Monthly Archives: October 2008

More Lifestyle Tips for Avoiding Diabetes

One aspect of lifestyle that is often overlooked is time spent sleeping. Getting adequate sleep is often sacrificed due to the demands of job and family. In the Sleep Heart Health Study over 1400 men and women were surveyed about their sleep habits and its relationship to diabetes and prediabetes. It was found that sleeping less than 6 hours per night was associated with increased risk of having diabetes. Interestingly, in those sleeping more than 9 hours per night there was an increased risk of diabetes and prediabetes. The authors of the study recommend trying to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night to minimize the chances of developing blood sugar problems.

Maintaining ideal body weight with diet and exercise is also crucial for avoiding diabetes and prediabetes. In overweight adults for each 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) gained per year the risk of developing diabetes increases about 50% over the next ten years. By losing 2.2 pounds per year the risk of developing diabetes is reduced about 33% for the next 10 years (J Epidemiol Community Health.  2000; 54(8):596-602).

Speak to your healthcare professional to find out if you are at risk for developing diabetes and to learn ways you can avoid it.

Gary Pepper M.D.


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The Power of Subconscious Mind

It still remains the hottest topic of the day (after the presidential elections of course!) – How to lose weight. People are looking for a magic pill, one-hour surgery, 3-day cleanse, and vast variety of other short term solutions. Thousands of dollars are spent on fad diets, newest nutrition books, fancy kitchen appliances, and so on. It is quite understandable approach as the modern life seems to deprive us from the option of investing personal time in maintaining a healthy balance in our body, mind, and spirit. However, the question is how effective and healthy are these short term solutions. Can we really appear lean, fit, and wrinkle-free while leading stressful life and maintaining the old emotional habits? Can we feel good and healthy while sleeping less than needed and skipping routine medical checkups? The trick is that most of us already know the answer to these questions, though something seems to stand on the way between the knowledge and the action – something subtle yet very powerful… Something invisible that can be consciously brought into play to achieve our goals easily and naturally while staying happy and healthy. It is called the “Subconscious Mind”.

In our new forum
we will explore the ways to find and properly utilize your internal resources in order to help you live the life you deserve. We will talk about how such tools as hypnosis, NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), acupuncture, energy balancing, and other methods can help you on your path to the health and happiness.

I welcome you to ask questions and start discussions on the topics you would like to explore. Stay tuned!

Developments in Diabetes Treatment 2008

A new group of medications has recently become available for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. These medications take advantage of discoveries on the workings of hormones naturally made by the intestines known as “incretins”. These hormones are made by special cells in the intestine in response to eating. Incretins stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas and insulin enters the circulation where it regulates the amount of sugar in the blood. Some incretins also stop the release of glucagon which is another hormone which interferes with insulin action.

The first of these medicines receiving FDA approval is exenatide (Byetta). Byetta is given by subcutaneous injection twice daily just before eating. This medicine appears to have a secondary benefit of reducing appetite and assisting with weight loss efforts.

Sitagliptine (Januvia) is another FDA approved medication taking advantage of the incretin system. It is an oral medication taken once daily and has been shown to be effective at lowering blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.

These prescription drugs should only be used with the advice and monitoring of your health care professional.

A cure for type 1 (juvenile) diabetes is still a distant hope. The main focus for curing or delaying type 1 diabetes focuses on the immune system. The immune system normally protects us against viruses, bacteria and cancer cells. In type 1 diabetes a person’s own immune system appears to attack the insulin producing cells in the pancreas leading to the disappearance of this vital sugar controlling hormone. Studies in humans are now taking place which use artificially created antibodies to stop this immune attack on the pancreas. Using these experimental substances, delays of up to 18 months in the onset of type 1 diabetes have been achieved. Many more studies of this type are being planned hopefully paving the way for even better results.

Gary Pepper, M.D.


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When Should I Be Tested for Diabetes?

When Should I be tested for Diabetes?

1) Screening for diabetes usually involves obtaining a blood sugar reading before breakfast, also known as a fasting blood sugar. A blood sugar value over 126 mg% indicates type 2 diabetes. Ideal fasting blood sugar is less than 100 mg%.

2) Opinions are divided regarding whether to test all normal adults for diabetes. More agreement about routine diabetes screening exists for people considered to be at higher risk for diabetes. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults with blood pressure of 135/80 (high blood pressure) and those with dyslipidemia (high cholesterol) be screened for type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends that all adults over the age of 45 years be screened for diabetes.

3) Diabetes which occurs only during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes. In the U.S. it is common practice to screen for the development of gestational diabetes. This testing is generally conducted between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation, by administering a glucose solution by mouth and checking the blood sugar one hour later. If this is abnormal a formal 3 hour glucose tolerance test is performed. 

Gary Pepper, M.D.


Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Prevented?

How do I prevent type 2 diabetes?

If you have a close relative with type 2 diabetes (the kind that usually develops in adulthood), you are at risk for developing diabetes yourself.

1. The most important way to avoid developing diabetes is to pay close attention to nutrition and exercise and to maintain a healthy weight. The particular food groups you eat may not be as important as how many calories you consume. Once obesity develops the risk of type 2 diabetes goes way up.


2. Exercise not only helps prevent obesity but the muscle you develop through exercise helps your body to metabolism blood sugar. This lowers your diabetes risk.


3. Recent studies have shown that some medications used at the first sign of high blood sugar can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Among these medications are acarbose (Precose) which blocks absorption of carbohydrates from the intestine, rosiglitazone (Avandia) which makes the body more sensitive to insulin, and orlistat (Xenical or Ali) which blocks absorption of fat from the intestine. These drugs are not yet approved by the FDA for the purpose of preventing type 2 diabetes.  For each individaul with prediabetes only a health care professional can determine if such medication is appropriate.



Gary Pepper, M.D.

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Desk Job Making You Fat? More From Wendy Chant, MPT, SPN

Desk job making you fat? Easy ways to shed that jelly belly for good!
By Wendy Chant MPT, SPN,
Author of Crack The Fat Loss Code

Weight gain on the job is so prevalent now, that some nutritionists
have coined the term “the office 15” to describe the average of 15
pounds that about 45 percent of women gain just in the first three
months of starting a desk job. And there are millions of American
women who gain even more than this over the years, citing their job as
a main reason they’ve become overweight or even obese.

The real culprits behind job-related weight gain

It’s easy to see that long hours of inactivity and being stressed by
deadlines and work challenges contributes to the problem. But recent
science reveals exactly why this happens: With every hour of
inactivity, levels of blood sugar and the stress hormone cortisol
rise. And this triggers cravings that lead to overeating, the
breakdown of metabolism-revving muscle, plus liver slowdowns that
hinder the organ from doing its job of burning fat for energy.

In fact, the emergency state the body thinks it’s in because of the
high blood sugar and high cortisol — and it’s thinking something
major  here, like famine — causes the liver to signal the body that
more consumed calories should become fat. And that this fat should be
stored mostly around the belly as an easy energy resource when the
perceived emergency comes. Of course, for most people, dire
occurrences like famine never come, and millions of women are ending
up stuck with the extra fat that keeps piling on and that’s tough to

The secret to melting away fat despite that desk job

Here’s some good news: Scientists have found that simply doing some
activity at least once every hour keeps blood sugar and cortisol more
stable, thus keeping fat-packing mechanisms in check.

And it can be any kind of activity, even as simple as walking to drop
off some forms at a colleague’s desk, standing to organize files or
books, taking the long way to the restroom, or rapidly tapping your
feet on the floor football-drill style for 30 seconds.

You can also whittle away trouble spots and build calorie-burning
muscle with the following “deskercises” that are so discreet, no one
will notice:

For a toned tummy: Sit tall and straighten the spine. Then clench the
abdominal muscles as tightly as possible, pulling the navel into the
spine. Hold for one to five seconds, and repeat for a total of 20
times. Do at least three times daily.

For shapely thighs: While seated with knees together, imagine
someone’s pressing them together and it’s your job to push them apart.
To do this, squeeze the outer thigh muscles in one-second ‘pulses’
for  about one minute. Then imagine something is pushing the knees
apart and you’re to keep them glued together, so squeeze the inner
thigh muscles in one-second ‘pulses’ for about one minute. Do this at
least three times daily.

For a perky butt: I love this “leave your chair twice” trick! Start to
stand up, with heels digging into the ground to contract the butt and
thigh muscles. But pause for a beat about three-quarter way through.
Then sit back down, and finally stand up as you normally would. Do
this every time you get out of your chair, and you’ll be doing calorie-
burning squats without even breaking a sweat!

If it’s easy to lose track of the time at your job, set up an alarm on
your computer to remind you to do something active at least once every
hour, or better yet, twice or three times an hour for faster weight
loss results.

These nutritional strategies target desk job fat build-up

Recent research reveals that easy dietary tweaks can effectively
prevent fat-storing blood sugar and cortisol spikes, and set into play
mechanisms that help the body effortlessly burn more calories and fat.
Here are a few to try:

1. Snack on nuts and seeds. The protein, magnesium, vitamin B and
healthy monounsaturated fats found in favorites like almonds, cashews,
pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, keep blood sugar and cortisol under
control. Take advantage of the fact that they’re so packed with
energy, by having them in the earlier part of the day to keep you
productive for hours. (They’re also an excellent snack if you’re prone
to mid-afternoon slumps.) It’s true that nuts and seeds are high in
calories, but consuming 1 oz. daily — about a handful — won’t
sabotage  your weight loss efforts.

2. Nosh on crudités and cold cuts. Veggies like broccoli and celery
can be enjoyed any time of day because their high fiber content makes
them very filling and they’re rich in plant compounds that regulate
blood sugar. I also like cold cuts, like turkey and cheese slices,
because  they’re rich in satiating protein and tryptophan. This is the
building block of the “feel-happy” brain chemical serotonin that keeps
stress-inducing, fat-trapping cortisol in check. Best of all, these
are all practical options, being so easy to take in a cooler to work
with a  little low-fat salad dressing on the side. (A little fat is
needed to maximally absorb the beneficial nutrients from veggies, and
as long as you stick to 1 to 2 tablespoons of dressing, it won’t slow
down your slimming.)

3. Have eggs for breakfast or lunch. Because they contain all the
essential amino acids in the perfect portions for humans, eggs are the
highest quality protein available. In fact, they’re the most effective
at increasing nitrogen stores in muscles, making them firmer so they
burn more calories even when your body is at rest. Eggs also an ideal
food when you’re trying to keep blood sugar and cortisol under
control: Their satiating protein and healthy fats prevent fat-trapping
blood sugar spikes and they’re loaded with vitamin D, a nutrient
proven to reduce cortisol production.

4. Enjoy a whey protein shake (or two!). Whey protein contains
specialized branched-chain amino acids that provide muscles with
nitrogen to keep them firm and prevent them from being broken down for
energy. This is very important since muscle degradation slows
metabolism significantly. Branched-chain amino acids also keep blood
sugar balanced and help trigger the release of the important fat-
burning hormone called human growth hormone. Look for a shake that
contains 15 -25 grams of whey protein and less than 6 grams of sugars
per serving. A single serving shaker cup is all you need to make this
an easy-to-prepare-anywhere treat.

5. Sip oolong tea. This tea has been shown to balance blood sugar and
cortisol levels, reversing the fat-storing mechanisms caused by office
inactivity. The helpful dose: One to three cups of oolong tea while
you’re at work.

©2008 Wendy Chant

Author Bio
Wendy Chant, MPT, SPN, is a certified personal trainer and a
specialist in performance nutrition. She holds a bachelor of science
degree in medical sciences and nutrition science. A champion body
builder, she opened her own training center, ForeverFit®, in 1998.
Her book, Crack the Fat Loss Code, is available now from McGraw-Hill.