Category Archives: Diet

Foods to stay young

Sugar and the Brain

Excerpted from Natural Brain Health by Michael Edson, MS, L.Ac.

With consumption of soft drinks and candy, Americans consume an enormous amount of sugar, the equivalent of more than seven tablespoons daily. This amount of sugar is about 355 calories. We are in the midst of a crisis of obesity in the U.S. and the consumption of sweet foods is part of the problem.

The brain uses more energy than any other organ in the human body and glucose is its source of fuel.  In the adult brain, neurons have the highest energy demand,[i] requiring continuous delivery of glucose from blood. The main process by which this is accomplished is called glycolysis. Glucose provides precursors for neurotransmitter synthesis and ATP to fuel their actions. Glucose is also required for the brain’s energy demands unrelated to signaling.[ii]

However, too much glucose is toxic to brain cells. This is a problem worsened by the fact that regular intake of sugar has drug-like effects in the reward center of the brain, creating a desire for more sugar. High blood glucose levels can negatively affect the brain in a number of ways:

  1. It reduces functional connectivity of the default mode network, that system of the brain which links the individual with the outside world.[iii] Such altered functionality is associated with cognitive impairments.
  2. It can cause the brain to atrophy or shrink[iv] as does deteriorating brain glucose metabolism[v]
  3. It can lead to cerebral small vessel disease which restricts blood flow in the brain which can result in cognitive difficulties and, if severe enough, can cause vascular dementia.[vi]

High Blood Sugar

The body needs insulin to carry glucose into the brain. Excess sugar (and refined carbohydrate intake) over time can result in insulin insensitivity (requiring the body to make more insulin) contributing the type-2 diabetes. The effects of glucose and other forms of sugar on the brain may be the most profound in diabetes.

Research strongly supports the fact that people without diabetes but with above normal blood sugar levels have an increased risk of developing dementia.[vii] There is a relationship between the breakdown of glycolysis and Alzheimer’s disease,[viii] the severity of which is linked to the severity of Alzheimer’s pathology. Lower rates of glycolysis and higher brain glucose levels correlate to more severe plaques and tangles in the brains of people with the disease. Enzymes, amino acids serine, glycine, and alanine are essential parts of glycolysis, and are lower in Alzheimer’s cases compared to normal brain tissue samples.[ix] In addition, lower enzyme activity is associated with more severe Alzheimer’s pathology in the brain and the development of symptoms.

Hypoglycemia is a common complication of diabetes caused by low glucose levels in the blood. This can lead to loss of energy for brain function and is linked to poor attention and cognitive function.

Inflammation

Sweeteners of all kinds contribute to inflammation. Sugar is one of the most acidic foods, and excess sugar in one’s diet is considered a leading contributor to disease, such as type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), cancer, and dementia.[x]

Why Reduce Sugar

There are many reasons to reduce sugar intake.

  • Metabolic stability. When you eat or drink something sweet, it gives a quick surge of energy. However, the consequence of glucose entering the bloodstream so quickly is that the body’s ability to maintain stability is compromised.
  • Stable blood sugar levels. With some attention to our diet, we can help balance blood sugar. This is especially true in type-2 diabetes (adult onset), which sometimes can be managed by diet alone. It is rarely true of type 1 diabetes (juvenile onset).
  • Stronger immune system. Individuals with higher sugar consumption had shorter telomeres in their white blood cells as compared to those with lower sugar consumption (telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces).[xi]

Reduced glycation. Glycation is the binding of sugar and protein molecules in one’s body, and is part of the natural aging process. When the sugar molecule binds inappropriately to a protein, it forms a new compound called “advanced glycation end-products (AGE’s).” AGE’s cause ongoing inflammation and react with body tissues to produce free radicals and reactive oxygen species that damage healthy cells if not neutralized.

Recommended

Limit your sweets and avoid sugary drinks and sodas. In general, an alkaline diet will be a low sugar diet and will be anti-inflammatory. Avoid high glycemic index foods. Stevia is a great alternative to sugar and has been shown to be very safe.[i] It is an herb that is not sugar (has zero calories) and works by stimulating the sugar receptors in the tongue. Stevia is two-hundred times sweeter than sugar taken in the same dosages, so a small amount (even 3-5 drops in plain yogurt for example) goes a long way. Too much stevia gives food a bitter taste.

Reduce AGE’s. In addition to the above, avoid grilled and charred foods, fried foods, and slow cook your food or lightly steam your vegetables. Avoid vegetable oils for cooking in high heat. Olive oil is fine in low heat, saturated fats such as butter and coconuts oil have high heat tolerance which means that these oils when used in cooking maintain stability whereas oils such as vegetable oils have poor heat tolerance and can be quickly turned into an unhealthy oil high in free radicals when used in cooking. Complex carbohydrates and high fiber foods reduce the production of AGE’s in the body. Foods that help clear one’s body of AGE’s include kale, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, citrus fruits, peaches, most berries, tomatoes, carrots, as well as green tea, grapeseed extract, carnosine, and vitamin B6.

Avoid artificial sweeteners. Sugar and artificially sweetened beverage intake have been linked to cardiometabolic risk factors, which increase the risk of cerebrovascular disease and dementia. Artificially-sweetened soft drinks are associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke, all-cause dementia, and AD dementia.[ii] [iii] Some of the adverse effects on the central nervous system caused by the intake of aspartame are headaches, mood changes, insomnia and seizures.[iv] Other effects include confusion, personality disorders, dizziness and visual difficulty.[v] In mice studies, chronic aspartame consumption resulted in a longer time for the mice to locate the reward within the T-maze, which showed impaired long-term memory retention.[vi] [vii] [viii]

Ironically, although people consume artificial sweeteners in an attempt to reduce caloric intake and control or lose weight, studies actually show that consumption results in increased weight and has been attributed to obesity.[ix] [x] One reason may be that consumption of foods and fluids containing high-potency sweeteners interfered with the ability to detect sweet taste, thereby affecting energy regulation (and possibly increasing the desire for more sweets, or stimulating the desire for sugar).[xi]


[i] Ashwell M. (2015). Stevia, Nature’s Zero-Calorie Sustainable Sweetner: A New Player in the Fight Against Obesity. Nutr Today. May; 50(3):129–134.

[ii]Pass MP, Himali JJ, Beiser AS, Aparicio HJ, Satizabal CL, et al. (2017). Sugar- and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and the Risks of Incident Stroke and Dementia: A Prospective Cohort Study. Stroke. May;48(5):1139–1146.

[iii] Gorelick PB, Scuteri A, Black SE, Decarli C, Greenberg SM, et al. (2011). Vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia: a statement for healthcare professionals from the american heart association/american stroke association. Stroke. Sep; 42(9):2672-713.

[iv] Romano M, Diomede L, Guiso G, Caccia S, Perego C, et al. (1990). Plasma and brain kenetics of large neutral amino acids and striatum monoamines in rats given aspartame. Food Chem Toxicol. May;28(5):317-321.

[v] Pepino MY. (2015). Metabois effects of non-nutritive sweeteners. Physio Behav. Dec 1;152(Pt B):450-5.

[vi] Christian B, McConnaughey K, Bethea E, Brantley S, Coffey A , et al. (2004). Chronic aspartame affects T-maze performance, brain cholinergic receptors and Na+,K+-ATPase in rats Pharmacol Biochem Behav. May;78(1):121-127.

[vii] Chattopadhyay S, Raychaudhuri U, Chakraborty R. (2014). Artificial sweeteners-a review. J Food Sci Technol. Apr;51(4):611-621.

[viii] Qurrat-ul-Ain, Khan SA. (2015). Artificial sweeteners: safe or unsafe? J Pak Med Assoc. Feb;65(2):225-227.

[ix] Fernstrom JD. (2015). Non-nutritive sweeteners and obesity. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol. 2015;6:119-136.

[x] Roberts JR. (2015). The paradox of artificial sweeteners in managing obesity. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. Jan;17(1):423.

[xi] Schiffman SS, Rother KI. (2013). Sucralose, a synthetic organochlorine sweetener: overview of biological issues J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2013;16(7):399-451  


[i] Howarth C, Gleeson P, Attwell D. (2013). Updated energy budgets for neural computation in the neocortex and cerebellum. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. Jul; 32(7):1222-32.

[ii] Dienel GA. (2012). Fueling and imaging brain activation. ASN Neuro.  Jul 20; 4(5):e00093.

[iii] Ishibashi K, Sakurai K, Shimoji K, Takumaru AM, Ishii K. (2018). Altered functional connectivity of the default mode network by glucose loading in young, healthy participants.

[iv] Walsh EI, Shaw M, Sachdev P, Anstey KJ, Cherbuin N. (2018). Brain atrophy in aging: Estimating effects of blood glucose levels vs. other type 2 diabetes effects. Diabetes Metab. Feb;44(1):80-83.

[v] Croteau E, Castellano CA, Fortier M, Bocti C, Fulop T, et al. (2018). A cross-sectional comparison of brain glucose and ketone metabolism in cognitively healthy older adults, mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease. Exp Gerontol. Jul 1;107:18-26.

[vi] Edwards S. (2019). Sugar and the Brain. Retrieved Jun 18 2019 from https://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/sugar-and-brain.

[vii] Crane PK, Walker R, Hubbard RA, Li G, Nathan DM, et al. (2013). Glucose levels and risk of dementia. N Engl J Med. Aug 8;369(6):540-548.

[viii] An Y, Varma VR, Varma S, Casanova R, Dammer E, et al. (2018). Evidence for brain glucose dysregulation in Alzheimer’s disease. Mar;14(3):318-329.

[ix] An Y, Varma VR, Varma S, Casanova R, Dammer E, et al. (2018). Evidence for brain glucose dysregulation in Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimers Dement. Mar;14(3):318-329.

[x] Doheny K. (2012). Americans Sweet on Sugar: Time to Regulate? WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20120201/americans-sweet-on-sugar-time-to-regulate#1

[xi] Leung CW, Laraia BA, Needham BL, Rehkopf DH, Adler NE, et al. (2014). Soda and cell aging: associations between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption an leukocyte telomere length in healthy adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Am J Public Health. Dec;104(12):2425-31.

Is Carrageenan Toxic to Us and Our Pets!

Carrageenan is a non-nutritive thickener and emulsifier that can make our pets and us ill. It can easily be replaced by safer alternatives in pet foods, including tomato paste, guar gum, potato starch, pea starch, tapioca, and garbanzo bean flour.

This food additive is derived from red algae or seaweeds and processed through an alkaline procedure to produce what many consider to be a “natural” food ingredient. Interestingly, if you prepare the same seaweed in an acidic solution, you get what is referred to as “degraded carrageenan” or poligeenan, well-known for its inflammatory properties. The difference between a disease-producing carrageenan and its “natural” food counterpart is literally just a few pH points. Not a single sample of products containing carrageenan that have been tested could be said to be free of the degraded form. 

Carrageenan is so toxic and inflaming to the human digestive system that this food additive is formally classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) as a potential human carcinogen. Scientists first discovered that carrageenan causes gut inflammation as far back as the 1960’s that leads to IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and more. Studies from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s link food-grade carrageenan to higher rates of digestive disease, including colon cancer, in laboratory animals.

Pets that eat primarily wet food with carrageenan will consume daily doses of carrageenan in amounts known to cause inflammation. In fact, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in cats is the most common cause of vomiting and diarrhea. Most pet food contain this additive, even the ones you find in the health food stores so you must read labels. I switched last year to Pet Guard which is also non GMO.

New independent research (published in 2014) at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago,  demonstrates for the first time that carrageenan-induced inflammation occurs in both humans and mice, indicating that it is likely to cause a similar reaction in all mammals, including cats and dogs.

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Collagen and leaky gut

Since collagen is the most abundant protein in our body, it provides structure to skin, muscles, bone and connective tissue. But it lessens in abundance as we age decreasing by 1% per year after the age of 20. The body’s ability to produce collagen starts decreasing at 2% per year after age 30. We know that collagen is used to help with wrinkle control, sagging skin, brittle nails and hair as well as joint problems, but did you know it also can help with leaky gut?

One of the results of collagen depletion as we age is leaky guy syndrome. This is where the lining of the gut weakens and allows food toxins to seep into the bloodstream where the body treats them as foreigners and attacks them. This causes inflammation, food intolerance, skin rashes and auto immune issues. Collagen supplements have been used to improve the condition of the stomach lining by tightening and firming the digestive tract.

Foods that can help with collagen production are proline amino acids found in egg whites, meat, cheese, fermented soy and cabbage. Vitamin C can also help support collagen as well as vitamin A. So can blackberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries because of their high anthocyanidin levels. Keeping your copper levels up such as found in 4 Easy Hydration, a liquid concentrate you can add to your water: ( www.EasyMenopauseSolutions.com ) can also help keep collagen levels boosted.

excerpted from: Collagen by Corinna Kaufman, Whole Foods Magazine Oct. 2017

 

Does your Stomach have Holiday Bloating?

foodWe all seem to eat too much or binge on booze or sugar during the holiday season. And many of us feel guilty and try to detox or diet January 2nd. But in the meantime what is happening inside your tummy?

Do you feel bloated, crampy, experience nausea? Do you keep antacids nearby and gobble them like candy? You may develop chronic indigestion, even if it’s just a seasonal condition. Rather than reach for the antacids, you may want to do something more natural like supplement with hydrochloric acid (HCL) which helps increase gastric production and assists the body while it’s regaining the ability to produce its own sufficient amounts of HCL.

If you continue to abuse your body with bad food choices, lack of vitamin C and E, you may encourage overgrowth of H. pylori which increases gastric pH and may put you on the road to ulcers. It seems that habitual use of antacids and acid blocking drugs may promote the overgrowth of H. Pylori. If you suspect you have this you may want to try eliminating the foods that contribute to gastric upset and investigate Mastic gum which has the ability to wipe out H. pylori in certain folks. You also can consider taking deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) which has shown to help heal both stomach and duodenal ulcers. It works by stimulating the normal defense mechanisms that prevent ulcer formation and helps protect the intestinal lining. Manuka honey is also a key player in attacking H. plyori as are garlic, pomegranate extract, oregano oil an d-limonene from lemons.

But, if you don’t want to have to go through all that, be aware what you are putting in your stomach this holiday season. And avoid those antacids – they are only temporary fixes anyway. Remember – when your stomach hurts, it means you gave it something it didn’t like – pay attention!

-To see our videos about Joint problems, Memory loss, Anti-aging, Stress and Sleep and more go to: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/whyweage

 

Best Tip for Dieting

Did you know that the most widely used tactics for dieting include:

  • Watching portion sizes (34%)
  • Controlling the total amount of food eaten (28%)
  • Reducing the amount of junk food (25%)
  • Monitoring calories (24%)
  • Getting rid of snacks (21%)
  • Reducing sugar (21%)
  • Taking weight loss supplements (over $2 billion spent annually)

Well, there is one way you can cut desire for many fattening foods but it takes a little will power.  We suggest you stop eating all forms of sugar or sweeteners for 10 days. For some reason this is the time it takes for your body to lose its addiction. I know this may be hard so in the meantime try using stevia (an herb) or sucking on a cinnamon stick. Do not substitute artificial sweeteners as not only are they unhealthy, but they will not let you detox the sweet tooth desire.

If you try this (we have and it works) please leave us a comment. And check out our new online course you can watch on vimeo with modules about Joint Health, Stress, Sleep, Memory Loss and more. Click Here for videos

Caffeine – good or bad for you? And, can it contribute to heart attacks?

This is our new video blog post….. it’s the first one of what will be an ongoing series regarding tips for good health and a happy lifestyle from Millennials to Grannies and Gramps too. We’re posting it here so you can see the format, but if you want to access others as we post them please go to our news site www.antiagingladyNEWS.com

Other videos in the pipeline are Which herbs work during flu season? and a cooking video on a quick meal that controls inflammation.

Can smart phones affect weight gain?

bluecellExposure to the type of blue light emitted by smartphones, computers, and tablets immediately before and after dinner increased hunger and impacted glucose metabolism in people who participated in a small Northwestern University study.

If true, this can inhibit your ability to diet successfully. We’ll see if further studies support this but we know that the blue light interrupts your melatonin production so if you are having trouble going to sleep… turn the computer and cell phone off at dinnertime.

-don’t forget to download your free copy of my new ebook: Think and Feel Younger. Click Here

Things in your drinks.

stadionrunneronlyWith many of us switching from carbonated soda pop to fruit, flavored water and tea drinks , we still have to be aware of ingredients. Some of those drinks are not organic, some may still use dyes or preservatives or sweeteners that are not good for your body even though the manufactures say they are safe in small amounts.

Coal tar derivatives used for coloring such as Red #40 and Yellow #6 can cause sensitivity to viruses and have been linked to cancer. Cochineal extract is used as a cola coloring and is basically ground up female cochineal bugs from South America. While this may not be appealing, we still don’t know if they are laden with critters or pesticides that could affect our health. Artificial sweeteners that go by several names now but started out as aspartame, when heated (like if left in your hot car in the summer) breaks down to toxic methyl alcohol. It has  been implicated in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and can cause headaches and seizures in some people. AceK sounds safe enough but it has shown to cause cancer in animals. Sucralose is chlorinated sugar and has shown in studies to have a negative effect on the thymus gland, decreased red blood cell count, diarrhea among other potential conditions.

Agave is a sweetener in many natural foods drinks. The fructose content of agave syrup is much higher than that of high fructose corn syrup, which is of concern since some research has linked high fructose intake to weight gain (especially around the abdominal area), high triglycerides, heart disease and insulin resistance. And I’m sure by now you’ve read by blog posts on why to stay away from high fructose corn syrup (not the least is that it is GMO).

Chemicals such a Propylene glycol and ployethylene glycol (PEG) are sometimes added to drinks.  The former has shown to be toxic and induce seizures in epileptics as well as affect the heart. It also inhibits the growth of the friendly bacteria in your intestines leading to constipation. PEG is used as a drug to induce diarrhea before surgery. Now why would you want to have that in your drink? It also has shown to interfere with blood thinners, birth control pills, and antiinflammatories.

So, the next time you pick up that sports drink, protein shake, or health drink – read the label!

-excerpted from the book I wrote:  Analyzing Sports Drinks

PS. Don’t forget to get a FREE e-copy of my new book “Think and Feel Younger” Click Here

 

 

Can GMO food make us antibiotic resistant?

gmoGenetic engineering (GE) is the modification of an organism’s genetic composition by artificial means, often involving the transfer of specific traits, or genes, from one organism into a plant or animal of an entirely different species. When gene transfer occurs, the resulting organism is called transgenic or a GMO (genetically modified organism). Critics of genetic engineering believe that GE foods must be proven safe before they are sold to the public. Specific concerns over genetic engineering include:

Antibiotic resistance. Almost all GE foods contain antibiotic resistance marker genes that help producers know whether the new genetic material was transferred to the host plant or animal. GE food could make disease-causing bacteria even more resistant to antibiotics, which could increase the spread of disease throughout the world.

Allergic reactions. There are two concerns regarding allergic reactions. The first is with known allergens. For example, if genes from nuts are inserted into other foods, it could cause severe reactions in people with nut allergies. Therefore, there is concern that people with known allergies will not be aware that the genetically engineered food they are eating contains substances to which they are allergic. The second concern is that new allergies might be created, since new combinations of genes and traits have the potential to cause allergic reactions that have never existed before.

Loss of nutrition. Genetic engineering may change the nutritional value of food.

Foods that have been approved for GMO by the FDA but not necessarily in the grocery store yet are starred (*):  Alfalfa, Cherry Tomato*, Corn, Flax*, Papaya, Potato*, Rice*, Soybean, Squash, Sugar beet, Tomato*

More info: http://www.sustainabletable.org/264/genetic-engineering

Study on fructose and depression

Constance Harrell of Emory Univ. tested adolescent rats to see the effect of a high fructose diet on their responses to stressors. She determined that this diet was linked to their depressive-like behavior. A genetic pathway in the brain that plays a key role in regulating the way the brain responds to stress was also altered. These findings indicate that consuming a diet high in fructose throughout adolescence may exacerbate depressive behaviors and affect the way the body and brain respond to stress. If you are depressed now, what was your diet like when you were younger?