Weight Gain & Heart Disease Courtesy of Big Food
Most processed food, like cereal, is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). When HFCS was first introduced about 30 years ago, we consumed about 1 pound per person per year. Today we take in almost 60 times that amount in drinks, hamburgers and chicken, cookies and cakes, breads and crackers, yogurt and granola bars, pizza and fast foods.
When we digest glucose, our body increases a hormone controlling appetite and fat storage called leptin, and decreases the hormone causing hunger pangs known as ghrelin. But with HFCS the opposite happens so we are left feeling not quite satisfied and hungry soon after eating. The University of Minnesota also found a diet high in fructose elevates triglyceride levels, long associated with obesity and heart disease.
If you recall the movie Supersize Me, the actor consumed nothing but fast food for 1 month and was tested medically before and after. Afterward he’d gained considerable weight, his triglycerides were high and there were signs of liver damage. The movie speculated that it was the grease from the fast food causing these, but it turns out it was the high fructose corn syrup in all the Supersized soft drinks that was the culprit.
Just say no to Supersizeing, or any size serving when it comes to high fructose corn syrup. Here’s one other word of caution, manufacturers are aware that consumers are trying to avoid HFCS and as a result, are now just labeling it as “fructose” in the ingredients, even going so far as to claim that the product contains NO high fructose corn syrup, when in fact it does. Keeping processed foods to a minimum, or having none at all, is your best bet.
Get your fructose from a piece of actual fruit.
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Obesity in the U.S.
Every time I travel to the US I am appalled at the lack of healthy food and healthy habits. No wonder obesity is predicted to affect 42% of the US population by 2030. That’s obesity, folks, that’s not just overweight. In the cities I’ve been to, people rarely walk and greasy, salty, sugary food is everywhere. Portion sizes are enormous and consequently so are the waistlines.
Here are a few tips to maintain your healthy habits through your next vacation:
- Try to do a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes every day – find a shopping mall, go to a theme park, park the car and see the sights on foot
- Always leave something on your plate – most meals contain adequate calories to feed one person for a few days
- Stock up at the nearest grocery store or market on fresh fruit, baby carrots, celery sticks, raw nuts and seeds and carry healthy snacks with you so you aren’t tempted to overeat the restaurant food
- Stay hydrated – airplanes are very dehydrating. Drink lots of water before, during and after your flight to avoid vacation constipation and blood clots.
- Do seated calf raises while flying, especially long flights to keep the circulation moving through your calves and prevent blood clots.
- Stock up on vitamin C and echinacea before, during and after your trip to avoid picking up the multitude of germs on the plane.
Lack of Sleep and Obesity
Children who get relatively little sleep each night may be at increased risk of becoming overweight by early adolescence, a published study suggests.
Researchers found that among 785 U.S. children followed since birth, the risk of becoming overweight by sixth grade was related to how much sleep the children got in third grade.
The findings support the theory that sleep, through effects on specific hormones and metabolism, may directly affect weight, according to the researchers.
For example, research suggests that a lack of sleep may lower levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite.
Similar research has shown a correlation with insufficient sleep and obesity in adults.
by Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc, ND
There are at least 1500 scientific articles on MSG. In rats, there is overwhelming evidence of brain damage, retinal damage, hypothalamus damage, induced obesity and diabetes. Just two doses of MSG during the second half of pregnancy damage the developmental process, appetite control and various hormones in the offspring of rats. MSG consumption is used to induce obesity in animals!
Incidentally, monkeys are at least as sensitive to MSG damage as are rats. Personally, I love good Chinese food (not the greasy, MSG crap). If it’s well prepared I think it’s healthy – lots of dark green leafy vegetables and protein. Stay clear of the MSG and if you having rice make it only a very small serving and enjoy!
A preliminary study found that being age 55 or older, having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30, and having a family history of diabetes predicted a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes over five years, compared with those who were under 55 with a BMI less than 25 and no family history of diabetes. While you can’t change your age or family history, you can lose weight and remove that third risk factor. Naturopathic doctors have a number of tools to help with weight loss.
Source: Bays H, et al “Adiposity, age, and family history as a simplified prediction of future diabetes mellitus from the SHIELD study” OBESITY 2011; Abstract 810-P.
Insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1, and insulin-like growth factor 2 signaling through the insulin receptor and the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor can initiate tumor development, accounting to some extent for the link between diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Keeping blood sugar levels steady is a vital part of cancer prevention.
Source: Endocrine Practice. 2010;16(5):864-873
Children who consistently get 9 to 10 hours of sleep on both weekdays and weekends have the healthiest metabolic profile (less risk of obesity, less inflammation, better cholesterol levels).
Source: Spruyt K et al. Pediatrics 2011; 127:e345-52
Overweight and obese individuals with Type 2 diabetes who participated in an intensive 4-year lifestyle intervention program that increased their fitness and physical activity not only lost weight but also experienced an improvement in their glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). Researchers randomly assigned 3,942 adults to a control group or to the intensive lifestyle intervention group, which included prescribed restricted caloric intake, 175 minutes weekly of physical activity, and 3 sessions each year with counselors through the entire 4-year period.
Source: Obesity 2010: 28th Annual Scientific Meeting of The Obesity Society. [Presentation title: 4-Year Effects of a Lifestyle Intervention on Change in Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: Results From the Look AHEAD Trial. Abstract 70-OR]
In patients who are obese, a low glycemic diet along with a supervised 12-week aerobic exercise regimen reduces morning hunger and increases satiety throughout the day, according to a study.
Source: Obesity 2010: 28th Annual Scientific Meeting of The Obesity Society. [Presentation title: Exercise Combined With a Low Glycemic Diet Enhances GLP-1 Regulation of Appetite in Obese Adults. Abstract 72-OR]
The makers of high fructose corn syrup are hoping to change their product’s image and get people consuming it again by changing the name from high fructose corn syrup to corn sugar. The runner-up names were corn nectar and corn sweetener. Watch for the new name for the “quick-route-to-heart-disease-obesity-and-diabetes” on a label near you. Hmm, I wonder if they would consider my name suggestion?