5 Big Ideas To Upgrade Your Health - [#3]

Welcome to my newsletter! As the name suggests, every week I will give you 5 big ideas to upgrade your health. In each newsletter, I will share with you 1 original article from my blog and 4 useful articles from around the internet. 

For each article, I will provide a brief synopsis and some key takeaway points for your learning pleasure.

I’m so excited to be going on this healthful journey with you! Here we go…

1. Why We Hate Fats (9 minute read)

by Dr. Ram, Pharm.D.

Fats have become the ugly step child in the American diet, for the last few decades, all major medical associations have recommended low fat diets as the cornerstone of treating chronic illness. In hindsight, this has not worked out so well.

"We were told to avoid the consumption of animal product because saturated fats were the cause of heart disease. Like the good citizens we are, we listened to what our government advised, and now the average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour per year. Almost 20 percent of our daily calories come from sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, sports drinks, sweetened coffees and teas, and juice."

This article documents the history of the shaky science which led to the demonization of fats.

2. When choosing between local and organic, local is better. (5 minute read)

by Chris Kresser

This article presents some though provoking insights that make a strong case for buying local produce. Mainly, nutrients within produce dissipates the longer it goes uneaten after harvesting. In fact, one Penn State University study found that "spinach lost 47% of its folate after 8 days."

"The average carrot has traveled 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table."

Considering this fact, our nutrient intake can be optimized by sticking to locally harvested produce.

Extra Credit: Mark Sisson's extensive critique of a recent Stanford study that claimed that organic foods are no healthier or safer than conventional alternatives.

3. Our troops are fat and tired (3 minute read)

by J.D. Simpkins

According to a 2018 RAND report on health promotion and disease prevention, nearly 66% of active military personnel are either overweight or obese. The study featured 18,000 randomly selected participants across each of the service branches. While the number of overweight service members is a cause for concern, it correlates with the obesity epidemic plaguing the United States.

From my perspective, this isn't a criticism of our service men and women, but rather a wake up call for all civilians that perhaps we should be taking better care of those who valiantly serve our country!

Another glaring area of concern highlighted in the study was the inability of service members to get adequate sleep.

Nearly 9 percent of military personnel reported taking sleeping medications either “daily" or “almost daily.”

Extra Credit: Act two of Episode #634 of This American Life, highlighting fatal mistakes in the Navy and how sleep deprivation may have played a role in causing them.

4. 13 companies poisoning you with toxic products (8 minute read)

by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Three years ago, The Safer Chemicals organization started publishing annual report cards to apply public pressure on manufacturers and retailers to remove toxic chemicals form their products. It looks like the public shaming is working as several companies have pledged to remove all known toxic chemicals from their products in the near future.

Four retailers received the highest grades for their work to protect customers from toxic products and packaging, setting the pace for the industry: Apple (A+), Target (A), Walmart (A-) and IKEA (A-).

In 2018, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Amazon were ranked 'most improved' with all three companies announcing sweeping chemical safety policies over the past two months.

The article also list 13 retailers who earned a failing grade for "failing to announce policies or publicly report progress to assess, reduce or eliminate toxic chemicals in the products or packaging they sell."

Extra Credit: The Environmental Working Group's database of thousands of cosmetic products and their safety ratings

5. The critical importance of time restricted feeding (aka intermittent fasting) (7 minute read)

by Dr. Jason Fung

When I was growing up, my mother would tell me not to eat in between meals as this would ruin my appetite. Dr. Jason Fung's childhood experience was the same and in all likelihood, so was yours. However, looking at eating behaviors of the modern young generation, "most people [are] now eating almost 6 times per day." Snacking has transitioned into a once in a while indulgence to borderline child abuse if an after school snack isn't provided.

Not only do we eat more often, we also eat for longer periods of the day, having our first snack early in the morning and continuing our eating late into the night. However, restricting the time in which we eat our food leads to weight loss and metabolic optimization, which Dr. Fung details in this article.

Extra Credit: We should focus not only on what we eat and when we eat, but also on how loudly we eat (Video)

That’s it for this week’s newsletter.

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