This Autumn, with the change in season comes an even bigger change in the lives of my husband and I. After 30 wonderful years on this beautiful farm we are moving to a new home to make way for our eldest son to take over the farming operations. He will represent the 7th generation to run the family farm. Although a physically, and emotionally, draining task lies ahead of us, we take delight in knowing that he and his wife will now have the opportunities we had to enjoy this lifestyle and bring their children up in this perfect environment. Our granddaughter, their first child, is now 10 months old, just the right age to start her life as a farm girl and what a pleasure it will be for us to be just 10kms away and able to watch her grow. OK that is enough about the goings on in the Brown family, so let me get on with some health news, the reason you opened this newsletter in the first place.
Sugar and its many aliases
Sugar is one ingredient we need to avoid but despite our best intentions to remove excess sugar from our diet, the food industry has found more and more devious ways of slipping us the sweet stuff so that our sweet tooth is constantly being bombarded, like it or not. Sugar industrialists are no better than cocaine peddlers.
One of the best ways to disguise the amount of sugar in a product is by printing the information in grams. Most of us don’t have the foggiest idea of what a gram is, so when that can of soda contains 40grams we pop the top and drink. However what if the label said that it contained over 10 teaspoons of sugar? You’d think differently wouldn’t you? In future just remember this conversion: four grams of sugar equals one teaspoon so when you check out the label, divide the grams of sugar by four, and that’s how many teaspoons you’re consuming.
However the sugar industry has another trick up its sleeve. It’s called “sugar by another name”:
We know to stay away from sugar, but how about molasses, honey, sorghum, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose, lactose, dextrose, sucrose, galactose or maltose.
And you can get many doses of these –oses in one processed food without realizing they’re all just different forms of sugar. This trick is called ingredients stacking and it works like this: In a list of ingredients on a product, the manufacturer is required to list them in order of amount, from highest to lowest. If sugar is listed first then you will know that the main ingredient is sugar and hopefully avoid that product. However manufacturers have found a way to get round this one too. A nutrition bar that is loaded with sugar may have rice listed as its first ingredient but if you look down the label, you'll find all the following forms of sugar, all in the same nutrition bar:
This way it won’t be as obvious that what you’re consuming is pretty much all sugar.
Another case of "consumer beware".
HbA1c and Diabetes risk
If you don’t have time to have your glucose and insulin levels checked regularly, do not be concerned. A more informative check as to whether you are at risk of developing diabetes is a glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test. This test reflects a person’s blood glucose levels over the previous 2-3 months and, best of all, it does not require fasting beforehand. How does it work? Put simply, when your blood sugar rises too high it sticks to cells. This test measures how much sugar is attached to cell membranes. Two studies lately have concluded that an HbA1c level equal to or more than 5.0% is associated with a progressively and significantly increased risk for diabetes, with greatest risk for those with an HbA1c level of 6.0% to 6.4%. Guidelines for those with type 2 diabetes are more relaxed and a reading of below 6.5% supposedly means one is managing your diabetes well and you are at less risk of complications. I would suggest trying to keep it well below 6.5% with a balanced diet, increasing fibre, avoiding refined carbs, taking omega-3 fish oil.
Marketing of Madness – are we all insane?
Last month I directed you to a website where you could order a freebie DVD but I unfortunately gave the wrong website address. So here it is again. http://www.cchr.org/. Scroll down and on the left hand side you will see a free DVD being offered called “The Marketing of Madness – are we all insane?”. I urge you to go ahead and order this and once you have watched it, pass it round to all your friends. It costs you nothing and takes just 4-6 weeks to arrive in the post all the way from the States. The fact that the distributors of this DVD are prepared to post it to all parts of the world at their own cost tells you how keen they are to get their message across. And believe me, it is a mind-boggling message!
Weight gain after quitting smoking
Many smokers are concerned about weight gain after quitting and use this as an excuse not to quit. Sorry, but I don’t have much sympathy here. You'd have to gain a very large amount of weight to offset the many substantial health benefits that a smoker gains by quitting. Watching what you eat and going for a 30 minute brisk walk daily will ensure you quit without gaining much weight. Don't let the fear of weight gain keep you chained to an addiction that will kill you, given the chance.
Rhabdomyolysis -A real tongue twister that I battle to pronounce but what it is and what causes it is something that we all need to be aware of, especially those taking cholesterol lowering drugs.
The importance of disseminating this information hit home this week when I received a call from a lady who was concerned because she loves to go for walks but these days by the time she reaches the end of her drive-way her calf muscles have seized up and she CANNOT walk. Alarm bells rang and I asked her to what medications she is taking. "Quite a few" so she would have to gather them together and phone me back. "What are they for" I asked? "I don’t know", came the reply, "but I have been taking the same ones for a number of years now". I waited for the call and when it came I was not surprised to discover the first 3 were all for lowering blood pressure. This is what the pharmaceutical companies encourage the doctors to do. Everyone is different and some drugs work better for some people than for others so give your patient a cocktail of a variety of anti-hypertensive drugs and surely one will work and the others will simply supplement it. So no surprises there and definitely no surprise when she told me the fourth one was Crestor, a cholesterol lowering drug, infamous for its side-effects, one of the more serious ones being rhabdomyolysis.
So what is rhabdomyolysis? Wikipedia defines it as:
The breakdown of muscle fibres resulting in the release of muscle fibre contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Some of these are harmful to the kidney and frequently result in kidney damage. Severe rhabdomyolysis is characterized by pain, tenderness, weakness and oedema (swelling) of the affected muscles. The urine may be dark, often described as "tea-colored", on account of the presence of myoglobin.
Apart from other causes, certain medications are know to increase risk of rhabdomyolysis and guess what’s top of the list? Statins of course! Cerivastatin (Baycol) was withdrawn in 2001 after numerous reports of rhabdomyolysis. Why Crestor hasn’t been removed too, beats me.
Crestor , or Rovustatin, was approved in 2003 by the FDA and ever since has being confronted with serious side effects, some of which may lead to life threatening dangers. You can google Crestor lawsuits to see how people from all over the world have been filing "Crestor lawsuits". However most, if not all, statins list rhabdomyolysis as a possible side-effect, yet as serious as this side-effect may be, life-threatening even, pharmaceutical companies will teach their doctors that “the benefits outweigh the risks”. Words I am utterly sick and tired of hearing.
We all know someone taking statins such as Crestor, Lipitor and the like and we need to warn them to familliarise themselves with possible side-effects and to be on the look out for them. If they won't desist from taking statins then they should at least not take them for more than a year, and adding Co-enzyme Q10 as a daily supplement is imperative.
The specials on Life Support and DHA Essentials expire soon, 30 April so let me quickly remind you what they are:
Life Support Omega-3 – 150 capsules. Instead of R330 you pay R297 for one bottle or R560 for two. Postage excluded.
See Yourself Well DHA Essentials – 120 capsules. Instead of R255 you pay R220 for one bottle or R400 for two. Postage excluded.
The R200 discount on Vice-Breaker is on offer till World No Tobacco Day which is the 31st May. So instead of R1190 for a month’s supply which is all one should need to become a non-smoker, you will pay only R990, postage included. Please help me to help more smokers be free of their addiction by that date. A few more testimonials have been added to my www.quitsmokingnaturally.co.za website. Take a look!
The month ahead
Next time I write to you, which will be after what promises to be a very interesting election, it should be from our new address, unless by some miracle I get to find time in between packing. You will still be able to contact me throughout the month as my email address and cell number will stay the same. I shall also be able to continue supplying you with your supplement needs as my office will be the last room to move and we’ll manage that in a day. So no panicking!