Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Is Your Sweet Tooth Killing You?

I have heard it said that "we are digging our graves with our teeth," and I think that is a fairly accurate statement. I would add to that and say, "we are drinking ourselves to death," as well. After watching a medical lecture called "Sugar The Bitter Truth" I feel even more compelled to educate on just how evil sweeteners are. The presentation is a full hour and a half and is filled with statistics and diagrams that would bore most folks to tears; but for me, it was riveting. If you are able to sit through it, and actually grasp what is being said, you will never look at fructose the same again. For those who don't have an hour and a half to spare, I am going to summarize some of what I learned. You can also read this article published in the New York Times, "Is Sugar Toxic", by Gary Taubes who, like me, is convinced that Dr. Lustig is onto something.

But before I delve into the dangers of sugar, humor me and allow me to go off on a rabbit trail for a minute. I need to first address what NOT to do in response to what you are about to learn about fructose. Even though artificial sweeteners weren't addressed in the lecture, I think it is important to draw your attention to some of the side effects that come from using Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, Amino Sweet) and Sucralose (Splenda). I find it disturbing that so many people in the health and weight management industry encourage the use of artificial sweeteners like Aspartame and Sucralose. Not only are there numerous reports and studies that suggest they are dangerous, there is little evidence they help with weight loss. In fact, according to Consumers' Research Magazine, "There is no clear-cut evidence that sugar substitutes are useful in weight reduction. On the contrary, there is some evidence that these substances may stimulate appetite."

If you want to check a list of 92 different documented side effects of Aspartame you can see them here. Another good reference, if you want to know more about the history of Sucralose and its safety, can be found here. There are a few sites that will defend the use of artificial sweeteners, but you'll notice they have a vested interest. I have never found a true health advocate encouraging the use of artificial sweeteners. So my suggestion for those who use artificial sweeteners is: do your due diligence. Research for yourself the many side effects, and then ask yourself is the risk worth the benefit. With research suggesting that there IS no benefit, making a decision to remove them from your diet should be easy. Actually following through may prove more difficult than you think though because they are addictive just like caffeine. If artificial sweeteners are a part of your daily life, prepare yourself for withdrawals when you make the decision to quit!

Now, with that off my conscience, let's get back to fructose and the bitter truth about sugar. Fructose is a fruit sugar right? And if you believe the ads that are being run, there is no difference between high fructose corn syrup and sugar. If you will to take the time to listen to Dr. Lustig, you'll learn what makes both of them detrimental, and why high fructose corn syrup is the greater of the two evils. In 2009 he participated in the UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public and his lecture was posted on youtube titled: Sugar The Bitter Truth (with over a million viewers to date.) In the hour and half presentation he helps the audience see how America has been hoodwinked. As the amount of sugar consumed has skyrocketed (now an estimated average of 141 pounds per person yearly) we have seen a similar rise in obesity. The statistical graphs he presents are astounding. As we reduced our fat intake as per recommendations beginning in the early 80's, our sugar intake has increased. Interestingly there has been an almost identical rise in obesity. Coincidental? I don't think so! I can't do his research justice here, so if I have piqued your interest click on the title above to watch it yourself.

He goes on to demonstrate that it is actually fructose that is causing the rise in heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. What if he is right? These are all conditions that are occurring at epidemic rates. And they are all preventable, and reversible…contrary to what the drug companies want you to think! An easy way to determine if Dr. Lustig is on to something would be to add the healthy fats back into the diet, and get the fructose out. It is doubtful that we'll see a nationwide campaign to make that happen, but it can certainly happen on an individual level.

If you are a person who is already plagued with one of the above conditions, or if you'd just rather not get to that point, a good place to start would be to make pure filtered water your drink of choice.
Eliminate sodas and juices (even the 100% fruit juices) completely. When the fiber is stripped from the fruit, the fructose laden juice that is left over becomes almost as unhealthy as soda. "Don't drink your calories" is a good motto to have, but don't fool yourself into believing that "diet low calorie" drinks are okay either. They are toxic, addictive, and have too many side effects for me to even list on this forum.

If water is too bland for your taste buds, squeeze some fresh lemon into it. You don't have to give up your Java, but limit yourself to one cup. I'll even give you permission to sweeten it as long as you only use a teaspoon of sugar. If you are hung up on low calorie, choose stevia. Be careful of the brand you pick though. Pick one that is naturally processed. "Stevia in the Raw" is a good choice. "Truvia", on the other hand, is manufactured by Coca Cola. Need I say more? Wine, in moderation, is actually good for you, and would be an exception to the rule about drinking your calories. Red wine is better for you than white, and a glass per day is even recommended by some doctors. Milk will have to be the topic for another blog; but unless it is raw, it should be avoided. If your only options are the grocery store, the best choice would be almond milk, with rice coming in second, and soy being among the list of "never consume" foods. Changing your drinking habits should only be the beginning. Ideally, you should eliminate all high fructose corn syrup from your diet, and reserve indulging in sugary confections for special occasions.

If you have been inspired to make changes, great! If you haven't… watch the video! My short blog post only offers a taste of the bitter truth that Dr. Lustig so eloquently serves up.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sugar, The Bitter Truth

It has been awhile since I watched this, but it is the most thorough presentation I have ever encountered when it comes to explaining the correlation between the health issues we are having and the sweeteners we are using. Since I will be blogging next week on sweeteners, I thought this would be a good video to post. It is lengthy, but worth taking the time to watch, even if you do it in segments. You will never look at sugar, or other sweeteners, the same again!

Sugar The Bitter Truth

Monday, April 18, 2011

Is Our Food Really Food?

Good nutrition is vital to health, no if, ands, or buts about it. Remember the old adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"? We NEED good nutrition for our bodies to function properly. Unfortunately for us, eating our fruits and vegetables like grandma told us to just isn't enough anymore. Considering our food supply it is no wonder that we, as a nation, are suffering from so many chronic conditions. Our immune systems have been disarmed. It would be like sending a soldier into battle with no ammo, and no method of communication. That would be considered homicide, and yet we are doing this to our own bodies on a daily basis. Our food has become ammo against us, instead of the tools our bodies need to stay healthy.

But wait, how can this be if we are one of the most obese nations in the world? Obviously there is no lack of food, right? Wrong! There is no lack of calories, no lack of things to put in our mouths, and no lack of dishes that delight the taste buds. We are overweight, but we are also woefully undernourished. The answer the government has given us is to eat more. A quick look at the latest info at www.mypyramid.gov will just confuse the average reader. But the bottom line is: eating more is not the answer!

First we need to establish the problem. It is really very simple. There is a lack of real foods with real nutrition. Not too many years ago 90% of the purchases made in groceries stores were non-processed. We bought fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh cuts of meat, fresh milk, dairy products, and eggs. Today, only a few decades later, 90% of what we spend our money on comes in a box, bag, or can and the majority of the ingredients are words we can't pronounce. These provide us with calories, and are "fortified" with vitamins and minerals (in an attempt to replace what has been processed out) but they really don't provide us with absorbable nutrition.

It might seem that the answer is simple too: just buy unprocessed foods. Follow grandma's suggestions, eat more fruits and vegetables, and everything will be fine, right? Unfortunately, it isn't as easy as it seems. Even the non-processed foods in our stores have problems because of the nature of our society. Produce purchased from the grocery store is shipped from hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles away. Why is this a problem? They have to be picked long before they ripen so they don't have the nutrients that we expect them to have. Some of the statistics are staggering. Broccoli, for instance, has lost 80% of the calcium just since the 1940's. It takes 53 peaches today to provide the same amount of vitamin A you could get in just 2 peaches back when the baby boomers were growing up. These are just a couple of examples. The depletion percentages vary, but suffice it to say that we are not eating what our grandparents ate.

It isn't just about green harvesting either. The soils are used for mass production which strips the soil of all the nutrients. Chemicals are added back in to "fertilize", but those chemicals are only resupplying the three nutrients needed to make the produce LOOK pretty. The other seventy+ nutrients are ignored, and hence even the real food has less nutritional value than it used to. Many of us are turning to organic to avoid the harmful chemicals used to fertilize and make farming easier. Organic is definitely better. Chemicals used to kill bugs and weeds can't be healthy. Organic doesn't really provide a total answer either though because organics are also green harvested and are now being mass produced. They are just as nutrient depleted as their pesticide, herbicide, chemically fed cousins. If you are going to spend your buying dollars on organic, at least take the time to find a local organic farm, and get your money's worth.

Our simplest answer up until recently has been to supplement, but there is still a problem. The issue with supplements, especially vitamins and minerals, is that most of them are synthetic and your body doesn't recognize them as food. With some supplements we are doing more harm than good. Since our bodies don't recognize the synthetic versions, our filter organs (like the kidneys and liver) are just bombarded with more things to filter out. Calcium based kidney stones are most likely from supplemental calcium, and the calcium that is added into foods to "fortify" them. Many savvy shoppers have turned to the natural, whole-food, supplements which are definitely a better choice. Even those are only 80-85% absorbable though, and the cost can be prohibitive. At one time I was spending more than $300 per month on supplements just for myself.

Personally, I have found what I consider to be the best answer available. In 2009 I found the super food of super foods – Moringa. The glitch I ran into is that it doesn't grow near where I live. There are many different varieties of Moringa and it grows in many different countries, but the most nutrient dense variety is the Moringa Oliefera, and it grows up to 5 times more nutrient dense in southern India. As I continued to research, I realized that you need to ingest all the different parts of the tree to get the full benefit. I later stumbled upon a source of Moringa Oliefera that grows in Southern India, contains all the beneficial parts of the tree, is 100% bioavailable, still enzymatically alive, hasn't been heated or denatured in any way, and processed according to UK organic regulations. Now, regardless of what I am consuming, I know that my body is getting the proper nutrition to be armed and ready for the daily battle to remain healthy in a world where the food we eat isn't really food anymore.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Real People With Real Results – Wellness and Weight Management Tips

Beginning this week you will see this blog transition to include wellness and weight management tips that will correlate with a blogtalk radio show at www.blogtalkradio.com/elevate-the-soul I have teamed up with Emilio at www.lifetreestation.wordpress.com to spread the word to the blogtalk world. In radio land I am also now being featured on Cumulus Radio station every Tuesday morning as their Health Expert, and this blog will serve as a forum to expound on the health tips being shared on Z93.7 Lite Rock. In addition, you could also hear some ads running on the Clear channel radio stations. We will be auctioning off several combo packages with www.clearchannel.com in May.

Since this is the inaugural blog post for www.realpeoplewithrealresults.com I want to start out by congratulating you for seeking answers, and looking for ways to be more healthy and attain your weight management goals. After spending the last decade speaking, coaching and encouraging people just like you, I decided it was time to expand my borders. In a country where the majority of people are overweight, and a staggering number find themselves in the obese category, finding a way to reach more people has compelled me to transfer my coaching to an online setting, and blogging is just one more way to expand the education process.

Each week I will address a particular health or weight related issue that I touch on via Cumulus Radio stations. I am also co-hosting a blogtalk radio show every Monday at 2pm with Emilio at www.lifetreestation.com If you want to join us visit www.blogtalkradio.com/elevate-the-soul or dial in to ask questions or share your experiences 347-215-7828

The topic this week will address the three major reasons that people have health challenges: Malnutrition, toxins, and dehydration.

Convincing everyone to agree that we are bombarded with toxins isn't difficult. They are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Toxins are used to preserve, toxins are used to sweeten, toxins are used to flavor. They are the end result of the machines we use, and every breath we take is laden with tiny molecules that cause oxidative stress in our bodies. Not only does oxidative stress cause us to age faster, it puts us at risk for disease because it lowers our body's defense system. It is no wonder that cancer is occurring at epidemic rates.

With proper nutrition, oxidative stress damage is minimal, and outwardly just looks like the normal aging process. However, if our cells aren't "armed" with good nutrition, they are unable to ward off the attacks. Sometimes the result is recurring illnesses. Other times we find ourselves facing chronic problems. Auto-immune conditions are a result of an immune system that can not communicate properly. Contrary to what many think, it is not an "over active" immune system that causes auto-immune conditions. Proper nutrition can restore the communication so that the body no longer attacks itself. Watch for another blog devoted just to this topic. In the mean time, realize that we can't get our nutrition from our current food supply anymore. We green harvest even the organic foods you buy at the store. Picking green means that the fruit or vegetable is still nutritionally deficient. So how do we increase our nutrition if we can't get it from the grocery store? Start buying your fruits and vegetables from someone who grows locally; or even better – grow them yourself. Even if you live in the city container gardens are extremely efficient. Zija's Smart Mix has the most concentrated absorbable nutrition you can obtain and should be a part of everyone's diet.

And lastly, one of the easiest things you can do to improve your health is to drink purified water. As a nation, we are just as dehydrated as we are malnourished and overweight. The old adage that 8 eight ounce glasses of water is all you need has deceived everyone into thinking they are drinking adequate amounts of water. Only if you weigh 128 pounds or less does that rule apply. In order to stay hydrated you must drink .5 ounces of water for every pound you weigh. Using that formula a person weighing 200lbs would need 100 ounces of water. Just as important is the source of your water. Bottled water should not even be considered unless it is in glass or a hard plastic that is BPA free. According to Dr. Russ Bianchi, the soft collapsible bottles are "blown" like glass, and cooled by filling them with water. Heating plastic causes toxins to be released, and it leaches into the water. Save yourself hundreds of dollars per year by getting a decent filter to put on your faucet, and drink out of glass or BPA free plastic. Other reasons not to drink bottled water would include the enormous amount of waste that we are creating, and the astronomical cost. The cost of bottled water is somewhere between six and eight dollars per gallon!

If you are concerned about your health, these are some of the simplest things you can do to live longer, and improve your quality of life.