Coronary Heart Disease : New Research Blames Sugar and Exonerates Saturated Fat

For the past 60+ years, doctors have been telling us that saturated fat is responsible for the high number of people dying from coronary heart disease.

These recommendations have been largely based on the observational studies conducted by American scientist Dr. Ancel Keys. In his research, Dr. Keys observed that people who ate higher levels of saturated fat were prone to elevated serum cholesterol and were more likely to expire due to coronary heart disease.

Around the same time that Dr. Keys was presenting his research, another scientist, Dr. John Yudkin, came to a different conclusion – that it was excessive consumption of processed sugars that was driving the increase in coronary heart disease.

And for the next 60 years, both hypotheses have been defended with a succession of studies that:

  1. Observed what people ate
  2. Hypothesized which aspect of that complex diet of carbohydrates, protein, fats, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, etc was responsible for causing coronary heart disease

Unfortunately for us “normal people” who are looking to ways to live longer & better, this kind of science is pretty darn sketchy. Here’s why:

If you have pizza for dinner tonight, Dr. Keys would tell you that the saturated fat found in the cheese & pepperoni is bad for your heart. Conversely, Dr. Yudkin would blame the processed flour used to make the pizza crust.

So…who’s right?

If we rely on observational studies to answer this question, we will never come to a consensus. People don’t eat individual nutritional components…we eat FOOD. We eat meals in which we mix carbs and fats and proteins together.

Observational studies do nothing to separate those components and because of this…this kind of study is next to useless.

Luckily for us health-nerds, in the past fifty years, researchers have added to the observational studies with a giant body of research employing basic science, epidemiology and clinical trial data to provide us with a clearer picture of the relationship between nutrition and CHD risk, CHD events and CHD mortality.

And in their new study, Drs. DiNicolantonio, O’Keefe & Lucan have analyzed the best of that research and concluded that:

  • Saturated fat can raise levels of total serum cholesterol (TC) but TC is only modestly associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) and that some types of saturated fat are actually protective against CHD.
  • Conversely, when saturated fats are replaced with refined carbohydrates, and specifically with added sugars, we see increases in low-density lipoproteins (LDL), increases in triglycerides and decreases in high-density lipoproteins (HDL) that are shown to increase your odds of CHD.

Additionally, diets high in sugar may induce many other abnormalities associated with elevated CHD risk, including elevated levels of glucose, insulin, and uric acid, impaired glucose tolerance, insulin and leptin resistance, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and altered platelet function.

Does this mean that all sugars / carbs are bad?

NO, because while the body of research indicates that “a diet high in added sugars has been found to cause a 3-fold increased risk of death due to cardiovascular disease”, that doesn’t mean that all sugar/carbs are created alike.

Like some saturated fats are cardio-protective, we know that natural sugars found in whole fruits, grains and vegetables are not causing coronary heart disease.

It’s the processed fructose-containing sugars like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup found in highly processed junk foods that are the problem.

 

 

For a more detailed look at the research, check out the link below.

Reference

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Researchers Find a Link Between Excess Dietary Sugar and Breast Cancer

 

Researchers at the University of Texas – MD Anderson Cancer Center have found an alarming link between high amounts of dietary sugar and an increased risk of breast cancer and metastasis to the lungs.

And we’re not talking crazy-no-one-would-ever-eat-that-much-sugar levels of sugar consumption

In the study, the researchers found that lab mice who ate sucrose (table sugar) comparable to levels of the typical Western diet showed increased tumor growth and metastasis.

Previous research have shown this link between dietary sugar consumption and breast cancer development…with inflammation thought to be the cause.

In this new study, the researchers were able to identify sugar’s effect on enzymatic signaling pathway known as 12-LOX and a related fatty-acid called 12-HETE which is causing the cancer growth.

“The current study investigated the impact of dietary sugar on mammary gland tumor development in multiple mouse models, along with mechanisms that may be involved,” said co-author Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., professor of Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine. “We determined that it was specifically fructose, in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, ubiquitous within our food system, which was responsible for facilitating lung metastasis and 12-HETE production in breast tumors.”

Cohen added that the data suggested that dietary sugar induces 12-LOX signaling to increase risks for breast cancer development and metastasis.

What does this mean to you?

  1. This science is brand new, so there is no need to freak out and ban all sugar from your home.
  2. Even though it’s early days for this research, we have seen other studies linking excess sugar consumption and cancer, so while you probably don’t need to purge all sugar from your diet, it may be a good idea to at least limit your sugar consumption.
  3. Maybe avoid the Breast Cancer Sugar Cookies.

Reference

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5 Reasons You Should Go Gluten Free

Hey everybody…today’s post is written by my personal go-to source for all things GLUTEN…Ms. Jaqui Karr blogger, author, public speaker and expert on gluten and it’s impact on your auto-immune system.

A few weeks ago, I asked Jaqui if she would write me an article on gluten that would give my readers all the bullet-points that they need to know about why and how to go gluten free. I didn’t want her to go into all the intricate details…explaining and proving her points with research and quotes from PhDs. What I wanted was a list of simple – do this / don’t do this – instructions for those of us without an encyclopedic knowledge of gluten and how it may be screwing up our health.

And here are the results…enjoy

GlutenDemystified

1) Gluten is killing you slowly and retarding your brain function. We are all intolerant to gluten at varying levels and your DNA will determine the effects it has on you, but have no doubt gluten IS affecting you negatively and the biggest impact is on the brain. Depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s; there are studies showing even people with schizophrenia healed when they go gluten free and adopt a clean pure diet.

grain brain

2) There are over 300 symptoms and diseases medically and scientifically linked to gluten. As you read this you are experiencing several of them like headaches, stubborn weight, foggy brain, depression, mood swings, skin issues, dry scalp, insomnia, sexual malfunction, back pain, joint pain, muscle soreness, bone deterioration (did you know that most women diagnosed with osteoporosis unknowingly had Celiac Disease when tested later?)

3) Your body and brain function more efficiently when you go gluten free. Gluten causes chaos in your system; it is the ultimate cause & effect. Remove the cause (gluten) and you remove the effects

Gluten-Induced-Disease-Chart-

4) It’s easy to make switches and there’s no denying that a more pure diet will help you get to optimal health. It is impossible to say that when you replace over-processed bleached chemically treated fillers like wheat and barley with real pure foods you won’t feel better. There’s not even a question that it will improve your Quality of Life.

5) You want healthier kids. Gluten is medically linked to ADD, ADHD, Autism, stunted growth, muscle atrophy, and of course: weakened or completely malfunctioning auto-immune system. “Celiac Disease” (which 30% of the developed world has the genes for is exactly that: an exhaustion of the auto-immune system until it fails and starts misreading food).

Next PageThe 5 Best Steps to Going Gluten Free

The Secret Behind Your Addiction to Junk Food

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Michael Moss spent four years researching the scientific research that goes into each bag, box or bottle of processed / junk food.

And what he found, should freak you out.

Teams of scientists spending millions of dollars researching bliss points and maximum bite force and sensory specific satiety…all with the aim of keeping you eating ‘food’ that is high in calories, sugar, salt & fat and virtually devoid of actual nutrition.

And they are very, very good at it.

And because…

  1. They are very, very good at their jobs.
  2. Their lobbyists are good at influencing politicians
  3. Government heavily subsidizes their industry
  4. They spend billions on marketing to both adults & children
  5. And most of us are equal parts lazy and uneducated about nutrition

…the sales of ‘real food’ continue to drop while the sales of ‘processed food’ continue to rise.

Also rising are….

  1. The rate of childhood and adult obesity
  2. The rate of type 2 diabetes
  3. The rate of heart disease
  4. The rate of obesity-related cancers
  5. The rate of Alzheimers
  6. Healthcare costs associated with these conditions

Something to think about the next time you go to the supermarket.

You really should buy Salt Sugar Fat. Or at least take it out from the library

Reference

‘Diet’ soft drinks associated with increased risk of Type 2 diabetes

Numerous scientific studies and just a pinch of common sense tells us that over-consumption of full-sugar soft drinks increases our odds of insulin resistance, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Because of these threats, soft drink companies developed “diet” soft drinks…with artificial sweeteners replacing sugar.

diet-soda-obesity

Unfortunately for all the Diet Coke drinkers out there….according to this study of over 66,000 French women…

  1. Women who drink ‘diet’ soft drinks consume higher quantities than women who drink ‘normal’ soft drinks – 2.8 glasses per week vs 1.6 glasses per week
  2. When an equal quantity is consumed, the risk of contracting diabetes is higher for ‘light’ or ‘diet’ drinks than for ‘non-light’ or ‘non-diet’ drinks.
  3. And of course…the risk of T2D increases as the volume of either kind of soft drinks increases.

diet-soda-diabetes-risk

Conclusion

This study tells us that high consumption of sweet soft drinks (both normal and ‘diet’) is associated with a high increase in the risk of contracting Type II diabetes. This increased risk is all the greater for drinks of the ‘light’ or ‘diet’ type.

And association doesn’t necessarily means causation.

Even though the researchers accounted for a lot of different factors…

  • obesity,
  • type of diet – Western, Mediterranean, etc,
  • intake of carbohydrates,
  • intake of processed meats,
  • family history of diabetes,
  • education,
  • smoking status,
  • physical activity,
  • hypertension,
  • high cholesterol,
  • HRT,
  • alcohol intake,
  • Omega 3 intake,
  • coffee consumption,
  • fresh fruit & vegetable consumption,
  • the reverse causation hypothesis,
  • etc…

All we can say is that…

  1. Consumption of soft drinks is associated with an increased risk of T2D
  2. Consumption of ‘diet’ soft drinks is associated with an even greater increased risk of T2D
  3. The volume of soft drinks consumed is directly associated with an increased risk of T2D

What does this mean to you?

If you don’t drink soft drinks…nothing.

But if you do drink soft drinks, you have some options.

  1. You can ignore this study and wait for the follow-ups which intend to PROVE that ‘diet’ soft drinks cause T2D.
  2. You can believe that there is a link between the consumption of all types of soft drinks and an increased risk of T2D and cut back on your Diet Cokes.
  3. You can believe that there might be a link between the consumption of all types of soft drinks and an increased risk of T2D, cut back on your Diet Cokes just in case and wait for the follow-up studies to make up your mind.

Reference

 

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Excess Sugar Linked to Cancer

I’ve got some bad news for everyone who started off their morning with a big bowl of sugary cereal…or a couple of donuts…or cinnamon-raisin bagels…or a giant coffee shop muffin…or a high-cal-caffeine-sugar bomb from Starbucks.

In a new study, Dr. Custodia Garcia-Jimenez has discovered that “high sugar levels increases the activity of a gene widely implicated in cancer progression”.

Dr Garcia Jimenez’s research investigates “how cells in the intestine respond to sugars and signal to the pancreas to release insulin, the key hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Sugars in the intestine trigger cells to release a hormone called GIP that enhances insulin release by the pancreas.

His research showed “that the ability of the intestinal cells to secrete GIP is controlled by a protein called β-catenin, and that the activity of β-catenin is strictly dependent on sugar levels.

sugar-diabetes-cancer

What Does This Mean To YOU?… 

  • Increased activity of β-catenin is known to be a major factor in the development of many cancers and can make normal cells immortal, a key step in early stages of cancer progression.
  • Dr Garcia Jimenez’s study tells us that high (but not normal) sugar levels induce nuclear accumulation of β-catenin and leads to cell proliferation.
  • Ergo…high sugar = increased activity of β-catenin = normal cells become cancerous

Which means…if you are eating the Standard American Diet (high in processed carbs & sugar)…not only are you increasing your odds of obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes…you ARE increasing your odds of dying from pancreatic cancer or colon cancer.

If this bothers you, and you want to make a change, might I suggest you download my FREE eBook – A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century.

Reference

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Just Say No to Seitan

Four months ago I started working with a new PT client.

  • The client is a 42 year old woman
  • Who has been a vegan / vegetarian for the past 18 years
  • Whose goals were to drop some stubborn baby weight and improve her overall health & fitness.

The first month involved setting up her program, training & teaching 3x per week, 3 cardio & joint mobility sessions per week….and a never-ending argument about her diet.

  • Because…as a modern vegetarian, 60-80 % of her calories were coming from grains and soy.
  • And as the local Paleo guru, my clients are all “encouraged” to ditch the grains and soy and embrace the Paleo Diet.

Fast forward to today….

I finally convinced her to ditch the grains & beans and go Paleo for the past three months. During that time, she has seen massive improvements in:

  • Fat loss
  • Stomach bloat
  • Face bloat
  • Back fat
  • Sinus allergy symptoms
  • Rosacea
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Afternoon sleepiness
  • Blue moods – no clinical diagnosis, she just “feels better”
  • And some lady issues that she didn’t elaborate on  🙂

And she credits most of that improvement to her elimination of grains….especially wheat.

In the last month, she has played with re-introducing various “forbidden” foods. And the one that provoked the most noticeable “side effect” was wheat products – seitan, bread and wheat noodles. Almost instantly, she experienced stomach upset prompting a trip to the bathroom.

This prompted her to do a bunch of research on gluten intolerance. Part of that research involved contacting  my online friend Jaqui Karr. Jaqui is my go to source for gluten info.

Jaqui is as obsessed with gluten as a tween is with Justin Bieber.

[box type=”important”]If you want more info on gluten and the horrible stuff it’s doing to your body, check out Jaqui’s blog… or better yet, learn everything she knows about gluten via her Gluten Demystified program. Jaqui blends scientific research & common sense really, really well.[/box]

[box type=”note”]My client is such a big fan of Jaqui’s work that she has started promoting the Gluten Demystified program on her Facebook page and on a new Tumblog devoted to gluten intolerance[/box]

Reference

Make Insulin Your Friend… and Get Leaner, Stronger & Healthier

Over the next few months I am going to be conducting an experiment about the interaction between nutrition, exercise, blood sugar, insulin, body composition and overall health.

Here’s the plan…

Using a blood glucose monitor (supplied free of charge by Roche Diagnostics), I am going to have one of my clients measure his blood sugar, blood pressure and body composition again and again and again…. and we’re going to see how it reacts to different types of diets and training modalities.

Starting next week, he will begin taking his measurements upon waking, pre-meal, post-meal, pre-workout, post-workout and before bed.

I will track all the data and (fingers crossed), we should generate some pretty interesting data.

We will be testing how his body responds to:

  • a Standard American Diet (aka junk food)
  • a meat & potatoes diet
  • a vegetarian diet
  • a low fat diet
  • a high fat – Atkins style diet
  • a Paleo diet
  • a Mediterranean diet
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Cardio workouts
  • Health Habits workouts…. lots of HIRT
  • Heavy lifting – power bodybuilding style of workout
  • No workouts
If you have any suggestions, leave me a comment.

Fabulous Fruit Fights Fat

Researchers have found that bioactive compounds (phenolics) found in stone fruits, like peaches, plums and nectarines have the ability to fight-off obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The study (funded by the California Tree Fruit Agreement, The California Plum Board, the California Grape and Tree Fruit League and the Texas Department of Agriculture), “showed that the compounds in stone fruits could be a weapon against “metabolic syndrome,” in which obesity and inflammation lead to serious health issues.”

peaches-plums-nectarines

 

They found that:

  • Phenolic compounds present in these fruits have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties in different cell lines and may also reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol LDL which is associated to cardiovascular disease.
  • This mixture of the phenolic compounds work simultaneously within the different components of the disease.
  • Specifically,  the four major phenolic groups – anthocyanins, clorogenic acids, quercetin derivatives and catechins – work on different cells – fat cells, macrophages and vascular endothelial cells. They modulate different expressions of genes and proteins depending on the type of compound.
  • This means that all of them are working simultaneously in different fronts against the components of the disease, including obesity, inflammation, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Cisneros-Zevallos said this is believed to be the first time that “bioactive compounds of a fruit have been shown to potentially work in different fronts against a disease. Each of these stone fruits contain similar phenolic groups but in differing proportions so all of them are a good source of health promoting compounds and may complement each other.”

 Conclusions

  1. Plums, peaches, nectarines are loaded with lots of good stuff
  2. Plums, peaches, nectarines make up an important part of the Paleo Diet
  3. This research is funded by organizations that want you to buy more plums, peaches and nectarines
  4. Just because there is good stuff to be found in these stone fruits, be aware that they are to be enjoyed in moderation as they are also loaded with fructose (aka sugar).

Reference

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National Donut Day

Today is NATIONAL DONUT DAY…aka:

  • National Morbid Obesity Day
  • National Celiac Day
  • National Type 2 Diabetes Day

…and OMG…is that a Maple Bacon Donut???

Burp.

When it Comes to Weight Loss…it's NEVER Just One Cookie

A new client and I got into a debate the other day over cookies.

Specifically, we got into a debate about a single cookie she ate while packing her child’s lunch before sending him off to school for the day.

She thought that I was being unreasonable by suggesting that if she wanted to achieve her weight loss goals (15-20 lbs before bikini season), she couldn’t be liberating cookies from her kid’s stash. She said….”it’s only one cookie”

And in theory she was right…it was only one cookie. But in her specific case, she was wrong.

She was wrong because:

  • The excess bodyfat she is trying to lose is metabolically active…constantly sending chemical signals encouraging over-eating and fat storage
  • She is insulin resistant…and that cookie will result in a hormonal firestorm leading to cravings for a 2nd cookie…and a grande mocha latte at Starbucks and half a loaf of garlic bread at dinner…
  • She has established a powerful set of eating habits in the basal ganglia portion of her brain. One of those habits is to sneak a cookie while packing her kid’s lunch. This habit (plus others) has led to her putting on body-fat year after year.
  • The emotional soothing she gets from that cookie reinforces all of those mental/physical/hormonal signals that have led her to be unhappy with the state of her bod.

At this point in her transformation… it’s never just one cookie. It’s a whole bunch of terribly unfair side effects that will keep her frustrated that she can’t lose weight.

NOTE – In a couple of months, I won’t be such a jerk. We’ll have her hormones under control and she will be able to enjoy eating a cookie with her son again…and still continue losing body-fat.

Paula Deen : Marketing Genius, Diabetic, Hypocrite

Paula Deen is a Marketing Genius

  • 3 years ago, she was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

Not good for someone who makes their living as the Food Network’s resident Queen of Butter.

But not our Paula.

Nope…Paula overcame this hurdle and  managed to keep all that Food Network money rolling in by:

  1. Not mentioning her diagnosis
  2. Not advising her adoring fans how her diet led to her diagnosis, and
  3. By continuing to teach her fans how to get their own case of type 2 diabetes by re-creating her ooey-gooey Southern recipes.
The Lady’s Brunch Burger from Paula’s – Everything in Moderation cookbook

But wait…it gets better.

After three years of keeping her diagnosis to herself, Paula comes out of the diabetic closet by

  • Announcing her multi-million dollar drug endorsement deal for Victoza®  – a non-insulin once-a-day medication that helps lower blood sugar levels quickly in adults with type 2 diabetes.

How’s that for turning lemons into lemonade???

And even when hard hitting journalists such as Clinton Kelly and Al Roker take her to task for the apparent hypocrisy of her actions, Paula stands up tall, looks them dead in the eye and tells them that even with her health condition, she doesn’t plan to change her cooking ways and that she has always encouraged moderation.

Moderation as in:

 

Now that’s a marketing genius.

Lose Weight with PGX

A new study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, says that if you consume 5 grams of PGX fibre at the start of a meal, you will lower the Glycemic Index of that meal by 30%.

And that’s good news, because if you lower the Glycemic Index of that meal by 30%, you’re also lowering the resultant insulin production.

And if you believe that fat storage is driven by insulin, that 30% reduction in GI score has also lowered your chances of becoming obese.

What Does This Mean To You?

It means that if you’re going to eat a meal loaded with high glycemic carbs (sugar, starch, etc), you can minimize fat storage by supplementing with some PGX  (or some other viscous polysaccharide) prior to chowing down.

Or you can skip the high glycemic meal altogether and embrace your paleo roots and grill a steak and some veggies on the bbq.

Reference

Is Obesity Caused By A Lack Of Protein?

The protein leverage hypothesis proposes that a genetic appetite for protein combined with a widespread decline in the ratio of protein to fat and carbohydrate in our diet is responsible for:

  1. Increased caloric intake and
  2. The resultant explosion in worldwide obesity.

In this study, researchers tested the protein leverage hypothesis in lean humans by disguising the macronutrient composition of foods offered to subjects under ad libitum feeding conditions. Energy intakes and hunger ratings were measured for 22 lean subjects studied over three 4-day periods of in-house dietary manipulation.

Subjects were restricted to fixed menus in random order comprising 28 foods designed to be similar in palatability, availability, variety and sensory quality and providing 10%, 15% or 25% energy as protein.  Nutrient and energy intake was calculated as the product of the amount of each food eaten and its composition.

Results

Lowering the percent protein of the diet from 15% to 10% resulted in higher total energy intake, predominantly from savoury-flavoured foods available between meals.

In contrast, increasing protein from 15% to 25% did not alter energy intake.

On the fourth day of the trial, however, there was a greater increase in the hunger score between 1–2 h after the 10% protein breakfast versus the 25% protein breakfast.

Conclusion

Lowering the protein content of your diet  promotes hunger and over-consumption of calories….enhancing the risk of obesity.

.

Remember this the next time you have cereal for breakfast instead of scrambled eggs.

the american heart association loves red meat

Reference

 

I Have a Bad Case of Bread Head :(

Last night was my wife’s birthday.

As part of the celebration, I agreed to make a decidedly non-Paleo meal consisting of the following:

  • Her favorite pasta recipe that I used to make for her in my pre-Paleo days.
  • Homemade garlic pan bread swimming in butter
  • Caesar salad
  • Wine
  • Caramel Crunch ice cream

Needless to say…I awoke this morning with a brutal case of “bread head”.

  • A thumping headache stretching across my forehead
  • Stuffed sinuses
  • Achy joints
  • Puffy eyes and face
  • And a craving for starchy carbs that you would not believe

.

Beware the BREAD HEAD!!!!!

.

LEPTIN

Leptin Resistance and the Search for a Magic Fat Pill

Leptin resistance is one of the hottest topics for scientists looking to develop an anti-obesity pill.

In a new study, a group from Australia have finally discovered how leptin resistance actually happens.

According to lead author, Tony Tiganis, “our bodies produce leptin in response to increasing fat deposits. Acting on a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, leptin instructs the body to increase energy expenditure and decrease food intake, and so helps us maintain a healthy body weight.”

 

Unfortunately, “the body’s response to leptin is diminished in overweight and obese individuals, giving rise to the concept of ‘leptin-resistance’. In this new study, we’ve discovered more about how ‘leptin-resistance’ develops, providing new directions for research into possible treatments.”

And it’s this possibility of a possible treatment that has the weight-loss world all a-twitter.

Two proteins are already known to inhibit leptin in the brain and Professor Tiganis’ team have discovered a third. In mice, this third protein becomes more abundant with weight-gain, exacerbating leptin-resistance and hastening progression to morbid obesity. The study showed that the three negative regulators of leptin take effect at different stages, shedding light on how obesity progresses.

“Drugs targeting one of the negative regulators are already in clinical trials for Type 2 Diabetes, however, our research shows that in terms of increasing leptin-sensitivity in obesity, targeting only one of these won’t be enough. All three regulators might need to be switched off,” said Professor Tiganis.

The study showed that high fat diet-induced weight gain is largely prevented in genetically-modified mice when two of the negative regulators are deleted in the brain.

“We now have to determine what happens when all three negative regulators are neutralised. Do we prevent high fat diet-induced obesity?”

What Does This Mean To You?

If you’re waiting for a magic anti-fat pill…not a whole lot. It will be years before a pill is ready for the market…if ever.

However, if this research has piqued your interest about your own level of leptin resistance…read on my friend.

Short Term Fasting and Leptin

Keeping in mind that this research is in it’s infancy…..there are a couple of studies which show that short term fasting (when accompanied with reduced levels of glucose and insulin) causes serum leptin levels to drop regardless of body-fat changes.

They suggest that insulin, glucose, sugar, carbs, pizza & soda play a significant role in the regulation of leptin release….leptin resistance…. and ultimately obesity.

If future research confirms this, this means that short-term fasting diets combined with reduced carb consumption may turn out to be a pretty awesome way to fight obesity.

.

Reference

This Is Your Brain on Donuts

Researchers from Uppsala University have found that rewarding substances like alcohol, cocaine and foods rich in sugar are able to “kidnap” the reward center of your brain, resulting in:

  • Immediate feelings of pleasure
  • Impaired co-signalling of your glutamate and dopamine nerve cells
  • Improved memory of environments that could be associated with the ingestion of reward substances
  • Hypersensitivity to reward substances
  • Increased ingestion of reward substances
  • Addiction to reward substances

And we all know what happens when a person is addicted to donuts, don’t we?

Reference

Childhood Obesity, Breakfast Cereal and Whiny Kids

Last week, while shopping for groceries, I happened upon a scene familiar to many parents.

Passing the breakfast cereal aisle, my ears picked up the less-than-angelic tones of a 7 year old child screaming at her mother that she needed a specific brand of cereal and that she would hate her mom forever if she dared to purchase a product not endorsed by the appropriate cartoon character.

Luckily for the little girl’s growing pancreas, her mom didn’t give in to the blackmail.

But, it made me wonder.

  • How many parents would have given in?
  • How many parents would break under the strain of incessant nagging?
  • How many parents would sacrifice their child’s health in return for some peace & quiet?

Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health have recently examined this “Nag Factor”.

Described as “the tendency of children, who are bombarded with marketers’ messages, to unrelentingly request advertised items”, researchers explored whether and how mothers of young children have experienced this phenomenon and their strategies for coping.”

Here’s what they found.

According to study author Dina Borzekowski, “it’s clear that children are not the primary shoppers in the households, so how do child-oriented, low-nutrition foods and beverages enter the homes and diets of young children?

Our study indicates that while overall media use was not associated with nagging, one’s familiarity with commercial television characters was significantly associated with overall and specific types of nagging.

In addition, mothers cited packaging, characters, and commercials as the three main forces compelling their children to nag.”

Using quantitative and qualitative methodologies, researchers interviewed 64 mothers of children ages 3 to 5 years.

Mothers answered questions about the household environment, themselves, their child’s demographics, media use, eating and shopping patterns, and requests for advertised items.

Participants were also asked to describe their experiences and strategies for dealing with the “Nag Factor.” Researchers selected mothers as interview subjects because they are most likely to act as “nutritional gatekeepers” for their household and control the food purchasing and preparation for small children.

They found that nagging seemed to fall into three categories:

  • juvenile nagging,
  • nagging to test boundaries,
  • and manipulative nagging.

Mothers consistently cited 10 strategies for dealing with the nagging; the strategies included:

  • giving in,
  • yelling,
  • ignoring,
  • distracting,
  • staying calm and consistent,
  • avoiding the commercial environment,
  • negotiating and setting rules,
  • allowing alternative items,
  • explaining the reasoning behind choices,
  • and limiting commercial exposure.

And after sifting through all the data, the researchers determined that :

  1. manipulative nagging and overall nagging increased with the age of the child.
  2. 36% of mothers recommended limiting commercial exposure as an effective strategy, while
  3. 35% of mothers suggested simply explaining to children the reasons behind making or not making certain purchases.
  4. Giving in was consistently cited as one of the least effective strategies.

Conclusions

  • Kids are influenced by marketing messages.
  • Kids respond to those marketing messages by emotionally blackmailing their parents
  • Parents who give in to emotional blackmail are making a big mistake.

For the sake of their kid’s health, and their own sanity, parents need to fight back.

Fight back by slapping a household ban on breakfast cereals and other junk foods that use movies & cartoon characters to manipulate our kids.

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Reference

Live Near Junk Food = Eat Junk Food : Live Near Health Food = Eat Junk Food

According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, living in a neighborhood loaded with junk food restaurants makes it more likely that you will eat a lot of junk food.

Surprised?

Probably not.

For years now, nutrition “experts” have been telling us that people who live in “food deserts” in which healthy food is difficult to find are doomed to a life of pizza, cheetos, soda, type 2 diabetes and morbid obesity.

As a result, the U.S. federal government has made it one of their priorities to increase access to healthy “real” food in these target neighborhoods. And by priorities, I mean spending big piles of tax dollars.

The idea  is that we spend some money in the short term to:

  1. Eliminate food deserts
  2. Improve the health of people living in food deserts, thereby
  3. Improving their productivity, quality of life, income, thereby
  4. Raising tax revenue, thereby
  5. Getting a positive return on the initial investment of tax dollars

Too bad this same AIM study couldn’t find a similarly strong relationship between the consumption of healthy food (fruit, vegetables, etc) and people who live in neighborhoods loaded with supermarkets.

After crunching the data, the researchers concluded that “there is some evidence for zoning restrictions on fast food restaurants within 3 km of low-income residents but suggest that increased access to food stores may require complementary or alternative strategies to promote dietary behavior change.”

Because it’s not enough to build supermarkets and stock them with healthy food.

People eat junk food because they believe that the short term benefits outweigh the long term costs.

And until that belief is changed, junk food producers will continue to make a ton of money and our population will continue to get fatter and more diabetic. 😦

What to do, what to do, what to do….

Here’s what I think

What about you?

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Reference

What is MGmin LDL Cholesterol & why does it want to kill you?

What is MGmin LDL cholesterol?

  • MGmin LDL is a version of LDL that has been modified by methylglyoxal (MG)
  • MG is a potent arginine-directed glycating agent that is formed due to high blood sugar and related inflammation
  • As a result, the plasma concentration of MG is increased 2x to 5x in patients with diabetes

But you’re not diabetic…so this doesn’t matter to you.

Or does it?

  • According to this study, minimal modification of LDL by MG decreases the particle size of pre-existing LDL cholesterol (similar to that of sdLDL) and….
  • makes them stick together (increased aggregation) and….
  • makes them stick to the walls of your arteries.

And that ain’t good.

Because if you take a whole bunch of small, dense LDL particles, bunch them together and then glue them to the inner wall of a coronary artery, you end up with:

  • narrowed arteries
  • reduced blood flow
  • increased chance of rupture
  • increased chance of blood clots
  • increased chance of coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • increased chance of heart attack and
  • increased chance of death.

And that, most definitely, ain’t good.

So, where do we go from here?

  1. The researchers will continue researching in an attempt to discover treatments that could help neutralize MGmin LDLs harmful effects on patients’ arteries.
  2. You, however, are not a scientist. Your job is to cut back on the pizza & donuts and download my FREE Ebook – A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century.

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Reference

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Does Fat Make You Fat? – The Starbucks Edition

Caramel Macchiato
Caramel Macchiato : Freshly steamed milk with vanilla-flavored syrup, marked with espresso and finished with caramel sauce.

While waiting in line at Starbucks for my morning injection of caffeine, I overheard the woman ahead of me in line order a tall non-fat caramel macchiatio with a rice crispie square.

Nothing out of the ordinary…pretty typical Starbucks order.

But it got me thinking…why did she order it “non-fat”?

  • Did she prefer steamed non-fat milk over steamed 2% or steamed whole milk?
  • Or, was she trying to cut back on fat and/or calories?

So I asked.

Her answer: It was the fat.

It was the 40 extra calories from fat that she would get if she ordered a tall 2% fat caramel macchiatio.

That’s when I started banging my head against the wall.

Why do people think that 40 calories of milk fat in their coffee is going to make them fat, but the caramel sauce and the rice crispie square won’t?

Her combined order:  non-fat Caramel Macchiato + Rice Crispie square contains:

  • 350 claories
  • 7 grams fat
  • 61 grams carb (34 g added sugar)
  • 10 grams protein

If she opts for the 2% milk:

  • 390 claories
  • 11 grams fat
  • 61 grams carb (34 g added sugar)
  • 10 grams protein

And where my new Starbuck’s friend sees 4 extra grams of milk fat, I see 61 grams of carbs – including 34 grams of added sugar.

And that’s why this is a crappy breakfast.

It’s not the 4 extra grams of fat and their 40 calories.

It’s the 61 grams of carbs and the 34 grams of added sugar that:

  1. drives up her blood sugar
  2. drives up her insulin production
  3. increases her appetite
  4. increases her cravings for carbs
  5. leads to insulin resistance
  6. which leads to type 2 diabetes
  7. and obesity and metabolic syndrome and atherosclerosis and….

Conclusion

4 grams of milk fat in your tall non-fat caramel macchiato isn’t going to make or break your diet.

But 61 grams of carbs just might.

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Egg-Crepe health food nutrition healthhabits

Protein at Breakfast Reduces Hunger & Prevents Overeating

Research shows that eating a protein rich breakfast increases satiety and reduces hunger throughout the day.

And for those of us who are prone to the mid-afternoon munchies, this is very, very good news.

The Study

For three weeks, a group of adolescent girls (Age: 15 ± 1 years) with a high BMI (93rd percentile ± 1%) and a habit of skipping breakfast (5 ± 1×/week) either…

  • continued to skip breakfast (BS)
  • or consumed 500-calorie “normal protein” breakfast meals (NP) consisting of cereal and milk
  • or 500-calorie higher protein meals (HP) consisting of Belgium waffles, syrup and yogurt.

At the end of each week, the girls returned to the lab to eat their respective breakfast followed by:

  • appetite questionnaires and
  • an fMRI brain scan to identify brain activation responses to viewing food vs. nonfood images prior to lunch.

The Results

Compared to skipping breakfast (BS), both breakfast meals (NP & HP) led to increased satiety and reductions in hunger throughout the morning (3 hrs post breakfast).

The fMRI results showed that brain activation in regions controlling food motivation and reward was reduced prior to lunch time when breakfast was consumed in the morning.

Additionally, eating protein at breakfast led to even greater changes in appetite, satiety and reward-driven eating behaviour compared to the normal protein breakfast.

Conclusion

The researchers concluded that a protein-rich breakfast might be an effective strategy to improve appetite control and prevent overeating in young people.

And aside from the fact that I take issue with their description of their HP breakfast – Belgium waffles, syrup and yogurt – as being high protein, I have to agree.

NOTE – Some of my previous articles – The Big Breakfast DietWeight Loss & Breakfast: Eggs are Better – have shown that skipping breakfast can be a very bad idea.

Reference

How to Beat Emotional Eating

Food affects Mood : Mood affects Food

A new client of mine is getting over a VERY stressful weekend.

A weekend in which her emotions got the better of her….and as a result, she found herself face to face with some pretty intense cravings for pizza, coca-cola and tubs of double-churned chocolate ice cream.

The cravings won.

By Monday morning, the stress was at least partially under control, but she was now feeling a ton of guilt & nausea from pigging out on all that food.

After reminding her that she should have called me instead inhaling all that food, we had a nice long chat about:

  1. how our moods affect the food we eat
  2. how the food we eat affect our moods

She was already quite aware of how her moods affected the quantity and quality of the food she ate.

When she felt sad or mad or glad, she also felt like eating pizza & coca-cola and ice cream.

What she wasn’t aware of was how her emotional diet of pizza, coca-cola & ice cream:

  1. set off a flood of hormones & neurochemicals designed to
  2. make her crave more of the high sugar, high salt, high fat foods she had just inhaled.

She also wasn’t aware that when we combine her diet-induced hormonal & neurochemical triggers with the ones caused by her emotions, she was doomed to end up with a truly vicious circle of poor eating choices.

Because in addition to the physical sensations of hunger and the specific cravings for sweet, salty & fatty caused by her hormones & neurochemicals, my client also got to experience the incredibly crappy mood altering effects of her weekend emotional eating binge.

She actually felt worse than before she pigged out.

Sad. Angry. Frustrated.

Plus she regained 3 of the pounds she lost in the previous week.

THOR vs Dr Pepper

Q: Whaddaya get when you combine an Asgardian superhero with an unfortunate Hollywood product placement agreement?

A: You get an obese superhero with depressed testosterone levels, Type 2 diabetes and an unquenchable thirst for Dr Pepper.

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Reference

Beverage Industry Bitch Slaps the Soda Tax

California Assemblyman Bill Monning’s proposed soda tax bill just got punched square in the face by America’s beverage (soda) lobby.

http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/static/flash/embeddedPlayer/swf/otvEmLoader.swf?version=&station=kgo&section=&mediaId=8093555&cdnRoot=http://cdn.abclocal.go.com&webRoot=http://abclocal.go.com&configPath=/util/&site=

And that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Because as Gandhi once said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

In this battle between junk food producers and anti-obesity advocates, the involvement of politicians has moved this fight from the “ignore” and “laugh at” stages directly into the “fight” stage.

Unfortunately for supporters of Assemblyman Monning’s Soda Tax bill, the American beverage lobby can afford to spend huge quantities of money & political influence while the anti-obesity advocates could only afford some sugar packets & scotch tape.

It reminds me of that classic battle between Bugs Bunny & “The Crusher”…with scrawny ole Bugs Bunny playing the part of the anti-obesity advocates, while “The Crusher” stands in for the soda lobby.

If I remember my history correctly, didn’t skinny little Bugs Bunny end up winning that fight?

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California Soda Tax will raise $1.7 Billion

California Assemblyman Bill Monning, has proposed a state-wide bill – AB 669 – that would levy a 1 cent per fluid ounce tax on any beverage with added caloric sweeteners, such as soda pop, sweet teas and sports drinks.

Preliminary estimates figure that Bill AB-669 would raise $1.7 billion annually in California, with most of that revenue going towards health related programs for children.

Initially, all funds raised by the new soda tax will be deposited in the newly created Children’s Health Promotion Fund.

From there, they would be allocated to the State Department of Public Health for the purposes of statewide child obesity prevention activities and programs.

  • 20% will be used to coordinate statewide childhood obesity prevention activities and to fund state-levels childhood obesity prevention and children’s dental programs.
  • 35% for community-based childhood obesity prevention programs.
  • 10% to evidence-based prevention, early recognition, monitoring and weight management intervention activities in the medical setting.
  • 35% to elementary and secondary schools for educational, environmental, policy and other public health approaches that promote nutrition and physical activity.

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How much do you want to bet that there will be a flood of other state legislatures following California’s lead in the coming months?

Here come the fat taxes…ready or not.

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Fast Food, Fat Profits: Obesity in America

Seeing as most of us don’t watch a lot of Al Jazeera, you might have missed this documentary.

Take a look.

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Got Fat? – Get Tangerines

Image: Brent Ramerth aka barfooz

An interesting new study (University of Western Ontario) has isolated a substance found in tangerines that “not only prevents obesity, but also offers protection against type 2 diabetes, and even atherosclerosis, the underlying disease responsible for most heart attacks and strokes”.

The substance – a flavonoid called Nobileton, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. Nobiletin also helps to lower cholesterol levels and some studies indicate that it may improve impaired memory loss and treat acne.

In this particular study, two groups of mice were fed a typical “western” diet – high in sugar & fat.

The placebo group became obese and showed all the signs associated with metabolic syndrome:

  • elevated cholesterol and triglycerides
  • high blood levels of insulin and glucose
  • and a fatty liver

Conversely, the Nobileton mice experienced no elevation in their levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin or glucose, and gained weight normally. In addition, their insulin sensitivity improved, and their livers remained healthy & fat free.

In longer term studies, Nobileton has been shown to protect these mice from atherosclerosis – the buildup of plaque in arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Unfortunately, even if Nobileton turns out to be an effective weight loss supplement for human, it’s going to be a long, long, long time before a drug comes on the market.

Until then, we’re stuck eating tangerines….delicious, juicy tangerines.

Reference

popchips Don't Taste Healthy

Is the phrase Healthy Snack Food an oxymoron?

  • Is it possible for snack food to be healthy?
  • Is it possible for healthy food to be snackalicious?

These are the questions I attempted to answer last week.

When I was introduced to popchips…and decided to conduct a little experiment.

First up – can snack foods be healthy?

Nutritional Info for 1 oz (28 gms) of plain popchips

Energy 120 kcal
Protein 1 g
Total lipid (fat) ~ g
Carbohydrate, by difference 20 g
Fiber, total dietary 1 g
Sodium, Na 280 mg



 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutritional Info for 1 oz (28 gms) of Plain Ruffles Potato Chips

Energy 160 kcal
Protein 2 g
Total lipid (fat) 10 g
Carbohydrate, by difference 14 g
Fiber, total dietary 1 g
Sodium, Na 160 mg



 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutritional Info for 1 Small Potato (138 gms) – Baked with Salt

Water 103.35 g
Energy 128 kcal
Protein 3.45 g
Total lipid (fat) 0.18 g
Carbohydrate, by difference 29.19 g
Fiber, total dietary 3 g
Sodium, Na 337 mg



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Based strictly on the nutritional information, I see three big differences between the popchips & the Ruffles.

  1. the sodium content
  2. calories
  3. the macronutrient profile

Sodium

I was surprised to see that the Ruffles were lower in salt than the popchips.

However, neither small bag of chips is really that big a deal when it comes to salt.

  • The 160 mg found in the small bag of Ruffles = 7% of the daily RDA level.
  • The 280 mg found in the popchips = 12% RDA
  • The 337 mg found on the little baked potato is irrelevant as that sodium is self-applied and can be adjusted up or down as the diner prefers.

So, in regards to sodium, the Ruffles are better but as long as you’re not eating a great big bag of either potato chip, the sodium levels aren’t much of a health threat.

Calories

The popchips have 25% less calories than the Ruffles. However, just like the sodium numbers, as long as you’re sticking to the small bag, 40 calories isn’t going to make or break anyone’s diet. Another non-issue.

Macronutrient Profile

Here’s where I see a healthy difference between the two brands of potato chips.

Without getting into a huge debate about saturated fats, damaged fats, glycemic index & glycemic load, I believe that the high percentages of carbs & fat found in the Ruffles makes them more likely than the popchips to be stored as body-fat.

The popchips have a macronutrient profile closer to the plain baked potato.

But then again, who ever eats a plain baked potato?

Conclusion

When it comes to the healthiness – popchips is the better choice.

But, what about taste?

Can healthy foods taste great?

As I am not a big fan of potato chips, I enlisted the help of some friends who could be considered potato chip connoisseurs.

And they freakin’ loved the popchips.

And not because they were “healthy”. In fact, when I called them healthy chips, it was harder to get them to try them. But when they started, everyone loved them.

But then again, they also loved the beer & Paleo Margaritas.

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So, there you go….popchips may be healthier than regular potato chips…but they don’t taste healthy.

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Carbohydrates and Chronic Kidney Disease

Studying data collected from 2600 participants, researchers have found that:

  1. A diet high in “energy-dense, nutrient-poor sources of carbohydrates” results in a significantly increased risk of incident chronic kidney disease.
  2. Conversely, the higher your intake of cereal fiber, the lower your risk of CKD.

So, once again, we have scientific proof that eating a diet of pie, donuts, cake, cookies, pizza, chips, nachos, soda, bread, ice cream, etc…results in your health going down the toilet.

And just in case you have any loved ones who thrive on this sort of  Homer Simpson-esque diet, keep in mind that many people are not diagnosed with CKD until they lave lost much of their kidney function and that there is no cure for CKD.

Untreated, it usually progresses to end-stage renal disease.

Many people are not diagnosed with chronic kidney disease until they have lost much of their kidney function.

There is no cure for chronic kidney disease. Untreated, it usually progresses to end-stage renal disease.

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Reference

Obesity: Insulin trumps Genetics

I have said it before and I will say it again. Genetics isn’t Destiny. Even when it comes to obesity.

And if you don’t believe me:

Purdue University scientists have uncovered evidence that genetically identical cells store widely differing amounts of fat, depending on subtle variations in how the cells process insulin.

They said identifying the precise mechanism responsible for fat storage in cells could lead to methods for controlling obesity.

Although other studies have suggested certain “fat genes” might be associated with excessive fat storage in cells, the Purdue researchers confirmed such genes are expressed, or activated, in all of the cells. Yet those cells varied drastically — from nearly zero in some cases to pervasive in others — in how much fat they stored.

Their findings indicate that the faster a cell processes insulin, the more fat it stores.

It’s the insulin…it’s the insulin…it’s the insulin.

Related Posts

Reference

Is Sugar Addictive?

Researchers from Princeton University have found that SUGAR is ADDICTIVE

The Research

Professor Bart Hoebel and his team in the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute have been studying signs of sugar addiction in rats for years. Until now, the rats under study have met two of the three elements of addiction.

They have demonstrated a behavioral pattern of increased intake and then showed signs of withdrawal.

His current experiments captured craving and relapse to complete the picture.

i love sugar

“If bingeing on sugar is really a form of addiction, there should be long-lasting effects in the brains of sugar addicts,” Hoebel said. “Craving and relapse are critical components of addiction, and we have been able to demonstrate these behaviors in sugar-bingeing rats in a number of ways.”

The Sad, Sad Story of Dr. Hoebel’s Sugar Addicted Lab Rats

As part of his experiment, Dr. Hoebel got a bunch of lab rats hooked on the white stuff. They would binge on that sweet powder like it was going out of style.

Then Dr. Hoebel would take away their sugar for a prolonged period of time….the bastard.

Then, like any good pusher, he returned with a brand new supply of that junk. And the rats went nuts. They consumed more sugar than they ever had before, suggesting craving and relapse behavior. Their motivation for sugar had grown.

“In this case, abstinence makes the heart grow fonder,” Hoebel said.

And it gets worse. He got them drunk.

The rats drank more alcohol than normal after their sugar supply was cut off, showing that the bingeing behavior had forged changes in brain function.

These functions served as “gateways” to other paths of destructive behavior, such as increased alcohol intake. And, after receiving a dose of amphetamine normally so minimal it has no effect, they became significantly hyperactive.

The increased sensitivity to the psychostimulant is a long-lasting brain effect that can be a component of addiction, Hoebel said.

Dr. Hoebel’s research has been submitted to the Journal of Nutrition for publication.

And the rats are serving time for the break and enters they committed in order to feed their addictions. Dr. Hoebel; I hope that you are proud of yourself.

But seriously, SUGAR is ADDICTIVE

Related Posts

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Why Do We Crave Carbs?

  • Why do I crave carbs?
  • Why does the smell of baking bread or chocolate cake or cookies or  hot chocolate or popcorn or…well, you get the idea…why does that stuff make me so hungry?
  • Why don’t I crave broccoli or tuna fish or butter?
  • Why am I such a slave to sugar?

Insulin, my friends, insulin. And here’s why….

The Science behind Insulin and our Addiction to Carbs

  • Insulin is secreted by the pancreas.
  • It’s job is to take glucose from your blood, store it in your liver and muscles as glycogen and stop the use of body-fat for fuel.
  • It’s your storage hormone.

This you may know. You probably also know that the glucose in your blood comes from eating carbohydrates.

  • Carbs = Sugar.

What you may don’t know is that insulin isn’t being secreted all the time. It is produced in waves or pulses.

In Fact:

  • The first insulin pulse comes just seconds after you eat carbs
  • This insulin pulse occurs before the sugar in the food even reaches your bloodstream
  • This burst of insulin lasts for 20 minutes before dying down
  • As the first insulin pulse fades away, a second, more gradual injection of insulin is released by the pancreas
  • This pulse lasts for several hours

So what does this all mean?

This means that:

  • The first insulin pulse is designed to prime your body for what is about to happen.
  • Your mind tells your pancreas that sugar is about to be released into the bloodstream and that it had better get ready
  • Ergo, it starts squirting out the insulin

Why does the pancreas need advance notice?

It takes 20 minutes for insulin to have any significant effect on blood-sugar.

Without the advance notice, and the pancreas’ early warning system, a heavy carb meal could result in symptoms of hyperglycemia:

  • A feeling of nervousness or jitteriness
  • A racing heart and pulse
  • Sweaty palms
  • And also a headache

So, is this is a good thing?

  • Yes and no.

Here’s the bad news.

This first wave of insulin secretion has also been described as increasing the “metabolic background of hunger.” As the insulin grabs hold of the blood-sugar and stores it away for later use, it also shuts down the release of body-fat as fuel.

Temporarily, this leaves your body starved for nutrients. You can’t use the energy from the meal or the fat from your love handles. Ooops.

As a result of this, you get hungry!

As a result of this, that meal starts to look better and taste better. And that’s why you keep making trips to the buffet. Your body is searching for energy. More importantly, it’s fuel of choice is sugar…fast absorbing sugar.

After some time, your metabolic system does balance out, and nutrients are released to be used as fuel and your hunger decreases.

So What Does This Have To Do With My Carb Addiction?

  1. Our diet is based on carbs – wheat, corn, rice, sugar
  2. When we eat meals based on carbs, our insulin spikes
  3. When we eat meals based on carbs, our appetite increases
  4. When we eat meals based on carbs, food (carbs in particular) tastes better
  5. When we eat meals based on carbs, we overeat trying to fuels our cells
  6. As a result, when we eat meals based on carbs, we force our bodies to crave carbs

And this is a best case scenario.

I am not even going to discuss how this pattern of overeating carbs can and does lead to Type 2 Diabetes. I will save that discussion for another day.

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Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

Can a Low Glycemic Diet Reduce the Risk of Diabetes?

A 20 year study that looked at the association between a low glycemic load diet and the risk of acquiring Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) concluded that a low glycemic load diet decreased the risk of type2 diabetes in women.

This study not only concluded that:

  1. eating a low glycemic load diet has long term positive health benefits, but that,
  2. a higher dietary glycemic load was strongly associated with an increased risk of T2DM.

Surprise, surprise, surprise…

So what are you supposed to do with this information?

This is not going to sound original, but:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat less bread, pasta, rice, fruit juice, beer, wine, candy, cake, pie…
  • Eat more protein – healthy protein, not chicken fingers, bacon and hot dogs
  • Eat more ‘non-animal’ based oils like coconut, olive, walnut, flax, and hemp. Fats from game animals are acceptable for all of you hunters out there. Fish oils (high in Omega 3 fatty acids) have also been shown to have a positive effect on blood sugar.
  • Eliminate most processed foods in general

Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

  • And if you can’t/won’t eliminate the high glycemic load foods, at least try to start each meal with the veggies. At least that way, you may get full before you get to the high glycemic load foods. Start with a big salad or some grilled veggies or a big bowl of soup.

So what is Glycemic Load?

Glycemic load (GL) is a measurement and ranking system for the carbohydrate content in different foods, based on their glycemic index (GI) and the portion size.

Glycemic Index (GI) is a measurement of how quickly a fixed portion (usually 50g) of the carbohydrates in different foods breaks down into sugar.

And what exactly does that mean?

  • Carrots have a high glycemic index. That’s bad. That means that the carbohydrates in carrots are quickly digested into sugar. Scary stuff. That is why some nutritionists actually advise their clients to avoid baby carrots as a snack food.
  • But, since carrots are loaded with water and fiber, the glycemic load is reduced to a low level. Yay carrots.

Lesson Learned?

  • Sugar without fibre is bad
  • Sugar with fibre is better

Here is an abridged GI and GL list of foods – Keep in Mind that a Glycemic Index of 55 is low and a Glycemic Load of 10 is low.

List of foods and their glycemic load, per 100g serving

Food

Glycemic index

Glycemic Load
Baguette, white, plain (France)

~95

~48

Banana, Mean of 10 studies

~52

~10

Carrots, Mean of 4 studies

~47

~3.5

Corn tortilla (Mexican)

~52

~25

Potato, Mean of 5 studies

~50

~9.3

Rice, boiled white, mean of 12 studies

~64

~15.4

Watermelon

~72

~3.6

For more info on this subject, check out the queen of the glycemic index, Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller.

 

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