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By Aisha Smith 10 Jul, 2017
What's the benefit of a low carb diet she asks. I was sharing a ketogenic(very low carb) diet with a family member when she posed the question. This was my response :

I'm glad you asked :). In my opinion the benefit of a low carb lifestyle is to reset you to a healthy carb lifestyle. Our standard american diet (SAD) diet has replaced healthy carbs such as green leafy, cruciferous and root vegetables, whole grains, seeds and legumes with processed HIGH CARB foods including soda, fast food, microwave dinners and sugary snacks. Consequently, we are plagued with chronic preventable diseases including obesity, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
There are several versions of a "low carb" lifestyle, but in essence they are all healthy carb lifestyles promoting whole, fresh foods and discouraging processed foods. So which one is for you? It really depends on your needs because there is research supporting the benefits of all of them.

I have chosen ketogenic for you because for people who want to lose weight without feeling deprived, the high fat helps to keep you satiated and therefore reduces cravings. As you start to meet your goals and feel more confident with the process you can begin to add more carbs. The premise behind a ketogenic diet is that your body doesn't have carbs to burn so it goes right to fat burning. Again, some of the benefits are: losing weight while feeling full, doesn't require concomitant exercise and it helps to reduce cravings to high carb foods and snacks

The body uses carbs for "now" energy and stores some for "later" energy in the muscles and liver. What has happened to most of us with the SAD diet is that we have more carbs than we can use now and liver and muscles have limited storage space. Unfortunately, the excess is stored in fat cells, which have an unlimited amount of room. (go figure).

Sooooooo. What does this all mean? Ha It means that low carb is really a healthy carb lifestyle and each version is a different path that takes you to the same goal: healthy  weight, more energy and great health.

Does this mean that you cant have the 30 layer cake from COSTCO ever again? Absolutely not! It means that you will learn to love new things and that with time you will learn to live by the 80/20 rule.

I hope that I've answered your question. 


By Aisha Smith 14 Aug, 2016

Stephanie Allison

August 14, 2016

        By this point, I’m sure you have heard numerous times that people with diabetes have to watch how much carbohydrates they eat or that they have to avoid sugar altogether. However, I come bearing good news – this is NOT the case. In fact, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND, 2016), “carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel and are necessary to maintain proper function.” So, even though diabetics must be mindful of how much carbohydrates they consume, they do not have to avoid them entirely. What really matters with diabetes is to be educated and aware of the types and amount of carbohydrates you consume so that you can keep yourself as healthy as possible. The first step here is to understand that there is a BIG difference between “carbohydrates” (or complex carbs) and “sugars” (simple carbs).

            An easy way to know if a food has carbohydrates is to ask if it came from a plant at any point in its life. If you answer yes, then the food will always contain at least some carbohydrate. While carbohydrates are not “off limits” to someone who has diabetes, it is vitally important to monitor portion size to keep your blood sugar under control. Carbohydrates can be broken down into two categories:

·    Complex Carbohydrates – these include starches and fiber

·    Simple Carbohydrates – these include sugars – both natural and added

 

SO, what’s the difference…?

 

Complex Carbohydrates

Simple Carbohydrates

~ Digest slowly

~ Digest quickly

~ Prolonged, steady, energy

~ Short energy with a crash

~ High fiber

~ Low fiber – refined/processed

~ Naturally found sugars

~ Added sugars/empty calories

~ Less insulin released

~ High insulin levels (fat storage)

~ Used more readily for energy

~ Stored as fat if not needed for energy

~ Often low glycemic (steady blood sugar)

~ Often high glycemic (spiked blood sugar)

~ May help with weight loss

~ Often contribute to weight gain

~ Help you stay full longer

~ Lead to feeling hungry again sooner

Examples:

Examples:

    ~ 100% whole grain products

    ~ Potatoes (white and sweet)

    ~ Peas and corn

    ~ Beans

    ~ Oatmeal

    ~ Brown rice and quinoa

    ~ Nuts and seeds

    ~ Candy and sweets

    ~ Cake and other baked goods

    ~ Soda (non-diet) and fruit juices

    ~ Flavored yogurts

    ~ Many sauces and salad dressings

    ~ Cane sugar

    ~ “White” grains (bread, rice, etc.)

           

            So if starches are okay if I monitor portion sizes and fiber doesn’t affect my blood sugar or weight, why is sugar such a concern? Why are the two columns so different if they’re both carbohydrates? According to Libby ( www.ditchthecarbs.com ), we are worried about sugar for many reasons. First and most importantly, sugar crowds out more nutritious foods. When we get full off of unhealthy foods that spike our blood sugar, we don’t have room for more healthy items. In fact, the United States has even been called “the most overfed and undernourished generation in history” because we eat too much of the most unhealthy foods and gain weight because of it. Aside from displacing healthy foods and sending your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride, regularly consuming too much added sugar can play a part in many health issues including, but not limited to:

·    Insulin resistance

·    Obesity: eating too many added sugars is the biggest cause of obesity!

·    Sugar addiction (yes, it is real!)

·    Diabetes

·    Impaired learning and memory

·    Tooth decay (read: cavities and root canals! Never fun!)

·    Heart disease

·    Changes in intestinal bacteria (leads to a weak immune system, poor digestion, and inflammation)

·    Cancer

·    Higher LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol

·    Faster aging (yikes!)

·    Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

·    Depression and mood swings

·    Nutrient deficiencies

·    Kidney disease

·    Acne, and

·    Inflammation (arthritis, heart disease, dementia, etc.)

 

Yikes! That’s a scary list! I’m sure some of you are now thinking, well if TOO MUCH can lead to all of this, what and how much should I eat?

When you have diabetes, you need to be aware of your carbohydrate intake and how the foods that you eat affect your blood sugar. This being said, you should choose most of your carbohydrates from sources that also provide other good nutritional benefits. “Better-for-you” choices will come from the complex carbohydrates list (the list above is only a few samples, there are so many new and exciting varieties out there!). Some good choices would include whole foods like fruits, non-starchy vegetables, beans, full fat dairy and 100% whole grains (look at the label!). It is also important that you spread these carbohydrate choices evenly throughout the day because it helps keep your blood sugar more stable.

“Not-so-good-for-you” choices include things like regular soft drinks, sugar, candy, cakes/baked goods, fruit drinks, refined/processed (or “white) foods, and dairy desserts – pretty much anything that comes from a package or box. These things should be eaten sparingly. A great way to monitor your carbohydrate intake is to use the Diabetic Exchange List (which I will cover in my next blog!).

By Aisha Smith 19 Jul, 2016

Now that you’re familiar with prediabetes, T2D, and who is at a higher risk, I’ll give you prevention and management ideas! It is important to remember that early detection, management and treatment can decrease the risk of developing complications later down the road.

According to Medscape (2016), T2D rates have quadrupled worldwide since 1980. A common denominator in this increase is the rise in obesity. As we discussed in the last blog entry there are some risk factors that you can’t change such as your race, but other factors such as your weight and eating habits that you can change. According to an increasing number of medical professionals including Dr. Sarah Hallberg,   the medical director and founder of the Indiana University – Arnett Health Medical Weight Loss Program, prediabetes and T2D are reversible with a low carbohydrate diet.

Prevention first! Don’t wait for a diagnosis, begin making changes now. As I stated in an earlier post, carbohydrates turn into glucose (sugar) and are used by the cells for energy or stored for later. Too much glucose makes the cells respond the way you respond to a telemarketer. After a while you get tired of the calls and stop picking up the phone. Start by decreasing the amount of carbohydrates that you are eating.

Once you are diagnosed with prediabetes or T2D initial treatments includes a change in eating habits , more activity and weight loss. Oral medications and insulin may also be used for T2D if lifestyle changes aren’t working. The disease gets worse over time if poorly managed. So, even if you don’t need medications or insulin at first, you may need them later on. The goals of all forms of treatment are to make sure that you feel well and healthy every day and to prevent or delay long-term complications. While you should absolutely talk to your primary care provider before beginning any treatment program, here are some ideas to get you started (we will address them again later):

·       *Look to your future: you cannot change the past, so start now and do what you can to create a healthier you. Remember that small changes make a big difference.

·       Plan your meals: choose what, how much, and when to eat (I’ll be posting some yummy recipes in upcoming blogs). Decrease simple carbohydrates, avoid processed foods, fast foods, sugar and processed meats.

·       Be active and exercise: moving muscles use insulin better than resting muscles! Just 30 minutes of brisk walking (or other exercise) a day can help a lot! You can even do the exercise in 10 minute chunks to work around a busy schedule! Try to do this at least 5 days a week (and if you want to do more intense exercise, clear it with your provider first!)

·       Lose weight: losing just 5-10% of your body weight can cut your risk in half and decrease symptoms.

·       Take medications at the right dose and time (if your provider has prescribed them)

·       Check and record your blood sugar regularly and treat it if it is high or low.

·       Treat high blood pressure or high cholesterol to get rid of some risk factors!

·       Quit smoking!

·       Get more sleep

·       Decrease stress

·       See your provider regularly

 

·       Below is a link from the National Institute of Health on changing your habits

 

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/diet/changing-habits/Documents/Changing_Your_Habits.pdf

 

Dr Sarah HAllberg-Reversing Type 2 Diabetes…..

 

https://youtu.be/da1vvigy5tQ

By Aisha Smith 19 Jul, 2016
Hey everyone! Welcome back to SOS and the Dia-What?! Series! Last time, we talked about the very basics of Type 2 Diabetes and what is happening inside your body. Now let's talk about the early stages of diabetes (pre-diabetes), how to recognize Type 2 Diabetes - or T2D - (the symptoms), and how to find out if you or a loved one has it (tests).

The symptoms of T2D may be so mild that they go unnoticed for a long time. In fact, 8 million people who have diabetes don't even know it! How shocking is that?! However, some of the "classic" symptoms of T2D that you should keep an eye out for are:

Being very thirsty
Needing to urinate (pee) a lot
Blurry vision
Being more irritable than you used to be
Tingling or numbness in your hands and feet
Feeling tired, fatigued, or worn out, and
Wounds that don't heal or heal very slowly

Aside from T2D, if you or your loved one have been diagnosed with prediabetes, you may be wondering what this means and how it is different from T2D. Prediabetes (or borderline diabetes) is a "stepping stone" on the way to T2D. It is when a person's blood sugar is higher than what is "normal", but is not high enough for a T2D diagnosis.

Prediabetes can also be thought of as the early stages of insulin resistance. For a while, the pancreas will make extra insulin to make up for the fact that the cells aren't responding well. But over time, it can't keep up anymore and that is when we see T2D. Because the body keeps up for a bit, prediabetes usually has no symptoms; but it is almost always there before full-blown T2D. When a person is in the pre-diabetes stage, it is his or her best opportunity to make lifestyle changes to prevent serious problems later on.


While scientists don't know the exact cause of T2D, it has been strongly tied to many risk factors. If you or somebody close to you has any of these, it would be a great idea to get checked (remember: prediabetes has no symptoms!). Risk factors include:
A personal history of high blood sugar or prediabetes
Overconsumption of processed and simple carbohydrates ie: juice, soda, sugary snacks and breakfast cereals, white rice
Being overweight or obese (especially if the weight is around the stomach/middle)
Physical inactivity
Genetics or a family history of diabetes in a parent, brother, or sister.
Race/ethnicity: African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders are at a higher risk.

Being 45 years or older
High blood pressure (140/90 or greater, even if it's being treated by medication)
Abnormal cholesterol levels (even if it's being treated by medication)
Heart disease
Depression

So all of this being said, I'm sure you're wondering which tests can tell you if you or a loved one have T2D. Two of the most common tests are A1C and  Fasting Blood Sugar Test. The Plasma Glucose Test is not definitive but if out of range should be followed up by the 2 tests above. 

A1C
is a blood test that is done every 2-3 months. The unique thing about A1C tests are that they are slow to change, so they show blood sugar control over time (for that reason, it won't show immediate changes right after treatment begins, but it is wonderful as a diagnostic tool because it won't react to a rare high blood sugar!). With this test, a value of 5.7-6.4 would indicate prediabetes. Anything over 6.4 would lead to a T2D diagnosis.
Fasting Blood Sugar Test : This test is also done in the lab as a blood test. For this test, you do not eat anything for 8 hours before a meal. Ideally, you would like your results to be between 70 and 100. Results of 100-125 is considered prediabetes and anything over 125 is considered T2D.
Plasma Glucose Test : this is probably the one you are most familiar with. It is also known as the fingerstick test. This test can either be done fasting (8+ hours without eating) or 1-2 hours after a meal. If it is done fasting, you want your blood sugar to be less than 110. If taken after a meal, the value should be less than 140. If your numbers come out higher than this, it may indicate that your body is not metabolizing your food the way it should be.

Remember, diabetes prevention and management is a JOINT EFFORT between you and your health care provider. Be proactive (check early, check often), keep track of your numbers, ask questions (no question is stupid), and create a realistic plan for change!


By Aisha Smith 04 Jul, 2016

Welcome back to the Save Our Sexy Blog! This week I’m going to introduce you to my own version of Diabetes for Dummies , where things are kept short, simple, and to the point.

“In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes” and the number is increasing. In addition, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States and it is responsible for $176 billion in medical costs. To put this into perspective, a person with diabetes will have medical expenses 2.3 times higher than a person who does not (American Diabetes Association).

Before you can understand how diabetes affects the body, you must be aware of how the body works. When you eat, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose and sends it into the blood. When blood sugar goes up, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin essentially “tells the cells” to open up their walls and let glucose move from the blood into the cell. Once the glucose is in the cell, it is either used for energy right away or it is stored so your body can use it later. In prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), this system doesn’t work like it’s supposed to.

 90% of people with diabetes have T2D. When a person has prediabetes and T2D, the pancreas may be functioning normally OR it may produce less insulin. In either case the cells don’t always recognize the insulin and don’t open up their walls. This is called insulin resistance (some also call it carbohydrate intolerance). When the walls don’t open, the glucose stays in the blood and blood sugar can rise to dangerous levels. Over time, these high blood sugar levels can cause many health problems. Right away, the body’s cells may be starved for energy, which makes you very tired and sluggish. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause damage and lead to problems like blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage (loss of feeling, decreased sexual response, and digestion problems), heart attacks and/or death from heart failure, strokes, coma, and may even require lower leg amputations. Below is a short video link that helps to better explain the process. Please join me in the following days as I continue the Dia-What?! series.

 

https://youtu.be/MGL6km1NBWE

 

For more information, please refer to:

 

www.diabetes.org (The website of the American Diabetes Association)

 

By Aisha Smith 20 Jun, 2016
Hello Everybody! Welcome to the new blog page of Save Our Sexy!

Whether you are a frequent visitor to the site or a first-timer, this blog will provide you with new information weekly on how to better understand pre-diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, how to live a healthier lifestyle, and how to make it EASY! Now I know what many of you are thinking - something along the lines of "it's too hard," "I don't have the time," or "I don't think it's that important to change my life just to prevent/manage diabetes." However, I promise those things are not true! By slowly educating yourself and those around you and by making small changes over time, you can begin to take steps down the road to total health.

Now if you're wondering who the person is behind the screen giving you advice, I'd like to take a moment to introduce myself to you. My name is Stephanie and I am from a town north of Chicago, IL. I have a Bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa in Health Promotion with a minor in behavior change/psychology. Currently, I am working on my Master's degree in dietetics (nutrition) at Indiana State University and I am a Certified Health Education Specialist. I am passionate about a variety of nutrition-related conditions including diabetes counseling, eating disorders, and designing community/nutrition programs and services that everyone can benefit from.

At least once a week (if not more often), I plan to post new information to introduce you to carbohydrates, healthy fats, pre-diabetes, and Type 2 Diabetes. I also plan to provide you with modified recipes that are healthier (but just as delicious!) and activities to help prevent and manage pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. Please remember that this page is for YOU and YOUR life, so I am open to any and all suggestions you may have for new blog posts! If there is something you'd like me to write about or questions that you'd like me to answer, please e-mail them to info@saveoursexy.org.
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