Monthly Archives: November 2015

Added Sugar: Health Effects & Management Strategies

Scientifically speaking, sugar in and of itself is simply a carbohydrate broken down into it’s most basic form: glucose. Sugar can come from all sorts of foods, including natural sources such as fruit, vegetables, and other plant-based foods. These forms of sugar can be incredibly healthy and full of nutrients. However, much of the sugar we consume today is in the form of “added” sugar—the type of sugar that is processed, added to food and does not naturally occur in food products.

Added Sugar

 

During the past few decades, more and more processed sugar has been incorporated into a wide variety of foods—beverages, condiments, cereal, bread, yogurt, seasonings, salad dressings, and etc. In consequence, added sugar consumption in the US has increased dramatically over the past few decades to 80g (or 20 teaspoons) of sugar per day. As a frame of reference, current recommendations from the American Heart Association advocate no more than a maximum daily intake of 24g (6tsp) of sugar for women and 36g (9 tsp) for men.

With rising rates of chronic disease in the US, many people are interested in the link between added sugar and preventable disease. Current research is promising and associates excessive added sugar consumption to many common health problems, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and triglycerides) metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, diabetes and more. While added sugar is not the sole cause of these diseases and health issues, it certainly is a contributing factor.

As a Registered Dietitian, my job is to help patients strategize and find ways to decrease their intake of added sugar. Does this mean you can never let a grain of added sugar cross your lips again? Not necessarily—that wouldn’t be very realistic for most people! However, research does show there certainly are great benefits to a diet low in added sugar. This usually involves looking at a patient’s current diet, finding the sources of added sugar in the foods they eat, and constructing creative and maintainable strategies to reduce their added sugar intake. Besides the obvious sources, such as sweetened beverages, candy, desserts and etc, we look at hidden sources of sugar as well. Some examples might be breads, cereals, condiments, dressings, sauces, dairy products, and pre-packaged meals. Here are some basic strategies I use with patients to reduce their added sugar intake with these foods.

  • Be mindful! Choose which sources of added sugar you’re willing to eliminate all-together, and which you’re not. From there, make compromises. Choose added sugars wisely, where they are worth it to you, and make a trade-off somewhere else.
  • Identify the triggers that increase your desire for sugar—stress, fatigue, at the end of a meal, feeling emotional, and etc. Discover productive distractions and ways to cope with these triggers.
  • Buy unsweetened versions of foods, if possible. Sweeten them slightly yourself if needed. For instance, buy plain greek yogurt and add 1 teaspoon of honey or pure maple syrup. This can make plain foods taste a bit better, and dramatically decrease the sugar content as well. Or, mix half sweetened and half unsweetened products.
  • When eating chocolate, choose bars with a higher % of cocoa—the darker the chocolate, the less added sugar, more fiber and more antioxidants!
  • Make your own salad dressings—you can include healthy oils, vinegars, fresh or dried herbs, sea salt, black pepper, lemon/lime juice and/or a small amount of honey for a bit of sweetness.
  • Make homemade desserts with sources of natural sweetness, such as bananas, dates, prunes, and etc.
  • Choose sparkling water over soda and add a bit of frozen berries and/or some stevia to enhance the flavor
  • Opt for homemade versus store-bought whenever possible.
  • Use small bowls and/or pre-portion foods that contain added sugar, so the quantity you consume is limited to an appropriate amount
  • Keep a tally, if needed, of sugar-sweetened foods you eat each day. This can help some clients stay on track and choose their added sugars wisely.

It’s Time for Cold & Flu Prevention & Treatment in Monroe

It’s that time of year when the weather gets colder and we spend more time inside than out, creating the optimum environment for cold and flu germs to flourish. While a flu shot can certainly have its place for susceptible individuals, there are alternative therapies that significantly aid in reducing the likelihood of catching a cold or the flu or reduce the amount of time the malady lasts. Consider naturopathic cold & flu prevention & treatment in Monroe.

cold & flu prevention & treatment in Monroe.

Natural or naturopathic treatment is undertaken by medical professionals with experience and training in this field that is not often practiced in conventional medicine. After evaluation of an individual’s physical, mental, physiological and spiritual states through diagnostic testing and personal statements, a treatment plan is carefully and deliberately developed that treats the entire body and utilizes its own natural defense system.

A specifically structured diet with a combination of vitamin, herbal and other nutritional supplements is implemented. For those who are already ill, more fluids, limited food intake and sugar will help the body direct its energy toward healing. Lifestyle changes or adaptations may include more rest, less stress, hydrotherapy, soothing meditation and/or yoga, among others.

Be sure to schedule your initial consultation today with Dr. Beth McQuinn at McQuinn Naturopathic to learn safe and effective all-natural therapies for cold & flu prevention & treatment in Monroe. Direct your inquiries to (425)905-2487. Let us help you to encourage your body to heal itself and boost your immune system in the process. You will be glad you did.

Testosterone Screening

  • Dr. John Dowling,  N.D.

In today’ s times,  many men suffer from type 2 diabetes,  metabolic syndrome,  adrenal stress, liver or  kidney disease,  infertility  and sleep apnea. Did you know all of these are indications  for testing testosterone  levels?  Some Naturopathic  doctors have also noticed low testosterone in patients suffering  with Crohn’s disease,  Ulcerative Colitis and other inflammatory conditions.

Testosterone Screening

In fact, The Endocrine Society guidelines  recommend testing  for low testosterone in men with a variety  of chronic diseases or conditions  —  including  end-stage renal disease, moderate to severe chronic  obstructive pulmonary  disease, HIV-associated weight loss, type 2 diabetes mellitus  (T2DM),  infertility,  or osteoporosis or low trauma fracture.

Furthermore,  according to the  Endocrine Society guidelines,  Testosterone Replacement therapy  (T RT)  is  recommended  for symptomatic men with classical androgen  deficiency syndromes  aimed at inducing  and maintaining  secondary sex characteristics and at improving  their sexual function, sense of well being and bone mineral density.

Testosterone has many functions in men’s bodies including  having  a positive influence on:

  • Blood Sugars
  • Blood Lipids
  • Blood Pressure
  • Erection Quality
  • Inflammation
  • Fertility
  • Muscle Mass
  • Bone Density
  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep Quality
  • Mental Awareness
  • Libido
  • Overall Mood and Health

To determine  if you also have classical androgen deficiency symptoms,  Dr. Dowling can ask you a series  of recognized  questions aimed at determining  if screening  is warranted. If the c riteria are met, Dr. Dowling is happy to screen and interpret  your  labs with you. He can order other labs if you need further  workup into why  your hormones are imbalanced.  He can offer treatments aimed at correcting deficiencies  while keeping  your other hormones in balance. These treatments range from herbal interventions  to even Testosterone Replacement Therapy. All therapies ,  even herbal,  should be periodically monitored to ensure  safety.

Contact McQuinn  Naturopathic today to schedule  an appointment with Dr. Dowling to see if you can get your  hormones to match your age and feel like yourself again.

Severe Obesity Costs Medicaid $8 Billion Annually, Study Finds

And health care expenses for heaviest adults is nearly $2,000 more a year per patient.

Obesity

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Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Severe obesity is putting a huge financial strain on both the U.S. Medicaid system and severely obese patients themselves, new research suggests.

The study pegs the national bill for providing obesity-related health services for the severely obese at $69 billion a year. Severely obese is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher, the study authors said. (BMI is a rough estimate of a person’s body fat based on their height and weight.)

Medicaid pays just over 10 percent of the annual cost of treating the severely obese. That works out to about $8 billion a year, the researchers said. And that figure is likely to rise as Medicaid — the government-run insurance program for poorer Americans — expands under the health-reform law known as the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare.

“Severe obesity affects one in seven adults,” said study co-author Michael Long, an assistant professor at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. “And it increases the risk of disease and death at a much higher rate than moderate obesity,” he added.

Moderate obesity is a BMI between 30 and 35, the study authors noted.

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“So although severe obesity accounts for only 41 percent of the 81.5 million Americans who are obese, the costs associated with treating it are actually 60 percent of all obesity-related costs combined,” Long explained.

“And Medicaid patients, who have low resources and a high burden of disease and obesity, are not covered completely,” he said. “So severe obesity is a big burden on both Medicaid and patients.”

Long and his colleagues reported their findings in the November issue of Health Affairs.

Obesity has tripled over the last 30 years in the United States, according to the study authors.

RELATED: Does Your Doctor Know How to Treat Obesity?

Dr. David Katz is director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Conn. He said that “obesity is, inevitably, enormously expensive, because it is on the causal pathway to every major chronic disease that plagues modern societies, diabetes most indelibly.”

Katz explained that “the costs of obesity extend out to the costs of all such conditions: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, dementia, and more.”

Those disease risks and costs are even higher for the 33 million Americans now considered severely obese. (For example, Long noted that for a 5-foot 4-inch woman, being severely obese means weighing about 204 pounds, or 60 pounds above normal. For a 5-foot 9-inch man, that would be a weight of about 236 pounds, or 67 pounds above normal.)

To get a better idea of the costs of obesity, the team crunched data from two national studies conducted between 2007 and 2013. The studies included more than a half million people.

The researchers found that the moderately obese pay $941 more per year for health care, compared with someone of normal weight. By contrast, people who are severely obese pay $1,980 more, the findings showed.

Private insurances covered more than one-quarter of these expenses, while Medicare covered about 30 percent. State-run Medicaid programs footed 11 percent of those bills, the investigators found.

And, patients were left to cover 30 percent out of their own pockets, the study said.

Some state Medicaid programs pay more than others. For example, Wyoming’s program now covers 58,000 severely obese adults at a cost of $64 million per year (at the low end of the scale). Meanwhile, California spends about $9.1 billion for 3.2 million adults (at the high end), the study reported.

Regardless, the study authors concluded that severe obesity appears to be “disproportionately responsible” for a lion’s share of the whole nation’s health care bill.

“Our primary public health goal has been trying to reduce and prevent childhood and adult obesity,” Long said. “But that effort, while important, is unlikely to reverse the problems faced by adults already struggling with severe obesity, or the health care costs related to those problems.”

Any solution, he suggested, will have to address two issues: identifying cheaper but effective clinical interventions, while also expanding treatment access for the severely obese.

“That might actually cost more money in the short-run,” he acknowledged. “But it will have long-term payoffs, for both the patients and Medicaid. And we have to do something, because this problem is just the tip of the iceberg. If we just let this continue as is, the costs will only grow over time,” Long said

Katz added, “The only hope for the future of public health and the economy alike is to change the trajectory we are on, and put out this fire.” But he said that, in his opinion, “the answer is not more drugs and surgery, but a culture-wide commitment to better use of feet, and forks.” In other words, exercise more and eat healthier.