The Biggest Health Myths of All Time (Health Central article)

The Biggest Health Myths of All Time (Health Central article)

The Biggest Health Myths of All Time

There are a lot of urban myths out there such as:  If you drop food on the floor and pick it up within three seconds, is it still OK to eat it? Should only women over 40 years old use a retinol? Do eating carrots improve vision? Can blue light from screens damage your eyes? Determine what is fact and what is fiction by reading what the experts say. Our own Dr. Connor is quoted in this Health Central article. 

To further discuss, make an appointment with Dr. Connor.

The Biggest Health Myths of All Time
Superfoods Part 4: Essential Superfoods for Diabetics and Pre-Diabetics

Superfoods Part 4: Essential Superfoods for Diabetics and Pre-Diabetics

Superfoods for prediabetes and diabetes
This article is part of my series on superfoods. Learn more about superfoods, superfoods for weight loss, and critical superfoods for a healthy heart. Stay tuned for more to come in this series.

Diabetes occurs when the body can’t process carbohydrates and sugars as well as it should. The foods that we eat can play a big role in preventing and managing this condition. Turning to superfoods is a great, nutritious way to get your metabolism working more efficiently.

Is Diabetes Something You Need to Be Concerned About?

The older you get, the higher your risk for developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, so it’s important to learn more about how to protect your health and wellness as you age.

There are a few different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a condition that you are usually diagnosed with when you are younger, although this is changing as there are many adults who have a new diagnosis of this type of diabetes. People with this disease cannot make any insulin, a hormone that helps the body use sugar as fuel. People with type 2 diabetes may produce some insulin, but their body does not use the insulin hormone very well. Additionally, gestational diabetes is a third form of this disease that may be diagnosed when a person is pregnant. All of these forms of diabetes cause a person to have high levels of blood sugar, which can damage the body and lead to further health problems down the road.

It’s also important to be aware of a condition of elevated blood sugar that does not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of “diabetes.” This condition is sometimes called “prediabetes”. People with this condition have slightly elevated blood sugar levels, and have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or stroke. While one out of every three Americans has “prediabetes”, the vast majority of them don’t know it! For this reason and many other reasons, it is very important to get your blood sugar checked at regular physical exams so that you have a better idea of whether you may be at risk and to get the information you need to stay healthy.

Risk Factors for Diabetes

If you have any of the following factors, your risk of getting type 2 diabetes may be higher:

  • You have prediabetes
  • You are overweight or obese
  • You are at least 45 years old
  • You have a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
  • You don’t get very much exercise
  • You are Black, Hispanic or Latino, Native American, or Alaska Native

Controlling Your Diabetes Risk

If you want to reduce your chances of being diagnosed with diabetes, you can make some lifestyle changes. Getting more physical activity and losing extra weight is a great place to start. Additionally, if you eat a more nutritious diet, you can better control your blood sugar levels. This can help you prevent or manage diabetes.

Superfoods are a great way to eat better. There isn’t one official definition that says which foods count as “superfoods,” but in general this label is given to foods that are jam-packed with nutrients that your body needs in order to stay healthy. Many superfoods can help keep your body’s blood sugar levels in a more normal range.

Superfoods for Better Blood Sugar Levels

Superfoods for Diabetes
The foods you eat have a big effect on how stable your blood sugar levels are. Certain food choices are better than others when it comes to avoiding high blood sugar spikes or low blood sugar crashes.

Why Is Controlling Blood Sugar Levels Important?

When we eat food, the body breaks down carbohydrates into smaller sugar molecules, which enter the bloodstream. For most people, the pancreas makes insulin and sends it around the body. Insulin then helps the cells in different organs absorb sugar from the blood and convert it into energy. After a meal, blood sugar levels rise temporarily and then eventually go back to normal as sugar is removed from the blood.

In people with diabetes, who don’t make or cannot use insulin, cells can’t absorb sugar. These sugar molecules stay in the blood for longer periods of time, and often reach high levels. Additionally, diabetes makes a person more likely to have blood sugar levels that get too low if they miss a meal, take too much medication, or exercise a lot.

The Glycemic Index

Overall, the goal is to keep blood levels stable. You can do this by paying attention to the glycemic index of the carbohydrates that you eat.

Foods that contain carbohydrates include grains (bread, cereal, pasta, rice), fruits and fruit juices, starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas), dairy products, foods with fiber (beans and lentils), sugary desserts and snacks, and sugary drinks.

The glycemic index (GI) is a number that rates all carbs on a scale from 0 to 100. Low GI foods:

  • Take longer for the body to break down, and require your body to actually work harder to break down these types of foods
  • Cause your blood sugar to rise slowly and steadily
  • Give you longer-lasting energy
  • Make you feel full for a longer period of time

On the other hand, high GI foods:

  • Increase your blood sugar levels very quickly, and then rapidly drop those blood sugar levels back down to low levels
  • Make you crave more carbohydrate-rich foods once your blood sugar levels plunge
  • Make you more likely to overeat or to eat when you are not truly hungry

When people with diabetes eat mostly low GI foods, they have better control over their blood sugar levels. One of the reasons many superfoods are so good for you is because they have a low GI.

Whole Grains

Whole grains, as opposed to refined or processed grains, contain high levels of fiber. Fiber is a type of complex carbohydrate that has a low GI. Your body can’t completely break down fiber, so it doesn’t make your blood sugar levels increase as much. People who eat high levels of fiber have a lower chance of becoming diabetic. In particular, people who eat at least three servings of whole grains per day have a 20-30% lower chance of getting diabetes.

When people with diabetes eat low GI, whole grain foods on a regular basis, they also have lower levels of inflammation. This can help fight obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease, and help the body become more responsive to insulin.

Most whole-grain foods can be considered a superfood, not only because of their fiber content, but also because of their high levels of B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, and antioxidants. Examples of whole grains are:

  • Whole-wheat pasta, or baked goods like bread or crackers made with whole-wheat flour
  • Brown rice
  • Grains often served for breakfast, such as steel-cut oats, stone-ground grits, or amaranth
  • Grains that are often prepared as sides, such as quinoa, barley, millet, or bulgur
  • Popcorn

Low GI Superfood Fruits

Some superfood fruits have a low GI, while other potentially less healthy fruits have a higher GI. A fruit’s GI is primarily based on how much fiber the fruit contains. Some fruits have more fiber, and therefore, a lower GI.

Eating low GI fruit helps people with diabetes lower their blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Examples of low GI fruits are:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and other citrus fruits
  • Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Nectarines

Berries may also provide diabetics with additional benefits. They contain antioxidants that have shown the ability to improve insulin and cholesterol levels, and are linked to a lower likelihood of developing diabetes.

To get the maximum amount of fiber from your fruits, try strategies like:

  • Eating whole fruits rather than drinking fruit juice. Juice has had most of the fiber removed, and often has added sugars, meaning that it has less nutrients and a higher GI.
  • Avoiding fruit products like canned fruits that contain added sugar.
  • Eating fruit with the skin on, if it’s edible.

The Power of Legumes

Legumes – beans, lentils, and peas – are superfoods that offer a ton of nutritional benefits. They also contain high levels of fiber, making them a good low GI food option. Other nutrients found in legumes include:

  • Protein
  • B vitamins
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus

In one study of over 100 people with diabetes, those who ate at least one cup of legumes per day had lower blood sugar levels and a reduced chance of developing heart disease.

However, despite these health benefits, on any given day only about 8% of Americans say they eat legumes. Get more of these superfoods by adding black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans, pinto beans, soybeans, and lentils to your meals.

Other Superfoods for Diabetics

Superfoods for Diabetes

In addition to eating more low GI foods, people with prediabetes or diabetes can make other dietary changes. There are many more nutritious superfoods that can be beneficial to people watching their blood sugar levels.

Fatty Fish

While many different types of seafood can be a part of a healthy diet, fish with a high fat content are typically the only ones to receive the “superfood” label. This is because these fish contain the highest levels of omega-3, a healthy form of fat.

Omega-3’s are great for the heart. This is especially good news for diabetics, who have a higher chance of heart disease and stroke. There is some evidence that omega-3’s may also help prevent other health conditions, including certain types of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, although research has found conflicting results.

When diabetics eat fatty fish on a regular basis, their bodies can better control blood sugar levels. However, this result is not seen when people with diabetes or elevated blood sugar levels eat large amounts of lean, non-fatty fish.

Fatty superfood fish include:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Herring
  • Sardines

Eggs

This superfood is a great way to start your day. Eggs may help with weight loss, which is important for preventing and managing diabetes. Scientific studies have found that eggs can:

Eggs can also specifically help with diabetes. When diabetic folks eat two eggs per day, they tend to have lower cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin, and blood pressure levels. Replacing a carb-heavy breakfast with eggs may be a good way to improve the way your body processes food.

Leafy Greens

While these veggies do contain a small amount of carbohydrates, they are considered a low GI food and won’t significantly change blood sugar levels. Additionally, leafy green vegetables provide a lot of vitamin C, which is particularly important for people with diabetes.

Spinach, kale, chard, and other leafy greens also contain antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which can improve eye health. It’s important for people with diabetes to take care of their eyes, because they are more likely to have eye problems.

Yet another nutrient provided by leafy green superfoods is vitamin K. This key vitamin can help the body make better use of insulin, reduce inflammation, and decrease diabetes risk.

Tree Nuts

Tree nuts, including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts, and pecans, have low levels of carbohydrates. They also contain some of the same nutrients as many of the other foods on this list, including protein, fiber, and omega-3’s.

Scientific research has found that tree nuts can help people with diabetes in several ways:

  • When nuts are eaten along with carbohydrates, the blood sugar doesn’t spike as much as when carbohydrates are eaten alone.
  • Some research has shown that nuts can decrease appetite and calm inflammation.
  • clinical trial found that eating a lot of almonds every day led to lower cholesterol, insulin, and blood sugar levels.
  • When people with diabetes ate walnut oil every day in one study, they had better blood sugar levels.
  • A study of over 16,000 diabetics found that people who ate more tree nuts were less likely to have heart disease.

Yogurt

Eating this superfood may be a good way to stave off diabetes. Research has found that people who eat 80-125 grams of yogurt per day are 14% less likely to develop this health condition. In particular, dairy products with high levels of protein may be extra effective at preventing diabetes. Eating Greek yogurt gives you more protein per serving, and often contains less sugar, too.

Other fermented superfoods, including kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, may also help prevent diabetes. These foods supply the body with healthy bacteria that can help improve the body’s metabolism.

Conclusion

People with diabetes need to be especially careful to make sure that the foods they eat aren’t causing problems with blood sugar levels. Many superfoods can help by keeping these levels more stable and helping the body better respond to insulin. Whether you’re worried about developing diabetes in the future, or are trying to manage this condition right now, eating more superfoods every day can give you better health benefits.
Make an appointment with Dr. Connor to further discuss how superfoods can benefit your health.

Superfoods Part 3: Critical Superfoods for a Healthy Heart

Superfoods Part 3: Critical Superfoods for a Healthy Heart

Superfoods Part 3: Critical Superfoods for a Healthy Heart

Heart health becomes increasingly important as we get older. Our daily habits, including the foods we eat, can have a big effect on whether or not we develop heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes. If you often eat food that you know is less healthy, it’s not too late to make changes now that can have an impact on your health later. Adding more superfoods to your meals can help your heart and blood vessels function at their best.

Why Is Heart Health Important?

Heart disease can be very serious. It causes one out of every four deaths in the United States, making it the number one cause of death. Additionally, every 40 seconds an American has a heart attack. Keeping your heart healthy can help you avoid sickness, disability, or an early death.

Heart Disease

The term “heart disease” doesn’t just refer to one illness. Rather, it’s a general term for several related conditions:

  • Coronary heart disease, in which plaque builds up in the blood vessels, blocking blood flow to the heart
  • Heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, happens when blood flow to the heart is blocked and the heart muscle dies or becomes damaged
  • Heart failure occurs when the heart becomes too weak to keep pumping blood
  • Other conditions can also lead to changes in the heart’s valves, muscle, or rhythm

Who Gets Heart Disease?

Heart disease affects men and women at equal rates, although women tend to get heart disease at a slightly older age than do men. Additionally, a person’s risk of heart disease changes based on their race and ethnicity. People who are Black tend to have a higher chance of developing heart disease, while people who are Hispanic, Asian, or Pacific Islander tend to be at lower risk.

A person’s genetics also play a role. Genes are passed down through families, so if you have a relative who was diagnosed with heart disease, your risk is higher.

Finally, the older you get, the more your risk increases. Men who are older than 45 and women who are older than 55 have a higher chance of developing heart disease.

Lifestyle Factors Related to Heart Disease

While a person cannot change certain things, such as his or her genetics or age, each of us can still do other things to boost our heart health. The three main risk factors for getting heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and smoking. Nearly half of Americans have at least one of these factors, but in most cases, they can all be prevented.

People with certain conditions or lifestyle factors are also more likely to develop heart disease:

Eating for Heart Health

To boost your heart health, start by focusing on the things that are within your control. Changing the things that you eat is a great place to start. Goals of a heart-healthy diet include:

  • Lowering your blood pressure
  • Reducing levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and increasing levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol)
  • Lowering your blood sugar levels

Many superfoods can help you reach these goals. Eating a variety of different nutritious foods on a regular basis can make a big difference in how well your heart functions.

Critical Superfoods for a Healthy Heart

Heart-Healthy Protein Options

Protein that comes from animals, including red or fatty meats, contains a lot of saturated fat. This type of fat leads to more cholesterol in your blood vessels, which in turn raises your risk of heart disease.

It’s okay to eat meat occasionally – it provides you with several different kinds of nutrients. Certain strategies can help you reduce the amount of saturated fat you are getting from meat:

  • Eat meat less often
  • Eat smaller portions of meat
  • Choose leaner cuts of meat
  • Take the skin off of foods like chicken

Ultimately, replacing meat with other protein-packed superfood options gives you the best shot at heart health.

Eat More Seafood

Replacing fattier meats with superfood protein sources is a great way to help your heart. Fatty fish is one such food that can boost your health. Research has shown that people who rarely eat fish are more likely to die from heart disease than those who eat fish once per week or more. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be responsible for this effect – people who get more of this nutrient have lower levels of fat in their blood and have a reduced risk of heart attack and heart disease.

Superfood seafood sources of omega-3’s include:

  • Salmon (fresh, wild caught is best)
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Oysters
  • Sea bass

Omega-3’s are available in supplement form but it is always best to obtain them from food if you can because the studies to date seem to be inconclusive about the effectiveness of the supplement form.

Plant-Based Sources of Protein

You can also use plant protein in place of fatty meats. Soybeans, beans, and lentils can all be used as a main dish, and are all considered superfoods.

Like seafood, soybeans also contain a lot of omega-3’s. Try stir-frying or sautéing tofu in an omega-3-containing oil such as canola oil, topping with your favorite sauce, and serving over brown rice or a healthy pasta. Alternately, roast tofu in the oven along with some vegetables or mash up a block of tofu to make a scramble.

Eating beans, lentils, and other legumes has also been tied to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. These foods contain many of the same nutrients as meat, but lack saturated fats. Legumes are also packed with fiber, and people who eat the highest levels of fiber have a lower chance of developing heart disease. Ideas for adding beans and other legumes to your diet include:

  • Throwing them in soups, stews, and chilies
  • Topping salads with beans or chickpeas
  • Dipping veggies in hummus or a black bean dip
  • Preparing beans or lentils as a side
  • Wrapping them up in a burrito or taco
  • Mixing beans or lentils with vegetables, herbs, and cheese for a light salad

Superfood Vegetables for Heart Health

Green vegetables – think spinach, kale, chard, collard greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts – have a lot of healthy nutrients that can protect your heart. Some of these health-boosting compounds are:

These veggies make for great side dishes. Eat them raw, as a salad, or sauté in a healthy fat. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts taste great roasted with your favorite herbs and spices.

Whole Grains for Whole Health

Whole grains are less processed than their refined counterparts. Examples of whole grain foods include whole-wheat bread, brown rice, rolled oats, barley, grits, whole-wheat pasta, and even popcorn.

Whole grains are considered a superfood because of their many nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins, and iron. They also take longer to be broken down by the body, meaning that your blood sugar levels will stay more stable as you digest them.

Many clinical trials have found that eating whole grains is good for the heart. People who eat more of this superfood have a 25% reduced risk of stroke and 22% reduced risk of heart disease.

Prepare Meals With Superfood Fats

When you cook food, you generally use some type of fat, like butter or oil. Because butter is an animal-based product, it contains a lot of saturated fat, and it’s better to eat it in moderation. Additionally, coconut, palm, palm kernel, and hydrogenated oils contain saturated fat and shouldn’t be used often.

Olive oil, on the other hand, is considered by many to be a superfood. It contains a lot of healthy monounsaturated fats and damage-fighting antioxidants. Olive oil also has compounds called polyphenols that help prevent heart disease. Cooking with olive oil can help people reduce their blood pressurelower someone’s chances of heart disease or heart attack, and may even help people lose weight.

Flaxseed oil is another excellent superfood option. Flaxseeds have more omega-3 fatty acids than any other food! They also contain B vitamins, phosphorus, and magnesium. Flaxseeds can fight all the different types of heart disease, so cooking with flaxseed oil is a good move for heart health.

Other options for cooking oils that contain healthier fats include canola, safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, or peanut oils.

Superfoods for the heart

Heart-Boosting Spices

Many of us get too much salt in our diets, and can improve our heart health by cutting out some of the sodium. In particular, people with high blood pressure should try to follow a low-salt diet. Salt is a big source of flavor. You may not miss it as much if you switch to flavoring your foods with superfood spices:

  • Black pepper protects the heart from unhealthy fats.
  • Cinnamon can help reduce blood pressure levels and helps keep the blood from clotting.
  • Chili peppers contain a spicy molecule called capsaicin, which can soothe inflammation and protect the heart.
  • Garlic may improve cholesterol levels.
  • Ginger helps prevent fat and cholesterol from building up in the arteries.

Can You Eat Sugar on a Heart-Healthy Diet?

Not all sugary foods are created equal. Some foods contain natural sugars, while others have sugar added to them while being processed. For example, fruits naturally contain sugar, but extra sugar may be added to items like canned fruit or fruit juice. When you’re eating for heart health, it’s better to limit the amount of added sugars you eat. This means cutting out sweetened drinks like soda, alcohol, and energy drinks. It also means limiting the amount of desserts or sugary snacks you eat. If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, try looking to superfoods with higher levels of natural sugar to replace sweeter processed foods. Here are some heart-healthy options:

  • Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries are loaded with nutrients, fiber, and polyphenols. People who eat them regularly have better fat and sugar metabolism, improved cholesterol levels, and boosted heart health.
  • Grapes: Red grapes contain a molecule called resveratrol, which protects against heart disease and aging.
  • Dark chocolate: Eating this superfood – in moderation, of course – may lower a person’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Healthy Heart Diets

Some people may find it hard to add individual superfoods to their daily meals, and prefer a more comprehensive eating plan that tells them what and when to eat. Doctors have developed a couple of different diets that boost heart health, and many of these emphasize eating more superfoods.

The DASH Diet

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, is an eating plan that helps people lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. As an example, someone who is following DASH and needs 2000 calories per day would eat:

  • 6-8 servings of grains per day, preferably whole grains
  • 4-5 servings of vegetables per day
  • 4-5 servings of fruits per day
  • 2-3 servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy products per day
  • Less than 6 ounces of lean meat per day
  • 4-5 servings of nuts or seeds per week
  • 2-3 servings of healthy oils per day

Clinical trials that have studied the DASH diet have also found that people who make the following changes are more likely to see a benefit:

  • Reduce sodium intake to 2,300 mg or less per day
  • Replace 10% of carbohydrates with either protein or unsaturated fat
  • Get more physical activity

The Mediterranean Diet

This eating plan is based on the ways that people in Italy, Spain, and other regions near the Mediterranean traditionally prepare and eat their food. Like the DASH diet, the Mediterranean diet advocates eating whole grains, fresh produce, and other high-fiber foods. The eating plan is centered primarily around plant-based foods – lean meat or chicken is more of an accent than the main focus of the meal. Scientific research has found that people who follow the Mediterranean diet have better blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They are less likely to have heart disease and other chronic health conditions.

Superfoods-for-heart

Other Strategies for Heart Health

Changing your diet is a great first step towards better heart health. Other lifestyle changes that your doctor may recommend include:

  • Losing extra weight
  • Reducing stress
  • Exercising and moving more throughout the day
  • Getting better sleep
  • Quitting smoking
  • Drinking alcohol less often

Your doctor can help you understand your risk of heart disease by measuring your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and assessing other risk factors. If you are concerned about your heart, get annual physical exams and ask your doctor for recommendations related to lifestyle changes you can make. If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, your doctor may also prescribe you medication in order to help manage these factors.

Putting It All Together

Changing up your diet is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Swap in superfoods for high-sugar, fatty, processed foods whenever possible. Eating a variety of different types of superfoods is a great way to start living a more heart-healthy lifestyle!

If you would like to learn more, schedule a consultation with Dr. Connor.

How to Prevent and Reverse Sarcopenia

How to Prevent and Reverse Sarcopenia

Is losing muscle just a normal part of aging? For some people, a drop in muscle mass and strength can be a serious health problem known as sarcopenia. People with this condition may be more at risk for falls and can have trouble performing daily activities. There are many risk factors for sarcopenia. Some of these, like not getting enough exercise, can be prevented. Additionally, muscle loss can be reversed. Strength training, a healthy diet, and supplements may all help treat sarcopenia.

What is Sarcopenia?

People with sarcopenia have low levels of muscle mass (the total amount of all muscles found in your body). They also have decreased muscle strength or function, which can be measured using things like walking speed or handgrip strength. This loss of muscle happens over time, usually due to aging.

The process of losing muscle starts happening earlier in life than you may think. After a person turns 30, they begin to lose about 3-8% of muscle per decade. This process speeds up even further when a person is in their 60’s. By the time someone reaches their 80’s, they may have lost up to half of their original muscle mass.

As many as one in three people over the age of 60 has sarcopenia. While sarcopenia is usually seen in older people, it may also be seen in younger people as well. For example, people with inflammatory diseases are more likely to develop sarcopenia.

Why is Sarcopenia a Problem?

sarcopenia

Sarcopenia can lead to multiple other physical and mental health issues. People with this condition may be more likely to get broken bones. They may also walk more slowly, which can be a sign that a person has a higher risk of sickness and death. Sarcopenia may also lead to disability and a greater risk of falls.

People living with sarcopenia also say that they experience many other physical and mental issues as a result of their condition, such as:

  • Trouble standing
  • Balance problems
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Feeling afraid of being injured
  • Feeling embarrassed about their health
  • Feeling lonely or meeting up with friends and family less often

Many people with sarcopenia have a harder time meeting their own needs. Sarcopenia can make it harder to do everyday tasks such as cleaning up around the house, showering, and driving. This may mean that they are less able to live independently.

Finally, people with sarcopenia may have a shorter life expectancy. Focusing on sarcopenia risk factors and working to build more muscle can help you live a longer, healthier life.

How Do You Know if You Have Sarcopenia?

If you think you may have this condition, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may run several tests in order to make a diagnosis, such as:

  • Imaging scans in order to see how much muscle you have throughout the body
  • Tests that test measure how strongly you can grip, in order to see how strong your muscles are
  • Tests that measure how quickly you can walk or climb stairs, in order to see how well your muscles work

If your doctor thinks you may have sarcopenia, they can help you come up with a plan to prevent further muscle loss and even build new muscle.

Preventing Sarcopenia

Sarcopenia has been linked to several risk factors. For example, this condition becomes more common with age. Additionally, up to 30% of your risk of sarcopenia may be linked to genes passed down from your parents. While you can’t control your age or your genetics, there are other risk factors that you can change.

 

 

Exercise
sarcopenia
Not getting enough physical activity can increase your chance of developing sarcopenia. Getting more exercise can reduce your risk and lead to more muscle strength. When healthy adults undergo strength training, they build muscle and can perform everyday tasks more easily.

Many different forms of physical activity can help. Some types of exercises that have been used in studies to help protect against sarcopenia include:

  • Resistance training: This type of workout, also known as strength training, helps build up muscle. It includes exercises that use weights, resistance bands, or body weight.
  • Functional training: This type of movement trains people to better carry out everyday life activities. Functional training strengthens multiple different muscle groups and helps them work together better.
  • Aerobic exercise: Exercises in this category increase your heart rate and make you breathe faster. Aerobic exercise, or cardio, includes activities like running, walking, and swimming.

Diet

Nutrition also plays a key role. People who eat more protein and get more vitamin D are less likely to get sarcopenia. If you want to lower your chance of being diagnosed with this condition, eating a balanced diet where you’re getting enough of these nutrients may help.

Other Factors

Certain diseases may also lead to more muscle loss. These include heart disease and cancer. Factors like eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking, and not drinking alcohol heavily can help with your heart health. These healthy habits can also reduce cancer risk, and in turn, may lower your chance of getting sarcopenia.

Other risk factors of sarcopenia include:

  • Changes in hormones
  • Damage to the nervous system
  • Inflammation
  • High levels of fat in the liver
  • Not getting good enough nutrition

These health issues can often be detected during regular doctors’ visits. Talk to your doctor about how often you should have check-ups and health screenings.

Sarcopenia Treatments

There are no official treatments that the FDA has approved for sarcopenia. However, there are several things that people with this condition can do in order to build up more muscle and improve their strength.

Exercise

Many different types of exercise can help people with sarcopenia. However, one of the best types of workouts may be progressive resistance training, or PRT. During PRT, people focus on building up strength using things like resistance bands, free weights, or weight machines. As a person gets stronger, the amount of weight or resistance used is slowly increased.

In one set of studies, researchers found that PRT helped older people gain an average of 2.4 pounds of muscle. In another analysis of 121 clinical trials that included 6700 people, researchers found that PRT could help people:

  • Walk faster
  • Get out of a chair more quickly
  • Go up steps more easily
  • Gain stronger muscles
  • Have less arthritis pain
  • Have enhanced physical ability
  • Complete daily activities like cooking or bathing more easily

Studies have found that performing more repetitions of an exercise or doing higher-intensity exercises can lead to more improvements in building muscle for older adults. However, too much exercise can lead to injury, so it’s important to start slow. Talk to your doctor before beginning a new workout program, especially if you have other health conditions. Your doctor can give you recommendations for an exercise plan that is best for you.

You can start using PRT by making a habit of strength training. Experts recommend that older adults perform exercises that are focused on muscle strength two times per week. Try taking a class geared towards seniors at a local gym, community center, or online. You can also try tracking your exercise with activity logs or with smartphone apps. Additionally, PRT is not the only type of exercise that can improve your health. Many people living with sarcopenia have found that exercises like cardio, physical therapy, and pool exercises have helped them improve their flexibility and strength.

Nutrition

sarcopenia

Because eating low levels of protein has been linked to sarcopenia, it’s important for older adults to make sure they are getting enough of this nutrient. Eating more protein can help older adults gain more mass and increase their life expectancy. Experts recommend getting 25-30 grams of protein at each meal. Foods that contain a lot of protein include meat (beef, pork, sausage), poultry (chicken, turkey, duck), seafood, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and soy foods (tofu, tempeh, edamame).

A Combination of Better Nutrition and Exercise Is Even More Effective

Getting enough nutrients, and especially eating enough protein, is important if you are also getting more exercise. Eating a nutritious diet can help exercise be more effective for people living with sarcopenia.

In one clinical trial, researchers tried to help older, frail nursing home residents build muscle. Participants who exercised had some improvements in muscle strength and were able to walk faster and climb stairs more easily. People who got better nutrition in addition to being put on an exercise program had even larger improvements.

Other studies have had similar findings. Another clinical trial showed that when older adults got aerobic exercise, their bodies were better able to absorb nutrients and deliver those nutrients to the muscle. People who used a combination of healthy eating and exercise built more muscle than people who got better nutrition but didn’t exercise.

Supplements

Sometimes, it’s hard to get all of the nutrients you need from diet alone. Taking supplements may help you make sure you are reaching your nutritional goals.

One easy way to get extra protein is by taking high-protein supplements. Many of these supplements contain essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and “essential” amino acids are ones that your body can’t make itself – it needs to get them through the diet. When people over 65 years old take this sort of supplement, they have more muscle strength, fewer health problems, and less hospital visits.

Vitamin D is an important nutrient for those with sarcopenia. Older adults who don’t get enough vitamin D are four times more likely to be frail. Whether vitamin D can be used as a sarcopenia treatment is less clear, however. Some studies have not found any benefit for people taking more vitamin D. On the other hand, other studies have shown that getting more vitamin D can increase physical function and reduce the risk of falls. If you have sarcopenia, taking a vitamin D supplement may help.

Another useful supplement ingredient is omega-3 fatty acids. These molecules are found in fatty fish and in fish oil supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids can:

  • Build more muscle
  • Reduce inflammation in the muscle
  • Help people build muscle following resistance training

Hormone Treatments for Better Muscle Function

Hormones are natural chemicals produced by the body that help different parts of the body communicate. Levels of certain hormones change as we age, and this may play a role in sarcopenia.

Testosterone is a reproductive hormone that is primarily important for the development of male sex characteristics and sexual function. Testosterone also helps support healthy bones, blood cells, and muscles in both men and women. As we age, both men and women experience a drop in testosterone levels. This may be one of the reasons why we lose muscle as we get older. When older men get testosterone treatments to increase their levels of this hormone, they often gain muscle mass and strength. However, it is important to know that taking testosterone may lead to side effects such as acne, joint pain, insomnia, mood swings, and an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Another key hormone is human growth hormone (hGH or GH). Like testosterone, hGH levels decrease about 1% per year after a person turns 30. People with sarcopenia tend to have lower levels of hGH in the body. Some studies have shown that hGH treatment, alone or in combination with testosterone, can improve muscle strength. However, other studies have found that people with sarcopenia don’t gain muscle mass after taking hGH. hGH supplements may also come with side effects such as swelling, joint pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Hormone therapy may help some people build muscle, but it doesn’t seem to work for everyone. Additionally, some people may experience side effects from taking hormones, while others feel just fine. Talk to your doctor to see if the possible benefits of taking testosterone or hGH outweigh the potential risks.

Conclusion

Sarcopenia can be a serious condition, leading to many additional physical and mental health problems. If you feel like you may be losing muscles and are not as strong as you used to be, exercise and a healthy, protein-rich diet can help you build up strength. Some people may benefit from taking hormones such as testosterone or human growth hormone. If you think you may have sarcopenia, talk to your doctor to come up with a treatment plan that can work well for your needs, or make an appointment with Dr. Connor.

Will a “Hormone Diet” Help You Lose Weight?

Will a “Hormone Diet” Help You Lose Weight?

Will a hormone diet help you loose weight? New diets and fitness fads are constantly popping up. Most of them promise easy weight loss and long-lasting health benefits. However, the science doesn’t always back up the claims, and it’s hard to know which weight loss strategies will provide real results.

One diet that has been popular in recent years is the hormone diet. There are a few different versions of this eating plan floating around, although they all promise to help you rebalance hormones in order to lose weight and achieve better health. The people who sell these diets claim they work. But what does science say?

What Are Hormones?

Hormones are chemicals that are made by organs called glands. Their job is to act as a messenger between different organs or different body parts. For example, the gland in one part of the body may send out signals that affect how cells in a different area behave. Hormones affect many processes, such as metabolism, mood, and reproduction.

Some examples of hormones are:

Growth hormone: This hormone is made by the pituitary gland, found in the brain. Growth hormone helps children grow and develop. It also necessary in people of all ages for functions like breaking down and storing fats, making proteins, and keeping brains and bones working properly.
Cortisol: The adrenal glands make cortisol when you’re feeling stressed out. It helps control inflammation, blood pressure, sleep, mood, and metabolism.
Insulin: Insulin, made by the pancreas, is also linked to metabolism. It helps cells absorb sugar from the blood to use for energy.
Thyroid hormones: The thyroid, located in the front of the neck, makes hormones called T3 and T4. These control metabolism and help the bones and heart work properly.
Reproductive hormones: Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone help the reproductive system develop and work properly and are important for healthy sexual function.
These and many other hormones affect the way the body breaks down food, stores it, and uses it as fuel. When hormone levels are too high or too low, they can cause someone to lose or gain pounds. This has led many people to study the connection between hormones and weight loss.

What is the Hormone Diet?

Hormone Diet
The first person to start promoting the hormone diet was Dr. Natasha Turner, a naturopathic doctor who published the book “The Hormone Diet” in 2009. This book claimed that following a particular eating plan and adopting certain lifestyle habits would change the levels of 16 different hormones in order to burn more fat. Dr. Turner has since published two more books that further explain how to optimize hormone levels. Since “The Hormone Diet” was published, many other people have begun promoting similar diets. Dozens of books have now been published that claim that eating or avoiding certain foods or applying other habits can put your hormone levels in balance.

What Do You Do on the Hormone Diet?

The original hormone diet lists three separate phases: Phase 1: The first part of the diet is detox. People avoid certain foods for two weeks, including gluten (found in certain grains and bread products), cow’s milk and dairy products, peanuts, alcohol, caffeine, corn, sugar, and certain citrus fruits such as grapefruit. Additionally, processed, man-made foods are off-limits. According to the diet, these foods can cause inflammation and make it hard for your digestive system to absorb the nutrients it needs. Instead, people are told to eat foods such as rice, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, poultry, fish, and eggs. Dieters are also instructed to take supplements such as probiotics and fish oil. The hormone diet is supposed to help people lose 12 pounds during this first phase, in addition to lowering levels of hormones like estrogen and cortisol. Phase 2: After two weeks of detox, a person starts slowly adding some foods back into the diet. However, they are told to pay attention to how their bodies respond to these foods. For example, a person may notice that eating dairy products tends to give them a stomachache. People following the hormone diet are still told to stay away from processed foods and foods with preservatives during this time. Phase 3: At this point in the hormone diet, people continue the same eating plan but begin to exercise. They also add other healthy habits into their routines, such as getting good sleep and reducing stress, as these habits play a role in the levels of certain hormones.

Does the Hormone Diet Work?

Hormone Diet
The best way to know whether or not a diet works is for researchers to conduct a clinical trial. In this type of study, researchers divide participants into groups. One group would follow the diet, and other groups may follow different diets, or no diet at all. The researchers would then compare results between the different groups to see whether the diet actually made people lose weight, and whether it affected other factors such as hormone levels. This type of clinical trial has never been conducted for the hormone diet. This means that we don’t know for sure if this diet works better or worse than other weight loss strategies, or even if it works at all. However, we can look at other types of studies that have studied the link between weight loss and hormones. For example:

    • Multiple studies have found that when people lose weight through different methods, including eating fewer calories or getting weight loss surgery, they can normalize their levels of thyroid hormones.
    • When people lose weight, their insulin levels decrease and their bodies can use insulin more efficiently.
    • In one clinical trial, overweight women who had gone through menopause used diet, exercise, or both to lose weight. All of the women who lost weight, but especially those in the diet plus exercise group, also had a decrease in levels of estrogen and testosterone. However, it is imperative to note that the study participants had elevated hormone levels at the beginning of the study.
    • The bottom line: for the most part, we don’t yet know enough to be able to say which specific foods can raise or lower the levels of specific hormones. However, we do know that losing weight using a variety of strategies can help keep hormones at normal levels.

What’s Good About the Hormone Diet

    • Some parts of the hormone diet encourage habits that science has shown to be helpful for losing weight and gaining health. Some of these include:

      • Natural, whole foods: The hormone diet tells people to avoid processed, man-made products. These foods tend to have extra calories without providing much nutrition, so cutting them out of your diet is a good thing. Processed foods can make you overeat and gain weight and increase your risk of heart disease.
      • Good nutrition: The foods that people eat on the hormone diet are fairly similar to those eaten on the Mediterranean diet, which has been extensively studied. The Mediterranean diet has many health benefits, such as healthy aging, weight loss, and a lower risk of heart disease, brain disease, and some types of cancer.
      • Paying closer attention to what you eat: The diet encourages people to find out whether they are intolerant to certain foods by avoiding those products for a couple of weeks, and then trying them again. It’s possible that some people are intolerant to foods such as gluten and that avoiding these foods will help make people feel healthier.
      • Exercise: The hormone diet encourages people to get cardiovascular or aerobic exercise as well as strength training or weight lifting. Physical activity is essential for many aspects of health, including weight loss.
      • Stress management: Feeling stressed on a regular basis can lead people to gain weight, but learning how to better deal with stress through relaxation techniques and breathing exercises can help people lose pounds.
      • Getting enough sleepQuality sleep helps people burn more fat and stay at a healthy weight, making it an important weight loss tool.
    • These tools may or may not change your hormone levels in a predictable way, but they can help you lose weight. Following these parts of the hormone diet can help you lose pounds and reduce your risk of disease, even if you don’t follow the exact plan that the book recommends.

What’s Bad About the Hormone Diet

    • Unfortunately, there are some parts of the hormone diet that probably don’t work or could even be harmful. These include:

      • Fast weight loss: Sure, dropping pounds quickly sounds great, but it’s not very realistic. Often, it takes a while for the weight to come off. Additionally, losing weight quickly is not very healthy. While the hormone diet expects people to lose 12 pounds in the first two weeks, the CDC says that people who lose 1-2 pounds per week are more likely to keep the weight off in the long term.
      • Changing your hormone levels may be risky: Hormones are involved in nearly every process in the body. Your body normally tightly controls levels of these molecules in order to keep everything working correctly. If you do end up drastically altering your hormones, you may end up with negative effects in other parts of the body. Please talk with your physician about this as hormone balancing is a very comprehensive undertaking and must be done with the help of a board-certified physician.
      • It’s hard to know if your hormone levels are actually changing: Even if you follow the hormone diet exactly as written, you won’t necessarily be sure which hormones are increasing or decreasing, or how much they’re changing.
    • Overall, trying to control the levels of your many hormones through food might not be realistic, and could lead to further problems. If your body is healthy overall, then your hormone levels will be where they need to be. Abnormal hormone levels are often a sign of other health concerns.

Do You Need to Worry About Hormone Levels?

    Hormone Diet

    The body tightly controls how much of each hormone is made. Sometimes, health problems cause certain glands to make too much or too little of a hormone. This can lead to a hormone disorder, which may also be called an endocrine disorder. The most common disease in this category is diabetes, which occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin, causing blood sugar levels to get too high. Another example is hypothyroidism. In this disorder, the thyroid doesn’t make enough T3 and T4 hormones, leading different body processes to slow down.

    Finding Out Your Hormone Levels

    If you think that you may actually have a problem with certain hormones, the first step is talking to your doctor. Your primary care provider can help you test your hormone levels by drawing your blood. If you are female, you may also be able to have your gynecologist measure levels of your reproductive hormones. Your doctor can then help you understand whether there are any problems and what steps you can take.

    Some companies also sell kits that allow you to test your hormone levels at home. This often involves collecting a sample of saliva, blood, or urine and mailing it in to a company. The company will then send you results that say what your levels of different hormones are and whether they are in a normal range. Again, it is important to take this information to your physician to review with you.

    Treatment

    If you are diagnosed with a hormone imbalance, there may be several different treatment options depending on what exactly the problem is. For example, if your thyroid produces too many hormones, you may be able to fix this through medication, radioactive treatment, or surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid.

    Low hormone levels may be able to be fixed by taking man-made hormones in order to replace the ones that your body isn’t making. One example of this is someone with diabetes taking insulin in order to help control blood sugar levels. Another example is a woman taking hormone replacement therapy while going through menopause. True hormone imbalances can usually be solved through medical means, rather than by going on a diet.

    Conclusion

    Overall, there is much we have yet to learn about hormones and the link with our food to our hormones and weight loss. Following the hormone diet could help you shed pounds, but any weight loss you see may be simply due to the fact that you’re eating healthier foods and exercising more. Regardless of whether or not you’re resetting your hormones, the hormone diet does contain many great ideas that can help people become healthier and weigh less.

    For more information on what type of diet would benefit your body, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Connor.

      Do the Three Most Popular Diets Really Work?

      Do the Three Most Popular Diets Really Work?

      Do the three most popular diets really work? There’s so much health, nutrition and fitness advice out there, and some tips seem to contradict others. Additionally, trends are constantly changing, and it’s hard to know what is actual good advice and what is just a passing fad.

      Here, we’ll break down the three most popular diets. These eating plans each come with some benefits that science shows may help your health. They all also come with advice that may be ineffective or even harmful for certain groups of people. Paying attention to the parts that work may help you learn how to maintain a healthy weight.

      What Are the Most Popular Diets?

      One way to tell which diets are the most popular is through surveys and studies. One such study is conducted each year by the International Food Information Council (IFIC). In 2020, the IFIC surveyed over 1000 Americans about their food habits and beliefs. 43% of Americans said that they had tried a diet or eating plan within the last year. This number was an increase compared with the past few years.

      The 2020 IFIC survey found that the three most popular diets were:

      1. Intermittent fasting
      2. Clean eating
      3. Ketogenic or high-fat diet

      Of course, just because a diet is popular doesn’t mean that it works for all or even most people! Here, we will dive into the science behind each of these diets and explore whether these eating plans are worth the time and effort.

      Intermittent Fasting

      How Do You Try Intermittent Fasting?

      Intermittent fasting doesn’t involve counting calories, eating certain foods, or avoiding certain items. This type of diet doesn’t tell you how or what to eat – it just tells you when to eat. However, the intermittent fasting diet is much more effective if — when the “eating” window occurs — one eats healthier options rather than higher caloric, heavily processed and unhealthier options. That is, if one engages in eating these very unhealthy options during this time, the effects of the intermittent fasting diet is diminished.

      There are many possible intermittent fasting plans you can follow. Some examples are:

      • Alternate day fasting: With this method, people fast every other day. On fasting days, a person only eats a couple hundred calories or doesn’t eat at all. On other days, a person eats normally.
      • 5:2 diet: This is a type of alternate-day plan where you eat normally for five days per week. On the remaining two days, you eat two very small meals totaling 500-600 calories. For example, you may decide to fast on Tuesdays and Fridays.
      • Eat-Stop-Eat: This plan involves fasting for a full day once or twice a week.
      • 16/8 method: On this plan, you fast for 16 hours and then eat all of your meals within an 8-hour window. For example, you may skip breakfast, and then eat a couple of meals between noon and 8:00 pm. Other similar plans exist, such as the 14/10 method, where you fast for 14 hours and eat for 10 hours.

      Many people are more successful at IF when they ease into it more slowly. Starting with the 16/8 or 14/10 method, or even just starting with skipping breakfast, may be easier than jumping right into alternate-day fasting.

      What is the Science Behind Intermittent Fasting?

      When you avoid food for a bit, several changes happen within your cells. Right after eating, the level of sugar in your blood gets higher. Your cells use this sugar to make energy. When you fast, you have less sugar in your blood, and your cells switch from using sugar to using stored fats as fuel. Additionally, during fasting periods, your cells can more easily heal damage.

      What Are Possible Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

      IF seems to help boost metabolism, spurring your body to burn more calories. Many clinical studies have shown that IF can help people shed pounds. This seems to be especially true for people who already weigh a little more. Additionally, when fasting is combined with strength training workouts, it can help people lose more fat without losing muscle.

      IF may also lead to other health benefits, including:

      Additionally, fasting plans may be easy to follow. You don’t have to plan or prep specific meals, or keep track of your foods. You can still easily visit restaurants and enjoy your favorite foods, which may be more difficult when following other diets.

      Are There Any Cons to Intermittent Fasting?

      Fasting can lead to many side effects, like extreme hunger, headaches, problems focusing, irritability, or bad breath. However, side effects may start to go away after several weeks.

      These side effects can make fasting hard to stick with. In clinical trials, people often eat more than they are supposed to on fasting days. Some studies have found that that IF leads to a larger drop in pounds compared to traditional calorie-cutting diets, while others have found that both diets produce similar amounts of weight loss and other health benefits. This means that if you’re more likely to stick with a standard low-calorie diet than an intermittent fasting plan, it may be better to just do that.

      People who try intermittent fasting should also know about other possible health issues while following this plan. Fasting can increase levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Fasting can also be risky for people with certain health conditions, such as diabetes. If you’re interested in trying IF, talk to your doctor first to get advice on how to fast safely.

      Clean Eating

      The second most popular type of diet in 2020, according to the IFIC survey, was clean eating. These diet plans emphasize eating whole foods that are in their natural state, as opposed to processed foods. People who follow clean eating plans say that they can lead to weight loss and better health.

      What Foods Do You Eat On a Clean Eating Plan?

      “Clean eating” does not refer to just one specific diet. It’s more of a loose, flexible set of guidelines. Clean eating plans encourage people to eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, non-fatty proteins, and healthy fats. These foods should also be eaten in their natural forms, without being altered, whenever possible.

      People on clean eating plans avoid foods that are processed. Any time a food has been changed from its original form, it’s not considered to be as “clean.” For example, clean eating says that eating whole fruits is better than drinking fruit juice. There are some exceptions, however. Frozen veggies and fruits are usually picked and frozen at their freshest, and are considered clean eating. Additionally, while cooking is technically a form of processing food, it’s fine to cook your meals when you’re on a clean eating plan. Examples of processed foods to avoid when following clean eating plans include:

      • Pre-made, pre-packaged, ready-to-eat foods
      • Frozen or microwaveable meals
      • Items with additives and preservatives
      • Foods with added salt, fat, or sugar

      Check the labels of the foods you eat. If there are multiple ingredients you don’t recognize, that item may not be part of a clean eating plan.

      Does a Clean Eating Plan Work?

      Clean eating has not been directly tested in clinical trials. However, some of its principles have been.

      People who eat a lot of processed foods are more likely to be obese. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that cutting out processed foods will automatically make you start dropping pounds – it may be more complicated than that. Clean eating as a weight loss strategy has not yet been well-studied. However, clean eating is similar to the Mediterranean diet, which also emphasizes whole, fresh foods. Many studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can help people lose fat and achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

      Clean eating principles can potentially have other health advantages, too:

      Should You Follow a Clean Eating Plan?

      Clean eating hasn’t yet been well-studied enough to know whether or not these eating plans generally lead to weight loss. However, clean eating plans can likely provide many health benefits.

      It’s important to consider that clean eating means avoiding ready-made meals. Many restaurant or fast-food meals are also off the table. This means that you will need to cook most of your meals at home. This may be a good thing. It probably means that you’ll be saving money on your food bill. However, if you don’t have a lot of extra time to cook, it might be difficult for you to follow this plan.

      Ketogenic or High-Fat Diet

      A ketogenic diet, often simply called “keto,” is an eating plan in which people control the amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that they eat. People following this diet will eat much fewer carbs and more fats than usual.

      What Is the Science Behind Keto?

      Keto works in a similar way as fasting. The cells in your body typically use carbohydrates, including sugars, as fuel. When cells aren’t getting enough carbs, they turn to a process called ketosis. During ketosis, fats are converted into molecules called ketone bodies, which are then used by cells to make energy. During this time, the body also stores less sugar and fat.

      Do Keto Diets Work?

      Several studies have found that high-fat diets can lead to greater amounts of weight loss than low-fat diets. Keto may help you lose weight by burning extra fat and by helping decrease your appetite and encourage you to eat less.

      Ketogenic diets help with other health issues, too. These diets have been used for nearly 100 years to help treat epilepsy. Modern studies have also found other benefits. Keto can:

      What Are Some Potential Problems With the Keto Diet?

      Keto can lead to side effects like nausea, tiredness, sleeping problems, and constipation. However, these side effects usually don’t last more than a few days, or occasionally up to a couple of weeks.

      Additionally, only a couple of studies have taken a deep look at how ketogenic diets affect health long-term, and we know that there are several long-term side effects that must be taken into consideration before one starts a ketogenic diet. These include the following: fatty liver (hepatic steatosis), low protein levels in the blood (hypoproteinemia), kidney stones (renal calculi), and certain mineral and vitamin deficiencies and it is possible that there are other long-term side effects that we don’t yet know about. Additionally, keto can increase your cholesterol levels, so if you already have high cholesterol, this diet may not be a good fit for you.

      How Do You Follow a Keto Diet?

      If you want to try keto, you will need to eat a lot more fat and a lot fewer carbs. There are different keto plans that advise eating different amounts of these nutrients. Many plans encourage people to eat foods in the following ratios:

      • 55-60% of the calories you eat should be fats
      • 30-35% of your calories should be proteins
      • 5-10% of your calories should be carbohydrates

      In order ensure you’re hitting these goals, you will have to track everything that you eat and drink. Several websites and apps can help by allowing you to log foods. These tools can then calculate how many of your calories come from fats, proteins, and carbs, and help you see if you are on track.

      Will Any of These Diets Help You?

      Most diets give people good results after six months. They often help people lose weight, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels in the short term. However, in the long term, these benefits often disappear. People gain back the weight and their blood pressure and cholesterol levels go back to where they were before.

      One reason is that diets are very hard to stick with. It’s somewhat easy to see results when a diet feels new and exciting. It’s harder to have momentum. For this reason, it may be better to build up eating habits that you know you’ll be able to stick with. Take a look at your needs and preferences, including how much time you have available to cook your own meals and the types of foods you usually like to eat. Try to find a diet that doesn’t involve a lot of big changes, and start slow.

      Fasting, clean eating, and keto can all probably help you maintain a healthy weight and improve your health. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a new diet or eating plan, because they can help you do so safely and minimize possible health problems.

      If you would like to learn more, schedule a consultation with Dr. Connor

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