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Monthly Archives: May 2017

About Fat

Fat is a nutrient that helps the body function in various ways, For example it supplies the body with energy. It also helps other nutrients work and, when it becomes fatty tissue, it protects organs and provides insulation, keeping you warm. But the body only needs small amounts of fat. Too much fat can have bad effects, including turning into unwanted excess pounds and increasing cholesterol in the bloodstream.

There are different types of fat, and they have different effects on your risk of heart disease. Knowing which fat does what can help you choose healthier foods.

Total Fat. This is the sum of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats and transfatty acids in food. Foods have a varying mix of these three types.

Saturated fat

This fat is usually solid at room and refrigerator temperatures. It is found in greatest amounts in foods from animals, such as fatty cuts of meat, poultry with the skin, whole-milk dairy products, lard, and some vegetable oils, including coconut and palm oils. Saturated fat increases cholesterol in the blood more than anything else in the diet. Keep your intake of saturated fat low.

Unsaturated fat

This fat is usually liquid at room and refrigerator temperatures. Unsaturated fats occur in vegetable oils, most nuts, olives, avocadoes, and fatty fish, such as salmon.

There are types of unsaturated fat-monosaturated and poly unsaturated. When used instead of saturated fat, monounsaturated an polyunsaturated fats help lower blood cholesterol levels. Monounsaturated fat is found in greatest amounts in foods from plants, including olive, canola, sunflower, and peanut oils. Polyunsaturated fat is found in greatest amounts in foods for plants, including safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, and cottonseed oils, and many kinds of nuts. A type of polyunsaturated fat is called amega-3 fatty acids, which are being studies to see if they help guard against heart disease. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are some fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.

Use moderate amounts of food high in unsaturated fats, taking care to avoid excess calories.

Transfatty acids. Foods high in trans fatty acids tend to raise blood cholesterol. These foods include those high in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, such as many hard margarines and shortenings. Foods with a high amount of these ingredients include some commercially friend foods and some bakery goods.

The best way to cook to reduce fat

There’s a host of lowfat cooking methods. Try these-but remember not to add butter or high-fat sauces :


Lightly stir fry or sautè(c) in cooking spray, small amount of vegetable oil, or reduced sodium broth.

Grill seafood, chicken, or vegetables.


Omega 3 and Depression

Some of us will have already heard that fish oil is brain food and in a way, that’s exactly what it is. Not only is the brain largely composed of fat, it needs the Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil in order to work properly too. Interestingly, people who are suffering from depression, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease and other brain-related conditions have been found to have low concentrations of the essential Omega 3 fatty acids in their blood, particularly Eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA and perhaps this is no coincidence.

No one really knows the exact mechanisms involved or how it works but the indications are that EPA thins the blood and helps it to flow more efficiently to the brain, enhances inter neural connectivity, increases serotonin levels, reduces inflammation, improves concentration and memory and even has a mood elevating effect. Consequently, it stands to reason that supplementing with fish oil might alleviate symptoms of depression and this is just what researchers have been finding out.

What the research says…

A Harvard study led by Dr Andrew Stoll in 1999 reported that fish oil can dramatically improve symptoms of Bipolar disorder (manic depression). Bipolar disorder is a type of depression manifesting itself as repeated episodes of depression and mania or both and it can have a devastating effect on the life of the individual and their loved ones. In Stoll’s study, 30 bipolar patients with a history of relapses were given either fish oil or a placebo in the form of Olive oil. The trial was supposed to last for 9 months but was stopped after 4 months due to the dramatic results of the fish oil group who were able to reduce their symptoms of depression and stay in remission significantly longer than the placebo group.

Then in 2002 researchers Peet and Horrobin tested the antidepressant effect of ethyl EPA, a particularly concentrated form of EPA, and found that a dose of 1 gram daily was effective against depression. Participants were assigned either to the fish oil group or the placebo group and given various doses of fish oil daily for 12 weeks. At the end of the trial, those taking 1 gram of fish oil showed a significant improvement over those in the placebo group and the conclusion was that this dose was particularly effective in treating people with persistent depression.

Yet another study by Puri et al involved giving EPA in addition to normal medication to a suicidal male patient suffering from severe depression. Not only was there a cessation of suicidal ideation and an improvement in all the symptoms of depression, but brain scans carried out before and at the end of the trial indicated structural changes to the brain after taking EPA. This study also suggested that EPA might enhance the efficacy of other medication for depression.

Other studies have revealed that there is a higher incidence of postnatal depression in countries with a lower level of fish consumption. This makes a lot of sense when we consider that Omega 3 fatty acids are particularly important during pregnancy and in the first few years of a child’s life when the brain is developing very rapidly and if the mother doesn’t get enough fatty acids whilst pregnant, she can find her supplies depleted as they are transferred to baby.

Here in the UK, the Durham trials are consistently reporting on the positive effect that fish oil can have on behaviour, concentration and learning in the classroom and an Australian study led by researcher Natalie Sinn even reported that fish oil was more effective than Ritalin for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.


It would be reasonable then to conclude that a lack of Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet or perhaps even a higher than normal requirement for Omega 3 fatty acids can result in low fatty acid concentrations in the brain, which of course might increase the risk of depression and other related disorders. Depression can affect any one of us at any time, it is indiscriminate of age, background or gender and the numbers are increasing year after year.

Could it be that an overall reduction in consumption of fish and therefore Omega 3 fatty acids might be contributing in some way to a rise in cases of depression? The evidence isn’t conclusive but the indications are that fatty acids certainly have a role to play in the prevention and treatment of all kinds of depression and mood related disorders. Research in this area is growing rapidly and no doubt we will be hearing a lot more about the benefits of Omega 3 and EPA in the future. In the meantime, fish oil is a safe and convenient supplement that can be taken by everyone to improve health in general.


The Drawbacks of A ‘Strict Diet’ to Lose Weight

# Diets require that you eat a certain way, with typical restrictions. Unless a diet is well-planned, it may emphasize too much of one nutrient at the expense of another . For example, a high protein diet is, as the name suggests, high in protein and fat. By default, this means that it’s hard to get a satisfactory supply of complex carbohydrates and essential vitamins and minerals with such a diet. Although some updated diet plans attempt to correct this imbalance with healthy choices, the million dollar question is : – Can you stick with that plan for the rest of your life? Research has shown that individuals who go on a strict diet tend to give up at some point. If they revert back to old (generally unhealthy) eating habits, they not only gain the weight back, but put on some more weight! This leads to a vicious ‘yo-yo’ affect in which he/she goes on yet another diet, and fails to lose weight. The only think one ends up losing is hope, motivation and knowledge about the right foods/habits to get on the right track.

Moral of the story – a healthy nutrition plan has no restrictions and allows you to eat a little of everything.

# Many diets require some degree of starvation. Starving is a surefire way to slow down your metabolism and gain weight in the long run! If you don’t eat enough, your metabolism shuts down so your body gets used to eating little calories. Your body develops a tendency to store fat, instead of lose it.

Moral of the story – a healthy nutirition plan does not involve starvation and also allows you to cheat occasionally!

# A diet can be an ordeal to sustain for many people. It can affect your social life (you can’t eat what your friends are eating), your state of mind and even your health. Any food restriction in diets (and if you find a best diet to lose weight, you can bet it involves some type of restriction) can be harmful because the body does not obtain a sufficient variety of nutrients. Also, if you give up on the diet, you not only regain the weight, but tend to ‘binge’ on the foods you missed and may even become worse in your eating habits!

A healthy eating plan is not hard to sustain, because it is a way of life.

The best way to find a diet that works for you is to experiment. Enjoy the foods you like in moderation. Only indulge if you really have to, and reduce the instances of ‘cheating’. I have. Try and get a diet plan and use it as a benchmark for what you can, and cannot eat. Read food labels and try and shop as healthy as you can.

In summary, the best diet to lose weight is healthy, something you can live with, and from which you can deviate once in a while. Good luck!