You might’ve noticed headlines popping up in magazine articles lately stating that sugar is “ageing” and the cause of glycation which leads to skin wrinkling and sagging. These articles generally conclude with recommendations for ‘anti-glycation’ topical skin products and (sigh) a “no-sugar” diet. This post is just a small collection of information to get you thinking and hopefully have you see that sugar* is actually not the bad guy here.
Firstly, I want to say that I don’t think wrinkles are necessarily bad. I’m proud of my 37 year old laugh lines. Wrinkles are indeed inevitable but the thing is, they needn’t develop prematurely, and if you’d rather not accelerate ageing of the skin, know that sugar is not the culprit, but rather the oxidative breakdown of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA).
“Many people are concerned about the spontaneous glycation that supposedly happens in the body when sugars react with proteins, though they are really mostly the result of PUFA degradation.” – Ray Peat PhD
“The fragments of deteriorating PUFA combine with proteins and other cell materials, producing immunogenic substances. The so-called “advanced glycation end products” that have been blamed on glucose excess, are mostly derived from the peroxidation of the “Essential Fatty Acids.” The term ‘glycation’ indicates the addition of sugar groups to proteins, such as occurs in diabetes and old age, but when tested in a controlled experiment, lipid peroxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids produces the protein damage about 23 times faster than the simple sugars do.” (Fu, et al., 1996). – Ray Peat PhD
In fact, sugar actually helps to prevent tissue breakdown (seen in the skin with sagging and loss of muscle tone), by ‘sparing’ protein:
“Sugars* (fruits etc) are far more effective than protein in preventing protein degradation in the muscle.” – Ivy & Portman PhD
The stress of a low-carb / low-sugar diet, and stress in general, decreases our production of carbon dioxide (putting us in a low metabolic state), and actually increases the glycation of proteins. Read more of this post …
Tags: anti-ageing, Anti-inflammatory, beauty, beautyeditor.ca, coconut oil, Dodieanderson, fruit, Gelatin, glycation, hormones, icecream, lipidperoxidation, low carb, michellevillett, perfectfood, polyunsaturated fats, PUFA, Ray Peat, Rob Turner, skin, Stress, sugarisnotwhitepoison, thenutritioncoach, wrinkles
Here is the second half of my interview with Rob Turner, former professional American footballer and founder of Functional Performance Systems. If you missed Part 1 of this interview, you can read it here
Pictured: My ‘little’ brother weight training: For a long time he’s done weights, running, as well as Cross-Fit and Heavy Haulers in recent years. He has worked hard without supplements or protein powders to become well ‘built’ and toned, with the ideal “fit aesthetic” most men strive for (with low body fat % and low pulse). But recently after experiencing exhaustion, and insomnia, and learning more about nutrition through his nagging sister, he’s working to get his pulse and basal temperature up again, training less, ditched running, not training on an empty stomach, and including more of the foods to help compensate for exercise-induced stress. He’s made a conscious effort to ignore popular advice to go ‘low-carb’ and is instead downing “taboo” sugary OJ, fruits and dairy with great results; feeling better, looking healthier and more solid. Still a way to go to resurrect thyroid function (as it is for all of us) but I commend him for challenging the generally accepted beliefs about “fitness”. (Photo by Melita Jagic, taken at CrossFit Blackburn)
Emma: Rob, Like me, you’re a huge supporter of the work of Ray Peat PhD. What was the main thing that drew you to his research in the first place, and nutritionally, what do you see as the most important ‘Peat’ principles people should adopt for improving their functional fitness? Read more of this post …
Tags: aerobic, anti-ageing, beauty, breakfast, cross-fit, exercise, fertility, fitness, Functional Performance Systems, health myths, hormones, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, low carb, metabolism, Paleo, polyunsaturated fats, Ray Peat, Ray Peat PhD, Rob Turner, Stress, thyroid, weight lifting, weight loss
Meet Rob Turner, a former professional American footballer, and now personal trainer, health coach and educator, founder and owner Functional Performance Systems gym in California. Rob kindly agreed to share with me some of his wealth of knowledge on the misconceptions of ‘fitness’, the potential dangers of aerobic activity, and how to exercise efficiently and intelligently, with minimal stress or metabolic damage.
Emma: Rob, recently on your facebook page you put up this quote:
“The dictionary defines fitness as: possessing a quality of strength and overall health. Nevertheless, for many people today, fitness has become more about how one looks than how one feels. This is a cultural standard that has nothing to do with what is natural to our species’ design.” - Kathleen Porter
Today we associate being fit with looking “cut”, being able to run for miles, and having a low resting pulse. How do you think we came to this definition of fitness and why is this not necessarily a “healthy” state?
Rob: I had a conversation with a female figure competitor this week, and we spoke about her preparation leading up to the competition. She was on a near zero carbohydrate diet 14 days before the show while also maintaining her training schedule of two workouts a day including fasted cardio in the mornings. During this time period, she experienced fatigue, sleep issues, a spaced out feeling, and found herself unknowingly sitting at green lights in her car a few times. Her brain energy supply was low as a consequence of the carbohydrate restriction. Despite having what modern culture at large would consider an impressive and lean physique, she was not feeling healthy during her show prep.
Body fat percentage nor muscle size define health status. The “cut” look is a relatively new cultural phenomenon with a genesis during the late 1970s when bodybuilding started to progressively gain more acceptance. A “ripped” person can be healthy, but having a “6 pack” doesn’t guarantee a state of health. Read more of this post …
Tags: aerobic, anti-ageing, cross-fit, exercise, fertility, fitness, Functional Performance Systems, health myths, hormones, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, low carb, metabolism, Paleo, polyunsaturated fats, Ray Peat PhD, Rob Turner, Stress, thyroid, weight lifting, weight loss
Yes, ice cream. You read correctly. But not just any kind …
I found it interesting that early in my pregnancy, it was the one constant “craving” I had. I couldn’t walk past a Gelateria and not stop for a cup of their sweet, milky creations. However it didn’t actually feel like I was sinning; when I ate it, it seemed to restore me to equilibrium, my mind was clearer, mood calmer, hands and feet warmed up, and my racing pulse brought back to normal: hypoglycaemic crisis averted. This got me thinking: maybe my body was “craving” exactly what it needed: a perfect combo of pro-metabolic sugars, protein, calcium, and a little fat of the good, saturated kind.
So it started me on a mission to explore the ingredients generally used and find the best and purest of the ready made options. Read more of this post …
Tags: anti-ageing, Anti-inflammatory, beauty, calcium, carrageenan, chocolate, dairy, dontquitsugar, eggs, Gelatin, gelato, Gigi's, home cooking, ice cream, Luigi Barossa, metabolism, milk, Ray Peat, Ray Peat PhD, real food, thyroid
It’s been six months since my last blog post and in that time I’ve learnt more about the human body, nutrition and hormone interactions, and health in general, at a far deeper level than from any academic course or research project I’ve ever participated in. All inspired by my wisest mentor and new sidekick: my baby girl Olive.
Motivated by wanting to get this thirty six year old body as well nourished and physiologically balanced as possible to (breast) feed her with gusto without depleting my self, I’ve hungrily ploughed through research for information that was surprisingly not readily available. What could be more motivating than the precious gift of an exquisite baby?! Read more of this post …
Tags: baby nutrition, beauty, breast feeding, calcium, calories, Dr Tom Brewer, estrogen dominance, fertility, fruit, hormones, hypoglycemia, milk, polyunsaturated fats, preconception, pregnancy nutrition, prolactin, Ray Peat PhD, salt, thyroid
Yes, 35 weeks now and it’s flying by! I wanted to post a little about my experience so far through this bizarre and wonderful time. After working with women for years, tuning their food habits through the pre-conception, pregnancy and new-mum stages, and liking to think that I knew a fair bit about it all on the biochemical side, going through it first hand has taken my understanding to a whole new level. It’s kinda like: ”Aaaaah, I get what they meant now!“
I’m very grateful that I wasn’t afflicted with harrowing morning sickness or the vomits. I only had 4 weeks during the first trimester of feeling a bit “off and icky” with food aversions that turned me right off the foods I normally devour happily. All of a sudden, bone broths, fruits, cheeses and even chocolate were not at all appealing. Day by day it was a challenge to fathom what might satisfy me (and on some days it was simply about getting energy in in almost any form!) The inner chatter (or should I say arguing) between the “nutritionist” and the “vulnerable pregnant woman” in me during that month was, well, interesting! But then like a flick of a switch at week 12, I was back to normal. Thank goodness. It was a fascinating lesson in the power of hormones and inspired me to dig deeper into the topic of “morning sickness” and other pregnancy nutrition considerations. Read more of this post …
Tags: calcium, detox, Dr Tom Brewer, eggs, estrogen dominance, fertility, Gelatin, milk, morning sickness, polyunsaturated fats, pregnancy, progesterone, protein, Ray Peat PhD, real food, salt, thyroid
Rather than waiting as I deliberate for many more months to perfectly word a polished article (or entire book) on such a huge topic, here’s a rough collection of research notes and links, insights, basic explanations in biology, and clinically-founded conclusions, concerning the importance of sugar. And when I say sugar, I’m referring to the simpler carbohydrate comprising glucose and fructose; a.k.a. sucrose. In nature, this is the carbohydrate found in ripened fruits, beetroots and certain other well-cooked root vegetables, pure honey, and dare I say it, cane sugar. *For clarity, I’ve added a quickie summary of the categories of carbs at the end of this post.
Confusion and ignorance surrounding “carbs”, that the complex ones are “healthy” while simpler ones are “unhealthy”, or that we should exclude this macronutrient entirely, has gotten us into serious metabolic strife. We’ve been so ill informed that it’s come to the point where even fruits, those nourishing, restorative, pro-metabolic, digestible (and delicious) jewels of nature, are damned. We’re told carbs are carbs, sugars are sugars, ignoring the fundamental biochemistry of all the very different carbohydrate forms. Whole grains are so wrongly glorified while orange juice is put on par with Pepsi. And where has this got us? Fat, diabetic, hypothyroid, inflamed, adrenalised and reproductively-challenged.
Read more of this post …
Tags: anti-ageing, carbohydrates, dontquitsugar, estrogen dominance, fertility, fruit, ketogenic, low carb, metabolism, polyunsaturated fats, Ray Peat PhD, raypeat, real food, sugarisnotpoison, sugars, thyroid
I have a gripe.
When did people (or certain “health” enthusiasts) lose their identity to their nutritional persuasions, and begin to define themselves by whatever popular food philosophy they follow?
“Hello, my name is (Jack/Jill) and I am a _______ (fill in the blank) Vegetarian / Vegan / Paleo / WAP / Macrobiotic / Raw-foodist / Primal …”
At an organic “health-food” convention I attended a few years ago in New York, I met a young man who introduced himself as being “85% Raw Vegan” and then proceeded to ask what “percentage” I was? I responded (baffled) that I hadn’t calculated that lately, ah sorry.
Have we modern Westerners gone mad? Read more of this post …
Tags: digestion, Paleo, Raw Food, thyroid, Traditional, Vegan, Vegetarian
Healthy cooking starts with healthy, safe, non-toxic pots and pans. It seems counter-productive to go out of your way to buy fresh organic produce and take the time to chop and delicately cook it, only to use cookware that leaches some noxious heavy metal or toxin into the food.
Recently I decided to clean out my kitchen and discard some tired old pots and pans. I wanted to make sure I was going to replace them with the safest cookware so I’ve researched all materials and brands available. Here’s what I ended up choosing…
Silit is a brand from Germany. It’s cookware range is made using their ‘Silargan’ ceramic coating, which is described as: ” … extremely durable high-tech ceramic is not only ultra-hard, scratchproof and non-abrasive; it is the cookware material predestined for wellness cuisine. It is anti-bacterial, very hygienic and neutral to taste. It is equally suitable for cooking, serving and storing foods. Moreover, Silargan is nickel-free and thus first choice for persons with allergies”. And it’s good looking to boot. Aren’t these babies beautiful?!
Nickel is commonly allergenic (showing up as contact dermatitis) but can be destructive and ageing in accumulation even for those not technically “allergic”. It is a heavy metal that, just like lead, mercury, cadmium (and iron too for that matter), produces free-radicals. All heavy metals are very toxic, potent enzyme poisons and cross the blood-brain barrier, causing diseases like Alzheimer’s, ALS, MS, etc. Nickel has been shown to be more toxic than mercury (Dr. R. Peat). Not something I want in my food if I can help it.
Read more of this post …
Tags: 18/0, cast iron, cooking, cookware, detox, free-radicals, heavy metals, home cooking, iron, MS, nickel, Non-stick, PFOA and PFOS, pots and pans, Raco, Ray Peat PhD, Silit, stainless steel, Teflon, tools
You might’ve heard me mention gelatin in previous posts. My clients hear me go on about it all the time. So what’s so beneficial about it?
Gelatin is basically the cooked form of collagen (the stuff women pay big bucks to have injected into their faces to keep skin plump). Traditional diets were gelatin rich. Muscle meat was not generally eaten on its own like it is today; a whole joint was stewed – the muscle, bone, skin, connective tissue etc. altogether, with the full spectrum of minerals and amino acids in one meal. These days we throw away all the good bits. Incorporating bone broths is one way to replace the missing nutrients, but gelatin is a handy addition that completes the amino acids we need to down-regulate inflammation. Read more of this post …
Tags: anti-ageing, Anti-inflammatory, bone broth, digestion, estrogen dominance, Facebook, Food Matters, Gelatin, Great Lakes gelatin, home made, Jelly, Ray Peat, thyroid