Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why sugar in fruit is better for you.

A simple web search of “sugar is a drug” uncovers hundreds of articles from trusted sources like Forbes, WebMD,  The Guardian, etc. They all discuss recent research that demonstrate why sugar is addictive and our brain treats it like a drug. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that approximately 16 percent of total calories daily calories consumed in America, are from added sugar. Our sugars come from things like from beverages and candy. If sugar is a drug, we are a nation full of addicts. Cutting the amount of sugar we consume can be incredibly difficult. Many who advocate for a low carb or sugar free diet also suggest minimizing or quitting fruit. We are here to tell you to ignore them.
Although fruit sugar has a chemical structure similar to sugar, the sugar from fruit is a much better choice. Science tells us why. A few hundred years ago, fructose was was basically absent from our diets. What is fructose? It comes from beet or sugar cane, honey, high fructose corn syrup, and fruits. The chemical formula for fructose is the same as glucose (C6H12O6), “but its metabolism differs markedly from that of glucose due to its almost complete hepatic extraction and rapid hepatic conversion into glucose, glycogen, lactate, and fat” (physrev.physiology.org). Fructose is the main sugar found in fruit. Consuming fructose found in fruit is far better for you then consuming fructose (or glucose) in any other form. Eating fruit is not linked to any adverse health effects. In fact, increased consumption of fruit is linked to lower body weight and lower rate of obesity related diseases.  This means you can ignore those who tell you to stop eating grapes or oranges, because they are carbs. Eating healthy has never involved discernment, and knowledge more than now. Fructose in fruit is healthier for three simple reasons.
  1. Fruits are low-calorie and loaded with water, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals (www.livestrong.com).The water helps to dilute the fructose and makes it less concentrated than fructose found in its other forms.
  2. The fiber found in fruits slows the metabolism of fructose. This lessens the impact of fructose on our blood sugar levels. One of the major adverse effects of all forms of sugar is the spike it causes in our blood sugar levels. Fiber minimizes the spike in blood sugar levels. To learn more about the importance of stabilized blood sugar levels- read this.
  3. Fiber isn’t enough to make fruits a healthy and sweet option. The secret of fruit lies in its cell walls. Sugar is “sequestered in the cell walls” (www.newyorktimes.com). The cell walls take time to breakdown, and therefore the fructose is injected into our bloodstream at even slower rates. That’s why fruits will not give you a sugar crash, even if they contain 30 grams of sugar!
So what are you waiting for? Load up and enjoy crunchy, sweet, juicy fruit! If you want to minimize your sugar intake but still enjoy healthy and sweet treats, check out Kay’s Naturals. We are low sugar, low GI, gluten-free, and packed with protein! We wish for you happy, healthy and nutritious snacking!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Introduce plant based proteins and revolutionize your health!

Did you know that one change in your diet could reduce inflammation and help prevent cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease? It would also likely help you to live longer, lose weight, and lower your blood pressure? Sounds to good to be true? It isn’t. Simply make the majority of your protein intake plant based.  

Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet. According the the American Diabetes Association, plant based proteins are often the best protein. Many others trusted voices in the field of health and nutrition agree. WebMD, the Mayo Clinic, and Harvard Health Publications all advocate limiting the intake of animal meat (red meat in particular) and increasing plant based proteins. A bit of research on US National Library of Medicine produces dozens of scholarly articles on why plant based proteins increase health and prevent disease. Rarely does the nutrition community universally agree on one thing, but it does for increasing plant based proteins in your diet. This is because the research is overwhelmingly supportive of the benifets of plant based protiens.

Here are for studies, among thousands, that explain the health benefits of plant based proteins:
Increases in plant based protein showed a reduction of blood pressure levels in men during the 5 year Zutphen Elderly Study.
The NCIB Study titled, ‘Diet components can suppress inflammation and reduce cancer risk’ states that a, “plant based diet can contain many components that reduce inflammation and can reduce the risk for developing all three of these chronic diseases.” This three diseases being cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In short a plant based diet reduces inflammation and therefore helps prevent diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
The study, ‘Nutritional update for physicians: plant-based diets’ advises doctors to recommend plant-based diets to their patients, “Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates. Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity.”
‘Move over Mediterranean—a vegetarian diet is equally good for health’ is the title of a Harvard Health Publication that supports the Mediterranean diet and a vegetarian diet. The author, Heidi Goodman wrote, “This heart- and brain-healthy diet [the Mediterranean diet] includes olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish; occasional red meat; and a moderate amount of cheese and wine. Most doctors and nutrition experts I interview for the Harvard Health Letter tell me that the evidence points to a Mediterranean diet as the very best for our health. But there’s another diet that appears to be equally good: a vegetarian diet.” The article goes on to say that a vegetarian diet has “long been linked to reduced risk for hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease…. “A diet with meat in it raises the risk of heart disease and cancer, when compared with a vegetarian diet,” says cardiologist Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a Harvard Medical School professor. Red meat and processed meats appear to be the worst offenders as far as boosting the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.” The article also cited a JAMA Internal Medicine study that found that “people who ate a vegetarian diet were 12% less likely to have died over the course of the five-year study than nonvegetarians”

The proof is in the pudding! In addition to improving long-term health, eating less meat is better for the environment because it is more sustainable and has a much smaller carbon footprint. If you would like to decrease your meat consumption but are unsure how, take it one step at a time. Try having Meat Free Mondays, and experiment cooking vegetarian meals. There isn’t a need to start buying artificial meats if you despise fake burgers, but it can ease the transition into a plant-based diet. Start introducing more beans, such as garbanzo, lentils, and kidney beans. Here is a website with excellent low-fat bean-based recipes. Remember, vegetables don’t need to be a side dish! They can be the main attraction and provide an abundance of health and nutrition.

Kay’s Naturals is a high protein and vegetarian snack. Each 12 oz. serving of our crunchy pretzels, chips, and cookies are packed with 12 grams of lean soy protein. Kay’s is committed to providing healthy, high-protein and gluten free snacks and cereals, to help build happier and healthier communities. Visit our website to learn more.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Can stress cause allergies?

Food allergies and sensitivities is on the rise. A 2013 study released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that food allergies have increased by 50% among children between 1997 and 2011. Food allergies and chronic disorders that affect that digestive system can cause significant burdens and be of considerable pain to individuals globally. Understanding how food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and food sensitivities are triggered is poorly understood. An NCBI article, “How Stress Induces Intestinal Hypersensitivity,” sheds some light on how stress may contribute to chronic diseases of the digestive system. Its states that diseases of the digestive system are similar in that they all have an “exaggerated inflammatory response” to something harmless, or to something external to which a tolerance is normally developed. This blog article will review the NCBI article’s finding on how stress may contribute to the development of allergies or magnify their symptoms.
Previous studies have found that stress may spark an allergic reaction. Depression or anxiety have also been shown to increase symptoms of inflammatory disorders in the digestive tract. The process of events that causes stress to increase the prevalence of disease in the digestive system is minimally understood. The digestive tract has a mighty task. It must at once fight harmful microbes, while also being accepting to food antigens and helpful bacteria. A relatively stable relationship between these diverse elements within our intestines is required for the digestive system to cope. It has been found that in a “genetically susceptible host, stress contributes to the development of food allergies by increasing” the permeability of the intestinal lining. In short, it appears that if one has certain genes, it is easier for external microbes and bacteria to get inside the intestines during chronic stress. Consequently it can become impossible for the digestive tract to be fully operational. An increased amount of pathogens (such as a virus, bacteria, or microorganism that cause disease) in the small intestine, may be associated with food allergies.
In the simplest of terms, it looks like this:
small-intestine graphic .jpg

There is a great need for more research on how stress leads to the intestines inadequate response to bacteria and the consequential development of food allergies and other diseases.
It is important to note the role of stress in our lives and how it can cause disease in our digestive tract, especially as allergies and other digestive disease are increasing. Kay’s Naturals is certified gluten-free and was created to support individuals with diet restrictions to gluten and/or sugar, while being the perfect balance of carbohydrates, protein and fiber. If you have an allergy or sensitivity to gluten, you will likely find Kay’s to be delicious, healthy, and extremely convenient. Who knows, maybe we'll even help lower your stress levels? Learn more about Kay’s Naturals here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Think you may have a gluten intolerance? Do this first.

The gluten free craze has kicked into high gear, and it's only expected to get bigger according to the New Yorker. Some go gluten-free because they feel it is healthier and will help them lose weight. Others are on a strict gluten-free diet because they have celiac disease, a damaging autoimmune disorder. Others are gluten intolerant and avoid gluten because it causes discomfort. Others have a gluten allergy. Do you often feel sick after eating bread and are worried you may have a gluten intolerance? If you feel you may have a gluten intolerance, follow these three simple steps to address it. First, let us find out what gluten is and where it is found.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It is a part of the everyday American diet and can be found in pasta, cookies, and cereal, etc. Gluten helps to binds substances together, it is frequently added to processed foods, such as soup, soy sauce, and salad dressing. Follow this link to Celiac Disease Foundation’s comprehensive list of foods contain gluten.

Gluten can cause people to feel ill for three reasons: an allergy, intolerance, or celiac disease. It is common to assume that an allergy and intolerance is the same, although they are markedly different. Food intolerance is much more prevalent than a food allergy. Food allergies will cause an immune reaction that will affect multiple parts of the body, not just the digestive system. According to the Mayo Clinic, food intolerance is often limited to digestive problems (but can have a range so symptoms).

With hundreds of gluten-free options available on the market, it is easy to go on a gluten-free diet to avoid discomfort. This is not advisable and on simple reason: check to see if you have celiacs first. Celiacs is a potential life-threatening disorder that causes the immune system to trigger T cells to fight the offending proteins. This damages the small intestine and prevents the absorption of important nutrients. As much as a bread crumb of gluten can cause significant discomfort and damage when someone has celiacs. For individuals with celiacs, gluten can contribute to weak “educational performance and failure to thrive in children...an increased risk of fractures and osteoporosis, problems during pregnancy and birth, short stature, dental enamel hypoplasia, dermatitis, recurrent stomatitis and cancer” (www.immusant.com). Moreover, celiacs is known to cause neurological damage and even death. The scariest part? Most individuals with celiac disease are undiagnosed. Don’t let that be you. According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, “it is estimated that 83% of Americans who have celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.” and 1 in 133 people have celiac disease.  If you feel gluten is making you sick, ask your primary care doctor to have you tested for celiac disease. Keep in mind that in order to be tested for celiac disease, one cannot be on a gluten-free diet. Click here more information on screening for celiacs.

If your celiacs tests come back negative, speak with your doctor. You may have irritable bowel syndrome, a wheat allergy, hormonal imbalance, or non-specific gluten intolerance. Work with them to go on an elimination diet or be screened for an allergy to prevent any health risks. Walking down the path towards health and wellness with confidence.
Kay’s Naturals is all about empowering individuals to reach the optimal health. Our mission is to provide the community with gluten-free, high-protein, low-GI, and all around healthy and delicious snacks and cereals. Go more to our website to see how Kay’s can help you reach your health goals!