160718 Brain activation results in those addicted to food-part 2

160718 Brain activation results in those addicted to food-part 2

It comes as no surprise that if you are addicted to something there are going to be changes in brain activity that clearly shows up on brain scans. Nora D. Volkow, M.D. the director of the national Institute on Drug Abuse analyzed dopamine levels in obese adults. The results of these scans advanced the theory of potential addiction to food.

Even though investigation into the theory of food addiction is continuing, there have been only a few studies on its prevalence. Recently investigators at Yale University developed a questionnaire that helps identify people showing signs of addiction to high fat and sugar foods.

Their research is leaning towards a comparatively small percentage of individuals within a wide range of weight categories that may actually be addicted to food. This 2011 study found that just about 11% of college students in the normal weight ranges may be considered addicted to food. Contrast this study with one recently conducted in Germany that found of the 750 people studied using the Yale University questionnaire nearly 38% of the obese participants and 14% of those overweight were addicted to food. They went so far as to say that 10% of the underweight participants and 6% in the normal weight categories in the study were also addicted to food.

As far as Kelly Brownell, PhD., Director of the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity is concerned ” there’s no longer any question about that in my mind” when asked about the concept of food and addiction being a viable source contributing to the obesity situation currently exploding in our nation.

If you feel that you may be addicted to food or any other substance, take time to set up an appointment with your healthcare provider and get help.

260318 Lower your blood pressure

260318 Lower your blood pressure

High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer because its effects are rarely felt until the disease has progressed to a dangerous level.

Here is a list of four things that you can do to potentially lower your blood pressure.

If you weigh too much, lose weight.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Can you see the fat hanging off your stomach and sides? Can you pinch more of an inch on your sides? If so, you need to lose weight. Can you see your toes? If not, you need to lose weight. Is your body mass index in the obese range? If so, lose weight.

With a 10% reduction in your weight, you will notice reductions in your blood pressure numbers.

Start becoming more physically active.

If your prime source of entertainment is watching TV, working on the computer, or socializing at the local tavern then it is time to get off your butt and get moving. Being physically active goes hand-in-hand with losing weight and they each complement one another.

Reduce eating foods that are high in salt and sodium.

Began with an inventory of the foods in your house. Look at the labels. Are they high in sodium? Do you have stacks of potato chips in the cupboards? Is there bacon and sausage in your refrigerator?

You can reduce the salt you eat by cooking your own food and not adding salt when you eat at the table. Canned vegetables, according to their labels, contain an overly high amount of sodium. You can eliminate much of this by rinsing the vegetables before you cook them. This removes much of the salty juices that contribute to the high salt content of the food.

Cut back on the alcohol you drink.

Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and generally, when you are drinking, you are with friends socializing and eating crap food. More than likely the food you eat during these times contains a lot of fat and salt.

If you already have high blood pressure and are taking medications, do not stop these medications until you talk with your doctor.

190318 Low salt diets-good or bad for your health?

190318 Low salt diets-good or bad for your health?

Contrary to recent news articles suggesting that the low-salt diets are not helpful studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that one high salt meal of 1500 mg of sodium (this is at the upper end of the recommendations suggested by the US dietary guidelines for a full-day), reduces the ability of the blood vessels to dilate. Even though blood pressure is not affected, this reduction in dilation ability in healthy people was noted within thirty minutes of the meal.

High sodium loads in the body of people with impaired heart functioning can start a heart failure incident, which may lead to death. Not only is excessive salt hard on your blood vessels, it also affects your bones, kidneys, and your stomach.

The system within your body that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance is also involved in bone health. It appears as though a high sodium intake increases the elimination of calcium through the urine. This in turn causes calcium to be leached from the bone with the attending bone loss and increased risk bone fractures. It’s well known that reducing the salt intake has a positive effect on the bodies calcium balance. For this reason, a low-sodium diet may help slow the progression of age-related bone loss. Not only is the skeletal system adversely affected by high sodium, so are your kidneys.

In many people, additional salt contributes to hypertension which is a major cause of kidney dysfunction and even failure. Evidence collected from the studies of animals and humans lead directly to the contention that salt may, in some people, directly impair kidney function. Another side effect of increased calcium in the urine, see the previous paragraph, and high sodium intake is a potentially higher risk of kidney stones. The story doesn’t end there. Some studies have linked higher salt to cancers and ulcers of the stomach.

The stomach isn’t the only soft tissue organ that may be adversely affected by a high sodium diet, others are the colon and the rectum. According to the research, the evidence is not extremely clear but it is thought that the salty foods adversely affect the stomach lining and make it more likely that bacterium H.pylori can affect the tissues of lining. This bacterium is when the major cause of ulcers and stomach cancer something that most of us may want to avoid. Other findings theorize that the salty stomach environment could be altering the structure of the H.pylori and increases its ability to continue to live and do more damage to the stomach.

260218 Keeping the weight off by eating more

260218 Keeping the weight off by eating more

Well here we are, nearly at the end of March, still struggling to keep up with our New Year’s resolution to lose weight. If it is not going too well, perhaps you need to change your plan of attack. Most adults know food volume plays a critical part in controlling hunger pangs. This is because the stretch receptors in the stomach largely control the feelings of satiety.

Therefore if you eat large amounts of healthy foods that are also low calorie in the stomach receptors are going to turn off the hunger sensations. This is something that is not going to happen when you are eating snacks, high fat or fried food. Unless of course you are really eating a bunch of this unhealthy stuff.

Thus, the answer to the question of filling your stomach begins with not filling it with calories.

For example, take two identical twins, each of them has the exact same stomach but with different contents. Twin number one has 400 calories of a great tasting candy bar. Twin number two has 400 calories of a salad on board.

Now we all know, having eaten candy bars, that one candy bar is not going to fill our stomach up. Even though our stomach is not full, we still have eaten 400 calories, which means there is an awful lot of spare space down there waiting to get filled up. Twin number two, the good twin, has a stomach full of salad and the stretch receptors are saying “I am full”.

At this point, which twin would you rather be?

Which one is going to reduce their weight and move forward with their New Year’s resolution of losing useless fat?

The moral to this story is to eat 2 to 3 servings of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other healthy bulky foods at every meal, preferably before the main course shows up on the table.

190218 Blood pressure, daily walking and the connection with being overweight

190218 Blood pressure, daily walking and the connection with being overweight

If you are overweight, then daily walking may not dramatically decrease your blood pressure. The healthy benefits that walking has on the blood vessels of a normal weight person may be lost on the overweight individual.

In general, terms this means that your arteries are not widening and the blood flow is not improved with walking, thus your blood pressure may not change to more optimum numbers.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern conducted a study that analyzed over 35,000 Caucasian men and women. Each person in the study had regular checkups that included measurements of their Body Mass Index (BMI), and readings of their systolic blood pressure each visit. Additionally these participants exercised at each visit so their fitness levels could be assessed. The results may give anyone who is overweight a reason to reassess their situation.

The results were published in the American heart journal and they revealed that a normal weight person had an average of 12 mmHg lower systolic blood pressure than one who was obese. The blood pressure of the fittest was only 6 mmHg lower than for those who were least fit. Still, that wasn’t all they found.

After analyzing the blood pressure, BMI, and fitness data of the participants, they found that physical fitness was an important element in lowering blood pressure in those of a normal weight person. However, it was not as effective of a component in those who were overweight. Interestingly enough, many in this overweight group were physically fit yet their blood pressure was still high.

The take-home message here certainly indicates that diet alone may not help lower your blood pressure. The combination of losing weight, by engaging in regular exercise, and calorie counting will need to be in place before you begin to notice the beneficial effects of exercise on lowering your blood pressure.

220118 Burning off the calories and keeping healthy

220118 Burning off the calories and keeping healthy

Physical activity burns calories. The optimum method of controlling your weight is a combination of good nutrition (see a registered dietitian), and exercise. The question now is what kind of exercise is the most efficient and longest lasting in its effects.

Many people use aerobics to successfully to help control their weight and improve their physical fitness while others use strength training to achieve similar goals.

In each case, physical activity speeds up your metabolism for a few hours afterwards. Of course, how much this materializes depends a great deal on the intensity and duration of the activity. Nonetheless, it happens and at a higher rate than if you did nothing at all.

The best way to keep this higher rate of calorie burning is to strength train. The reason: strength training increases your lean muscle to fat ratio. The higher this ratio is the more your body burns the calories because muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue.

Strive to strength train 2-4 times a week for a minimum of thirty to fifty minutes at a time. Do your large muscle groups such as the chest, shoulders, legs, and back for 3-5 sets of 8 to twelve repetitions for each exercise. On the off days from strength training, do your aerobic training for fifteen to forty minutes per session.

No matter which method you choose, consult with your doctor beforehand, keep the intensity up, and stick with it.

 

051217 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell, part 2

051217 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell, part 2

Breakfast
Not long ago I was asked to review the science on the benefits of breakfast for a cereal company. Although it is a common truism that “breakfast is good for you” I wanted to know if it remains good advice. So I plunged into 30+ research papers to see what was agreed about the first meal of the day. Here is what I learned.

A large Australian study from last year showed that breakfast was critical for school performance, boosting both literacy and numeracy skills, independent of the socio-economic group. This backed up a review of the previous 50 years of studies in school children. There is no doubt that breakfast is necessary to help you to learn new stuff. Usually not difficult with primary school kids because they wake up hungry. It is the upper high school kids we need to convince.

Breakfast habits changing
Twenty years ago just about every young kid ate breakfast, with only some older teenagers giving it a miss, rising to 15% of 19-24 year olds being breakfast skippers. Now we have nearly 1 in 4 of upper high school students missing breakfast, in Australia at least.

Two decades ago, over three quarters of adults ate breakfast. Now barely 6 out of 10 adults regularly eat breakfast, women being better than the menfolk. Why the decline? The most common excuse is “not enough time”, in other words not enough time to pour out cereal into a bowl, add milk and consume (Gee, that’s gotta take 6 whole minutes) or plonk two slices of bread into the toaster, shave/brush hair/pack lunch while you wait, then add peanut butter. Let’s see, that’s 7.5 minutes.

But then my concept of time and food differs to most people, a fact I accept and have resigned myself to, especially since the day I saw a line of cars outside the drive-thru section of a famous takeaway at 8 am on a school day.

What if you don’t fancy breakfast?
Don’t know how you can do it, frankly. Me? I can’t do without breakfast. No breakfast and I can’t do up shirt buttons, I squeeze Heel Balm onto my toothbrush and drive into oncoming traffic. I have a court order to eat breakfast by 7.30 am or face serving jail time.

You, of course, may be able to get away with it. Can I suggest that you at least have a banana, a yogurt or one of those breakfast drinks as you leave the house? With some glucose racing through your arteries you will make better decisions. Then, when you do feel hungry, eat smart, like choose a sandwich, fruit or a smoothie and not scarf some eye-level, salty, extruded snack from the vending machine. Just the term “extruded snack” should put you off.

What does it all mean?
It means what it has always meaned. Clever people eat breakfast and breakfast eating makes you clever. The evidence is pretty over-whelming.

There are plenty of choices to kick-start the day – breakfast cereals or muesli with milk, topped with nuts or a banana (my choice), wholegrain toast with peanut butter, poached eggs and mushrooms on toast, yogurt and canned fruit and you can think of more. If you buy your breakfast look beyond the cappuccino and croissant because you are worth a lot more than that. A lot more.

Selected references:

  • O’Dea JA, Mugridge AC. Nutritional quality of breakfast and physical activity independently predict the literacy and numeracy scores of children after adjusting for socioeconomic status. Health Education Research 2012; 27 (6): 975-985
    • Hoyland A, Dye L, Lawton CL. A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutrition Research Reviews 2009; 22: 220-243
    • Astbury NM, Taylor MA, Macdonald IA. Breakfast consumption affects appetite, energy intake, and the metabolic and endocrine responses to foods consumed later in the day in male habitual breakfast eaters. The Journal of Nutrition 2011; 141: 1381-1389

281117 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell, part 1

281117 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell

I have communicated with and known Glenn for over 6 years now. He offers excellent advice and recommendations for healthy eating in an easily understood and  simple to follow manner. Danny M. O’Dell

Breakfast
Not long ago I was asked to review the science on the benefits of breakfast for a cereal company. Although it is a common truism that “breakfast is good for you” I wanted to know if it remains good advice. So I plunged into 30+ research papers to see what was agreed about the first meal of the day. Here is what I learned.

Leaner
Breakfast eaters are less likely to be chubby. And it doesn’t matter if you are at primary school, university or calling the shots from head office. That might be all you need to know to reach for the cereal bowl. So, why are breakfasters likely to be leaner? You can probably take a good logical guess at that yourself.

Breakfast eaters are more likely to be active and eat a decent diet for the rest of the day. No surprise there. If you are fit, you get more hungry and can’t bypass breakfast. It may also be that eating soon after arising helps regulate your appetite control hormones, normalise your blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity. There is some evidence that a long fast leads to higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that may stimulate hunger and overeating.

Lifelong benefits
Breakfast doesn’t just pay dividends in the morning; it seems to give a good return on investment at the back end of life too. Breakfast skippers have a higher total cholesterol, higher LDL cholesterol (the evil one), an extra 5 cm (2 inches) of belt leather needed and, in one US study, a 21% greater risk of type 2 diabetes.

Smarter
It seems that with breakfast, you are more likely to meet your nutrient needs for the day. This may be because most breakfast choices are nutritious. Many breakfast cereals are fortified with nutrients like iron and folate. Milk or yogurt adds calcium and riboflavin. Add fruit or nuts and there is vitamin C, potassium, fibre, and on it goes. Miss breakfast and those two biscuits with coffee at morning tea don’t exactly make up the loss.

 

211117 Avoid Breakfast Mistakes

211117 Avoid Breakfast Mistakes

You likely know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your athletes need fuel to perform in the classroom and in their sport. Encourage your athletes to eat breakfast but to avoid commons mistakes .

Not Enough Protein – A bowl of cereal with low fat milk is good, but most people don’t drink all the milk that goes with the cereal and that amounts to eight grams of protein! A hard boiled egg, 100% whole grain toast w/ peanut or almond butter gives extra protein.

Too Little Fiber – Avoid sugary breakfast cereal options! Cereal should have at least FIVE grams of fiber, and always more fiber than sugar.

No Fat – A breakfast with no fat will make you hungry within an hour. Cereal, berries and low fat milk delivers the fat you need.

Too Late in the Day – Eat breakfast within an hour of waking

Not Enough Food – Fruit is good but not enough food for breakfast Your athletes should consume 300-400 calories.

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The science-based contents of the Washington Interscholastic Nutrition Forum (WINForum) Site and Nutrition Navigator, such as text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. WINForum clinics are accredited by the WIAA for coaches credit hours, and promote a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and low fat or fat free dairy.

141117 Are the bear claws you are eating making you as grouchy as a bear?

141117 Are the bear claws you are eating making you as grouchy as a bear?

Researchers at the University of California in San Diego have found a potential link between trans fat consumption and its effects on our behavior.

They found that the fats commonly used in commercial baking and frying operations can make people both aggressive and irritable. Not only are trans fats linked to increased heart disease, they also hinder the ability of omega-3 fats in reducing aggression and irritability our bodies.

Because of this link between the omega 3 fats, aggression and irritability, the researchers felt that eating more trans fats would tend to boost these types of negative behaviors.

Not being content with just feeling this was going to happen, they tested a small group of 945 adults by examining their diets and comparing the diets with a behavioral assessment tool. This group of adults self-reported any feelings of impatience, irritability along with a history of aggression.

The conclusion of the scientists was that the greater the intake of trans fats in these 945 adults, the greater was their aggression and irritability when closely examined against the measures of the behavioral assessment tool.

This was also a significant association when compared with other known aggressive predictive tools frequently used as testing devices.

Another study, conducted at the University of North Carolina, compared the amount of trans fatty acids in the diet and the occurrences of a stroke amongst 87,025 post-menopausal women between the ages of 50 to 79.

They found that those who were eating an average of 6.1 grams a day had a whopping 39% greater risk of having a stroke than those who ate 2.2 grams per day.

It makes sense to look at the labels on the food and eliminate trans fats from your diet. This may be difficult if you like commercially made baked goods from the grocery store or donut shops such as the bear claws and other delights. Moreover, the French fries may contain an unhealthy amount of trans fats. Sometimes life just isn’t fair is it?