Welcome to our blog!

Here you will find great tips for healthy living, nutritional advice, and the latest news on health studies and research.

Tag Archives: sugar

Avoid “Dietary Crack”

Last time I spoke of an article that reported the average American gets 60% of calories from sugar, flour and refined oils.  In fact, the article called foods with these ingredients “dietary crack” as they can become addicting.  There are ways to make better food choices. Here are some challenges for you. Cultivate a proper eating mindset about these foods, as they literally are disease promoting refined foods.  Remember, almost everyone likes the taste of dietary crack. Partake only occasionally, just not on a regular basis. Eat more protein and veggies as they tend to promote satiety. Respect the feeling of gut fullness, stop eating there. Keep the dietary crack out of the house, thus less temptation. Drink more water. Exercise more and at a level that promotes appetite suppression. Sleep well. Get at least 6-7 hours nightly. Fight stress with exercise, not food. Accept that the previous list of challenges can be utilized throughout your life!!

Food Choices?

I read some startling information the other day.  Did you know the average American consumes 60% of calories from sugar, flour and refined oils? One of the reasons, is that these foods are easily accessible and producing foods made from these “refined” ingredients, is fairly low cost with a modest profit margin for the manufacturers. Think donuts, French fries, ketchup, or soda as examples of foods with these calorie sources. Most people love the taste of these types of foods but the human cost comes from the fact that 34% of American individuals, 20 years and older, have metabolic syndrome. The problems that one can experience after developing this disorder are too many to list, however think diabetes, hypertension, cancer, liver disorders and depression, just to name a few. The ironic thing is, that if you had invested in companies that make these products, such as Coca-Cola, or McDonalds since 1995, you could probably have retired easily. Next time we discuss how to make better food choices!

Low fat, high sugar diets…probably not good..!

Did you know that those diet products you eat are probably making you fat?  This may be why.  Keep in mind that this is a study about rats, however, those rats that were fed a low-fat, high-sugar diet, added the same amount of fat as the control rats who were fed a balanced diet. Unfortunately, they only needed HALF the amount of calories to add the same amount of body fat.  In other words, those rats on the low fat, high-sugar diets needed less than half the calories to generate the same amount of fat.  Scary eh!  This diet also resulted in chronic brain inflammation and intestinal tract inflammation as well as possibly contributing to non-alcoholic fatty liver.  Please take heed of this information. We know that inflammation is also a driver in cardiovascular disease..!!

Reduce the bad carbs, live longer?

I touched on a study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine in which they concluded that we should rethink worrying about lowering saturated fat in our diets to prevent heart disease.  They conclude it is more important to focus on decreasing insulin resistance and inflammation in the body by targeting exercise, diet and reducing stress. During a review of previous studies the researchers found that even those people who lowered there LDL cholesterol and overall cholesterol and replaced their saturated fat with omega-6 fatty acids, still had a higher rate of death. Researchers went on to say that we should concentrate on a Mediterranean style diet.  The problem is that when people try low fat diets (to avoid saturated fats) they tend to eat more refined carbs which leads to insulin resistance, higher blood sugar, higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and obesity.  The bottom line is that we as a society must be more focused on lifestyle changes that prevents insulin resistance and reduces inflammation.

Eat the fat, not the sugar!

I am always amazed when I read health news. It seems as soon as one study comes out, the next research contradicts the previous one.  I read an interesting but controversial article where the researchers (three cardiologist from Britain) say that saturated fat does not clog your arteries and that the “clogged pipe” model of heart disease is “plain wrong.”  They go on to say that in people over 60, the number one risk factor for heart attacks is inulin resistance, driven by a number of dietary factors, especially increased sugar and other refined carbohydrates.  In other words, its not the saturated fat in your burger that causes the problem, it is the bun, fries and sugary drink that you wash it down with, that you should be concerned with. Remember inflammation is a driver of cardiovascular disease and pro-inflammatory ingredients are the sugars, refined carbs and industrial seed oils found in processed foods.  I will have a bit more on this next time!

Diet Pop, Stroke & Dementia…!!

Did you know that your artificially sweetened diet sodas may increase your risk of stroke and dementia?  A recent study from the Boston University School of Medicine reports that there is an association between those people who drink artificially sweetened diet pop on a daily bases and the risk of stroke and dementia.  Those who drink these specific beverages daily, have a three times greater risk, than those who drink one a week or less. This is the first of such studies to provide evidence of the connection between risk of all cause dementia and dementia because of Alzheimer’s disease and daily intake of artificially sweetened beverages. Surprisingly, researchers did not find the same risks for sugar-sweetened beverages.  However, they did find other risks for those who regularly consume sugary juices and sodas, such as smaller brain volumes, poorer memory function and smaller brain hippocampus, which is the area of brain important for memory consolidation.  Knowledge is power, maybe it’s time to reconsider our beverage consumption…!!

Foods that fight inflammation..!!

We all know that what you eat greatly affects your health.  Inflammation is a big driver in cardiovascular disease and other diseases as well, such as Rheumatoid arthritis.  Foods that are high in simple sugars such as desserts or soda’s, can increase inflammation in our body.  This can then increase the pain in our joints and contribute to other problems that may appear mundane in nature, however might become serious over time. There are many foods that fight inflammation and here are a few; olive oil, spinach, kale, broccoli, almonds, walnuts, fatty fish such as salmon, strawberries, blueberries and cherries.  There are many more, but I haven’t enough time to list them all.  Finally, the Mediterranean diet is a good way of eating, as it is higher in monounsaturated fats such as olive oil.  These foods can literally reduce the inflammatory markers in your blood and keep you healthier and reduce pain symptoms.  Bon appetit…!!

Inflammation and carbs may drive cardiovascular disease!

In a follow-up to my last blog, several years ago I talked about a very large study on statins (cholesterol meds) that showed being on them gave you about a 1-2% less chance of dying from a “cardiovascular incident” than those people not taking them.  I would never tell a patient or friend to not take their meds but I would ask them to take a close look at the scientific evidence in light of the current trend of physicians to load patients up with meds that barely work and have significant side effects.  The current thinking on cardiovascular disease is that cholesterol is not a significant driver of cardiovascular disease but bad carbohydrates and inflammation are.  This is evidenced by the newest statins that were discontinued from study because even though they lowered cholesterol, those taking them died more often, or as often, as the control group from a cardiovascular incident.  Take a good close look at your diet and eating habits and be proactive and look for foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and reduce the bad carbs.  It may save your life without the side effects!

Sugar & Health

Excess sugar in our foods is one of the most critical health issues facing our present and future generations.  Many physicians and researchers are now saying it is the major driver of cardiovascular disease. To help kids reduce sugar in the diet, some experts offer the following tips.  Let the kid have sweets, don’t deprive them, however give them only one sweet treat or dessert per day.  Kids must learn to regulate their sweet intake.  Give them a choice between sweet snacks but keep it at one.  Keep sweetened fruit drinks, soda and sugary beverages out of the house, as they generally have no nutritional value regardless of what the commercial says and deprive your child of critical nutrients from better sources. Keep an eye our for hidden sugars in breads, sauces and condiments.  These contain fructose, sucrose, glucose and/or dextrose.  Also watch out for evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, malt syrup and molasses. Some natural sugars are not as healthy as advertised.  Honey and agave are actually sweeter than table sugar but contain more calories.  Fruits are generally better choices even though they contain sugar, but most will also provide fiber and other nutrients providing greater health benefits!

Sugar, Kids & Health

I hope you are enjoying the World Series! Now that Halloween is over and sugary treats are everywhere, did you know sugar has the same effect on the liver as alcohol?  Sugar (especially fructose) is metabolized in the liver just as alcohol is and that is why kids are getting the diseases of alcohol such as type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.  “These are diseases that were unheard-of in children prior to 1980” according to doctors.  “Sugar doesn’t cause disease because of its calories. Sugar causes disease because it’s sugar.”  Even thin people get metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. Sugar is its own risk factor apart from calories or obesity.  Even adolescents are getting metabolic syndrome more often including increased blood pressure, excess fat around the waist , diabetes and increased risk of heart disease.  The key is distinguishing good sugar from bad and when it comes to kids, there must be a strategy.  More on this on Friday!