The Most Important Meal of The Day

breakfast

You’ve heard it before, Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but have you ever been told why?

Eating a healthy breakfast has been liked to increased insulin sensitivity, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and lower levels of LDL cholesterol. Need more proof? Infrequent consumption of breakfast has been shown to increase risk of diabetes by 28%in women compared to women who consume breakfast daily. Daily breakfast consumers have lower rates of diabetes, abdominal obesity, metabolic syndrome, and hypertension than people who eat breakfast three times a week or less.

But what you eat for breakfast matters. A healthy breakfast should include:

  • Whole grains. Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Read the nutrition label; many cereals are made with refined grains which can cause your blood sugar to spike
  • Lean Protein. This will fill you up for the day, without increasing your cholesterol levels. Think egg white omelet or 4 oz of plain nonfat Greet yogurt.
  • Fiber. Fiber is the non digestible component of plant food; it lowers blood sugar and cholesterol, and can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Women shoot for 21-25g fiber per day, 30-38g fiber per day for men. Adding a Tbsp of Flax seed to your whole grain cereal is a great way to increase your fiber intake.
  • Low Sugar. Many cold cereals are preloaded with sugar. Look at the nutrition facts on the side of the cereals box and try to stick to no more than 5g of sugar per serving.
  • Low Sodium. Aim for a cereal with no more than 200mg of sodium per serving. If you’re going for a savory dish, try adding non-sodium spices or fresh herbs to increase the flavor of your dish.
  • Low Calories. Look for cereals with less than 150 calories per serving, and use a measuring cup when serving yourself. Many cereals bowls are larger than the average serving.

coffee

Like your morning coffee? Moderate Coffee consumptions has been associated with lower coronary artery calcium scores and could therefore be inversely related to cardiovascular disease. So enjoy your cup or morning coffee! Just stay away from artificial sweeteners, added sugar or cream. If you don’t like your coffee black, try adding unsweetened almond milk and a dash of cinnamon.

Read Here for 56 Cheap and Healthy Breakfast Options. 

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Improving Six Risk Factors Could Delay 37 Million Deaths

The following article was written by Kelly Young and originally published on www.jwatch.org.

Achieving global targets for six modifiable risk factors could delay or prevent roughly 37 million deaths over 15 years, according to a Lancet study.

Researchers used country data on mortality to estimate the effects of achieving the following targets:

— reducing prevalence of tobacco use by 30%

— reducing per-person alcohol consumption by 10%

— reducing mean population consumption of salt by 30%

— reducing prevalence of hypertension by 25%

— stopping the increase in diabetes prevalence

— stopping the increase in obesity prevalence

If all six targets are achieved by 2025, it could lead to a roughly 20% reduction in the probability of premature death (ages 30 to 70) from four noncommunicable diseases. The largest benefits, the authors write, would come from reducing tobacco use and lowering blood pressure.

A commentator writes: “These are remarkable potential health gains in view of the highly cost-effective interventions available, which could be readily scaled up in all countries.”

 

Mediterranean Diet Better at Slowing Diabetes Than Low-Fat Diet

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The following article was originally published on Medicaldaily.com and was written by Dana Dovey.

I’m sure you’ve heard before that the health and longevity of people in the Mediterranean was thanks to their olive oil, fish, and a whole grain-filled diet. A new study suggests that there is some truth behind this idea. Results from the study found that for people recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a Mediterranean diet slows the progression of the disease more than the commonly advised low-fat diet.

The eight-year trial followed participants recently diagnosed with diabetes as they ate two different diets believed to slow the progression of diabetes; a Mediterranean diet consisting of lots of olive oil, fish, and whole grains, and a low fat diet that restricted sugary and fatty food. All of the participants had recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In both diets the participants aimed to consume about 1,500 calories per day for women and 1,800 for men.

It was found that participants on the Mediterranean diet went significantly longer before needing diabetes medication. Also, more of them had their diabetes go into remission, compared to those on a low-fat diet. “There’s been lots of epidemiology suggesting that a Mediterranean diet was beneficial with metabolic syndrome and diabetes, “Dr. Leanne Olansky, an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic, explained to Reuters. “But this was a randomized controlled trial, so we know it really was the diet causing the results. This is the kind of evidence that we use to determine if drugs are effective,” Olanksy added. Although researchers are not exactly sure what it is about the Mediterranean diet that helps control blood sugar, it is thought to have something to do with high levels of fiber, less red meat, and more olive and fish oil.

Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset or noninsulin dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition that affects the way the body metabolizes sugar. While it’s most common in adults, increased child obesity rates have led many to develop the chronic disease as well. If diet and exercise don’t control your blood sugar, you may need diabetes medication or insulin therapy. A low-fat diet is commonly advised to those who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes because it tends to help reduce the overall calorie intake and improves cholesterol levels. It typically involves reducing intake from foods such as butter, eggs, and cheese.

Although it is the common belief that fat is bad for a diabetic’s diet, this study shows that it depends on the kind of fat. Instead of completely cutting out fat, people diagnosed with diabetes should aim to have a healthy diet, and a Mediterranean diet is a good, healthy option, lead study author Katherine Esposito told Reuters. “Cutting calories is important and cutting fat is an easy way to cut calories, but according to this study, maintaining the right level of healthy fats is important,” Esposito concluded.

Source: Esposito K, Maiorino MI, Petrizzo M, et al. The Effects of a Mediterranean Diet on Need for Diabetes Drugs and Remission of Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes: Follow-up of a Randomized Trial. Diabetes Care. 2014

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Helpful Links:

Our 8 Week Lifestyle Challenge

Dr. Bernstein’s Recommendations for Your Next Trip to the Grocery Store

Another Win for the Mediterranean Diet

The Wonders of Olive Oil

Understanding Obesity

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I do not know anyone obese who actually enjoys being overweight. Obesity is a difficult condition to overcome because there is more to treating this condition than simply eating in moderation and exercising. Understanding what causes obesity is the first step in reversing the process and preventing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. I have created a handout, available to my patients, entitled, “Understanding Obesity”. Below is an excerpt from this handout as well as links to other helpful resources:

Without question, the biggest problem with our diet is sugar. It used to be that we consumed relatively small amounts of sugar. As Americans, we now consume approximately 150 pounds sugar a year; up 100 pounds from approximately 10 years ago. Sugar can be found in two forms: sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. Both include one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose. Because of the high cost of sucrose (cane sugar) it was used very sparingly in the past. For example, in the early 1900s, the average Coca-Cola bottle contained 6 ½ ounces of soda. With the advent of high fructose corn syrup, sugar became much cheaper. Now a canned soft drink contains 12 ounces of soda, and a bottled soft drink from the vending machine contains 20 ounces. Perhaps the biggest offenders are sports drinks because they are marketed as being healthy. In essence they are nothing more than a fat factory for our bodies.

Glucose is an energy source which all of our cells use. Excess glucose is broken down into glycogen in our liver which is non-toxic. Fructose on the other hand cannot be taken up by cells and is metabolized directly in the liver. Fructose does not contribute to energy formation and is metabolized directly to fat. We recommend that you look at labels very carefully and do not eat products that contain more than 3 grams of sugar per serving. Because cells do not use fructose for energy there is no feedback mechanism in the brain to tell us to stop eating…and so we don’t. This promotes the cycle of obesity.

Recommendations

People who switched from a conventional diet to a Mediterranean diet lowered their risk for death from all causes by 50%. In addition, there was an 80% reduction in heart disease, a 75% reduction in colon cancer, as well as decreased risk for reoccurrence of breast cancer. Avoid sugar, particularly fructose and high fructose corn syrup. It makes us fat and contributes to the development of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension as well as other diseases. Make vegetables and legumes the mainstays of your diet. Believe it or not our cells talk to each other. By eating the proper nutrients, we get proper cell to cell communication. Make exercise a part of your daily routine. Try and keep your daily total calories in a reasonable range.

Resources

Annapolis Allergy & Health Enhancement Center

Why Sugar is So Bad For Us

Components of a Mediterranean Diet

Characteristics of Long Lived Cultures

 

 

Sugar: It’s What’s for Breakfast

When I talk to my patients about sugar consumption, the biggest problem seems to be breakfast. Many of my patients don’t even realize how much sugar they are consuming in the morning because they believe the cereals and yogurts they are choosing are “healthy” foods. Here’s a breakdown of the amount of sugar in some popular breakfast cereals, oatmeals and yogurts:

Name Brand- Cereals                                                     Grams of Sugar Per Serving

Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Apples & Cinnamon Flavor                  12g

Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Crunch                                                        20g 

Kellogg’s Smart Start Healthy Heart Cereal                                  17g 

Kellogg’s Corn Pops                                                                     14g

Name Brand- Yogurts                                                     Grams of Sugar Per Serving

Yoplait Mixed Berry Yogurt                                                            26g 

Yoplait Whips Lemon Burst Yogurt                                                21g

Yoplait Light Harvest Peach Yogurt                                                10g 

Dannon Fruit on the Bottom, Raspberry Yogurt                            26g

Just think…if you are having two servings of one of these cereals (about the amount of cereal one puts in an average cereal bowl) you could be consuming as much as 40 grams of sugar….in your first meal of the day! This will inevitably lead to a “sugar crash” a few hours later where you will begin to feel lethargic and of course, hungry again. Additionally, we know that sugar consumption is the greatest risk factor for diabetes and obesity. The solution? Switch to breakfast options that contain less than 4 g of sugar. Options would include eggs, regular oatmeal, Cheerios, plain greek yogurt or other breakfast items that contains less than 4 g of sugar per serving. Additionally, adding nuts or ground flaxseed to your breakfast cereal, oatmeal or yogurt will add some fiber, keeping you fuller longer, which will help prevent you from bottoming out later in the day. Try plain greek yogurt topped with fresh raspberries and flaxseed. Delicious and filling! By making these easy switches, you will find you have more energy, and feel better throughout the day.