Tag Archives: obesity

Whole Grains for Your Heart? Use the 5 to 1 Fiber Rule

Grain and cereal food selection in heart shaped porcelain bowls over lokta paper background. Green freekeh wheat in large dish with ears.

Ever since your doctor told you to start eating more fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes (beans, split peas, chick peas, and lentils), you switched to eating whole wheat bread. You congratulated yourself on trading in (reluctantly) your soft white “wonder” for a 21-grain brick, but your new kind of loaf may not be as healthy and whole as you might think.

Why You Need More Dietary Fiber

There is accumulating evidence that eating more dietary fiber reduces your risk for:

• Type 2 diabetes
• Cardiovascular disease
• Certain cancers
• Weight gain
• Obesity
• Diverticular disease
• Functional constipation

According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, as your fiber intake goes up, your risk of metabolic syndrome goes down resulting in less inflammation and a drop in obesity risk. It was concluded that greater dietary fiber intake is associated with a lower risk of both cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease. (See ‘”Inflammation / Foods that Heal and Harm“)

It’s no surprise that another study concluded that for every additional 7 grams of fiber consumed, heart disease risk decreased by 9%. Seven grams of fiber really doesn’t equate to that much food. You can get 7 grams through a serving of whole grains plus beans or lentils (e.g., rice and beans), or a few servings of fruits and vegetables.

How Dietary Fiber Benefits Your Heart

The cardiovascular benefits of dietary fiber include:

  • Helps get rid of excess bile (reduces LDL “bad” cholesterol)
  • Reduces cholesterol production
  • Feeds our “good” bacteria
  • Changes our gut hormones
  • Promotes eating low-calorie-density foods
  • Increases satiety
  • Delays gastric emptying

These effects collectively help control your cholesterol, body weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure which all reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Also, per a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, dietary fiber has been shown to reduce inflammation, specifically, C-reactive protein, a sensitive inflammatory marker that can predict chronic disease.

Eat More Whole Plant Foods

Consuming more dietary fiber means eating lots of whole plant foods, such as:

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

Soluble fiber acts like a “cholesterol sponge”. Sources include:

  • Oats
  • Nuts
  • Seeds (especially flaxseeds)
  • Legumes
  • Most fruits

Sources of insoluble fiber, a.k.a. “Nature’s Broom”, help prevent constipation and include:

  • Whole wheat
  • Wheat bran
  • Brown rice
  • Other whole grains
  • Most vegetables

When shopping for “packaged” grain products, such as bread, crackers and ready-to-eat cereals, the first word in the ingredients list should be “whole”. However, the remaining ingredients might look like a bunch of chemicals, so how do you choose?

The “Five to One Fiber Rule”   

A more reliable strategy to identify a healthy whole grain food product is to   Continue reading

Discomfort Food: Is Your Marriage Making You Fat?

 

Couple facing relationship difficulties

In a study of 43 couples, researchers at the University of Delaware and Ohio State University College of Medicine showed a connection between marital stress, hunger and food choices. The correlation was observed in healthy weight and overweight subjects, but was not seen in couples who were obese (having a BMI of 30 or higher).

They found that hostile marital arguments caused a surge in ghrelin, one of your hunger hormones. Known as the “appetite increaser”, ghrelin is primarily released in the stomach and signals your brain when it’s time to eat.

The couples agreed to participate for two days (each 9 1/2 hours long). They ate a meal together and tried to resolve one or more conflicts in their marriage. Hormones were tested at four different times of the day — once before a meal and three times after it (at two, four and seven hours after).    Continue reading

10 Ways to Lose Weight Without Sweating

If you’re trying to lose weight, join 69% of American men and women over the age of 20 who are also overweight or obese. Don’t fret. Here are 10 things you can do that’ll shed some pounds AND don’t involve walking on a treadmill, riding a bike, or running around the block.

Of these 10 things, how many do you do now? DO YOU…

☐ Stop eating when distracted by the TV, computer, phone, or a magazine/book?eating at work_dollarphotoclub_51568892_600x469

 

☐ Eat on a smaller plate? Do you eat on a 9″ dish versus an 11-12″ hungry man dinner plate?

Use smaller utensils or chopsticks and take smaller bites of food?

☐ Always sit down to eat?   

Chew slowly and steadily? Do you chew until your food has lost all of its texture or is liquefied?

☐ Finish chewing and swallowing completely before taking another bite of food?     Continue reading

Fit Minute | How Much Sleep Do You Need?

puppy and kittens sleeping togetherIs there a magic number of hours you should sleep? According to studies on sleep and mortality, insufficient sleep can shorten your life. Sleeping plays an important role in:

  • Healing and repairing blood vessels
  • Maintaining a healthy balance of hormones that control your appetite
  • Controlling blood glucose (sugar)
  • Repairing cells and tissues, thus boosting bone/muscle mass
  • Defending against foreign or harmful substances

You can experience the following immediate and long-term health effects when you don’t get enough sleep:

  • Diminished cognitive function
  • Increased levels of cortisol (stress hormone) which cause the following:
    1. Increased appetite / See video: Undersleeping and Overeating
    2. Increased body weight
    3. Increased belly fat / See video: Beer Belly Anatomy 101
    4. Increased risk for type 2 diabetes
    5. Increased chronic low-level inflammation which leads to chronic disease (such as, coronary artery disease, dementia, and stroke)
    6. Increased blood pressure

If Seven is Good, Is Eight Better?   

Many people believe that they need at least eight hours of sleep a night for good health. But a study* reveals that sleeping seven (7) hours per night had the best survival rates. In fact, mortality hazard significantly increased when sleeping:

  • ≥8 hrs. (When sleeping >8.5 hrs., health risk exceeded 15%.)
  • ≤6 hrs. (When sleeping <4.5 hrs., health risk exceeded 15%.)

Causes of death associated with sleep duration include:

  1. Heart disease
  2. ‘Other causes’
  3. Cancer
  4. Stroke (Deaths from stroke were highest in men and women who slept 8, 9, and ≥10 hrs.)
  5. Breast cancer
  6. Colon cancer

Bottom line: Those who reported they slept 6.5 to 7.4 hours had a lower mortality rate than those with shorter or longer sleep.

*Six-year study by American Cancer Society; 1.1 million men/women ages 30-50 to >70 years. Published JAMA Psychiatry article: Mortality Associated With Sleep Duration and Insomnia, 2002.

Fit TV | Undersleeping and Overeating


VIDEO: If you’re running on too little sleep, here’s how it can affect your waistline. Karen Owoc, The Health Reporter, hosts this compact segment of men’s health and fitness news in The Men’s Health Minute.

♥ Daily Dose | Why Metabolic Syndrome Matters

Metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X or obesity syndrome, is the name of a group of risk factors that increases your risk for:

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD) also known as atherosclerotic heart disease – Atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaque (a waxy substance) builds up inside your coronary arteries and hardens and narrows your arteries. The narrowing reduces blood flow to your heart muscle and can result in chest pain, a heart attack, heart damage, or even death.
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes

Linked to Overweight, Obesity and Inactivity

Fat Man_istock_000012609799xsmall_800x450Your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes increases with each of the following metabolic risk factors. You have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of these measurements.   Continue reading

How to Curb Emotional Eating

Is your work and/or personal life a daily grind of surviving turbulent emotional stress? Tight deadlines, illness, family, relationship and financial problems are enough to succumb to an emotional eating binge. You need food to fuel your muscles, but food also feeds your feelings.

pepperoni_pizza_wikim_pd_cropped

Emotional vs. Physiological Hunger

When eating is triggered by an emotion rather than physiological hunger, it’s known as ’emotional eating’ and comes at a cost to your health. Emotional hunger is distinctly different from being physically hungry. It strikes suddenly, whereas the rumblings of physiological hunger occur gradually.

Emotional hunger is a psychological need to fill a void and generally involves a craving for a specific food, i.e., a ‘comfort food’. On the other hand, physiological hunger can be satisfied by any variety of foods and isn’t focused on one particular item.

Comfort Foods

Comfort foods are foods that you crave to obtain a good feeling when you’re in a negative mood, such as when you’re angry or depressed. But you may also reach for comfort foods to sustain good, positive emotions, such as when you’re happy, relieved or elated. Comfort foods become dangerous when they’re unhealthy choices.

The most popular comfort foods for women are sweet, such as:

  • Ice cream
  • Chocolate
  • Cookies

Men, however, tend to gravitate towards food with more substance, such as:

Healthy Cardiovascular Training with ‘Diabesity’ – Part 1 (Type 2 Diabetes)

Due to an increasing prevalence of obesity and sedentary lifestyles, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has become an epidemic. This common form of diabetes parallels with obesity and has increased significantly over the past 30 years. The United States accounted for $198 billion spent on diabetes in 2010 which is 53% of total diabetes spending worldwide.

Exercising with Diabetes

Exercise has an acute and chronic effect on type 2 diabetes. Studies show that exercise is an effective prescription for managing this disease, whereas your risk of diabetes increases with sedentary behaviors (e.g., prolonged TV watching, sitting at work and other sitting like reading and eating meals).

Diabetes requires close monitoring of your glucose, insulin and diet. It’s necessary to be particularly diligent when you plan to exercise or engage in any physical activity. When you have diabetes, you’re unable to metabolize glucose normally. Glucose (blood sugar) comes from the foods you eat and is your body’s most important source of energy and nutrients — especially during exercise. It’s needed by all your cells and organs, such as your brain and muscles.   Continue reading

Fit TV | Potassium Link to Diabetes

VIDEO: New research found a nutritional link that could affect type 2 diabetes — a disease that affects 24 million people and has long-term health complications. Karen Owoc, The Health Reporter, hosts this compact segment of health news in The Health Reporter Minute. Writer/Producer: Karen Owoc.

Raising Healthy Kids

When NYC Mayor Bloomberg proposed the ban on sodas in containers larger than 16 ounces, he said, “We’re not taking away anybody’s right to do things, we’re simply forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup.” Bloomberg believes his proposal will help in the fight against the obesity crisis, but his ban removes the most important element in the battle with weight control… and that element is CONTROL.

Sodas are nutrient-void beverages, but as the mother of two, I’ve learned that it isn’t wise to “force” decisions upon kids. Decision-making is a learned skill and requires a parent’s belief that their children are smart, capable and independent-minded human beings.

Bloomberg continues, “The idea here is, you tend to eat all the food in the container in front of you,” said Bloomberg. “If it’s a bigger container, you eat more. If somebody put it in a smaller glass or plate or bowl in front of you, you would eat less.” One of the most important life skills children need to learn to become functioning and responsible adults is the ability to evaluate options and make a decision based on their valuation.   Continue reading