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Helpful Heart Healthy Tips

After last week’s post that touched on the cholesterol myth, I’ve received some emails and questions about heart healthy tips. I’ll start by re-posting last week’s analogy (in case you missed it) and will provide some quick tips for heart friendly health.

Cholesterol Myth

The analogy is to imagine cholesterol molecules like cars on the highway. When there is an accident the cars get backed up. Whose fault is it? The cars were just trying to go to work and do their jobs (cholesterol by the way does a number of good things and is the “parent” to important hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone). It’s not the cars fault, but the accident – the accident is like inflammation and glycation from too much sugar/glucose intake.

There’s lots of info now (and there actually has been for a long time) that there isn’t a causal connection between dietary cholesterol and heart disease etc. The purpose here isn’t to delve into this myth (the above analogy will suffice for now); so let’s get at some real tips you can use!

Nutrition

By the way, “starch” is a plant’s stored form of glucose (sugar). Say you eat 100 grams of carbs from pasta and 5 of those grams are fiber: it doesn’t matter if the label only says 5 grams of sugar, because your body will basically see it like 95 grams of sugar (100 minus the 5 of fiber). Managing (non-fiber) carb intake is critical. Want to know more about this crucial info? Read more about the sugar/starch and insulin response here.

Other nutritional steps to take to support a healthy heart are consuming anti-oxidants (which can fight the oxidation from lingering sugar and/or cholesterol). One of the best sources is from the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. The highest sources here are from fish, like wild salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring.

Supplements

Related to the previous point, a high EPA and DHA fish oil can help. Fish oil is associated with large reductions in cardiovascular disease risk.

Other heart friendly nutrients are pantethine (active form of vitamin B5) and CoQ10. Although cholesterol may not be a bad guy, we still don’t want build-up, and pantethine can reduce this. CoQ10 is used by the body for a number of functions, but with regard to heart health it can lower blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic).  

Exercise

When it comes to exercise, resistance or strength training is the mode of choice. Strong muscle contractions squeeze your arteries and these workouts will actually increase (temporarily) blood pressure. However, training is just that – your body will learn how to better deal with the stress of increased blood pressure. Another bonus is that resistance training is best for insulin sensitizing your muscles (and issues with insulin management are what can lead to the backed up cholesterol traffic jams in the first place).

Lifestyle

Stress management also plays a role: feeling stressed takes its toll on your system. Cortisol, the “chief” stress hormone, increases blood pressure (to deal with the situation). It has been said that stress is tension from resisting the way things are. So go with the flow and adopt a positive attitude and mental outlook. (Please note I’ll also be touching on some practical and effective work-life balance tips in a future post)!

Not getting enough sleep has also been shown to take its toll on your heart. Aim for at least 8 hours a night.

 

If you can implement even a few changes above, rest assured your heart will thank-you for it!

 

Top 10 Holiday Season Party Tips

By Tim Lochhead

So now that the Holiday Season is in full force and temptations and treats are plentiful, I have been getting lots of questions about some extra tips to help “manage the damage” in keeping your health and physique around this time of year. Here are my Top 10 Holiday Season Party Tips:

  1. Position yourself away from bad food (i.e. high carb, sugary items, etc.) – either by staying away from ‘appetizer’ tables or sitting at the end of the table with protein/turkey etc. If you don’t get a good seat or something you don’t want any part of comes around, just keep passing it along! “Oh I don’t think John at the end got any…” and the tempting pie plate or seconds of mashed potatoes travel to the other end and are out of sight.
  2. Do allow yourself a holiday treat, but eat your protein and veggies first. That way you won’t have too much dessert and you’ll still get your nutrition in.
  3. Make the best choice: from meals to hors d’oeuvres load up on higher protein treats (ex. shrimp, meatballs, salmon strips, etc.). This will avoid sugary items that lead to fat gain, mood swings, and immune suppression.
  4. When having your treat take a scoop of fiber or some caps of fenugreek seed as this helps mitigate the insulin response (why do we care about insulin? Read this). Eating a low glycemic food (like veggies above) also helps with the insulin response.
  5. Alcohol is best if avoided altogether, but if you must have something avoid beer and white wine. Nurse red wine or even a hard drink – because this is easier to sip on and make it last awhile – avoiding seconds.
  6. And if you will consume alcohol, drink green tea beforehand. Green tea contains antioxidants and is known to fight oxidative stress all over the body. Research demonstrates that antioxidants in green tea can protect the liver from damage by alcohol. Green tea can also improve insulin sensitivity (a good thing – see above).
  7. Make time for rest! Although this can be a hectic time of year, make sure you get enough sleep. Our bodies like more sleep during the dark winter months. This will help keep up your immune system during cold and flu season.
  8. Enjoy your holidays, but not from the gym. While it may be tempting to plop on the couch in front of a game or movie, that will only compound the extra holiday eating. Exercise also benefits your immune system.
  9. Do high volume training before a feast. The more you’ve worked your muscles the more storage space you have for carbs – avoiding spill-over to fat as much as possible.
  10. Do send guests home with leftovers, if you are hosting of course.

 

I hope the above tips can contribute to a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season!

 

Wheat-Free Goodies

By Tim Lochhead

We have just completed our countdown of the Top 10 Surprising Facts about Wheat/Grains.

We’ve learned the concept that all living things, plant or animal, have defensive or offensive mechanisms for survival.

Wheat and Grains have several offensive ones that work to disrupt predators (anyone who would eat the grains).

Wheat and Grains contain lectins (a type of protein in grains) that don’t get digested properly and passes through your intestines intact. Things leak out where they shouldn’t and your immune system responds. Even good protein sequences and foods get identified as harmful and your body’s immune system attacks! Foods that were once tolerated now cause harm, and you can attack your own body tissues (because it attacks those sequences) Hence autoimmune conditions.

There are protease inhibitors and phytates that inhibit protein breakdown (digestion) and block the absorption of valuable minerals. If not managed properly the high starch content (starch is just stored glucose, aka sugar) results in high spikes in blood sugar and thus insulin. This, along with the stomach issues also adds up to inflammation!

Other “side effects” of wheat include acne, skin issues, impaired gallbladder signalling leading to improperly digested fats and higher potential of gallstones, acid bodily conditions (not good for health period), all while providing minimal nutrition that certainly does not offset the above.

If that weren’t enough, there are several ways wheat and grains trigger addictive behaviour. Peptides in gluten can attach to opiate receptors and mimic a drug-like effect.

Do you like being in control? Who’s really in control of what you do, what you eat?

Take the Power Back! And kick the wheat habit. Minimize grains in favour of foods our digestive systems have evolved to eat over millions of years (not a few thousand, which is like a pin drop in history).

Of course the alternatives include healthful vegetables, fruits, and meat – how to effectively incorporate and make the switch so it’s long lasting and enjoyable is a part of the YML nutrition method. There are several wheat-free alternatives to all our favourite foods…

Wheat-Free Flours

Did you know that there are tons of great substitutes for flour, that are all wheat-free? Many of which are also grain free. (No I’m not condoning unlimited carb binges, but these alternatives are waaaaay better for you):

http://www.foodsubs.com/Nutmeals.html

Even my mom is valuing her health and cutting out the wheat. She made a pound cake this past weekend with almond flour; and it was amazing! (My mom is an amazing baker though, from what I remember from my childhood). Still, I had to try it (really, I can’t endorse lousy tasting flour alternatives even if I don’t eat them frequently – it’s still a much better substitute and had a great almond kick to it!)

http://www.wheat-free.org/wheat-free-flour.html

And here’s a link for coconut flour recipes:
http://www.freecoconutrecipes.com/gluten_free_coconut_flour_recipes.htm

I read that coconut flour is supposed to be great for frying fish or chicken (I also cook in coconut oil, which can take high heat and is incredibly healthy of course). So I tried this out and one of my new favourite dishes is fried fish coated with coconut flour! That’s right, yours truly pan fried some fresh (wild caught) fish in coconut oil and butter and it was delicious. If you know the real deal about protein and fat you can enjoy meals like this all the time. 8 lbs barely lasted me 3 days.

Tip: coconut flour is high in fiber (75% of the carb content is fiber) so this soaks of the oil more than other flours. It’s not an issue, you just have plan for it and adjust recipes accordingly – this site lays out many uses of the fantastic ingredient!

More Wheat-Free Treats

There’s more alternatives to wheat; just check your local health food store and you’d be surprised.

Here are some things I’ve tried recently (yes, more stuff I tried. I’ll repeat because I know I’m going to get a tough time from some friends: No, not every day and not a box at a time – but a well timed carb intake, maybe including a little treat, leaves me leaner the next day; again, the YML nutrition method isn’t about depriving ourselves, it’s about being smart, finding what’s right for you and getting results.)

http://www.marysgonecrackers.com/cookie/chocolate-chip
http://www.enjoylifefoods.com/our_foods/snack_bars/caramel_apple.html

 

Enjoy these and more wheat-free foods and all the great health benefits! (Well, really more like the absence of several harmful things going on inside our stomachs and bodies; but I’m one for semantics as you can tell).

 

Eat Smart.
Train Smart.
Be Smart!

Tim@YourMissingLink.ca

Top 10 Surprising Facts About Wheat/Grains

By Tim Lochhead

#10 Support Heart Health & More with This Little Known Tip

Continuing our countdown of the Top 10 Surprising Facts about Wheat/Grains.

So far we’ve learned the concept that all living things, plant or animal, have defensive or offensive mechanisms for survival.

Wheat and Grains have several offensive ones that work to disrupt predators (anyone who would eat the grains). We’ve looked at a variety of substances found in wheat and grains and how they wreak havoc on our bodies including our digestive system and brains resulting in a variety of ailments. If that weren’t enough, they also cause addiction in several ways as discussed in Countdown #7.

In today’s final countdown we’re looking at Potassium/Sodium balance.

I will admit that this isn’t a direct effect of grains like the previous posts (that’s why it’s #10), but it is still such an important an under-viewed issue that I’m calling attention to it here and now. Read on and you’ll see why this still earned a spot in the wheat and grain countdown.

Like the previous post on acid/alkaline balance, the potassium/sodium balance also involves the kidneys which is why this item doesn’t get any respect (recall the kidneys being like the Rodney Dangerfield of our organ systems).

Why is the potassium/sodium ratio important?

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at more than 12,000 adults and their diets for close to 15 years. They were analyzing the effects of sodium and potassium on heart disease, heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.

Several studies have shown mixed results about sodium and heart health, and this study highlighted the importance of higher potassium and having a more favourable potassium to sodium ratio.[1] 

The study found that people with the highest ratios were more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack compared with those with the lowest ratios. They also were 46% more likely to die from a heart-related death compared with those with the lowest ratios.

As Loren Cordain, PhD points out in his book The Paleo Diet for Athletes, current potassium to sodium ratios for Americans are less than 1 whereas hundreds of computer simulated paleo-diets reveal ratios greater than 5!

So what do we do? Just lower sodium?

Again, sodium alone isn’t the issue, although it is a part of it.

A big problem comes from processed foods (many of which can contain wheat, but again this is more of a knock on junk food) as these foods contain a lot of sodium.

People have had no issues with higher sodium intake (so quality is likely key, as well as the below factor) and people with low sodium intake have had heart etc. issues.

So if it’s not just sodium the bigger issue is a more favourable potassium-sodium ratio and more potassium, period!

Along the same lines of the last post about being in an beneficial alkaline instead of acidic state, vegetables and fruits are the best sources of potassium, while grains are very low. Recall from last time that vegetables and grains tend to provide the same nutrients, but veggies have more and do it better.

Back to Mineral Blocking Phytates

Recall from Countdown #3 that phytates found in grains (which can be removed to some extent by soaking or sprouting) block the absorption of important minerals like zinc and magnesium.

Guess what these do?

They do many, many good things and among their functions:

  • Zinc helps increase potassium and decrease sodium
  • Magnesium helps lower sodium

 

So, mineral deficiencies can be a part of this story. That is why they are key players in BioSignature Modulation and an important part of the body-shaping methodology of Your Missing Link!

Head-to-Head: Wheat vs. Greens

So what’s a head-to-head match up look like?

100 g of ‘low sodium’ instant oatmeal (Quaker, dry) yields 375 mg potassium and 278 mg sodium for a ratio of 1.3 (still better than 1 but this is even a sodium reduced product).

100 g of cooked brown rice yields 43 mg potassium  and 5 mg sodium for a ratio of 8.6 (not bad actually, but the absolute value of potassium is still pretty low).

100 g of spinach yields 558 mg potassium and 79 mg sodium for a ratio of 7 to 1! (Better than the others, also above the 5:1 ratio related to the paleo note above, and a pretty nice absolute dose of potassium too).

[2] 

 

For this and ALL the other surprising facts about wheat and grains, try switching out the wheat for substitutes including loading up on more veggies.

In a few days we’ll look at some wheat-free treats that rock!

In the meantime check out some high potassium foods for your favourites:

High Potassium Foods 

    • Sun-dried tomatoes
    • Spinach
    • Swiss chard
    • Mushrooms
    • Sweet potatoes (with skin)
    • Dried coconut or coconut water (one of my favourites post workout!)
    • Avocados
    • Bananas
    • Dried apricots
    • Dried prunes
    • Raisins
    • Dates
    • Dried Figs

       

[1] http://pubs.ama-assn.org/media/2011a/0711.dtl#1
       Arch Intern Medicine. 2011;171[13]:1191-1192

[2] http://www.healthaliciousness.com/nutritionfacts/nutrition-facts-compare.php

Top 10 Surprising Facts About Wheat/Grains

By Tim Lochhead

#9 Acid/Alkaline: Learn the Secret to Showing Your Kidneys Respect

Continuing our countdown of the Top 10 Surprising Facts about Wheat/Grains.

So far we’ve learned the concept that all living things, plant or animal, have defensive or offensive mechanisms for survival.

Wheat and Grains have several offensive ones that work to disrupt predators (anyone who would eat the grains). We’ve looked at a variety of substances found in wheat and grains and how they wreak havoc on our bodies including our digestive system and brains resulting in a variety of ailments. If that weren’t enough, they also cause addiction in several ways as discussed in Countdown #7.

And there’s more! (Of course, we still have to count down 9 and 10).

Today we’re considering Acid/Base balance.

This relates to a pH measurement that you may have heard of before (for the keeners it refers to potential for hydrogen; having less hydrogen means there is a greater potential to have more and this is a more alkaline state – so, having more hydrogen around would be a lower potential to increase hydrogen concentration and is acidic).

What we care about is whether a substance (we’ll be talking about food of course) is either acidic or base/alkaline.

Basically, after food is digested it reports to the kidneys as base or alkaline.

But the body likes to be slightly alkaline. If there is net acidosis (more acidic than alkaline) there are consequences. The kidneys have to “steal” calcium from bones to alkalize us, or it can take glutamine (an amino, aka building block of protein, hence from muscle) and use it to get rid of the excess acid in our urine.

Do you want to strip your bones of calcium and your muscles of it’s tissue components?

We can see being acidic is bad; and having very acid blood is related to a variety of diseases and basically every type of cancer.

So what about out foods? What would cause acidic conditions?

Wheat and grains are net acid forming.

Recall the last post where we compared wheat against every other food on a nutritional basis, and pound for pound or calorie for calorie wheat got knocked out?

Well, almost all fruits and vegetables are base forming. These are the types of foods that are likely to contain the same types of nutrients you can get in wheat and other grains.

“Hey buddy what about meat and seafood?” OK, meat is net acid forming too; however, consider the tradeoff and benefits. You get valuable protein, healthy fats (assuming it’s a properly raised animal, again another blog series if not a book here) and high amounts of other important nutrients like zinc!

And guess what? The acidic effects of meat and seafood can be counteracted with alkaline producing foods.

Eating meat and veggies as a regular combo will balance things out and provide a nice spectrum of nutrients and protein.

Plus, veggies can provide highly absorbable amounts of calcium and the protein of meat and seafood offers glutamine – so you can support your kidneys just in case (poor kidneys; they’re like the Rodney Dangerfield of organs – they don’t get no respect). Balance your pH and show some respect! 🙂

Try food combinations with wheat: other foods just get the job done better and without the drawbacks (like actually blocking mineral absorption, inhibiting protein assimilation, and other nasty effects we’ve counted down).

 

One more countdown to go and then some wheat-free treats I promised waaay back in #1!

Top 10 Surprising Facts About Wheat/Grains

By Tim Lochhead

#8 Who Do You Want in Your Corner? Lightweight vs Heavyweight

Continuing our countdown of the Top 10 Surprising Facts about Wheat/Grains.

So far we’ve learned the concept that all living things, plant or animal, have defensive or offensive mechanisms for survival.

Wheat and Grains have several offensive ones that work to disrupt predators (anyone who would eat the grains). We’ve looked at a variety of substances found in wheat and grains and how they wreak havoc on our bodies including our digestive system and brains resulting in a variety of ailments. If that weren’t enough, they also cause addiction in several ways as discussed in Countdown #7.

Bringing us to today’s match-up: In one corner we have the challenger – Wheat. And in the other we have the undisputed, undefeated Champion – basically all other natural foods like Meat and Vegetables.

Ok, so we get that grains, especially wheat, have A LOT of drawbacks.

But I hear the cries “they’re a source of fiber” and “they have vitamins and minerals”!

Yes, and so do other foods. So, the question is what would be a better choice?

We have to look at trade-offs. Basically, if it’s found in wheat it can be found elsewhere WITHOUT the negative effects discussed from previous posts.

We’ll see that the bottom line is that if you are starving and have nothing else, some wheat will keep you going. But in light of healthier alternatives and an abundance of foods and choices (like what we live with today), there are better options you can choose on a regular basis. You are what you eat (ok, to be consistent with the past you are what you absorb) and you literally re-make your cells and support your immune with what you put in your mouth.

So ask yourself, who do you want in your corner?

Pound for Pound Nutritional Lightweight

First let’s look at fiber. I’ll admit that wheat sources have fiber.

For example, 1 cup of whole wheat pasta (on of the higher sources) has just over 6 grams of fiber (at a total weight of 140 grams and providing 174 calories).

Now let’s look at a vegetable – say carrots. 1 cup of cooked carrots has 4.6g of fiber for around the same weight at just 54 calories. And for an iso-caloric serving (same # of calories) you’d have 15 grams of fiber!

And remember, the fiber in wheat comes with some nasty things that upset our stomachs and can lead to autoimmune conditions.

Now let’s consider vitamin and mineral content. Without the relative inflation (just looking at 1 cup of carrots) you get more than 6,000 times Vitamin A, more than double Vitamin C and 3 times more folate. Several other nutrients are fairly comparable. Adjust for the same amount of calories and vegetables will improve.

Again, recall the lectins and phytates and protease inhibitors that wheat and grains have. You won’t absorb minerals or protein very well and the lectins cause digestive distress in general. This is the plants defence mechanism at work.

Plus, the glycemic load of the pasta is about 17 while the GL of the carrots is about 2 (yes, just 2). So the pasta is at the higher end of medium and the veggies are very low. Insulin can be an major issue with wheat; not so much with veggies and even moderate fruit servings.

Now consider trace nutrients. Fruits and veggies have tons of different compounds that are beneficial to our health. Sticking with carrots (no pun intended) they are high in carotenoids – antioxidant compounds. Intake of carotenoids has been associated with less cardiovascular disease, and less lung, prostate, breast, stomach, colon and pancreatic cancer.

Pound for pound does wheat measure up to healthful alternatives?

And that is using one of the better sources of wheat. The occasional serving of grains (let’s go non-wheat) can provide variety in our diets. Consider the huge alternatives among dozens of different veggies and dozen of fruits and which is better? What provides the most bang for its buck? And what has or doesn’t have several negative side effects?

Want to know more about several non-wheat alternatives? I highly recommend Dr. Jonny Bowden’s The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth that is a very delightful read. It’s packed with lots of useful information about some very healthy and tasty food. (Spoiler: there are only 2 grains & one of which is wheat – one is quinoa, a pseudo-cereal, and the other is oatmeal. It’s the smallest section in the book).

(Please note that I can get into meat examples that are loaded with healthy fat – yes, healthy fat – essential proteins and tons of B Vitamins and Zinc; however, the real story of meat is a huge blog series if not book in itself. As a quick link, if you think saturated fat is evil you might find this article interesting: What’s Really Making Us Unhealthy: Hint- it’s not saturated fat!)

 

Check back soon as we are nearing the end of out countdown!

 

References:

http://www.healthaliciousness.com/nutritionfacts/nutrition-facts-compare.php

http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm

Top 10 Surprising Facts About Wheat/Grains

By Tim Lochhead

#7 Why Do Opium When You Can Have Wheat

Continuing our countdown of the Top 10 Surprising Facts about Wheat/Grains.

So far we’ve learned the concept that all living things, plant or animal, have defensive or offensive mechanisms for survival.

Wheat and Grains have several offensive ones that work to disrupt predators (anyone who would eat the grains). We’ve looked at a variety of substances found in wheat and grains and how they wreak havoc on our digestive system; from causing intestinal damage to blocking nutrient absorption. We’ve also looked at the concept of insulin and effects of high amounts (like typical servings of wheat based products) including excess fat (especially around your midsection), increased risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and skin issues to name a few.

If that weren’t bad enough, there are several pathways that make wheat and grains become addictive. So the vicious circle of cravings, crashes and ill health consequences keeps you sucked in. Ever get a crazy carb craving you can’t control? Or feel helpless as the eating pattern spirals on?

The three main addictive pathways are:

  • Blood sugar rollercoaster
  • Serotonin rollercoaster (interrelated with the first one)
  • Opiate receptor activity (acting like heroin or morphine)

Blood Sugar Rollercoaster

Rollercoasters are fun, right? Not when they contribute to a fatter waist or increase irritability.

From countdown #5 we talked about how high typical grains serving can lead to a high insulin spike. A big spike in blood sugar initiates the big surge in insulin to tell your body to store the sugars. Instead of keeping a nice steady blood sugar level it rises fast and then there is the inevitable crash. When blood sugar is too low your body wants to get it back up, so it craves carbs. Those same carbs that lead to the craving in the first place.

When blood sugar is cleared quickly this is also stressful to the body and you can elevate your own cortisol (catabolic, destructive hormone). When cortisol is present you can get edgy and irritable; thus furthering the carb cravings.

This isn’t the only mood related craving rollercoaster….

Serotonin Rollercoaster

Line up for another ride!

Serotonin is known as the “feel good” neurotransmitter. It’s associated with feelings of happiness, peacefulness and calmness. However, if this shoots up too high you’ll feel sluggish and lack mental clarity and focus – like a thick mental fog.

Tryptophan is the amino acid (a building block of protein) that leads to the release of serotonin. After a high starch carb meal (like a typical serving of wheat) amino acids are supposed to get shuttled into tissues; however, tryptophan is special and bypasses this (for you keeners it binds with albumin which isn’t affected by insulin). It crosses the blood-brain barrier in higher concentration than normal, causing a huge increase in serotonin.

Ever feel good while you’re eating “comfort” carbs and then sluggish and foggy shortly after?

And what goes up must come down! The serotonin crash is characterized by feelings you would expect with low serotonin (remember, the feel good neurotransmitter): irritability, anxiety, depression. So what do you do? You get more cravings to reach for carbs and the vicious cycle goes on.

Your Missing Link Health & Fitness Solutions offers solutions to keep us off of these rollercoasters and keep you in a stable blood sugar zone. You don’t have to be helpless and spiral out of control. Take the Power Back.

Still, there is even another brain related way wheat causes serious addiction (this one’s pretty cool).

Would You Deal Crack-Cocaine?

Wheat (really gluten containing wheats) contains opioid peptides[1] [2]. From countdown #1 the proteins in wheat do not get fully digested. As well, the peptides from gluten are similar to opiates and can bind with opiate receptors in the brain, mimicking the effects of drugs like morphine and heroin. Prolonged opiate exposure can lead to a dependency of the drug. Ever notice how much someone will fight and claw if you try to take away bread or pasta?

What happens if you stop using a drug? Characteristics of withdrawal include irritability, anxiety, and depression. Look familiar? And what’s your body’s response? You guessed it; cravings for you-know-what.

Roman rulers new that people wouldn’t revolt if they were entertained and fed bread.

 

Ditch the wheat, especially at breakfast, and Take the Power Back. Be in Control.

For example, try turkey sausage fried in butter (you read correctly; see, I’m not such a bad guy) served over some mixed greens and walnuts. Contact Tim@YourMissingLink .ca when you want health and fitness solutions that help you Take the Power Back and more importantly, get you the results you want.  

Stay tuned for our last 3 countdowns as we delve into some fun nutritional points.


[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1309704?ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6099562?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

Top 10 Surprising Facts About Wheat/Grains

By Tim Lochhead

#6 Acne and Inflammation and Joint Pain Oh My!

Continuing our countdown of the Top 10 Surprising Facts about Wheat/Grains.

So far we’ve learned the concept that all living things, plant or animal, have defensive or offensive mechanisms for survival.

Grains and wheat have several offensive ones that work to disrupt predators (anyone who would eat the grains). We’ve looked at a variety of substances found in wheat and grains and how they wreak havoc on our digestive system, from causing intestinal damage to blocking nutrient absorption.

Last time we introduced the concept of insulin and high amounts (like typical servings of wheat based products) can cause excess fat, especially around your midsection.

Insulin production (and excessive insulin production) brings along some other friends into the picture. We are going to look at Prostaglandins and IGF-1 (don’t worry; I’ll explain in easy to understand terms and there won’t be a quiz).

Inflammation: This has been in the spotlight and headlines of late; so what’s the big deal?

First off, inflammation isn’t all bad or evil. It is a part of life and is involved with healing and growth. However, too much inflammation, and constant or chronic inflammation is a big problem.

Insulin triggers inflammation through a few pathways, on of which involves the production of prostaglandins. These pro-inflammatory can interfere with normal cell activity (in excess) like reducing the insulin sensitivity of cells creating a negative feedback loop of more blood sugar, insulin, inflammation etc. Inflammation is connected to accelerated aging, fat gain, cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, and arthritis (just to name a few).

Also recall from countdown #1 and countdown #2 that wheat and grains can damage the gut lining, allowing food particles to go where they shouldn’t. Our immune system sees something out of place and attacks, but now it might attach a protein sequence elsewhere in our body, like our joints.

Plus, the higher the circulating blood sugar the more these can come into contact with proteins and alter their structure (glycation). When proteins are glycated they basically create free radicals which leads to more inflammation; and this can damage the collagen of joints and lead to arthritis.

So wheat can lead to pain and inflammation in a lot of ways!

Excessive carbs (which are easy to come by with wheat) not only signal the production of insulin but insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). IGF-1 is linked with the increased production of keratinocytes which contribute to acne.

High insulin levels also lead to a hormonal response that active the sebum producing glands in your skin which encourages them to produce more oil.

 

By now you are probably banging your computer and hopefully not closing this blog page versus the thought of giving up bread. Don’t fret! Although this blog deals with wheat and grains, certain grains can be tolerated a little in moderation. Different types are becoming more and more available (recall from an earlier intro that I promised an alternative at the end; stick around for some commercially available wheat free cookies).

You can always load up on more steak or a shrimp cocktail too.

Why does the thought of going without wheat trigger such a response? Well it is normal; not good, but normal.

Tune in a couple of days and discover a few surprising reasons why wheat and grains cause addictive responses – and know that we don’t have to accept this! Take the Power Back with YML Health & Fitness Solutions.

Top 10 Surprising Facts About Wheat/Grains

By Tim Lochhead

#5 Whole Wheat or Holy Love Handles!

Continuing our countdown of the Top 10 Surprising Facts about Wheat/Grains.

So far we’ve learned the concept that all living things, plant or animal, have defensive or offensive mechanisms for survival.

Grains and wheat have several offensive ones that work to disrupt predators (anyone who would eat the grains). We’ve looked at a variety of substances found in wheat and grains and how they wreak havoc on our digestive system, from causing intestinal damage to blocking nutrient absorption.

Additionally, typical serving sizes of wheat and grains tend to have very high glycemic loads (what is this? Read this). We basically know “complex carbs” are a thing of the past – what matters is insulin. This is the hormone our bodies secrete in response to an increase in blood sugar. (Wheat and grains are high in starch. Starch could really be labelled and thought of as sugar, since starch is just broken down into several simple sugars in our bodies).

Insulin does several things including turning off fat burning and turning on fat storage – particularly around the middle.

Want a little more info about insulin? Check out this quick intro to carbs and insulin.

Carbs themselves aren’t evil. It’s just that excessive carb consumption, especially processed or refined carbs, as well as super starch insulin spiking juggernauts aren’t the best thing (at least if you want lower insulin levels and enjoy all the related benefits like balanced blood sugar, lower bodyfat, a trimmer waistline, and reduced susceptibility to diabetes and heart disease).

Mismanaged insulin levels also have other consequences including affecting the health and appearance of your skin, which we’ll explore next time (in just a couple of days).

Top 10 Surprising Facts About Wheat/Grains

By Tim Lochhead

#4 Goodness Gracious Great Gallstones of Fire

Continuing our countdown of the Top 10 Surprising Facts about Wheat/Grains.

So far we’ve learned the concept that all living things, plant or animal, have defensive or offensive mechanisms for survival.

Grains and wheat have several offensive ones that work to disrupt predators (anyone who would eat the grains). We’ve looked at a variety of substances found in wheat and grains and how they wreak havoc on our digestive system, from causing intestinal damage to blocking nutrient absorption.

Here’s another digestive disturbance that impacts our gallbladders.

I know, I know – “another digestive issue!” Well we are dealing with food after all; and upcoming countdown items get to other ‘effects’.

Bear with me; this one is pretty intriguing.

The gallbladder holds bile produced from the liver. The bile is released to support digestion when food passes from the stomach to the small intestines. When we eat fat a chemical messenger (CCK – cholecystokin) is activated and signals the gallbladder to release its bile.

Recall how lectins (from post #1 here) damage the gut lining? Well the function of CCK is impaired and it isn’t properly released, so it doesn’t get to call upon bile. The result? We don’t digest our fat. Incomplete digestion isn’t good, and we aren’t getting the benefits of our fat (especially if we’re eating lots of good fats like I know YML readers are, such as Omega-3s).

Plus, bile backs up in the gallbladder and can lead to gallstones.

Gallstones are a signal something is wrong; removing this doesn’t get to the cause.

Know someone who has had their gallbladder removed? And they were told this is a “useless organ”, because you can ‘live’ without it? As Poliquin says, “just ask John Wayne Bobbitt if something is a useless organ because you can live without it.” (FYI: JWB’s now ex-wife cut half his penis off).  

Have you ever heard of “fat soluble vitamins”? Either way, these are vitamins that can only be absorbed with fat. If your fat digestion is impaired…..what to you think happens to vitamins A, D, E, and K. Remember our saying: you are what you eat is really “you are what you absorb”.

Further (yes, just one more thing), without properly digesting food and impaired CCK (as well as other digestion hormones) our hunger signals are impaired and we always feel hungry. What do you reach for with cravings? I know a lot times the answer tends to be wheat and grain containing foods.

Are you the type normally in control, but with your eating you aren’t? Want to Take the Power Back? Substitute the wheat for we’ve been exposed to for more than a few thousand years (like steak, part of our diet for a few 100,000 years).  (FYI: countdown #7 outlines several pathways grains and wheat become addictive, also causing a major loss of control).

Helping you Take the Power Back and coaching/supporting/guiding through the proper steps is a huge part of what Your Missing Link is about.

 

Check back soon as we uncover the hidden story behind wheat & grains and the countdown continues.