Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nutrition: Fact or Fiction?

Written by: Lisa Uri, MD, NTP
Family Practice, High Lakes Healthcare
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is contributing to the deteriorating health of our nation.  The information in the media is often overwhelming. Here are a few myths that can be confusing.

1. Fat and cholesterol make you fat and give you high cholesterol.
Sugars and refined carbohydrates are mostly what contribute to poor health.  Good quality fats and cholesterol can build healthy cell membranes, improve insulin sensitivity, fight inflammation and aid in hormone production.

2. All fats are bad for you.

All  fats are NOT bad for you.  Hydrogenated or trans fats are definitely bad for you, but there are many sources of healthy fats, both unsaturated and saturated that can improve your health.

3. Calories in equals calories out.
Its not the quantity of the calories you are eating, rather the quality.  “Empty” calories will be more detrimental than calorie-packed nutrient dense foods.
4. Non fat is always better.
Fat gives food flavor. When you remove the fat, you remove the flavor, so to make it taste good you must add something that tastes good….usually SUGAR!
5. Diet soda is ok because it is sugar free and has limited calories.
Your brain and taste buds know better and the increased sweetness from artificial sweeteners may cause you to seek sweetness and crave other sugary food products.    
6. All red meat is the same and should be avoided.
Grass fed and grain fed beef are different.  The ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids is decreased in grain fed, industrial produced beef which contributes to the level of inflammation in the body. Grass fed beef (minus hormones and antibiotics) is preferred.
7. All sugar is the same.
High Fructose Corn Syrup is generally 45% glucose and 55% fructose and table sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose.  The additional fructose affects the ability of the sweetener to be utilized by the cells of the body and needs to be metabolized by the liver prior to use.  Overwhelming the liver with HFCS may lead to elevated triglycerides and fatty liver.  FYI…HFCS is in MANY MANY FOODS.  (ie check out your Heinz ketchup label)
8. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables (several servings daily) can provide phytonutrients (vitamins and minerals) which provide fuel for the body, help with metabolism, improve the immune system and optimize overall health.  Eat the colors of the rainbow!
9. Margarine is better than butter.
Compare the number of ingredients in margarine to organic butter. Margarine is a highly processed food. The addition of a hydrogen atom to straighten the fat molecule in margarine and make it solid at room temperature creates a “plastic-like” product that gets incorporated into cell membranes, which can adversely affect the function of every cell in the body.  Butter is better.
10. Wheat bread is always better.
Often wheat products are enriched, meaning they have been processed to the point that many of the vital nutrients have been removed, and then had to be artificially added back in.  Stick to products that are not enriched. Preferably, look for organic, sprouted products. (Sprouting removed phytic acid which is a component of grains that can block the absorption of minerals.)
We sometimes forget the effects that the “fuel” that we put in our bodies can have deleterious effects, or that it can truly be used to improve our health.  Food is medicine that we can use to our advantage on a daily basis.

Learn more Nutrition Fact and Fiction tips at The Nutritional Therapy Workshop lead by Dr. Uri at FootZone February 20th.

Dr. Uri is a family practice physician at High Lakes Healthcare in Bend.  Her focus is preventive care, wellness and nutrition.   She is currently enrolled in the Integrative Medicine fellowship program at the University of Arizona.


Mamma Gina said...

Great article, Lisa. It's so nice to finally hear a physician talking about nutrition beyond the low-fat, low-cholesterol mantra. Thank you!
- Gina P

theolivevan said...

Gina, Lisa will be presenting on this topic at FootZone 2/20. I hope you can join us!