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Health & Families

Fats trump carbs, says health expert

On July 2 Andrew Weil, MD, renowned medical expert and author of books on natural health and wellness, tweeted "Which is worse: saturated fats or processed carbs? (hint, it's not the fat)."

According to Weil's complete post on the blog HuffingtonPost.com, the book, Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control and Disease concludes:

  1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease or any other chronic disease of civilization.
  2. The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis - the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight and well-being.
  3. Sugars - sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup specifically - are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevates insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.
  4. Through their direct effects on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes. They are the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other chronic diseases of modern civilization.

This doesn't mean turn to animal protein-rich diet. Here is Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid to help guide healthy eating choices: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02995/Dr-Weil-Anti-Inflammatory-Food-Pyramid.html

At the very top of the pyramid is ‘healthy sweets' to be eaten sparingly like 70%+ dark chocolate (not cakes and cookies). Refined carbs break down like a sugar and another sugar has also been associated with heart disease.

A new study published in the print edition of the Journal of American Society of Nephrology has found high fructose corn syrup not just salt may be linked to hypertension, which ups heart disease risks and other health complications, and recommends less than 74 grams of fructose a day according to Health.com

Eating balanced in moderation is key, inflammation is marker for most dis-ease in the body so if you are trying to give your diet a healthy makeover, try going a few weeks without high fructose corn syrup and refined sugars and see how you feel.

Full Study, "Increased Fructose Associates with Elevated Blood Pressure": http://jasn.asnjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/ASN.2009111111v1