Monthly Archives: December 2015
You might think of peanut butter as junk food…
But according to the latest research, indulging in this delicious treat may actually be extremely beneficial to your heart.
A 12-year observational study published in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that eating peanuts regularly can lower your risk of heart disease by as much as 21 percent. We have put out many articles stating that peanuts and peanut butter is one of the foods that diabetics should eat daily.
That means eating 100% natural and sugar-free peanut butter may actually lower your chances of heart attack or stroke.
And peanut butter isn’t the only food that can help your heart… there’s actually a long list of foods that can improve your overall heart function, like:
The University of Connecticut conducted a 30-day study to see how broccoli affected the health of rats.
They split the rats into two groups and fed both of them regular rat pellets.
One of those groups was given regular water to drink; the other group was given a potent broccoli extract.
After the study was over, they ran a few tests on both groups.
One of those tests used oxygen deprivation as a way to simulate the effects of a heart attack.
The rats that had been given broccoli extract had three major advantages over the others:
- Better blood-pumping ability
- Less heart damage from oxygen deprivation
- Higher levels of heart-health chemicals (even when deprived oxygen)
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published a similar study using rats… only this time, they tested the effects of garlic.
This study split the rats into three groups. One of those groups was given fresh garlic; another was fed dried and powdered garlic; and the last group was given no garlic at all.
Just like the broccoli study, these researchers found that the rats who ate garlic performed much better when put through oxygen deprivation.
But when it came to restoring blood flow to the heart, the rats who ate fresh garlic had significantly better results…
So while any form of garlic will be good for you, eating it fresh will do the most good for your heart.
Test-tube studies have shown that honey can actually slow the oxidation of LDL (low density lipoprotein) in human blood. This is probably because honey contains the same amount of antioxidants as spinach.
Oxidation of LDL cholesterol plays a huge role in atherosclerosis…so getting in extra antioxidants will help prevent the narrowing of your arteries.
If you’re looking for a delicious way to get all of these heart-healthy foods in one delicious meal, try this recipe on for size.
Weighing in at only 225 calories a serving, this recipe has over 6 grams of fiber and nearly 10 grams of protein – so it will keep you full for hours after you eat.
Healthy Stir Fried Broccoli
|¼ C Sugar-free peanut butter
1/3 C water
2 T Honey 1 T minced Garlic
|2 T low-sodium soy sauce
1 T peanut oil
1 ½ lbs broccoli florets
1 Bell pepper, sliced
- Whisk the water, honey, garlic, peanut butter, and soy sauce in a bowl until smooth.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the bell pepper and broccoli. Sauté till soft.
- Pour the sauce over the broccoli and bell pepper mixture and serve.
In addition to being incredibly filling, this crowd-pleasing dish is deceptively delicious – so no one will be able to guess how healthy it really is.
You can easily throw this recipe together in less than 30 minutes – making it the perfect mid-week meal.
Please share with family and friends
Health and Wellness Associates
Bereliani – Carrothers
Are you using the right coconut oil?
Tips for using the right coconut oil?
There’s no doubt that coconut oil is one of the most versatile and useful oils you can have at home. It has a wide array of uses, from cooking and baking to being a beauty staple. It works as a lotion, or can be added to your homemade facial mask or hypoallergenic soap recipe.
But how do you know if you are choosing high-quality coconut oil that is truly worth its weight in gold?
There are several important factors that you must consider when buying coconut oil to ensure that you’re getting one that’s truly high-quality.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut is an edible oil extracted from coconut meat. Both coconuts and coconut oil were staples in many tropical countries and regions, including South and Central America, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, Polynesia, and Asia. Dating back as early as 1500, India’s Ayurvedic literature recorded coconut oil’s uses for the mind, body and spirit. Even early European explorers noted its benefits for Pacific communities who integrated it – and coconuts – into their daily lives.
Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that are easily digestible and stored in your body as energy. Fifty percent of the saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which converts into monolaurin.
However, coconut oil’s wholesome profile was tainted in 1953, when Dr. Ancel Keys published a study that linked saturated fats to heart disease. What many people didn’t know is that Keys’ study was seriously flawed, as he only based his study on six countries, ignoring data from 16 other countries that did not fit his theory.
Keys’ flawed study paved the way for polyunsaturated vegetable oil manufacturers to step up and dominate the market. Ironically, these so-called “heart-healthy” oils are actually a lot more harmful because they oxidize when heated, putting a great deal of burden on your body.
But the tides have changed, and now coconut oil is back in the spotlight as the ideal, all-around edible oil.
Why You Should Buy Coconut Oil Instead of Other Cooking Oils
I have steadfastly recommended coconut oil as the smartest and most versatile oil you can use. It’s perfect for cooking because of its high heat tolerance. Polyunsaturated vegetable oils like corn, canola, and soy become rancid when they are heated or mix with oxygen. In fact, they can actually go rancid within a few hours of being produced. When this rancid oil enters your body, it can lead to disastrous health effects.
You won’t have to worry about this with coconut oil, as it does not easily go rancid. Coconut oil is a complete saturated fat, which makes it very stable against heat damage. It is the ONLY safe oil you can use for cooking – olive oil is also a good oil but only when used cold, drizzled over salads or mixed into cold sauces. Due to its stability, it has a long shelf life of two or more years – the longest of any cooking oil.
So whenever you need to cook or sauté your food, choose coconut oil. It’s great for frying (even though I don’t recommend frying foods), as well as baking, and is a wonderful substitute for shortening, margarine, or butter. When you bake with coconut oil, you’ll find that your muffins, pastry, or bread will be lighter and have a mildly sweet and enticing fragrance.
But that’s not where coconut oil’s convenience ends, because it also has numerous uses outside the kitchen. Coconut oil can actually replace over a dozen beauty products found in your beauty kit, such as your:
- Makeup remover – Apply a small amount on a moist cotton ball and wipe all over your face.
- Facial scrub – Make a gentle facial scrub by mixing coconut oil with baking soda, or with oatmeal and a dash of cinnamon.
- Lip balm – Apply a small amount of coconut oil on your lips. You can also make your own lip balm using coconut oil as a base ingredient.
- Carrier oil for essential oil – Use it to dilute potent essential oils that may be too harsh when applied on your skin in concentrated amounts.
- Shaving cream – Apply a thin layer on the area to be shaved, and then shave as usual.
- Body scrub – Mix equal parts organic cane sugar and coconut oil in a glass jar, and then scrub on your dry skin before bathing.
- Massage Oil: For decades, coconut oil has been used by professional massage therapists as a soothing massage oil.
Coconut oil can also have practical uses around the house, such as:
- Polishing metal (test it on a small area first)
- Moisturizing and softening your leather goods
- Lubricating squeaky hinges, sticky mechanisms, and even guitar strings
- Cleaning and conditioning wooden furniture (also test it on a small area first)
- Cleaning, conditioning, and sanitizing your wooden chopping board
Know the Different Types of Coconut Oil
Considering this impressive roster of uses, it definitely makes sense that you choose a high-quality coconut oil. There are numerous brands and types of coconut oil, and they vary according to source, production method, packaging, and price.
When you shop for coconut oil, one of the first things you’ll notice is that they are classified as either refined or unrefined. They may seem similar, but there is actually a very great difference between these two types of coconut oil.
Refined coconut oil, also known as refined, bleached, and deodorized (RBD) coconut oil, is made by mechanically and chemically refining, bleaching, and deodorizing dried coconuts (copra). Since copra is not fit for consumption, it needs to go through the RBD process to filter out impurities and make it more stable. It’s thin, tasteless, and doesn’t have a coconutty aroma, but has a high cooking temperature before it reaches its smoking point.
While RBD coconut oil is a great source of healthy fatty acids, I do not fully recommend it. Many brands are adulterated because of the chemical distillation processes that use lye and other harsh solvents. What’s more, manufacturers sometimes use rancid oil byproducts that are made from creating desiccated coconut flakes. Many RBD coconut oils are also hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, which can lead to the production of synthetic trans fats.
Meanwhile, unrefined coconut oil is made from pressing fresh, raw coconut (not copra) using mechanical methods but without adding chemicals and solvents. This is actually my coconut oil of choice, as it retains the coconut’s flavor and aroma, and is loaded with antioxidants and medium-chain fatty acids.
Be sure to also check the extraction method used. Coconut oil can be expeller-pressed, cold-pressed, or centrifuged. Expeller-pressing is a mechanical process that uses pressure to extract the oil, which creates friction and higher heat that may compromise the taste and nutrition of the oil. Cold-pressing is nearly similar to expeller-pressing, except that it’s done in a heat-controlled environment that keeps the temperature below 120° Fahrenheit (49° Celsius). In this sense, cold-pressed coconut oil is a better option.
However, I advise you to look for cold-pressed centrifuged coconut oil, where fresh coconuts are cold-pressed to make a coconut emulsion, then chilled to help pull out the oils. Afterwards, the milk goes through a centrifuge, where the pure oil spins away from the water layer, resulting in a pure, organic, unrefined and highly stable coconut oil.
In summary, shop for an unrefined, unbleached coconut oil that’s produced from organic and GMO-free coconuts, and made without chemicals, harsh solvents, and heat processing.
Where to Buy Coconut Oil: Don’t Settle for an Inferior Product!
With the growing popularity of coconut oil, people are now making the switch to this versatile cooking oil. But remember that not all coconut oil products are created equal, and not all of them have been subjected to the best manufacturing practices.
I would also advise you to be very careful when buying coconut oil from grocery stores, as you only have to rely on what is on the label to determine the quality of the product. There have been reports of large bottles of cheap supermarket coconut oils going rancid quickly, which means that either the oil was blended with vegetable oils that spoil easily, or that it has been filtered improperly, which led to coconut remnants to contaminate the oil.
You can buy coconut oil online as well, but you must thoroughly scrutinize the product. Check out their website to learn more about the company, where they source their coconuts, and how the oil is produced. Make sure that the company is truly committed to providing you with a high-quality product that is worth your money.
In addition, keep an eye out for these signs of a good high-quality coconut oil:
- Appearance – It should be white in its solid form, and colorless as a liquid. Coconut oil stays liquid in temperatures above 25° Celsius (75° Fahrenheit), and will solidify like butter in lower temperatures or if refrigerated. Simply put it under low heat or leave it out for a few minutes to transform it into liquid.
- Aroma and flavor – It should smell and taste like coconut, but should not be overpowering or strong. If it tastes neutral and is odorless, then it’s been refined. If it smells roasted or smoky, it may have been heat-pressed.
- Shelf life – High-quality coconut oil can stay fresh for up to two years. It does not need refrigeration, but should be stored away from direct sunlight.
How to Keep Coconut Oil from Going Rancid
Despite being heat-resistant and more stable than other cooking oils, it is important that you know how to take good care of your coconut oil to prevent it from going bad quickly. Remember these simple tips:
- Never place coconut oil in direct sunlight.
- Use a clean spoon to scoop coconut oil from the container, to prevent mold and bacterial contamination the oil. Don’t use your fingers and avoid double-dipping.
- Always keep the lid on, sealed tightly, to prevent moisture from going in.
- Signs that your coconut oil has gone rancid are: turning yellow in color in liquid form, a blotchy consistency, foul taste and smell, and specks at the bottom of the container, which could indicate the presence of mold.
Please share this article with family and friends. Also, if anyone has any questions, needs assistance, or wants to schedule an appointment, please give them our phone number.
Health and Wellness Associates
How Our Cells Communicate in Sickness and Health
One way your cells communicate with each other is through the release of tiny “bubbles,” known as extracellular vesicles (EVs). These tiny cells are about the size of bacteria and viruses, and they’re only visible using an electron microscope.
For many years researchers believed EVs were carrying biological debris made up of various proteins and genetic material. It’s now known EVs have a much more important role, acting as ferries to send important messages to other cells.
Now a new study using roundworms has added more insights into how these cellular messengers work.
Extracellular Vesicles May Play a Significant Role in Human Health and Disease
Researchers from Rutgers University revealed 335 genes in roundworms (C. elegans) that supply information about the biology of EVs. About 10 percent of those genes were related to the formation, release, and, possibly, function of EVs.1
EVs are found in blood, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and more, but it’s unknown where they originate, how they’re made, or how their “cargo of molecules” is released.2 In other words, EVs remain much of a mystery.
The EVs may be good or bad. For instance, they may play a role in sending messages between cells that promote tumor growth. The study also revealed more information about how EVs are produced and why they carry certain “cargo.”
For instance, EVs are known to carry proteins responsible for polycystic kidney disease, the most commonly inherited disease in humans, but no one knows why.3 Maureen Barr, lead author and a professor in the Department of Genetics in Rutgers’ School of Arts and Sciences, told Science Daily:4
“These EVs are exciting but scary because we don’t know what the mechanisms are that decide what is packaged inside them … It’s like getting a letter in the mail and you don’t know whether it’s a letter saying that you won the lottery or a letter containing anthrax.”
- elegans is the perfect vehicle for learning more about EVs because the worms have similar genes to humans. Such research could help uncover EVs’ significance for human health and disease. Barr continued5
“When we know exactly how they work, scientists will be able to use EVs for our advantage … This means that pathological EVs that cause disease could be blocked and therapeutic EVs that can help heal can be designed to carry beneficial cargo.”
Your Body Is Constantly Communicating
EVs are only one way your cells receive important information. The microorganisms in your gut also play a role. For instance, your gut’s microorganisms trigger the production of cytokines. Cytokines are involved in regulating your immune system’s response to inflammation and infection.
Much like hormones, cytokines are signaling molecules that aid cell-to-cell communication, telling your cells where to go when your inflammatory response is initiated.
There are signals between your gut and your brain, most of which travel along your vagus nerve.6 Vagus is Latin for “wandering,” aptly named as this long nerve travels from your skull down through your chest and abdomen, branching to multiple organs.
Cytokine messengers produced in your gut cruise up to your brain along the “vagus nerve highway.” Once in your brain, the cytokines tell your microglia (the immune cells in your brain) to perform certain functions, such as producing neurochemicals.
Some of these have negative effects on your mitochondria, which can impact energy production and apoptosis (cell death), as well as adversely impact the very sensitive feedback system that controls your stress hormones, including cortisol.
So, this inflammatory response that started in your gut travels to your brain, which then builds on it, and sends signals to the rest of your body in a complex feedback loop. Signals from your gut microorganisms travel elsewhere in your body to, including to your skin.
Then there are your hormones, or your body’s chemical messengers, which exert their effects throughout your body, helping to coordinate biological processes like metabolism and fertility. As reported by Frontline:7
“It is thanks to these chemicals that distant parts of the body communicate with one another during elaborate, and important, events. In response to a signal from the brain, hormones are secreted directly into the blood by the glands that produce and store them.”
Bacteria Have a Sophisticated Method of Communication
Bacteria (both good and bad) have a very sophisticated way of communicating with each other, and once they receive the signal that their numbers are sufficient to carry out their genetic function, they launch into action as a synchronized unit.
Researchers have discovered that bacteria communicate with each other using a chemical language called “quorum sensing.” Every type of bacteria make and secrete small molecules. When a bacterium is alone, these molecules simply float away.
But, when there’s a large enough group of bacteria, these secreted molecules increase in proportion to the number of bacteria emitting them. When the molecules reach a certain amount, the bacteria can tell how many neighbors it has, and suddenly all the bacteria begin to act as a synchronized group.
Bacteria do not only communicate in this way between their own species; they’re all “multi-lingual” and can determine the presence and strength of other bacterial colonies.
Essentially, they can count how many of its own kind there are compared to the amount of another species. They then use that information to decide what tasks to carry out, depending on who’s in a minority and who’s in the majority of any given population of bacteria.
Even Plants Communicate
Plants communicate with other plants — even with plants of other species — through a complex underground network that includes:
The plants’ rhizosphere (root ball)
Aerial emissions (volatile gasses emitted by the plants)
Mycelial networks in the soil
These three systems work together forming a “plant internet” of sorts where information about each plant’s status is constantly exchanged. One of the organisms responsible for this remarkable biochemical highway is a type of fungus called mycorrhizae. The name mycorrhiza literally means fungus root.8
These fungi form a symbiotic relationship with the plant, colonizing the roots and sending extremely fine filaments far out into the soil that act as root extensions.
Not only do these networks sound the alarm about invaders, but the filaments are more effective in nutrient and water absorption than the plant roots themselves — mycorrhizae increase the nutrient absorption of the plant 100 to 1,000 times.9
In one thimbleful of healthy soil, you can find several miles of fungal filaments, all releasing powerful enzymes that help dissolve tightly bound soil nutrients, such as organic nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron.
Previous research has shown that when a plant becomes infested with a pest like aphids for example, it warns surrounding plants of the attack via this network of mycorrhizal fungi.10
This “heads up” gives the other plants time to mount their chemical defenses in order to repel the aphids. Mycorrhizae fungi can even connect plants of different species, perhaps allowing interspecies communication.
Powerful Demonstration of Interspecies Communication
Entomologist Aaron Pomerantz was in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest when he discovered what’s described as a “weird relationship between butterflies, ants, and a parasitic plant.11 The plant appeared as yellow growths coating the side of a tree.
A caterpillar was eating the yellow buds, and the caterpillars were being “tended to” by ants, possibly as a form of protection. The ants, in turn, were stroking the caterpillars, which would release a bead of liquid nourishment that the ants consumed.
Butterflies were plentiful near the buds, too, and it turns out the caterpillars were the butterflies’ larval form. The butterflies, known as the Terenthina terentia species, even had yellow spots on their wings, presumably to blend in with the yellow parasitic plant.
Pomerantz found “nothing like this had ever been documented before,” but it’s a powerful demonstration of not only the symbiotic relationship between these species but also of interspecies communication.
Even though it’s unclear how the species are communicating – how do the ants know the caterpillars will provide food in exchange for protection, for instance? – it’s clear that they most certainly are.12 It’s another fascinating mystery of nature, and also shows that, just like within your body, complex communication is often occurring whether you’re aware of it or not.
Please feel free to share this with your family and friends. Also, give them our phone number if they have questions or need assistance.
Health and Wellness Associates
The Crisis of Childhood Obesity
According to the latest statistics,1 about 75 percent of American men and 67 percent of women are either overweight or obese. This means less than one-third of US adults are at a healthy weight.
The statistics for children are equally disturbing. Over 17 percent of American children between the ages of 2 and 19 fall into the obese category, which can set them up for a lifetime of very serious health problems.
“The Weight of the Nation: Children in Crisis” is the third episode of a four-part HBO documentary series2 about obesity in America.
This episode hones in on childhood obesity, highlighting the need to become better educated about weight, as it’s really about health, not mere appearance.
“The health consequences of childhood obesity include greater risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and other serious illnesses.
The combination of these health effects and the dramatic increase in childhood obesity rates over the past three decades causes some experts to fear this may be the first generation of American children who will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents …
For parents of obese children, responsible parenting means more than tackling health challenges head on. It also means doing the hard work of finding supportive, healthy communities that will instill long-term habits that promote healthy living.”
Obesity Is a Marker for Many Chronic Diseases That Can Cut Life Short
Obesity is closely tied to a number of chronic diseases. In the US, eight obesity-related diseases account for 75 percent of all healthcare costs.
This includes type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and dementia. About one-third of all cancers are also directly related to obesity.
When you consider that two hallmarks of obesity are insulin/leptin resistance and chronic inflammation, you can begin to recognize that excess weight is fertile ground for a wide array of other ailments — many of which can cut your life significantly short.
Obese children significantly increase their risk of suffering obesity-related illnesses and complications far earlier in life than others.
Case in point: research4 presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015 revealed obese children as young as 8 now display signs of heart disease!
Processed Food Diet Is at the Heart of the Childhood Obesity Epidemic
The long-held conventional view that obesity is either the result of “bad genetics” or poor lifestyle choices, combined with a certain amount of laziness or lack of willpower, has now largely been debunked.
The fact that obesity rates 50 to 60 years ago were only one-third of what they are today is a potent clue that genetics are not to blame. Also, a number of other affluent nations do not have the same obesity problems as the U.S.
For example, the obesity rate among Japanese and Swedish women is 3 and 10 percent respectively,5 compared to 37 percent in the U.S. Furthermore, when people from such countries move to the US, they typically end up gaining significant amounts of weight.
This tells us there’s something in the American diet that is different from other nations, in which people do not have the same level of difficulty with their weight.
The diet connection can also be seen in the disparities between the rich and the poor. Poorer Americans have higher rates of obesity, whereas poor people in developing nations tend to be underweight from lack of food.
The hallmark of the Standard American Diet (SAD) is that it’s very high in non-fiber carb processed foods, and the evidence clearly points to sugar-laden processed foods as a primary culprit. Americans also rarely ever fast, which compounds the problem.
Junk Food Marketing Has Great Influence on Kids’ Eating Habits
Food marketing expenditures are quite telling. In 2009, a whopping $1.7 billion was spent on unhealthy food marketing to kids, compared to a mere $280 million spent on healthy food ads.
Kids aren’t even safe from predatory marketing at school.
In 2009, companies spent $149 million marketing soda and other sugary drinks in schools, and on average these drinks contained 16 or more grams of sugar per serving — an amount that meets or exceeds the maximum daily recommended sugar intake for most kids.
A large number of studies have also confirmed that sugary beverages in particular are strongly associated with obesity, and this is NOT limited to soda.
Fruit juices will in many instances contain nearly identical amounts of sugar as soda, yet many parents are still under the illusion that fruit juice is “healthy,” and fail to consider these beverages when looking for dietary culprits for their child’s weight gain.
To prevent obesity and chronic disease, the World Health Organization6 (WHO) suggests limiting your sugar consumption to a maximum of 5 percent of your daily calories, which equates to about 25 grams/6 teaspoons7 of sugar per day for most adults.
The limit for children is around 3 to 4 teaspoons a day,8 or 12 to 16 grams. So just one sugary beverage can easily put a child over the limit of what their body can safely handle without adverse health effects.
Other junk foods also feature heavily in schools. According to the featured video, “20 percent of the rise in the BMI of teens is associated with the increased availability of junk food in schools.”
The film also addresses the issue of school lunches, discussing the impact inferior school nutrition on the childhood obesity epidemic.
Children Need Greater Protection from Junk Food Marketing
As detailed in the video, in July 2011, the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children (IWG) — which was created by Congress — proposed nutrition standards for children that would lower the levels of salt, sugar, and fat in foods allowed to be marketed to kids.
The proposal was wildly unpopular with the food industry, and by March 2012, when the HBO filmed this segment, the IWG’s food marketing report was essentially “dead.” To this day, food companies are given free rein to determine for themselves which of their products they consider “healthy.”
Now a panel of experts convened by the Healthy Eating Research program is calling for increased protection for children from predatory junk food marketing. According to the Healthy Eating Research report9 published in January 2015, the industry’s current voluntary self-regulation program doesn’t go far enough to protect children.
For starters, current regulations apply only to children aged 11 and under, which leaves a significant number of adolescents aged 12 to 14 at risk. The report notes that older children are uniquely impressionable and vulnerable to food marketing, in part because of their stage of brain and cognitive development.
In addition to being susceptible to marketing overall, adolescents are especially susceptible to marketing for tempting foods that require well-developed self-regulatory abilities to resist. At the same time, older kids are exposed to stealth forms of marketing in social media that may be disguised as entertainment or even messages from peers. According to the report:
“Children ages 12 to 14 face heightened risk from the influence of unhealthy food marketing due to their greater independence, higher levels of media consumption, and recent increases in the amount of marketing to children ages 12 and older for unhealthy food and beverage products.”
Parents Are Fooled by Food Advertisements Too
Parents are also deceived by the food industry’s PR machine. Junk food ads cleverly manipulate parents into making unhealthy choices for their kids10 while believing they’re doing the right thing.
“It is a dual-pronged approach where food manufacturers are targeting kids to pester (their parents) for these products, and then manufacturers are marketing to parents to get them to think these products are healthy and not to feel guilty about buying them …”
[P]arent-directed ads emphasized health benefits and nutritional information for the products … However, a recent report … found that many of the products that are advertised to children, such as sugar-sweetened juice beverages and cereals, do not meet federal standards for healthy snacks. And … the ads that parents are seeing are for these same products.”
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to avoid falling into this trap is to realize that if there’s a commercial for it, you and your kids probably shouldn’t be eating it!
Why? Because only processed foods are heavily marketed, and if you’re concerned about your child’s health and weight, then processed foods of all kinds, no matter what the ads promise, are the enemy. Your fridge and pantry needs to be stocked with REAL food, meaning foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.
Excessive Sitting Harms Children’s Health
As noted in the featured video, many kids form sedentary habits in childhood that are then carried into adulthood. Over the last couple of decades, physical activity has declined across all age groups in the US, but children are perhaps at greatest risk from chronic inactivity.
As noted by Christina Economos, PhD, we now see toddlers and young children engaged in sedentary behavior anywhere from four to eight hours a day; glued to either television or electronic games. The likelihood of inactive children to get into sports or exercise later on is severely compromised, and with it, their health.
We now have more than 10,000 studies showing that chronic sitting is an independent risk factor for poor health and mortality — on par with smoking — so inactivity in childhood really needs to be addressed. Fortunately some school districts are switching to standup desks.12
Unfortunately, in addition to not having stand up desks, many schools have eliminated recess and/or physical education as a cost-saving measure, which significantly adds to the problem. In my view, this trend is really unconscionable, and needs to be reversed.
But, we don’t have time to wait for the school system to change. If your child does not get copious amounts of physical activity at school, it’s really important for you to encourage your child to stay active after school and on weekends.
How to Get Your Kids Moving
First, it’s imperative to limit the amount of time your child spends watching TV, or playing computer and video games, and to replace some of these sedentary activities with physical activities.
Overweight and obese children need at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, and may benefit from closer to 60 minutes. But, even if your child is not overweight, you should encourage him or her to take part in physically engaging activities after school and on the weekends.
There are plenty to choose from, from sports and dance classes to gymnastics, bike riding, and playing tag with friends. Allow your child to choose activities that appeal to them, and which are age appropriate. Remember that the trick to getting kids interested in exercise at a young age is to keep it fun.
Also, keep in mind that spontaneous bouts of exercise throughout the day are actually the ideal way of doing it.Your child does not need to log 30 to 60 minutes in the gym or in a specific exercise class, unless that’s really what they want to do. A game of tag here, a bike ride there …
Short bursts of activity with periods of rest in between — this is actually the way your body was designed to move! And, kids will typically fall into this behavior quite spontaneously, as long as they’re outdoors, and not cooped up in front of a TV or computer screen. Like adults, kids also need variety in their exercise routines to reap the greatest rewards, so be sure your child is getting:
This may sound daunting, but if your child participates in a gymnastics class, sprints around the backyard after the dog often, and rides his bike after school, he’s covered. Also remember that acting as a role model by staying active yourself is one of the best ways to motivate and inspire your kids. If your child sees you embracing exercise as a positive and important part of your lifestyle, they will naturally follow suit.
Plus, it’s easy to plan active activities that involve the whole family and double up as fun ways to spend time together. Hiking, bike riding, canoeing, swimming, and sports are all great options. Think of it this way … by taking the time to get your kids interested in exercise now, you’re giving them a gift that will keep them healthy and happy for the rest of their lives.
Most Importantly, to Reverse Obesity Trend We Must Return to a Diet of Real Food
Researchers have firmly debunked the myth that all calories are identical, and that to lose weight all you need to do is expend more calories than you consume.
Research shows that what you eat can actually make a big difference in how much you eat. In a nutshell, research shows that calories gleaned from bread, refined sugars, and processed foods promote overeating, whereas calories from whole vegetables, protein, and fiber decrease hunger.
While it’s true that most kids exercise too little, it’s important to realize that your child cannot exercise his or her way out of a poor and metabolically “toxic” diet. Over the past 60 years or so, a confluence of dramatically altered foods combined with reduced physical exertion and increased exposure to toxic chemicals have created what amounts to a perfect storm.
The extensive use of refined sugar — primarily in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, which is added to virtually all processed foods — is at the heart of it all. Fortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now recommending a daily cap on added sugars, and food manufacturers may soon have to list the amount of added sugars on the nutritional facts label.13
The recommended goal is to limit added sugar to a maximum of 10 percent of daily calories. While reading labels can help, the easiest way to do this is to eat REAL food. Obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and heart attacks are all diseases associated with a processed food diet.
The following short list of just three super-simple, easy-to-remember guidelines will not only improve your family’s nutrition, it will also help you avoid chemical exposures that can affect weight:
Eat REAL FOOD. Buy whole, ideally organic, foods and cook from scratch. First of all, this will automatically reduce your added sugar consumption, which is the root cause of insulin resistance and weight gain.
If you buy organic produce, you’ll also cut your exposure to pesticides and genetically engineered ingredients, and in ditching processed foods, you’ll automatically avoid artificial sweeteners and harmful processed fats. For more detailed dietary advice, please see my free Optimized Nutrition Plan.
Opt for organic grass-finished meats to avoid genetically engineered ingredients, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and other growth promoting drugs.
Opt for glass packaging and storage containers to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Please share this with your family and friends. Give then the number to call us if they have any questions or need help.
Health and Wellness Associates
CHRISTMAS SUGGESTIONS TO KEEP YOU WELL
The Christmas holidays commonly cause a flare of allergies for the following reasons:
1. Food is abundant. There is a tendency to drink more milk and eat more chocolate, sugar, corn (in the form of corn syrup or dextrose), and wheat products. If you have no symptoms, or if your symptoms are relieved with your present allergy extract, you need not be concerned. If you have an allergy extract to treat these foods, check to be sure that the extract doses are correct. After avoiding these in all forms for 4 days, add these specific foods back into your diet, one at a time, at a four day interval. You can do one food in the morning and one in the afternoon. Does your extract prevent the symptoms?
Remember, asthma, hives or colitis, in particular, can suddenly appear – or reappear if certain foods are a problem. Colitis may not appear for 8 – 48 hours after eating a problem food, but hives are usually evident 15 minutes to one hour after ingesting something that is allergenic.
2. Eggnog can be a major problem. No form of egg has more potential for causing trouble than raw egg white, so eggnog can cause many symptoms, particularly in children who have asthma or eczema. Store-prepared eggnog can contain additives. Read labels carefully. If you are unsure if egg causes a reaction, put drop on skin and see if that spot becomes red in 15 minutes. If it does not you can put a drop on tongue. Check pulse, check breathing and check muscle strength if you know how to do this. Do not do any egg exposure if you already know egg causes a visit to the emergency room.
3. Be extremely cautious about nuts. Remember that if your child is allergic to peanuts and takes a walnut from a dish of mixed nuts that contains peanuts, there could be enough peanut on the walnut it touched to cause someone to have a violent reaction. Keep your allergy meds handy over the holidays. Have both antihistamines and asthma meds on hand.
4. Churches can cause allergies due to incense, candles, decorations, and the odors of mothballs and perfume, as well as from possible years of molds and dust in the air. Malls, restaurants and lavatories also cause many problems due to Christmas trees, fragrances and other chemical odors.
5. Generally, Christmas presents do not cause much difficulty, except for scented personal items, toys made of soft, smelly plastic which exudes chemical odors, or polyester clothing, which contains the chemical formaldehyde.
6. Natural Christmas trees can cause major problems. Some children become ill just walking into a field where they grow because of the pine odor, or from molds growing on the trees and vegetation. There is no pollen at this time of year. If Christmas trees are a problem, call your allergy doctor. You might need to be checked for pine terpines and molds. Even if you avoid real pine trees at home, your child can be exposed to trees and real Christmas greenery at school, church, malls, etc. So – caution. You can’t totally avoid pine at this time of the year.
7. In addition, some Christmas trees are sprayed with toxic chemicals, herbicides and pesticides. Leukemia has been found in excess in some communities where Christmas trees are grown for a cash crop. In the Appalachian Mountains, the incidence of cancer is nine times the number expected in a population of 36,000. They are trying to decrease the amount of chemicals used on trees in that area to see if there is less cancer.
If chemically treated trees are brought into your home, your house will be contaminated with these same chemicals. An Austin air purifier (480-905-9195) might help a lot because this one can eliminate some 3000 chemical odors..
8. Artificial trees sometimes have an odor because they are synthetic and made from chemicals. They also can be dusty and moldy from storage and these can cause symptoms. If you use any color or odor sprays on a natural or artificial tree, the chemical odors can definitely cause symptoms. Check the chemical to be used in the typical manner.
9. Christmas tree ornaments are often dusty, old and moldy. Simply going into the attic or basement to obtain them certainly can cause allergies.
10. Traveling and visiting can cause a recurrence of allergies. If you visit a relative’s home, and your child immediately becomes sick because of perfume, tobacco, dust, pets, molds, etc., it would be very wise to leave immediately and go to a hotel providing it causes less difficulty . Take your air purifier with you if you are spending the night at someone’s home.
The stress and strain of Christmas, along with lack of sleep and excitement related to the holidays, can certainly make all of us more prone to infections and allergies. Some extra D3 and magnesium (500 mg) might also help. Try ACS ( An improved form of colloidal silver) for all sorts of infection. Buy Oscillococcinum at the drug store – it’s very effective and inexpensive. For food or chemical reactions, 1-2 tsp of baking soda in a half glass of water can often help in 15 minutes.
Hope the above will help you have a have a most delightful, healthy and heart -warming holiday. It is a great time of the year for sharing , showing you truly care and being with those you love the most.
Health and Wellness Associates
Doris Rapp , M.D.
Spine Surgeon Reveals Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain
As many as 8 out of 10 Americans struggle with back pain, and many resort to surgery as a solution. Unfortunately, this often does not resolve the problem, and in some cases simply worsens the situation.
Dr. David Hanscom, an orthopedic surgeon with a practice in Seattle, is unusual in that he tells most of his patients they don’t need surgery. He’s written a book detailing his novel approach to chronic pain treatment, called “Back in Control: A spine surgeon’s roadmap out of chronic pain.”
Spinal Fusions Rarely Cure Chronic Back Pain
Spinal fusions are a lucrative business and great source of revenue for the hospital and surgeon. Unfortunately, they rarely work for the patients. Spinal fusions arose from the assumption that disc degeneration was a source of back pain.
Therefore, it was thought that by fusing the disc together with the bone, which eliminates motion, you would get rid of the pain. However, that has since been proven false.
“Disc degeneration actually does not cause back pain. That’s been well-documented,” Dr. Hanscom says.
“The success rate of the spinal fusion for back pain was about 24 percent, but we still kept doing it. Then, in 1994, when this paper came out Washington showing that the return-to-work rate one year after a spinal fusion for back pain was 15 percent, I just stopped.
Every paper since then has showed pretty much the same dismal results; there’s maybe a 20 to 25 percent success rate of spinal fusion for back pain…
And the downside of a failed spine surgery is terrible. It’s really bad. These people are condemned to live their entire lifetime, 30 to 40 more years, in chronic pain.”
Despite such findings, spinal fusions are still popular. Each year, some 600,000 spinal fusions are performed in the U.S. with a high percentage of them being performed for non-specific low-back pain, at a cost of more than $600 billion.
Neurophysiological Disorder (NPD)
By 1988, Dr. Hanscom was suffering from burnout, which included 16 NPD symptoms. He did not know the nature of the problem and would be in this state for another 15 years.
Chronic pain was one of his symptoms. He inadvertently solved his chronic pain in 2003 and it took another few years before he understood that he had full-blown Neurophysiologic Disorder (NPD). He began sharing his experience with his patients in 2006.
NPD is rooted in chronic stress and anxiety. Your body becomes full of adrenaline, and every organ system starts responding and acting up. According to Dr. Hanscom, there are over 30 symptoms created by an adrenalized nervous system.
“Some of my 16 symptoms included migraine headaches, ringing in my ears, burning on my feet, itching on my scalp, migratory skin rashes, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It was brutal. What I didn’t realize… is that anxiety is actually one of the classic manifestations of neurophysiological disorder. I developed extreme anxiety. I did not become a major spine surgeon by having anxiety; I became a major spine surgeon by suppressing anxiety.
As you know, when we try not to think about something, we think more, right? Interestingly, the burnout rate in medicine is about 50 to 55 percent and has a lot to do with suppressed anxiety.
Whenever I give lectures on burnout and I use the ‘anxiety’ word, the whole room just goes absolutely quiet. If I hadn’t gone through it myself, I would not really be able to talk about it….
We also found out that anxiety or mental pain and physical pain are processed in the same part of the brain. They’re essentially the same thing.”
Over the following decade and a half, Dr. Hanscom struggled to recuperate, and through a combination of pure luck and trial and error, he eventually developed a system for treating chronic pain by addressing not just the physical, but also the emotional/mental component of anger and anxiety.
While there’s nothing particularly new about this process, it involves going through a sequence of strategies that allow you to calm down and de-adrenalize your nervous system. Hundreds of patients have now tried this system, and lead pain-free lives.
This system includes:
Addressing your sleep
Nutrition and mild medications
Physical therapy and rehabilitation, including structure strengthening exercises
The Therapeutic Value of Expressive Writing
One of the strategies that had a profound impact on Dr. Hanscom’s own recovery was expressive writing — the act of writing down your negative thoughts and emotions. Interestingly, there are over 200 research papers published since 1982 documenting the effectiveness of expressive writing.
“The research began with expressive writing around prior traumas and many different formats have been studied. The most straightforward method is ‘negative writing.’
This is where you’re simply writing down your current negative thoughts – the darker, the better – and you’re destroying them instantly. You’re not writing positive thoughts; you’re writing down your negative thoughts.
You are not destroying them to get rid of the thoughts. They are permanently etched into your brain. You are allowing yourself to write with complete freedom, so the exercise separates you from your thoughts. Again, when you try not to think about something, you think about it more. None of us like unpleasant thoughts, so we keep tossing them aside. Dr. Daniel Wegner out of Harvard pointed out that by simply writing down the thoughts you’re trying to suppress, it breaks the cycle,” he explains.
Expressive writing exercises are now a foundational component of Dr. Hanscom’s program. By breaking up the psychological pathways of anxiety and frustration, it allows you to reprogram your brain. Back pain is a classic type of chronic pain that responds well to expressive writing. An interesting study showing the emotional aspect of back pain was published last year.
Using MRI brain imaging, they showed that while people feeling acute back pain had an activated pain center, as you would expect, people who have been in chronic pain for more than 10 years experience pain in the emotional center of their brain only. The pain center was completely dormant.
Patients in the acute pain group were then rescanned every three months, and they found that within 12 months, if the pain still persisted, it migrated from the pain center to the emotional center. So, chronic pain is experienced in a completely different part of your brain compared to acute pain.
An Extreme Success Story
Dr. Hanscom recounts one rather extreme example of how effective this technique can really be. A gentleman broke his back in a horse riding accident. He subsequently needed surgery on most of his thoracic spine, which led to severe chronic pain. By the time he came to see Dr. Hanscom, he’d been in pain for eight years. Two other surgeons had told him he needed a fusion from his neck all the way down to his pelvis for pain. He came to Dr. Hanscom for a third opinion.
“He had disc degeneration, but he had a straight spine. He had no indications for a major spinal fusion surgery. I said, ‘Look, I don’t think you need a surgery no matter what. There’s just nothing there to operate on. By the way, here are your writing exercises. Take a look at the book, see what you think, and call me in a couple of weeks.’ He’s a Ph.D. scientist and he thought I was just absolutely out of my mind. ”
The man’s girlfriend convinced him to try the writing exercises despite his skepticism, and by the third writing exercise — about three days later — he was 80 percent pain-free. After participating in one of Dr. Hanscom’s workshops at the Omega Institute, he became completely pain-free, and he’s now been pain-free for a year.
“He’s doing normal things now after eight years of chronic pain, he’s even back riding his horse in the hills at a full gallop. If he’d had those operations, he’d have a spine as stiff as a board, the chance of getting rid of his pain is almost zero, and it would’ve been disaster.”
Three Components to Treating Chronic Back Pain
According to Dr. Hanscom, disc degeneration is never a reason for surgery. In his view, surgery simply isn’t the right solution for back pain or neck pain. Sciatica and leg pain may be relieved through surgery, however. When it comes to treating back pain, he believes there are three components to getting better:
Learning about the mechanics of chronic pain and understanding that it’s a neurological disorder
Treating all the variables simultaneously. This includes sleep, stress, medication, nutrition, mental outlook on life, and physical conditioning. “There’s never one answer for chronic pain. People say, ‘I tried a chiropractor, it didn’t work.’ Well, that could help 10 percent, but if you’re not sleeping, it’s not going to work. You have to combine modalities to get better,” he says. “Sleep is No. 1. The entire project is null and void unless you’re sleeping”
Taking control of your own care. For example, for some people chiropractic or acupuncture may be very helpful, whereas it may not work for others. You need to take an active role in determining what’s best for you, and pursue treatments that work in your case
When seeing a new patient, for the first month or two, Dr. Hanscom works with simple medications to address sleep problems and pain. Then he will immediately ask you to start the expressive writing exercises, which teach you awareness and detachment, allowing you to reprogram your brain. Active meditation is also used.
“I simply have them put their brain on sensory input, maybe 20 to 30 times during the day. If you’re anxious and frustrated, you simply listen to your sensory input. Instead of fighting the pathways, you place your attention elsewhere.
The second phase of the treatment is all about learning more about chronic pain, and addressing the physical part of your pain. He also stresses the need to work on forgiveness. Since pain pathways and anger pathways are linked, whenever your anger pathways are fired up, your pain pathways are going to be fired up, and vice versa.
Dr. Hanscom recommends the book, Forgive for Good by Fred Luskin, the director of the Forgiveness Projects at Stanford University, and who did four major research projects on forgiveness.
A retired physician and professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU School of Medicine, Dr. John Sarno, was a forerunner in the field of using forgiveness to address chronic pain, and many of Sarno’s concepts have formed the foundation of what Dr. Hanscom now teaches.
It’s also important to realize that working on your anger and anxiety issues may be a long-term process. An old issue may be triggered at any time, and unless you immediately address it, your pain may come back right along with your anger and anxiety. As noted by Dr. Hanscom:
“It can be base level stress or quirky stress. But you will get triggered. It took me a long time to accept that fact. I teach this stuff. But when I get triggered, I get angry about being triggered.”
Surgery Is Best Reserved as a LAST Resort
In many if not most cases, pain can be resolved using very simple strategies. The key is to find what works for you, and more often than not, there’s an emotional component that needs to be addressed. Dr. Hanscom, like me, strongly recommends leaving surgery as a very last resort.
I also struggled with back pain for about five or six years, despite getting regular exercise and trying a large number of different treatments. Still, I persisted and continued to try different strategies. The approach that finally resolved my back pain was simply to avoid sitting! I now sit about one hour per day, and I have no back pain.
“I can’t tell you how bad the suffering is for people with failed back surgery,” Dr. Hanscom says. “I see people like you all the time, where some simple intervention solved the problem. And then I’m watching another person come in with five back surgeries in five years. They started out just like you. It’s hard to watch.
I’m incredibly determined to bring this right to the mainstream public. I don’t think mainstream medicine is going to buy into it, but I’m incredibly determined to get this out into the general public knowledge because, right now, the business in medicine is doing procedures that don’t work because they make a profit, period… [But] I’m working very hard about creating my own gravity around the situation, and we’re making some definite progress here at the hospital. My partners and I are looking at [pain] differently.”
To learn more, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Dr. Hanscom’s book, Back in Control: A Spine Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain. Please do keep in mind that while it may initially seem like there’s nothing new here — perhaps you’re already familiar with medication and physical therapy for example, and therefore think it simply will not work for you — it’s the process that makes it work.
And most importantly, your willingness to truly and fully engage in the process will determine much of your outcome. Dr. Hanscom views his book as a framework that presents known solutions to the various aspects of pain. Once you understand your situation in light of this structure you will find your own solution.
“It’s a very paradoxical process. You actually can’t fix yourself. [But] you are putting tools into place to allow your brain to heal,” he says… “For instance, a lot of people have read the book and started their writing. Nothing really happens until those writing exercises start. Usually by the second or third … phone call they’re sort of doing the tools but they’re heading for the wrong direction.”
This happens because sometimes these people are writing all day, long, Dr. Hanscom explains, and that’s actually counterproductive because you’re trying to capture your thoughts and “fix” them — which is another form of trying to regain control.
“This is a process about letting go of control, not having more control,’ he says. It’s completely opposite of what we’ve been taught about stress. That’s why I think finding a coach of some sort who can guide you through the process is critical.I do think a psychologist can be very helpful for guidance and wisdom… There’s just not an exact answer for different people. It’s more like a menu of options. But the key is staying persistent with the process.”
I would also encourage you to sit less, as sitting may actually be aggravating your back or neck pain. Cut it down to about three hours a day or less if you can. Also, while it’s not a popular idea, consider being grateful that your body is wise enough to tell you that there’s something in your life that needs to be changed, be it emotional in nature, or physical. A book that addresses this is Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants, by Dr. Paul Brand. Once you pinpoint the real problem, your pain can finally be released.
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived : Mercola
According to soda companies like Coca-Cola, sugary beverages can be safely enjoyed as part of a “balanced” diet and lifestyle. But what kind of “balance” are they really talking about?
In essence, the “balance” referred to here is a balance between poison and nutrition. The idea they’re promoting is that if you eat a healthy diet, you can safely indulge in a little bit of poison every now and then.
This is the only balance they can refer to, because when it comes to real foods and pure water — which is the only beverage your body cannot live without — maintaining balance is not really an issue.
When you eat real food, it is beneficial and you don’t need to concern yourself with adverse effects like obesity and diabetes.
Even a Little Junk Food Adversely Impacts Health
Food either supports health, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, it shouldn’t be construed as an acceptable part of a healthy diet. It should be accurately portrayed as a junk food to be consumed as little as possible, if ever.
The idea that junk food can be safely enjoyed in moderation was recently demolished yet again with the publication of a study1,2,3 showing that eating just one junk food treat per day for one month is enough to trigger metabolic syndrome in healthy people.
The treats, which provided an additional 1,300 calories per day, included an assortment of candy bars and pastries.
In people already diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, which includes symptoms such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and elevated blood sugar levels, indulging in one milkshake per day for one month exacerbated their condition.
Metabolic syndrome in turn can have deadly consequences, raising your risk for diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. As noted by co-author Suzan Wopereis:
“Acute affects of diet are mostly small, but may have large consequences in the long run.
Our novel approach allows detection of small but relevant effects, thereby contributing to the urgently needed switch from disease-care to healthcare, aiming for a life-long optimal health and disease prevention.'”
Snack Ads Dominate While Cost of Severe Obesity Now Tops $8 Billion
Medicaid spends $8 billion per year on severe obesity4 — an expense that is entirely avoidable. Obesity may also be a contributing factor to increased use of prescription drugs in the US.
Harvard researchers warn that 59 percent of American adults now use at least one prescription drug5 — a 50 percent increase from a decade ago. More people are also taking multiple drugs, which increases the risk of adverse drug interactions.
About 15 percent of adults now take more than five drugs, and the researchers suggest this rise in drug use may be related to an increase in obesity.
To prevent obesity though, people need to be told the truth about nutrition and processed foods. The food industry must be held accountable for its lies, and junk food advertising for kids needs to be minimized or abolished.
According to a recent report, 40 percent of the ads kids see on television are for sugary snacks, and research6 shows these early impressions can significantly shape their future food habits.
Since 2010, snack ads have increased by 18 percent. In 2014, preschoolers saw an average of 582 snack ads on TV, kids aged 6 to 11 saw 629 snack ads, an increase of 10 percent since 2010, and teens saw 635 snack ads, an increase of 29 percent.
Food companies are also targeting certain ethnic groups to a greater extent than others. As reported by CNN:7
“Marketing of savory snacks to black and Hispanic youth shot up 551 percent, whereas yogurt ads dropped 93 percent between 2010 and 2014. Black children saw 64 percent more snack food ads on TV than white children, and 129 percent more ads for savory snacks.”
Adults are also seeing more ads for junk food. In 2014, adults saw 793 snack ads, a 32 percent increase since 2010. Millions of junk food ads were also placed on YouTube and Facebook in 2014.
Soda Linked to Increased Risk for Heart Failure
Swedish researchers are also warning that soda consumption may raise your risk for heart failure. The study8,9 included 42,000 men (aged 45 to 79) who were followed for nearly 12 years. Men who drank two or more glasses of soda or other sweetened beverages per day had a 23 percent greater risk of developing heart failure than those who avoided these types of drinks.
While the study cannot prove causation, lead author Susanna Larsson told Reuters10 that: “The take-home message is that people who regularly drink sweetened beverages should consider reducing their consumption.”
Cutting Sugar Can Quickly Improve Your and Your Child’s Health
Another recent and widely publicized study demonstrates just how quickly your health can improve simply by cutting out added sugars. The research11,12,13,14 was led by Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist who has long argued that added sugar is toxic when consumed in too-high amounts.
By replacing refined sugars and processed fructose with starches, obese children saw significant improvements in biomarkers associated with health in just 10 days, even though their overall calorie intake and the overall percentage of carbohydrates remained the same.
The study reduced the amount of added sugars from an average of 27 percent of daily calories down to about 10 percent, which is in line with the most recent recommendations by the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, issued in February.
“Every aspect of their metabolic health got better, with no change in calories. This study definitively shows that sugar is metabolically harmful not because of its calories or its effects on weight. Rather, sugar is metabolically harmful because it’s sugar.”
On average, the children (aged eight to 18) saw the following improvements in their lab work and disease markers after this short intervention:
LDL cholesterol fell by 10 points
Diastolic blood pressure fell five points
Triglycerides were reduced by 33 points
Fasting blood sugar dropped by 53 percent
Insulin levels also significantly improved
Refined and Processed Sugars Are Different from Sugars Found in Whole Foods
From a health standpoint, the children were not placed on an ideal diet — they were fed hot dogs and baked potato chips for example, but this was done specifically to demonstrate the impact of added sugars on metabolic health.
Refined sugar and processed fructose such as high-fructose corn syrup is FAR more harmful than glucose and other sugars found in whole foods. Even fructose in whole fruit is less harmful than processed high-fructose corn syrup due to the presence of fiber in the fruit.
Soda Politics and the Energy Balance Scam
The video above was produced by the Global Energy Balance Network, a front group secretly funded by Coca-Cola.16,17,18,19,20 The chief aim of this group appears to be to confuse consumers about soda science, and divert attention away from the mounting evidence showing that sweet beverages are a major contributor to obesity and diseases associated with insulin resistance, such as diabetes.
As reported by The New York Times,21 which exposed the ties between Coca-Cola and the Global Energy Balance Network back in August of this year:
“Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new ‘science-based’ solution to the obesity crisis: to maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise, and worry less about cutting calories. The beverage giant has teamed up with influential scientists who are advancing this message in medical journals, at conferences and through social media…
‘Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks, and so on,’ the group’s vice president, Steven N. Blair, an exercise scientist, says in a recent video announcing the new organization. ‘And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.'”
To claim that evidence is lacking is beyond ludicrous, and in support of the New York Times’ exposé, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) wrote a Letter to the editor22 signed by 36 leading researchers, scientists, and public health officials, noting that Coca-Cola is blatantly ignoring the “well-documented evidence that sugary drinks are a major contributor to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.”
My recent interview with Marion Nestle about her new book, Soda Politics, goes into extensive details on how the soda industry manipulates and distorts the truth on this issue to protect their business.
Food Companies Should Stop Fighting the Obvious, Obesity Expert Says
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed adding “added sugar” to the Nutrition Facts panel on processed foods, set at 10 percent of total energy intake for a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet. The total amount of added sugar would also be listed in grams. With few exceptions, food companies are aggressively opposed to the proposal, claiming it will only add confusion,23 as they believe all sugar calories are metabolically identical.
In an article24 titled “Food Companies Should Stop Fighting the Obvious: Sugar is Ruining Our Health,” Dr. Lustig blasts the food industry’s outdated view that all calories are created equal, and that there’s insufficient evidence demonstrating that added sugars are different from sugars found in whole foods.
He also notes that U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala) has even introduced a House bill that would restrict federal nutritional guidelines to those backed by “robust scientific evidence” only. This means any nutritional guideline would have to be proven through randomized controlled trials.
“The problem is that clinical nutritional data almost never reach robust proof, because you can’t change the diets of people for 50 years to see if they develop more diabetes or heart disease; it’s expensive, unethical, and unlawful,” Dr. Lustig writes. “Scientists have shown that adding extra sugar to people’s diets worsens cardiometabolic risk factors, such as high triglycerides, blood pressure, glucose and insulin levels, or low HDL — all components of what is called ‘metabolic syndrome.'”
Dr. Lustig goes on to discuss the findings of his latest study, in which biomarkers for health were significantly improved in obese children in just 10 days by trading added sugars for starches. Both are carbohydrates, but his short-term experiment clearly shows that all calories are NOT created equal when it comes to their health effects. As noted by Dr. Lustig:
“Our study… establishes a direct relationship between added sugar and these chronic diseases, unrelated to its calories or its effects on weight… [E]very aspect of their metabolic health improved… all without changing the children’s calorie intake or weight and without exercise.
We simply substituted starch for sugar in their processed food and watched their health improve. This is not correlation. It’s causation — the most robust evidence of all… To turn our epidemic of metabolic syndrome around, the food industry must reduce the sugar it surreptitiously adds to processed foods… Science should drive policy, but the politics get in the way.
And politics is based on money. The food industry nets about $450 billion per year, yet America wastes at least $830 billion per year caring for diseases linked to metabolic syndrome… This is unsustainable, and a major reason why Medicare and Social Security will be broke by 2030. The USDA must do the right thing and curb Americans’ consumption of added sugar, rather than kowtowing to the processed-food industry.”
Are You Eating Too Much Sugar?
The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend limiting your daily added sugar intake to 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men and 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women. The average American, however, consumes around 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day, and this is quite clearly far too much for your body to handle. A meta-review25 published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that once you reach 18 percent of your daily calories from added sugar, there’s a two-fold increase in metabolic harm that promotes pre-diabetes and diabetes.
I strongly recommend limiting your daily fructose intake to 25 grams or less from all sources, including natural sources such as fruit — regardless of whether you’re male or female. That equates to just over 6 teaspoons of total sugar a day. If you’re insulin resistant, which applies to about 80 percent of Americans, you’d be wise to limit your total fructose to 15 grams per day until your insulin resistance is resolved.
You don’t have to become another disease statistic… The power to get healthy really is in your hands, and one of the most powerful strategies to improve your health is to cut down (or eliminate) refined sugar and processed fructose (corn syrup). A good place to start would be to cut down on soda and juice if you’re currently drinking it on a regular basis, until you get to zero. Then, start working on trading out processed foods for whole foods. It’s not rocket science to figure out what a healthy diet is. In short, it’s REAL FOOD — food in its unadulterated state, or as minimally processed as possible.
The following chart will provide a few more clarifying details:
Foods that promote weight gain
Processed foods of all kinds Whole, unadulterated (ideally organic) vegetables, fruits, and berries
Added sweeteners, regardless of whether they have calories or not. This includes all forms of added sugars, especially processed fructose (such as high-fructose corn syrup), but also artificial sweeteners, which confuse your metabolism and trick your body into storing fat Unprocessed, unpasteurized traditionally cultured and fermented foods, such as kefir, kambucha, natto, kimchee, and fermented vegetables of all kinds
Meats from confined animal feeding operations, as they’re typically fed genetically engineered grains contaminated with glyphosate instead of plain grass, plus antibiotics and other growth promoters to fatten up the animals as quickly as possible.
Farmed fish are also fed an inappropriate diet that reduces their nutritional quality
Foods that promote healthy weight
Organically-raised grass-fed meats, pastured chicken, and wild-caught fish that are low in contaminants
Processed grains of all kinds, including organic ones, as they all break down into sugar in your body. Unless organic, grains may also be contaminated with glyphosate even if they’re not genetically engineered. Such is the case with most conventional wheat for example Fresh sprouts, which can be easily grown at home. A wide variety of seeds can be sprouted, which maximizes their nutritional value.
For example, once sunflower seeds are sprouted, their protein, vitamin, and mineral content will typically provide you with 30 times the nutrient content of organic vegetables
Trans fats, found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, such as margarine, canola, corn, and soy oils Healthy fats, including organically-raised grass-fed meats, fatty fish like wild caught salmon, coconut oil, olives and olive oil,26 avocado, raw nuts,27 organic pastured egg yolks, and butter made from raw grass-fed milk.
For cooking, tallow and lard are ideal. Since they’re saturated fats, they do not oxidize when heated. And, since saturated fats do not have double bonds that can react with oxygen, they also cannot form dangerous aldehydes or other toxic oxidation products.
Coconut oil is another healthy option, as it too resists oxidation when heated.
Health and Wellness Associates