Archive for March, 2007

The Health Benefits of Soya…

March 28, 2007

Go to fullsize imageAlternative food choices other than meat or poultry include the use of soya to produce meat/poultry like dishes which are now becoming very popular among vegetarians.  These dishes really look like the popular meat balls and taste like meat BUT devoid of the bad add ons of the accumulated fat in eating meat. 

 In a recent study published in Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, April 2007 , ingestion of black soya beans resulted in health benefits which included a significant weight loss, and more importantly the lowering of cholesterol levels which as a result can produce a better metabolic profile that may include better insulin action and therefore a possible prevention of diabetes.

In that study, the researchers at Hanyang University, allowed 32 rats to gorge on a fatty diet, supplemented with various levels of black soya. The results showed that, after two weeks, “those getting 10% of their energy from black soya had gained half as much weight as those in the control group. Total blood cholesterol fell by 25% and LDL (so-called ‘bad’) cholesterol fell by 60% in the rats in the 10% group.”

This study really presents the good side of a soya based meal.  Not only is it a good alternative to a protein rich meat meal but is also an important component of a balanced meal that is not only low in fat but also high in fibre and a very good source of complex carbohydrates.

Let’s Enjoy “meat” Without The Fat!

Read My Other Related Posts:

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The Importance of the Flu Vaccine

March 26, 2007

4184332892.jpgIt’s the time of the year that flu vaccination is again recommended. For the year 2007 … it is now recommended earlier this March due to three new strains of viruses expected to affect the region for the year.  So how can we protect from this infection and who should get the vaccination?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  recommends annual influenza vaccination for the following:

  • anybody age 50 and older;
  • children ages 6 months to 59 months;
  • women who will be pregnant during flu season; and
  • adults and children with other chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure

Patients with cardiovascular disease are of special concern since according to a recent American Heart Association guideline and advisory …. they are more likely to die from influenza than patients with any other chronic condition.  It is for this reason that one particular group of patients at risk are the diabetics who by the time of diagnosis most likely have cardiovascular disease already!

The advisory further noted: 

Overall, influenza is responsible for 36,000 deaths and 225,000 hospitalizations in the United States each year.  People with cardiovascular disease are particularly vulnerable, because the flu can exacerbate heart disease symptoms directly, and can also lead to conditions like viral or bacterial pneumonia that cause flare-ups of cardiovascular disease”. Influenza vaccination is now recommended with the same enthusiasm as cholesterol and blood pressure control and other modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease” 

Remember though that those who got last year’s shot should have a repeat vaccination this year because last year’s shot won’t offer protection this year.  Every year, the dominant strains of influenza virus change and therefore new vaccine is made for the particular year.  

So if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma or any diseases that requires life long medications….

Keep Yourself Protected: Get The Vaccine!

How Safe is A FRIED Chicken: Check if Its Cooked with Trans FAT!

March 22, 2007

1937790063.jpgTrans Fat is actually a partially Hydrogenated Vegetable oil- described by some as a man made toxin. It was actually developed as a “healthy” alternative to animal fat!  It became so popular for sometime because this is the kind of fat that can give your chicken the Crunchy feeling and great taste and the pastries a longer half life. Perfect combination of a good tasting meal and longer shelf life…definitely good for business!  But Wealth Is NOT HEALTH!

SO what’s wrong with Trans Fat?

  • Just 2.6 grams a day of trans fat raises your risk of heart disease.  That’s about half as much as you get in a typical serving of french fries.  Thus it is considered as one if not the unhelathiest Fat!
  • We are presently battling the epidemic of obesity and this trans fat may actually be one culprit because it is super fattening. It has been shown that Trans fats build up belly fat themselves resulting in the “beer belly” appearance.  Likewise trans fat also cause fat from other parts of your body to move to the belly.  Whew…. really a Bad Fat! 

Remember… accumulation of fat in the abdomen is particularly dangerous because it contributes to heart disease and insulin resistance state which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and the so called Metabolic Syndrome.

The good news is:

  • A lot of the junky foods that we love to eat that used to have lots of trans fat like the famous Oreo cookies — are now trans-fat free. Yahoooo!
  • Fast-food restaurants are now adopting measures to reduce or eliminate trans fats.

So the next time you order crunchy chicken…. please be aware if the food is being cooked trans fat free or if it is in fact cooked with one!  As a consumer … you have to right to know because it’s your health and the health of your kids that are at stake here!

Make sure to be careful with oredering fried chicken in areas where no labels are posted especially on sidewalks.  The cook themselves may not even know what kind of oil they are using.  The Blind making the Ugly….

The Ugly and The Fried!

Do You Want A Mc Donald’s in Your Hospital?

March 20, 2007

2035271489.jpgA very good debate on whether it is helpful to have a fast food restaurant like Mc Donalds in hospital was written by Dr Charles.

It presents a different view about the realities of getting sick in a hospital with the kind of hospital food that is almost always cold and “healthy” enough for the dish to taste bland and un appetizing!  One view is that… stress in a hospital can be lessened by eating in a fast food chain that offers yummy food! Just dont think about obesity or the calories for the monent…think of it as a way to perk you up!

Think about it.  If you end up in a hospital bed…wouldnt a French Fries and a burger perk you up? Unless some alternative yummy tasting health food restaurant is available…. for the meantime….

Are You In Favor to have a Mc Donalds in your hospital?

Reality? or Healthy?

The Way To Lose Weight: Japanese Style!

March 19, 2007

3197292687.jpgMy wife and I just had a 4 day cultural sight seeing visit to Kyoto, Nara then Osaka.  I consider this trip one of the best I had so far.  (I will soon post these sights in my travelogue blog so try checking it out what these historic sights of Japan can offer.) But one thing that really bothered me in this trip is that...There’s no DIET COKE in Japan!

If you try watching the Japanese in the streets, except for the Sumo wrestlers, they are all slim! I havent seen a single japanese whom I consider obese or overweight.  It must be their diet and their way of living and lifestyle.

This trip of ours was purely cultural.  We stayed in a Ryokan house where we slept in the floor.  Fortunately we had our own private bath but otherwise it would have been in a public bath where clothes are a NO NO!  2011165386.jpgWe were then entertained by true Geishas in Gion district and had a chance to be served food by them. We ate traditional japanese food from breakfast till dinner.  And this is where you will realize that traditional japanese servings are really small!

Kaiseki- ryori which is Japan’s artistic and seasonal way of serving food that uses the freshest ingredients of the season…says it all. It was like an eleven course meal but every dish was artistically presented in small servings that by the time you reach the fifth serving you are already full. 

The concept of losing weight by eating little and slowly may have come from this tradition.  Since the foods are served in small quantities then you have the liberty to really taste each bite and enjoy the food!  We were not feeling deprived but in fact it was the opposite… we ate in small servings but boy… we were literally satisfied!

Even in their buffet … you are offered a small plate.  Not the usual plate we have in our own homes. And the chioces are filled with seaweeds, raw fish and other seafoods.  What’s interesting though is the small serving sizes they offer including the desert.  The fruits are offered to you only 1 slice of each including their yummy chocolate cake… a small really small slice that is only enough for one bite!

Now I know why when you order Diet Coke?…. you are faced with a blank stare! It’s an unknown entity in Kyoto! 

Let’s all learn from the Japanese way of eating

  • eat in small portions 
  • use small serving plates and
  • eat slow to allow some time to taste each dish before another one is served!

It’s the our discipline and lifestyle that matters! 

Foods To Eat If You Are a Diabetic: Part 2- A Simple Meal Plan To Also Lose Weight

March 12, 2007

3678081641.jpgI often find a lot of my patients having second thoughts when they see a meal plan… and when you ask them the next visit… it’s almost totally ignored.  The trick that often works is to simplify a regimen whether you are talking about a diabetic meal plan or for weight loss.  Choices should be better with more options to be free to choose and change.

When I see a diabetic patient or any patient that I deemed prediabetetic or at risk to become one become he or she is obese, than I usually challenge them to make a simple meal plan that they can follow. 

MY simple rules are:

  • Stop once you fell full! 

  • Eat at a specific time and eat even if you’re not hungry. The main reason we recommend eating in between for snacks is so that you wont feel hungry before lunch or dinner then as a result you are more prepared to be disciplined enough to eat the right kind and the right amount.

  • Make sure to eat breakfast and dont attempt to lose weight by eating one meal a day only!  This attempt will backfire and make you even more obese.

  • Use a small plate and fill it up with rice, meat or fish, vegetables and a fruit. Once you have finished the meal…then stop because for sure you are already full!  Don’t grab for something else because it’s obviously out of the urge to eat more.  Stand up and leave the dining table AT ONCE!

  • Make sure to eat snacks in between to prevent you from becoming hungry in between.

  • If you still feel hungry after the meal, grab for more vegetables or additional half of an apple.

  • Drink lots of water before each meal and afterwards

  • EAT SLOWLY… enjoy the taste of each bite!

  • It is usually the first and the last bite that we can remember.  So if you want to eat chocolate: eat 1 bite before the start of the meal…then eat a bite of the cake after the meal!  Is this a compromise or what!

  • Some free foods ( with less than 5 gms of carb)that you can enjoy without adding much calories include: Bouillon or broth, sugar free 3 in 1 Coffee or tea, Diet soft drinks,  Sugar-free hard candy or Jell-O.  But make sure you spread out free foods throughout the day and not eat them in one sitting.

  • Obviously however…I want my patients to refrain from sugary beverages like ice tea, juices and soda drinks.

There you go… I havent specified what and how much to eat or how many grams or ounces of meat etc.  What’s important is: you have a cup of rice, a serving or two of meat ( lean preferably or even white meat), 2 cups of vegetables and a fruit!  It’s your choice of what kind!

If you dont follow a meal plan because it’s complicated enough…hope you can remember my simple rules! It’s may not be perfect or ideal but better than none … and works for me!

Do You AGREE?

Rules Need To Be Simple To Be Followed….

Read My Other Related Posts:

Can A High Fiber Cereal Breakfast Help You Lose Weight?

March 10, 2007

3458544841.jpgExercise alone is not enough for one to lose weight.  I hear many complaints from patients that they’ve been playing badminton at least 1 hour on most days of the week and yet they havent lost weight.  Why?  Because after their game, it’s EATING time!  And this is where calories accumulate more than the calories burned during the exercise.  So in general: weight loss equates to cutting down of high dense calorie foods to lose weight then be more active to maintain that weight!

One important finding that can help us lose weight is to incorporate high fiber foods to our diet.  This one study recently published in the September 2006 issue of the Journal of American Dietetic Association showed that incorporation of a high fiber cereal to the daily meal resulted in more weight loss than in the group who only cut down their calories.

The other advantage of adding cereals to the meal plan is that… while cutting out calories or certain foods can result in some nutrients being from the diet, the addition of high fiber cereal can avoid such loses.

The study involved comparing three weight-loss strategies: exercise only; exercise plus a reduced-calorie diet that emphasized whole-grain cereals; and exercise plus a low-cal diet that included no cereals. 

Those in the “cereal” group were given packets of whole-grain breakfast cereal.  The dieters lost roughly 12 pounds. What was intersting is that, the cereal group lost weight by also cutting down on saturated fat while increasing their intake of fiber, magnesium and Vitamin B-6.

Breakfast cereal with milk should not be bad after all because not only  is it high in fiber but also you  lose weight with it. 

You therefore get the best of both worlds:

 The benefits of High Fiber Diet and The benefits of Eating Breakfast!

Plan To Be Healthy… Start Losing The Excess!

The Benefit of Taking A Nap!

March 8, 2007

2635562638.jpgI actually want to work early… I can do more things without the distractions and my focus is great since it’s early in the morning. Once am in my clinic… it’s an uphill battle till 12N then my feeling starts to go downhill by around 2 PM.  Remember as physicians, we listen then think then diagnose then treat every person that seeks our help.  And mind you… this is non stop from 7 till 3 PM.  So I look forward to going home, have my own time and take my daily nap for around 20 minutes.  This mid day or mid afternoon nap really rejuvenates your feeling.  It relieves you of the stress that you have accumulated throughout the day!

But did you know that now there is a study that proved me right.  It has been shown in one study recently published in the February 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine that….

 “taking siestas of any frequency or duration is associated with about a one-third reduction in mortality from coronary heart disease, particularly in working men“.

The magnitude of the reduction varied depending on whether the napping was occasional or regular.  So the more frequent you do it… means the better you handle the stress… than the less chance for the stress hormones to harm your heart!  Remember stress hormones like steroid and cathecholamines are not friendly to our bodies especially if we get the surge of these hormones everytime we get too busy at work, get angry, depressed, anxious or pressured at work.

I can always work till 7 PM but I need to reclaim the calm after the day! What will my money do if I get a heart disease? Less money!  Priority counts in making sure you know when to stop and relax…when is enough really enough!  This is what I call: Health as Wealth!

A Mid day Nap is actually only asking too little form your time. 

I guess the study just emphasizes one thing:

Take Time To Relax To Live Long and Be Healthy!

Why Am I Not In Shape?

March 6, 2007

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The cartoon says it all…..

The Mind may know BUT its the Action that Counts!

To Inspire in Medicine As a Healer and As a Teacher is To Make A Difference….

March 5, 2007

3729534068.jpgAs a teacher, a doctor and a healer… to inspire someone because of your dedication to what you believe in is something I can be proud of.  That my advocacy to educate is being felt and admired as one that comes from the heart. 

When I was recognized with an Excellence in Teaching award by the medical students of New York Medical College while I was an Internal Medicine resident in the US… it proved that I can really make a difference in my way of imparting knowledge to would be doctors.  My advocacy to learn and to educate others was always there.

When I received this comment by Sol the other day… it inspired me more to continue this advocacy that I have started.   And I thank my student for this… and am asking her permission to share her message to everyone also….

“Hi Dr Gerry…This is sol here…

i just want to thank you for being an inspiration to every student, resident, and doctors alike! I admire very much your dedication to educate ever since i was still in training… and i believe you have influenced me to become an endocrinologist myself. Thank you again doctor and more power to you. Hats off!!!”

For me… I measure success not with the number of patients I see… its the number of people I’ve touched and inspired to be better!

To all the followers and readers of the website… thank you for visiting and for all your feedbacks.  They mean a lot to me!  If you keep them coming… I’ll be always be here to answer you everyday! 

To Sol… You Really Made My Day!

The Importance of Flossing

March 3, 2007

2955575324.jpgPeriodontal disease is a very common condition among my diabetic patients.  It has been shown that severe periodontitis can affect 0.5% to 1.0% of the adult population, with as many as 80% of adult population having some form of periodontal disease.   It is therefore a must that care of our teeth and gums should start from the young especially with the recent finding of an association between teeth problem and the heart!

Several cohort and case-control studies have already shown that periodontitis is associated with endothelial dysfunction, atherosclerosis, and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.  Suggesting that inflammation of the gums can actually be a factor that can lead to long term damage to the heart as well.  As a result… now we know why Flossing is important as part of our daily oral hygiene.  By preventing gum and teeth problem, we can therefore reduce our risk for heart disease. 

In a recent study published in March 1, 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, this important showed that  “At six months, those subjects who had intensive treatment of the periodontitis, which included flossing…  was associated with reduced indexes of periodontal disease severity and significantly better endothelial function.”  The improvement was associated with lower levels of infllammatory markers which are markers also known to be associated with higher risk of heart disease. It is important to note that endothelial function is a marker of how healthy one’s heart and vessels are.  Any improvement in endothelial function means a good effect on the heart and the vessels.

As more information and studies have proven that heart disease is due to low grade inflammation… simple disease affecting the mouth which is easily preventable should therefore be addressed because low grade inflammation involving the gums and teeth can have a major impact in our risk for heart disease.

When was your last visit to your dentist?

So for Better Breath and Healthier Heart…

Make Sure You Floss… and Visit Your Dentist!

Read My Other Related Posts:

  1. How To Prevent Bad Breath

  2. The Harm of Being Obese, Having Bad Breath and Gum Disease

 

How To Keep Your Doctors Happy…And You TOO!

March 1, 2007

2652075115.jpgOne of the disappointing scenarios that we always encounter as doctors are when patients try to change the recommendations of the doctor for the following reasons:

  •  My neighbor said it can cause liver damage
  • My friend said it can be addicting
  • That I should not take this medication for a long time since it has side effects.

Or for my patients with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high sugar… the most common reasons for not following instructions include:

  • My BP or cholesterol is now normal so I can stop.
  • My blood sugar is already below 100 so its already normal.
  • I will not take it anymore because I will become “dependent”

Common myths and misconceptions arise due to lack of communication between the doctor and the patient.  This is where proper and focused education with emphasis on the illness and the treatment should be done.  It may not all be the fault of the patient but also of the doctor who may not have all the time to explain.

The best way to approach this scenario is to emphasize to the patient the following:

  • NOT to change any of the meds unless you inform your physician
  • Diseases like high BP or high Cholesterol or Blood Sugar are chronic diseases therefore require chronic treatment.
  • Chronic diseases may be TREATABLE but are not CURABLE and therefore require long term treatment.  So any changes of the meds for that matter should be made by your physician.

Lastly…

  • Do not listen to what others say…especially your neighbor!
  • If you want another opinion, seek another doctor’s advice or a third opinion for that matter.  We welcome any other opinion and it should be your right as a patient to seek one.

Remember, we doctors are here only as your guides to help you achieve a 2832232036.jpgbetter health.  It’s really up to you to take care of yourself and follow what we advice you to do.  And if you are in doubt?  Call you doctor!

A Happy Partnership Is A Healthy Medicine!