“Fat” is not a bad word when it comes to diet and nutrition.

By Marie Veselsky, RD, LD, CDE, BC-ADM

 

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Your body must have “fat” the healthy kind, for many processes and to maintain overall good health. Good fats are anti-inflammatory and most disease processes start with inflammation.

Good fats are a “functional food.” What are functional foods? Functional foods are foods that also provide some health benefit. Whatever was meant to sustain us or benefit us was put on this earth to begin with. So examples of functional foods would be herbs, spices, fresh fruits, vegetables and yes, “fats,” such as meats and plant based fats such as raw nuts, avocado and coconut.

Fat is a macronutrient necessary for many body functions such as maintaining healthy skin and hair and yes…even a healthy brain and heart. Unfortunately, “fat” has been made the villain for years by many health care professionals.

Healthy fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are found primarily in plant foods – nuts and nut butters, seeds, avocados and vegetable oils as well as fish. These fats are good for your heart; they lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (the good cholesterol). Diets high in Omega fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory properties that help ward off disease.

Even “saturated fat” has been unfairly vilified. Saturated fat which is found naturally in animal products is actually part of a healthy diet. It is when you over do the saturated fat that it becomes a problem. As a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), I feel that the epidemic of obesity and especially Diabetes Type 2, is actually linked to eating way too much carbohydrate (processed carb) and avoiding fats of all types. I can’t even count the number of times I have had clients say “I can’t eat nuts or eggs they are high in fat!” Some fat is a very important part of a diabetic diet to help control blood sugars as well as any weight loss diet. You actually need some fat “to stick to your ribs” to help slow down the absorption of glucose. This allows you to go longer without feeling hungry and thus you avoid overeating.

Trans-fat is truly the “bad” fat and has been linked to a higher risk of serious chronic illness. This fat increases LDL cholesterol which contributes to small-particle plaque formation in the arteries and results in occlusion that restricts blood flow to the heart, brain and other organs. Industrially produced trans fats found in processed foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (the hydrogenation process turns the oils from liquid to solid) is linked with abnormal cholesterol levels and a higher risk of heart disease and is considered the unhealthiest type of fat. A company can claim something is trans-fat free if it is less than a certain percentage per serving, but if it says the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list, it has trans-fats in it. There really is truly no safe intake of trans-fats.

Thus, when it comes to making a choice for fats to combine with your “healthy carbs” (fruits, vegetables) there is always a 1) worst 2) better 3) best. Worst would be trans-fats and should be avoided. Better would be saturated fat and should be used in moderation. BEST would be the good fats! Sources of healthy fat or good fats are: olive oil, nuts, avocado, fish (salmon, herring, and trout) walnuts, flaxseed (ground) and flaxseed oil.

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It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™

 

 

Always Weigh the Risk with the Benefit of Any Drug You Take!

Use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or what many refer to as heartburn/acid reflux drugs may be linked to long-term kidney damage, according to a study published online January 11 in JAMA…and this study suggests that up to 70% of these prescriptions are without indication and that 25% of long-term PPI users could discontinue therapy without developing symptoms.  As a Registered Dietitian, I am always going to recommend a more holistic approach to GI issues such as diet and lifestyle changes. If you need a drug you need a drug, but you should always be on the least amount of meds possible.

While study can't prove cause-and-effect, increasing damage seen as dose rises

While this study can’t prove cause-and-effect, increasing damage is seen as dose rises. Researchers found that PPI users were more likely to have health issues, such as obesity and hypertension. Use of the medications was associated with an increased risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) over 10 years. The researchers also compared patients using the medications once a day with those who used them twice a day. They found that twice-daily use was associated with a 46% increased risk of CKD, versus a 15% increased risk in those taking on daily dose.

Please work with your doctor on any changes of medications that you would like to make. There are some people who may need these drugs to help prevent severe damage to their esophagus.

After talking to your doctor about this and the decision is to wean off the PPI what can you take?

DGL Licorice chewable form is a good natural alternative, especially to help you wean off the PPI.   You can buy it in most health food stores, and unless you have significantly high blood pressure, taking other medications that may interact with it, or have a specific intolerance to licorice itself, it is considered relatively safe in the amounts you would be taking. Licorice helps to soothe irritated mucous membranes and stimulates mucus secretion to coat the stomach wall.  Always check with your MD and your Registered Dietitian to investigate any possible interaction between licorice and any medication you may be on.  A good brand would be chewable, gluten free, and with no added or artificial sugars. In addition, Ginger is a good spice that will help with stomach upset.

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Diet & Exercise are Most Effective for Treating Pre-Diabetes!

By Marie Veselsky, RD, LD, CDE, BC-ADM

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Diet and exercise are most effective for preventing pre-diabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes. A major study in 2002 found that the combination of diet and exercise reduced the odds of pre-diabetes becoming diabetes by 58%, compared with 31% among those using the common diabetes drug metformin.

Last year, sales of diabetes drugs reached $23 billion, according to the data from IMS Health, a drug market research firm. That was more than the combined revenue of the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. But from 2004 to 2013, none of the 30 new diabetes drugs that came on the market were proven to improve key outcomes, such as reducing heart attacks or strokes, blindness and other complications of the disease, per an investigation by MedPage Today and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Diet, especially carbohydrate reduction, exercise, weight loss and lifestyle changes should always be used as the first line of defense for elevated blood sugars associated with insulin resistance and being overweight for your height. If your doctor feels you need a diabetes medication, then diet, exercise and weight loss should always be used in conjunction with the medication.

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Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight Loss an AADE Accredited Diabetes Self-Management Training Program knows how powerful nutrition therapy can be for managing obesity, diabetes and lowering the risk of associated long-term complications. Since pre-diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels caused by impaired insulin sensitivity, often related to being overweight for height, it seems that controlling dietary carbohydrates, the main nutrient that directly influences blood sugars, would be a logical dietary approach.

At Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight Loss we are credentialed health care providers practicing a more holistic approach to diabetes, weight loss and other chronic illnesses. We provide individual appointments and group programs to help you reach your optimal health.  Most Insurances accepted.

Call to make an appointment to get your individualized carb amount for weight loss and blood sugar control! And don’t forget our very popular All-In-One Boot Camp!  Call 770-4856 in NH and 207-783-6800 in Maine. Let today be the first day of the rest of your life! You can’t go back and start over, but you can start from here and have a better future!

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It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™