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Category Archives: hormones

Insulin’s Immense Role in Metabolic Overdrive (MO)

English: Diagram shows insulin release from th...

English: Diagram shows insulin release from the Pancreas and how this lowers blood sugar leves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe it’s just because of its role as a counter-regulatory hormone (it balances out other hormones: cortisol, growth hormone, glucagon etc…) that raises blood sugar ? Maybe it is due to insulin‘s role in fat storage? Or maybe it’s the relation to high blood pressure and heart disease or digestion? But, most likely it is for all of the above reasons that insulin is a main catalyst for MO.

Insulin is a fat storing hormone released by the beta cells in the pancreas. Aside from its major role in blood sugar regulation via the liver, muscle and fat cells, insulin is involved in emotional, cognitive, and the reward system (“a collection of structures in the brain that attempts to regulate and control behavior by inducing pleasurable effects,” www.wikipedia.org) and  brain function, nerve function, electrolyte (sodium and potassium) balance and hydration, protein synthesis and muscle-building, the aging process with insulin like growth factor and enzyme activity.

When insulin functions the way it’s supposed to you feel good because everything it’s tied into is running smoothly. When things go amiss it’s a domino effect and anything it is tied into may not do its’ job the way it is supposed to and MO is full throttle, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/what-is-metabolic-overdrive/.

A healthy lifestyle is the absolute best remedy for this. Exercise, makes insulin work more efficiently. Eating carbohydrates, starch and sugar immediately signals the pancreas to release insulin. Avoiding these foods help give the pancreas a rest. Practicing relaxation techniques helps control stress hormones. No need for the pancreas to work in overdrive when you control blood sugar with these healthy behaviors.

If you answer yes to two or more of these questions, insulin is likely the cause of your MO:

Do commercially prepared carbohydrate foods (such as bread, cereal, pasta, potatoes, rice, beans, desserts, soft drinks, and fruit) make up more than 40 percent of each meal or snack that you eat?

Between meals, do you feel hungry or crave sweets, starches (such as bread), or caffeine (such as coffee)?

Do you feel as if you might be addicted to certain types of sweet foods—as if once you start eating these foods, you can’t stop?

When you eat them, do you feel high, followed quickly by an emotional low?

Have you at any time experienced any of the following?

  • Feeling thirstier than usual, despite normal water consumption
  • Weight gain despite following a weight loss plan or trying to reduce calories or portions
  • Sensation of your heart beating quickly (palpitations), even though you have not exerted yourself
  • Feeling tired in the morning or during the day, despite adequate sleep
  • Feeling sleepy or drowsy after meals
  • Feeling shaky when you are hungry
  • Trembling (shaking) of the hands
  • Blurred vision
  • Bleeding gums, despite good dental care
  • A tingling sensation in your legs or feet
  • Low sex drive/libido (lower than in the past or than what you’d like)
  • Impotence or erectile dysfunction
  • Fatigue that is relieved by eating
  • Dizziness, giddiness, or light-headed
  • Have you noticed a change in your ability to focus or concentrate?
  • Have you recently developed headaches, suffering one more than once a week?
  • Do you feel you have a diminished ability to work under pressure?
  • Do you get up to urinate at night?
  • Do you frequently wake before 5 a.m., even though you have not set an alarm?
  • Do you wake feeling hungry, dry mouthed, or dehydrated?
  • Do you gain weight in your stomach rather than in your hips or thighs?

So if you think your insulin may be behind any of these symptoms, consider making an appointment with your primary care physician. Mention that you think you may have an insulin or blood sugar disorder, and be sure to say whether or not this problem runs in your family. Explain that you are interested in a glucose tolerance test with fasting, 1, 2 and 3 hour insulin levels. If you have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar, an early warning sign that diabetes is developing), your 90-minute glucose reading will be lower than your fasting glucose reading. You also might experience a drop in glucose of greater than 30 mm in an hour, or your reading may be below 70. Your sugar is overly high if your fasting glucose is greater than 100, your 2-hour glucose is greater than 140, or if at any point during the test your glucose rises above 200.

If you test normal on your blood work but you answered yes to any of the questions in the quiz, you may be developing an insulin issue that is not yet extreme enough to be detected. If you make no changes to your lifestyle, it may eventually show up!

If you are in MO with an insulin disadvantage, you must strictly adhere to Level 1 eating and you will probably have to stay at this level for a longer period of time than someone who does not have an insulin disadvantage. Follow Level 1 for at least a month, deviating only as needed to ensure that you don’t lose momentum and stop following the plan altogether. You’ll find specific advice for how to modify the plan for success in Chapters 6 and 12 of “The Stubborn Fat Fix“. You also need additional supplements, outlined in Chapter 9.

 

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Hormonal Havoc Harnesses Metabolic Overdrive (Part 2)

body-trade-in

body-trade-in (Photo credit: cheerfulmonk)

Do not trade in your body for a newer model, until you have tried these remedies for hormonal havoc and Metabolic Overdrive (MO).

Last week Part 1 of Hormonal Havoc Harnesses MO focused on two of the three major sex hormones that need to be aligned to achieve good health and weight loss, estrogen and testosterone, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/hormonal-havoc-harnesses-metabolic-overdrive-part1/.

Progesterone is the third and equally  important hormone as testosterone and estrogen. It teams up with cholesterol to produce the sex hormones, cortisol and DHEA. It is the primary hormone effecting menstruation, fertility and vaginal dryness for women and has been linked to prostate health for men. You men may be interested in this, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/01/02/natural-progesterone2.aspx.

What are normal progesterone levels?

You can look ‘em up here, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003714.htm.

Causes of Low Progesterone (Low P)

Symptoms of Low P

As mentioned in last week’s blog, hormone levels can start to decline  as early as age 35. Over a 15 year time frame, estrogen levels can drop by 35% while progesterone levels dip by 75%. Low progesterone is tied to a low toleration to stress, the aging process (including wrinkles, thinning skin and hair loss), aches and pains, osteoporosis, fibroids, high blood pressure and stroke. Higher estrogen (for men and women) typically lowers progesterone too.

Women experience more symptoms than men because progesterone plays a bigger role in their health but either gender experiences devastating side effects.

WOMEN

MEN

BOTH MEN & WOMEN

Hot Flashes & Night sweats

Man Boobs

Decreased Libido

Acne

Impotency

Cravings/Weight Gain

Bloating

Enlarged Prostate

Bone Loss

Insomnia

Heart Disease

Muscle Loss

Hair loss or excess body/facial hair

Male Pattern Baldness

Poor Sleep

Poor Concentration/Memory Loss

Low thyroid

Irritability

Heavy painful or Irregular Periods

Breast  Tenderness

Mood Swings

Anxiety & Depression

polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

If you found many of the hormone disadvantage questions (see part 1, the link is above) similar to the thyroid questions, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/the-thyroid-tie-in-to-metabolic-overdrive/, there’s a good reason for that. These conditions generally overlap. Most people who have one condition also have the other. If you answered yes to two or more questions or experience any of the symptoms above, consider making an appointment with your physician to test progesterone and all the hormones that “intermingle”, DHEA, cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and melatonin.

If you have a normal test result but answered yes to any of the starred questions in the quiz, you may be developing a hormone disadvantage that is not yet extreme enough to be detected by medical tests. If you make no changes to your lifestyle, it may eventually show up.

If despite a normal test result you suspect you may have a hormone disadvantage, follow Level 1 eating but do not use the specific hormone disadvantage supplements. These supplements are effective when treating a problem, but they do pose some risks. Don’t take them unless you are definitely sure you need them. With a doctors approval and a confirmed hormone disadvantage, use the supplements described in Chapter 9. You may also want to speak with your doctor and consider a natural “USP progesterone” cream containing 400-500 mg of progesterone per ounce. Women need about a quarter and men need about an eighth of a teaspoon to be applied to the chest, abdomen, inner arms or inner thighs.

Weight loss may not come as easy as someone who does not have a hormone disadvantage, but you will see results and you can meet your goals.

Insulin is last but certainly not least on the MO list to be discussed next week. Until then…

 

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Hormonal Havoc Harnesses Metabolic Overdrive (Part1)

We all know that the fountain of youth does not exist but if you feel the need to turn back the hands of time consider balancing sex hormones. Hormone levels begin to change by age 30-35.

As each of these hormones reach “out-of-whack” status, additional hormones like insulin and cortisol are negatively affected compounding metabolic overdrive (MO) for weight and health.

Hormonal overdrive or MO, through the involvement of insulin and cortisol, is linked with metabolic disorders: obesity, diabetes,  metabolic syndrome (in normal weight people too) and heart disease.

Ask yourself some of these general questions if you think hormones are at the root of your (MO).

1. Are you tired during the day?

2. Do you have a low sex drive/libido (lower than in the past or than what you’d like)?

3. Do you have difficulty sleeping (it takes you longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep, and you wake more than once at night)?

4. Have you gained weight, despite following a weight loss plan or trying to reduce calories or portions?

5. Are you depressed?

Women only:

1. Is your hair thinning?

2. Do you have facial hair?

3. Do you retain water?

4. Do you skip periods, have periods more frequently than once a month, or menstruate irregularly, even though you are not peri-menopausal or post-menopausal?

5. Do you bleed heavily during your periods (soaking through a tampon or pad within an hour)?

6. Do you feel irritable, bloated, or fatigued in the days leading up to your period?

7. Do you have hot f lashes or night sweats, even though you are not peri-menopausal?

Men only:

1. Are you developing breasts?

2. Do you have impotence or erectile dysfunction?

3. Have you been diagnosed with a low sperm count?

If you have answered yes to two or more questions, your hormones may be out of balance and need adjusting.

The goal is to balance testosterone, progesterone and estrogen for both men and women.

 High Estrogen  

When in excess, estrogen promotes fat gain, and the enlarged fat tissue produces more estrogen within its cells, which then promotes more fat gain, and so on.

Specific factors contributing to this include:

  • Age
  • Medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist about medicine that may increase estrogen, such as the pill, steroids, antifungals, antibiotics etc…
  • Drugs like cocaine and marijuana
  • Weight, fat cells store and secrete estrogen, the heavier you are the greater risk for higher levels of estrogen
  • hormone disrupting Chemicals and xenoestrogens, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3443608/,  “cleaning products, air fresheners, hair dyes, cosmetics, and sunscreens. Many observations suggesting that endocrine disruptors do contribute to cancer, diabetes, obesity, the metabolic syndrome, and infertility”. Others that top the list are  BPA stands for bisphenol A), pesticides, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241915/ and even hormone laden meats and foods.
  • Certain diseases effecting the liver, thyroid, adrenal glands or kidney

Men may have symptoms including: man boobs, abdominal obesity,  loss of lean body mass and lack of energy. There are more symptoms listed here, http://www.newhealthguide.org/High-Estrogen-In-Men.html.

Women gain weight all over; the stomach, arms, hips and thighs and the butt, more details here, http://www.drnorthrup.com/womenshealth/healthcenter/topic_details.php?topic_id=118.

Low T (Low Testosterone)

Low T can cause changes in weight by converting lean body mass into fat. It can also lower libido and cause brain fog, anxiety and fatigue. For women, low T also contributes to hot flashes and vaginal dryness fatigue. When estrogen is high, there is a good chance testosterone is low.

Medications that may lower T include antidepressants, statins, blood pressure pills and many more, check  this out, http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/sexandrelationships/medicinessex.htm.

It is possible to raise testosterone naturally, here is one of my favorite articles on the topic, http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/07/27/increase-testosterone-levels.aspx.

This is not the whole story, there is another important sex hormone, progesterone. Next week I will add progesterone to the mix and wrap it all up so you can take steps to bring hormone levels back in good working order.

Related stories:

 

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The Thyroid Tie-In To Metabolic Overdrive

English: Scheme of the thyroid gland. 한국어: 갑상선 개요도

English: Scheme of the thyroid gland. 한국어: 갑상선 개요도 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The thyroid, is a butterfly-shaped gland found in the neck that releases thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones are tied to many body functions, such as mood,  metabolism of vitamins, carbs, proteins and fats, body temperature, energy levels, heart rate, bone growth and the body’s  use of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands.

Because the thyroid is involved in so many body functions, if it is off by even a little you may feel one or more of the following symptoms: depression or anxiety,  difficulty in maintaining, losing or gaining weight, feeling cold, a general lack of energy, thinning hair, brittle nails, insomnia, high cholesterol,  constipation, low sex drive and much, much more.

A “short-circuit” in the thyroid can be caused by: an autoimmune “attack”, stress, nutritional inadequacy (low iodine or selenium), pregnancy or environmental chemicals such as PCBs, phthalates, bisphenol A, brominated flame retardants and perfluorinated chemicals; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21939731.

What are the symptoms of a “short-circuit” in the thyroid gland?                                                  

Answer each of the following questions with a yes or no.

1. Do you suffer from cold hands and feet, even when you are in a heated room?

2. Do you feel depressed, lethargic, unmotivated, or hopeless?

3. Do you suffer from constipation?

4. Do your nails break easily?

5. Do you have a low sex drive/libido (lower than in the past or than what you’d like)?

6. Do you have difficulty sleeping (it takes you longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep and you wake more than once at night)?

7. Do you feel tired during the day?

8. Have you recently gained weight, even though you were not overeating?

9. Have the hairs along the outer one-third of your eyebrows thinned or fallen out?

10. Do you suffer from muscle aches or joint pain, despite doing nothing more rigorous than your daily activities?

11. Is your temperature below 98.5°F when you first wake up?

12. Is your total cholesterol above 200 or your LDL cholesterol above 130?

 For Women Only:

1. Even though you are not perimenopausal or postmenopausal, do you skip periods, have periods more frequently than once a month, or menstruate irregularly?

2. Is your hair thinning?

If you answered yes to two or more questions, consider making an appointment with your physician for a thyroid test. If you have a normal test result but answered yes to any of the starred questions, you may have a thyroid issue that is too mild to be diagnosed by a medical test.

The American College of Clinical Endocrinologists estimates that 1 in 10 Americans have an under active thyroid and that half remain undiagnosed. Thyroid conditions typically affect women over 35 but men are not immune.

The thyroid, when not performing well, can be detrimental to the adrenal glands (both can also negatively affect  blood sugar); which can create a domino effect sending metabolic overdrive into full throttle.  This domino effect makes health extremely difficult to manage because instead of just one body system malfunctioning you now have 2 or more systems “out of whack”.  Each body function (insulin, cortisol, thyroid, yeast, sex hormones), although independent, are intertwined.

If MO has affected your thyroid, bring it back to health using “The Stubborn Fat Fix”,http://www.amazon.com/The-Stubborn-Fat-Fix-Metabolic/dp/159486828X. Level 2 is the eating plan to use and take the supplements outlined for the thyroid disadvantage in Chapter 9. You may not lose weight as quickly as someone who does not have a thyroid disadvantage, but you will see results and you can meet your goals.

What is candida and how does it put you in metabolic overdrive? Find out next week!

 

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What is Metabolic Overdrive?

Health

Health (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

When health markers are not within the normal range, it is your body’s way of communicating. It is begging for your attention. Your heart, pancreas, thyroid and other organs cannot speak to you directly but they can send you signals that should grab your attention.    

How Healthy is Your Metabolism?

Do you feel tired all the time?

Do you wake frequently at night?

Do you feel hungry between meals, even if you’ve just eaten?

Do you crave candy, soda, coffee or any stimulant especially in the mid afternoon?

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, you have some of the classic symptoms of a metabolic disadvantage. An underlying medical condition is likely blocking your every attempt to lose weight, improve energy levels or health.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Metabolic overdrive (MO)  is the result of environmental stress and its impact on revving up metabolism.  There are many different ways this happens. MO occurs: when you are stressed, after tossing  back a triple shot espresso, with excess exercise, with eating from a toxic food supply containing refined/processed foods or with a lack of sleep. Being exposed to one or more of these metabolic stresses for long periods of time causes burn out to organs that work to achieve balance by counteracting these metabolic stressors. Most people assume the goal is to speed up their metabolism.  Yet, this is not true and can make MO worse.

Stress and lack of sleep, for example, cause the adrenal glands to overproduce the stress hormone cortisol and keep levels elevated. Cortisol is released as part of the fight or flight response to a perceived threat to survival. When cortisol increases, so does blood glucose, in order to provide your muscles with fuel to fight or flee. The problem is that your muscle cells don’t need the glucose when you are responding to emotional stress or lack of sleep, so the hormone insulin increases to shuttle the excess glucose into your fat cells—usually the ones in your abdomen. In an overspent state, insulin does this very efficiently. Too much insulin causes blood glucose to drop too quickly. You crave the one thing that can quickly raise blood glucose: sugar. If you turn to sugar – as most people under stress do–glucose rises, insulin rises, glucose falls. You’re hungry again. You’re like a gambler with a huge wad of cash in your pocket. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but you generally lose more than you win, and the cash starts to dwindle.

Overdrive can also result from eating a lot of sugar, HFCS, and refined foods. In this case, blood sugar rapidly rises and falls, and so does insulin. To compensate for the volatility of rapid rises and falls in sugar and hormones, the metabolism runs fast. In fact, many people  who have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) are fairly slender. It’s not until they progress to the “metabolic resistance stage” that they start to gain weight.

MO can impact all of these metabolic systems: thyroid, adrenal, pancreas, sex hormones and  the gut. Find out how next week.

 

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Hunger Hormones Hating On Your Weight? Set Them Straight

We tend to think that if we just shut our mouth, if we just eat less, if we just exercise more it will result in weight loss. If you haven’t heard yet, life is not so simple and neither is weight loss for many people. “Are Hunger Hormones Hating On Your Weight”, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/are-hunger-hormones-hating-on-your-weight/ explains how “out-of whack” hormones (leptin and ghrelin) can trigger a ravenous appetite and then of course uncontrolled eating; making it very difficult to simply just eat less.

What is important to understand is:

  • Hormones are effected by everything: age, medication, what you eat, how much you exercise and sleep.
  • The domino effect, when one hormone is not doing what it should it sets off a chain of events that affects everybody process: other hormones (insulin, estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, cortisol), communication signals, digestion/absorption of nutrients, sleep, mood…
  • Internal hormonal cues may make it impossible to quench appetite forcing you to eat more even when you are not hungry.
  • Hormones do not discriminate they affect thin people too that is why there are 30 million Americans who are normal weight according to BMI charts but obese when body fat is measured, http://healthyliving.msn.com/diseases/heart-and-cardiovascular/thin-on-the-outside-obese-on-the-inside-1#scpshrjmg. When hormones go haywire, thin people get diabetes, http://chriskresser.com/think-skinny-people-dont-get-type-2-diabetes-think-again, too; so thin or not, always get blood work checked based on family history not just if you look fit on the outside. It’s what is happening on the inside that counts.

It takes work, hard consistent work for as little as a few months and up to as long as a few years (depending on the depth of the issue) to undo the damage but re-setting hormones that hate on your weight and your health is not impossible.

NUTRITION

Diet and supplements are top on the list to harness hormones for balanced health and eating.  Consider minimizing foods that influence hormones. Carbohydrates influence hormones more than any other nutrients. Healthy fats will help provide satiety and should comprise about 70% of daily calories, ketosis was found to suppress ghrelin levels and therefore repress appetite.

Exchange typical convenience foods: bread, bagels, cereal, pretzels, granola, processed rice, potatoes, for real food: eggs, Greek yogurt/cottage cheese, fish, organic coconut, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds and a variety of meats.  Eat 3 filling meals and try to avoid snacks if possible.

SUPPLEMENTS

Nutritional supplements help repair overworked hormone secreting cells and organs.Always discuss supplements with your doctor before taking them. Supplements that support leptin include:

Melatonin is a hormone typically associated with sleep. Take this supplement before going to bed, not first thing in the morning, before you get behind the wheel or operate heavy machinery.  It also has been shown to lower leptin levels, use 1-3 mg. Melatonin interacts with blood-thinning medications, birth control pills, diabetes drugs, and immunosuppressants.

L-Carnitine, 1000mg, is an amino acid that helps convert fat to energy and acts as an antioxidant. It is important for heart and brain function, muscle movement and has been shown to reduce leptin levels by as much as 6%.

CLA  or Conjugated linoleic acid is fatty acid found primarily in meat and dairy products. It has been shown to lower body fat while preserving lean body mass and reduces insulin resistance (IR), take 1000mg. There is a connection between IR and leptin resistance. Higher levels of CLA in the blood have been shown to reduce leptin levels.

Omega 3 fats are essential (meaning we need to get them from the food we eat) fatty acids. They have been found to have many health benefits for: reducing  risks of heart disease, inflammation/arthritis, cancer while improving brain function, memory and behavior, 1000mg was shown to reduce leptin levels by 22%.

EXERCISE

Daily exercise is important if you want to control appetite signals everyday vs. if you exercise 3 times/week. daily Moderate intensity aerobic exercise (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise-intensity/SM00113) build up to 30 minutes if you do not exercise at all but do not stop there shoot for an hour; even if you have to break it up into 3 twenty-minute bouts. There are also studies showing that strength training reduces leptin levels by 30%.

Set your hunger hormones straight with the right diet, supplement and exercise plan. If  leptin levels are normal, appetite will be controlled and weight loss will ensue.

 

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Are Hunger Hormones Hating on Your Weight?

English: The Last Supper of Jesus Christ

English: The Last Supper of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you eat like it is your last supper? Why is it so hard to lose weight and keep it off? Your own hormones may be hating on you.

Our stomach, intestines, fat cells, and organs are all linked to our brains through a complex set of appetite signals, and this appetite system is designed to encourage us to gain weight at every opportunity. Our bodies are designed for famine. Not many hundreds of years ago, we humans could survive only if our bodies encouraged us to eat at every opportunity and to eat more than we needed at any given moment. We survived only if our bodies directed us to rest at every resting opportunity, and to move only when the movement helped us to eat or stay out of danger.

Because of this survival system, we feel hungry whenever we see, hear, smell, or think about food. We can blame this overactive hunger response on a hormone called ghrelin. This hunger hormone, produced in the intestine, rises at meal times, when you see food, when you smell food, when you think about food, or when you see food on TV. Ghrelin is what makes your stomach feel empty. It travels to the brain and says, “Feed me.”

When ghrelin rises, it’s hard to talk yourself through the hunger you feel. You may have just eaten. It may not be rational that you feel hungry, but you do. So you eat.

Food hits your stomach and intestines. As the stomach fills out and expands, nerves register the sensation of being stretched and send the brain the signal “I’m full.” Other chemicals, including a hormone called leptin that is released from your fat cells, confirm this message, telling the brain, “We’re really full now.”  They also tell the stomach to stop sending food into the back logged intestine and tell the pancreas to make insulin to shuttle blood sugar into cells. The problem is that these signals are sluggish and they don’t travel quickly. It takes 10 to 20 minutes for these signals to reach the brain with the “I’m uncomfortably full” message, and, for most people, that’s too late. The sluggish response allows us to wolf down much more food than our bodies need at any given time, especially if we are eating quickly.

Depending on what we’ve just eaten and how quickly the food moves through the intestines, these fullness signals can be fleeting. Once they tell the brain, “I’m full,” fullness signals dissipate, which is why we’re all capable of feeling hungry within minutes after eating large amounts of food, especially if we have an ice cream sundae sitting in front of us.

As soon as you gain just a little bit of weight or throw the system off with too much stress or too much of the wrong types of foods, these messages from the various hunger and fullness hormones get distorted. The hunger hormones grow stronger and the fullness hormones grow weaker. Leptin and insulin levels remain chronically high, and the brain stops listening to them. Instead, appetite signals keep getting through, and you continue to feel hungry, even when you shouldn’t. According to the signals that are getting through to your brain, you are “starving,” and we mean that literally. Even though you are actually gaining weight, your brain is getting the message that you are wasting away, so it directs your stomach to rumble at every opportunity.

Muscle cells stop responding to insulin, so insulin has no choice but to usher calories into fat cells. This survival system worked well for us when our next huge meal might be days or weeks away. It doesn’t help us out so much today, however, when our next meal is as close as the refrigerator.

What helps? I’ll tell you next week.

 

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Andrew Weil:”Saturated Fat IS NOT associated with an Increased Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke or Vascular Disease.”

For many years I’ve been trying to educate people on the importance of fat in our diets. I try to explain that, one, fat is not the devil and , two, not all low fat-high carbohydrate (sugar) foods are good for you.

I admit, I’m not pushing the right buttons to be seen by the big guys but now Andrew Weil, one of the big guys, has spoken and I am sooooo happy to see that saturated fat is not being vilified as usual.

Here’s what Dr. Weil has to say, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/healthy-eating_b_629422.html.

Two points that stick out and should be considered:

He is not promoting meat consumption and that’s fine be me. Hey, I’m all with eating meat that are grass-fed and natural vs. those pumped with antibiotics. Read my book, The Stubborn Fat Fix and you’ll understand how the food supply affects our health, http://www.amazon.com/Stubborn-Fat-Fix-Metabolic-ebook/dp/B002E6IJWY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1292253814&sr=8-2 . However the reason most people avoid meat is to cut saturated fat from their diet. If there is no link between eating red meat and heart disease then we can start eating meat to help supply our bodies with important vitamins and minerals like iron and B12 that we are not nourishing our bodies with when we omit red meat from our diet.

The other point worth paying attention to is that he underscores the fact that carboydrates can upset hormonal balance, fructose and glucose can overload the liver and raise insulin levels and “refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes.”

Now that you know that saturated fat is not a one way ticket to death and that sweets/added sugars and sweeteners are at the top of the evil food list, what foods will you choose to consume?

 

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Dr. Oz’s “And My” Guide to Anti-Aging

Dr. Oz spent an entire show on aging, www.doctoroz.com/videos/decade-decade-guide-anti-aging. The show describes the aging process starting in your 30’s through your 50’s. His show was interesting. Here’s what I liked:

  • No need for thousands of creams and face products
  • The introduction of a homemade remedy for healthy skin: using a mixture of coffee and honey on your face. I forgot the details I should have taken notes, but the general recipe was: coffee granules to help exfoliate and honey to add moisture.
  • The idea that sex can give your skin a healthy glow.
  • A heads up on the natural elements that damage skin: cigarette or other types of smoke, the sun, alcohol, excess stress, lack of sleep.
  • The physiological rationale for aging including hormonal shifts, decreasing estrogen stores, less skin cell turnover, collagen and oil production.

What was not mentioned during The Dr. Oz show was that adding nutrient dense foods (whole eggs, avocado, nuts and seeds, berries etc…) and taking vitamin supplements can help defy the process of aging too! I suggest speaking with your doctor about which of these or any of the many others may help your specific anti-aging needs:

Multi-vitamin to give your body “across the board” coverage for the minimum amounts of micronutrients, especially vitamin A, B-complex, C, E, Copper and Zinc.

Omega 3 fatty acids have been found to support more than just your skin when it comes to health and longevity. There are more than enough studies that link omega 3’s to boosting the immune system, heart and brain health, pain and inflammation and much more.

Vitamin C ester is fat-soluble and helps protect fats in the cell membrane of the skin it is also associated with collagen production.

Biotin (Vitamin H) like Omega 3 and vitamin C ester helps ensure the right amount of fat in the cell membrane.

CoQ10 is an enzyme found in every cell in your body. Along with its many anti-aging activities, it helps lessen wrinkly sagging skin. As we hit our mid 30’s it is unlikely we produce enough to keep stores in a normal range.

Alpha lipoic acid may help to counteract free radical damage associated with Advanced Glycation End products (AGE’s are produced by chemical reactions between sugars and proteins that are associated with reducing the elasticity of the skin and the general aging process).

Here are 2 articles, you may find interesting: www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/skin-nutrition www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=42

Don’t just focus on topical treatments to help slow down the process of aging, nourishing (by eating healthy foods and using vitamins) the inside of your body is equally as important.

 

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For All The Soda Drinkers (Part II)

Both adults and children drink soda. Studies show that:
• over 60% of adults who drink at least one soda a day are overweight or obese.
• More children and adolescents drink soda than adults (41 percent of children, 62 percent of adolescents and 24 percent of adults).

So I thought you might find it interesting to understand how soda affects you.

WARNING: The material below may contain material that is alarming but definitely worth reading. The information gives you a better understanding of why it is important to understand the foods and ingredients you put into your body. You miss the boat if you only pay attention to calories, fat or carbohydrates.

How can soda affect your health and weight?

1. Both citric acid and phosphoric acid affects blood PH and natural stomach acid secretions interfering with digestion, increasing risk of kidney stones, yeast overgrowth and bowel disease and leaching calcium from bone (especially teeth, spine, pelvis) causing weak bones and mineral imbalances.

2. Caffeine is a diuretic that can facilitate vitamin/mineral depletion, dehydration, fertility issues, sleep problems, anxiety, irritability, and depression.

3. Excess sugar leads to excess calories, increased weight and blood sugar problems like diabetes. Research studies also support a link with the following health hazards:

a. Pancreatic cancer: University of Minnesota conducted a study with individuals who drank approximately two regular sodas/day. The conclusion was that there was an 87% higher chance of having cancer than those who drank beverages without sugar/corn syrup.

b. Diabetes and heart disease: At the American heart association’s Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Annual Cardiology Conference there was a presentation by a professor from the University of California, San Francisco who made the association of approximately 200,000 new cases of diabetes and heart disease/year with soda drinkers.

c. Immune system: sugar has also been shown to lower the immune system due to damage of white blood cells.

4. Artificial sweeteners can lead to eating more because they do not provide the calories to signal to your body that it is satisfying your hunger. They breakdown to methanol and formaldehyde affecting the immune and nervous system and may even be involved in destroying brain neurons leading to headaches/migraines, nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue with an inability to fall asleep. Other associated symptoms include vision problems, anxiety attacks, depression, and asthma/chest tightness. Recently diet soda, like regular soda, was linked to a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome — a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around the waist, low levels of “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure and other symptoms.

5. Sodium can throw off electrolyte balance. Sodium benzoate is a preservative in many foods. The combination of sodium benzoate and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in soda can react to form benzene. The major health effects of benzene include damage to bone marrow and decreases in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can cause damage to DNA. Damage to DNA will contribute to aging and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. Benzene is known to lead to cancer in both animals and humans.

6. Caramel color may suppress the immune system and has been linked to increase blood pressure.

So you see with all the attention focused on calories, fat and carbs, all these other harmful ingredients fall under the radar. And while most experts insist on scratching the surface by focusing on calories, I will urge you to dig a little deeper and really get a handle on the big picture—all the elements of a food or beverage product that can affect your health.

If you have any questions about what you are really eating and drinking, let me know and we can share it to help make the world a healthier place.

 

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