Fructose / Glucose

Consuming high-fructose corn syrup is the fastest way to trash your health. It is now known without a doubt that sugar in your food, in all its myriad of forms, is taking a devastating toll.

And fructose in any form — including high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and crystalline fructose — is the worst of the worst! Fructose, a cheap sweetener usually derived from corn, is used in thousands of food products and soft drinks. Excessive fructose consumption can cause metabolic damage and triggers the early stages of diabetes and heart disease, which is what the Davis study showed.

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A Calorie Is Not a Calorie
Glucose is the form of energy you were designed to run on. Every cell in your body, every bacterium — and in fact, every living thing on Earth — uses glucose for energy.

If you received your fructose only from vegetables and fruits (where it originates) as most people did a century ago, you’d consume about 15 grams per day — a far cry from the 73 grams per day the typical adolescent gets from sweetened drinks. In vegetables and fruits, it’s mixed in with fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and beneficial phytonutrients, all which moderate any negative metabolic effects.

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It isn’t that fructose itself is bad — it is the MASSIVE DOSES you’re exposed to that make it dangerous. There are two reasons fructose is so damaging:

Your body metabolizes fructose in a much different way from glucose. The entire burden of metabolizing fructose falls on your liver.
People are consuming fructose in enormous quantities, which has made the negative effects much more profound.
Today, 55 percent of sweeteners used in food and beverage manufacturing are made from corn, and the number one source of calories in America is soda, in the form of HFCS.

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Food and beverage manufacturers began switching their sweeteners from sucrose (table sugar) to corn syrup in the 1970s when they discovered that HFCS was not only far cheaper to make, but is also about 20% sweeter than table sugar. HFCS is either 42% or 55% fructose, and sucrose is 50% fructose, so it’s really a wash in terms of sweetness.

Still, this switch drastically altered the average American diet.

By USDA estimates, about one-quarter of the calories consumed by the average American is in the form of added sugars, and most of that is HFCS. The average Westerner consumes a staggering 142 pounds a year1 of sugar! And the very products most people rely on to lose weight — the low-fat diet foods — are often the ones highest in fructose. Making matters worse, all of the fiber has been removed from these processed foods, so there is essentially no nutritive value at all.

Related imageFructose Metabolism Basics
Without getting into the very complex biochemistry of carbohydrate metabolism, it is important to understand some differences about how your body handles glucose versus fructose. I will be publishing a major article about this in the next couple of months, which will get much more into the details. But for our purpose here, I will just summarize the main points.

Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, has been a pioneer in decoding sugar metabolism. His work has highlighted some major differences in how different sugars are broken down and used:

After eating fructose, 100 percent of the metabolic burden rests on your liver. But with glucose, your liver has to break down only 20 percent.
Every cell in your body, including your brain, utilizes glucose. Therefore, much of it is “burned up” immediately after you consume it. By contrast, fructose is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL (the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which get stored as fat.
The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate as fat droplets in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Insulin resistance progresses to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.
Fructose is the most lipophilic carbohydrate. In other words, fructose converts to activated glycerol (g-3-p), which is directly used to turn FFAs into triglycerides. The more g-3-p you have, the more fat you store. Glucose does not do this.
When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat. 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat. Consuming fructose is essentially consuming fat!
The metabolism of fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.

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Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose has no effect on ghrelin and interferes with your brain’s communication with leptin, resulting in overeating.
If anyone tries to tell you “sugar is sugar,” they are way behind the times. As you can see, there are major differences in how your body processes fructose and glucose. The bottom line is: fructose leads to increased belly fat, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome — not to mention the long list of chronic diseases that directly result. And eating sugar may accelerate the aging process itself.

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Leptin

New Revelations Support Diet and Exercise to Reverse Leptin Resistance, Thereby Promoting a Healthy Weight

  • Leptin is a powerful and influential hormone produced by your fat cells. It plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure. By acquiring a better understanding of how leptin and its receptor interact, researchers now believe they will be able to find new treatments for obesity and other metabolic disorders
  • Drug treatments are not likely to solve leptin resistance, just as they are ineffective and even counterproductive for insulin resistance. The ideal way to correct leptin resistance is through your diet. A strategic whole food diet that emphasizes good fats and avoids blood sugar spikes will enhance insulin and leptin sensitivity
  • According to recent research, being obese promotes the growth of existing tumors regardless of diet, which may help explain why lean cancer patients often have better outcomes than their obese counterparts
  • Previous research has shown exercise can convert cancer-boosting “white” fat cells to the more health-promoting “brown” fat (a heat-generating type of fat that burns energy instead of storing it)

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Leptin, a hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure, may be one of the most important hormones in your body that will determine your health and lifespan. Insulin is another, and the two work in tandem.

Both insulin and leptin resistance are associated with obesity, and impairment of their ability to transfer the information to receptors is the true foundational core of most all chronic degenerative diseases.

Metabolism can roughly be defined as the chemistry that turns food into life, and therefore insulin and leptin are both critical to health and disease. Insulin and leptin work together to control the quality of your metabolism, and, to a significant extent, your rate of metabolism.

By acquiring a better understanding of how leptin and its receptor interact, researchers now believe they will be able to find new treatments for obesity and other metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, as well as inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

According to recent research published in the journal Molecular Cell,1 the leptin receptor has two hinged legs that swivel until they come in contact with leptin.

Once leptin attaches to the receptor, these legs stop swiveling and become rigid, thereby sending a signal to an enzyme called Janus kinase,2 which has the ability to bind inflammatory cytokines. It is believed that inhibiting the Janus kinases might help improve inflammatory and metabolic disorders.

Alan Saltiel, Director of the Life Sciences Institute, told Medical News Today:3

“This study may help solve an important issue we’ve been struggling with for some time… Since leptin is a master regulator of appetite, understanding why resistance to its effects develops in obesity has been a major obstacle to discovering new drugs for obesity and diabetes. Developing a clear picture of how leptin can bind to its receptor may be the first step in overcoming leptin resistance.”

The fact that the primary focus is on developing drug therapies to “fix” leptin resistance is understandable. That’s the only way the medical industry can make money. However, the way to correct leptin resistance has nothing to do with drugs, and everything to do with diet. But first…

Image result for leptinWhat Exactly is Leptin?
Leptin is a very powerful and influential hormone produced by your fat cells. Your fat, by way of leptin, tells your brain whether you should be hungry, eat and make more fat, whether you should reproduce, or (partly by controlling insulin) whether to engage in maintenance and repair. In short, leptin is the way that your fat stores speak to your brain to let your brain know how much energy is available and, very importantly, what to do with it.

Therefore, leptin may be on top of the food chain in metabolic importance and relevance to disease.

If your leptin signaling is working properly, when your fat stores are “full,” this extra fat will cause a surge in your leptin level, which signals your brain to stop feeling hungry, to stop eating, to stop storing fat and to start burning some extra fat off.

Controlling hunger is a major (though not the only) way that leptin controls energy storage. Hunger is a very powerful, ancient, and deep-seated drive that, if stimulated long enough, will make you eat and store more energy. The only way to eat less in the long-term is to not be hungry, and the only way to do this is to control the hormones that regulate hunger, the primary one being leptin.

How Do You Become Leptin Resistant?
You become leptin-resistant by the same general mechanism that you become insulin-resistant – by continuous overexposure to high levels of the hormone. If you eat a diet that is high in sugar (particularly fructose), grains, and processed foods – the same type of diet that will also increase inflammation in your body – as the sugar gets metabolized in your fat cells, the fat releases surges in leptin.

Over time, if your body is exposed to too much leptin, it will become resistant, just as your body can become resistant to insulin.

The only known way to reestablish proper leptin (and insulin) signaling is to prevent those surges, and the only known way to do that is via diet. As such, diet can have a more profound effect on your health than any other known modality of medical treatment.

A strategic whole food diet, as detailed in my free nutrition plan, that emphasizes good fats and avoids blood sugar spikes coupled with targeted supplements will enhance insulin and leptin sensitivity so that your brain can once again hear the feedback signals from these hormones.

So to summarize: Insulin and leptin resistance are core factors in obesity, which in turn is a risk factor for cancer and may boost tumor growth. But the answer lies not in a pill.

To reverse insulin and leptin resistance:

Avoid, sugar, fructose, grains, and processed foods
Eat a healthful diet of whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the grain carbs with:
No-to-low sugar and grain carbs
Low-to-moderate amount of protein
As much highly quality healthful fat as you want (saturated and monosaturated). Most people need upwards of 50-70 percent fats in their diet for optimal health. Good sources include coconut and coconut oil, avocados, butter, nuts, and animal fats. Also take a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fat, such as krill oil

Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk Health Benefits and Uses

Coconut milk has recently become very popular.

It’s a tasty alternative to cow’s milk that may also provide a number of health benefits.

This article takes a detailed look at coconut milk.

What Is Coconut Milk?

Coconut milk comes from the white flesh of mature brown coconuts, which are the fruit of the coconut tree.

The milk has a thick consistency and a rich, creamy texture.

Thai and other Southeast Asian cuisines commonly include this milk. It’s also popular in Hawaii, India and certain South American and Caribbean countries.

Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water, which is found naturally in immature green coconuts.

Unlike coconut water, the milk does not occur naturally in liquid form. The solid flesh is mixed with water to make coconut milk, which is about 50% water.

By contrast, coconut water is about 94% water. It contains much less fat and fewer nutrients than coconut milk.

BOTTOM LINE:Coconut milk comes from the flesh of mature brown coconuts. It is used in many traditional cuisines around the world.

How Is Coconut Milk Made?

Coconut milk is classified as either thick or thin, based on consistency and how much it’s processed.

  • Thick: Solid coconut flesh is finely grated and either boiled or simmered in water. The mixture is then strained through cheesecloth to produce thick coconut milk.
  • Thin: After making thick coconut milk, the grated coconut remaining in the cheesecloth is simmered in water. The straining process is then repeated to produce thin milk.

In traditional cuisines, thick coconut milk is used in desserts and thick sauces. Thin milk is used in soups and thin sauces.

Most canned coconut milk contains a combination of thin and thick milk. It’s also very easy to make your own coconut milk at home, adjusting the thickness to your liking.

BOTTOM LINE:Coconut milk is made by grating flesh from a brown coconut, soaking it in water and then straining it to produce a milk-like consistency.

Coconut milk is a high-calorie food.

About 93% of its calories come from fat, including saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

The milk is also a good source of several vitamins and minerals. One cup (240 grams) contains (1):

  • Calories: 552.
  • Fat: 57 grams.
  • Protein: 5 grams.
  • Carbs: 13 grams.
  • Fiber: 5 grams.
  • Vitamin C: 11% of the RDI.
  • Folate: 10% of the RDI.
  • Iron: 22% of the RDI.
  • Magnesium: 22% of the RDI.
  • Potassium: 18% of the RDI.
  • Copper: 32% of the RDI.
  • Manganese: 110% of the RDI.
  • Selenium: 21% of the RDI.

In addition, some experts believe coconut milk contains unique proteins that may provide health benefits. However, more research is needed on this (2).

BOTTOM LINE:Coconut milk is high in calories and saturated fats called medium-chain triglycerides. It also contains many other nutrients.

Effects on Weight and Metabolism

There’s some evidence that the medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) fats in coconut milk may benefit weight loss, body composition and metabolism.

About half the fat in coconuts comes from a medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid.

Coconuts also contain small amounts of other medium-chain fatty acids, including capric acid and caprylic acid.

Unlike longer-chain fats, MCTs go from the digestive tract directly to the liver, where they’re used for energy or ketone production. They are therefore less likely to be stored as fat (3).

Research also suggests MCTs may help reduce appetite and decrease calorie intake, compared to other fats (4567).

In a small study, overweight men who consumed 20 grams of MCT oil at breakfast ate 272 fewer calories at lunch than those consuming corn oil (7).

What’s more, the MCTs in coconuts can boost calorie expenditure and fat burning, at least temporarily (8910).

A few controlled studies in obese individuals and people with heart disease showed that eating coconut oil reduced body weight and belly fat. Heart health markers also improved (111213).

Although no studies have directly tested how coconut milk affects weight and metabolism, several studies show impressive effects from coconut oil and MCTs.

The same should apply to coconut milk, because it has the same fatty acids.

BOTTOM LINE:The MCTs in coconut milk may reduce appetite, increase metabolism and help you lose belly fat.

Effects on Cholesterol and Heart Health

Because coconut milk is so high in saturated fat, people may wonder if it’s a heart-healthy choice.

Very little research examines coconut milk specifically, but one study suggests it may benefit people with normal or high cholesterol levels.

This 8-week study of 60 men found that coconut milk porridge lowered LDL (“bad”) cholesterol more than soy milk porridge. Coconut milk porridge also raised HDL (“good”) cholesterol by 18%, compared to only 3% for the soy (14).

Most studies of coconut oil or flakes also found improvements in LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels (1112131516).

Although in some studies LDL cholesterol levels increased in response to coconut fat, HDL also increased. Triglycerides decreased compared to other fats (1718).

Lauric acid, the main fatty acid in coconut fat, may raise LDL cholesterol by decreasing the activity of the receptors that clear LDL from the blood (19).

Results of two studies on similar populations suggest that the cholesterol response to lauric acid may vary by individual. It may also depend on the amount in the diet.

In one study of healthy women, replacing 14% of monounsaturated fats with lauric acid raised LDL cholesterol by about 16%. In another study, replacing 4% of monounsaturated fat with lauric acid had very little effect on cholesterol (1920).

BOTTOM LINE:Overall, cholesterol and triglyceride levels improve with coconut intake. In cases where LDL cholesterol increases, HDL typically increases as well.

Other Potential Health Benefits

Coconut milk may also:

  • Reduce inflammation: Animal studies found that coconut extract and coconut oil reduced inflammation and swelling in injured rats and mice (212223).
  • Decrease ulcer size: In one study, coconut milk reduced stomach ulcer size in rats by 54% — a result comparable to the effect of an anti-ulcer drug (24).
  • Fight viruses and bacteria: The MCTs in coconuts, especially lauric acid, reduce the levels of viruses and bacteria that cause infections. This includes those that reside in your mouth (252627).

BOTTOM LINE:Coconut milk may reduce inflammation, decrease ulcer size and fight the viruses and bacteria that cause infections.

Adverse Effects

Unless you’re allergic to coconuts, the milk is unlikely to have adverse effects. Compared to tree nut and peanut allergies, coconut allergies are relatively rare (28).

However, some digestive disorder experts recommend that people who have a FODMAPintolerance limit coconut milk to one half-cup portion at a time.

Many canned varieties also contain bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that can leach from can linings into food. BPA has been linked to reproductive problems and cancer in animal and human studies (293031323334).

Fortunately, some brands use BPA-free packaging, which is recommended if you choose to consume canned coconut milk.

BOTTOM LINE:Coconut milk is likely safe for most people who are not allergic to coconuts. It is best to choose BPA-free cans.

How to Use Coconut Milk

Although coconut milk is nutritious, it’s also high in calories. Keep this in mind when adding it to foods or using it in recipes.

Ideas for Adding Coconut Milk to Your Diet

  • Include a couple of tablespoons in your coffee.
  • Add half a cup to a smoothie or protein shake.
  • Pour a small amount over berries or sliced papaya.
  • Add a few tablespoons to oatmeal or other cooked cereal.

Coconut Milk Recipes

Here are a few healthy recipes featuring coconut milk:

How to Select the Best Coconut Milk

Here are a few tips for selecting the best coconut milk:

  • Read the label: When possible, choose a product that contains only coconut and water. Avoid questionable ingredients such as carrageenan.
  • Choose BPA-free cans: Purchase coconut milk from companies that use BPA-free cans, such as Native Forest and Natural Value.
  • Use cartons: Unsweetened coconut milk in cartons usually contains less fat and fewer calories than canned options. Look for brands without carageenan, such as So Delicious and Silk.
  • Go light: For a lower-calorie option, select light canned coconut milk. It’s thinner and contains about 125 calories per half cup (120 grams) (35).
  • Make your own: For the freshest, healthiest coconut milk, make your own with this simple recipe using shredded coconut: Homemade Coconut Milk.
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