Archive for March, 2009

Can I Eat Eggs Everyday? Yes You Can!!!!

March 28, 2009

New studies have been made to refute the previous claims that eggs can increase ones cholesterol. 

A recent article published in the International Journal of Obesity showed that the previous notion of limiting eggs because they can increase cholesterol is no longer an acceptable fear.  In fact eggs can help one lose weight!

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Objective:

 To test the hypotheses that an egg breakfast, in contrast to a bagel breakfast matched for energy density and total energy, would enhance weight loss in overweight and obese participants while on a reduced-calorie weight loss diet.

Design:

Otherwise healthy overweight or obese participants were assigned to Egg (E), Egg Diet (ED), Bagel (B) or Bagel Diet (BD) groups, based on the prescription of either an egg breakfast containing two eggs (340 kcal) or a breakfast containing bagels matched for energy density and total energy, for at least 5 days per week, respectively. The ED and BD groups were suggested a 1000 kcal energy-deficit low-fat diet, whereas the B and E groups were asked not to change their energy intake.

Results:

After 8 weeks, in comparison to the BD group,

  • the ED group showed a 61% greater reduction in BMI,
  • a 65% greater weight loss ,
  • a 34% greater reduction in waist circumference (P<0.06) and
  • a 16% greater reduction in percent body fat (P=not significant).
  • No significant differences between the E and B groups on the aforementioned variables were obtained.
  • Further, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides, did not differ between the groups.

Conclusions:

  The egg breakfast enhances weight loss, when combined with an energy-deficit diet, but does not induce weight loss in a free-living condition. The inclusion of eggs in a weight management program may offer a nutritious supplement to enhance weight loss.
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It is however to be emphasized that in this study, the egg diet was part of a calorie restircted diet suggesting that eating eggs as part of a low calorie diet can help one lose weight.  
  • But the added bonus of the study is the fact that eggs did not have any effect on the blood cholesterol level suggesting that it is really the intake of Saturated fat in the diet found in pastries, cakes and cookies that is harmful to the body!
  • The results of the study  were further confirmed in a similar finding from the University of Surrey research group which showed a similar no effect on cholesterol level with intake of 2 eggs per day for 6 to 8 weeks.
Hopefully…these two studies can now end the debate as to whether eggs are safe to eat or not.  Enjoy!!!!!
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How Safe Are Artificial Sweeteners….

March 25, 2009

One topic that has never died down during these years is the safety of artifical sweteeners.  The problem stems from internet messages and information being propagated by unknown sources regarding the dangers of these products.  As an endocrinologist, I have been recommending these sweeteners to my patients as they actually help stave off the craving for sugar without necessarily increasing the sugar load.

But how much is enough for these sweeteners?

Recently the Mayo Clinic organization published views on this controversy and recommendations.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the following low-calorie sweeteners for use in a variety of foods. The FDA has established an “acceptable daily intake” (ADI) for each sweetener. This is the maximum amount considered safe to eat each day during your lifetime. ADIs are intended to be about 100 times less than the smallest amount that might cause health concerns.

Artificial sweetener ADI* Estimated ADI equivalent** OK for cooking?
Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) 50 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) 18 to 19 cans of diet cola No
Saccharin (Sweet’N Low, SugarTwin) 5 mg per kg 9 to 12 packets of sweetener Yes
Acesulfame K (Sunett, Sweet One) 15 mg per kg 30 to 32 cans of diet lemon-lime soda*** Yes
Sucralose (Splenda) 5 mg per kg 6 cans of diet cola*** Yes

*FDA-established acceptable daily intake (ADI) limit per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight.
**Product-consumption equivalent for a person weighing 150 pounds (68 kilograms).
***These products usually contain more than one type of sweetener.

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How about the safety of these products?

Although this is one product has been bombarded with bad publicity probably because of its popularity being present in almost any low calorie foods to diet sodas… the National Cancer Institute and other major health oragnizations including the American Diabetes Association and the US FDA continue to refute these claims… as so far,  there’s no scientific evidence that any of the artificial sweeteners approved for use in the United States cause cancer and that there are now numerous studies to confirm that artificial sweeteners are safe for the general population.

I for one contnue to use aspartame or splenda for my coffee eevry morning or in the afternoon. I am a user and a believer in these low calorie sweeteners that as long as used properly and not in excess of what is recommended…then it is safe!

Enjoy The Sweetness of Health!

The Nutritional Benefits of Pulses

March 22, 2009

Just gave a lecture to a group of food technologist, media personnel and nutritionist on the Nutritional Benefits of Pulses upon the invitation of the United States Department of Agriculture at the USDA Culinary Theater. Fortunately the Philippines now has access to the USDA products of pulses which have been neglected sources of healthy nutrients especially fiber.

I have been a proponent of healthy foods in my website. I am an advocate of healthy lifestyle for a healthy mind. And I am not hesitant to help promote products that are healthy and nutritious.

Pulses are actually edible seeds of legumes. Legumes include the peas, chickenpeas, beans and lentils. The good thing about them is that they are rich in fiber and have low glycemic index. As such, they therefore can be great partners to what we know as healthy diet.

A cup of cooked peas for example can be packed with fiber and yet very low in glycemic index meaning, the capacity to increase the blood sugar upon ingestion is very low. The combination of these properties provide one an ideal food that can be both filling and nutritious. As a result therefore, one gets to enjoy a food that can less likely contribute to weight gain which we know can lead to more serious chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke.

Several studies have now shown that obesity can lead to serious problems, and pulse based diet has been shown to help curb obesity in certain populations. Anything that can help us decrease the prevalence of obesity in this country and the world is really a welcome addition to our need to find more ways to combat this epidemic. Likewise, intake of pulses in certain regions of the world have been shown in epidemiological studies to result in long life span like the Japanese or the Swiss and reduce the risk of colon Cancer due to their pre-biotic properties. However long term studies need to be done to confirm this finding.

We don’t go to groceries and easily grab peas or beans in the aisle. We still need to be educated more about these foods and the USDA has led the way in this regard and I am pleased to be part of it. I myself am a fan of peas and beans.

I have started to educate my kids about the nutritious benefits of eating veggies and slowly and slowly, they’re learning to enjoy the greens more each day. So the next time you go grocery shopping… take a second look at Pulses. They are HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS!!!

Can Vitamin C Help Prevent GOUT?

March 19, 2009

Go to fullsize imageGood news for patients at risk of developing gout because a very common remedy and very affordable at that has been shown to help prevent gout.

A new study published in the latest edition of Archives of Internal Medicine showed a relationship linking higher intake of Vitamin C to lower risk of developing gout:

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Background  Several metabolic studies and a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial have shown that higher vitamin C intake significantly reduces serum uric acid levels. Yet the relation with risk of gout is unknown.

Methods  We prospectively examined, from1986 through 2006, the relation between vitamin C intake and risk of incident gout in 46 994 male participants with no history of gout at baseline. We used a supplementary questionnaire to ascertain the American College of Rheumatology criteria for gout. Vitamin C intake was assessed every 4 years through validated questionnaires.

Results  During the 20 years of follow-up, we documented 1317 confirmed incident cases of gout. Compared with men with vitamin C intake less than 250 mg/d, the multivariate relative risk (RR) of gout was 0.83  for total vitamin C intake of 500 to 999 mg/d, 0.66  for 1000 to 1499 mg/d, and 0.55 (0.38-0.80) for 1500 mg/d or greater. The multivariate RR per 500-mg increase in total daily vitamin C intake was 0.83 . Compared with men who did not use supplemental vitamin C, the multivariate RR of gout was 0.66  for supplemental vitamin C intake of 1000 to 1499 mg/d and 0.55 (0.36-0.86) for 1500 mg/d or greater.

Conclusions  Higher vitamin C intake is independently associated with a lower risk of gout. Supplemental vitamin C intake may be beneficial in the prevention of gout.

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 What the study patients took were supplements of 1,500 mg daily.  What is interesting to note is that for every increase in Vitamin C intake of 500 mg per day, the risk of developing gout was decreased by 17%.

Likewise, those who took the 1500 mg supplemental form of Vitamin C had a 45% lower risk of developing gout than those who took lower doses of Vitamin C.  On the other hand those that took 1000 mg ov Vitamin had a 34% lower risk of developing gout!

It is known that Vitamin C can decrease the levels of uric acid oin the blood by increasing its excretion in the urine.

Does this mean,. we now go ahead and grab more Vitamin Cs in the market? I guess we need to wait for more studies to confirm this finding. 

But to those who continue to believe in Vitamin C and its role in preventing colds, this is one good news!

For me… getting the Vitmain Cs from fruits would be a better option.  Remember one orange can give you 70 mg of Vitamin C already.  Plus the ther benefits of fruit intake!

Reduce Your Risk for Diabetes Through Weight Loss: The Impact of Weight Loss Surgery

March 9, 2009

Go to fullsize imageWeight gain and Obesity play very important roles in the development of chronic diseases like Diabetes, High blood pressure and complications like Stroke and Heart Attack.  One therefore has to incorporate proper lifestyle and good behavior through daily physical acitvity to help avoid developing these conditions.  However there are certain inidividuas where weight loss through these behvioral methods no longer are enough to provide the weight loss one desires and therefore for ” medical” reasons, one resorts to drastic measures like Bariatric surgery.

But do they work in decreasing the risk? or do they help patients improve disease outcomes?

Now comes s study published in the American Journal of Medicine, March 2009  to show that weight loss indeed can work wonders to diabetes and that bariatric surgery can help:

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  • 621 studies from 1990 to April of 2006 were analyzed:  78.1% of diabetic patients had complete resolution and diabetes was improved or resolved in 86.6% of patients as the result of bariatric surgery.
  •  Gastric banding yielded 56.7% resolution, gastroplasty 79.7%, gastric bypass 80.3% and BPD/DS 95.1%.
  •  After more than 2 year post-operative, the corresponding resolutions were 58.3%, 77.5%, 70.9%, and 95.9%.
  • The Percent excess weight loss was 46.2%, 55.5%, 59.7% and 63.6%, for the type of surgery performed suggesting that BPD yielded the best result.

Concluding that:

  • 82% of patients had resolution of the clinical and laboratory manifestations of diabetes in the first 2 years after surgery, and
  • 62% remained free of diabetes more than 2 years after surgery (80% and 75% for the total group).

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The study for me tells us one thing: that weight loss indeed can work wonders.  However lets not all resort to surgery to achieve improvement in our risk for diseases as surgery also entails risks! 

While proper diet and physical activity are completely free and easy to do…all they need are the Two D’s to succeed: DETERMINATION and DISCIPLINE!

Chewing Nuts and Weight Loss

March 3, 2009

I recommend munching on nuts like almonds or cashew for snacks among my patients becuase of their monounsaturated fat content.  The problem however with nuts is the tendency to overeat and the difficulty of stopping.

We are told that chewing ones food more often than swallowing right away after chewing 2x can have a dramatic effect on satiety and weight. More often than not, we chew our food only few times then swallow then grab some more food until we feel so bloated.  Thus it is often my principle to chew food properly and do it more times to allow my brain to inform my body that I am full!

Here’s one study that I found interesting published recently in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  This study looked at the number of times one chew the nuts and measure their level of satiety.

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Background: Epidemiologic and clinical data indicate that nuts can be incorporated into the diet without compromising body weight. This has been attributed to strong satiety properties, increased resting energy expenditure, and limited lipid bioaccessibility.

Objective: The role of mastication was explored because of evidence that the availability of nut lipids is largely dependent on the mechanical fracture of their cell walls.

Design: In a randomized, 3-arm, crossover study, 13 healthy adults (body mass index, in kg/m2: 23.1 ± 0.4) chewed 55 g almonds 10, 25, or 40 times. Blood was collected and appetite was monitored during the following 3 h. Over the next 4 d, all foods were provided, including 55 g almonds, which were consumed under the same chewing conditions. Complete fecal samples were collected.

Results: Hunger was acutely suppressed below baseline (P < 0.05), and fullness was elevated above baseline longer (P < 0.05) after 40 chews than after 25 chews. Two hours after consumption, fullness levels were significantly lower and hunger levels were significantly higher after 25 chews than after 10 and 40 chews (P < 0.05). Initial postingestive glucagon-like peptide-1 concentrations were significantly lower after 25 chews than after 40 chews (P < 0.05), and insulin concentrations declined more rapidly after 25 and 40 chews than after 10 chews (both P < 0.05). Fecal fat excretion was significantly higher after 10 chews than after 25 and 40 chews (both P < 0.05). All participants had higher fecal energy losses after 10 and 25 chews than after 40 chews (P < 0.005).

Conclusion: The results indicate important differences in appetitive and physiologic responses to masticating nuts and likely other foods and nutrients. 

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For me the significance of this study boils down to one: Chewing ones food more often is healthier for the body in terms of early satiety and therefore better for weight control.  This study really justifies the concept of chewing food slowly around 20 times or more before swallowing to allow your body to register that food has entered and that you’re full.  By practicing this behavior, one also is able to control the appetite and therfore results in better regulation of weight! 

So if you love nuts…chew them properly…chew them more than 40 x if you want… they’re not only healthy snack alternatives but better for weight loss too.