SUGAR- Man’s Friendly Enemy

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diabetes sugar

Sugar is a type of nutrient which belongs to the class of food called carbohydrates. There are three major classes of sugar namely Monosaccharides (e.g. glucose), Oligosaccharides (e.g. sucrose and fructose) and Polysaccharides (e.g. starch). Many sugars exist such as sucrose (in sugar cane), lactose (in milk) and maltose (in cereals).

           Sweet and satisfactory as it may be to our taste cells, sugar is one of the main risks to man’s health that must not be overlooked as it poses a substantial amount of health problems. I must say that sugar is considered important nutritionally as it serves as fuel on which our body runs. This means that without sugar at all, the body will have no energy and the body cells may die.

           The recommended daily consumption of sugar which is considered healthy is 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women. A higher intake of sugar however increases the risk of many health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Why is it the enemy?

            Many of the ‘modernized’ foods, otherwise called processed foods that we eat today have high contents of added sugars. These added sugars are found in sweet chocolate bars, candies, refined table sugar, baked goods, sweetened milk, processed fruit juice, soft drinks, processed cereals, cookies, etc.

           The regular consumption of these foods over a long period of time results in chronic health problems such as: 

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Fatty Liver Disease
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Depression
  • Insulin resistance

The Way Out

          There are natural sweeteners which are considered to be healthier choices than sugar. They are:

  • Honey
  • Stevia
  • Xylitol
  • Erythritol
  • Yacon Syrup
  • Coconut sugar
  • Maple syrup

Fruits and vegetables Contain Natural Sugar

          Virtually all fruits we consume contain natural sugars which are healthy and far better than table sugar. Some vegetables and natural cereals also fall into this category. Examples are:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Onions
  • Orange
  • Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Sorghum
  • Prunes, etc.

 

         In conclusion, every form of sugar should be consumed with moderation as the consumption of anything in excess will have an adverse effect on health.

The Benefits of Using Wearable Technology for Health Tracking

Let’s explore some of the wearables currently on the market and discuss how making lifestyle shifts using the data they provide may mean you not only look and feel better today, but also avoid chronic disease down the road. Do you use wearables to track your health? These devices can help you hit your wellness goals—when they’re tracking the right things. Check out this article for my recommendation on the best tech to track your sleep, stress, and activity levels.

What Are Wearables, and Do We Really Need More Technology?

Wearables are smart electronic devices that can be worn on the body to track a variety of health markers, such as:

  • Activity level: time spent sedentary, number of steps taken, etc.
  • Sleep patterns
  • Resting heart rate and heart rate variability
  • Stress level
  • Body temperature

A wide range of wearable health devices are available, from watches to rings—even shirts. I suspect we’ll see much more innovation in the coming years. After all, the industry is booming: analysts predict that more than 245 million devices will be purchased this year alone. Sales of smartwatches like the Apple Watch and products by Garmin, along with Fitbit’s watches and other fitness trackers, are on the rise, making these some of the most popular options today.

I see wearable health trackers as effective tools in your behavior-change toolkit. In this way, they integrate well into a Functional Medicine approach to healthcare. In Functional Medicine, we believe that for patients to overcome a persistent ailment, they must shift their behavior; we also know that behavior plays a major role in preventing—or contributing to—chronic disease.

To succeed in adopting new, healthier habits, I encourage you to combine wearable technology with the shrinking the change technique. For example, if your big objective is to get more regular physical activity, use a wearable to help break that change into smaller, more achievable goals. The right fitness tracker can nudge you to take breaks if you sit at your desk all day and stand, stretch, or move; to get in your daily steps; to schedule a regular run, bike ride, or other workout of your choice, etc. And it will record this physical activity in real time—daily data you can use to celebrate each incremental win, as you get closer and closer to your big objective.

It may seem ironic to use technology to create more balance in your life. But technology is just a tool, and it’s up to us how we employ it. I’m a big fan of using technologies like these to create harmony through healthy habits.

How sleep can boost your body’s immune response


Researchers have demonstrated the importance of good-quality sleep time and time again, showing that a solid night’s rest can contribute to many aspects of physical and mental well-being. One new study has explained how sleep contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system.

Getting enough good-quality sleep each night is essential if we want to stay healthy and function well throughout the day.

When it comes to your health, sleep plays an important role. While more sleep won’t necessarily prevent you from getting sick, skimping on it could adversely affect your immune system, leaving you susceptible to a bad cold or case of the flu.  To keep yourself sniffle-free this season, here’s what you need to know.

Sleep and Cytokines

Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, causing a double whammy if you skimp on shut-eye.  Chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond.

Stock Up on Naps

To stay healthy, especially during the influenza season, get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night. This will help keep your immune system in fighting shape, and also protect you from other health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. 


If your sleep schedule is interrupted by a busy workweek or other factors, try to make up for the lost rest with naps. Taking two naps that are no longer than 30 minutes each —one in the morning and one in the afternoon—has been shown to help decrease stress and offset the negative effects that sleep deprivation has on the immune system.  If you can’t swing a half-hour nap during the workday, try grabbing a 20-minute siesta on your lunch hour, and another right before dinner.

Other Healthy Tactics

Of course, there’s more to boosting your immunity and guarding against illness than getting ample sleep. It’s also important to practice smart stay-healthy strategies such as washing your hands with soap regularly, avoiding close contact with people who are obviously under the weather, and talking with your doctor about getting an annual flu shot.  And remember: Even if you do come down with a case of seasonal sniffles, you’ll be able to bounce back faster if your body is well rested. 

Why antibiotics fail in the fight against bacteria

In a new study, a team of physicists from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, has now determined what allows bacteria to repel antibiotics once they become resistant.

Although the mechanism is simple, this is the first time that researchers have investigated and been able to pinpoint it, thanks to highly sensitive technology.

Bacteria that are immune to the action of antibiotics have become a primary concern for medical research communities across the world. A new study investigates what makes these “superbugs” resilient in the face of some of the most potent drugs.

A need to understand micromechanisms

To understand how stubborn bacteria are able to keep potent antibiotics at bay, the researchers studied in detail the mechanism that allows one of these drugs to penetrate the bacterial membrane and do its work.

For this study, the researchers turned to polymyxin B, an antibiotic that doctors use in the treatment of meningitis and infections of the urinary tract, eyes, and blood.

The researchers explain that they chose this specific drug because it used to be the only antibiotic that would work against bacteria that were otherwise resistant to drugs. However, a few years ago, a team of specialists from China found that one bacterial gene could make these microorganisms immune to polymyxins.

“We wanted to find out how this bacteria, specifically, was stopping this drug in this particular case,” says first author Adree Khondker, adding, “If we can understand that, we can design better antibiotics.”

The researchers used specialized, sensitive tools that made it possible to analyze the bacterial membrane. These tools rendered extremely high-resolution images that captured even individual molecules with dimensions of about one-millionth of the width of a single strand of hair.

“If you take the bacterial cell and add this drug, holes will form in the wall, acting like a hole-puncher, and killing the cell,” Khondker notes. “But, there was much debate on how these holes were formed in the first place.”

What happens to resistant bacteria?

The mechanism by which the antibiotic penetrates the bacterial membrane works as follows: the bacterium, which has a negative charge, automatically “pulls in” the drug, which has a positive charge.

However, when this takes place, the bacterial membrane acts as a barrier against the antibiotic, aiming to prevent it from reaching the bacterium’s interior. Under normal circumstances, this is ineffective because the membrane is thin enough for the antibiotic to “punch holes” in it.

However, in the case of a drug-resistant bacterium, the researchers’ state-of-the-art technology revealed that the membrane becomes more rigid and much harder to penetrate. Moreover, the bacterium’s negative charge becomes weaker, meaning that it is more difficult for the antibiotic to locate and “stick” to it.

As Khondker describes it, “For the drug, it’s like going from cutting Jello to cutting through rock.”

This is the first time that a research team has been able to pinpoint these changes with certainty, the investigators emphasize.

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