Monday, June 25, 2012
The Blood Sugar Solution chapters 4-6
Chapter 4 Food Addiction: Fixing Your Brain Chemistry
We're biologically hardwired to crave sugar/fat/salt laden foods . . . bummer! Foods made in a plant vs. grown on a plant are biologically addictive, and that's why it's not all about willpower, exercise and moderation nutritionally don't always cut the mustard in the battle to lose weight. Like any other addiction, food addiction is driven by primitive neurochemical reward centers in the brain which overrides normal willpower, overwhelming normal hunger control mechanisms. This addiction can even be seen on a PET (a special kind of scan) scan and the images of a food addict's brain when exposed to those trigger foods mimics those of any other addict . . . the same area of the brain is stimulated by exposure to sweet, fat and salty foods. This causes a release of a morphine like substance. Naltrexone is a drug used to block the addicts response to their addictive substance. This drug also works in the same way with food addiction.
Sugar sweetened beverages (like soda) have bonus bad points as many contain caffeine. This increases the addictiveness. If you drink your calories, you don't feel full, which leaves you hungry and eating more than you should.
Artificially sweetened drinks are no better. They disrupt the normal hormonal and neurological signals of hunger and satiety, are addictive and carcinogenic.
Our tax dollars fund the food stamp program. One of the items included in the program is soda. So essentially that means, we pay for the soda via food stamps and end up paying for the resulting diseases via Medicaid and/or Medicare. A soda tax has been discussed, which would be a penny-an-ounce tax on sugary beverages. The benefits seen:
1. a 23% reduction in consumption of soda.
2. a 10 year health care cost savings of $50 million dollars.
3. the tax funds collected could be used to finance community programs addressing the problem of obesity.
The most compelling question posed by Dr. Hyman at the end of this chapter was what are the ethical, legal and moral implications of allowing our kids unrestricted access to these addictive foods (through advertising, purchase of these foods, etc.)? In places like Sweden, Norway, and the UK food advertising to children is banned. Hmmm...why not here? MONEY talks.
Chapter 5: How Big Food, Big Farming and Big Pharma Are Killing Us
Startling: because of government subsidies, a Twinkie, with it's 39 ingredients is cheaper than broccoli. Why? The advertising dollars (spent by Big Food Giants like Coca Cola, Kellogs Kraft and others) spent to market Twinkies outstrip what is spent on advertising healthy foods. What? You way you MISSED the advertisements for healthy food? That's because . . . there aren't any!
Big Farms get subsidies to encourage production of sugar (from corn) and fat (from soybeans) to make these unhealthy processed foods. NO subsidy is given for production of whole, fresh foods locally grown, in season. These products are consumed, the population is becoming fatter, and unhealthier with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity and other chronic illness.
Big Pharma is ready and willing to step in and supply us with the medications for illness like hypertension, diabetes, depression and other unhealthy lifestyle related diseases. So it's the triad of Big Farming, Big Food and Big Pharma promoting unhealthy choices.
The kicker is the more financially challenged you are, the more difficult it is to afford the GOOD stuff as it is not as readily available in poorer areas, and generally pricier than the unhealthy, processed stuff.
In Europe a system of labeling has been devised (red, yellow and green labels) to provide the consumer with a quick and easy way to assess their food choices. Nutritional labeling here is at best confusing.
It is acceptable for businesses like the auto industry to be regulated, but the regulation of the food we eat is not. It is seen as a personal responsibility to be in charge of what we eat. How can you eat healthy if the food you have to chose from is not healthy?
Chapter 6: Functional Medicine: A New Approach to Reverse This Epidemic
Startling information from this chapter.
You may have a normal blood sugar (under 100 mg/dl) or a normal glucose tolerance (blood sugar under 149 mg/dl) 2 hours after drinking a sugary liquid. BUT this is not a guarantee you are not pre-diabetic or diabetic. One of the missing keys is your insulin level. Remember, insulin resistance causes cells to become numb to the affects of insulin, so the body continues to pump out more insulin to handle the glucose load in your blood. The insulin spike is the first symptom that's going to occur with prediabetes and diabetes while the rise in blood sugar is one of the last. The rise in insulin causes symptoms such as increased belly fat, fatigue, brain fog, sugar cravings, high triglycerides, low HDL, blood sugar swings, inflammation, blood clotting problems and hypertension. However, conventionally, these symptoms are just treated as an entity and the whole picture of what is going on is ignored.
The tenet of functional medicine is patient-centered rather than disease-focused. There is a connection between disease entities and how our genes, environment and lifestyle interact to determine health or disease.
There is a continuum from optimal health to hidden imbalance to serious dysfunction to disease. Intervening anywhere on the continuum is necessary to restore balance to our body systems. The sooner this is done, the better.
Diabesity is a result of imbalances in the seven key systems in our bodies that form the web or network of our biology. Functional medicine of grounded in understanding these interconnected systems and applying systems thinking to the body and treatment of imbalances.
Finding and correcting these imbalances is a seven step process involving:
1. boosting nutrition
2. hormonal regulation
3. inflammation reduction
4. digestion improvement
5. detoxification maximization
6. enhancement of energy metabolism
7. soothing the mind