Tag Archives: fats

A Primer on Nutrition

NutritionJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Many of us will admit, we eat because we like food. While we eat to satisfy our appetite, food has much more important roles to play. Simply put, along with water, oxygen, sleep, clothing, and shelter, food fulfills one of our most basic survival needs. Food provides the nourishing substances that are necessary for growth, development, maintenance, repair, and the proper functioning of all metabolic processes. Driven by hormones, hunger is a powerful signal that we need fuel to generate the energy that sustains life and allows our bodies to run like super-efficient machines. Dietary decisions, that we often make without much thought, negatively or positively impact our health, sending our bodies information that encourages homeostasis and long-term health, or puts us at risk for dysfunction and the onset of disease.

Although we look to food for comfort and nourishment, it’s good balanced nutrition that is central to health. If we were to think of food as health-supportive preventative medicine, we might begin to focus on healthy, energizing nutrients that support overall wellness. In addressing declining health, Functional Medicine practitioners often look for nutrient deficiencies to determine the source of underlying dysfunction, which often precedes the development of chronic disease. While disease can be triggered by multiple factors, each factor is influenced by nutritional needs. Nutrient deficiencies can also result from malabsorption issues or conditions that can interfere with nutrient utilization.

Feeding your body the nutrients it truly deserves, as well as requires for good overall function, simply comes down to making healthy, mindful choices. Essential nutrients needed for proper bodily function include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and, of course, water. By making smart choices and choosing a variety of foods from each category, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet may be easier than you think.

Protein – Required for the structure, function and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs, proteins are found in every bodily cell. Proteins consist of chains of amino acids, broken down from dietary protein. Proteins are necessary for repair and maintenance of all body tissues, provide a major energy source, transport molecules and oxygen throughout the body, and are involved in the creation of hormones, enzymes and antibodies. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommended that 10-35% of your daily calories should be protein from sources such as meat, poultry, seafood, beans and pulses, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Carbohydrates – As the main fuel source for the body, dietary carbs are necessary to keep the brain, nervous system and body functioning optimally and provide the energy for proper cellular function, Sufficient daily intake of carbohydrates prevents the breakdown of protein for energy, ensuring adequate protein for its more important roles. Carbs are needed for glucose regulation, fat metabolism, and intestinal health. When it comes to health, not all carbs are created equally. Be sure to choose complex carbs, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, as these contain nutrients fiber to support elimination and feed beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend that 45-65% of daily calories come from complex carbohydrates. Choose wisely.

Fats – Fats provide a backup source of concentrated energy that the body uses when glucose runs low. Dietary fats are necessary for absorption and storage of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat cells insulate the body and help to sustain a normal core temperature. Fats provide the essential fatty acids necessary for brain health, immune function, healthy inflammation response, proper nerve signaling, and blood clotting. Although dietary fats are only now overcoming the decades old anti-fat recommendations, the USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend that 20-35% of daily calories are sourced from healthy fats, including grass fed animal products, coconut oil, nuts and avocados.

Vitamins and Minerals – Essential to sustaining overall health, vitamins and minerals work synergistically, performing hundreds of supportive roles in the body. Some of these roles include keeping bones strong and healthy, bolstering the immune system, repairing cellular damage, and converting food into energy. Vitamin and mineral insufficiency can result in illness and disease, while sufficient quantities can provide substantial health benefits. Adhering to a healthy diet along with supplementation helps ensure you are getting the micronutrients necessary to support long-term health and longevity.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other supportive nutrients in support of overall health and wellness:

BioNutrient MultiBioNutrient Multi by Energetix® – This well designed, clean dietary supplement provides whole food nutrition with highly bioavailable vitamins and chelated minerals in support of optimal bodily function. Gluten free.

 

Minimal and...Minimal and Essential Antioxidant and Multi-Vitamin Formula This once daily multivitamin, mineral and antioxidant formula provides a full spectrum of nutrients to meet the minimum daily requirements of vitamins and some minerals. Gluten, dairy and soy free formulation.

 

Multi CapsMulti Caps by Progressive™ Labs – This high potency multiple vitamin and mineral formula provides 100% or more of the recommended daily amounts of 13 vitamins, plus minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and enzymes. Contains soy and iron.

 

PurePals with Iron ...Pure Pals with Iron by Pure Encapsulations® – Designed for children aged 2 and older, this chewable formula provides a broad-spectrum, scientifically-based blend of bioavailable vitamins, minerals and bioflavonoids in support of optimal health, immune defense and healthy cognitive function. Natural cherry flavor. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO, hypoallergenic formulation.

 

Daily Multi Vitamin...Daily Multi Vitamin and Mineral for Dogs by Dancing Paws – Lest we forget the health of our furry family members, this unique canine chewable complex is formulated to provide optimum nutrient levels with guaranteed potencies of human quality essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

 

Daily Multi Vitamin...Daily Multi Vitamin and Mineral for Cats by Dancing Paws – This unique feline vitamin, mineral and antioxidant complex is designed to promote normal growth and longevity with optimal nutrient levels in guaranteed potencies. Pull apart capsule for easy dosing; simply sprinkle on food.

References:
How Does Food Impact Health? https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/food-medicine/how-does-food-impact-health
Macronutrients in Health and Disease. http://www.nutritionmd.org/consumers/general_nutrition/macro_protein.html
Protein. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/
6 Primary Functions of Proteins. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/6-primary-functions-proteins-5372.html
Do Humans Need Carbohydrates to Be Healthy? http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/humans-need-carbohydrates-healthy-6670.html
Three functions of Fat in the Body. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/three-functions-fat-body-3402.html

 

Know Your Dietary Fats

appleBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Dietary fat is often seen as the villain when it comes to obesity and associated health conditions, such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes.  However, dietary fats along with protein and carbohydrates are a necessary part of a healthy diet.  Fats are an indispensible source of the essential fatty acids that are needed for proper brain development and function, inflammation control, and the formation of healthy cell membranes.  Healthy fats provide a concentrated energy source for most of our cellular and life functions.  Fats aid in the transport of fat-soluble vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K, assist in the production of hormones, maintain healthy skin and hair, and protect organs.  With 9 calories of energy in every gram, fat is the most powerful food energy source.  By contrast, proteins and carbohydrates provide 4 calories of energy in every gram. 

Dietary fat and cholesterol are not one and the same.  As a vital part of the body’s chemistry,  cholesterol is used in the production of steroid hormones that are necessary for normal development and functioning.   Cholesterol is also involved in the production of cortisol which helps regulate blood sugar levels, is used to make the bile that aids in the digestion and absorption of dietary fat, and provides immune system support.  Your body has the ability to manufacture all the cholesterol it needs for proper function. 

When consumed in excess, dietary cholesterol and animal fats affect the body’s cholesterol production.  A diet high in animal fats will cause a slowdown in the production of cholesterol, whereas a diet with foods from plant sources will cause the body to manufacture cholesterol to meet its needs.  Most Americans consume too much dietary fat and cholesterol, mainly from animal fat and prepackaged and processed foods.  Elevated blood cholesterol levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis.  Types of dietary fats include:

  • Lipids –  The scientific term referring to naturally occurring molecules that include fats, cholesterol and triglycerides.  Lipids are a structural component of cell membranes, and are involved in energy storage and signaling. 
  • Triglycerides – The main form of fat found in the diet and stored in the body.  Triglycerides play an important role in metabolism as energy sources and transporters of dietary fats. 

The “bad” fats:

  • Saturated fats –  Normally solid at room temperature, most saturated fats are found in animal products including meat and dairy products, and in some tropical plant oils such as coconut and palm oil. Saturated fats raise total cholesterol levels. 
  • Hydrogenated fats – These unsaturated fats are processed to become solid at room temperature.  Packaged and processed foods such as cookies, crackers and margarine contain hydrogenated fats.  Hydrogenated fats can also raise total cholesterol levels. 
  • Trans fatty acids –  Small amounts of trans fatty acids are found naturally occurring in meat and dairy products.  Artificial trans fats are formed during hydrogenation, where hydrogen is added to liquid oil, turning it into a solid fat.  This process extends shelf life, increases stability and provides texture.  These fats can be found in partially hydrogenated margarines, white bread, fast foods and snack foods.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting this type of dietary fat to less than 1% of your total daily caloric intake which translates to approximately 2 grams.  Trans fatty acids tend to raise total cholesterol levels. 

The “good” fats:

  • Monounsaturated Fats – Liquid at room temperature, monounsaturated fats are primarily found in plant oils and include olive, canola and peanut oil.  Fish and nuts are another good dietary source.  Monounsaturated fats lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels. 
  • Polyunsaturated fats – Liquid at room temperature, sources include many common vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, safflower, sesame and sunflower oils, plus avocados, olives and walnuts.  Polyunsaturated fats lower total cholesterol levels. 
  • Essential fatty acids –  Omega-3 fatty acids including DHA and EPA are found in high-fat cold water fish, as well as nuts and seeds and fortified eggs.  Omega-6 fatty acids, or LA, can be found in soybean, corn, and safflower oils.  Essential fatty acids are not made by the body and must be obtained through the diet.  Essential fatty acids lower triglycerides and total cholesterol levels.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and the Institute of Medicine recommend that consumption of hydrogenated and trans fats be kept to a minimum.  Consumption of trans fats raises LDL, the bad cholesterol, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.  Major contributors to trans fat intake include fried foods, microwave popcorn, frozen pizzas, cake, cookies, margarines, prepared cake frosting and coffee creamers. 

To reduce trans fats in the diet:

  • Read nutrition labels.  Choose products with 0 grams of trans fat.  Products containing less than 0.5 grams of trans fats can be labeled as trans fat free.  In order to avoid all trans fat, check the ingredient labels for any partially hydrogenated oil. 
  • Check labels for cholesterol content.  Look for foods with 5% or less of the Daily Value.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting dietary cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg.
  • Limit total fat intake to less than 25 – 35% of your total daily calories.  Limit saturated fat intake to less than 7% and trans fats to less than 1% of daily caloric intake.  A minimum of 10% of daily calories should come from fats.  Limit your intake to less than 78 grams of fat per day and choose healthy unsaturated fats. 
  • Limit fried fast foods which contain both saturated fat and trans fat. 
  • Choose monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  The bulk of your fat intake should come from fish, nuts, seeds and naturally occurring non-hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high-fiber foods, and low fat dairy.  Choose lean meats and include cold water fish such as salmon or halibut several times a week. 

The typical American diet contains roughly 35 – 40% fat.  This dietary fat consumption plays a significant role in the obesity epidemic.  Choosing healthier types of dietary fats is one of the most important factors to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes.   Reducing the total fat content of your diet will help control your weight and that alone may help you live a longer and healthier life. 

BioLipotrol by BioGenesis Nutraceuticals –  An all natural nutraceutical designed to assist the body in regulating the production and metabolism of HDL and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.  Effective and well-tolerated forms of niacin are combined with herbal extracts for a complete and natural option for blood lipid support. 

Cholestar (K-27) by Apex Energetics –  This scientifically designed formula includes natural compounds that maintain levels of cholesterol, including LDL, triglycerides, and HDL, within  the normal range for healthy individuals. The key ingredients are red yeast rice extract, inositol hexanicotinate, and garlic extract.

Cholesterzyme Formula by Professional Solutions –  This product supports healthy cholesterol levels and provides liver support for cholesterol production.