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Celebrate a cornucopia of health this November! 
In This Issue
Amazing Amino Acids!
Thanksgiving Nutrition Class
Meet a Registered Dietitian
American Diabetes Month
Recipe Round Up
Volunteer for a Clinical Study!

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Essential Amino Acid Profile: Tryptophan   

Amino acids are the building blocks for protein.  Most amino acids can be converted into glucose, or energy that our body needs to function. Essential amino acids cannot be made by our body so we must get them through food sources.     

What does Tryptophan do?  Tryptophan is needed for building protein.  It also acts as a "precursor", meaning it needs to come before, or combine with, other chemical compounds (substances) in the body, including:

  • Serotonin, a neurotransmitter found in our gastrointestinal tract, platelets and central nervous system
  • Niacin, vitamin B3 which is involved with metabolism, steroid hormone production and DNA repair
Those individuals who are lactose intolerant or suffer from fructose malabsorption may have difficulties absorbing tryptophan in the intestines. 
 

Top Food Sources:  chocolate, oats, dairy (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese), fish, chickpeas

 

Did you know ..... There's a popular myth that eating lots of turkey makes us sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. But turkey has relatively modest amounts of tryptophan. In fact, cod, pumpkin seeds, pork, chicken and Parmesan cheese all have similar or higher amounts!  Try limiting the amounts of high carbohydrate, sugar foods on your Thanksgiving plates and eat until you're about 80% full. Chances are these foods are the real culprit behind your post-Thanksgiving dinner slumber.  

Thanksgiving is coming soon...   

Our next nutrition class will be held on Wednesday November 16th 2011 from 1-2pm.  "Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving" will focus on healthy eating while still enjoying your holiday favorites! For more information, or to register for the class, please contact our 

Registered Dietitian, 

Kelley Bradshaw MS, RD. 

Phone: (925) 930-7267  

kbradshaw@diabloclinical.com 

Discuss your Diet with a Registered Dietitian!   

Confused about calcium? Lost about leafy greens? Questions about quinoa? A Registered Dietitian (RD) can answer all these questions and more in a nutrition consultation.  You will review your diet and exercise regimen and focus on behavior modification.  It's all part of small steps towards a healthier you! As a service to the community, Diablo Clinical Research's nutrition consultations are specially priced at $50/hour. For more information, please contact our Registered Dietitian, Kelley Bradshaw MS, RD. 

Phone: (925) 930-7267  

kbradshaw@diabloclinical.com
November is American Diabetes Month!

Did you know that every 17 seconds, someone is diagnosed with diabetes? Join Diablo Clinical Research in supporting American Diabetes Month.  The American Diabetes Association's Stop Diabetes campaign is aimed at preventing diabetes throughout our country.  The goal is to encourage people "to get involved and help raise awareness, promote healthy living and raise money to fund educational outreach, advocacy efforts and critical research that will ultimately stop diabetes once and for all."  Show your support by joining the Stop Diabetes movement!
Advancing Health Newsletter November 2011
Greetings! 

The cornucopia, also known as "the horn of plenty" dates back to classic mythological tales.  A symbol of prosperity, abundance and nourishment, a cornucopia is a large horn-shaped container that is overflowing with produce, flowers, nuts or even money! But a cornucopia can also symbolize an abundance of intangible 'wealth', such as love, support from family and friends, happiness and, of course, our health! Making your health a priority is key during busy and often stressful holiday times.  This November, think about all the positive things that fill up your cornucopia--you'll be surprised to see how full it really is!

Have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

Diablo Clinical Research

 

Nutrition Myths Debunked:   

Negative Calorie Foods

" I've heard that some foods, like celery or grapefruit, are considered 'negative calorie foods' since they are very low in calories and because you burn more calories while eating them.  Is this true?"

 

Hate to break it to you, but there's no such thing as a 'negative calorie' food.  The theory behind such claims lies in the concept of the thermic effect of food, or TEF. When we eat a food and then digest it, it takes energy (in the form of calories) to help with these processes.  Technically, we ARE using calories to help eat and digest any food. However, some foods are so low in calories that people have claimed them to be 'negative foods', meaning that we use more calories in the metabolic processes than are actually in the food. However, the TEF is minimal to begin with, using only approximately 10% of our caloric intake. 

 

Additionally, different macronutrients have different thermic effects. Protein can have a thermic effect of up to 30%; however, an ounce of protein provides 7-8 grams of protein, or 28-32 calories. If we are eating a 4oz piece of meat, we are consuming 112-128 calories, which we are only 'burning'  34-38 calories at the most, hardly enough to consider it a 'negative' food. Carbohydrates, such as the infamous 'negative calorie' food celery, can be lower in calories, but their thermal effect is at most 15%.  The thermic effect of dietary fat is around 3-5%.  

 

The thermic effect of food can be influenced by other factors.  Aerobic exercise has been shown to increase TEF if you're doing it at a higher intensity for at least 30 minutes and this effect is typically greater in lean, normal weight persons.  Resistance/strength training exercise can increase TEF as well. However, these increases amount to approximately 7-8 additional calories/hour. 

 

While celery is tasty, crunchy and can be a part of a healthy diet, it's hardly a 'negative calorie' food. In fact, each stalk is around 10 calories, so you're only 'burning' (at most) 1.5 calories.  Make sure that foods like celery are incorporated into an overall healthy diet.  Adding daily exercise, no matter the type, is a much more effective and fun way to increase your metabolism.  Don't get too hung up on the calories you're 'burning' while eating. It's more important to consistently follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly. 


 

Recipe Roundup:   

Broccoli and Carrots with Toasted Almonds


Thanksgiving will be here before you know it! Plan your menu ahead of time to ensure that you're getting plenty of veggies!
 
broccoli and carrot recipe 

 

Type II Diabetes Research
Are you having difficulty managing your diabetes with diet and exercise alone? OR... Are you having difficulty managing your diabetes on metformin alone?

If you have answered yes to either of these questions, we invite you to contact us about this clinical research study.  You must be: 
  • Generally Healthy
  • 18 to 80 years of age
And must be able to answer yes to one of the following:
  • Do you have type 2 diabetes mellitus not adequately controlled by diet and exercise alone?

OR 

  • Do you have type 2 diabetes mellitus not adequately controlled by metformin alone?
Investigational study medication and study-related procedures are at no charge.  This study includes 14 clinic visits over a 17-18 week period.

Please inquire:  (925) 930-7267     

or email:  studies@diabloclinical.com  

 

Stearic Acid:  A good saturated fat?

 

Stearic acid is one of several types of fatty acids. It is typically found in high amounts in animal oils and fats.  As a saturated fat, stearic acid lacks double bonds that connect its carbon molecules.  Without double bonds, a fat can 'stack up' on top of each other, thus causing clogs in our arteries.  We've all heard that saturated fat is (supposedly) bad for us because it can raise cholesterol levels, specifically the 'bad' low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. However, current research is taking another look at the role of saturated fat in raising cholesterol levels and many scientists and researchers have posed the question, "Is saturated fat really as bad as we thought?" 

 

One reason why saturated fats are being reviewed is due to the metabolic properties of stearic acid.  Even though stearic acid is classified as a saturated fat, numerous studies have shown that stearic acid actually has NO effect on total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol levels (3,4), thus implying that stearic acid may not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.  In the 1950s and 1960s, studies showed that saturated fats (in general) raised blood cholesterol levels, while polyunsaturated fats lowered cholesterol and monounsaturated fats showed no effects.  However, these studies also showed that stearic acid had no effect on total or LDL cholesterol, even though it is a saturated fat. 

 

So if stearic acid is a saturated fat, why doesn't it negatively affect cholesterol levels?  One theory behind this is that stearic acid converts to oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, which again, has no negative effect on cholesterol.  However, it turns out that our body only converts about 9-14% of stearic acid into oleic acid.  Another theory is that stearic acid reduces cholesterol absorption.  It changes the composition of bile acids (which are found in the gallbladder and help with fat metabolism) so that cholesterol is less soluble; hence, we absorb less cholesterol.  The effect of stearic acid on blood pressure, blood clotting and inflammation in our arteries is still unknown.

 

The table below shows common food sources of stearic acid.

 

 

As you can see, a majority of foods that we have been told to avoid or limit because of saturated fat, happen to contain stearic acid.  Another observation is that fat in our foods isn't made of just one type of fat. For example, 95% of lean ground beef has 5.9 grams of total fat. Yet only 2.7 grams of this fat is saturated and 1.0 grams of this saturated fat is stearic acid (which again, has no impact on cholesterol levels.) So should we avoid eating foods that have saturated fat, even if it's a small amount? Probably not.  But if saturated fat (or at least certain types) isn't the culprit, then what is?  

 

Current standard nutrition advice encourages us to limit saturated fat (and cholesterol) in our diet to help improve our cholesterol levels and thus, reduce our risk for cardiovascular disease.  But when we limit saturated fat (which also limits some of our healthier, minimally processed food choices) we need to replace it with something else in our diet. Again, since foods with fat tend to have 'mixed fat' (various amounts of saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated), we tend to also decrease our intake of unsaturated fat in the process. Moreover, in order to meet the USDA recommendations of eating < 10% saturated fat and 30% total fat, we end up consuming more carbohydrates, far more than is typically necessary.

 

The problem is that carbohydrates (especially sugars and refined/highly processed grains) have been shown to actually raise our triglycerides (fat in our blood), which just so happens to coincide with low high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels (the 'good' cholesterol).  In fact, while we may be focusing on lowering our total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels and a high ratio of Triglycerides:HDL are a more accurate indicator that we're like to actually have a cardiovascular event (such as a heart attack).   Additionally, excessive carbohydrate intake can make certain medical conditions (such as diabetes) worse and it's not surprising that most diabetics also have elevated blood glucose, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels (and low HDL cholesterol to boot.) 

 

Clearly the topics of saturated fat vs. carbohydrates will continue to be debated, and rightly so, as nutrition, like all science, is an ever evolving field.  Given what we know now know about the effects of certain saturated fats like stearic acid, perhaps the question "Is saturated fat really as bad as we thought?" should be addressed in relation to carbohydrate intake.

 

To learn more about the relationship between our diet and medical conditions such as high cholesterol and diabetes, consider making a nutrition consultation with our Registered Dietitian, Kelley Bradshaw MS, RD.  

 

 

 


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