Archive for August 1st, 2006

Practical Tips to Weight Loss Thru Activity

August 1, 2006

478158485.jpgWe all know the benefits of weight loss. We all know the benefits of physical activity. If you move to be healthy… it’s generally a package deal. In a way… you lose weight and as a result… you prevent diseases like diabetes or heart disease from developing and therefore you gain health.

A recent Mayo Clinic study showed that even fidgety movements like toe tapping, moving around your office or frequent change in posture can result in calorie burn of up to 350 calories per day.This may translate to losing less than a pound per week! Definitely NO SWEAT!

Here are some practical tips that you can do without going to a gym:

  • Walk the stairs if you can and if you must! When I make rounds at Cebu Doctors’…you don’t see me use the elevator at all!
  • Play with your children instead of watching them play. Join the fun to a healthier you.
  • I usually do household chores myself like fixing the lamp, cleaning the pool and fixing my room after playing with the kids.
  • After dinner, one way of bonding with the family is to walk around the subdivision.

If you are overweight, to lessen the burden to your knees- do swimming otherwise a stationary bike will do while watching TV.

2107890185.jpgYou will realize that all those activities require walking… it’s one easy activity to do because we do it daily. To help you keep track on your walking during the day…I recommend using a pedometer that you can easily carry and hook in your belt, and if you want to lose weight. This is equivalent to walking 1 hour per day. Walking even just 2000 steps per day equivalent to 1 mile has been shown to reduce death rate most likely from preventing illnesses and being fit. Just remember though to wear proper walking shoes if you embark on a regular walking regimen.

So Start Moving to a Healthier You!

Can Alcohol Cause Obesity?

August 1, 2006


A common question that I get is the relationship between aclcohol and the risk to become obese.  Can drinking alchol increase once belly? 

The results came from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III involving 8000 patients published in December 2005.

  • Current alcohol drinkers who drank one or two glasses regularly but less than 5 drinks per week were significantly less likely to be obese than non drinkers and heavy drinkers.
  • Consuming more than 4 drinks or more per day increased the drinker’s risk to be obese by 46%. 

The mechanism however of the protective effect of alcohol is not known.

This result does not recommend non drinkers to drink to reduce ones risk to become obese but rather argues against a strategy of promoting complete abstention for those who regularly consume alcohol.

My recommendation if you drink… studies have shown that red wine has the advantage because of the flavanoid content like dark chocolate…

But as what we have recommended before…

Anything In Excess Is A Waste…

Diabetes: A Sedentary Disease

August 1, 2006

Imagesfgh“Every two hours a day of inactivity is linked to a 14 percent increase in the risk of diabetes”

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus which is the most common type of diabetes worldwide is due to “Insulin Resistance”.  The insulin being produced by the body does not work very well because the cells are Insensitive to it!. Regular exercise has been shown to reverse the defect and improve insulin action in the cells thus improving ones blood sugar control.

Watching TV or a Couch Potato can result in an increased risk because…for “every two hours a day of inactivity is linked to a 14 percent increase in the risk of diabetes, as opposed to one hour of brisk walking, which is linked to a 34 percent lower risk.”  From the Diabetes in Control Issue 2006.

Prevent Diabetes…Another Reason to


Prevent The FLU! Get The Vaccine

August 1, 2006

Imagesflu Just arrived in Cebu form Beijing and one of the most feared areas for me to catch flu is boarding on a plane.  I feel lucky if I am seated next to somebody without cough or colds…otherwise brace yourself for the flu season.

Influenza also known as flu is caused by a virus.  It is pretty contagious and usually infect the respiratory tract and will manifest as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose and body aches. You can easily get the virus if you come in contact with somebody harboring the virus.  And it can be anywhere … while attending mass in the church, watching movies or inside the plane.  Coming in contact with people daily is a risk in itself.

Fortunately, this disease can now be prevented because of the Flu Vaccine.  Anybody above the age of 6 months can avail of this vaccine.  This is given every year depending of what three types of flu viruses will be predicted to affect people in that year.  For this year, the vaccine has been available since April.

It is generally recommended to all individuals > 65 years of age and I always recommend it to all my diabetic patients irregardless of age.  Likewise patients with chronic illnesses like asthma, kidney or heart disease should have this injection once a year.

This vaccine can prevent flu in 70% to 90% of the time.  If you get the flu inspite of the vaccine, normally, it has a reduced severity and duration avoiding hospital stay.  People however who are allergic to eggs should avoid this vaccine.

My advise if you get a Flu?  As simple as what our mothers have taught us: plenty of rest, drink lots of liquids, wash your hands to avoid spread and definitely stay home.

Prevent the Flu- Have Yourself Vaccinated!

Where’s The Beef? It’s In Your Fries!

August 1, 2006

Imagesnmk The Fast Food Craze

I flew in to Beijing yesterday to attend a convention. If you count the waiting time , the early check in and the flight times… it totals to around 12 hours. But this was made less painful because of an interesting book introduced to me by my bro-in-law Wilson ( who is a true book enthusiast ( He’s my Oprah). I was able to finish the book in time before we landed and its called: Fast Food Nation (a New York Times Bestseller).

Let me share with some interesting facts of the book relevant to what we are trying to preach… What You Eat Matters….

1.     Do you know why fries taste so good? Because there’s “beef” in it. Some fast food companies fry their fries using beef tallow and not plain vegetable oil as claimed.

2.     Do you know that due to hamburger, there was an epidemic of E coli infection caused by low food safety standards in the slaughterhouses handling the beef meat? As consumers, all we see is the beef patty nicely fried and tastes good but we don’t know from where the meat came from and how they were processed. Likewise, tainted beef with mad cow disease organism has resulted in a fatal disease in some countries. The problem with Mad Cow Disease is the incubation period is long and it may remain silent for years. Really Scary thought!

3.    Advertising of these companies are geared toward children… who will bring their parents and their grandparents to enjoy their food which are high in fat and calorie and therefore contributes much to childhood obesity! The American Academy of Pediatrics in a statement declared that: “ advertising directed at children in inherently deceptive and exploits children under the age of 8”


Know Better on what you eat because “tastes good does not mean healthy

  1. Ban advertising directed at kids or again limit what your kids watch on TV
  2. PREVENTION…. I am writing about this to warn parents about fast food craze which are not always the most nutritious but due to its Tasty High Fat Food Can result in food habits very difficult to break.
  3. Remember… we are still at the losing end of obesity because its one difficult disease to treat. Our main thrust is…

Prevent the Onset of Obesity …

Start the Right Healthy Habit

with the Kids!

What You Need To Know About High Blood Pressure

August 1, 2006

Imagesfgfg There are lots of misconceptions regarding hypertension or high blood pressure that I always hear from my patients… Let me share with you some of these and the truths about them…

1.      I should not get a high blood pressure since I am anemic.

A very common belief but totally wrong! Anemia is a state where your red blood cells are low and can be due to chronic medical conditions like diabetes or acute blood loss from menstrual periods or bleeding. On the other hand… Blood Pressure is the pressure in the vessels or arteries at which the heart is pumping blood into. So high blood pressure is not synonymous to being NOT ANEMIC because you can well be very anemic but with a BP of 160/100 mm Hg.

2.      My BP is normal between 120/80 to 140/90 mmHg so I don’t need to worry.

Based on the new definition of high blood pressure…120/80 mmHg is no longer normal but a prehypertension stage. This level of BP has been shown in one study to increase ones risk to suffer from heart disease by more than 30%.  Aim therefore for a BP of 110/70 mmHg and below.

3.      I am happy with a BP of 140/90 mmHg… I feel good and does not feel anything. Do I need treatment?

Definitely …and this misconception is the big problem. Not feeling anything is the common reason for avoiding medical advise…and likewise the most common reason for developing complications early.  High BP is a risk factor for developing other diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol. Once you have the triad of diabetes, high BP and high Cholesterol… ones risk to suffer from heart attack and stroke increases >20 fold!!!!

In short…having high BP should not be taken for granted.  Feeling good does not necessarily equate to being healthy. Age is a risk factor for developing chronic illnesses therefore I recommend having an executive checkup yearly after the age of 40.

Remember… The Earlier a disease is discovered…the Better the prognosis of recovery.

It is estimated that approximately 1/3 of patients with high BP do not know they have it…therefore…

Check Your BP! You May Be in for a Surprise!


August 1, 2006

2374690649 Got this interesting News Bits from the Diabetes in Control, 2006 issue from the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. April 2006 on the harmful effects of too much TV among our kids.

Link Between Television and Overweight in Children is Discovered:

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Children’s Hospital Boston found that “kids who spend more time watching television also eat more of the calorie-dense, low-nutrient foods advertised on television.”

This study provides evidence that television is effective in getting kids to eat the foods that are advertised, and this drives up their total calorie intake.” The results of the study showed that each hour of increased television viewing over baseline was associated with a total energy increase of 167 calories — just about the amount of calories in a soda or a handful of snack food.

The Lesson: One Way to Combat Obesity is to…

Limit What Your Kids

Watch on TV!!!

The Truth About CHOCOLATE

August 1, 2006

Imagescho We’ve always wondered…Is chocolate really that bad?  But it just tastes so good that even if we are made to believe it can make us fat or it can cause pimples…we are just tempted to grab one the moment we see one! 

Experts have agreed that chocolates do not cause pimples… it’s the imbalance of hormones and subsequent skin infection that cause and exacerbate pimples! Definitely Chocolate can be ” fattening” mainly because of the saturated fat in it and if we consume a big bar …then we gain calories from it and we gain weight!  But just like any other foods… if we just take a bite or two or limit the amount we eat… we should be guilt free to enjoy chocolate!

The National Institute of Health- the research arm of the US government has embarked on a very interesting research on the benefits of eating chocolate… so to all chocoholics out there…READ!

Chocolates have the compound called FLAVANOIDS which based on preliminary data can ward off vascular diseases that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.  These flavanoids are also present in green tea, apple and red wine. The Darker the chocolate… the bitter tasting it is… the higher the flavanoids.

Does this mean…let’s all grab a dark chocolate and start munching on them while watching TV?  Of course not… mainly because we still don’t have a way to know which dark chocolates sold in the market are flavanoid rich!  In fact some branded chocolates when made,  destroy the flavanoid from the cocoa in the process of making it. Thus the end product is devoid of the substance with the health benefit.

The NIH is now conducting a huge study to test the hypothesis and if the results are rewarding…I’ll be the first one to know and share it with you.

My recommendation to my patients on eating chocolates is:

The first and the last bite of each meal are the best parts! 

Use them to take a bite or two of your chocolates. Chew on it slowly and Savor or Enjoy the taste as it melts in your mouth guilt free!

So to the Chocoholics… Remember…

Know Your Limits!

How Much Salt is SAFE?

August 1, 2006

1237458937_1 When I see diabetic patient, almost always he’s also hypertensive. So not only will I counsel him on carbohydrates and diet to lower blood sugar… but also tips on how to lower salt intake.  Remember… a high blood pressure puts a strain to your heart since its pumping blood against a high pressure!  Controlling your diet of salt can therefore go a long way to a healthier heart!

Let me share with you some facts about salt and Tips To Lower Blood Pressure:

1.  One teaspoon of salt is equivalent to 2400 mg of sodium. Our average meal is estimated to contain 4000 to 6000 mg of sodium.  It is recommended that if you have high blood pressure, intake should be less than 2000 mg of sodium per day.  In practical terms… allow yourself at most 1/2 to 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt per day.

2. Once on a low salt diet…it may take at least 4 to 6 weeks before your taste adjusts to it!  So cutting back on salt…make sure you do it gradually!

3. Limit salt for flavoring and use lemon, herbs or spices instead …to a healthier and a better tasting meal.

4. Eat more fruits and vegetables because they contain less salt than any other food on the table.

5. Common sense advise : no chips and processed foods!  Look at the food labels of processed canned goods..they’re loaded with sodium!!! Rinsing the Canned Tuna for example can do the trick in removing excess sodium!

Last Practical Tip:

    If the Food Tastes GOOD… then it’s HIGH in salt!… 

    … A little sacrifice on a little bland taste can go a long way to …

Healthier Meal and A Helathier Heart!


How Much Walking Can Prevent Weight Gain?

August 1, 2006

2533140067.jpgFrom the Diabetes in Control, Medical Issue published May 10, 2006 comes an alarming statistics and intriguing recommendation…

It is now estimated that approximately one-third of all children in the United States are either overweight or dangerously close to becoming so.  Erroneous Lifestyle and Habits have been shown to be the culprits. 

The Good News Is….

Walking 2000 more steps a day and reducing your calories by 100 calories per day can prevent weight gain for overweight children. The study results proves that this approach… simple, easy to do and free… can help counter the World’s Obesity Crisis.

As parents…let’s

 Take Charge and Counter This Epidemic of Obesity

The Harmless Herbs?

August 1, 2006

Imagesfg A lot of my patients are asking about whether it is safe for them to take Herbals… some are given to them by relatives working abroad. Mayo Clinic, a reputable institution posted a warning to people taking herbal supplements with the idea that… since they are herbs…they should be safe! However…be cautious, because some herbal preparations have active ingredients in them that can interact with the medications you’re presently taking and may cause harm.

Be cautious about taking an herbal

supplement if you’re currently


  1. Blood pressure medications
  2. Blood thinners like anticoagulants and anti-platelet
  3. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen
  4. Diabetes medications and
  5. Heart medications

Examples of herbal supplements that may possibly produce harmful side effects when used in combination with certain types of medications include:

  1. Black cohosh
  2. Dong quai
  3. Garlic Ginger
  4. Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng
  5. St. John’s wort
  6. Chinese Angelica Ephedra (Ephedra sinica)
  7. Ma huang Garlic

The American College of Physicians likewise have published reports of herbal supplements causing liver toxicity and renal failure especially herbs marketed for weight loss purposes…and therefore we as primary health care providers don’t recommend herbal preparations to our patients.

So the next time you pass by a Herbal Supplement Store… remember…

Herbs Are Not Harmless…

Be Cautious!


August 1, 2006

11502699.jpg Look around your friends when you have a party… almost everybody is not eating rice! Most are into the fad of the low carb diet…,mainly to lose weight. 

But how effective is it in making you lose weight?

Everybody swears it’s effective- but why and for how long? 

Several mechanism have been proposed:

1. Stored sugar in the body called glycogen contains water.  If you diet is low carb, you break down glycogen and in return loses water resulting in increase urination and weight loss.

2. If your intake is low carb, you break down fat as energy source which can lead to ketosis.  Ketone bodies in the blood then decrease ones appetite resulting in weight loss.

3.To replace carb in your diet, your fat and protein intake should increase.  A high fat- high protein food is more difficult to digest and therefore longer feeling of fullness.

The downside of a low carb diet is that foods marketed as low carb tend to have a higher fat content to replace the carb and usually replaces carb with sugar alcohols which can cause diarrhea and bloating.

Likewise in a recent study comparing a low carb versus a low fat diet published in the New England Journal of Medicine…the low carb resulted in faster short term ( less than 6 months) weight loss BUT no difference in weight loss was noted after one year on both diets.  Likewise many patients on both diets failed to follow the regimen after 1 year suggesting both diets are not easy to follow long term.

But overall…if you reduce the total amount of calories whatever diet regimen you’re on will lead to weight loss. To be successful in maintaining weight loss, it should be a diet regimen that you can follow long term. Restricting your calories drastically like a liquid diet or a grape fruit diet or just cabbage soup for several days will definitely make you lose weight faster BUT regain most of the weight once one consumes the regular meal.

You just can’t starve long term!

The success of ones diet regimen depends on the long term weight loss and whether you maintain that weight on a diet you can go on for the rest of your life.  If not… rethink and reconsider your diet!

A 7% to 10% weight loss is more than enough to reverse some of the metabolic abnormalities associated with obesity.  The most that one can lose from a balanced diet with regular exercise is 10% so aim for that amount.  Be realistic with your goal so as not to get disappointed.


Losing Weight is a

Matter of Changing Your


Tips To Keep Our Brain Healthy and Memory in Shape!

August 1, 2006

Imagesbd_2 If you look around health food stores, people are buying brain boosting supplements to hopefully improve memory.… without realizing that they really don’t work.  Beware of marketing strategies that will claim that these drugs will improve your child’s brain power…or prevent you from being forgetful…

No drug has yet been proven to improve brain function or prevent you from forgetting things sometimes. Same with treating obesity or diabetes…we want a pill to do the works.To keep your brain sharp and active, try stimulating your brain cells with new exciting ctivities.

Here are some tips to keep your brain healthy:

Listen and Focus on One thing at a time…Pay Attention…Too many things to remember can lead to distraction…which can result in forgetfulness!

  1. Organize: Have specific places for things like glasses, bills, documents so it’s easier to retrieve if you need them.    Less Unnecessary stress in looking for things!
  2. Try playing board games or solving a Su Doku. I first heard of Sudoku from my brother in law who has a great blog for budding entrepreneurs – and now you see this game everywhere sold at Walmart, free puzzles at Northwest Lounge in Chicago airport and my seatmate in the airplane was playing it.
  3. Reading books or taking classes (that’s why I supported my wife taking her MBA at Ateneo-Regis University) are some activities your mind can engage in. There is abolutely no limit to reading and learning at the same time. And start nurturing the young minds of the kids by buying books and reading stories to them. That’s how theyll learn to love books.

So let’s start exercising our brains… Read… Read…and Read.

So far from 4/1 to 30/06, my blog has been viewed and read 156 times based on Friendster record.  Not bad… continue to read so I will continue to write… a great way for you and I to exercise our brains! 

Lastly, Remember to

Exercise and Eat Well To Keep Your Memory in Shape!



Do You Have Muscle Aches? Maybe it’s the Vitamin D?

August 1, 2006

3998566497.jpg One of the intriguing topics in our conference was the idea that majority of us are actually Vitamin D deficient.  Vitamin D is predominantly made in our skin via exposure to the sun.  But come to think of it…I wake up and work before the sun gets up…stay in my office till afternoon… then drive home straight to my house.  How much sun exposure do I get?

Dr Holick who is the author of the UV Advantage was our plenary lecturer and his lecture really made an impact that patients complaining of muscle aches and bone pain and osteoporosis may all be suffering from Vitamin D Deficiency.  In fact there is a link between the rising incidence of breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer to Vitamin D Deficiency!!!! His study revealed facts that almost always we don’t think of Vitamin D at all. A dose of 400 IU in our multivitamin may not be enough…if you’re taking only one tablet daily.

The best way to check if your muscle aches are due to Vitamin D deficiency is to get a 25 (OH) Vitamin D level.  If its below 30 mg/dl then take a Vitamin D supplement at most 1000 IU per day.  Food sources can only give us as much as 100 IU/day from salmon, juices and dairy products. 

PLUS… try to expose your arms and legs at least 15 minutes per day most days of the week to avoid Vitamin D Deficiency… another reason to enjoy the sun…

So my advise is… before you put on your sunblock, enjoy the benefits of the sun for 15 minutes then apply your sun block lotion to avoid increasing your risk for skin cancer.

Muscle Aches?… Enjoy the SUN!

What You Eat Matters!

August 1, 2006

Acelogomedium Obesity is Still the Culprit! The recent data from the American College of Endocrinology meeting showing around 2700 new diabetics are diagnosed every day seem alarming!

Listening to the recent advances in molecular genomics in trying to understand endocrine diseases especially diabetes still concluded one thing…It’s What We Eat and Do That Counts!

New discoveries of different genes have been presented in our recent meeting as possible culprits as to why individuals develop diabetes and heart disease.  A family history of diabetes has been known to be very strong risk factor was further confirmed by genetics.

But the culprit as to why we develop the disease and subsequently suffer from heart disease continues to be ABDOMINAL OBESITY : It’s not how fat we are…but where the fat is located that matters!  Fat cells in the abdominal area are as I call them … “machines” that produce more than 30 substances all contributing to ones chances of suffering from diabetes and its complications.

It may not be our fault if we inherited the genes…But it’s the environment that we have much control of… that triggers the disease! And we have the capacity to CHANGE that part of the disease link!!!

The message continues to be…Be Disciplined and Do Something

If you have a family history of diabetes or heart disease OR have abdominal obesity…Every activity counts and every minute step is a big leap to change how we shape our health!

My Simple Practical Recommendations to help you shape up:

1. Don’t Starve with missed meals… instead …Eat Frequent small meals.  By doing so, you lessen the burden of the pancreas in producing insulin in response to Big meals.  It’s like asking you to carry one sack of rice…it’s manageable but if you carry 5 sacks all together…you weaken and eventually fail…Save your pancreas!

2. Do regular exercise!  Your heart will love it! You don’t need to go to a gym…I don’t!  Just move…walk up and down your office stairs…walk around your house with you IPod and enjoy the walking with each beat of the music.. and you’ll realize how easy it is to achieve a healthy lifestyle without leaving your home!

Avoid To Be Part of the Statistics….

Shape Up! It’s Your Call…

Does Melatonin Work?

August 1, 2006

Imagesd My sleeping pill worked! It was April 25 in Chicago and I woke up at 5 AM . Definitely, no complaints… a straight 6 hour sleep was good enough for jet lag!

When I wrote my post on Sleepless Nights, I purposely left no note on melatonin… because it deserves its own space in my blog for discussion.

Melatonin is actually a hormone produced by the brain which is at its peak during the night and lowest during the day.  It is available in a tablet form as a supplement marketed to promote  sleep. Several studies have shown melatonin to be beneficial for jet lag especially if taken at the start of the travel at the target bed time period of destination. It should be taken for several days to achieve its full effect.  Dose to achieve an effect varies but one study showed patients who took 5 mg resulted in a better shortened time to sleep and a longer duration of sleep compared to those given lower doses.

Melatonin has also been shown to promote sleep among elderly people with insomnia and in a study involving healthy volunteers with better quality of sleep, and a longer duration of sleep compared to placebo or a sugar pill. 

However…Melatonin is not a Drug but a Supplement and therefore not regulated and approved by FDA as a treatment and not subjected to rigorous testing.  Actual content of different melatonin’s available in the market may vary and therefore safety is of primary concern. Neurological problems like seizure, clotting abnormalities, changes in blood pressure and blood sugar have been reported as side effects of melatonin.

BUT, if taking melatonin has helped you…its use for short duration has not been shown to be harmful! Just Remember… Take it with precaution because…

 Melatonin is a Supplement!

Sleepless Nights? Why and What To Do?

August 1, 2006

3046855028.jpg One thing for sure after I arrive Chicago is jet lag… I will be sleepy mid afternoon but will be wide awake around 2 AM! This is the only occasion I usually take a sleeping pill to give me a good night rest and be able to participate in our next morning sessions.  But taking the pill is only for 1 night…just to break the cycle.

Other common causes of sleepless nights include stress, anxiety, medications like decongestants, and medical conditions like pain due to arthritis and heartburn.

One very important cause of perpetuationg this cycle of sleepless nights is the so called Behavioral Insomnia.  This is a condition that makes you so conscious of the fact that you can’t sleep.  The more worried you are about your inability to sleep, the more the cycle of insomnia perpetuates.  Patients associate the bed with sleepless nights rather than rest!  They sleep better when they’re away from their usual environment like watching TV or listening to lectures in a conference…that’s where you see these patients sound asleep! 

As for sleeping pills- occasional use is okay.  Frequent use can be habit forming and can also lead to sleepless nights especially they become less effective overtime.

Here are some Practical Tips to Help you Sleep:

1. Avoid and Limit Caffeine due to its stimulant effect;

2. Limit your water intake prior to bedtime to decrease frequent sleep interruption due to urination

3. Limit your Naps to at most 30 minutes if you cant do without it.

4. Take a little snacks or a relaxing warm bath prior to bedtime and try to avoid taking spicy foods or fatty foods for dinner especially if you have heartburn .

4. Avoid “Trying to Sleep”– the more you try, the more frustrating it can be. Read a book on a warm light and go to bed only when you feel you’re drowsy.  Associate your bed with a good night sleep.

5. Stick to a schedule of sleeping and waking up.

So the next time you go to bed… make sure that the room is comfortable, dark and cozy…enough for the bedroom to be conducive to sleeping.  Sleep is not only as important as your Daily Waking Activities…it’s how you plan the night time activity.

Remember… Sleep is the only time your body can  Rejuvenate and Heal!

So Try My Tips ….

Enjoy Your Sleep and


The Many Benefits of Drinking Coffee…

August 1, 2006

3517174637.jpg On my way to attending the Annual Convention of the American College of Endocrinology in Chicago next week…am sure I’ll be offered drinks like…Coffee or Tea? while in the airport lounge or in the plane. 

Of course to help me combat my jet lag and to keep me awake while listening to the latest research in endocrinology… I’ll be sipping my coffee… But before grabbing another cup…  and another cup… how many cups of coffee or tea per day is okay?

It has been estimated that moderate doses ( 200-300 mg) of caffeine: either from drinking coffee or tea have not been shown to be harmful…this is equivalent to drinking 2-4 cups per day which is the average number of cups we usually take.  In fact part of a diabetic meal plan is the so called free food where coffee or tea are both listed under and I usually allow my patients to enjoy 1-2 cups per day.

Aside from boosting ones alertness level, other Medical Benefits of Coffee include :

1. Lower risk of developing Diabetes by 50% as shown in the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

2. In the Rochester Project published in Neurology, 2004, caffeine intake was associated with lower incidence and delay in the onset of Parkinson’s Disease.

3. The National Institutes of Health Study showed lower incidence of liver problems among caffeine drinkers.

These are really good news for caffeine users but more studies are needed to confirm the above findings.

One very important tip to know that you already have consumed unhealthy amounts of caffeine is when you start having the following symptoms: restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, headaches or palpitations.

Because of its ability to affect ones sleep cycle… sleep problems are usually encountered for caffeine users.  One tip to prevent disturbance in sleep is to avoid taking caffeinated drinks at least 6 to 8 hours prior to your sleeping time because it takes time for the effect of caffeine to wane off.

So the next time you grab a cup …

Be Guilt Free and ….

Enjoy Your Coffee and Tea!!!

The Truth About Vitamin C

August 1, 2006

Imagesg My daughter just recently developed a cold and my concerned wife asked if she needs to start her on extra Vitamin C supplement.  The same question has been asked by my patients regarding the need for taking Vitamin C tablet considering that diabetic patients are prone to develop colds.

Based on the recent analysis of several studies looking at Vitamin C, no conclusive evidence so far can say that Vit C is helpful for common colds. It has not been shown to prevent the onset of colds nor can it reduce the severity of colds.

The daily intake of Vitamin C is also discouraged since your daily requirement can easily be taken from regular intake of citrus fruits, apples and melon, vegetables like broccoli, spinach and cauliflower as well as, potatoes and tomatoes.  These are foods that are easily available and therefore negates the need for us to take additional Vitamin C tablet.  The recommended daily allowance recommended by the US Food and Nutrition Board is only 85 mg/day…more than the usual dose of a regular Vitamin C which is between 200 mg to 500 mg per tablet.  I even have patients consuming mega doses around 1000 to 2000 mg/day.

Remember, too much Vitamin C can be harmful…it has been shown to result in kidney stones, gastritis, nausea and diarrhea. 

To determine if you’re taking too much Vitamin C, check your urinalysis…a (+) ascorbic acid means, you’re just excreting the excess Vitamin C that the body does not need.

Don’t Depend on Supplements…

Rely on Your Daily Intake of Fruits and

 Vegetables to Keep Colds Away!!!


August 1, 2006

678543241.jpgJust like the former US President, Bill Clinton….I enjoy my Diet Soda during meals… but How Much of a Diet Coke is Safe?

I decided to write about this topic after 2 patients of mine this morning asked me the same question. It is circulated apparently that aspartame predominantly used in diet sodas has been shown to cause cancer. 

The American Diabetes Association continues to recommend aspartame as a safe substitute for sugar among diabetic patients.  With the increasing prevalence of Obesity, Diet Sodas using aspartame have zero calories and therefore do not cause weight gain.  According to the US National Cancer Institute no scientific study so far has proved that sweeteners can cause cancer among humans.  UK regulators after analysis of 500 papers came up with the same conclusion.

The Acceptable Daily Intake of aspartame which is the amount that can be taken daily throughout life without appreciable health risk has been assessed to be around 40mg/kg body weight which is equivalent to more than 14 diet sodas per day if the soda only used aspartame at maximum permitted dose.  But majority of diet sodas use a combination of sweeteners therefore the actual level of aspartame on each can is much lower.

My usual recommendation when asked about how much is enough with Diet Sodas?… is to allow my patients to enjoy at most 1 diet soda per day… to consume half of one can with their lunch and another half with their dinner…and to enjoy plain cold water or hot coffee with snacks.

Rest assured that with the endorsement of the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association supported by extensive database analysis of the safety of aspartame by the National Institute of Health ( The largest US government funding agency for research) and the US FDA, can we say….

Lets Enjoy Our Diet Soda Without Guilt!