Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

Naturally sweet cinnamon revives our senses with its wonderful aroma and can enhance health with its medicinal properties. Cinnamon was first used in China (2700 B.C.) to treat fever, digestive, and menstrual problems. Indian healers used cinnamon to treat gastrointestinal complaints, as well as sore throat and cough. Today, modern herbalists continue to use the herb for digestive issues, chest congestion and colds/flu, but they’ve also discovered it helps ease arthritis pain, as well as manage blood sugar levels.

Because cinnamon reduces the rate at which glucose enters the bloodstream, it can help prevent blood sugar spikes. This is hopeful news for some people with Type 2 diabetes. But more studies need to be done around this issue. It appears that cinnamon may work better in people whose diabetes is poorly managed as compared to those who have good management of their condition. As a medicinal supplement, different people respond to different amounts — it’s not just a matter of sprinkling a teaspoon on your oatmeal. Cinnamon may also change the way some medications work, so it’s important to speak with your physician before adding cinnamon to your supplement regimen.

Cinnamon is available ground, in capsule form, and as a tea. There are many species of cinnamon. Be aware that typical grocery store cinnamon (‘the cassia cinnamons’) contains coumarin, which, in high amounts, can be harmful to the liver. Ceylon Cinnamon has lower levels of coumarin, which makes it a better choice for most people.

Resources

Cleveland Clinic:  Cinnamon.  Accessed 2 Dec 2016:  http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com/Features/Pages/cinnamon-pro-con.aspx

Examine.com:  Cinnamon Essential Benefits, Effects & Information. Accessed 2 Dec 2016: https://examine.com/supplements/cinnamon/

World’s Healthiest Foods:  Cinnamon (ground) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=68&tname=foodspice

Johannes, L. Little bit of Spice for Health, but Which One? The Wall Street Journal (online, 2014, Oct.) Accessed 4 Dec 2016:  http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303376904579135502891970942

Hlebowicz, J. et al., ‘Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects.’ Am J Clin Nutr. (2007 Jun) 85:6,1552-6. Accessed 4 Dec 2016:  http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/6/1552.long (full text)

Qin B, Nagasaki M, Ren M, et al., ‘Cinnamon extract prevents the insulin resistance induced by a high-fructose diet.’ Horm Metab Res.(2004 Feb), 36:2:119-25.. PMID:15002064. Accessed 4 Dec 2016:  http://beauty-review.nl/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Cinnamon-extract-prevents-the-insulin-resistance-induced-by-a-high-fructose-diet.pdf (full text)

Khan A., Safdar M., Ali Khan M., et al., ‘Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. (2003 Dec) 26(12) 3215-8. Accessed 4 Dec 2016:  http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/12/3215

You’re Sweet Enough Without the Added Sugar

You’re Sweet Enough Without the Added Sugar

Do you enjoy a no-sugar-added soda with dinner every night? What about a low-sugar, high protein ‘nutrition bar’ after a workout? At the office, are you mindlessly grazing through the low-sugar or no-sugar added cookies?  Do you read food labels to see where on the ingredient list sugars are hidden? If you’re regularly drawn to sweets- or foods laden with artificial sweeteners-try going without them for a few days and see what happens. Are you having headaches, irritability, cravings, and symptoms that could only be described as withdrawal? Do you find yourself so uncomfortable that you’re drawn right back to those same foods? It could be you’re trapped in what is called a cycle of sugar addiction.

Sugar is a carbohydrate, one of the major nutrient groups, but it doesn’t provide vitamins, minerals, or even fiber to our diet. Still, it’s added to an  array of foods, including ketchup, fruited yogurt, cereal, canned soup, certain brands of lunch meat, salad dressing, condiments, bread, and so much more. While we require some sugar (glucose) in order to function property, all of this added sugar is harmful to our system.

Sugar’s Addictive Qualities
When we ingest sugar, our body generates a response similar to that seen in addictions, which is why we develop cravings for more. It’s often called the cocaine of dietary additives.

Here’s how it works: Sugar — whether natural, processed or artificial — enters the bloodstream quickly, causing your blood sugar level to spike. The body recognizes this imbalance and acts to bring blood sugar back to normal. Insulin, a hormone, pushes glucose into the cells to be used for energy. But if you eat a lot of sugar, the body can’t keep up. Insulin has to work harder and the body overcompensates, causing blood sugar to drop too low – and your brain reacts. You feel depleted, irritable, and crave more sugar.

Sugar by Any Other Name
Sugar names you might recognize are sucrose (table sugar), fructose (found in fruits, some root veggies, and honey), and lactose (milk sugar). Naturally occurring sugar in fruit and vegetables has a place in a balanced diet. But added sugar, artificial sweetener, and processed ‘natural’ sugar like high fructose corn syrup are detrimental to your health.

Eliminate Unhealthy Sugar From Your Diet
Learn where Sugar Hides. On ingredient lists, look for words ending in ‘-ose,’ which equate to sugar. If they’re among the first five items, it’s not worth buying. When sugar is among the last items in the list, that’s a better choice.

Avoid the Fake Stuff. Products containing artificial sweeteners are not a healthy alternative. Diet soda, ‘fat free’ and ‘sugar free’ candy and cookies are associated with weight gain and cravings, creating a cycle of addiction.

Sip with Awareness. A single can of soda, flavored water, Gatorade, or a juice box typically contain nine or more teaspoons of sugar.

Make Sweet Substitutions.  Look for snacks labeled ‘no added sugar’ or ‘unsweetened.’ Use canned foods packed in water or natural juice. When baking, swap table sugar with applesauce, date paste, molasses, or fruit puree. Cinnamon or vanilla powder is a great way to sprinkle flavor onto yogurt, oatmeal, or coffee. Opt for brown rice syrup or cane sugar over other processed sugars.

Reprogram your sugar meter slowly. If you put two sugar packets in your coffee, cut back in half-packet increments. Keep sugar off the kitchen table. Small steps add up to sweet success!

Resources

Boseley, S. ‘Sugar, not fat, exposed as deadly villain in obesity epidemic.’ The Guardian (March 2013). Accessed 7 Dec 2016:  https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/mar/20/sugar-deadly-obesity-epidemic

Cole, W. ‘The Connection Between Artificial Sweeteners & Autoimmune Disease.’ Posted by mindbodygreen.com (with references) Accessed 19 Dec 2016: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17329/the-connection-between-artificial-sweeteners-autoimmune-disease.html

Schiffman, S. ‘Rationale for Further Medical and Health Research on High-Potency Sweeteners.’ Chemical Senses (2012, May 4) Schiffman Consulting, 18 Heath Place, Durham, NC 27705-5713, USA. Accessed 19 Dec 2016: http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/05/04/chemse.bjs053.full.pdf+html

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). ‘Cause and Effect: Case Report Shows an Association between Sugar Substitutes and Common Thyroid Disorder.’ Accessed 19 Dec 2016:  http://media.aace.com/press-release/cause-and-effect-case-report-shows-association-between-sugar-substitutes-and-common-th#sthash.mlSVNuq0.dpuf

Psych Today Online. ‘Just Say No to Artificial Sweeteners.’ Accessed 19 Dec 2016: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/nourish/201306/just-say-no-artificial-sweeteners

Diabetes Education Online. ‘How the Body Processes Blood Sugar.’ Accessed 7 Dec 2016: https://dtc.ucsf.edu/types-of-diabetes/type1/understanding-type-1-diabetes/how-the-body-processes-sugar/

AuthorityNutrition.com ’10 Disturbing Reasons Sugar is Bad for You.’ (posted by Gunnar, K. no date). Accessed 7 Dec 2016:  https://authoritynutrition.com/10-disturbing-reasons-why-sugar-is-bad/

Basciano, H. Federico, L, & Adeli, K., ‘Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia.’ Nutrition & Metabolism (2005) Accessed 7 Dec 2016: http://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-2-5 *full text).

Thatsugarfilm.com ’60 Different names for Sugar.’ http://thatsugarfilm.com/blog/2015/03/16/added-sugar-vs-natural-sugar/

Page, K. A. et al. ‘Effects of Fructose vs Glucose on Regional Cerebral Blood Flow in Brain Regions Involved With Appetite and Reward Pathways.’ JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association 309.1 (2013): 63–70. Accessed: 7 Dec. 2016: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4076145/

Schulze, M. B., Manson, J. et al., ‘Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, Weight Gain, and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Young and Middle-Aged Women’ JAMA (Aug 2004), 292:8, 927-934. doi:10.1001/jama.292.8.927. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/199317 (full text).

Slattery, M.L., Benson, J., Berry, T D., et al., ‘Dietary sugar and colon cancer.’

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev (September 1 1997). 6:9, 677-685. Accessed 7 Dec 2016: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/6/9/677

Yang, Qing. ‘Gain Weight by ‘going Diet?’ Artificial Sweeteners and the Neurobiology of Sugar Cravings: Neuroscience 2010.’ The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine (2010) 83:2  101–108. Accessed 7 Dec 2016:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892765/

Davis, P.A., Yodoyama, W. Cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood Glucose: meta-analysis. J. Medicinal Food (2011). 12:9, 884-9. DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2010.0180. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Davis+Yokoyama+Cinnamon

Return of the traveling doctor…

Return of the traveling doctor…

Dr. Dave has started to make his rounds across a number of states including West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.  Most recently Dr. Dave traveled to Princeton, WV to see several patients who do not have access to natural healthcare. It has been a wonderful experience to escape the rigors of the city and go to the mountains.  I’ve spent many years in the mountains and it is where my heart truly lies.  Any excuse to get out and smell that mountain air is revitalizing.  Escaping the confines of the city anywhere is refreshing, along with providing healthcare to those in need and do not have access to a naturopathic physician.  I’ve had many people come to me, but many who cannot make the trek.  I’ve decided I will go to them and plant the seeds of health in various areas of the southeast. Education is a huge part of what I do as a doctor.  In fact the “docere” the latin term for doctor means to teach.  This is something that is often missing in modern day medicine due to the number of patients doctors must see to make ends meet, but also the shortage of quality healthcare practitioners is becoming more and more evident as the age of “Baby Boomer” doctors start retiring. We young physicians must carry on and evolve the current medical system paradigm in which we live. Slowly but surely things will change to a more preventive, educational, and empowering health care system. I told one of my most recent patients, who is also a veteran who is disgruntled with the run around he’s received in the current VA medical care system, that eventually I don’t want to see you as a sick patient but as a well one…that I would rather bump into him in a casual setting than at my office.  Well that seemed to just make his day!  So often is illness perpetuated for financial gain in the current healthcare system. If you’re sick of bandaids and want to get to the root cause of your health concerns…give naturopathic medicine a try… If you’d like me (Dr. Dave) to come to your town to do a healthcare talk at a local venue email or call him at Health@DrDaveHamilton.com or 980-272-1897.  If it goes well he may put your area on a regular monthly rotation. Current areas are Princeton, WV; Boone and Charlotte, NC. If you are in town and unable to travel Dr. Dave also offers house calls.  Fee for travel is $0.50 per mile….