Do You Have Celiac Disease?

Migraines, diarrhea, chronic fatigue and weight loss — all symptoms caused by a disease most people have never heard of — celiac disease. Doctors say more than 1 million Americans have it, and many don’t know it.

Watching Toni Orlando busy at work, you’d never know she has an incurable disease. It’s one you rarely hear about, and the symptoms can be embarrassing.

“The diarrhea, the bloating, the gas, it was so bad at times to where I didn’t even feel comfortable leaving the house,” explains Toni. She has celiac disease, a chronic disease of the intestines that won’t let sufferers absorb gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

Toni says, “I had no idea what gluten was. I’d never heard of it before.”

Gluten is found in a lot of products including pasta, ice cream, breads and even toothpaste — a lot of the products Toni sells.

Ronald Fogel, M.D. says, “If doctors don’t think of it, they won’t make the diagnosis.”

Dr. Fogel is a gastroenterologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. He believes the disease is hard to diagnose because the symptoms are so common.

“Patients may be considered to be hypothyroid. They may be considered to have eating disorders. They may be worked up for inflammatory bowel disease. They may be worked up for cancer,” says Dr. Fogel.

It’s estimated one in every 250 people have celiac disease. The only way to treat it is to avoid gluten altogether. Toni manages to avoid it most of the time. And she’s grateful after suffering for eight years, she finally got a diagnosis.

“It was a relief because I knew I wasn’t going crazy that there was really something there,” she says.

Experts say it’s hard to find gluten listed on food labels. It’s sometimes labeled hydrogenated or vegetable protein. A blood test can detect celiac disease.

Asian Diet and Breast Cancer

In America this year, about 185-thousand women will get breast cancer. But in Japan, far fewer women will. Researchers believe there’s something special about the Asian diet that protects women from breast cancer.

Meal time at Diane and Tim Jones’ house is much more than a chance to fill up on food. It’s a chance to save Diane’s life. Two years ago she found she had breast cancer.

Diane Jones, “They took out 14 lymph nodes, and four of them were malignant.”

After undergoing standard treatments, Diane is cancer-free. But to improve her chances of staying that way, she’s a volunteer in a unique study testing the cancer-fighting power of the Asian diet.

Diane Jones, “They gave me the fish oil capsules, the vitamin E and the soy powder and told me how to fix it.”

Because the typical Asian diet is very low in animal fat, but high in fish oil and soy protein, Diane cut her fat grams to just 25 a day and added fish, soy shakes and tofu to her diet.

Diane Jones, “I don’t eat butter at all and I don’t eat cheese either. But I don’t mind it anymore. It’s a good way of eating.”

To be sure she’s sticking to the diet, she records everything she eats in a food diary. Her doctor says Diane’s breast tissue has already absorbed beneficial acids from the fish she’s eating. These acids boost her immune system’s ability to kill cancer cells.

“By modifying the diet and making sure they are eating a low-fat diet, we can improve the disease-free survival and prevent the cancer from coming back.” Dr. Bagga says.

And that makes meal time a special time for the Jones.

Dr. Bagga says that the diet not only protects against breast cancer, it also promotes better cardiovascular health and weight loss. She says that all women can achieve positive results by following a similar diet at home.

Low calorie, low carbohydrate diets

I’m always reading about new weight loss diets. Should I avoid them because I have diabetes?

It depends on the eating plan that is being recommended. The most effective ways to lose weight healthily are to reduce the number of calories that you can and/or to burn calories through extra physical activity. Diets that provide extremely different amounts of the main food groups may not be suitable for you. If you think a particular eating plan might be for you, it may help to discuss it with your health professional.

Is it true that you can lose weight quickly by cutting out carbohydrates?

Diets such as the Atkin’s diet work by forcing your body to burn fat and muscle for energy. You can lose weight quickly but your body will replace the fat and muscle it has lost when you start casting normally again. This type of diet can be a “quick start” to losing weight, but cutting out carbohydrates deprives your body of its main energy source.

Is it safe for me to follow a very low carbohydrate diet?

If you take insulin or insulin-stimulating pills, a very low-carbohydrate diet may cause hypoglycemic attacks. Choosing healthy food options and generally reducing your calorie intake is the safest way to lose weight.

Can I replace one of my meals with a commercially prepared shake designed for dieters?

Although these shakes are designed to help you lose weight, changing your eating habits in the longer term is a more successful approach to weight loss. If you look at what foods you normally eat and then see where you can reduce excess calories, you can gradually adjust your food intake and maintain your lower weight more easily without the need for commercial products.

Is it safe to lose weight by missing a whole meal?

Eating regularly provides the energy that your body needs and helps keep your blood glucose within the recommended range. If you skip meals, you are likely to be hungrier by the time you do eat, and this may lead you to overeat and have an erratic blood glucose level.

If I eat more calories than I mean to, can I burn them off through physical activity?

Yes, although the exact amount of calories you burn depends on the intensity and duration of the activity you choose. Physical activity benefits you in two ways: it burns calories while you are doing the activity, and it raises your metabolic rate, so that your body burns more calories even when you are resting.

If I eat the same number of calories but am more active, will I lose weight?

Whether you lose weight or put it on depends on how well your energy intake (in other words, calories) is matched to how much energy you use. You may find that if you are more active than you were in the past, you can lose weight without altering your food intake. Whether you choose to count calories or not, your weight-loss plan will be more successful if you find a method that you are likely to be able to continue over the longer term.

Some diet plans suggest a number of portions of different types of foods. How does that relate to calories?

All weight-loss plans are based on a combination of food types and how many calories they contain. So a food plan based on portions means that the authors have already converted the calories for you, while trying to include foods that might help you feel less deprived. Choosing an eating plan that you can live with comfortably and therefore stick to in the long term is the most important factor for success.

Should I cut out carbohydrate or protein foods?

Even if you are eating less, you will need a variety of food types; excluding an entire type of food is not good for your health. Cutting out carbohydrate, your main source of energy, is particularly unhealthy because your body will deplete its own energy stores to compensate. You also need protein in order to stay healthy.

What is meant by “hidden calories” in food?

Some foods can be deceiving. For example, fruit juice is high in sugar, alcohol contains a lot of calories; and some sauces that accompany meals are high in fat.

How important is the size of the portions I eat at each meal?

A large portion of lower-calorie food may contain the same number of calories as a small amount of high-fat food. If you enjoy eating larger portions, lower-calorie foods will suit you. If you still want to eat higher-fat foods, you may need to reduce your portion size.

Cutting down on calories – you can make simple choices on an everyday basis that will cut calories and help you lose weight without denying yourself the foods you like.

Reducing your risk of Type 2 diabetes?

Is it possible to prevent Type 2 diabetes?

If you know that you are prone to diabetes because, for example, you have a family history of Type 2 diabetes or you had diabetes during pregnancy, making lifestyle changes can help you delay or even prevent its onset. These changes include eating more healthily, becoming more active, and losing weight if you need to. Stopping smoking and drinking less alcohol do not affect whether or not you will develop diabetes, but they will help reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

How does keeping to the correct weight for my height help?

Your body will be able to handle glucose and use insulin as efficiently as possible. If you are overweight, your resistance to insulin increases.

Why is it important to stay physically active?

Physical activity helps you maintain your weight in the correct range for your height or to lose weight if you need to. It also increases your body’s efficiency at storing and using glucose. Furthermore, activity keeps your heart and blood vessels healthy – this is very important if you are at risk of developing diabetes.

Could I lose weight by changing my eating habits without doing more physical exercise?

Yes, eating less is the key to losing weight. However, activity can go a long way to help. For example, you can burn off excess calories thorough exercise. Reducing your calorie intake and using more energy than you take in will facilitate weight loss.

I am 50 and have been overweight for most of my adult life. Will losing weight now help me prevent diabetes?.

If you are overweight, losing weight will always improve your health, regardless of how old you are. There is no guarantee of preventing Type 2 diabetes, but being the correct weight for your height will greatly reduce your risk and will be of benefit if you do develop Type 2 diabetes

I’ve always been slim. Will this naturally protect me from Type 2 diabetes?

Being the correct weight for your height is an important part of reducing your risk of Type 2 diabetes. However, body shape is also important; carrying extra fat around your waist rather than your hips increases the risk of diabetes. Checking your body mass index and waist size will help you find out whether your weight and body shape are risk factors.

There is a lot of diabetes in my family and we tend to be overweight. I want to protect my teenagers from diabetes but they eat a lot of junk food. What can I do?

Your children are at risk of Type 2 diabetes due to your family history, and their risk increases if they become overweight (too much junk food can cause weight gain, especially if your children are not very active). Teach them about Type 2 diabetes and the role that high-calorie, high-fat, and junk food plays in weight gain. Including your children in the shopping for and preparation of food, adapting recipes, and helping them learn about food labeling may also help.

I am in my 60s and have Type 2 diabetes. How can I help my young grandchildren avoid developing it?

Encouraging healthy eating habits by offering meals and snacks that are low in fat, salt, and sugar (reserving candy and chocolate for special treats) will help reduce their risk. You could also encourage them to walk rather than being driven short distances, or play active games rather than sit in front of a computer or television.

Weight Loss Secrets: Cut Back Calories

At any given time, almost half of the women in the U.S. are on a diet. Americans dish our more than $40 billion each year on diet and diet-related products. Yet 95 percent of diets fail. While there’s no magic bullet for losing weight, there are a few ways to keep your calorie count in check to help you shed those extra pounds.

Want to kick start your weight loss? Here are a few tricks to cut back calories. The first is by sitting while you eat. A University of Toronto study found those who do so take in 200 fewer calories at their next meal than those who eat standing up.

The second way to cut calories is by grocery shopping online. A University of Connecticut study found dieters who do so cut the number of fatty foods in their home by 38 percent. Researchers say it could be because they’re less tempted to make impulse purchases, like after smelling the bakery aisle.

You can also curb your hunger with a workout. British researchers found 60 minutes on the treadmill increases the hormone PYP, which suppresses appetite. Lifting weights for 90 minutes didn’t cause the hormone to change at all.

Yoga may also help people eat mindfully, and stop eating when they’re full. After eight weeks of yoga, the average person loses six pounds. Keeping your nutrition goals on track.

Another way to suppress your appetite is by chewing sugarless gum. One study found those who chew sugarless gum in the morning reduce their calorie intake by 68 calories at lunch. Despite the less calories, participants didn’t feel hungrier or eat extra calories later in the day.

Source: Ivanhoe News

New Cause of Wasting Syndrome

About half of all patients with cancer and AIDS are affected by wasting syndrome. It is a condition that causes severe weight loss and weakness in patients. Department of Veterans Affairs researchers in San Diego say they have discovered the biological reasons behind wasting syndrome. Their findings could lead to new drugs to help treat and possibly prevent this syndrome.

Scientists say they have pinpointed the chain of biological events that cause wasting in mice. They then identified the same process in liver tissue in cancer patients. Basically, they say an immune-system protein known as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha prevents the production of albumin. Albumin is a protein made in the liver. Low levels of albumin have been connected to wasting.

For years, researchers say they have known that TNF-alpha and albumin were connected to wasting, but that connection has remained a mystery. Now, doctors say this study has showed them how TNF-alpha and albumin specifically cause wasting. They believe high doses of vitamin E or a liver-specific antioxidant could be the key to intervention. Researchers say they hope to test already available drugs with the goal of finding one that is safe and effective for the prevention of wasting syndrome.

Besides cancer and AIDS patients, wasting syndrome also affects patients with bacterial and parasitic diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic diseases of the bowel, liver, lungs and heart.

SOURCE: The European Molecular Biology Organization Journal, 2001;20:1-12