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Go Red for American Heart Month
In This Issue
Healthy Habits
Spice Spotlight: Paprika
Recipe Round Up
Hormone Highlight: Estrogen
Could you be diabetic?
Diabetes and Alcohol
New study for "bad" cholesterol

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Healthy Habits from Fellow Patients
kale In January, we asked our loyal Advancing Health readers "What are some ways that help you to eat your veggies every day? " Here's a great list of helpful tips: 
  • Jessica G: "I love celery with almond butter! It's sweet and crunchy and really simple to make."
  • Steve A:  "I bring baby carrots to work everyday and have them at lunch with my sandwich."
  • Kara M: "It's easy to eat veggies at breakfast if you throw them in a smoothie. I like to add spinach, beets, carrots and celery."
  • Claire T: "Kale chips are my new favorite snack! They're crunchy, salty and a great way for me to sneak in some extra vegetables.

Spice Spotlight: Paprika 
 Paprika is made from dried, ground red bell peppers or chiles. It can be smoky or sweet, depending on the variety. It's mild in heat and is often used as a garnish in American cooking.

Hungarian paprika is generally sweeter and milder, but there are various levels of heat.  Spanish paprika (pimentón), often called Smoked Paprika, imparts a smoky flavor, as the chiles are dried over firewood.  

Foods commonly used in:
  Hungarian Paprika is great in rich foods such as meat, potatoes or egg noodles. It works well as a garnish for deviled eggs or potato salad, and mixes well in soups or goulash.

Possible health benefits:  Since it is made from bell peppers or chiles, Paprika also contains capsaicin, a compound that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It may also help improve circulation and lower blood pressure. Capsaicin may also help to curb appetite and to slightly increase your metabolism, thus helping to contribute to weight loss.  Vitamin C is present in paprika, but in very small amounts.

How to use and store:
  • Spanish paprika has a bit of a smoky kick, so use sparingly at first, starting with 1/4 teaspoon.  
  • Store in a cool, dark and dry place, away from heat and humidity.
  • If you want your paprika to have more zip, heat it up! As a garnish, paprika is fairly mild, but when cooked, the heat releases sweet, rich, earthy notes and can increase the spicy factor.  


Fun Facts:

  • Per equal amounts of weight, paprika has more vitamin C than lemon juice! 
Interested in Research Studies? 
To learn more about our current research studies and to see if you may  qualify, send an email to:  studies@diabloclinical.com

Recipe Roundup: Chicken Burgers with Avocado and Caramelized Onions

 This low-carb burger is delicious and filled with healthy fats. It is a great source of vitamins A, C, K and potassium. Pair with a simple side salad or non-starchy vegetable
Makes approximately 5 servings. 
Original recipe courtesy of PaleOMG.
  • 1 lb ground chicken, organic if available
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1.5 cups of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Garnish:
    • Sliced avocado
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For the onions:
    • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 TB of butter, ideally grass-fed, such as KerryGold 
    • 1 TB water
  • Using a medium sauce pan, bring butter and onions to medium heat. Make sure to stir the onions so that they don't stick to the pan. When the onions start to brown, add the water.
  • As the onions are cooking, mix burger ingredients (through garlic powder) in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands or a large spoon. Divide the mixture into 5 pieces, using your hands to form balls. Use a spatula to flatten into patties.
  • Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. (If not using a non-stick pan, add a little bit of butter to help prevent sticking.)
  • Cook for 6-8 minutes on each side (12-16 minutes total.) Flip over as needed to ensure even cooking.
  • Once burgers are fully cooked, remove from skillet and top with the caramelized onions and avocado slices. 
Nutrition Facts per serving:         245 calories, 16.2g total fat (5.6g saturated, 7.1g monoun-saturated, 2.0 g polyun-saturated) , 90.2 mg cholesterol,  9.2g carbohydrates  (2.9g fiber, 3.9g sugar), 17.4g protein, 162mg sodium,  776mg potassium, 1.6mg iron (9% DV), 40.7mg calcium (4% DV)
Hormone Highlight: Estrogen

AKA: the female sex hormone

Location:  primarily the ovaries, but can be produced throughout the body.

Function(s):  Estrogen is actually a compound of three different hormones: estriol, estradiol, and estrone. Estriol is produced during pregnancy and is made from the placenta. Estradiol is mainly found in women of child-bearing potential and is formed from ovarian follicles.  It is responsible for female anatomy characteristics, sexual function and is essential in women's bone health. Estrone is only present post-menopause and is found throughout the body. 

Common reasons why estrogen levels decrease include:  ovarian dysfunction, hypopituitarism, pregnancy failure, perimenopause and menopause, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), anorexia nervosa, and extreme exercise.

Estrogen levels become elevated with the onset of puberty, during pregnancy, being overweight or obese, having high blood pressure and diabetes. 
Further reading:
Advancing Health Newsletter February 2013

February is American Heart Month  


Diablo Clinical Research supports health awareness, advances in medicine and health care and positive lifestyle changes throughout the year,. For the month of February, we will be focusing our efforts on cardiovascular (heart) diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and coronary artery disease.  


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists these startling facts about heart disease:
  • In 2008, heart disease accounted for 25% of the deaths in the U.S.
  • Each year, around 785,000 Americans have their first heart attack. An additional 470,000 Americans who have had a previous heart attack will have another one.
  • Coronary artery (heart) disease cost an estimated $108.9 billion in 2010. This does not include the costs of other cardiovascular diseases.
  • Risk factors for heart disease include: inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes. In 2003, 37% of Americans reported having two or more of these risk factors. ALL of these risk factors can be changed, reduced or modified with lifestyle interventions.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. A 2005 survey reported that 36% of women did NOT believe they were at risk for heart disease. 
  • 2013 statistics on heart disease and stroke can be found here.
Diablo Clinical Research encourages you to be your own health care advocate.  Ask your medical doctors questions, seek out ways to modify your lifestyle behaviors, discuss nutrition with a registered dietitian and look for support from family, friends and others who may be at risk for heart disease.   

Throughout the month of February, Diablo Clinical Research staff will be wearing red and red ribbons to show our support for women's heart disease awareness. Stop by our office for new recipes, heart-healthy handouts and learn about new research opportunities.   

~ Diablo Clinical Research

Resolution #2:
Kick the sugar addiction
At the start of every year, millions of people make New Year's resolutions, yet a majority of these resolutions have fizzled out by February. Engaging in goal setting (such as S.M.A.R.T. goals) or making your goals known to friends and family are just two of many sure-fire ways to help those resolutions stick. And Diablo Clinical Research is here to help! Each month we'll be highlighting a resolution or goal and ways to help you achieve it.   Read on for this month's resolution...

Image via Wikipedia
February: Cut down on your added sugar intake.

Why?  Sure, sugar tastes good, but added sugars are some of the worst things that we can put in our body. Most sugary foods are high in calories, fat and carbohydrates, yet are low in nutrients: they are calorie-dense but not nutrient-dense (they lack important vitamins and minerals). Obvious examples include soda, cake, candy, pastries and other desserts. But sugar also lurks in "healthier" products such as cereal, yogurt, sports drinks, bread and various sauces and condiments.

Essentially, sugar is added to nearly every packaged good. Over time, too much of the sweet stuff can cause major health problems (or at least make them worse), such as:  overweight/obesity, high triglycerides, high LDL (bad) cholesterol and/or low HDL (good) cholesterol, dental cavities, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, changes in metabolic hormones (insulin, glucagon, thyroid, human growth, cortisol and epinephrine), fatigue and even addiction.

The American Heart Association recommends less than 6 teaspoons (approximately 24 grams or ~ 100 calories) a day of added sugars for women and less than 9 teaspoons (36 grams or ~150 calories) of added sugars for men.  The Nutrition Facts Label currently doesn't separate naturally-occurring vs. added sugars in packaged foods.  Naturally-occurring sugars are found in fruit, vegetables and some dairy products (plain milk and plain yogurt). With a few exceptions, its safe to assume that the sugar in packaged foods is added sugar.  And keep in mind, certain foods that have naturally-occurring sugars, such as blueberry yogurt, are usually filled with added sugars too.

How?  Short of government regulation of sugar, it's up to you if you want to reduce your sugar intake and improve your health.   Here are some tried and true ways to help reduce your sugar intake:
  • Log It: Writing down your food intake is a great way to identify how much sugar you're eating. Make sure to keep track of everything: that piece (or 3 ) of candy you had at work, the cookie between lunch and dinner, everything!   
  • Out of sight, out of mind: The less sugary foods you keep in the house, the less likely you are to overindulge on them. Remove cookies, pastries, cakes, candy, sugary beverages, sweetened yogurt, etc. from your kitchen.  When you do buy those foods, put them away in the back of the fridge or the pantry. 
  • Go Gradually:  Slowly reducing the amount of sugar in your diet is a great way to help you cut down while not feeling deprived. For example, if you normally put 3 sugar packets in your coffee, try putting 2 packets in for a week or so. Let your taste buds gradually adjust, rather than completely omitting sugar. You're more likely to not revert back to your "3 pack a day" habit.
  • Half Sweet, Half Not:  Try mixing a sweet version of a food with an unsweetened version. For example, mix 4 oz of Orange juice with 4 oz (or more!) of plain water or sparkling water.  Mix 1/2 cup of a sugar cereal with a low sugar cereal (0-3 grams of sugar per serving.)
  • Do 'diet'...with caution: If you're drinking 3 regular sodas a day and can't give it up entirely, it's best that you switch to diet. You'll save a bunch of calories and sugars with these sugar-free diet foods and beverages, at least in the short term.  But keep in mind, while diet foods and sugar substitutes are okay in the short term, research is mixed (or unavailable) about their long term safety or effects on satiety.  Diet soda is still a processed food and should be thought of as a special treat
  • Spend Sugar Wisely:  Limit having sugar to foods where you'll appreciate it the most. If you have a sweet tooth, save all your sugar for a small dessert, instead of having sugar in coffee, a sugary cereal or yogurt.
  • Read the Ingredients:  Before purchasing packaged foods, read through the ingredient label to see how many different sources of sugar are in the product.  But it's not so simple: sugar goes by many other names. Make sure you're familiar with all the other 'types' of sugar.  
What are your tips and techniques for reducing your sugar intake?

Send an email with your ideas to our Registered Dietitian and your healthy habits will be posted in our March newsletter. 
Are your Triglyceride levels high?
Pfizer Phase 1
Nutrition F.A.Q.: "Why is my blood glucose lower after I've had a drink or two?
Yes, it's true that alcohol will lower blood sugar during acute or short-term consumption.  Simply put, alcohol triggers your body to secrete (release) insulin, which is your body's way of lowering your blood glucose.  Alcohol is absorbed in your gastrointestinal tract and metabolized in the liver, where glucose is produced. Alcohol redirects blood flow to the pancreas and stimulates blood flow in the Islet cells.  This spurs the insulin production, thus lowering blood glucose levels. At the same time, the alcohol interferes with glucose production. The liver is busy processing the alcohol and trying to get it out of the body. During this time, the liver is not performing glycogenolysis, which is the process of making glucose from stored glycogen.  This process can occur immediately and last up to 12 hours post-ingestion of alcohol.

This blood sugar lowering effect can be seen in both non-diabetic and diabetic persons, but the side effects tend to be greater in those with diabetes. Some signs and symptoms of over consumption of alcohol are similar to non-alcohol induced hypoglycemia: dizziness, sleepiness, disorientation. While lowering your blood glucose by drinking may seem like a good idea, it's not without side effects.  Certain oral medications for diabetes, such as sulfonylureas (Glipizide, Glimepiride and Glyburide) and meglitinides (Prandin) are designed to lower your blood glucose already. When combined with alcohol, it may lead to hypoglycemia. Alcohol can also reduce the effectiveness of other medications.  Alcohol also stimulates the appetite, which may cause you to overeat, thus raising blood glucose. Some studies have show that diabetics have a greater risk of dying from alcohol-related complications than non-diabetics. Alcohol consumption can exacerbate other diabetes-related medical conditions, such as retinopathy and peripheral neuropathy.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that diabetics refrain from drinking if their blood glucose is less than 100 mg/dL or higher than 140 mg/dL. You should check your blood glucose prior to drinking and again before you go to bed to make sure that it's not too low. Alcohol should not be consumed on an empty stomach, so make sure you're having something to eat with your beverage. Regardless if someone has diabetes or not, it is still advised to limit alcoholic beverages to 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men. Remember--moderation is key!
Do you know if your LDL-Cholesterol is high?

  High LDL-Cholesterol ("Bad cholesterol")?

Are your numbers at your goal?  


If your LDL-Cholesterol (LDL-C) is high and not adequately controlled by your current cholesterol-lowering treatments, you may be eligible to take part in a research study being conducted by local physicians.


This study is evaluating the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of an investigational drug to determine if it can reduce 'bad' cholesterol, given by injection under the skin every two weeks, in addition to your existing cholesterol-lowering treatments.  To participate, you must have LDL-C levels of 70 mg/dL (1.81 mmol/L) or higher and be taking cholesterol-lowering medication.  

To find out more about the ODYSSEY Clinical Trail Program, or to be part of this important research, you can call Ava at 

925-930-7267 or send an email to: apaulazzo@diabloclinical.com


Free HbA1c test for Diabetics!
Do you know your A1c score? When was the last time you had it checked? 6 months ago? A year? Longer?

If you're diabetic and it's been longer than 3 months since you had an HbA1c test, visit us for a FREE test. Please call (925) 930-7267 to schedule an appointment. 

Love healthy cooking? MORE recipes are available on our website at  http://diabloclinical.com/subcat_studyvolunteers_health.php
And don't forget to check out our blog,  http://diabloclinicalresearch.wordpress.com/, for health,nutrition & fitness articles!