Posts Tagged 'diabetes'

Got Bones?

Recent headlines have reported a correlation between drugs commonly prescribed for osteoporotic patients and certain types of fractures. A few years ago, the revelation that ostoenecrosis (dying bone) of the jaw was correlated with these same types of drugs. Does it seem like these treatments are missing something, chemically altering our bodies’ processes and influencing specific cell behavior for a “cure” to what we perceive as a disease process? Maybe that disease is a symptom of a broader and less easily defined set of malfunctions. To drive any one cellular process to achieve a singular end result could throw a tightly integrated system, like the human body, into a chain reaction with far too many subtle (and not so subtle) effects to ever hope to predict, control or react to. We assume that people lose bone mass naturally and that it is a direct effect of aging. That is probably true to an extent. However, what is often overlooked is the years of abuse our bodies take and the nutritional torture that our modern diet has inflicted on various systems of the body. It is common knowledge that a poor diet can lead to type 2 diabetes, effect heart health, and lead to various cancers, and those are only the pathological processes. The subclinical manifestations of a poor lifestyle can weaken every system in the body as well as create problems that may not be realized for decades when gross pathology arises. By then, rendering the true causes can be lost in the mud of many seemingly unrelated symptoms.

On the topic of osteoporosis, it is known that certain types of diets and particular processed food products have the effect of demineralizing bone, making it weaker. We know that bone is built in response to stress… exercise, movement, creating small stress on the bone signals the body to build more. So it seems that as we become more sedentary we will not build new bone and in fact the body will resorb bone when it isn’t being used. It’s a use it or lose it situation. So maybe as we age we naturally stop doing so many weight bearing activities and thus lose some bone mass, but it’s the excessively sedentary lifestyle that can lead to the amount of loss that seems to require immediate action. We take a chemical that changes the body’s natural process in order to build bone but at the expense of a number of other interrelated systems. This does not seem logical. Maintaining an active lifestyle with moderate weight bearing exercise along with eating a diet heavy in whole, natural, raw foods with very few processed nutrient devoid products would not only allow the natural process of bone maintenance to take place but also reap innumerable other benefits to the person. Bone health is just another attempt to micromanage our health from a reactionary, outside-in approach that simply leads to more dysfunction down the line. The solution is really to back up, look to our daily habits and lifestyle, and proactively build lasting natural health from within. This in turn, will be expressed in a healthy vital life outside.

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Food is not Medicine

Or is it?  The article does not address the benefits of whole foods.  However, it is good to see this subject matter becoming more mainstream.

Don’t be misled by these food label tricks.

Diabetes… what the?

Managing and living with diabetes is not easy.  One must monitor their dietary intake much closer than the average person.  Adjusting to a “diabetic safe” diet is quite a shock to most people, but the real shocking thing is that a diabetic safe diet is really a rather simple and healthy diet that is not far off a recommended eating plan.

Diabetes is not a genetic disease or something that just happens.  It is a disease caused by poor nutrition.  There is no magic pill or potion, although some substances have been known to support the body in healing itself.  The answer lies in nutrition both in treatment and prevention.

High sugar and processed fats predominate in the SAD (Standard American Diet).   This diet has a devastating effect on our insulin and leptin sensitivity, our hormone balance, and our physiologic stress (and thus inflammation) levels.  Diabetes seems to be a disease of miscommunication between brain and liver and fat cells.  The communicatory substances in play are insulin and leptin. We know that insulins’ role is to reduce blood sugar by shuttling sugar to the liver, and if you lose the ability to handle the glucose you intake, insulin resistance followes. Leptin is relatively unknown to most people but it has far ranging communication between the brain and the liver and individual fat cells. Leptin is responsible for telling your brain when you’re full and how much stored “fat energy” you have available.  Errors in leptin signaling would therefore lead to calorie over consumption, dangerous spikes in insulin, excessive fat storage, and lots of global inflammation.  The answer to this specific issue of diabetes seems to stem from how we effectively keep up communication in our bodies and stay properly sensitized to leptin and thus insulin.  This proper signaling is protected by dietary intake of good healthy fats, whole raw vegetables and an absence of simple processed foods.

Preventing, managing, and treating diabetes is as easy as making healthy choices in our diets, removing processed foods and consuming more whole, raw, live foods.  Lean animal proteins and fats help to balance our macronutrient intake in a hormonally functional way.  Generally, eating this way tends to eliminate much of the food choices that have led to the epidemics of obesity and diabetes.  Eating whole, fresh and live with lean animal proteins means that there is automatically an absence of processed foods (fast foods, microwave dinners, sandwich meats, etc), excessive sugars (soda, sweets, high fructose corn syrup) and allergenic grains (wheat, barley, oats, etc).  Consuming many simple sugars from processed products means eating unnatural quantities of rapidly absorbing sugars which puts a strain on our hormonal balance affecting insulin sensitivity, fat storage, stress hormone production, brain chemistry, and our digestive capacity.

Preventing diabetes is really not the issue we have to focus on, rather it is returning to a healthy lifestyle consisting of raw whole foods, good choices in lean animal protein, exercise, sunlight and good mental hygiene.  These steps not only lead to a road of diabetes prevention, but also many diseases plaguing us today.

Fructose and Semantics – Natural (processed) Born (man-made) Killer (killer)

A current media blitz would have you believe that fructose, specifically high fructose corn syrup (HFCS for short) is not only “healthy in moderation” just like any caloric sweetener but is also chemically the same as table sugar to your body.  Both statements are flat out wrong and misleading.  Sort of like a publicists spin story on a compromising photo of a celebrity that has been splashed across the internet.

First lets get the chemistry out of the way. Your body runs on glucose, a simple sugar.  Fructose is another simple sugar, but here is the shocker, as you can see from the spelling GLUcose and FRUCTose, these two similar simple sugars are not in fact the same thing. Scientists like to name things and whenever new and different things are discovered they get a new name.  So, in fact researchers long ago confirmed that there is a difference between these two molecules and they were given different names. We know when we put glucose into the body certain things happen, a few highlights would be that insulin is released and another hormone called leptin is secreted.  The sugar is then taken into the cells by the insulin and metabolized for energy. Insulin and leptin both signal our brain to stop eating as we have sugar in the blood and therefore any more is excess and thus we are satiated. Many millions of other things happen as well but these two points will help show the case against fructose. When fructose is put into our bodies it is absorbed primarily in the jejunem and processed by the liver never triggering a proportionate insulin release and is readily converted into triglycerides and spurs an increase in LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol).  No leptin is released in response to fructose so with little insulin and no leptin your brain does not know you are full and more calories are consumed than needed. Fructose also raises our bodies levels of uric acid, and lactic acid neither is a good thing to have more of in you blood, this has damaging effects on the heart and kidneys and liver.

One very important fact about fructose in relation to insulin is that it has an effect on the target cells insulin receptors.  It causes a down regulation so when we do consume glucose we have to pump out more insulin.  This is called “insulin resistance” and this directly leads to diabetes syndrome X and other health problems. As to the idea that HFCS is natural and just like table sugar, both are a mix of fructose and glucose, however HFCS is a mix of the two simple sugars, table sugar is sucrose a disaccharide made of 1 glucose bound to 1 fructose. This bonding makes them behave very differently in our body as we have seen. This is not to say sugar is a good thing to consume in any quantity just that sugar would be preferred over HFCS due to the reasons above. If you are consuming predominatly whole, raw, live, fresh foods then you will not have to worry about this as HFCS does not exist in nature, though it is considered and labeled “natural.” It is natural in the sense that it does at some point come from corn but it is heavily processed and modified from the corn starch from which it started. Mind you, it is not a simple extraction process to make HFCS.  The heavy processing and stripping of other nutrients both micro and macro have much to do with making this sweetner such a harmful product.

We are now seeing another fructose sweetener in processed foods and drinks called “crystalline fructose”.  This is really just like HFCS only with the dial turned up to ten.  It can be much worse for you and can even be found with traces of heavy metals and other poisons in it like arsenic and lead. We should also mention that almost all the HFCS in our food supply is made from genetically modified corn. GM corn is a big problem as the Bt toxin (pesticide) in the plant promotes an allergenic response and many more people are presenting with corn allergies these days. The big issue is that once someone develops an allergy to GM corn then they are also allergic to natural organic corn, and since some form of corn is in almost every meal Americans eat, this becomes a big problem (hence so many different reactions to foods). A little bit of anything can generally be accepted by the body and handled while maintaining health but USDA stats show that HFCS consumption has skyrocketed.  Between the years 1970 and 2005 the average American increased their HFCS intake by 10,673%, that is not moderation. Many correlations have been made between this rise and the rise in modern diseases of degeneration like heart disease, cancer and of course diabetes.  Many factors coexist to nutritionally harm us and lead us down the path of disease but nobody can argue that the huge amount of sugar and in particular HFCS has had nothing to do with our nations health issues.  Not even a great publicist.

It’s not candy. It’s candida.

Yeast Reduction Diet: An all too common and frustrating health issue these days is Candida or yeast overgrowth in our bodies. It’s a fungus that steals our nutrients and therefore our energy then leaves us with toxic, even carcinogenic waste material to deal with. Our immune systems have a very hard time dealing with this type of infection because of the cell walls that yeast have; we are underequipped to penetrate those walls. There are a variety of treatments available to combat the yeast and break it down allowing our immune systems to clean out the waste and get rid of the toxic buildup. Those options are for another article, however it is always conducive and sometimes necessary to not only kill the yeast but also alter our diets so that we do not continue to feed the yeast and thus continue the problem. Yeast eat sugar and other small carbohydrates, the simpler and more refined the carbohydrate the more likely it will have an exacerbation effect on the yeast. This can be a variable target to hit as everybody will respond differently to dietary changes and treatment options. Removing all processed sugar, starch, dairy, and alcohol is a great start and one that most people would benefit greatly from. If more strictness is needed for individual cases then even whole foods like fruits and all but the most fibrous of vegetables must be eliminated. This type of restricted diet is obviously not for the long term as many of our most important nutrients are packed most densely in fruits and vegetables, it can however be very useful in eradicating a very pervasive pest and eliminating the symptoms that accompany it.  The typical diet for today is a tough one.  Can’t live with it, can’t live without it!

Glycemic Diet… yes, it really can matter.

The glycemic index is a measure of the effect a carbohydrate has on a person’s blood glucose level in a two hour period. The glycemic index score of a particular food is a number the amount of rise in blood glucose divided by the standard (glucose) and multiplied by 100.  That gives us the number associated with foods on a GI chart. Eating foods with a lower GI should equate to slower absorption, lower blood glucose rise, and a lower insulin release, therefore lower blood lipid counts. For example white bread will have a very high GI and will therefore enter the bloodstream very quickly and cause a sharp spike in insulin response, causing the fabled sugar rush and insulin crash that so many people experience often.  Eating an avocado on the other hand will have a much lower effect on insulin response and therefore a more even energy release.  Repeatedly spiking insulin and stressing our systems has been shown to lead to insulin resistance and eventually to Type II diabetes, and oxidative vascular damage leading to heart disease.  The GI can be used fairly effectively to smooth out the peaks and valleys of the typical American diet and therefore help one prevent some major disease processes.  There are problems with some GI charts and a few issues with the concept itself. First conceptually the charts are not very precise because the GI of a particular food can change due to ripeness, preparation, and processing.  Second everybody is different and we all digest very differently and nowhere in the GI is there a thought about how the food will effect a person over a long period of time.  Certain things seem like a good idea based on GI charts while we know that they are not, like artificial sweeteners and fructose.  There are so many other problems with these sweeteners that no matter how good they appear on the charts they should never be considered healthy. Some foods labeled as high GI (carrots) are actually so good for you that they should be included in almost any healthy diet. So the glycemic index is not perfect, but it can be used as a general tool to effectively to point you in the right direction towards health.  It is easy to se on a GI chart that breads and pastas will have a more negative effect on blood sugar than vegetables and fruits.  Just one more reason to eat all the fresh fruits and veggies that you can!

Food Inc. Heard of it? You Should.

check out the website and view the trailer here.