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When It Comes to Saturated Fat Use Your Noggin’

 

“Follow The Nutrition Guidelines or Follow Your Heart, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/follow-the-nutrition-guidelines-or-follow-your-heart/” came to be because it is important to understand that following mainstream advice without using your noggin’ is not always the right way. Cutting fat from your diet is a theme that has been used to brainwash people for way too long. Know that saturated fat is healthy for more than just your heart (60% of the hearts energy comes from burning fat) and there are healthcare professionals and research that supports this way of thinking.

Data relating saturated fat as supporting body organs and vital body functions exists and the next few blogs will hopefully open more discussions on this topic.

After last weeks blog on the heart, the brain tops this list as an organ that depends on monounsaturated and saturated fats and cholesterol for proper functioning. Fats compose 60% of the brain and is especially important for fetal brain development. This may be why human breast milk is one of the best sources of saturated fat. The brain also houses twenty-five percent of total body cholesterol.

Monounsaturated fats can help boost moods and help improve psychological health related disorders but these fats may be especially important for aging brains and the elderly, specifically in regards to memory and visual-spatial recognition (important for driving).

Saturated fats and cholesterol are just as important as monounsaturated fats in regards to brain health. In this interview for Psychology Today, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-optimalist/201310/your-healthy-diet-could-be-quietly-killing-your-brain, David Perlmutter (Board-Certified Neurologist and Fellow of The American Board of Nutrition) describes the benefits of both these nutrients. He says that saturated fats “are “building blocks for brain cells” and cholesterol is a “brain protective” antioxidant that is a precursor to vitamin D too, which also plays a role in brain health and indirectly is a precursor to the sex hormones.

He cites two examples that measured saturated fat and cholesterol intake in elderly volunteers. The results are not those you will likely hear from a typical doctor. One is a study that found a 36% lowered risk for developing dementia in individuals who ate the most saturated fat; the other study, resulted in a 70% risk reduction for dementia in volunteers with the highest cholesterol levels. He mentions this phenomena as a possible issue with medicine intended to lower cholesterol. Even the FDA acknowledges this, as they now require “memory decline and cognitive health concern” warnings on the labels of cholesterol lowering medicine. In another study, results showed an 89% increase in dementia risk in those who ate more carbohydrates.

The lungs need saturated fat too. Lung surfactantis a fluid made of fats and protein. It works to prevent the lungs from collapsing and helps protect the lungs from bacteria and viruses. Studies on animals with poor lung function were tested using three diets, (unsaturated, monounsaturated and palmitic saturated fat). Unsaturated fat made lung function worse.*

* The study appeared in Nutrition,2002 Jul-Aug;18(7-8):647-53 and the author and title: Wolfe et al., Dietary fat composition alters pulmonary function in pigs.”

This may be due to the fact that 68% of surfactant in the lungs is saturated palmitic fatty acid. Palmitic acid is one of the most common saturated fats found in the food supply, 14% in olive oil and 25% in beef, lamb and butter, http://dietheartnews.com/2012/01/you-cant-fool-the-body-saturated-fats-are-converted-into-unsaturated-fats-and-as-needed-unsaturated-fats-are-converted-back-into-saturated-fats/.

I’m not here trying to bring down unsaturated fats, I’m trying to shed light on the health importance of saturated fats to even the playing field in regards to your thoughts on saturated fats and optimizing your diet with a variety of all types of foods and fats. Next week I will continue to describe the helpful role saturated fats play in good health.  

 
 

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Pill Poppers Beware of Getting Robbed (Part 2)

pills

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The continuation of my list of medications from last week that may rob you of your health is lengthy. You may be surprised at this list and may not realize that you are a pill popper because for some of these on the list you do not need a prescription and it is just over the counter medicine.

Get in the habit of knowing about what you ingest (food, beverage, pill ) or inhale, read the packaging and educate yourself on what you put into the body. This is important with concerns of nutrient depletion but also with other health issues. For example, taking a laxative may be very helpful in a time of need but it is also addicting. If you take laxatives for a long enough time period, your bowels will not work without them. This is true of nasal spray as well. So for the sake of your health,  I continue with number five on the pill popper list.

5. Birth Control Pills (prevent pregnancy)

This is a big one, so I ask you ladies before you start taking the pill, is he worth it? There are much safer ways to prevent pregnancy. One of which is to just say, “no”. If you are going to engage in sex, find a way to prevent pregnancy without messing up long-term mental and physical health. Taking the pill to regulate hormones? There are much safer ways to regulate them, speak to your doctor.

Depletes: Vitamins;  B1, B2, B3, B-6, B9 (folic acid) and B12, C, the amino acid tyrosine, CoQ10 and minerals; selenium, magnesium and zinc (copper typically increases)

Problem: lowers immune system, sense of taste and sex drive and raises the risk of heart disease, depression, cancers of the colon and breast and CoQ10 depletion (see #1 statins, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/pill-poppers-beware-of-getting-robbed/)

Replenish: High potency multivitamin and multimineral, COQ10 200mg, Tyrosine on an empty stomach, speak with your doctor about dose

6. Diabetes Medications (lower blood sugar)

Depletes: vitamin B 12, folic acid (B9) and CoQ10

Problems:  Uncontrolled muscle movements and weakness, low blood pressure, mood swings, eye issues

Replenish:  vitamin B12 800 mcg, folic acid 400 mcg and CoQ10 100mg

7. Antibiotics (antibacterial)

Depletes: biotin, inositol, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and beneficial gut bacteria

Problems: yeast overgrowth or (candida), diarrhea and any other symptom mentioned before regarding depletion of these nutrients.

Replenish:  biotin 50 mg, inositol 500mg, vitamins B1 25mg, B2 25mg, B3 50mg, B5 50mg, B6 50 mg, vitamin K 100mcg, calcium 1000mg, magnesium 500mg, potassium 100mg, iron and a probiotic of at least a billion active cultures to improve gut bacteria

8. Steroids (treat many conditions with inflammation and other ills from rashes to asthma)

Depletes: B vitamins, Vitamin C and D, folic acid, potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc

Problems: decreased immunity, muscle weakness, weight gain, diabetes

Replenish:  the vitamins and minerals using the information that have already been mentioned. Monitor blood sugar.

The list goes on to include medications for: ulcers, epilepsy, gout and acid reflux. It also includes over the counter and much more critical health treatments as chemotherapy, aspirin, laxatives, anti-fungals, antipsychotics, hormone replacement therapy and antibiotics.

Potentially “good” medications can be “bad” for your health. General symptoms of not feeling well may not be identified by your doctor and you may not be getting the answers or help that will make you feel better. Medications that rob the body of micronutrients may be culprit for your ills.

Take a minute to research your O-T-C or prescription before you pop a pill. Here are a few suggestions that may help so you have the knowledge to make educated decisions with your doctor about taking medicine and your health.

1. Read the package insert

2. http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/ce/ceCourse.aspx?s=ND&cs=&pm=5&pc=11-108

3. http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/search.cfm?startswith=lipitor&x=0&y=0

 
 

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A New Year’s Reservation Can Get You A Clean Bill of Health

Times Square New Years Eve Ball

Times Square New Years Eve Ball (Photo credit: ★ SimonPix)

No matter what your New Years’ Resolution is, you have to be in good health to see it through. So start the year off right by taking care of yourself.

It is typical to ignore the signs and symptoms of your body functioning at less than its’ peak performance. We tend to make excuses, like “I am getting old” or just simply ignoring the obvious. If you are curious what some of these symptoms might be, try looking at or completing these:

Both surveys are short and easy to complete. They will help assess the state of your health. Take notes with any questions or detailed information about any potential health risk; Then, make a reservation with your doctor so that any health threat can be identified as quickly as possible. Being prepared with a list will help you get the most out of your visit.

A healthy lifestyle often takes a back seat to wining and dining, doing things for others and anything else that might need your attention at the moment. Taking care of yourself, should be a top priority for the new year. Most medical conditions, if caught early, turn out to be a minor inconvenience.  If on the other hand, you avoid check-ups and appointments with your health care providers, you lose the advantage of early disease detection which is a major disadvantage as time is no longer on your side. More harm is done by avoiding care and forgoing an early diagnosis. Time then, becomes your enemy and a major risk to compromised health.

Living a healthy lifestyle and getting risk factors measured as a preventive step against illness is well worth your effort. Here is a list of health screenings typically done during an annual exam and specific screenings are listed for both men and women, http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/getting-regular-checkups.aspx.

This year put your well-being first. The first of the year make a reservation with your doctor.  Get a bill you will be happy to receive. If your doctor serves up a clean bill of health you can move forward with a clear mind. If not, take the time to get your health in check. When managed early, many health issues are uncomplicated  and can be treated easily. Otherwise poor health can creep up on you faster than you realize making it more difficult to reverse undesirable health parameters.

Get out your calendar, pick up the phone and make a reservation to meet with your doctor. Open the lines of communication with your caregivers, take an active role in being healthy, take care of yourself.

I have made my reservations to monitor my health. What are you waiting for? Do the right thing, start the year off right. Stay healthy or get healthy but make good health happen. Let the Times Square New Years’ Eve Ball be the icon for your yearly date with your healthcare provider.

Happy and Healthy New Year to all!

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Seven TKO Strategies For Weight Loss

Cover of "Rocky III"

Cover of Rocky III

Get “the eye of the tiger” for the holidays.  Focus and win the war on weight loss. Five pounds or five hundred pounds, it does not matter. Battling the bulge (big or small) is not easy.

7 STRATEGIES: TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION
1. Create your own “Eat-To-Win” (ETW) strategies.  Forget about what works for everyone else. What works for you? What does NOT work for you? Create the plan and follow your own ETW rules.

2. Ditch the all-or-nothing mindset. Most people over indulge at one time or another. It is the “nothing” mindset that gets you nowhere. Putting off your diet today to restart tomorrow  I ate that cake, I’ll start my diet again tomorrow and then you put off tomorrow what you can do today.

3.. Avoid trigger foods, that may start an avalanche of eating. Trigger foods typically are high in calories, carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. If the unthinkable happens, eating protein and veggies may help get your appetite back in control. By eating foods that are nutrient dense and cutting off the sugar supply, eating and cravings can be controlled.

4. Schedule an enjoyable activity, you may want to make a list of what, when and how you will get consistent activity into your day. Moving your body will make you feel better physically and mentally.

5. Journal: Write down your feelings about your indulgence. Was it worth it? Were you stressed because you were not following your plan? Did it soothe you? Then plan how you might do things differently for the next time. If you followed your plan, make a note at how it felt to do the right thing, track the outcome. Did you lose instead of a gain a pound? Keep your journal in an easy to reach place for quick access in case of an emergency.

6. Adopt a positive and supportive relationship with yourself, and most of all,  be true to you. Negativity not allowed. Think about the childhood tale of “The Little Engine That Could“, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Engine_that_Could. In the story, a large train must be hauled over a mountain. The little red engine, agrees to try. It then succeeds in pulling the large immobile train over the mountain while repeating: “I-think-I-can”.

7. Think Rocky III, Eye of the Tigerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8ZABoz26R8: Focus, commitment, drive and above all fortitude is needed to give you the mental strength to be courageous enough to keep trying until you achieve your goal. It is not common to lose weight and maintain that success on the first try.

Allow trial and error (or even defeat, i.e. weight gain)  to guide you not beat you. It can be used to support your weight loss strategy and success.  

Earn your weight loss TKO. Use one or all of these strategies now, do not wait until after the holiday season. Being mindful of your surroundings, changing behavior, slip ups are all part of the process. The process may take longer than expected but let nothing get in your way of your ultimate success.

If you can gear up and get a few good habits under your belt during the most difficult time of the year to take on anything just think of what you can do once the holidays pass!

Make your holidays REALLY joyful, give yourself the life changing weight loss gift you deserve.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2013 in holiday, weight loss

 

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Don’t Get “Scrooged”, Get Happy For The Holidays!

Christmas at Rockefeller Center, located in Ne...

Christmas at Rockefeller Center, located in New York City, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The holiday season is upon us. Twenty four more days ’til Christmas and then New Years

As we gear up for family gatherings and social events, I often wonder if all the responsibilities and pressures of the holidays create stress and unrealistic expectations that put a damper on holiday cheer. I believe there are many people who enjoy the season but there are also others who take on the extra task of buying gifts, hosting the traditional celebration, stressing about finances, job security, and other pressures from various sources.

The big question, “What are your expectations during the holiday season?” “What are your expectations for family, friends or your job?” “Can you use this time to relax and enjoy the ones you love most?” These are loaded questions. Use caution before you answer. Take time to really think these through.

Why do I ask this? Because expectations can mess with your mood and your happiness. Do not let negativity cloud your judgment. Keep your thoughts clear and focus on yourself, your health and your weight goals.

If you think the holiday will be picture perfect, you know just like on T.V. , the food, the people, the gifts….think again. Don’t get blindsided by circumstance. There is often a person or event that will bring you down before you have a chance to take your next breath. Your expectations can be a huge factor for your sanity, wellness and, of course, your weight.

An expectation is a belief about what might happen in the future. Keep in mind that while it is impossible to predict what will happen in the future, you can use past holidays  to gauge what is likely to happen based on previous years.  If there are things that have happened in the past, certain people or situations that have “scrooged” you out of everything and especially a happy holiday, just DO NOT let it get to you this year.

Know it is likely going to happen again and plan how you are going to avoid any aggravation that comes your way. Set realistic expectations knowing that the only person that can control your moods or happiness is you. Keep stress at bay. Think positive thoughts. It is not the gifts, the job or any distractor in your life. It is about your health, happiness and the time you spend with those who you enjoy being with.

Make this holiday season one of the best ever! Be well, keep things in perspective, positive thoughts will keep your spirits high, your outlook on life good and help to keep your healthy lifestyle (eating and exercising) consistent during the holidays.

If you get the best, or should I say the worst of yourself, try singing one of these songs, Bob Marley works for me, “Don´t Worry Be Happy”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poCo_7ZjYA8,  or “Don’t Worry About A Thing, ‘Cause Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mACqcZZwG0k,  or find any tune that will help straighten yourself out, let it get stuck in your head and sing it like you mean it for as long as you need it!

No matter what’s going on, these songs will make you feel good inside so sing and spread the holiday spirit and most of all enjoy life!

Anyone have a song to share with us or a plan to avoid being “scrooged”? I would be “happy” to add it to the list.

Happy and healthy holidays to all!

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2013 in holiday

 

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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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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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The Cortisol Connection to Metabolic Overdrive (MO)

The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys.

The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week I defined metabolic overdrive (MO),  http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/what-is-metabolic-overdrive/, and listed 5 body organs or systems that are effected: the gut, sex hormones, thyroid, pancreas and adrenal gland. Each week I will tackle a different system to give you a better understanding of what happens when you fall victim to MO. I’ll start with the adrenals.

The adrenal glands are triangular and sit on top of your kidneys. They make stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) and sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone). Daily stress (too little sleep, overworking yourself, or exercising too much)  triggers your adrenals to overproduce the hormone cortisol. Eventually the adrenals become fatigued and the ability to make cortisol is lost. As the adrenals lose the ability to overproduce cortisol, MO kicks in.  When cortisol production falls, intense cardio can initiate the breakdown of protein stores leading to loss of muscle mass and increased fat mass. This is why exercise may not always be good for weight loss. Poor adrenal function also lowers levels of testosterone in men, progesterone in women, and DHEA in both sexes. This leads to weight gain, fatigue, low sex drive, insomnia, infertility (in women), and emotional instability (moodiness).

What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue? Answer each of the following questions with a yes or no.

Do you have trouble slowing down at night?

Does it take longer than 30 minutes for you to fall asleep?

Do you frequently wake at night and find yourself unable to get back to sleep?

Do you watch TV or use a computer shortly before bed?

Do you eat while working, watching TV, or sitting at the computer?

Do you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning because you do not feel rested?

Do you keep yourself going during the day by drinking or taking caffeine?

If you answered yes to one or more questions, consider talking to your doctor about testing your cortisol levels. High cortisol levels indicate that your stress response is turned “on” all day long. Low cortisol indicates that your adrenals have burned out. In either case, follow the suggestions in The Stubborn Fat Fix, http://www.amazon.com/The-Stubborn-Fat-Fix-Metabolic/dp/159486828X. Use the Level 2 eating plan, take the supplements described in chapter 9, and pay particular attention to the stress reduction advice in chapter 10. Also, it’s particularly important for you to avoid cardiovascular exercise during the first month of your weight loss plan.

If MO has affected the adrenal glands for awhile there may be more damage, MO may be infiltrating more than just the adrenals, as one body system starts to fatigue, the others (gut, sex hormones, thyroid, pancreas or any other) compensate creating a domino effect. There can be more than one reason your body is in a rut making the cure even more difficult but not impossible.

Maybe you have not heard of metabolic overdrive but it is real and it can be devastating. When you feel depressed or tried, when you cannot achieve your weight goals and are trying hard, when your adrenals are pumping out cortisol and adrenaline and hormones are out of whack, your body is screaming for help. It is your body’s way of trying to communicate with you. Learn to listen, you will be rewarded with weight loss success, good health, more energy than you ever thought possible.

Next week I will dive into thyroid and MO.

 

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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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Strip Tease The Sugar Out of Your Diet

Français : Echantillons de différents sucres, ...

Français : Echantillons de différents sucres, de gauche à droite et de haut en bas : sucre blanc, sucre complet, rapadura, cassonade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traditionally, when we think of sugar, we think sweet, white stuff coming from the sugar cane plant. Naturally sweet foods can be purposeful. Now, industry has flooded the food market with an excess of sugar from both natural and chemical sources.

In small amounts and in its natural state, sugar cane has many nutrients that contribute to good health;

  • chromium helps control blood sugar
  • manganese is an essential mineral involved in carb and fat metabolism, bone health, sex hormones and helps reduce free radical damage
  • cobalt is an essential mineral the is involved in the formation of vitamin B12
  •  copper and zinc are important to maintain minerals because when deficient can contribute to poor immune system, attention and behavior issues. If you suffer from chronic fatigue and are a vegan or an older adult, please read this, http://www.westonaprice.org/metabolic-disorders/copper-zinc-imbalance.
  • magnesium is an important mineral involved in bone and heart health and many more functions in the body, read more here http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

When sugar cane is processed into sugar, it is stripped of its nutritional value. Sugar cane loses 93 percent of its chromium, 89 percent of its manganese, 98 percent of its cobalt, 83 percent of its copper, 98 percent of its zinc, and 98 percent of its magnesium. It is now practically nutrient less. Consuming pure refined sugar may also cause your body to excrete chromium, which, ironically, triggers sugar cravings. This mineral loss is typically what happens in the processing of many convenience foods, including bread.

Sugar, no matter what the source has many names and you may be surprised to find out where it is hidden. Sugars aka, brown sugar, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, honey, maltodextrin, invert sugar, malt syrup, lactose, maltose and molasses. If you want a laundry list sit down while you go through it, it is quite a long list, http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/821596-257-names-for-hidden-sugar.

Many convenience foods that do not taste sweet are loaded with added sugars, and many busy people turn to these foods for quick meal options. Consider that peanut butter, jelly, bread, bologna, breakfast bars, granola bars, canned chili, and canned fruit in syrup all contain added sugar; so do fast foods such as pizza, sandwiches, and even breakfast items too. According to the USDA, a fast food cheese and bacon griddle cake sandwich has 9 grams of sugar. Some sweetened breakfast cereals contain as much as 15 grams of sugar per ounce.

Do you think of these foods as being sweet? Just check the label for yourself.

  • Grey Poupon
  • Pepperidge Farm 100% Natural Whole Wheat bread
  • Jif Peanut Butter
  • Bush’s Best – light red kidney beans
  • Progresso Dark Red Kidney Beans
  • Oscar Meyer shaved turkey breast
  • Oscar Meyer Ready to Serve Bacon
  • Oscar Meyer Hard Salami
  • Healthy Choice Split Pea & Ham soup
  • Powerbar performance bars
  • Aunt Jemima Original Pancake Mix
  • Aunt Jemima Whole Wheat Blend Pancake Mix
  • Desserts and sweet beverages pile on even more of the sweet stuff. You may also have more sugar in the form of soft drinks, candy, ice cream, cookies and cup cakes.

There is one sweetener, in particular, it is a natural derivative from corn.  So seemingly it would NOT be unhealthy but high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which has been in our foods since the 1970′s is been anything but a healthy alternative. It dominates the “added sugars” market in processed convenience foods. Here’s what you should know, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/high-fructose-corn-syrup-dangers_b_861913.html.

If you’re active and in good shape, you’ve probably been encouraged to load up on sugary sports drinks, and energy bars, before and after your exercise. Television commercials and programming also urge you to drink “sports drinks” after exercise, to replace the energy you burn. Guess what they contain? Have you read the ingredients? This is how fit people may end up with metabolic health conditions.  No matter what alias they give to  added sugars, when consumed they encourage us to prefer sweet foods as well as wreak havoc on blood sugar and insulin, appetite and fat storage especially triglycerides. If this makes you think metabolic syndrome, keep thinking. You are on the right track.

What Sugar does

The more sugar is pumped into food, the more sugar is consumed unknowingly. Sugar highs and             lows  intensify, metabolism becomes more imbalanced, setting you up not only for weight gain, but also     for developing stomach upset, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and other diseases. Health is           compromised no matter what.  The food supply threatens the health of our children too. It used to take         15 to 20 years for a steady consumption of sugar and other sweeteners to trigger conditions like type 2     diabetes. Now we’re seeing type 2 diabetes in children as young as age 6.

Each sugar hit gives you a little bounce, followed by a bigger crash. You eat sugar and experience a short-lived exhilaration and energy as your adrenal glands produce the stress hormone adrenaline. This hormone drops quickly, so you feel fatigued. You eat more sugar and rise some, only to drop deeper into a fatigue only to seal the adrenal “coffin”.  To learn more about adrenal fatigue, http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/what-is-adrenal-fatigue but make sure you read this, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/.2009/09/05/most-common-cause-of-fatigue-that-is-missed-or-misdiagnosed-by-doctors.aspx.

Strip sugar from your diet for so many more reasons, including addiction and depression, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-r-talbott/sugar-health_b_1396609.html and 141 physiological reasons from Nancy Appleton’s blog http://nancyappleton.com/141-reasons-sugar-ruins-your-health/. Even when you do not suspect you are eating sugar, you probably are ingesting it. Find lurking sugar in your food and strip it from your diet.There should be no room in your eating repertoire for added sweeteners in foods if you want to live a long healthy life.

 

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