Category Archives: Healthy Fats

Brains may need fat to delay aging

illustration-of-human-brainWe know that fat is exceptionally important to the development of young brains. Babies and young children need fat for proper growth. As we age, though, fat can have less positive effects on our bodies. And understanding the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats helps us to become more aware of the importance of conscious eating. We read important information today regarding a possible link between a high-fat diet and brain aging that emphasizes the importance of healthy fats in our diets.

Brain aging can be delayed in mice if they are placed on a high-fat diet, according to a study conducted by the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the National Institute of Health.

It is normal for defects to appear in the nervous system as people age. Among these, the brain loses some of its intellectual capacity, and the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease increases.

Although human cells have a system for repairing damage to DNA, this repair function breaks down as we age.

This damage to DNA has been linked with Alzheimer’s and Cockayne syndrome – a premature aging disorder that results in death by the age of 10-12.

The new study uses a mouse model of Cockayne syndrome to investigate these defects to the DNA repair system.

Lead author Prof. Vilhelm Bohr – from the Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen and the National Institute of Health – describes the team’s findings:

“The study is good news for children with Cockayne syndrome, because we do not currently have an effective treatment. Our study suggests that a high-fat diet can postpone [the] aging processes.”

“A diet high in fat also seems to postpone the aging of the brain. The findings, therefore, potentially imply that patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in the long term may benefit from the new knowledge,” he adds.

The researchers explain that sugar and “ketones” are sources of energy that our brains require a constant supply of. When blood sugar is low, ketones are produced by the body breaking down fat.

The researchers found that the mice with Cockayne syndrome benefited from having an extra supply of similar brain fuel, provided here in the form of medium-chain fatty acids from coconut oil.

Although the researchers did not provide Medical News Today with data on the extent of the improvement in the mice with Cockayne syndrome, Morten Scheibye-Knudsen, from the National Institute of Health, further explains the results.

“In cells from children with Cockayne syndrome,” he says, “we have previously demonstrated that aging is a result of the cell repair mechanism being constantly active.”

“It eats into the resources and causes the cell to age very quickly,” Scheibye-Knudsen adds. “We therefore hope that a diet with a high content of coconut oil or similar fats will have a beneficial effect, because the brain cells are given extra fuel and thus the strength to repair the damage.”

FoodFacts.com is reminded that not all fats need to be avoided. Our bodies need the good ones. And according to this important information, our brains can especially benefit.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/285067.php

Live from your local Scoop Shop …. Saturday Night Live Ice Cream flavors from Ben & Jerry’s!

promo_bandj-snlEven FoodFacts.com loves the occassional ice cream. But it has to be real ice cream made with real ingredients. You know the kind … thick and creamy. Ice cream that actually melts because when real ice cream warms up that’s what it does, leaving a wonderfully thickened liquid in the bottom of its small cup.

For consumers everywhere, Ben & Jerry’s is the favored brand of ice cream. And in many ways — like their move against GMO ingredients — there are good reasons for that. More, than anything though, consumers love hearing about the new flavors Ben & Jerry’s is constantly introducing to their customers. And that’s what we’re featuring here today.

Are you ready for some crazy deliciousness? Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is releasing four brand-new flavors in conjunction with Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary. The newest flavors include “Lazy Sunday,” based on the infamous Lonely Island sketch, as well as “Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch,” inspired by the crazy, but well-meaning, bow-wearing girl played by Kristen Wiig, as well as two additional yet-to-be-announced flavors. We can’t tell you yet about the other two, but a little birdie may have hinted that the remaining funny flavors will be announced in the next couple of months!

Lazy Sunday, of course, is based off of a love for delicious cupcakes. (Sorry, no red vines included!). The flavor features cake batter ice cream with chocolate and yellow cupcake pieces and chocolate frosting swirl.
And you won’t be “sorry” about the decadent Gilly flavor, made with chocolate and sweet cream ice creams, with caramel clusters, fudge-covered almonds, and marshmallow swirl.

“Our fans have a great sense of humor and we share their affinity for the comic genius of Saturday Night Live,” said Lisa Sholk, Ben and Jerry’s Marketing Manager. “We loved the challenge of creating ice cream personalities for these iconic sketches.”

For the purists among us here are the ingredients listed on the Ben & Jerry’s website.

Lazy Sunday:
Cream, Skim Milk, Water, Liquid Sugar (Sugar, Water), Dried Cane Syrup, Wheat Flour, Sugar, Egg Yolks, Soy Bean Oil, Corn Syrup, Coconut Oil, Butter (Cream, Salt), Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Cocoa, Eggs, Vanila Extract, Chocolate Liquor, Natural Flavors, Salt, Guar Gum, Baking Powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Turmeric (for color), Soy Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan.

Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch:
Cream, Skim MIlk, Liquid Sugar (Sugar, Water), Water, Corn Syrup, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Roasted Almonds (Almonds, Peanut Oil), Dried Cane Syrup, Sugar, Coconut Oil, Egg Yolks, Cocoa, Egg Whites, Rolled Oats (Wheat), Salt, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract, Butteroil, Guar Gum, Natural Flavors, Pectin, Rice Syrup, Brown Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Carrageenan, Paprike Extract (color) Molasses, Baking Soda, Sea Salt, Canola Oil.

We’ve still got some work to do with both of these flavors — like getting rid of the natural flavors and the carrageenan.

If these sound good to you remember you won’t be able to buy packaged pints of your favorite SNL flavor at the local grocery store, because these flavors are only available in scoop or pint form at Ben and Jerry’s scoop shops across America.

http://www.thedailymeal.com/news/live-ben-and-jerry-s-it-s-saturday-night-live-ice-cream/61914

Parents: here’s another great reason to spend more time in your own kitchen!

cooking togetherHere at FoodFacts.com, we spend a lot of time talking about the importance of preparing meals at home. You know the reasons we’re such strong proponents of home cooking — better ingredients, less salt, less sugar and healthier fats are among the finer points. But we should never forget to include the idea that home-cooked meals that utilize fresh ingredients win on flavor over processed foods every single time.

For parents, especially, cooking at home is a significant aspect of raising healthy kids. With the obesity crisis at unprecedented levels, home cooking makes a real difference in the lives of our children. It also helps our kids develop a taste for foods that aren’t chicken nuggets so that they’ll actually embrace the vegetables and fruits that are an important part of their healthy diet. It seems that new information has revealed that eating home-cooked meals does exactly that!

Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, suggests that the amount time parents spend on food preparation at home influences children’s food intake decisions made in the laboratory without parental supervision.

“In general, research shows that children tend to eat inadequate amounts of nutrient-rich foods while eating large amounts of sugary and fatty foods,” Shehan said. “It’s encouraging to see that parents can possibly affect the quality of their children’s food choices outside the home by spending more time cooking.”

The main findings showed that children whose parents reported more time spent on food preparation at home independently chose to eat meals that were lower in energy density (a measure of calories per gram) than children whose parents reported less food preparation time. In other words, the children whose parents reported more time on food preparation tended to make healthier food choices in the lab than children whose parents spent less time at home on food preparation, even without parental supervision.

The study, conducted through Penn State’s Department of Food Science and Department of Nutritional Sciences, involved 61 children between ages 4 and 6 and their parents. Each family in the study participated in two laboratory visits, where children tasted and rated their liking of a variety of foods and were then given unlimited access to these foods without adult instruction or interference. Children were allowed to eat as much or as little of any of the foods presented, which included highly energy dense foods such as chicken nuggets and chocolate chip cookies, as well as lower calorie foods such as grapes and broccoli. Meanwhile, parents completed questionnaires addressing various topics including their home food environment, their child’s food preferences and habits, and their family’s socioeconomic status.

To elucidate the neural mechanisms of such age-related changes in taste preference and sensitivity, electrophysiological experiments examined taste response characteristics of chorda tympani nerves. These nerves mediate gustatory information from the tongue to the brainstem. The researchers observed no significant differences in activity of the chorda tympani nerves by taste stimuli across the different age groups.

This research suggests parental home food preparation may influence children’s food intake patterns, even when children are eating outside the home. Future research studies are needed to see whether encouraging increased amounts of home food preparation or teaching parents food preparation skills will improve children’s eating habits.

“Even after controlling for family income and whether or not children had a parent at home full time, we found that children whose parents spend more time cooking make better choices,” Shehan added. “Our food preferences develop early in life, so getting young children to eat nutritious foods can help them stay healthy in the long run.

What we serve at home appears to develop taste preferences in children and that’s important. We all know kids love chocolate chip cookies, but that broccoli you’re preparing, or that whole grain pasta with vegetables that they really love — they’re going to look for those foods when they aren’t at home, too. And for every parent that’s struggled to find the time to put a home-cooked healthy meal on the table at the long day, that’s a great motivation to continue those healthy habits for the whole family!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729224914.htm

New study points to consumption of more healthy fats worldwide

Healthy Fat ConsumptionAs we all await the FDA’s decision on trans fat in our food supply here in the U.S., a new study has revealed that the worldwide consumption of healthier fats has increased in the last two decades. While there’s certainly good news in that finding, the same study also finds that the intake of harmful fats has basically remained the same.

Researchers analyzed data on consumption of fats and oils in 266 countries between 1990 and 2010. During that time, overall intake of omega-6, seafood omega-3 and plant omega-3 rose, while consumption of saturated fat, dietary cholesterol and trans fat remained stable.

The Harvard School of Public Health-led study was written on behalf of the Global Burden of Diseases Nutrition and Chronic Diseases Expert Group. It was published online April 15 in the BMJ and appears in the April 19 print issue.

Saturated fats can be found in foods such as high-fat cheeses, high-fat meat cuts, cream and whole-fat milk, ice cream products, and palm and coconut oils, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends cutting back on saturated fats.

Global saturated fat intake averaged 9.4 percent in 2010, but there were wide variations between countries, ranging from 2.3 percent to 27.5 percent, the new study found.
The highest levels of saturated fat consumption were in Samoa, Kiribati and other palm-oil producing island nations, along with Sri Lanka, Romania and Malaysia. The lowest intake was in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bolivia, Bhutan and Pakistan, according to a Harvard news release.

Naturally occurring trans fats are found in smaller amounts in dairy products and fatty parts of meat. Americans continue to consume high levels of artificial trans fat in fried foods, savory snacks, frozen pizzas, cake, cookies, pie, margarine and spreads, frosting and coffee creamers, according to the CDC, which also recommends reducing trans fat intake.

Global trans fat intake was 1.4 percent and ranged from 0.2 percent to 6.5 percent among countries, the new study found. Worldwide cholesterol intake was 228 milligrams (mg) per day, but ranged from 97 mg to 440 mg per day.

The CDC recommends that people get most of their dietary fat, including omega-6s and omega-3s, from sources such as nuts, vegetable oils and fish.

In the study, intake of seafood omega-3s was 163 mg per day worldwide, but varied from 5 mg to 3,886 mg per day among countries, researchers found. Higher levels of intake were in Maldives, Barbados, the Seychelles, Iceland, Malaysia, Thailand, Denmark, South Korea and Japan.

Very low levels of seafood-omega-3s intake were found in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, some Asian regions and the Middle East. These regions have 3 billion adults and account for nearly 67 percent of the world’s adult population, the news release noted.

In most nations and regions, men and women had similar intake levels of fats and oils. Women generally consumed slightly more saturated fat and plant omega-3s than men. Younger people generally consumed more trans fats, while older people typically consumed more dietary cholesterol and seafood omega-3 fats, the study found.
It’s believed that poor diet is the leading modifiable cause of poor health worldwide. By 2020, poor diet will likely play a role in about 75 percent of all deaths from chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to the news release.

There are some eye-opening statements here. The importance of a healthy diet is undeniable. FoodFacts.com is always encouraging our community to cook whole, fresh foods in their own kitchens and to be aware of the nutrition facts and ingredients of the foods they include in their diets. It’s astounding to read that about 75% of disease related deaths may be associated with diet in just a few short years. It is our hope that future reports like this will not only find increases in the consumption of healthy fats, but also a reduction in the consumption of the fats we need to avoid.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2014/04/18/more-people-worldwide-eating-healthy-fats-study-finds