How Bad is Sugar for your Health – How to Kick the Habit

How-bad-is-sugar-for-your-health
Triple Chocolate Cake

Dessert is a much loved food type. Pastry chefs have created amazing tasty treats to lure us all into the web of their decadent delights. Not only are desserts loaded with sugar, but there are added sugars in many processed foods and drinks. Why is it that there’s so much talk about  sugar being bad for us? How is it that something that tastes so wonderful and puts a smile on our face with every bite, can reap such havoc on our health if consumed in excess?

Eating sugar causes the same type of feel good sensation in the brain as some drugs which leaves a person craving more. Notice how you always want more sweet stuff after you’ve had some. Are the health risks worth the couple minutes of enjoyment?

If you are interested in living a healthy life and feeling good, so you can enjoy the time you have here on earth, then what you eat is of great importance. Here we are going to focus on sugar and how it effects your health negatively which leads to poor health and potentially shortens your life.

How bad is sugar for your health?

In the Blood Stream

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Iced mocha

When we consume any simple sugar, which is found in sweetened drinks, such as soda, juice, sweetened coffee drinks, or any sweetened beverage, as well as desserts, candy, and added sugars in condiments and other processed foods, our pancreas releases the hormone insulin.  It absorbs glucose/sugar and transports it to the liver to use later on (between meals, when we are going to use extra energy such as in an athletic effort, and during sleep). The liver depends on insulin to do its job.

Glucose is the body’s fuel source. The foods that we eat are converted to glucose in order to be used as fuel by our body. If necessary the body will even convert protein into glucose to use as fuel. In extreme cases where a person is in starvation, the body wastes away and in this process glucose is created out of the body’s own tissue to survive.

The release of insulin balances our blood glucose, however eating too much sugar over a prolonged period or too often can result in various health problems.

How Else is the Body Affected by Sugar

Sugar also effects our body’s energy level. At first it gives us a feeling of increased energy due to an increase in blood sugar (an increase of fuel) which triggers a response in the pancreas to release insulin. This brings blood sugar down and leaves the body feeling depleted of energy. This mechanism causes us to crave sweets making it more difficult to stay away from eating or drinking those sugary tasty treats. The vicious cycle continues and also depletes our body of vital nutrition that helps to keep our energy levels steady.

The key to keeping a dump of insulin into the blood stream from happening and keeping insulin steady, thereby avoiding the cravings for more sweets, is to minimize carbohydrates overall. Making better choices in the carbohydrates you eat, choosing carbohydrates that are lower on the glycemic index (or overall lower net carbs) and nutrient rich will balance out insulin and energy levels. Check out these two links concerned with the glycemic index and with carbohydrate (carb) counting. The carb counting article discusses carb counting in relation to diabetes, however there is information in there that is helpful to anyone trying to decrease their blood sugar. 1) http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/carbohydrate-counting.html 2) http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/glycemic-index-and-diabetes.html

What About Other Organs

Wrinkled skin
Wrinkled skin

Our skin can be adversely affected by consuming sugar. There is a reaction that happens in our body between the sugars we consume and proteins whereby a substance (a byproduct of this reaction) destroys collagen (the building block of skin and other tissues in the body) and elastin, causing the skin to age faster. The skin loses its youthful appearance and begins to sag prematurely.

                                 Eating Sugar = More Wrinkles

Sugar can Damage the Body Down Deep

Blood vessels get negatively affected because the sugar thickens the consistency of the blood, therefore making it more difficult to flow through the blood vessels, especially the smaller vessels in the organs like the kidneys, eyes, brain, and heart. Over a prolonged period a person can develop, high blood pressure, kidney disease and even kidney failure. High blood pressure can eventually lead to stroke.

Just as the intake of too much sugar can age the skin it can also accelerate cellular aging (over 30 trillion cells in the human body). Cells age as part of the normal aging process. However, sugar increases the rate of this process.

Bottom Line

As enjoyable as it is to eat fun foods and drinks that contain sugar, most of us would agree that eating these types of foods aren’t worth the couple of minutes of pleasure we get while we’re eating them.  Best to save a special treat for once in a while or for a special occasion in order to minimize the negative effects.  Research has shown that a diet generally lower in carbohydrates is associated with more radiant skin, lesser chance of obesity (which can lead to diabetes type 2), and better overall health.

How-bad-is-sugar-for-your-health
6-8 8oz glasses per day

Eliminating sugar and simple carbohydrates from your diet can be challenging and best done cold turkey.  The body’s insulin response will take a few days to reset.  What helps is to drink lots of pure water,  6-8 8oz glasses per day and replace sugary foods with clean protein, good fats, low sugar fruits such as berries, and plenty of veggies (lots of greens).

As you are going through the process of detoxifying your body of sugar be patient with yourself for the first few days as you reset your body.  After those first few days, you will begin to feel better, even lighter and have more energy.  You’ll start to notice the natural flavors of your foods more. Pure clean food will start to become more delicious as you eliminate those things that over sensitize your taste buds.

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low carb meal

It is very important while detoxifying your body from sugar that you eat at regular intervals during the day so that you don’t get hungry and eat the wrong thing. Prepare your food from the night before, including healthy non-processed snacks and eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  If you work or go to school and won’t be near your refrigerator during the day, make sure to pack a cooler to take with you.  Have all your meals available, that way you have a better chance of sticking to the plan.

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Almonds

A great between meal snack is about 12 count (or 1 oz) of nuts.  Almonds are a great nutritious, in between meal snack,  low in carbs, contains good fat and protein which will keep you satiated till your next full meal. Another trick to help you level things out is to not overeat.  Stop yourself before you stuff yourself.  Pack smaller meals.  Even measure or weigh your food to make sure you’re eating the right amount.  If you have to eat out, besides making good food choices, cut your meal in half and take the rest to go.

I would love to hear from you about your experience with sugar. What have you noticed in your body after eating sugar, whether you’ve consumed a sugar containing food or beverage on a regular basis or just occasionally.  In the comment section below, feel free to share your experience.  Let me know if you have any questions.  I will get back to you very shortly with a response.

All the Best in your Journey,

DrDina:)

 

 

Best Anti Inflammatory Foods -Making the healthiest food choices

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The USDA food pyramid

Many of us believe, because we’ve been told that a healthy diet includes a certain number of servings of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein, that these foods are all healthy for us. Research is coming up every day with new findings that debunk previous research. Have you noticed more recently that you hear more about food allergies, gluten or dairy intolerance for example?

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Beans

You may have noticed that certain foods you used to eat without any trouble just reap havoc on your body now, sometimes even making your body feel inflamed (pain, feeling bloated, gas, tired…) Even foods considered healthy can be problematic.  Some healthy foods that are recommended by doctors , nutritionists, and the USDA may not be the Best Anti Inflammatory Foods. New evidence has shown that there’s a reason why some of these “healthy foods” are causing us so much trouble.

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grains

I used to always think that if it is a vegetable then of course its healthy. If its whole grain then it is absolutely healthy. Read on to find out the truth.

anti inflammatory dietWhat is Inflammation?

Inflammation is a process that occurs in response to irritants, harmful stimuli, pathogens and damaged cells (such as in an injury). Inflammation tries to protect tissues by triggering the immune system, blood vessels and other chemical processes in the body.  When inflammation has gone on too long then it can cause damage to the body’s tissues.   Usually we think of inflammation occurring in response to an injury, but there are other things that can trigger inflammation and one of those is food.

Not all vegetables are created equal

For one thing, farm lands have been over used for growing food, so soil is no longer nutrient rich. The vegetables of today no longer have the same nutrient value they once had, so supplementation is imperative in order for us to get the nutrition that our body requires to enable it to perform all of its physiological functions. This lack of nutrition often leads to over eating which of course can lead to obesity, an epidemic here in the states.

anti inflammatory diet
GMO Corn, food or toxin

Then there is the topic of genetically modified food. This is a subject of great concern especially in an age where neurological disease and cancers have become more prevalent. These are foods, plants, animals, and microbes that have been genetically and artificially altered in a lab. Most food, if it isn’t labeled otherwise, is genetically modified.  Evidence shows that GMO’s are harmful to health, the environment and violate farmer’s and consumer’s rights. Please check out this link to get the full scoop.  https://www.nongmoproject.org/gmo-facts/

Some of the most recent research

In my constant search for finding that perfect diet to serve whatever purpose I need it to at the time, I came across a very informative book by Dr. Steven R. Gundry, a medical physician, cardiologist and cardiac surgeon called “The Plant Paradox.” It’s a great read whether you’re interested in the topic or not because Dr. Gundry is humorous, entertaining and definitely brilliant as he explains, in very user-friendly language the subject of food. He talks about the history of food and that food basically has an intelligence all its own that has existed since the beginning of time. He does not leave a stone un-turned as he helps his readers understand the true relationship between food and health.

He talks about things that are contrary to what we hold to be true about fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes. He explains what gluten free really is and how there are many other plant based foods that have the same type of properties that our bodies are resistant to and that have an inflammatory effect.  These resistant plant proteins are called lectins.  They are a defense mechanism of plants.

When you’re asked sometimes by your doctor or a friend, “How’s your diet?” You’ll say, “Oh its very healthy.” And you truly do believe that you are eating healthy because you eat your organic fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, beans, and unprocessed foods and yet you don’t feel as good as you could. Dr. Gundry explains the reason behind this.

Another wonderful thing about his book that I really like is that he explains what Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories do to the body as well as antibiotics, acid blockers aka antacids, artificial sweeteners, endocrine (hormone) disruptors, and many more .

My Experience

What I noticed while on my quest for eating healthy compared with times when I was not, is that without eating healthy, supplements alone did not fix my health issues. Also, eating healthy alone does not solve all of my health issues. I found it necessary to eat healthy and supplement to complete my nutrition.

The supplements work best when coupled with good food. For example, when I took salmon oil 4 times per day with meals, but ate too many of the wrong carbohydrates, sugary or starchy foods, and not enough protein, the Salmon oil didn’t seem to do much.

anti inflammatory diet
Salmon and Asparagus

When I ate real clean, including veggies, the right kind and amount of carbohydrates, protein and good fats, the salmon oil supplement worked way better. How do I know this? Because when I’d go without the supplement while I was eating right, I could tell that it was lacking this nutrient (didn’t have the same benefits as with the supplement).

Here I will give a brief list of anti-inflammatory foods to get you started, and I highly recommend that you pick up Dr. Gundry’s book, “The Plant Paradox.” He has lists of the Best Anti Inflammatory Foods and the ones that are not. He has a truck load of research and experience as a doctor to back up everything he discusses in his book.                              

Say Yes To:

Olive Oil  *  Coconut Oil  *  Stevia  *  Walnuts  *  Pecans  *  Coconut flour  *  Almond flour  *  Onions  *  Leeks  *  Most Leafy greens  *  Avocado  *  Broccoli  *  Cauliflower  *  Brussels Sprouts  *  Asparagus  *  4 oz Goat Milk Yogurt  *               1 oz Goat Milk cheese  *   Pastured Poultry  *  Pastured Eggs  *  Grass Fed and Finished Meats  *  Any   Wild Caught Fish  *  Plant Based Meats  such as  Quorn:  Chik’n Tenders  *  Tempeh (grain free only)  *  Bread and Bagels made by Barely Bread  *  Wraps made with coconut flour  *  And Many More

Say No To:

Pasta  *  Rice  *  Potatoes  *  Bread  *  Wheat  *  Cereal  *  Peanuts  *  Sunflower Seeds  *  Soy Oil  *  Canola Oil  *  Vegetable Oil  *  Partially Hydrogenated Oil  *   Melon (any kind)  *  Goji Berries  *  Squash (any kind)  *  Tomato  *  Eggplant  *  All Peppers  *  All Legumes (including humus)  *  Peas  *  Green Beans  *  Milk  *  Yogurt  *  Cottage Cheese  *  Corn * Soy * And Many More                                                   

Please know that these are abbreviated lists of the “yes” and “no” foods. Check out Dr. Gundry’s book “The Plant Paradox,”for the full list of foods and prepare to have your mind blown, in a good way.

Conclusion

Bottom line is you are what you eat. If you are interested in restoring your health and feeling good with the time you have left here on this planet so that you can enjoy the beauty that’s around you, your family, your animals, or whatever it is you enjoy, then its important to make this change. If you put bad fuel in a car and don’t take care of it, it doesn’t run well and eventually breaks down. The human body is the same. What you put in is what you get out of it.

I wish you the best as you begin or continue your quest in eating the Best Anti-inflammatory foods.  I would love to hear from you  should you have any questions or comments in the comments section below.

In good health,

DrDina:)

The Benefits of Turmeric Curcumin -Alternative pain relief

The use of turmeric dates back 4,000 years. It was found to be used in the Vedic culture of India as a spice and for religious ceremonies. It was used medicinally as far back as 250 BC (Susrutas Ayurvedic Compendium). In the last 30 some years, it began to gain recognition by modern medicine for its medicinal properties, indicated by the over 3000 publications discussing turmeric in the last 3 decades.1

Where?

benefits turmeric curcumin
Region where turmeric comes from and is primarily used

Most turmeric is cultivated in India and 80% of it is used in India. It is a spice widely used in cooking in South Asian and Middle Eastern cultures as well as in Ethiopia and South Africa. The part of turmeric that is used for cooking and medicinally comes from the root of the plant.1

Botanical supplements have been used in traditional medicine such as Ayurveda (India), Chinese medicine, Japanese and Egyptian medicine for centuries. Many traditional medicines have anti-inflammatory properties and turmeric is one of those.

How Much we Spend on Natural Remedies

Here in America, we definitely like our natural remedies. Studies have shown that over $10 billion USD is spent every year on alternative therapies and over $650 million is spent on supplements used for chronic inflammatory diseases such as COPD, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.1

benefits turmeric curcumin
Turmeric/curcumin supplement

Benefits Turmeric Curcumin

Turmeric has many medicinal uses. Extensive research in the last 20 years suggests that Turmeric Curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It has anti-microbial properties, helps to alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and other digestive disorders, pancreatitis, chronic anterior uveitis and arthritis. Other benefits are: strengthening overall energy of the body, relieving gastrointestinal discomfort, dispelling worms, improving digestion, regulating menstruation, dissolving gall stones. It benefits bacterial infections, burns, and has antiseptic properties.3

benefits turmeric curcumin
Turmeric Root and Powder

In a recent study numerous plant extracts including Curcumin and Boswelia Extract have shown a significant effect for reducing pain and functional disability, larger that those observed with analgesics and products such as glucosamine and chondroitin. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) was also considered to have a significant effect on osteoarthritis.2

benefits turmeric curcumin
Turmeric Plant and Root

In another study of 367 knee osteoarthritis patients with a pain level of 5/10 or more were randomized to use either 1200 mg/day of Ibuprofen or 1500 mg/day of Curcumin for 4 weeks. There was improvement in both groups for pain, stiffness,  and function, however the group that  took the Ibuprofen experienced significantly higher gastrointestinal                      discomfort.4                                                                                                                                            Newer research shows turmeric to impact cognitive health. It enhances cognitive function, benefits cardiovascular health, bolsters immune system defenses, and fights free radicals in the body. More benefits Turmeric Curcumin:   promotes mobility and flexibility, and increases overall body comfort and positive overall well-being.5

My Experience with Turmeric

After many years of being an intense athlete, my body has developed arthritis, especially in my knees, low back and hands. I experienced pain and swelling daily in these areas of my body that were intensified by activity or standing for long periods of time.

benefits turmeric curcumin
turmeric powder

I tried using over the counter analgesics, but in no time started to feel the stomach upset associated with using these medications. I found that I needed something that would give me the benefits of pain relievers without the side effects and the potential harm it could do to my stomach, liver and kidneys.

Having tried many supplements over the years, not to mention diets, I found that eating a reasonable anti-inflammatory diet is very important to help reduce inflammation as well as utilizing a regimen of turmeric supplementation and additionally taking an omega 3 oil supplement.

I tried the Terry Naturally Curamin supplement for a brief period and found it to be effective, but then found out about another supplement that contians curcumin, boswellia extract and other herbs in it as well that were supposed to be beneficial. I’d been on that supplement for a couple of years, took a pretty large dose every day, but I didn’t feel as good as I thought I should for as much as I was taking. Without it I definitely felt worse with regard to joint pain and overall inflammation

I recently went back to using the Terry Naturally Curamin and WOW!! what a difference. I have a lot less inflammation in my joints. I especially have very swollen, degenerated knees and the swelling has gone down significantly. I’m not even taking the Terry Naturally Curamin extra strength formula.

What I discovered in my recent search for Terry Naturally Curamin is that he also puts out formulas that target athletes, migraines and low back pain by adding various nutrients that zero in on these specific needs.

Side Effects

Turmeric is likely safe for women who are pregnant and breastfeeding when taken in the amount that is used in food preparations, however is likely unsafe in amounts used medicinally.

It could make gall bladder problems worse such as gallstones or bile duct obstruction. Might increase bruising or bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. In diabetic patients it can cause low blood sugar. It can worsen symptoms of GERD. Might be problematic for people with hormone sensitive conditions. To be used with caution in iron deficient people. Could slow blood clotting post surgery. Stop taking 2 weeks prior to surgery.

*Note: Clinical studies showed that curcumin is well tolerated by cancer patients, however it can interfere with certain chemotherapy medications used to treat breast cancer and pancreatic cancer, so it’s best to check with one’s oncologist before using turmeric curcumin if they are in treatment for one of these cancers.5

In conclusion, in order to combat pain and inflammation in the joints, you have to do a quick review of your life style, what you eat, drink, what is your activity level, your health history. I recommend that you make changes if they are needed because as the years go by our bodies become less tolerant of bad eating and drinking, especially in excess as well as to a sedentary lifestyle. And make sure to get those 6 to 8 8 oz glasses of water a day. You’ll be doing your body a big favor.

I hope you found this post about the Benefits of Turmeric Curcumin helpful.  I would love to hear from you if you have any questions or any comments on your experience with Turmeric.  I look forward to hearing from you in the comment section below.

Be Well,

DrDina:)

Stay tuned for my next blog discussing the anti-inflammatory diet.

1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/

2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30232562

3) tumericforhealth.com

4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24672232

5) Web M.D.

About DrDina

Welcome to DrDina Wellness, a site where you can get information on a natural approach to healing your body.  This will include reviews on various supplements that I have used in my athletic endeavors over the years as well as for the purpose of healing my body and the bodies of my patients in my chiropractic practice.  You’ll also find other write ups about diet, exercise, and other subjects related to improving your health and well-being.  You will notice that there is an emphasis on how to deal with inflammation as it is a prevalent issue in the human condition.

MY STORY

drdinawellness
competitive cycling days

I’ve been involved in some intense sport or form of exercise for as long as I can remember.  At a certain point I had to learn how to eat  to enhance my performance and recover faster after my workout sessions as well as to modify my body composition. I view food and nutritional supplementation as medicine.

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Chiropractic Practice

In my holistic chiropractic practice I’ve been helping patients get better results with their chiropractic treatments, utilizing nutrition and nutritional therapy.

As a personal trainer I have helped my clients reach their goals with proper nutrition and supplementation to get the best results from their training.

 

 

As for my story, In the year 2000, I discovered Spinning, aka Indoor Cycling. I fell in love with it.  12 to 15 years prior to that I was a competitive cyclist, so when I discovered Spinning it was a perfect fit.  But as with most athletic endeavors, I over did it.  I took spin classes 7 days a week and started teaching classes as well.

After a couple years, I started to get migraines, as many as 3 times per week.  I struggled with that for about 2 years when I met a couple of different holistic practitioners who both told me (on separate occasions) that my pancreas was deficient.  I met a nutritional therapist who confirmed this and started me on a therapeutic nutrition protocol to balance my pancreas.

I also found out that my adrenal glands were seriously deficient, which makes so much sense with all the stress I was putting my body under.  I also had digestive issues that needed to be addressed.  I wasn’t absorbing my nutrition.  And then there was the issue of hormone imbalance.  And so my journey began to heal my body with nutrition.  I detoxed and began eating the food my body needed coupled with specific therapeutic nutrition.  The migraines went from 3 a week to one a month.

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Now jump forward to 2009 (I had cut way back on the spin classes) when I got certified to teach Zumba Fitness. I enjoyed teaching so much that I kept adding classes of various fitness formats to my teaching schedule.

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Fitness Classes

At one point I was teaching 13 classes a week, weight lifting 6 days a week and prepping for a body building competition and that included a very strict diet of 6 meals a day of either chicken, fish turkey or eggs and low glycemic vegetables.  My carbohydrates were minimal.  I was having a blast as I got into the best shape of my life.

drdinawellness
Bodybuilding

At a certain point though my body couldn’t do this anymore.  After my competition in August of 2014, I started eating anything and everything I wanted and I began to have pain and swelling in my knees and then eventually in all of my joints.  Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories helped a little but they tore my stomach up.  I discovered once again that I needed to clean up my eating and get back to my natural medicine.

WHY I WANT TO HELP PEOPLE

I don’t like to see people suffer with pain or discomfort.  In my profession, the majority of my patients come to me with pain. Sometimes a simple adjustment of their spine with some massage helps them to feel better, but sometimes it doesn’t.  Big changes in how a person feels often come when nutritional changes are made in conjunction with the spinal adjustments.  I prefer using alternatives that are healthy for the body to help patients get out of pain and discomfort.  This way promotes good health and longevity.  Better for the long run.

WHAT IS MY GOAL HERE?

My goal here is to help as many people as I can, utilizing alternative methods to heal their body.  I’ll be reviewing various nutritional products, discussing the importance of dietary intake as well as talking about the importance of exercise, stretching and life style change.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will do my best to help you out.

All the best,

DrDina Martin
DrDinaWellness.com