Pecans may help reduce cholesterol

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I love pecans. I regularly make nacho cheese pecans. I created my own nacho cheese seasoning based off of a recipe I saw from Bon Appetit’s former YouTube channel. I fry raw pecans with salted butter in a pot. When they are a deep brown I remove them to a bowl and toss them with about 3 tbsp of this nacho cheese seasoning. Most people like their pecans sweet but I like mine salty and tangy like Doritos.

“We examined the impact of daily pecan consumption on blood lipids and glycemia in adults at-risk for cardiovascular disease.”

The researchers assigned 52 adults between the ages of 30 and 75 who were at higher risk for cardiovascular disease to one of three groups.

One group consumed 68 grams (about 470 calories) of pecans a day as part of their regular diet; a second group substituted pecans for a similar amount of calories from their habitual diet, and a control group did not consume pecans.

At eight weeks, participants consumed a high-fat meal to determine changes in blood lipids and the amount of glucose in the blood.

There was a significant reduction in fasting total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ratio, non-HDL cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B in the two pecan groups, with no changes in control.

Daily Pecan Consumption May Help Reduce Cholesterol Levels | Medicine, Nutrition | Sci-News.com

Pecan-Enriched Diets Alter Cholesterol Profiles and Triglycerides in Adults at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease in a Randomized, Controlled Trial | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic (oup.com)

Solving the obesity epidemic can help fight the COVID-19 pandemic

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It’s well known that one of the leading risk factors for severe COVID-19 is Type-2 Diabetes and obesity. The two conditions are tightly tied together. Poor metabolic health leads to both conditions and that can be solved purely through diet.

I’m not a doctor, obviously, so consult with your physician on your health. It’s my opinion that a keto friendly diet that is low in carbohydrates can help solve most metabolic health issues.

While eating right cannot prevent contracting coronavirus, optimal metabolic health can help prevent the negative impact of infection, several studies have shown. That’s because “good nutrition and maintenance of a healthy body weight is essential for adequate immune function, supporting resistance to infectious disease and reducing adverse outcomes in the event of illness,” according to Prof. Mona Boaz of the Department of Nutrition Sciences in the School of Health Sciences at Ariel University.“A poor diet, like the modern American diet, with its junk food, ultra-processed starches and cheap fats, causes metabolic dysfunction that can be a disaster when it’s combined with the coronavirus,” Glandt wrote in an eBook titled How to Eat in the Time of COVID-19 that she recently published with Ross Wollen and Jessica Apple.

Can what you eat save you from COVID-19? – The Jerusalem Post (jpost.com)

Just say no to Keto Chow

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I ran across this favorable review of these packets of Keto powdered drinks and soups called Keto Chow (sound like dog food much?) that will cost you nearly $5.00 per packet. That’s on single packet that is supposed to replace one of your meals. When ground beef is less than $3/pound in many places this is a lot of money wasted.

Keto Chow is a drink/shake mix that has been designed to provide complete nutrition to keep you in Nutritional Ketosis. It contains a third of your daily nutritional needs of electrolytes, vitamins, protein, and more.

The Gadgeteer

This is highly processed junk food that will not provide the satiety you’re looking for. In addition, it’s fortified with nutrients. Foods that have to be fortified generally means it doesn’t have the nutrients to begin with and has to be added in artificially. Absorption of nutrients from fortified foods are generally not as good as nutrients that are naturally part of the food.

Eat real food.

A satisfying snack that’s better than a bag of chips

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It really is simple to have a snack if you must and remain on a low carb and keto friendly diet. This picture below is about as simple as it gets. It’s a single hard boiled egg, a wedge of brie cheese, a few blueberries, a strawberry, and a cup of black coffee. Anyone that is used to grabbing that quick snack of a granola bar or any type of processed snack may be surprised how something so small and simple can be so satisfying.

It’s costing more to remain keto?

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They say meat prices are rising. I was in Costco today and bought a ribeye roast for $12.50/lb. and beef eye of round for $3.50/lb. That’s relatively the same price I’ve been paying for awhile. Either it hasn’t hit here yet or it isn’t happening.

About one in three U.S. adults say they’re spending more on groceries than they were at the start of 2021, according to a Morning Consult survey of 2,200 U.S. adults conducted May 17 to 19 for Bloomberg News. Red meat was the ingredient cited most often for its higher prices, with chicken right behind.

yahoo! Finance

Low carb alternatives to pasta

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I’m just going to come out and say it. Despite the information in the article I’m linking to today I don’t think there is a true acceptable alternative to traditional pasta. Pasta substitutes just can’t compete. That doesn’t mean you can’t use these items. But just know that your dish will not be the same.

What I use is pictured above. They are thin sheets of eggs cut into noodles. To me they have been the best substitute for pasta. They’re not watery like zucchini or other vegetables. They’re not gummy like shirataki noodles. They hold sauce and soups in the tiny bubbles of the egg sheets. They have a texture that acts much like a traditional noodle. But, make no mistake it still is not pasta.

People can use vegetables such as spaghetti squash, zucchini, and cabbage in place of regular pasta. They can also use kelp noodles or bean sprouts. These low-carb substitutes have additional beneficial nutrients and fiber, which may help to balance a person’s blood glucose.

Using pasta alternatives allows people who choose low-carb diets or those who are intolerant to gluten to enjoy their favorite recipes. The alternatives are often easy to prepare, and some are suitable for dishes such as spaghetti Bolognese and lasagna.

Medical News Today

Today show covers the keto diet

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What is ketosis?
The body always seeks out glucose (and its stored form, glycogen) for fuel. Limiting carbohydrates mean limiting the body’s favorite fuel — and so it must adapt.

The alternative solution is to burn stored fat instead. The metabolic shift from burning glucose to fat produces ketones. Ketones are important because while the body is burning fat for energy, the brain doesn’t have the ability to do this. Instead, the brain will fuel on ketones produced by the liver instead. Once the body fuels on fat and the brain fuels on ketones, you are in ketosis.

What is the ketogenic diet?
The keto diet is one in which you drain your liver glycogen stores and force the body to find that alternative fuel. In addition to limiting carbohydrates to achieve this, protein content may also need to be reduced. That’s because protein actually has a small insulin-stimulating effect, which suppresses ketone creation.

Today.com

I would say this is a good overview. Some of it is a little off the mark and Kristin Kirkpatrick doesn’t cover the part about how your body can make it’s own glucose through gluconeogenesis.

Gluconeogenesis – 24 hours to 2 days – The liver manufactures new glucose from amino acids in a process called “gluconeogenesis”. Literally, this is translated as “making new glucose”. In non-diabetic persons, glucose levels fall but stay within the normal range.

The Fasting Method

It’s a good introduction to keto and low carb lifestyles. I would suggest picking up some books though if you really want the details on a lifestyle that can have enormous health benefits for almost everyone.

Image by healthguru from Pixabay

Continuous glucose monitors are becoming all the rage

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I looked into getting a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) before. Not because I have diabetes but because I was experimenting on myself with taking a more strict low carb diet. It turns out you need a prescription to get one. I don’t know why since I was able to get a ketone and glucose test kit from Keto Mojo. These kits do pretty much the same thing as a CGM except you have to test on demand rather than test continuously.

Scarcity may be driving part of the demand. Because it’s a medical device, the Food and Drug Administration regulates the continuous glucose monitor, so it requires a prescription. If you’re not diabetic, insurance almost certainly won’t cover it. Many doctors won’t prescribe it.

Wall Street Journal

If I can use an on demand type test where I have to prick my finger and put a drop of blood on a test strip why can’t I get a CGM? Why does this need a prescription? I’m not ingesting anything. All I want to do is see how quickly my body reacts to certain types of food.

Some doctors are against it. They think people are nuts for doing this.

Still, some experts object to widespread monitoring, like Dr. David Slawson, professor of family medicine at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There’s been no rigorous research to show it improves quality of life for healthy people and may lead to anxiety and depression, he says. “It looks very cool and the graphs are great and glitzy, but the reality is it doesn’t improve anything,” he says. “We are nuts to be doing this.”

Wall Street Journal

I don’t see how this will lead to anxiety and depression. If you’re already susceptible to eating disorders or other addictive type behaviors knowing your blood sugar levels isn’t going to change that in my opinion.

My metabolism is different than my wife’s. I’m able to eat a higher level of carbohydrates than she can without gaining weight. What I would like to know, however, is what is really happening in my body? Is my blood sugar spiking anyway but somehow I’m able to burn the glucose faster than she can? I think it would be good for her too so she knows what foods to avoid if she’s looking to lose or maintain weight. Diet and exercise are very personal and we all react a little different to food and training.

“People say, why don’t you just read a book and eat low carbs,” says Dr. Casey Means, co-founder and chief medical officer of Levels Health.”The problem is you and I can eat the exact same banana, and my glucose might go up 100 points and you go up 10. One-size-fits-all nutrition recommendations really fall short,” given new understanding of biochemical individuality, she says.

Wall Street Journal

Hopefully one day it will over the counter so I can just pick one up and monitor my own health the way I want.

Image by Pamula REEVES-BARKER from Pixabay