How to sleep better.

Sleep hygiene:

 

Sleep is critical in the well being of all animals, such that animals deprived entirely of sleep lose immune function and die in just a matter of weeks. Further, many of the major restorative functions in the body like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release occur mostly, or in some cases only, during sleep. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. The Institute of Medicine estimates that drowsy driving is responsible for fully 20 percent of all motor vehicle crashes. That would mean that drowsy driving causes approximately 1 million crashes, 500,000 injuries, and 8,000 deaths each year in the U.S. Lack of sleep exacts a toll on perception and judgment. In the workplace, its effects can be seen in reduced efficiency and productivity, errors, and accidents. Just one week of sleeping fewer than six hours a night resulted in changes to more than 700 genes, and even one night of sleep deprivation is linked with brain tissue loss.

 

Sleep hygiene’ is the term used to describe good sleep habits. Sleep hygiene guidelines are designed to enhance good sleeping, and provide long-term solutions to sleep difficulties, without the use of medications. Medications used to treat insomnia tend to be effective in the short-term. Ongoing use of sleeping pills may lead to dependence and interfere with developing good sleep habits, prolonging sleep difficulties. Most sleep medications simply make the patient amnestic to their poor sleep, and do not result in restful or restorative sleep. Restorative sleep is essential in hormone production, stress control, cardiometabolic health and treatment of obesity.

 

Sleep Hygiene Tips

  • Have a bedtime. One of the best ways to train your body to sleep well is to go to bed and get up at more or less the same time every day, even on weekends and days off! This regular rhythm will make you feel better and will give your body something to work from.

 

  • Sleep when sleepy. Only try to sleep when you actually feel tired or sleepy, rather than spending too much time awake in bed. Do not nap outside the sleep time.

 

  • Get up & try again. If you haven’t been able to get to sleep after about 20 minutes or more, get up and do something calming or boring until you feel sleepy, then return to bed and try again. Sit quietly on the couch with the lights off (bright light will tell your brain that it is time to wake up), or read something boring like the phone book. Avoid doing anything that is too stimulating or interesting, as this will wake you up even more. Don’t turn on the television, get on the phone or computer, or listen to the radio.

 

  • Avoid caffeine & nicotine. It is best to avoid consuming any caffeine (in coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate, and some medications) or nicotine (cigarettes) for at least 4-6 hours before going to bed. These substances act as stimulants and interfere with the ability to fall asleep. Do not exercise 3 hours before bedtime.

 

  • Avoid alcohol. It is also best to avoid alcohol for at least 4-6 hours before going to bed. Many people believe that alcohol is relaxing and helps them to get to sleep at first, but it actually interrupts the quality of sleep.

 

  • The bed is for sleeping. Try not to use your bed for anything other than sleeping and sex, so that your body comes to associate bed with sleep. If you use bed as a place to watch TV, eat, read, work on your laptop, pay bills, and other things, your body will not learn this connection.

 

  • No naps. It is best to avoid taking naps during the day, to make sure that you are tired at bedtime. If you can’t make it through the day without a nap, make sure it is for less than an hour and before 3pm.

 

  • Sleep rituals. You can develop your own rituals of things to remind your body that it is time to sleep – some people find it useful to do relaxing stretches or breathing exercises for 15 minutes before bed each night, or sit calmly with a cup of caffeine-free tea.

 

  • Having a hot bath 1-2 hours before bedtime can be useful, as it will raise your body temperature, causing you to feel sleepy as your body temperature drops again. Research shows that sleepiness is associated with a drop in body temperature.

 

  • No clock-watching. Many people who struggle with sleep tend to watch the clock too much. Frequently checking the clock during the night can wake you up (especially if you turn on the light to read the time) and reinforces negative thoughts such as “Oh no, look how late it is, I’ll never get to sleep” or “it’s so early, I have only slept for 5 hours, this is terrible. ”

 

  • Use a sleep diary. This worksheet can be a useful way of making sure you have the right facts about your sleep, rather than making assumptions. Because a diary involves watching the clock (see point 10) it is a good idea to only use it for two weeks to get an idea of what is going and then perhaps two months down the track to see how you are progressing. The point of the sleep diary is NOT to create a log of complaints to share.

 

  • Regular exercise is a good idea to help with good sleep, but try not to do strenuous exercise in the 3 hours before bedtime. Morning walks are a great way to start the day feeling refreshed!

 

  • Eat right. A healthy, balanced diet will help you to sleep well, but timing is important. Some people find that a very empty stomach at bedtime is distracting, so it can be useful to have a light snack, but a heavy meal soon before bed can also interrupt sleep. Some people recommend a warm glass of milk, which contains tryptophan, which acts as a natural sleep inducer.

 

  • The right space. It is very important that your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable for sleeping. A cooler room with enough blankets to stay warm is best, and make sure you have curtains or an eyemask to block out early morning light and earplugs if there is noise outside your room. Background noise or white noise improves the ambiance and will reduce wake cycles.

 

  • Keep daytime routine the same. Even if you have a bad night sleep and are tired, it is important that you try to keep your daytime activities the same as you had planned. That is, don’t avoid activities because you feel tired. This can reinforce the insomnia.

 

  • Get regular exposure to outdoor or bright lights, especially in the late afternoon.  Use blackout curtains in the bedroom to eliminate light in the bedroom during bedtime.   Turn off or cover all sources of light in the bedroom.

 

  • Don’t take another person’s sleeping pills or over-the-counter pills. Taking over-the-counter sleeping pills causes rapid development of tolerance. Diphenhydramine (an ingredient commonly found in over-the-counter sleep meds) can have serious side effects for elderly patients.

 

 

  • Designate another time to write down problems & possible solutions in the late afternoon or early evening, not close to bedtime. Do not dwell on any one thought or idea—merely jot something down and put the idea aside.

Helminthic Parasites

While there is a clear genetic predisposition for some individuals to develop autoimmune disorders, there are also significant environmental interactions, with a near epidemic rise in autoimmune disorders and food allergies in the industrialized world occurring in less than fifty years.  Access to clean water, safe food, sanitation, and modern medical care in the last century has led to a near elimination of parasitic infections in modern cultures.  Unfortunately, improved sanitation has also been closely associated with an increase in hypersensitivity and autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s, and peanut allergies.  It should be noted that tropical and subtropical parts of the world with poor sanitation have high numbers of people with ongoing parasitic infection and extremely low incidences of inflammatory diseases.  Additionally when immigrants relocate to the western world with its pristine sanitation, the next generation develops autoimmune disorders and food allergies similar to the industrialized world.

 

The “hygiene hypothesis,” suggests that parasitic worms fine tune the human immune systems and protect against allergies and autoimmune diseases.   Parasites have co-evolved to manipulate their environments so they can live and reproduce without causing the illness or death of their host. By mediating the immune system’s attack against them, parasites can live and reproduce comfortably.  Parasites release substances that interact with the host’s chemistry, and the human immune system has slowly adapted to the presence of certain intestinal parasites. By removing the worms and the inhibitory effect that they have on inflammation, the human body can overproduce inflammatory agents, resulting in autoimmune disease.

 

Autoimmune reactions occur when the immune system launches an attack at something that is not harmful, either a substance in the environment or the individual’s own tissues.  Exposure to certain organisms in our natural environment teaches the human immune system which things it needs to respond to and which things it can safely ignore.  Exposure to helminthic parasites triggers the fine-tuning of the immune system and teaches it to tolerate the parasite, as well as some overlapping antigens seen in Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s and peanut allergies. If the immune system is never exposed to helminths and other fecal microorganisms, it doesn’t mature properly and resulting in an exaggerated response, and development of allergies and autoimmune diseases.

 

Other autoimmune mediated diseases that may be reduced by parasitic infections include Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, atherosclerosis, some cancers, eczema, hay fever, Parkinson’s disease, type one diabetes, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis.

 

The use of helminthic therapy with hookworm and TSO is being currently investigated.  Data suggests that Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s and severe peanut allergies all benefit from induced parasitic infections.

obesity

The human microbiome, gut bacteria contribute to obesity.

We traditionally think of bacteria as dirty, something we want to keep outside of our bodies.  Intestinal bacteria are very important for digestion; they break complex fiber polysaccharides (sugar molecules connected to each other), into simple absorbable sugars by a process called fermentation, converting nutrients into calories.  The large intestine houses over 1400 species of bacteria, numbering over 100 trillion.  Reality is that the human body contains ten times more microbial cells than human cells, and the human body is dependent upon the genetic information encoded in these bacterial cells for specific metabolic pathways.

Our microbial partners have coevolved with us, in a beneficial (symbiotic) relationships, involving nutrient sharing.   The ability to store energy would be a beneficial attribute for ancient humans, who had variable access to food, and when nutrient dense food supply was available, consuming it and storing it would benefit both the human and its bacterial symbiotes later when food supplies were diminished. However, in modern, developed societies, where there is ready access to large-portion, high-calorie diets, this “benefit” becomes a detriment, and we develop a previously rare condition (historically seen in the wealthy) called over nutrition, over storage, or obesity

Obese individuals have a different mix of bacteria in their guts than thin people. The ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes (called the F/B ratio) is higher in obese people than in lean people, and it drops as those people lose weight. Both Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes bacteria are involved in complex polysaccharide breakdown, but Firmicutes are much more efficient than Bacteroidetes bacteria, and having more Firmicutes bacteria in our gut makes more energy available, leading to increased caloric intake and eventually obesity.  Firmicutes overload is also associated slowed intestinal motility [chronic constipation].

In studies of genetically identical twins, bacterial populations have been found to differ, depending on whether the twin is lean or obese, with much higher level of Firmicutes in the obese twins.  In obese patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery, colonic bacteria change to become more like those of normal-weight individuals after the operation, reducing their Firmicutes levels.

Antibiotic over utilization may also indiscriminately eradicate the beneficial bacteria in your gut along with the bad ones.  Conventional farmed meats are doped with antibiotics, with nearly 50-70% of all antibiotics produced in the United States used on healthy livestock to promote growth and weight gain in the animal feed.  Consuming these antibiotic-laden meats may be a significant factor enhancing growth and weight in the human population [obesity] as well.   This further stresses the importance of eating grass-fed and organically raised meats of all kinds.

The amazing thing to keep in mind is that you can rapidly change your gut bacteria within 72 hours, to a healthy ratio, simply by immediately eliminating refined carbohydrates and increasing your fiber intake.  Supplements of “get thin bacteria” will soon be available as well.

 

The missing links in obesity: Glycemic Index and Insulin

Obesity is among the most important medical problems in the United States today. Currently, 1 in 4 children and 1 in 2 adults are overweight, and prevalence rates that have increased by 50% since the 1960s. The Federal government and various official medical agencies, at the behest of grain producers, have advocated decreasing intake of total fat, while increasing consumption of “complex carbohydrate.” Consumption of carbohydrates has increased over the years, and the nation’s levels of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease have dramatically risen.  Americans, on average, eat 250 to 300 grams of carbs a day, accounting for about 55% of their caloric intake.

All carbohydrates (a category including sugars) convert to sugar in the blood, and the more refined the carbs are, the quicker the conversion. When you eat a glazed doughnut or a serving of mashed potatoes, it turns into blood sugar very quickly. To manage the blood sugar, the pancreas produces insulin, which pushes glucose from the blood stream into cell to be used for energy conversion or storage.

When cells become more resistant to those insulin instructions, the pancreas needs to make more insulin to push the same amount of glucose into cells. As people become insulin resistant, carbs become a bigger challenge for the body. When the pancreas gets exhausted and can’t produce enough insulin to keep up with the glucose in the blood, diabetes develops

The first sign of insulin resistance is a condition called metabolic syndrome — a red flag for impending diabetes and  heart disease. Metabolic syndrome (found in nearly 1/4 of adults) is diagnosed when people have three or more of the following:

  • high blood triglycerides (more than 150 mg)
  • high blood pressure (over 135/85)
  • central obesity (a waist circumference in men of more than 40 inches and in women, more than 35 inches)
  • low HDL cholesterol (under 40 in men, under 50 in women)
  • elevated fasting glucose.

Glycemic Index measures the “effect of food on blood glucose levels.” It is a ranking of foods based on the how quickly the blood sugar levels will increase after ingestion. A low glycemic food gives a slow increase in blood sugar levels. A high glycemic index food gives a more rapid rise in blood sugar levels.

GI is specifically defined as the measurable glucose response curve after consumption of 50 g carbohydrate from a test food, divided by the response after consumption of 50 g glucose.

 

The GI for glucose would be defined as 100.

  • High GIs are above 50
  • Intermediate GIs range between 35 and 50
  • Low GIs are below or equal to 35

[learn_more caption=”High Glycemic Index Foods (GI>50)”]

Corn syrup 115
Beer 110
Glucose (dextrose) 100
Modified starch 100
Glucose syrup 100
Wheat syrup, rice syrup 100
Fried potatoes, scalloped potatoes 95
Potato flour (starch) 95
Rice flour 95
Maltodextrin 95
Potatoes, oven cooked 95
Potato flour 90
Gluten-free white bread 90
Sticky rice 90
Arrow-root 85
Celeriac, knob celery, turnip rooted celery (cooked) 85
Hamburger buns 85
Maizena (corn starch) 85
Pop corn (without sugar) 85
Rice cake/pudding 85
Tapioca 85
White sandwich bread 85
Carrots (cooked) 85
Corn flakes 85
Instant/parboiled rice 85
Parsnip 85
Puffed rice 85
Rice milk 85
Turnip (cooked) 85
White wheat flour 85
Mashed potatoes 80
Lasagna (soft wheat) 75
Rice milk (with sugar) 75
Waffle (with sugar) 75
Doughnuts 75
Pumpkin, gourd 75
Squash/marrow (various) 75
Watermelon 75
Bagels 70
Biscuit 70
Cabbage turnip, rutabaga, Swede turnip 70
Cola drinks, soft drinks, sodas 70
Croissant 70
Gnocchi 70
Millet, sorghum 70
Mush 70
Pealed boiled potatoes 70
Polenta, cornmeal 70
Puffed amaranth 70
Refined cereals (with sugar added) 70
Risotto 70
Special K™ 70
Tacos 70
Whole brown sugar 70
Baguette white bread 70
Brioche 70
Chocolate bar (with sugar added) 70
Corn flour 70
Dried dates 70
Matzo bread (white flour) 70
Molasses 70
Noodles (tender wheat) 70
Plantain/cooking banana/platano (cooked) 70
Potato chips, crisps 70
Ravioli (soft wheat) 70
Rice bread 70
Rusk 70
Standard rice 70
White sugar (sucrose) 70
Chestnut flour 65
Couscous, semolina 65
Hovis, brown bread (with leaven) 65
Maple syrup 65
Mars®, Sneakers®, Nuts®, etc. 65
Pain au chocolat 65
Pineapple (tin/can) 65
Raisins (red and golden) 65
Sorbet (with sugar added) 65
Sweet corn, corn 65
Tropical yam -US-, yam 65
Unpeeled boiled/steamed potato 65
Beet, beetroot (cooked) 65
Chinese noodles/vermicelli (rice) 65
Fava bean, broad bean, horse bean (cooked) 65
Jam (with sugar added) 65
Marmalade (with sugar) 65
Muesli (with sugar or honey added…) 65
Panapen, breadfruit, breadnut 65
Quince (preserve/jelly, with sugar) 65
Rye bread (30% of rye) 65
Spelt, einkorn 65
Tamarind, Indian date (sweet) 65
Unpeeled boiled/steamed potato 65
Whole-grain bread 65
Apricots ( tin/can with syrup) 60
Chestnut 60
Honey 60
Lasagna (hard wheat) 60
Mayonnaise (industrial, sweetened) 60
Milk loaf, milk white 60
Ovomaltine 60
Perfumed rice (jasmine…) 60
Powder chocolate (with sugar) 60
Bananas (ripe) 60
Hard/durum wheat semolina 60
Ice cream (regular, with sugar added) 60
Long-grain rice 60
Melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, etc.) 60
Oatmeal, porridge 60
Pearl barley 60
Pizza 60
Ravioli (hard wheat) 60
Bulgur wheat (cooked) 55
Grape juice (unsweetened) 55
Ketchup 55
Manioc, mandioca, yucca, Cassava (bitter) 55
Mustard (sugar added) 55
Papaya (fresh fruit) 55
Red rice 55
Sushi 55
Butter cookies, shortbread, spritz biscuit (flour, butter, sugar) 55
Japanese plum, loquat 55
Mango juice (unsweetened) 55
Manioc, mandioca, yucca, cassava (sweet) 55
Nutella® 55
Peaches (tin/can, with syrup) 55
Spaghetti (well cooked) 55
Tagliatelle (well cooked) 55
All Bran™ 50
Basmati rice 50
Bread with quinoa (approximately 65% of quinoa) 50
Cereal bar, energetic (no sugar added) 50
Cranberry juice (unsweetened) 50
Kiwifruit, monkey peach 50
Macaronis (durum wheat) 50
Muesli (no sweet) 50
Pineapple juice (unsweetened) 50
Wasa™ light rye 50
Whole wheat pasta 50
Apple juice (unsweetened) 50
Biscuit (whole flour, no sugar added) 50
Brown rice, unpolished rice 50
Chayote, chocho, pear squash, christophine 50
Jerusalem artichoke 50
Litchi (fresh fruit) 50
Mango (fresh fruit) 50
Persimmon, kaki-persimmon 50
Sweet potatoes 50
Whole couscous/semolina 50

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[learn_more caption=”Intermediate Glycemic Index Foods (GI 35-50)”]

Brown basmati rice 45
Coconut 45
Farro flour (integral) 45
Grapes, green and red (fresh fruit) 45
Jam (no sugar added, grapefruit juice sweetened) 45
Kamut flour (integral) 45
Orange juice (fresh squeezed and unsweetened) 45
Plantain/cooking banana/platano (raw) 45
Rye (integral; flour, bread) 45
Spelt, einkorn (integral) 45
Toasted integral bread 45
Whole bulgur wheat (cooked) 45
Whole couscous, whole semolina 45
Bananas (unripe) 45
Capellini pasta 45
Cranberry 45
Grapefruit juice (unsweetened) 45
Green peas (tin/can) 45
Kamut bread 45
Muesli Montignac 45
Pineapple (fresh fruit) 45
Plantain/cooking banana/platano (raw) 45
Sandard Pumpernickel bread 45
Spelt, einkorn (integral) 45
Tomato sauce (with sugar) 45
Whole cereals (no sugar added) 45
Bread, 100% integral flour with pure leaven 40
Buckwheat, kasha, saracen (integral; flour or bread) 40
Coconut milk 40
Dried plums/prunes 40
Falafel (fava beans) 40
Fava beans, broad beans, horse beans (raw) 40
Kidney/pinto beans (tin/can) 40
Matzo bread (integral flour) 40
Oat flakes (uncooked) 40
Peanut butter (no suger addes) 40
Quince (preserve/jelly, without sugar) 40
Shortbread, spritz biscuit (integral flour, no sugar added) 40
Tahin 40
Al dente spaghetti (5 min cook) 40
Brut cider 40
Carrot juice (unsweetened) 40
Dried fig 40
Egyptian wheat, kamut 40
Farro 40
Integral wheat pasta, al dente 40
Lactose 40
Montignac Pumpernickel 40
Oats 40
Pepino dulce, melon pear 40
Quinoa flour 40
Sorbet (unsweetened) 40
Adzuki/azuki bean 35
Amaranth, seeds 35
Apple stew, apple sauce 35
Cassoulet (meat and beans French dish) 35
Chick pea flour 35
Chinese noodles/vermicelli (hard wheat), noodles 35
Custard apple, cherimoya, sherbet fruit, soursop, guanabana 35
Dried apples 35
Dried tomatos 35
Falafel (chick peas) 35
Green peas (fresh) 35
Ice cream (with real fructose) 35
Kidney/pinto beans 35
Nectarines (fresh fruit) 35
Peaches (fresh fruit) 35
Pomegranate (fresh fruit) 35
Quinoa, hie 35
Sunflower seeds 35
Tomato sauce (natural, no sugar added) 35
White almond paste/puree (unsweetened) 35
Wild rice 35
Yoghurt 35
Ale strains 35
Apple (fresh fruit) 35
Black beans 35
Celeriac, knob celery, turnip rooted celery (raw) 35
Chick peas, garbanzo beans (tin/can) 35
Cranberry bean, borlotti bean, Roman bean 35
Dijon type mustard 35
Dried apricots 35
Essene/ezekiel bread (sprouted cereals bread) 35
Figs; Indian/barbary fig (fresh fruit) 35
Green peas (fresh) 35
Indian corn 35
Linum, sesame (seeds) 35
Oranges (fresh fruit) 35
Plums, prunes (fresh fruit) 35
Quince (fresh fruit) 35
Soy yogurt (fruit flavored) 35
Tomato juice 35
Wasa™ fiber (24%) 35
White beans, haricot beans, cannellini beans, faziola beans 35
Yeast 35

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[learn_more caption=”Low Glycemic Index Foods (GI <35)”]

Bread (Montignac integral bread) 34
Almond milk 30
Beet (raw) 30
Carrots (raw) 30
Chinese noodles/vermicelli (made from soy or mung beans) 30
Garlic 30
Marmalade (no sugar added) 30
Oat milk (non cooked) 30
Pears (fresh fruit) 30
Curd cheese 30
Soy milk 30
Tomatoes 30
Yellow lentils 30
Apricots (fresh fruit) 30
Brown lentils 30
Chick peas, garbanzo beans 30
French beans, string beans 30
Grapefruit, pummelo, shaddock (fresh fruit) 30
Milk 30
Passion fruit, maracuja, granadilla 30
Powdered/fresh milk 30
Scorzoneras 30
Tangerines, madarines, satsuma 30
Turnip (raw) 30
Blanched barley 25
Cherries 25
Flageolet beans, fayot beans 25
Green lentils 25
Mung beans, moong dal 25
Raspberry (fresh fruit) 25
Seeds (squash/marrow) 25
Split peas 25
Whole-almond paste/puree (unsweetened) 25
Blackberry, mulberry 25
Blueberry, whortleberry, bilberry 25
Dark chocolate (more than 70% of cocoa content) 25
Gooseberry 25
Hummus, homus, humus 25
Peanut paste/puree (unsweetened) 25
Redcurrant 25
Soy flour 25
Strawberries (fresh fruit) 25
Whole-hazelnut paste/puree (unsweetened) 25
Artichoke 20
Chocolate, plain (>85% of cocoa) 20
Heart of palm, cabbage palm 20
Lemon juice (unsweetened) 20
Montignac sugarless jam 20
Ratatouille 20
Soy “cream” 20
West Indian cherry, acerola 20
Bamboo shoot 20
Eggplant, aubergine 20
Lemon 20
Montignac Real fructose, fruit sugar 20
Powder cocoa (no sugar added) 20
Soy yogurt (unflavored) 20
Tamari sauce (unsweetened) 20
Almonds 15
Black currant 15
Broccoli 15
Cabbage 15
Cashew nut, acajou 15
Celery 15
Chicory, endive 15
Courgettes, zucchini 15
Fennel 15
Hazelnuts, filberts, Barcelona nuts 15
Mushroom, fungus 15
Onions 15
Pesto 15
Pickle 15
Pistachio, green almond 15
Rhubarb 15
Salad, lettuce 15
Shallot, echalot, Spanish garlic 15
Soya 15
Spinaches 15
Sweet peppers (red, green), paprika 15
Tofu, soybean curd 15
Wheat germ 15
Agave (syrup) 15
Asparagus 15
Bran (oat, wheat…) 15
Brussels sprouts 15
Carob powder 15
Cauliflower 15
Cereal shoots (soy or mung bean sprouts, etc.) 15
Chili pepper 15
Cucumber 15
Ginger 15
Leeks, scallions 15
Olives 15
Peanuts 15
Physalis, golden gooseberry, Cape gooseberry, Chinese lantern, husk tomato 15
Pine seed 15
Radish 15
Runner beans, Italian flat beans 15
Sauerkraut, sourcrout 15
Sorrel dock 15
Spinach beet, perpetual spinach 15
Sprouted seeds 15
Tempeh 15
Walnuts 15
Low GI Montignac pasta (spaghetti) 10
Avocado 10
Low GI Montignac spaghetti 10
Crustaceans 5
Vinegar 5
Spices (parsley, basil, oregano, cinnamon, vanilla, etc.) 5

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In general, refined grain products and potato have a high GI, exceeding that of table sugar by up to 50%, whereas most vegetables, fruits and legumes have a low GI.  Other factors including carbohydrate type, fiber, protein, fat, food form and method of preparation, determine the GI of a particular food.

According to data from the Department of Agriculture, >80% of the carbohydrate currently consumed by children ages 2–18 has a GI equal to or greater than that of table sugar.  Moreover, carbohydrate absorption rate (and therefore GI) is increased after a low fat meal because fat acts to delay gastric emptying.

The rapid absorption of glucose from the high GI meal results in a high insulin secretion; which promotes uptake of glucose in muscle, liver and fat tissue and inhibits fat breakdown (lipolysis).  In the post absorptive period, a transient hypoglycemia ensues, with blood sugars falling below normal due to high insulin, resulting in hunger and agitation.  In some individuals, this may cause tremendous anxiety, which may create a feedback loop of carbohydrate addiction. Experimental evidence also suggests that elevated insulin levels, even just for 48–72-h period (in the presence of normal or reduced blood sugar levels) decreases insulin sensitivity in healthy subjects creating a diabetic effect of insulin resistance.

Without a doubt, high GI foods elicit (calorie for calorie) higher insulin levels than low GI foods.  In humans, high acute insulin secretion after intravenous glucose tolerance tests predicts weight gain.  High insulin levels also reduce Growth Hormone levels, which may reduce metabolic rate. Hormonal responses to a high GI diet stimulate hunger and favor storage of fat, which promotes excessive weight gain.

 

The LiveHealthProtocol dietary recommendation is designed to lower the insulin response to ingested carbohydrate (low GI), which improves access to stored metabolic fuels, decreases hunger, and promotes weight loss. The LiveHealthProtocol recommends abundant quantities of vegetables, and fruits, moderate amounts of protein and healthful fats, and decreased intake of refined grain products, potato and concentrated sugars.

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  • Milk products (whey protein) have a GI which is low, but have paradoxic high insulinemic index (release high amounts of insulin).  Milk products appear insulinotropic as judged from 3-fold to 6-fold higher insulinemic indexes than expected from the corresponding glycemic indexes.  So even if you are consuming a low GI milk product, from the insulin standpoint it is a very high load.


  • Starchy fruits increase their Glycemic Index depending on ripeness.  Green bananas have low GI of 40 but when they are ripen it will raise to 65.


  • Glycemic Load [GL] relates the GI to the amount of carbohydrate eaten in a normal serving or in 100 grams.  It measures the total amount of carbohydrate, and is decreased by fiber consumption.

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Not all calories are the same.

Carbs are an addiction.

Serotonin release in the brain controls functions such as sleep onset, pain sensitivity, blood pressure regulation, and control of mood.  Serotonin-releasing neurons are unique in that the amount of neurotransmitter they release is normally controlled by food intake: Carbohydrate consumption–acting via insulin secretion and the “plasma tryptophan ratio”–increases serotonin release dramatically (by enhancing the brain uptake of its precursor, tryptophan).  Elevated serotonin causes significant mood enhancement and a generalized sense of contentedness.  Patients learn to overeat carbohydrates (particularly snack foods and drinks, like soda, potato chips or pastries, which are rich in carbohydrates) to make themselves feel better.

Self-medication with carbohydrate rich foods as though they were drugs is a frequent cause of weight gain, and is often seen:

  • In patients who become fat when exposed to stress
  • In women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • In patients with “winter depression” (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
  • In patient’s who are experiencing chronic pain (ingestion analgesia)
  • In people who are attempting to give up smoking. (Nicotine increases brain serotonin secretion; nicotine withdrawal has the opposite effect causing cravings.)
  • As a consequence of chronic patterned carbohydrate consumption causing hardwired changes in neurons, such that there are cravings and feelings of withdrawal when carbohydrates are withheld

Carbohydrate load is so closely linked to addiction, that the Glycemic Index (GI) of specific carbohydrates correlates closely with their relative addictive strength  and activates addiction neural pathways.

The take home message, carbohydrates are an addiction.  Carbohydrate consumption promotes neurochemical changes, which reinforce additional carbohydrate consumption.  There is now evidence that carbohydrate binging is akin to heroin addiction, with the cravings for carbohydrates reduced by opiates and more interestingly, carbohydrate cravings dramatically increased during opiate withdrawal.  Unfortunately, carbohydrate addiction will definitely make you fat.

The addictive power of carbohydrates.

How does food become energy?

Optimizing fat burning while simultaneously building muscle should be the goal of any effective exercise program, the critical linkage between exercise and the food we eat is ATP.  This article describes the importance of understanding what ATP is, and how different foods are converted to ATP, and when different fuels (protein, carbohydrate, or fat) are used for energy.   Understanding these concepts provides the blueprint for the LiveHealthProtocol.com diet and exercise guidelines.

I frequently talk to patients about the foods they eat, and how it impacts their health.  I think its very important to understand that converting food to usable energy is far more than simply chewing big pieces of food, which are digested into small pieces, and used directly by the cells.   Your body does not directly take the food particles it consumes and transfers them to your cells for metabolism.  It converts these particles to fundamental substrates, which are then converted to ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the actual fuel for your cells.

 

(Other substrates are used for structural growth and for cofactors, as well as immune recognition purposes; but the apple you eat does not become a little apple that your cells consume, it instead converts to sugars, proteins, and fats which are metabolized to ATP, which power your cells.)

The universal currency for life is ATP, the energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things.  ATP functions like a tiny battery debit card, an ATP molecule consists of adenosine and three negatively charged inorganic phosphate groups when it is fully charged and ADP (adenosine diphosphate) when it has released its energy and has only two phosphates.

 

 

Recharging ADP to ATP requires fuel substrates, which is the converted food that you eat, whether it be protein, carbohydrate, or fat.  The exact recharging is coupled to the molecular destruction of Carbon bonds, similar to gasoline combustion in your car.

The recharging of ADP to ATP is what couples the food you consume to usable energy, the discharging of ATP to ADP transfers energy to usable cellular function for either chemical or mechanical reactions.  Available ATP (and Phospho Creatine- a related Phosphate storage bank in muscle) is depleted within 15 seconds of vigorous exercise.

 

 

 

Substrate to ATP

There are three significant fuel sources or substrates of energy to reform ATP from ADP.

 

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are metabolized to glucose, which quickly regenerates ADP to ATP through a process called glycolysis.  Consumed carbohydrates are directly available as glucose, or excessive consumed carbohydrates are stored in muscle and liver as glycogen for later reconversion to glucose. (Excessive carbohydrates in the presence of insulin are also converted to fat in fat cells.) Use of carbohydrates for energy does not require large amounts of oxygen and can occur even during anaerobic conditioning.  Production of lactate and lactic acid occur with use of carbohydrates for fuel.  Available carbohydrates provide energy to recharge ATP for the first 45-60 seconds of high intensity therapeutic exercise.

Fat

Fat is a slow energy release form, typically stored in fat cells.  Lipolysis is the term used to describe the breakdown of fat (triglycerides) into the more basic units of glycerol and free fatty acids, which then undergo beta-oxidation. Combustion of fatty acid molecules produces significantly more ATP, compared to glucose molecules. However, because fatty acids consist of more carbon atoms than glucose, they require more oxygen for their combustion.  Fatty acids are oxidized by most of the tissues in the body; except, the brain, red blood cells, and the adrenal medulla.  It is a huge storage reservoir, but is too slowly released for immediate energy utilization.  Lipolysis provides energy after the first 60 seconds of exercise, but only effectively in the presence of large amounts of oxygen.

Protein

Protein can also be used as an energy source, but it must first be broken down to amino acids before being converted to glucose.  Protein is thought to make only a small contribution (< 5%) to energy production, but up to 18% of total energy requirements during long strenuous activity, sometimes characterized as rhabdomyolysis.

Can just a few pounds make a huge difference?

The Physicians’ Health Study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA) reveals that as little as seven extra pounds combined with little or no exercise can significantly increase your risk of heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest.

  • Regardless of the level of activity, higher body mass index equates to higher heart failure risk.
  • Even modestly overweight men had increased heart risk—a risk that increased with excess pounds.
  • Every 7 pounds of excess weight equated to a 11% increased heart risk in the 20 year study—1 kg/m2 increase in BMI, men over 5’10” tall in a multivariate analysis.
  • Overweight study participants had a 49% heart failure increase.
  • Obese study participants had a 180% heart failure increase.
  • 18% reduction in heart failure risk in active men—with one to three times per month of physical activity.
  • 36% reduction in heart failure in higher activity men—those with five to seven times per week of physical activity.

A higher BMI increased heart failure risk in both active and inactive men, the “beneficial effect of vigorous physical activity in reducing the risk of heart failure was observed in lean, overweight and also obese men.”  The American Heart Association says: Healthy adults ages 18-65 should get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five days per week.

  • Couch potatoes—physically inactive people—are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.
  • Two-thirds of Americans have excess body weight—and about only 30% exercise regularly.
  • 660,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
  • 80% of men and 75% of women aged 65 and older diagnosed with heart failure die within eight years.
  • Too much belly fat ups risk for other health problems: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
  • Women with excess body fat are at higher risk of heart disease — even if they don’t have other risk factors.

Even just walking 30 minutes a day can . . .

  • Reduce coronary heart disease risk
  • Reduce the risk on non-insulin dependant [Type 2] diabetes
  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Improve blood lipid profile
  • Maintain body weight and reduce your risk of obesity
  • Enhance mental well-being
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer

Even a minimum duration of 10 min, high intensity exercise at an anaerobic or lactate threshold production level increases circulating  Growth Hormone in adults.  Increasing Growth Hormone results in enhanced production of Thyroid Hormone and Testosterone, with improved vessel elasticity.  The risk of death was reduced by 50% with an improved exercise capacity attained of just  30 minutes per session, 5-6 days per week.   And even if  30 minutes was too much , splitting the routine into 10-15 minute segments (morning/evening) gives the same benefit.

Even reducing your weight just a few pounds or exercising even ten minutes a day can have a huge impact.  For more information regarding high intensity exercise check out the article on “Exercise as if your life depended upon it!

For information on how to lose weight, guaranteed, got to mdHCG.com.

The BMI controversy?

As your Body Mass Index [BMI] increases, so does your risk of death.  But is BMI the best tool to determine your health status?

Calculated from your weight and height, BMI provides a general gauge of body fatness.   BMI is a correlation between an individual’s height and weight, but it does not distinguish between fat weight and muscle weight.

Figure your Body Mass Index using either your bioempedence scale, your body fat calipers or the following simple formula:

BMI=Weight in pounds x 703, divided by height in inches x height in inches

 

Or

BMI=[Weight x 703]/height2

For Example:

Weight in pounds = 150

Height in inches = 64

150 x 703 =  105,450

64 x 64 = 4096

105,450/4096 = 25.74

BMI = 25.74%

Your BMI number can fall into one of four adult categories:

Below 18.5 = Underweight

18.5 – 24.9+ = Normal

25.0 – 29.9 = Overweight

30.0 and above = Obese

As your BMI increases, so does your risk of death from many possible causes, such as ischemic heart disease, stroke and various types of cancers.  Based upon a study published in the online March 2009 Lancet, a collaborative analysis of 57 studies found that BMI is a “reasonably good measure” of general adiposity – body fat.

Researchers reported the lowest mortality was in those with a BMI of 22.5 to 25 kg/m2. As BMI slightly increases, the mortality rate begins to skyrocket.  each 5 kg/m2 higher BMI was associated with about 30% higher all-cause mortality (40% for vascular; 60–120% for diabetic, renal, and hepatic; 10% for neoplastic; and 20% for respiratory and for all other mortality). In other words, as BMI increased overall death rate increased.

Having an above normal range BMI can result in these health conditions:

  • Hypertension
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Stroke
  • Sleep apnea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Various cancers

People frequently state that muscle weighs more than fat.  Its simply not true, a pound of muscle weighs exactly the same as a pound of fat.  It just so happens that fat occupies nearly 18% more volume for the same pound weight, and muscle tends to adhere to tightly to skeletal structures, whereas fat drapes loosly.  Because BMI fails to distinguish between fat and muscle, because it is weight based, a better way of looking at this was needed, hence a calculation of actual percentage fat by bioimpedance scale or skin calipers or more scientifically with DEXA scan.

Danger also lurks behind that expanding waistline: highly active, toxic abdominal fat  heightens your disease risk. Check your waist girth with a tape measure, starting at the top of the hipbone. Measure at your greatest waist area, keeping the tape measure even, not pulling too tightly. A total of over 40 inches for men or over 35 inches for women means it’s high time to get serious about taking control of your health and future.  The abdominal girth or waist measurement is a quick tool in determining your cardiac risk, it looks more at the volume of fat in the abdomen rather than the weight.

The waist to hip ratio is an important tool that helps you determine your overall health risk. People with more weight around their waist are at greater risk of lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes than those with weight around their hips. It is a simple and useful measure of fat distribution.

Use a measuring tape to check the waist and hip measurements.
- Measure your hip circumference at it’s widest part.
- Measure your Waist Circumference at the belly button or just above it.

Simply take your waist measurement / your hip measurement; for example:

Waist to hip ratio:

Waist circumference / hip circumference

Waist: 32

Hip: 30

Ratio: 32/30 = 1.07

 

MALE                          FEMALE:                     Health risk based on ratio only

.95 or below               .80 or below               Low Risk

.96 – 1.0                     .81-.85                        Moderate Risk

1.0 +                           .85 +                           High Risk

Perhaps exercise tolerance and maximal exercise capacity by measuring METs  may be the best indicator of body health and longevity, a functional test  of exercise capacity rather than a weight test or a size test.

If you are truly interested in losing abdominal fat, check out our mdHCG protocol for a guaranteed solution.

Exercise as if your life depended upon it! It really does.

Exercise as if your life depends upon it, it really does.  Men who achieved >7 METs (highly to very highly fit) level demonstrated a 50%-70% lower mortality risk than “low fit” subjects.

In a study published in the Journal Circulation, researchers assessed “the association between exercise capacity and mortality” in over 14,000 men—subjects whose average age was 60, who did or didn’t have cardiovascular disease and who successfully completed a treadmill test.  Men who achieved >7 METs (highly to very highly fit) level demonstrated a 50%-70% lower mortality risk than “low fit” subjects.

The highest-intensity aspect of exercise, the hardest part. is the 15 seconds of sprinting at the end of a long run, or the most difficult 10 seconds of pumping during a peak level on an exercise bike, or the last few repetitions when exercising muscles to failure.   One “metabolic equivalent” [MET] is the amount of oxygen used by an average person at rest  and increases proportionally with the intensity of exercise.

A MET is used as a practical means of expressing the intensity and energy expenditure of physical activities in a way comparable among persons of different weight; but actual energy expenditure (e.g., in calories or joules) during a physical activity depends on the person’s body mass, therefore the energy cost of the same physical activity will be different for persons of different weight.  In other words, METs as defined by most exercise equipment cannot be used to determine metabolic rate directly.  Never the less, a physical activity with a MET value of 2, such as walking at a slow pace (e.g., 3 km/h) would require for a specific person twice the energy that person consumes at rest (e.g., sitting quietly), a MET value of 1.

In this study, fitness categories based on METs achieved are were:

  • low                              [5 METs]
  • moderate                   [5-7 METs]
  • highly                         [7.1 to 10METs]
  • very highly fit            [over 10 METs]

Subjects exercised until tired; with follow-ups done for 7.5 years on average.  Men who achieved >7 METs (highly to very highly fit)—demonstrated a 50%-70% lower mortality risk than “low fit” subjects.  The chances of staying alive increased by 12 to 13 percent with each increase of a single metabolic equivalent [MET] when exercising as hard as possible on a treadmill.  Peak MET achieved is a better predictor of how long someone will live than other factors – including health risk factors like high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, and even heart disease.

The risk of death was reduced by 50% with an improved exercise capacity attained of just  30 minutes per session, 5-6 days per week.   And even if  30 minutes was too much , splitting the routine into 10-15 minute segments (morning/evening) gives the same benefit. Additionally, even moderate intensity exercise, greater then 7 METs offers significant health benefits.

  • Increased health span: A study following Harvard grads for 30 years showed those moderately active were at substantially decreased risk of death.
  • Decreased health risks: Strengthening the heart muscle for good circulation, decreased blood pressure and reduced stroke risk.
  • Reduced stress and significantly improved mood: With a moderate intensity workout of 20 minutes or more.
  • Increased muscle endurance: Making daily activities easier.
  • Improved sleep quality: Researchers at Stanford, Emory and the University of Oklahoma reported older people doing brisk walking and/or low-impact aerobics four times a week went to sleep faster and slept an hour longer than before (Harvard Health Letter, March 1997).

Many of these benefits accrue due to the improved endocrine profile; with resultant elevated Thyroid Hormone, Testosterone, and Growth Hormone.  Insulin sensitivity also seems to be enhanced with improved glucose control, resulting in less fat deposition, increased fat mobilization as usable energy, and reduced total Insulin levels and elevated Glucagon levels.

The key element in obtaining health benefits is the high intensity nature of the exercise, and the relatively short duration of the exercise.  MET capacity is even more important than the traditionally measured BMI or waist hip ratio.

If you are truly interested in losing abdominal fat, check out our mdHCG protocol for a guaranteed solution.

What’s so wrong with a fat belly?

There are three types of fat commonly seen observed in the abdomen

  1. Subcutaneous Fat, which is fat immediately below the skin but outside the abdominal cavity.
  2. Retroperitoneal or Structural Fat separating organ and providing cushioning during movement.
  3. Visceral abdominal fat (found inside the abdominal cavity). Most of that fat is found on the greater omentum—a large apron-like sheet that drapes over all the organs. Some people are prone to storing their body fat in their abdomen as part of this greater omentum. As a result, large, globule clumps of fat attach to the omentum, where they release toxic materials into the venous drainage and onto the bloodstream, ultimately causing adverse effects. This kind of fat releases adipokines, harmful chemicals that can cause Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and increased risk of cancer.

Reports have demonstrated that being overweight or obese (particular with a centralized distribution of adiposity) puts you in a higher-risk category for chronic conditions, from insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, gallstones, gout, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and a liver disease called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

It is interesting to note that the middle-age bulge increase your chances of having

Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia in your senior years by nearly three times, even though it’s not your brain that stores the fat.  This may be related to:

  1. Toxic metabolites produced by the visceral abdominal fat, such as xenoestrogens which suppress testosterone formation, leading to poor blood vessel elasticity and high blood pressure
  2. Storage of fat soluble toxins, such as food borne pesticides and herbicides, acquired from the environment which then slowly leach out.
  3. Toxic belly fat is thought to promote amyloid accumulation by increasing chronic inflammation. Amyloid is an abnormal protein, which deposits in the body’s tissues or in more organ-specific areas, such as in the pancreas (type 2 diabetes) or central nervous system (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington disease).

Visceral abdominal fat (belly fat) is the last reservoir people get rid of when they’re losing body fat—and it’s the first place they store it when they gain back body fat.

To date, there are no ways to specifically target that fat, but there are things you can do to work your way down to healthier body fat levels (16% for men, under 22% for women).

A low-glycemic nutrition eating plan with specific nutritional supplementation can help you optimize your health potential and reduce belly fat. Consistent high intensity interval exercise can increase metabolic rates, lower heart disease risk and improve body composition, muscle endurance, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, core strength/stability and posture.  These effects are not purely related to the energy burned due to exercise, but also due to the significant endocrine [hormonal changes] induced by resistance exercise leading to increased Growth Hormone, Thyroid Hormone, and Testosterone production.

More specifically, resistance training helps you lose abdominal fat and overall body fat while lowering cholesterol: Weight training is the best way to burn fat; it’s more effective for losing weight than aerobic activity because it burns calories while you’re exercising and later at rest due to the hormonal changes and muscular regeneration.

If you are truly interested in losing abdominal fat, check out our mdHCG protocol for a guaranteed solution.