Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why remove trans fats from your food & drink....

Today's Post, Thursday, 4-30-2009

Trans fats, also called transfats, and the hydrogenated vegetable oils that most of them come from, sharply increase the small particle LDL that causes heart disease in the blood of people unlucky enough to ingest them, research has found.

That means that eating or drinking something that contains them is an excellent way to ensure you'll get things like heart attacks, strokes, peripheral artery disease or PAD in your legs, erectile dysfunction, and vascular dementia.

Transfats are like heart attack starter pills. They make people more likely to get heart attacks and get them at a younger age.

Small particle LDL is quite literally small enough to fit into the chinks in your blood vessel walls. When they do that, they tend to get stuck and build up. This process also tends to cause inflammation.

So, transfats are many times better at CAUSING heart disease than taking the largest doses of statin drugs available are at preventing problems from heart disease. And the multiplier is large. My guess is that transfats are over 50 times more effective at causing heart problems than statin drugs are at preventing them.

If you want to avoid heart disease and the other diseases this process causes, guess how much of this stuff it's desirable for you to eat.

A little bit some days instead of a lot every day?

Just a few grams a day?

Once or twice a week?

Never-- none at all?

If you guessed just a little bit most days instead of a lot every day, or a similar answer, you'll lose. You won't pay much attention to avoiding transfats and the hydrogenated vegetable oils that contain them. You'll wind up ingesting a lot and as one Olympic Champion once put it, "Your blood vessels will fill up with crud."

The right answer is: "Never-- none at all." -- or as close to it as you can possibly manage while making special effort not to ingest any.

Is this still going to be the case a week or a month after your read this post?

Absolutely it is.

So, the only way to avoid the horrible effects of ingesting transfats, is to learn how to do it virtually 100 %of the time; and then do so, starting immediately; and simply keep doing it.

It was in the health news earlier this week that when there are news stories that mostly say transfats are bad for you, people do eat less of them for a while. But in a month or so, they eat just as much as they did before.

Yikes! Ouch! Oops !! & similar comments.

The transfats are just as deadly as a slow poison and heart & circulation destroyer a few weeks after the article appeared as it was right after it was published.

So, what happened?

First, the articles likely didn't tell people that every time you ingest the stuff, you are causing plaque build up in your blood vessels or make clear to them that if this continues what it will do to them.

But, of more importance, the articles failed to cover what transfats are in and how many things they have been in until recently & still are, unfortunately. If you are not aware you're eating it, it's definitely much harder to stop doing it!

So, here's what transfats and hydrogenated oils are in:

1. Shortening, the most prevalent brand name is Crisco, is the very most concentrated source because it's virtually 100 % partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. So never buy any or cook with it. Unfortunately, most commercially baked pie crusts are made with shortening. Its cheaper and easier to cook with than butter; and the shelf life of the crust is longer.

So, if you eat a piece of pie that is not homemade & where you know butter was used by the cook to make the crust, you'll do yourself a huge health favor to NOT eat the crust and only eat the filling.

The same thing is true of virtually all cookies, cracker, snack foods, donuts, and other desserts and baked goods that you buy in stores or bakeries.

The only good news is that these same foods tend to make you fat and cause type 2 diabetes and cost more than many people realize if you eat them every day. (One woman who was making a successful effort to lose more than 30 pounds of fat, discovered that by no longer buying these foods or soft drinks, it cut her monthly grocery costs for her family in half even though she had to buy more vegetables and fruit.)

2. Partially hydrogenated oils are sometimes in a huge list of foods that can be make without them. So, you have to read the labels to know.

The fastest way to start is to read the transfat grams listed. (It turns out that the label can say 0 grams per serving and actually be .49 grams which means that if you eat 5 servings, you'll actually get 2.45 grams of transfats!) But look there first & refuse to buy if you do NOT see zero grams. (One kind of all beef canned chili I once liked had 3 grams of transfat per serving! I've never bought or eaten it since.)

Then look at the ingredients listed. If ANY fully hydrogenated oils, sometimes called interesterified oils or fats, or partially hydrogenated oils of any kind are listed, the food has transfats or even worse health effects. So do NOT eat it or buy it.

And, you virtually have to check everything except meat, fish, chicken, eggs, milk, and produce. If it has a label, it will pay you to check it for transfats above zero &/or any hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list.

Candy bars, peanut butter, ice cream, bread, & microwave popcorn are only a few examples. You can get these foods made with transfats or hydrogenated oils or without for the most part. (I'm not sure about microwave popcorn. But you can buy the other foods from companies that use safer and/or more traditional ingredients instead.)

3. Margarine is very similar to shortening. Its main ingredient is partially hydrogenated oil. Some kinds have less. But the kinds that have none are really margarine substitutes. For most people, it's better for you to use real butter but eat it less often in smaller amounts than to use margarine.

And, using extra virgin olive oil or almond butter is even better for you. So is eating avocados or guacamole or eating raw nuts.

It also helps to avoid margarine &/or to eat less butter to never have refined grain bread or almost never eat it & to not eat much whole grain bread. Doing those things cuts your high glycemic carbs and helps you avoid being fat and getting type 2 diabetes as well. So you get double health benefits by eating less bread and only using some butter or olive oil on the bread you do eat while only eating bread that's whole grain and has no hydrogenated oils in it.

(Note that some margarines contain sterols. So eating them does lower cholesterol some. But you can take sterol supplements that have no hydrogenated oils at all and lower your cholesterol even more. So get your sterols by themselves and pass on the margarine that ruins some of their positive effect.)

For some people, avoiding these things that transfats are in will change what they eat a lot. But the health benefits make it well worth doing. And, for such people, they'll find they save money at the grocery store also.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Prevent swine flu....

Today's post: Tuesday, 4-28-2009

A. Three ways that work are to

1. Make some effort to avoid people who are sick and mostly postpone going to activities that are done in large groups such as going to the movies and other group entertainments. Call or text or email friends and family instead of going to see them in person if you possibly can.

2. Wash your hands before you eat, when you first get home from being out, and as soon as possible after going grocery shopping if you use a shopping cart or plastic carrier box because so many people handle those that they tend to carry more bacteria and viruses than almost anything else you touch; and this is a good idea to do even if you only pick up one or two items since so many people touch the different surfaces in a grocery store.

3. Carry a clean handkerchief and have a roll of clean toilet paper at your desk. Then if you need to touch the corner of your eyes or blow your nose you can ONLY touch those mucous membrane parts of you with one of those clean surfaces and NOT with your fingers which may well have swine flu viruses on them.

Each of those things make it far less likely you’ll get the virus inside you. If you succeed, it can’t make you sick.

B. If you make coffee or tea and boil water to do so, to the extent you can, take a few seconds to breathe in the steam from the water in each nostril before you pour it to make the tea or coffee. If you don’t boil water for that, boil it just to breathe the steam for a few seconds in each nostril.

That way if you get the swine flu virus in your nose, you may well kill all of it or kill enough your immune system can kill the rest at a very early stage before it takes hold and makes you sick.

C. Make sure you do the things that keep your immune system strong. Many times if you do that, your immune system will kill most viruses at a very early stage before they take hold and make you sick. (This also makes it less likely for you to get colds, regular flu, and all cancers.)

1. Taking a daily multivitamin plus minerals and eating a wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables tends to keep your immune system strong.

And also take an extra 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3, calciferol, which is the active form.

We now know that many people have been and are low in vitamin D because they now work inside more and get less sun exposure. But getting the 2,000 to 3,000 iu a day your body prefers to have by taking at least 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 has been studied and apparently it both makes your immune system less likely to cause autoimmune disease by attacking things it should not AND MORE likely to attack and kill bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells of any kind. So taking that much vitamin D helps ensure you have enough to enable your immune system to kill off flu viruses in their earliest stages.

You tend to get fewer infections of all kinds if you get enough vitamin C. It apparently acts as an immune system booster. So if you get between 500 mg & 2,000 mg a day, your immune system will be stronger.

Oranges, bananas, berries, kiwi fruit, & other fruits also have many other valuable micronutrients besides vitamin C, so eating many whole fruits or drinking some real fruit juice each week is protective. They also have fiber which has many other health benefits. Lastly, they taste good !!

I personally eat two or three servings of fruit a day & drink grape juice. AND I take 1,050 mg of vitamin C each day. (My vitamin C supplement has 500; my B Complex Plus C Stress Formula from Solgar has 500; & my multivitamin- mineral tablet has 50.)

Since my vitamin C from what I eat & drink is less than 500 mg a day, I think taking this extra vitamin C is important.

Lastly, taking 30 mg a day of zinc tends to keep your immune system strong. Oddly, taking more, particularly a lot more, such as over 60 mg for more than a day or two seems to depress your immune system.

2. Make sure to contact friends and relatives you are on speaking terms with a bit extra. (This works even if you have to phone or email them instead of meeting them in person for a while.) People who have good social support and often contact the people they know and get along with have stronger immune systems.

Similarly, practice wishing good things for the people you know or praying for them and put some love or warm feelings into it. (This also boosts your immune system.)

3. There are a variety of mushroom extracts known to boost your immune system. But they are quite expensive most of them. So I was quite interested to read lately that common button mushrooms you can buy inexpensively in bulk at the grocery store may work almost as well. Just wash them thoroughly and eat them straight or add them to a salad.

Or, if you already take a mushroom extract supplement, be sure to keep taking it until they know the swine flu has run its course.

4. Consider adding crushed, fresh garlic to your salads. It has heart protective properties and is said to be both antibacterial and antiviral.

5. Do what you can to get a bit of extra rest and avoid shorting yourself on sleep or pushing yourself to the limit to the extent you can for now.

If you do vigorous exercise, by all means continue but hold off trying to set new personal records for now. Or do that in one or two exercises instead of each one.

If you do a lot of long aerobic exercise such as training for a Marathon by running 10 miles several times a week, you might do better to run 2 miles to keep in decent shape and focus on an extremely smooth and efficient form until it’s clear the danger has passed. This is NOT a good time to overtrain.

D. If you do get the flu, no matter what else you do, make sure to drink water to the point that you often need to go pee. And as soon as you do and every time you do, drink another glass of water or juice.

Doctors usually say to drink plenty of fluids.

But what they usually leave out is that doing so keeps you from about 80 % of the potential harm of getting the flu since by drinking that much water you avoid weakening yourself by becoming dehydrated and weakened from doing so without realizing it from the fever as you otherwise would do. You’ll be very sick instead of horribly sick, weak, and debilitated—or worse. That’s a huge difference.

None of these is guaranteed to work.

But if you do them all, you will load the dice in your favor and by quite a lot. And your chances of recovering if you do get the flu go up even more.

Keep reading this blog as we may be able to post more advanced things you can do later in addition to the ones in today’s post.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Prevent prostate cancer without statins....

Today's post: Monday, 4-27-2009

It was in today’s health news in several places that taking statins seemed to make prostate cancer less aggressive and for its tumors to grow more slowly.

1. Not long ago, there was also news that people taking purified fish oil as omega 3 supplements or who regularly ate fish high in omega 3 oils tended to have similar results if they got prostate cancer. Their cancer was less aggressive, it grew more slowly, and the percentage of people who survived it was higher.

Since statin drugs reduce inflammation and separate studies show similar results in people where they have higher or lower levels of inflammation with lower levels slowing cancer and high levels speeding it up, this effect of taking statin drugs may be real from just this reason alone.

But taking purified fish oil as omega 3 supplements or regularly ate fish high in omega 3 oils but wild caught only once to three times a week lowers inflammation; & so does NOT eating or drinking foods made with high fructose corn syrup, refined grains, starchy foods, or sugar at all often. Interestingly, regular exercise and eating raw or dry roasted nuts regularly if you aren’t allergic, lowers inflammation also. (It’s been shown separately, I read recently, that a high intake of sugars and similar carbohydrates tends to cause the early development of prostate cancer which clearly fits this model of inflammation helping to cause prostate cancer.)
Eating onions often also helps lower inflammation and triglyceride levels.

But each of those methods has other health benefits while statin drugs have side effects, some of them quite harmful. (If you do each of those things, you’ll also be less fat, less likely to have type 2 diabetes, and much less likely to have heart disease or other cardiovascular diseases.)

So, there are superior ways to lower inflammation to slow prostate cancer other than taking statin drugs.

2. Keeping your LDL cholesterol down, which statins also do, may also be protective. This may well be the case since people who take beta sitosterol and/or saw palmetto tend to have less prostate enlargement and urinary problems from it. And, both of these supplements are sterols which reliably lower LDL cholesterol levels as do the sterols in nuts, vegetables, and some red wines as we posted about last week.

A combination of eating right, regular exercise, taking these sterol supplements and taking as little as 600 mg a day of niacin not only lowers LDL levels, it does so MUCH better than statin drugs because while statins mostly only lower LDL, the combination we just described lowers triglycerides and increases HDL at the same time. This lowers the kind of small particle LDL that causes heart disease MUCH better than statin drugs. That means that you can not only protect yourself from prostate cancer better in this category without statin drugs and their costs and risk of harmful side effects, your heart protection will be better too.

3. There are also several kinds of methods that protect against prostate cancer that look to do so in other ways than the two than statin drugs do.

Eating raw broccoli or raw cauliflower has been found to prevent half of the aggressive prostate cancers the people eating them get compared to men who eat none.

In addition, eating these vegetables several times a week and also eating cooked tomato products or taking lycopene supplements, the main carotenoid in tomatoes may make this even more protective. Not only has doing these things been shown to be protective against prostate cancer separately, the combination of doing so with eating raw broccoli or raw cauliflower apparently works even better than either by itself.

One double-blind study found that taking 200 micrograms a day of selenium reduced prostate cancer by 63 percent & others have found that taking this much selenium tends to result in a doubling the survival rate from getting cancer of any kind.

The gamma tocopherol fraction of natural vitamin E had a five-fold reduction in prostate cancer risk from the people who got the least to those who got the most. (Solgar makes a 200 iu natural vitamin E plus mixed tocopherols that has gamma tocopherol. You can also get it by eating nuts and avocados and the greens that have natural vitamin E.

Taking a curcumin or a turmeric supplement or eating curried food has been shown to curtail the growth of prostate cancers. (Curcumin is in the spice turmeric which is what gives curries their yellow color.) Since the incidence of all cancers in India is quite low and eating foods often with curry is so common there, it looks as if taking curcumin may well help prevent all cancers. Similarly, very few people in India develop Alzheimer’s disease. So taking curcumin supplements may be triply protective against prostate cancer, all other cancers, and against getting Alzheimer’s disease. If you want to spend money to protect yourself from prostate cancer, curcumin may do a lot more good per dollar spent that taking statin drugs.

Lastly, the supplement boron has been shown to cut the incidence of prostate cancer in half and to help people stay alert when they are tired. I’d been taking boron for years to help me stay alert only to find I may have also doubled my prostate cancer protection without knowing it!

4. You can also take steps to avoid ALL cancers.

Taking curcumin is one way.

Eating organic vegetables & eating very little fat from grain fed meat by eating plant proteins or beef fed only grass or very lowfat chicken and turkey instead also helps. Grain fed animals bioconcentrate pesticides and herbicides in their fat. Similarly, it helps to avoid using pesticides and herbicides to the maximum extent you can particularly in your home and yard.

Not smoking or being around second hand smoke is also known to prevent something like third of all cancers.

Lastly, we now know that many people have been and are low in vitamin D because they now work inside more and get less sun exposure. But getting the 2,000 to 3,000 iu a day your body prefers to have by taking at least 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 has been studied and apparently it both makes your immune system less likely to cause autoimmune disease by attacking things it should not AND MORE likely to attack and kill cancer cells of any kind. So taking that much vitamin D helps ensure you have enough to enable your immune system to kill off cancer cells in their earliest stages.

So, as you can see, you have many ways to prevent prostate cancer and its more aggressive and dangerous forms than taking statin drugs. And, the two things statin drugs do well there are safer and more protective ways to get the same effects.

So, you CAN prevent prostate cancer and its more aggressive and dangerous forms quite well without statin drugs. This also saves you from getting the common and the more harmful side effects of taking statin drugs.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Even more heart protection in red wine....

Today's post: Friday, 4-24-2009

The Mediterranean diet, the traditional version that often includes red wine & olive oil is known to be protective for your heart.

And, in France, they eat more cheese and butter than Americans but have less heart disease.

(Some of that, an analysis of total yearly food intake for France and for the United Sates showed, is due to how dramatically much less full fat milk and hamburger the French were eating and how much more vegetables they were eating. In addition, their rate of heart disease is medium rather than low; & the parts of France that eat the most butter and cheese have the most heart attacks.)

But it now looks as if some of their lower incidence of heart disease may come from what was their higher rate of consumption of red wine. (In recent years, the consumption of red wine in the United States has gone up quite a bit due to publicity about its likely health benefits.)

I just got an email from a doctor who specializes in preventative medicine.

He included information I had briefly read once; but the details he included were extremely important.

It seems that there is an ingredient in red wine, particularly some kinds of red wine, AND that is also in olive oil to some degree, that lowers your LDL cholesterol and which does so even when you have eaten a bit too much of a food high in saturated fat. This same ingredient also tends to lower the kind of inflammation that helps trigger heart disease. And, this is in red wine in addition to the resveratrol, flavonols, and alcohol which also tend to benefit your heart.

It’s called saponin, or more accurately saponins, as there are apparently several naturally occurring kinds.

It’s much higher in red wine than in white wine. And the kinds of red wine that have the most are those with higher alcohol content and the Burgundy, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir varieties of red wine.

Sterols are naturally occurring substances in vegetables, nuts and other foods. It seems that saponins are a kind of sterol. The molecule of sterols is apparently similar to cholesterol but in a way that causes your body to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood when you take in enough sterols.

There is also some evidence that sterols slightly increase your protective HDL cholesterol too!

You don’t need red wine to get them of course. Vegetables, nuts, olive oil, and sterol supplements also can provide you with sterols. (Taking sterol supplements, eating those foods, and drinking red wine have helped me to have LDL readings that average about 100 while my HDL tends to be about 90. Of course the high HDL and low LDL are helped by my taking 600 mg of niacin each day and by regular, vigorous exercise and by eating foods high in soluble fiber as well such as apple sauce, beans, and oatmeal.)

But it’s still nice to know that something fun and relaxing like drinking some red wine often can protect you from heart disease at the same time!

(Important note: One or two glasses of red wine with dinner but less than 14 a week for men and 7 a week for women tends to produce the best net health results.

Drinking more than that not only costs more, it also tends to help make you fat and can cause injury accidents and legal liability if the person injured or killed is someone besides the drinker. And, it has done and done often as the British like to put it.

So enjoy red wine and its health benefits. But be tough on yourself about stopping at a consumption level that does you more good than harm.)

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Effective ways to be happier....

Today's post: Thursday, 4-23-2009

Prudent optimism, a strong sense of purpose, an outgoing and friendly nature including liking most people and wishing them well, and laughter all tend to create good health and resilience.

Their opposites tend to cause disease and early death too.

Perhaps even more important today with all the bad news lately is that this is true in both good times and bad times.

In our last post on Tuesday, we covered those four things. But I didn’t have time to include a similar article from Early to Rise they published last Saturday, 4-18.

So it’s here in this post today. It makes similar points to our post last Tuesday. But you may find it easier to follow or use. And, even better, if you like it, it’s adapted from the author’s related book. So you can get even more info & tips if you like.

“This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, a free newsletter dedicated to making money, improving health and secrets to success. For a complimentary subscription, visit .”

How to Stay Up When the Economy Is Down - With 5 Quick-Start Steps

By Marci Shimoff

"How can I be happy when the economy is tanking?" It's a question I hear a lot lately. It seems that as the financial picture becomes more depressed, so do we. That's why now, more than ever, we need to learn to be happy from the inside out - no matter what's going on in our lives.

What would it take to make you happy? A fulfilling career? A big bank account? The perfect mate?

What if it didn't take anything to make you happy?

Well, it's possible.

Doing the research for my book, Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy From the Inside Out, I interviewed scores of scientists, as well as 100 unconditionally happy people. And I discovered a way to experience a state of inner peace and well-being that isn't dependent on external circumstances.

When you're Happy for No Reason, you don't need to manipulate the world around you to make yourself happy. You bring happiness to your everyday experiences rather than trying to extract happiness from them.

Here are a few strategies you can use to become happier - and stay that way:

1. People who are Happy for No Reason incline their minds toward joy.

Have you noticed that your mind tends to register the negative events in your life more than the positive? If you get 10 compliments in a day and one criticism, what do you remember? For most people, it's the criticism. Scientists call this "negativity bias" - primitive survival wiring that causes us to pay more attention to the negative than the positive.

To reverse this bias, get into the habit of consciously registering the positive around you: the sun on your skin, the taste of a favorite food, a smile or kind word from a co-worker or friend. Then take a moment to savor it deeply and feel it. Make it more than a brief mental observation. Spend 20 seconds soaking up the happiness you feel.

2. People who are Happy for No Reason trust in a friendly universe.

Happy people believe that this is a friendly universe. When things don't seem to be going their way, instead of feeling like a victim, they look for the lesson and the gift in the situation.

Try it: The next time you face a challenge, take a moment to reflect silently, asking yourself, "If this were happening for a higher purpose, what would it be?"

3. People who are Happy for No Reason let love lead in their life.

One way to power up your heart's flow is by conveying a feeling of loving kindness to your friends and family, as well as strangers you pass on the street.

When you're waiting for the elevator, stuck in a checkout line, or caught in traffic, send a silent wish to the people you see for their happiness and health. Simply wishing others well switches on the "pump" in your own heart that generates a strong current of happiness.

4. People who are Happy for No Reason make the cells in their body happy.

Your brain produces a veritable pharmacopeia of natural happiness-enhancing neurochemicals - endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine - just waiting to be released to every organ and cell in your body. The way you eat, move, and rest, and even your facial expression, can shift the balance of your body's feel-good chemicals in your favor.

To dispense some extra Joy Juice - smile. Scientists have discovered that smiling decreases stress hormones and boosts happiness chemicals, which increase the body's T-cells, reduce pain, and enhance relaxation. You may not feel like it, but smiling - even artificially to begin with - starts the ball rolling. It will turn into a real smile in short order.

5. People who are Happy for No Reason surround themselves with support.

We catch the emotions of those around us just like we catch their colds. It's called emotional contagion. So it's important to make wise choices about the company you keep.

Establish appropriate boundaries with emotional bullies and "happiness vampires" who suck the life out of you. Develop your happiness "dream team" - a mastermind or support group you meet with regularly to keep you steadily on the happiness path.

"Happily ever after" isn't just for fairy tales or the lucky few. Imagine experiencing inner peace and well-being as the backdrop for everything else in your life. When you're Happy for No Reason, it's not that your life always looks perfect - it's that however it looks, you're still happy!

[Ed. Note: Marci Shimoff is the author of the New York Times bestseller Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out, a revolutionary approach to experiencing deep and lasting happiness. ….]”

X* X* X* X* X* X* X* X*

She has many good ideas in her article. Here’s just a few comments.

1. I’ll add two ways to feel better about criticism.

Some criticism is legitimate feedback on something you did wrong or need to do better. Despite the fact it may not be fun to hear, it can actually be a blessing in disguise to get and save you from worse troubles later to hear it. One very successful man said when you are criticized to check out if the criticism has any of this legitimate aspect to it. Even if it was meanly stated or meant, if it does, plan to make constructive use of the information. That can make you feel better because it puts you in control. His tactic if it doesn’t have any legitimate thing you are actually doing wrong, it has no force to it and can usually be ignored and should be.

Second, if it’s harshly put, it may be that the person criticizing you is in a particularly bad mood for some reason. In other words, it’s more communicating their bad mood than something you actually did wrong. You might be able to find out what caused their bad mood and even help them feel better. If you can, that will often turn off the criticism by removing the discomfort that triggered it. Or, if you can’t, your best bet may be to give them some space or be somewhere else until they feel better. It’s optimistic thinking as we discussed in our last post to also make sure to remember that this same person was in a better mood before and may well be in a better mood later. That can also help you feel better.

2. Noticing good things and appreciating them at the time or also remembering them and going over the good things that happened to you each day is a habit that can be learned if you haven’t been doing it. It has been proven to work. So, she is not just saying it because she thinks so when it really is not.

Study after study has confirmed that this works extremely well to improve the mood and feeling of well being in people who do it even if they never did it before. (It sounds like she has read reports of some of these studies.)

(It also helps to notice when someone does something that really works for you or makes you feel better to make it a point to thank them. This can be even more important if it’s something they do often. They’ll feel better and appreciated and will be much more likely to know you like it and value their efforts. And, it also helps they are more likely to keep doing it.)

3. Our universe does have good things in it. And people who are optimistic not only have noticed this but believe that such good things are always there even if you aren’t currently experiencing them. They believe they are permanent and lasting. Since optimists are happier, have more friends, and stay in much better health, her point, “People who are Happy …. trust in a friendly universe.” is accurate and true.

4. Wishing others well does all kinds of good. It does jump start your own positive emotions and releases neurochemicals that make you feel good. It helps you to see yourself as a good and worthwhile person. And, sometimes people can tell or really like it when you also do something that does do something for them they want done.

5. Smiling has very similar effects. In addition, you look better. It relieves the stress of the people around you. It makes THEM feel better and liked. So they tend to treat YOU better and respond better to you.

Dale Carnegie launched a career, a best selling book, and a success training company that still exists. And, according to his feedback from his initial trainees, his teaching them to smile at other people often may have been (& still is) as valuable as everything else in his course. Some of his students literally wrote him for years afterwards about how much better their lives became after they begin smiling at people often!

6. Also notice that each of these things makes it easier to and more likely that you will surround yourself with the support of other people.

That is a proven way to feel better, be healthier, and live longer.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Optimism & other keys to good health....

Today's post: Tuesday, 4-21-2009

Prudent optimism, a strong sense of purpose, an outgoing and friendly nature including liking most people and wishing them well, and laughter all tend to create good health and resilience.

Their opposites tend to cause disease and early death too.

Perhaps even more important today with all the bad news lately is that this is true in both good times and bad times.

1. Martin Seligman, PhD in his book Learned Optimism shows that:

Optimists have faith that they can make good things happen and that many good things are permanent and always available. They can even do this beyond what looks like or really is the case.

Optimists tend to take action because they believe their efforts will work even if the odds say they won’t and when the initial tries don’t work. And even then, they tend to have faith they can find something that will work. They tend to believe that good things are permanent and to notice them when they show up. They try to make good things happen; they set goals because they expect to reach them; and they are very hard to defeat & tend to persist. In fact, initial failure often causes them to try to improve how they do things and to make a much stronger effort.

They tend to overestimate their chances of success beyond what the odds and other people’s experience show is likely. But this is less irrational than it looks because they take action to solve problems and often solve them when others cannot.

Prudent optimists do even better.

Optimists who are young and inexperienced or who forget to avoid avoidable risks get burned and can stop being optimistic or even get killed. Successful and prudent optimists tend to get extra training, skilled help, and avoid situations where failure is severely damaging or fatal.

They look for heads I win but tails I avoid losing situations. So if the downside is disastrous they look for a safer method or decline to take the risk. One such entrepreneur had a motto, “Where there is little to lose if you fail and a great deal to gain if you succeed, by all means try.” That sums it up very well.

Similarly they believe what they do is effective. But they focus more on achieving good results than taking credit for them. And when they succeed as members of a team, they always make sure to give their team members full credit first or only give their team members credit. They do give themselves credit internally; but publicly they give their team the credit. That makes them more effective because they then have more effective teams than people who don’t.

Despite the fact that they often see how others mess things up better than most people, they are more interested in making things better and taking responsibility to do so than in laying blame or punishing people for their mistakes. Their approach is let’s fix it now and set things up so it won’t happen next time.

And, for bad events, optimists instead of being irrationally confident and less seemingly realistic than most people, optimists are dramatically more sophisticated, analytical, scientific and accurate than most people. They are almost surgically realistic in fact.

They tend to see bad things as temporary and as limited in their scope. They realize that bad things have specific causes and if those causes are changed the bad effects will no longer occur.

If they fail at an attempt, they do NOT say that proves I can’t do this. They say that attempt failed, let’s find out why; and look for how the next attempt can be more successful.

So when dealing with bad events they are much saner and more realistic than most people.

And, this is particularly important when they deal with people. They tend to see people as grouchy or in a bad mood where non-optimists may see such people as mean people or having a sour disposition. The optimist knows that they may be sick or had someone else recently be mean to them or lack the training they need to deal well with the public. They know that the same people on another day or in different circumstances may actually be quite nice.

So, they tend to be hard to alienate and be able to deal with people better even when they are difficult. Since each and every part of such thinking is usually much more accurate and the good will and help of other people is so important, this means that optimists have more friends and fewer enemies. And they can meet people well and recover from it when things go badly with others. To put it mildly their accurate strategic thinking where people are concerned makes it very much more likely that they will have good social skills.

Research has found that such prudent optimists are more likely to eat right, exercise, and otherwise take action to keep their health. They succeed too. They have fewer diseases and live longer than other people.

They also tend to make more money and to recover better and faster if they lose money. They also are dramatically more resilient when things go wrong.

2. Having a strong sense of purpose has also been found to predict good health and longevity.

The simple way to think about this is that if you are doing something that is or will be very worthwhile and valuable to other people by your own best standards and values, you’ll think of yourself as worthwhile and your continued ability to make a contribution to achieving your purpose as important. So, you’ll tend to be prudent, to take care of your health, and you’ll be much harder to discourage than other people.

The Revered Robert Schuler even found a bible statement that applies to this that is extraordinarily comforting even if to people who have only a tiny belief in God. “God, who has begun a good work in you, will complete it.”

3. “An outgoing and friendly nature including liking most people and wishing them well” is a sign of optimism which we have already talked about.

But it also has an interesting track record that I read about earlier today. They studied people who lived to be 100 years old and looked for things that made them different. In both the men and women they studied, people who lived to be 100 tended to be more extraverted and friendly than those who did not.

Given that having a strong social network has also been found to help longevity, that makes sense.

4. Laughter helps. There is a quote from the bible that sums it up well.: “A merry heart doeth good like medicine.”

And the laughter itself is important because it dramatically releases stress and boosts feel good hormones. It even gives you some deep breathing and physical exercise.

A recent study found that people who found videos they found funny who then watched one of them for half an hour a day got better results on many of their heart risk indicators than they would have by taking the most effective drugs or supplements. If their blood pressure was too high, it went down. Their LDL cholesterol went down; and their HDL went up.

On this point, it seems the bible statement has turned out to be quite true.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Important Fat Loss News....

Today's post: Monday, 4-20-2009

Insulin resistance increases your blood levels of insulin. And that tends to cause you to gain fat and belly fat.

Insulin resistance, when it gets worse as it often tends to do, harms your health by elevating your blood sugar enough to cause capillary and immune system damage and can then be very hard to get rid of as it causes type 2 diabetes.

We’ve often posted that regular progressive strength training and regular interval cardio each turn down insulin resistance. And if you do them every week and keep doing them, they can often turn it off.

Consuming lots of junk foods, soft drinks, commercial desserts, candy, and refined grain foods tends to cause insulin resistance or make it far worse.

That is becoming better known fortunately. But many people are just learning this or don’t yet exercise or haven’t stopped eating and drinking the things that cause insulin resistance or cut back on them enough yet.

What if there was an inexpensive supplement that would also improve insulin resistance and a kind of food already known to make fat loss easier ALSO turned down insulin resistance directly and increased fat loss in two ways we didn’t realized it did before?

Given the number of people that could help (and how important that is to help keep good health for people who are just getting into protecting their health) that is front page news.

That news exists and is real as I just discovered over the weekend by reading the Saturday, Early to Rise email.

So, here’s that article.:

"This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, a free newsletter dedicated to making money, improving health and secrets to success. For a complimentary subscription, visit ."

"Big Health News Flew Under the Radar

By James B. LaValle

I read a study recently that could be some of the most important health news I've seen in a long time, especially for you "apple" shapes out there. Yet there have been no headlines - at least not yet.

The study - published in the Journal of Nutrition - found that taking in plenty of non-starchy vegetables and more magnesium helped increase the production of adiponectin, a hormone found in fat cells. The researchers were careful to look for any other factors that could have affected the results, but found none.

Adiponectin increases the effectiveness of insulin. In other words, it helps your cells absorb glucose. If you have plenty of adiponectin, your insulin production is lower, your blood sugar is better controlled... and that adds up to a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease. But it may also mean you would have a much easier time controlling your weight.

Unfortunately, when we gain weight - especially in the waist or belly - adiponectin production goes down. (This is one reason belly fat is so harmful for your health.) And, indeed, the researchers found that the higher the subject's adiponectin level, the lower the subject's weight. The lower the adiponectin, the higher the weight.

So the big news is that simply by increasing your intake of non-starchy vegetables and supplementing with magnesium, you can increase a hormone that will help you lose that belly fat and decrease your insulin resistance.

Reduce your intake of starchy carbs - especially refined flours and sugars. And eat eight to 10 servings of non-starchy vegetables every day. Non-starchy vegetables are very low in carb grams and calories. They are nutrient-dense foods - loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and other beneficial phytochemicals in a very low-sugar, high-fiber package.

A little extra magnesium helps too. The best food sources are nuts, seeds, and beans. However, I recommend taking in at least an extra 300 mg per day, especially if you show any signs of being low in magnesium (e.g., tense and tight muscles, constipation, or restless leg syndrome). The best forms are magnesium malate or amino acid chelates like magnesium glycinate or magnesium taurate. "

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Other forms of magnesium in supplements that are well absorbed are magnesium citrate and magnesium asporotate. If you don’t take milk of magnesia or other magnesium containing laxatives (since doing that plus taking magnesium supplements can overdose you), taking 200, 400, or 600 grams of magnesium each day plus eating foods high in it tends to prevent constipation and lower or helps prevent high blood pressure also.

In addition, one of the several ways to lose fat without going hungry is to eat a wide variety of nonstarchy or green vegetables each day.

You get great nutrition without significant calories by eating enough vegetables. By eating some health OK protein and fats and some spices and eating enough vegetables, the fiber and nutrition in the vegetables keeps you feeling full and your hunger turned down to manageable levels.

To find out that getting enough magnesium and eating enough vegetables also turns off insulin resistance, lowers excessive insulin, and directly shuts off the fat gaining process by doing so, is incredibly good news.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Why the pill can stop fat loss and fitness....

Today's post: Friday, 4-17-2009

In today’s health news, several news services carried the story that young women taking birth control pills who did strength training well and ate enough protein to add some muscle mass (which helps reduce fat by competing with it for calories) failed to do so as well as a group of women who were NOT taking birth control pills while they were on the same exercise and diet program exactly.

The story was reported by several of the online news services that do health stories and Reuters actually had the story twice – one story written in Chicago & one written in New York.

In the study, 73 healthy young women from 18 to 31 years did a strength training routine 3 times per week for 10 weeks. Thirty-four of the women took the birth control pill and 39 didn’t. To ensure they got enough protein, both groups were told to eat at least half a gram of protein for each pound of bodyweight every day.

Lean muscle went up 2.1 % in the woman taking birth control pills and 3.5 % in the women who did not.

Blood samples before and after the exercise sessions found that the women taking the pill had lower levels of testosterone (which helps build muscle) & much higher levels of cortisol.

And the story said that high levels of cortisol tend to block muscle increases. (We also know that high levels of cortisol tend to cause you to gain belly fat.)

It’s also been in the news in the past year or so that taking birth control pills tends to cause women to be attracted to men less well matched to them than women who don’t. (Without taking the pill women tend to be attracted to men who have immune systems with different strengths so their children have a good chance of getting an immune system strong in both areas. Women taking the pill tend to be attracted to men with similar immune systems which is thought to produce children with less effective immune systems.) This also means that a woman takes the pill who marries a man who attracts her may feel less attracted when she stops taking the pill later to have children.

So what to do with this information?

1. The first thing that jumps out at me is that despite the attention grabbing headlines, doing the strength training while eating enough protein did improve the muscle mass of BOTH groups even though it did it better for women not taking the pill. Plus this was only a 10 week program so a 100 week program might well do much better in terms of the results for both sets of women. (The best alternative for health and fat loss is to simply keep doing it every week and not stop.)

That specifically means that women who take the pill and continue to do so or plan to do so can still get good results from this kind of strength training program. They got more than half the results, 60 % of results, of the women not taking the pill. The strength training was still well worth doing for both groups.

2. The high cortisol readings though were more of a problem though. Women who want to look good and women who want to stay healthy want to avoid unnecessary belly fat because it both makes you look fat and tends to cause unhealthy changes to your blood fats that increase your risk of heart disease.

Some supplements may lower cortisol. Effective stress relief lowers cortisol including, according to another story today, watching half an hour of a video the woman (or man) watching it finds funny & chooses for themselves.

So, for women who plan to keep taking the pill those are solutions worth considering.

3. The other possibility is to use a different method of contraception other than taking birth control pills.

For women who are married the IUD or inter uterine device is almost as effective as the pill; and for single women who only have sex occasionally the IUD plus taking the morning after pill just after they have sex is as effective as the birth control pill as well.

This doesn’t prevent sexually transmitted diseases but taking the birth control pill doesn’t either. One possible solution is to use a female condom and an IUD. There is now an improved version; and if it’s used with some extra lubrication such as Astroglide on the side the man feels, it can be a decent alternative.

4. The other possibility for women who want to take the birth control pill is to work harder at the strength training and other steps that cause fat loss.

For example, such women could do upper body strength training 3 days a week and then do leg exercise 3 days week. If each session was comparable to ones in the study in amount of exercises done, that would be twice as much strength training and likely cause a 4.2 % increase in muscle mass, double the 2.1 % from 3 days a week.

To overcome the fat gain from the cortisol increase, one solution would be to have the woman watch a video she finds funny while walking on a treadmill for half an hour each day. The extra calories burned plus the cortisol reduction would likely do quite well.

Eating much less refined grains and far fewer foods made from them plus ingesting dramatically less sugar and high fructose corn syrup and any kind of soft drinks would also tend to combat the effect of the extra cortisol. (Those foods tend to increase belly fat and heart disease when eaten often every day.)

5. It also helps to be sure, for women who take the pill, that they take a version which has the lowest effective dose of the hormones involved. (Now that lower dosages are usually used, women experience less fat gain and fewer side effects from taking birth control pills.)

So, this information is important. Women can use it productively if they switch to another birth control method that they are comfortable with. Or they can use it productively by taking steps to counteract the effect.

Both solutions have trade offs. So a woman needs to choose the alternative she likes best.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Problems with sushi & tuna....

Today's post: Thursday, 4-16-2009

In today’s Early to Rise email and online article, their initial list of articles for today had one they called “Why you should steer clear of tuna.”

Since tuna is a wild caught fish & widely available, it would be nice to be able to give it a strong recommendation. But since it has about 5 to 7 times the acceptable level of mercury for eating several times a week -- or at all for women who are pregnant or children or younger teens, I went to the article expecting a write up of that info.

(For wild caught fish not so high in mercury, two or even three times a week is a good idea. For tuna once or at most twice a month is much safer with once a month or less being best.)

But it didn’t even mention that. It seems the article was about the Ahi tuna in sushi instead & a possible to somewhat probable reason to avoid that kind of sushi.

Since many people love sushi and some have eaten enough tuna sushi to get real problems from the mercury, I decided to make today’s post about it.

Here’s the article.:

"This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, a free newsletter dedicated to making money, improving health and secrets to success. For a complimentary subscription, visit ."

"Why you should steer clear of tuna

Bright Sushi, Red Flag

By Kelley Herring

Sushi has health benefits, but also has some hidden health dangers.

This one may shock you.

With its appetizing hue, sushi tuna (ahi) is hard to resist. The fish must be really fresh to have such a bright shade of red. Right?

Not exactly. It is treated with carbon monoxide - the gas that streams from the tailpipe of your car and is deadly when inhaled. When "applied" to tuna, it reacts with the heme proteins in the fish, imparting the cherry color.

Avoid sushi tuna. While the coloring process may be considered "safe" by industry standards, there's no long-term evidence that it is. And if carbon monoxide is deadly when you breathe it in, that certainly is enough to raise an eyebrow... if not a red flag.

[Ed. Note: One of the best ways to stay healthy and live longer is to eat good foods. Nutrition expert Kelley Herring has collected dozens of her healthiest and most delicious recipes in her e-book, Guilt-Free Desserts. Pick up your copy today.

For more advice about which foods you should - and shouldn't - be eating to stay in top health, sign up for ETR's free natural health e-letter.] "

(See .)

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Here are some other points. Given this info & the info on mercury and the addictive nature of good sushi, it might make sense to only eat tuna you get wild caught and pass on eating it in sushi.

Since tuna’s mercury comes from the large amount of smaller fish they bioconcentrate it from, there is less in smaller tuna than large. So in addition to not eating it often, another way to make it safer is to buy pole caught tuna instead of tuna caught in massive nets. That has the added bonus of not supporting that kind of fishing with massive nets which tends to also catch porpoises, sea turtles, and other species that then die in addition to the tuna.

Plus pole caught tuna which Whole Foods Markets carries costs more which helps you avoid eating tuna too often compared with the cheaper kind caught in massive nets.

Sushi and Japanese food CAN be good for you. But it looks like tuna sushi or Ahi tuna sushi are kinds you might be safer to avoid.

Second, farmed fish are simply dreadful for your health. It’s almost worse for you than eating produce that still has a heavy dose of insecticide on it that isn’t washed off. And, I’ve read that the eel & any sushi made from it are from farmed eel that live in the worst, most polluted fish farms you can imagine. So also avoid eel in sushi and Japanese restaurants!

So those are two choices to avoid for sushi and in most Japanese restaurants.

But they may have sushi some Japanese restaurants or sushi places can vouch for as coming from wild caught fish of other kinds. And, California rolls are made mostly with avocado, which for anyone not allergic is a superfood that both tastes great & has abundant nutrients.

Also, many Japanese restaurants have chicken teriyaki on the menu or salmon, which some may be able to vouch for as wild caught.

Virtually all the vegetable dishes in Japanese restaurants or in vegetarian sushi are good for you.

Oddly, the other food to pass on is eating the rice. Japanese restaurants almost universally serve refined grain white rice as a side dish and in large portions. This is about like eating that much sugar in how it slams your body if you eat it. So, save them some money & your health some harm and pass on the rice.

(In sushi, the percentage of rice is less and the glycemic effect is balancd by the protein or fat in the rest of each sushi. So eating a modest amount of sushi is OK.)

Last point, Saki is so mild it’s hard to believe it’s alcoholic; but it is and similar to wine in how much alcohol it has. So despite its mild taste, stick to just one or two servings if you want to stay out of trouble.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New study on good & bad foods for your heart....

Today's post: Tuesday, 4-14-2009

If you have read this blog at all often already, you’ll have seen that we recommend a number of foods as being the core of eating right and another set of foods as the core of foods to never be eaten or eaten very, very rarely due to the horrible health effects of eating very much of them often.

So, it was fun to see the health news reporting today on a new study that was published yesterday that used careful analysis of a large number of studies to see which foods tended to help people have good heart health and which ones tended to be most harmful your heart.

It strongly supported the recommendations we have been posting here.

The study found that the Mediterranean dietary pattern was strongly confirmed to be good for your heart with vegetables and nuts being most important. The Mediterranean dietary pattern also contains extra virgin olive oil, some whole fruit, wild caught fish & other wild caught seafood, garlic, and red wine -- & even some whole grains.

(Important points to keep in mind if you want to eat that way are:

Organic vegetables have a much higher level of the micronutrients that separate research has found to be most health promoting than vegetables grown with pesticides and herbicides & so much so that may be almost more important than avoiding pesticides & herbicides as a reason to eat and if necessary pay extra for organic vegetables.

People who eat nuts regularly have even been found to live longer than people who don’t. So eating them may promote good health in other ways besides protecting your heart. But, some people are violently allergic and must avoid them. Also, raw and dry roasted nuts are good for you; but it’s important to know that nuts that have been roasted in cottonseed, vegetable, soy or corn oil &/or salted are NOT. The salt and high level of omega 6 oils from this kind of preparation are really bad for you, particularly if you eat them at all often.

Wild caught fish with low amounts of mercury in them are good for you; but farmed fish at this time have so many harmful contaminants and so much less omega 3 oils and more omega 6 oils that they are almost bad enough for you that they should be outlawed.)

There is already enough separate research to support eating a lot of vegetables, eating nuts, and for otherwise following the Mediterranean dietary pattern for most of your food that having these foods confirmed as being good for your heart is no surprise.

However, the other two conclusions were a bit more surprising.

They found less support for NOT eating dairy products and meat than their high saturated fat reputations would have predicted. There IS evidence that eating too much saturated fat from eating a lot of fatty meats and butterfat does harm your heart. (For example, in France, and I think in China, they found that people who eat more of these foods have more heart attacks than those who eat less. And, the DASH diet that stresses nonfat and very lowfat dairy and eating a lot less fatty meats does lower high blood pressure.)

But this new research suggests strongly that eating some meat and dairy in a diet that is mostly the Mediterranean dietary pattern is likely to be OK. (We already know that making your dairy products mostly nonfat and very lowfat and eating lean & eating fat-trimmed cuts of meat from animals fed only grass is dramatically better for you than eating only full fat dairy and fatty meat from animals that have been heavily grain fed.)

The really exciting thing this study found is that the two worst foods for you your heart are:

1. Transfats (aka trans fats and hydrogenated vegetable oil) AND

2. High glycemic foods such as refined grain foods, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and the foods that contain them.

Or in other words, if you eat a hamburger and fries and a soft drink and a dessert at a fast food place, they used to think this was bad for your heart from the saturated fat from the hamburger.

This is somewhat correct.

But what this new study demonstrates is that the lack of vegetables and the possible transfats from the fry oil and the massive dose of high glycemic carbs from the refined grain, potato with no skin, high fructose corn syrup in the soft drink, and sugar in the dessert are MUCH worse for you heart.

Of course we have been posting for quite a while that these same food ingredients make you fat and cause type 2 diabetes and the best solution is to eat or drink virtually none of those food components ever -- except very occasional use of sugar.

But now this new research suggests the same course of action as one of the best ways to avoid heart disease also.

It’s also worth noting that this study found some support for getting extra omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources, folate, and dietary vitamins E and C to protect your heart.

But while that effect was shown & likely is increased a lot if you do all these things, the effect apparently was not as large as eating the in the Mediterranean dietary pattern mostly and NOT eating foods with transfats, and foods & drinks made with refined grains, potatoes with no skin, high fructose corn syrup, and sugar.

(The actual study was published in the Monday, April 13, 2009 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.)

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Monday, April 13, 2009

How to start exercising safely....

Today's post: Monday, 4-13-2009

Whether you have almost never exercised or are restarting after a long time away from exercise --

--there are three important things to know right away.

1. The first one is Hooray !! & Good for you !!

Knowledgeable people even in Plato’s day, knew that to stay healthy regular exercise is necessary. He’s quoted as saying so himself in fact.

But back then they didn’t know the importance of it as well as we do now.

We now know that if you begin regular exercise and stay with it, you get a long list of desirable benefits from trimming off excess fat, living longer, staying mentally competent far longer—from growing new brain cells to maintaining good circulation, avoiding several expensive and harsh diseases, & even having a better sex life.

Even more important in some ways is that those who never exercise have all that happen in reverse. OUCH! They become fatter, sicker, less able, and die sooner.

And, you can’t do regular exercise if you never start. So if you have started or are about to, my sincere congratulations!

However, people who start off too fast can wind up overdoing it enough to cause them to stop exercising or to actually harm themselves in some way.

2. So, starting slowly enough you are able to continue exercising and reasonably comfortable doing so is as important as the exercise benefits you stand to gain or lose. That makes it critically important to do so.

3. It is possible to injure yourself or otherwise harm yourself by doing or trying to do too much before your body gets used to the exercise –
while at the same time studies and practical experience show that you can build up to levels of exercise far greater than the initially too much amount that will cause problems at first and be quite safe in getting to those high levels as your body gradually becomes used to them and more able to sustain them.

So, it’s critically important to start slow and NOT necessary to do a lot right away to be able to even more later.

So, given how important this subject is, I was delighted to see the health article in last Saturday’s Early to Rise email, 4-11-2009, (and the issue available at their website for that date.)

I have some points & ways to stay safe to add that also can help after I include that article.

Here it is.:

“This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, a free newsletter dedicated to making money, improving health and secrets to success. For a complimentary subscription, visit .”

10 Best Practices for Safe Workouts

By Craig Ballantyne

When Carrie showed up for her first weight-loss workout with me, she was injured. Only three weeks earlier, she had made up her mind to lose weight. So she started running for 45 minutes per day. But doing so much, so soon was a bad idea for her body, given that she was 20 pounds overweight and hadn't gone running in years.

It was no surprise that Carrie had developed a muscle strain in her upper thigh, which required weeks of rehabilitation to heal. This made our fat-burning workouts more difficult, because she couldn't do interval training or many of the bodyweight exercises I use with my clients.

Over time, Carrie was able to heal her injury while losing fat with short-burst workouts. However, she should not have gotten hurt in the first place.

The first thing to remember about keeping your workouts safe is to avoid doing too much cardio.

I don't understand why so many personal trainers still recommend long, slow cardio workouts for fat loss, when research has shown them to be relatively ineffective and experience tells me that cardio often just lands folks in the doctor's office.

If I had met Carrie before she started running, here's what I would have told her to help her lose fat fast... without getting hurt.

Top 10 Rules for Safe Workouts

1. It is important to train conservatively and not overdo things. If you are doing resistance training (and everyone should), don't do any exercise that you aren't sure how to do. Always get personal instruction from a certified trainer.

2. Don't do anything that hurts or "doesn't feel right." There are plenty of alternate exercises for any exercise in any workout program. Just ask a qualified trainer for help.

3. Whenever you start a new resistance-training program, use lighter weights than normal and perform only one set per exercise. This will minimize the muscle soreness that you can expect with any new program.

4. If you need extra recovery time within the workout or between workouts, don't hesitate to take it. Most beginners only think about how they can do more and more exercise to help them lose weight faster. But everyone (from beginners to pro athletes) needs some days of light exercise to allow the muscles to repair. And don't worry. If you do the right type of exercise, you'll still lose fat even when you are not working out at the gym.

5. Check your ego at the gym door and start with the easier alternate exercises, even if you have exercised in the past. New movements - even those that "look easy" - will cause muscle soreness. This goes for yoga too. Many beginners overstretch and end up with the same kind of injuries often associated with weight training. So no matter what you do, be conservative.

6. Do not do interval training or hard cardio more than four times per week. Even pro athletes don't play hard every day. Doing too much cardio is the biggest reason beginners end up hurt, frustrated, and in the doctor's office. Research shows that all you need to lose belly fat is three interval-training workouts per week.

When you do cardio, you're doing the same movement thousands and thousands of times in the same workout. If you have even the smallest injury, it will be magnified by this repetition.

7. Never skip a warm-up. Instead of using the treadmill to warm up (which is pointless), do a general bodyweight circuit of easy squats, easy push-ups, and ab planks to prepare your body for resistance training.

8. If you decide to use running as your form of interval training, make sure you have good running shoes, always do an extra-thorough warm-up, and choose a safe running surface (grass or trails rather than pavement/concrete). If you use a treadmill, please operate it safely.

9. If you have any type of injury at all, get medical attention and have a professional therapist rehabilitate the injury before you start an exercise program. You are better off committing three weeks to rehab now, before the injury becomes serious, than to neglect your body and be forced to stop exercising for three months (or more).

10. All together now: "Safety first!" Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise or diet program. There is no need to get hurt, no matter how serious you are about losing weight fast.

Don't Let Your Workouts Be the Reason You Can't Work Out

Those are the top 10 safety tips to keep in mind before you start your new fat-burning workout. Don't make the classic beginner mistake of doing too much exercise too soon.

The great news is that, as a beginner, your diet will have a much greater impact on your weight loss results - so there's no reason to over-exercise. Your program should include resistance training and interval training to help you burn fat, but you only need to exercise three times per week with total-body workouts.

Take your body seriously! Train safe!”

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Here are some other points to help.

1. For people who have never exercised at all or who are over 50 pounds overweight, strength training at a well equipped gym can be excellent because you can start with very light weights initially and build from there. Suppose you hope to do dumbbell curls with 30 pounds each at some point but have never done them before. Try doing 5 repetitions with 5 pound dumbbells. It that’s extremely easy do another set of 5 with 10 or 15 pound ones. Then stop there.

Next time, leaving at least one day of rest in between, if the larger weights were still easy, let’s say you did 15 pounders for 5 reps, then do a set just like that. Then see if doing a single set of 5 with 20 pounders to see how it feels. If that feels a bit more strenuous but as if you could do more than 5 reps, don’t do it!

But, next time just a single set with 20 pounders and do 6 or 7 reps. Then each time you come in do one or two more reps until you can do 12 without excess strain.

Then jump the weight to 25 pounds for 5 to 7 reps the time after you can do 12 without excess strain.

If you do that, you get two great benefits.:

You avoid the extreme soreness you would have had if you hard started the first day with the 25 pounders when your arms hadn’t built up to it and are far less likely to strain or injure your bicep.

Second, it makes the workouts where you are just staring fun to do because each time you go in you can make progress and do more. That extra positive motivation is critical to any new thing you do to help you keep doing it.

So, don’t hurt when you don’t have to or deprive yourself of the delightful experience of making continuous progress.

Start with less than you are already able to do and then build up to more than you can do now. But do it in easy, doable, and safe steps.

(The safest and most effective way to do strength training is every other day. But daily exercise is beneficial. So here are two ways to get daily exercise while doing strength training every other day. One is to do 3 days of upper body exercise and two or three days of leg exercise each week and alternate them. You can also do strength training 3 days a week and interval cardio 3 or 4 days a week and alternate them. One of the benefits of this is that your exercise session each day can be as little as 10 or 15 minutes while still giving you a good workout each week. If you have time, you can also do a daily half hour walk at a brisk pace as well -- as Jon Benson recommends for best fat loss results.)

2. Intervals make cardio dramatically better from making it safer to do, to making you fit faster, to getting you to a higher level of fitness, to getting results in far less total time.

Suppose you are so overweight you can hardly walk more than 50 steps without getting winded.

Here’s what you do to get fit. Walk 25 steps just a bit quickly but very carefully. (Note that this is only half what you can already do!) Then wait until you feel recovered, that might take 30 seconds at first. And you might have to walk in a circle from and back to a bench to sit down on.

Then do it a second time.

Then stop.

If you feel up to it for such a low key program do this one daily.

Next time do 3 sets of 25 steps and try resting a tiny bit less than the day before.

Then every time you come in to the gym or go on this short walk, do one more set of 25 steps.

Then once you can do 8 sets of 25, each time you come in do one more in each set 26, 27, 28, etc.

The time will come when you can do 8 sets of 100 without strain.

But always take a rest even if only 30 seconds or so between sets and be absolutely sure to increase that gradually.

With walking or running, if you increase that gradually, your bones gradually grow stronger and heavier. But if you go twice as far each time instead of just a tiny bit farther 5% or less, the time will come when your bone needs to be stronger but is not quite there yet and you can get a stress fracture that will force you to stop exercising.

What if you are already quite fit? You can do your cardio exercise more intensely at first and can go to doing it briskly in between doing it really hard instead of complete rest.

But the principle of building up slowly to doing more still applies.

Start at a level that is easy & gradually work up from there.

3. It also helps to know your heart risk blood measures and to be eating right and taking the right supplements to move those into the safe range if they are not there now.

In addition, if they are in truly dangerous territory now or you have a prior history of heart disease, doing that is imperative. And you should also be a good bit more gradual in how fast you build up to doing more.

Some people should be in a supervised Cardio rehab program in fact.

This is also a priority item in today’s world that is not stressed as much in the article as it deserves.

The good news is that virtually all these heart risk blood measures get better with exercise, so the strategy of starting very easy and working up very gradually will actually help you become far safer if you ever have to exert yourself in a sudden emergency to escape from a burning building for example.

High blood pressure goes down each day you exercise from what it would have been had you not exercised. You become less fat if you work up do a decent intensity and enough exercise and do a great job eating right. And, if you do that enough to begin to lose over 10 % of your bodyweight your high blood pressure may disappear. It very probably will get enough lower to get you off drugs to lower it.

Exercise also increases HDL cholesterol and lowers LDL & triglycerides. And, we now know the reason it does that is that it is dramatically decreasing the kind of small particle LDL in your system that causes heart disease.

But overdoing it can trigger a heart attack. So start easy; build up slowly; eat right; and take the supplements that create the same changes, real niacin, chromium, sterol supplements, etc.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Prevent cancer, diabetes, & heart disease with this....

Today's post: Friday, 4-10-2009

You may already know that eating right, particularly eating raw or lightly cooked organic vegetables instead of junky fast carbs that are made with refined grain and high fructose corn syrup or sugar, will do that. You may even be doing you best to eat that way already.

You may also know that getting regular exercise, particularly vigorous exercises such as progressive strength training and interval cardio also protects against all 3 of these, especially if you also get enough antioxidants in your food & supplements. You may even be doing this to the best of your ability already.

But what do you do if you want to increase your protection even more? Or you haven’t yet done these other two things very well yet and want some protection anyway if you can get it somehow?

Believe it or not, for about 12 to 15 cents a day, you can have it. And, this very inexpensive method protects against all three of these dangerous diseases AND makes osteoporosis less likely.


If you aren’t already, take 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 in addition to your daily multivitamin, which still likely has 400 iu a day of vitamin D but may have the less effective form.

It’s been known for quite a while that vitamin D helps your body keep your bones strong.

But there are a long list of things about vitamin D that are new & were not known until just the last few years.

People used to be outside enough to get vitamin D from sun exposure except for in the worst winter weather. (You can easily make 10,000 iu a day of vitamin D or even more in summer sunshine.) And we now know your body will use up to 3,000 iu a day of vitamin D if it is available. But until recently, since most people still were outside a lot, most people didn’t need to get a lot more vitamin D except in the winter.

Now, 75 % of people are vitamin D deficient because they are no longer outside a lot, many who are wear extra clothes and put on a kind of sunscreen that prevents vitamin D production, and we now know 400 iu a day is far less than our bodies really need as a minimum, so even people taking that much are deficient.

That’s important since we now know that enough vitamin D strengthens our immune systems enough to help prevent colds and flu AND most cancers.

We also know that due in part to its role in proper use of Calcium in our bodies, getting enough vitamin D both helps prevent osteoporosis and things like hip fractures AND it helps prevent calcified plaque that increases blood pressure and also helps trigger heart attacks from forming or from getting nearly as bad as it does without vitamin D.

Now, today, I find that getting enough vitamin D also helps prevent insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and type 2 diabetes!

That means getting at least 2400 iu or at the very least 2,000 iu of vitamin D may be as important by itself as either doing a perfect job of eating right or doing an optimum amount of exercise each week.

Are you getting that much now?

If not, you can for between less than 12 cents a day to 15 cents a day.

(Carlson sells a bottle of 100 capsules with 1,000 iu of vitamin D3 each which most health food stores carry. Depending on whether you buy from a shop that discounts or prices low or not, this bottle of 100 costs between $5 & $6 a bottle plus you may or may not have sales tax as I do where I live.)

Here’s the article where I found the information that vitamin D also helps prevent insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and type 2 diabetes.:

"This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, a free newsletter dedicated to making money, improving health and secrets to success. For a complimentary subscription, visit"

Let a Little Sunshine Into Your Life

By James B. LaValle, RPh, MS, ND, CCN

When our eyes don't take in enough sunlight, we can "experience a serious mood change... sleep too much... have little energy... crave sweets and starchy foods... [and] feel depressed," according to the National Library of Medicine. Studies link those symptoms to low levels of brain chemicals like serotonin and melatonin. Not only do we need sunlight in our eyes to produce those neurotransmitters, we need sunlight on our skin to produce vitamin D.

We've long known that vitamin D is critical for building and maintaining strong bones. But a big surprise in recent years has been that vitamin D also plays a critical role in insulin regulation, making it important for the prevention of diabetes and heart disease. It's also important for the regulation of your immune system, with studies linking low vitamin D levels to an increased risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancers, as well as to multiple sclerosis (an autoimmune condition).

It's hard to get enough sunshine during the winter months. And in summer, many avoid exposure to direct sunlight because they're concerned about skin cancer.

In addition, drugs used to treat heartburn, acid indigestion, and ulcers can deplete the body's stores of vitamin D.

What this means is that you have a good chance of being deficient in this critical vitamin.

It's easy to restore the vitamin D your body needs. You can get it by spending a few minutes in the sun each day. You can also get it from food sources, especially eggs, fatty fish, and fish liver oils. And if you don't like fish, there are supplements.

When taking supplements, avoid the old form of vitamin D (ergocalciferol). Vitamin D 3 (cholecalciferol) is the best form to use. Experts are now recommending that we get at least 1,000 IUs per day.

[Ed. Note: It truly is possible to improve your health just by making wise choices when it comes to diet and lifestyle. James B. LaValle, RPh, ND, CCN - founder of the LaValle Metabolic Institute and a nationally recognized expert on natural therapies - can give you easy-to-understand directions for living the healthy life you've always wanted…..]”

X* X* X* X* X*

Two other quick points.:

1. If you take drugs used to “treat heartburn, acid indigestion,” or “ulcers,” it goes from very important to critical to take vitamin D supplements as you’ll extract less of it from your food.

2. Note which cancers enough vitamin D known to help prevent.:

“studies link…. low vitamin D levels to an increased risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancers.”

No cancer is a good idea; but these 3 can often ruin the quality of life for even those who survive them. And they can be outrageously expensive to treat.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Good news on fighting the obesity epidemic....

Today's post: Thursday, 4-9-2009

There are several things that tend to make you fat or keep you that way. And, many of those same things also tend to cause type 2 diabetes and heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.

So, anytime I read something with important information on how to prevent this situation or help fix it, it really gets my attention.

For example, if you are sedentary and never active and never get any very vigorous exercise from competitive sports or strength training or interval cardio AND you eat lots of fast carbs (high glycemic foods) such as foods with high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and refined grains and very little fiber, you will get “insulin resistant” which means you get high levels of insulin in your blood that no longer lowers excess levels of blood sugar. And, if that becomes excessive or goes on too long, you get fat; you get high blood sugar to the point it begins destroying your capillaries and the parts of you that that depend on them; and your chance of getting a heart attack and becoming senile skyrocket.

Unfortunately, the number of people who are now seriously fat, what the medical profession calls obese, is going up dramatically world wide and even more dramatically here in the United States.

A recent news story reports that in the United States now one in five four year olds is fat.

And, those kids grow up to be fat kids and fat teens. That’s really bad news because an alarming number of those kids now have type 2 diabetes and even early heart disease.

That means huge increases in health care costs will soon come into a system that is almost collapsing from the increases in costs that have already happened.

And, it can be truly dreadful for the kids it happens to. A recent American Heart Association ad showed a picture the back of a woman at the beach. She looked to be a 50 year old woman who was about 70 to 100 pounds overfat.

The caption read.:

“I have high cholesterol.
I am at risk for heart disease.
I am 13 years old.”


Even worse, there are now literally hundreds of thousands of kids all over the United States both boys and girls who look just like she does. Some of them have type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure too from the lifestyle they follow. We are already paying for their healthcare costs this causes too. Kids didn’t get those diseases in previous generations.

Many of them will grow up to face heart attacks and strokes before they are 45 years old. And, most frightening of all, many of them will need kidney dialysis -- or custodial care because they will develop early vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The implications of this are truly dire. If that many of our adults who should be at the prime of life and effective in their work cannot work & generate that much more in health care costs, our economy will be swamped by it all.

And, although two of the 3 main causes of this are lack of exercise and eating a lot of refined grain an sweetened foods plus NOT eating fruits and vegetables, the third cause, drinking regular soft drinks instead of water, may be the most effective of the 3 in causing this situation.

Studies show that people, adults and kids alike, who drink a lot of soft drinks wear those calories as fat. The researchers have found the cause of this is very simple.: Soft drinks add calories to your food intake but simply don’t register in a way that makes you less hungry even a little bit.

Refined grain foods and sweetened foods are almost as bad; and a strong cause of the increase in obesity as is being totally sedentary; but soft drinks and the increase in their consumption are so much more effective at fattening people, they are clearly a major cause of this problem and may well be the number one cause.

So, causing most kids to drink no soft drinks at all, would be extremely desirable. Even causing a 40 % drop in the average number of soft drinks kids drink per week would help.

But studies show over 70 of adults drink soft drinks and have so little knowledge of these effects that they see nothing at all wrong with kids drinking the soft drinks they do.

The truly frightening thing is that the problem is so severe and getting worse so fast, there simply isn’t time or money enough to educate everyone to what’s happening in time to fix it.

But today’s news is much more encouraging.

Reuters online health news today has a story they released late yesterday. They titled it.

U.S. experts argue for tax on sweet drinks.”

Kelly Brownell of Yale University in Connecticut & New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden are quoted as saying some very promising things. They apparently originally wrote those things in a New England Journal of Medicine article or in an interview that happened on Wednesday this week.

They state that a penny ounce tax on soft drinks would cut consumption by as much as 10 % and raise “billions of dollars” to help state and local governments with health education programs and health care costs driven by soft drink consumption.

Given that soft drinks in fast food places and restaurants cost the fast food places and restaurants something like 5 to 10 cents per dollar instead of the 30 cents that the food they serve does, a penny per ounce is trivial.

Given this and the severity of the problems caused by massive soft drink consumption, I don’t think they thought big enough. Five to ten cents an ounce would be much more desirable.

But I still enthusiastically applaud them. Once we tax soft drinks at such a trivially low rate and establish that they are a health hazard that should be taxed in the public interest and to keep our economy from collapsing from the effects of that hazard, the taxes will be raised later.

Cigarette and tobacco taxes have been; and soft drink and related taxes on comparable foods will too. Of course, that’s also the real reason the soft drink industry is against such a tiny tax.

The two experts were quoted as saying that even the penny an ounce tax would cut consumption by about 10 % & then they said this.:

"It is difficult to imagine producing behavior change of this magnitude through education alone, even if government devoted massive resources to the task."

I agree with them. With the tax, the effect is virtually guaranteed. And, the governments who badly need the revenue now TAKE IN money.

Needless to say the soft drink companies do not favor this idea.

They point out that as an industry they employ over 220,000 people in the United States.

But if they make that many people a year virtually unemployable due to physical or mental disability their product causes and cost our economy over 10 times the combined salary of all 220,000 people in avoidable health care costs each year, so what?

People often have to change jobs when the economy changes and renders a product or service obsolete. Most of those 220,000 people could also. In fact so many of them are in marketing and sales which are transportable skills, they may find it easier than people in most industries to get new jobs.

The article pointed out that studies show that children and adolescents now take in 10 to 15 % of all their calories in soft drinks and other sweetened drinks. That quite literally means if they drank none at all, they would be 10 to 15 % lighter on the average; and virtually all those pounds would be fat they no longer gained

Brownell and Frieden said the tiny tax would raise $1.2 billion in New York state alone.

That would come to something like 12 billion a year for the country as a whole.

And here’s their take on the real cost of soft drinks.:

"The contribution of unhealthful diets to healthcare costs is already high and is increasing -- an estimated $79 billion is spent annually for overweight and obesity alone -- and approximately half of these costs are paid by Medicare and Medicaid, at taxpayers' expense," they wrote.

"Sugar-sweetened beverages may be the single largest driver of the obesity epidemic," they added.

"For each extra can or glass of sugared beverage consumed per day, the likelihood of a child's becoming obese increases by 60 percent."

So, if we want better healthcare in this country, far fewer fat and sick kids and adults, and a stronger economy instead of one that is staggering under such avoidable costs, we should tax soft drinks everywhere in the United States immediately.

However, even a penny an ounce in a single progressive and health oriented state such as Minnesota or Iowa or Vermont might get us started.

But it’s quite clear that a 5 to 10 cent an ounce tax on all soft drinks—including diet soft drinks, & on high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and refined grains is actually what’s needed.

Still we have to start somewhere. Now that recognized health professionals have proposed this tiny tax on soft drinks, the worst offender, and have done so in the influential New England Journal of Medicine, we might get there in time to do some good & prevent the massive harm we are experiencing and paying for now; AND begin to keep it from getting worse.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Lose fat plus prevent diabetes and heart attacks....

Today's post: Tuesday, 4-7-2009

There are several things that tend to make you fat or keep you that way. And, many of those same things also tend to cause type 2 diabetes and heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.

So, anytime I read something with important information on how to prevent this situation or help fix it if it is already in bad shape, it really gets my attention.

For example, if you are sedentary and never active and never get any very vigorous exercise from competitive sports or strength training or interval cardio AND you eat lots of fast carbs (high glycemic foods) such as foods with high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and refined grains and very little fiber, you will get “insulin resistant” which means you get high levels of insulin in your blood that no longer lowers excess levels of blood sugar. And, if that becomes excessive or goes on too long, you get fat; you get high blood sugar to the point it begins destroying your capillaries and the parts of you that that depend on them; and your chance of getting a heart attack or becoming senile skyrocket.

If you get lucky and your doctor finds out in time to reverse this with diet and exercise instead of the many type 2 diabetes drugs with nasty side effects, you will be lucky indeed.

But there’s more. Eating (or drinking) such high glycemic junk is a direct cause of high triglycerides and all kinds of cardiovascular disease.

So, you can find out how to do the reverse of the causes of this and take supplements that help reverse it BEFORE it harms you. If you know how & do it, you can avoid many really nasty drugs and diseases AND avoid many doctor visits you’ll have to pay for in some way. AND you’ll be a lot less fat.

So, anytime I read something with important information on how to prevent this situation or help fix it if it is already in bad shape, it really gets my attention.

And, if you want to stay healthy, live long, and avoid unnecessary suffering and doctor visits, I recommend you take that same interest.

Today’s article in the Total Health Breakthroughs email I get has several really important points to make that are really important in this area. And it includes some very valuable information that is new or very little known.

Here’s that article.:

"This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise's Total Health Breakthroughs, offering alternative solutions for mind, body and soul. For a complimentary subscription,

Falling Off the Diet Bandwagon? Read This

By James LaValle, R.Ph, ND, CCN

A New York Times article this week confirmed my worst fears – stress is sending Americans to candy stores in droves.1

While at first glance this little headline, "When Economy Sours, Tootsie Rolls Soothe Souls" seems amusing, from my perspective it unwittingly brings up two important issues in healthcare today:

The simplistic assertion that to manage our weight, all we have to do is control calories in and calories out.

There are many factors that influence our ability to lose weight and keep it off, and this headline is an example of an important one – stress. Stress from economic crisis is doing what we see over and over again in patients at LMI -- reducing serotonin and inducing carbohydrate cravings.

So what's the harm in eating a little candy if you're stressed? Nothing if you can stop at "a little," but if you make that stop at the candy bowl too much of a habit, you can quickly undo weight loss and start to increase health risks.

Stress management is such an important factor for long term weight control, I have made it one of the key components of my approach to weight loss.

What do you do when stress is causing candy cravings -- give in? Not in my book. You take steps to better manage your body's response to that stress. What we do is choose from a variety of supplements that we have found to be very effective in combating stress – Relora for example for carb-related cravings. If you can enhance Relora's effect with stress reducing mind-body exercises like Missy discussed in her February 24 article – all the better.

The belief that sugar and sweets are relatively benign foods.

For example, many diets allow the intake of refined sugars in candies and desserts as long as the overall caloric intake is controlled. The rationale is that by allowing yourself to eat a small amount of sweets, you won't feel deprived. It seems reasonable, but in my experience, this approach will not work for many people for a number of reasons.

One reason is because once some people start eating the sweets they just can't stop; instead of eating one of those little 100-calorie snack packets, they end up eating the whole box.

A study published in a journal called Eating Behavior looked at people with low mood who crave sweets, just like we are seeing now with people who are stressed and trying to lift their mood with candy. The study found that those people who get the biggest mood boost from sweets also have the worst control over their intake of sweets.2 So, it gets to be a vicious cycle. And according to this study, the better the sugar makes you feel, the more likely you are to over eat sweets.

Unfortunately, eating too much sugar is indeed harmful. For one, studies show it raises triglycerides, blood fats that increase heart disease risk and that are deposited as fat in our fat cells. A very recent study found that while all sugars consumed in excess of our caloric needs are quickly converted to triglycerides, when the proportion was 50% or more of the sugar as fructose, the production of body fat increased significantly -- and it even increased the production of fat from foods eaten later at lunch.3

Sugar also depletes chromium 4 and magnesium,5 two minerals that are needed to properly process glucose. For example, insulin receptors need 4 molecules of chromium for them to become active; if you don't have the chromium, the receptors simply don't work. In fact, chromium depletion is a hugely under-recognized cause of insulin resistance, in my opinion.

Interestingly, a study from 2004 found that depressed individuals who had the highest level of carbohydrate cravings had significantly reduced carb cravings and improved mood and energy when given 400 mcg and then 600 mcg of chromium.6 (Instead of reaching for the candy bowl, try some chromium instead.)

Magnesium is also important for insulin to function properly; a recent study found that magnesium intake was one of only two dietary factors that can significantly increase our production of adiponectin, a hormone that improves insulin receptor function and helps control weight.7 (The other factor that increased adiponectin was high intake of non-starchy vegetables, in my opinion another important part of any good weight management program.)

So, the more sweets you eat, the more you deplete the very nutrients that are needed to help your cells metabolize the sugar in them. It is via depletion of minerals that consuming too many sweets could indirectly be leading to insulin resistance.

Here's my point. You could constantly be regaining weight because you don't recognize that stress chemistry keeps leading you back to over intake of sugars. Or perhaps a history of high sugar intake has depleted your chromium and magnesium and contributed to insulin resistance and reduced adiponectin.

Perhaps you have just never learned how to eat more of those non-starchy vegetables that are so advantageous for your health and weight. If this sounds like you, maybe it's time to stop putting your hope in over simplistic approaches to diet and start looking for more comprehensive solutions. If that is the case I strongly encourage you to consider the approach in my Metabolic Code Diet, which will reduce your stress and help you attain permanent weight loss the healthy way.



2. Kampov-Polevoy AB, et al. Eat Behav. 2006 Aug;7(3):181-7.

3. UT Southwestern Medical Center (2008, July 28). Limiting Fructose May Boost Weight Loss, Researcher Reports. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2009, from­ /releases/2008/07/080724064824.htm.

4. Kozlovsky AS, et al. Metabolism. 1986 Jun;35(6):515-18.

5. Paolisso G. et al. Diabetologia. Sep 1990. 33(9):511-14.

6. Docherty JP, et al. J Psychiatr Pract. 2005 Sep;11(5):302-14.

7. Cassidy A, et al. J of Nutr. Feb 2009. 139(2):353-358.

[Ed. Note: James LaValle is the founding Director of the LaValle Metabolic Institute, one of the largest integrative medicine practices in the country. Dr. LaValle is Executive Editor of THB's The Healing Prescription and the author of The Metabolic Code Diet: Unleashing the Power of Your Metabolism for Lasting Weight Loss and Vitality…..] “


Here are some of the key points in his article that I think are either useful or exciting. I also include some of my suggestions.

1. Many people are eating more candy now because of the recession and its related stress and the relatively low cost of candy as a treat people can still afford.

Read a good book from your local library or get a DVD from Netflix. This can be a better reward or even a better stress reliever instead of eating candy. Plus it can be free or cost as little as daily candy treats.

Stop eating or buying any soft drinks or foods that contain refined grains or high fructose corn syrup and most foods that contain sugar. Some people can cut their grocery bill or total “food’ money in half by doing that. Then you can afford more things you find rewarding but cost more than candy and STILL be money ahead!

For stress relief, try Tai Chi or meditating. (Tai Chi can be done in less time and gets twice the stress relief results as meditating and it also is an exercise that builds muscle and burns calories which meditation does NOT do. But for some people, meditation works well to relive stress and they like doing it. So that does work for some people.)

2. Get a good grip on the reality that soft drinks or foods that contain refined grains or high fructose corn syrup and most foods that contain sugar are about as good for your health (in any kind of quantity, more than once or twice a week total) as arsenic.

The closer you can get to zero on consuming them, the healthier you will be and the less excess fat you will carry around.

3. If you are fat, have elevated blood sugar or type 2 diabetes, or have simply been eating and drinking a lot of these fast, junky carbs, you will be healthier and less fat if you take one to three capsules of chromium polynicotinate that have 200 mcg of chromium. (Solgar makes the kind I take.) I believe this form avoids some problems people got from taking the chromium picolinate version and the nicotinate part means that you also get a form of niacin that helps to lower LDL & triglycerides and increase HDL.)

This article makes it very clear that taking chromium may be as valuable in turning off insulin resistance and lowering high blood sugar as vigorous strength training. So if you to all 3 – stop ingesting fast, junky carbs; take chromium; and do vigorous strength training at least two or three times a week, you can vastly improve or turn off insulin resistance.

4. Similarly, taking 200 to 600 mg a day of magnesium will help with insulin resistance and high blood sugar by improving adiponectin levels AND doing that has been shown to help control your appetite and prevent overeating -- plus taking that much magnesium insures you have it for the other functions your body needs to work right and will help prevent or improve high blood pressure.

So taking chromium and magnesium will improve your health, help prevent insulin resistance or stop it, do the same for high blood sugar AND help you turn down sugar cravings.

Personally, I already take them both. But I did not realize how valuable they were for fat loss and blood sugar control. (Note that taking magnesium AND a lot of magnesium and Milk of Magnesia or similar over the counter remedies that contain magnesium at the same time can overdose you and cause problems. So if you take those cut back on your magnesium to 200 mg a day until you stop taking the over the counter remedies that contain magnesium.)

5. He also shows in his article that if you stop eating or buying any soft drinks or foods that contain refined grains or high fructose corn syrup and most foods that contain sugar and take the supplement alpha lipoic acid your triglycerides will go down which will turn off much of the cause of heart disease – even to the level of reversing it!

6. Though he understates why, he does make it clear that eating a lot of nonstarchy vegetables instead of these foods can really help. (You can easily substitute water for soft drinks and have no problems with getting hungry. But if you eat no refined grain foods or sweets, you’ll get hungry if you don’t eat something else. Vegetables work as a substitute and not only fill you up and provide fiber, they give you important nutrients and virtually no calories or glycemic effect.)

Though it’s not in his article, it’s recently been discovered & recently reported in the health news that the increase fiber you get from doing this decreases your visceral and belly fat.

And doing those two things makes you look better and far less likely to have heart disease or get a heart attack.

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