Follow your nose to this link!Are you a DIABETIC? Click HERE to see our GASSY DIABETICS SURVEY RESULTS.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Fuzzy Math: Eat Less, Weigh More

I’ve been stewing for weeks about the weight loss drug Orlistat. People are always looking to quick fixes, magic pills, and buying into weight loss myths in vain attempts to achieve their “ideal” figure.

One myth in particular really gets my goat: Eating less means you’ll lose more weight.

While portion control and moderation are necessary for all diets, that doesn’t mean you should eat less food than your body actually needs. The major contributor to obesity is not the amount of food we consume. It’s the quality; or rather, the lack thereof.

Most Americans have the idea that simply reducing over-processed and over-refined foods in their diets will solve all weight loss woes. They’re wrong. Eliminating our intake of low-quality foods is the key to long-term healthy weight loss.

If your body thinks it’s in jeopardy—for example, in the midst of a famine—it will automatically go into “store and save” mode, and not burn any fat.

That’s why any diet depravation technique (such as calorie reduction, fat blocking, starch blocking) ultimately does the body more harm than good, because they promote “rebound” fat storage.

Furthermore, the term “weight” isn’t even an appropriate measure of your body composition, since muscle is heavier than fat. Your muscle cells produce energy. The healthier they are, the better the body’s ability to receive nutrients and produce energy is.

Before your body will allow itself to lose fat, it must achieve the proper health, density, and weight of the energy producing muscle cells.

Further, while people usually lose water (and weight on the scale) when they start a diet, there is almost always a subsequent inevitable plateau—or even a weight gain—when the body attempts to improve muscle health and energy production efficiency.

Dieters then get discouraged, and cut their food intake even more. The result: a harsher rebound fat gain. Worse, while everyone re-deposits lost protein at about the same rate, fat people (notice I didn’t say “overweight”) redeposit fat at about three times the rate of their thinner counterparts.

Conversely, when the body is well-nourished with quality foods—fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, low-fat meats, low-fat dairy, etc.—it starts burning off fat.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

It's Not Just People

Animals suffer with uncontrollable gas, too. Watch and learn.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I am a Rock. I am a Multivitamin.

I got a lot of e-mail from folks asking me why I said taking a multivitamin was like licking a rock, so I figured I better clear the air—which is what my site aims to do anyway.

I advocate natural health solutions, and I don’t change my tune with multivitamins. The most useful dietary supplements are made from more natural ‘body-friendly’ ingredients—those designed by nature to be eaten, unlike most of the lower quality ingredients that go into cheap multivitamin and mineral formulas.

For example, most dietary supplement companies use minerals from rocks, shells, or bones as the preferred source of minerals. While there may be a few exceptions to the rule, I think it is accurate to say that human beings were not designed to eat rocks, shells, and bones for their minerals.

One way to tell if a vitamin/mineral is body-friendly and organic: Natural ‘designed-to-be-eaten’ minerals are bigger molecules than their ‘not-for-food’ counterparts. In other words, calcium bound to citric acid (a.k.a. citrate) is a much larger molecule than calcium bound to another mineral (ion), like carbon or sulfur (a.k.a. calcium carbonate and sulfate respectively), which are loosely referred to as inorganic minerals.

For the body to use inorganic minerals, it must first separate the minerals (ionize) by breaking the bonds. With minerals that make up rocks, this process requires more acid and digestive work, which is why antacids contain minerals like calcium carbonate.

In general, minerals bound to proteins, organic acids, or various sugars are far easier for the body to ionize and use. Ever wonder how a vitamin half the size of a dime magically contains all the nutrients you need for the day? Well, stop wondering, because it doesn’t, because not all of the ingredients are usable.

Picture the following. You’re ready for dinner. On your plate sits a thick juicy steak; next to it, a stone from your garden. Both items contain 1000 milligrams of calcium. Should you save time and go with the rock?

No; of course not. In this case, good things DON’T come in small packages. Go with the steak. Its molecules are bigger, which are easier for your body to break apart, and separate the steak’s minerals from binding agents (in this case, amino acids).

Conversely, your body will find it much more difficult to disintegrate, dissolve, and extract minerals from the rock’s smaller more compact, tightly bound ions (ionic bonds) that produce the characteristic ‘hard-as-a-rock’ material.

The same thinking applies to multivitamins. When you’re investigating a brand, check out the pill size. If it’s large, read the label to see if it contains ingredients like botanicals, proteins, amino acids, or food concentrates. If it does, buy it, and you’ll be wisely spending on your health, instead of, well, licking a rock.

The Stinky Olympics

And here, for your listening pleasure, are the top 10 farts of all time ...


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love is in the Air

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Diabetics: Waiting to Inhale

The FDA recently approved the first inhalable version of insulin, giving many adult diabetics relief from regular insulin injections.

It’s great that the pharmaceutical industry has developed a painless, bloodless, easy way to deliver insulin. My concern: we need to focus much more attention on improving insulin metabolism once it’s in the body.

Now this topic might not appear to have much to do with digestion. But diabetics must eat sugar-free foods, which are sweetened by sugar alcohols—substances known to cause loose stools and digestive distress in a large portion of the diabetic population.

Improving insulin function along with digestive function could help reduce the requirement to eat only sugar-free foods, and thereby reduce the negative impact on the GI tract.

Let’s examine the two primary diabetes types:

Type 1, also called juvenile diabetes, occurs in childhood due to a genetic error with insulin producing cells in the pancreas. As a result, the body doesn’t make its own insulin, and requires it from an outside source. Inhalable insulin will not eliminate needles for people with Type 1, because they require longer-acting injections to control the disease.

Type 2, which is manageable by inhalable insulin, is adult on-set insulin resistant diabetes mellitus. Here the body loses its ability to properly utilize the insulin it produces. It’s essentially an insulin resistance. This malfunction is also linked to other disorders, including hypertension, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease.

Regardless of the type being treated, the body still requires nutrients for insulin to function well once it’s in the system. Proper nutrients reduce insulin resistance by helping insulin bind to insulin receptors which, in turn, deliver life-sustaining glucose to cells.

To maximize medicines’ effects and improve insulin function, eat a nutrient-rich diet of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy. Get at least eight hours of sleep per night. And incorporate at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise into your daily routine.

Appropriate nutritional supplements can also help. For diabetics, I recommend finding a good source of biologically active niacin-bound chromium. (Most chromium sources are not beneficial.) Insulin resistance is almost always characterized by a chromium deficiency, and replacing chromium promotes better insulin function.

If you’re diabetic, ask your doctor if inhalable insulin is right for you. In the meantime, don’t wait to inhale—help your body live with this condition by adopting a healthier, smarter lifestyle.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Broccoli: The Wonder Veggie

This low-fat, low-calorie, cruciferous vegetable provides fiber, beta-carotene, and Vitamin C, just to name a few nutrients—and it packs a powerful punch against heart disease and cancer.

But alas, broccoli has one major flaw. Click here to find out what it is.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Multiple Facts About Multivitamins

Get your minerals. Lick a rock.

Or take a multivitamin. Either way, you might not be doing your body any good. As with everything you consume, you must make safe, sensible choices about your multivitamins.

A recent article in Consumer Reports (also covered by NPR, which is how I learned about it) compared 18 brand-name and generic multivitamins.

CR tested vitamin and mineral content, and ‘dissolvability’ (whether the pills break down fast enough to be absorbed). The good news: CR found the major multivitamin brands were the most reliable, meeting all label claims, and remaining free of contaminants.

CR also recommended multivitamins for people with specific nutritional requirements. One group in that category caught my eye (and my nose): people with gastrointestinal disorders.

The reason: Having a GI disorder means your digestion system is out of whack, so it’s not properly processing and distributing 100% of the nutrients it needs—so taking a multivitamin might help the GI system get back on track.

But before all you GI-symptom-sufferers hail multivitamins as the latest quick-fix, take a good, hard look at your diet. Is it fatty? Over-refined? Processed? Nutrient-deficient?

Refined and processed foods lack the enzymes your body needs to break down, extract, and absorb nutrients. These are the same nutrients, incidentally, that you need to manufacture brain chemicals, which, in turn, promote digestion.

When your diet is heavy on fatty, refined, processed foods (read: unhealthy); when you eat too fast; or when you’re under stress, it’s only a matter of time before you start experiencing GI symptoms: GERD, acid reflux, heartburn, gas, bloating, or worse.

Conversely, when you follow a balanced (and, ideally, organic) diet—that’s fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, low-fat meats and dairy products—your body will get all the nutrients it needs, usually without the need for a multivitamin.

Here’s the best part: modifying your diet based on the advice above can even alleviate GI symptoms. CR correctly reports that giving your body a steady diet of nutrient-rich foods provides benefits that no multivitamin or pill can, including:

* Fiber. Fiber exercises and cleans your GI tract in digestion, and keeps the plumbing working. The clearer you keep your GI tract, the less likely you are to experience symptoms like gas, bloating, or cramping.

* Phytochemicals. These natural compounds work with nutrients and dietary fiber to protect against disease. They also have a bunch of ‘anti’ effects—antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral.

* Weight loss. Eating nutritious foods keeps you from eating the unhealthy stuff, so your body will naturally shed any excess pounds.

The solution is clear in my mind. Adopt good eating habits before reaching for a multivitamin. If your doctor recommends one, choose a well-tested, major brand, such as those recommended by CR (disclaimer: I don’t support, invest in, or endorse any multivitamin vendors).

Lastly, make certain to roll in moderate exercise (such as a nice 30 minute walk every day or so). This will help your body—and your GI system—truly rock.