Tag Archives: United States

Safer alternatives for healthier living – Kitchen cleaning products

STOP!  Before you read this article:

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I’m pretty big on helping people recognize the little things that they can do to protect their health and the health of their loved ones on a daily basis.  It’s not something that most of us think of often, but every day we are all exposed to a tremendous amount of carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting food dyes, artificial sugars, household chemicals, toxins, bacteria, molds, and air pollution.  Unfortunately, we can’t get away from everything.  My goal in articles such as this one is to show you a few little things at a time that you can do to keep harmful substances away from you and your family.  Today we will focus on kitchen cleaning products:

Dish-washing liquids, liquid hand soaps, all-purpose and kitchen counter cleaning products.  

Here is a list of the potentially harmful ingredients in Palmolive anti-bacterial dish-washing liquid (a popular brand):

1) Fragrance – What could be so bad about something that makes your dishes and your hands smell like fresh-cut daisies, right?  Well, according to the Enviromental working group (EWG) website, a lot!:

About FRAGRANCE: The word “fragrance” or “parfum” on the product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system.”

Pretty steep price to pay for nice smelling hands and dishes, eh?

2) Tetrasoudium EDTA – EWG found evidence that raises concern that this chemical can be toxic to your organs other than reproductive ones.

3) Dyes – well, since the Colgate company doesn’t expound any further other than to say that they add “dyes” to their dish-washing liquid, and there are literally thousands of chemical dyes out there, we can’t say for certain which one they use, nor can we say exactly what the health risks are.  However, generally speaking, there is a litany of evidence that food dyes cause hyperactivity in children.

Folks, there’s gotta be a better way to get your plates clean!  We can’t just blindly fall for the billions of dollars that these companies spend on marketing their products.  “softens your hands while you do dishes!”  Maybe they should add “makes you infertile, cancerous, toxic, causes allergic reactions, your children hyperactive, causes inflammation, and OH…almost forgot: softens your hands while you do dishes!”.

Do you use Cascade or another similar brand to wash your dishes and utensils (which then go into your MOUTH!)?  If so, it’s imperative that you take a look at the product page for cascade on the EWG website, which details each chemical’s ability and propensity to disrupt reproductive and endocrine function, cause cancer, skin irritations, organ toxicity, and allergies just to name a few!

Here are more EWG write-ups on some of the other popular kitchen cleaning products I can think of.  Peruse to your heart’s content:

If that doesn’t scare you out of using synthetic ingredients and chemicals to clean your house, then I don’t know what will.

How often do you hear people talking about someone they know who has cancer in this way: “He/she was totally healthy!  a health nut!  ate healthy, exercised, great shape…and then one day, pow!  cancer…unreal!”.  I hear people talk like this all the time.  It seems that everyone is completely befuddled as to why people get cancer.  The truth is that our bodies are exposed to cancer causing agents every single day at an alarming rate!  There is only so much toxicity that our bodies can handle.

So do yourself and your families a favor and switch to as many all-natural and organic kitchen cleaning products as possible.  Of course, it’s hard to find a really good cleaning product that comes with ZERO risk, but there are products out there that are much more natural and considered to be much safer than what you are probably using in your kitchen right now.

For your convenience, here are some alternatives that you use right now to create a healthier environment in your kitchen starting now.  All of these cleaning products received an “A” from EWG and carry far less health risks (Full disclosure: If you buy any of the products listed in this article by clicking the links I provide to Amazon, you will be buying the products through my Amazon affiliate account.  When you do this, I get a nominal “commission” from Amazon and there is absolutely zero extra cost to you for helping me out. The commissions that I receive from Amazon help me keep this free blog up and running for my readers.  While I do make a nominal commission, I ONLY recommend high quality products that I stand behind and that I would use for myself and my family):

* Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher Powder.

* Planet Ultra Dish-washing Liquid.

* Green Shield All-Purpose Cleaner.

* Arm & Hammer Fridge and Freezer Baking Soda.

* Aussan Natural Floor Cleaner Concentrate.

* Dr. Bronners Sal’s Suds Liquid Cleaner. You can clean just about everything in your house with this stuff, worry free.  Shout out to reader Jennifer Williams who uses this product religiously!

With the options above, you should never feel the need to reach for any of the other chemical-ridden, cancer causing products that we all grew up using.

What’s the worst that can happen?  Give them a shot and let me know your thoughts!

I hope that this article helps to make a healthier household environment for everyone who reads it.

Thanks for reading!


Rick Gold

Rick Gold, Functional Wellness Practitioner
Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.
Website: www.GoldFunctionalWellness.com

Book a consult: http://www.snapappointments.com/listing/38C

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GoldFunctionalWellness

Follow me on Twitter: @RickGoldFWP

e: Rick@GoldFunctionalWellness.com

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author, unless otherwise noted.  The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the author.  Rick is not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian and he does not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease.

Is that bread REALLY gluten-free? Perhaps not!

gluten_free_foodsMost people, including doctors, nutritionists, and dietitians, will tell you that only the following grains have gluten in them:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Spelt

This is simply not correct.  Let’s get this out-of-the-way right off the bat: ALL GRAINS CONTAIN GLUTEN.  Even Corn.  Even Rice.  Huh?  Scratching your head a little bit yet?  Keep reading:

What is Gluten? 

Grains are seeds that come from grass.  For example wheat grass sprouts wheat seeds (don’t worry, wheat grass itself without the seeds does not contain gluten.  Only the seeds do).  The purpose of a seed is to propagate the species (i.e. to start a new plant).  Gluten is a protein that is found in the seed of every single grain and it is used to feed the germ of the seed so that it sprouts a new grain or blade of grass.  Without gluten, EVERY grain would become extinct because they would not be able to propagate.  That includes ALL of the well-known “gluten-free” grains such as rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, etc.

So if you are being told that the only gluten containing foods are wheat, rye, barley, and spelt you are being (most likely unknowingly) misled.  Here is the truth: There are thousands of different gluten proteins, most of which have never even been studied yet to see if they can be attributed to health risks such as gut irritation, inflammation in the body, and autoimmune diseases.   The specific gluten protein that is in wheat, barley, rye, and spelt is called gliadin.  If you have celiac disease or even a slight intolerance to gliadin, you definitely need to eliminate any and all foods that have even a hint of gliadin in them.  Fortunately, this means getting rid of most of the food that makes people fat (bread, pasta, cereal, croissants, pizza, cake, cookies, etc) as well as just about every processed food on the shelves in your grocery store.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac is an autoimmune disease of the small intestine.  There are an estimated 3 million people suffering from celiac disease in the United States (including undiagnosed).  In celiac, the gliadin protein is actually causing the immune system to attack the tissues in your body.  It is a genetic inability to digest gliadin properly (tTG is used by the body to digest gliadin in a non-celiac individual.  In celiac, tissue transglutaminase (tTG) reacts with gliadin to produce antibodies called anti-tTGA which triggers inflammation of the gut.  Once this happens chain reactions cause damage to the small intestine.  The breakdown of gut function cascades into other serious health conditions.

Celiac disease is what made the gliadin protein in wheat so popular.  It was discovered in the 1940’s by a German doctor during World War II.  At that time there was a shortage of grain so grain was not available to most people in Germany.  There were kids in a hospital with Celiac disease and once the grain was removed from their diets their conditions improved, effectively going into remission.  When the war ended and grains were reintroduced into their diets, the kids became sick again.  The doctor noted this correlation and that marked the discovery of the relationship between gluten and Celiac.  That is why even still today, when people think of gluten, they think of wheat, barley, and rye.

What happens in my body if I have a sensitivity to gliadin?

Gluten sensitivity is very different from celiac disease.  It is not a genetic or autoimmune disorder.  However, gliadin sensitivity is also very dangerous and must be addressed.  It is estimated that millions of Americans have sensitivity to gliadin and are undiagnosed because the symptoms of gliadin sensitivity are so broad.  If you have a sensitivity to gliadin (or ANY gluten proteins, for that matter) it will cause inflammation in the small intestine and it will cause increased intestinal permeability or “leaky gut”.

What is leaky gut?

Without getting too technical, as I’d likely lose half of my audience, the role of your small intestine is to let nutrients through and into your bloodstream and to keep undigested food particles, toxins, bacteria, stool and any other substances that have no business being in your bloodstream out.  The nutrients pass through the gut barrier through “tight junctions” and into your bloodstream where they can be transported to the cells of your body and provide nutrition.  In a healthy gut, everything else passes through your small intestine and out through your stool.

Leaky gut is representative of those microscopic tight junctions widening just enough to let other substances besides nutrients into your bloodstream, such as undigested food particles, toxins, bacteria, feces, etc.  When this happens, your immune system goes into full-blown attack mode.  Picture a dozen fire trucks racing to put out a 4 alarm fire.  That is what happens in your body between your immune system and the foreign particles that are now in your blood stream.  Your body wants them destroyed and eliminated through your urine or feces.  The immune reaction causes widespread inflammation in your body and serious irritation to your gut lining.  Eventually, the small intestine loses its ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients (see blunted brush border and villous atrophy).  In addition, the systemic low-grade inflammation that occurs in the body and is associated with leaky gut can create a fertile environment for the growth of illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and a whole slew of autoimmune diseases (crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, MS, IBS, etc.).

There are many gut irritants that can cause leaky gut.  Gliadin is just one of them.  Others are:

  • Antibiotics (through your own use as well as ingesting meat and milk from animals treated with them).
  • Chemicals such as formaldehyde in our carpets and wood cabinets and from everyday household products.
  • Toxins.
  • Alcohol and drug consumption.
  • Other food sensitivities (soy, cow’s milk, eggs, corn food dyes, etc.)
  • Sugar consumption.
  • Hormonal imbalances.

How do I know if I have a sensitivity to gliadin?  

The best way to find out if you have any sensitivity to gliadin is to use the observation and elimination method:

  1. Spend a few days thinking of all of the symptoms that you may experience that gliadin intolerance is known to cause.  The list is extremely long and broad but it includes: Diarrhea and/or constipation, heartburn, stomach aches, bloating, flatulence, chronic fatigue, brain fog, headaches (including migraines), skin rashes, and/or eczema, and joint pain or stiffness.Again that’s only a partial list of the symptoms that gliadin intolerance can cause.
  2. Use a journal to write down all of the symptoms you feel on a regular basis.
  3. Eliminate all foods that contain gliadin from your diet for at least 2 weeks.
  4. Use the journal to note if any of your typically regular symptoms subside.  If even a few of the symptoms do subside, you very likely have a sensitivity to gliadin, and you should continue to eat gluten-free.

If you would like a more formal method of testing for gliadin sensitivity there are several lab tests that I have access to:

  1. You can run a mucosal barrier function screen (saliva) which will indicate whether you have elevated antibodies to one or all of the 5 generally recognized allergen proteins: gliadin, corn, cow’s milk, soy, and eggs.  This is a useful screen because although it doesn’t 100% narrow down WHICH dietary protein it is that you are reactive to, it can show if your immune system is in high gear and fighting something off as well as whether or not you may have leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability), gut dysbiosis (an imbalance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut), and an overgrowth of yeast in your body.  This is an excellent first step in assessing overall gut function.
  2. You can run a gluten intolerance/celiac screening (blood) which will tell you with a high probability of accuracy whether or not you have elevated antibodies against gliadin.

There are some drawbacks to the testing though, as ALL gluten sensitivity tests screen ONLY for gliadin and no other gluten proteins.  Remember, EVERY grain has gluten.  Gliadin is only ONE gluten protein that has been studied.  The rest of them have yet to be studied and may or may not cause gut irritation.

If you have even the slightest sensitivity to gliadin, I strongly recommend that you not only eat gluten-free, but GRAIN-FREE.  This will ensure that you truly steer clear of ALL gluten, help your small intestine heal, and decrease the inflammation in your body.  

I hope that this helps clear up some of the misinformation out there about gluten.

For more information on the available gliadin tests you can schedule a free 20 minute consultation with me by clicking here.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave questions or comments.


Rick Gold, Functional Wellness Practitioner

Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.

Follow me on Twitter: @RickGoldFWP

e: Rick@GoldFunctionalWellness.com

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author, unless otherwise noted.  The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the author.  Rick is not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietician and he does not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease.

What is ‘Epigenetics’ and how does it pertain to everyday life?

DNA Strand

We all know about genetics, at least on the surface. It’s basically the science that tells us “no matter how hard you try to change your physical fate, your inherited genes will always dictate your health.” That idea has been so thoroughly ingrained in our minds. We constantly say or hear people say things like:

  • “Nothing I can do about it. It’s in my genes” OR
  • “Bad cholesterol runs in my family, so I have to take this statin (i.e. Lipitor)” OR
  • “Cancer runs in my family. I’m bound to get it too so I might as well have fun while I’m healthy” OR
  • “Obesity runs in my family, so that’s why I am overweight” OR…

Well, you get the picture. Do you notice a trend here? Any observations? The first observation I make when I hear these statements is that most people truly still believe in this line of thinking, The second observation is that usually these statements are a mechanism that the person saying it uses to rationalize their situation by blaming it on something outside of their control. This is totally understandable. It feels much better to think that your body is failing you because of your genetic makeup and that there is nothing that you can do about it. In fact, that is exactly what the pharmaceutical industry would have you believe if they could. The message from them is ” Just take these pills for the rest of your life. It’s the only way for you to treat your condition.”

But is it true? Does our genetic makeup really predetermine whether or not we will get cancer, or have cardiovascular disease? Autoimmune conditions? Obesity? Diabetes? Is it really out of our control? Perhaps in certain cases this could be true. But before 20 years ago, just about every scientist on earth believed this to be 100% true. That was, until the discovery and application of a new science called “epigenetics” came along.

Epigenetics is “The study of changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype, caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence – hence the name epi, (Greek: over or above) -genetics.” Here is what that mumbo jumbo means in plain english:

Epigenetics is the study of how things OTHER than your DNA and genetics (such as where you live geographically, pollution, stress, diet, sleep patterns, your career, toxins you ingest, the amount and quality of exercise you perform throughout your life, etc.) can actually alter how your genes express themselves.

This is not to say that we are not genetically predisposed to certain conditions and diseases, because we all are. What this is saying is that even though we might be genetically predisposed towards (insert type of cancer) cancer, in order for us to actually get cancer, something other than our genetic code actually works to instruct our genes to “flip the switch” and begin mutating cells. And that ‘something’ is in many cases the lifestyle that we lead.

So for instance, let’s say that you have a genetic predisposition (gd forbid) for lung cancer. The first question to ask yourself is “if that is my genetic predisposition, then why don’t I currently have lung cancer?”. The answer is that the genes in your body have not yet been triggered to create cancerous mutations in your cells. An environmental trigger could be what flips that switch. Smoking is one. Living near or working in a coal mine (or near some other drastically polluted air) could be another. Or, it could be all of the sugar that you eat that triggers it by promoting widespread inflammation in your tissues. I can go on and on. Mercury toxicity from dental fillings you received 30 years ago. Toxins and pesticides from the foods you eat. GMOs. Toxins from our deodorants, soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, lotions, makeup and sunscreens we use on a daily basis. Severe lack of sleep or exercise. Leading a chronically stressful lifestyle. All of these things can be the environmental triggers that flip that proverbial lung cancer switch to the “on” position. By the same token, the reverse (leading a healthy lifestyle) can be linked to keeping that switch turned off even with a genetic predisposition.

In terms of our health, I really can’t think of a more profound concept than this. What this means is that the choices that we make every single day pertaining to how we lead our lives is the ultimate determinant of whether or not we die early from a horrible disease or if we are destined to live vibrantly until the ripe age of 100 years old.

Are you reading this? Take a moment to let this concept soak in. This burgeoning field of science called Epigenetics is telling us that we have the power to make ourselves healthy and happy, regardless of our genetic predispositions.

What’s scary is that now scientists are learning that our epigenetic traits, altered by the lifestyles that we lead, are passed down from generation to generation. So the lifestyle choices that you make today are altering your epigenetic markers in a way that can profoundly impact your grandchildren. No pressure though…

As such, it would follow that in order for us to be healthy and to keep the disease switches “flipped off”, we MUST address and optimize each one of these areas of our lives:

1) Diet –

  • Ideally, take steps to determine your metabolic type, and the diet best suited for it (this is something that I do for clients so feel free to inquire with me about this).
  • Use lab work to determine if you have any food sensitivities, allergies, or intolerances that might be causing hidden stress in your body (read: inflammation).
  • Do your best to eliminate or severely cut down your intake of sugar, processed foods, refined carbohydrates and starches, and vegetable oils.
  • Eat REAL FOOD. Read labels. If you can’t pronounce or recognize an ingredient, don’t eat it.

2) Rest –

  • Get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night.
  • Keep your bedroom cool (ideally less than 70 degrees fahrenheit will promote sound sleep).
  • Stop using your computer, phone, ipad, or TV at least one hour before bedtime.
  • Try to keep the same bedtime every night.
  • Keep your room as dark as possible. Cover up any LED lights from fans, alarm clocks, cable boxes, etc.

3) Exercise –

  • Try to move periodically every day. If your work is generally sedentary, try getting up to stretch or do light exercises every 15 minutes.
  • HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is a great way to get a fantastic full body workout in a short period of time. I also really like crossfit and martial arts (muay thai, jiu jitsu). Here is an intense Tabata workout variation as an example.
  • Yoga is a terrific choice for exercise and it gives you a lot of physical and mental bang for your buck. You can tone, strengthen, and limber up your body while learning the powerful art of meditation and stillness which can work wonders for your stress levels. I personally love practicing hot yoga. I can’t say enough good things about it. I feel incredible after every class.
  • Exercise, but don’t over-exercise. There is evidence that over exercising is actually detrimental to your health.
  • Get outside and connect with nature. Take long hikes and walks. Play outdoor sports. Make exercise fun.

4) Stress Reduction –

  • Eustress is the good kind of stress, like when we ride a roller coaster. Chronic stress, external or internal is what we need to watch out for. There is evidence that chronic stress is highly correlated with a multitude of serious diseases like cancer and heart disease.
  • External stressors (your job, marriage, relationship, financial situation, children, friends, family, geographic location) must be dealt with. To do this, you need to become a master of your own mind through meditation, deep breathing, and gratitude training. You also might want to consider the “toxic” people that you have in your life and creating distance between you and them.
  • Aside from chronic emotional stress that stems from circumstances outside of your body, we all have chronic hidden internal stressors that wreak havoc on every system of our bodies. Internal stressors can come in the form of food sensitivities, heavy metal toxicity, gut dysfunction, bugs, parasites, hormonal imbalances, vitamin/mineral deficiencies, and the list goes on. In order to uncover any hidden internal stressors that might be wreaking silent havoc in your body you need to do functional lab work (As a Functional Diagnostic Wellness Practitioner, this is another thing I can help you with. Just inquire with me if interested).

5) Supplementation –

  • Supplementation is vitally important to our health. The state of our food system today is disastrous. Widespread chemical and pesticide usage has hurt the soil that we use to grow our food, rendering it far less nutritious. If the soil has less nutrients than it used to, the foods we eat will have less nutrition as well. Between the degradation of nutrients in our food, the processed junk foods, the toxic loads that we assault our bodies with each day (pesticides, chemical exposure, etc) and the chronic stress that we all have come to live with and call “normal”, just about every person on earth should be supplementing. But I am constantly approached with these questions regarding supplements:
  • What supplements should we take?
  • In what dosage?
  • Which brands are best?
  • How do I really know what supplements I need for my body?
  • These are all great questions, and again, as a Functional Diagnostic Wellness Practitioner, this is something that I help people with. The only way to know what your body needs in the way of supplementation is to do functional lab work that identifies dysfunction and healing opportunities in your body. Only then will we know what supplements you should truly be taking. Any other form of supplementation is essentially guesswork and, apart from being a potential colossal waste of money, could actually be harmful to you. For instance, did you know that calcium, magnesium, vitamin d3, vitamin k2, and vitamin a all work together synergistically in your body? If you are supplementing with one you need to consider supplementing with several of them or you could potentially do more harm than good. I am actually going to blog soon about smart supplementation so stay tuned for that.

If you are interested in learning more about the science of Epigenetics click here or here. They are both excellent videos that will give you a solid basic understanding of the science.

As always, thanks for reading! Please feel free to leave comments below. Just keep it classy!


Rick Gold, FDWP.

Why is it so hard to lose weight? Part 1

It’s the age-old question, isn’t it?  There are more fad diets and weight loss supplements than anyone can keep track of these days.  In fact, recent figures show weight loss to be a $21bb industry!  That’s a lot of people looking to tantalize you into parting from your hard-earned money with the promise of fast and long-lasting weight loss in a pill, supplement, or diet.   Unfortunately, as most of us know, while some of these magic pills or diets can work temporarily, the weight typically comes back with a vengeance once you stop taking them or stop the diet.

Because there are many factors that contribute to weight gain and the inability to lose and keep weight off, I have decided to tackle the issue in a series of blog posts.  Here is the breakdown:

  1. Diet
  2. Exercise
  3. Gut health
  4. Sleep quality & quantity
  5. Chronic stress & hormonal imbalances

Without further adieu, let’s get into it, starting with DIET:

The antiquated science of the last several decades has led us to believe that weight loss or weight gain is nothing more than a simple mathematical formula:

  • If Caloric intake (eating) > Caloric expenditure (living and moving), we gain weight.
  • If caloric intake < caloric  expenditure we lose weight.
  • If caloric intake = caloric expenditure, we will live in this mystical happy world of homeostasis in which we dance around in a field of tulips, totally in love with our perfect figures.

Thus, all we have to do to lose weight and keep it off is to eat whatever we want so long as we burn more calories than we eat on a daily basis.    “You mean, as long as I burn enough calories each day, I can eat chocolate lava cake for breakfast, waffles and candy syrup for lunch, and rigatoni a la vodka for dinner every night?  Sounds amazing, actually!  Where do I sign up?”

Raise your hand if you believe that (for the sole purpose of weight loss)  eating 500 calories of that chocolate lava cake is no different from eating 500 calories worth of kale.  Wait…why isn’t every person’s hand raised that is reading this?  Don’t you believe that a calorie is a calorie for the purposes of weight loss?  Then why does it seem so intuitively natural to us that eating an equivalent caloric amount of kale will have a different effect on our weight than eating an equivalent caloric amount of chocolate lava cake?  If you did not raise your hand, then you are on your way to understanding the truth about diet-related weight gain and obesity.  Here it is:


Put simply, there are “good” calories and “bad” calories and if you want to lose weight that is what you need to focus on.  When you eat, if you only eat foods that contain the good calories you will lose weight regardless of how many calories you take in (unless you are taking in 3000 + calories per day).

The bad calorie foods are the ones that spike your blood sugar too much when you eat them. When your blood sugar spikes, your pancreas secretes insulin to move the sugar from your blood to your muscles. If your muscles are already full of glycogen stores, they will reject the sugar offering from the insulin.  Insulin then stores the sugar in every available fat cell.  Fat cells have unlimited storage and expansion space for sugar (aka energy reserves).  Hence, we get fat from eating more sugar than our bodies actually need or use.  This eventually causes insulin resistance (see this recent blog post of mine on metabolic syndrome.).

Conventional wisdom also  tells us that, if we want to lose weight, we must stay away from fat, especially that nasty saturated fat from animal products, because fat is what makes us fat, right?  Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!

According to this “wisdom”, we should all be totally svelte!  The USDA even has data to show that we have decreased our consumption of “fattening” and “artery-clogging” animal fats:

Animal fat consumption has gone down significantly since 1970 yet people are  getting fatter at an increased clip.  Why?

Animal fat consumption has gone down significantly since 1970 yet people are getting fatter at an increased clip. Why?

Unfortunately, that experiment has already been done.  It was done on the entire population of the US for at least the last 4-5 decades.  So how has it worked out for us?  According to the CDC over 35% of Americans are considered to be obese.  Check out this very cool representation of the increases in BMI from 1985 – 2010 (towards bottom of the page.  It’s STAGGERING.  They literally had to start creating new categories as the years went on).  That’s at least 100,000,000 obese Americans, and many more than that are considered overweight (probably most of the population), and childhood obesity rates are skyrocketing as well.

The reason behind this is that FAT IS NOT THE CULPRIT.  Fat does not make you fat.  Sugar and carbs do.

So the trick to losing weight, keeping it off (and getting healthier) is: don’t worry about the quantity of calories! Worry about the quality of calories you consume.  

Let me clarify:  I’m not saying that calories don’t matter.  They do.  Regardless of what you are eating (yes even Kale), if you eat 3000-5000 calories a day of it and you are generally a sedentary person then you will gain weight.  BUT..and there is a big but here…I challenge you to eat 3000-5000 calories of kale each day.  Do you have any idea how much kale or leafy greens you would have to eat to get that many calories out of them?  Your stomach might explode before you get there.  Foods like leafy greens expand in your belly and do a great job (when eaten along with a healthy fat and a healthy protein) of satiating you for long periods of time, especially when paired with copious amounts of healthy fat.  So, when you eat them, you won’t need to count calories.  Your body will let you know when you’ve had enough.  You typically won’t overeat.

At the bottom of this post I linked to several videos by Dr. Robert Lustig, a brilliant endocrinologist at the heart of the debate on what makes us fat and sick.  But to sum all of this up for you:

  1. Sugar and carbohydrates cause blood sugar spikes when you eat them, which in turn causes your pancreas to secrete insulin.
  2. Insulin’s job is to get that sugar out of your bloodstream, where it poses a toxic threat to your life.
  3. If you are a very active person there may be a good chance that insulin will deposit the sugar into your muscles to be stored as energy.
  4. If you are relatively sedentary (which most Americans are compared to their sugar and carb intake) your muscles, which only have a limited store for energy, will “turn away” insulin’s sugar offering.
  5. Insulin’s only other pathway to remove the sugar from your blood stream is to store it in FAT cells which, unfortunately, have unlimited capacity for storing energy.
  6. Every time this happens, you get fatter.
  7. Chronic excessive sugar and carb intake will cause a condition in your body called “insulin resistance” which basically means that your Pancreas now has to work overtime to supply more insulin to remove the sugar from your blood since the previous amounts of insulin it secreted are no longer getting the job done.
  8. Hence, with chronic excessive sugar and carb intake you are literally instructing your body to build energy stores, which is what we know as getting fat.
  9. This mechanism of weight gain, not surprisingly since it has everything to do with blood sugar and insulin, is associated with type 2 diabetes.

If you are looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, you’re not going to get very far if you are having oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich, potato chips, and a coke for lunch, and pizza or pasta for dinner.  Unfortunately, that is how most Americans eat.  It’s pretty much considered a “low-fat” diet.  So, why then is 1/3 of this country OBESE??

My best advice to you for weight loss is to completely cut out ALL grains, most fruit (keep berries), and dairy from your diet.  For people who have the willpower to do this, they experience tremendous results, not only with weight loss, but improvement in metabolic syndrome, diabetes, auto-immune conditions, allergies, and digestive issues like GERD, heartburn, IBS, etc.

If that sounds too daunting for you, then I recommend joining a service like fitday which will help you keep track of calories as well as your macros (carbs:protein:fat intake).   The SAD (Standard American Diet) recommends somewhere in the line of 260-300 grams of carbs PER DAY.  That’s just insanity.  If you can shoot for less than 100g of carbs per day to start off, and replace the lost carb calories with lots of healthy fats and moderate protein increase, you will see results.

Some additional considerations:

  • Add tons of healthy fats to your diet from coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed butter, avocados.
  • Add a moderate amount of healthy proteins to your diet in the form of wild caught fish, pasture raised chickens, fowl, and grass-fed meats.
  • Make 60%-70% of every meal a (non-starchy.  Sweet potatoes SPARINGLY) vegetable (use a wide variety of vegetables in your diet to optimize nutrient profile) .
  • Every meal should have copious amounts of fat, veggies, and a fistful of protein.

Here are the links to Dr. Lustig’s series called “The Skinny on Obesity”.  Each one is no longer than 10 minutes and it’s an eye-opening, sobering watch:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Here’s a really interesting youtube video of a presentation by Dr. Christopher Gardner, a professor and researcher at Stanford University (and a vegetarian) who did one of the better studies around comparing the ornish (vegetarian, higher carb, low fat), and the atkins (lower carb, higher fat, higher protein).

So there you have it, folks.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Have you tried a low carb diet?  How did it work for you?  What are your main concerns?


Rick Gold

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this blog are based upon the opinions of the author, unless otherwise noted.  The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the author.