Carbohydrates and Type 2 Diabetes

Carbohydrates and Type 2 Diabetes

There is a much research that shows a low-carb diet leads to rapid and healthy weight loss. Human beings are overweight and obese more than ever before. Type 2 diabetes also happens to be much more of a problem now than it has in the past. The highly-processed meal plan that many living in modern, westernized countries consume regularly is also common.

It is no small coincidence that the simple carb profile of the Standard American Diet (SAD) is linked to overweight and obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, conditions that are largely avoidable by trading “bad” carbs for “good” carbohydrates.

Are All Carbs the Same?

In the 1970s and 80s Hollywood churned out “evil twin” TV series episodes by the dozens. From Knight Rider to Star Trek, Bonanza to The Bionic Man and a long list of soap operas, a mustache, beard or simple hairstyle change was all that was needed to turn a hero into his or her otherwise identical-looking villain.

What does that have to do with carbohydrates and diabetes?

Hollywood’s evil twin episodic device still popular today shows us that two similar or even identical appearing entities can be vastly different. This is true with carbohydrates. There were the good and bad twins played by David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider, and there are good and bad carbohydrates.

Simple Carbs Are Mostly Bad Carbs

Simple carbohydrates are absorbed quickly into your bloodstream. They have a very simple molecular composition, so your body can take them apart very easily. In other words, the good and not so good chemicals, nutrients and compounds in simple carbohydrates (bad carbs) are rapidly absorbed by your body.

This is a good thing for those healthy nutrients and vitamins that are found in simple carbohydrates. The problem is, due to their molecular construction, there aren’t very many essential nutrients your body requires in most foods that are full of bad carbs. Processed, simple carbohydrates found in soft drinks, white rice, white bread, cookies and a long list of processed foods are full of sugar but contain few of the nutrients needed for health.

Sugar is a simple carb, and is rapidly processed by your body. It enters your bloodstream and is broken down to glucose. Glucose is needed by your body to produce energy so that you can walk, and think, and move and exist. However, when you get too much glucose in your bloodstream, you cause a blood sugar spike, something that diabetics and non-diabetic individuals should look to avoid.

With many of the processed and sugar-laden “foods” on offer today, it takes only a very small amount to cause elevated and unhealthy blood glucose levels. Reduce or eliminate the bad carbohydrates in your diet and replace them with good carbs, and you have taken a big and healthy step to diabetes management.

Complex Carbs Are the Good Carbs

Complex carbohydrates are more difficult to break down. This is a more natural process, and how our bodies are designed or have evolved to digest the foods we need for optimum health. They usually contain plenty of healthy nutrients, minerals, enzymes, vitamins and other natural goodies your body craves and needs.

Complex carbohydrates are often plant-based foods that are also high in fiber. Fiber is recommended for diabetes management, as it helps regulate a healthy body weight, lowers cholesterol levels, controls blood sugar levels and reduces your risk of developing heart disease.

Because of their complex construction, these good carbs take longer for your body to digest. This makes you feel full longer after you are through eating complex carbohydrate foods. This can lead to a reduced daily consumption of calories and assist with body weight management which is important to both diabetic and non-diabetic individuals.

Complex carbohydrates are in abundance in fruits and vegetables, nuts and whole grains.

Eat these foods fresh and raw whenever you can. Even steamed, boiled or broiled, fruits and vegetables will deliver healthy complex carbohydrates and essential minerals and nutrients your body needs to prevent diabetes development, as well as effectively manage diabetes if you are diagnosed. Plant-based diets have even proven successful in reversing diabetes, so start getting more of these healthy carbohydrates in your system today, and learn to shun the sugar treats.


Juice for Weight Loss

Juice for Weight Loss

Traditionally juice diets have been used for detoxification purposes. The principles behind this are straightforward and do make sense, but are only designed for a short period of 2-3 days maximum (often called a juice fast).

By only consuming fresh juices for a period of time you naturally abstain from fats, processed carbohydrates and refined sugars as well as substances like coffee and alcohol.

As a result, this is extremely beneficial for cleansing the liver and kidneys and their related systems, including the whole digestive tract. It is believed too that by giving the digestive system a ‘rest’ from fiber; digestion is easier, and nutrients are able to be absorbed more efficiently.

Recently many bold claims have been made about prolonged juice fasting, such as disease fighting, free radical destroying, fat burning and pain alleviating results. However, many of these claims are as yet to be supported by any reliable research.

Juice Fasting is Not a Long-term Solution to Weight Loss

Juice fasting exclusively as a weight loss measure is a short-term solution for a long term problem that can in some situations result in unwanted complications.

The term ‘juicing’ pretty much means drinking your food, primarily fruits, vegetables and herbs. Incorporated into a healthy diet juicing is a great way to boost energy levels and consume extra nutrients – a popular favorite is beetroot, celery, carrot, apple, ginger and mint; perfect for a morning ‘pick me up’.

Weight will certainly be lost when ‘juicing’ however it is not guaranteed that any actual fat will be burnt.  Instead you even risk losing muscle mass due to the absence of protein in the diet. You also run the risk of slowing your metabolism, meaning when you resume a normal diet, less energy will be burnt and potentially more fat will be stored immediately following the ‘juice fasting’ period.

These problems may be combatted by consuming juice more frequently (every 2-3 hours) and balancing your juices by adding protein, either in the form of powder supplements or natural sources such as almond milk or Greek yogurt.

High-carb and High-calorie

Juices can also be surprisingly calorie dense, especially when predominantly fruit. This is due to their high carbohydrate content. The actual process of juicing fruit and vegetables can also remove some of their natural benefits; of particular concern is the absence of fiber. Once the physical bulk, largely fiber, is removed, the remaining sugars form a much larger percentage of what remains.

If viewed as a short-term revitalizing and cleansing fast, juicing can be an extremely positive part of a healthy lifestyle, especially when combined with a balanced diet and regular physical exercise. As a long-term weight loss solution, however, it is a fad diet that cannot and should not be sustained for long periods.

Initial dramatic weight loss may indeed occur, however little will be done for long-term weight maintenance.

If you do decide to try a juice fast you should consult your healthcare professional first and discuss any individual potential risks. Juicing is not recommended for people suffering diabetes and heart disease nor is it suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Always include a wide selection of fruits and vegetables, washed thoroughly before use and where possible choose organic produce to eliminate concentrated consumption of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers (particularly in leafy greens).

Intense Workouts for Health and Fitness

Intense Workouts for Health and Fitness

There are several benefits to working out, we all know that. Regular physical activity can build strength, boost immunity, improve posture, and can also lead to weight loss, which further lowers the risk for chronic illnesses and disease.

However, regular exercise employing the same repeated workout can lead to what fitness experts call the workout plateau. A workout plateau happens when our body gets used to the rigor of the workout and could signal that you need to up the intensity level of your exercise routine.

Changing up your workout and gradually increasing the intensity is the key to seeing results consistently. A good intense workout is one that uses your whole body and keeps your heart rate at 70% of your maximum recommended rate for your age. For comparison, a moderate workout may only register about 50-60% maximum heart rate.

This simply means that an intense workout is one that would be difficult for you to carry on a conversation without having to catch your breath.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

You may have heard of the term HIIT being used by several fitness gurus nowadays. HIIT is more than just a string of letters. It refers to an intense type of workout that incorporates high-intensity exercises like doing sprints and jumps or even running or cycling with very short rests in between.

Typically, a HIIT workout will require you to perform at a maximum energy level and do an active rest afterward. While in the active rest phase, you do lower-intensity moves like walking or swaying your arms to keep your heart raised but not extended.

The work-rest-work pattern is what makes HIIT a hit among fitness enthusiasts. Not only do you maximize your calorie burn while on HIIT, but you also continue to burn calories after you work out. HIIT workouts can also be incorporated with weights and resistance bands to further build muscle, which can help in burning more calories even when you’re done with the exercise. A 20-minute HIIT workout trumps running at a steady pace for an hour in terms of caloric expenditure, meaning you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.

If you are looking into doing HIIT workouts as a way to challenge yourself, it is important to keep in mind that these exercises are intended to be performed at a maximum energy level, so be prepared to sweat. For those who are new to exercising or for people with heart conditions, it is best to consult your doctor first before going into any type of exercise routine, but especially one involving extreme exertion.

HIIT for Beginners

Called the Timmons method, this entry-level HIIT workout consists of 20 seconds of intense work followed by active recovery for two minutes. While in active recovery, you can do low-intensity moves or continue running or cycling at a less intense rate. If active recovery is too much for you at this point, you can do a complete rest for two minutes, instead. Do the entire circuit three times.

HIIT for Intermediate Level

If you have been exercising regularly, you can double the amount of work (40 seconds) and cut the active rest period in half. You can perform the entire routine six to eight times.

HIIT for Advanced Level

To really amp up your exercise, advanced HIIT requires you to work at different levels or blocks. You’ll start with 30 seconds of exercise at 30% intensity, followed by 20 seconds at 60% intensity, and ends with 10 seconds going at maximum intensity.

Some Precautions Before Exercising

HIIT exercises require you to perform at a maximum intensity level to be highly effective. Loads of energy is needed for you to successfully finish one HIIT routine. For days when you feel you lack energy, you can probably skip HIIT and substitute with a lower-intensity routine.

Recovery days are also vital in HIIT. While doing HIIT exercises every day can help you lose weight faster, it can also make you lose muscle mass. Allow yourself to recover from HIIT by doing low-intensity workouts or by only lifting weights for that session. By doing so, you are not just losing fat, you’re building muscle, as well.

High-intensity Interval Training is an intense type of workout that can truly challenge even the fittest and the strongest. It is an effective way to lose fat and helps you fight off life-threatening illnesses. HIIT exercises are also versatile and can be done in the gym, at home, or with running or cycling. Don’t let its name intimidate you, HIIT can be adapted even for beginners. So go ahead, challenge yourself and do a HIIT workout today!

Cholesterol Lowering Diet

Cholesterol Lowering Diet – Foods Which Support Your Health Goals

A cholesterol lowering diet is recommended as the first line of response to high cholesterol.  Once you go on cholesterol lowering drugs, you are never supposed to go off.  Therefore, if you can change your cholesterol level through diet modifications, you will be better off.
Cholesterol is found in the lipids (which are the fats) of the blood stream and cells of the body.  It is a soft, waxy substance which helps to form cell membranes and some hormones, and performs other functions necessary in a healthy body. Cholesterol and other fats do not dissolve in the blood, and are transported to and from cells by carriers called lipoproteins. The two significant lipoproteins are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL (“bad” cholesterol) is the major cholesterol carrier in the blood. Too much LDL circulating can gradually build up artery causing plaque in the walls of the arteries feeding the heart and brain. A clot forming near this plaque can block the blood flow to part of the brain, causing a stroke or to part of the heart muscle causing a heart attack.
A Cholesterol lowering diet aims to balance LDL and HDL cholesterol to reduce the risks. Increasing the fiber in your diet and lowering the fat is key.  There are certain foods which you need to include in any cholesterol lowering diet.
For instance, starting your day with 1 and a half cups of cooked oatmeal (not the instant kind) garnished with a banana will provide all of the soluble fiber you need in the day.  It is a great breakfast on any diet.
At lunchtime, have a salad.  Instead of using cheese, meat or croutons, add 2 ounces of walnuts for protein and crunch.  Almonds are another nut which have a similar effect.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in most fish help the heart in many ways such as reducing blood pressure and the risk of blood clots.  If you have already had one or more heart attacks, fish oil — or omega-3 fatty acids — significantly reduces the risk of sudden death.  You should have two servings of baked or grilled fish a week.  
When you are going to use fat, always opt for olive oil first.  Olive oil contains a mix of antioxidants which lower your "bad" cholesterol and leave your "good" cholesterol untouched.
Meanwhile, there are a number of foods modified to be good on a cholesterol lowering diet.  Certain margarines, orange juice and yogurt drinks have all been fortified with plant sterols to help reduce LDL cholesterol by more than 10 percent. You need at least two grams of plant sterols every day.  This equals about two 8-ounce (237 milliliters) servings of plant sterol-fortified orange juice.
A cholesterol lowering diet can mean changing your eating patterns.  The heart benefits to making the changes are great.  The consequences for not making the changes can be fatal.  Fortunately, it is even easier than ever to introduce a cholesterol lowering diet into your lifestyle today.

Heart Health for all

Heart Health for all


5 Habits That Boost Heart Health: Taking Care Of Your Most Important Asset

We may think we are doing our best with our hearts. We exercise enough and eat a basic diet. But when it comes to our heart health there are many more factors to consider. Your heart health is not just another organ. It requires you to take care of it. Let us look at five habits you can start today to keep you feeling your best:

  • Eat fats but not trans-fats — One fat we do not need is trans-fat. These fats are found often in processed food and meats. They increase the chance of cardiovascular disease or stroke in a lifetime. Over time, these processed fats can start blocking your arteries, leading to multiple other health problems.Trans-fats are seen in foods such as added color and texture to baked items, chips, margarines, and fried fast food. TIP: Read all product labels. Along with your vegetables and fruits, try buying organic fed meat, including chicken.


  • Brush your teeth twice a day – Nothing is more painful, it seems, as a toothache. Good dental practice is a clear indicator of the general heart health, since periodontal (gum) diseases also carry the same heart disease risk factors.Studies on this subject continue, but several have shown that mouth borne bacteria associated with the growth of gum disease can travel into the bloodstream and trigger C-reactive protein, which is a marker of blood vessel inflammation. Do your best to visit the dentist twice a month. If a cavity should arise, get it fixed as soon as possible. Your mouth and pain level will thank you.


  • Sleep well — Sleep is an important aspect of maintaining a happy heart. You will be at increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, irrespective of age, if you do not sleep enough. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has shown, “Adults who sleep less than seven hours each night is more likely to say they have had health problems, including heart attack, asthma, and depression.Some of these health problems raise the risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.” Try training yourself to sleep seven to eight hours per night. Avoid the electronics at least an hour before bed. Enjoy a quiet game of solitaire or paint a picture, giving yourself time to de-stress from the day.


  • Do not forget to take breaks during the day – The Mayo Clinic reported in a recent study, “Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome.” The study concluded that taking a ten-minute break every hour is a small but efficient way to take care of your heart.
  • Time to quit smoking – Smoking is what it is, a habit. Not a good one at that. Multiple studies have shown all the health risks that accommodate cigarettes, including death. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention again reports, as of 2019l, “Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or one in every five adults.
    In 2021, nearly 16 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older currently smoked cigarettes. This means an estimated 34.1 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes. More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.”While it can be hard to kick this habit, by doing so increases your life span and your heart is able to function more easily and properly. Try snacking on crunchy vegetables when you have a craving. Even a short walk around the neighborhood can eliminate a short craving.

In closing – Take care of your heart as if your life depended on it, because it does. Feeling your best is the best asset you can give yourself. As American author, Ann Wilson Schaef, once quoted, “Good health is not something we can buy. However, it can be an extremely valuable savings account.”