Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Fountain of Youth

Well kinda.  While I haven’t really discovered the fountain of youth, recent research points to some things that can significantly shorten your lifespan and make you look much older than you actually are.

A British study concluded that drinking, smoking, bad diet and inactivity all ages the body 12 years in total.  The findings are from a study that tracked nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years.  This information isn’t ground breaking and it’s in line with other research on the subject, but this is the first study to put a number on just how short these unhealthy habits can make your life.  These habits were defined as less than 2 hours of physical activity per week, less than 3 servings of fruits or veggies per day, drinking more than three alcoholic beverages per day for men and two per day for women and smoking.

Of the 5,000 people who were studied, 314 people had all four unhealthy behaviors. Among them, 91 died during the study, or 29%. Among the 387 healthiest people with none of the four habits, only 32 died, or about 8%.  They also concluded that the people who had most of these habit looked 12 years older than the people who did not.  The study will be published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The requirements for health in this study are not unattainable.  It is a simple prospect not to smoke and not to drink alcohol excessively.  Those can be eliminated relatively easy from someone’s lifestyle.

Get Your Fruit and Vegetable

Having a fruit or a veggie three times per day is also relatively easy to do.  I always recommend to my patients that they eat a fruit or a vegetable at every meal.  Most people cut this out because of lack of preparation.  First, you must always have fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator.  When you go to the grocery store, most of your cart should be filled with fruits and vegetables.  Many times people say they don’t like to buy fresh produce because it spoils so easily and they feel like they are wasting money.  There are two reasons for this:

  1. You are buying entirely too much at one time or
  2. You are not eating enough of the produce you buy

That may seem overly complex and that’s because it is.  Think about it.  If you ate fresh fruit or veggies at every meal you would go through a lot of produce.  The trick is to know how much you will eat.  With time you will be able to gauge it and not buy too much when you’re at the store.  On the other hand if your not buying that much and it’s still going bad, eat more of it!  It’s a simple concept that makes sense if you just apply it.

Secondly, not all fresh produce is “ready to eat.”  Sometimes it must be prepared.  Things like apples are great because they are ready to eat in their natural state.  But something like a carrot is not ready to eat and must be prepared.  That is something you need to take the time to do.  Spend 1/2 hour one or two nights per week cutting up fruit and vegetables so that when you need a snack or a veggie for a meal something is always ready to go.  You are much more likely to put this into your diet if it’s easy.  Preparation is the key to making this easy!

Exercise!

In this study they only asked that you had some sort of physical activity for a total of 2 hours per week to be considered healthy.  That’s only 17 minutes per day!  If you can’t find that in your day, you have to change your lifestyle!  My patients are always instructed to find an activity that they like for physical activity.  If you like doing it, you’re much more likely to make it a habit.  A survey of Americans found that 40% do no regular leisure-time physical activity.  That’s a total of 120,000,000 people who get no physical activity despite the enormous evidence that it’s great for everything from heart health to improving mood.

Now, what constitutes physical activity?  I tell my patients that you must be breathing hard for it to count.  You don’t need to be out of breath per say, but it should not be like you’re walking around that house.  I have patients tell me all the time that they walk the dog every morning and that’s their exercise.  While it is possible to get exercise walking the dog, if you’re like most people (myself induced) walking the dog is not a strenuous activity.  I see people walking up and down my street all day and most of them, unfortunately, are not doing something I would classify as exercise.  Keep this in mind when you’re exercising – it should be hard enough to get your heart rate up and your lungs working harder.  If your exercise requires the same energy expenditure as walking from the couch to the bathroom, it doesn’t count! Again, people will say they don’t have time to do this.  You have to make time.  Their is little “prep time” for this as there is in the fruit and vegetable eating.  You always have your body with you and you just need to make time.  Seventeen minutes is not that much time.  You could easily find that time if you cut out some TV time or got up 17 minutes earlier.

The trick to living longer and healthier is healthy habits.  Not smoking or drinking, eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise are those habits.  The only way to get there is to make them habits.  Doing them off and on does not provide the benefit.  Make it a part of your lifestyle and you’ll reap the rewards!

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Do You Know What State has the highest rate of Obesity in the U.S.?

Obesity is an epidemic in this country.  The numbers of people who are obese is staggering.  This does not even include the people who are simply overweight.  If we take that into account more than 66% of Americans are living at an unhealthy weight.

The problems with our lifestyles are numerous.  We eat too many carbohydrates, we don’t eat enough vegetables, we don’t get enough exercise, the activities that we do participate in are too sedentary and the list goes on and on.

So do you know what the most obese cities are?  How about the slimmest?  What about state by state?  I have that information for you.

Most Obese Cities in America

1. Miami, FL
2. Oklahoma City, OK
3. San Antonio, TX
4. Las Vegas, NV
5. New York, NY
6. Houston, TX
7. El Paso, TX
8. Jacksonville, FL
9. Charlotte, NC
10. Louisville-Jefferson, KY
11. Memphis, TN
12. Detroit, MI
13. Chicago, IL
14. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
15. San Jose, CA
16. Tulsa, OK
17. Baltimore, MD
18. Columbus, OH
19. Raleigh, NC
20. Philadelphia, PA
21. L.A.-Long Beach, CA
22. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
23. Indianapolis, IN
24. San Diego, CA
25. Kansas City, MO

Well certainly Texas has a lot of work to do.  They’ve made the list 4 times.  I guess it’s a bit of a surprise to see Miami in the number 1 spot, but statistics don’t lie.

Fittest American Cities

1. Salt Lake City, UT
2. Colorado Springs, CO
3. Minneapolis, MN
4. Denver, CO
5. Albuquerque, NM
6. Portland, OR
7. Honolulu, HI
8. Seattle, WA
9. Omaha, NE
10. Virginia Beach, VA
11. Milwaukee, WI
12. San Francisco, CA
13. Tucson, AZ
14. Boston, MA
15. Cleveland, OH
16. St. Louis, MO
17. Austin, TX
18. Washington, DC
19. Sacramento, CA
20. Oakland, CA
21. Atlanta, GA
22. Fresno, CA
23. Tampa, FL
24. Nashville-Davidson, TN
25. Pittsburgh, PA

Not surprisingly Colorado has two of the fittest cities in the U.S. and they happen to have the lowest overall obesity rates in the country.  See below.

State by State Comparisons

The South has some major problems with obesity.  This has been known for years.  The real danger is that almost a third of Mississippi is obese.  People who are obese are a significant risk for many diseases.  The CDC says that obesity is directly linked to at least 1/3 of all cancers.

The answer is not a mystery.  We need to cut the junk out of our diets and get moving.  Regulations need to be made that advertisers cannot pitch sugary junk food to kids and parents as some kind of health food simply because they add some B vitamins to the formula.

Seeing ‘low in cholesterol’ on the box does not make it healthy.  Low in fat also does not mean it’s good for you.  People need to be taught, starting in grade school, how to evaluate food.  If that happens then people will be armed with the tools to buy the proper foods and not feel overwhelmed at the grocery store.

I hear that constantly from my patients.  They just don’t know how to buy food.  They think they’re doing well because they read some claim on a label that tells them it’s good for them when in reality it is not.  If we can teach people how to eat, we can reduce obesity and health care costs in one shot.

These kinds of programs need federal funding so schools can put them in place.  They need to be on the scale of D.A.R.E and the anti-smoking campaigns.  If they’re not, it won’t work.  They only way to fix this problem is to give people the power to make the correct decisions.

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A (small) step in the right direction

No more letting industry help pay for developing medical guidelines. Restrictions on consulting deals. And no more pens with drug company names or other swag at conferences.

These are part of a new ethics code that dozens of leading medical groups announced Wednesday, aimed at limiting the influence that drug and device makers have over patient care.

It’s the most sweeping move ever taken by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies to curb conflict of interest — a growing concern as private industry bankrolls a greater share of medical research.

The council includes 32 medical societies with 650,000 members, from neurologists and obstetricians to family doctors and pediatricians. They include the American College of Physicians, the American College of Cardiology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the largest group of cancer specialists in the world.

“We take very seriously the trust that is placed in us by physicians and patients to be authoritative, independent voices in cancer care,” ASCO’s chief, Dr. Allen Lichter, said in a statement. He led the panel that developed the code.

One of its most controversial rules: requiring top leaders of any medical society and top editors of its journals to have no consulting deals or financial ties to industry.

“When a physician stands up to represent medicine and his or her specialty, there shouldn’t be any confusion as to who they’re speaking for,” said Dr. Norman Kahn, the council’s chief executive and a former rural medicine doctor from California.

The code requires groups to:

  • Publicly post any industry support the group receives, such as money for continuing education sessions.
  • Decline industry funding for developing medical practice guidelines, such as who should get a drug, a test or treatment. Require that most members of a guidelines panel be free of financial ties to industry.
  • Disclose any financial ties that leaders and board members have with companies.
  • Ban company or product names and logos from pens, bags and other giveaways at conferences.

Fourteen groups in the council, including ASCO and the College of Physicians, have already adopted the code. Most of the rest plan to by the end of the year.

Last year, leading medical journals agreed to use a uniform conflict-of-interest disclosure form for researchers publishing in their journals. The new ethics code the council is adopting should make financial ties more transparent to patients and breed professionalism and trust in doctors, Kahn said.

Via: USA Today and the Associated Press.  See Full Article

Dr. Court’s Comments

I certainly think this is a step in the right direction.  Pharmaceutical companies control medicine completely now.  They control the treatments, the research, the education and worst of all, your options.  Their reach is as far as you can possibly imagine.

Treatments that are natural, effective and inexspensive get passed over because Big Pharma wants it that way. They make sure to “educate” (indoctrinate is more like it) as many doctors as possible that any natural remedy is quackery.

Medical guidelines are written by doctors with significant ties to Big Pharma and the insurance companies reimburse treatments based on these guidelines.  Let’s use an example to illustrate:

You enter your doctor’s office and he is holding your recent blood test in his hand.  He tells you that your cholesterol is high and you need to start Lipitor right away.  You ask you doctor if there are any other treatment options, but because your doctor has just been to a conference sponsored by Pfizer (the maker of Lipitor) he tells you that there are no better options for you.  He is telling you this because he just learned that “the research” (done by Pfizer) says Lipitor is the most effective treatment for high cholesterol and that it’s the only medication studied that shows it reduces heart attack and stroke risk.  He was also told that diet and exercise only reduce cholesterol by 10%-15% so you shouldn’t bother because you need to lower it more than that.  All these “facts” he is quoting you are from research Pfizer has conducted on its own product.  And if this weren’t enough, your insurance company will pay the most for Lipitor because the guidelines written for cholesterol management were written by a team of 10 physicians, 4 of which had financial ties to Pfizer.

What he didn’t learn at his conference is that things like diet and exercise are very effective tools for reducing cholesterol when applied correctly.  Low carbohydrate is the way to go on that one.  He also did not mention that things like red yeast rice, niacin and plant sterols are very effective ways to reduce cholesterol without resorting to a poisonous chemical like Lipitor.  These things were not mentioned at his conference because alternatives would hurt overall sales.  By the way, your insurance company will reimburse you exactly $0 for anything that isn’t a drug because they don’t have billions of pharmaceutical dollars behind them.  They also won’t pay for you to go to the gym and actually get healthy.

Hopefully these new guidelines will have an effect, but because they are not federal acts I doubt they will have any real impact.  Your best bet is to be your own advocate.  If you don’t want to take a drug, find out from a nutritionally trained physician what you can do.  If you’re concerned about the effectiveness the fix is simple – do objective testing like blood work to see if what you are doing is working.  I think you’ll be surprised to find out just how effective these natural alternatives are.

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See the amazing statistics on sugar consumption in the U.S.

A new study recently published in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association has concluded that sugar intake significantly contributes to ill-health and specifically increases cholesterol levels.

Researchers at Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta examined the added sugar intake and blood fat levels in more than 6,100 adults.

Added sugars included table sugar, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses, brown rice syrup, agave syrup and other caloric sweeteners in prepared and processed foods — for instance, in soft drinks, iced tea, candy, pastries, cookies and canned fruits. Not included: the sugars in fruit, 100% juice and other whole foods.

  • Participants consumed an average of 21.4 teaspoons of added sugars a day, or more than 320 calories a day from these sources.
  • About 16% of participants’ total daily caloric intake was from added sugars. That compares with 11% in 1977-78.
  • People with the higher intakes of added sugars were more likely to have lower levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and higher levels of triglycerides (blood fats).

The added sugar of common foods is astonishing.

These statistics are truly amazing.  Most people are completely unaware of the amount of sugar in their diets.  Remember, this is considered “added” sugar.  This does not take into account the naturally occurring sugar in fruits, fruit juices and other whole foods as mentioned above.

While fruits are good for you and I do recommend that people consume them, I never recommend that people consume fruit juices.  That is a huge source of sugar for most people and unfortunately they consider sitting down and drinking a glass of orange juice as healthy.  There are worse things you could do, but there are also better things you could do for your health (like not drink it).

Consider that there is about as much sugar in a glass of OJ as there is in a soda.  Fruit is different than fruit juice.  Human beings we were designed to sit down and have one apple or one orange.  We were never intended to sit down and eat 3 or 4 whole apples or oranges – the amount of fruit that it would take to get the sugar content of one glass of fruit juice.

Senior author Miriam Vos, an assistant professor at Emory say, “People have been so focused on fat that we haven’t been focused on sugar, and it’s gotten away from us. This data show we can’t let either one or the other get too high.”  I don’t agree.  The statement would read correctly if it said that traditional medicine has been so focused on fat that they forgot to look at sugar.  Many functionally trained physicians including chiropractors, naturopaths and certified clinical nutritionists have been saying sugar is a huge culprit for years.

I see it routinely in my practice.  People come to me with high cholesterol, weight issues, diabetes, high blood pressure and other health issues and the first thing I do is cut out the sugar and carbohydrates.  They continue to eat healthy fats and proteins.  They lose weight, improve cholesterol profiles, reduce their blood pressure and their diabetes disappears.  It is simple physiology.

It would make sense that fat makes you fat, but like most things in medicine the obvious is often times not the answer.  This holds true in this instance as well.  People need to take responsibility and be aware of just how much carbohydrate they are putting into their bodies.  After all, carbohydrates, not just simple sugars are contributing to this problem.

The American Heart Association is recommending that women get no more than 6.5 teaspoons of added sugar per day and men get no more than 9.5 teaspoons per day.  While I still view this is high (because people often have other sources of naturally occurring sugar in their diet) it’s a good start.  Remember, the average participant in the study consumed a whopping 21.4 teaspoons of added sugars a day!  That is astronomical.  Imagine sitting down at breakfast, lunch and dinner and shoveling in 7 teaspoons of sugar at each meal.  You probably wouldn’t do that because you’d view it as terribly unhealthy yet the average person does it every day without even knowing it!

Sugar consumption in this country is out of control and as a person that works in the health field I have been well aware of it.  Unfortunately, I think traditional medicine will continue to teach the low fat mantra that has led so many to be so sick in this country.  The numbers are finally there.  I can only hope people will take this health threat seriously and something will be done about the amount of added sugar that is in our diets.

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Diet Linked to Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

New research published online April 12 by the journal Archives of Neurology is reporting that diets high in fish, poultry, fruit, nuts, dark leafy greens, vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, and oil-and-vinegar dressing lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by more than a third.

The study reported on findings in 2,148 older adults (average age 77) living in northern Manhattan, none of whom had dementia at the beginning of the study period. Four years later, 253 had developed Alzheimer’s disease.

People who ate diets rich in the food listed above were more than 33% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.  So what’s the key?  The key is an anti-inflammatory diet.

The pathway of inflammation in the body. (Souce: National Institute of Health, Neuroscience Division)

(A) Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid.  It is present in every cell in the body and is used to produce inflammation.  Inflammation is a necessary evil.  It helps us heal and signals that there has been damage.  However, in high amounts it can have very damaging effects.  Arachidonic acid is found preformed in many foods.  It is also synthesized from omega-6 fatty acids that are consumed.  This is the real problem.  Too many people eat foods that are exceptionally high in omega-6 fatty acids and it is these omega-6 fatty acids that are funneled into the arachidonic acid cascade.  How is it shifted there?  This is done so by the hormone insulin.  Insulin increase an enzyme in the body called                   delta-5-destaturase.  This forces all those essential omega-6’s into the pro-inflammatory pathway contributing to the vast majority of diseases in this country.

So what is high in omega-6’s you ask?  Things like soy, anything made from grain, canola or corn oil and anything processed to name a few.  The trick is actually to control insulin.  Remember, insulin is secreted in high amounts when you consume anything that contains large amounts of carbohydrates.  So the key is to eat a diet low in carbohydrates and high in things like low glycemic fruit, vegetables, protein and high quality fats.  Doing so controls insulin and therefore controls inflammation.

(B) NSAIDs or non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs are an enormous class of drugs that are wildly successful.  They include things like Aspirin, Aleve, and Ibuprofen.  It is not depicted well above, but NSAIDs block the COX class of enzymes (see above illustration) there by preventing the formation of the pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and thromboxanes (figures C and D).  This is effective for many things including pain and fever reduction for which this class of drugs is mostly used.

You may have noticed that people are now taking Aspirin “for their hearts.”  You know, that baby aspirin your doctor keeps pushing?  That’s because heart disease is increasingly becoming an inflammatory disease and Big Pharma wants a piece of the inflammatory puzzle.  This, however, is playing a losing game.  By disrupting the COX class of enzymes you are disrupting a normal physiologic process that is helpful in certain circumstances.  It is the blockage of this enzyme that allows ulcers to develop in users of this class of drugs.  It is also unnecessary to do this is a prophylactic measurement when it is as simple a watching your intake of carbohydrates.  If you do this you can significantly reduce your risk of many debilitating diseases (see figure E).

Increasingly we are seeing that diet is the key to preventing most diseases in humankind.  Will every single case be prevented by a healthy diet?  Probably not, but we can significantly reduce the risk and total numbers and definitely ease the suffering of perhaps millions of people.  The research is starting to catch up in terms of how detrimental inflammation is on overall health.  The answer, however, is not more drugs.  Simple dietary changes work more effectively and are more cost effective in the long run.

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As your health care premiums rise, insurance companies make money off fast food

This is a post from the Time wellness blog.  There is a link to it below the article.  Health insurance companies should not own stock in fast food restaurants.  It’s a total conflict of interest.

Time Article

McDonald's and other fast food chains get support from, who else, health insurance companies.

Health insurance companies in the U.S., Canada and Europe hold nearly $1.9 billion in fast-food company stock, according to a new study from researchers at Harvard Medical School and the department of medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance. In the study, published this week in the American Journal of Public Health researchers examined major insurance companies’ stock holdings with five leading, publicly traded fast food chains: McDonald’s, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Yum! Brands (which owns KFC, Taco Bell, and others), and the Wendy’s/Arby’s Group. They found that, as of June 11, 2009, major health insurers owned $1.88 billion in fast-food stock, representing 2.2% of the companies’ total public holdings.

While some of the insurance companies have disputed the accuracy of these figures, the researchers found that U.S.-based insurance providers Prudential Financial, Massachusetts Mutual and Northwestern Mutual owned $355.5 million, $366 million and $422 million respectively in fast-food stock as of last June, with Northwestern Mutual representing the largest fast-food stock holding of any insurance company included in the study. ING, the insurance provider based in the Netherlands, held $406.1 million in these stocks. Canadian insurance provider Manulife held $146.1 million worth of fast-food stock. Those numbers, according to the study, were based on data from Yahoo! Finance from June 11 of last year.

The study authors argue that these findings show a disconcerting disregard among insurance companies for the a growing understanding of how the fast food industry is “increasingly understood to negatively impact public health.” Though they concede that fast food products can of course be consumed responsibly, the researchers emphasize that “the marketing and sale of products by fast food companies is done in a manner that undermines the public health,” and that having the very organizations that provide health insurance support these fast-food chains indicates corporate irresponsibility. As study author Dr. J. Wesley Boyd told the Wall Street Journal health blog:

“They’re profiting directly off the people who eat fast food, and if that leads to obesity or cardiovascular disease, they’ll charge you more for premiums if you have some of those conditions… They’re making money in either case.”

Health insurers should be “held to a higher standard” Boyd and colleagues argue before presenting two means of achieving that loftier standing. Insurance companies can either “divest themselves of holdings in fast food companies as well as other industries that have a clearly negative health impact,” they suggest, or they can use their ownership as leverage to force fast-food chains to adopt “practices consistent with widely accepted public healthy principles.”

The researchers concede that there are a few logical explanations for why health insurance providers might hold fast-food stock—to offset financial liability “associated with their policyholders consuming fast food,” due to a lack of understanding of the potential negative public health impact of excessive fast food consumption, or even simply due to a lack of communication between departments. Yet none of these explanations let the insurers of the hook, they argue. “If insurers are to play a greater part in the health care delivery system they ought to be held to a higher standard of corporate responsibility,” they write. “This responsibility includes aligning all o their resources—including financial investments—in ways that improve health or, at the very least, do not harm it.”

Dr. Court’s Comments

This is an obvious conflict of interest.  It is also another reason health premiums are so expensive.  The health insurance industry is helping fund the very industry that is making people sick!  It’s outrageous.

These are the very same companies that will charge higher premiums if you gain weight or cancel your policy if you cost them too much money.

Just the other day I had a patient come in and tell me she had been dropped by her insurance company because she had “reached her lifetime cap” in terms of spending.  That cap by the way was $1 million.  This was and continues to be a very sick woman, but the insurance company does not care.  All they know is that she is costing them too much money.

Apparently these insurance companies see nothing wrong with investing in fast food though.  Why don’t they invest in tobacco companies too?  There really is no difference.  A lifetime of smoking is not any worse for you than a lifetime of eating fast food.

There are plenty of other ways to invest the large amounts of money that insurance companies make every year.  Investing that money in fast food companies only makes your premiums higher.  It’s like the local police force supplying the drug dealers with cash. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

The insurance company will be the first to raise your premiums for eating at fast food chains.  Of course they don’t know when you actually eat there, but they do require you to have regular physicals.  If your cholesterol goes up, if your weight increases or any other health marker changes negatively, you can expect an increase in the amount of money you pay them.  They’ll turn around and invest that money back into the very problem that is plaguing society.

Fast food companies will say that their food can be eaten as part of a healthy diet. I do not agree and their marketing is designed to get you to eat at their chain as often as possible.  They’d like nothing more than for you to eat every meal at their restaurant.  However, doing this is extremely detrimental to your health.

Obesity costs this country billions each year.  The insurance companies make billions off high premiums and denying care at every turn possible.  With their profits they invest irresponsibly in companies that are playing a significant roll in the  high cost of health care in this country.  In my opinion this should be illegal.

They have the right to invest their money, don’t get me wrong.  They should be investing it in areas that improve health, not destroy it.

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Shocking Sugar Content of Common Foods!

The sugar content of foods is often a mystery to many people.  I too am often surprised at the sugar content of many foods.  I stumbled upon this today on another blog and thought it would be a great thing to repost.  (Click here for the original post.)

Sugar Content of Common Foods

  1. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnuts………………………………10 g
  2. Luna Bar berry almond …………… ………………………………………11 g
  3. Froot Loops breakfast cereal 3/4 cup …………………………………12 g
  4. Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream …………………………………………..16 g
  5. Starbucks caffè latte grande 16 oz ……………………………………..17 g
  6. Godiva 2 truffles …………………………………………………………….17 g
  7. Subway 6″ sweet onion teriyaki chicken sandwich……………….17 g
  8. Ms. Field’s chocolate chip cookie ………………………………….19 g
  9. Tropicana 100% orange juice 8 oz ………………………………………25 g
  10. Yoplait original yogurt …………………………………………………27 g
  11. Craisins dried cranberries 1/3 cup ……………………………………….29 g
  12. Vitamin Water 20 oz bottle …………………………………………….33 g
  13. Oscar Mayer Lunchables crackers, turkey & American cheese ….36 g
  14. Coca-Cola Classic 12 oz can ………………………………………………39 g
  15. Sprinkles Cupcake red velvet …………………………………………….45 g
  16. California Pizza Kitchen Thai chicken salad ………………………….45 g
  17. Jamba Juice blackberry bliss 16 oz ………………………………………….49 g
  18. Odwalla SuperFood 450 ml bottle …………………………………………..50 g
  19. Starbucks caffe vanilla frappuccino grande 16 oz ………………………58 g

Dr. Court’s Comments

There are some observations I want to make about these foods.

First, remember this formula: 5 grams of sugar is equal to 1 tsp of sugar in the blood.  That is, for every 5 grams of sugar consumed it is equal to ingesting 1 tsp. of sugar.

Second, people often consider doughnuts to be extremely unhealthy.  Don’t get me wrong – they are, but consider that fruit loops have more sugar.  There is little more value in eating fruit loops for breakfast than in eating a doughnut.  The only added value I see is some fortified vitamins.  What if the doughnut was fortified?  Would you feed it to your child for breakfast?  I hope not.  If you wouldn’t, then why give them fruit loops?

Third, Oscar Mayer Lunchables are not really any better than a 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola.  If you use our formula from above, the Lunchables meal is roughly equal to consuming 7 tsp. of sugar.  The biggest problem I have is that these Lunchable meals are marketed as a healthy option to parents and as a fun way to eat a meal to kids.  They may be fun, but they are not healthy.

Fourth,Vitamin Water has always been a pet peeve of mine.  People routinely ask me if that’s o.k. to drink.  Their marketing has clearly worked.  You’ve seen the ads – Naomi Campbell (the super model) is dancing around and drinking it.  The name is pure marketing genius as well.  It suggests that it’s good for you, but as we see it has only slightly less sugar than a soda!

Fifth, the salads that you get at chain restaurants are not a healthy option.  They are generally loaded with carbohydrates.  If you want to eat a healthy salad make it at home or go to a restaurant that has a salad bar with fresh options.  Don’t use sugary salad dressings either.  Season salads to taste with salt and pepper (or other spices that you like) and add extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  It’s a delicious, fresh taste!

Lastly, Starbucks is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic in this country.  One Starbucks caffe vanilla frappuccino has significantly more sugar in it than a soda does.  People routinely drink one or more of these every single day.  Just because it’s coffee (sort of) doesn’t mean it’s o.k.

People are generally not aware of the empty calories they are consuming every day.  These are often in the form of refined carbohydrates which is a significant contributor to heart disease, diabetes and cancer in this country.  The above list is just a small list.  Consider what your eating before you eat it.  Get educated about these things so you can be healthy and live a long, happy life!

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