Tag Archives: Cinnamon with Chromium Picolinate by Physiologics

The Skinny on Belly Fat

Skinny_BellyFatJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

Don’t be surprised if, at your next check up, your doctor checks not only your weight but also measures the circumference of your waist. Abdominal obesity, often termed a “beer belly” or “middle aged spread,” is now considered far more dangerous to your health than being overweight or having a BMI in the obese range. Even more telling, if your weight is in the normal, healthy range but you have extra weight around your middle, you may have twice the mortality risk of those who are overweight or obese. According to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, people with “normal-weight central obesity have the worst long-term survival rates.” While a pot belly or muffin top may be obvious, even normal weight people who look skinny on the outside, may still be fat on the inside and may have a higher percentage of body fat relative to muscle.

Visceral fat that accumulates underneath the abdominal muscles and surrounds your organs may be invisible, but it is more dangerous to your long term health than the highly visible subcutaneous belly fat that lies above the abdominal muscles. Studies show that metabolically active, hormone producing visceral fat is linked to increased low-level inflammation, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease and a higher risk of early death. Simply put, neglecting the consequences of being out of shape and carrying fat around your waist even though you are normal weight is more than a little hazardous to your health.

Studies show that about one-fourth of adults with normal weight have risk factors for an unhealthy heart, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. With normal-weight obesity, genetics is a factor, but medical issues may largely be the consequence of a high sugar, junk food diet which results in visceral fat storage. Unfortunately, although a person may not be visibly overweight or have a lot of fat stored overall, their organs can be coated with visceral fat, the most dangerous kind. So, while many are dieting to lose weight, we need to remember the importance of fitness. It’s not enough to simply be of normal weight if you are not also physically fit. It appears it may be better to be overweight but fit, than to be thin but out of shape.

How do you know if you are a skinny fat person? Besides the obvious pinch test, high blood glucose levels, high triglycerides, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are all indicators that your health is less than ideal. But here’s the good news, unlike subcutaneous fat, visceral fat is relatively easy to lose. A combination of proper diet, reduced portion sizes, 30 minutes of daily exercise and good sleep habits can help to reverse a high waist-to-hip ratio. Add in resistance or weight training several times per week and muscle mass will improve. Increased lean muscle mass may have a positive, protective effect on heart health and diabetes prevention. Stress reduction can also help, as studies show that those with chronic stress have a disproportionate amount of belly fat.

Mark Hyman, MD., author of the book The Blood Sugar Solution, suggests that the answer for someone with central obesity who wishes to regain their health is relatively the same as it is for those with obesity and diabetes:

  • Stick to low-glycemic load foods
  • Eat protein at every meal
  • Avoid liquid calories including sodas and juices
  • Make your diet largely plant based
  • Be sure to include omega-3 rich foods
  • Avoid all wheat products
  • Participate in both cardio and strength training
  • Get regular sufficient sleep
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Reduce caffeine
  • Supplement with multivitamins, good quality fish oil and vitamin D

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements and nutraceuticals to support a healthy lifestyle:

PGX DailyPGX® Daily by Bioclinic Naturals – This proprietary blend provides a combination of 3 highly viscous, water soluble fibers that support healthy glucose and cholesterol levels already within the normal range. PGX® helps to normalize blood sugar levelsand improve regularity and supports reduced appetite and healthy weight loss. Gluten, dairy and yeast free formulation.

 

Cinnamon with Chromium PicolinateCinnamon with Chromium Picolinate by PhysioLogics – This high quality formula contains a synergistic blend of cinnamon and chromium picolinate to help support sugar, fat and nutrient metabolism. Gluten, dairy and yeast free formulation.

 

D3 LiquidD3 Liquid by Metagenics – This easily dosed liquid formula provides 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol per drop in support of cardiovascular, immune and neurological health. Ideal for children and those who prefer a liquid formula. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO formula.

 

Peak EPA

Peak EPA by Wiley’s Finest Alaskan Fish Oil – One softgel provides 1000 mg of pure, concentrated EPA and DHA essential fatty acids in support of a healthy inflammatory response and overall wellness.   Sustainably sourced by American fishermen. Gluten, dairy and soy free formulation.

 

References:
Normal-Weight Central Obesity: Implications for Total and Cardiovascular Mortality. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2468805&resultClick=3
Abdominal fat and what to do about it. http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-it
Your beer belly may kill you. www.cnn.com/2015/11/11/health/beer-belly-fat-may-kill-you/index.html
The Hidden Dangers of ‘Skinny Fat.’ http://time.com/14407/the-hidden-dangers-of-skinny-fat/
Are You a Skinny Fat Person? 10 Steps to Cure the Skinny Fat Syndrome. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/skinny-fat_b_1799797.html

Sugar Consumption and Your Health – Part 2

Sugar2JacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

Excessive sugar consumption is on the no-no list these days, as more people are becoming aware of the damaging health effects of overconsumption. Sugar, or more specifically glucose, provides energy and fuel for the brain and the body. Long ago, our ancestors depended on sugar-rich foods for the energy and the fat storage necessary for survival. Consequently, the human brain evolved with a voracious, almost insatiable appetite for sweet foods. Today, however, added sugar is ubiquitous in the human diet and, unfortunately, from an evolutionary standpoint, this overindulgence of sugary drinks and the propensity to eat processed rather than fresh foods harms more than helps.

While added sugar is difficult but not impossible to avoid, awareness of the added sugar content in dietary foods is essential to maintain or improve health. There are over 60 different names for added sugars that can be found in approximately 74% of processed foods, all meant to prevent the consumer from easily deciphering the sugar content of the food. Some of these names you will recognize and some you may not: agave nectar, barley malt, cane juice, corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, maltose, sucrose, treacle, turbinado, sorghum and multiple names for syrups and other sugars. It’s important to note that when metabolizing sugars, the body doesn’t distinguish between different types of sugars.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 15% of the calories in the American diet come from added sugars. And according to the Obesity Society, this number may be as high as 30%. That equates to about 22 – 28 teaspoons each day, mostly sourced from sugary drinks, such as soda, energy drinks and sports drinks. To put it in perspective, this non-nutritive calorie source results in consumption of an extra 500 calories daily. Even fruit juice should be consumed in limited quantities, as once the fiber is removed, the sugar content of the juice may spike blood sugar and offset the nutritional value. If you eliminate the majority of added sugars from your diet, you can enjoy that occasional sweet treat without sabotaging your health. In other words, if you eat real food, then you don’t have to worry so much about sugar intake.

As discussed in Part 1 of this series, new nutritional labels propose to include added sugars in addition to the natural sugar contained in the food. While big food and big sugar corporations are engaged in fighting the labeling and ultimately preparing for damage control, you can do your part by limiting your consumption of added sugars. By eliminating processed foods and sugary drinks and opting for water and dietary foods such as fiber-rich, whole fruits and vegetables and dairy products that contain only natural sugars, your body receives hydration, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals and other nutrients that are considered part of a healthy diet.

Here are some ways that excess sugar consumption affects your health:

Sugar and obesity – While recently a large corporation blamed the obesity epidemic on the amount of food that people eat and their lack of motivation to exercise, some scientists say these are consequences of, rather than the cause of, the obesity epidemic. While added sugars increase excess energy, they reduce the nutrient density of our diets and contribute to weight gain, obesity and diabetes.

Sugar and aging – Research has shown that a poor diet negatively impacts memory and may increase the chances of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, while whole, unprocessed foods help to boost memory and improve overall health. While earlier studies have shown that diabetes and other conditions that make it hard to control blood sugar levels were a possible contributor to the development of Alzheimer’s, newer findings also suggest that high blood sugar causes the accumulation of plaques in the brain which have harmful effects on cognitive function.

Sugar and the brain – Brain cells require glucose for fuel and brain power. Brain neurons do not store glucose, so a steady supply obtained from grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables is necessary. Excess sugar and refined carbohydrates can actually deprive the brain of glucose, depleting energy stores and compromising your power to concentrate, remember and learn. Additionally, studies have shown that sugars increase dopamine release, which over time leads to prolonged dopamine signaling, greater excitation of the brain’s reward pathways and the increased craving for more sugar, similar to other addictive substances.

Sugar, diabetes and insulin resistance – The insulin hormone facilitates the transfer of glucose from the bloodstream and basically unlocks the body’s cells so that they can use glucose for energy. A repeated overload of sugar takes a toll on the body’s ability to respond to insulin. As a result, when insulin receptors malfunction, the body becomes insulin resistant and blood sugar levels remain high, even as the pancreas continues to secrete more and more insulin in an effort to maintain glucose movement into the cells. In time, insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Sugar and belly fat – Belly fat is visceral fat, the fat located between your abdominal organs.   According to Harvard Medical School Publications, visceral fat is particularly concerning, as it’s considered a key player in numerous health problems. Insulin is a fat storage hormone and insulin resistance leads the body to generate belly fat. The good news, belly fat can be reduced by increasing physical activity, eliminating excess sugar and eating more high fiber whole foods.

Sugar and your heart – According to the American Heart Association, added sugars significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Excess sugar contributes to obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, all factors in heart disease risk. High blood sugar levels can damage heart muscle function as well, and one 15 year study showed that the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in the diet. Current recommendations support limiting sugars not naturally found in foods to no more than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories a day for women and 9 teaspoons or 150 calories a day for men.

Sugar and your liver – Excessive sugar consumption can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. While glucose can be metabolized by all body cells, only the liver can metabolize fructose. When the liver stores excess sugar as fat, it can lead to insulin resistance, the first step on the road to diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. It’s important to note that it’s the excess fructose, such as the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup, that cause health problems, not the natural fructose found in whole fruits, which also contain fiber, water, nutrients and a low energy density.

The following quality products provide support for healthy blood sugar functioning:

PGX DailyPGX® Daily by Bioclinic Naturals – This clinically studied proprietary complex contains three viscous, natural, water-soluble polysaccharides or fibers that have been shown to effectively reduce the glycemic index of foods when consumed simultaneously. Fiber viscosity is associated with increased satiety and reduced appetite. This product improves regularity and supports healthy glucose and cholesterol levels already within the normal range, contributing to healthy glucose metabolism. Gluten and dairy free.

Cinnamon with Chromium PicolinateCinnamon with Chromium Picolinate by PhysioLogics – This product supplies clinically studied, bioactive ingredients for support of sugar, fat and nutrient metabolism. Traditionally used for overall wellness in Chinese medicine, cinnamon has been shown to enhance vitro glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis. Highly absorbable chromium picolinate is an essential trace element that supports proper carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Gluten, soy and dairy free.

Alpha Lipoic Acid 400 mgAlpha Lipoic Acid 400 mg by Pure Encapsulations – This multifunctional and versatile water and fat soluble nutrient supports healthy glucose metabolism. As a potent antioxidant, ALA provides free radical protection and promotes healthy cardiovascular and blood vessel function. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO, vegetarian formula.

Berberine-500 (SF800)Berberine-500 by Thorne Research – Sourced from Indian Barberry extract, this natural botanical alkaloid compound aids in the maintenance of healthy lipid levels, provides cardiac support, benefits glucose metabolism and may help reverse insulin sensitivity. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.

Ultra Glucose Control Starter Kit VanillaUltra Glucose Control™ 30 Day Vanilla or Chocolate by MetagenicsThis product is formulated for the nutritional management of the glucose response and sustained energy release. Designed for those who need additional support controlling their blood sugar levels, this formula delivers a ratio-balanced combination of pea and rice protein, slow-release complex carbs and monounsaturated fats in a 40-30-40 balanced ratio. Non-GMO formulation.

References:
Hidden in Plain Sight. http://www.sugarscience.org/hidden-in-plain-sight/
How Sugars and Sweeteners Affect Your Health. http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/oct2014/feature1
Added Sugar in the Diet. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/added-sugar-in-the-diet/
U.S. Adult Consumption of Added Sugars Increased by More Than 30% Over Three Decades. http://www.obesity.org/news-center/us-adult-consumption-of-added-sugars-increased-by-more-than-30-over-three-decades.htm
Nutrition and Dementia: Foods That My Induce Memory Loss & Increase Alzheimer’s. http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-01-02/foods-that-induce-memory-loss/
Could high blood sugar be a cause of Alzheimer’s disease? http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/293581.php
The Human Brain. http://learn.fi.edu/learn/brain/carbs.html
Sugar Belly. How Much is Too Much Sugar? http://uhs.berkeley.edu/facstaff/pdf/healthmatters/NutritionActionSugarBellyApril%202012.pdf
Added Sugars Add to Your Risk of Dying from Heart Disease. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Added-Sugars-Add-to-Your-Risk-of-Dying-from-Heart-Disease_UCM_460319_Article.jsp

 

Food Addiction- Is It a Real Thing?

food_addicationJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN
 
 

The scientific community has yet to reach a consensus on whether food addition is or is not an eating disorder. Many studies suggest that food and drug addictions have much in common, particularly in the way they affect the pleasure and control centers of the brain. In 2009, Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity developed a twenty-five point questionnaire designed to assess food addiction and identify those at high risk of substance dependence on highly processed, high fat and high sugar foods. Food addiction symptoms include loss of control, increased tolerance, and withdrawal, along with the presence of clinically significant impairment or distress. If you are wondering whether your pizza, chocolate and ice cream cravings are signs of addictive behavior, you might ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I continue to eat certain foods even though I am no longer hungry?
  • Am I aware of significant emotional connections to the food I am craving?
  • Do I continue to increase the amount of certain foods I am eating to receive the same pleasurable effects?
  • Does my behavior with respect to food cause me significant distress, guilt or self-loathing?
  • Does my desire for certain foods increase when I cut down or stop eating them?
  • When I eat certain foods, do I consume more than I planned?
  • Do I feel sluggish and fatigued as a result of overeating?

In this case, “certain” foods refers to these and any other similar foods:

  • Sweets, including candy, cookies, ice cream, chocolate or artificial sweeteners
  • Starches, and refined carbohydrates including white bread, pasta and white rice
  • Salty snacks, including chips, pretzels and crackers
  • Sugary drinks, including sodas, energy drinks and other sweetened drinks
  • Fats, including bacon, burgers and fries

According to the National Institutes of Health, research has shown that there are neurobiological and behavioral similarities between substance dependence and excess consumption of highly processed foods. These findings suggest that food addiction may play a role in obesity and eating disorders. Certain diets can lead to neurochemical changes within the brain that are similar to changes seen in those with chemically dependent addictions, including alcohol, nicotine and cocaine addiction. Simply put, just as alcoholism is a result of chemical dependency on alcohol, obesity may be a consequence of an underlying chemical dependency on certain foods.

Like other pleasurable behaviors, eating can trigger the release of dopamine, a feel good brain neurotransmitter. This chemical reward increases the likelihood that the associated action will eventually become habitual, as neurochemical patterns can make the behavior hard to ignore. Many studies have shown the connection between excessive food intake and a shortage of dopamine receptors in the brains of obese people. It is unclear whether a dearth of dopamine receptors is the cause or effect of overeating. However, it is clear that similar to other addictions, an increase of dopamine-inducing substances is necessary to reach an equivalent level of neurochemical reward.

A second biological explanation for food addiction may be that beta-endorphins, the brain chemicals that produce a “natural high,” are reported to produce a more intense sense of wellbeing when cravings for sugar, simple carbs and fats come into play. According to Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D., author of the book The Sugar Addict’s Total Recovery Program, when a sugar addict attempts to decrease sugar consumption, they can experience withdrawal symptoms and may feel cranky, irritable and out of sorts. As the beta-endorphin receptors scream for relief, which may be as close as a nearby sugar sweetened beverage, the physical dependence on sugar is reinforced.

In the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous, sugar in the form of candy and chocolate was recommended for sober alcoholics to help stop the physical cravings of substance withdrawal. Many alcoholics soon found themselves binge eating sweets as their sugar cravings spiraled out of control. These sugar cravings or addictions actually led to a higher failure of sobriety. As the medical community now understands, sugar can create a mildly addictive reaction, which can affect brain chemistry in the same way that alcohol does. Statistics show that the success rate for sobriety increases with good nutrition and abstinence from sugar and simple carbohydrates. Actually, when you consider the two primary ingredients of alcohol are sugar and refined grains, these results are not all that surprising.

Not all obesity is caused by food addiction. Although not officially accepted by the medical community, food addiction does appear to be a medical problem fully supported by scientific research. As reported by Cynthia Buffington, Ph.D., many collaborative studies support brain chemistry as a primary factor in the etiology of food addiction. Separating overeaters from their primary binge foods is the first step towards wellness. Eventually cravings are reduced or lessened to the point where they are no longer overpowering. As the body begins to detoxify, emotional support is also necessary to enable long term success and recovery. Like other recovering addicts, food addicts who are actively working on recovery must accept that recovery work will likely be ongoing for life. It appears a case can be made for all of us to eliminate these certain health destructive foods in support of our own overall wellness, longevity and quality of life.

PGX DailyPGX Daily by Bioclinic Naturals – PGX aids in supporting healthy glucose and cholesterol levels already within the normal range, improves insulin sensitivity and contributes to healthy glucose metabolism by lowering the glycemic index of meals. This clinically studied formula provides a highly purified fiber complex that aids in reducing appetite, food intake and cravings. Gluten, dairy and yeast free formula.
 
Cinnamon with Chromium Picolinate
 
Cinnamon with Chromium Picolinate by PhysioLogics – This clinically supported synergistic blend aids sugar and fat metabolism, along with the healthy metabolism of other macronutrients. Gluten, soy and dairy free formula.
 
 
 
Lipoic Acid 150 mg
Lipoic Acid 150 mg by Vital Nutrients – This product supports healthy blood glucose levels already within the normal range, helps turn glucose into energy and provides powerful fat and water soluble antioxidant support. Lipoic acid supports healthy vision and nerve function and provides potent liver detoxification support.
 
 
References:
The role of food addiction in clinical research.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21492090
Yale Food Addiction Scale.  http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resources/upload/docs/what/addiction/foodaddictionscale09.pdf
Physical Craving and Food Addiction: A Scientific Review. http://foodaddictioninstitute.org/scientific-research/physical-craving-and-food-addiction-a-scientific-review/
Food for Thought: Obesity and Addiction. http://www.brainfacts.org/across-the-lifespan/diet-and-exercise/articles/2012/food-for-thought-obesity-and-addiction/
Science of Food Addiction.  http://foodaddiction.com/resources/science-of-food-addiction/