friend Jeff, maybe they’re trying to get a start-up food company off the ground.
Jeff is the co-creator of Bogg’s Trail Butter, a concoction he dreamed up while biking across the country: Essentially, he decided to blend his trail mixes to make them easier to carry. Fast forward a few years and he’s well on his way to creating a nut butter empire with flavors like Mountaineer Maple and Expedition Espresso. These nut butters are delicious but they’re also full of protein, fiber, fat, and carbs—basically all you need to keep going in the outdoors for a run, bike, ride, or trip to the mountain.
I took one of the squeezable pouches on a ski trip this past weekend and was really psyched to see how easy it was to eat, even with gloves on—you literally just squeeze and go—and also how full I felt afterward. After a few tablespoons I was fueled up for about 90 minutes of play. (Of course I ate some more on the ride home—but, after all, this blend is full of the ingredients needed for fueling a workout and for recovery.)
Fat makes you fat, right? Wrong.
For years, all fats have been made out to be a delicious incarnation the devil. As a health and nutrition coach, I get questions all the time from my clients about low-fat diets and avoiding avocados and olive oil in case they cause weight gain. Some have even justified eating an entire bag of Twizzlers because it says, “No Fat”.
Listen up: Fat is not the enemy! At least, not entirely.
Let me be clear in saying that there are many kinds of fats, including the saturated and trans fats found in candy bars, processed foods, and T-bone steaks—these are generally no good. But there are also the natural fats found in whole foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, salmon, coconuts, and olive oil, which are so, so good!
Health experts are giving sugar a reprieve in the case against obesity. While sugar and its many processed variations are running amok in the food we eat at home or away, fats, oils, flour and cereal are more to blame for America’s continuous bloat.
According to the CDC, 25.6% of Americans have a BMI greater than thirty, firmly planting them into the obese category. Since we tend to lie about how tall we are and how much we weigh, the figure is probably a bit generous, but it’s a 10.3% increase since 20 years ago, and that’s alarming.
A New York Times article reports that Americans are consuming 448 more daily calories— or 20% more—than they were in 1970. The Department of Agriculture says 242 of those calories are from fats and oils, 167 are from flour and cereal, and only 35 are from sugars. (more…)
Pepsi-Cola isn’t exactly in a healthy industry. Over the past years, big soda companies like Pepsi and Coke have been scrutinized for contributing to the obesity epidemic. In light of this, Pepsi just announced a new fiber-infused flavor, “Pepsi Special,” that claims to reduce fat levels in the body. The product is only sold in Japan.
Pepsi Special contains dextrin, “a type of ‘functional fiber,'” explained our resident dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD. “This is a fiber isolated or extracted from a plant (or, in some cases, manufactured) added to a food. Dextrins are true soluble fibers that can help improve digestion. They act as ‘prebiotics,’ undigested fibers that feed the friendly bacteria in the colon.”
Benefits of dextrin include stabilizing blood glucose, regulating insulin, reducing risk of heart disease, and reducing cholesterol and fat cell levels in the body. Dextrin can be found in glue products as well, but it’s not safe to consume in that form. There are a number of foods and medications that contain dextrin and have for about half a century, notes Hartley. “Most people eat some dextrins every day without noticing a change in weight,” she said.
Will drinking the new Pepsi product make you skinnier? Probably not.
“Pepsi Special is a gimmick. It is just another product to increase market share,” calls out Hartley. (more…)
The fat-free diet fad of the 80s and 90s gave fat a bad name despite many fats being essential and so good for the body. It’s time fat got a makeover and seen for the wonder it truly is.
Kate Rockwood reported for Oprah.com regarding good fats, calling them “a workhorse in the body.” Rockwood pointed out the positive truths about these wonderful elements, explaining how fats are vital to the structure of our cells, and how they help regulate blood pressure and our immune systems. Fats also aid in the absorption of essential vitamins.
Granted, not all fats are the same and some are truly better than others. According to Roberta L. Duyff, the author of the “American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide,” plant oils provide the body with more heart-healthy benefits than animal fats like butter.
Here are four of the best plant oils, the kind of fat your body will thank you for. (more…)
Aimee E. Raupp is the author of Chill Out and Get Healthy– a no nonsense guide for women on improving their health now. As well she is a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist with a masters of science in Traditional Oriental Medicine. For more information visit AimeeRaupp.com.
Eat fat to lose fat
Yes, you heard me: eat fat to lose fat.
“But, isn’t fat is bad for my health? And, doesn’t it cause heart disease?” I hear you say. The answer to both is no.
For many centuries, cultures (like the French) have been eating high fat diets and, oddly enough, they have much lower rates of obesity and type II diabetes than we do here in the United States. You see, what happened was back in the 1950’s some scientists ran a small and very poorly designed study looking at the incidence of heart disease and the dietary habits of different nations. Somehow (after leaving out a great bit of data) these researchers determined that Americans hearty full-fat diet caused the most heart disease. And, voila now American’s eat a low-fat diet because their doctors recommend it.
By James O’Brien
The human body has two kinds abdominal fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the stuff that you can pinch and move with your hands; visceral is the kind that can make the belly bulge, but feel hard to the touch (the notorious beer gut). Even if you don’t sport a beer belly, you might still have visceral fat that could be giving you health problems.
While being overweight is not an ideal state of health in general, it’s the visceral fat in particular that nutritionists and health experts cited at ScienceBlog.com connect most commonly with diabetes, glucose-related problems, hypertension, and heart disease.
Problem is, visceral fat doesn’t always stick out. Doctors have discovered thin-looking patients whose abdominal organs are packed with visceral fat. These people face the same kind of health risk as their more obviously beer-bellied counterparts.