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Sunday, January 10, 2010

You Can Feel Great and Loose Weight with Healthy Carbohydrates (Part 1)

I have to ask a question. What can I do to bring value to you and yours over this New Yearand Holiday Season? Yearsofpractice have taught me that many people make NewYear's resolutions with the mindset that with a new year, they should set start new goals for things they didn’t accomplish the previous year. Much of the time, these “resolutions” are around weight loss, dieting, or just simply resolving to eat healthier. But then, what is “healthier?”

Generally, eating “healthier” is about making “better choices” and I’ve learned that one of the best ways that I can help patients or audiences to make better choices is to describe and define how to select a healthy carbohydrate. You’ll find that knowing what makes a carbohydrate choice “good” or “bad” will go a long way to provide boundless energy throughout your day – as well as help you to rapidly loose inches from your stomach, waist and thighs.

Here’s the key: All carbohydrates are NOT created equal. Some are far better at fueling the brain and body than others. Said another way – some will make you fat and slow – some will make you smart and fast. Most people want to know which is which.

The problem is nutritional information made available to consumers doesn’t make a distinction between the carbohydrates found in plant foods like apples, spinach, or berries and those found in sodas, candy, or refined sugar. “Nutrition Facts” panels on food labels handle these carbohydrates as if they’re the same. They aren’t. Plant foods are made up primarily of carbohydrates, but they are slow-releasing carbohydrates, also known as complex carbohydrates. And your brain and body much prefer the steady source of fuel that these complex carbohydrates provide – although your taste buds may seem to yearn for the ones found in candy and sodas.
Slow-Releasing vs. Fast-Releasing Carbohydrates
Slow-releasing carbohydrates are also called complex carbohydrates, because their structure is bound to other complexes: other carbohydrates, nutrients, minerals, and fibers. Your digestive system has to dismantle these complex molecules to access the energy they contain, which is quite a bit of work. The end result is that complex carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars (like glucose) by enzymes and acids and released into the bloodstream steadily and very gradually. Unprocessed plant foods like berries, most fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds and whole grains are all sources of slow-releasing complex carbohydrates.

Fast-releasing carbohydrates are also called simple carbohydrates. Their structure is simple because they are mechanically and/or chemically broken down into a concentrated, simple state by food processing – a sort of industrial pre-digestion. These processed or simple carbohydrates cheat nature by extracting the sweetness while discarding the rest. You can’t cheat “mother nature” without consequences – and the super-sweet – super-harmful effects of refined sugar and refined flour are no exception to this rule. When we concentrate sugars and discard naturally occurring fiber and nutrients that would slow their digestion; we end up with white sugar and flour, white bread, and other foods made with white flour like cereals. All of these are fast-releasing, simple carbohydrates – man-made foods that are quite unlike “complex” carbohydrates.

Because of the refining and milling processes, little work is required for these pre-digested carbohydrates to be broken down by the digestive system. This causes them to be released very quickly into the bloodstream. The key concept here is this: consuming fast-releasing simple-carbohydrates causes a rapid increase in blood sugar levels that wreaks havoc throughout the brain, body and packs on the pounds.

Let’s take a look at a real-world example to see how and why this happens.

Sweet – But Not So Innocent
Let’s say you decide to indulge in a little refined-carbohydrate treat: an innocent-looking sugar doughnut. This sounds relatively harmless – certainly, it’s something many people do every day. However: as your taste buds are dancing in sheer ecstasy, your body jumps into a silent state of alarm. How does this come about?

Pure sugar and refined flower dissolve fast and complete in the stomach. In your digestive system, that doughnut is an influx of super-concentrated, fast-releasing simple carbohydrates that dissolve and absorb into the bloodstream at an alarmingly quick – and completely unnatural rate.

Within minutes of your last powdery bite, an influx of sugar spills into the blood and is carried to the brain – and excess sugar coming in all at once is extremely dangerous to the brain. These elevated levels of sugar in the blood and brain signal the pancreas to produce a surge of insulin – a hormone that brings blood sugars down by pushing them into cells to be converted and stored as either fat or glycogen. As insulin rises, your blood level of a hormone called glucagon then falls – and if your goal was weight loss then glucagon was quite a friend. Glucagon has an opposing or opposite effect to insulin – it promotes the breakdown of stored fat and carbohydrate for energy. Something you want to do to loose weight.

These chemical changes then cause a cascade of events that further stresses your metabolism. For example, the surge of insulin pulls the sugars out of the bloodstream so abruptly that blood sugar drops. You then have hypoglycemia – low blood sugar. Low blood sugar then re-stimulates your appetite. “But I just ate!” you think to yourself as your body starts to call for more food. In the end, refined-carbohydrates perpetuate a vicious cycle of being hungry, eating, and shortly thereafter being hungry again.

This roller coaster of too much glucose followed by reactive hypoglycemia is characterized by all-too-common symptoms: fatigue, mental confusion, mood swings, irritability, depression, headaches, and even aggressive behavior.

“All this just from a little refined sugar?” you ask. Absolutely…and insulin and glucagon are just the beginning of the story.

The Battle Rages On: Sugar and Stress
Let’s add one more element to your understanding of the perils of that sugar doughnut. It turns out that your body responds internally to the glucose/insulin surge in a way that can be described as aggressive. The shock of excess sugar hitting the bloodstream all at once causes another systemic and powerful reaction that you need to know about – because it can pack on the pounds!

The body is built to see extreme fluctuations in blood sugar as dangerous. When you send blood sugar soaring and then crashing with simple-carbohydrates, a message that something is amiss with blood sugar reaches the adrenal glands. The adrenals perceive blood sugar highs and lows as a threat or an alarm signaling something is wrong. In an effort to protect the brain from the red-alert situation, the adrenals release stress hormones like: adrenaline, epinephrine, and cortisol.

Now here’s where this saga is going – chronic and excessive amounts of the hormone cortisol in turn triggers cravings for both high-fat and sugary foods. What’s most troubling, though, is this negative feedback loop doesn’t just pack on pounds – it packs on pounds in the worst of places – primarily your belly, but also your hips and thighs.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Is your Coffee Making you Sick?

Coffee is so popular you’d think it must be the right thing to drink. But there are many health drawbacks to the normal coffee. It may be your morning pick-me-up and your midday pick-me-up, but normal coffee can be a real put-down for your health.

Obviously not everyone feels that way. After all, coffee is the most popular drink worldwide with 1.4 billion cups consumed every day. Four out of five Americans drink it, consuming more than 400 million cups a day. In Canada it is the most popular hot beverage.

But the list of health problems associated with coffee is a real wake-up call itself.

Some of the problems that the caffeine in coffee causes are preventable and in fact urgent to prevent. For example, caffeine increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and can contribute to the development of heart disease.

Anxiety and irritability are also associated with too much caffeine intake.

The high acid content of most coffees can lead to gastrointestinal problems because coffee increases the secretion of hydrochloric acid leading to an increased risk for ulcers. Coffee, including decaf, reduces the pressure on the valve between the oesophagus and the stomach so that the highly acidic contents of the stomach pass up to the esophagus leading to heartburn and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. With America ’s high consumption of coffee, its no wonder the best selling over-the-counter drugs are the so-called antacids.

Besides its direct effect on the human body, there is also the issue of the use of chemicals and pesticides on the coffee beans (as well as on other food crops). Pesticides and chemicals used in agriculture contain a myriad of chemicals – most of which are have not been studied thoroughly enough to understand or contemplate their long-term effects on the human body.

So, am I telling you to give up coffee? NOT exactly. Rather, I want you to know that there is an alternative to the normal coffee, the normal coffee that plays such a part in your decreasing health, even as it purports to elevate your mood and energy.

The alternative I’m talking about is a real coffee (not a coffee substitute) It’s a coffee that actually helps to remove toxins from your body, and with every cup you drink, you can feel better and realize increasing health benefits.

And, in fact, this particular coffee tastes good.

This new healthy coffee has been known to increase oxygen to your brain, help balance your weight, and boost your overall health. The secret ingredient is an extract from the Reishi mushroom known as Ganoderma Lucidum. Its literal root is the term Reishie Senshi, of ancient Asian origin, meaning, “goodness of health, life and eternal youth.”

This healthy coffee will help remove toxins from your body and boost your immune system. With every cup that you drink you can feel revived, rejuvenated and experience increased health benefits.

As for taste, this coffee is delicious. In fact, not only health reasons, but pure and simple taste is one reason that many people are switching to Ganoderma Coffee.

Health issues, however, are a very important reason that more and more people are switching to Ganoderma. Its essential ingredient, Reishi mushrooms, has been used as an immune stimulant for both HIV or cancer patients and has even been found to improve immune response in advance-stage cancer victims. These mushrooms have also been used to help the healing of lungs for people with asthma and lung disorders. The ancient Asian civilizations began using Reishi mushrooms centuries ago and still used today for hypertension, liver disorders and arthritis.

As it’s low in caffeine, it won’t have negative affect on sleep patterns either.

So, it seems that coffee connoisseurs, or just the normal everyday drinker like me, can have a real coffee (not a substitute) that can help improve our lifestyle and health.

Just imagine a coffee that can boost your immune system, increase your circulation and just makes you feel better. I’ve found that since switching to Ganoderma healthy coffee, I can have as much or more enjoyment of my daily cups of coffee, and have no more worries about negative physical or psychological effects.

Now that’s something to drink to! For more information on Healthy Coffee, visit my website and learn more about this amazing ganoderma enriched coffee choice.