10 Things About Food You Probably Didn’t Know But Should

If you’ve read this blog very long you’ve probably read the basics of a health lifestyle and diet are plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercise daily, get plenty of sleep, and drink lots of water.  Those basic building blocks to a health life haven’t changed.  So keep on doing those things.  However, here are some things about nutrition that you should be aware of and implement into your lifestyle if possible.

1. Just because the label says “whole grain” it might not be as healthy as you think.  Don’t be tricked by “whole grain” cookies, cereal, and even some breads.  A cookie is still a cookie and cereal still has a lot of sugar.  Try to get whole grain sources from pasta, oatmeal, and popcorn.  Whole grain bread is fine but make sure it’s high in fiber.

2. Don’t just eat a bowl of fruit or a smoothie for a meal.  Fruit is good for you, but it’s all carbs and that means your blood sugar will spike and then leave you hungry and hour later.  Complement the bowl of fruit with some protein such as peanut butter to keep you full longer.

3. Try to buy the “freshest” produce.  Produce that has been on the shelf a long time loses it’s nutrients.  Look for produce that is local and if you can’t find local then try the frozen produce section.

4. Don’t eliminate all fat from your diet.  Your body still needs fat to help fight off disease.  Go for an olive oil vinaigrette with your salad to give you the healthy fat you need.  But don’t over do it.

5. If you have a craving for the sweet stuff, try a little bit in the morning.  This will give you all day to burn it off.  Plus you have more will power in the morning so you can tell yourself not to eat so much of it.

6. Eating health is all about preparation.  It’s hard to grab fast food healthy food.  So take a little time before the beginning of the week to prepare a few meals that you can take with you.

7. Under cook your pasta a little.  Tougher pasta will make you chew it more versus the softer version where you gobble it down.  You’ll probably eat less of it and it will digest better with all the chewing.

8. Kick out the sauces and welcome in the spices.  Sauces are often packed with fat and sugar.  To spice up your food try cayenne pepper, garlic, cinnamon, and ginger.

9. Don’t forget the coffee.  A little coffee can do you some good.  Skip the cream and sugar.  I know black coffee is hard to drink, but once you get used to it, it’s not so bad.  Try about 16 oz before noon and it can do a world of good for you.

10.  Don’t be afraid of hunger.  It’s o.k. to be a little hungry sometimes.  Actually the first cues for hunger in your stomach are often related to hydration so drink water first and then if you still feel hungry eat a nutritious snack in between your balanced meals.

I know that’s a lot to take in, but if you can do some of these things or one or two at a time, you are going to feel better, think better, act better, and be healthier.

Here’s to Your Health!

Dr. K Bennett

Ban High Fructose Corn Syrup?

Recently New York City and Mayor Bloomberg has been in the news over banning large sugary drinks in the city.  With much bickering back and forth over what role government has in our food/drink consumption, I thought it would be good to take a look at exactly what is high fructose corn syrup.

How Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Made?

During the 1950′s, researchers found that they could turn glucose into fructose with a certain enzyme.  It wasn’t until 1971 when the Japanese modified  and improved upon that it went mainstream.

With the US. Government  subsidizing corn growers, high fructose corn syrup made food cheaper and easier to sweeten.  It is a man-made sweetener that chemically modifies the glucose (sugar) in corn syrup with enzymes and turns it into fructose.  Fructose is one of three types of sugars – the others being sucrose and dextrose.  Both sucrose and dextrose are are easily broken down into our bodies long before they ever make it to our liver but fructose does not breakdown and when it reaches the liver it is almost fully intact.  The fructose in high fructose corn syrup has a higher concentration and thus is pushed to the liver.

The Effects Of High Fructose Corn Syrup On The Body

Once the high fructose corn syrup reaches the liver, it builds triglycerides which imitate insulin and forces the liver to release fatty acids into the bloodstream causing our muscles to develop a resistance to insulin.  High fructose corn syrup does not stimulate the production of insulin, leptin or ghelin.  These tell the body how much food to eat.  So, in essence, high fructose corn syrup is a powerful appetite stimulant.  This gives people an increased desire to eat more.

But that’s not all.  High fructose corn syrup causes the body to burn sugar not fat which leads to obesity.  It also throws off the good HDL/bad LDL cholesterol ratio by increasing the LDL and lowering the HDL.  To make matters worse, high fructose corn syrup is 6 times sweeter than sugar and has 10% more fructose than sugar.  This means you could eat the same foods that are sweetened by sugar but you would be consuming 10% more sugar.

Read more here

As you can see here in this article, high fructose corn syrup doesn’t sound too good when it comes to our bodies being able to digest it.  So, if we are aware of it, should our government keep us from something that is potentially dangerous?  Or should we be able to police ourselves when it comes to eating something, doing something, participating in something that isn’t good for us?

This is an interesting debate for sure.  What do you think?

Here’s to Your Health

Dr. K Bennett

Is Stress Making You Sick?

If you are alive you are probably dealing with some kind of stress.  Stress does not discriminate against age, race, wealth, height, weight, nationality, or religion.  We all seem to experience some of it at various levels.  If you think about it, a little bit of it isn’t too bad.  If we didn’t feel some tension on certain things then we probably wouldn’t feel the need to accomplish what we felt stressed about.  However, we often times allow it to grow to intense levels consequently negatively affecting our health.

What Are The Symptoms?

Stress can show up in many different forms.  It can be physical, mental, and emotional.  Physical stress could be unexplained weight gain or weight loss, headaches, teeth grinding, excessive use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, excessive sweating, rapid hear beat among many other signs.

Mental stress could be worry, bad dreams, bad decision making, impaired judgement, etc

Emotional stress is all the things like mood swings, anxiety, lacking confidence, tension, and irritability.

What Can You Do?

Now that we’ve identified the symptoms how do you manage it?

Starting with the physical again think diet and exercise.  You’d be amazed how much better you will feel after a brisk walk or long run.  Doing this daily could help you managed your stress if it’s not severe.

Eating less sugar and simple carbohydrates.  Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as lean protein will help keep your body and mind in balance.

Get plenty of sleep.  You’d be surprised at how much bigger things seem when you are tired.  Even 2 hrs less per night can make a big difference in your irritability.

When it comes to dealing with mental stress there a some simple things you can do such as scheduling breaks to avoid burnout.  Try to have fun at something each day and don’t forget to smile.  Smiling, even for no reason can trick your mind into feeling better.

For emotional stress you need to build a support group.  Share your feeling with your friends, family, and co-workers.  Don’t try to bottle up your feeling and do it alone.  Often times when you voice your challenges to others they become smaller than they seemed in your mind.

Final Thoughts

To recap, some stress is healthy.  It’s required for us to accomplish things in life.  Most of us when faced with normal stress are able to cope and overcome it.  If you have tried all I’ve laid out in this blog and still feel overwhelmed and helpless then you should probably see a professional doctor about your issues.

Here’s to Your Health!

Dr. K Bennett

Get Paid to Lose Weight!

Get paid to lose weight.  Yes, you did just read that.  Where? how? how much?  Sign me up, right?

I’m always amazed at all the different medical studies that are done each year.  Apparently a new study has shown to prove that people with incentives or disincentives to lose weight, actually do and they keep it off.  How much money?  Well according to the study performed, it doesn’t take a huge amount to motivated people.  Some participants lost weight with only $20 per month on the line.

What the study concluded is that it really wasn’t about the money, it was about the accountability.  So, if you think that you have to pay some money for not hitting your goal or if you are going to get some money for hitting your goal, then you are much more likely to stay on target with your weight loss goals.  I guess that’s why show’s like “The Biggest Loser” work.  I believe the winner gets a pretty nice chunk of money at the end.  Probably makes sense as well why Jarred form Subway kept his weight off.

Many companies are now offering incentivized weight loss programs.  Whether it be a contest including a group of people or incentives for individual progress, there’s plenty of upside to these cash rewards.

So, what can you do?  Start your own weight loss club with a group of friends, coworkers, or family members.  Set weight loss goals for the group.  If it’s a contest for the whole group then you’ll want to measure by percentage of weight loss versus actual weight loss due to everyone being a different weight.

Come up with a monetary reward, tracking system, and deadline.  Have everyone pitch in to the pot and either reward the whole pot to the overall winner or give a majority percentage to the overall winner and perhaps a smaller percentage to 2nd and 3rd place.

Give it a shot and see how well you can drop some pounds and keep them off!

Here’s to Your Health

Dr. K Bennett

I Didn’t Know That (Medical Myths)

How many times have you heard something that you just believed it as fact.  Unfortunately everyday we are faced with mountains of information for our brains to process.  Often times we take the information at face value and go on with our lives.

So, for this week’s blog I’d like to share with you 6 Medical Myths that have been circulating for years.  You’ve probably heard these before but never knew that they weren’t true.  Enjoy!

6.  Shaving body hair causes it to grow back thicker and or darker.  FALSE

When hair grows back it seems coarser because it’s short and darker because it hasn’t been exposed to light like the previous unshaven hair.

5.  We only use 10% of our brains.  FALSE

Don’t know where this started but many studies have proven that no area of the brain is inactive or unused.  If you only use 10% of your brain you couldn’t read this.

4.  Reading in dim light strains your eyes and causes bad eyesight. FALSE

Reading in dim light does make it hard to read but it won’t ruin your eyesight.  The bad lighting will make you blink less and dry out your eyes but not much else.

3.  Eating turkey makes you drowsy. FALSE

This is one of my favorites.  Remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry made his girlfriend a heavy turkey dinner complete with wine so she would fall asleep and he could play with your vintage toys?  Well it was the heavy meal and the wine that made her sleepy, not the tryptophan in the turkey.  As a matter of fact chicken and beef has as much tryptophan as turkey.  Pork and cheese actually contain more tryptophan than turkey.

2. When someone has a concussion, don’t let them fall asleep. FALSE

You hear this all the time when someone has a concussion.  The truth is someone who has had a concussion will probably be tired as the body signals to the person that they need rest.  Keeping them awake is making matters worse.

1.  You need to drink 8 glasses of water each day. FALSE (Sort of)

While the 8 glasses has been the rule of thumb, it’s actually 64 oz of liquids.  So other things like coffee and tea count.  However if given a choice between tea, coffee or water I think you should choose water.  Definitely no sugar drinks.  These liquids are the worst for you.  Water is essential for life so make it the main component of your 64 ozs.

There you have it.  Now, the next time you hear one of these myths you can know the truth.

Here’s to your health!

Dr. K Bennett