Archive for the tag - diabetes

Study: Benefits of Eating Slowly.

In 2011, Joey Chestnut won the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest by eating some 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

With today’s fast-paced world and our busy schedules, we don’t always make time to really enjoy and savor our meals. In many cases, we’re eating in the car, between meetings or during a quick, 15-minute break from work.

The impact of rushed meals on our health isn’t good. Many studies have linked eating quickly to overeating and obesity.

One reason for this is pretty straightforward: There’s a lag between our stomach being full and our brain feeling full. During that lag, we often continue to eat – not realizing that we’re already full. The faster you eat, the more calories you can consume during that lag.

Now, in a study presented at the joint International Congress of Endocrinology and European Congress of Endocrinology, researchers have identified eating speed as a risk factor for type II diabetes. According to the study, fast eaters are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from type II diabetes than slow eaters – even after adjusting for other risk factors (like family history, education, exercise, body mass index, waist circumference, cigarette smoking and plasma triglyceride levels).

Though type II diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors, some 285 million people (and counting) suffer from the condition world-wide. As type II diabetes approaches pandemic levels, it’s important to understand all the risk factors – including, now, the speed at which we eat.

Moreover, from a spiritual perspective, I think it’s important to take time to enjoy your meal. Though I’m often guilty of wolfing down my food, eating slowly makes it easier to be thankful for the food you’re consuming. And such feelings of gratitude and awareness tend to go a long way.

Is Brown Rice Healthier Than White Rice?

In recent years, rice consumption has dramatically increased in the United States. While the vast majority of the rice we eat is white, are there health benefits of switching to brown rice?

First things first, brown rice is the whole grain with just the outer husk removed through a milling process. White rice, on the other hand, is brown rice that is heavily milled to take away the bran and much of the germ.

The germ contains essential oils which otherwise cause brown rice to go bad after 6 – 8 months. Because this germ is removed in white rice, it can last up to 10 years before spoiling. It is the longer shelf life of white rice has made it extremely popular. Unfortunately, the heavy milling process also removes the rice’s fiber, vitamins and nutrients.

When comparing white rice to brown, consider the follow statistics. Brown rice has:

  • About 7x more fiber
  • Fewer carbs
  • A lower glycemic index (doesn’t result in blood sugar spikes)
  • 2.5x more iron
  • 3x more vitamin B3
  • 4x more vitamin B1
  • 4x more magnesium
  • 10x more vitamin B6
  • Fewer calories

White rice has also been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes. According to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, eating two or more servings of brown rice weekly lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Eating five or more servings of white rice weekly increases that risk. In fact, researchers concluded that replacing 50 grams of white rice daily with brown rice would lower the overall type 2 diabetes risk in an individual by 16%.

The bottom line: If rice is part of your diet, brown rice is a much healthier option. Despite its shorter shelf life, it offers a number of benefits over the more refined alternative.

Paula Deen’s Diabetes Diagnosis: A Teachable Moment?

Paula Deen: I have diabetes, y'all!

When Paula Deen disclosed her diabetes diagnosis, the world didn’t seem too surprised. Deen is the queen of deep frying foods and famous for her decadent desserts and use of butter. In one popular YouTube video, Deen even deep fries a cheesecake. Indeed, Deen’s diet seems like a recipe for health issues and complications.

While Deen isn’t getting much sympathy from the blogosphere, it seems to me that we can use this diagnosis as a teachable moment – and dispel some of the common myths about type 2 diabetes.

For one, not all overweight or obese people develop type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), “Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role.” Weight isn’t the only risk factor and most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes. And, indeed, many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight.

Second, sugar isn’t necessarily to blame. While Deen’s cakes and dishes contain no shortage of confections, that notion that sugar causes diabetes is a common myth. The ADA states, “type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories, whether from sugar or from fat, can contribute to weight gain.” Having said that, Deen’s unhealthy diet may have played a role – but other factors are almost certainly involved.

Third, people with diabetes can still eat sweets and desserts. Deen’s diagnosis doesn’t mean that she can no longer eat her own recipes. When consumed as part of a healthy meal plan and when combined with exercise, desserts and sweets aren’t entirely off limits. Moderation is key.

I’m not defending Deen and her diet of deep-fried lasagna, Krispy Kreme burgers and deep-fried stuffing on a stick; she’s responsible the unhealthy recipes that have become her hallmark. But I hope that the visibility surrounding Deen’s diagnosis can be used as teachable moment to learn more about a serious disease that affects 25.8 million Americans.

Increases in Muscle Mass May Lower Diabetes Risk.

Muscles aren't just about looking sexy - they're good for you, too.

Admittedly, many people seek to add muscle mass for superficial reasons. But as it turns out, bulking up is about much more than just looking “good.”

Increasing muscle mass has a number of benefits – not the least of which is a huge boost to your metabolism. Adding muscle burns more calories; it’s one of the most effective ways to create a calorie deficit when it come to weight loss. Muscles also make you stronger (duh!), so it can improve your performance in any number of activities ranging from the mundane and ordinary (like housework or heavy lifting) to sports and competitions.

But a new study, soon to be published in the September issue of of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that increases in muscle mass may be linked to decreases in diabetes risk. The study looked at data from 13,644 adults and concluded that a 10% increase in participants’ skeletal muscle index resulted in a 11% decrease in insulin resistance and a 12% decrease in pre-diabetes.

Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, lead researcher, noted:

Our findings suggest that beyond focusing on losing weight to improve metabolic health, there may be a role for maintaining fitness and building muscle mass. This is a welcome message for many overweight patients who experience difficulty in achieving weight loss, as any effort to get moving and keep fit should be seen as laudable and contributing to metabolic change.

While the finds are important for all of us, they’re especially important for people with pre-diabetes who have difficulty releasing extra body weight. Yes, losing weight does reduce the risk for diabetes – but, according to the research, so does adding muscle.

The Thousand Dollar Menu: Why Fast Food Isn’t Really Cheap.

Though it’s possible to shop for and consume healthy foods on a budget, it’s certainly something of a challenge. When I purchase nourishing ingredients and make my own meals, for example, the price tag is generally much higher than if I had stopped at McDonald’s for a Big Mac. Or some crispy strips at KFC. Or some Chinese food take-out.

Fast food is cheap. And when faced with budgetary constraints, it might seem like a financially sound option for individuals and families alike. But not so fast. It turns out that fast food has a secret hidden cost that can total thousands of dollars per individual per year.

The problem is that there is a clear link between fast food and obesity. Multiple studies have been done on the subject, including one from the University of Michigan that concluded:

Participants who consumed fast food two or more times a week gained approximately 10 more pounds and had twice as great increase in insulin resistance in the 15-year period than participants who consumed fast food less than once per week.

There is a clear and strong link between fast food and obesity. In a separate 2009 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the authors found that even the proximity to a fast food restaurant “significantly increased the risk of obesity.”

Since eating fast food contributes in a very real way to obesity, the financial impact of the extra weight must be taken into account. Researchers at George Washington University used a series of measures including indirect costs, lost productivity, and direct costs, such as obesity-related medical expenditures, to estimate the price tag of obesity for men and women. The results were shocking:

The authors concluded that the individual cost of being obese is $4,879 and $2,646 for women and men respectively, and adding the value of lost life to these annual costs produces even more dramatic results: $8,365 and $6,518 annually for women and men, respectively.

If eating fast food contributes to obesity (we know it does), then maybe the dollar menu isn’t so cheap after all. Fast food prices don’t reflect the secret hidden cost that you’ll undoubtedly pay through the impact on your health.

Is the Soft Drink Industry the Next Big Tobacco?

A shocking 7% of America's calories come from soda and sugary drinks.

In a study that falls into the “no shit, Sherlock” category, researchers found that drinking one or two sugary beverages a day – like soda, iced tea, sweetened fruit drinks, and vitamin water – leads to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome (including high blood pressure, large waist size, etc.).

The study, based on a group of more than 300,000 individuals, concluded that the elevated risk amounted to 26% for type 2 diabetes and 20% for metabolic syndrome.

According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 18 million people have diabetes; mostly type 2. Beyond the 72,500 lives that diabetes claims annually, it costs the United States $174 billion each year. Hurricane Katrina, by comparison, killed 1,836 people and cost $150 billion.

So how does drinking sugary drinks lead to type 2 diabetes? Experts say that the link occurs from the weight gain that sugary beverages help facilitate. In addition, Web MD states:

The sugar-sweetened drinks can also raise blood sugar and insulin concentrations quickly, in turn leading to insulin resistance and and higher risk of diabetes, according to the researchers.

Yet another reason to justify soda being on my 6 absolute worst foods to eat list. And, yet another reason for soda and vitamin water drinkers to kick their habit; eliminating just one sugary beverage is one small way to make a huge change in the quality of your life.

It all begs the question: Is the soft drink industry the next big tobacco?

How to Overcome Sugar Addiction.

Sugar is serious business. And many of us are addicted to the sweet stuff – or at the very least, getting way too much of it.

According to the USDA, Americans get more than twice the recommend amount of added sugar daily. What’s the big deal? Excessive sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, metabolic disorders (a precursor to diabetes) and even some forms of cancer. In other words, our sugar addiction could kill us.

And from a purely fitness standpoint, lots of sugar translates into extra body fat. A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down – but it will take 4 minutes of treadmill running to work it off!

What can you do to kick your sugar habit?

  1. Get your sugar where it occurs naturally – from fruits, dairy and vegetables.
  2. Avoid the obvious stuff like soft drinks, cakes, cookies, pies, fruit punch and candy.
  3. When you buy food, check the label. In the list of ingredients, look for any of these as they’re all forms of sugar in a clever disguise: Brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, syrup or table sugar.

The easiest and most effective way to cut some sugar from your diet is to simply replace any fruit or soda beverages with water. If you can replace just two sugary beverages with water, you’ll make an annual caloric savings equivalent to 22 pounds of body fat!