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What is your opinion on artificial sweeteners?

Much has been written about the negative effects of artificial sweeteners, but no study has proven any harmful effects from any of the available sugar substitutes. This is not proof of safety, but no indication of danger exists. Try to use the liquid version as much as possible because it contains no fillers.

What’s so bad about sugar?

Processed granulated sugar (and the 50+ other names and forms it comes in) is the single most unhealthy ingredient you can consume. Humans have no physiologic need for it, and our liver is unable to convert the fructose component into energy. Instead, it gets transformed into fat in your blood and liver and around your organs and heart.

How much and what type of exercise do I need every week?

You should engage in physical activity that motivates you, that you can afford, and that is unlikely to injure you. For most people, this is simply walking. Muscle building exercises using low to moderate weight are also very beneficial. Seek the help of a trainer if you don’t know where to start. You should have at least 150 minutes of walking or similar low impact aerobic activity each week. Muscle building exercises should be done a minimum of 2 days each week.

What are the healthiest foods to add to my diet?

Eat a rainbow of colors from the vegetable group; beans or legumes; eggs; wild fish, shellfish, and game; grass-fed meats; nuts; berries, apples, and pitted fruits; true whole grains, such as steel cut oats, quinoa, wild rice, and whole small potatoes. Dairy is a very complicated category, and is a separate question.

Ok, so what about dairy?

Consuming dairy products is not essential to good health. A caveat: eggs aren’t considered “dairy” and are really healthy for you! If you choose to ingest dairy, look for organic, grass-fed, dairy products with no added hormones. One beneficial source of protein is greek yogurt, but beware of hidden sugars and look for a 2-3:1 protein to carb ratio.

What types of food do I need to stop eating?

Avoid foods with added sugar, processed foods, fast foods, foods that rely on advertising (if it’s beneficial and wholesome, it doesn’t need an ad!), and meals that are greater than 40% carbohydrate based.

What are the best supplements to take?

Everyone benefits from taking the following: probiotics, omega 3 capsules, vitamin D, fiber, a high quality multivitamin, calcium-magnesium, and apple cider vinegar. Fermented foods with live cultures are a better source of probiotics, wild caught salmon, walnuts and chia seeds are a better source of omega-3, non-burning sun exposure and supplements are best for vitamin D; a wide range of vegetables and berries is best for fiber, vitamins and minerals; nuts are an excellent source of magnesium and you can make foods, drinks and dressings with apple cider vinegar.

What does “processed food” mean?

Processed food is any food that has been changed significantly from its original form in a kitchen other than yours. Cooking is considered “processing” and can unlock many beneficial nutrients in food as well as making it easier to digest. However, the preservatives needed to get the food from the farm to the the market to your kitchen can add toxic and non-nutritional ingredients. And, altering the original state of the food can cause the nutrients you desire to release with cooking to become lost, resulting in food with much poorer nutrition. Start fresh and prepare it yourself!

What are whole foods?

Whole foods are foods that are in their original state found in nature. Whole grain is the kernel of grain, not grain simply labeled “whole”. An avocado is a whole food; guacamole you purchased from the store is not (although guacamole prepared from scratch in your kitchen can be). Chicken-on-the-bone is whole; chicken lunchmeat is not. An egg is whole; egg whites poured from a carton are not.

What is an antioxidant?

Decay is inevitable. All things get older, wear out, break down, fall apart, and ultimately quit or die. However, living things resist this slow process of decay.

Oxidation results from many normal human functions and most exposures to toxins. Maintaining the proper balance between oxidation and antioxidants is crucial to our bodies’ normal function and chronic disease prevention.

We are familiar with common types of oxidation. It occurs when the combination of oxygen from the air, salt from water or roads, and metal eventually causes the bottom of your car to rust out. Another example of oxidation happens when long years in the sun cause an imbalance in oxidative stress for your skin resulting in wrinkles and sometimes cancer. Also, chronic inflammation in your blood can result in hardening of the arteries and eventually a heart attack.

Living systems thrive when in balance, and most illness is a result of prolonged imbalance within an organism.

A free radical is a molecule that is highly reactive and very short lived. They are naturally produced by the normal function of enzymes in our cells. When there are too many free radicals, they will cause damage in the cell. Preserving the balance between free radical activity and antioxidant production is critical to maintaining health in our bodies over time.

Many naturally occurring antioxidants are vitamins like A, C and E, minerals like manganese and selenium, and other natural chemicals like carotenes, and flavonoids. Eating natural, whole foods rich in antioxidants is an excellent health choice.

How many eggs should I eat each day?

The natural world has always viewed the egg as a source of life. For most animals, eggs are laid outside the animal or held within the animal, and once fertilized, develop into the new, young animal. Also, eggs nourish life by providing a food source for many animals.

For humans, eggs also function as a source for both new life and nutrition. To have available the nourishment of their eggs, we have domesticated several species of birds, including chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. Throughout history, no human would ever have considered an egg unhealthy, until the science and health communities began to tell us that eggs were bad for us. When the American Heart Association recommended limiting our cholesterol intake to 300 mg per day, that led many to conclude that eating more than one egg (about 185 mg cholesterol) per day could be harmful to us.

Even though there was a trend during the 1960’s-1990’s for doctors and dieticians to caution against eating too many eggs, no clear link was ever scientifically established between egg consumption and high cholesterol and heart disease. Unfortunately, this good news has been slow to be assimilated and communicated by medical and nutrition professionals.

Cholesterol is essential for a wide variety of human functions, including vitamin D production, proper nerve function, cell wall communication, bile production and some digestive regulation. An egg is a whole, natural food, so including them as a healthy part of your diet is a great idea. 

What is the South Beach Diet?

The South Beach Diet fad began with a book in 2003 written by Arthur Agatston, MD, a cardiologist from south Florida. He noticed that people were losing weight on Atkins type eating plans. However, as a cardiologist, he was unwilling to recommend any diet high in saturated fat.

With the help of a dietician, he developed a diet low in processed sugars and grain flours, that was instead based on lean protein and complex, high fiber carbohydrate sources. His nutrition ideas are heavily influenced by the glycemic index idea of food. He also categorized carbohydrates and fats into “good” and “bad” categories.

The glycemic index is a mathematically formulated number created to simply describe how the carbohydrates in food impact our blood glucose, or blood sugar. While both are low in calories, a rice cake has a high glycemic index, while a cucumber has a low glycemic index. While some science has validated the use of the glycemic index as a guiding principle in human nutrition, its practical use proves difficult and confusing for the consumer.

Any diet that educates people about the dangers of processed food (sugars, fats, grains and meats) to our health, and provides them with examples and alternatives that are healthy, is a diet worth looking into. However, relying on the impractical glycemic index and setting up a good versus bad dichotomy of food choices renders the implementation of this diet infeasible for most people.

How does stress affect my health?

All people experience stress; stress is a universal experience. When stress becomes burdensome and overwhelmingly negative, it becomes detrimental to our health and wellbeing. When our brain experiences too much negative stress, it sends stress hormone signals into our body to prepare us physically to handle the stress.

Occasional significant stress is no big deal; we are well equipped to handle it. But repeated daily stress causes many unwanted and unhealthy changes.

Anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, poor concentration, weight gain, hypertension, autoimmune dysfunction and chronic inflammation can be results of chronic stress.

Tim Martin M.D.
2110 N. Willis Street, Suite B
Abilene, TX 79603
Phone: 325-268-0650
Fax: 325-899-3418
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