March 23, 2012
By Derrell Jones
“If you want a healthy liver, the first thing to consider is to stop taking all pharmaceutical drugs.” –KTRN
The issue of weight is a prevalent source of discontent especially in western cultures. It seems that we have woken up and realized that weight control is about much more than keeping up appearances. Obesity rates have skyrocketed along with the associated adverse health conditions. Each year more and more people choose to eat right and exercise but still struggle with weight issues and chronic degenerative conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, etc. A seldom-discussed yet extremely important aspect of weight loss is liver function. Traditional diets see-saw between high fat, nutritionally void foods and weight loss gimmicks and products that actually causes people to gain weight in the long run. In the middle of all this is a liver that grows, quite literally, fattier and more sluggish by the day.
The liver has two distinct and highly important functions. First, it is the body’s chief blood detoxifier. Secondly, the liver is the body’s primary fat metabolizer. Once the liver becomes sluggish and fatty it performs neither job well and we begin to pack on the pounds in earnest and have great difficulty losing the weight once it is on.
What are some causes of a fatty liver
A high fat diet (primarily animal fat) will most likely cause the liver to malfunction over time. Animal fats tend to contain toxic materials that were trapped by the animals body. When we ingest these fats the toxins are released in the liver where they have the ability to cause damage, inducing poor liver function.
Another cause of fatty liveris artificial sweetener use. Artificial sweeteners have been touted by industry as a zero calorie marvel that will help consumers reduce calories and lose weight. What is not revealed is that artificial sweeteners generally lead to long term weight gain. How, do you ask? Artificial sweeteners completely bypass the normal digestive stages and are immediately taken into the liver. The liver basically shuts down all other metabolic processes, including metabolizing fat, to contend with the sweetener. The fats in the liver are either released – without being fully metabolized – into the blood stream to be stored as unprocessed material or theyattachthemselves to the liver. Either way,this is bad news for your weight and health.
An additional prevalent culprit behind fatty liveris excessive alcohol use. Before the alcohol causes cirrhosis it makes the liver fatty, which is the beginning of the road to dysfunctional health and weight gain.
March 23, 2010
By: Marion Nestle
Recent publications have found no correlation between intake of saturated fat and coronary heart disease (CHD)—see, for example, the recent meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition—but the debate over the role of saturated fat continues.
In the same issue of the Journal, another study reports that reducing saturated fat only works if you replace it with something better. If you replace saturated fat with carbohydrates, the effects on heart disease will be even worse.
The fat story is not simple (in my chapter on fats and oils in What to Eat, I explain the biochemistry of food fats). The main reason for the complexity is that different kinds of fats do not occur separately in foods.
Without exception, food fats are mixtures of three kinds of fatty acids: saturated (no double bonds and solid at room temperature), monounsaturated (one double bond), and polyunsaturated (two or more double bonds and liquid at room temperature). Food fats just differ in proportions of the three kinds.
Meat, dairy, and egg fats are generally saturated. Plant fats and oils are generally unsaturated.
How to make sense of the saturated fat story? A joint panel of experts from the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization just produced a new review of the evidence (click here for a PDF). The panel evaluated CHD morbidity and mortality data from epidemiological studies and controlled clinical trials. It found:
• Convincing evidence that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated decreases the risk of CHD.
• Probable evidence that replacing saturated fat with largely refined carbohydrates (starch and sugar) has no benefit and even may increase the risk of CHD.
• Insufficient evidence on whether replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated fats or whole grain carbohydrates affects the risk of CHD, but a trend suggesting that these might decrease CHD risk.
• Possible positive relationship between saturated fat and increased risk of diabetes.
• Insufficient evidence for establishing any relationship of saturated fat with cancer.
The panel’s recommendations:
1 – Replace saturated fat with polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6) in the diet, and
2 – Limit saturated fat to 10 percent of daily calories or less.
Translation: Replace more of your animal fats with vegetable fats.
Historical note: These are precisely the same recommendations that have been standard in the U.S. for at least 50 years. This was good advice in the late 1950s, and it still is.