Wellness Articles

Better Eating, Better Health

Most health and wellness authorities agree that obesity and overweight are sabotaging many people’s efforts to be healthy. Many experts estimate the number of overweight people in our culture to be over 60%, with over 30% being classified as obese – the drain on our health care system and the suffering that these citizens experience can be addressed in most cases with some simple changes in their eating.

  1. Less is more – eating until you are full is a tactical error, since the stomach may take a short while to get the message “I’m full” to the brain. In the meantime, if you were eating rhythmically and absent-mindedly, the way so many of us do, you probably ate way too much, and the results show around your middle. Pause periodically throughout your meal to see if you are done before you think you are.
  2. Nature knows best — processed foods are filled with unnatural additives and preservatives, which confuse the body, make you toxic, and interrupt normal metabolism. Choose a balanced diet of whole foods, including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and avoid artificial ingredients. An apple a day…
  3. Everything in moderation – including moderation – it’s okay to go crazy every now and then, as long as it’s the exception and not the rule. By eating healthfully, you buy yourself some latitude to overdo it from time to time, if the mood or situation calls for it – no need to be super-strict all the time, just use good common sense and you’ll be amazed how resilient and adaptable your body can be when it is working right.
  4. Keep your body working right so you digest and use your foods properly – people have been using chiropractic care to keep their bodies working right for 115 years! The nerve system must be functioning well for you to digest and use the nutrients in your foods – if you haven’t had a check-up recently, come on in for an exam!

Experiment and find out the best times of day and correct amounts of water for you to drink. Everyone is different, but one thing is for sure – if your body needs more water, supplying it in the right proportions can be a sure path to better health, improved body function, and feeling great!

Carbohydrate Addiction

The “battle of the bulge” is one I’ve been fighting all of my life.  I can never remember a time when small was a word that was used by anyone to describe me.  Short is a descriptive term I have heard a lot, but never small.  Believe me, as a child growing up in the South, I lived for dessert.  Nothing was better than Granny’s peach cobbler or Mom’s coconut cake.  I ate plenty of macaroni and cheese, fried chicken and homemade buttermilk biscuits along the way as well.  What I did not realize at that time was that I was filling myself full of carbohydrates and fattening myself every step of the way.  I believe I have finally found the key to winning the battle since I am approaching 40 and have vowed to be in the best physical shape in my entire life when I hit that mark.  I have been changing my diet for several years now and have discovered that restricting my intake of carbohydrates to only whole grains and those that come from vegetables and some fruits provides me with proper nourishment, mounds of energy, and the much sought after trimmer waistline. 

There has been quite a buzz lately in the media about carbohydrate addiction.  Carbohydrate addiction is defined according to Drs. Richard and Rachael Heller, founders of the Carbohydrate Addict’s Network, as a compelling hunger, craving, or desire for carb-rich foods.  They go so far as saying that people who are carbohydrate addicts have an escalating, recurring need or drive for starches, snack foods, junk food, or sweets.  There is a physiological explanation for this.  If the body produces too much of the hormone insulin, a condition called hyperinsulinism results.  Since insulin is the hormone which tells the body when to take in food, those with hyperinsulinism take in entirely too much food.  Once food is eaten, insulin tells the body to store the food energy as fat.   Too much insulin leads to too strong an impulse to eat too often and the body stores too much food energy as fat.  This might explain why more than half of the people in America are overweight.  The typical fast food “combo” includes a small amount of protein, large amount of bread and fries, and an enormous sugar-sweetened drink.  Three fourths of the meal is laden with carbohydrates, waiting for fat storage since there is no way a consumer of that meal will burn all of the carbs for energy. 

Overconsumption of carbohydrates has also been blamed for the overwhelming majority of Type II Diabetes cases.  When people are diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, they are told that they can control this disease with diet, but many of the diets they follow disallow only sugars.  Very few of them take into account the hidden carbohydrates found in breads, pastas, fruits, potatoes, popcorn, rice, and breakfast cereals.  These carbohydrates act just like sugar when they hit the digestive tract.  Unless controlled carbohydrate eating is the rule, Type II diabetics will continue on the merry-go-round of peaks and valleys of blood sugar levels.

The answer to solving the problems like obesity, Type II Diabetes, and carbohydrate addiction is adopting a low-carb lifestyle.  Many of the controlled carbohydrate diets have come under fire from people who reject them and are stuck in the low-fat model of eating.  The one thing to watch in a low-fat lifestyle is the enormous amount of sugar that is used to replace the flavor of fats.  Take a look at the labels of many of the low fat prepackaged foods and see how much sugar there is in them.  The words “low fat” can often be replaced with “high sugar” and there is no wonder why Type II Diabetes has become such a problem today.

One major champion of the low-carb lifestyle was Dr. Robert Atkins, who died last week after hitting his head on icy pavement.  He did studies in his own clinic about the effects of a low-carb eating regimen and had astounding results.  Many were apprehensive about his work because they erroneously assumed that he advocated eating large amounts of meat and fat while eating absolutely no carbohydrates.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  There is an enormous difference between eating a controlled carbohydrate diet and eating a high protein, high fat diet.

 Medicine is paying attention to and actually changing its mind about controlled carbohydrate eating.  In this month’s issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, a paper was published citing a study done by Bonnie Brehm, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the college of nursing at the University of Cincinnati.  The study randomized women whereby half went on a low fat diet and half went on a very low carbohydrate diet.  The researchers had hypothesized that the low carbohydrate participants would cause detriment to their cardiovascular profiles (cholesterol levels, for example), and that the low fat dieters would not.  The researchers also assumed that the low fat dieters would lose more weight and body fat.  The study shows that the low carb dieters lost much more weight over the period of the study and that neither group did any harm to their cardiovascular profiles.  This is significant research because there are few randomized studies to follow regarding restricted carbohydrate eating.

It is probably too late not to beat the proverbial dead horse, but it is important in today’s environment to watch our bodies before they start to fall apart and we wish that we could buy more time for them.  One very easy way is to control our intake of carbohydrates to protect our health in more than one way.  Control insulin levels while you lose unwanted pounds and still eat luxuriously.  Treat your body well.