TWEET YOURSELF THIN!

In an average of social networks, you’re never really alone.  That connectivity could be a good thing, a study found, if you want to shed excess fat.  People who used Twitter frequently as part of a weight-loss program dropped more pounds than those who tweeted less.  Participants were encouraged to stay connected with Twitter to receive tips from the study’s weight-loss counselor  (exercise goals for the week), share ideas (“Got an insulated lunch bag?  Sure helps w/healthy eating at work”), and provide support to others (“I hear you on the weight plateau”).  Every 10 tweets corresponded to a loss of 0.5 percent in body weight over the six-month study.

Source:  Translational Behavioral Medicine, January 2013/  Diabetes Forecast Magazine April 2013

THE WHOLE (GRAIN) TRUTH

“Whole grain” isn’t synonymous with “healthy,” according to a study.  Researchers used five different criteria-including guidelines from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration , American Heart Association (AHA) , and Whole Grains Council, a  nonprofit industry group-to identify a total of 545 whole-grain products.  The AHA’s 10 to 1 ratio, which identifies whole-grain products as those with 10 carbohydrate grams or fewer per each gram of fiber, came out on top.  The foods the researchers found using the AHA ratio had more fiber, less sodium and sugar, and were less likely to contain trans fat and added calories.  Products bearing the Whole Grains Council’s front-of -package stamp had more calories and sugar on average-along with higher price tags.

WHAT’S THE 10 -TO 1- RATIO?

A product is considered whole grain if the ratio of carbohydrate to fiber per serving is equal to or less than 10 to 1.  Though nothing on the label indicates this ratio, you can figure it out by dividing the carb grams by the fiber grams:

Not Whole Grain:

Carb: 24 grams

Fiber: 1 gram

Ratio: 24:1

Whole Grain

Carb: 24 grams

Fiber: 8 grams

Ratio:24:8, or 3:1

References:  Public Health Nutrition, Jan., 2013 /   Diabetes Forecast Magazine, April 2013

 

 

SUE GEORGE’S LOW-CARB PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES

LOOKING FOR FABULOUS LOW-CARB COOKIES?  WELL, HERE IS YOUR SOURCE!

Sue George fulfilled a lifelong dream and opened her own bakery.  But George, who is a type 1 diabetic who learned of her diagnosis in 2001 at age 39, wasn’t about to let her diabetes slow her down.  And she also had no intention of allowing her disease to prevent her from following any of her dreams.

Determined to live her life to the fullest, she left behind a corporate job as a software engineer to spend more time with her children, but soon realized that baking, which she considered her favorite hobby, could be expanded beyond her kitchen.  Harvard Sweet Boutique was born.

In part because of her own diabetes diagnosis, but also in response to customer requests, she also offers low-carb versions for the diabetic sweet tooth and gluten free treats for those with gluten allergies.

Here is fabulous recipe for her Low-Carb Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies:

Ingredients:

8 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter (room temperature)

1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy)

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper

3.  Cream butter, peanut butter, light brown sugar, and sugar with mixer

4.  Add egg and vanilla and mix well

5.  Sift together flour, baking soda and salt and whisk to mix

6.  Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture and stir until just blended

7.  Add chocolate chunks and mix well

8.  Bake 12-14 minutes until golden brown

Nutritional information:

Per 1 oz. serving: 12g carbohydrates

REFERENCES:  Brenda Neugent/ www.diabeteshealth.com/Feb.-March 2013   Diabetes Health Magazine     www.harvardsweetboutique.com

 

Chronic Insomina Affects the Heart

Chronic insomnia  may be linked to an increased risk of heart failure, according to a large new study, and the insomnia symptoms, the greater the risk.

The study, published last week in the European Heart Journal, used questionnaires to gather data on difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and waking unrefreshed around more than 54,000 Norwegian adults in a population-wide health survey.  All were free of heart disease at the start of the study; there were 1,412 cases of heart failure over an average of 11 years of follow-up.

After controlling for numerous health, behavioral and demographic factors, the researchers found that having one symptom of insomnia was associated with a 17 percent increase in the risk of developing heart failure.  Having two symptoms increased the chances by 92 percent, and having all three nearly tripled the risk.

Insomnia was a risk independent of other cardiovascular risks, and the authors suggest that chronic insomnia leads to higher blood pressure and higher heart rate, known risk factors heart failure.

“We cannot claim that insomnia is causing heart failure,” said the lead author, Lars E. Laugsand, a postdoctoral fellow at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.”  “But observational studies are all going more or less in the same direction-showing that insomnia may play a role in heart problems.”

References:  well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/11/chronic-insomnia-affects-heart    /  by: NICHOLAS BAKALAR

THE FAB FIVE

Make These Good-For-You Ingredients A Regular Part Of Your Diet

You already know which foods are likely to raise your blood sugar, but you might not be aware that some everyday ingredients may actually improve your blood glucose and cholesterol levels.  What’s more, these five “foodaceuticals” are tasty; and easy to find.  Chances are, in fact, that you’ve got them in your kitchen right now!  While there is no recommended amount to aim for, try to include three of these in your daily diet.

CINNAMON:   A study published recently in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that cinnamon can help control post-meal blood sugar spikes.  Earlier research found that consuming cinnamon reduced LDL cholesterol levels in participants by 26 percent and cut blood sugar levels by 29 percent.  Sprinkle some cinnamon on your morning cereal or oatmeal, or swap it for jam on a piece of toast.

BASIL:  This fragrant herb enhances salads and sauces.  It has also been shown to help reduce inflammation, aid in nutrient absorption and improve blood flow in the kidneys.  In one study, participants who temporarily stopped taking their diabetes medications and instead consumed powdered basil experienced an average fasting blood glucose level that was 21 mg/dl lower than the group that was given a placebo.  Of course you should never make any changes in your treatment regimen without talking to your doctor!

GINGER:  A staple of Asian cooking that can be grated, sliced, pickled and dried, ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and has been touted as a digestive aid.  It may be particularly useful in easing symptoms in people with gastroparesis, a form of nerve damage that slows digestion and can result in nausea and vomiting.

CHIA SEEDS:  These tiny seeds add texture to salads, cereal and yogurt, and benefit blood lipids as well.  One small study in the journal Diabetes Care showed that white chia seeds had positive effects on the participants’ blood sugar, blood pressure and levels of inflammation.

OAT BRAN:  High in fiber, oat bran helps you feel full so you are less likely to reach for simple carbs) and slows the rise in blood sugar that occurs after eating.  Toss it on cereal or bake it into breads and muffins.

FRESH or DRIED?

When should you use fresh herbs and spices, and when should you choose dried?  Recipes don’t always specify, so here are the basics:

USE FRESH WHEN… you need to impart flavor quickly, such as in salads, sandwiches and other no-cook meals, or when a recipe requires and herb or spice to be added to a sauce or stew right before serving.

USE DRIED WHEN…you’ll be cooking something for a while.  Dried herbs and spices have had their moisture removed, and the flavor is concentrated.  They rehydrate during cooking and slowly infuse soups, sauces and stews with pronounced flavor.  Keep in mind that dried herbs and spices lose their flavor over time, so they should be replaced at least once a year…

References: Diabetes Focus/Spring 2013    Christine Gerbstadt, M.D.,R.D, is a diabetes educator and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

 

 

 

ARE GRIEF AND DEPRESSION THE SAME THING?

Although grief and depression both entail feeling sad, they are different.  Grief is usually the result of a specific event, such as the death of a loved one.  The sadness comes in waves, is usually temporary and resolves without treatment.  Depression is a more persistent and unremitting sadness accompanied by muted or “deadened” feelings and an inability to enjoy once-pleasurable activities.  If grief over an event doesn’t seem to be subsiding after several months, you may be depressed.  If you experience symptoms such as sleep problems, inability to carry out daily routines or overuse of drugs or alcohol, talk to your physician about treatment options.  If you are having thoughts of suicide, contact a health professional immediately.

To learn more about depression, check out the 2013 Johns Hopkins Depression and Anxiety White Paper   (johnshopkinshealthalerts.com

Reference: Remedy’s health living magazine/ Spring 2013 pg. 8

EARLY EATING, LONG-TERM EFFECTS

Overweight and obese kids older than 6 to 10 years old actually eat fewer calories per day than their normal-weight peers, according to a study of over 12,000 young Americans.  At younger ages, heavier children consume more, as would be expected.  These results suggest that childhood obesity is triggered by overeating early in life.  Then, as a child gets older, the higher weight is maintained by mechanisms other than just calorie consumption.  For example, heavy adolescents may not get enough exercise, leading them to remain overweight despite eating fewer calories than their leaner peers.  This suggests that efforts to keep kids trim should begin during EARLY CHILDHOOD.

References: Pediatrics, published online September 10, 2012

ADVICE ON TALKING WITH YOUR DOCTOR

Encouraging two-way dialog with your doctors and healthcare providers

When patients are actively involved in their own health, there is a much stronger likelihood their health outcomes will be better.  That is why it is so important to feel comfortable with your doctors and be prepared with questions when you meet with them.  Here are two helpful resources for you.

“Questions are the Answers” online  (Link)

“Questions are the Answers” is the theme of a new public education initiative from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality  (Link: http://www.ahrq.gov/questions/).  It is encouraging patients to have more effective two-way communications with their doctors and other clinicians.

AHRQ is one of 12 agencies within  the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans.

The agency’s website (Link:http://www.ahrq.gov/questions/) features many helpful tools, including tips on what to do before, during and after your appointment, videos with examples of interactions and this list of the top 10 questions to ask your doctor:

WHAT IS THE TEST FOR?

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU DONE THIS PROCEDURE?

WHEN WILL I GET THE RESULTS?

WHY DO I NEED THIS TREATMENT?

ARE THERE ANY ALTERNATIVES?

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS?

WHICH HOSPITAL IS BEST FOR MY NEEDS?

HOW DO YOU SPELL THE NAME OF THE DRUG?

ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?

WILL THIS MEDICINE INTERACT WITH MEDICINES THAT I AM ALREADY TAKING?

Reference: Health Hub from the Cleveland Clinic   http://clevelandclinic.org2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLUTTER BUSTING!

Organize your home for better health!

Today we are going to just focus on organizing your medications!  Corraling your medicine in one area does more than just reduce clutter.  It’ll help you weed out expired meds; many have a one-year shelf life, so check.  And it can make juggling multiple pills more successful: The location will remind you to take your medications.  First, elect a specific area for your medications and supplements if you take any-a cool, dry place because heat and moisture can make meds lose potency before their expiration date.  This can be an entire cupboard, a single shelf, or a box, basket, or bin.  Just make sure that all of your meds (except for any unopened insulin you store in the refrigerator) fit in the spot.

Next, for oral meds buy a seven-day pillbox (or use stackable clear containers, and consider locking pillboxes to keep kids and pets safe) and dole out the kids and pets safe) and dole out the necessary medications for each day.  “I like using weekly pillboxes to help me remember to take my medications,” says Erin Rooney Doland, author of Unclutter Your Life in One Week: A Seven-Day Plan to Organize Your Home, Your Office, and Your Life.  “Once a week, I’ll sit down and put each day’s pills into their compartment.  this is a great exercise for helping me find out if I need a medication refill before I run out of pills.”

References: Diabetes Forecast Magazine/March 2013/ Tracey Neithercott