How to Handle Sugar Cravings

By Karen Malkin Health Counseling 

A study released by the scientific journal PLOS One proves that sugar intake directly correlates to higher rates of diabetes. The study was conducted by four researchers, including Dr. Robert Lustig, presenter of the 2009 “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” talk that became a YouTube sensation at close to 8 million views and counting.

What’s more shocking? The addictive nature of sugar rivals that of cocaine, morphine, and cigarettes!

It’s no accident that recovering alcoholics often turn to sugar as they cut out alcohol—it’s an easily available drug. According to a 2008 study out of Princeton University:

“Rats eating large amounts of sugar when hungry, a phenomenon known as sugar-binging, undergo neuro-chemical changes in the brain that appear to mimic those produced by substances of abuse.”

In addition to the detrimental effects of sugar shown in these studies, sugar has been linked to weakened immunity, even feeding certain cancers! Found in most processed foods, fruit juice, and sports drinks (in the form of HFCS, high fructose corn syrup), and many of the desserts we grew up with and enjoy at holidays and birthdays, it’s hard to resist this substance’s seductive spell.

Fortunately, there are healthful ways to beat back even the most powerful sugar cravings.

Cravings are a method by which your body communicates with you, and they should not be ignored. However, what you think is a call for sugar may likely something else:

SLEEP

Fatigue stresses your body, but the quick boost you seek in sugar only provides a temporary lift. Instead, take a 15-20 minute nap if lack of sleep is the culprit.

WATER 

Dehydration can trigger sugar cravings; drink 12 ounces of water when your next craving hits.

EXERCISE 

Moving your body (especially walking outside) helps keep cravings at bay because you get a potent hit of serotonin, a feel-good chemical that’s also released when you eat sugar.

OMEGA-3s

A deficiency of alpha-linoleic-acids (ALAs or bioavailable omega-3s) can cause sweet foods to taste less sweet, which means you crave more of them to satisfy the flavor. Up your intake of ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil (never heated), and walnuts to prevent this.

LOVE 

Cravings for sugar-laden comfort food often point to a psychological yearning for companionship. Spend more time socializing or engaging in your favorite activities and notice your cravings change!

Keep your energy stable throughout the day by adopting a few key rules:

  1. Don’t skip meals; enjoy three balanced, nourishing, satiating meals, and occasional healthy snacks.
  2. Pay attention to protein (from vegetable or animal sources) as this helps slow the release of glucose into your blood. In addition, make sure each meal includes some form of protein, fiber (found in fruit and vegetables) and heart-healthy fats (found in flaxseed, olive oil, avocado, and nuts).

Whatever you do, steer clear of artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin, which are full of man-made chemicals that are detrimental to your health. Instead, enjoy your sweet flavors in moderation by focusing on healthier alternatives to sugar and its blood-spiking counterparts (organic local honey and maple syrup). Stevia and monk fruit are natural herb sweeteners that do not spike blood sugar. They are many times sweeter than actual sugar, so use it sparingly.

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Meniscal Transplant in Patients 50 and Younger Relieves Pain, Delays Additional Surgery

By JRF Ortho

Most patients younger than age 50 with a torn or severely damaged meniscus experienced reduced pain and improved knee function following transplant surgery, according to a study in the latest issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS). However, many patients required additional surgery within 10 years.

The meniscus is a wedge-shaped piece of fibrocartilage in the knee that acts as a shock absorber between the thighbone and shinbone. A meniscus can be torn during sports or wear away over time as the body ages. For younger patients with knee pain after loss of the meniscus, a meniscus transplant is performed to maintain a cushion between the two bones, stabilize the joint, prevent persistent knee pain, and to allow for greater mobility. An orthopaedic surgeon executes the knee surgery by using an arthroscope to accurately place and stitch new, transplanted meniscal tissue.

Researchers followed 38 meniscal transplant patients under age 50, who did not have arthritis, for an average of 11 years following surgery. Patient outcomes were evaluated based on clinical, subjective, and radiographic measures.

Click here to read the entire article>>

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Five Lesser-Known Mental Health Values of Exercise

By Briana Jamshidi, Rehab Technician for ATI Physical Therapy

It has become common knowledge that exercise is good for the body. Regular exercise can aid in weight loss and help strengthen our muscles and bones, but sometimes that isn’t enough to get you exercising on a daily basis. There are numerous mental health benefits that come as a result of working out. These reasons may be the motivating factors you need.

Exercise and Positive Mood

There is a strong link between exercise and the treatment of mild to moderate anxiety and depression. Exercise encourages all kinds of positive changes in your body by releasing endorphins in your brain such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. They are known as the “feel good” chemicals because of their strong influence on your mood.

Exercise and Self-Esteem

When you aren’t happy with the way your body looks, it takes a toll on your confidence. Exercise helps to build your self-esteem by improving how your body moves, feels and looks. Even if you don’t lose weight from exercising, you are likely still strengthening your muscles and creating a firmer appearance of your skin. It can be empowering to run longer, lift heavier weights and stretch farther. These physical results will make you feel better about how you look and improve your confidence and self-esteem.

Exercise and Brain Power

Exercise enhances blood flow throughout your body, as well as in your brain. This increased blood flow supports the survival of new neurons and helps other neurons fire up faster. Exercise has been shown to promote neurogenesis, which allows for the creation and survival of new brain cells in the brain. All of this allows for better cognitive function, memory recall and more creativity.

Exercise and Pain

Studies show that people who exercise and stay flexible are able to better manage their pain than those who don’t. Typically, chronic pain can lower your pain threshold, meaning it takes less pain to cause you discomfort. Exercise, fortunately, helps to increase your pain threshold. The increased blood flow throughout your body allows your joints and muscles to move more freely, which further helps to decrease pain.

Exercise and Stress

When you engage in exercise, no matter what kind, it is wise to practice mind-to-muscle connection. This means focusing on the muscles you are using and intentionally squeezing them. During this time, you actually give your mind a chance to slow down and stop thinking about your stressors. Pair this with the better sleep you will experience from exercising and you will feel a significant reduction in your stress levels.

There are so many different types of exercise, ranging from weight lifting to yoga. No matter the kind, doing some is better than none. Do what you can and not only will you reap the benefits physically, but mentally as well.

Are aches and pains getting in the way of your daily activities?

If simple home interventions are not helping to lessen aches, pains and discomfort, it’s time to see a physical therapist. Stop by your nearest ATI Physical Therapy clinic for a complimentary screening and get back to doing you.

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How Snow Skiing can help keep You Young!

Snow Skiing as a Natural Anti-Aging Remedy

Dr. Charles Bush-Joseph from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush and Steve Kashul talk with Peter Braun MS, LAT, ATC, ITAT from ATI Physical Therapy. This discussion focuses on how snow skiing can keep you young and what make skiing a unique type of exercise.

The effects of time on one’s body are unavoidable and often substantial. Many of us in the field of medicine are in an endless search to find the perfect sport, activity or exercise that will unlock our physical potential, well into our years. Scientific research has found that there are certain factors that contribute to longevity and sustainability.


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