December 2009

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smoothieA friend of mine was observing me making my breakfast the other day. She’s been hip to the dangers of low-fat diets and the benefits of saturated fat for some time now, but even so she was pretty surprised with just how much fat I was plowing into my smoothie. We thought it might be fun to actually measure the amount and do a full nutritional analysis on my breakfast.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1.5 cups of whole, raw milk
  • 8 oz. of whole, plain yogurt made with raw milk
  • 1/4 cup of cream
  • 3 TBS of extra virgin coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 TBS of raw, grass-fed butter(melted)
  • 1/2 cup of strawberries (frozen or fresh, depending on season)
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries (frozen or fresh, depending on season)
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries (frozen or fresh, depending on season)
  • 2 raw egg yolks (from pastured chickens)

And here’s the nutrition breakdown:

nutrition data

calorie breakdown

The results are enough to give a cardiologist a heart attack. My morning fruit smoothie contains 88 grams of fat and 1,097 calories. 66% of those calories are coming from fat. According to the calorie calculators (that I normally pay no attention to), a person of my height and weight that is very active should consume approximately 2500 calories per day and no more than 83 grams of fat in a day (at 30% of calories). As you can see, I’m blowing right past that in my first meal of the day!

Of course the powers that be suggest that only 1/3 of those fat calories come from saturated fat. Oops! A full 62 of those 88 grams of fat in my smoothie are saturated. Yum!

Anyone still laboring under the delusion that eating saturated fat makes you fat might think I weigh 300 pounds eating a breakfast like this every day. On the contrary, I have to struggle to keep the weight on. I am 6’2 and weigh about 170 pounds. Yes, I am relatively active but nothing extreme. I commute by bicycle almost everywhere, and that makes a big difference. I go to the climbing gym once or twice a week, surf and kiteboard when I can, and practice martial arts occasionally. But we’re not talking about 1.5 hour workouts on the Stairmaster or running half-marathons every day.

What’s great about this breakfast is that it fills me up until lunch (because of all the fat, of course) and gives me all the nutrition I need for the morning. As you can see from the following chart, the smoothie is almost meeting (and in one case exceeding) the US RDA of several vitamins and minerals:

vitamin data

I should also point out that this is generally the only sweet thing I eat each day. I have completely lost my craving for sugar. I mean completely. No deprivation, no rules – I just don’t want it anymore. This is coming from a guy who started cooking at a very young age just so he could make his own chocolate chip cookies!

How did I lose my craving for sugar? By eating a lot of fat. Fat creates satiety, which is the feeling of being satisfied after eating. When we don’t eat enough fat, we crave carbs and sugar because we don’t feel satisfied. And ironically, eating carbs and sugar cause hormonal changes that stimulate more cravings for carbs and sugar. It’s a vicious cycle. So if you want to reduce your cravings for sugar, eat more fat! Saturated, animal fats of course.

In case you’re wondering, lunch and dinner are usually some kind of grass-fed meat along with a cooked vegetable and a salad. And of course the vegetables are covered with butter or cheese, and the salad has nuts, avocado, cheese and olive oil. Why? Read my recent article “Have some butter with your veggies!” to find out.

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microscopeI recently came across two articles that I think you should read.

The first is over on Dr. William Davis’s blog, The Heart Scan. Dr. Davis reviews a study demonstrating that consumption of excess carbohydrate can raise cholesterol.

Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that normal LDL cholesterol isn’t a risk factor for heart disease, right? So I am generally not concerned with what does or doesn’t raise cholesterol. However, there is a type of cholesterol that is a significant risk factor for heart disease: small, dense LDL cholesterol.

Small, dense LDL particles are more likely to become oxidized, and as I have explained in How to Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease, oxidized LDL is one of the strongest risk factors for heart disease we know of.

Dr. Davis clearly explains how eating too many carbs can increase your levels of small, dense LDL and he also explains why so many doctors and researchers don’t make this crucial connection. Check out the full article here.

The second article is on Dr. Barry Groves’ Second Opinions blog. He reviews a study which links consumption of linoleic acid to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (such as Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Linoleic acid is an omega-6 (n-6) essential fatty acid. “Essential” in this context means that humans can’t make it internally and need to eat it in the diet. However, we only need a tiny amount – about a teaspoonful per day – and eating too much of it can cause serious problems. Eating too much linoleic acid dramatically increases oxidized LDL cholesterol levels, which as I just explained in the last section significantly elevates our risk of heart disease. Linoleic acid is also pro-inflammatory, and inflammation is a major contributor to modern diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and, you guessed it, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Tragically, linoleic acid has become one of the primary sources of calories in the American diet. Vegetable oils containing linoleic acid (such as soybean, corn, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed) are found in nearly all packaged and processed foods and all foods cooked in a restaurant. Almost all fried foods are extremely high in linoleic acid.

Is it any wonder, then, that Irritable Bowel Syndrome has reached such epidemic proportions? It is now the #2 leading cause for people missing work, behind only the common cold. It affects millions of people in the U.S. and abroad. There is no known “cure”, and the medications prescribed for it are largely ineffective.

This is yet another example of how toxic and harmful our modern diets are. If you want to avoid these conditions, eat traditional, saturated fats like butter, lard and coconut oil instead of industrially-processed vegetable oils. You’ll feel better, and you’ll enjoy your food a lot more too!

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Need help? I consult with patients locally in the SF Bay Area and around the world via telephone & Skype. Please contact me to learn more.

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