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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

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For anyone that’s ever dieted or struggled to keep excess fat off, you know that conventional wisdom (increase activity, decrease calories) has tended to recommend very caloric intake for losing weight. But living on super low-calorie diets is not only not sustainable int he long-term, but it’s very difficult to maintain even for short-term results. Now scientist shave found the way to lose weight is not as strict and severe as we once thought! And the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has produced a wonderful new tool that allows you to more accurately estimate how many calories you need to consume and how you need to adjust your activity level to lose unwanted fat. This tool is called the Body Weight Simulator and is accessible here.

To use the Body Weight Simulator, you need to enter your Base Weight, your activity level and your age and height. The tool does the rest, providing you with an estimate of the number of calories you need to reduce each day to lose weight for the short-term as well as the number of calories you need to reduce to maintain the loss for the long-term. I tried the simulator myself and the number of calories I’d need to cut to lose 10 pounds in 6 months is just much smaller than most diet plans would have me reduce. (About 270 per day versus 500-1000 calories per day.)

The tool also provides graphs and charts that show the progression of weight loss, body fat % change, and activity level change.  Try it yourself and see how reasonable the new calorie goals and activity levels can be for your own fat loss plan!

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The American Diabetes Association designated this November as the month to communicate the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of proper diabetes control and treatment to those diagnosed with the disease and their families.  Throughout the month, the American Diabetes Association will hold special events and programs on topics related to diabetes care and treatment.  For information click the link to go to the website,  American Diabetes Association or call (800) DIABETES.

 

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Diabetes Myths and Facts

 

Read the myths and facts below from the American Diabetes Association to see how well you know your diabetes facts.

 

Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.

Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.  Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.

Fact:  Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes.  Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.

Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

Fact: No, it does not.  Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.  Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories, whether from sugar or from fat, can contribute to weight gain.  If you have a history of diabetes in your family, eating a healthy meal plan and regular exercise are recommended to manage your weight.

Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.

Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in fat (especially saturated and trans fat), moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit.  Diabetic and “dietetic” foods generally offer no special benefit. Most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive, and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols.

Myth: If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.

Fact: Starchy foods are part of a healthy meal plan.  What is important is the portion size.  Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks.  The key is portions.  For most people with diabetes, having 3-4 servings of carbohydrate-containing foods is about right.  Whole grain starchy foods are also a good source of fiber, which helps keep your gut healthy.

Myth: People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate.

Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes.  They are no more “off limits” to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes.

Myth: You can catch diabetes from someone else.

Fact: No.  Although we don’t know exactly why some people develop diabetes, we know diabetes is not contagious.  It can’t be caught like a cold or flu.  There seems to be some genetic link in diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes.  Lifestyle factors also play a part.

Myth:  People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.

Fact: You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you have diabetes.  However, people with diabetes are advised to get flu shots. This is because any illness can make diabetes more difficult to control, and people with diabetes who do get the flu are more likely than others to go on to develop serious complications.

Myth: If you have type 2 diabetes and your doctor says you need to start using insulin, it means you’re failing to take care of your diabetes properly.

Fact: For most people, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. When first diagnosed, many people with type 2 diabetes can keep their blood glucose at a healthy level with oral medications.  But over time, the body gradually produces less and less of its own insulin, and eventually oral medications may not be enough to keep blood glucose levels normal.  Using insulin to get blood glucose levels to a healthy level is a good thing, not a bad one.

Myth:  Fruit is a healthy food.  Therefore, it is ok to eat as much of it as you wish.

Fact: Fruit is a healthy food.  It contains fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals.  Because fruits contain carbohydrates, they need to be included in your meal plan.  Talk to your dietitian about the amount, frequency and types of fruits you should eat.

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By Sue Shekut, Licensed Massage Therapist, ACSM Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

The American Heart Association is now encouraging that Americans end their love affair with sugar. The AHA guidelines recommend that women eat no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day and men eat no more than ten teaspoons of added sugar a day. That’s a 70 percent reduction in sugar consumption for the average American.

According to an article from by by LAUREN COX and COURTNEY HUTCHISON from the ABC News Medical Unit, “Experts Debate the Value of the American Heart Association’s Call to Cut Our Sugar Intake.”

“We know that soft drinks are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet. We really want Americans to start thinking about this,” said Dr. Rachel K. Johnson, lead author of the study.

“The high intake of added sugar has been implicated in a number of negative health outcomes, but primarily this targets obesity,” said Johnson. “Sugars have been implicated in high blood pressure and inflammation which are risk factors for heart disease.”

“Strictly from a health standpoint, sugar is a ‘triple threat’ – it provides extra calories, no nutrients, and it may displace other foods and nutrients in the diet that are more beneficial,” said Dr. Donald D. Hensrud, an associate professor of Preventive Medicine and Nutrition at the Mayo Clinic.

Johnson, the lead author of the study, hopes her recommendations translate into some good advice, even if the public isn’t counting grams of sugar every day.
“We’re not saying eliminate added sugar, we’re saying use them with discretion,” said Johnson.

“Try to use the added sugars with foods that will enhance the diet, for instance a sugared whole grain breakfast cereal or a sugar sweetened dairy product … they’re improving the flavor of the food in a healthy diet as opposed to [spending it on] things that don’t carry any other nutritional value, like soda or candy bars,” she said.

For the complete ABC News article click here

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