Eggs

How many eggs are actually good for me? For a long time, opinions differed when it came to determining a recommended consumption level for eggs. Eggs were thought to have a negative effect on cholesterol levels. In fact, the recommended amount of eggs is not based on cholesterol at all, but on the inflammatory parameters in the blood. There is a lot of omega-6 fatty acid (arachidonic acid) in egg yolks, which is highly inflammatory. Healthy people with low inflammation levels could eat eggs daily without harming themselves. However, if the inflammatory parameters are elevated, you should really pay attention to the weekly amount of eggs. 

Your Metabolic Balance nutrition plan will tell you how many eggs are ideal for you.

Cholesterol under control!

Cholesterol is essential for human life. It is not only a necessary component of cell membranes, but also an important starting material for the production of sex hormones in the adrenal grands, ovaries and testicles. In addition, vitamin D, which is so important for our metabolism, is formed from cholesterol under the skin. Most cholesterol is needed for the production of bile acid in the liver. Due to the many functions of cholesterol in the body, it is also able to produce cholesterol itself. This means that 90% of the daily amount of cholesterol needed is produced by the liver. In contrast, only 10% of total cholesterol is absorbed with food.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance and, like triglycerides and long-chain fatty acids, is insoluble in water, i. e. it cannot circulate freely in the blood (blood consists of 70% water). Therefore, the fats are transferred to a water-soluble form, the so-called lipoproteins.

The exogenous metabolic pathway
Dietary fats absorbed through the intestine – cholesterol, triglycerides and long-chain fatty acids – are packed in lipoprotein shells in the intestinal wall and thus enter the vascular system via the lymph channels. From there they are distributed throughout the body. With the help of enzymes, triglycerides and individual fatty acids are broken down, which are needed for energy production and various metabolic processes. The remaining residual particles are absorbed by the liver.

The endogenous metabolic pathway
The liver produces various lipoproteins from the residual particles, among other things LDL cholesterol. The LDL is absorbed into the cells via special LDL receptors found on almost all cell types and thus removed from the bloodstream. Unfortunately, the absorption of LDL cholesterol into cells is not unlimited. If the supply of cholesterol from the blood exceeds the needs of the cells, the LDL receptors on the cell surface are reduced and the cells absorb less and less LDL cholesterol from the blood.
As a result, a large part of the LDL cholesterol present in the blood oxidizes and is absorbed by the immune system’s scavenger cells (macrophages). So-called “foam cells” are formed, which contain large amounts of cholesterol. Over time, these cells die off and release cholesterol crystals, which promote the deposition of plaques in damaged vessels – arteriosclerosis develops.

HDL cholesterol is formed in the intestine and liver as well as in the blood while metabolizing other lipoproteins. These can – and this distinguishes them from other lipoproteins present in the blood – absorb oxidized LDL cholesterol and transport it back to the liver, where it is then used to produce bile acids.

Primary and secondary lipometabolic disorders
Approximately 30 percent of diagnosed hypercholesterolaemia are primary or familial hypercholesterolaemia. Primary or familial hypercholesterol anaemia is attributed to a gene defect. This gene defect causes fewer LDL receptors to be formed on the cells and thus reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the cells – with the result that the LDL concentration in the blood rises rapidly. 
Often, however, an elevated cholesterol level is secondary. The reason for this may be, for example, a nutrition that is too rich in fats, which in particular contains too many saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids. But a nutrition high in carbohydrates and low in fiber also contributes to this. Diseases such as hypothyroidism, diabetes or renal dysfunction can also cause elevated cholesterol levels. Furthermore, medication such as cortisone, antihypertensives or beta-blockers are suspected of having a negative effect on cholesterol levels.

What role does nutrition play?
Dietary and lifestyle changes are core elements of prevention and treatment of dyslipidemia.
In general, a nutrition that is simply low in cholesterol is not recommended. The cholesterol in food usually has only a small effect on blood levels. It is much more important to have a balanced nutrition in which, besides high-quality vegetable omega-3 oils, sea fish, lots of fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits, as well as high-fiber foods are on the menu.

Influence of carbohydrates on cholesterol levels
A low-carbohydrate nutrition has a positive effect on blood lipid levels and cholesterol. This was observed by scientists in a study of nearly 180 overweight middle-aged men. In the subjects who only met their energy requirements with carbohydrates for a quarter instead of a half, the harmful triglyceride levels and unhealthy LDL cholesterol in the blood already showed a decrease after three weeks. This effect was also observed if the participants did not lose weight.
The explanation for this is provided by the metabolic intermediate product acetyl-CoA. It is produced during the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, is needed for energy production and at the same time is also the starting substance for the body’s own cholesterol synthesis. With a high consumption of carbohydrates, especially those with a high glycemic load, more acetyl-CoA molecules are formed, which then stimulate cholesterol formation when no energy is needed, for example in the form of exercise and activity.

Vegetables – cholesterol-lowering
Fiber-rich foods, which are mainly rich in soluble fiber, such as apples, pulses and oats, have a positive influence on LDL levels. Their direct effectiveness is mainly based on their ability to bind bile acids in the intestine and excrete them. The more bile acids are bound and disposed of in the intestine by the soluble fiber, the less cholesterol is reabsorbed into the bloodstream. As a result, the liver removes more cholesterol from the bloodstream for the production of bile acid – the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood drops.

In addition to soluble fiber, plant foods also offer a special group of bioactive substances, the so-called plant sterols (phytosterols). These are particularly useful in reducing the absorption of cholesterol from the intestines into the bloodstream.
Plant sterols compete on the micelles in the small intestine with the absorption of cholesterol, so that cholesterol in the presence of plant sterols is increasingly excreted in the stool. This also means that less cholesterol is absorbed into the body, whether it is food cholesterol or the cholesterol that enters the intestines with bile acid. Plant sterols are found naturally in vegetable oils, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or pine nuts and other nuts.

In addition to abundant fiber and phytosterols, vegetable foods also provide a high proportion of other secondary plant substances (carotenoids, polyphenols, sulfides, etc. ), which may protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation. The free radicals that accumulate in the body during the metabolic process or also due to stress are absorbed by the antioxidants and thus prevent them from joining with the cholesterol-containing fat particles.

Avoid hidden fats
The quality of dietary fats also has a major influence on the concentration of lipoproteins. Neither cholesterol nor fats are “dangerous” substances, but essential to life. The problem is usually that too many fats with an unfavorable fatty acid composition are consumed. A scientific study shows that on average 70 % of the daily amount of fat is absorbed as hidden fat (e. g. in sausage, cheese, chocolate, sweet pastries, snacks etc. ). However, it is now known that the fatty acid pattern in nutrition influences the composition, size and oxidation tendency of LDL cholesterol.
Therefore, the focus should be on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. A wide variety of studies have shown that replacing saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids with omega-3 fatty acids (sea fish, cold-pressed vegetable oils, walnuts, seedlings) helps to activate the LDL receptors on the cells to absorb more LDL cholesterol.

Conclusion:
With a balanced nutrition rich in vital substances, as well as by avoiding industrially processed foods and a healthy lifestyle, which means integrating exercise into everyday life and reducing stress, a secondary lipometabolic disorder can be kept in check. At the same time, other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure or blood sugar as well as obesity can be reduced.
In the Metabolic Balance metabolic program, analysis of blood values can determine whether the problem is primary or secondary hypercholesterolemia. Not only values such as total cholesterol, HDL or LDL cholesterol are decisive, but also glucose and triglyceride values must be taken into account in order to be able to make the appropriate nutrition recommendations. Simply avoiding foods high in fat and cholesterol can only reduce elevated cholesterol levels to a limited extent.

Sources:

  1. Scholz R: Medizinische Biochemie, Band 9/10 „Cholesterin, Lipoproteine und Steroidhormone“, Zuckschwerdt-Verlag
  2. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e.V. Evidenzbasierte Leitlinie: Fettkonsum und Prävention ausgewählter ernährungsbedingter Krankheiten. Version 2015; http://www.dge.de
  3. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e.V. Evidenzbasierte Leitlinie: Kohlenhydratzufuhr und Prävention ausgewählter ernährungsbedingter Krankheiten. Version 2011; http://www.dge.de
  4. Worm,N., Mehr Fett. Warum die etablierten Ernährungsempfehlungen nicht haltbar und potenziell gefährlich sind. Ernährung & Medizin 27 (2012)57-63
  5. Bantal, Ganapathi; George, Belinda (2012): Low density Lipoprotein cholesterol target. Changing goal posts. In: India journal of endocrinology and metabolism 16 (suppl 2), S233-5. DOI:10.4103/2230-8210.104047

Cow’s Milk – Healthy or Unhealthy?

6000 years ago, people already used cow’s milk in their nutrition – it was and has always been a staple food. Even today, cow’s milk enjoys great popularity and be it merely at breakfast in muesli, cereal or coffee.

Although milk is a natural food, doubts are growing as to whether cow’s milk is really as good as it is said to be and whether it can really be recommended without reservation. Some scientists point out that increased milk consumption can have an unfavorable effect on health. There are studies suggesting that milk can sometimes lead to obesity, increased tendency to develop acne, allergies, diabetes and also various cancers.  

The valuable nutrients in milk

Cow’s milk is a complete food that contains all the important and necessary nutrients required for the development and intensive growth phase of babies and toddlers. It provides the body with energy in the form of lactose (milk sugar), with fat and protein – the most important building material for almost all body cells – as well as with numerous minerals and vitamins. It is above all its high calcium content that is positively emphasized to guarantee “strong bones”. And that’s why it is recommended for adults to consume milk and dairy products as often as possible to prevent osteoporosis.

Milk calcium for strong bones?

A publication by the scientists Walter Willett (epidemiologist) and David Ludwig (endocrinologist) from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health presented in Boston in 2020 contradicts the well-known theory that milk and its high level of calcium strengthen bones. According to their data, collected in Denmark and Sweden, the risk of bone fractures – with higher consumption of milk and dairy products – increased compared to countries such as China and Indonesia, where hardly any milk and dairy products are consumed.

Another study also showed the correlation between an increased risk of fracture in old age and frequent consumption of milk in childhood. The scientists explain these results as follows: calcium from food can only be stored in the bones in sufficient quantities if there are enough vitamin D and magnesium available; a fact which was not known for a long time.

Milk calcium and cancer

Despite these negative conclusions, the high level of calcium in milk presents benefits for one’s health. Scientists suppose that milk and dairy products can reduce the risk of colon cancer. This fact is based on the assumption that the calcium in milk is able to bind in the intestine and then eliminate harmful breakdown products of bile acids, which are suspected of promoting proliferation in the intestinal mucosa.

However, after evaluating international data, the World Cancer Research Fund also proved that milk may increase the risk of prostate cancer. This, however, was only observed in men who consumed extreme amounts of milk (1 liter) and dairy products (100 g of hard cheese) per day over a long period of time. The mechanism responsible for this correlation still has to be found.

The “bad” fats of milk

Fat is currently the most interesting object of study for science, of all the components of milk. About 70% of milk fat consists of saturated fatty acids, which have long been regarded critically because they are considered to be classic risk factors for arteriosclerosis and heart attack. However, according to new findings, milk fat is by no means as harmful as it was long thought to be. It is now believed that the cause of this is known, because the tiny droplets of fat are encased in a membrane that also consists of proteins and phosphorus. Obviously, milk fat seems to be particularly healthy when this structure is maintained. In an experiment, nutrition experts and scientists found that butter increases the concentration of LDL in the blood, whereas cream did not have this effect.

It is assumed that during the production of butter the membrane of the fat droplets is destroyed. This is because the milk must be centrifuged in order to extract the butterfat from the milk. This creates extremely strong centrifugal forces that destroy the structures.

Not all milk is the same

Nowadays, different types of cow’s milk are offered in the refrigerated shelves of supermarkets. Milk is almost always pasteurized (15-30 sec at 72°C). In addition to conventional heat treatment, researchers have developed other preservation methods that kill germs. The more rigorous the procedure, the more the milk changes.

Supermarkets currently sell mainly three heat-treated varieties, both conventional and organic:

  • “traditionally produced” fresh milk (pasteurised, can be kept refrigerated for 10 days)
  • “longer shelf life” (heated to 127°C for a few seconds, can be stored unopened for 3 weeks)
  • “UHT milk” (heated to 135°C, can be stored unopened for up to 6 months)

Some of the vitamins are affected by the heat treatment. However, homogenisation has a much greater influence on the quality of milk. The milk is pressed under high pressure by means of closed-meshed filters. This finely spreads larger fat accumulations and prevents the milk from creaming. However, protein structures are also torn apart by this process. Some of these fragments cannot be broken down by the digestive enzymes and can therefore be a burden on the intestine.

Milk used for cheese production, yogurt and fermented dairy products is not homogenized.

Milk – a food, not a beverage

“The dose makes the poison” – using milk as a beverage is not recommended. For refreshment, the body primarily needs water and not additional calories. In many studies, three glasses of milk a day are already classified as “highly increased consumption” with possibly unhealthy consequences. This amount is quickly reached if you consume café latte, cocoa, milk shakes or muesli with milk several times a day.

Therefore, the German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends consuming only 200 to 250 grams of milk and dairy products per day – provided there is no lactose intolerance or milk protein allergy.

What is Metabolic Balance’s position on milk?

For Metabolic Balance, too, cow’s milk in well-dosed quantities is a nutritionally high-quality food whose health aspects should not be underestimated. Our rule of “a different protein for every meal” also avoids excessive consumption, which could have an adverse effect. Cow’s milk should always have a fat content of at least 3. 5% – or even more (cow’s milk directly from the farm). It is also advisable to choose organic cow’s milk that has been processed as gently as possible.

Despite the various positive aspects, Metabolic Balance also takes into account the fact that many people in the world cannot tolerate cow’s milk. One of the reasons for this is that, due to genetic disposition, the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose, is not produced or is produced insufficiently in the intestine. The milk sugar enters the large intestine undigested and, on the one hand, dehydrates the intestinal mucosa, which leads to diarrhea, and on the other hand, is also decomposed by bacteria – among other things, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane are produced, which result in severe flatulence.

As an adequate substitute for cow’s milk, especially in order to absorb sufficient calcium, in addition to soybeans, tofu and fermented foods, numerous plant-based foods such as broccoli, green cabbage, Chinese cabbage, pak choi or legumes (pulses) and sweet potatoes are recommended.

Sources:

  1. Milk and Health; Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H., and David S. Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D; N Engl J Med 2020; 382:644-654 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1903547
  2. Milk Consumption During Teenage Years and Risk of Hip Fractures in Older Adults
  3. Diane Feskanich, ScD1; Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari, MD, DrPH2,3; A. Lindsay Frazier, MD1,4; et al; JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(1):54-60.  doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.3821
  4. Calcium Intake and the Incidence of Forearm and Hip Fractures among Men William Owusu, Walter C. Willett, Diane Feskanich, Alberto Ascherio, Donna Spiegelman, Graham A. Colditz

Inspired Pizza Creations – Time to rethink Pizza

If you decide to be inspired by the following combinations, please remember to only have one protein.  Also, we suggest making a Chickpea flour pizza crust  and then adding the toppings (Chickpea flour crust will be your protein.)

NOTE:  These recipes in the infographic are not metabolic balance recipes. This is inspiration for you to play with during your holiday.  If you are unsure about a combination, please ask your coach.

Also, please remember you can only use one protein on your pizzas so if you use the chickpea flour crust, that is the only protein you can use.

If you want to have a pizza feeling, you can take your rye bread and iron it flat or roll it flat using a rolling pin and then grilling it before adding the toppings and putting it in the oven.

If you use your rye bread this way, you can add the cheese on your plan to the pizza!

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photo of chickpeas by Mattie Hagedorn

Where’s The Egg? Egg Substitutes for Baking and Cooking – Advent #9

metabolic balance wants you to have only one protein per meal so when a recipe requires you to use an egg and another protein, what are you to do?   Be creative! Here is an infographic offering you some egg alternatives:

 

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photos of eggs by Liz West

Random Acts of Kindness – Advents Calendar

Today is the first of December and it is time to spend 24 days celebrating metabolic balancing, mindful living and reminiscing over our balanced year.

Today, I thought we would start with a calendar of random acts of kindness you can share this month.

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NOTE: Thank you  Angelika  Zeller-Michaelson for the image of the calendar.

Rebalancing to be Your Ideal Weight

Don’t wait until the new year. If you have been on the metabolic balance plan for a year and have more weight to lose or have stopped following the plan and want to start your journey again, now is the time to start rebalancing.  

Rebalancing

What does it mean to rebalance?  Rebalancing means going back to phase 1 & 2 of the plan so that you can reset your body and get back on track.  (If you have been off the program for awhile, we suggest you get a new plan from your metabolic balance coach.)

Many clients have a hard time realizing they have gained weight or, that they have strayed too far from their metabolic balance plan.  If you are a metabolic balancer and,

-Your clothes or rings getting tighter;

-You have less energy;

-There a reduction in your well-being;

-You reached your alarm weight*;

A rebalancing should be done with the assistance of your coach.  Because the focus of the metabolic balance plan is to help you have a healthy lifestyle, a rebalancing should be done no more than once a year.   If you find that you need to do a rebalancing several times in a short period of time, you may have diet issues that need to be addressed by your coach. 

If you would like to read more about the metabolic balance plan, please check out our posts for phase ½, phase 3, and phase 4.

*Alarm weight.  Sylvia Egel uses an alarm weight with her clients as a warning that something is wrong.  If a client reaches their alarm weight, they need to do a rebalancing to get things back on track.

Before rebalancing:

  • Let your coach know that you are rebalancing and discuss with your coach the challenges you faced or are facing with eating the metabolic balance way.
  • If it has been several years since you received your initial plan, ask your coach for an updated plan based on a new blood test to gauge your current health and nutritional status. (There is a charge for a new plan based on a new blood test.)
  • Prepare your kitchen/home for phase 1 and 2.  Eliminate any foods from your house which will derail you during those first few weeks.
  • Lighten your schedule and try to keep the stress down while you are making this healthy change to your body and your lifestyle.

Additional Posts on Rebalancing:

4 tips for rebalancing

Rebalancing tips from metabolic balance Germany

 

Homemade Chai Recipe – metabolic balance Monday Recipe (Treat Drink)

Chai is an exotic drink that will fill your nostrils with an amazing blend of seasonings.

If you would like to include chai with your meal without making it a treat drink, remove the milk and the sugar.

homemade-chai

Ingredients:

Seasoning Ingredients

  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 6 cardamom pods

Basic Ingredients

  • 6 cups cold water
  • 6 bags of black tea (preferably Darjeeling)

Treat Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

Instructions:

  • Place the first five ingredients in a saucepan.
  • Gently crush the spices in the pan.
  • Add 6 cups of water and bring it to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and partially cover the pan.
  • Gently simmer the spices in the water for ten minutes.
  • Remove from pan from the heat.
  • Add tea bags and let it stand for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the tea bags.
  • Add milk and sugar.
  • Bring tea to simmer.
  • whisk until sugar dissolves.
  • Strain the ingredients into a teapot and serve.

Red Cabbage Juice or Smoothie -metabolic balance Monday Recipe

Happy Monday!  Do you find it difficult to eat vegetables for breakfast?  I find it very difficult so for the next few weeks, I’m blending my breakfast into a smoothie to add more nutrients to my life.

Today’s recipe is a combination of freshly made vegetable and fruit juice and blended fruit.

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You will NOT use a whole red cabbage for this breakfast recipe.

The recipe below is not metabolic balance appropriate because of the two fruits but I will try the cabbage with carrots and see if that can replace the blueberries. At this point, the apple isn’t strong enough to mask the strong cabbage taste (for me). I found that I needed to add the blueberries to make the drink a breakfast of champions.

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Red Cabbage Abstract -Look how beautiful it is!

After I added two fruits, the red cabbage morning smoothie was delicious.  You are only allowed one fruit on the metabolic balance plan so either pick one fruit or reduce the amount of cabbage.  You can reduce the amount of cabbage by adding a little bit at a time to the blender and then stopping before the drink becomes distasteful.  Keep a spoon handy for tasting and maybe a bit of extra apple juice in case you go overboard with the cabbage.

Ingredients Red cabbage juice:

  • Red cabbage. (juiced)
  • Portion of cucumber (Juiced)
  • Portion of zucchini (Juiced)
  • Apple (Juiced)
  • Frozen Blueberries (blended)
  • Cinnamon (optional)

Ingredients Red Cabbage Smoothie:

  • 4 leaves red cabbage finely chopped
  • leftover portion of vegetables which can include lettuce/avocado
  • 1 red apple
  • 1/2 cups blueberries (I will experiment to see what vegetable we can add to make this smoothie sweeter and replace the blueberries.)
  • 1/2 cup water

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Instructions for Juicing:

You will need a juicer.  Place all vegetables into the juicer and juice them.  My juicer gives me a great foam on top.

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Place the juice in a blender and add frozen blueberries.  If you do not have blueberries on your plan, add another frozen dark berry or try juicing a sweet vegetable like carrots to stay on plan and add ice to thicken the drink.

If you decide to use carrots please juice them or your juice drink will be crunchy.

Once blended, serve the drink immediately to get all the nutritional value of your breakfast.

Instructions for Smoothie:

Place all finely chopped ingredients into your blender with the water or ice cubes and water.

Blend until smooth and then drink it immediately with a serving of rye bread and a protein.

FYI:  I’m currently reading Dr. Funfack’s book “metabolic balance – Your Personalised Nutrition Roadmap. If you don’t have a copy, you can purchase it in our metabolic balance US Amazon Store.