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About a year ago I began to recognize a phenomenon that I like to call “the delay.” I began to find myself becoming repeatedly surprised over my patients’ outdated beliefs regarding multiple topics on health and nutrition. The deal is this– there is a very long delay between the time that research uncovers new information regarding health/wellness and the information disseminates into popular culture. That being said, I have also since learned to check myself and remember that, you know, not everyone spends so much of their day researching health and nutrition topics as I do! Anyways, here’s my quick list of quick and dirty catch-ups, just in case:

1) Fats are good! It’s the empty carbohydrates that are doing you in! Please, lordy, no more buying of the “reduced fat” products! BAD BAD BAD! They’re full of sugar sugar sugar!

This article explains things wonderfully:

2) Chemical based sunscreens can increase DNA damage and free radicals in your body! DNA damage and free radicals can lead to skin cancer. So, the very products you are using to prevent skin cancer may actually be doing the opposite. Yes. That means your sunscreen. The one you’re using right now. Unless, that is, you’ve actively sought out (non-micronized) zinc oxide or titanium dioxide based sunscreens. Have you? Additionally, sunscreens have never actually effectively been shown to prevent skin cancer at all!

Read More:

3)While we’re on the topic… sunlight appears to be actually anti-carcinogenic. It also stimulates your body to produce vitamin D– the one vitamin that almost everyone is deficient in.

4)Running Shoes. Less is more. It seems that all of our recent additions (arch support, cushiony bottoms, etc.) to running shoes have only resulted in more injuries. See, the problem is that supportive shoes hold your foot in an abnormal position. This results in an emphasis on the wrong muscles to support your running. Then you’ll have to come to me to fix your knees! Which I will do, but…!

Here’s a recent study:

5)Eating fish is pretty much a bad idea all around. Mercury and other heavy metals are found in all saltwater fish. Plastic is also found in their muscles and gut (think Body Worlds plastination). Even farmed saltwater fish are a problem because saltwater fisheries are contiguous with the ocean. Actually, farmed saltwater fish is probably worse because most of the time there are a lot of antibiotics involved that get out to the open sea. The fish that you can eat with the least worry is farmed freshwater fish (like tilapia, for example). Unfortunately, these fish simply aren’t quite as nutritionally beneficial as their ocean counterparts– and, let’s face it– they aren’t exactly the Don Perignon of fish either!

The Algalita Marine Research Foundation talks about plastics in the ocean and fish:

6)Household antibacterial soaps, detergents, etc. are mostly bad for you and the world. Now, I’m not saying not to wash your hands, and if you’re in a business that brings you into contact with sick people constantly, by all means– wash profusely. I’m just saying to wash with normal soap. I promise that you can get them as clean as they need to be with normal soap. The problem with antibiotic/antibacterial products is that they make bacteria stronger, more virile, and resistant to antibiotics!

From the CDC:



Eating Naturally

The best diet is a natural and balanced one. These days the word “natural” has become a catch phrase for many food and supply companies. It can mean any number of things, and it seems that each product that is presented as “natural” bends the word to their own convenient definition.

When considering the word natural and how it pertains to food, consider the sort of items that any person anywhere might recognize. For instance, fruits and vegetables, meats, grains, and dairy items are fairly recognizable to any person from any society or place on earth. These are the basis of all our foods, and what we are built to eat.

So, in general, when choosing foods, read the ingredient labels and consider each ingredient and whether or not it is commonly “recognizable.” If it isn’t, then the food you are considering is processed. The more unrecognizable ingredients it has, the more processed it is; the further away from natural it is.

Additionally, natural foods expire. They go bad. This even includes ingredients that you might use to cook with, like flour or oil. High quality whole grain flour or high grade oil should be kept in the refrigerator to keep them fresh and nutritious. Otherwise, these can begin to degrade without you even knowing.

A word about fat:

We must remember that fats are actually very important to our body. They help to keep our skin healthy and strong, and they are one of the major building materials for our brains. So, we need fats! The best fats are those that we eat either raw, or cooked as little as possible. For example, raw nuts and seeds are spectacular sources of fat. High fat fruits and vegetables are terrific as well– an example would be avocados. There’s a reason why they’re so delicious! The dairy group also contains very healthy fat.

Most dairy products are both pasteurized and homogenized. The process of pasteurization is the heating of raw fluids to the point where most potentially harmful bacteria have been destroyed. On the other hand, the purpose of homogenization is solely one of convenience and taste. Non-homogenized dairy fats separate,  which results in a layer of cream that rises to the top in milk and yogurt products. To alleviate this inconvenience, dairy companies homogenize their milk. Molecularly, dairy fats are composed of long chains of fatty acid molecules. When homogenized, these molecules get chopped up into smaller pieces that are more easily absorbed by the gut. Does this matter? Well, that is very debatable (and indeed, it is debated very frequently). Personally, I believe that we consume the foods we do for a reason. Over time, our bodies have adapted to consume foods the way that they are found naturally. So, I recommend not taking the chance. Drink milk the way it molecularly occurs naturally. Drink your milk pasteurized but non-homogenized.

The best way to moderate your intake of dairy fat (especially for reducing caloric intake when dieting) is to eat regular fat dairies, but in smaller amounts. Whole fat dairy isn’t bad– in this instance it just needs to be consumed conservatively. For example, whole fat yogurt is far healthier than most of those modified to be non-fat.  So, reduce the fat by serving your whole fat yogurt with a greater portion of fresh fruit– that way you can enjoy the taste and benefits of real yogurt responsibly.