KRON 4 | What Would Happen If You Ate 20 Servings of Fruit a Day for Several Weeks?

How many times have you heard someone say, “I can’t eat fruit. It has too much sugar.” Are you worried about blood sugar spikes? If so, you might want to rethink your fructose fears.

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Table sugar and high fructose corn syrup are known to have adverse side effects, but what about the sugar found naturally in fruit and fruit juice? Can you eat too much fruit? Today I chatted with KRON 4 Morning News Weekend anchor, Marty Gonzalez, and broke down the facts on fruit.

Fruit, Table Sugar, and High Fructose Corn Syrup — What’s the difference?

  • Table sugar and its synthetic sister, high fructose corn syrup are made up of two molecules: glucose + fructose, a.k.a. “industrial fructose”. 
  • Fruits contain “naturally-occurring” fructose. (Fructose is one of the three building blocks of carbohydrates.)
  • Industrial fructose is linked to hypertension, belly fat, high triglycerides, and liver disease.

Is Eating Too Much Fruit (Fructose) Bad for You?

Per a University of Eastern Finland study, possible reasons that fruit and fruit juice did not spike blood sugar:

1. Fruit had a more solid consistency: Thickness in a fruit puree may slow digestion vs. gulping down pure sugar water (e.g., soda).

2. Fruit contains soluble fiber: Soluble fiber forms a thick gel in the intestines which slows the breakdown of sugars. Fructose is bound to the fiber, so it does not absorb as quickly.

3. Fruit contains phytonutrients, also called phytochemicals: “Phyto” refers to the Greek word for plant. These chemicals help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats and thus, provide protection in humans. Phytonutrients slow sugars traveling from the intestines into the blood stream.

Eat Berries to Slow Blood Sugar Spikes

Low-fiber starches (e.g., white bread, white pasta, white flour pretzels, instant oatmeal, corn flakes, and soda crackers) will also spike your blood sugar.

Per another study with starches (white and rye bread) eaten with various berry combinations, the berries suppressed the blood sugar and insulin spikes. So if you eat a starchy, low fiber food on occasion, be sure to eat berries.

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What Would Happen if You Ate 20 Servings of Fruit a Day for Several Weeks?    

Continue reading “KRON 4 | What Would Happen If You Ate 20 Servings of Fruit a Day for Several Weeks?”

KRON 4 | Why Grip Strength Predicts Your Longevity

If you’re like most people, you don’t think about your grip strength until you struggle to open a jar or untighten a knob. But now there’s reason to know your actual grip strength. KRON 4 Morning News Weekend anchor, Marty Gonzalez, tests his grip, and I explain what your grip strength (or lack of it) says about your health.

What a Strong (or Weak) Grip Says About You
Research shows your grip strength is a good predictor of overall strength; and overall strength is a good predictor of overall health.

According to a four-year global study of over 140,000 people aged 35-70 years old in 17 countries, a weak grip is a stronger predictor for death from ANY cause compared to systolic* blood pressure. In other words, a firm, strong hand grip is a better health assessment tool than your blood pressure.

*Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in your arteries when your heart contracts. In one of our previous health segments, a high pulse pressure is a predictor of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease — a sign of stiff, damaged arteries.

These findings were published in The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, and were broadly consistent across various countries and economic levels.

How to Measure Grip Strength

Muscle strength is measured by grip. Your handshake can reveal your health status. Do you have a weak handshake or are you known for having a “vice grip”?

How to measure grip strength with a hand dynamometer.
A hand dynamometer measures grip strength.

Grip strength testing is inexpensive, easily performed in a doctor’s office, and the results are immediate. NOTE: Grip strength is affected by a person’s stature:

  • Circumference of the forearm
  • Circumference of the hand
  • Hand length

Since stature affects grip strength, relative grip strength is a better method of assessing muscle weakness (i.e., comparing changes in strength) vs. absolute grip strength using standard normative values.

Powerful Predictor of Death

The researchers found that every 11-pound decline in grip strength was linked to the following:   Continue reading “KRON 4 | Why Grip Strength Predicts Your Longevity”

KRON 4 | Heart Attack Predictor: A Third Blood Pressure You Need to Know

Ever wonder what your blood pressure numbers mean? Here’s an explanation using a water faucet and pipe to demonstrate. And now there’s a THIRD pressure that’s important to your overall health and is worth monitoring as well.

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What’s Your Pulse Pressure?

Pulse pressure is the numeric difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

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Predictor of Heart Attacks and Cardiovascular Disease

A resting pulse pressure in sitting position in healthy adults is about 30-40 mm Hg. For adults over age 60, especially men, a pulse pressure higher than 60 can be a useful predictor of heart attacks or other cardiovascular disease.

  • A greater pulse pressure indicates that your vessels are stiffer and more damaged.
  • If the aorta becomes rigid, such as from atherosclerosis, a.k.a., “hardening of the arteries”, your pulse pressure would be very high.
  • Per a meta-analysis of several studies of 8,000 elderly subjects, the combined results found that a 10-point increase in pulse pressure increased the risk of major cardiovascular complications and mortality by nearly 20%.

NOTE: A low pulse pressure (i.e., 25 mm Hg or less) may mean aortic valve stenosis or congestive heart failure where a low volume of blood is ejected per beat.

Causes of Arterial Stiffness 

The most important cause of an elevated pulse pressure is arterial stiffening, in particular, stiffness of the aorta (the largest artery in the body). Arteries stiffen with age, just like tissues in your skin, lungs, heart, tendons, and joints, due to:

  • Degeneration of elastin fibers
  • Stiffer collagen
  • Fatty deposits damaging the arterial walls and resulting in them being less elastic (atherosclerosis)

Results of Arterial Stiffness 

  • Your heart enlarges. When arteries stiffen and lose their elasticity, your heart must contract more forcefully with each heart beat in order for your blood to circulate adequately. The extra work that your heart must perform can lead to physical changes in the musculature of your heart (e.g., size and shape), specifically the lower chambers (the ventricles). It’s just like how your biceps get bigger that occurs when you exercise them harder.
  • You’re prone to irregular heart beats (cardiac arrhythmias). If the remodeling also affects the upper chambers (the atria), it can disrupt the electrical pathways that generate the signals telling your heart when to contract.
  • You’re at a higher risk of a heart attack and stroke. The cause of most cardiovascular events and cerebrovascular accidents is the growth and eventual rupture of arterial plaques.

Which Is the Better Pulse Pressure?

160/120 mm Hg OR 110/70 mm Hg? (The pulse pressure in each pair = 40 mm Hg.)

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Answer: 110/70
Higher systolic and diastolic pairs imply higher risk of heart attacks and heart disease

Can Atherosclerosis (Coronary Artery Disease) Be Reversed?   

Continue reading “KRON 4 | Heart Attack Predictor: A Third Blood Pressure You Need to Know”

KRON 4 | Does Your Voice Sound “Old”?

Have you ever talked to someone on the phone and determined the person is old just by the sound of his/her voice? You’ve likely heard an older person speak with that classic gravely, weak. raspy, wavering, hoarse, and/or breathless voice. When it comes to anti-aging, most people think about how to look younger and how to feel younger, but don’t usually think about how to “sound” younger.

As with everything else, your voice ages too, and most people don’t think about taking care of their ‘voice muscles’ like they do their biceps. On this KRON 4 health segment, Weekend News anchor, Marty Gonzalez, and I talk about how to keep your voice sounding “young”.

KRON 4 Vocal Cords
Karen demonstrates how you produce vocal sounds.

Causes of Sounding Old

Over 30% of people over age 65 have voice problems. As you age, your larynx (a.k.a. voice box) changes. The following conditions may be causing your voice to become hoarse and weak causing you to sound “old”:

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    • Vocal cords are less elastic (just like aging skin and muscles) and are unable to work in the same way as when you were young. Your vocal cords move and vibrate to make sounds. When the surrounding muscles move, your vocal cords either tighten or loosen. To make higher sounds, your cords tighten.
    • Vocal cords and muscles in the larynx wear out and become more thin. As a result, your voice may sound higher.
    • Vocal cords are dry due to a decrease in blood supply and number of lubricating glands.
    • Weak abdominals – In order to form a sound, your abs and rib cage squeeze your lungs which make you exhale air.
    • Decreased lung capacity – By the time you’re 80, you may have 50% less volume compared to when you were 20.
    • Acid reflux can cause harshness, sore throat, cough.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis – This condition can lead to hoarseness because your vocal cords cannot move well. The inflammation limits the ability of the joint near your windpipe (cricoarytenoid joint) to move.
RA Joint_AdobeStock_70814564
Rheumatoid arthritis can inflame the joint in your windpipe and cause you to sound old.

KRON 4 Vocal Cords4    Continue reading “KRON 4 | Does Your Voice Sound “Old”?”

KRON 4 | How to Stop Dieting and Lose Weight

You eat all the right foods — big leafy salads, bean soups, salmon, oatmeal and other whole grains — but you still can’t lose weight and worse yet, you may have even tacked on some extra pounds. Here’s why HOW you eat is just as critical as WHAT you eat to shed those stubborn pounds.

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Eat instinctively, that is, eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.

‘Reach and Eat’ Behavior

Reach and eat behavior is mindless eating. It’s automatic. You eat without asking yourself, “Am I hungry?” or “Am I full?”.

‘Reach and Eat’ triggers: 

  • Walking past a vendor on the street
  • Driving by a burger drive-through
  • Passing a bowl of candies or food samples
  • Walking into the office snack room
  • Stopping at a gas station convenience store

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Use ‘The Hunger Scale’ to Lose Weight (a.k.a. How to Stop Dieting)

Losing weight requires two key fundamental habits:

  1. Recognizing your own levels of hunger and fullness (satiety)
  2. Acting on your body’s hunger and satiety signs

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The Plus Side to Using The Hunger Scale

You decide what and how much to eat and cultivate a healthy relationship with food. Instead of focusing on external cues (i.e., being told what you should eat), you get to focus on your own internal cues (i.e., your level of hunger/fullness, cravings).

As a baby or toddler, you likely ate naturally when you were hungry, and stopped when you were comfortably full. Use “The Hunger Scale” as an easy tool to help re-learn how to eat. Master it, and you can lose weight without “dieting”.

The Hunger Scale

Tune out those external cues, such as what to eat and when to eat. Instead, listen to your own feelings by practicing ‘The Hunger Scale’ habit.

Don’t wait this long to eat…

1 Ravenous — “I’m starving!” Dizzy, weak, nauseous, shaky. You’re so hungry you’ll eat anything.

2 Uncomfortably Hungry — Lots of stomach growling. You are over-hungry and pre-occupied with hunger. You’re irritable, have low energy and a headache. Feel like ordering everything on the menu.

Eat now, then stop…

3 Very Hungry Stomach is beginning to growl. You have hunger pangs. The urge to eat is strong.

4 A Little Hungry — Beginning to feel hungry. It’s time to think about what to eat, but you can wait to eat.

5 Neutral (Neither Full Nor Hungry) — “My mind is on things other than food.”

6 Satisfied and Light — “I could eat more but…”. You are pleasantly full.

Stop eating before this point…

7 Full — Feel slightly uncomfortable. You won’t be hungry for 3 to 4 hours.

8 Very Full — Feel stuffed. Need to unbutton your pants. You don’t want anything else. “I ate more than I needed to.”

9 Very Uncomfortably Full Feel heavy. Thanksgiving full. Your stomach aches.

10 Painfully Full Feel so full you may be sick (binge fullness).

Stay in the range of No. 3 (Very Hungry) to No. 6 (Satisfied and Light). When you do, you’ll lose weight AND feel more energetic.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Become an “intuitive” eater by becoming reacquainted with your hunger and satiety signals. Eating mindfully also means eating slowly. Changing an eating behavior is not easy, so give yourself lots of time to practice The Hunger Scale habit.

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