Tag Archives: insulin

High Protein Diet Might Be As Bad As Smoking

Protein is an important macro nutrient and plays a major role in various physiological conditions. The requirement of protein depends on the body and other factors such as size, age and gender. Low protein diet may lead to diseases such as protein energy malnutrition, so an individual who does not follow an intense exercise routine should only consume moderate amounts of protein, which is 15 to 20% of total calories according to the ideal body weight.

Middle aged people with high protein content in their diet are more likely to die from cancer than those who eat less protein, found a study.
However, for people older than 65, a moderate protein intake may actually be beneficial, and protect against frailty, the researchers said.

“Popular diets in many cases have high protein and low sugar content. They may make you lose weight, but that’s not a good diet to increase life span,” said study researcher Valter Longo, professor of biology at the University of Southern California (USC) and director of the USC Longevity Institute.

The risks of a high-protein diet are even comparable to smoking, the researchers said. People who smoke are four times more likely to die of cancer compared with non-smokers, Longo said.
The reason behind a high protein diet’s link to cancer is because protein controls the growth hormone IGF-I (insulin growth hormone), which helps our bodies grow but has been linked to cancer susceptibility. IGF-1 exerts powerful effects on each of the key stages of cancer development and behavior: Levels of IGF-I drop off dramatically after age 65, leading to potential frailty and muscle loss. The study shows that while high protein intake during middle age is very harmful, it is protective for older adults: those over 65 who ate a moderate to high-protein diet were less susceptible to disease.

Although, plant based proteins do not seem to have the same mortality effects as animal proteins.
So, “a low-protein diet in middle ages is useful for preventing cancer and overall mortality, through a process that involves regulating IGF-I and possibly insulin levels,” said co-author Eileen Crimmins, the AARP Chair in Gerontology at USC.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Exercise to get rid of your food craving

How often has this happened to you? You make a great start to eating healthy in an attempt to take charge of your weight, refraining from indulging in the big box of chocolate chip cookies in your kitchen. But pretty soon half the box is gone and with it, your latest attempt at weight management. Many of you think that only avoiding high fat, high calorie food will help you lose weight and keep it off. While you think that giving up such foods may help you gain better control over your eating, the truth is you are actually giving up control. Your craving for that food will remain and may even become stronger.
Exercise is one such tool which can help you gain control over your cravings.

So here are the reasons how exercise helps you do that:-

1) When you exercise, your body releases the “happy” hormone, known as serotonin. The release of this hormone leads to lower stress levels. Low stress levels do not trigger the secretion of stress hormones in the body. Stress hormones cause unnecessary food cravings and lead to high blood sugar levels. With low stress levels, the body’s BMR remains optimum, which controls hunger and cravings.

2) Low stress levels even suppress the level of the Ghrelin hormone (released by Stomach), which is known as the appetite stimulating hormone.

3) Exercise makes you feel dehydrated. So when you rehydrate yourself, water suppresses your hunger, and stops you from overeating or eating unnecessarily.

Also, studies conducted by Dr Daniel Crabtree, from the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, examined the brain’s responses to high and low-calorie food following a period of

acute exercise. He showed that “After running, the volunteer’s feelings of hunger were suppressed, and the appetite hormone analysis showed that levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone were reduced whilst levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone, or leptin (released by fat cells) were increased.”
Exercise and keep yourself away from unhealthy food. Be determined and overcome your unhealthy food cravings till it becomes a lifestyle habit. It’s not just about losing weight and being fit, it’s even about being disease free and living a longer, healthier life.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Weight loss can prevent and cure sleep apnea

Apnea literally means “cessation of breath.” If you have sleep apnea, your breath can become very shallow or you may even stop breathing while you are asleep. This state of not breathing can occur for 10 seconds in an hour, or in severe cases, the frequency of cessation of breath may further increase. The repeated episodes of apnea (lack of breathing) cause frequent night time awakening.
Individuals with this disorder often complain of morning headaches, constant fatigue, and moodiness, and can fall asleep almost anywhere. More seriously, they can fall asleep even while driving. Obstructive sleep apnea is much more common in obese individuals. It is believed that the airway of obese individuals get obstructed by large tonsils, an enlarged tongue and increased fat in the neck. This presses airways when the pharyngeal (throat) muscles are relaxed during sleep. A person’s neck circumference is a good predictor of sleep apnea. Obese men with a neck circumference of 17 inches or greater, and women with a neck circumference of 16 inches or greater are more likely to have sleep apnea.

The worst part is that it is not only obesity that has an association with sleep apnea, but sleep apnea even results in poor sleep which increases food cravings. Lack of good quality sleep increases the chances of hormonal imbalance by increasing the level of ghrelin hormone. Ghrelin is a hormone known for its effects on appetite and disturbed levels of ghrelin hormone leads to an increased appetite which further leads to weight gain.

Individuals with sleep apnea often have elevated blood pressure, high fasting glucose, and high cholesterol. Lack of sleep triggers stress hormones which stimulate the cell’s glycogen to get converted into glucose. This suppresses the function of insulin due to which blood sugar levels shoot up leading to diabetes and heart problems, all of which can worsen with further sleep deprivation. So, it’s a vicious cycle. Obesity can lead to sleep apnea, which, itself, then causes derangements of hormones that control eating habits, leading to more weight gain, worsened blood pressure, glucose intolerance, worsened apnea and the cycle goes on and on.

So, healthy eating with exercise leads to weight loss and not only helps in preventing such a vicious cycle of health problems but also helps in the cure of sleep apnea.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Reasons to Avoid Soft Drinks & Sodas

When taken at face value, diet soda seems like a health-conscious choice because it contains artificial sweeteners which satisfy your urge for sugar without adding any calories. But there’s more to these chemical cocktails than meets the eye.

1) Devoid of nutritional value

Soft drinks and diet soda are devoid of any nutritional value, and don’t contain essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

2) Enhances invisible fat

Artificial sweeteners in diet soda and sugar in sugar sodas trigger insulin secretion which leads to increase in the level of triglyceride in blood. It also leads to deposition of fat in organs such as the liver. This further leads to insulin resistance and diabetes.

3) Colouring chemicals-Cancer

Colouring chemicals which are found in soda and soft drinks (2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole) are carcinogenic in nature and lead to cancer.

4) Accelerate ageing

Studies shows that phosphate and phosphoric acid found in colas and soft drinks acidify the blood and affect the action of glutathione, which is an antioxidant enzyme. In addition, these drinks lack any vitamins or minerals. By consuming these drinks, people cut their intake of water and milk and deprive themselves of essential nutrients which keep the skin healthy and glowing. Thus, the skin becomes dull and more prone to wrinkles and aging.

5) Effects on kidney

Soft drinks remove Calcium from the body, causing an excess amount of Calcium to be deposited in the kidney, resulting in nephrolithiasis (kidney stones).

6) Effects bone

Phosphoric acid present in all carbonated beverages causes removal of calcium from the body and leads to osteoporosis.

7) Effects of Caffeine

In most carbonated beverages, caffeine is added to make it more addictive. Caffeine in carbonated drinks is more readily absorbed than in any other drink (like coffee, chocolate etc.). Caffeine disturbs sleep by stimulating the nervous system. It also makes premenstrual syndrome worse, causes dehydration and induces the stomach to produce acids, aggravating hyperacidity. Since caffeine disturbs sleep, the body is more likely to produce C – reactive protein, which plays an important role in heart disease.

8) Messed up Hormones

It’s not just the soda that’s causing all the problems. Nearly all aluminum soda cans are lined with an epoxy resin called bisphenol A (BPA), used to keep the acids in soda from reacting with the metal. BPA is known to interfere with hormones, and has been linked to everything from infertility to obesity and diabetes and even some forms of reproductive cancers.

9) Unknown Side Effects of GMOs

Take a look at the ingredients list for any soda and chances are that most of those ingredients are derived from corn. Independent scientists have found that, in animals, genetically modified crops, or GMOs (Genetically modified organisms), are linked to digestive tract damage, accelerated aging, and even infertility.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Do Women Need More Sleep Than Men?

Sleep is a fundamental requirement just like food and diet is for the functioning of a healthy body. Sleep even lays the ground work for a productive day ahead. Although most people need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to function well the next day, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) 1998 Women and Sleep Poll found that the average woman aged 30-60 sleeps only six hours and forty-one minutes during the workweek.

Studies show that women need more sleep than men. “Poor sleep certainly had a more profound effect on women than on men,” says Edward Suarez, Ph.D., an associate professor at Duke University School of Medicine
“One of the major functions of sleep is to allow the brain to recover and repair itself. During deep sleep, the cortex — the part of the brain responsible for thought, memory, language and so on — disengages from the senses and goes into recovery mode,” Jim Horne, director of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University in England, told The Australian. “The more of your brain you use during the day, the more it needs to recover and, consequently, the more sleep you need. Women tend to multi-task — they do lot at once and are flexible — and so they use more of their actual brain than men do.”

It follows that, if men used their brains more during the day, they would need a couple of extra hours too. “A man who has a complex job that involves a lot of decision-making and lateral thinking may also need more sleep than the average male — though probably still not as much as a woman,” Horne said.
Getting the right amount of sleep is vital, but just as important is the quality of your sleep. Biological conditions of women are unique, like the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause. All of these conditions can affect how well a woman sleeps. This is because the changing levels of hormones that a woman experiences throughout the month and over her lifetime, like the levels of estrogen and progesterone, have an impact on sleep.

Lack of sleep is associated with increased risk of heart disease and obesity because lack of sleep causes increases secretion of the leptin hormone, which leads to excessive food cravings and may cause obesity. This even causes heart disease if left untreated. Lack of sleep leads to diabetes due to increased levels of the stress hormone, which stimulates the production of insulin and causes high blood sugar level, as well as more stress, depression, anxiety, and anger. However, these associations were weaker for men.
So go to bed at the same time every day of the week, avoid heavy meals before bed, establish a relaxing bedtime routine, nap occasionally to make up for lost sleep, eat healthy and exercise daily.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Is Water Retention Causing Your Weight Gain?

If you are trying to lose weight and not seeing results on the weighing scale, then the reason might be water retention. Water retention causes temporary weight gain and could depend on factors such as what you have eaten a day earlier or how your hormones levels are fluctuating.
Reasons for water retention are:-
1. Sodium intake

Consuming too much sodium from salty and highly processed foods causes water retention. Because to dilute that sodium, the body retains fluid that you see the next morning in the form of puffed face and hands.

2. Sweets and starch intake

If you had a meal comprising mainly of sugar and starchy foods like pasta, white rice etc, it will lead to a quick rise in your blood sugar, which signals your body to release insulin (a hormone that signals the cell to take up the sugar from the bloodstream).High insulin levels can also make your body retain sodium and fluid.

3. Hormonal shift

Other hormones can come into play as well. For women, hormonal shifts that occur with monthly cycles can also lead to water weight gain – often in the range of a kilogram or two that can stick around for a week or more. While you can’t avoid the fluctuations in hormone levels, dietary changes may help.

Tips for reducing temporary water weight gain:-

1. Reduce salt intake

Try to have food in its natural state, since more processed a food, the more sodium it’s likely to have.

2. Cut back on refined starchy foods and sweets

Switch from refined starches to whole grain varieties because whole grains take longer to digest and don’t cause a sudden rise in the blood sugar level. Also, switch from sugary drinks to water or tea.

3. Drink plenty of water

Drink plenty of water because it will help you to eliminate salt and toxin build up. Drink 10-12 glasses of water.

4. Push potassium

Potassium plays a critical role in maintaining fluid balance in the body, and needs to be in proper balance with sodium. Potassium is found in abundance in fruits and vegetables. Try to have a fruit or vegetable at every meal or snack.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Reasons for your sugar addiction

Your sugar addiction might be psychological, and if that is the case, then it might be harder to overcome. Whenever you feel bored, lonely, depressed or nervous, you may get addicted to sugar. And when you try to avoid sugar during such an addiction, it might lead to temporary headaches, fatigue, lethargy, etc.

Causes of Sugar Addiction: Sugar stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin and these hormones make us feel happy and calm. You may develop a higher dependency on the effects of sugar with time: the more sugar you eat, the more it will comfort you. And then there comes a time when you can’t control your sugar cravings any more.

Following are the reasons for your sugar cravings and solutions to overcome those:

1] You might be consuming artificial sweeteners: When artificial sweeteners are consumed, the brain keeps on waiting for more sugar to enter the system; which causes a drop in blood sugar levels, triggering hunger and craving for more sugar. Artificial sweeteners are also know to rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and Leptin hormones, which are involved with satiety and fat storage, thus leading to weight gain.

Solution: So, next time think twice before reaching for an artificial sweetener. Instead, eat the real thing but moderate the quantity. Instead of two teaspoons of sugar in your tea, try one.

2] You might be feeling tired or bored: If you are bored or haven’t slept well, you crave for sugar for an immediate burst of energy, especially if it is easily accessible. It also provides a pleasurable distraction while you are waiting.

Solution:Try to divert your mind by doing some household work or some other activity, or eat a fruit. Also, refrain from keeping sugar loaded processed foods at home.

3] You might be feeling depressed: Sugar helps lift your mood. It gives you pleasure and makes you feel better when you are depressed, disappointed or angry.

Solution: Instead of eating sugary foods, opt for a food high in fiber and good fats – fruit, nuts, chickpeas, etc.

4] You might be bingeing on sugar: You might have a sweet tooth, because of which you can’t control your cravings for sugar. But sugar addiction may deteriorate your body and health.

Solution: Instead of bingeing on sugar loaded foods, try eating sprouts, fruits, plain roasted chickpeas or peanuts. Or try to divert your attention to some other activity, to avoid cravings.

5] You might be starving: Waiting too long between your meals or starving might lead to consumption of sugary foods for instant satisfaction.

Solution: Don’t starve yourself. Have 3 major meals with mid-meal snacks. Having a healthy balanced diet with fixed meal and snack timings helps control sugar cravings.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Your Brain Knows the Difference Between Real Sugar & Sugar Free Food

In today’s lifestyle, it has become a fad to substitute regular food with zero or low-caloric food products just to save a few calories. The most common is the use of sugar-free or artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. It seems logical to replace a sugar-loaded or based food item with a low calorie version of it, and which should automatically lead to weight loss. But according to many researchers, it’s been shown that such sugar-free foods are actually making you fat as compared to real sugar. Let’s see how artificial sweeteners make you fat.

Sugar and sweeteners don’t chemically resemble each other; they belong to different classes of substances. Sugars are simple carbohydrates or glucose and are easily metabolized to energy. But sweeteners are prepared by synthetic procedure and act as a food additive for the sweetening effect. They are calorie-free or low-calorie but are up to 450 times sweeter than real sugar because they are made up of sweet-tasting compounds.

When sugar is metabolized by the body cells, levels of dopamine hormone (a neuro-transmitter) rise, which leads to the feeling of satisfaction and satiety value. It sends a signal to the brain that the body’s energy needs are met. But when artificial sweetener is consumed, the brain keeps on waiting for the calories to come; it causes a drop in blood sugar which triggers hunger and cravings for more food. People are not metabolically satisfied after consuming them. Artificial sweeteners are also know to rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and Leptin hormones that are involved with satiety and fat storage, and may therefore lead to weight gain.

So, next time think twice before reaching for your artificial sweetener. Instead eat the real thing but keep a check on the quantity. Instead of having two teaspoons of sugar in your tea, try one. Or you can switch to more natural sources like fruits to satisfy your sugar cravings without compromising on your health.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is caused due to resistance developed by our body cells towards insulin produced by the body. This leads to a rise in blood glucose level as the cells natural tendency to absorb insulin as much reduces, preventing the body from using glucose effectively, resulting in excess sugar levels in the body. Type 1 diabetes is genetic but Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease most commonly caused by obesity. The good news is that because Type 2 diabetes is not genetic and can be controlled, managed and sometimes even be reversed completely.

Recent study on diabetes suggests that you could reverse your diabetes to normal. That means you could balance you blood sugar levels in the body. The study by Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre at Newcastle University in England says that eating less calories about 600 per day for three months could reverse the diabetes. In the study, 11 people with type 2 diabetes for four years were put on a 600 calorie diet with leafy green vegetables and liquid diet which reversed the diabetes of 7 people.

At Fitho we believe that you dont have to go on such a strict low calorie diet that can damage your daily nutrition intake. Read here to understand what is a  balanced diet and how it is essential for our healthy well being. Diabetes Type 2 can be controlled and managed through healthy diet and exercise without reducing the calorie intake to such low levels. A person diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes needs a special diet chart that ensures that mostly food with low glycemic index should be included. Here is a list of foods that you must include and also avoid.

5 High GI Foods                                              5  Low GI Foods

Potatoes                                                                  Green Vegetables

Rice                                                                           Lentils

Sweets                                                                      Fruits (Citrus)

Packaged Juice                                                     Oats

Pasta                                                                         Brown Rice

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Is Sugar Healthy

We all know sweets, chocolates, candies, ice creams and sweetened food contain high levels of sugar and therefore stay away from them as much as we can. Sugar is addictive and is also a good source of instant energy. Eating too much sugar is unhealthy and leads to excess fat storage and increase of insulin.

sugar-cubes (Cr/freedigital)

Although we limit ourselves from the most obvious forms of sugar there might be ‘sugar coated’ ways that you are consuming sugar. Here are a few example of not so healthy ways that we might be consuming sugar without really being aware. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo