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

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

 

004332181-150x150

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.

Circles

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.

Image result for pictures of DGL chewable licoriceImage result for pictures of ginger

 

 

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

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

00386339-150x150

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.

Print

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!

Circles

 

 

 

It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™

What is Your Individualized Carb Number for Weight Loss?

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

j0439292-300x200 

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!

Circles

It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™

What are Functional Foods?

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

spices

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.

Circles

 

 

 

It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™

 

 

 

Good News about Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate Consumption May Be Associated With a Lower Risk for Strokes

00423013-150x150

Obviously, as a believer in eating “real food” (the caveman diet), I feel that good old fashioned dark chocolate is good for you in moderation. Research for some time has suggested that intake of dark chocolate may be associated with a lower risk for stroke and stroke-related mortality.

Results of 2 prospective cohort studies (http://www.aan.com) showed respectively, a 22% reduction in stroke risk for those who had 1 serving of chocolate per week and a 46% reduction in stroke mortality from weekly consumption of flavonoids in 50 g of chocolate vs no consumption. A third study showed no association between chocolate intake and stroke or death.

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. When we consume plant-based foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this “antioxidant” power.

Antioxidants are believed to help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes such as breathing and from environmental contaminants like cigarette smoke. When the body lacks adequate levels of antioxidants, damage from free radicals occur and this leads to increases in LDL (bad cholesterol) oxidation. Oxidized LDL hurts the arteries by forming plaque on their walls.

Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research indicates that flavanols have other positive influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot and lowering cholesterol.

Obviously, the darker the chocolate the better, which naturally has more of the properties that are good for you and less of the added ingredients such as sugar. 70% or higher dark chocolate would appear to be the best.

To enjoy the benefits of dark chocolate without worrying about weight gain – take a dark chocolate candy bar and break it into about 5-6 pieces – enjoying one small piece each day.

Circles

It’s Your Health and Your Choice! ™