June 2012

An Easy Way To Lose Weight?

A recent study conducted in over 800 adults has found that the major culprits in weight change (up or down) are liquid calories. Liquid calories include sodas, sweetened fruit and high calorie drinks.

When adults in this study reduced their sugar sweetened drink intake by one a day,they lost an average of 1 pound at 6 months and 1.5 pounds at 18 months.The results of this study point out the importance of liquid calories contributing to weight gain in many people. Conversely, cutting out liquid calories can make it much easier to lose weight.

You may not realize that fancy coffee drinks can contain as may as 700 calories.Soda has no nutritional value, only calories. Sweetened fruit drinks don’t usually contain much fruit. It is better to eat the actual fruit rather than have sweetened juice.

If you are someone who is hooked on soda or high calorie drinks, you might want to think about switching to the old-fashioned drink……water. It has no calories and is endorsed by your doctor!

All That Gas Or Between The Cheeks

I would estimate that one out of every 4 women I see complains of having too much gas. Over the last 5 years I have had 2 men bring up gas issues, and they only did it because their wives told them it was a problem. I find this an amusing phenomenon. Most women are embarrassed by flatulence or farting, where men are proud of the gas they pass.

I have some family members (you know who you are!) who deny that they have ever farted. Of course, that is a physiologic impossibility. If we did not pass gas we would ultimately explode. Which brings me to the question, why do we pass gas?

Two thirds of the gas in our gut comes from swallowed air. Every time we swallow we also ingest 2-3 cc’s of air. When we eat an apple we gulp down 20 cc’s of air. Drinking 10 cc’s of water adds 17cc’s of air to the belly.

The rest of the gas comes from bacteria that swallow cells that are dying and being replaced in the large intestine. They also help digest starches and fiber that makes its way to the colon. These substances are broken down into chemicals that smell and can help protect us from cancer and provide energy to the colon cells for metabolism. These bacteria make up most of the solid part of our stool.

The particular odor and volume of gas depends on what we eat and how much air we swallow. The major smell makers are sulphur containing compounds and methane. The average numbers of farts range from 7-17 a day. If we eat a lot of fiber it could be as high as 30 a day. Gum chewing, sugar substitutes, fruit juices, carbonated beverages, and ill fitting dentures can all increase the amount of gas we pass.

There has been research (believe it or not) on a small number of subjects that looked at men and women to see who had the higher volume and worse smelling flatulence. It looks like women have stinkier gas but a smaller volume. Men had a higher volume so, that in the end (pardon the pun) it was a wash. If you want to decrease the amount of gas in your system this is what you can do:
• If you smoke, quit or cut down.
• If you wear dentures, see your dentist and make sure your dentures fit correctly.
• Don’t chew gum or suck on hard candies.
• Avoid carbonated drinks, such as soda and beer.
• Drink less fruit juice, especially apple juice and pear juice.
• Avoid or eat less of the foods that cause you to have gas.
• Eat more slowly
• Beano and GasX may also be helpful
If you are one of those women who are having problems with gas, you might want to see your doctor to make sure you do not have an underlying problem. If you have a healthy gut then you might want to man up and embrace your bodily functions. You do not need to light them on fire (like some men do), butt realize this, you are not alone because everybody farts!

June Is Fruit and Vegetable Month

n honor of this, let me tell you some things you may not know about two popular fruits. They taste great and may even help you to lose weight. Let’s start with my favorite, grapefruit. Then we will move on to raspberries.

Grapefruit has many of the vitamins of the other citrus fruits but is has a lower glycemic Index. That means that sugar is released slowly in the body rather than in one quick rush.

The results of a 12-week study linking grapefruit to weight loss done at the Scripps Clinic in 2004 put 100 men and women on a diet that included half a grapefruit or grapefruit juice three times a day with a meal. The average weight loss was 3.6 pounds for those who ate their grapefruit, 3.3 pounds for those who drank it. However, many reportedly lost more than 10 pounds. Grapefruit has chemicals that may lower insulin levels and expedite weight loss. The only problem with it is that it can interact with certain medications. It is important to check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if you are on any of these medications. If so, you need to avoid it. (Sorry about that)

Raspberries are rich in antioxidants. Eating three or more servings per week have been found to lower the risk for age related macular degeneration. The anthocyanins (important antioxidants) in raspberries have been found to delay the effect of aging. Although raspberries contain sugar it does not seem to affect blood sugar in a significant way. Red raspberry ketones are currently being used in Japan as a weight loss supplement. Red raspberry seed oil has attracted the interest of the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries because it is rich in Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acid and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 24-50.

Celebrate this month by eating your favorite fruit or vegetable and enjoy!

Time For “The Talk”

If you have children who are graduating from high school and going off to college, it is time to give them “the talk”. It is not the talk that we baby boomers heard when we went off to school. This one is a bit more complicated. I suggest you start off with the easy topic first, eating. Then you can move on to drinking, drugs and sex. You will definitely get their attention, read on.

EATING

You have all heard of the freshman fifteen. When I went to college, I gained the freshman 15×2. That’s right. I gained 30 pounds. You don’t want your kids to do that. I had carefully watched my diet when I was in high school. It was easy because my mother was a health nut and we only had healthy food at home.

When I went to college there suddenly were so many choices. There was a salad bar, dessert bar, potatoes, bread, pizza and beer. The drinking age was 18 when I went to school, so in addition to eating a lot, I drank a lot (more on that next). I did not know how fattening beer was at the time. It is amazing how fast I put the weight on and how hard it was to take it off.

To avoid weight gain advise your children to stick with whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins and stay away from processed foods like chips and cheetos. Even though they are going to get caught up in school, suggest that they find ways to exercise. It will help keep their weight down and will help them to focus.

DRINKING

Binge drinking on college campuses has become epidemic. It is defined for guys as having more than 5 drinks in one sitting and for girls having 4 drinks or more in one sitting. A recent Harvard study has found that 51% of boys at college and 40% of girls binge drink and 44% of college students had done it within two weeks of the study. One in four students reported binging at least three times a week.

It may seem like a “cool”, fun activity to teens, but it is very dangerous and can cause a world of hurt. Here are some startling statistics. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in a given year looking at college students between the ages of 18 and 24, binge drinking resulted in 1825 deaths, 599,000 injuries, 690,000 assaults, 97,000 cases of sexual abuse, 400,000 cases of unprotected sex with 100,000 reporting they were too drunk to know if they consented, 150,000 alcohol related health problems and 2.8 million people driving drunk. One quarter of these students suffered academically and had health issues such as insomnia. One percent reported being raped by an out of control intoxicated peer.

The bottom line is that binge drinking increases the likelihood that your children will suffer a sexual assault and get in one heap of trouble.

DRUGS

There are a wide variety of drugs out there that will be accessible. These include marijuana, psychedelics, ecstasy, and prescription painkillers and adderall. I am sure your kids have been warned about all of these. These drugs change their brain chemistry and some of these changes can be permanent.

I (along with you as parents) advise against them. Also caution your children to be careful if they go to a club or party that they always go with a friend and never leave their drink. It is very easy to slip a date rape drug into one. With a buddy and smart thinking, they can avoid becoming a victim.

SEX

When I went to college, the major worry was how to avoid pregnancy. Now in addition to not getting pregnant, there are so many things to worry about. One out of every four college students is infected with a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The most common is human papilloma virus or HPV. It causes genital warts and is the most common cause of cervical cancer. It can also cause oral and anal cancer. It has no symptoms so it is easily spread. Infection can occur with sexual and skin-to-skin contact.

Chlamydia is the second most common STI, which can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and can result in infertility. If diagnosed it can be treated with antibiotics. Many women are symptomatic but often men have no symptoms.

The third most common infection is genital herpes. One in five college students are infected. There is no cure but there are medicines to reduce the length of outbreaks.

Condoms can protect against the latter two. The Gardasil vaccine can protect against HPV. If your teens are on drugs or drunk they are less likely to use protection. This opens them up to these infections as well as HIV, hepatitis B (for the unvaccinated), gonorrhea and syphilis. These infections are less frequent among college students but they are out there and they can cause serious illness and even death.

College can be the best time of their life. By avoiding the pitfalls of overeating, drinking, drugs and unsafe sex, they can have a healthy, exciting and wonderful experience. Please talk to them about how to be smart. Knowledge is power. Urge them to use it!

 

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