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PECANS: BENEFITS

OVERVIEW

Pecans are a type of tree nut native to North Mexico and southern United States in the region of Mississipi River.

 Their rich and buttery flavor nakes them a common ingredient in appetizers, desserts, and main dishes alike.

Although they contain a long list of essential nutrients, they’re also high in calories and fat, causing many to wonder whether they’re healthy.

Let’s take a closer look at the nutrients contained in pecans

NUTRIENTS

Pecans are rich in a number of important nutrients.

In particular, they’re a good source of fiber, along with copper, thiamine, and zinc.

1 oz (28 grams) of pecans contains the following nutrients

Calories: 196

Protein: 2.5 grams

Fat: 20.5 grams

Carbs: 4 grams

Fiber: 2.7 grams

Copper: 38% of the Daily Value (DV)

Thiamine (vitamin B1): 16% of the DV

Zinc: 12% of the DV

Magnesium: 8% of the DV

Phosphorus: 6% of the DV

Iron: 4% of the DV

Copper is an important mineral involved in many aspects of your health, including nerve cell function, immune health, and the production of red blood cells.

Meanwhile, thiamine, or vitamin B1, is essential for converting carbohydrates into energy to help fuel your body (3Trusted Source).

Zinc is another key mineral found in pecans, and it’s necessary for immune function, as well as cell growth, brain function, and wound healing.

BENEFITS

Pecans have been associated with numerous health benefits. Some are still theory, while some have been proven.

IMPROVES HEART HEALTH

Pecans are a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids(MUFAs), a type of fat that may benefit heart health .

Accoring to a study,  204 people with coronary artery disease, which is characterized by the narrowing of arteries, found that eating 1oz (30 grams) of pecans daily for 12 weeks improved the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood.

Other research shows that an increased intake of tree nuts, including pecans, may be linked to reduced levels of total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides — all of which are risk factors for heart disease.

One small study in 26 adults with overweight or obesity found that eating a pecan-rich diet for 4 weeks improved the body’s ability to use insulin effectively. Insulin is the hormone that transports sugar from your bloodstream into your cells.

But remember, a handful of pecans contains a great amount of calories.

Similarly, a review of 12 studies showed that adding tree nuts to your diet could help lower levels of hemoglobin A1C, a measure of long-term blood sugar control (12Trusted Source).

PROMOTED BRAIN FUNCTION 

Pecans are brimming with nutrients that may benefit brain function, including mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Monounsaturated fatty acids, in particular, have been linked to decreased mental decline and reduced inflammation.

Recently, a large study in over 15,000 women lasting over 40 years linked a higher consumption of nuts with improved long-term cognition.

Similarly, a study in 4,822 older adults showed that those who ate at least 1/3 0z (10 grams) of nuts per day were 40% less likely to have poor cognition.

That said, more research is needed to evaluate how pecans specifically may affect brain function.

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES

Although pecans have been linked to several potential health benefits, there are some downsides to consider.

First, those with an allergy to tree nuts should avoid them, along with other types of tree nuts like almonds, cashews, chestnuts, and walnuts.

Keep in mind that they’re also relatively high in calories, packing nearly 200 calories in each 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.

As such, eating multiple servings can increase your daily calorie intake, which could contribute to weight gain if you don’t make other adjustments to your diet or level of physical activity.

For this reason, its adviceable to moderate your intake, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

Moreover, it’s best to opt for natural pecans without added sugar or salt.

HOW TO ADD PECANS TO YOUR DIET

Pecans are loaded with essential nutrients and can be an excellent addition to a well-rounded, healthy diet.

Be sure to pay attention to your portion sizes and stick to around 1 ounce (28 grams), or about 20 pecan halves, at a time.

Try sprinkling a handful of these tasty nuts onto your next yogurt parfait, salad, or oatmeal for extra crunch and nutrients.

They also work well in trail mix or chopped up in baked goods like muffins, pancakes, or banana bread.

Alternatively, enjoy raw pecans on their own for a quick, convenient, and nutritious on-the-go snack.

Pecans are a type of tree nut that’s rich in several key nutrients, including fiber, copper, thiamine, and zinc.

They’ve been associated with many potential health benefits, including improved blood sugar control, heart health, and brain function.

You can enjoy them in moderation as part of a nutritious diet — and in a number of different recipes.

BOTTOM LINE.

Pecans are amazing tree nuts  with so much health benefits.

They could be incoporated into the diet or eaten alone.

Its important to be aware that a small amountof them contain so much calories, so its best you stick to moderation if you’re on a weightloss program.

Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/are-pecans-good-for-you#bottom-line

 

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General ResearchLifeStyle

EVER HEARD OF WATER WEIGHT?

So much obsession about weightloss nowadays drives people to indulge in all sorts of practices to aid rapid weightloss. So many “road-side” nutritionist has leveraged on this to device different means to boycott the body’s normal physiology.

The most common one is the “keto” diet which involves using chainsaw to almost totally “cut-out” carbs so there can be a rapid and drastic weightloss.

Truly, when you cut out carbs, weightloss occurs rapidly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve lost fat.

At the initial stage of every weightloss journey, especially the drastic and fast types, what is lost is “water weight”, and after this, weightloss tends to slow down significantly and the individual involved goes into a plateau faster than required.

What happens during a weightloss is the change in muscle mass, amount of fat, water and an “let-out” of gases; if exercise is involved.

Fat, carbs and even protein doesn’t lead to weight gain but an excess of calories coupled with a deficit of physical exercise.

WHAT IS WATER WEIGHT?

Water weight is when the body retains so much water in spaces; sometimes it could cause bloating.

60% of your body is made up of water, so when you lose weight, water reduces first.

Carbs are responsible for retaining water, when you remove them, you remove the body’s ability to retain water and not excess calories.

The body has a means of storing excess energy; its stores it as glycogen and this glycogen is stored with lots of water. When there is a need for carbs during the body’s metabolic duties, thr body automatically sources out carbs from its storage form in the liver and skeletal muscles. This process involves releasing lots of water thats stored with the glycogen which automatically leads to weightloss.

Going by figures, 1g of carbs requires 3-4g of water to store and process it; so when you eat 3 slices of white bread (6g of carbs per slice), you’ve just added 18-24g of water to your body.

RISKS?

The risk involved in cutting out carbs from the diet are mostly related to the gut microbes. Carbs contain resistant starch which provides a healthy environment for the microorganisms present in the gut.

Also, carbs are the major source of energy to the body and fuel to the brain as the brain needs glucose to function properly. Glucose is the major building block for neurotransmitters in the brain and when there is a deficit, there is a break in communication among neurons.

Lack of glucose could lead to seizures and coma, as often seen in “ketoers”

TAKE HOME

To achieve a healthy weightloss, exercise and a mild calorie deficit supervised by a registered dietitian is key.  You didnt gain that weight in 1 month, so losing it in one month is quite unhealthy.

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Uncategorized

STRESS, IBS AND NUTRITION

STRESS IN ITSELF
The word stress is quite a complex phenomenon with individualistic stress levels.
Stress is the body’s way to respond to triggering events that the brain goes through. It might be emotional, biological or physical response and might vary from individual to individual depending on the environmental and genetic factors involved.
When stress levels are low, the body is often in a state of homeostasis: All body systems are operating smoothly to maintain equilibrium.

POSSIBLE TRIGGERS
According to a research: Stressors trigger a “crisis-mode” physiological response, a physiological response which the body attempts to return to homeostasis by means of an adaptive response. The internal fight to restore homeostasis in the face of a stressor is known as the general adaptation syndrome, or GAS. The GAS has three distinct phases: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. This leads to various physiological changes in the body. Stress is often described as a “disease of prolonged arousal” that leads to a cascade of negative health effects whose likelihood increases with on-going stress. Nearly all body systems become potential targets, and the long-term effects may be devastating.
Your stress levels when not adequately managed, could interfere with your medication and diet

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
On the other hand, Irritable bowel syndrome is your guts response to extreme stress levels
Triggers that easily affect the gut in IBS are sometimes perceived as psychological stress (loss of job, money, spouse), physical, physiological stress (diet, hormonal changes).
IBS can result from a very intricate biological interaction between the brain and the gut – this is why addressing psychological and emotional stressors that may be associated with IBS symptoms is the first step in understanding IBS triggers. Not all people with IBS have symptoms of psychological distress, but for those who do, stress management techniques become critical in managing IBS symptoms.
Another possible could be food anxiety (orthorexia), where one always gets worried about what to eat, how the food was prepared, the source and so on. Anxiety might precipitate IBS symptoms and not even the food itself.

STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES AND DIETARY APPROACHES
Managing stress sometimes involves some self-care techniques which might include:
• Guided meditation
• Reading
• Knitting or needlework
• Bubble baths
• Exercise
• Listening to music
• Taking a stroll
It’s very important to note that everyone’s coping mechanism or stress management techniques are different. But it’s important to add these techniques to your daily routines.

DIETARY APPROACH
Role of specific nutrient in regulation of food intake, in the maintenance of homeostatic mechanisms and emotional processes is very dense. Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamin or 5-HT) is synthesized from the dietary amino-acid tryptophan (TRP). Likewise, tyrosine is a precursor of noradrenaline (NA). Psychosocial and physical stress increases the rate of release of noradrenaline (NA) in both the periphery and the central nervous system hence more protein especially tyrosine is required. Likewise various other nutrients are required to reduce the levels of the stress chemicals (cortisol and adrenaline) that activate fight and flight response in the body.
Nutrients which includes vitamin C, vitamin B, tryptophan, threonine, magnesium, phenylalanine all have roles to play in helping individuals reduce stress levels and they could be found in grains, pulses, legumes and vegetables.

CONCLUSION
Stress management is different for everyone. It’s important to seek a therapist and medical care if your stress levels are extreme. For IBS patients, a change of lifestyle would suffice to manage symptoms.

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General Research

SHOULD A PREGNANT WOMAN GO ON A VERY LOW SALT DIET?

Salt is unarguably essential to health, even though some extremist might not agree with this. It is one of the five basic tastes we have receptors for in our mouth (along with sweetness, bitterness, sourness and umami), and it is an important element in the body’s “interior ocean”.

The human body tightly regulates salt concentration because it’s crucial role in supporting chemical reactions  that involve enzyme function, energy and hormone production, protein transport and several other biological processes.

In the context of pregnancy, salt is critical for the development of the glial (immune) cells in the brain which maintain homeostatis, form myelin, and provide support and protection for neurones. It also plays an important role in ensuring adequate birth weight, metabolic function and development of the nervous, respiratory and cardiovascular system.

“Salt is especially important to the brain development of premature babies. In premature babies, language, memory, intelligence and coordination were all better in children whose diets had been supplemented with salt shortly after birth”.

A VERY LOW SALT DIET COULD BE DANGEROUS FOR PREGNANT WOMEN

A 2007 study found that babies with low sodium in their blood (due to low salt intakes by their mothers during pregnancy) were more likely to be underweight at birth. Low birth weight is associated with a higher risk of developing several health problems later in life.

Another study found that infants with low sodium intake may experience poor neurological function in early adolescence.

IS SALT REALLY THAT DANGEROUS?

The same way carbs has been demonized, is also same way Salt has been unjustifiably demonized by the mainstream media and medical establishment. So many atimes, health care providers who mean well, but not professional, advice patients to completely take off salt from their diet. The only time this is adviceable is during a very crucial kidney problem where sodium and potassium has to be balanced.

Salt has the highest amount of iodine contained in it when compared to other food sources of iodine. Iodine prevents against hypothyroidism leading to goitre.

So many studies tell us that it has never been proven that salt significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension or obesity. In fact, in many cases restricting salt intake can actually increase the risk of these conditions. For example, a review of the largest U.S. database of nutrition and health (NHANES) found a higher rate of cardiac events and death with patients on low-salt diets.

“During pregnancy, the demand for daily iodine increases by 50–70% which occurs to reach around 250 μg/day. Limited information is available on the association of high-risk pregnancy (HRP) with urinary iodine concentration (UIC) and variables such as socioeconomic factors”.

According to a study, among the 73% of hypertensive women adhering to a salt-restricted diet, there was a 112% increased risk of iodine deficiency observed (OR = 2.127; 95% confidence interval [1.178–3.829]; p = 0.011). Adhering to a salt-restricted diet was associated with iodine deficiency (OR = 1.82; 95% confidence interval [1.073–3.088], p = 0,026). Hypertension and salt restriction diet significantly increased susceptibility for iodine deficiency in high risk pregnancy. Therefore, low-salt diet when prescribed to pregnant women (PW) might be carefully followed by iodine nutritional status assessment or universal preconception iodine supplementation.

TAKE HOME

This is not a call for you to sprinkle salt till your ancestors say stop!

Its still very important to note that if you’re hypertensive or have a history, or even are vulnerable to pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, then you should adhere to 2300mg of sodium per day which equals 1 teaspoon.

During pregnancy, make sure there are alternative iodine supplements if you would go on a salt restricted diet.

Seek dietary counsel from a Registered Dietitian 

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General Research

IS OBESITY RELATED TO CANCER

Does Body Weight Affect Cancer Risk?

Being overweight, obese or having a BMI over 30kgmsq (since the society wants to scrap out the word obese) seems to be  linked to an overall increased risk of cancer. According to research from the American Cancer Society, excess body weight is thought to be responsible for about 11% of cancers in women and about 5% of cancers in men in the United States, as well as about 7% of all cancer deaths.  

Being overweight or obese is clearly linked with an increased risk of 13 types of cancer, which includes:

  • Breast cancer (in women past menopause)
  • Colon and rectal cancer (diet related)
  • Endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus)
  • Esophagus cancer (diet related)
  • Gallbladder cancer (diet related)
  • Kidney cancer (diet related)
  • Liver cancer (diet related)
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreas cancer (diet related)
  • Stomach cancer (diet related)
  • Thyroid cancer (diet related)
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Meningioma (a tumor of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). Notice that there is a correlation with diet and almost 80% of all stated cancers. Most part of your body more vulnerable to cancers are the ones exposed to whatever dietary choices you make.

Being overweight or obese might also raise the risk of other cancers, such as:

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Male breast cancer
  • Cancers of the mouth, throat, and voice box
  • Aggressive forms of prostate cancer

The bond between cancer and  body weight is stronger for some cancers than for others. For example, excess body weight is thought to be a factor in more than half of all endometrial cancers, whereas it is linked to a smaller portion of other cancers.

Understanding the link between body weight and cancers is quite complex and might tip you off balance a bit. For example, while studies have found that excess weight is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer in women after menopause, it does not seem to increase the risk of breast cancer before menopause. Reasons best known to science (giggles).

The time of an individual’s life in which they gain weight might also affect cancer risk. Being overweight during childhood and young adulthood might be more of a risk factor than gaining weight later in life for some cancers. For example, some research suggests that women who are overweight as teenagers (but not those who gain weight as adults) may be at higher risk for developing ovarian cancer before menopause.

More research still needs to be carried out to back up some of these claims 

 

How might body weight affect cancer risk?

Excess body weight may affect cancer risk in a number of ways, some of which might be specific to certain cancer types. Excess body fat might increase cancer risk by affecting:

  • Inflammation in the body
  • Cell and blood vessel growth
  • Cells’ ability to live longer than they normally would
  • Levels of certain hormones, such as insulin and estrogen, which can fuel cell growth
  • Other factors that regulate cell growth, such as insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)
  • The ability of cancer cells to spread (metastasize)

Does losing weight reduce cancer risk?

Research on how losing weight might lower the risk of developing cancer is limited. Still, there’s growing evidence that weight loss might reduce the risk of some types of cancer, such as breast cancer (after menopause) and endometrial cancer.

Some body changes that occur as a result of weight loss suggest it may, indeed, reduce cancer risk. For example, overweight or obese people who intentionally lose weight have reduced levels of certain hormones that are related to cancer risk, such as insulin, estrogens, and androgens.

While we still have much to learn about the link between weight loss and cancer risk, people who are overweight or obese should be encouraged and supported if they try to lose weight. Aside from possibly reducing cancer risk, losing weight can have many other health benefits, such as lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.

It’s important to lose body weight, but much more important to lose body fat rather than just water fat (glycogen stores). So rather than cutting out carbs with chain saws and axes, reduce the amount of trans fat and ensure you take in quality nutrients. 

 

The science around it all

Overall, the majority of hypotheses proposed over the past 20–30 years have been based around the physiological functions and pathological correlations of compounds intimately involved in general metabolism of adipose tissue or its regulation by systemic factors and the relevance of those compounds to cell proliferation or development that could contribute to abnormal proliferation and migration leading to oncogenesis (development of tumors). The more recently developed concepts to be described below adopt a wider perspective in which the interface between adipose metabolism, inflammation and carcinogenesis is mediated by newly uncovered links involving biochemical pathways which open new perspectives on the obesity/cancer relationship in a more holistic, biologically integrated manner.

 These ideas include the inflammation-induced activation of the kynurenine pathway and its role in feeding and metabolism by activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and by modulating synaptic transmission in the brain. Evidence for a role of the kynurenine pathway in carcinogenesis then provides a potentially major link between obesity and cancer. A second new hypothesis is based on evidence that serine proteases can deplete cells of the tumour suppressors Deleted in Colorectal Cancer (DCC) and neogenin. These enzymes include mammalian chymotryptic proteases released by pro-inflammatory neutrophils and macrophages.

The kynurenine pathway represents the dominant pathway of tryptophan catabolism, accounting for the disposal of around 95% of the tryptophan not used for protein synthesis.

According to a research carried out by Jin in 2015, he stated and i quote that “the relevance of the kynurenine pathway is that not only do its components affect the regulation of metabolism, feeding and body mass, largely via the modulation of NMDA receptor activity, but they are also implicated in aspects of carcinogenesis’. Expression of the central enzyme of the pathway – kynurenine-3-monooxygenase (KMO) is greater in human hepatic carcinoma cells than controls and is known to influence cell proliferation and migration.

Other factors like insulin resistance, high glucagon and leptin levels (in obese and diabetic patients), adipokines (adiponectin) which is reduced in obese patients, highly concentrated levels of ceruloplasmin in adipose tissues of obese patients, might also increase an obese patients risk to several types of cancer. 

 

Dietary consideration 

Bowman-Birk inhibitors are relatively small proteins found in plant based foods, highly stable within the intestine and generally resistant to heating and cooking, which are known to be absorbed from the intestine into the blood. 

Several studies suggest that the presence of bowman’s birk inhibitors (BBI) are capable of inducing apoptosis in human breast carcinoma. The BBI is also capable of suppressing carcinogenic processes that include colon, oral leukoplakia, esophageal tumors, leukemia, prostatic hyperplasia and breast cancer (quite elusive though).

An overall healthy diet and lifestyle cannot be over emphasized, whether you choose a ‘only plant based diet’ or you choose to do a variety, make sure you do the right thing for your body MODERATION! 

 

Sources: https://www.nature.com/articles/cddiscovery201567

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/body-weight-and-cancer-risk/effects.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5952217/

 

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Uncategorized

COPPER WATER: PURPOTED BENEFITS AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Everyday, there is new research coming up about what we consume, how we consume them and even when to consume them. Recently I stumbled on a research that seemed interesting and I just couldn’t hold back but share with you all. 

“Copper water” is an emerging trend that promotes the practice of storing drinking water in a copper container or copper water bottle.

While you and I (yes, i just heard of it) may have just recently heard about this trend, it’s widely supported by Ayurveda, an Indian system of holistic medicine with ancient origins.

It’s okay to wonder if this practice is just mere bants and fad or if it has benefits at all. 

This article reviews the purported benefits and downsides of drinking copper water.

Copper water isn’t a beverage or bottled carbonated drink (the one that will do kpissh if you open it) you’ll find in the nearest supermarket or health store. Rather, you have to make it by storing drinking water in a copper container.

Copper (Cu) is a trace element, meaning that you only need minimal amounts of it.

Cu plays a role in multiple essential body functions, such as the production of energy, connective tissues, and your brain’s chemical messaging system. It’s widely found in foods like shellfish, nuts, seeds, potatoes, whole grain products, dark chocolate, and organ meat 

“Proponents of this practice state that storing water in copper containers allows the metal to infuse into the water, thus conferring benefits to the drinker”.

 

CLAIMED BENEFITS

So many  claims to support the practice include the fact  that copper water offers multiple benefits, including better heart and brain health, a “boost” in the immune system, and even weight loss, anti-aging, and tanning effects.

However, it’s unlikely that copper water provides these health effects.

“Instead, these benefits may merely reflect copper’s roles and functions in your body, given that it’s involved in energy production, pigmentation, the development of brain and heart tissue, immune system function, and angiogenesis — the formation of new blood vessels”.

ANTIBACTERIAL EFFECTS

One of copper’s benefits appears to be backed by science — its antibacterial effect.

Both old and recent evidence suggests that copper may be used as a water purification or sterilization system, as ancient Ayurveda techniques recommended 

This may be especially beneficial for those  who don’t have access to safe drinking water 

Contaminated water can contain considerable amounts of bacteria, including Vibrio cholerae, Shigella flexneri, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella typhimurium, that can cause diarrhea — one of the leading causes of death in developing countries.

Simply storing water in a copper pot or vessel may kill these harmful bacteria; i guess that’s  a good one right?

The term “contact killing” is used to describe copper’s antibacterial effect. The term explains how copper causes an aggressive and extensive damage on the cell wall of the bacteria.

Still, studies agree that water should be stored in the copper container for several hours  (about 16-48 hours) before drinking it to ensure that the antibacterial effect has been successful.

POTENTIAL IMPLICATIONS 

Long-term exposure to high doses of copper may cause copper toxicity, which is characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. It may even lead to liver damage and kidney disease 

One way you may develop copper toxicity is by consuming stagnant water that flows through copper-containing pipes, which allow for high quantities of copper to leach into the water .

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no more than 0.47 mg of copper per cup (2 mg per liter) of water, so that the tolerable upper intake of 10mg/day is not exceeded. 

The bottom line

Copper water is simply water that has been stored in a copper container. This allows for safe amounts of copper to leach into the water.

Almost 85% of this  practice’s purported benefits aren’t backed by scientific studies. The only clear cut fact is that it could exert an antibacterial effect that may kill diarrhea-causing bacteria in contaminated water.

However, research suggests that for the leached copper to kill bacteria, the water must be stored in a copper vessel at least overnight or up to 48 hours.

Heavy metals leaching into water would lead to toxicity which would in turn have an adverse effect on your health. Unless there is a strong scientific backing, just drink your water in whatever vessel you’ve been drinking it please.

 

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Diet Therapy of Diseases

Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: What you need to know

Your liver  is your largest internal organ which is responsible for digestion, detoxification, and storage of energy. 

A very little infection could lead to its damage if not treated properly. 

The term ‘liver disease’ is a compendium of many different conditions including hepatitis, liver cancer, fatty liver disease and genetic conditions like hemochromatosis. Let’s delve a little bit into a disease that could be curbed nutritionally, especially one that affects about 25% of the world’s population (Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

What is NAFLD & NASH?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which fat is inappropriately stored in the cells of the liver. As the name implies, this particular type of fatty liver disease occurs in people who drink little/no alcohol – while there is also fatty liver that can result from excessive alcohol consumption. Often times, it’s not stereotypical, you may drink moderately, as well as have nutrition and lifestyle habits which can still  contribute to fatty liver disease. Regardless of the cause, lifestyle changes are typically the first intervention.

If left undiagnosed or untreated, having NAFLD could also increase a person’s risk of developing a more advanced form of liver disease, called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). 30% of those with NAFLD progress to developing NASH. So, what’s the difference? In NAFLD, there are fatty deposits throughout the liver, but little to no inflammation or liver cell damage. 

NASH on the other hand, is a form of NAFLD and is characterized by fatty deposits in the liver PLUS inflammation and liver cell damage, fibrosis (hardening of the liver) and can even lead to permanent scarring in the liver, called cirrhosis. In other words, it is more permanent and irreversible than normal NAFLD – but can still be managed with lifestyle, diet, and/or medications.

Why would someone who doesn’t consume excess alcohol still have fat deposits around their liver? There are a few risk factors that are associated with developing NAFLD and NASH including:

  • Having characteristics of metabolic syndrome – this includes factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus or insulin resistance, and large waist circumference
  • Rapid weight loss may be due to a previous illness or stringent eating patterns 
  • Obesity
  • Excessive intake of energy, in particular fat and sugar, and overall lack of balance in the diet
  • Genetic risk factors

SYMPTOMS OF NAFLD?

One of the most challenging aspects of NAFLD and NASH is that they could be asymptomatic, particularly in the early stages in which many people get little to no symptoms at all. If individuals do present with symptoms, they generally experience one or more of the following things:

  • Pain/discomfort in the upper right abdomen (where the liver is located)
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • General feeling of unwell

“In the more extreme cases, where liver cirrhosis and scar tissue develop, people may experience fluid buildup called edema or ascites, and yellowing of the skin and eyes called jaundice”. However, this is unlikely to occur in the beginning stages of NAFLD and NASH.

“Because this condition is difficult to detect with physical symptoms, it is key to manage your health by seeing your doctor regularly and having routine blood work – usually annually or every couple of years unless you are at higher risk. This is especially important for anyone with a personal history or family history of liver issues, diabetes mellitus (particularly type 2), or any of the other risk factors listed above”.

How is NAFLD diagnosed?

Doctors use routine medical check-ups in detecting liver disease, which can involve physical examination, blood work, and imaging tests. In many cases, the first signs of NAFLD pop up in blood tests. Doctors will commonly include a check for liver enzyme levels including alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). If these are elevated, your doctor may want to investigate fatty liver disease.

Other tests for diagnosing NAFLD & NASH include imaging tests such as abdominal ultrasounds, fibro scans, and CT scans to view the liver and detect fatty tissue. 

A combination of blood tests and imaging is typically enough to determine if someone has NAFLD, but your healthcare team may decide to do additional testing to identify the severity of your condition such as a liver biopsy or additional blood testing.

ARE THERE TREATMENT OPTIONS?

You have realized that drinking alcohol In moderation doesn’t stop you from developing NAFLD, so it’s wise to watch your lifestyle patterns to avoid developing this disease. Poorly managed fatty liver disease can ultimately lead to cirrhosis and increased risk of liver cancer. 

Treatment of NAFLD involves a combination of lifestyle and medication management, although some people might not require pharmacotherapy to improve their liver function.

IS THERE NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT IF I HAVE NAFLD?

A vast majority of the recommendations that exist regarding nutrition for NAFLD are focused on reducing overall weight as a means for improving liver biomarkers. However, a systematic review from 2003 revealed that a vast majority of the studies that analyzed the connection between weight reduction and NAFLD had flawed methods, making it difficult to truly connect the dots between weight loss and NAFLD, predominantly because weight loss if often not permanent, and weight cycling appears to be a possible risk factor for worsening NAFLD and progression to NASH or cirrhosis.

As earlier stated, weight loss especially if rapidly chased, could lead to development and worsening of NAFLD . Pursuing weight loss does not always mean someone is healthy! If weight loss must be involved, it should be realistic and sustainable and not some type of “crash diet” lose 30kg in 3 weeks” type of diet. 

DIETARY MANAGEMENT 

There is no standard “NAFLD diet”, but there are some key dietary concepts that are linked to better outcomes in those with non-alcoholic fatty liver which includes :

  • Reducing saturated fat intake – saturated fat is primarily found in animal products, particularly beef, pork, creamy sauces, cheese, and other high fat dairy. It is also in coconut and palm oil.
  • Reducing intake of simple carbohydrates, especially fructose – high consumption of simple sugars such as those found in pop, juice, baked goods, candy and highly processed grains can contribute to excess fat being deposited in the liver. Avoiding these foods is recommended. Enjoy these foods occasionally and continue to eat natural sugars from fruits, vegetables, and dairy.
  • Increasing consumption of unsaturated fats such as omega-3s – Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help with reducing inflammation and fat synthesis in the liver. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include fish (particularly salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel & sardines), nut, seeds, plant oils and fortified foods like omega-3 eggs.
  • Increasing fibre consumption – getting enough fibre in the diet can actually help to reduce the amount of fat we uptake into our bloodstream and carry to the liver. Fibre, particularly soluble fibre, binds to fat in the digestive track and helps us to do away with it naturally.  Yes sure- we poop it right out! Fibre also plays a key role in regulating blood sugars and gut health, both factors implicated in the development of NAFLD.
  • Reducing or eliminating alcohol intake – like mentioned earlier, we often see those with moderate alcohol intake diagnosed with NAFLD. Alcohol is very hard on the liver, so reducing intake or entirely cutting it out  is helpful.
  • Exercise – staying active always is a key component of reducing fat deposits in the liver. If you think the gym is a scary place, then you can try dancing.

THINK MEDITERRANEAN! 

To be on a safer path, following a Mediterranean-style eating plan with an emphasis on lots of plant-based foods (veggies, fruit, and whole grains) ,leaner cuts of meat like chicken, turkey, and fish. Alongside this, consuming 1-2 meatless meals that include pulses like beans, chickpeas, and lentils is a great way of displacing intake of foods higher in saturated fat, plus an excellent source of fibre which might range from fleshy fruits with pulps or leafy vegetables.

Working with a dietitian is also highly recommended if you have NAFLD, as each case is very unique and should be individualized.

Medications

“There are numerous drugs that have been studied for NAFLD – almost too many to count! Generally speaking, medications used for the treatment of NAFLD mainly target the underlying cause (or suspected cause) of NAFLD”. In particular, medications that aid in cholesterol reduction and blood sugar management are a mainstay of care for NAFLD. 

SUMMARY

If you have been recently  diagnosed with NAFLD, working with a dietitian to incorporate a balanced diet that will help to reduce fatty deposits in your liver is highly recommended!

Many health professionals would  encourage weight loss to treat NAFLD. While this might sound appropriate, please remember that weight loss without a focus on sustainable behaviours and long-term health can actually worsen NAFLD, particularly rapid weight loss. 

 

Sources: https://ignitenutrition.ca/blog/non-alcoholic-fatty-liver-disease-what-you-should-know/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

 

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LifeStyle

ENERGY DRINKS: SUPERMAN BOOSTER?

The name already implies that a gulp or say a can, would release a rush  of energy into your blood streams and make your muscles pop like when Popeye takes his spinach. 

So, I guess we could do a little bit of bisecting to know how much  energy we could benefit from these drinks. 

Energy drinks have been promoted to increase energy and enhance mental alertness and physical performance, they contain significant amounts of caffeine as much sugar as soda, or even more as the case may be. 

A can of energy drink could contain about 200mg of caffeine, which is the amount in two cups of brewed coffee. 

 

WHAT’S IN THEM? 

A typical energy drink may contain the following: carbonated water, around 40 grams of sugar (from sucrose and/or glucose), 160 mg or more of caffeine, artificial sweetener, and herbs/substances associated with mental alertness and performance but that lack scientific evidence with controlled trials (taurine, panax ginseng root extract, L-carnitine, L-tartarate, guarana seed extract, B vitamins).

Carbohydrates

“Most energy drinks contain anywhere from 27-40g of carbohydrate from sugar”. The concentration of these carbohydrates is very high ranging from 20-25%. Sport drinks typically have a concentration between 4-6%. Research once demonstrated that high concentrations of carbohydrate such as glucose, sucrose, maltodextrins, fructose, and/or galactose will slow the rate at which fluid is absorbed from the intestine into the blood. In athletes who go through strenuous and vigorous activities, fluid replacement due to sweat loss is critical, these drinks may retard the rehydration process. In addition, consuming high concentrations of carbohydrate too soon before or during exercise can result in gastrointestinal distress and may have a laxative effect.

Caffeine and Herbs

Energy drinks contain caffeine or herbal forms of caffeine like guarana seeds, kola nut and yerba mate leaves. Herbal doesn’t even mean/suggest healthier. Due to processing, it is sometimes impossible to know the exact amounts of herbal caffeine that are in the drinks. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and provides a temporary feeling of being “energized.” In 2001, there was a demonstration to show that caffeine at a dose of about 6 mg/kg body weight  has often proved effective at enhancing exercise performance lasting from 1-120 min. ‘Although this may be the case, it is not a magic bullet”. Caffeine in large doses may make some athletes feel light headed, jittery, disoriented and nauseous and may cause diuretic and laxative effects

Other herbs added may include echinacea, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, ciwujia, hydroxycitrate, ephedra and St. John’s Wort. Companies may claim they aid in boosting the immune system, weight loss and memory. These ingredients are typically in small amounts, but even in larger amounts there is little evidence that any of them can benefit performance. “Standardization and purity of these herbs is not always reliable. Mislabeled products could result in positive doping and potentially serious side effects if herbs interact with athletes medications”.

Vitamins

Some energy drinks contain quite a number of minerals and vitamins. 

A particular brand (name withheld), contains 3000% of the recommended daily value of B12, and another brand contains 250% of the daily value of B6. Quite alarming amounts if i may say. 

B vitamins are water soluble and thus excess amounts are excreted in the urine. It’s important that athletes recognize that energy drinks should not be considered a well balanced meal replacement.

COMPLICATIONS 

High concentrations of sugar contained in these energy drinks might lead to weight gain, and also, too much caffeine might lead to nervousness, insomnia, increased blood pressure, irritability, and rapid heartbeat.

  • Dangers with alcohol: so many recent energy drinks over the counter are mixed with alcohol; which is even a greater danger especially for people who are involved in binge drinking. Studies suggest that drinking this type of cocktail leads to a greater alcohol intake than if just drinking alcohol alone. “This may be because energy drinks increase alertness that masks the signs of inebriation, leading one to believe they can consume even more alcohol”. High consumption of energy drinks—especially when mixed with alcohol—has been linked to adverse cardiovascular, psychological, and neurologic events, including fatal events. 
  • Lack of regulation: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate energy drinks but enforces a caffeine limit of 71 mg per 12 ounces of soda; energy drinks typically contain about 120 mg per 12 ounces. “However, energy drink manufacturers may choose to classify their product as a supplement to sidestep the caffeine limit”.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION 

Being optimally “energized” requires a suitable level of physical activity, adequate sleep, effective fueling and hydration strategies, and probably other unknown factors that affect neurochemicals in the brain. An energy drink alone will never make up for all of these elements.

Its advisable to always look out for the ingredients in any energy drink as an athlete, know their contraindications especially if you’re on medications and  if they contain herbs, be sure if the ingredients are safe and legal. 

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ENERGY DRINKS AND SPORTS DRINKS?

Truly, so many people get confused on which to pick for effective athletic performance. But, unlike energy drinks, sports drinks do not contain herbs, caffeine and excess amounts of sugar.

Sports drinks go through extensive research and so provide alternatives to plain water for athletes to rehydrate after performance. 

During intense aerobic exercise, the body’s preferred source of fuel is carbohydrate (rather than fat or protein) due to the efficiency of energy transfer to fatigued muscles. 

“The majority of sports drinks are formulated to deliver carbohydrates, electrolytes and fluids in such a way that will minimize stomach upset and maximize intestinal absorption”. “When compared with water, the flavor of sports drinks typically entices athletes to drink more, thus aiding the hydration process”.

BOTTOM LINE 

If you’re concerned about being fatigued always, consider healthier means to boost your energy. Get enough rest, hydrate, exercise more, stick to a healthy diet and lifestyle. 

If this does not work, then consider seeing a doctor.

 

 

 

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General ResearchMen’s Health

NITRIC OXIDE AND PERFORMANCE

 

You may have heard of nitric oxide supplements, which claim to increase workout performance and boost your productivity in general and even enhance endurance in za oza room. You might even find some inside your pre-workout formulas too.

SO WHAT IS, OR WHAT DOES NITRIC OXIDE DO?

“Nitric oxide (NO) is a gas that the body produces, and it helps with blood flow (vasodilator) and could also act as a neurotransmitter. Nitric oxide supplements are formulated in order to try to increase the amount of nitric oxide in your blood, which might in turn help increase blood flow to working muscles and help reduce time to fatigue during a workout..

(To be clear, nitric oxide is very different from nitrous oxide, a.k.a. the stuff that gets you high.)

Theoretically, NO supplements could do wonders for your fitness routine. But in terms of scientific evidence, well, let’s just keep our fingers crossed…

So many questions might be running through your mind now like: Are nitrous oxide supplements safe? Do they work? First off, some of those supplements might not actually be nitric oxide—so be careful with which ones you’re buying. “While companies may label them as ‘nitric oxide’ supplements and boosters, they really don’t contain any nitric oxide. For example, Some ‘boosters’ could  contain compounds such as L-arginine

While the L-arginine in your body is involved in nitric oxide production, research is mixed as to whether taking it in supplement form will increase nitric oxide production, and if it could, whether that would actually enhance exercise performance and improve health.

“It’s also important to note that many booster supplements may contain additional ingredients that are not well researched or well regulated, so it’s wise to read labels carefully and seek professional advice before popping them pills.

If you’re looking to still give nitric oxide a try, here’s what you should know.

FUNCTIONALITY.

In the body, nitric oxide is secreted by the endothelial cells, which line the inner walls of the blood vessels, and it communicates with the smooth muscle cells, triggering them to relax. This blood flow regulation plays a role in multiple body functions, including maintaining erections and controlling blood pressure.

NO supplements, however, don’t actually contain nitric oxide. Instead, they contain ingredients (or substrates) that are thought to give your body a nudge to produce more nitric oxide, such as L-arginine and L-citrulline.

“If you’re ingesting nitrate or L-arginine, the idea is that it’s supposed to stimulate the synthesis of nitric oxide in the endothelial cell. So the more substrates there are, the more NO can be produced,”

Because blood is responsible for the transportation of oxygen to working muscles, the reasoning is that the increased blood flow caused by taking NO supplements might help you work out for a longer period of time and speed up recovery time. Proponents also claim that increased blood flow might make your muscles bigger and more pronounced.

EFFICACY OF NO SUPPLEMENTS

Honestly, me self nor know. There’s simply not enough evidence to suggest that they do.

Seemingly, the idea is that these supplements will increase NO, and then because of that, it’ll support the process of vasodilation, and obviously, the downstream  effect of vasodilation would be this massive increase in blood flow, which leads to increased exercise performance and enhanced recovery. “But most, if not all, of [these purported benefits] have not been supported by available evidence.”

In studies that have shown a link between improvements in performance and nitrate levels in the blood, such positive results could simply be a result of extensive training, as exercise itself enhances NO activity. Plus, dietary nitrate comes from other sources, like vegetables, and most studies don’t control for this.

Even if there are benefits to NO supplementation, it’s unclear whether they would apply to everyone. A review of 42 studies related to the effects of dietary ingredients linked with NO and exercise performance found mixed results: the review concluded that while NO supplements may “improve tolerance” to aerobic and anaerobic exercise in people who either aren’t in shape or are moderately trained, there seems to be no benefit in highly trained people.

 

BEETS AND IMPROVED WORKOUT?

 A few studies have shown that nitrate supplementation through beetroot juice can be effective at increasing endurance and overall power. One study found a link between 15 days of beetroot juice supplementation and an increase in power max during moderate–intensity cycling tests. While more research is required, it might interest you to note that of the ingredients that may have an impact on NO levels and exercise performance, beetroot juice is the most promising.

“Beets are the highest dietary source of nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Because of their natural nitrate content and it’s ability to convert to nitric oxide so well, beets have been shown through many studies to support the heart, especially by improving blood pressure,”.

Beets are also linked to other nitric oxide benefits, including improvements in both increasing strength and endurance performance as well as improvements in cognition during exercise, lower inflammation levels, greater antioxidant function, improved cognition.

Plus, beets are also good for your heart and muscle recovery, and are a good source of fiber. 

It’s important to note that blood nitrate levels peak within 2–3 hours. Therefore, to maximize their potential, it’s best to consume beets 2–3 hours before training or competing

 

SIDE EFFECTS OF NITRIC OXIDE SUPPLEMENTS

Even though the jury’s out on whether NO supplements really do improve performance, Bloomer says if you want to try them at a low dosage, go ahead. That said, if you’re prone to hypotension (or low blood pressure), you might want to skip them, as they could leave you feeling lightheaded or dizzy.

You should note that high dosages of NO supplements could put your kidney function at risk, particularly if you already have a nitrate-heavy diet. In such cases, “it might actually cause a reduction in performance, because your kidneys are too stressed out trying to process all this extra nitrate. To be on the safe side, just stick to the dosage stated on the package.

DOES NITRIC OXIDE HELP SEXUALLY OR BOOST LIBIDO

Since Nitric oxide itself plays a  substantial role in initiating and sustaining erections in males, and since it also increases blood flow to the penis, which can help a man maintain his erection, it could increase performance in bed and help you go longer. But there are other intrinsic factors to this.

A recent study did show that L-arginine supplements might enhance the effects of a common erectile dysfunction drug, but studies on people without dysfunction is limited, so general benefits aren’t totally known.

IS NITRIC OXIDE DANGEROUS FOR YOUR LIVER?

“While research isn’t conclusive, the answer to this may depend on whether you’re ingesting high amounts of synthetic nitrates and nitrites from processed meats or eating nitrates naturally from vegetables,”.

The World Health Organization and American institute for cancer research advise against any intake of processed and cured meats, and most contain sodium nitrates and nitrites. “Some research has linked sodium nitrates to free radical damage to cells including those in the liver, however much of this research has been conducted on animals with human studies being based on correlation rather than causation,” she says.

 

FOODS THAT ARE HIGH IN NITRIC OXIDE

Beetroot juice contains a notable amount of nitric oxide, and there is research to show that drinking it before competition can help with performance. One study found cyclists who drank beetroot juice two to three hours before exercise increased peak power and pedaling velocity. Another review also shows that beetroot juice can increase overall endurance and power for athletes.

It could also be found in leafy greens and other vegetables, but in smaller amounts. Vegetables are rich in nitrates, and high nitrate intake is associated with higher nitric oxide levels in the body, reason why incorporating veggies to your diet is important; so long as you have a healthy oral microbiome. Regular use of antibacterial mouthwash actually kills the bacteria that aid in production of nitric oxide from nitrates (and may impact the bacterial balance in your lower digestive tract),”.

There are a few vegetables with nitric oxide, but the ones with the highest nitrite content are beets which tops the list, as well as celery, chard, watercress, lettuce, spinach, and arugula. The next group with the greatest amount includes cucumber, celeriac, Chinese cabbage, endive, fennel, kohlrabi, leeks, and parsley.

 

IS DAILY INTAKE OF NITRIC OXIDE ADVISED?

Consuming nitrates through food is totally encouraged. The research on beet juice and beet powder shows the best success in improving exercise performance and heart health with daily consumption of at least 2 weeks. “Nitrate content may be an additional reason high vegetable intake is associated with better heart health, too,”

When it comes to supplements containing ingredients other than pure beet or vegetable powder, you want to be careful. Supplements are not well regulated for safety, purity, potency or effectiveness of claims, so if you do choose another “nitric oxide booster” pick one that is third party tested, preferably by NSF for Sport or Informed Choice for Sport.

To be candid, from a professional view, I don’t think you should supplement daily. No dietitian would recommend it. There isn’t much research on these supplements, so it’s difficult to assess what the long term side effects might be. Instead, just eat your darn veggies  or beets to get your nitric oxides you must. 

SOURCES: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-beets#section3

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General Research

GRANOLA: CEREAL OF THE YEAR

Granola is a breakfast food and snack food consisting of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, spices, honey or other sweeteners such as brown sugar, and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until it is crisp, toasted and golden brown. Dried fruit, such as raisins and dates, and confections such as chocolate are sometimes added. Granola is often eaten in combination with yogurt, honey, fresh fruit (such as bananas, strawberries or blueberries), milk or other forms of cereal.

The granola cereal is quite healthy since it contains oats, nuts and seeds; but it is also important to note that it contains some ingredients as chocolates, oils and syrups which may be high in added sugars and fats. 

History

The names Granula and Granola were registered trademarks in the late 19th century United States for foods consisting of whole grain products crumbled and then baked until crisp, in contrast to the, at that time (about 1900), contemporary invention, muesli, which is traditionally neither baked nor sweetened.

Granula was invented in Dansville, New York by Dr. James Caleb Jackson at the Jackson Sanitarium in 1863.

 Granula was composed of Graham flour and was similar to an oversized form of Grape-Nuts.

Nutritional Benefits 

Granola is calorie-dense, as well as rich in protein, fiber, and micronutrients. In particular, it may provide iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, B vitamins, and vitamin E.

However, its nutritional profile varies widely depending on the specific ingredients used.

 

Nutrients ½ cup of kellogs low fat granola (50g) ½ cup of gyspy crunch low fat granola (50g)
Calories 195 260
protein 4.4g 7g
fat 2.9g 13g
carbs 40.5g 28g
fibre 3.5g 4g
sugar 14.2g 12g

 

The table clearly gives a comparison between two brands of granola and shows how Certain brands may have more calories, protein, fiber, fat, or sugar than others.

Benefits of granola

Although there’s little scientific research on granola itself, common ingredients, including oats, flax seeds, chia seeds, and almonds, are linked to numerous health benefits.

Filling and high in fiber

Most granola is rich in protein and fiber, which both contribute to fullness.

Protein even influences levels of important fullness hormones like ghrelin and GLP-1 ( The main actions of GLP-1 are to stimulate insulin secretion (i.e., to act as an incretin hormone) and to inhibit glucagon secretion, thereby contributing to limit postprandial glucose excursions. It also inhibits gastrointestinal motility and secretion and thus acts as an enterogastrone and part of the “ileal brake” mechanism)

High-protein ingredients in granola may include nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews, and seeds like hemp, pumpkin, and sesame.

Additionally, high-fiber foods like oats, nuts, and seeds slow down the emptying of your stomach and increase digestion time, which can help you feel fuller for longer — and may aid appetite control.

Other potential health benefits

Granola may also:

Improve blood pressure. High-fiber ingredients like oats and flax seeds have been shown to help in the management of high blood pressure 

Reduce cholesterol levels. Oats are a good source of beta glucan, a type of fiber that works to reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, two risk factors for heart disease 

Reduce blood sugar. Whole grains, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds may help manage and control blood sugar levels, particularly in people with obesity or prediabetes 

Improve gut health. Granola has been found to increase levels of healthy gut bacteria, compared with refined breakfast cereals

Provide many antioxidants. Ingredients such as coconut, chia seeds, and Brazil nuts are good sources of inflammation-fighting antioxidants like gallic acid, quercetin, selenium, and vitamin E

Downsides of granola

Although granola contains several healthy ingredients, it can be high in calories and packed with added fats and sugars.

Fats like vegetable oil, coconut oil, and nut butters are often included to help bind the ingredients, add flavor, and aid in the toasting process.

However, these can supply excess calories. Eating more than the specified portion may lead to unwanted weight gain, increasing your risk of obesity and metabolic disease.Additionally, its ideal to limit your sugar intake to 10% of your total daily calories, which equates to about 12 teaspoons (50 grams) of sugar for someone following a 2,000-calorie diet .Some granolas might contain nearly 4 teaspoons (17 grams) of sugar in a single serving. Because it’s common to eat more than the standard serving size, you could be getting a substantial amount of sugar in just one bowl.

It is important to watch out for ingredients like chocolate chips, honey, and dried fruit with added sugar.

SUMMARY

Granola may prompt weight gain if eaten in excess, as it can be high in calories from added fats and sugars. What’s more, sugar is linked to chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

How to choose a healthy granola

Because ingredients vary widely by brand, it’s important to read nutrition labels carefully when shopping for granola.

Check the ingredient list, avoiding products that list sugar or sweeteners —including natural sweeteners like honey — within the first few ingredients.

Instead, the first few ingredients should be whole foods, such as oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

You may also want to look for varieties high in protein and fiber. Aim for at least 3–5 grams of fiber per serving 

What’s more, you should carefully consider serving sizes, which vary from 2 tablespoons (12.5 grams) to 2/3 cup (67 grams). Particularly small serving sizes can be misleading, as you’re likely to consume more than that amount.

Finally, you can make granola yourself to minimize or eliminate added sugar and fat. However, remember that nuts and seed are still calorie-dense, so be sure to watch your portions even for homemade varieties.

The bottom line 

Granola is a nutritious, filling cereal.

However, many varieties are high in calories and packed with excess sugar, which can harm your health.

Be sure to carefully read labels, choosing products with whole ingredients — like raisins, seeds, and nuts — that are high in protein and fiber.

No one should deceive you into using it as a super food to aid weight loss or cure diabetes or other non communicable diseases.

Sources: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17928588/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-granola-healthy#Meal-Prep:-Everyday-Breakfast

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granola

 

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