Monday, September 28, 2015

“What are saturated fats? Butter is high in saturated fat and I heard I should be eating more of it. Is that true?”

            It has long been debated whether or not diets high in saturated fat are correlated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease.  A large study conducted by Hooper, et. al. concluded that a diet lower in saturated fats decreased risk for cardiovascular disease by as much as 14%2. The real problem with this study seems to be that individuals who consume diets high in saturated fats, also consume diets high in simple carbohydrates and other food items that generally bad for your health.  Eating diets lower in saturated fats will generally also indirectly lead you to choose food items that are healthier.  Furthermore, several recent studies have concluded that there was no positive association between increased cardiovascular disease risk and saturated fat consumption, and that further research is required to assess the association1, 4, 5. Many of these researchers conducted large extensive studies to investigate the current belief that saturated fat consumption contributes to heart disease.   Although the findings in the studies did not generally support this idea, the authors of each of these studies do admit that further evidence is needed to support their findings, and that there are many different factors that must be considered when concluding what effects saturated fats may have on both healthy and unhealthy individuals. 

            So, are saturated fats good or bad? Although the effects of saturated fats on cardiovascular health are not entirely conclusive, another study demonstrated that substitution of monounsaturated fat for saturated fat in the diet resulted in increased resting energy expenditure (more calories burned at rest), as well as mood elevation3. In this study, one test group received a diet high in saturated fat, while the other group received a diet low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat.  Each group received the same foods with only the ratio of saturated fat to monounsaturated fat differing3.  These diets were implemented for a course of three consecutive weeks3.  Researchers found that resting energy expenditure (energy burned by the body in a 24hr period) had increased significantly in the group receiving monounsaturated fat and was significantly lower in the group receiving saturated fat3.  They also found that individuals consuming saturated fat were angrier than those in the monounsaturated fat group3. 

            Although there is some conflicting research on the benefits of decreasing saturated fat intake and cardiovascular health, there is a lot of research supporting the limiting of saturated fats in the diet.  The bottom line is that the typical western diet that most Americans consume is high in a number of macro and micronutrients that negatively affect health when consumed in excess.  Moderation is key! Time magazine recently posted an article telling people to "eat butter".  Although we've learned that butter is probably not as terrible as we've previously thought, most of us already eat much more butter and other sources of saturated fat than we should be eating on a daily basis.  Research suggests that limiting your intake of many of these foods will have significant health benefits. 


1. Chowdhury, R., Warnakula, S., Kunutsor, S., Crowe, F., Ward, H., Johnson, L., Franco, O., Butterworth, A., Forohul, N., Thompson, S., Kahw, K., Mozaffarian, D., Danesh, J., Angelantonio, E. Association of Dietary, Circulating and Supplement Fatty Acids with Coronary Risk.  American College of Physicians, 2014; (160) 6: 398-406. 

2. Hooper, L., Summerbell, C., Thompson, R., Sills, D., Roberts, F., Moore, H., Smith, G. Reduced or modified dietary fat for preventing cardiovascular disease.  The Cochrane Collaboration. 2011; 7: 1-214. 

3.  Kien, C L., Bunn, J., Tompkins, C., Dumas, J., Crain, K., Ebstein, D., Koves, T., Muoio, D. Substituting dietary monounsaturated fat for saturated fat is associated with increased daily physical activity and resting energy expenditure and with changes in mood.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013; 97: 689-97.

4.  Siri-Tarino, P., Sun, Q., Hu, F., Krauss, R.  Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010; 91: 535-546. 

5.  O’Sullivan, T., Hafekost, K., Mitrou, F., Lawrence, D. Food Sources of Saturated Fat and the Association With Mortality: A Meta-Analysis.  American Journal of Public Health. 2013; 103: 31-42. 

6.  Fleming, Alesha.  Natural Health and Wellness Chiropractic., Daytona Beach, FL, 2015.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Green Smoothies!!

Smoothies are an excellent way to enjoy your breakfast.  Also, if you do it the right way, they can be packed with nutrients, low in sugar and calories, and help you stay full until your next meal!  Below I’ve provided some delicious recipes that I use personally, and that can be used for breakfast, between meals or as a meal replacement. 

But first, some nutrition information on some of the ingredients!

Kale:  Kale is very high in vitamin C and vitamin A.  It can also be a significant source of iron, fiber, potassium and B vitamins. 

Banana:  Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6 and potassium. They are also a good source of fiber. 

Almond Milk:  Almond milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk.  It is very low calorie and packed with nutrients.  Once cup contains as much as a gram of fiber and a gram of protein.  Because it is made from almonds, it also contains all of the nutrients that almonds do.  It is high in vitamin E, magnesium, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Flax seed:  Flax seed is a great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and has been shown to have a number of health benefits. 

Agave Nectar:  Agave nectar is a low glycemic index sweetener that is about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar.  Although it has more calories than sugar by volume, you should be able to use less of it because of the added sweetness it provides, making it a good alternative to table sugar.  It is also used as a vegan alternative to honey. 

Kale and Banana Smoothie
1 cup freshly chopped organic kale
1 frozen banana
½ cup original unsweetened almond milk
½ cup water
1 tsp groud flax seed
Agave nectar to taste

Kale and Pineapple Smoothie
1 cup freshly chopped organic kale
1 cup frozen pineapple
½ cup original unsweetened almond milk
½ cup pineapple juice
½ tsp cinnamon

Kale and Mixed Berry Smoothie
1 cup freshly chopped organic kale
1 cup frozen berries (any variety!)
1 cup original unsweetened almond milk
Agave nectar to taste


Visit for more health information!!


1.  Fleming, Alesha.  Natural Health and Wellness Chiropractic., Daytona Beach, FL, 2015.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

“What is insulin resistance and how is it treated? How can I keep from developing diabetes?”

             The U.S. Department of health and human services reported that in 2014, 25.8 million Americans are suffering from diabetes and 7 million individuals are unaware that they have this disease.  One of the first signs of developing diabetes may be insulin resistance.  Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas that signals cells in the body to allow the glucose that is ingested through the diet to enter the body’s cells.  Without insulin, glucose will not be able to enter the cells to be used by the body for energy, which can cause a number of different problems to occur.  This is what happens in insulin resistance.  Eating a diet that is high in simple sugars can cause your blood sugar to spike very high after meals, and crash again shortly after, leading to a similar spike and plummet of insulin.  Over time this causes the body to stop responding to insulin, which in turn keeps glucose from entering the cells.  Insulin resistance is diagnosed by measuring the levels of glucose in the blood.  In insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, blood glucose will usually be elevated. 

Although lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise are the major factors contributing to insulin resistance, other factors such as certain medications, pregnancy and genetics may also play a role.  Current management of insulin resistance that exists without the presence of type 2 diabetes involves improvement of the diet and implementation of an exercise program.  If the condition progresses to type 2 diabetes, it may become necessary to manage the condition with insulin or other medications prescribed by your physician1.  If you are suffering from insulin resistance, implementing positive lifestyle changes is imperative to prevent the condition from progressing to type 2 diabetes. 

            Exercising, ingesting a lower calorie or low sugar diet, and supplementing antioxidants and fish oil, have all been found to decrease insulin resistance1,2.  One study, conducted on a group of 30 women with metabolic syndrome, examined the effects of fish oil on insulin resistance2.   They found that 0.41g of EPA and DHA per day had a significant impact on insulin resistance as well as blood pressure2. A decrease of approximately 6 mg/dL in glucose levels was observed in the group receiving the fish oil supplements, compared with a 3mg/dL decrease in glucose levels of the control group2.  Another study found that daily supplementation with a combination of vitamin E, vitamin C and S-adenosylmethionine have also helped manage insulin resistance by reducing postprandial insulin response1.  However, the most significant change in the response of glucose to insulin is found in response to improved diet and exercise1,2.  Along with type 2 diabetes, it is directly linked to obesity, and therefore weight loss is also a very important factor in improving health and reversing and preventing the progression of symptoms2. 


1. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 May 2014. Web. 19 Aug. 2014

2.  Chowdhury, K., Legare, D., Lautt, W. Lifestyle impact on meal-induced insulin sensitization in health and prediabetes: A focus on diet, antioxidants, and exercise interventions.  Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 2013; 91: 91-100.

3.  Carvalho, A., Uehara, S., Netto, J., Rosa, G. Hypocaloric diet associated with the consumption of jam enriched with microencapsulated fish oil decreases insulin resistance.  Nutr. Hosp. 2014; 29(5): 1103-1108. 

4.  Fleming, Alesha.  Natural Health and Wellness Chiropractic., Daytona Beach, FL, 2015.