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More Good News About Olive Oil

It’s fairly common knowledge these days that there are some really important health benefits associated with consuming olive oil. No doubt, one of the reasons that the Mediterranean diet turns out to be so healthful is because it is rich in olives and olive oil. And this may explain why following the Mediterranean diet is associated with significant risk reduction for things like breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even dementia.

But it’s been a bit challenging to try to delineate specifically what it is about olive oil that makes it so special as it relates to health. There are multiple chemicals found in olive oil that are bioactive in a positive sense, and new research has identified yet another chemical and mechanism that may explain why olive oil is so good for us. Continue reading

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You Can Lose the Weight – Four Simple Steps

Go to the mall. See a movie. Look around next time you’re in an airport. What you’ll see is the confirmation of all the statistics that we’re hearing so much about these days related to the ever-increasing prevalence of obesity. It’s everywhere and it’s affecting most of us.

Books, online information, infomercials, daytime T.V., and even nightly news programs are constantly hammering us with the scary news that relates increasing abdominal girth to just about every bad medical condition you don’t want to get. At the same time, these same resources offer up some new trendy solution to the obesity epidemic daily, often in the form of some new and exotic dietary supplement.

Truth is, losing weight doesn’t happen when you give in and buy the latest pill. Weight loss happens when the body shifts from storing fat to burning fat. It is that simple, and far and away how we signal our metabolism to make this fundamental shift depends on what we choose to eat. Continue reading

April B.

I found Grain Brain at my local Costco and found that I could really relate my experiences with food with what you were describing. I had very strong cravings to eat all the time, and had known that when I would cut bread/sandwiches out of my diet, I lost those same cravings. Your book defined things for me in such a way that I could grasp what had been happening in my body for many years.  I knew that my fasting glucose had been rising over the last few years and during my marriage year my family physician had prescribed Crestor for my whopping high cholesterol.  My late mother also had been diagnosed with high cholesterol about the same age and had been put on cholesterol lowering medication.  She died at age 78 with no stents or surgeries on her heart, but with Alzheimer’s.  More than anything I did not want to end up with Alzheimer’s…I have to die somehow but not with that please!

After reading your book I went off my Crestor, because it all made so much sense to me!  I already had an appointment in 3 months time to have my fasting glucose and my cholesterol retested.  In the meantime I very much reduced my sugar intake. From a dietary perspective, I drank no juice, had no candy and gave up desserts and did no baking. I would eat an egg or 2 each day, have cheese and meats, eat asparagus, green beens and juice green vegetables with lemon, ginger and an apple. I am not able to do this perfectly but I knew I was doing pretty well, with NO CRAVINGS. I lost weight fairly rapidly, and have now lost a total of 30 pounds as of February 2014. My doctor is happy about that. My triglycerides are only .90 mmol/L so this has encouraged me also. I did convince my doctor to give me the C-reactive protein test and it has come back low. I am more encouraged to stay on this new regimen and leave the Crestor alone. 

I doubt that I am gluten sensitive although 2 of my 3 sons are, with 1 of them having also having leaky gut. Both of these young men were diagnosed with ADD before high school. There is a history of food intolerances and behavior issues in their father’s family, and I feel that is where this is where these issues come from. Continue reading

Elevated Blood Sugar Shrinks the Brain

Studies have demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between changes in size of the brains memory center, the hippocampus, and declining memory function. So it’s obviously in our great interest to do everything we possibly can to preserve the size of hippocampus, which is to say, prevent hippocampal atrophy.

It has become clear that there is a powerful direct relationship between not only fasting blood sugar, but even average blood sugar, in terms of predicting the rate at which the hippocampus will shrink and therefore memory will decline. In a new report, recently published in the journal Neurology, researchers in Germany evaluated a group of 141 individuals, average age 63 years, with memory testing as well as a specific type of MRI scan of the brain to measure the size of the hippocampus in each participant. At the same time they looked at blood sugar levels as well as  average blood sugar, by assessing a blood test called hemoglobin A1 c.

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Can Exercise Enhance Insulin Sensitivity?

A lot depends on how our cells respond to the chemical insulin. Insulin is a hormone, created in the pancreas, that functions by enhancing the way cells take in glucose. Higher levels of dietary carbohydrates and sugars cause the pancreas to increase its output of insulin in response. Unfortunately, as insulin levels climb, the receptors for insulin on the cells that basically answer the door to allow glucose to come in, become less likely to do so. That is to say, higher levels of glucose and carbohydrate consumption, leading to increased insulin secretion from the pancreas, ultimately set the stage for cells to become less sensitive to insulin and therefore less able to help with the task of lowering sugar. Ultimately this leads to elevation of the blood sugar which we call diabetes.  Continue reading

Dietary Epigenetics: New Frontiers

By: Austin Perlmutter, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine

While we may be familiar with the dangers of eating too much sugar, the actual effects of this indulgence may be far more frightening than previously imagined. Certainly, science supports the idea that excess sugar consumption leads to weight gain, increases our chances of diabetes and heart disease, and portends worse health outcomes. But now, new data shows that sugar can harm us in a place we didn’t expect, by actually attacking our DNA.

To properly explain this fascinating research, let’s quickly review some biology basics. The human body is made up of roughly 37 trillion cells, our structural building blocks. The “brain” of the cell is called the nucleus, and the nucleus contains our DNA. For years, we’ve assumed that DNA was a product of our heritage, handed down from mother and father, a rigid pre-determinant of everything from our height to our mathematical skills. However, the revolutionary new field of epigenetics has lead to the discovery that what we do actually changes the way our DNA is used, that the choices we make can forever transform our genetic code