Journey to fight Metabolic Syndrome Start Now!

The weight as I start this journey is 152 lbs.

The waist is over 35 inches.

Cholesterol 257 mg/dL

Triglycerides 177 mg/dL

Blood pressure controlled with medication

I made a shopping list from the 3 day fast plan and came home with fruits and veggies last night.  The plan is based on 5 juices per day.  There is a variety so I will try most of them and see what I like best in order to make it more palatable.  The emphasis on this juice fast is to cleanse or detox the body for the first three days.  Then I will start a plan of mostly juices with one or two salads a day until I reach my goal.

Goal = No Metabolic Syndrome indicators

Today was difficult.  Lets face it, I am fat because I like to eat, so drinking juice does not satisfy that craving.  But I am committed to continue this.  With my headache from caffeine withdrawal and my head on fumes because of the hunger, I marched on!

Metabolic Syndrome

As noted in the Metabolic Syndrome page, I have a pretty good idea that I suffer from this syndrome.  My conclusion was made easier when I entered my own lab results and measurements in the AHA website calculator.  Once you calculate your risk for hear attack, it follows with the calculator for Metabolic Syndrome.  I have 4 of the 5 risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome and to diagnose anyone with this syndrome you have to have only three out of five.

It seems to me that being over 50 and having all these risk factors the writing is “on the wall” so to speak.   I have to change my ways NOW.  I think I have found the best way to do it quickly and I want to share my journey here.

It all started when a friend told me about a documentary called “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead“.  He said it was impressive, very inspirational and recommend it I watch it.  After seeing it, I was convinced and I recommend the same for you if you are overweight.  I purchased an entry level juicer.  Although the one on the documentary is much more robust, I figure I star slowly.  Downloaded the 3 day fast from their website and went to the market to purchase fruits and vegetables.  I also recruited a good friend who has started this with me.  My following posts will detail the journey and the lessons learned.

 

 

Chocolate a health food!

Europe’s Food Safety Authority will allow the worlds largest chocolate producer to add language in the food label letting consumers know their dark chocolate can beneficial to blood circulation. Although not expected to be approved until next year by the European Commision, this announcement is enough confirmation. For me to feel less guilty about eating chocolate!

However, is important to know that it is not just any chocolate that is healthy. Is the chocolate that is processed using a specific method that preserves the antioxidants and flavanols naturaly present in dark chocolate.  It’s worth knowing that many chocolates available to us now are over-processed like many of the foods we eat these days.  Processed foods loose much of their nutritional qualities and chocolate is no different.

Barry Callebaut is the company that has earned the distinction from the European Food Safety Authority to label their chocolate as potentially good for circulation.  Callebaut has been conducting clinical studies on the health benefits of coca flavanols.  These compounds have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve circulation and reduce the risk for heart disease?

 

The Journal of the American Medical Association released a report this month that shows that the Low-Glycemic Index Diets are the best to keep the weight down.  This has to do with the fact that apparently, not all calories are created equal.  That is, the source of the calorie gives it a certain “quality” that affects how efficiently we burn energy.

When it comes to weight loss maintenance, evidence shows that most people can lose weight, but end up gaining it back.  The problem is that as we lose the weight the body needs less calories to maintain itself i.e. we spend less energy.  Ironically, this makes it likely easier to gain the weight back.  The goal is to maintain a diet that will help burn the highest amounts of calories to help maintain the weight loss.

Different diets help us burn calories at different rates.  According the studies,

  1. The low-carbohydrate diets help burn the most calories but have unintended negative side effects like inflammation and increase in the stress hormone Cortisol (both adversely affect risk for heart disease and diabetes).
  2. The low-glycemic diet is next after the low-carb diet in its ability to stimulate calorie consumption (i.e. 150 calories a day burned over those in a low-fat diet) and does not have the side effects.  Therefore, is considered the most effective in helping keep the weight down.
  3. The low-fat diet burns the least amount of the three types discussed here.  Actually considered the least healthy.  It can produce certain metabolic changes associated with regaining the weight.

The low-glycemic diet is structured based on the following calorie sources:

  • 40% Carbohydrates (healthy carbohydrates)
  • 40% Fats
  • 20% Protein

“There is a growing feeling that we need to go beyond low-fat diets, that was too simplistic a vision”, said Dr. David Ludwig one of the study’s author from Boston Children’s Hospital. “instead, focus on reducing highly processed carbohydrates” . Highly processed carbs make sugar easily accessible to the system rather than securing it in more health elements i.e. fiber in fruits.  When the sugar is easily available to the system it causes a sugar rush with a subsequent crash that stimulates hunger and jeopardizes the diet.

As in most studies and theories, there are opinions on both sides.  Although the most efficient to maintain weight loss, some researcher say the low-glycemic index diet do not have the best nutrition standards.  Others say the diet concept is too confusing and hard to maintain in the long term.  In the end, they all agree that balanced diets that eliminate junk food in favor of healthy ones is the best choice.  Moreover, it comes down to math; eat less calories than you can burn in a day through exercise.  That seems to be simplest and the best advice to keep a healthy weight.

References:

JAMA, June 2012

WSJ, June 26, 2012

ABC News June 26, 2012

 

 

Heart Health Expo

The Heart Health Expo is tomorrow!  Sunday June 3rd from 3-6pm.  See you all there!

 

2nd Annual “Healthy Heart Expo”

The following weekend will be held the 2nd Annual Healthy Heart Expo. I missed the first one but I plan to be there this weekend. I wrote about “The Heart of Gustavo Casanova Foundation” on a article for Examiner.com called “American Heart Month – Do you know your risk for heart disease?”

The event will be held Sunday June 3rd from 3-6pm in Sunset Park Elementary in Kendall. I plan to cover the event for Examiner and will share my comments here too of course. They will have health screening, raffle, prizes and some fun activities for the kids. Most importantly, they will be out there distributing heart health information. For more details check out their website at The Heart of Gustavo Casanova.

“”Why a Big Mac costs less than a salad” from the New York times.  Although somewhat dated, this article is still accurate in its central message.  However, although it is true that healthy foods are often more expensive than unhealthy one, our health is worth the price.  Some times, all it takes is letting go of some other expensive things we like in order the afford better nutrition for our family and ourselves.

 

 

 

Seven Simple Steps

I am keeping up with the American Heart campaign by getting involved in public awareness.  Today I wrote an article for Examiner.com.  This article includes the Seven Simple Step awareness from the AMA and provides a bit of a focus on physical activity.  Check it out “Help Your Heart – Get Active“.

 

February is American Heart Month

I created this site in the hope of sharing information on heart disease to create awareness of this important issue.  Originally, the site did not have a blog.  This month I decided I should add the blog and “take the plunge” so to speak.  For me the “plunge” is to start now actively participating in trying to lower my risk for heart disease.  This will not be an easy journey.  But it will be interesting.  I hope to catalog the journey in this blog.

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