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Vitamins got their name because they are "vital to life," meaning that if you are completely deprived of them for a long period of time, you become sick. One hundred years ago many of our forefathers did suffer from malnutrition. That was an age of under-nutrition. Americans are now living in an age of over-nutrition or over-eating, depending on how you look at it. Today's modern food distribution system and the availability of a wide range of fresh foods throughout the year mean dietary deprivation is no longer an issue in this country. Except for a few isolated cases of people who can't absorb their food, we haven't seen mass cases of vitamin deficiency in this country since the pilgrims washed ashore.
We've just been frightened or overly excited by vitamin manufacturers, the processed food industry, and their supporters in the government into thinking we can benefit from supplements. We don't.
The link between health and vitamins may have gained momentum in 1962 when Linus Pauling won the Nobel Prize. He was convinced that mega doses of vitamins would be good for your health. But these claims were based solely on his personal experience with vitamins; his own research had nothing to do with Vitamin C. Just because one person takes a pill and they feel better (even if they are a Nobel Prize winning scientist) that doesn't mean that the pill was responsible for the effect. That is why we have placebo-controlled trials. In fact there is no evidence to support the claim that Vitamin C in pills or in fresh foods prevents colds. The best that can be said is that Vitamin C reduces symptoms by 23%, and may decrease the length of time you suffer from cold symptoms by about a day. The fact that Vitamin C continues to be touted for the prevention of colds can only be attributed to the incredible marketing ability of the vitamin and supplement industry and the ability of the American public to suspend disbelief.
The modern day obsession with vitamins can be traced to back to a book from the 1960s called 'Let's Get Well' by Adelle Davis. She author advocated high doses of vitamins for most of the ills of modern life. She claimed that she spent many hours in the library reading the scientific literature to find support for the statements, which she made in her books, which were the most influential sources of the modern day obsession with vitamins, supplements and nutrition in the support of health . Later it was found that most of the citations she made were grossly inaccurate or had no basis in reality. It appears that our current belief in vitamins and supplements were built on a foundation of sand.
The USDA hedged their bets in regards to vitamins when in 1941 they first came up with the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). The RDA determined how many vitamins and minerals we need to take in daily in our diets (this is not to be confused with the food pyramid, developed by the USDA in the 1950s, which tells us how much of different food groups we need, like fruits, vegetables, cereals, meat, and dairy products). Most of us are familiar with the RDA from our childhood days of reading the back of our cereal boxes during breakfast time. What most people don't understand is that the authors of the RDA only knew what type of deprivation was required to develop illness.
The USDA didn't really know what the minimum was you could take and still be healthy. For instance, pellagra is a deficiency of niacin (Vitamin B-3) that plagued the American South in the first part of the 20th Century, with associated mental dullness, lethargy, and other symptoms. Pellagra was related to the Southern narrow diet of fat back, corn bread and molasses. When foods with niacin and its precursor, tryptophan, such as meats and dairy products, became more available as the standard of living rose, the deficiency was eliminated along with the disease.
However, since the Southern diet was previously devoid of these foods, and since no clinical trials were ever conducted to determine the minimum amount of niacin required, government officials essentially hedged their bets and doubled what you probably need. Better safe than sorry. They also based the recommendation on a tall, young, healthy male who exercises on a regular basis. That means the RDA recommendations don't apply to women, children, the elderly, small people, or sedentary folks. They don't have a clue about how much those people need. In fact, if those people followed the USDA recommendations, it wouldn't be possible to eat enough food to get all the vitamins they say are needed without getting fat, unless they exercised quite a bit. Based on the fact that the RDA analysis of vitamin requirements is based on a bogus standard related to a young healthy male, and an estimate that started out at least double the necessary requirement, the RDA nutritional requirements are at least four times the actual minimum amount of vitamins and minerals, and probably much, much more.
Bottom line is I think it is a waste of time and money to take vitamins. And there are some hidden risks, for instance some vitamins have been shown to increase the risk of cancer and heart disease, rather than decrease them.
Can sugar contribute to obesity? Yes.
Can a person eat a lot of sugar and remain thin? Also yes.
Plenty of thin people eat a diet high in refined sugar. Think of all the teens who live on soda and fast food. Therefore, logically, sugar is not the sole cause of obesity. Of my four children, my son who never has to worry about his weight eats more sugar than his siblings, yet remains thin without trying.
There is little doubt that eating more calories than the body consumes leads to obesity. But does the body care if the calories come from sugar or from a healthy balance of fruits and vegetables, meat and potatoes?
At least in many instances, it seems the answer is no. When patients enter the hospital they are commonly given IV fluids which are primarily sugar water. Many of these patients lose weight, despite taking most of their calories in the form of glucose. Cancer patients and others with serious illness survive on tube feeds alone for months or years at a time. Many of these patients lose weight, despite the high carbohydrate content of the liquid diet. The total calories taken in is simply insufficient to meet the needs of the body. The body feeds on itself to make up for inadequate diet, and weight loss results.
On the other hand, patients who are already overweight or obese often develop a craving for sugar or simple carbohydrates, and find these foods tend to maintain or worsen the overweight condition.
Just what gives here? Do doctors and scientists understand what’s going on?
A few years ago they thought they had the answer. The discovery of leptin deficiency in massively obese mice led scientists to believe they had the answer for overweight humans as well. Leptin tends to inhibit appetite. The lack of this hormone makes mice (and people) eat voraciously. However, it turns out that most overweight people have more leptin than thinner people. The biologic system that controls appetite and weight turns out to be much more complicated than previously understood.
Scientists did discover that certain humans have the mutation that leads to leptin insufficiency and obesity at a young age. Treating these children with leptin does help lower their body weight considerably.
But what about the middle-aged adult who has seen the spare tire inflate over the years? Currently we have no good answer except to eat less and exercise more. Avoiding sugar is not a bad idea – it’s so difficult to limit intake to a reasonable amount that total abstinence may be an easier answer. But other simple carbohydrates may be just as bad for the body: white bread, white rice, white potatoes, breakfast cereal, and pasta.
The healthiest diet is one that consists primarily of vegetables and fruits, yet many find this unfulfilling. No matter what the scientists discover, a pill can’t be the answer for modern man. We simply need to exercise more and eat healthier. The very thought makes me hungry for a piece of cake. What’s a person to do? I’m pretty sure if we had to grow our own food we’d all be thinner – I know I would be. Can I use my teenagers for an excuse for now?
Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, M.D.
I am a software programmer. I need to sit for long hours in front of computers in an air conditioned room. I have sedentary life style and was very fond of burgers, KFC chicken fry and beer.
I was also looking for a new job and got an interview call. I discovered on the day of my interview that I can not wear any of my existing suits which I purchased only 4 months back. I was very disappointed and for the first time I realized what damage I had done to myself.
After consulting few doctors, certified fitness trainers and doing a detailed online research. I found my main problem is slow metabolism due to lack of physical activity, snacking throughout the day on high sugared foods (candy, colas, cakes, gum), eating or drinking too much sugar containing foods like cola and poor diet.
I found an online program called fat burning furnace by Rob Poulos where several people gave a positive feedback. I noticed that most of them lost around 10 lbs to 20 lbs within 1 month because this program boost the metabolism. I was also more curious because several marketers gave FBF a negative rating, stating that fat burning furnace is a scam. I overcame all the mentality of distrust and skepticism and downloaded the book.
I liked FBF weight loss plan as it doesn't force any strict dietary changes, but provides each person with various alternatives to their favorite food. Aauthor has designed a way for you to attain the weight you desire and at the same time get rid of the old saying "eat less, workout more".
Here are the 7 steps that I followed for my dramatic dress size reduction and to get back the energy that I had at the age of 15.
1. I stopped eating fried foods. I must admit that I really miss those king size Mc Burgers.
2. I started taking 5-7 smaller meals, throughout the course of the day. This is based on rotational diet meal plan and calorie shift, which actually improved my metabolism. The FBF Diet, also called the "15 minute miracle", comes in two customizable versions: FBF Deluxe & FBF Ultimate Fitness System, where I got fat loss workout routine and diet choices. The most important part is to eat foods that boost metabolism, so that you can lose weight quickly and easily.
3. As suggested in the system, I started taking dinner at 8 PM everyday and started going to bed at around 11 PM instead of 2 AM after playing hour long computer games. I found good sleep, which helped me a lot in my work.
4. I stopped skipping breakfast, which I used to do often because of my bad habit of going to bed late.
5. I stopped smoking and avoided most of the weekend parties to avoid alcohol. Thank God! I was not a heavy smoker.
6. I used natural colon cleanser for sometime. I found this simple and easy way has helped me to lose 5 pounds in 7 days, in the first week it self.
7. I started aerobic fat burning exercises like jogging, swimming and interval training for 45 minutes, 5 days a week. This typical exercise schedule actually burns the fat whole day, even when I am chatting with my friends or watching a movie.
Why the above plan works?
(a) Regular exercises improves your breathing and also force you to drink more water which are two two natural metabolism boosters.
(b) Aerobics, high intensity interval & resistance training builds muscle. For every 1 lb of muscle your body will burn about 50 extra calories per day without any additional effort on your part.
Friends !! I can assure you that if you follow the same plan like me for quick fat loss and maintain a proper lifestyle, your body will look fit, firm and phenomenal from the beach to the boardroom … and BEYOND.
Let's summarize what we learned:
The Fat Burning Furnace is a step by step program for burning body fat by building lean muscle & boosting your metabolism using proper exercise & nutrition.
So we got as far in part 1 to the bit where we examined the extensive processing that goes on to produce the stevia that you find on the shelves in food stores. Let’s continue to speak a little more on the end product…
How close the end product is to the natural plant it is extracted from (the source) is a bit like saying we humans are all made of the stuff out there in the universe.
Interestingly refined sugar goes through far less processing than Stevia. Now don’t take that as a vote in favour of sugar. Clearly it’s not, however, we all need to be aware of the facts surrounding how things are changed in an exhaustive process in order to get to a standard that is appealing to the majority of people.
Remember that whole living foods are what we need to be consuming and a process that exhaustive to create a Stevia powder doesn’t tick the boxes for me. I wonder how supposed “health experts ” can claim that this laboratory product is actually good for you.
Now, remember our body needs whole living foods right? Most people have no idea about this, but to keep things simple here is a plain scientific fact for you all to take note of:
Our bodies are 70% bacteria and our skin and gut tissue has the same profile. So attached to every cell in our body are numerous bacteria and guess what, the food we eat is supposed to feed the bacteria! That in simple terms folks is what keeps our bodies healthy.
This is why we need fermented foods in our diet every day. Typically our gut needs to have 2 kilos of bacteria in it. The average person has 0.5 kilo.
Hmmm, Houston we have a problem!
Now what does all of this have to do with taking a bit of Stevia powder, one may ask?
Well, in 2014 a study out of Latvia suggested that Stevia may have a negative effect on probiotic bacteria. For those of you who have no idea what probiotic bacteria do, they keep the gut healthy. All disease starts in the gut and unfortunately that is why we are such a sick country. Poor gut health, nothing else.
So the probiotic bacteria improve the intestinal flora, inhibit harmful bacteria, promote good digestion and boost immune function and increase resistance to infection.
Anyway, back to the study, they used six different strains of Lactobacillus reuteri (naturally found in gut flora in humans) in the experiment. Now they found that both compounds in Stevia – stevioside and rebaudioside were found to inhibit the growth of ALL six strains tested. This is what they said about this finding:
Stevia glycosides application in food is increasing; yet, there are no data about the influence of stevia glycosides on Lact. reuteri growth and very few data on growth of other lactobacilli, either in probiotic foods or in the gastrointestinal tract. This research shows that it is necessary to evaluate the influence of stevia glycosides on other groups of micro-organisms in further research.”
So the issue here is that we don’t hear too many people talking about the implications of digestion of stevia and the forms of molecules which might result following the breaking down of the steviol glycosides by bacteria in the digestive tract.
Evidence may suggest it might be mutagenic after being consumed and broken down in the body.
So while it may be considered completely safe to consume, we don’t really know much about what happens after that.
So, stevia vs sugar?
While stevia may be better for diabetes and blood sugar it doesn’t necessarily mean certain sugars are worse in all cases.
There are no definitive studies been done on humans centering around the conversion of steviol glycosides to steviol. However, in rats, DNA breakage was found in the blood, spleen, brain cells and liver.
So, in terms of using stevia as a healthy alternative, well, in my humble opinion, going on the raw, whole foods principle, you will be far better off using a teaspoon of raw unfiltered local honey. The taste will be amazing and so much better for you.
Stevia in Kombucha?
Authentically brewed Kombucha must use sugar to feed the microbes that make the probiotics. It is the fuel source for these amazing little critters. So, the sugar is for them not you and if the Kombucha is brewed correctly, then there will be no problems for most people, since most of it will be consumed and have become probiotics, producing a naturally carbonated beverage through the process of fermentation. This is what makes Kombucha an amazing drink.
In terms of adding stevia to Kombucha, well there is very limited research if any, to show that it is having any health benefit at all, but it does make for good marketing in times of “Fads”.
Keep it simple folks. Kombucha has been brewed and consumed as a medicinal drink through the ages assisting with supporting good health among nations of people, so why would that need to change?
1. Wellness Mama: https://wellnessmama.com/1482/stevia-safe-or-healthy/
If you are to go by what it is written in any given review of Sherry Brescia, her books, and her method of eliminating stomach and digestive pain, you should take this is a great and highly effective health system.
The best part of the book is perhaps the fact that it explodes the myth that any healthy diet can’t be tasty and enjoyable as well.
The health system that Sherry promotes is based on the principle that acidity is at the root of all the evils that befall our bodies. Neutralize this acidity and voila – all your health problems are gone.
How? Acidity promotes the growth of bad (harmful) bacteria in the body, which in turn cause disease. This disease is sometimes easily diagnosed, and sometimes it is not. However, the body sensing the infection within starts an inflammatory response process, which would then be manifested as various acute pains and aches.
Indigestion, acidity, gas, bloating, and diarrhea are part of this reaction of the body when the pH balance has turned acidic. According to most Sherry Brescia reviews, Sherry is able to introduce a simple-to-follow system that can change your life.
Her background of 16 years as a health insurance researcher where she had to analyze the physiology of diseases and thousands of medical claims has prompted her to look for a permanent solution. Sherry was born with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and she knew first-hand how debilitating it was to suffer from stomach and digestive aches.
Sherry Brescia reflects her commitment to the truth and her determination to disseminate the facts to other people who seek ways to stop their digestive pain. She has advised against the symptomatic treatment that is normally recommended to people with acidity related problems. She recommends instead that they change their diet so their bodies’ pH is restored to 7.35, and take effective probiotics to promote the growth of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract for effective digestion.
She is fast in exploding the myth that a healthy diet needs to be tasteless. To prove this, she has put together in the book ‘Great Taste No Pain’ more than 100 recipes, each mouthwatering and healthy, so people can understand and internalize that healthy food can have great taste.
Sherry clearly promotes the belief that unless people love what they eat, they would not be able to sustain their diet or stay healthy. Eating healthy should become a way of life – therefore, the food should be easy to put together and healthy as well.
Reviews of Sherry Brescia also look at the claim she makes that the right combination of eating can end all your stomach and digestive pains within one day. Many agree that it works just as she says it does. Sherry says that all you need to stay healthy is to switch your body’s pH from acidic to alkaline and most (if not all) your health problems will vanish.
As shown in any Sherry Brescia Review – she proves in her books that this level of alkalinity is not hard to achieve or sustain, as healthy meals can be as tasty as you want them to be – and by making a few tiny changes in your lifestyle you can be free from stomach and digestive pain for life.
Pruvit was first registered in 2013 and offers a product line designed to help your body reach ketosis, giving you the ability to lose up to one pound per day, raise your IQ, and increase your energy. In addition to offering a product in which help your body enter ketosis, Pruvit also offers a business or income opportunity giving you the ability to make money from home marketing their product and company. First, what is ketosis exactly? Simply put, Ketosis is a condition your body is able to enter allowing you to burn fat rapidly and increases your metabolism. However, can you really make money marketing Pruvit’s company or their product?
The Thing: Most companies similar to Pruvit have a wide variety of products and many of them. However, Pruvit has only one product. They have based their entire company around this product and have scientifically worked to design this product to work to the best of its abilities.
- KETO//OS (Ketone Operating System) – This product is the sole of Pruvit’s product line. It’s essentially a drink mix with ketone energy technology designed to provide the body with macro nutrients giving your body the ability for cellular regeneration and stability along with enhancing the body of energy and focus and most importantly, burning fat and increasing your metabolism. You are able to get 15 servings of this drink mix for $85.00, being the minimum amount and price, and 75 servings for $350.00. You simply have to dissolve a pack of this product into cold water and shake it up insanely!
This product is supposed to do a good amount of things, here’s a few:
- Provide rapid fat loss
- Allow your body to passively gain strength
- Allow your body better digestion
- Increase your focus and energy
- Allow you to enjoy better sleep
- Provide your body with clearer, more healthy skin
- Put you into a better mood overall
- Increase brain activity
The Opportunity: In order to understand if people are able to actually make money from marketing Pruvit’s company or products, we have to take a look at their Compensation Plan. A compensation plan is simply how companies pay their members; every company in the entire world has one! Some pay minimum wage, others pay salary, and companies similar to Pruvit do it much differently.
There are around 5 different types of payouts that Pruvit offers in addition to 14 sub-payouts in each major type, such as Kick-Off Rewards(First 30 Days), Leadership Rewards, GamePlay Rewards, Partner Rewards, and Residual Rewards, we will examine only a few of the sub-payouts. I am going to try to keep this simple while still providing the information needed to know.
- Go Pro Bonus (Kick-Off Rewards) – Within your first 30 Days of being involved with Pruvit’s business or income opportunity you can receive a payout depending on your Personal Team Volume as well as your Team Volume. The higher those are, the more you get paid.
- Go Fast Bonus (GamePlay Rewards) – This payout is weekly, however, the promoter or distributor can apply for daily payouts as well provided they are experiencing great success. The Go Fast Bonus pays the enrolling or selling promoter for the first order place by other promoters of distributors that they have Personally enrolled.
- Dream Team Bonus (Leadership Rewards) – For members that have reached Rank 8, they have the ability to earn this annual bonus from other promoters/distributors’ that they have personally enrolled in which contribute to Team Volume. To keep it simple, if a promoter enrolls someone personally, and that someone contributes to Team Volume by purchasing product, the enrolling promoter gets a yearly payout. Keep in mind, in order to achieve this type of payout, you must reach rank 8. By the time you reach Rank 8, you will have much more than just one promoter in which you have personally enrolled, therefore, the payout could be quite enormous.
To Conclude, Yes, you Can make money by marketing the company Pruvit or their product.
The Cost: If you would like to get involved or affiliated with Pruvit’s business or income opportunity, you have to understand how much money that is going to take. Understand that this is a way for you to create a business all from home. If you were to create a Construction Company, you would need to pay a certain amount to get started. With that being said, don’t be discouraged to not join the company with that one reason alone. Opening a business requires money!
VIP Launch – In order to get affiliated with Pruvit and begin making money from home by marketing their company or products, you must purchase their VIP Launch Package for $350.00. If you become a VIP member of the company you will be able to get discounts on their product. For 15 Servings you will only pay $76.00 rather than the previous $85.00 and for the 75 Servings product you will only pay $133.00 rather than $350.00.
My Conclusion: Pruvit offers a product designed to strike your body into ketosis rather rapidly to increase your metabolism and burn fat. The product is unique but kind of pricey. They offer a business/income opportunity for those that would like to market their products or company. This opportunity has several different types of payouts and yes, you definitely Can make money from being successful by referring members into the business or by marketing their products and generating sales. The cost is pretty cheap, which makes sense. Most companies with a Start-Up cost are either cheap or expensive depending on how lucrative their compensation plan is. The compensation plan that Pruvit offers is nice but is going to require a good amount of work in order to start receiving huge payouts.
*Dustin Hale is NOT affiliated with Pruvit or their business/income opportunity
There's a battle going on in Wikipedia (isn't there always?) This one is on the margarine versus butter debate, and the Wikipedia editors have flagged the ever-changing article 'margarine' as possibly biased. It's a vital topic, because the answer hinges on one of the most important health misunderstandings of the last three decades.
A typical Wikipedia battle of opinions. Looking at its history, it seems to be going the usual way of such debates: one side 'corrects' the other's changes, it's recorrected back, and so on until the editors put up a bar and open a debate to settle it. (Maybe I should have a go? Nah, wait till the dust dies down.)
[Do note that with the term 'margarine', I'm including low-fat spreads. The general definition today is that margarine is 70% -80% fat (like butter) and low-fat spreads are less. Otherwise they're similar. It's just that you can eat a little more low-fat spread to get the same damage to your health.]
Before I explain why there's Bad Health in the Margarine-Butter wars, I'll sketch in a bit of the history. Skip this if you're bored by history, but don't blame me if you're missing a point later.
History of Margarine
All the sources say that margarine began as a competition run by Emperor Napoleon III of France in the mid-19th century to find a cheap butter substitute for the French army and the poor. The winner's product, oleomargarine, was an emulsion of beef fat with skim milk, and while it was clearly not butter, it was edible – and cheap.
For six decades, this and similar spreads became a commercial success all over Europe and North America, though their sales never rivalled butter. In the UK it was first called 'butterine', but after it was found being sold as an adulterant in butter, a public enquiry resulted in the name 'margarine' being required.
Recipes varied, but they were all essentially flavored water or milk emulsions of a hard fat, intended to resemble butter enough to get a sale. Mostly animal fats were used: soft beef fat usually, blended with anything cheap: mutton fat and whale blubber, for example. High-saturate tropical fats like coconut oil or palm oil were occasionally used, too. Margarine was universally disliked, but universally bought as the poor man's butter.
In the 1930s, a radical change came with the development of hydrogenation. This is when fat or oil is heated with hydrogen, to convert lighter oils into saturated fats. The resulting very hard fat could be blended with lighter oils and emulsified with water, skim milk or whey to a butter-like consistency – and with a much better flavor and more controllable consistency than previously.
It was found, though, that the hydrogenation process could be stopped short, and the resulting partially hydrogenated oil was butter-like with no blending of light oils needed. This saved on costs. This became the method of choice from the 1950s on. Traditional margarine today is a mix of partially hydrogenated oils (corn, cottonseed, peanut, rape and sunflower being cheap, depending on region and season), emulsified with water and with added flavorings. Whey powder and vitamins are usually added to costlier blends.
The situation today
Margarines and spreads now well outsell butter, probably because margarine today is tastier than ever and often half the price of butter, and because of the butter health scare a few decades ago (also known as the margarine myth – see below). Partial hydrogenation is still the method used to make most margarines, where it's allowed and accepted by the public – it's the cheapest method.
In the last couple of decades, more expensive, butter-like margarines and lower-fat spreads have got popular, getting their taste from extra whey and artificial flavors. They have names not unlike 'I Can Believe This Isn't Butter'. All these, together with cheaper spreads, are the margarine of our title.
And, at last, margarines and spreads are being made from unhydrogenated oils, even with traces of fish oil for Omega-3, and heavily advertised as the best thing for health since sliced … er … butter. I'll come to these last.
End of history
(bored ones – you can look back, now).
The Butter-Margarine Wars
On with the main theme of this article.
The three-decade-long fight between the butter and margarine lobbies hasn't died yet. It wouldn't, would it, with so many millions of dollars in profits hinging on the outcome? The argument seems to turn on which will kill you next week and which will help you live to be 120 – if you believe either of them!
The butter lobby would have you believe that margarine is an adulterated chemical mess that will see you off in a jiffy with a seized-up heart or stroke – but butter is natural, and good for you. And it tastes like, well, butter. Margarine fans want you to know that butter is full of killer saturated fats, whereas margarine is made with poly-unsaturated goodness and precious vitamins to preserve you for decades. And it tastes like butter, anyway.
Well, when it comes to the character assassination part, they both are. As you will have heard, eating saturated fats in quantity is said to be the surest way to get hardened, fatty arteries and pop off with a heart attack or stroke: it gets most of us in the end. If you eat a typical Western diet, this is true, and what the margarine lobby major on in their advertising.
However – and this is the Margarine Myth – they also claim that margarine is chock full of polyunsaturated oils like sunflower oil, which are very good for you. Oh-oh! Not true. Made from polyunsaturates, yes. Analyzed to contain poly-unsaturates, yes. But healthy – NO! Not always anyway, and depending where you live, maybe not often …
You see, it wasn't much known till the 1980s that there were two types of poly-unsaturated fatty acid. One was normal (the cis- type), by far the commonest in nature, the other twisted from normal (trans- type), giving it the characteristics of a saturated fat.
Now, much margarine since the 1930s (and the most common margarine from the 1950s until maybe recently) has been made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Partial hydrogenation's main aim is to convert some of the oils into fats giving the whole mess a 'harder' consistency and making it suitable for margarine. Partial hydrogenation's other effect, though, is to twist cis- into trans-fats. In other words, much of the healthy poly-unsaturated oil in these margarines is converted into trans-fats, sometimes over a quarter of the oil content, as a by-product of making some fats from the oil. But traditional fat analyses still show them as poly-unsaturates, and so trans-fats can sneak into that poly-unsaturates count on the tub.
You may have heard about the nasty trans-fat. You heard right. Like a saturated fat, it gets turned by your body straight into energy, and, as people generally eat more energy than they can use, it goes 'straight to my hips', as I hear a lot of ladies say. It gets stored – in the cellulite, the love handles, the artery walls. Yeah, just like butter fat.
But there's worse.
Trans-Fats – the Healthy Oil Blockers
Your body needs poly-unsaturated fatty acids for body building, repair and a lot of other jobs, especially the essential Omega 3 fatty acid ALA and Omega 6 fatty acid LA. It can recognize these, cut them out from the rest using clever enzymes and send them to where they're needed for your health.
Because a trans-fat is still poly-unsaturated, your internal chemical factory almost recognises it as the real thing. It tries to do the cut-out bit and fails – but in trying, it misses a lot of the real cis-fats your body needs, which simply get burnt for energy.
So, trans-fats block your reserving of a lot of the cis-fats you need to stay healthy. You then need to eat more cis-fats than you'd otherwise need, to be fit. Trouble is, the vital ALA cis-fat is pretty scarce in today's refined food, fast food, junk food diet. If you're seriously short of it, your body has to go into emergency measures to keep you alive – and the most common results are atherosclerosis and arthritis.
The Margarine Myth
Let's put all this together. There is a very strong argument (ie, it's dead certain, unless you make margarine) for claiming that 'traditional' margarine, made from partially hydrogenated oils, is worse for health than butter because of its trans-fat content. That's what explodes the myth of margarine's health benefits.
The scares about butter have a lot of truth in them – but it's even more true for the trans-fat margarine they said was safer than butter. OK, 30 years ago, no-one knew about the trans-fat dangers. 'Taint their fault. But by 20 years ago, the science was solid – and oil chemists knew it. So, why didn't they tell us, or change the margarine formulas once they knew its effects? Even if it would cost more. Might be something to do with who they worked for!
Some Hope Dawning
As the information I've laid out briefly in this article became prominent in the last few years, margarine makers have quietly developed and publicly trumpeted new margarines with new health claims (and at a higher price, of course). Some add 'wonder' ingredients to hopefully make an unhealthy product (margarine is, after all, a fat) more healthy. Some of them have quietly replaced the partially-hydrogenated oils with regular oils. If you're in the US, the pack will have to tell you the trans-fat content, so it's easy to tell.
If you're not in the US, you still need to look on your supermarket shelves to see whether the margarine revolution has got to you yet. Does the label mention trans-fats? If not, it's probably got 'em!
But now, two kinds of margarine have arrived which make new claims to be healthy. One of them's a winner, the other a dud.
The Cholesterol-Killer Margarine?
Type one contains additives known to reduce blood cholesterol levels in trials – especially plant sterol or stanol esters. They are 3 to 5 times the price of regular margarines. Sounds great if it works!
Just remember that, to get any useful benefits, you'll need to eat a quarter pound or more of this fat a day. It'll be a fine margarine if there are no trans- fats in it, but there are much healthier and cheaper ways to get the cholesterol-lowering results than eating your sterols as extracts in margarine. And the easiest is to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, where the additional benefits go far beyond a dose of plant sterol.
(Tip: it's worth repeating how to tell whether there are trans fats in a margarine or oil. Just look on the pack. If the margarine is free of this junk, they'll usually be proud to tell you. – it's likely in there!)
The Truly Healthy Margarine?
Type two appeared quite recently and is still gaining market share. It's a low-fat spread around the price of butter, and as it gains in popularity, the price should drop. They use refined polyunsaturated oils without hydrogenation and they clearly say how much trans fat is in the tub (there's always a little, even in natural oils). Good. Such margarines definitely give advantages over butter – as long as you don't eat a lot. It is a fat, after all! This is so far the healthy way to go.
What is the best oil and fat balance?
One of the nutritional problems in today's West is the predominance of Omega-6 poly-unsaturates in our food, along with a lot of saturates, of course. It was discovered long ago, but not much publicized, that Omega-6 and Omega-3 must be eaten in a naturally balanced ratio with each other, if our body's extraction and reservation of both is to be successful. So the high level of Omega-6 is a bad, not a good thing, unless we eat at least a third of that amount of Omega-3, too. And we don't. It's processed out of our food in the factory, and in fact, most Westerners are significantly short of it. This has been flagged up in so many trials as a likely major factor in atherosclerosis and arthritis that you can take it as so.
What you need to become healthy then, is to cut right down on Omega 6, then find a good source of Omega 3 with not much else in it. There are two big sources of Omega 3: fish oils and flax seed and its oil. Fish oils have almost none of the vital ALA in them – fish don't store it. If you're healthy, you can make the fish oil fatty acids from ALA yourself, so you really need a good source of ALA. Flax is the only oil with over 30% ALA; it's usually about 55%. That's why flax was a traditional winter food.
For most people, then, I recommend at least 15ml of flax oil a day, and wild-caught, sub-arctic oily fish twice a week. Your complementary Omega 6 oils should be not over 30ml a day Omega 6 content to keep the balance, and on a typical Western diet that's impossible. So you need some diet modification to stay healthy. But you guessed that, didn't you?
Which Margarine Oils Are Healthiest?
Some recent margarines and spreads trumpet their headline oil on the pack as especially healthy. How true are the claims? Many are based on old, discredited ideas about good nutrition – even doctors can get behind on what's proven healthy! This is particularly true for sunflower oil, soya oil and olive oil. Remember, too, that this advice goes for the oils as well as spreads made from them.
So here are my suggestions for which margarines are best for you:
- Sunflower Spread. If you eat plenty of fish and flax seed, this is fine. Spreads made mainly or wholly from sunflower oil will be rich in Omega-6, and you'll get a poly-unsaturate balance. If you are deficient in Omega-3 – like most people – this is not the one for you. Your Omega-3 take up will be compromised, and you're not getting enough as it is!
- Soya Spreads. Same thing goes as for Sunflower oil. Soya products are popular among the health-aware, especially vegetarians, because soya beans are richer in protein than carbohydrate – the only bean to be a great protein source. But the oil is similar in nutrition to sunflower oil, and all I've said above applies. The soya magic doesn't work here.
- Olive Oil Spreads. For most Western people, mono-unsaturate spreads are the best to use. Olive oil is a good one, especially if it's virgin oil. But read the pack! I haven't yet seen a widely-available spread whose headline olive oil is more than a small part of the total. The spread may well be mostly poly-unsaturates – see above for the problem. There's no point paying a premium price for too little of mono-unsaturates to be useful.
- Spreads made wholly with rapeseed oil – my recommendation. Rapeseed is one of the cheapest oils, and has characteristics very similar to the famous olive oil. It's just as good for you, but not famous because it wasn't available in ancient times. In Europe, it's the cheapest and may well be the whole of the oil content. The problem is that it often won't be declared – it will appear as 'vegetable oil'. Look at the analysis table for the fat content to be mostly mono-unsaturates. That's the signal for a major rapeseed oil presence.
In the US and Canada, Canola oil is the equivalent of rapeseed. It's actually a rapeseed variant with very little erucic acid, developed when this fatty acid was thought to be harmful. We know now that rapeseed oil is good, but so is Canola (Canada-Oil – get it?). Go for it!
Margarines and Healthy Additives
Last point. They are even beginning to add a little Omega-3 fish oil and flax oil to some brands of margarine. Good idea: the more of these we get the better. Just remember, it's mostly NOT these good oils; there isn't enough in there to be really useful, so it's not worth any premium price. Good oils with Omega 3 are better bought direct and used direct.
Summary – my advice is: Don't use a spread that doesn't state on the tub that it's free or almost free of trans-fats. Don't use much of the new good stuff – it's fat, isn't it? Pick your oil blend in the spread to match your total oil and fat intake. And you can use butter if you like – but just a very little as a luxury: it's half saturated fat.
(Most people avoid rice because it is considered a bad carbohydrate which makes you put on weight – is that true?)
Most carbohydrates like wheat, rice, and other cereal like corn and millets contain a similar amount of carbohydrates and calories when compared by weight. Why, then, is rice considered to be bad for health when you are on a diet?
Rice in different cultures
Most rice growing countries depend on rice as their primary source of carbohydrates. Thailand, China, the Indian subcontinent, many parts of Europe and the Americas grown and eat rice. In fact many countries south east and Far East Asia start their morning with rice. Even traditional British households may include kedgeree in their breakfast menu.
The rice may be long grained, short-grained, round rice or gelatinous rice, depending on the country's climate and so influences their regional dietary preferences. In Italy, for instance, the risotto is made of Arborio rice, which requires a great deal of cooking and when done has a sticky texture.
Why is rice bad for you?
Rice, in its natural state, has vitamins, minerals and proteins. However, the white rice which is used for cooking has been stripped of a lot of its nutritional value, leaving only carbohydrates behind. It goes through a laborious processing process including dehusking and polishing.
As a refined food, rice is not good for health. It lacks fiber and other nutrients. Too much of refined foods result in an overload of simple carbohydrates which are not good for digestion.
Another reason rice is bad for you
Since rice is difficult to portion, you can easily end up eating a lot more than you intended. It is not easy to estimate how much you would normally eat, unlike say bread or chapattis.
As rice is easily digested, you may eat what you think is a sufficient quantity and feel hungry shortly after. Then you will eat more food, thus increasing your calorie count.
How to eat rice the proper way
Avoid eating refined and polished rice. If you eat brown rice, it is much better for health because it ha more nutritional value and more fiber. Brown rice is as healthy as whole wheat.
Have steamed or boiled rice, whose water has not been discarded, instead of rice which is heavy in fats. You can also overload your rice with lots of vegetables which not only add color but also nutritional value. Colored vegetables are a good source of phytonutrients and antioxidants. You can also add white shredded meat to your rice to make a complete meal.
Rice is also easier to digest and is one of the first foods given to infants. It can also be cooked in a variety of ways since it has a relatively neutral taste and is a major source of carbohydrates. Cultures world-wide cook and eat different kinds of rice and in many countries and regions it is a staple food.
So rice is not really bad for you when you are on a diet as long as you don't over-indulge and exercise portion control.