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August 29, 2008
Diabetes: Identification Of Protein That Produces 'Good' Fat, Has Potential To Treat, Prevent Obesity
Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center say that a protein known as a helper for bone growth can also help develop brown fat, a "good" fat that helps in the expenditure of energy and fighting obesity.
"Obesity ...impacts the risk and prognosis of many diseases," said Yu-Hua Tseng, Ph.D. an Assistant Investigator in the Joslin Section on Obesity and Hormone Action and lead author of the paper published in Nature.
Obesity, one of the major risk factors for type 2 diabetes, is also linked to the metabolic syndrome, heart attacks and stroke. Tseng and her colleagues have now identified a bone-inducing protein called BMP-7 which helps trigger the formation and function of mature brown fat cells.
"Brown fat cells largely disappear by adulthood in humans, but their precursors still remain in the body," Tseng explained.
Scientists hope that improved knowledge of fat development will lead to new or therapeutic approaches to fight obesity. The current recommended approach for type 2 diabetes prevention includes a healthy weight loss program or diabetes prevention program. However, for people genetically predisposed to obesity, results can be often more difficult to achieve than the general population.
August 28, 2008
Healthy Recipes: Fish Tacos
If you're a fan of fish and Mexican food, you'll love this healthy recipe for fish tacos! We all know how fish - an excellent source of protein - is perfect for healthy eating, but sometimes it's difficult to come up with something the whole family will enjoy. Halibut is a versatile mild-flavored white fish, and it's relatively inexpensive. So try tempting some finicky kids with these fish tacos - you (and they) might just be surprised with the result!
Makes 8 servings
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
1 pound halibut, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup green cabbage, shredded
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
3/4 cup nonfat sour cream
3/4 cup salsa
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine taco seasoning, lime juice and orange juice and mix well. Add fish and toss to coat.
2. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet to medium high heat. Add fish and sauté for about 5 minutes or until done.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine green and red cabbage, and green onions. In a separate bowl, stir together sour cream and salsa and mix well.
4. Heat tortillas according to package instructions. Spoon 1/4 cup of cabbage mixture in center of tortilla then equally divide fish and place on top of cabbage vegetables. Top with up to 3 tablespoons salsa blend and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Fold or roll up tortillas and enjoy.
August 27, 2008
Accepting What Is
I just kissed my high school senior as he left for his first day of his last year of school (next year, it's college, not 'school'!). That's after putting my daughter on a plane last weekend, off to her second year of college. And we're taking our Belgian 'son' (my daughter stayed with him and his family for a year in high school) to send him back to Europe for his first year of college (or whatever they call it in Belgium). It is definitely a week for endings and beginnings. And, for me, the best way to weather the change is to accept it and make the best of it. I could find a lot of things to be sad about, but instead, I'm looking at the positive -- how I choose to look at life as much as possible.
This time mirrors the ups and downs we all go through in life, with just about everything. Certainly, with how we do in taking care of ourselves, trying to live a healthy lifestyle and be the best we can. When it comes to healthy weights, if we can take a step back and be more accepting -- loving ourselves and our bodies for what they are instead of aiming for unrealistic goals and taking care of ourselves in that manner -- we'd surely find healthy weight loss if it's in our cards (that is, if we are indeed at unhealthy weights) and we'd definitely find greater peace with eating and physical activity and life.
It mirrors, too, the change of seasons we're facing right now in Vermont. Fall has come early, it seems. Cool mornings, moderate days, cool evenings foreshadow the time most of us kinda dread until it's here -- winter. But when it gets here, I for one find it lovely. It's just getting there -- the change -- that hurts a bit. Accepting what is would help me get rid of the hurt, I am sure.
Karin Kratina, a consultant for our healthy lifestyle program, and a great thinker in this area, has sent in one of her periodic e-letters a list of quotes that help us with acceptance. I share a few here, and encourage you to visit Karin's website for more great insight into healthy living.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss
"Each individual woman's body demands to be accepted on its own terms." ~Gloria Steinem
"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” ~E.E. Cummings
"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." ~E.E. Cummings
"Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves." ~Friedrich Nietzsche
"Once conform, once do what others do because they do it, and a kind of lethargy steals over all the finer senses of the soul." ~Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
August 25, 2008
Obesity: Reports Show Obesity Rates Up in 37 States
In recent years the number of obese Americans has increased despite public services campaigns warning about health risks. Even though not all overweight people are unhealthy (read Fat People are Healthy, Huh?), the medical community is still concerned that a recent study found that adult obesity rates have increased in 37 states, with no decreases in any states. The annual report was released Tuesday by the nonprofit Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Rates Up
The obesity rates rose for a second consecutive year in 24 states and for a third consecutive year in other states as well. More than 25% of adults are obese in 28 states, and more than 20% of adults are obese in every state except Colorado. The highest obesity rates are located in Southern states compared to the Northeastern and Western States, which have the lowest obesity rates.
Mississippi, West Virginia and Alabama have the most incidence of obesity; Colorado, Hawaii, and Connecticut have the lowest. Researchers estimate that two-thirds of all Americans are now overweight or obese, and - as a direct result - type 2 diabetes has increased in 26 states in the past year. Besides type 2 diabetes, obesity is linked to other diseases like, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, osteoarthritis, cancer, pregnancy complications among others.
Poverty and Obesity
This report also noted the correlation between poverty and obesity: states with the highest obesity rate also ranked the highest in poverty rates.
"Despite widespread acknowledgement that obesity is endangering the health of millions of Americans, the country is still failing to respond clearly or comprehensively," Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and chief executive officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in the news release.
Public service announcements and other efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle are up against often confusing and powerful magazines and TV ads, which tell Americans they have to be thin (and to use diet products to lose weight fast), but at the same time barrage audiences with tempting images of junk food, fast food, excessive restaurant portions. Until the overwhelming message in society is that of a healthy lifestyle program, we may just keep seeing obesity rates continue to rise.
August 22, 2008
Diabetes: Arsenic in Water Supply Linked to Type 2 Diabetes
The study's limitations make more research necessary. And public water systems were on their way to meeting tougher U.S. arsenic standards as the data were collected.
Still, the analysis of 788 adults' medical tests found a nearly fourfold increase in the risk of diabetes in people with low arsenic concentrations in their urine compared with people with even lower levels.
Research outside the United States has linked high levels of arsenic in drinking water with diabetes. It's the link at low levels that's new.
The findings appear in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.
The United States lowered arsenic standards for public water systems to 10 parts per billion in 2001 because of known cancer risks. Compliance was required by 2006, years after the study data were collected in 2003 and 2004.
August 21, 2008
Healthy Recipe: Garbanzo, Feta, and Tomato Salad
Makes 3-4 servings
Plentiful year-round, tomatoes add summer freshness to this light but hearty meal that features tasty and healthy eating ingredients to keep us well-fed in more ways than one. It’s a favorite healthy recipe from Green Mountain at Fox Run, even among participants who swear they don’t like beans!
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained (about 1½ cups)
¾ cup diced fresh tomatoes (or grape or cherry tomatoes, halved)
¼ cup finely chopped green onions
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon thyme leaves (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
In a medium bowl, place garbanzos, tomatoes, onions, feta, parsley and thyme. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and pour mixture over salad, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Serve.
For variety, add other herbs such as oregano or basil, and/or pitted black olives.
August 20, 2008
Does High Fructose Corn Syrup Fit in a Healthy Lifestyle Program?
High fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, has become a ubiquitous source of sweetener for foods produced and sold in the U.S. It's not so common in other countries, mainly from what I understand is because other countries don't provide subsidies for growing corn like we do. We have so much inexpensive corn, we can use it for purposes never thought of before. There are lots of problems with this scenario but I'm not going to get into them here. I just want to focus on HFCS and weight.
One of the big questions is whether all the fructose we're now eating in this country is causing problems with weight gain. Fructose doesn't stimulate insulin release like other sugars do, but the question is whether it affects other appetite hormones. According to the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, however, "recent studies found no difference in the effect on these hormones, hunger, satiety (the feeling of fullness), or subsequent calorie consumption, compared to other caloric sweeteners. Nonetheless, fructose and HFCS clearly play a role in obesity, but it may be just a matter of extra calories." Well, I guess that settles it!
Bottom line: To make your healthy lifestyle program work for you, indulge in healthy eating -- that means not a lot of any kind of sweetener, but it also means we don't have to read food labels like hawks to keep out HFCS. Unless we're trying to keep out HFCS for other reasons...which takes us back to the issue of the other problems with the HFCS production scenario that I said I wouldn't get into. Too long a story for here, but if you're interested, read The Omnivore's Dilemma for a review of how corn is grown in this country and the environmental and potential health impact.
Feels like a heavy conversation for someone who just rolled out of bed (I'm writing this as I watch morning coverage of the Olympics). I'll close now and get my healthy lifestyle program started for the day. Next up: A winning breakfast!
Have a great day. It's going to be a stellar one here in Vermont.
August 19, 2008
Healthy Living: The Most Important Thing Is To Take Part
Have you been watching the Olympics? I know it's a bit late into the early morning hours to be watching must see TV, but there have been some really brilliant moments. It will be quite some time until we see the likes of Michael Phelps again.
And Dara Torres…wow! You go, girl! I hope we see more women over the age of 16 swimming brilliantly like our very own Dara Torres. What a phenomenal role model for women young and old alike. Something to aspire to whether you’re a club swimmer, or just hitting the pool a few afternoons a week taking laps because you love the water. Dana Torres is a marvel.
For those of you asleep at the Olympic wheel, here is a quick bio on Dara and then some footage of her sterling silver swims. If you haven’t tuned it…do. It’s a feel good experience and very motivating.
Remember the Olympic motto: Faster, Higher, Stronger!
August 18, 2008
Diabetes: "Step Out" Walk to Fight Diabetes
According the American Diabetes Association, "there's something stronger than America's fastest growing disease: The people who are doing something about it."
On their website an on radio advertisements, the ADA is promoting their "Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes" campaign (formerly called America's Walk for Diabetes) to help raise funds to find a cure and to bring greater awareness to diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
"Step Out is a whirlwind day packed with energy, fun, support for others and a perfect amount of selfless dedication. Anyone can take part in Step Out—your participation isn't measured by your dexterity or the speed you walk, but by the level of your enthusiasm and your commitment to ending diabetes."
- About one in 10 American adults now has diabetes.
- Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death by disease in the U.S.
- One out of every three Americans born today will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime if present trends continue.
- Nearly 5.7 million people (nearly one-quarter) of the 23.6 million children and adults in the U.S. living with diabetes are unaware that they have the disease.
Register or Request More Information online, or by calling your local American Diabetes Association office at 1-888-DIABETES.
August 15, 2008
Diabetes: Type 2 Diabetes Prevention and Education
Results from a study published in early August reconfirm the best way to prevent type 2 diabetes: healthy eating and regular exercise. However researchers also find that culturally sensitive health care would also help in preventing and controlling diabetes.
Dr. Didac Mauricio, a researcher from the Hospital Universitari Arnau de Vilanova in Spain, said "that the data from a review of eight studies showed that lower fat and higher fiber diets, combined with moderate weekly exercise, reduced the relative risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 37 percent among the 2,241 study participants who had received the diet and exercise prescription."
This group of participants improved their blood sugar levels and lost weight, which in turn lowers the risks of developing type 2 diabetes. In another group led by Lucie Nield of the University of Teesside and colleagues in England, healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables and lower in sugar were found to reduce the risks of developing type 2 diabetes in a moderate percentage within this group.
Moreover, the combination of education and healthy living strategies seemed to have the greatest positive impact on the health of the participants in this study. Researchers recommend further longer term studies with "more patient-centered outcome" to determine the appropriate amount of type 2 diabetes education necessary for the best reinforcement.