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Category Archives: Diabetes

Steer Clear of Artificial Sweeteners

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Artificial sugar (AS) substitute was created for those who are looking to cut calories for weight loss or cut carbs/sugar to obtain blood sugar control (BSC). It seemed like a simple solution. Eat the same foods replace sugar calories in foods (soda, cookies…) with a sweetener that has no calories and weight loss or BSC should occur. Sounds good and maybe true on paper but when it comes to real life, it may not necessarily be so simple.

Saccharin was the first artificial sweetener made available for mass consumption in the early 1900’s and it is safe to say that it has not done its intended purpose as a weight loss aid. We continue to face a diabesity (obesity and diabetes) epidemic.

A  recent study, http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1111%2Fjgs.13376?r3_referer=wol&tracking_action=preview_click&show_checkout=1&purchase_referrer=onlinelibrary.wiley.com&purchase_site_license=LICENSE_DENIED_NO_CUSTOMER , published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that drinking diet soda may contribute to “cardiometabolic risk” factors (obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance etc..). The authors concluded that there is an association between drinking more diet soda and gaining more belly fat.

Belly fat is associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease and much more. But, if this is not enough to make you drop the diet soda right out of your hand then take a look at these:

·         “Fueling the Obesity Epidemic? Artificially Sweetened Beverage Use and Long-Term Weight Gain” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18535548

·         “Artificial Sweetener May Disrupt Body’s Ability To Count Calories” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040630081825.htm

  • “Consumption of Artificially and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Incident Type 2 Diabetes in the Etude Epidemiologique Aupres Des Femmes de la Mutuelle Generale de l’Education Nationale-European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23364017

These discuss the other ingredients in diet soda if you are interested:

One explanation for the association between AS and weight and health is due to its sweetness. Normally, consuming sugar would trigger a signal communicating that with sweetness comes calories and then satiety. AS are 200-8,000 times the sweetness of natural sugar  but there are no accompanying calories with the sweetness. The body is confused, it expects calories but is not getting them and therefore appetite increases as the body wants the calories it is not getting from the AS. Increases in appetite increases the likelihood of  eating more.

Another reason is that the brain’s “reward system” dictates an individual’s response (motivation, drive, incentive)  to a particular “reward” (food, sex, drugs, medication). The intensity of the AS engages the reward system at greater than 200 times that of natural sweetness creating an addictive response to these foods containing AS.

Of course, you cannot discount the “cheater” instinct. When you think you are consuming less calories by eating foods with AS, you may just choose to eat more because you think you can get away with it.

Despite these findings, “The global market for Artificial Sweeteners is projected to reach US$1.7 billion by the year 2018, primarily stimulated by widespread weight reduction efforts, development of low sugar food for diabetic and diet conscious consumers, growing preference for diet beverages, rising concerns over dental caries and the growing need to reduce risk associated with volatility in sugar prices,”  http://www.prweb.com/releases/artificial_sweeteners/sucralose_aspartame/prweb10121807.htm.

Get the message these science studies are sending. Artificial sweeteners are chemistry experiments that may have been a good initial idea but as a test with years of human guinea pigs it seems AS add risk to your weight and health.

Steer clear of AS. There are better, less addictive, healthier ways to lose weight and control blood sugar.

 
 

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A Statin Standoff or Much More?

Statins, one of the most popular class of drugs prescribed today has been around over 25 years supposedly helping to lower high cholesterol levels. Statins work by inhibiting the production of cholesterol via an enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase). “Their (statins) benefit is remarkably  greater than their risk, and there is simply no doubt that these medications are safer than drugs such as aspirin”.

I happen to disagree. According to the Mayo clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/statin-side-effects/art-20046013, noted side effects include:

  • muscle pain, soreness, tiredness or weakness in your muscles;
  • nausea, gas, diarrhea or constipation;
  • abnormal liver tests;
  • memory loss or confusion;
  • elevated blood sugar and even type 2 diabetes.

And these side effects are more common in the very groups that statins are supposed to help most (people with diabetes and those who are taking multiple drugs to help lower cholesterol), those who are over the age of 65, those who drink more than 1-2 drinks a day, women and individuals with a small body frame.

For others who have had a heart attack and are trying to prevent another or those who have cholesterol levels above 350 mg/dl and are diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia, the benefits of taking a statin may outweigh the risk.

We have spent nearly 19 billion dollars on statins over the years and they are linked to poor health consequences including diabetes,  http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/medical/health/medical/diabetes/story/2012-01-09/Study-links-statins-to-higher-diabetes-in-older-women/52470838/1.

“Statins Stimulate Atherosclerosis and Heart Failure: Pharmacological Mechanisms” explains how statins may interfere with more natural body functions than just liver enzymes. The article published in Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology (March 2015) supports the belief that statins cause heart disease via a few different mechanisms:

  1. Inhibits vitamin K2 (protects arteries from clogs via calcium deposits) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24936265http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/dr-dennis-goodmans-vitamin-k2-book-links-missing-nutrient-to-heart-and-bone-health-1997508.htm
  2. hinders selenium production (http://www.internationaljournalofcardiology.com/article/S0167-5273(08)01296-5/abstract?cc=y)
  3. Depletes coenzymeQ10 (http://www.healthline.com/health/coq10-and-statins#Effects6); the information here mentions ” CoQ10 can lower blood sugar, so diabetics need to be careful or avoid it.” If this is the case, do not avoid CoQ10. Speak with your doctor about lowering diabetes medication dosage.
  4. causes toxicity to the body cells (mitochondria) that produce energy

Back in 2012, Nakazato R., et. al. published study results in  Atherosclerosis  (Nov;225:148-53) entitled, “Statins use and coronary artery plaque composition: results from the International Multicenter CONFIRM Registry”. They concluded ” Statin use is associated with an increased prevalence and extent of coronary plaques possessing calcium.”

Despite this information, physician prescriptions continue to be written without consideration but there are practicing physicians who have spoken out against the massive rush to prescribe statins:

Dr.Eric Topol, interviewed by Forbes is a cardiologist and professor of genomics at Scripps Research Institute; http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2012/03/04/top-cardiologist-argues-we-should-dial-back-on-statins-because-of-diabetes-risk/

And, Barbara H. Roberts, M.D., director of the Women’s Cardiac Center at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I. and associate clinical professor of medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She was involved in the first clinical trial that demonstrated a beneficial effect of lowering cholesterol on the incidence of heart disease. She is the author of two books warning against statin use, “The Truth About Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs” and  “How to Keep From Breaking Your Heart: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Cardiovascular Disease”, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/martha-rosenberg/statins_b_1818370.html.

Eating healthy and exercise can help obtain normal cholesterol. Stop eating packaged food. Go back to nutrition basics. Eat protein, non-starchy vegetables and low glycemic fruits. Add fat foods and supplements found to help lower cholesterol and LDL such as nuts and seeds, olive oil, fatty fish, avocado, and supplement: plant sterols, red rice yeast extract, vitamin K2.

Take home message: statins can help prevent heart attacks for specific groups of individuals but should not be used as a blanket treatment for everyone. If you are prescribed a statin, speak with your doctor about any questions or concerns you have.

 

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Artificial Sweeteners Another White Powder To Avoid

 

Anyone just happen to read the New York Times on Sept 17.? Yeah, In big bold letters, ” Artificial sweeteners (AS) may disrupt the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, causing metabolic changes that can be a precursor to diabetes”, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/17/artificial-sweeteners-may-disrupt-bodys-blood-sugar-controls/.

Powerful and very important message don’t ya think? The non-caloric sugar substitute created to help cut sugar from the diet and increase food options for diabetics, help lower calories and aid in weight loss has just been found to do the exact opposite. After all these years of throwing our money down the drain (paying more for these products too)and acting as human guinea pigs we now find out this food ingredient causes the very same problems it is trying to correct.

The business of selling and adding artificial sweeteners to the food supply is a $2-4 billion dollar business. Unfortunately, the public has paid for that with our health.

The study The New York Times refers to is published  in “Nature” and  the researchers, Eran Elinav et. al., from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found that AS changed gut bacteria causing fluctuations in sugar metabolism that mimic diabetes. Admittedly the sample size for the experiment is small but I believe that even if it happens in one, it is possible to repeat itself in others. If you are that one, it is very relevant to you.

The researchers did consecutive trials:

  1. Mice were fed plain water, water with Sweet’N Low, Splenda or Equal, water with sugar or glucose. The mice who drank water with artificial sweeteners “developed marked glucose intolerance” as a result of changes in the natural gut flora. The mice with glucose intolerance were then given antibiotics that killed the gut flora and the glucose intolerance went away.
  2. Researchers also took a sample of the gut bacteria in the mice that were glucose intolerant and then injected the bacteria in mice that had never consumed artificial sweetener. The injected mice then developed glucose intolerance. “DNA sequencing showed the artificial sweetener changed the variety of bacteria in the guts of the mice that consumed it.”
  3. Then the researchers compiled data on 381 non diabetic individuals and found a connection  between “the reported use of any kind of artificial sweeteners and signs of glucose intolerance. In addition, the gut bacteria of those who used artificial sweeteners were different from those who did not.”
  4. For one week, seven human volunteers (who normally did not use artificial sweeteners) “consumed the maximum amount of saccharin recommended by the United States Food and Drug Administration. In four of the seven, blood-sugar levels were disrupted in the same way as in mice.” Then they used bacteria from the four volunteers who developed glucose intolerance and injected it into the gut of mice. The mice, then also developed glucose intolerance.

Seems pretty straight forward right?  Yes but there is so much more to take from this if you read between the lines:

  1. Gut bacteria seems to be another point of interest in understanding blood sugar disorders.

2.This research seems to suggest that there may be a variety of ways blood sugar abnormalities occur and some may at least originally be independent of insulin            abnormalities.

  1. While the information is compelling, is it really shocking that a man-made chemical might have a deleterious effect on health? We know trans fats and corn syrup negatively affect risk factors for heart disease, blood sugar and other health factors.

Looking forward to seeing what is on the horizon as researchers continue to delve deeper into solving some of the questions about the influence of artificial sweeteners on health but until then I suggest you avoid being a guinea pig. Artificial sweeteners seem to be another white powder to avoid.

 

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Low Fat Better Than Low Carb, Say “It Ain’t So”!

 

When your friends, family, colleagues, healthcare professionals, the media and everyone you know are claiming low carb diets are dangerous, not effective or boring. Stand up and just say “It Ain’t So!”

I am soooooo tired of hearing and reading about how calories, not carbohydrate management, is the best way to lose weight or that meat eaters are more likely to die than those who abstain from eating meat, blah, blah, blah, blah.

When researchers do not keep their studies objective, crazy things happen. For example, unhealthy meats that contain known cancer causing ingredients (such as nitrites) are put in the same group as other meats; the media reports “all meats are unhealthy”. The reality is that nothing new was proven, we know nitrates and nitrates can cause cancer.  The responsible message should be “avoid meats that contain cancer causing ingredients”.

We have seen the headlines touting the real answer to weight loss,  “calories matter more than the distribution of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.” However, this is not always the case. When research on low carb diets (less than 50 grams is actually low enough to ignite fat burning) are actually performed, they trump low-calorie diets for weight loss, lowering heart disease and managing blood sugar every time. I have the same experience in practice.

Eating low carb is a healthy, delicious and nutritious option. Well at least that is why I started eating low carb…at least that was only after being ready to keep an open mind and I opened my eyes and ears to the truth. Only then could I free myself from believing the hype of big business, corrupt opinion leaders, less than objective researchers and unsuspecting healthcare professionals who still only see one side of the fence.

These studies were published 6 years ago but the results continue to be re-produced.

http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.co…-7075-2-31.pdf
http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.co…-7075-3-24.pdf
http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.co…3-7075-5-9.pdf

Results from research conducted by Darlene Dreon suggests that low-fat diets for some people with a specific genetic predisposition can increase risk factors for heart disease. Do you know any doctors that warn people of the potential risks of low-fat diets as found in Dreon’s study?

Yet, for some reason this information escapes media attention. There are doctors and nutritionists who practice low carb diet health care. Medical doctors use low carbohydrate diets to help patients manage diabetes without the blood sugar high’s and low’s that medication can cause. This is also true for metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, stomach complaints and many other medical conditions.

The truth is that carbohydrate is the nutrient that has the most effect on internal eating cues and satiety switches? Excess carbohydrates more than any other nutrient triggers a hormonal cascade that starts with insulin. Insulin is a fat storing hormone and one that lowers blood sugar which in turn flips the “I’m hungry switch” to on.

It’s a good feeling to be able to help people who are following low carb diets. I tell it like it is from my heart and soul, from the very roots of my nutrition and medical education and experience. But most importantly, I feel comfortable thinking outside the box to help others find the path that works for them; whether it is for better health and nutrition, more self-confidence in their choices, positive social and emotional support. I can make a difference and I am making a difference. You can make a difference too, stay true to yourself and “Don’t Believe the Hype”.

When you hear crazy outrageous claims that make you concerned about your low carb eating regimen, know “It Ain’t So”.

 

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It Is About “Time”: Fat Facts and The Cover Up

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What do steak, eggs, coconut, dark meat, chicken and turkey with the skin on have in common? They are all high in healthy saturated fat and are safe foods to eat.

Bryan Walsh’s report made the cover of Time magazine, “Eat Butter.” His article describes a 43 year “human experiment” using the consumer as guinea pigs to test lowering dietary fat and reducing heart disease risk starting back in 1977; when a senate committee urged Americans to “eat less high-fat red meat, eggs and dairy; eat more carbohydrates and increase fruit and vegetable consumption”.

What happened?

  • Heart disease is still the number one cause of death
  • Obesity now effects 33% of the US  population
  • Type 2 diabetes escalated by 166%

I do not have any statistical analysis but there are many more health conditions caused by excess carbohydrate intake that are on the rise, like metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome etc…

Why did this cover-up happen?

  • The establishment refused to publish controversial research.
  • Unethical researchers cherry picked the data used for analysis
  •  Puppeteers were good at disseminating the low-fat dogma put forth by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

The research supporting the safety and efficacy of fat and saturated fat exists. In his article, Walsh interviews researchers who explain:

  • “Americans were told to cut back on fat to lose weight and prevent heart disease. There’s an overwhelmingly strong case to be made for the opposite.” –Dr. David Ludwig, Boston Children’s Hospital

 

  • “The argument against fat was completely flawed. We’ve traded one disease for another.” –Dr. Robert Lustig, University of California, San Francisco

 

  • “Willett (Walter Willett, Harvard) found that when high saturated fat foods were replaced with carbohydrates, there was no reduction in heart disease.”
  • “Simple carbs like bread and corn may not look like sugar on your plate, but in your body that’s what they’re converted to when digested.”
  • “Studies (by Eric Westman, Duke University) found that replacing carbohydrates with fat could help manage and even reverse diabetes.”

Mind you this TIME article is not late breaking news. I have blogged on the “BIG FAT” topic before:

  1. Seeking Saturated Fat, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/?s=saturated+fat
  2. Follow The Nutrition Guidelines Or Follow Your Heart, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/follow-the-nutrition-guidelines-or-follow-your-heart/
  1. When It Comes To Saturated Fat Use Your Noggin’, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/when-it-comes-to-saturated-fat-use-your-noggin/
  2. Carbohydrates Are Worse Than Saturated Fat, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/carbohydrates-are-worse-than-saturated-fat/
  3. Andrew Weil: Saturated Fat Is Not Associated With an Increased Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke or Vascular Disease,  https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/andrew-weilsaturated-fat-is-not-associated-with-an-increased-risk-of-heart-disease-stroke-or-vascular-disease/
  4. Eat saturated Fat For Good Health, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/eat-saturated-fat-for-good-health/
  5. Fat Functions To Promote Good Health, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/fat-functions-to-promote-good-health/
  6. Have We Created Our Own Heath Crisis? High Fat Must Have Foods For Good Health, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/have-we-created-our-own-health-crises-high-fat-must-have-foods-for-good-health/
  7. The Low Fat Nutrient Less Diet Cannot Nourish The Body,  https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/the-low-fat-nutrient-less-diet-cannot-fully-nourish-the-body/
  8. Eat Foods With Fat (5): Balance Foods With Fat, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2187&action=edit

So now what?

It is hard to break bad habits and we have been brain washed for a while into believing low-fat foods are healthy. But now it is time, no more cover ups, to open our eyes to the truth about food, fat, carbohydrates, what we eat and how it affects health.

If you want to undo the damage caused by 40 years of eating low-fat refined and processed foods avoid carbs. Eat real meat, natural fats and veggies to let the healing process begin.

 

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Diabetes Debate on Carbohydrates

  This week I am supposed to talk about more of the health benefits of saturated fat but that will happen next week. I am delaying it because I was side tracked by a debate that I watched on diabetes and carbohydrate intake. It is a debate between Hope Warsaw registered dietitian and Dr. Richard Bernstein. You can watch it yourself, http://youtu.be/3PZno7Nkuuw, make your own decision.

My two cents, the dietitian has it ALL wrong.

  • The first words out of her mouth, “The research shows that low carb diets don’t work”.

Research shows that people do not stay on diets period. I have seen research, where compliance is far better on a low carbohydrate diet. Maybe she has not seen the studies but this is why you must rely on yourself and be your own best advocate.  

  • “People simply can’t stay on low carb diets long-term.”

The doctor sitting next to you is just one living example of how an intelligent person with diabetes, or any medical condition involving blood sugar/insulin,  can be healthy and live without related diabetes complications when blood sugar and A1C levels are maintained within normal?

  • “Eating a low carbohydrate is not a healthy way of eating. “

See my comment above. I will also share that when I calculated the menus for my book, The Stubborn Fat Fix (http://www.amazon.com/The-Stubborn-Fat-Fix-Metabolic/dp/159486828X), as carbs are added back into the nutrition plan, the nutrient density fell.

  • “People with diabetes deserve to eat healthy and enjoy food?”

Yes, agreed. Deprivation is a mindset. Low carb foods are healthy and include some of the most tasty g-d-given foods on the Earth.  Who does not like lobster with butter or steak and sautéed spinach, guacamole???? People with diabetes also deserve to live; live without complications, live without hunger, live without the need for medication.

  • She is correct that most people eat too much added sugar.

Where she misses the boat is: Most people who are overweight, have diabetes etc…eat too many “healthy” carbs like whole wheat bread or brown rice or any starch, grain or fruit. One hundred percent of those “healthy” carbohydrates converts into sugar.

  •  “The vast majority of people with diabetes need medication.”

Yes absolutely if you follow what she says and the diet she recommends! Question Hope, how do you get good blood sugar control when you feed a diabetic the very things that spike blood sugar? Oh yes, the medication you are suggesting, there is a huge financial and quality of life burden that goes along with taking medication. While chasing high blood sugar with medication that lowers blood sugar, how do you fend off the hunger that accompanies the blood sugar low without getting into a tail spin?

This is a perfect example of how things go wrong. Why? I was in the same camp as most dietitians a long, long time ago. I was drinking the same “high carbohydrate Kool-Aid” that was so willingly poured from the conventional nutrition pitcher.

When you do not think for yourself and you think you have all the answers, you don’t! Until the day I started working for Dr. Atkins, I didn’t not question the establishment, I disseminated all the same fallacies.

When I saw the research supporting low carb diets, read the labels of what I used to suggest as healthy foods, and witnessed all the positive client results while eating low carb foods, there was no turning back. I was not going to bury my head in the sand because I wanted to believe that I was too good at what I did to ever be wrong or that there was simply no other way but my way to help people.

The only difference between Ms. Warsaw and myself is that I was able to keep my eyes and mind open. You cannot tell people carbs spike blood sugar and then recommend that half their calories should come from those very same foods. Well I guess you can and that is what the establishment does, but isn’t that counterintuitive?

Dr. Bernstein states it simply, “A diabetic needs normal blood sugar to escape the complications of diabetes!” The most direct and simple way to normalize blood sugar is a low carbohydrate diet.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on April 14, 2014 in blood sugar, Diabetes, health

 

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New Year, New Diet and Weight Loss Information

English: Nutrigenomics: bring disease, cancer,...

English: Nutrigenomics: bring disease, cancer, diet and genetics together (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are so many reasons why people choose to follow a certain diet.  It is “in” to be thin. So, if you follow a diet that cuts calories or fat, maybe you choose to eliminate meat for ethical reasons or you reduce your cravings by minimizing carb intake, you might want to consider genetic markers that influence disease risk to truly feed your body the right fuel.

Your genes are not only involved with your physical appearance but also involved in daily interactions that effect your health and your weight. Scientists are now beginning to understand how genes play part in the direct effect on health and weight loss. The metabolism, storage and absorption of macronutrients (calories, fats carbohydrates and proteins)  are directed by your genes. This may explain why, you and a friend may follow the same diet but you do not lose the same amount of weight.  Various genes have different working  mechanisms. These interactions are affected by the environment and yes that includes the food you eat.

How can body weight be affected by genes? Just a few ways are featured at,  http://www.weight-loss-i.com/body-weight-genes.htm, and they list: appetite, fat storage, Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and lean body mass to fat ratio.

Genes and related Factors on Weight and Blood Sugar (Diabetes):

These are just a few examples of contributing factors effecting excess weight and diabetes beyond the calorie hypothesis.

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Nutrigenomics (the study of the effects of foods on genetic behavior) is a new field that is likely going to prove how much we DO NOT know about nutrition and current dietary recommendations.

If the diet you are now following does not work, it may simply be because you and your body are not in sync, you have not found the diet that your body is looking for.  You may need to explore subtle variations in your current eating regimen. You may need to work with an experienced weight loss expert who can assist you in your weight loss and improved health journey. There is hope, keep trying.

It may not be your fault that you are trying to lose weight and are not successful.

What is important to realize is that individualized diets based on genetics, will be more available in the future.

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Diabetes, diet, genes, weight gain, weight loss

 

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