Beat it

Beat it

Gluten-free diets: what are they and why are they necessary

This means, they have to consume foods that do not contain the protein gluten, which is found in grains like wheat, barley, rye and triticale, a combination of wheat and rye.
In people who suffer from Celiac Disease, gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines and causes other symptoms that include digestive problems, anemia, seizures and muscle cramps and joint pains to name a few.
The challenges with following a gluten-free diet is that some foods and beverages, such as bread and beer, are obvious in that they contain gluten, more so than others. This is because wheat, rye and barley are often referred to as other things on the ingredients list on food packaging.
For example, products that are wheat-based that may not be obvious are bulgar, durum flour, farina, kamut, semolina, spelt and graham flour.
Common foods to avoid if you are following a gluten-free diet include beer, breads, cakes, cereals, French fries, imitation meat and crackers. Other foods to steer clear of include salad dressings, soups, pastas, sauces and potato chips.
However, there are many gluten-free products on the market today, including the common foods to avoid, and they are being made gluten-free by substituting the harmful ingredients with soy, corn, rice or gluten-free grain.
Much like those who suffer from allergies, those who follow a gluten-free diet have to be diligent in consuming foods that are gluten-free by learning to read labels and educating themselves on the alternative names that wheat, barley and rye are called. They also need to do this so they can ensure when they eat at a restaurant that they are eating safe, gluten-free options.
Also, be wary of food additives that may seem safe but contain gluten and medications and vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent. What is also important, and can be prove to be tricky, is being careful to avoid foods that could have been potentially cross-contaminated with foods that contain gluten. This could occur in the harvesting stage, manufacturing plant, in restaurants or at home on countertops, plates and utensils.

Surprisingly simple tips from 20 experts about how to lose weight and keep it off

by Julia Belluz 
If anyone knows how difficult it is to lose weight and keep it off, it's me. My struggle took off as soon as soon as I entered adulthood. At 18, in my last year of high school, I moved to Italy. In six months, in a town near the Adriatic sea, I managed to put on 25 pounds.
The reason for my Italian waist expansion was clear: I ate ice cream, bread, and mozzarella di bufala like I'd never see it again. Before school, it was not uncommon to stop at a cafe and gossip over cappuccinos and bomboloni — custard-filed donuts. After school, gelato. Dinner usually featured plates of pasta, cheese, and bread. Who needed vegetables when you had fresh mozzarella?
The stay in Italy was delicious. I made friends. I learned the language. I studied the streets, squares, and galleries of Rome and Florence. I also got fat. It took about three years to return to my pre-Italian sojourn size. And keeping the weight off since then has required daily thought and effort: avoiding sugary drinks and late meals, preparing food at home whenever I can, keeping running calorie counts in my head or iPhone app, and regularly weighing myself. When the number on the scale goes up, I try to figure out where I'm going wrong and re-focus. I don't view these efforts with disdain; I accept that they're a necessary part of staying healthy.
I did more than 20 interviews with leading nutrition researchers. I distilled what they told me, for you.
It is with this context that I give you what I hope is a helpful guide to thinking about weight loss. Again, I know how difficult it is to manage one's weight, and how annoying it is to see articles about "10 tricks" that will help bust your belly fat or promises about magic diet-pills and potions. I know from personal experience that there are none, and I wanted to offer you an alternative, something that actually reflects clinical experience and what science tells us about keeping healthy.
I conducted more than 20 interviews with leading diet and nutrition researchers, registered dietitians, physicians, and evidence-based thinkers on weight loss from across North America. Together, they've written or reviewed hundreds of studies and treated thousands of patients. I asked them pretty basic questions: based on the best-available evidence, what advice do you have for people who struggle with their weight? What do your patients who lose weight and keep it off have in common? Where do people go wrong? I distilled what they told me, for you.
1) There really, truly is no one "best diet"
The experts I spoke to all emphasized that science has now shown us, pretty much unequivocally, that all diets — low fat, low carb, Weight Watchers, Atkins, etc. — have the same modest results in the long run, no matter their macronutrient composition.
Consider the findings of Dr. Mark Eisenberg, who looked at the research on the South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers, and Zone diets for his recent review. He and his co-authors found that no matter the diet, people tended to lose about five to seven pounds in a year, eventually regaining some of that weight later.
This latest bit of research follows other large-scale studies that have come to the same conclusion. This randomized trial involved 300 women on either low-carb, high-carb, or low-fat diets. The researchers found that, while women on a low-carb diet (specifically Atkins) lost a little more, weight loss through this diet was "likely to be at least as large as for any other dietary pattern." In other words, there was no "best diet."
Instead of studying the effectiveness of one diet over another, the researchers I spoke to said they were moving toward trying to understand better how individuals — with their varied personalities, preferences, and genetic makeups — respond to different lifestyle changes. The future is in figuring out more tailored alternatives to the current one-size-fits-all approach, they said.
Until we have that answer, the findings from the literature should be liberating: they mean that we’ve been sold this idea that if we just buy into one particular diet, we will walk the path to thinness. But science (and experience) have shown us that that's not true. You can save your money, and tune out fad diets that will inevitably come in and out of fashion. There's no need to wedge your habits and preferences into an unreasonable or unsustainable diet plan that time has shown will fail. Instead, the experts suggested cutting calories in a way that you like and can sustain, and focusing on eating more healthfully.
As a guiding principle, Dr. Arya Sharma, director of the Canadian Obesity Network, simply tells patients, "The first thing you want to do is eat regularly. If you're starving, you're not going to make sensible choices." That doesn't mean snacking all the time, he added, but just making sure you don't arrive at your next meal hungry. Then, he tells patients to eat more fruits and vegetables, and fewer "empty calorie foods" such sugary drinks and processed snacks.
That's similar to the approach Matt Fitzgerald, author of the book Diet Cults, takes. He told me he ranks foods on an evidence-based quality hierarchy, from more healthy to less healthy:
•           Vegetables
•           Fruits
•           Nuts, seeds and healthy oils
•           High-quality meat and seafood
•           Whole grains
•           Dairy
•           Refined grains
•           Low-quality meat and seafood
•           Sweets
•           Fried foods
Eat more of the foods at the top, and fewer as you run down the list.
If you need an even simpler guide, there's the "half-plate rule": make sure half of your lunch and dinner plates are composed of vegetables and fruits; the other half, protein and starch. These are reasonable approaches to eating more filling and fibrous foods that aren't calorie dense — which is what everyone I spoke to recommended.
2) People who lose weight are good at tracking — what they eat and how much they weigh
Some of the best research on what works for weight loss comes from the National Weight Control Registry, a study that has parsed the traits, habits, and behaviors of adults who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for a minimum of one year. They currently have more than 10,000 members enrolled in the study, and these folks respond to annual questionnaires about how they've managed to keep their weight down.
The researchers behind the study found that people who have had success losing weight share a few things in common: they weigh themselves at least once a week. They exercise regularly at varying degrees of intensity with the most common exercise being walking. They restrict their calorie intake, stay away from high-fat foods, and watch their portion sizes. They also tend to eat breakfast. But there's a ton of diversity as to what makes up their meals. (Read: again, there was no "best" diet or fad diet that did the trick.) And they count calories.
"Start with a food diary. You need to know where you’re at to know what you should change."
That last point is one that obesity physician and Diet Fix author Dr. Yoni Freedhoff dwells on. "The most important thing to start with is a food diary," he said. "They aren’t sexy or fun, but before you start a diet, you need to know where you’re at to know what you should change."
The food diary should be used before you begin changing your eating habits, to reflect on where you're at, where you may be going wrong, and where you can cut back. Then as you go along in your weight-loss quest, he said, the food diary can help you stay focused. "Keeping a food diary in real time reminds you that you're trying to make healthful choices and change."
3) People who lose weight identify their barriers and motivations
The National Weight Control Registry is not a controlled experiment; it does not randomize various weight-loss interventions to groups of people and then see which ones lose weight. Instead, it takes people who are already successful and examines what they did to be so. One thing that this group has in common is that they're clearly highly motivated: they continued weighing themselves, tracking their calories, and limiting their diets — long after they lost weight.
A number of the experts I spoke to said the people they've seen experience a sustained weight loss identified their goals and motivations and hung on to them for the long period it took to slim down and keep the weight off.
To tease this information out of patients, Dr. Matthew Gillman, director of the Obesity Prevention Program at Harvard Medical School, said he always starts by interrogating people about their weight-loss intentions. "I will ask someone what are their goals, and how they envision themselves getting there, and what types of things would allow them to make changes, and then how confident they are in making those changes."
Cornell professor Dr. Brian Wansink said that when people ask him about how to lose weight, he counters with a series of questions. "The most important thing you want to figure out is whether somebody really wants to lose weight," he said. He explained that people might think they want to slim down, but when they actually reflect on the sacrifices and commitment required — realize they aren't ready.
Equally as important, said Dr. Sharma, is to identify barriers to weight loss. "The first thing you want to address is why you're gaining weight in the first place. It could be genetic. It could be stress, having a chronic illness, a medication you're on." There is also a clear correlation between obesity and other social-determinants of health, such as income and education. Obviously, some of these barriers will be easier to overcome than others. But isolating and addressing them wherever possible, he said, is really important for making any sustained lifestyle change.
4) Diets often fail because of unreasonable expectations
The message I heard from doctors was remarkably consistent: people who go on diets often set themselves up for failure by expecting results too quickly, picking a plan that either doesn't fit with their lifestyle or is impossible to maintain.
Dr. Maria Collazo-Clavell, a Mayo Clinic obesity specialist, said people go wrong when they think about weight loss on a short time horizon: for a summer holiday, an upcoming wedding. "These short-term approaches do not work," she said.

More on weight loss
Everything you wanted to know about obesity and weight loss
21 maps and charts that explain the obesity epidemic
"The biggest pitfall is trying to lose too much weight too fast," said Canada's Dr. Sharma.
Harvard's Dr. Gillman took a commonsense approach: "People have gained weight over a period of years. They are not going to turn it around overnight. If you try to do that, you’re more likely to regain."
Dr. Freedhoff said he sees people "under-eat, over-exercise, or both at the beginning of weight loss. It's seductive to see the scale go down." But they inevitably fail at maintaining an impossible and unrealistic regimen. "Trying to be too perfect is a huge problem for people in diet world," he added.
"You don't need to be a saint; you need to be a smart sinner," said Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center.
Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietician at the Mayo Clinic, also said unreasonable expectations — and the self-berating that often ensues — just makes weight loss even more difficult. "When people try and fail, their confidence is so low, and they just lose the confidence to believe they can really sustain even a more reasonable change, or they don't think the reasonable change is going to do much."
Again, these insights should be liberating: change a little at a time, and think long term. Patience, these doctors promised, will pay off.
5) People who lose weight know how many calories they're consuming — and burning
Another weight loss pitfall people make has to do with the lies we tell ourselves about how much we're eating and burning off.
Studies have found that people very often underestimate how many calories they eat and overestimate how many they use up during exercise. This is easy to do even when you're keeping a food diary.
We play other tricks on ourselves, too: healthy foods sometimes have a "halo effect" and when added to a meal (i.e. cheeseburger with a side of salad) cause people to believe that the overall calorie content of the meal somehow, magically, decreases.

"The halo effect"
 This study found people vastly misjudge the sugar content of fruit juices, believing they are healthy. Dr. Frank Sacks, who has conducted several pivotal studies on diet at the Harvard School of Public Health, said he's seen people make these misjudgments when trying to lose weight time and again. He had a friend who complained about his recent weight gain, and when Dr. Sacks asked him about what he was eating, the friend admitted to drinking the equivalent of 1,000 calories worth of orange juice every day. "That was the biggest single source of calories in his diet," said Sacks.
To get a sense of what you're truly eating, measure your food for a period, suggested Dr. Freedhoff. Use scales and measuring cups in your kitchen. At restaurants, use your hand to help you estimate portion sizes. You won't always need to do this. But you'll quickly learn how much you're actually consuming. And it'll help you to make sure you're not wasting your time with that food diary and delaying the results of your efforts.
6) There are ways to hack your environment for health
The weight loss experts all described to me how they trick themselves and engineer their environments so that maintaining a healthy weight is easier.
As Dr. Sacks said, "In the home, I’ve gotten rid of stuff that I'm likely to overeat. I don't have boxes of cookies on the dining room table that I can just eat. I don't have that stuff around."
Echoing Dr. Sharma's earlier advice, Dr. Freedhoff believes in hunger prevention: he often pre-eats before a meal — usually a small serving of protein, because it's more satiating than carbohydrates — to avoid over-indulging later. He also tries to stay away from alcohol before starting a meal, since there's good evidence that alcohol stimulates appetite and leads to overeating.
Dr. Wansink, of Cornell, is the master of hacking your environment so that healthier choices are easier to make. In his latest book, Slim by Design, he outlines his findings from his behavioral research: he has found that people served from their stove or counter ate 19 percent less food compared to those serving themselves right off the table. He has found that food placement matters: you’re three times more likely to eat the first food you see than the fifth one. In another study, he found that people tend to eat about 60 extra calories per meal when they eat off larger plates, so he suggests replacing 12-inch plates with 10-inch ones.
Now, some of these tips might sound ridiculous — who wants to throw away their plates? — but the underlying theme is sound: environmental cues, not hunger cues, often cause people to overeat.
We might not have control over the temptations we're exposed to outside the home (the cakes and muffins on display as we line up for our coffee in the morning; the giant portion sizes at our favorite lunch spot), but making subtle changes to our surroundings — keeping cookies out of sight, serving ourselves off the stove instead of the dinner table — can nudge us in a healthier direction.
"It's easier to become slim by design than slim by willpower," Wansink said. "Design you change once; willpower you have to do every day for the rest your life."
7) Exercise is surprisingly unhelpful for weight loss
This review of studies on exercise and weight found that people only lost a small fraction of the weight they expected to given how much they were burning off through their new exercise routines. Some overweight people even gain weight when they start exercising.
This is mostly due to the fact that people develop "compensatory behaviors" when they exercise, thinking they can have those extra treats because of all the work they did, said Tim Caulfield, author of the Cure for Everything. "They go for a run, and then eat a high-calorie muffin, and completely neutralize that run. You're not going to lose weight."
"I don't have boxes of cookies on the table that I can just eat. I don't have that stuff around."
This isn't to say that exercise isn't hugely beneficial for health: it raises mood, protects against disease, boosts energy, and improves sleep quality, just to name a few well-documented benefits.
But science has shown us that slimming down by exercising alone doesn't work for most people. Physical activity is more important for weight maintenance than for weight loss, and what matters most for weight loss is controlling calorie intake.
8) Weight loss medications aren't very useful. Neither are "metabolism boosting" supplements.
Overall, the obesity doctors said they were unimpressed by the prescription weight-loss medications that are currently on the market, though some think they might have a role to play in some cases of obesity, particularly when used to complement other lifestyle changes.
Dr. Collazo-Clavell, at the Mayo Clinic, reviewed the literature on diet drugs, and said, "There have been a couple of recent studies, where the people who tend to do best with prescription medical therapies for weight loss are the group initially focusing on lifestyle changes, and lose weight, and then go on to a medication to help." She added: "I do believe these medications have a role but I'd strongly discourage saying they’re the quick and easy fix."
Other doctors were less hopeful. "I'm not using any of these in my practice because the results and/or side effects haven't impressed me," said Dr. Donald Hensrud, who co-chaired the American Heart Association's obesity guidelines. "There's just not a lot of benefit and too many risks."
Dr. Sharma said the medications might be helpful for people who are suffering with other health problems as a result of excess weight, and that interested patients should discuss the harms and benefits with their doctors.
As for supplements that claim to "boost your metabolism" for weight loss, you can just ignore these outright. Nothing you eat can speed up your metabolism to the point of slimming down. What's more, obese people don't necessarily have slower metabolic rates than thin people, so that whole notion is bunk.
"We've measured the resting metabolism in lots of skinny people and in lots of people with serious weight problems, and everything in between," said Dr. Michael Jensen, an expert on metabolism at the Mayo Clinic. "Whether you're above or below average, skinny or obese, as a rule you cannot say obese people have lower metabolism rates than lean people. That's just not true."
"We do know obese people tend to be up and about about two to two-and-a-half hours a day less than lean people," Dr. Jensen said. "My take is the amount of physical activity we do and the amount of calories we take in is far more important than what we do at rest."
Even though you can't control the speed of your metabolism, you can control how many calories you eat and what you burn through physical activity. When people ask Dr. Jensen how to boost their metabolisms, he tells them "go for a walk." That's something supplements like green coffee beans or raspberry ketones just won't do. And it's free.
9) Forget about "the last 10 pounds"
People who lose weight but don't quite make it to their goal often complain about "the last 10 pounds." Surprisingly, the obesity doctors I spoke to said you should just forget about them if they are that hard to take off.
"If the last 10 pounds are more difficult to lose than the rest, that suggests to me they will be regained," warned Dr. Freedhoff. "If you need to try harder to lose that weight ... the pounds will just come back."
Dr. Cheskin put it even more simply: "It’s not worth it for the last 10 pounds. You’ve gotten almost all of the health benefits and probably most of the social benefits of losing weight if you’ve got two-thirds of where you’d like to be."
He said even losing five percent of your body weight is great for your health. "People should be very pleased with getting partway there."

What is the Paleo diet?

There are several diets out there that each claim to accomplish different things and offer their own unique benefits besides weight loss.
One diet that has people talking is the Paleo diet, a style of eating that is said to mimic how early humans consumed food.
This diet mainly consists of meat, fish, vegetables and fruits, and excludes foods that modern humans would eat, i.e. food that has to be processed such as dairy and grain products like bread and baked goods. Basically, anything processed isn’t included.
This diet, like most, is equally supported as it is criticized. It is supported because the train of thought is that eating natural foods in its most basic state is the best for your body because it works with our genetics, just like it did for our ancestors, and feed our bodies to make us strong, lean and full of energy.
This is opposed to the modern diet which is chock-full of processed and refined foods that’s full of trans fats, sugar and chemicals. North American obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease rates are at an all-time high, and these types of foods, and less physical activity are the reason why.
The Paleo diet means you are consuming lean proteins that support strong muscles and healthy bones, optimal immune function. Fruits and veggies are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats from nuts seeds, olive and fish oil provides essential Omega-3 fats which helps decrease diseases like cancer and diabetes, while boosting brain function.
While this sounds perfectly logical, skeptics of this diet say that while this diet is supposed to mimic the foods our ancestors gathered, the problem is that this diet today is probably nothing like the food our ancestors ate. For example, our “meat” of today is raised differently, fed artificial diets or grass, grains and fed hormones and antibiotics, and nothing like the meat our ancestors would have consumed.
Also, eating whole grains and legumes, for those who don’t have Celiac Disease, actually improves our health and are an important source of protein and nutrients for everyone, especially vegetarians and vegans.
While there are both benefits and detriments to the Paleo diet, your best bet is to eat healthy balanced meals, eat processed foods in moderation if you have to, and live an active lifestyle.

We ran this but it's probably best to avoid all diary products

Yogurt May Cut Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Yogurt has approached wonder-food status in recent years, as studies have suggested that it may help everything from irritable bowel syndrome to depression to high blood pressure. Now, research out in BMC Medicine suggests it’s also linked to lower risk for type 2 diabetes, a disease that currently affects some 366 million people worldwide, and is expected to affect many millions more by the year 2030. In the new study, other forms of dairy like milk and cheese, did not offer the same kind of protection as yogurt for diabetes risk. Which sounds like good news for yogurt devotees — as long as you don’t mind the fact that no one quite understands how the relationship works.
The study culled data from 41,497 participants from the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study, which included male dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, osteopathic physicians and podiatrists; 67,138 from the Nurses’ Health Study; and 85,884 from Nurses’ Health Study II. Participants were queried every two years about their dietary habits and followed for up to 30 years to determine their health outcomes.
Over 15,000 of the three studies’ participants developed diabetes over the years. There was no correlation between dairy consumption and diabetes risk at all — with one exception: Yogurt was linked to a significantly lower risk of diabetes. And this was true even after controlling for factors known to be linked to diabetes like body mass index (BMI) and diet. The team then pulled in data from previous studies to add to theirs, and calculated that 28 grams of yogurt per day was linked to an 18% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Other research has pointed to a similar connection between yogurt and diabetes. The problem is that no one quite understands why the link exists. But there are some theories: Frank Hu, the study’s lead author and researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health, tells me that “The mechanisms are not well understood at this point. One hypothesis is that the probiotics in yogurt may help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, but this hypothesis needs to be tested in randomized clinical trials.” He adds that other theories suggest that it’s simply the high protein content of yogurt that can increase satiety and reduce the sensation of hunger. “Several studies have found that higher yogurt consumption improves body weight.” But there seems to be more going on than just body weight: It could be the magnesium, calcium, or whey in yogurt that leads to improved metabolic health and therefore a reduced risk of diabetes.
Or it could be much simpler. “It is also possible that yogurt consumption is just a marker of a healthy diet and lifestyle,” says Hu. In other words, people who eat more yogurt may also just eat better in general, have healthier body weights, not smoke, and exercise more – all the things that are known to reduce diabetes risk. Hu points out that while the study tried to control for these factors, it’s always a possibility that what researchers think they’re studying is really just a marker of other things.
More research will obviously be needed, but it’s certainly possible that the separate components of yogurt — probiotics or minerals — might reduce diabetes risk. Earlier this month a study reported that milk itself was linked to bone fracture — but fermented dairy products like yogurt and cheese were not. A little yogurt every day is probably not a bad thing: Just don’t consume it at the expense of doing the things we know reduce diabetes risk, like eating a plant-based diet, exercising regularly, and keeping a healthy body weight. Those habits not only reduce diabetes risk, but they are linked with a host of other long-term health benefits, and a longer life. And though yogurt may have its own benefits, wonder-food or not, it’s pretty hard to top that.
For more information on reducing the risk for diabetes, see the American Diabetes Association website on risk.

Chicago Soda Tax. Bring It!

By Leslie Kahn,

Berkeley, California became the first American city to pass a soda tax earlier this month with San Francisco also poised to do the same. There will now be a 1 cent-an-ounce tax on soda. I have long thought this was such a great idea. Of course, that's because I hate soda and never drink the stuff, so it's no "skin off my nose" if there is a tax on something I don't even consume.
Here's my dirty, little secret. I used to be a coke addict. No, not that coke, the other coke; the stuff that removes rust from metal. In my book, anything that can act like CLR ain't nothing I want to put into my body. After all, my body's a temple. Isn't yours? I drank tons of coca-cola when I was a kid. And then, just like that, I decided, at age 16, that I didn't want to drink it anymore. For all intents and purposes, I haven't had one since. That was 44 years ago. OK. If I am going to be totally honest, here, I did have a few in 1975 when I lived in Spain and Cuba Libres were popular at the discotheques. In case you aren't familiar with a Cuba Libre, it is made with coca-cola, rum, lime juice and a slice of lime.
As a reformed addict, I love that feeling of being high and mighty because I was able to give up my soft drink addiction quite easily and never looked back, while the rest of you sniveling addicts live in fear of a soda tax. Well, maybe you don't. Anyway, that stuff REALLY isn't good for you. Let's look at the ingredients, shall we?
1. High Fructose Corn Syrup or Sucrose derived from cane sugar
2. Caramel Color
3. Caffeine
4. Phosphoric Acid
5. Coca extract
6. Lime extract
7. Vanilla
8. Glycerin
Did you know that one 600 ml bottle (≈20.29 U.S. fl. oz.) of Coca-Cola contains the approximate equivalent of 15 teaspoons of sugar? You drink 3-4 of those babies every day and you are looking at Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, cancer, liver damage, dementia, dehydration, cavities, gum disease and stress fractures since phosphoric acid interferes with calcium absorption.
Don't even get me started on how bad high fructose corn syrup is. It is made from corn, mainly the GMO type and the process of making it involves traces of mercury. If you really want to know about HFCS, read this article. It should put you off drinking soda the moment you finish the article.
Next on the Hit Parade of chemicals in your soda is caramel coloring. No, it is not some benign substance that colors our food and drink brown, it is made from a carcinogenic chemical called 4-methylimidazole. This causes cancer in mice and is "possibly carcinogenic to humans." After you read this article, unless you don't have a brain in your head, you will never eat or drink anything with caramel coloring ever again.
Feel free to thank me for educating you about how soda is "the spawn of Satan." It seems only fair that we should do a "whip around" via a soda tax to raise money for the medical care you will need if you keep drinking soda.
In anticipation of all the soda most Americans will be drinking at Thanksgiving Dinner which is one of the biggest examples of excess known to humankind, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving... and drink some water, instead, whadya?

Guest Commentary: Taking on Big Soda

By Larry Tramutola

Something HISTORIC happened on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 in Berkeley, California.  For the first time EVER, a community passed a measure taxing unhealthy sugary drinks.
The campaign, dubbed “Berkeley vs. Big Soda,” received the support of over 76% of voters and  may well mark the beginning of a national movement to tax sugary drinks. Supporters of the “soda tax” claimed this effort is similar to efforts to tax cigarettes which has led to a reduction in smoking.
The significance of the passage of this measure has been noted in the NY Times, the Washington Post, LA Times, SF Chronicle, NPR, Politico, and even the London Guardian.
The campaign measure was managed by TRAMUTOLA a California-based political consulting firm that has gained a reputation for winning races many think are unwinnable and passing over 300 tax measures throughout California.
Many thought this campaign would be impossible. At least 30 other soda tax measures around the country have failed, and the beverage industry indicated they would leave no stone unturned in a multi-million dollar campaign to defeat the measure.
So how was it done?
First, the campaign built a broad coalition of health experts and community leaders who were educated about the research linking consumption of sugary drinks with diabetes and obesity among children.
Second, the campaign leaders made a decision to place the measure on the ballot as a general tax, which required a simple majority (50%+1 voter support) to pass.
Third, to counter the million dollar campaign blitz of the beverage industry (who eventually spent over $2.4 Million in their losing effort) an organizing staff was recruited and an aggressive door-to-door campaign, made up of local volunteers was conducted in every Berkeley neighborhood.
Learning from previous failed elections, the Yes campaign got every elected official in Berkeley and every candidate for office, from school board to city council, to support the measure. The measure also had the backing of the League of Women Voters and the Berkeley chapter of the NAACP. Despite being outspent, the organizing team focused on people likely to vote and made sure voters knew that the beverage industry was behind the no campaign.
Eventually, the campaign in Berkeley caught the attention of health advocates around the country, and in the last two weeks of the campaign, the American Heart Association, Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York, and others joined the Yes campaign.
Today the PR consultants from the the soda industry are saying that: “Berkeley is unlike the rest of the country. It doesn’t look like mainstream America. It’s a liberal bastion with a mere 80,000 voters.”
The truth is that Berkeley has a tradition of being first: the first to ban smoking in the work place; the first to provide leadership on rights for disabled citizens; the first to speak out against apartheid. Campaign leaders are convinced that Berkeley will also be known as the first of many cities to tackle childhood obesity and diabetes by taxing sugary drinks.
Who’s next?

6 Paleo-Approved Thanksgiving Recipes

Megan Cahn 

Those who swear by Paleo or Whole30 are often more likely to refer to themselves as adhering to a lifestyle, rather than a diet. People often have such dedication to the cause they won’t even slip up on Thanksgiving. And we’re so impressed with that dedication, we thought we’d offer up some Paleo-friendly recipes that are so delish they’ll quell any possible carb-cravings come Thursday.

Roast Turkey with Herbes-de-Provence Rub
From the editors of Delish
Serves: 8
Total Time: 4 Hours
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Oven Temp: 325
1 (13- to 15-pound) fresh or thawed frozen turkey (neck and giblets removed)
Freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1 large carrot, cut into thirds
Herbes de Provence Rub
1/2 cup(s) dried lavender
1 tablespoon(s) salt
1 tablespoon(s) fennel seeds
1 tablespoon(s) dried thyme
2 teaspoon(s) white peppercorns
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Rinse turkey with cold water, drain well, and pat dry with paper towels. Season inside the cavity with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stuff cavity with onion and carrot, and tie legs together using butcher's twine.
2. Combine ingredients for Herbes de Provence Rub and pulse in a spice grinder until the mixture is fine but not powdery.
3. In a roasting pan fitted with a rack, place turkey breast side up. Rub Herbes de Provence spice rub under and over the turkey's skin. Loosely tent turkey with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
4. Roast turkey for 1 hour, then baste with pan juices. Roast for 1 more hour; then remove and discard foil and baste. Continue roasting, basting turkey every 30 minutes until an instant-read thermometer reaches 170 degrees F when inserted into thickest part of thigh, 3 1/2 to 4 hours total.
5. Let turkey rest for 20 minutes, cut off butcher's twine, and remove carrot and onion from cavity and discard. Drain any juices from cavity into roasting pan and transfer turkey to a serving platter. Serve with gravy.

Brussels Sprouts with Leeks and Bacon 
From the editors of Good Housekeeping
Serves: 12
Total Time: 45 minutes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
4 container(s) (10 ounces each) Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup(s) water
4 strip(s) bacon, each cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large (1-pound) leek
2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
1 clove(s) garlic, crushed with press
1 tablespoon(s) cider vinegar
1/2 cup(s) (loosely packed) fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1. Trim tough ends from Brussels sprouts and cut each sprout in half. In 12-inch skillet, place Brussels sprouts and water; cover and cook on medium 12 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Transfer to large bowl; set aside. (Brussels sprouts can be cooked up to 8 hours ahead up to this point. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate.)
2. To same skillet, add bacon; cook on medium 5 to 6 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. With slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain; do not remove skillet from heat.
3. To same skillet, add sprouts, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook on medium-high 6 to 8 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are browned, stirring frequently. Remove from pan; keep warm.
4. Meanwhile, trim and discard root and dark green top from leek. Discard any tough outer leaves. Cut leek lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide slices. Place leek in large bowl of cold water; with hand, swish to remove any sand. Remove leek to colander. Repeat process with fresh water, changing water several times until sand is removed. Drain leek well.
5. In same skillet, heat olive oil on medium until hot. Add leek, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; cook 12 to 14 minutes or until leek is tender and browned, stirring frequently. Add bacon, Brussels sprouts, and cider vinegar; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. To serve, stir parsley into vegetables in skillet; transfer to serving bowl.

Sautéed Kale with Garlic and Red Onions
From the editors of Delish
Serves: 8
Total Time: 35 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
5 tablespoon(s) olive oil
2 medium red onions, sliced
4 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped
3 pound(s) kale, stemmed
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoon(s) balsamic vinegar
1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add onions and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Reduce heat to medium-low, add garlic, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with onions. Wipe any blackened bits from skillet and add remaining oil.
2. Increase heat to medium-high and add kale; cook, stirring occasionally, until kale wilts, about 5 minutes. Add reserved onion and garlic. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with vinegar and toss.

Anise-Roasted Onions
From the editors of Delish
Serves: 6
Oven Temp: 350
6 medium onions, quartered
6 clove(s) garlic, halved
2 teaspoon(s) olive oil
1/4 teaspoon(s) anise seed
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss together all the ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer onions to a baking pan and roast, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover the onions and roast until browned—about 40 more minutes.

Roasted Celery Root, Celery, Onions, and Bacon
From the editors of Delish
Serves: 6
Total Time: 1 hour
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Oven Temp: 450
5 slice(s) bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 pound(s) celery root, peeled and cut into 2-inch wedges (about 1/3-inch thick)
1 stalk(s) celery, trimmed and cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces
2 small onions, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon(s) salt
1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Cook bacon to desired crispness, drain, and reserve 3 tablespoons rendered fat. Set bacon aside.
2. In a medium bowl, toss celery root, celery, onions, rosemary, salt, and pepper together with reserved fat and lemon juice. Spread vegetables in a single layer on a baking pan, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and roast until tender, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove foil and continue to roast until vegetables are browned, about 20 more minutes. Toss in bacon.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach
Photo: Getty Images
From the editors of Good Housekeeping
Serves: 4
Total Time: 35 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Oven Temp: 425
1 medium (about 1 1/2 pounds) butternut squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
1 teaspoon(s) olive oilf
Kosher salt
1/4 cup(s) sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1 pinch(s) cayenne pepper
4 cup(s) baby spinach

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the butternut squash with 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the almonds with the remaining teaspoon oil, then the cinnamon and cayenne. Scatter the almonds over the squash and continue roasting until the almonds are golden brown and the squash is tender, about 5 minutes more.
3. Scatter the spinach over the squash and almonds and let sit for 1 minute, then gently fold together.

Why festive food is harmful for type 2 diabetics

Washington, Nov 24: Overeating at a holiday get together could be harmful for people who suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, says a new study. Laila Tabatabai, M.D., an endocrinologist with Houston Methodist Hospital said that for someone who’s not in good control of their diabetes throughout the year, if they have foods with too many carbohydrates or sugars during the holiday season, it could send their blood sugar levels into a dangerously high range. (Read: Expert diet and exercise tips to manage diabetes )
People with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin, but type 2 diabetes is a state of insulin resistance, which means that the body still produces insulin but does not utilize insulin properly. Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance are often due to excess weight and obesity. The complications of poorly-controlled diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) include heart disease, vision loss, nerve problems, kidney damage, and ulcers of the feet, among other serious medical problems. (Read: Beat diabetes with these 7 foods)
Tabatabai suggested that people should try to eat two or three special things that they only see during the holiday season like some special dessert and avoid sampling everything. She added that ‘white’ carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, rice and potatoes should be avoided and substituted with whole grains, brown rice and fruits and vegetables and limit portion sizes. Tabatabai also said that for those who chose to drink alcohol, a few adult beverages would be okay if alternated with water, seltzer, diet soda, etc. 

Source: ANI

Diabetes and nutrition: Why healthy eating is a key component of prevention and management

Lia Steakley

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is expected to rise sharply over the next three decades. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that if current trends continue, an estimated 1 in 3 adults will be diagnosed with the disorder by 2050. Eating healthy is a key component of managing diabetes and reducing one’s risk for developing the disease. But what does eating right for diabetes actually mean?
Kathleen Kenny, MD, a clinical associate professor at Stanford, and Jessica Shipley, a clinical dietitian at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, will answer this question during a talk focused on diabetes and nutrition on Dec. 4. The Stanford Health Library event will be held at the Arrillaga Alumni Center on campus, where attendees can also have their blood glucose checked. The conversation will also be webcasted for those unable to attend in person.
To promote discussion on the topic in advance of the lecture, I reached out to Kenny and asked about nutrition principles and guidelines for patients with diabetes and others interested in how healthy eating can prevent or delay onset of the disease. In the first installment of a two-part Q&A, she explains the advantages of eating a Mediterranean diet and the importance of eating fiber-rich foods.
Are there any ways to reverse or slow the progression of pre-diabetes? Are there specific diets that may be useful to help prevent or control diabetes?
One of the most common questions my diabetic patients ask is how they can reduce or eliminate diabetes medications. Others are found to be pre-diabetic on the basis of an “A1c” or an impaired fasting glucose, and want to know how to prevent diabetes. Several randomized trials have shown that healthy diet and exercise can reverse and also delay the onset of diabetes.
One of the largest trials is the often-cited Diabetes Prevention Program, which randomized more than 3,000 patients to diet/lifestyle versus metformin versus placebo. The most effective strategy was diet and lifestyle, showing a dramatic 58 precent reduction in the rate of developing diabetes. This surpassed the drug therapy with metformin. Approximately 5 percent of patients in the lifestyle group developed diabetes annually, as compared to 11 percent in the placebo arm. Notably, there was a 16 percent reduction in diabetes risk with every 1 kg reduction in weight. This seems attainable for many patients.
There was also meta-analysis last year looking at different diets for patients with known diabetes, in terms of weight loss and improving their diabetes control. In this data compilation, the Mediterranean diet had the greatest weight loss, followed by the low carbohydrate diet. In terms of A1c reduction, the Mediterranean diet had a reduction of -0.47 percent, and the low carbohydrate -0.12 percent. But all the diets studied resulted in better glycemic control. Many studies have shown that diets high in glycemic load are linked to higher diabetes risk (particularly in overweight women), and contribute to central body fat , so it is recommended that diabetics or those at risk limit their intake of high glycemic index foods both to delay and to help control their diabetes. Additionally, there are some data suggesting that adherence and success rate may be higher for low-carbohydrate diets in patients with diabetes and insulin resistance.
A past study has suggested that eating fiber rich-foods can help in preventing type 2 diabetes. How do fiber-rich foods help to protect against developing diabetes?
There is a great deal of confusion about fiber among patients and for that matter, among health professionals. How is fiber defined? How much is recommended? The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (.pdf) recommends whole grain intake of 85 grams,  whereas the average American intake is 17 grams daily. Whole grain labeling of foods is also a source of confusion for consumers, as “whole grain” claims historically  have not always translated to being a good source of dietary fiber. (The current FDA definition of a whole grain product is foods that contain more than 50 percent of whole grain ingredients by weight.) Many people now avoid dietary carbohydrates, neglecting the fact that high-fiber complex carbohydrates are healthy and help with glycemic control.
Additionally, total fiber intake is correlated with reduced BMI, reduced waist circumference, and reduced obesity rates. Fiber blunts glucose rise after meals and helps with insulin sensitivity, in addition to promoting satiety and possibly having some “prebiotic “ effects on colonic flora. Fiber from whole grains is also a rich source of nutrients including iron, magnesium, selenium and B vitamins. Soluble fiber reduces LDL cholesterol, and can even reduce blood pressure, so is an essential part of a heart-healthy diet.
A Dutch cohort study in 2012 showed that in roughly 6.000 patients with diabetes, dietary fiber was linked to reduced overall mortality and cardiovascular deaths by 17 percent and 24 percent respectively, per standard deviation increase in fiber intake. In terms of prevention, a meta-analysis by De Munter et al, showed that increased whole grain consumption of 2 servings per day (40-60 g) was associated with a 21 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.  Similarly,  in the Stockholm Diabetes Prevention Program, a prospective study of over 5000 individuals, it was demonstrated  that higher fiber intake (more than 60 grams a day  vs less than 30 grams per day) was associated with a 22 percent lower risk of prediabetes and diabetes, after adjustment for BMI. In summary, dietary fiber is critical in terms of weight management, helping to prevent onset of diabetes, and for those with diabetes, helping to control glucose and to reduce cardiovascular mortality.