Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD, LD

Licensed Nutritionist & Environmental Health Specialist

Frequently Asked Questions

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The following are some frequently asked questions about Health and Nutrition:


Question:

How does lots of stress affect my blood sugar and triglycerides?

Answer:

(see Stress & Body Fat)


Question:

I count my calories but still can not lose weight. Why?

Answer:

You will find the article “Everything You Thought You Knew About Calories is WRONG” helpful in understanding why calorie counting does not matter. The Eating Healthy nutrition guide offers many tips on menus, recipes and lifestyle changes that can promote weight loss. (see Everything You Thought You Knew About Calories Is WRONG)


Question:

After Gastric bypass surgery I lost weight but now my hair is falling out. What can I do to correct it?

Answer:

The Digestive & Absorption for RYGB Surgery comments that I provide to my bariatric surgery patients can be helpful along with the Bariatric Surgery Nutrition Guide. (see Dig Enzyme RYGB)


Question:

What can I do about cholesterol & Triglyceride issues?

Answer:

Many individuals with hyperlipidemia problems prefer to make diet and lifestyle changes before having to use prescription drugs. The Living with Cholesterol & Triglycerides publication provides diet and nutrition management guidelines, including supplement recommendations which lower lipids just as effective as drugs.


Question:

What about Energy Drinks? There are so many to choose from how do I know which is the best.

Answer:

The beverage market is being flooded with Energy Drinks as an alternative to drinking sugary (non-diet) soft drinks. Many contain as much or more sugar than soft drinks. Americans consume over 38 gallons of soft drinks per person per year, according to the American Beverage Association. That corresponds to about 63,000 calories or 18 pounds of body weight from excess energy requirements per year!

But substituting “Life Water”, “Sobe Adrenaline Rush” , “Coolah Energy”, “Full Throttle Energy Drink”, “AMP Energy”, “Gatorade”, “Rip It”, “Arizona Green Tea Energy Drink”, “Blue Energy”, “Life Blast”, “Guru” or “Blast Energy Elixir” (to name just a few) for a sugar-laden soft drink makes little difference in the obesity epidemic prevalent in the US.

One of the reasons these energy drinks contain high amounts of sweeteners is because the vitamins, minerals, and caffeine products added for nutrition promotion have undesirable flavors like bitterness and metallic aftertaste.

Leading the list of nutritional beverages is Gatorade- a high sugar, high sodium plus potassium beverage. Potassium is recommended for vomiting, muscle weakness, diarrhea, and diminished respiration during acute illness. Eight ounces of Gatorade provides only 30 mg potassium while 8 ounces of orange juice = 450 mg potassium. Why settle for such an inferior potassium source at four times the cost?

Gatorade is also a poor sodium choice. It contains 110 mg sodium per 8 ounces. Sodium replacement is encouraged for fatigue, cramps, hypotension, and prolonged diarrhea. An 8 ounce glass of vegetable juice cocktail provides 653 mg sodium (plus 467 mg potassium) with no added sugar, artificial colors and flavors.

Caffeine-containing products are the most common botanical added to energy drinks. Caffeine, ginseng, Brazilian guarana and yerba mate (a tree cultivated in Paraguay) are ingredients in many of the above mentioned energy drinks. Caffeine-containing products tend to be bitter so these products have some of the highest content of sugar.

B vitamins- thiamine, riboflavin, B12, pantothenic acid, B6, niacin, and folic acid- appear on some drink labels. Consumers have erroneously been led to believe these extra B vitamins will be used to help cells produce more energy from the high sugar level that is needed to mask their taste. Cell metabolism does not work that fast.

Amino acids like taurine and carnitine are helpful in muscle recovery but will do little to enhance performance. Furthermore, amino acids taste BAD and require still more flavorings and sugar to disguise their taste.

Eating a 1-ounce stick of Mozzarella cheese and a medium apple will give you more sodium, potassium, B vitamins and amino acids than any of the energy drinks on the market. Of course, there would not be the sugar and caffeine “high” and chewing is required!


Question:

Intestinal gas is very embarrassing for me. How can I control it without pharmaceutical drugs?

Answer:

The Nutrition Handbook chapter on Living with Digestive Disorders outlines some of the solutions for gas in the digestive tract. Swallowed air is one of the greatest sources of gas problems. Carbonated beverages are a major source of swallowed air.


Question:

As I get older my joints seem to get stiffer and hurt more. What can be done to prevent surgery to get rid of the pain?

Answer:

Bone and joint disorders are frequently a sign of inflammation. Look into modifying your diet, lifestyle and daily habits to reduce joint problems. The Nutrition Handbook chapter on Living with Bone & Joint Disorders guide also includes a nutrition supplement guide.


Question:

What kind of water is “pure” for good health?

Answer:

Distilled water is the best source of pure water for many people at this time because of the questionable quality of municipal water supplies and well water. Inadequate monitoring at bottled water facilities and the use of plastic bottles makes “bottled water” less than ideal. The expense of artesan spring water puts it out of financial range for many people.

Ozonation and ultraviolet irradiation of water offers great potential for purification of large volumes of water. Most municipal companies use chemical additives (predominately chlorine) and aluminum compounds because they are cheaper.

Extended use of distilled water has been criticized because it contains no minerals. To make up for the loss of minerals in the distillation process, nutrient supplements and organic vegetables can improve the mineral content in the diet when distilled water is consumed.

Many department stores offer distillers for home use with tap water so carrying heavy jugs of water is eliminated.

Another source for water purification units is GAIAM, Inc (1.800.869.3446 or www.gaiam.com). New Millennium Concepts, Ltd. (www.berkeywater.com) at 1.888.803.4438 features the Berkey water filtration system used throughout the world by medical researchers. This highly efficient, gravity filtration system was developed over 200 years ago and still produces the safest, best tasting drinking water anywhere in the world.


Question:

Why are studies about water quality hard to find in the media?

Answer:

Studies about water quality are difficult to find because it brings into question the need for better water filtration in local communities, and the need for federal drinking water standards that do not exist at this time.

The Canadian Press on January 26,2003 reported a study from the University of Calgary that may cause you to change your bottled water drinking habits. Researchers collected water samples from 76 plastic bottles repeatedly used by elementary school students. Over 30% of the samples contained bacterial contaminants suspected to be caused from insufficient hygiene (ie. lack of thorough hand washing).

A University of Idaho study tested water samples taken from soft drink and water bottles made from plastic called polyethylene tetrephthalate (PET) which released toxins into the water with repeated hot water and soap exposure. One of the toxins in PET is a known carcinogen shown to cause liver damage and reproductive problems.

A study by Halina S. Broown, Ph.D. et al. In the American Journal of Public Health 1984 found that skin absorption of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from chlorinated water was greater after a shower than when drinking the same water. Skin exposure allowed for greater absorption of toxic compounds than from the gastrointestinal tract. Studies like this should give those who swim in chlorinated pools or shower with chlorinated water cause for concern. The byproducts of chlorine, called trihalomethanes, are more toxic than the chlorine alone.

So whether lead is leaching into the water from old pipes, or plastic toxins are deposited into the bottled water, securing a safe water supple is essential to good health. Water testing is not easy to achieve or afford. One of the oldest, reliable laboratories for water testing is National Testing Laboratories, Ltd. In Ypsilanti. Michigan.


Question:

What kind of filtration system can provide healthy air?

Answer:

Over the past 10 to 15 years many new technologies have been introduced in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry. One technology that is important for reducing airborne pathogens (germs) is ultraviolet energy. Ultraviolet disinfection of airborne organisms by use of free-standing air purifiers or a built-in UV system reduces allergy-causing fungi and molds (mold is one of 5 most common allergens).

Electronic air cleaners are especially important in bedrooms to remove microorganisms, mold spores and viral contaminants. Many people even travel with a portable air cleaner because hotel rooms can contain many airborne pathogens. The Nutrition Handbook includes a chapter on Environmental Illness – the Growing Health Effects of Chemical Pollution which discusses this problme further.


Question:

How do I know if I have a thyroid problem?

Answer:

The Thyroid Gland controls every chemical reaction in your body from basal temperature to cell growth. Monitoring for adequate thyroid hormone production is critical for maintaining optimum health. Without adequate thyroid hormone production you start living life like a tortoise. Low thyroid function makes everything WORSE : fatigue, depression, weight control, anxiety, digestive problems, decreased memory, headaches, sleep disturbances, balance, joint and muscle pain. Low thyroid can make disorders WORSE : diabetes management, anemia, allergies, sinusitis, irritable bowel, high cholesterol, arthritis, eczema.

A family history of thyroid disorders needs to be discussed with health care practitioner.Thyroid testing blood work is highly inaccurate in assessing function. Ultra sensitive TSH of 2.5 or higher = suspect low thyroid (not 5.0 in previous standards). Total T4 and free T3 are the most revealing tests. Thyroid antibody testing may be needed to accurately assess thyroid function.

Become aware of signs of low thyroid : awaken tired, low basal temperature, puffiness around eyes, swelling at base of neck, slow movements, cold hands/feet, dry hair & skin, brittle nails, acne, low sex drive, severe PMS, irregular/heavy menses. The Nutrition Handbook has a complete review on Thyroid desorders and nutrition modifications needed.


Question:

What about microwave cooking?

Answer:

During the last ten years microwave ovens have been increasingly used to cook/prepare foods, not just reheat leftovers. Some people use a microwave for every meal and snack prepared! In 1976 the Russians banned microwaves following a Swiss study that showed the damaging effects of cooking in a microwave oven. The Swiss researchers were “found guilty of interfering with commerce” and fined, until the European Court of Human Rights overturned the lawsuit when it was discovered that the Swiss Association of Dealers for Electroapparatuses for Households and Industry had unfair influence over the Swiss court.

Dr. Hans Hertels research was a excellent well-designed nutrition study. He discovered that blood samples revealed decreased hemoglobin levels and increased white blood cell levels following microwaved food consumption. Microwaves altered the protein molecules in foods and LDL cholesterol increased.

Microwaving breast milk for a midnight feeding is NOT recommended. Immunoglobulins in breast milk are destroyed according to another study. A 2003 study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture revealed that microwaved broccoli lost over 75% of three antioxidant compounds studied (97% of the flavonoids). Steamed broccoli only lost 5 % of the same antioxidants.


Question:

Two months ago I had an acute gall bladder attack. How should I eat to avoid surgery?

Answer:

A low fat diet as outlined in the Nutriotion Handbook can help. Living with gallbladder flare ups means restricting foods like high fat cheeses, spicy foods, unpeeled fruits.


Question:

My blood pressure has been getting higher each time I see the doctor. How important is it to watch what I eat?

Answer:

Untreated hypertension/high blood pressure is a silent killer. Don’t avoid the need for better food choices and lifestyle changes. The Nutrition Handbook chapter on Hypertension points out that blood pressure is not only related to sodium intake, but also calcium and potassium balance in the body. Developing appropriate food choice habits can be very important.


Question:

What is all the fuss about eating “friendly bacteria”?

Answer:

Not all bacteria are bad. Eating yogurt and fermented foods with good bacteria have been shown to improve immune function, reduce diarrhea and aid digestive health. See the chapter on Digestive Wellness in the Nutrition Handbook for more details.


Question:

I suffer from migraine headaches frequently. Are there modifications to my diet that I need to consider?

Answer:

Yes, dietary components may be contributing to the frequency of your migraines. The nutrition guide in the Nutrition Handbook lists the many foods that may be contributing to headaches like chocolate, coffee, nuts, cheese and wine.

Written by bwsl

December 7th, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Posted in