Welcome to CrossFit Young Athletes, Steven!
Archives for July 2010
What if Bad Fat is Actually Good for You?
For decades, Americans have been told that saturated fat clogs arteries
and causes heart disease. But there's just one problem: No one's ever
Suppose you were forced to live on a diet of red
meat and whole milk. A diet that, all told, was at least 60 percent fat
— about half of it saturated.
If your first thoughts are of statins and stents, you may want to
consider the curious case of the Masai, a nomadic tribe in Kenya and
In the 1960s, a Vanderbilt University scientist
named George Mann, M.D., found that Masai men consumed this very diet
(supplemented with blood from the cattle they herded). Yet these nomads,
who were also very lean, had some of the lowest levels of cholesterol ever measured and were virtually free of heart disease.
Scientists, confused by the finding, argued that the tribe must have certain genetic protections against developing high cholesterol.
But when British researchers monitored a group of Masai men who moved
to Nairobi and began consuming a more modern diet, they discovered that
the men's cholesterol subsequently skyrocketed.
Similar observations were made of the Samburu —
another Kenyan tribe — as well as the Fulani of Nigeria. While the
findings from these cultures seem to contradict the fact that eating saturated fat leads to heart disease,
it may surprise you to know that this "fact" isn't a fact at all. It
is, more accurately, a hypothesis from the 1950s that's never been
The first scientific indictment of saturated fat came
in 1953. That's the year a physiologist named Ancel Keys, Ph.D.,
published a highly influential paper titled "Atherosclerosis, a Problem
in Newer Public Health." Keys wrote that while the total death rate in
the United States was declining, the number of deaths due to heart disease was steadily climbing. And to explain why, he presented a comparison of fat intake and heart disease mortality in six countries: the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Italy, and Japan.
The Americans ate the most fat and had the greatest number of deaths from heart disease;
the Japanese ate the least fat and had the fewest deaths from heart
disease. The other countries fell neatly in between. The higher the fat
intake, according to national diet surveys, the higher the rate of heart
disease. And vice versa. Keys called this correlation a "remarkable relationship"
and began to publicly hypothesize that consumption of fat- causes heart
disease. This became known as the diet-heart hypothesis.
At the time, plenty of scientists were skeptical of
Keys's assertions. One such critic was Jacob Yerushalmy, Ph.D., founder
of the biostatistics graduate program at the University of California
at Berkeley. In a 1957 paper, Yerushalmy pointed out that while data
from the six countries Keys examined seemed to support the diet-heart
hypothesis, statistics were actually available for 22 countries. And
when all 22 were analyzed, the apparent link between fat consumption and
heart disease disappeared. For example, the death rate from heart
disease in Finland was 24 times that of Mexico, even though
fat-consumption rates in the two nations were similar.
The other salient criticism of Keys's study
was that he had observed only a correlation between two phenomena, not a
clear causative link. So this left open the possibility that something
else — unmeasured or unimagined — was leading to heart disease.
After all, Americans did eat more fat than the Japanese, but perhaps
they also consumed more sugar and white bread, and watched more television.
Despite the apparent flaws in Keys's argument, the
diet-heart hypothesis was compelling, and it was soon heavily promoted
by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the media. It offered the
worried public a highly educated guess as to why the country was in the
midst of a heart-disease epidemic. "People should know the facts," Keys
said in a 1961 interview with Time magazine, for which he appeared on
the cover. "Then if they want to eat themselves to death, let them."
The seven-countries study, published in 1970, is
considered Ancel Keys's landmark achievement. It seemed to lend further
credence to the diet-heart hypothesis. In this study, Keys reported that
in the seven countries he selected — the United States, Japan, Italy,
Greece, Yugoslavia, Finland, and the Netherlands — animal-fat intake
was a strong predictor of heart attacks over a 5-year period. Just as
important, he noted an association between total cholesterol and heart-disease mortality. This prompted him to conclude that the saturated fats in animal foods — and not other types of fat — raise cholesterol and ultimately lead to heart disease.
Naturally, proponents of the diet-heart hypothesis hailed the study as proof that eating saturated fat leads
to heart attacks. But the data was far from rock solid. That's because
in three countries (Finland, Greece, and Yugoslavia), the correlation
wasn't seen. For example, eastern Finland had five times as many
heart-attack fatalities and twice as much heart disease as western Finland, despite only small differences between the two regions in animal-fat intake and cholesterol
levels. And while Keys provided that raw data in his report, he glossed
over it as a finding. Perhaps a larger problem, though, was his
assumption that saturated fat has an unhealthy effect on cholesterol levels.
At 2:00 this Saturday, July 24th, we are going to offer a Nutrition seminar that
will then launch a 6 month nutrition challenge to begin August 1st. We haven't done a
Nutrition seminar to this depth
before, so we anticipate about 3 hours, with the lecture, practical, and
discussions. The cost of this seminar will be $25 to attend. We will
be tracking bloodwork results during the Challenge, as our benchmarks
for change. The bloodwork will include cholesterol/triglyceride markers
and insulin/blood sugar markers, and they will be a requirement to
participate in the challenge. We will discuss why and what these
numbers mean during the seminar. I strongly encourage those who are
interested in the seminar and the challenge, to get bloodwork drawn and
bring the results with you this coming Saturday, to look at when we
discuss them. We will give you the labs you need to
obtain when you RSVP for this seminar.
The schedule will include:
Lectures from Mike
and Lisa Ray
1. What food is, how it
affects us internally on a chemical and hormonal level.
Myths and bad science on current history of nutrition education and why
it has caused our current health conditions, today.
3. How to change and reclaim balance, healthy, and optimal
Success stories from other CrossFitters who have
made huge changes and seen the benefits.
A look at bloodwork
profiles and educate you about what the numbers mean and why they
inside the "Black Box" (yourself). This seminar and Challenge will
focus on the inside impact of your food, not so much the outside
Examples and tips on how to easily get started in making a change in
your food choices and lead a healthier lifestyle in the midst of a very
1. Large quantity prep
2. Quick, last
3. Travel tips
4. What to do when no refrigeration is
6. Fast Foods and Restaurants
breakouts on meal planning and prep ideas and macro-nutrient
composition, with trainer
feedback on if they are correct and how to make those meals
At this point, we will be offering the launch and registration of a 6
program and Challenge that will hold you very accountable to your
choices for 6 months. Enough time to really make changes that will show
real results and could
last a lifetime. To continue in the seminar at this point, you will need
to make a commitment to this Challenge and to me for the time I will
you in helping you make these life changes. In the months ahead there
will be weekly, monthly, and quarterly follow ups to certain markers and
tracking systems, such as continuing bloodwork, field trips to the
grocery store and several types of restaurants, educating you in how we
choose our foods there, how to eat wisely but yet enjoy yourself, and we
will have progress checks on your own home meals.
There will be required reading and testing of recipes along the way, as well. Recommendations, systems of eating, and levels of trainer intervention
will be given according to your needs, based on your
bloodwork and other health markers.
If you choose to not
participate in the Challenge, and just want to attend the seminar, that
is totally fine, as well.
There will be a charge for the Challenge and if you commit to it,
$25 attendance fee will be included. I say there is a charge, but if
you pass each of your follow-up markers, telling us that you're
following the advice and instructions you will be given, you will
your money back. If you do not follow the instructions and pass the
markers, you will forfeit that particular segment's cost. This provides
incentive and consequences to hold you accountable and try harder.
Think of it as an investment
in your health. By the end of this 6 months, you have the potential of
getting all of your money back and the help provided for free.
This is the launch of a new program for us, so this will be the only
time it ends up being totally free, if the all challenges are met. In
the future, there will be an additional charge for
this extra time and effort on our part. Consider this an investment in
your health. You get the double return in your money back AND the
benefit of reclaimed health, and amazing
education, if you put in the effort and learn that it's not that
difficult. It's just a choice about what you put into your mouth and
we'll help you make that choice. Who's in?
I will need an RSVP before the seminar, please.
You can use any type of stone fruit in the salsa…I’ve made a similar
one only using mangoes. I really liked this version with the Salmon
Burgers though. Serves 2.
1 lb wild Salmon
3 chipotle peppers in abodo sauce
1 TBSP wholegrain mustard
1 lime – zested
1/2 lime – juiced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
Stone Fruit Salsa
2 Nectarines, diced
1 Peach, diced
3/4 – 1 ripe avocado, diced
2-3 TBSP red onion, finely diced
1/2 lime, juiced
Gently mix ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate until
Throw all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until combined
(probably about 4-5 pulses). Make into two 8oz burgers.
Preheat non-stick skillet on medium for 1 minute. Drizzle olive oil
and sear burgers for 3-4 minutes each side until golden brown and firm
to touch. They cook quickly, so keep an eye on them.
To serve, top the burgers with the salsa and enjoy! Ray likes to use
the leftover chilies as a topping as well.