Alzheimer Disease Prevention Diet (Food To Eat & Other Useful Alzheimer Prevention Tips)

Alzheimer Disease Prevention Diet (Food To Eat & Other Useful Alzheimer Prevention Tips)

By Dr Joe

Can you eat your way out of Alzheimer’s disease? Turns out, we can. In a preventative way, that is.

What you will be receiving in exchange for your time spent on this page is a nice overview of Alzheimer disease prevention diet and some other Alzheimer preventative strategies that you can employ starting today.

prevent alzheimer disease

The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is on the increase especially in the Western world. Alzheimer’s disease is probably more prevalent now because we are living longer.

By the time we hit age 85, the number affected be in the region of 1 in 2 in that age group, if current predictions come true. It is thought that by 2050, 13.8 million Americans will be affected. Those are some scary stats.

With the American College of Neurology making dire predictions like that, it behoves on us to do something. Fast.

At the moment, conventional medicine is struggling to provide any real treatment that is effective in individuals affected with Alzheimer’s disease.

The only thing on offer from current treatments is management of symptoms. Nothing curative. Even the symptomatic management results are modest at best.

There’s hardly anyone who’s family is affected by Alzheimer’s disease who will tell you they got their loved one back to the way he/she was before the disease struck.

Quality of life is always compromised…as things stand today.

It is a very sad situation to watch your parent who once had a very sound mind deteriorate before your very eyes and there doesn’t seem to be a lot you can do about it.

It is safe to say, current pharmaceutical offerings are failing and failing fast.

With that in mind, wouldn’t it be a good idea to start thinking about preventative measures for those of us who are still relatively young and unaffected?

It turns out that recent research seems to suggest that we can actually do that through a series of steps involving non-pharmaceutical approach. Yes, let’s leave out Big Pharma out of this one.

We shall be taking responsibility ourselves through what we eat and what we do.

Whilst the chaps at Big Pharma are still working hard to find a cure through research and development, we will be doing our bit to avoid those medications in our old age.

Just by eating our way out of the problem. Sounds reasonable?

Yes, let’s work on modifiable factors. Factors we have control over. Enabling factors that will help us avoid Alzheimer’s disease.

With that in mind, let’s remind ourselves about the risk factors that potentially could make us become victims of Alzheimer’s disease.

Risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease will include:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Consumption of excess metals – aluminium, copper, iron

alzheimer's disease prevention diet

 

So, what’s the Alzheimer’s disease prevention diet?

The Alzheimer’s disease prevention diet is about doing the small things right.

Eating the right foods that protect you from developing Alzheimer’s disease. And avoiding or at the very least reduce your consumption of the foods that increase your risk of developing the disease.

The fat dilemma

Before you roll your eyes about the implication of cholesterol in the origin of Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to note that this is backed by science.

It is not just the total cholesterol floating around your body but the distribution of the cholesterol within the neurons is what makes the difference.

The Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP) Study further implicates dietary fat as a causative agent for Alzheimer’s disease.

Not just fats in general but the consumption of saturated fats and trans-fats (hydrogenated fats) is known to elevate your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 3 folds.

These fats seem to be involved in the formation of beta amyloid proteins in the brain. Everyone with Alzheimer’s disease has these beta amyloid proteins.

Conversely, in that study, it would appear that the consumption of unsaturated fats and unhydrogenated fat is protective.

In particular, omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is particularly protective.

The point here is you don’t have to run away from fats in general. You only have to eat the right fats. Eat lots of them at that. Because that study says a high intake of unsaturated fats and unhydrogenated fats helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

In fact, a more recent study published in Neurology journal, it was demonstrated that eating a Mediterranean-style diet was associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Study participants were aged between 30 – 60 years and were followed up for 3 years with MRI Scan imaging.

The idea was to see how adherence to the Mediterranean diet influenced development of Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers. Needless to say, the study participants were Alzheimer’s disease-free at the start of the study.

The participants were classified as having either low adherence to the Mediterranean diet or high adherence to the diet.

This recent study showed that lower Mediterranean diet adherence was associated with progressive Alzheimer’s disease biomarker abnormalities in these middle-aged adults.

In effect a Mediterranean-style diet was actually protective of Alzheimer’s disease and is one of the things you can do to avoid Alzheimer’s disease.

Eat a Plant-based diet
I know carnivores would be screaming, what the… expletives, at their computer screens or smart phones whilst reading this.

Well, there is no need to scream at your device, because as you just saw from that recent study, the Mediterranean-style diet does lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

What constitutes a Mediterranean diet?

It’s fruits, legumes, and vegetables plus healthy plant-derived fats.

When I say Legumes, people always ask what I mean.
Well, for avoidance of doubt, legumes refer to beans, peas and lentils. Some of the loveliest, most nutritious foods on the planet.

If the results from that study are anything to go by, then it is clear that animal products don’t do much to stave off Alzheimer’s disease.

You can eat as much animal products as you like, so long as you understand the risks.

Okay, on a practical note, I am not saying you have to go Vegan. Nope.

What you can do is reduce your consumption of animal products inclusive of dairy.

You don’t have to cut them out altogether. Just reduce your consumption of them. You are more likely to find joy with that than a total ban. Makes sense?

Eat more plants!

Do Physical and Mental Exercise
This goes without saying. I am not the first to mention this. You would have heard it elsewhere and everywhere. Exercise is good for you.

I know this piece was supposed to be about Alzheimer’s disease diet which means the focus should be about diet.

But it will be remiss of me of not to talk about exercise, if we are talking about Alzheimer’s disease prevention.

Exercise has many ramifications. You get immediate benefits from getting yourself cardiovascularly fit, fat burn and muscle toning. But you also get long term benefits.

Long term benefits of exercise include Alzheimer’s disease prevention. It is recommended that you get about 150 minutes of exercise a week as a means to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

And it doesn’t matter whether, it is cardio exercise or resistance training. Any exercise will do.

freedom from alzheimer's disease

Here’s a summary of what you can do to prevent or avoid Alzheimer’s disease:

1. Keep your intake of saturated fats low, really low.

2. Eat more unsaturated fats. You can get these from nuts, seeds, avocados and oils sympathetically extracted from these.

3. Avoid trans-fats foods. These foods will include commercially available fried foods and pastries. Something to mention though. If you see on the food label “partially hydrogenated oils”, that should qualify as trans-fat. Avoid.

4. Reduce your consumption of dairy

5. Eat more plants – fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains

6. Reduce your meat consumption, in particular red meat

7. Meet your daily requirements for Vitamin E. I am not suggesting taking Vitamin E supplement. That has been found to be disappointing. Get your vitamin E from your food – nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, whole grains. You need to eat about 15 mg of Vitamin E daily.

8. Avoid Vitamin supplements with Iron and Copper. You should be looking to get your iron and copper from your food. If you are iron deficient, do not self-treat. The instructions to take iron should come from your doctor, not you or anyone else. Excess iron is just as bad as lack of it.

9. Reduce exposure to aluminium. I know it’s all around us, aluminium. There’s some link between aluminium and Alzheimer’s disease, so it will be prudent at this point to reduce your exposure to it. Choose your cooking pots carefully. Be careful with products like baking powder, and over-the-counter antacids. Some of them contain aluminium. Avoid.

10. Take your vitamin B12 daily, if you are a vegan. Your recommended daily dose should be 2.4 micrograms.

11. Get as much sleep as possible each night. Shift workers may find it difficult to adhere to this but you should look to get as much sleep as possible when you are off duty. 7 – 8 hours’ sleep a night is what you should be aiming for.

Sleep is important for forming new memories. If you liken sleep to an email account and liken new memories to the ‘Inbox’, lack of sleep will mean new memories will bounce back just like an email will bounce if the address in incorrect. Instead of having new memories received or stored, they will bounce if you are sleep-deprived.

Also, sleep period is the time the brain detoxes itself. Getting rid of the damage of wakefulness, recharging itself and getting rid of that toxic protein, beta amyloid. Lack of sleep means you deprive your brain of that wash-out of beta amyloid. Read more about sleep benefits from this book “Why We Sleep” at Amazon UK here.

12. Exercise your brain and your physical body. As I stated previously, 150 minutes of physical exercise a week is ideal and exercise for your brain works just as well.

Brain exercises will include activities like crosswords, puzzles, play scrabble, solve riddles and twists. Anything that exercises your brain even reading newspapers and online articles like this will help you exercise your brain and stave off Alzheimer’s disease.

13. Quit smoking cigarettes. Look for smoking cessation programs around where you live. You are probably going to find more success with that method than trying to go it alone. Of course, if you can do it yourself, go ahead and do it.

Those are your tips for preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Take them on board and start using these tips starting today.

Don’t rely on Big Pharma to rescue you in later years. There’s no guarantee they will. Why wait when you can take Alzheimer preventing steps yourself.

Suggested further reading:
The #1 Food that HARMS your BRAIN (Avoid)

9 Tips To Defeat Dizziness After Eating & Have a Happy Ending

9 Tips To Defeat Dizziness After Eating & Have a Happy Ending

By Dr Joe

Can you actually stop after eating dizziness? Yes, you can. Avoiding after eating dizziness requires a few steps that most people can adopt into their daily lifestyle.

Feeling giddy after eating is never a good thing and the feedback I get from individuals with this problem tells me it is something that can actually dominate their lives.

stop after eating dizziness

Some of the ideas necessary to stop after eating dizziness would involve your health professional. But there are also other steps you can employ to treat dizziness after eating that do not necessarily involve a health professional too.

Of course, professional steps represent treatments that go beyond the realms of the average Joe Bloggs.

Going on the above, measures to stop after eating dizziness can be divided into 2 broad categories:

  • Generic
  • Professional

 

Generic Steps to Stop After Eating Dizziness

Apply these outlined tips below and you could be saying goodbye to your dizziness that happens after eating your delicious meal.

  1. No Sugary Drinks

One of the things sugary drinks do is cause a blood sugar spike. For someone with a reactive hypoglycemia, this can be a problem. Why, because that sugar spike will be quickly followed by a drop in blood glucose (hyopoglycemia) leading to dizziness which is one of the ways low blood sugar manifests.

One solution to avoid dizziness after eating is to stay away from sugary sodas and other sugary beverages. I won’t also advise you to have the so-called diet sodas instead. They contain Aspartame which is not good for you any way. Drink water. It is safer and has no calorie value.

2. Eat Often
I know this is a little tricky when you are trying to avoid after eating dizziness or light-headedness. A distressing problem that is associated with eating. I can hear you saying, heck, I feel dizzy or giddy when I eat and here you are, telling me to eat more frequently.

Wouldn’t that make the problem worse? No, it wouldn’t, if you eat the right foods.

This approach is ideal for people who have problems maintaining their blood sugar levels with long intervals between meals. If you are that type of person, then frequent meals will be the way to go.

But do bear in mind though that the food portions I am talking about have to be small and therein lies the problem.

Some people’s definition of ‘small’ could be my ‘big’. You have to apply common sense because if you eat heavy portions frequently, then obesity will be knocking on your door. Simple as that. And as you know, obesity creates all sorts of problems on its own.

What’s my definition of eating often? Well, about 6 meals a day. But remember, SMALL.

3. Eat Complex Carbs
One way to stop dizziness after eating is to incorporate complex carbs into your diet. Complex carbohydrates have the unique characteristic of being digested slowly.

Why is this important?

Slow digestion means your blood glucose rises gradually instead of sharply. Your body prefers a gradual rise in blood glucose after you have eaten because such a rise is a lot more metabolically friendly.

Complex carbs are available in whole grains, beans and lentils. Eat brown rice instead of white rice, eat quinoa, eat bulgur wheat, eat oatmeal, have some chickpeas, red kidney beans, green peas etc.

Low glycemic index complex carbs will avoid the metabolic chaos that can lead to low blood sugar which ultimately can result in giddiness and light-headedness soon after you have eaten.

4. Avoid Processed Carbs
Just like you can treat dizziness after eating by avoiding sugary drinks, so can you do the same by avoiding processed carbs and indeed junk foods for that matter.

Same reason as stated previously. Heavily processed carbs will cause a sugar spike a and an insulin spike correspondingly.

The result: Your blood sugar level may crash with the high insulin levels resulting in hypoglycemia. How do you feel when your blood sugar is low? You will feel light-headed, giddy, dizzy amongst other symptoms. Not nice!

avoid after eating dizziness

 

5. Eat lots of vegetables
You can treat dizziness after eating just by having more vegetables in your diet. Most vegetables are low calorie high nutrient foods that are actually good for your body anyway. So, your body needs them.

Vegetables contain lots of fiber. Fiber generally slows down the digestive process. Slowing down the digestive process means you release glucose from vegetables very slowly.

The idea is to prevent blood sugar spikes. Maintaining your blood glucose on an even keel stops after eating dizziness.

6. Be Careful with Exercise
Exercise is good for you in all sorts of ways. That much we know and indeed we advise having 150 minutes at least of exercise every week.

Performing exercise soon after eating is not a smart move (no pun intended). Doing exercise soon after eating places a burden on your circulatory system. Not only does your heart have to pump extra blood to your intestines where digestion is taking place, it will have to supply more blood to the muscles involved in the exercise process as well.

This extraordinary demand on your heart could result in a fall in blood pressure which would lead to giddiness, dizziness or light-headedness after eating.

If you have a problem with after eating dizziness and you are keen to exercise, my advice would be wait at least 2 – 3 hours after eating before you engage in any exercise activity. That delay between eating and exercise is a good approach to avoiding feeling dizzy after eating.

treat after eating dizziness

 

7. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking plenty of water ties in with the exercise advice. If you are going to engage in vigorous exercises, then you need to properly rehydrate yourself, if you want to avoid after eating dizziness.

Some of us will advise drinking to thirst, others will say drink about 4 ounces of water every 30 minutes when doing vigorous exercise or when the weather is very hot.

Outside of exercise, it generally makes sense to drink a glass of water (about 500 mls) before you eat. Why is this? The water will get absorbed before you start your meal and would be an ideal panacea for keeping your blood pressure steady when you start eating.

This tip is very important for those folks who have after eating dizziness after first bite or those who have dizziness immediately after eating. Drink at least 500 mls or if you can handle it, a pint of water which is 750 ml about 10 – 15 minutes before you start eating.

8. Keep Food Portions Small
I know I did mention about eating frequently previously but I think I need to emphasise another point leading on from that.

I am talking about food portions.

I did talk about the mechanics involved in after eating dizziness here. Go read it, if you haven’t yet. One of the things that will potentiate a significant drop in blood pressure when you eat is having a large portion of food.

Yes, food can be tasty, I know, especially fatty foods. The temptation then is to eat unusually large portions sometimes without realising you have. You are not helping yourself in that situation.

If you want to stop after eating dizziness, you will be doing yourself a huge favour to keep your food portions on the small side. You will be giving your digestive system less work to do when you adopt this method of eating.

avoid after eating dizziness

 

9. Have Ginger
Now I have to say, this method of stopping after dizziness after eating is not evidence-based. However, I have had reports of folks saying they were able to stop their after eating light-headedness and dizziness by drinking ginger either in its raw form or drinking ginger tea.

These guys have either drunken the ginger before eating or had the ginger with their food. Ginger does have a calming effect on the stomach. That much we know.

Well, I have included the ginger tip here even though this recommendation is not based on scientific evidence. Why? For the simple reason, that even if it doesn’t work, you lose nothing because ginger has so many other benefits.

And ginger does your body no harm. So, you lose nothing. Worth a try!

Professional Measures To Stop After Eating Dizziness

By and large, some professional help will be required to treat after eating dizziness in stubborn cases or in situations where a medical cause has been identified.

This means the treatment for the problem would be targeted at the identified cause.

If for instance, you have reactive hypoglycemia and following investigations, you are now diagnosed to have prediabetes or frank type 2 diabetes, then of course, your health professional would come into the picture. Your health professional will assist you to treat the dizziness after eating by managing your prediabetes or type 2 diabetes in that instance.

Or if you had been diagnosed to have insulinoma which is rare beta cell tumour of the pancreas, then you are probably going to have to need surgery to have the tumour excised. That’s how the dizziness after eating will stop.

If the cause of the problem is some prescription medication that you are taking, then you are going to have a chat with your doctor to have either the doses changed or the medication stopped by your doctor whilst he substitutes it for another med.

I could go on and on about the different medical scenarios but you get the drift. Identify the cause and treat the cause to treat the after eating dizziness or light-headedness.

Suggested further reading:
The Worst Food For Your Thyroid

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Why Do I Feel Dizzy, Giddy or Light-Headed After Eating?

Why Do I Feel Dizzy, Giddy or Light-Headed After Eating?

By Dr Joe

After eating dizziness and light headedness appears to be a problem that afflicts a lot of people. So much so that I now get queries in my inbox regarding the problem of feeling giddy, dizzy or light-headed after eating a meal.

I admire people who like to make quantum leaps in searching for the truth regarding their health. These people reject the good in favour of the great. I like the camaraderie that the internet sometimes generates.

after eating dizziness

I like the fact that I can sharpen my mind about stuff that I never thought of as being popular health concerns. Draw my attention to such concerns and I have no choice but to respond to the clarion call.

As they say iron sharpens iron when you are surrounded by lovely and inquisitive folks. It’s one way to keep the golden grey matter active.

That’s how I got to put this piece together because I was prompted by some of my readers to say something about feeling giddy after eating.

The last of the queries came from Peter (not his real name) and I shall reproduce his question which skirts around the problem of after eating giddiness or dizziness and light headedness.

Here we go, Peter. Your words:

“I thought I had hypoglycemia because several medical nurses and doctors have told me I did and that I needed to eat every two hours or so to keep my blood sugar level. But, according to your article, hypoglycemic folks don’t notice the dawn phenomenon I describe below.

I get dizzy immediately after having breakfast. (too much of a blood rise?) I feel good as soon as I get out of bed, with just a hunger feeling, until I eat. Then I am very unstable. The dawn phenomenon in your article says it occurs between 2:00 AM and 8:00 AM and does not have much of an impact on hypoglycemia patients. I don’t eat breakfast until 9:00 AM. By the time I finish eating it may be 9:30 AM.

Would my dizzy disoriented feeling be considered the “dawn phenomenon”? I have never awakened easily all my life. It took me an hour or so to be alert while I was still very active and healthy. But what I am experiencing now is extremely frustrating and debilitating.

I don’t get alert anymore without the dizziness/light headedness. I can’t walk straight, can’t drive and can’t stand very long without getting faint. I have had this problem for the last four years. It came and went. (off and on the first two years, with the help of acupuncture).

Then I must have become immune to acupuncture. It stopped giving me any relief. It is now constant. When I lie down in a supine position I get relief for a short while.

Your article mentions drinking a sweet drink when the blood sugar gets low. I tried that and the dizziness got worse. It seems I am hyperglycemic rather than hypoglycemic. Each time I have had blood drawn and subjected to metabolic evaluation, after fasting, my glucose tests “normal”. My doctor sees me as pre-diabetic.

Is it possible that someone with my symptoms can progress to keto acidosis? That scares me. I hear it can be fatal.

I am confused as to whether I am hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic, neither of which show up in my blood specimens, over and over.

Am I completely headed in the wrong direction? Is there another disease of the pancreas or other parts of the body that would cause my types of symptoms?

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and come up with any fresh suggestions or thoughts.”

A little disclaimer here. My advice here is informational and educational not diagnostic. If you are unsure of your symptoms, you may well consult your personal physician. Are we cool? Yep?

Okay, Peter’s problem actually highlights what a lot of folks suffer from (in silence I should add). These people feel giddy, dizzy or light-headed after eating a meal. Some will have a feeling of nausea after eating consistently.

Heck, you are supposed to feel good after eating, not miserable.

First of all, in addressing Peter’s problem, he raised the issue of the dawn phenomenon. Peter says “Would my dizzy disoriented feeling be considered the “dawn phenomenon”? No, Peter it isn’t. I can say your problem is definitely NOT the dawn phenomenon.

The dawn phenomenon is rare occurrence in non-diabetics. Not only that, the dawn phenomenon is not related to food in any way. The dawn phenomenon is a cortisol-related problem that occurs between 2am and 8am. It happens well before you even consider having breakfast. Besides, the dawn phenomenon refers to high blood sugar in relation to cortisol rise. Read about it here, if you may.

feel giddy after eating

 

People who feel giddy whilst eating or feel lightheaded or dizzy after eating a meal have an issue that may be caused by 7 main culprits:

What can cause after eating dizziness, giddiness, light-headedness or nausea.

  1. After meal low blood pressure (post-prandial hypotension)
  2. Low blood sugar (reactive hypoglycemia)
  3. Heart problems and hardening of blood vessels
  4. Inner ear problems
  5. Thyroid problems
  6. Stress or Anxiety
  7. Medications

Let’s tackle the causes of light-headedness or dizziness after eating one after another briefly.

Low blood pressure (Post Prandial Hypotension)

Dealing with the food you eat is hard work for your body believe it or not. When work is involved then a lot of physiological changes take place that ordinarily you are not aware of. You go on with your life and no one gets to notice. Not even you…ordinarily.

Problem occurs when those physiological adaptations begin to sing out of tune. Feeling dizzy after having your food is one of those situations.

What am I talking about?

Well, the cardiovascular system and your nervous system are called into action to help the digestive system.

To meet the demands of digestion (remember you have just loaded your gut with some grub out of hunger), your cardiovascular system needs to pump more blood into the Gastrointestinal tract. This is to aid digestion, absorption and transportation of nutrients to your body cells where they are needed.

In order for this blood diversion to occur, the other body organs have to “calm down” just a little bit with their blood supply needs. So, vessels to those other organs not directly involved with the digestive process may need to narrow themselves in preference to the widening of the vessels supplying the gut.

This also means your heart needs to beat faster to facilitate these silent events going on. This narrowing of some vessels and widening of the vessels in need of more blood is controlled by the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

We won’t get geeky and get into the nitty gritty of what the autonomic nervous system does but suffice to say, it’s a well-tuned coordination between the circulatory system and the nervous system.

Now whilst all of these events are happening, your blood pressure must stay the same regardless.

When there is poor coordination between the nervous system and the circulatory systems for whatever reason, your blood pressure will not be maintained as it should.

What I am saying here is that, the digestive process provokes a drop in your blood pressure either during the eating process or after you have eaten. This in medical parlance is called post prandial hypotension. Hypotension means low blood pressure. Post prandial hypotension means ‘after eating low blood pressure’.

This ‘after eating drop in blood pressure’ explains symptoms such as after eating dizziness or light-headedness, after eating nausea, after eating fainting episodes, after eating stomach pains and after eating chest pains.

I should add though that after eating chest pains may be due to a heart attack and that’s a lot more serious. Don’t simply assume your symptom of ‘after eating chest pain’ is due to post prandial hypotension. Seek medical help if that is you.

As far as Peter having issues with after food dizziness is concerned, I would suggest he and his medical practitioner exclude after meal low blood pressure.

In particular where Peter says “When I lie down in a supine position I get relief”. Lying down equilibrates blood pressure. The heart doesn’t have to work so hard in pumping blood to your brain when you lie down compared to when you are standing up. Makes sense?

I have also had someone write to me about having dizziness when eating first bite of food. This is likely due to this same blood pressure adaptation problem. Got to remember, the digestive process kicks in from the minute you start chewing your food in the mouth.

Dizziness when eating first bite may seem premature but it happens and it happens because of low blood pressure triggered by the food being chewed and ingested. Same principle.

Low Blood Sugar (After eating low blood sugar)

Another reason someone like Peter is having after food dizziness is low blood sugar. Surprised?

Well, it happens.

Food is supposed to raise your blood sugar but in some people, this rise in blood sugar is a temporary event that is quickly followed by a sudden drop in blood sugar levels.

We call this Reactive hypogylycemia. Searching for the cause of after meal dizziness was the reason, Peter found my website. I wrote in detail about the problem of reactive hypoglycemia here. This the article Peter read.

Essentially the food you eat triggers a huge surge of insulin. This huge surge is followed by a quick response to the very high levels of insulin circulating in the blood.

The response being that the insulin opens the doors of the cells and boom, the glucose in your blood circulation is driven into the cells very quickly. Because that’s what insulin does. It drives sugar into the cells from the blood circulation. High blood insulin means a very efficient blood glucose clear-out.
Too efficient!

The net result of that event is your blood sugar plummets leading to after meal low blood sugar.
A paradox…I know.

Dizziness and light-headedness are some of the symptoms of low blood sugar, hence you feel dizzy after a meal. There are various causes of reactive hypoglycemia or what I call after eating low blood sugar. You may need to be investigated for that to establish exactly why you have it.

Peter in his letter to me, says he has had blood tests done for blood glucose. This is well in order. Why?

Because one of the common cause of reactive hypoglycemia is type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. Insulin resistance, in short.

So, Peter has done the right thing about excluding type 2 diabetes and it would appear his glucose results were “normal”. Quotation emphasis his not mine. My deduction from that is his blood glucose results were inconclusive.

If you are someone in Peter’s position, especially if you feel light-headed or dizzy after eating sugar, you need a Standard 75 gm Oral Glucose Tolerance Test or a Mixed Meal Tolerance Test to properly exclude or better still confirm your metabolic status.

Those two tests are probably the best means of resolving any confusion between hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

Are you prediabetic? Are you frankly diabetic? Those 2 questions need to be answered properly. This is particularly important in individuals who have dizziness or light-headedness after eating sugary foods or heavily processed carbs.

Although the causes of after meal dizziness may vary, but for folks who feel dizzy or light-headed after eating sugar, the most likely cause is reactive hypoglycemia.

It may actually mean being tested more than once.

Oh yes, Peter, you may need to be tested at least twice. And I mean a full Standardised 75 gm Oral Glucose Tolerance Test, not just Random blood sugar test. Sorry about that but at least you will know where you stand metabolically speaking afterwards.

after eating dizziness

 

Heart problems and hardening of blood vessels

Your heart is your body’s pumping machine. It pumps blood from the heart for onward distribution to the rest of your body.

Remember, I said earlier on that your heart will need to pump faster and sometimes harder to accommodate the increased blood flow requirement needed by your intestines to digest, absorb and transport nutrients to nourish your body.

For this to happen, the heart needs to pump efficiently and obey orders from the autonomic nervous system. The blood vessels need to be pliable to enable relaxation of their walls or constriction of their walls depending on the task at hand.

If the vessels are hardened, that means they can’t relax very well. This is called atherosclerosis. This means the blood pressure changes essential for the digestive process will not occur as ought to be.

Also, if the heart cannot pump efficiently in response to these digestive needs, blood pressure will be low. Low blood pressure after eating will eventually lead to dizziness or light-headedness after eating.

Inefficiency of the heart pump or hardening of blood vessels may occur together or exclusively. Either way, both heart pumping issues and or hardening of blood vessels (atherosclerosis) can cause after meal dizziness, giddiness or light-headedness.

Inner ear problems

There is a part of the inner ear that contains what we call semi-circular canals. These canals contribute to our sense of balance.

How?

There are 3 semi-circular canals that lead up to one central area called the vestibule. This vestibular area has a nerve called the vestibular nerve which joins another nerve called the cochlear nerve. This conjoined nerve sends signals to the brain where movements and hearing are interpreted.

The cochlear nerve is responsible for hearing, by the way and the vestibular nerve and vestibular system is responsible for balance. The vestibular system senses movements by activating the sensory nerves when you make any movements in particular moving your head in any direction.

Anything that disrupts the smooth functioning of this system will affect your sense of balance either standing up or even sitting down.

Infections of the inner ear by bacteria or a virus and meniere’s disease will cause you to feel dizzy after eating in an indirect way. Also, anything that affects a smooth blood flow to the inner ear, head injury can lead to dizziness following a meal.

Thyroid problems

Thyroid issues be it underactive or overactive thyroid problems can cause dizziness on their own in the absence of a meal challenge. The mechanism is not very clear but dizziness is a recognised symptom of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

Whether one can blame a malfunction of the thyroid gland to light-headedness after eating is open to question. But I have had people say their dizziness after eating was corrected after they fixed their overactive or underactive thyroid problem.

So, if you work it from first principles, you may conclude that the after eating dizziness encountered by that individual may have been due to the thyroid problem.

feel giddy after eating

 

Stress and Anxiety

Stress does all sorts of silly damage to our body. Prolonged stress can lead to anxiety-related mental health problems.

One thing I have noticed in my medical career is that when you have anxiety, it can lead to all sorts of symptoms. Some of those symptoms may be difficult to explain, but they happen nonetheless. So, having after eating dizziness or nausea as a result of stress does not come to me as a surprise.

It is tall order to ask people to reduce stress in their lives because stress reduction is not a push-button exercise. But if you can, then by all means do so. Going back to Peter’s situation, I suspect that even though there may be a physical cause to his giddy spells following a meal, I also think there is an anxiety aspect as well.

I say that because as you can tell from Peter’s account above, he found some relief from acupuncture but that relief was short-lasting. Acupuncture is not an evidence-based treatment for after eating dizziness. My theory is that the acupuncture provided a psychological remedy at the time, rather than a physical one. Obviously, the remedial effect faded away over a short time, sadly.

The fact that Peter responded initially to the acupuncture, makes me think there is a psychological component to his light-headedness and giddiness after eating.

Medications

Will medications make you feel light-headed after you have eaten? Of course, they can. The problem is worse when you are on a host of medications that may work synergistically together.

Any blood pressure lowering medication can cause you to become dizzy with or without food. I am referring to medications prescribed by your doctor to control hypertension of whatever cause. That’s why your doctor may need to monitor your response to your blood pressure meds both in his office and at home.

Also, prescription meds that will make you pee more often can have the same effect. Meds that enable you pass urine often (what we call diuretics) can shrink your blood volume, causing your blood pressure to drop. This drop in blood pressure can cause you get giddy after eating. Some antihistamines can make you feel dizzy as well.

Those causes listed above are the reason you may feel dizzy or light-headed after you have had your food. You may need a little adjustment to your lifestyle to control or deal with the after eating dizziness problem and of course if the cause is found, the task of solving it becomes easier…a lot easier.

Suggested further reading:
1 Unique Spice That BEATS Abdominal Fat (plus controls blood sugar)

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Are You Immune From Low Blood Sugar If You Are Non-Diabetic?

Are You Immune From Low Blood Sugar If You Are Non-Diabetic?

By Dr Joe

Low blood sugar in non-diabetics continues to be a mystery to some people. Suffice to say low blood sugar in non diabetics is a reality. It’s not a myth.

I have written about it previously on this blog, but queries subsist. It does look like some of my readers would prefer a nuanced commentary on low blood sugar in non diabetics.

Hence, I have had to oblige. After all, I am here to serve your interests. Whatever you want me to write about, I shall see it as an assignment to be fulfilled. My homework, if you like.

low blood sugar in non diabetics

 

 

Here is the thing:
Low blood sugar occurs in non-diabetics. The fortunate thing is that, the phenomenon of low blood sugar in non diabetics is an uncommon event. Thank heavens for that. Let me illustrate with a live example of how non-diabetics can fall into the low blood sugar trap…easily.

I was watching Bear Grylls Mission Survive program some time ago on my Television. You know how Bear Grylls puts his survivalists through their paces. Testing their endurance, physical fitness and indeed emotional fitness to their limit.

Sometimes I’m watching that and I say to myself; I don’t think I can do those tasks that Bear Grylls sets the participants. For a start, I don’t do heights. How’s that for a start, huh. Fat chance.

Anyway, on this particular episode which was a celebrity Mission Survive, one of the contestants started behaving somewhat erratically at 3 o’clock in the morning. I shall withhold his name here for a variety of reasons, not least, privacy.

This male celebrity became confused, mumbling unintelligible words, delirious and had a mild seizure. It was clear he was having symptoms of low blood sugar.

The combination of the stress of the tasks, poor sleep in the jungle and lack of decent food had edged this celebrity gentleman into the domain of low blood sugar, even though he was not a diabetic. That was a live example of a non-diabetic individual dropping his blood sugar levels given the “right” circumstances.

Watch the video below and you will see what I am talking about around minute 23. Before then see how these celebrities struggle to catch fish from very shallow waters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9ii8SU0nTw

 

For the most part, most non-diabetics will not experience any significant episode of low blood sugar unless all the ducks are lined up in a row.

The reason being that the natural mechanisms that fight you from developing low blood sugar kick in and would stop the hypoglycemic event in its tracks.

Low blood sugar in non-diabetics – Your defence mechanism

There are 2 main hormonal defence that normally would come into play. These are protective. They stop non-diabetics from sliding into hypoglycaemia. That is why it is not common for these low blood sugar events to occur.

What am I talking about?

I am talking about 3 hormones namely:

  • Cortisol
  • Adrenaline
  • Glucagon.

Glucagon in particular is Insulin’s enemy. Insulin lowers blood sugar. Glucagon raises blood sugar.

If for any reason your blood glucose is dropping, that’s a trigger for glucagon hormone release. And in return, insulin secretion is inhibited at the same time. Because glucagon and insulin “can’t be seen in the same room”. They detest each other. Weirdly, both insulin and glucagon are secreted by the same organ – the pancreas.

Glucagon causes release of stored glucose in particular from the liver to raise blood sugar levels.
And at the same time, plummeting blood sugar levels is a stressful event for the body and your body will recognise that.

Cue, cortisol hormone and adrenaline.

Adrenaline is released preparing your body for flight or fight. If you are going to run away from a threat, you are going to need your muscles and your muscles are going to need glucose to facilitate your escape, because glucose is the preferred energy substrate.

And for that glucose to be made available for your muscles, your glucose stores will have to be raided. Adrenaline makes sure that happens. All of these is automatic and pretty rapid.

Cortisol is another stress hormone. Cortisol also helps your body fight low blood glucose by helping to breakdown glycogen – the glucose storage form. The blood glucose elevating effects of cortisol is however slow compared to the effect of adrenaline or glucagon.

The combination of these protective mechanisms is the reason low blood sugar in people without diabetes is an uncommon medical event.

What is considered low blood sugar in non-diabetics?

Low blood sugar does not distinguish between a diabetic and non-diabetic. It affects everyone the same way. Low blood sugar is low blood sugar whether you are the President or the little unknown farmer in a 3rd world country.

By definition, low blood sugar is blood glucose below 72 mg/dl (4.0 mmol/l). If a non-diabetic has a blood sugar level below this 72mg/dl (4.0 mmol/l), this is considered low.

I should state though that some non-diabetics may not have the typical symptoms of low blood glucose at this level. Some will only begin to experience symptoms at around 54 mg/dl (3.0 mmol/l).

Certainly, a critical level (I repeat, critical) to be considered low blood sugar in non-diabetics will be 45 mg/dl (2.5 mmol/l).

non-diabetic low blood sugar

 

What causes low blood sugar in non diabetics?

The causes of low blood sugar in non-diabetics are best framed in 2 main boxes – Reactive and Non-Reactive (Fasting).

Reactive low blood sugar is a phenomenon that is tied to a meal. It is low blood glucose that occurs soon after an eating episode. And there is a time frame involved too. Reactive hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) occurs usually within 4 hours of eating a meal.

The usual culprit is a refined carbohydrate meal. The background is the food causes an insulin spike and I mean a good spike of insulin. You could call it an insulin hyper-response.

Insulin drives glucose from the blood circulation into the individual body cells where the glucose is needed. Because the level of insulin is so high, so will the glucose clearance be. The net result is that blood sugar will crash like a coconut falling off a tree.

The fall in blood glucose is a reaction to the food that was consumed, hence the term reactive hypoglycemia or reactive low blood sugar.
Reactive hypoglycemia is a paradox because eating is supposed to elevate blood glucose levels but in this instance, the exact opposite is happening.

That’s not normal. Hence, if someone is experiencing reactive hypoglycemia or reactive low blow blood sugar, it should set alarm bells ringing.

Why, because reactive low blood sugar can caused by:

  • Prediabetes
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Previous surgery on the stomach which causes food to exit the stomach too quickly
  • Eating heavily processed carbohydrate food

If you are having symptoms suggestive of reactive hypoglycemia, then you really need to be investigated. This is because most people who have reactive low blood sugar are insulin resistant and are Type 2 diabetics waiting to be diagnosed.

What about the causes of fasting low blood sugar (non-reactive low blood sugar)

Non-reactive low blood sugar is an episode of low blood glucose that occurs independent of meal intake.

Non-reactive hypoglycemia (non-reactive low blood sugar) should raise a suspicion of a couple of medical conditions like:

  • Medical conditions that affect the liver and kidneys
  • Tumours of the pancreas that over-secret insulin (insulinoma)
  • Pregnancy (not exactly a medical condition but you get the drift)
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Bulimia
  • Anorexia
  • Pharmaceuticals that interfere with liver function – salicylates, quinine, pentamidine, sulphonamides
  • Accidental overdose of insulin
  • Adrenal gland issues
  • Not least, Fasting, itself

Identifying the cause of low blood sugar will require investigations directed at the suspected cause and treating it accordingly.

low blood sugar in non-diabetics

How to prevent low blood sugar in non-diabetics?

The best way to deal with low blood sugar in non-diabetics is to target the identified cause of the problem.

But you can apply a couple of general principles to prevent low blood sugar in non-diabetics. It’s all about altering the way you eat and what you actually eat.

>> Introduce more vegetables to your diet, in particular leafy greens. The reason being these vegetables are unlikely going to provoke a huge insulin spike which can cause problems soon after eating.

>> Root vegetables are allowed but don’t prepare them in such a way as to imitate refinement because this will alter their glycemic index.

>> Introduce complex carbohydrates to your diet. Complex carbs are slow to digest and would not not usually cause a huge insulin response. Examples include oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, millet and triticale.

>> Add a good amount of proteins to your meals. You may go for animal proteins if you prefer but plant proteins are just as good without the burden of saturated fats to contend with. Lentils, peas and beans will fit in very well.

>> If you are going to have animal protein as a way of preventing low blood sugar, you may want to peg how much red meat you consume. I always preach having white meat over red meat any day.

>> You can of course have dairy products if you want to prevent low blood sugar as a non-diabetic, unless you are a vegan but do bear in mind the carb and fats together interplay.

>> I will not be prescriptive about whether you should have high fat meals or high carb meals. The choice would be yours. But what you mustn’t do is adopt high fat and high carbs together approach. Not good.

>> One approach to prevent low blood sugar in non diabetics is to eat frequently but in small proportions. Essentially you are being offered a license to eat as often as possible. The problem there is you have to actually eat small quantities, otherwise your weight may spiral out of control.

>> If you want to prevent low blood sugar as a non-diabetic, you may want to be very careful with dried fruits like raisins, apricots, bananas, dates and dried apples. Dried fruits tend to have a high concentration of sugar. This will result in blood sugar spikes that may precede a blood sugar crash afterwards.

>> Whatever you do as a non-diabetic who wants to deal with low blood sugar, avoid refined carbs. One of the commonest causes of this problem especially reactive hypoglycemia is heavily processed carbs. Not a great idea. Avoid.

If you have an episode of low blood sugar, see how to treat low blood sugar here. If the situation requires calling the emergency services, do not hesitate. Do so.

Suggested further reading:
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High Fat Cocoa Vs Low Fat Cocoa Powder – What The Fact!

High Fat Cocoa Vs Low Fat Cocoa Powder – What The Fact!

By Dr Joe

Yes, it’s about time I talked about high fat cocoa vs low fat cocoa powder.
Why…because I have had some of my readers ask this question a couple of times.

I know you like your cocoa powder for your home baking. Your cookies. Your cakes. Your desserts. I know you like the cocoa in your dairy. I also know you like to use cocoa to make some of your sauces and even use it to marinate some of your recipe ingredients.

I agree with you folks that this whole business of whether to consume high fat cocoa or the cocoa powder with lesser fat content can be confusing.

Taking that into consideration it becomes imperative that I share what the facts are about the two versions of cocoa powder i.e the high fat cocoa and the low fat cocoa.

I will also discuss which of them should represent the best cocoa powder for health ultimately.

Before going into the nitty gritty of which is better, it makes sense to get into the basics of the birth of the cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is made from the cocoa beans.

The cocoa bean is harvested from cocoa pods. The beans are fermented for variable length of time.

The cocoa beans are then dried following the fermentation process.

> This is done to maximize the smooth but complex flavours the cocoa beans exude.

The next step is roasting the cocoa to form cocoa nibs.

Crushing the cocoa nibs through a milling process produces a cocoa liquor or cocoa paste.

It is important to realise that cocoa bean is actually 50% fat.

dutch cocoa powder brands uk

 

What’s next is important:

Separation techniques are employed to extract the cocoa butter fat from the rest of the cocoa liquor. Extracting the cocoa fat from the cocoa thick paste is achieved through a process of squeezing the cocoa paste or cocoa liquor between hydraulic plates.

What is left after extracting the cocoa butter are hard-cocoa cakes called cocoa presscakes.

These cocoa cakes are then blitzed industrially into the cocoa powder that you know and love.

That step of extracting the cocoa butter is very important to us here.

Why…because not all of the cocoa butter is extracted.

> The degree to which the fat is extracted is what makes the difference between what constitutes high fat cocoa powder or low fat cocoa powder.

Aggressive fat extraction will result in a low fat cocoa powder.
A less aggressive fat extraction leaves us with a high fat cocoa powder.

Food manufacturers are a crafty lot. They can alter the taste, the texture, the colour, the flavour of the cocoa powder to fit with the kind of product they have in mind.

They know what you like and they will go out of their way to give you what you want taste wise and texture wise.

What is low fat cocoa powder?

A low fat cocoa powder is one where a lot of the butter fat has been taken out of the chocolate liquor at the early stage of the cocoa processing.

I would like to think that it would be practically difficult to extract every ounce of fat from the cocoa paste. So, something like a fat-free cocoa powder claim may be a little stretch of the truth. I could be wrong.

> However, a low fat cocoa powder will have a fat content of an average of 11%. Usually most low fat cocoa powder will have a fat load of between 10 – 12%.

What is high fat cocoa powder?

If you imagine that a cocoa bean has 50% fat, then it is easy to see why cocoa powder could be a high fat product even without trying.

Cocoa is a naturally fatty product. How measured the hydraulic process of cocoa fat extraction is, is what distinguishes high fat cocoa from a low fat cocoa product.

For the most part, some fat is always removed from the cocoa paste. If what is left is about 24% fat, then you have a high fat cocoa powder.

> Generally speaking, high fat cocoa powder will have about 22 – 24% fat content left in it.

Natural cocoa Vs Dutch Cocoa

What’s the difference between Dutch Cocoa powder and Natural Cocoa powder?

The difference between Dutch cocoa powder and Natural cocoa powder lies with pH reference point in the product.

And the pH does influence the colour of the cocoa powder as you can see from the picture above. The one on the right of the photo is Dutch cocoa and the one one on the left is Natural cocoa.

Cocoa powder products have varying pHs. These products either belong to the acidic side of the pH scale or the alkaline side of it.

Natural cocoa powder belongs to the acidic spectrum on the pH scale. Cocoa in its natural state is acidic. When minimally processed to the point of the butter fat being separated from the cocoa liquor, it is still acidic.

Upon separation of the fat from the rest of the cocoa, what is left is cocoa cakes which of course gets pulverized to become the cocoa powder.

This cocoa powder at this stage still has all the natural acidity with a pH of between 5.2 and 5.9 on the pH scale.

Dutch cocoa powder on the other hand undergoes further processing which turns the product to a more alkaline one because alkaline is added to the natural cocoa powder. Dutch cocoa pH runs at 7.0 – 8.4.

When it comes to Dutch cocoa vs Natural cocoa powder, the choice is whether you want your cocoa powder to be acidic or whether you prefer it to be alkaline.

Indeed, that preference will have something to do what you intend to use the cocoa powder for.

For instance, have you ever had an incident where you added your Natural cocoa powder to your milk and you noticed some curdling in the cup or bowl? Well, that’s because of the acidity of the Natural cocoa.

Therefore, in that instance, a better bet will be the Dutch cocoa powder.

> The distinguishing feature to bear in mind is; Natural cocoa powder is acidic whilst Dutch cocoa powder is alkaline.

The supermarket brands in America tend to be Natural cocoa. I’m talking about Nestle and the Hershey’s brands of cocoa powder that you find on your supermarket shelves.

Penzeys cocoa brand is also Natural, although they understand the market very well and have the Dutch cocoa variety as well to increase their bottom line.

What is Dutch cocoa powder and how is Dutch cocoa powder made?

Dutch cocoa is cocoa that has been processed further than the Natural variant. Minimal processing produces the Natural cocoa which at this point is acidic in pH.

Dutch processing takes things further by adding alkaline to reduce the pH of the cocoa thus making it more alkaline. Hence the pH of Dutch cocoa is between 7.0 – 8.4.

What is the effect of alkalinisation:

Adding alkaline to the cocoa powder changes the colour and the flavour. Dutch cocoa therefore is darker and the chocolate flavour is more mellow.

Dutch cocoa taste is less bitter, unlike Natural cocoa that has a bold chocolate in-your-face kind of flavour and taste.

The more alkalinized the cocoa is, the darker it gets.
You could say, the more processed it is the darker it becomes.

Depending on what type of alkalinisation agent that is used (Potassium carbonate seems to be the popular alkalinising agent), the end product of Dutch cocoa could be anywhere between dark brown to red to black. See Picture below.

Oreos is a classic example of a well alkalinized cocoa. Oreos is very Dutch-cocoa, we could say.

dutch cocoa powder

Some people like to ask what unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa is. The unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa is one that hasn’t been further processed with more additives like sugar and milk.

Obviously, this automatically excludes the cocoa in cookies and cakes and some of the cocoa powder you may find in your store.

If the cocoa powder is tasting sweeter beyond the natural subtle sweet taste, then sugar or powdered milk has been added. That type of powder will not qualify as unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder.

Alkalinisation is not the same thing as sweetening, but food manufacturers do “magical” stuff. So watch out.

The pH of the cocoa affects its dissolvability as well. Alkaline cocoa (Dutch cocoa) dissolves more readily in liquid medium compared to Natural cocoa.

Any surprise then why pastry chefs tend to use Dutch cocoa? Makes life so much easier for them.

What is Natural Cocoa Powder?

Cocoa that is minimally processed is Natural cocoa. All cocoa powder has had to undergo some form of processing, otherwise you will be presented with original fermented cocoa seeds. Not what you want.

Minimal processing that involves making the cocoa paste or cocoa liquor followed by a process of hydraulic pressing results in cocoa cakes. These cocoa cakes are then grated into a fine powder and voilla, you have your Natural cocoa powder.

Natural cocoa is brown to beige in colour (See picture below) and has intense bitter taste. Seriously, you will be taken aback by the bitterness if it’s your first time of tasting a Natural cocoa powder. Be prepared!

natural cocoa powder

 

Another thing to point out is:

That Natural cocoa powder is harder to dissolve in liquid medium. It requires a little more brute force to get it to dissolve. It does dissolve eventually.

How to tell if your cocoa powder is Dutch processed or Natural?

In the US, food manufacturers are supposed to put the type of cocoa powder on the food label displayed on the pack.

They should state whether it is Natural or Dutch processed cocoa on the pack by law. Labels like “Processed with alkali” means exactly the same thing as “Dutch-processed”.

In other countries especially in Europe, this is not a requirement by law, so how do you tell a Dutch-processed cocoa from a Natural cocoa powder in situations like that.

Well, you wouldn’t know until you get your cocoa powder home and you open the packet to see the actual cocoa powder.

You could then decide by tasting it, looking at the colour and see how quickly it dissolves in liquid.

I have already stated what Dutch cocoa and Natural cocoa should taste like, look like and dissolving capability above. No need repeating that here. You have to become a cocoa connoisseur overnight.

How to tell if cocoa powder is high fat or low fat cocoa?

In the same vein, the manufacturers are supposed to make clear the fat content on the label. They may not indicate “high fat cocoa” or “low fat cocoa” clearly as they like to be smart.

What you can do is look at the Nutritional information on the pack.

I have already mentioned that high fat cocoa has 22 – 24% fat in it, right? Use that as your guide. Now the percentage fat I am talking about there is how much fat is in the cocoa powder per 100 gm of it.

Sometimes the manufacturers either want to be smart or downright just want you to be confused, so they will give the nutritional information as per 5 gm serving.

If the values on the pack are given as per 5 gm serving, a high fat cocoa powder should be yielding a 1 gm of total fat per 5 gm serving. Use that as your guide as it equates to the same thing.

Low fat cocoa on the other hand will have 11 gm of total fat per 100 gm on the pack. This will equate to 0.5 gm per 5 gm serving of the powder too.

Something I need to add here.

It might seem obvious but it is good for you to know that these cocoa powder products come in mix & matches.

What do I mean by that?
It means you can have high fat Natural cocoa, low fat Natural cocoa, high fat Dutch cocoa powder as well as low fat Dutch cocoa powder.

high fat cocoa vs low fat cocoa powder

Best Cocoa powder for health

When it concerns the issue of best cocoa powder for health, the argument is always about high fat cocoa vs low fat cocoa powder. Which should I use?

Another aspect of the argument regarding which cocoa powder is best for health is the issue of whether to use Natural cocoa powder or the Dutched cocoa competitor.

One thing good about cocoa is that it is very good for health. Cocoa is packed full of flavonols. Flavonols have anti-inflammatory effects. The flavonols help fight oxidative stress. Dealing with oxidative stress is good for longevity and heart health.

Check out detailed health benefits of cocoa here.

That flavanols in cocoa can have a positive influence on high blood pressure was proven with the Kuna islanders.

Researchers looked at the consumption of cocoa by the residents of Kuna island compared to similar Kuna residents who migrated to the mainland.

They found that the Kuna islanders who were still living in the island had a very low incidence of hypertension (high blood pressure) compared to Mainland Kunas. The difference was 5 cups of cocoa that the Kuna islanders drank every day.

There is a potentiating effect of the cocoa flavonols on Nitric oxide, which in turn is a good relaxer of blood vessel walls.

What’s even surprising is that the older you were the better your response was to the effects of flavonols in the cocoa. How nice!

Flavonols are a type of polyphenols. Cocoa is packed with flavonols. If you were to eat raw cocoa beans as they are, you couldn’t get a better source of flavonols anywhere else than you would with cocoa beans.

> The problem though is the flavonoid content of the fresh cocoa bean is not quite the same as in a cocoa powder.

The difference…processing it is.

The more processed the cocoa beans are the more of the flavonols you lose. More processing equals less polyphenols in the cocoa powder.

Even the drying, the fermentation and roasting duration all have effects on the flavonoid concentration before the alkalinisation process does its own flavonol stripping.

It is thought that the bitterness and tactile sensation of astringency in foods like cocoa is related to the flavonoid content.

So, the more bitter the cocoa powder is, the higher the polyphenols (flavonols) in it.

Which translates to:
The more flavonols in the cocoa powder the healthier it is.

Here are a few tips to consider for the best cocoa for health:

  1. Always go for the unsweetened cocoa powder. Cocoa powder could be sweetened or unsweetened. If eating for good health is your primary consideration, go for the unsweetened cocoa all the time.

2. Go for the Natural cocoa powder instead of the Dutch cocoa powder if you have to choose between the two. And it’s got to be the unsweetened one, remember. The reason is obvious as from above. The more processed it is (think Dutch), the less flavonols you have in the cocoa powder.

3. Consider using the low fat cocoa powder if eating for health is your primary consideration. Look at the food label on the pack. Not only will the total fat content be around about 11% (0.5 gm of fat per serving of 5 gm of the powder), the saturated fat content should be low as well.

I am not a big fan of saturated fat personally. Why, well that’s a matter for another day. Fortunately, you don’t have a big decision to make as a lot of the low fat cocoa powder have low saturated fat anyway.

You may lose a bit of flavour with the low fat cocoa powder as the high fat cocoa has richer chocolatey flavour but your overall health matters more.

But I find that the difference in taste is not much in practice. I use the Terrafertil organic cacao powder which I get from Costco without any problems. It’s low fat but manages to retain its nice chocolatey taste.

Having said that, I like to be as practical as possible. If you have difficulty finding the low fat cocoa where you live, you can use the high fat one temporarily whilst you search for the low fat one.

One pack of high fat cocoa is not going to ruin your health unless you have pre-existing heart disease. It’s a long term consistent use of a high fat cocoa powder that may be of concern in the long run.

4. If you are one of those people on high fat diet or ketogenic diet, then the high fat cocoa will be your cocoa powder of choice. That type of cocoa powder corresponds to your current eating plan anyway, so nothing to worry about there.

5. Use the Cacao powder in place of cocoa powder if you want the best cocoa for health.
See cacao vs cocoa explanation here. Cacao is better than cocoa in nutritional terms.

Those are the type of cocoa powder I would advise if good health is your primary consideration.

Hopefully, you have had some fun reading this. Go enjoy your cocoa (or should I say, cacao) and sleep easy.

Suggested further reading:
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My Indian Trip & How My Indian Friend Stayed Slim for Over 2 Decades

My Indian Trip & How My Indian Friend Stayed Slim for Over 2 Decades

Indian TripBy Dr Joe & Partha Mukherjee

Recently I went on a journey of personal development to India. The trip was planned just a few weeks in advance.

Whilst there, I met a remarkable guy with a strong grip on healthy living.  This guy has kindly agreed to share some of his tips with you all. More on that in the 2nd half of this article.

Let’s talk generics first…

Visa obtained, tickets bought, accommodation and planned subsistence sorted out on the Indian side and boom I found myself in India 3 weeks later.

Never been to the Eastern Hemisphere of the globe before. So, this was an entirely new experience for me.

That I enjoyed the trip was an understatement. It was great and I’m glad I made the trip even though I was only there for 8 days.

My host was Dr Sudip Basu. He is the Medical Director and Consultant Gynaecologist of the Srishti Clinic. His clinic majors in infertility.

It was a nice idea to see how medical practice is undertaken in other places from where I normally work. I had known Dr Basu previously when he worked in South Wales, UK, where he did most of his postgraduate Obstetrics & Gynaecology training, subsequently subspecialising in fertility gynaecology.

His clinic currently based in Kolkata, in terms of size, does not compare with the monstrous corporate hospitals scattered all over India at the moment.

But don’t let that fool you.

srishti clinic reception

Dr Basu has and is still achieving phenomenal success rates in Assisted Reproduction, in particular, IVF in his small practice in Kolkata, India. I was amazed at what he was achieving despite the size of his clinic currently.

Dr Basu plans to expand his practice shortly obviously because, his IVF success rates are so good, he is attracting clients not only from within India, but also from neighbouring Bangladesh.

And this is happening through mainly word of mouth advertisement of prior patents recommending him.

What also struck me was the fact that he introduced transparency into his practice. Something that most doctors certainly in the field of assisted reproduction do shy away from.

He records the process of egg retrieval and embryo transfer on a disc which he hands over to the woman and her husband after each procedure.

This way, they can actually see the entire process for themselves whether it was successful or not. No hidden agenda. No funny games. No surprises. It’s all there, laid bare.

You as a patient know what happened, how it happened and indeed what to expect in the coming months. That’s why his patient retention rate is super high.

Not a surprise therefore why his practice is growing phenomenally in such a short time. Dr Basu has stuck with UK standards in an environment where cutting corners to cut costs is rife, amongst other things.

He does turn down couples whom he thinks the chances of IVF conception is too low to be worth the couple’s time, effort, money and emotional investment, advising them to seek other alternatives.

Below is a picture of Dr Basu and his clinic staff after close of business on the weekend of festival of colours in India.

Srishti Clinic Kolkata

I should stress that this piece is not advertisement for Dr Basu, but a short report of what I genuinely observed whilst over there in Kolkata.

I do however encourage any couple in and around India with fertility issues to at least pay him a visit and have a consultation with him. It won’t hurt your chances!

Hopefully what I have said here will be vindicated. I sure do think it will.

I saw this sign in one of the loos (bathroom to my American friends) and it made me smile being a man and I thought it might put a smile on your face too. Why? Because men notoriously over-estimate length, don’t they?

loo etiquettes

 

Now on to other things on my trip.

Dr Basu wanted me to have an all-round experience of coming to India. He arranged for a friend to take me places in Kolkata.

The friend’s name is Partha Mukherjee. He is now a mutual friend of ours.

Partha works as a journalist. He is a true West Bengal folk who grew up in the countryside of West Bengal. Partha’s dad used to work as a Senior Administrator in the Forestry Department of India.

As you would expect by the nature of the job Partha’s dad did, he spent all of his childhood in the countryside which in the 70s was far from developed.

Growing up with nature all around him, Partha still loves the great outdoors.

The smell of the meadow, the smell of the flowers, the aroma of the woods, the rustling noise of the wind, the early morning tweets of the birds, the morning dew dropping off the leaves, the gentle noise of the running stream or rivers…all of that still gives Partha a huge dose of satisfaction and pleasure today, he tells me.

So, even though he now works in the city, his feet still remain firmly planted in the countryside and he does not apologise for it. Neither should he in any case.

My conversation with Partha when he took me around Kolkata was breath-taking. We talked about a lot of stuff. From politics to history to culture to food to geography and the environment. It was fascinating and I learnt a lot in the time we spent together.

Maybe his countryside upbringing is what spurred him into developing a passion for Bengalese Heritage. Like I said previously, he works as a journalist but in his spare time, he writes a blog about Bengalese heritage and the physical structures that shaped the heritage.

You can reach his blog here.

In the course of our conversation, I had to ask him a question when we went for dinner at the Sheraz restaurant of Kolkata to round up the tour.

What prompted my question was the physical shape he was in. Partha was sporting a slim body and a flat belly and he was middle aged. Something that is rare for most middle-aged men unless they were health-conscious.

Partha had to be. He learnt a hard lesson from what happened unfortunately to his dad on the health front. Details of that would be spared here.

Staying slim, looking trim and healthy in middle age does not happen by accident. You have to adopt certain habits for that to happen especially as you get older.

This achievement was even more extraordinary given the fact that Partha works as a journalist where being on the road for the most part means healthy eating habits can be quite challenging.

And the Bengal part of India in particular is known for their sweet tooth. That again adds another layer of kudos for anyone in the region who manages to maintain a healthy BMI.

Seriously, West Bengal is awash with sweet confectionaries and the diet has lots of refined carbs. Let’s not mention the fact that West Bengal and probably the whole of India has also been invaded by Western Fast Food outlets. That’s a given.

Obesity rates and type 2 diabetes rates are on the up in India, just like China and it’s not hard to see why.

I should also mention for the sake of balance, that the Indian diet and in particular West Bengal diet also has a good chunk of low glycaemic foods too and they consume lots of fruits and vegetables, which I highly recommend.

> I sampled a lot of the Indian foods on offer, the names of many I cannot remember. I do however remember Iddly, Roti, Chapatti, Luchi, Bhapaa Aloo, Baigun Bhajja, Chor Chori, Momu. Those of us in the West are already familiar with Biryani, Masala, Tandoori, Bhuna etc.

I enjoyed a lot of the culinary experience. It’s nice to visit the homeland and eat the real Indian food and compare with what is served back in the UK.

In the light of the multitude of refined and unrefined carbs on offer along with the oily culinaries, I wanted to know how Partha, my friend, has managed to keep his weight down all these years.

Partha says:

> “My weight has only changed just a little since my high school days and my friends and work colleagues always wonder how I stayed slim after all these years”

Now something like that is always music to my ears. This blog is about healthy living and his strategies for weight maintenance certainly made my ears to perk up.

As he started talking, he was ticking a lot of excellent boxes for healthy living for me.

I could paraphrase him but I felt, he being a journalist, should put in print on this page, how he does it.

So, I asked him if he doesn’t mind sharing his weight management ideas with my readers and he kindly agreed.

…and here he is.

Over to you, Partha. Tell the world and in particular, your Indian folks, how you have remained slim for over 2 decades

How Partha Stayed Slim for over 2 decades

Well, I am 44 years of age at the time of writing. My height is 5 feet 8 inches and I am around 62 Kgs. I can recall, 20 years back when we were stepping into the new millennium, when I weighed less. Yes, had an absolutely flat tummy in those days, I can clearly recall.

Nowadays, my tummy is still relatively flat compared to many folks of similar age to mine. I envy myself actually. I have not gained much weight in the last 20 years.

I do not have a pot belly like most of my friends and colleagues. How?

Well, I love eating but I do not eat much.

I have also been fortunate not have high blood sugar, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems or any other major illness. Perhaps I am lucky enough as I do not have a family history of diabetes.

Not my parents, not my grandparents and as far as I know, not my maternal grandparents. Perhaps genes do play a role in the genesis of these diseases. I should mention though that my father died at a relatively young age from a disease caused by lifestyle.

I learnt my lesson there and then.

Supplied by BMI Calculator UK

How have I maintained my weight and stayed slim after all these years?

>> I do follow a sensible routine for food.

>> I avoid red meat (do not eat Beef, only Mutton twice or thrice in a year). I like Chicken but only two or three days a month.

>> Love eating Fish (especially sweet water fish as very common and popular in my State of West Bengal) just like most Bengalese in lunch and dinner four/ five days in a week.

>> I eat Egg once in a week either in lunch or dinner and we try to add some veg meals in our diet too.

>> I eat plain boiled rice in my lunch and dinner with Daal (lentil etc) and one locally available seasonal vegetable curry, sometimes one piece of fried Brinjal and fish curry/ Chicken curry/ Egg curry.

>> Typically, I avoid desserts at the end of the lunch/ dinner.

> On the weekdays, I prefer to have a heavy breakfast early at around 8.30 am to 9.30 am in the morning.

>> For breakfast, I eat boiled rice with a spoonful of butter, a boiled Egg/ fish curry. It helped me to keep nice and energetic till 3.30 pm/ 4.00 pm in the afternoon.

>> For lunch, I do take one of two piece of Roti/ Chapatti/ Puri with a vegetable curry sometimes at around 4 pm in the hectic weekdays.

>> For dinner, I eat much less than lunch.

>> I avoid potatoes and vegetables that grow below the earth like Potatoes, Carrots, Beetroots etc at night. The reason is their high carbohydrate and thus sugar content. So, I only have them occasionally for dinner.

>> Love eating Chicken Biryanis and Kebabs & Tandoors but I restrict myself to consume all these not more than once in a month.

>> After taking Biryanis for the next couple of days I take a full glass of sweet lime juice/ orange juices/ Pineapple juices. Got a good result!! Yes, it helps me to reduce the fat.

>> I love eating seasonal fruits. I eat one Orange on almost every day throughout the winter. I like Bananas but restrict myself to have it one/ two in a week as it does have a carbohydrate content.

>> I love eating ripe and juicy fruits in the summer months. Love eating nice sweet ripe Mangoes, love Watermelons, Pineapples and Guavas. Apples are little expensive here but will eat apples when I can afford it.

> Bengalese do have a sweet tooth and I am no exception. Yes, I love sweet especially dairy products. Bengal is well known for its exotic locally made dairy products. I love eating these but not much.

>> I used to eat one sweet potato every day, but have recently changed this habit and limited my sweet potato consumption. By limiting Potatoes, I restrict my carb consumption.

>> I do not smoke and I do not drink. Do not love having Tea or Coffee either. Do not consume soft drinks like Coke, Pepsi etc.

>> Rather I prefer to have freshly crushed fruit juices or Coconut water which is available throughout the year in India (other than the hill stations obviously).

eco park kolkata

Dr Joe’s Footnotes

As you can tell, Partha does live a fairly disciplined lifestyle. I know some of you might say what he does is somewhat restrictive but the tips he is sharing here are not prescriptive.

I am not saying you have to do everything he says here.

> What you can do however is pick one or two things he does and incorporate that into your own lifestyle.

For instance, you will notice that, Partha has a heavy breakfast, a lighter lunch and an even lighter dinner.

One way of achieving this is to add a bit of fat to your breakfast. Partha uses butter.

The fat ensures you don’t feel hungry by midday and can keep you going till 4pm. Even then, you don’t feel hungry enough at 4pm to “eat a horse”. Your hunger level will be such that a small amount of lunch will be satisfying enough.

> Partha is subscribing to the tenet of having “Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Queen and Dinner like a Pauper”.

Doing this works like a charm. You gradually taper your calorie consumption by reducing your meal portions as the day wears on. A very good strategy and it works!

In particular, eating less heavy carbs in the evenings. Most people do the exact opposite and that’s why we are getting fatter as we age.

> Consume more calories when you are very active during the day and consume even fewer calories at night when you are least active. Makes sense?

It also goes without saying that avoiding refined carbs and empty calories is another strategy that Partha has incorporated into his life. Staying away from sweet drinks like Coca cola and Pepsi.

Yes, he eats sweet fruits like Mango, Pineapple, Watermelon, Apples and these fruits have natural sugars too, but that’s okay.

I actually encourage fruit consumption and in the grand scheme of things where Partha has a grip on his overall calorie intake daily, the calorie he gets from the fruits means nothing really, especially as he is quite active.

Besides, fruits provide much more than calories. Fruits have phytonutrients, micronutrients which our bodies need. So, you get a whole lot more when you consume fruits.

One more thing, Partha, just like most Bengalese does admit to having a sweet tooth, but he does not over-indulge. He manages to control it by limiting how often he eats these sweet confectionaries.

Yes, I know we are supposed to enjoy life with these sweet treats, but you can reduce the frequency to once or twice a week. That way you are having your cake and eating it. How cool is that!

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Suggested further reading:
5 Things You Can Do Today To Reduce Your Weight Without Hitting The Gym

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