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It’s Time to Take Control of Your Health Care

Close up of doctor hands with medicine cross sign

It is a brand new year, and for many, it is a chance to start anew. A lot of people make resolutions to go to the gym more often, learn a new hobby or put more money into their savings. But what if you did something that is totally different – like taking control of your health care?

The US healthcare system can be difficult to navigate. It is also tough to find a primary provider that you are compatible with. The many choices in insurance can be confusing. You may be intimidated by hospitals. And, it’s scary to be sick. However, when it comes to your health, you are your own best advocate, which is why it’s important to take control.

Why You should Take Charge of Your Health Care

Here are a few good reasons why you need to take control of your health care:

  • Doctors cannot Fix Everything

Did you know that only about 10 percent of your health is impacted by the healthcare system, like doctors, hospitals, and drugs? The remaining 90 percent is determined by lifestyle choices, the physical environment, and social conditions, i.e. factors that healthcare providers have little or no control over. In other words, it is about the choices you make. By taking control over your own health rather than depending entirely on the healthcare system, you enhance your wellbeing.

  • Healthcare is Costly

Healthcare and health insurance costs are on a rapid rise. Lifestyle-related conditions such as Type II diabetes, which is caused by obesity, are rapidly increasing and playing a major role in the increase of these costs. In the United States, the leading causes of disease and death are because of poor lifestyle choices, such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, alcohol abuse, tobacco use, etc.  By taking control of your own health, you can help in lowering healthcare costs.

  • The Healthcare System is not Perfect

Medical errors can result in severe consequences, so it is important that you make sure that you do whatever you can to minimize mistakes. For instance, if you change your healthcare provider, you need to ensure that your new doctor has all your health records and vital information they need to give you safe and effective care. Additionally, health insurance can be complicated, so you need to make sure that you find out what is covered before visiting a hospital or clinic to avoid unexpected medical bills.

  • All Options should be Explored

The current healthcare system is excellent when it comes to treatment of acute infectious disease and trauma response. However, it is not always very effective when it comes to providing preventative healthcare or providing g help to people with chronic disease.

Research shows that integrative therapies, such as biofeedback, imagery, acupuncture, meditation, and DNA testing often work very well in these areas. By being in control of your health care, you can find out what your treatment options are and choose the best one for your condition.

You deserve to have healthcare that satisfies you and the only way to make sure of that is to take charge of your own health care. You are the only person who can impact your health the most. To improve or maintain your health, it is important not only to make stellar lifestyle choices, but also obtain the best healthcare possible.

Effects of Diet Soda on Weight Loss

sodaWhen you take diet soda at face value, it may seem like it is the best health conscious choice. You do not take in the 140-plus calories that come with regular sugar-laden sodas, so it must be healthy right? You also get to satisfy your sugar cravings as it has ingredients like sucralose, saccharin, and aspartame. But you should know that there is more to this chemical-filled soda than meets the eye.

Diet Soda does not Help with Weight Loss

According to experts, because diet soda contains artificial sweeteners that have more intense flavor than real sugar, they dull the senses to fruit and other foods that are naturally sweet. What is even more troubling, studies have shown that these sugar substitutes have been shown to affect your body the same way as sugar. Artificial sweeteners trigger insulin, which causes the body to store fat and this in turn leads to weight gain.

Although it is zero-calorie, diet soda does not necessarily help with weight loss. In fact, it could have the opposite effect. Studies have found that people who drink diet soda have a 70 percent increase in the circumference of their waist compared to those who do not drink this beverage.

The scientists who conducted tests on mice and found that when they drank water mixed with sucralose, a saccharin and aspartame developed glucose intolerance. This is often a precursor to metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, and other serious illnesses. Mice that were fed plain water or water mixed with regular sugar did not develop this intolerance.

The researcher also manipulated the gut bacterial composition of the mice to determine how artificial sugars affect glucose intolerance. It was found that by killing off most of the bacteria in the digestive tracts of the mice that were given artificial sugars, the intolerance went away. When they translated their findings in humans, they found that there is a significant correlation between reported artificial sweetener consumption, configurations of gut bacteria and an inclination to develop glucose intolerance.

Some Bacteria is Good

According to experts, ensuring that your gut is happy is the key to metabolic health. Processes like insulin resistance and inflammation that cause weight gain can be modulated by friendly bacteria species. Studies have shown that by administering lactobacillus in obese people, fat mass and the risk of type II diabetes can be reduced.

As you can see, there are many important studies that show that diet soda and other foods that contain artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain and other serious health problems. Obviously, it is best to press the button for natural beverages such as fresh juice. If you need to satisfy a craving for something sweet, evaporated sugar cane, stevia, and maple syrup are healthier alternatives than sucralose, saccharin, and aspartame.

Drinking Diet Soda for Losing Weight is Irrational

If you are looking to lose weight, you should definitely stay away from diet soda. It gives you no benefits whatsoever. In fact, the more you drink it, the likelier it is that you will gain more weight, rather than lose it. Your best bet for effective and healthy weight loss is natural fruit juice.

Skinny Doesn’t Mean Healthy

skinnyMany people think that if they are skinny, they are healthy. However, this is actually far from the truth. While heavier people categorically have higher risks, people who weigh less should not assume that they are immune to health problems. When it really comes down to it, you can execute living a healthy life only by taking good care of yourself.

To determine if a person is totally healthy, it is genetic factors and gender that are looked at, not just the number on the scale or the clothing size. Just because you do not carry an unhealthy person’s physical attributes, it does not mean that you are depleted from the harsh reality of life threatening diseases and disorders.

Metabolically Obese Normal Weight (MONW)  

According to new research, being skinny can be dangerous if you are what is known as a “skinny fat” person. There is a medical term “metabolically obese normal weight” or MONW which refers to a skinny fat person. This means that a person is under lean, but over fat – too much fat and not enough muscle. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, almost 1 in 4 people who are skinny have pre-diabetes and metabolically obese.

What is worse is that skinny fat people who are diagnosed with diabetes have twice the risk of death than those who are diagnosed with diabetes when overweight. Lean people may often lack body fat that is visible under the skin because it is stored deeper inside the body, in the muscles and around the organs.

How to Know if You are Skinny Fat

So how do you find out if you are one of the skinny fat people? There are a few criteria that you can utilize to help you identify if you are a skinny fat person. These include early onset of heart disease or a family history of Type II diabetes, or even checking to see if you have a bit of a pot belly.

You should get your doctor to do some important blood tests:

  • Blood pressure
  • Triglycerides
  • Fasting glucose or blood sugar
  • HDL

You should keep in mind that fat accumulation in the body, especially around the organs and in the belly, results in low-level inflammation that gradually causes damage to blood vessels and tissue. So, although your body mass index (BMI) or weight may be within limits that are acceptable for your age and height, it is important not to be lulled into a false sense of security. You should do your own analysis, starting by following these steps:

  • Do not be too preoccupied with pounds. Yes, you do need to weigh yourself often if you are trying to lose weight, but your risk of heart disease may be disguised when you see numbers that are within a BMI range that is healthy. Always keep the numbers in perspective.
  • You should measure your body fat. You can do this on your own, but if you want to get an exact reading, it is best to ask your doctor to do it.
  • Target the fat in your belly. Eat a healthy diet, avoiding refined carbohydrates and adding monounsaturated fats. Add interval exercises to your workout routine to burn more fat and strength training for building lean body mass.
  • Keep a track on your body fat. If you keep regular tabs on your weight, you should make it a point to do the same with the fact in your body. As mentioned earlier, you can get your doctor to do it for you.

Remember that you are not necessarily healthy just because you are skinny. You can still be thin and sick and be metabolically obese, which eventually pose an even bigger threat on your health. The stellar news is that this is a problem that can be solved. Practice better health habits and exercise regularly so that you can improve your chances of being healthier.

The Dangers of Yo-Yo Dieting

yoyo dietLosing weight does have many profound health benefits. In fact, you will feel lighter, more energetic and refreshed, almost instantly. As weight loss products and trends grace the covers of magazines, commercials and so many areas of our lives, we are inundated with ideas and images of the “skinny-life”. But for many of us, the skinny-life isn’t a healthy life, and it may cause more harm than benefits. In fact, the so-called skinny-life isn’t attainable by most people, even celebrities, which is why most photos are photo shopped before they’re published. Yet, so many of us strive to achieve it, and wind up with fluctuating weights (which also causes health issues) and on yo-yo diets.

Yo-yo dieting which, also known as weight cycling, is a diet program that refers to repeated loss and gain of weight. This can vary be as little as 5 to 10 pounds to as much as 50 pounds at one time. While many patrons claim that this diet has helped them achieve their weight loss goal, results are often temporary, however the stress it puts on your body and organs can cause lasting effects.

The Dangers of Yo-Yo Dieting

The yo-yo effect that results in a succession of weight loss followed by weight gain can be dangerous for your health. When a fad diet does work the results are often short lived, which causes more weight gain and leads us to try another diet. The successive dieting causes people to become overweight, each time putting on an average of more than 20% of the normal weight, which ultimately leads to obesity.

When on a crash diet, your body learns to hold on to the food it’s given, for it may not know when the next meal will come. This actually slows the weight loss process. Even after your diet ends, the body remembers the feeling of deprivation and stores more in reserve to prepare itself for the next dieting phase.

Increasing and decreasing weight puts stress on your heart, knees, arteries and other body parts, along with a heightened risk of contracting heart diseases, cancer, muscle wasting, and even diabetes. Because of these side effects, some health care providers say it’s healthier for the body to maintain a single weight rather than yo-yo up and down.

These are a few of the physical effects. The mental and emotional impact of yo-yoing can be extremely demoralizing.

When coupled with the unanticipated weight gain, which is often harder to lose than the initial weight, we create a negative environment within our bodies. This forces us to diet more severely than the last time.

Increased Risk Factors for Chronic Disease

Dieting reduces the calories that your body gets. And these calories are what keep your heart ticking and body functioning. When you deprive yourself and fast, your body releases stress hormones that can be detrimental to overall health. Studies even suggest that an increase in cortisol levels in the body can lead to heart diseases, damage to arteries, and rise in LDL (bad) cholesterol. These effects are more pronounced in those who have gone on a yo-yo diet five or more times in their life.

Less Muscle, More Fat

While yo-yo dieting may initially yield fat loss, you stand the risk of regaining that fat and more. Also, low caliber diets, such as a yo-yo diet, lead to premature muscle wasting. And when you get back to normal eating, your body stores up the fat as a reserve for later. This means you are left with a body physique that has less muscle and more fat. The excess body fat does more harm than good and can increase your risk of developing coronary artery diseases and Type 2 diabetes.

Decreased Energy Levels

Yo-yo dieting slows down body metabolism that is characterized by low energy levels and extreme tiredness. When your body does not have enough calories to function normally, it is forced to make adjustments. These adjustments translate to tiredness, restlessness, fatigue, and in some cases limited brain functioning.

As you can see, the quick-fix diets are harmful to your health. For the healthiest outcome, they should be avoided all together, however if you must try one, it should be approached with extreme caution.

We recommend an eating program that takes your genetic make-up into account. This is a much healthier way to lose weight and keep it off.