Unsaturated Fats: The Mediterranean Savior?

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Unsaturated fats are often pushed as a replacement for the allegedly dangerous saturated fats that people consume.  There are two primary types of unsaturated fat, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats; they are named based on whether they have one or more double bonds.  A fat with only a single double bond is considered monounsaturated and a fat with multiple double bonds is considered polyunsaturated.  Here we are going to primarily focus on polyunsaturated fats, which are often pitched as a healthful alternative to saturated fats.  However, some scientists believe that consumption of polyunsaturated fats can actually increase the risk of cardiovascular heart disease, and the Institute of Medicine recommends no more than one tenth of your calories coming from this source (Mozaffarian, Micha and Wallace 2). Continue reading “Unsaturated Fats: The Mediterranean Savior?”

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Saturated Fats: The Villain We’ve Been Promised?

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Saturated fats are one of the most vilified dietary compounds in America.  Almost every single organization recommends that you should reduce your saturated fat consumption.  This belief originated in the famous Seven Countries Study by Dr, Keys, where by looking at the diets of seven countries and there fat content, and plotting against mortality he found an association between fat and mortality (Keys, Menotti and Karvoven).  His data suggested that increased consumption of saturated fats was strongly and significantly associated with  death.  However there have been criticisms from many scientists who have found flaws in his methodology and data analysis.  They found that either sugar consumption or exercise were a much  better predictor for mortality. Continue reading “Saturated Fats: The Villain We’ve Been Promised?”

Introduction to Dietary Fats

Note: This article is more about technical basics than advice.  Read if you want to understand more about the underlying science.

One of the most confusing aspects of modern nutrition is fat.  The recommendations seem to be more liquid than the ocean, so trying to figure out what to do is exhausting and sometimes nearly impossible.  Walk into a store and you will see hundreds of items advertising themselves as “Fat-Free”, “Reduced Fat”, “Low Fat”, and “Fat removed”.  Looking at these it would be easy to assume that fats are dangerous and we must be incredibly careful with their consumption.  However, as with most things in life, the truth is more complicated than that.    Fats are one of the basic nutrients required for survival.  Fats are critically important to the maintenance of the myelin sheaths on nerves.  It is also critically important for certain vitamins as they are fat soluble, without enough fat certain vitamins cannot be processed (Mayo Clinic Staff).  Without fats there is an immediate decline in human health.  Knowing how important these fats are the movement towards a low fat diet seems a little perplexing.  However low fat advocates believe that because fat is high in calories it is easy for it to contribute to weight gain, and because excess weight causes significant health problems it is therefore important to limit fat (Mayo Clinic Staff).  In this first article in this series I am going to discuss some general classifications for fats.

Continue reading “Introduction to Dietary Fats”

Hypnosis: An Effective Weight Loss Tool?

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Image courtesy of Иван Дерусов. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mzm.dzxqpqpo.png

Hypnosis always seemed to me like a quack technique.  I was very skeptical that it would have any place as a scientifically founded weight loss technique.  However, there is some intriguing research into hypnosis as a weight loss tool. Continue reading “Hypnosis: An Effective Weight Loss Tool?”

Trend Line Dieting

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What we see above is an example of my weight trend for the past five days.  As explained in the previous post (here).

Trend line dieting is one of the simplest but also a surprisingly effective form of dieting.  Basically the idea is that all you track is your weight and using a trend line all you have to do is ensure that the line is moving the direction that you want.  For example, I want to lose weight, so it is my goal to make sure that the pictured trend line keeps decreasing, and as long as it does I do not need to worry. Continue reading “Trend Line Dieting”

How to Track Weight Effectively and Easily

Image courtesy of Angelsharum.  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bathroom_Scale.jpg

Weight tracking seems like one  of the easiest things you could do.  You just weight yourself and then keep track of how it changes.  However, this method can cause people to very quickly lose motivation, so instead we are going to focus on several principles that will help eliminate the motivation destroying spikes. Continue reading “How to Track Weight Effectively and Easily”