Tag Archives: fat

Insane medicine – Replace saturated fats in your diet with Vegetable oils (Linoleic acid) to lower cardiac risk!

Replacing saturated fat with vegetable oil is associated with lower coronary artery disease risk based in a study in Circulation recently released (Circulation. 2014;130:1568-1578).

  1. Exchanging 5% of consumed calories from saturated fat sources (red meat and butter) with foods containing linoleic acid (an n-g fatty acid that is polyunsaturated and found in vegetable oil, seeds, and nuts) can decrease coronary heart disease events by 9%. So swap out your saturated fat sources with polyunsaturated fat to help out your heart!
  2. Linoleic acid (polyunsaturated fat) intake was inversely associated with heart disease, such that the more linoleic acid taken in, the lower the risk of heart disease. At the best outcomes, there was a 15% lower heart-risk and 21% lower death rates in those who consumed the most linoleic acid sources.
  3. Replace butter, lard, and fat from red meat with liquid vegetable oils when you prepare and cook foods.  By replacing saturated fat in this way, total and LDL cholesterol is reduced.
  4. Sources of Linoleic acid (an omega-6 polyunsaturated fat) include: soybean, sunflower, safflower, and corn oil, as well as nuts and seeds.
  5. Fats have 9 calories per gram. Use 1.5-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil daily to get 5-10% of calories from linoleic acid (100-200 calories total) It is important to replace saturated fat with these sources of polyunsaturated fats (linoleic acid) and not just adding this to the total fat intake.
  6. Linoleic acid does not promote inflammation based on a neutral effect on inflammatory markers or arachidonic acid levels (which increase in inflammation).

Cooking oil examples:

Safflower oil – 78 % PUFA (Linoleic acid)

Sunflower oil – 69% PUFA (Linoleic acid)

Corn oil – 62%

Soybean oil  – 61 %

Peanut Oil  – 34%

Canola oil  – 29%

Lard – 12 %

Palm oil – 10%

Olive oil  – 9%

Butterfat  – 4%

Palm kernel oil  – 2%

Coconut oil – 2%


General notes about fats:

  • Greater intake of trans-fats (hyrogenated oil for example) relative to polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) is associated with higher cardiac risk. N-3 omega fatty acids and alpha-linoleic (ALA), also an n-3 fatty acid) are associated with good cardiac risk. Linoleic acid (LA) , an n-6 PUFA most commonly eaten in the Western diets, also has been shown to be beneficial in preventing cardiac risk, but less investigation had been done regarding this fatty acid. Linoleic acid reduces LDL levels, which is a positive effect for decreasing cardiac risk. LA can be elongated into arachidonic acid, which is inflammatory and thrombogenic (blood clot forming). Studies have shown that LA is in fact not pro-inflammatory in the body. It does not increase C-reactive protein . It also has no effect on other inflammatory marker such as cytokines, fibrinogen, soluble vascular adhesion molecules, plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1, or tumor necrosis factor-α.
  • There appears to be a linear response to increasing LA intake – as one takes in more LA, there is less coronary events (heart attacks) and less death! Thus n-6 fatty acids (Linoleic acid) has cardioprotective effects! Increasing LA intake by 5% led to 9% less coronary heart disease and 13% less death!
  • It had been assumed that LA is converted to arachidonic acid (AA), which is inflammatory. AA  is the main precursor of eicosanoids with inflammatory and thrombogenic properties, such as prostaglandin E2, thromboxane A2, and leukotriene B4. It has been found, however, that the conversion of LA to AA is tightly controlled in the body, thus there is no increase in inflammation.


Insane Medicine – Sugar and cancer – fats and health

  • Recently, there has been concern that sugar causes cancer. The reality is that being overweight causes cancer. In 2014, The Lancet published a study that demonstrated that for every 5 kg/meter-squared increase in weight (~30 pounds) increased  risks for cancers such as uterine, kidney, gallbladder, thyroid, and blood cancers. Why? The extra hormones and proteins created by the fat cells causes the cancer formation.
  • All cells require sugar to operate in the body, so it is impossible and unhealthy to try and starve cancer in the body by avoiding glucose. On a PET (positron emission tomography) scan, a radioactive trace bound to glucose can localized the tumor. This is because all cells utilize glucose, but cancer cells tend to take up the glucose even more than normal cells.
  • By cutting out all sugar, you will lose vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that may also play a role in beating cancer.
  • How much sugar should you consume? Women should have a maximum of six teaspoons a day (100 calories), while men can have up to nine teaspoons a day (150 calories). Currently, the average American consumes 22 teaspoons a day! The extra sugar is converted to fat in the liver.
  • Be careful of hidden added sugar in food products under the name of honey, molasses, caramel, cane juice, apple juice, lactose, dextrose, and fructose. These all are the same as sugar!
  • Avoid processed foods, such as pastries, cookies, and ice cream. Eliminate non-diet sodas, which have ~8 teaspoons of sugar per can (150 calories).
  • Likewise, one should not fear incorporating fat into your diet. Fat is important in regulating cardiac health and even blood sugar. Fat is required to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • You want to consume polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in your diet. Polyunsaturated fats are composed of omega-3’s which include fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, and walnuts, and also they are composed of omega-6’s which are from plants in corn oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil.
  • Polyunsaturated fats in fish oil are anti-inflammatory and help lower the bad LDL cholesterol and raise the good HDL cholesterol.This decreases cardiovascular risk.
  • Monounsaturated fats, as found in olive oil, which is commonly used in the Mediterranean diet, decrease the risk of peripheral artery disease. They too lower the bad cholesterol numbers.
  • AVOID trans-fats, formed by partial hydrogenation and is found in margarine, vegetable shortening, and processed foods such as cookies, pastries, and cakes. Trans-fats raise the bad LDL levels and lower the HDL levels.This increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  • Decrease your saturated fat intake, which is found in dairy products such as milk, cream cheese, yogurt, butter, as well as in beef, and other land animals. They can increase the bad cholesterol but tend to not affect the good cholesterol. High amounts of saturated fat increases one’s risk of cardiac events and stroke.
  • Women should eat 35-65 Grams of fat per day.Men should consume 45-75 grams of fat per day.
  • Chose skinless white poultry and lean cuts of beef to minimize fat intake. Moderate the intake of coconut oil since it is high in saturated fats. Remember, trans fats and saturated fats are mostly solid at room temperature. That means they would be solid in your arteries, so be certain to moderate intake of these type of fats.
  • Fats contain twice as many calories as either protein or carbohydrates. Men require 25% more calories as women.
  • Tip: Eat more nuts (1/4 cup a day)  : almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, and pine nut!
  • Tip: use olive oil rather than butter or margarine for your bread or vegetables.
  • Tip: Eat more fish. Of note, low doses of omega-3 fatty acid rich fish oil (~1000 mg a day) may reduce the number of epileptic seizures in treatment-resistant patients.  It was shown that low dose fish oil decreased seizures by 33%!

Insane Medicine – General health tips regarding fats, vegetables, fish, and whole grains.

Food Choices – General Information:

  • FATS: Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) in avocados, nuts, seeds, canola, olives, and peanut butter – are linked to lower cardiovascular risk. Polyunsaturated fasts (PUFA) found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds are also linked to lower cardiovascular risk. They also decrease the risk of type – 2 diabetes. Omega 3 fatty acids (fish, flax, soy, walnuts) decrease inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Decrease your saturated fats (meats, poultry with skin, some tropical oils (palm kernel/coconut) to help decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Trans fats (margarine and fried foods) also need to be cut out due to their bad effects as well.
  • Goal for Fat intake : Less than 30 % of your total calories from MUFA/PUFA (30-60 gm a day) and keep saturated fat to less than 10 % of your calories (22 gm a day).
  • Whole Fruits: Increase them as they are associated with less heart disease and stroke and lower blood pressure. They have fiber and phytochemicals as well.
  • Goal for whole fruits: 2 cups a day. Avoid high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, honey, and maple syrup that are present in processed foods. For men, less than 150 calories (38 gm) of added sugar a day is the maximum and 100 calories (25 gm) a day for women of added sugar.
  • Vegetables and Whole Grains: Increase them !They are rich in fiber, minerals, and phytochemicals and decrease cancer risk, cardiovascular risk, type 2 diabetes, and  cognitive decline. Aim for whole grains such as whole wheat, bulgur, corn, rye, oats, and quinoa.  Avoid refined grains that leave only the starchy endosperm present. These items with processed grains such as desserts, crackers, and breads and cookies increase obesity and other chronic illnesses.
  • Fish and plant proteins (legumes, soy, seeds, and nuts) increase life span and decrease heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Be certain to eat fish at least twice a week.

Other information worth mentioning:

  • Eat more Kale, a member of the brussel sprout and broccoli family, it is high in cancer-fighting antioxidants and flavonoids such as zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and lutein. Chopping up kale releases sulforaphanes, which are anti-cancer compounds, Steamed kale can bind bile acids in the gut, thereby reducing cholesterol levels. Kale is high in vitamin A, K, and C as well.
  • Popcorn is a whole grain – eat popcorn as a way of increasing your whole grain intake. Avoid butter and movie-type popcorn.