“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! ™

 

 

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! ™

What is Your Individualized Carb Number for Weight Loss?

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

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What type of diet should you be on for desired weight loss?  Current research indicates that reducing the total amount of carbohydrates that you take in daily can help not only with weight loss, but also help reduce your risk for future chronic illnesses such as diabetes. If you think of our earliest ancestors, the only carbohydrates they had were fruit, vegetables, raw nuts and occasionally honey.

Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet.  The USDA recommends 130 grams of carb each day for male and female adults, but according to some nutrition researchers, the daily carbohydrate requirements recommended by the USDA can be defined as a high-carb diet. Nutrition researchers Stephen D. Phinney and Jeff S. Volek, authors of “The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living,” explain that many people, especially overweight and diabetic women, as well as those with polycystic ovarian syndrome, benefit from reducing their carbohydrate intake below daily recommendations.

Many credentialed health care professionals that believe in a more holistic approach to pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and weight loss (through diet, exercise, carb counting and other lifestyle changes such as stress reduction) may recommend carbohydrate intakes below 130 grams a day depending on the patient. According to research, low-carb diets can help stabilize blood sugar levels and facilitate weight loss. Integrated Optimal Health’s AADE Accredited Diabetes Center can help you determine if you are a good candidate for this type of supervised meal plan on its own, or in addition to your diabetes medications as per your MD.

A typical low-carb diet would include some form of animal protein at each meal with non-starchy vegetables and fat from sources such as olive oil, avocado and nuts. Participants usually are instructed to avoid or restrict grains, sugars and legumes, and to reduce starchy vegetables and fruits to keep their carb count within the established target range. A typical day may include a cheese and broccoli omelet for breakfast with a small tangerine, a chicken salad with a low-carb salad dressing for lunch, grilled salmon with non-starchy vegetables stir-fried in coconut oil for dinner, and almonds, walnuts and olives as snacks. Worst, better, best for carb would be bready processed carb (worst), fruits and starchy vegetables (better) and non-starchy vegetables (best) respectively.

So what is Your Right Carb Number for Weight Loss? At Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight Loss we assess each person’s carbohydrate need individually, depending on the need for blood sugar control and/or weight loss.  Total daily carbohydrate intake needs can range 33-50% of the total daily calories assessed for weight loss. It works! We can figure your carb number for weight loss without exercise through an individual appointment. Then we provide exercise programs and stress reduction programs to get you fit and strong! One step at a time!

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! Don’t forget our very popular All-In-One Boot Camp!  Call 603-770-4856 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! ™

What are Functional Foods?

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

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Functional Foods are foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition. Oatmeal is a familiar example of a functional food because it naturally contains soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol levels. Some foods are modified to have health benefits. An example is orange juice that’s been fortified with calcium for bone health.

Spices have been used for centuries, not only to give food flavor, but also for their health benefits. Generally, the leaf of a plant used in cooking is referred to as an herb, and any other part of the plant, often dried, as a spice. National nutrition guidelines stress the importance of consuming a wide variety of food. Herbs and spices naturally fit within such programs.  Turmeric is an example of a functional food because research shows it is naturally anti-inflammatory and a slight blood thinner.

Another example of a functional food is chocolate. Chocolate contains cocoa butter, flavonoids, carbohydrates and vitamins. Flavonoids are naturally-occurring compounds found in plant-based foods that offer certain health benefits. They are part of the polyphenol group (chemicals found in plants.) There are more than 4,000 flavonoid compounds which are found in a wide variety of foods and beverages, such as cranberries, apples, peanuts, chocolate, onions, tea and red wine. They help protect plants by shielding them from environmental toxins and helping repair damage.

Obviously, foods such as twinkies, diet and regular sodas, processed carbs such as pies, cakes and cookies, would not be considered functional foods.

Where can you find functional foods?  Whatever was meant to sustain us or benefit us was put on this earth to begin with.   Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, raw nuts,  spices and herbs.

So remember the best bet to help promote good overall health is “healthy choices, healthy life,” which would include increasing the amount of “real foods” or functional foods into your diet and cut down on processed food especially processed carbs.

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It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™

 

 

 

Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your life…

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

You can’t go back and start over…but you can start from here and have a better future!

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March 20, 2011 by admin

One of the things I have heard, time and time again from my clients over the years, is that they often feel that it is too late for them to make changes. I tell them “you can’t go back and start over…but you can start from here and have a better future.”

I have had clients use the excuse not to stop smoking because “they have smoked for too many years.” They have heard the horror stories about a friend who quit after 20+ years of smoking and still got lung cancer. Sure that happens to some, but many more who quit for good never go on to develop lung cancer. Research shows that within 14 years after stopping cigarettes you have the same risk of developing cancer as someone who has never smoked.

The same holds true for Diabetes Type 2. I have had many a client feel that “it is too late” to make diet and lifestyle changes as they feel they already have Diabetes and they have heard it is a progressive disease. They rely ONLY on medications or insulin to keep their blood sugars down.

The main thing to remember is that even if you are on medications or insulin to help control blood sugars, diet and lifestyle changes, such as exercise, are also important to help you prevent complications down the road. It does not have to be so strict that you feel you do not have a life. Instead, just some basic changes in diet like cutting down on total daily carbohydrate intake and starting a walking or swimming program that has been OK’d by your doctor can make a huge difference in the outcome of your disease.

If you try to make all your changes at once it could be very overwhelming. How about just making one or a few of the following changes:

  1. Just start out by cutting all your carbs in half. 1/2 banana instead of whole, 1/2 English muffin instead of whole. You can lose a pound of weight a week just by cutting your carbs in half and also help bring your blood sugars down.
  2. Keep a food  diary.
  3. Set a realistic weight goal and weigh yourself once a week on the same day and time.
  4. Talk with your doctor and think about what type of exercise program you realistically can  do.
  5. Join a weight loss or diabetes support group.

“Positive begets positive” and with each positive thing you do for yourself, you will want to do more positives not negatives. You CAN start from here and have a better future.

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It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™

 

It Can Take Up to Year to See Significant Improvement with Life Style Changes for Type 2 Diabetes

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

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It can take up to a year to see a significant improvement after making diet & lifestyle changes for Diabetes Type 2!

Research shows that once a person with Diabetes Type 2 starts exercising, reduces their carbohydrate intake and loses some weight, it can take up to a year to see a significant difference in blood sugar levels! No wonder, so many people get discouraged after a few months of making the needed changes with no results!

The good news is that it works for many if you hang in there! I have had clients reduce or stop some of their diabetes medications once they cut down on the carbohydrates, practiced portion control, started exercising and lost weight. Everyone is different, but you will not know unless you try.

In any case, you can use a combination of diabetes medications, diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and insulin, if needed, to prevent or delay complications from Diabetes. It is not the fact that you have been labeled a Diabetic that is going to get you, it’s if you don’t keep those blood sugars down.

So hang in there! If you have abused your body for years, you are not going to be able to fix the damage overnight.

It is all inter-related. Today could be the first day of the rest of your life! Call “Choice Center for Diabetes and Weight Loss”  @ 603-770-4856/1-888-444-1204/207-783-6800 or on-line www.choicecenterfordiabetes.com.

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It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™