Tag Archives: diabetes

Are sugary drink interventions cutting consumption?

I have written repeatedly about the ill effects of soft drinks, both sugary and diet, on our bodies. You can check out my Page – What’s wrong with soft drinks? for chapter and verse. So this item in Medical News Today citing efforts to curb sugary drink consumption caught my eye.

An evaluation of efforts designed to reduce how many sugary drinks we consume shows some success in changing younger people’s habits but warns they cannot be the only way to cut consumption.

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Nutritionists at the University of Leeds have carried out the first comprehensive review of interventions to reduce sugary drinks consumption. The team analyzed 40 studies with 16,500 participants across three age groups: children, teenagers and adults.

Their study, published in the Obesity Reviews journal, found that children participating in these programs reduced their sugary drink intake by around 30%, removing nearly 2.5 teaspoons of sugar from a child’s average intake of 16 teaspoons per day.

Interventions aimed at teenagers saw sugary drink consumption reduced by nearly 10%. However, there was almost no measurable change in adults participating in these programs. Continue reading

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Filed under childhood obesity, diabetes, obesity, prediabetes, sugar, sugary soda, sugary soft drinks, Type 2 diabetes

Beware of blue light at night – Harvard

Sleep, like walking, is one of the critical elements of good health very commonly not appreciated by the man on the street. I have a Page – How important is a good night’s sleep with a ton of information on it.

Here is some valuable info from the Harvard Health Letter on getting a good night’s sleep.

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Until the advent of artificial lighting, the sun was the major source of lighting, and people spent their evenings in (relative) darkness. Now, in much of the world, evenings are illuminated, and we take our easy access to all those lumens pretty much for granted.

But we may be paying a price for basking in all that light. At night, light throws the body’s biological clock—the circadian rhythm—out of whack. Sleep suffers. Worse, research shows that it may contribute to the causation of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. (My emphasis)

But not all colors of light have the same effect. Blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown.

Daily rhythms influenced by light

Everyone has slightly different circadian rhythms, but the average length is 24 and one-quarter hours. The circadian rhythm of people who stay up late is slightly longer, while the rhythms of earlier birds fall short of 24 hours. Dr. Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School showed, in 1981, that daylight keeps a person’s internal clock aligned with the environment.

The health risks of nighttime light

Study after study has linked working the night shift and exposure to light at night to several types of cancer (breast, prostate), diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It’s not exactly clear why nighttime light exposure seems to be so bad for us. But we do know that exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms, and there’s some experimental evidence (it’s very preliminary) that lower melatonin levels might explain the association with cancer.

A Harvard study shed a little bit of light on the possible connection to diabetes and possibly obesity. The researchers put 10 people on a schedule that gradually shifted the timing of their circadian rhythms. Their blood sugar levels increased, throwing them into a prediabetic state, and levels of leptin, a hormone that leaves people feeling full after a meal, went down.

Even dim light can interfere with a person’s circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion. A mere eight lux—a level of brightness exceeded by most table lamps and about twice that of a night light—has an effect, notes Stephen Lockley, a Harvard sleep researcher. Light at night is part of the reason so many people don’t get enough sleep, says Lockley, and researchers have linked short sleep to increased risk for depression, as well as diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

The power of the blues

While light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light at night does so more powerfully. Harvard researchers and their colleagues conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).

In another study of blue light, researchers at the University of Toronto compared the melatonin levels of people exposed to bright indoor light who were wearing blue-light–blocking goggles to people exposed to regular dim light without wearing goggles. The fact that the levels of the hormone were about the same in the two groups strengthens the hypothesis that blue light is a potent suppressor of melatonin. It also suggests that shift workers and night owls could perhaps protect themselves if they wore eyewear that blocks blue light. Inexpensive sunglasses with orange-tinted lenses block blue light, but they also block other colors, so they’re not suitable for use indoors at night. Glasses that block out only blue light can cost up to $80.

Less-blue light

If blue light does have adverse health effects, then environmental concerns, and the quest for energy-efficient lighting, could be at odds with personal health. Those curlicue compact fluorescent lightbulbs and LED lights are much more energy-efficient than the old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs we grew up with. But they also tend to produce more blue light.

The physics of fluorescent lights can’t be changed, but coatings inside the bulbs can be so they produce a warmer, less blue light. LED lights are more efficient than fluorescent lights, but they also produce a fair amount of light in the blue spectrum. Richard Hansler, a light researcher at John Carroll University in Cleveland, notes that ordinary incandescent lights also produce some blue light, although less than most fluorescent lightbulbs.

What you can do

  • Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
  • Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bed.
  • If you work a night shift or use a lot of electronic devices at night, consider wearing blue-blocking glasses or installing an app that filters the blue/green wavelength at night.
  • Expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day, which will boost your ability to sleep at night, as well as your mood and alertness during daylight.When I work on my computer late at night, I always wear a pair of blue blocker sunglasses. You can buy them on Amazon for under $20. I have no problems getting to sleep.

    Tony

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Cut diabetes risk by eating legumes – Study

I just wrote about how nuts improve cholesterol levels  three days ago.

Now comes a new study from overseas telling us how good legumes are for our bodies.

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Recent results from the PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterranea) study show a protective association between total legumes consumption, especially lentils, and the risk of developing subsequent type 2 diabetes after more than 4 years of follow-up of 3349 participants at high cardiovascular risk. Moreover, the present study shows that replacing a half a serving/day of eggs, bread, rice or baked potato with a  half a serving/day of legumes was also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Legumes are a food group rich in B vitamins, contain different beneficial minerals (calcium, potassium and magnesium) and sizeable amounts of fibre and are regarded as a low-glycemic index food, which means that blood glucose levels increase only slowly after consumption. Due to these unique nutritional qualities, eating legumes regularly can help improve human health. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) declared 2016 as the international year of legumes to raise people’s awareness of their nutritional benefits. Continue reading

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Fructose is generated in the human brain

Fructose, a form of sugar linked to obesity and diabetes, is converted in the human brain from glucose, according to a new Yale study. The finding raises questions about fructose’s effects on the brain and eating behavior.

The study was published on Feb. 23 by JCI Insight.

Fructose is a simple sugar found in fruits, vegetables, table sugar, and many processed foods. Excess consumption of fructose contributes to high blood sugar and chronic diseases like obesity. The Yale research team had demonstrated in a prior study that fructose and another simple sugar, glucose, had different effects on brain activity. But it was not known whether fructose was produced in the brain or crossed over from the bloodstream.

 

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To investigate, the research team gave eight healthy, lean individuals infusions of glucose over a four-hour period. They measured sugar concentrations in the brains of the study participants using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a noninvasive neuroimaging technique. Sugar concentrations in the blood were also assessed.

Continue reading

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“9 OUT OF 10 DON’T KNOW IT”

I think there are some great points made here regarding living a healthy life vs taking medications regularly on a long term basis.

Tony

 

DIABETES is a DISEASE most people simply view as a “CONDITION.” It is certainly not FEARED like CANCER. This misconception is based on the belief that diabetes is CONTROLLED with prescription medication. This has proven to be an UNRELIABLE approach to addressing the underlying mechanisms of this disease and entirely incapable at reversing it LONG […]

via “9 OUT OF 10 DON’T KNOW IT” — All About Healthy Choices

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Even mildly excessive body iron stores increase the risk of type 2 diabetes – Study

Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2010 based on the 69,071 death certificates in which diabetes was listed as the underlying cause of death. In 2010, diabetes was mentioned as a cause of death in a total of 234,051 certificates, according to the latest information from the American Diabetes Association.

In addition,  Diabetes may be under-reported as a cause of death. Studies have found that only about 35 percent to 40 percent of people with diabetes who died had diabetes listed anywhere on the death certificate and about 10 percent to 15 percent had it listed as the underlying cause of death.

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Even mildly elevated body iron contributes to the prevalence and incidence of type 2 diabetes, according to research from the University of Eastern Finland. Excess body iron accumulation is a known risk factor of Type 2 diabetes in hereditary hemochromatosis, but the results presented by Dr Alex O. Aregbesola in his doctoral thesis show that elevated iron is a risk factor in the general population as well, already at high levels within the normal range.

Men accumulate more iron and are more at risk Continue reading

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Study supports lower cut-off point for defining prediabetes

At the risk of being a wet blanket on Thanksgiving Day, this seems an appropriate topic.

Let’s face it the majority of us are bad eaters. Some 60 percent of us are overweight and half of them outright obese. Additionally, we are seeing adult onset diabetes occurring in teenagers. We need to start eating better and exercising more.

The health risks and mortality associated with prediabetes seem to increase at the lower cut-off point for blood sugar levels recommended by some guidelines, finds a large study published in The BMJ today.

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Prediabetes is a “pre-diagnosis” of diabetes — when a person’s blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. If left untreated, prediabetes can develop into type 2 diabetes. An estimated 79 million people in the US and 7 million people in the UK are thought to be affected. Continue reading

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Chemical Exposure Linked to Lower Vitamin D Levels – Study

Vitamin D has been called the rock star of vitamins. For an idea about all the good things our bodies get from vitamin D, check out these posts: How good is Vitamin D for you? Infographic, Vitamin D and your body – Harvard.

Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may reduce levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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The study is the first to find an association between EDC exposure and vitamin D levels in a large group of U.S. adults. EDCs are chemicals or mixtures of chemicals that can cause adverse health effects by interfering with hormones in the body. The Society’s Scientific Statement on EDCs examined more than 1,300 studies that found links between chemical exposure and health problems, including infertility, obesity, diabetes, neurological problems and hormone-related cancers. Continue reading

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Sitting too long may raise heart disease risk – AHA

In December 2013 I posted for the first time on the dangers of sitting too long. “I must confess I was amazed to learn that simply sitting for long periods could be as the headline says, “Hazardous to Your Health and Longevity.” So, it’s not enough to exercise regularly, you also need to make sure that you don’t sit immobile for long periods….” That was the first sentence in the post Too much sitting can be hazardous to your health and longevity.

Now comes the American Heart Association saying, “Being sedentary is not just a lack of exercise, it is a potentially independent risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

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“Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels,” said Deborah Rohm Young, Ph.D., director of behavioral research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena and chair of the new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

“According to the statement, sedentary behavior may be associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, impaired insulin sensitivity (linked to diabetes) and an overall higher risk of death from any cause. (my emphasis)
Continue reading

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Chronic diseases and us – Infographic

I ran across this infographic in my meanderings and thought it had a lot of interesting if depressing information, like the increase in diabetes in the last few decades. On the positive side, “Many chronic diseases have a root in lifestyle decisions, from obesity to smoking. And, many of these conditions can be treated or even prevented by changing behavior.”

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Tony

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7 things you can do to prevent a stroke – Harvard

Regardless of your age or family history, a stroke doesn’t have to be inevitable. Here are some ways to protect yourself starting today, Harvard Health Publications said.

But , what is a stroke?

A stroke is a “brain attack.”  It can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost, according to the National Stroke Association.

Stroke by the Numbers
•    Each year nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke.
    •    A stroke happens every 40 seconds.
    •    Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.
    •    Every 4 minutes someone dies from stroke.
    •    Up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.
    •    Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S.

Age makes us more susceptible to having a stroke, as does having a mother, father, or other close relative who has had a stroke.

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You can’t reverse the years or change your family history, but there are many other stroke risk factors that you can control—provided that you’re aware of them. “Knowledge is power,” says Dr. Natalia Rost, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and associate director of the Acute Stroke Service at Massachusetts General Hospital. “If you know that a particular risk factor is sabotaging your health and predisposing you to a higher risk of stroke, you can take steps to alleviate the effects of that risk.”

Here are seven ways to start reining in your risks today, before a stroke has the chance to strike. Continue reading

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Does Eating Fast Food Mean a Higher Risk of Diabetes, Heart Disease?

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Living in this fast-paced world, eating fast food is a temptation few of us can ignore at one time or another.

People who have a habit of eating fast food on a regular basis are at greater risk of developing both heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to new research published in the latest online edition of the journal Circulation.

Scientists from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in the U.S. and the National University of Singapore worked together to analyze data from a 16-year study, which was based on eating habits of 52,000 Chinese nationals living in Singapore. Each resident had experienced a sudden transition from traditional eastern foods to a Western-style fast food diet.

Fast food in Singapore.

The study “discovered that those who ate fast food two-three times a week were twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease (CHD) compared to…

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Is Sugar As Dangerous as Alcohol?

Many people are saying yes and calls have started to regulate sugar in food and beverages.

The report ran in the research journal Nature and points to sugar as a greater health burden than infectious disease as it is behind heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

We have an epidemic of obesity with 30 percent of us suffering from it and another 30 percent of us overweight and possibly on the way to obesity. In addition, we have teenagers coming down with adult onset diabetes.

But, we don’t need the government stepping in and making laws about sugar consumption. What we eat is a private matter and we need to be more sensible about it and get those onerous obesity statistics going the other direction.

The way to regulate our sugar intake is for us to be smarter about what we eat. It’s on you and me to decide for ourselves. The last thing we need is the government sticking its heavy hand into our kitchen cupboards.

Tony

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How Does Exercise Help With Diabetes?

Regular readers know that eat less; move more; live longer is one of the mantras of this blog. Sadly, most folks do exactly the opposite. I exercise daily for mental and physical fitness. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that exercise is very important in managing Type 2 diabetes.


Here is what WebMD had to say on the subject:
“Exercise helps control Type 2 diabetes by:
• Improving your body’s use of insulin
• Burning excess body fat, helping to decrease and control weight (decreased body fat results in improved insulin sensitivity)
• Improving muscle strength
• Increasing bone density and strength
• Lowering blood pressure
• Helping to protect against heart and blood vessel disease by lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol
• Improving blood circulation and reducing your risk of heart disease
• Increasing energy level and enhancing work capacity
• Reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and releasing tension and anxiety.”

A study from Harvard showed that the benefits of weight training and aerobic exercise were independent of each other. Participants reduced their risk of diabetes by only doing one, but the combined effects were greater, it was found.

Last, but not least, I want to remind you that exercise benefits the brain as much as the body. Please check out the link at the top of the page “Important Facts About Your Brain” for further information. It does help to guard against memory loss and dementia in later life.

Tony

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Why Worry About High Blood Sugar?

You feel fine, so why worry about high blood sugar?

One of the main reasons is that chronic high blood sugar damages the walls of your arteries and blood vessels, according to Shelley Scott, RD, LDN, CDE, Clinical Dietitian and Diabetes Educator, speaking before a Northwestern Memorial Healthy Transitions Program® today.

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Since your blood circulates everywhere in your body, many parts of your body can be damaged, Ms. Scott said. Additionally, new research suggests an association with diabetes and high blood pressure and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Occasional high blood sugar don’t cause health complications, but the chronic, uncontrolled high blood sugars do the damage, she continued.

Steven Edelman, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, University of California, San Diego said, on ABC News, “Diabetes is a condition where the glucose or sugar levels are too high in the blood. Now, there are many reasons why the blood sugar levels get too high in people with diabetes, but I will only mention the two main defects now.
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Heart Health and Brain Health Linked – AA

Regular readers know that I am strongly concerned about my health, both physical and mental. At least two of my family members have suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia. So, I was thrilled to learn that the Alzheimer’s Association thinks there are links between heart health and brain health.

IMG_7718“Growing evidence suggests a close link between the health of the heart and the health of the brain. The brain is nourished by one of the body’s richest networks of blood vessels. With every beat, the heart pumps about 20 to 25 percent of the blood to the head, where brain cells use at least 20 percent of the food and oxygen carried by the blood in order to function normally. As a result, many factors that damage the heart or blood vessels may also damage the brain – and may increase the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias”, according to the Alzheimer’s Association (AA).

“Some autopsy studies show that as many as 80 percent of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease also have cardiovascular disease. This may be a key to understanding why some people who develop plaques and tangles on the brain – the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease – do not develop the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Autopsy studies suggest that plaques and tangles may be present in the brain without causing symptoms of cognitive decline unless the brain also shows evidence of vascular disease.”

Some of the factors for which there may be a heart-brain health connection include:
Smoking: There is fairly strong evidence that current smoking increases the risk of cognitive decline and possibly also dementia, and that quitting smoking may reduce the associated risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.
Diabetes: Diabetes is associated with lower cognitive performance, and there appears to be strong, 
but not conclusive, evidence for an association between diabetes and dementia.
Obesity: Mid-life obesity increases the risk of cognitive decline and may also be associated with an 
increased risk of dementia.
High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure, or hypertension, especially in midlife, has been shown 
to be associated with a higher risk of cognitive decline. Some evidence has also shown that medi- cine for treating high blood pressure may be effective in reducing the risk of decline.

“What’s good for your heart may in fact be good for your brain, too. Physical activity is one such factor that not only protects the heart but improves cognitive function and may also protect against dementia. And, some emerging evidence suggests that consuming a heart-healthy diet may also protect the brain.

“Many cardiovascular disease risk factors are modifiable – that is, they can be changed to decrease the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. Many experts believe that controlling cardiovascular risk factors may be the most cost-effective and helpful approach to protecting brain health. In fact, some researchers have suggested that the improved cardiovascular health of the population in the last 25 years has had a spillover effect by also reducing the incidence of dementia. Thus, reducing the burden of diabetes, cardio- vascular disease, and obesity may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. By including brain health promotion messages in existing heart-health campaigns, the public health community may help reduce both the incidence of chronic cardiovascular conditions and future cognitive decline.”

To read further on this check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise).

Tony

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