Posts Tagged ‘bad’

Coffee is good or bad?

I get this question often. And my usual response is if the client is using coffee as a stimulant to wake up, feel energized or stay awake then “no”. BUT a great researcher, neuroscientist and neurologist, Dr. Perlmutter, gives his opinion on coffee and its impact on the digestive system. It’s a brief video and for you coffee lovers… you’re going to like his answer.

These supplements are easily found at our favorite department stores, but are they good for us?


I’m often asked about supplements: where to purchase them or why is it necessary to buy them through recommended manufacturers.  I explain that there may be unnecessary fillers (such as a food like rice bran, gluten, soy, corn and even dairy) and even chemicals that can create more harm than good.  Even moreso, as a practitioner, I’m concerned about the manufacturing process, especially when the supplements are significantly cheaper than products that are manufactured under strict practices.  

In February, 2015, the New York State’s Attorney’s office found that 4 out of 5 supplements tested from Target, Walmart, GNC and Walgreens did not contain any of the herbs listed on their labels!  

Walmart offered a gingko biloba, to improve memory, that contained radish, houseplants and wheat even though it stated it was a wheat-free product!  

GNC sold products that had unlisted fillers including peanuts, legumes and soybeans.  These are highly allergenic foods that can create damaging consequences. Read more here 

Unfortunately, these are just two examples of gross negligence sold by major department chain stores.  The New York State’s attorney is the first governmental agency to make legal claims against these chain stores which needs to be commended.

It is very important is that you understand that you are potentially creating more harm than good by purchasing and consuming supplements from these major chains.  When it comes to your health, please consider investing in manufacturers that have certified their practices.  

Please share.

Be well,


Which alcohol has the least toxins?

beer-wine-cocktail-copyWe all fear the hangover understanding that alcohol should be drank in moderation, not in excess.  I often get questions about alcoholic drinks “can I enjoy a glass of wine, or a beer occasionally”. My answer is typically ‘it depends’.  If you are on a therapeutic diet with the intentions to heal then I wouldn’t encourage an alcoholic beverage through the healing period.  But if you are striving to improve your nutrition and are generally on a maintenance diet then I would answer “yes, occasionally”.   I think we all understand that alcohol in general is not good for the liver as it converts to aldehyde, the most damaging alcohol toxin AND is the metabolite responsible for hangovers. YUK!

So what alcoholic beverages produce the least amount of toxic byproduct after fermentation?  Here’s the list, from best to worst: 

Vodka: it’s made from a grain but after distillation is pure alcohol

Gin: it’s made from a grain and juniper berries.

Tequila: made from a plant which unfortunately is high in sugar BUT is mostly eradicated through the distillation process.

Whiskey: made from grains which increases the toxicity byproduct

Dry cider: grain free but can stimulate yeast overgrowth so caution.

Dry champagne: true French champagne is typically low in sugar but opt for Brut.

Dry white wine: lower in mold toxins than other wines but still unfiltered.

Red wines: high in yeast and unfiltered adding stress to your liver and kidneys.

Beer: sadly, beer contains the most amount of grains, yeast and toxins from the grains (pre-distillation) making it highly toxic.

Keep in mind that adding sugar (fruit juice, syrups, etc) to vodka, for example, will increase the toxic load and push it way down the list.  What are other ideas to replace the sugars? Add soda water, fresh limes, fresh lemons, olives, bacon, jalapenos, sea salt and so on.

Enjoy the holidays.

Be well,



Fat is in. Sugar is out.

According to Dr. Perlmutter, a NY Times bestseller and world respected neurologist, ‘fat is the preferred fuel of humans and has been for all of human evolution.’ We can survive on minimal carbohydrates but would die without fats. When we deprive our bodies with good fats, including cholesterol particles, we deprive our organ that is made up of 30% fat, the brain. The Mayo Clinic conducted a study in 2012 that revealed that older people that consumed a majority of their calories from carbohydrates (Refined flours, sugars, pastas, breads) have nearly four times the risk of developing mild dementia, a precursor to Alzheimer’s. Memory, thinking, language and overall cognitive impairments were the behaviors monitored. Diets rich in healthy fats were found to be 42 percent less likely to experience cognitive impairment (Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease).   The National Institute of Health found similar findings. “Higher levels of cholesterol is associated with better memory function”. Published in the journal Neurology, a study revealed that high cholesterol is a protective factor in the development of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease). In the Journal of Movement Disorders 2008 research revealed that people with the lowest LDL cholesterol were at a 350 percent increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

What about research for the heart? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study in 2008 that looked closely at 21 previous medical reports that involved monitoring health in 340,000 subjects over 3 to 5 years. It concluded that “intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or cardiovascular disease”. It also compared those subjects that consumed a diet of saturated fats to those that did not. Those  subjects that did consume a diet in saturated fat had a 19% lower risk of heart disease than those that did not. The authors concluded that the original findings of these studies were mildly suppressed by the initiatives of special interest groups (i.e. Big Pharma) to publish only articles that showed fat caused heart disease. (Keep in mind that 75% of research is conducted by these special interest groups).

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which consists of leading researchers from around the world has recently stated “At present there is no clear relation of saturated fatty acid intake to these outcomes (of obesity, cardiovascular disease, incidence of cancer and osteoporosis)”. The researchers concluded with “biological interactions between insulin resistance (high refined carbohydrate/sugar consumption), reflected by obesity and physical inactivity and carbohydrate quality and quantity”.

Yet mainstream medicine continues to perpetuate that LDL is so-called “bad cholesterol”. So what is LDL? Cholesterol is so important for optimizing the functions of the body. For this reason the body highly regulates cholesterol. Only 25% of cholesterol is made from foods.  This is why cholesterol readings can vary from certain times in the day!  If you don’t eat enough fats the body will make more cholesterol but most food doesn’t have cholesterol that can be absorbed. The remaining 75% is internally produced in the liver (another reason to support the liver).  Cholesterol is fat soluble and blood is liquid so it must be carried through the body by lipo proteins. Lipo proteins are identified as low-density lipo proteins (LDL), high-density lipo proteins (HDL).

Chris Kresser, a licensed integrative medicine practitioner, describes LDL using a helpful analogy. The blood stream is like a river. The LDL particles are the boats that carry cholesterol and fats around the body. The cholesterol and fats are the cargo in the boats. Today mainstream medicine is looking at the amount cargo in the boats, or rather the LDL. What we should be measuring is the number of boats, the LDL particles. This is a much greater indicator of risk for heart disease.

So what can be affecting healthy LDL particles? Oxidative stress naturally occurs within the body for energy production. It’s a process that ages or “rusts” cells. Think of an apple turning brown after you cut it. Oxidative stress is expedited by a poor diet (excess sugar intake and refined carbohydrates), lack of exercise, and low resources known as anti-oxidants. If oxidative stress is increased then cells become severely damaged by free radicals as do the LDL molecules responsible for carrying fats to the brain. In addition, excess sugar binds with LDL increasing the risk for free radical formation by 350 times. As a result oxidized LDL becomes smaller and denser. The lining of the artery becomes fragile and oxidized LDL stimulates collagen which forms fibrous plaque and weakens the stability of the plagues/walls making it more likely to rupture. This creates heart attacks.

Nothing could be farther from the truth with the idea eating cholesterol and saturated fats raises cholesterol levels and that high cholesterol in the blood is what’s driving heart disease.  Fat is not the enemy; sugar is.

Next blog I’ll share what tests you should be taking and how you can discuss this with your doctor.

Be well,


If there is no such thing as “bad” cholesterol then why the increase in heart disease?

So why did it take so long for researchers to identify that Ancel Keys study was seriously flawed? The rise of obesity and chronic illness has finally forced health professionals to question why fat has been so largely discouraged. The deeply falsified details of Ancel Keys findings are surfacing. “When researchers went back and analyzed some of the data from the Seven Countries study, they found that what best correlated with heart disease was not saturated fat intake but sugar,” .  Several studies to date confirm that in fact it is sugar that increases the risk of heart disease, not fats.

Recently published by the JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) was its findings that sugar is the major culprit leading to heart disease among many other chronic diseases. USA today featured an article summarizing its findings:

“• People who consumed more than 21% of daily calories from added sugar had double the risk of death from heart disease as those who consumed less than 10% of calories from added sugars.

A person on a 2,000-calorie diet who consumes 21% of their daily calories from added sugar would be eating 420 calories from added sugar, which would be roughly three cans of regular soda a day.

• People who consumed between 17% to 21% of daily calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of death from heart disease than people who consumed less than 10% of calories from added sugars.

• People who consumed seven or more servings a week of sugar-sweetened beverages were at a 29% higher risk of death from heart disease than those who consumed one serving or less.

• The findings were consistent across age groups, sex, physical-activity levels, weights and dietary habits.

• Added sugar intake has changed slightly over the past 20 years, from 16% of daily calories in 1994 to 17% in 2004 to 15% in 2010.

The paper’s senior author Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, says excessive intake of added sugar appears to negatively affect health in several ways. It has been linked to the development of high blood pressure, increased triglycerides (blood fats), low HDL (good) cholesterol, fatty liver problems, as well as making insulin less effective in lowering blood sugar.

Rachel Johnson, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association and a nutrition professor at the University of Vermont, says, “Now we know that too much added sugar doesn’t just make us fat, it increases our risk of death from heart disease.””

(Taken from USA Today’s “Eating too much added sugar may be killing you”. .

Stay tuned for the next part in this series on the technical side of how sugar increases the risk of heart disease.

Be well,


Myth Buster: Is there really “bad” cholesterol?

Note to my readers: this is the first part of a multi-part blog series addressing the question of fats, cholesterol, statins and preventing heart disease.  Many of you have asked this question and I’ve found it difficult to provide brief answers.  I’ve tried to keep my long answers not too long and I’ve broken it down to a multi-part series. 

The history of “bad” cholesterol:

For the past 40 plus years the American Heart Association has been the leading association responsible for advising mainstream medicine to prescribe medications to suppress “bad” cholesterol.  Physicians have been advising their patients that cholesterol has both good and bad cholesterol and the bad particles are responsible for heart disease. To date, television commercials flood the nation’s households with drugs that will suppress the bad cholesterol in an effort to prevent heart disease. Yet multiple studies have surfaced recently showing that there is no such thing as “bad” cholesterol and that cholesterol in its truest form does not cause heart disease. In addition, the epidemiology of increased obesity, diabetes and chronic illness in the past 40 years may be a result of the thinking that “bad” cholesterol causes heart disease. So where did we get this thinking process?

The war on fat began with one man. In 1961 a researcher by the name of Ancel Keys convinced the American Heart Association the ideal that saturated fats caused so-called “bad” cholesterol and that “bad” cholesterol caused heart disease. Ancel Keys asserted this conclusion based on his study referred to as the Seven Countries study. In it Ancel studied 22 groups in different countries and reported that seven of these groups showed a correlation (an association) between saturated fats and heart disease. His findings in his Seven Countries Study concluded that based on this association that heart disease is in fact caused by saturated fat.

The initial problem with his research was that a correlation does not represent cause and affect. It would be like saying that because the sun rises when I wake up I therefore cause the sun to rise.   Yet the faults with Ancel Keys study doesn’t end there. Researchers are revealing that Ancel Keys presented the correlation results of his study to a room full of doctors and was nearly laughed out of the room. Out of frustration he fudged his results, cherry-picked his control group by targeting countries that would meet his hypothesis (but avoiding countries like France-where the diet is rich in fat but heart disease is rare), gave his control group margarine (not a true saturated fat such as butter), and reported his findings deep in a German medical journal. The influential Ancel convinced the American Heart Association that his hypothesis was indeed true: fat clogs arteries and clogged arteries caused heart disease. In 1961 The American Heart Association adopted Ancel’s findings as policy and for the first time ever issued the country’s first-ever guidelines targeting saturated fat.

For the past 40 plus years Americans have been urged by medical professionals to reduce their fat intake. By reducing fat intake American’s replaced their fats with refined flours and sugar. An excess of refined carbohydrates creates insulin resistance and insulin resistance is directly related to diabetes.  And as a result we have a population of ever-increasing rates in obesity, diabetes and chronic disease. It’s estimated by the Center of Disease Control that 1 in 5 children are obese, a determinant that may prevent them to outlive their parents.  Coincidentally diabetes increases the risk for heart disease by 200%. This means that current standards discourage fat intake and increase carbohydrate intake thus increasing the risk of diabetes and ultimately the risk of heart disease. Allow me to repeat: low fat creates insulin resistance which leads to diabetes and diabetes increases risk of heart disease.   The falsifying research of Ancel Keys has led Americans astray, making us sicker than ever. 

Next blog will discuss the true culprit increasing the risk of heart disease. 

In the meantime, be well,