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Fabulous Foods that Fight Inflammation

Chronic Inflammation


Chronic inflammation is a common but serious condition that can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and depression. In essence, it is an ongoing state of metabolic turmoil that your immune system identifies as infectious. To fight off the perceived threat, your body produces mononuclear white blood cells to surround and attack the invaders, causing low-grade swelling and inflammation throughout your body. With nowhere to go, and no actual invaders to attack, the white blood cells may eventually start attacking internal organs or other necessary tissues and cells.

Causes

The typical American lifestyle is often busy and stressful. Maintaining high levels of stress over long durations of time has been found to change gene activity in the immune system that triggers an inflammatory response. Chronic overeating, too much sugar, high fructose corn syrup, refined grains, processed foods and excessive alcohol consumption may also trigger chronic inflammation. Inflammation is linked to depression and difficulty sleeping, which can increase stress, creating a vicious cycle. A 2015 study in “JAMA Psychiatry” found that people with depression had 30 percent more brain inflammation than those who were not depressed.

Solutions

Regular physical activity and intermittent fasting have been shown to reduce inflammation. A reduced calorie whole foods diet like the Mediterranean diet, with high vegetable consumption and limited meat and dairy positively effects inflammation reduction. Stress management may be the most beneficial way to reduce inflammation. Stress is often linked to overeating and excess alcohol consumption. Daily meditation, mind-body exercise like yoga, qigong and tai chi, spending time in nature, and lifestyle changes that allow time for rest and recreation will reduce stress and benefit your health over the long run.

Foods that Help


To reduce inflammation, choose whole foods with protective antioxidants and polyphenols like green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, apples, berries, watermelon, pineapple, nuts, fatty fish like salmon and sardines, coffee and red wine. Use organic coconut oil and cold pressed virgin olive oil for cooking. Avoid refined grains, sugar, fruit juice and soft drinks, refined vegetable oils, margarine, shortening, deep fried foods and processed meats. Eat butter, eggs and other animal products from sustainable organic pasture-raised sources.

Resources

Healthy nutrition goes hand-in-hand with physical fitness. As the saying goes, “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” Whether you want to learn the basics or keep up with the latest, W.I.T.S. has course offerings to meet your needs. Bite into the basics with Certified Personal Trainer or Lifestyle Fitness Coaching. Take a stab at Nutrition Concepts or Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Dig into Pregnancy Fitness or Older Adult Fitness Foundations. Feed your brain with continuing education from any of our awesome CEC bundles!

References

Bruun, JM et al. (2006). Diet and exercise reduce low-grade inflammation and macrophage infiltration in adipose tissue but not in skeletal muscle in severely obese subjects. American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism, 290(5), 961-967.

EurekAlert!: New biological evidence reveals link between brain inflammation and major depression (2015, January 28). Retrieved from: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-01/cfaa-nbe012615.php.

Foods that fight inflammation (2015, October 26). Harvard Health. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation

Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net: marin; marcolm; Surachai.

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Prevention of Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s- Part 2

Adapted from the Specialist Certificate Program by Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation.

(Article 2 in a 3-part series about Alzheimer’s disease.)

 

In the previous article, it was noted that:

  • although there are natural physiological changes that occur with age, memory loss is neither normal nor a natural process of aging.
  • there is no medication at this time that cures fatal Alzheimer’s disease, so prevention is the best line of defense against the disease.
  • exercise plays a very important role in prevention of cognitive decline and brain health.

 

Through many years of research, the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation has determined a four-part program to use in the prevention, delay, and treatment of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.  This program is called “The 4 Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention.”

 

Recent research, some of which was sponsored by ARPF, supports the notion that lifestyle interventions can help decrease chances of developing memory loss and possibly help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Medical findings support the correlation between positive lifestyle changes and prevention of certain diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. The same relationship is being examined and assumed positive with respect to Alzheimer’s disease. The basic concept behind the ARPF is that it is important to take a proactive, integrative approach to assist in preventing cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Pillar 1: Diet

 

Diet is critical to the brain’s health. Prevention starts with smart diet and positive lifestyle changes that can influence the health of your cells and your genes.  One of the best ways to feed the brain for better memory is to avoid a diet high in trans-fat and saturated fat. These fats can be found in animal products, such as red meat, and can cause inflammation. This type of diet can also produce free radicals, which are a normal by-product of body metabolism. However, in high quantities, they can damage and even kill valuable, functioning brain cells.

Eating foods that are high in antioxidants, such as those rich in Vitamin C and E, is an effective way to eliminate free radicals from the body. Scientists believe that consuming a vast intake of fruits and vegetables, fish, which is rich in omega-3 oils, and a vegetarian protein substitute, such as soy, can be protective against memory loss.  Supplements prescribed by a healthcare professional can also be beneficial.

 

Pillar 2: Stress Management

 

Stress management has many positive benefits, including improved physical and cognitive performance, lower blood pressure, improved heart function, reduced anxiety, less chronic pain, and even increased longevity.

 

Learning to balance daily stress is a vital part of any Alzheimer’s prevention strategy. Studies have shown a strong correlation between having elevated cholesterol, blood pressure, and/or high cortisol levels and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Stress has been found to be a common key factor in all of these conditions.

 

Cortisol, the stress hormone, plays a role in memory. Normal cortisol has no effect on the hippocampus (part of the brain where memories are processed and stored); however, excess cortisol overwhelms the hippocampus and actually causes atrophy in this area of the brain. Elevated stress levels play a role in cognitive impairment and even the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Stress is therefore not only a direct risk factor for Alzheimer’s, but indirectly affects other Alzheimer’s risk factors, such as diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease.  Stress-management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and many other relaxation techniques have been found very valuable in alleviating stress. A specific type of meditation developed by the ARPF called Kirtan Kriya is a brain aerobic exercise that works to reduce stress responses.  You can learn more about the technique at www.alzheimersprevention.org.

 

Pillar 3: Physical and Mental Exercise

 

Both physical and mental exercise have been found in research to be important in prevention and treatment of AD. Physical exercise is discussed in article 3 of this 3-part series and is covered extensively in the ARPF Specialist Certificate Course: Exercise Prescription for Alzheimer’s Prevention and Intervention. This article will look at mental exercise and prevention.

 

Neurologists report that mental exercise can help reduce the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 70%. Brain Aerobics are activities that challenge the brain with tasks that are new and different. These novel tasks challenge the brain and function can be improved. It is recommended to spend at least 20 minutes, three times a week doing mental exercises. Examples of brain aerobics include reading, writing, playing board games, and doing crossword puzzles. Brain aerobics exercises do not have to be complex. They can be done at any time and any place.

 

Pillar 4: Spiritual Fitness

 

Increased consciousness and cognition is the final purpose and frontier of Alzheimer’s prevention. Spiritual Fitness may also contribute to brain health and is a proven defense against Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and even Alzheimer’s. Spiritual fitness contributes directly to your ability to maintain a high level of mental function as you age.

 

Spiritual fitness is the combination of attributes of:

  • psychological well-being (such as contentment, socialization, and having a purpose or mission in life)
  • combined with spiritual well-being (includes service to others and the ongoing search for peace of mind).

 

Aspects of Spiritual Fitness include:

  • Socialization or being with like-minded people
  • Acceptance and forgiveness of yourself and others
  • Patience and allowing yourself to be in the moment
  • Compassion and empathy towards yourself and others
  • Purpose or meaning in life via self-discovery and building your legacy
  • Sense of spirituality, regardless of origin or religion, which makes you happier
  • Volunteering or service without thought of self-reward is a very beneficial, life-affirming act

 

Current research suggests that some of the most striking brain benefits of Spiritual Fitness are:

  • Reversal of amyloid plaque in the brain, which may increase risk of Alzheimer’s
  • Improvement in your genes via healthier telomeres
  • Slowing of Alzheimer’s progression

 

For more information about Prevention of cognitive decline and dementia, visit the ARPF website at www.alzheimersprevention.org.

 

The information in this article is taken from the “Introduction to Alzheimer’s Disease” course, the first course in a two-course 11 hour Medical Fitness Specialist Certificate Program: Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention and Intervention. Stay tuned for additional information about exercise and prevention of Alzheimer’s.

 

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Sugar Cane: Diabetes and Joint Pain

It’s Complicated

knee-joint
When thinking about Type 2 Diabetes, it is important to remember that it is really a symptom and not a disease. Type 2 is directly related to lifestyle behaviors including nutrition, hydration and physical activity. In most people with Type 2, other symptoms coexist, including obesity, high blood pressure, high circulating triglyceride levels and an increased risk for stroke and heart disease. This cluster of symptoms is often referred to as Metabolic Syndrome. Recent research suggests that osteoarthritis is also closely linked to Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.

Making the Connection

A common markers for Metabolic Syndrome is inflammation. Inflammation is an immune response to harmful substances in the body. Just as a soft tissue injury or a bacterial infection leads to swelling, or inflammation, unwanted substances circulating in your bodily fluids attract anti-inflammatory agents to fight them off. Because your joints, especially your knee joints, are surrounded by synovial fluid, they are a ripe target for inflammation that leads to pain and disability.

Treatment vs Cure

pills

Osteoarthritis is usually treated with either opioid pain killers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and celecoxib, or analgesics like acetaminophen. Injections of corticosteroids help reduce joint inflammation, and hyaluronic acid can be injected to supplement that found naturally in synovial fluid, but which appears to be broken down in patients with osteoarthritis. However, pain management does not lead to a cure for osteoarthritis.

Interventions

fruits-and-veggies
The best way to treat joint pain, along with Type 2 diabetes and the other elements of metabolic syndrome is to overhaul your lifestyle behaviors. Becoming physically active on a consistent daily basis will get the ball rolling quickly. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 to 75 minutes daily of moderate to vigorous cardiovascular exercise, along with at least two bouts of total body resistance training weekly. Switching out soft drinks and other beverages for plain filtered water will lower sugar consumption. Modifying your diet by eliminating refined carbohydrates and replacing them with whole fresh vegetables and fruits will help you lose weight and reverse metabolic syndrome.

Resources

Our goal at W.I.T.S. is to provide our fitness professionals with all the resources necessary to meet your clients’ needs. For professional growth, be sure to keep current with Continuing Education. We offer courses ranging from Fitness to Sales and Marketing to Business Management. Consider making yourself more marketable by earning an additional Certification such as Personal Trainer Certification, Older Adult Fitness Specialist, Group Exercise Instructor Certification, Youth Fitness Certification, Lifestyle Fitness Coaching or Fitness Management. To help your diabetic clients, zero in on our numerous Nutrition courses, and courses focused on Special Populations. And remember to get your Digital Badge, so all your friends and contacts on Social Media will know that you are a dedicated fitness professional.

References

Kim, DD (2001). Diabetes and Your Joints. Clinical Diabetes, 19(3),136.

Mayo Clinic Staff. Bone and joint problems associated with diabetes. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes/art-20049314

Rosario, M and Azevedo, I (2010). Chronic inflammation in obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Mediators of Inflammation, 2010.

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Sugar Lumps: Diabetes and Obesity

Hand in Hand

chubby-woman
The link between obesity and Type 2 Diabetes is irrefutable, and as Americans continue to gain weight, the incidence of diabetes is rising. Recent statistics suggest that normal weight people have become a minority in the United States, with 30 percent of us being overweight, and another 34 percent being obese. Diabetes has risen along with the increase in body weight, affecting roughly 11 percent of all adults over age 20.

High Risk

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, 85 percent of all diabetics are overweight or obese. Researchers point out that diabetes is a symptom, rather than a disease, noting several factors that play a role. Genetically, humans are efficient at storing energy as fat. This harkens back to times of feast or famine, where our ancestors went for long spells with little or no food. When food was available, they made up for the hungry season, feasting and storing excess food as fat.

The Stress Connection

stressed
Stress is another cause of Type 2 Diabetes. Chronic stress puts us in a perpetual “fight or flight” stage that elevates circulating blood sugar. Stress is often accompanied by poor sleep, overeating and drinking excessive alcohol, all of which contribute to diabetes symptoms. Even very thin individuals can exhibit signs of diabetes when living in a constant state of stress.

Taking Action

The great news is that Type 2 diabetes is reversible, and the condition is immediately responsive to lifestyle interventions. Regular moderate to vigorous exercise performed for at least 30 minutes daily is a good place to start. Find something you enjoy, like walking on the beach or in a park. Replace soft drinks and juices with plain filtered water, or add a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber for flavor. Avoid refined carbohydrates like flour, rice and other refined grains. Stick to fresh produce and organic sources of protein for your daily meals.

Resources

Our goal at W.I.T.S. is to provide our fitness professionals with all the resources necessary to meet your clients’ needs. For professional growth, be sure to keep current with Continuing Education. We offer courses ranging from Fitness to Sales and Marketing to Business Management. Consider making yourself more marketable by earning an additional Certification such as Personal Trainer Certification, Older Adult Fitness Specialist, Group Exercise Instructor Certification, Youth Fitness Certification, Lifestyle Fitness Coaching or Fitness Management. To help your diabetic clients, zero in on our numerous Nutrition courses, and courses focused on Special Populations. And remember to get your Digital Badge, so all your friends and contacts on Social Media will know that you are a dedicated fitness professional.

References

American Diabetes Association: How Stress Affects Diabetes
http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/mental-health/stress.html

Harvard Gazette: Obesity? Diabetes? We’ve been set up.
http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/03/the-big-setup/

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Sugar Blues: The Link Between Diabetes and Depression

The Sad Truth

hot-sad-guy
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is a lifestyle related disorder involving many factors. Low physical activity, poor dietary choices, stress and poor sleep habits can all contribute. Depression is considered a co-morbidity of diabetes, meaning they often occur simultaneously. Without intervention, the combination can become a relentless downward spiral, with depression plunging you further into negative behaviors, and they in turn contributing to more severe diabetes symptoms.

Chicken or Egg?

Researchers still do not fully understand which comes first, depression or diabetes. But they do know that people with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from depression, and that people with depression are more likely to develop diabetes. What’s more, a 2011 study suggests that people with diabetes and depression are 82% more likely to suffer a heart attack. It is thought that changes in brain chemistry associated with high blood sugar may lead to depression.

Signs of Depression

There are many signs and symptoms experienced by people with depression. Insomnia or sleeping too much, no longer finding pleasure in things you once enjoyed, difficulty concentrating, overeating, anxiety, sadness, self-loathing and lethargy are just a few. If you think you may be depressed, counseling and pharmaceutical interventions are common treatments. However, drugs address the symptoms without rooting out the cause.

Fixer-Upper

beach-couples
Because depression and diabetes are both responsive to lifestyle behaviors, you can take steps today to improve both conditions. Exposure to natural sunlight increases the production of serotonin, a mood-boosting hormone that can help you feel calm and focused. Serotonin also improves sleep. According to the American Diabetes Association, sunlight also helps fight diabetes and obesity by boosting Vitamin D stores. Changing your diet to include more fresh whole foods and reducing refined carbohydrates can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar. Regular daily moderate to vigorous exercise can reduce depression and reverse Type 2 diabetes.

Resources

Our goal at W.I.T.S. is to provide our fitness professionals with all the resources necessary to meet your clients’ needs. For professional growth, be sure to keep current with Continuing Education. We offer courses ranging from Fitness to Sales and Marketing to Business Management. Consider making yourself more marketable by earning an additional Certification such as Personal Trainer Certification, Older Adult Fitness Specialist, Group Exercise Instructor Certification, Youth Fitness Certification, Lifestyle Fitness Coaching or Fitness Management. And remember to get your Digital Badge, so all your friends and contacts on Social Media will know that you are a dedicated fitness professional.

References

American Diabetes Association: Soak Up the Sun: Catching Rays May Work Better Than Taking Vitamin D to Prevent Obesity
http://www.diabetes.org/research-and-practice/patient-access-to-research/soak-up-the-sun-catching-rays-may-work-better.html

Healthline: Is There a Link Between Diabetes and Depression? Know the Facts.
http://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/depression#Overview1

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Sugar Rush: How a High-Carb Diet Leads to Diabetes

The Curse of Carbs

baked-goods
When you think of carbs, you probably think of bread, cookies and cakes. But carbohydrate foods include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as well. When broken down in your digestive tract, glucose is extracted from carbohydrate foods and enters your bloodstream, to be carried to your cells for energy. The difference between a piece of bread, for example, and a sprig of broccoli, is the degree to which the food has been broken down before entering your digestive system. Processed and refined foods yield up their glucose quickly because they are already partially broken down, while whole foods take longer to digest and glucose is released more gradually.

Insulin Resistance

When a large amount of sugar enters your bloodstream, a message is sent to your pancreas to produce more insulin. Insulin works like a key to open the doors of your cells to allow glucose to enter. When there is no immediate energy demand, the cells can store glucose in the form of glycogen. However, the cells’ capacity for glycogen storage is limited. Excessive carbohydrate consumption coupled with a sedentary lifestyle maxes out your cells’ storage capacity. Even when adequate insulin is available, the cells cannot store any more sugar, and elevated sugar levels continue to circulate until they can be eliminated via the kidneys. Eventually, cells become insulin resistant, the early stages of Type II diabetes, and the kidneys are taxed by the excess sugar load.

Acute Response

fit-asian-girl-w-apple
As dismal as the situation may seem, the scenario is easily reversed in its early stages. In fact, during your very first workout, as cells become depleted of stored glycogen, they immediately become more sensitive to insulin, since there is now room to store more glucose. Regular frequent workouts, coupled with reduced carbohydrate consumption, can help normalize cellular insulin sensitivity and reduce circulating blood sugar to normal levels. Regular workouts also promote fat metabolism and reduce inflammation associated with metabolic syndrome.

Change for Life

veggies
The best way to reverse and prevent Type 2 Diabetes is to stay active and eat clean. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, or ACSM, you should perform a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise, coupled with challenging resistance training at least twice per week. In fact, there is some evidence that resistance training may be more beneficial than aerobic exercise, since it relies almost exclusively on glucose for energy production. A whole foods diet centered on fresh vegetables, along with fruits in moderation, will minimize simple carbohydrates and promote normal blood sugar. Use whole grains sparingly, and use moderate amounts of nuts and seeds as alternatives to chips and other snack foods. Foods like sardines, avocados and coconuts give you healthy fats for energy and suppress carbohydrate cravings.

Resources

Our goal at W.I.T.S. is to provide our fitness professionals with all the resources necessary to meet your clients’ needs. For professional growth, be sure to keep current with Continuing Education. We offer courses ranging from Health and Fitness to Sales and Marketing to Business Management. Consider making yourself more marketable by earning an additional Certification such as Personal Trainer Certification, Older Adult Fitness Specialist, Group Exercise Instructor Certification, Youth Fitness Certification, Lifestyle Fitness Coaching or Fitness Management. And remember to get your Digital Badge, so all your friends and contacts on Social Media will know that you are a dedicated fitness professional.

References

American College of Sports Medicine: Exercise Can Help Tame Type 2 Diabetes, Say New Guidelines.
http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/acsm-in-the-news/2011/08/01/exercise-can-help-tame-type-2-diabetes-say-new-guidelines

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How Baby Fat Destroys Adult Health

Risky Business

chubby-asian-baby
Who can resist the adorable fat rolls on a cuddly baby? In most cases, an infant’s baby fat gives way to a leaner physique as the child grows and becomes independently active. But when a chubby baby becomes an overweight toddler, there is cause for alarm. Obese children tend to grow into obese adults with a plethora of health issues that lead to premature death and disability. A recent article published in “Gerontology” lists several adult disorders with a direct link to childhood obesity, including metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, vision problems, kidney disease, liver disease, sleep apnea, reproductive problems, asthma, cancer, osteoarthritis and psychological issues.

Overweight and Undernourished

fat-black-toddler
Ironically, many obese children are malnourished, lacking the dietary vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients required for optimal health. Overweight children are less likely to be physically active and may get little exposure to sunlight, leading to Vitamin D deficiency. A diet of fast and processed foods loaded with sugar and chemicals provides calories without meeting nutritional needs. Limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables and inadequate water intake undermines digestive health, leading to constipation, colitis and other digestive disorders.

Ray of Hope

fat-white-toddler
Despite the dismal prognosis for obese children, the results of a recently published Brazilian longitudinal study revealed that obese children who received intervention at an early age were at no greater risk for obesity and its associated disorders in adulthood, than children who were not obese. In other words, helping a child overcome obesity during childhood will protect them from obesity-related disorders later in life. The challenge is to find intervention strategies that work, and that adults are equipped to implement.

Interventions

A longstanding adage states that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and there is mounting evidence that childhood obesity begins in the womb. Prenatal education about nutrition and physical activity can play a crucial role in reversing the child obesity trend. Breast fed babies tend to grow into normal weight adults, and children introduced to whole foods at an early age are more likely to maintain a healthy diet as they mature. Working with families to improve nutrition and physical activity habits could be a lucrative niche for fitness practitioners willing to tackle this important issue.

Resources

Our children are the future, and W.I.T.S. is dedicated to preserving health and wellness for generations to come. As a Certified W.I.T.S. professional, you have the credentials and the knowledge to make a profound impact on future generations. Get started today with a Certification in Personal Training, Lifestyle Fitness Coaching or Youth Fitness. Follow up with continuing education in topics like Nutritional Concepts, Exercise Program Design for Special Populations, Youth Fitness Foundations and Youth Fitness Practical Review. You are the future of fitness. Be sure to get your Digital Badge to show the world that you are ready to take on the challenge of obesity and its impact on human health.

References

Callo, G, et al (2016). Lifetime overweight and obesity and body composition in adulthood: the 1982 Pelotas (Brazil) birth cohort study. Cadernos de Saude Publica,32(4).

Kelsey MM, Zaepfel A, Bjornstad P Nadeau KJ (2014) Age-Related Consequences of Childhood Obesity. Gerontology, 60(3).

World Health Organization (2015). Why does childhood overweight and obesity matter? Retrieved from http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/childhood_consequences/en/.

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Saturated Fat and Heart Disease: Surprising New Research

The Low Fat Fiasco

Food Guide Pyramid
For the past 40 years, Americans have been warned to stay away from saturated fats to avoid heart disease, yet our incidence of premature death from heart disease has risen steadily. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and come from animal products like meat, eggs and dairy, foods that have been human dietary staples for centuries. The thinking was that fat, when ingested, led to elevated cholesterol levels that could contribute to blocked arteries. Fat consumption was also associated with weight gain and obesity.

We Got It Wrong

In an effort to reduce calories from saturated fats, dietary recommendations from the FDA, USDA and CDC were established in the 1980s that encouraged high consumption of carbohydrates and limited consumption of protein and fats. Polyunsaturated vegetable oils in extreme moderation were recommended to replace butter and lard in cooking. Jumping on the low-fat bandwagon, food manufacturers reduced the fat content of their products and replaced fat calories with sugar and salt to enhance flavor. Despite this shift in dietary practice, obesity and heart disease among Americans soared.

The Not-So-Sweet Truth

pancakes
Recent research has revealed that sugar, and not fat, may be at the root of heart disease and obesity. A 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that individuals who consume higher amounts of added sugar, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, tend to gain more weight and have a higher risk of obesity. They are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Sugar is often hidden in processed food. Refined grains like white flour and rice are quickly broken down to sugar in your digestive tract and absorbed into your body.

Where Do We Go From Here?

bacon and eggs
For many, a ketogenic diet high in fats and vegetables and low in carbohydrates has been shown to promote healthy body weight and reduced risk of metabolic disorders associated with heart disease. In a nutshell, a ketogenic diet calls for an increased consumption of green leafy vegetables, small amounts of meat, full-fat dairy, eggs, nuts and fish, coupled with a dramatic reduction in grains and sugar. Fruits should be consumed in moderation. Organic grass-fed animal products and organic produce are best, as they reduce exposure to harmful hormones, antibiotics and chemicals.

Resources

At the heart of all change is education. The more you know and understand about your body and how lifestyle choices affect your health, the better equipped you will be to prevent and reverse the deadly precursors to heart disease. As a fitness professional, it is up to you to educate your clients and help them to make better choices. W.I.T.S. offers certification and continuing education courses that will fill the gaps in your understanding about heart disease. To get started, check out our Nutrition Bundle Special.

References and Credits

 

Brasco J. Low Grain and Carbohydrate Diets Treat Hypoglycemia, Heart Disease, Diabetes Cancer and Nearly ALL Chronic Illness. Retrieved from http://www.mercola.com/article/carbohydrates/scientific_evidence_low_grains.htm.

Chowdhury R, et al. Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2014;160(6):

Yang Q, et al. Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2014;174(4):516-524.

*Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

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Diabetes During Pregnancy: What You Should Know

Gestation Situation

fetus
During pregnancy, many changes take place in your body over which you have no control. Weight gain, fluid retention and fatigue are common changes that go away once the baby is born. While some of these physiological fluctuations are harmless, some, like gestational diabetes, can have negative repercussion for both you and your baby. The American Diabetes Association estimates that as many as 9.2 percent of expectant mothers will develop gestational diabetes. Learning about the causes and treatment of gestational diabetes can help you plan and prepare for a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby.

Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects

blood sugar test
Gestational diabetes is marked by a rise in circulating blood sugar, brought on by hormonal fluctuations that affect insulin production. Other symptoms include fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, unusual thirst, frequent urination and a high incidence of skin, vaginal and bladder infections. Women over age 35, women who are overweight or obese, and women with a family history of diabetes may be at a higher risk. If left untreated, gestational diabetes can result in large birth weight, premature delivery, increased chance of Caesarian Section surgery, and increased risk of fetal death.

Lifestyle Factors

diabetes pregnant apple
Although gestational diabetes does not manifest itself until between the 24h and 27th week of pregnancy, lifestyle behaviors prior to and in the early stages of pregnancy may play a role. Regular exercise, healthy nutritional practices, adequate sleep and stress management may reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes. Soft drinks and juice, candy, cookies and other sugary foods should be avoided during pregnancy. Staying hydrated with plain fresh water will help your body’s systems function at optimal levels.

Game-Changing Behaviors

pregnant yoga
Strategies for treating gestational diabetes include modifications in physical activity and improved nutrition. The American College of Sports Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend at least 30 minutes per day of aerobic exercise that involves repetitive movement of large muscle groups. Activities like walking, swimming, elliptical training and other sustained rhythmic movement are appropriate. Outdoor cycling may prove hazardous in the later stages of pregnancy due to weight redistribution and a shift in your center of gravity that can throw you off balance. A whole foods diet that includes plenty of fresh produce is recommended. Steer clear of processed carbohydrates like flour, corn, wheat and rice, and avoid processed snack foods and junk foods.

Resources

As a fitness professional, the more you understand about your clients’ health, the better qualified you will be to provide appropriate interventions. To learn more about the roles exercise and nutrition play in preventing and reversing disease, consider enrolling in a W.I.T.S. online course. Many of our courses count toward the continuing education requirements for your certifications. Nutritional Concepts, Exercise Program Design for Special Populations, and Certified Personal Trainer are all courses that will enhance your understanding of Diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

References

American Diabetes Association: What is Gestational Diabetes?
http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/gestational/what-is-gestational-diabetes.html

American Pregnancy Association: Gestational Diabetes.
http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/gestational-diabetes/

British Journal of Sports Medicine: Guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/37/1/6.long

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Diabetes: Why It Matters

Diabetes Affects Us All

If you exercise regularly and eat a whole foods diet, you may not think that diabetes is a threat to you. But at its current rate of occurrence, diabetes is projected to affect at least 1/3 of all adults by the year 2050. Even if you yourself do not develop diabetes, there is a good chance your friends and loved ones will develop type 2 diabetes. As a fitness professional working with overweight and out of shape populations, you are almost guaranteed to have clients who are diabetic. As a country, we all bear the financial burdens of diabetes in terms of health care costs.

Nov 2015 Diabetes 2

 

Nov 2015 Diabetes 1.3

(Click Image to Enlarge)

Resources

As a fitness professional, the more you understand about your clients’ health, the better qualified you will be to provide appropriate interventions. To learn more about the roles exercise and nutrition play in preventing and reversing disease, consider enrolling in a W.I.T.S. online course. Many of our courses count toward the continuing education requirements for your certifications. Nutritional Concepts, Exercise Program Design for Special Populations, and Certified Personal Trainer are all courses that will enhance your understanding of Diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

References

American Diabetes Association: Fast Facts: Data and Statistics About Diabetes

http://professional.diabetes.org/admin/UserFiles/0%20-%20Sean/14_fast_facts_june2014_final3.pdf