Tag Archives: type 2 diabetes

Being Overweight

It’s simple, if it jiggles, it’s fat.

These past few weeks, I have been lacking a little in energy and bounce, and I decided that one reason for my lack of ‘get-up-and-go’ was that I’ve been putting on weight.  So, I decided to look into what being overweight really was, and if I was actually overweight, what it was doing to me.  Quite frankly, I was horrified at what I discovered.

I hate overweight, because it implies there is a weight standard I should be adhering to.  ~  Camryn Manheim.

You know what?  There is a weight standard, and we should all be adhering to it.

There are lots of health and fitness problems attached to being overweight ~ and the older you get the worse the health problems of being overweight become.

To begin with, are you overweight?  How does one know the difference between a little curvier and softer than we used to be, and truly overweight?  What is the difference between being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese.  Well, the chances are you’re overweight or obese ~ in the UK 68% of men and 58% of women are overweight or obese.  In the USA more than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese.

One easy way to tell if we’re overweight is to forget the scales and just grab a tape-measure.  Measure you height, and your waist at your belly button, (without sucking in your gut).  Your waist should not be more than half your height.  If your waist measurement is more than half your height you’re overweight with the worst kind of fat ~ visceral fat, (which will kill you).  More scientifically you can calculate your Body Mass Index, (BMI), but that won’t tell you as much about visceral fat as will a tape-measure.

There’s also a cut-off point to assess the overall risks to health just by waist measurement.  In men it’s 40 inches, and in women it’s 35 inches.  So if your waist is bigger than that, you’re officially overweight / obese and in danger of suffering serious health and fitness problems.  Having love handles is another bad sign, presaging heart and liver disease in your future.

Medically defined, a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9,  overweight is having a BMI of more than 25, obese is having a BMI of more than 30, while morbidly obese is having a BMI of more than 40, (or 35 if you also have something like diabetes or high blood pressure).  There are plenty of online BMI calculators.

There are a myriad of downsides to being overweight, and even more downsides to being obese.  Some of these are;

We know a great deal more about the causes of physical disease than we do about the causes of physical health.  ~  M. Scott Peck.

The above are the worst of the medical problems.  But look at it another way ~ just how fit are you?  Can you walk up three flights of stairs without getting out of breath?  Can you run for a bus?  Can you walk five miles without collapsing?  Can you easily find clothes that fit, or do you have to buy plus size?  Can you still play sports, or are you limited to gentler activities?  What’s your performance in bed like?  The chances are if you’re overweight, then you’re not happy with your honest answers to any of those questions, because you know you’re not as fit as you would like to be.  Maybe you should take an online test?

It turns out my BMI today, as I write this, is 25.7.  However, according to another set of criteria I’m quite fit ~ much fitter than my chronological age, by 25 years or so.  But do you know what?  I’m going to lose some weight, starting right now.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I can do that yoga position, but I don’t look as good as that.

 

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Salt and Hypertension

SALT DOES NOT CAUSE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

In another piece of contradictory research covering 8,670 French adults, scientists have concluded that the case for salt being a cause of high blood pressure is overstated, and more complex than once believed.  In fact the authors of this particular study have concluded that there is no direct link between salt consumption and hypertension.

It seems that other lifestyle factors such as excessive alcohol consumption and obesity were strongly linked to a rise in blood pressure.  Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables was found to be linked to a drop in blood pressure.

Stopping weight increase should be the first target in the general population to counteract the hypertension engine. ~ The American Journal of Hypertension.

On the other hand, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have just issued a report finding that 90% of US children eat more salt, (sodium chloride), than is good for them.  The science surrounding salt ‘is crazy confusing’.  In fact the long held belief that salt causes cardio-vascular disease is coming under increasing scrutiny.

Salt is essential for good health in people and animals.  Too little salt is very bad for you, causing a condition called hyponatremia.  The symptoms are confusion, chronic fatigue, and dizziness.  Bad hyponatremia can cause strokes and heart attacks.  If the condition goes on long enough it can be fatal.  Too much salt can also be fatal.

Low salt diets can cause an increase in hormones and lipids in the blood.  A 2012 study in The American Journal of Hypertension found that a low salt diet can cause elevated plasma levels of renin, cholesterol and triglycerides.  A low salt diet is linked to early death in people with type 2 diabetes.

A low salt diet is particularly dangerous for the elderly.  Hyponatremia is linked to broken hip joints due to falls caused by confusion and a decrease in cognitive ability.

The original ‘proof’ that salt causes high blood pressure was in a 1970s study by Lewis Dahl, who induced high blood pressure in rats by feeding them the equivalent of 50 times the average human salt intake in the western world.  Dahl also stated that cultures who regularly consumed higher levels of salt tend to have higher blood pressure.

the data supporting universal salt reduction have never been compelling, nor has it ever been demonstrated that such a program would not have unforeseen negative side effects.  ~ Gary Taubes in Science magazine.

There is a healthy range of salt intake for most people, the range seems to be 1.5 to 3 teaspoons of salt a day.  Too little salt and food tastes bland.  To much salt in food makes it almost inedible.  The key, as always is to take everything in moderation, avoid processed foods, and avoid modern wheat.

Modern wheat tends to result in an increase in fat around the stomach, and the Mayo Clinic says this is really bad for blood pressure.  In another piece of contradictory research, the Mayo Clinic found that an increase of just 5 lbs in fat around the stomach will cause a rise in blood pressure.

To our knowledge, for the first time, we showed that the blood pressure increase was specifically related to increases in abdominal visceral fat… ~ Dr Naima Covassin.

Abdominal visceral fat is the classic ‘beer belly’ and it is caused by sudden increases in blood sugar, such as when drinking alcohol, sugary drinks, eating white bread…  Take this theory far enough and it’s obvious that sugar causes high blood pressure, and not salt.

drunk-man

this man almost certainly has high blood pressure

In order to reduce blood pressure, it seems likely that losing weight, cutting down on alcohol, and avoiding modern wheat, is likely to be more effective than cutting down on table salt.  The recommended maximum sugar intake is between 5 and 7 teaspoons a day.

It is sugar not the salt that may be the actual causative factor for high blood pressure. ~ Dr James DiNicolantonio in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Exercise helps too ~ an hour of walking a day is enough to help reduce blood pressure.  Walking to work reduces stress and improves brain power, according to the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School.

Carbohydrates Are Addictive

THE HUMAN TONGUE IS TUNED TO TASTE CARBOHYDRATES

ObesityIf you have ever wondered why ‘diet foods’ taste bland and unsatisfying, it’s because your tongue isn’t picking up the taste of carbohydrates as there aren’t many carbs in diet food.  Worse than that, when your tongue recognises carbs in your food, it sends pleasure signals to your brain.  No carbohydrates on your fork, no fun for your pleasure centres.  The people in white coats report that as well as the basic five ‘tastes’ of; sweet, sour, salty, savory, and bitter, the human tongue has a ‘sixth sense’ and can identify carbohydrates.  Given that carbohydrates rapidly break down in the body, turning to sugar in the blood, the ‘taste’ of starches tells the brain to expect an instant hit of energy in the form of sugar.

I Ate My Desk AgainCarbohydrates hit areas of the sensory system and brain that remain totally unaffected by artificial sweeteners.  Crucially, this happens if you merely taste the carbs and don’t even swallow them.  Dr Nicholas Grant from the University of Auckland’s Sport and Exercise Department says; ‘Carbohydrates are extremely powerful stimuli that have profound and immediate effects on the brain and the systems it controls.’  This sixth sense on the tongue for carbs might explain why sportsmen respond immediately to carbohydrate-rich food.  It might also explain a lot about eating disorders.

The good news is that because this happens direct from the mouth to the brain, you don’t even have to swallow the bread / potatoes / rice / beans to get this particular jolt.  Studies have shown that having a carbohydrate-rich drink and using it as a mouthwash, (spit the stuff out), improves performance during strenuous exercise without giving your body all those calories.  This does not work with sugar-based solutions, just carbohydrates.  Sugar and carbohydrates together works even better as an energy mouthwash, allegedly.  MRI studies show that sweet carbohydrate solution swished around the mouth activates the areas of the human brain linked to ‘sight’ and ‘reward.’  The carbohydrate taste is completely different to the sweet taste, so the brain receives two separate signals.  Motor output and therefore physical performance are improved, just by the brain telling the body that there’s energy on the way.

bread-baked-from-wheat-flourThe bad news is that, if a sportsman doesn’t ingest the carbohydrates the brain will tell the body that it has more reserves of energy than actually exist.  Great for weight-loss, bad if you’re running a marathon.  The other bad news is that carb-rich foods stimulate the areas in the brain involved with cravings.  I know people who have a craving for carbohydrates such as; bread, chocolate, cakes….  It isn’t pretty.

Because just tasting carbohydrates on your tongue sends signals to the pleasure centres in the brain, people can become addicted to carbohydrate-rich foods.  These include, (but are not limited to): bread, bagels, biscuits, cakes, cereal, chocolate, cookies, crackers, danish, french fries, fruits and fruit juices, ice cream, potato chips, (crisps), pasta, potatoes, pretzels, rice, pies, popcorn, sugary drinks, and sweetcorn.  Carbohydrate addiction is a recognised medical condition.

a-obese-wSome respected psychologists, doctors, dieticians, and food scientists, claim the carbohydrates, sweets, (candy), and chocolate are as addictive as cigarettes. Eating too many hot dogs is just another form of substance addiction.  The sugar rush created when we eat these foods stimulates the same areas of the brain that respond to nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs.  The problem is that carbohydrates and sugars are like other addictive drugs in that the ‘addict’ has to consume ever larger amounts of the chemical of their choice to get a satisfactory hit.  Consuming ever larger amounts of carbs and sugars makes people fat, obese, morbidly obese and dead.

So, the parts of the brain that respond to carbohydrates are the same areas that are linked to alcoholism, smoking, substance abuse and dependence.  That does not sound good.

alcoholic-latina-womanIt just gets worse.  The brain is run on things called neurotransmitters, which allow signals to pass between nerve cells.  When you take cocaine, smoke, drink booze, eat carbohydrates, a neurotransmitter called dopamine is created.  Dopamine goes right to the pleasure centres of the brain.  The reason dopamine is created from carbs is because the release of insulin into the blood causes a huge blood sugar spike.  This is particularly bad when we eat wheat products, potatoes, and corn starch.  It’s even worse than that for diabetics because they can go into shock and die from eating too many high-glycemic carbohydrates.  Too many carbohydrates, alcohol and too much tobacco are leading you on the path to type 2 diabetes anyway.

The question is, is a low carbohydrate diet the answer?  Perhaps that depends on how bad your addictions are.  However, too many carbohydrates are really bad for the human body, whatever way you look at it.  Refined carbohydrates, principally from wheat flour, corn flour and corn starch are toxic.  The blood sugar produced is responsible for visceral fat.  The infamous ‘beer belly.’  If you have a beer belly, not only do you look disgusting, you are also unhealthy.  Visceral fat, (omentum fat), affects your body’s ability to produce insulin, which is essential for the proper digestion of sugar in the blood, and you’re back on your way to type 2 diabetes again.

smoking1Depending on who and what you read, it takes from 3 to 28 days to detoxify your body and kick an addiction to carbohydrates.  Personally, being very familiar with 12-step self-help programmes, I am more inclined to think that it takes 28 days to kick your carb addiction.  That will mean giving up on wheat products, potatoes, corn sugars, refined table sugar, fizzy drinks, and, (because of cross addiction), probably booze and cigarettes for 28 days.  Allegedly, the half-dozen foods you should almost never eat if you have a weight booze, tobacco, carbohydrate problem and would like to lose your belly fat are;

  1. Concentrated fruit juice drinks.  These are nothing but sugar-water.
  2. Highly processed foods like TV dinners, candy, and chocolate ice creams.  Often full of corn syrup and / or dextrose which are very bad for you.
  3. Margarine.  This stuff is full of trans-fats, which can give you heart disease, increase bad cholesterol, and kill you.  Butter is better.
  4. Wheat and wheat products, including whole wheat.  Bread, pasta, pizza, cake, cookies and other comfort foods.
  5. Processed soy.  Soy milk, tofu, vegetarian ‘meats’ etc…  95% of soya grown in the USA is genetically modified.  This stuff is unhealthy.
  6. Corn and corn products.  Especially GM corn.  Genetically modified corn is just as bad as ‘modern’ wheat when it comes to toxins your body does not like.

The bottom line is, Highly refined foods are full of bad stuff.  Too much carbohydrate is going to kill your chances of being a manly man,

Eat More Almonds To Lose Surplus Fat

LIVE LONGER, LOOK BETTER, HAVE BETTER SEX, EAT MORE ALMONDS

squirrel-eating-a-nutYet another series of studies has come up with the shocking news that eating nuts is insanely good for your body.  This time the American Society of Nutrition Scientific Session said in San Diego that a daily handful of almonds will help stave off innumerable nasty diseases.  It would appear that almonds are full of vitamin E, which protects against Alzheimer’s Disease and the bad effects of Ultra-Violet light.  They do get an awful lot of sunshine in California.  Eating some almonds seems a small price to pay to stave off abnormal moles and cancerous melanoma.   Possibly because they like sunbathing and walking around with bare suntanned legs and arms, women get a disproportionate amount of fatal skin cancers on their shapely limbs.

Naturally, there has to be more benefits from eating almonds other than not being one of the 48,000 people a year who die of melanoma-related skin cancer.  Luckily there are.  Almonds are high in protein, suppress the appetite, help beat stomach flab and stave off heart diseases.  Also, eating almonds reduces the concentration of glucose in the blood, which helps to prevent type 2 diabetes.

ObesityAll nuts are also full of trace amounts of good stuff such as manganese, which helps prevent osteoporosis, again more common in women than in men.  Manganese also helps the body to regulate blood sugar, and trust me, you do not want to ever get type 2 diabetes.  Almonds also contain magnesium, and this mineral is essential for the proper operation of your nervous system, muscles, regulating blood pressure, and once again helping to control blood glucose.

As is usual with things from plants, the skin is the best part, so don’t buy blanched almonds.  Get them brown and crunchy ~ lightly salted if you must.  The almond skin has flavonoids, (secondary metabolites), which are antioxidants, (and free oxygen radicals are bad for you), and these flavonoids also enhance the effectiveness of the vitamin E in the nuts.

girl-japanese-sexy-softballIt seems that these pretty little nuts, (what man doesn’t love girls with almond eyes?), increase our intake of good nutrients, improve the overall quality of the diet, and somehow make people feel better, physiologically speaking.  There is also evidence to show that snacking on almonds / other nuts, help to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol.  Some say that all nuts are jam-packed with calories, and will therefore make you fat.  The answers to that are; yes nuts are packed with calories, but no they won’t make you fat.  The human digestive system is appallingly bad at breaking down hard plant material, so most of the calories in nuts pass straight through the GI tract.  Don’t believe me, eat a lot of nuts and then examine your next day’s stool.

Because they don’t digest well, nuts make you feel full, which reduces your appetite, so almonds are good for adding into a healthier diet and moderate exercise.

organic-almondsDr Penny Kris-Etherton of Penn State University has studied the effects of adults snacking on a handful of almonds a day, as opposed to ‘calorie matched’ high carbohydrate snacks.  Although the total body weight of the two groups stayed about the same, those snacking on almonds has flatter stomachs, less abdominal fat, and a narrower waist than those who grossed out on biscuits and crisps, (cookies and chips)  So eating almonds helps to decrease abdominal fat, and that reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome ~ the technical / medical term for a mixture of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and coronary  heart diseases.  Seemingly all this almond stuff is generally good for your blood vessels, but I have no idea if almonds help stave of varicose veins.

Especially if you are fat, a woman, and pregnant, you should be snacking on almonds, (and / or other nuts).  Some fairly respectable doctors and scientists think that snacking on almonds helps promote a healthier weight gain during pregnancy.

ALMOND-TREEThe best almonds are fresh, which means buying them in mid / late summer.  But as long as they still have the brown skin on them the seeds of the almond tree, (cousin to the cherry, peach, and apricot), are full of good stuff.  Almond oil can go rancid, so if you’re keeping them a long time, store your almonds in an airtight container.

A small handful of almonds has about 150 calories, (which you can’t properly digest), and contains about 1/8 of your daily fibre requirements, 1/4 of the copper your body needs, 1/5 of your daily vitamin B2, half of the vitamin E and biotins, (vitamin B7 & H),  you need a day, and some 1/6 of your phosphorous, magnesium and molybdenum.  Do not buy Californian almonds if you can avoid it.  The Almond Board of California has decreed that all Californian almonds must be pasteurized, irradiated, or otherwise rendered totally dead, and these processes destroy a lot of the good stuff in the little nuts.

Allegedly there are nine major health benefits to be gained from eating almonds;

  1. Reduced risk of having a heart attack.
  2. Lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol.
  3. Protects the blood systems.
  4. Builds strong bones and teeth.
  5. Almonds aid in weight loss by providing healthy fats and fibre.
  6. Lowers the blood sugar and insulin after meals.
  7. Boost brain activity and helps stave of Alzheimer’s disease.
  8. Nourishes and nurtures the nervous system.
  9. They alkalize the body, which helps prevent osteoporosis.

edwina-currie-eggThe more cynical among us may believe that the health benefits of eating almonds is a little overstated by Californian medical and scientific professionals, given that the USA is the world’s largest producer of almonds and a lot of those are grown in California.  As I said before, if you can get almonds that haven’t been totally killed-off, these should be better for you than the Californian grown nuts.  (You can get things like salmonella from fresh almonds, but you can also get salmonella from chicken, eggs and alfalfa sprouts.)

Bitter wild almonds are to be avoided at all costs.  In fact anything from the various trees of the species Prunus, should be left well alone unless you know exactly what you’re doing.  Bitter almonds and the seeds of plums and cherries contain cyanide, which will kill you.  What you need are sweet almonds, and if you soak them in vodka for a while you get a very acceptable drink.

The bottom line is;  Almost all nuts are incredibly good for you in moderation.  If you can, buy the fresh product as opposed to ‘dead’ nuts.

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