Posts Tagged ‘Diabetes’

KIDS WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES IS RISING. BUT DIETARY CHANGES CAN HELP

November 4, 2017

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Data from the huge SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study – that includes more than a whopping 20,000 participants – reports the incidence of type 2 diabetes is increasing in our children.1 We are talking a 7% rise annually between 2002 and 2012.

Until recently, type 2 diabetes was referred to as ‘adult-onset’. Now, kids as young as 3 years are being diagnosed.

Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable, yet can lead to significant health issues, including cardiovascular disease,2 blindness, amputations and even reduced length of life. This is aside from onerous the day-to-day monitoring and management, and symptoms such as depression and a poorer quality of life.3;4

Causes of type 2 diabetes are multifactorial, with familial, lifestyle and environmental factors at play.

From a dietary perspective, to reduce the risk of developing the condition here are some things to consider for you and your kids.

Reduce added sugar intake
Surprise! Too much sweet stuff may contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes – especially regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Leave the highly refined sweet stuff behind, and replace with whole foods like fruit and healthful drinks like water and unsweetened tea.

Replace refined and heavily processed foods with real foods
Any food far removed from its original state should be limited. Heavily refined oils and trans-fats should be replaced with less processed oils and healthy fats, such as olive oil, nuts, avocado and oily fish.

Fibre-less flours can be just as detrimental to the body as added sugars. Instead, choose whole foods that are low in glycaemic load, swapping white rice for quinoa, or white flour for ground buckwheat, coconut or almond meal. 

Create a healthy gut
The state of our intestinal microbiome can influence our health in a variety of ways. Recent research indicates the prevalence of certain gut bugs may be linked to precursors of type 2 diabetes. Considering our diet hugely affects which microbial populations of the intestine thrive or decline, more attention should be paid to keeping those helpful guts bugs nourished to keep the unhelpful ones at bay.

A great place to start is limiting intake of heavily processed foods while ensuring fibre intake is up and enjoying some fermented foods.

Stabilize blood glucose fluctuations
Enabling blood sugar highs followed by almighty lows increases the risk for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. You can manage the blood sugar swing by eating regularly throughout a day, ensuring meals and snacks are comprised of ingredients offering fibre, healthy fats and protein. This offers a slow, steady release of energy to the body and therefore avoids the extreme fluctuation in blood glucose levels and high demand for insulin production. 

Enjoy plenty of anti-inflammatory foods
Blood concentrations of inflammatory markers such as CRP, TNF-a, & IL-6 are elevated in type 2 diabetes. While inflammation has it’s role in the body – such as healing the skin of a grazed knee – we don’t want to be living in high and chronically inflamed state. Choose to eat foods that keep inflammation in check, such as leafy greens, deep coloured berries, fresh herbs and spices, and heaps of vegetables.

Chat with a pro
Overall, if you’ve concerns or a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes has already been made, please do chat with your trusted healthcare professional. They can run tests and work with you on a personalized diet, lifestyle and (if necessary) medical treatment plan to help turn type 2 diabetes around.

By Angela Johnson (BHSc Nut. Med)

http://thatsugarfilm.com/blog/2017/10/12/kids-with-type-2-diabetes-is-rising-but-dietary-changes-can-help/

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That Sugar Film

March 29, 2015

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SO WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

THAT SUGAR FILM is one man’s journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as ‘healthy’. Through this entertaining and informative journey, Damon highlights some of the issues that plague the sugar industry, and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves. THAT SUGAR FILM will forever change the way you think about ‘healthy’ food.

THE EXPERIMENT:

Damon only eats the perceived ‘healthy’ foods that are in fact laden with hidden sugars like low fat yoghurt, muesli bars, juices and cereals.

Visit: http://www.thatsugarfilm.com/

Which Is Worse: High Fructose Corn Syrup Or Sugar?

March 1, 2015

VBK-SUGAR_260868fWhile both sweeteners really aren’t great, high fructose corn syrup, which is found in a wide variety of highly processed foods and beverages such as baked desserts, salad dressings, ketchup, sodas, and ice cream, is the slightly more dangerous choice.

Too much of any sugar is bad for you—in excess, it promotes insulin resistance, weight gain, and inflammation that contributes to chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer. From a health perspective, some experts say HFCS (which is, obviously, derived from corn) is no different than table sugar (which comes from sugar cane and sugar beets), but there’s one difference between highly-processed HFCS and regular sugar that gives me pause: Some forms of HFCS may release more fructose within the body than does sucrose, or table sugar (which pales equal parts glucose and fructose). Glucose triggers feeling of fullness to help keep you from overeating, while fructose doesn’t.

Worse: a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition found that HFCS is significantly more toxic to female mice than table sugar is, harming their reproductive health and shortening their lifespan. Other animal studies suggest that high intakes of HFCS can slow brain function, impairing memory and the ability to learn.

There is also an environmental impact to consider, as the government-subsidized growing of corn requires large amounts of fertilizer and pesticides, and depletes the soil of nutrients.

Though some manufacturers, like Hershey, are doing away with HFCS in favor of ordinary table sugar, many still favor HFCS because it tastes sweeter than regular corn syrup, helps maintain a long shelf life for their products, and, until recently, has been relatively inexpensive. But there are better, healthier ways to add flavor, like a splash of maple or glucose syrup or adding vanilla or cinnamon.

Regular sugar can add to the pleasure of eating in small doses, but we consume far too much of it. In fact, the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar daily, most of that coming from sugar-sweetened sodas, grain-based desserts such as cookies and cake, candy, energy drinks, ready-to-eat cereals, and yeast breads. So when you’re reaching for a snack, read ingredient lists carefully to avoid added sugars as much as possible. Or stick with naturally low-sugar options like air-popped popcorn, plain Greek yogurt, sorbet, and dried fruit.

Article sourced from: http://www.prevention.com/food/high-fructose-corn-syrup-versus-sugar
Written by Andrew Weil MD

For Seniors Only – Test Your Fitness At Home

August 24, 2014

Older adults need to have adequate strength, flexibility, and endurance to accomplish everyday tasks. Assessing these components of fitness can detect weaknesses which can be treated before causing serious functional limitations.

How can you test your fitness, flexibility or strength as you get older?  Most health clubs have a standard health assessment that incorporates some of these components but you can always assess yourself at home.
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For instance, time how long it takes you to go from A to B on your morning walk? Then assess how you feel at the end of it eg slightly breathless, huffy and puffy or very breathless.  Wait 1 minute then assess how you feel again, eg back to normal, slightly breathless or huffy and puffy.  Plot your progress over a 6 week period doing this activity 2 x week and see if you improve your time from A to B,  how you feel when you finished and how you feel 1 minute afterwards.  

Below is a strength assessment taken from a LifeSpan Wellness Program at Fullerton University in the USA, by Dr Roberta Rikli and Dr Jessie Jones in 2002.   Make sure you go for a 5 minute warm up walk before your start and stop if anything hurts.

Place a chair against a wall, or otherwise stabilize it for safety. Sit in the middle of the seat, with your feet shoulder width apart and flat on the floor. Cross your arms at your wrists and hold close to your chest.  Count how many completed chair stands you can do in 30 seconds.
          Men’s Results         Women’s Results
Age 60-64     av 14-19        av 12-17
Age 75-79     av 11-17        av 11-17

Record your results and repeat these 2 assessments in 6 months to see if you have increased or decreased your abilities in these areas.

Get started on your Seniors Fitness Assessment as soon as you can and then redo in 3 months to gauge the changes.  Give Glenn a call at Coffs Coast Health Club on 66586222 if you need a hand.

 

Written by Glenn Barnett, Coffs Coast Health Club
   

Start Shaping Up

August 19, 2014

IT’S TIME TO SHAPE UPshapeup

As a nation, our waistlines are growing. Today, over 63% of Australian adults and one in four children are overweight or obese.

Unhealthy eating and not enough physical activity can lead to overweight and obesity, and an increased risk of developing a chronic disease such as some cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Shape Up Australia is an initiative to help Australians reduce their waist measurements and improve their overall health and wellbeing. There are many everyday changes you can make to help you Shape Up and get on your way to a healthier lifestyle.


GETTING ACTIVE

Life can be busy, and it’s easy to think that there just isn’t enough time to be physically active.  But being physically active doesn’t mean you have to spend hours exercising each day or that you have to push yourself to the point of feeling exhausted.

There are great benefits to getting even a small amount of physical activity each day, both mentally and physically.  Being active gives you more energy, helps you sleep better, reduces the risk of depression and can help to prevent a range of chronic diseases.

You can start with small changes, like increasing the distance you walk by getting off the bus earlier or parking your car further away from the shops.  Gradually increase the amount of physical activity you do – it all adds up.  Aim for 30 minutes (or more) of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week.

If you’re worried you don’t have the time, keep in mind that you don’t have to do your 30 minutes (or more) all at once – combine a few shorter sessions of 10 to 15 minutes each throughout the day.  Those short bursts are just as effective as longer exercise sessions.

To get started, check out these physical activity tips or find activities in your local area using the activity finder.

GETTING PHYSICAL TIPS

Tips for being more physically active every day

  • The saying “no pain, no gain” is a myth.  Some activity is better than none, and more is better than a little.  But you don’t have to exercise to the point of collapse to get a health benefit.  Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
  • Set a date for when you will start. Write the date down and stick to it.
  • Make time to be physically active and schedule it as you would an appointment.  The Shape Up activity planner can help you plan and track your activity.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals.  Make your goals specific, measurable and achievable.  Rather than a vague goal like “I will get fit”, try “I will walk every day for 10 minutes after meals” or “I will get off the bus/train two stops earlier than my usual stop”.
  • Build up gradually.  If you are starting a new activity or have been inactive for some time, start at a level that you can manage easily and gradually build up.
  • Choose activities that are right for you.  Do something that you enjoy or go for something different you’ve always wanted to try, such as walking, jogging, joining a team sport, taking a group fitness class, dancing, cycling or swimming.
  • Mix it up.  Consider changing your activities every so often to avoid becoming bored.
  • Plan physical activity with others.  This can help you stick to your plan and achieve your goals.
  • Do not give up before you start to see the benefits.  Be patient and keep at it.
  • HAVE FUN! Physical activity can make you feel good about yourself and it’s a great opportunity to have fun with other people or enjoy some time to yourself.

FINDING TIME TO GET ACTIVE

It can seem hard to find time for physical activity.  One solution is to look for opportunities to build as much physical activity into everyday activities as you can.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Rather than spend five minutes circling a car park looking for that “perfect space” right near the entrance, park five minutes away and spend that time walking instead.
  • If you arrive at a bus or tram stop early, why not make use of the time to walk to the next stop?
  • Walk rather than rest on escalators… it’s quicker so you’ll actually save time! (Or better still, use the stairs).
  • Work in the garden – get into some energetic gardening activities like digging, shifting soil and mowing the lawn to raise your heart-rate.
  • Clean the house! Activities like vacuuming, cleaning windows and scrubbing floors that raise your heart rate are all good examples of moderate intensity physical activity.
  • Park further away from work (or get off public transport a few stops early).  If you walk for 10 minutes to and from work, you’ll have done 20 minutes without even noticing.  Add a 10 minute brisk walk (or more!) at lunch time and you’ve met the guidelines for the day.

ACTIVITY INTENSITY

What is moderate intensity activity?

Moderate-intensity activity will cause a slight but noticeable increase in your breathing and heart rate.  A good example of moderate-intensity activity is brisk walking; that is, at a pace where you are able to talk comfortably, but not sing.  Moderate-intensity activity should be carried out for at least 10 minutes at a time.

What is vigorous activity?

Vigorous activity is where you “huff and puff”; where talking in full sentences between breaths is difficult.  Vigorous activity can come from such sports as football, squash, netball, basketball and activities such as aerobics, speed walking, jogging and fast cycling.

Note: If you are pregnant, have been previously inactive, or suffer from any medical conditions, it is recommended that you seek medical advice before commencing vigorous physical activity.

WHAT SHOULD I BE EATING

Eating a diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods every day helps us maintain a healthy weight, feel good and fight off chronic disease.

Best of all, healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard if you follow these seven golden rules:

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Eat more vegetables and fruit
  3. Watch how much you eat – even foods that are good for us, when eaten in large portions, can lead to weight gain
  4. Eat less processed food
  5. Eat regular meals – don’t skip meals – and always start the day with a healthy breakfast (e.g. a bowl of hi fibre cereal with sliced banana and low fat milk)
  6. Restrict your alcohol intake
  7. Remember that some foods are high in added fat, salt and sugar and so are best eaten only sometimes or in small amounts.  Examples include lollies, chocolate, biscuits, cakes, pastries, soft drinks, chips, pies, sausage rolls and other takeaways.

To help you eat well every day, check out these healthy recipes and snack suggestions, tips for staying on track when eating out, our guide to healthy eating on a budget, and tips for drinking to health.

Snack suggestions

  • Add fruit and yoghurt to low fat milk and blend them together to make a great tasting smoothie.
  • A slice of wholegrain bread or raisin toast with a healthy spread such as avocado or low-fat cream cheese, makes a filling, healthy snack.
  • A piece of fruit – like a banana or apple – can make a great “on the run” snack.
  • Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar or packet of chips, try vegetable sticks with low-fat hummus.
  • An occasional handful of unsalted nuts or dried fruit makes a nutritious snack.
  • Grab a tub of natural low-fat yoghurt and add your own fruit.
  • Air-popped popcorn with a sprinkling of salt makes a great afternoon snack.
  • When the weather is hot, fruits such as oranges and grapes make delicious frozen snacks.

Other useful links:

Australian Dietary Guidelines www.eatforhealth.gov.au

Stay On Track When Eating Out Fact Sheet

Your Guide To Buying Fruit And Veg In Season Fact Sheet

Information sourced from this Government Website: http://www.shapeup.gov.au/start-shaping-up

Reflexology … what’s it all about?

August 5, 2014

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Reflexology is massage of the feet or hands that aims to promote healing in other areas of the body. Modern reflexology is based on the principle that the foot has ‘reflex’ points that correspond to the various structures and organs throughout the body. For example, on the left foot, the tip of the big toe corresponds to the brain’s left hemisphere.

Many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practised foot therapy as a form of healing. In the early 20th century, the Americans Dr William Fitzgerald and physiotherapist Eunice Ingham rediscovered and refined the techniques.

Reflex points

According to the philosophy of reflexology, all the organs, glands and parts of the body have representing reflexes on the feet. Any health problem in the body can usually be detected in the corresponding area of the foot. The left foot generally relates to any organs, glands etc on the left side of the body while the right foot relates to any organs, glands etc on the right side

Practitioners believe that by massaging or stimulating the reflexes using specific techniques there will be a direct effect on the corresponding organ.

A reflexologist may interpret foot marks or problems such as corns and calluses as an indication of a possible health imbalance in the corresponding area of the body.

A range of disorders

Supporters of reflexology believe that it can effectively treat a wide range of disorders including:

  • Stress
  • Circulation problems
  • Impaired immunity
  • Digestive disorders
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Reproductive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Lack of energy
  • Oedema (swelling)
  • Common childhood complaints such as colic, teething pain and bed-wetting
  • Emotional problems.

The procedure

A typical session lasts approximately one hour. The practitioner first asks detailed questions about lifestyle and prior and current medical problems. The patient sits or reclines on a couch with their feet bare, while the practitioner examines the feet before working on all the areas of the feet.

Generally speaking, the greater the degree of tenderness felt by the patient, the more likelihood there will be a possible imbalance in the corresponding area of the body. The practitioner relaxes the feet with gentle massage, and then works on the reflex points using specific techniques. Practitioners are well used to handling feet and apply sufficient pressure so that ticklishness should not be a problem! Reflexology is not meant to hurt, but should be felt. Strong pressure does not necessarily have a greater effect on the reflexes.

Medical evidence is still limited

Foot massage, including reflexology, encourages relaxation and improves circulation in the feet. However, clinical trials on the efficacy of reflexology as treatment for other health problems have produced mixed results. For example:

  • Premenstrual symptoms – in one study to assess reflexology as treatment for premenstrual symptoms, participants who received weekly therapy reported, on average, a reduction of symptoms by 62 per cent.
  • In another study, the benefits of reflexology were no different to the benefits of regular foot massage performed by people with no training in reflexology.

For further information regarding clinical trials and the efficiency of reflexology go to www.reflexology–research.com

General cautions

Treatment for foot problems such as corns, calluses, bunions and ingrown toenails are not in the scope of practise of a Reflexologist and should be treated by a podiatrist. In particular, people with diabetes are prone to serious foot problems and should be guided by their doctor about appropriate treatment. Reflexology can be an excellent therapy for people with diabetes, however if in doubt about your medical condition it is always recommended that you consult with your doctor before seeing a reflexologist.

Reflexologists do not diagnose, prescribe or treat specific conditions. If an imbalance was detected in a particular reflex during a treatment, the practitioner is likely to refer you to a doctor to get checked. Do not stop any medical treatments on the advice of your reflexologist.

Choosing a reflexologist

To find a reputable and qualified reflexologist in your area, contact the Reflexology Association of Australia. All professional practitioners have undergone extensive training, hold a current Level 2 first aid certificate, have professional indemnity insurance and can provide you with a professional receipt that you can use to claim back part of the treatment from participating private health insurance companies.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Reflexologist
  • Podiatrist
  • Reflexology Association of Australia Tel. 0500 502 250
  • Australian Podiatry Association (Vic) Tel. (03) 9866 5906

Things to remember

  • Reflexology is massage of the feet that aims to promote healing in other areas of the body.
  • Modern reflexology is based on the principle that the foot has ‘reflex’ points that correspond to the various structures and organs throughout the body.
  • Always consult your doctor if you have a medical condition.

Article sourced from: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Reflexology

Give Up Alcohol for a Month

June 15, 2014

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“The threshold of addiction is a foggy place,” writes Nina Caplan. An enthusiastic drinker, she decides to give up alcohol for a month …

I am not an alcoholic. I don’t get sick, fall down or start my day with tots of whiskey. But I do love wine. I am entranced by the socio-historical and chemical properties of the vine. It is, for me, an intellectual pursuit–albeit one that is also literally intoxicating.

The threshold of addiction is a foggy place. You more or less know when you’re dependent, and you know when you’re independent.

But most of us stumble around somewhere in between: we’ll just have one more; we don’t need it, we just like it; we could stop anytime. My social life runs on alcohol like a bicycle on its tyres: it could keep moving without it, but the ride would be bumpy and uncomfortable and I would worry about looking foolish.

So I decided to give up drinking for a month. How hard could it be? Not that I thought it would be easy: not only do I enjoy drinking, but also I am good at it. I merrily buy fine wine and hold it well. Yet given my lack of discipline, going completely without seemed easier than moderation. I believe La Rochefoucauld had it right when he said, “Moderation is the feebleness and sloth of the soul, whereas ambition is the warmth and activity of it.”

Supportive friend:  “Seriously? For a whole month? Wow. You should write about it. People love to read about the misery of others.”

Less supportive friend:  “In January? Are you mad? What other joys are there at this time of year?”

Even less supportive friend:  “I’m just off out for a lovely evening of dinner, chat and lots of red wine. Oh, and martinis. Envious?”

So I did it. It’s not difficult. Just dull. I felt unsociable. I missed the glow of self-satisfaction that alcohol brings, and the clear division it offers between work and recreation. I would cook dinner for a friend, watch her down half a bottle of wine and feel guilty for not joining her. (It was like when I gave up smoking years ago: I hated being unable to provide the comfort of cigarettes to others.) I missed feeling like part of a tradition of literary self-destruction.

When fellow journalists toasted a departing colleague with bad cava, I sipped water and felt gloomy. I attended a drinks awards ceremony (masochistically, surely) and realised I couldn’t be bothered to talk to anybody. How does one negotiate the cracks in social discourse without alcohol? All of those conversations you would rather not have, all those people you want to talk to but don’t know where to start. How do you extricate yourself from an undesirable tete-a-tete when your exit line is “I really must get some more Pelligrino”? I hadn’t realised just how much fun I thought I was having simply because I had a glass in my hand.

Horrified friend: “Never give up booze. Ever.”

I didn’t miss drunkenness, which I rarely indulge in anyway. Nor did I miss the bad free wine at book parties and theatre openings, as guzzling the unworthy stuff leads to a hangover and little else. I did not pine for pub culture, which mostly involves drinking terrible wine so that the men you’re with can down lager and stare at a television behind your head.

But I did miss selecting just the right wine to accompany a dish at a dinner party (food-and-wine pairing is my favourite party game), and the glass I would sip as I cooked. I missed the bubbles that would dance the Charleston over my tongue in the first sip of champagne at the start of a smart evening, and the rich, spiced raisin of an armagnac at the end of a decadent meal.

Though it turns out that what I missed the most did not involve alcohol consumption at all. For me the biggest boozy pleasure is slavering over a good wine list. It seems I’m less a hedonist than a fantasist. Anticipation is silkier on the tongue than the finest vintage.

The month felt long. I don’t mean time dragged–in fact, the long, free evenings I’d envisioned never materialised. I still went out all the time, and did precious little exercise (despite all those nights of quality REM sleep). But there were no elisions, no blurring of events between the first shared bottle and the second. For a month everything I did was clearly delineated.

So what else did I learn after a month of stone-cold sobriety? That it’s over-rated. There is a reason why people drink proportionally more the less they like themselves: alcohol takes you, as so much slang for drunkenness has it, out of your head. I’m no self-loathing Hemingway or Parker, but a month is a long time in your own uninterrupted company

. Nobody wants to spend that much time with me–not even me. This is despite the fact that I found abstinence to be good for my self-esteem, not the other way round. People keep asking me if I feel healthier. I don’t, particularly. But I do feel smug.

I discovered that I use alcohol the way Susie Orbach claims women use fat: as a locus for blame, a red herring. Off the sauce, I was still tired, lazy and prone to overeating carbohydrates and chocolate. I still spent too much money, talked too much and went out too much. In fact, none of my problems can be blamed on drinking alcohol, except the one that involves drinking a little too much.

With my month over, I’m faced with the real challenge: moderation. Bacchus help me, for my own inclinations certainly won’t.

Article sourced from http://www.moreintelligentlife.com/story/alcohol

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Mothers’ Lifestyle Provides the Biggest Influence on Their Children’s Health & Diet

May 11, 2014

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“This study reminds parents that their children are watching and learning

from observing their behaviors, both good and bad.”

Kids whose moms encourage them to exercise and eat well, and model those healthy behaviors themselves, are more likely to be active and healthy eaters, according to researchers at Duke Medicine and the Duke Global Health Institute.

Their findings, published online in the International Journal of Obesity on June 18, 2013, remind parents that they are role models for their children, and underscore the importance of parental policies promoting physical activity and healthy eating.

Exercise and healthy diets are critical in fighting childhood obesity, a considerable problem in the United States, where over a quarter of kids ages two to five are already overweight or obese.

“Obesity is a complex phenomenon, which is influenced by individual biological factors and behaviors,” said study author Truls Østbye, M.D., PhD, professor of community and family medicine and global health at Duke. “But there are variations in obesity from one society to another and from one environment to another, so there is clearly something in the environment that strongly influences the obesity epidemic.”

The home environment and parenting can influence a child’s health by shaping dietary and physical behaviors, such as providing access to fruits and vegetables or encouraging kids to play outside.

“The ‘obesiogenic’ environment is broad and multi-faceted, including the physical neighborhood environment, media and advertising, and food tax policies, but we feel that the home environment is critical, particularly among children. However, we didn’t have a lot of evidence as to how important this was,” Østbye said.

In this study, Østbye and his colleagues examined the relationship between the home environment and behaviors related to obesity – dietary and exercise habits – among preschoolers.

The researchers studied data from 190 kids, ages two to five, whose mothers were overweight or obese. They collected information on the children’s food intake over the past week, with foods rated as junk food or healthy food. To gauge their levels of physical activity, the children wore accelerometers for a week, which measured moderate to vigorous physical activity as well as sedentary time.

The mothers reported information about their children’s environments, including family policies around food and physical activity, accessibility of healthy versus junk foods, availability of physical activity equipment, and whether they model healthy eating or exercise for their kids.

When they analyzed the data, the researchers found significant associations between these environmental measures and the preschoolers’ physical activity and healthy versus junk food intake. They concluded that to promote healthy behaviors in children, a healthy home environment and parental role modeling are important.

For example, limiting access to junk foods at home and parental policies supporting family meals increased the amount of healthy foods kids ate. Overall, the home environment had more influence on the children’s dietary habits than on their physical activity levels.

This study reminds parents that their children are watching and learning from observing their behaviors, both good and bad.

“It’s hard for parents to change their behaviors, but not only is this important for you and your own health; it is also important for your children because you are a role model for them,” said Marissa Stroo, a co-investigator on the study. “This might be common sense, but now we have some evidence to support this.”

The researchers also looked at socioeconomic factors of the mothers, including their education levels and whether they worked, to see if this had an effect on the children’s behaviors. The mother’s socioeconomic factors did not affect their kids’ physical activity, but had mixed results when it came to their dietary habits.

Further research is needed to better understand how a mother’s socioeconomic factors influence her child’s health, but it is possible that different strategies may be needed to prevent obesity in children depending on a mother’s education and work status. More research is also necessary to see if the influence of the home environment changes as children get older, and if parenting strategies should adapt accordingly.

In addition to Østbye and Stroo, study authors at Duke include Bernard Fuemmeler in the Department of Community and Family Medicine, Rebecca Brouwer at Duke Global Health Institute, and Nancy Zucker in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Rahul Malhotra of the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School and Cheryl Lovelady of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro also contributed to this research.

Article sourced from https://globalhealth.duke.edu/media/news/parenting-and-home-environment-influence-childrens-exercise-and-eating-habits

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Raspberry & Pistachio Semifreddo

March 19, 2014

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Diabetes diet: Create your healthy-eating plan

October 1, 2013

Definition

A diabetes diet — medically known as medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for diabetes — simply translates into eating a variety of nutritious foods in moderate amounts and sticking to regular mealtimes.

Rather than a restrictive diet, a diabetes diet or MNT is a healthy-eating plan that’s naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories, with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In fact, a diabetes diet is the best eating plan for most everyone.

Purpose

If you have diabetes or prediabetes, your doctor will likely recommend that you see a dietitian to guide you on dietary changes and MNT that can help you control your blood sugar (glucose) level and manage your weight.

When you eat excess calories and fat, your body responds by creating an undesirable rise in blood glucose. If blood glucose isn’t kept in check, it can lead to serious problems, such as a dangerously high blood glucose level (hyperglycemia) and chronic complications, such as nerve, kidney and heart damage.

Making healthy food choices and tracking your eating habits can help you manage your blood glucose level and keep it within a safe range.

For most people with type 2 diabetes, weight loss also can make it easier to control blood glucose and offers a host of other health benefits. If you need to lose weight, MNT provides a well-organized, nutritious way to reach your goal safely.

Diet details

A registered dietitian can help you put together a diet based on your health goals, tastes and lifestyle and can provide valuable information on how to change your eating habits.

Recommended foods
Make your calories count with these nutritious foods:

  • Healthy carbohydrates. During digestion, sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates) break down into blood glucose. Focus on the healthiest carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and low-fat dairy products.
  • Fiber-rich foods. Dietary fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. Fiber can decrease the risk of heart disease and help control blood sugar levels. Foods high in fiber include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), whole-wheat flour and wheat bran.
  • Heart-healthy fish. Eat heart-healthy fish at least twice a week. Fish can be a good alternative to high-fat meats. For example, cod, tuna and halibut have less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than do meat and poultry. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and bluefish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health by lowering blood fats called triglycerides. However, avoid fried fish and fish with high levels of mercury, such as tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel.
  • ‘Good’ fats. Foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — such as avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts, olives, and canola, olive and peanut oils — can help lower your cholesterol levels. Eat them sparingly, however, as all fats are high in calories.

Foods to avoid
Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke by accelerating the development of clogged and hardened arteries. Foods containing the following can work against your goal of a heart-healthy diet.

  • Saturated fats. High-fat dairy products and animal proteins such as beef, hot dogs, sausage and bacon contain saturated fats. Get no more than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat.
  • Trans fats. These types of fats are found in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and stick margarines and should be avoided completely.
  • Cholesterol. Sources of cholesterol include high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, shellfish, liver, and other organ meats. Aim for no more than 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day.
  • Sodium. Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day.

Putting it all together: Creating a plan
There are a few different approaches to creating a diabetes diet that keeps your blood glucose level within a normal range. With a dietitian’s help, you may find one or a combination of methods that works for you.

  • Counting carbohydrates. Because carbohydrates break down into glucose, they have the greatest impact on your blood glucose level. It’s important to make sure your timing and amount of carbohydrates are the same each day, especially if you take diabetes medications or insulin. Otherwise, your blood glucose level may fluctuate more.

    A dietitian can teach you how to measure food portions and become an educated reader of food labels, paying special attention to serving size and carbohydrate content. If you’re taking insulin, he or she can teach you how to count the amount of carbohydrates in each meal or snack and adjust your insulin dose accordingly.

  • The exchange system. A dietitian may recommend using the exchange system, which groups foods into categories such as carbohydrates, meats and meat substitutes, and fats.

    One serving in a group is called an “exchange.” An exchange has about the same amount of carbohydrates, protein, fat and calories — and the same effect on your blood glucose — as a serving of every other food in that same group. So, for example, you could exchange — or trade — one small apple for 1/3 cup of cooked pasta, for one carbohydrate serving.

  • Glycemic index. Some people who have diabetes use the glycemic index to select foods, especially carbohydrates. Foods with a high glycemic index are associated with greater increases in blood sugar than are foods with a low glycemic index. Complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber — such as whole-grain rice, bread or cereals — have a lower glycemic index than do simple carbohydrates — white bread or white rice, for example — and usually are preferred to highly processed foods. But low-index foods aren’t necessarily always healthier, as foods that are high in fat tend to have lower glycemic index values than do some healthier options.

A sample menu
Your daily meal plan should take into account your size as well as your physical activity level. The following menu is tailored for someone who needs 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day.

  • Breakfast. Whole-wheat pancakes or waffles, one piece of fruit or 3/4 cup of berries, 6 ounces of nonfat vanilla yogurt.
  • Lunch. Cheese and veggie pita, medium apple with 2 tablespoons of almond butter.
  • Dinner. Beef stroganoff; 1/2 cup carrots; side salad with 1 1/2 cups spinach, 1/2 of a tomato, 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar.
  • Snacks. Two unsalted rice cakes topped with 1 ounce of light spreadable cheese or one orange with 1/2 cup 1 percent low-fat cottage cheese.

Results

Embracing your healthy-eating plan is the best way to keep your blood glucose level under control and prevent diabetes complications. And if you need to lose weight, you can tailor it to your specific goals.

Aside from managing your diabetes, a diabetes diet offers other benefits, too. Because a diabetes diet recommends generous amounts of fruits, vegetables and fiber, following it is likely to reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. And consuming low-fat dairy products can reduce your risk of low bone mass in the future.

Risks

If you have diabetes, it’s important that you partner with your doctor and dietitian to create an eating plan that works for you. Healthy foods, portion control and scheduling are necessary to manage your blood glucose level. If you stray from your prescribed diet, you run the risk of fluctuating blood sugar levels and more-serious complications.

Article sourced from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-diet/DA00027