Monthly Archives: June 2013

5 Smart Ways to Shrink Your Belly

Overweight and recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? Your doctor is probably encouraging you to try to lose weight. Weight loss can help get blood sugar under control and avoid the need for medication. Shedding just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight — 10 to 20 pounds, for a 200-pound woman — can lower blood sugar.

Forget counting calories, though. A diabetic is better off changing the way he or she eats, says Beth Reardon, director of nutrition at Duke University’s Duke Integrative Medicine. “There are no ‘magic bullet’ foods,” she says. “Instead of thinking about calories-in, calories-out, focus on changing your lifestyle — you’ll lose weight and improve your blood sugar.”

Try these key ideas to help send all your numbers in the right direction:

Baby Your Pancreas to Lose Weight — by Choosing the Right Carbs

When you’re diabetic, your pancreas is worn out from working so hard to produce insulin to process the glucose building up in the blood. Simple sugars and starches, like those in processed grains, sugary foods, most baked goods, and fruits or juices flood the system quickly with sugar. Instead, Reardon advocates showing your pancreas “loving kindness” by choosing healthier carbs — those that are slow to absorb in the bloodstream and rich in fiber.

Remember that carbs aren’t just in grains. Amp up your vegetable intake, and eat a serving or two of fruit a day. Limit grains of all kinds and when you have them, choose whole grains.

“If you’re picky about the type of carbs, you don’t have to worry so much about amounts,” Reardon says.

Star Choices
Steel-cut oats and whole-grain barley. Great sources of soluble fiber, they increase feelings of fullness and are processed slowly.

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What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease and Who Gets It

Quick summary

Short-term memory loss is one of the most noticeable signs of Alzheimer’s disease. But the disease process usually begins before symptoms are noticed. To assess someone’s risk of becoming one of the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s, it’s helpful to understand the risk factors that increase the odds of developing the condition.

What is Alzheimer’s, and who’s at risk?

Although certain basic lifestyle changes can help delay the onset of the disease in some people, the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease isn’t yet understood. Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder: Normal brain cell function is gradually destroyed, leading to irreversible declines in memory, cognition, and behavior. But what causes things to go awry remains unknown. It may be that Alzheimer’s has several causes or that the interplay between genetic makeup and certain risk factors determines who’s affected.

The following questions are based on the known risk factors for Alzheimer’s. See how many apply to your family (or to you, to assess your risk of eventually developing the disease).