Topic of the Month July 2014: Pass (On) The Sugar

by on July 23rd, 2014

Doctor Paul Kennedy

Topic of the Month July 2014: Pass (On) The Sugar
It’s been nearly two years since I commented on sugar consumption in the USA. New research evidence has surfaced that indicates a continued overconsumption of sugar and “sweeteners” by many even though the sugar content of many processed and prepared foods has slowly (finally?) been reduced. It should be no surprise that the age groups most associated with sugar overconsumption are comparatively younger Americans. This does not mean that dietary levels of sugar in older populations have decreased significantly but it does indicate that younger people are still drinking highly sweetened beverages at an unhealthy pace. Parental control in this matter is, many times, non-existent and, therefore, young children and teenagers continue to consume sugar sweetened beverages at an unhealthy rate.

Although it is difficult to determine how much is too much when it comes to sweetened beverages and these sweeteners include high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which has become ubiquitous in our total food supply and can be found in almost every “prepared” food. What are the health issues related to sugar and HFCS consumption? Well, aside from the high caloric intake which causes overweight and obesity, the nutritional value is nearly zero. As a result of high levels of dietary sugar and HFCS, circulatory issues tend to arise along with fat weight gain and obesity.

In fact, there have been over a dozen studies (involving over 400,000 subjects) showing a correlation between sugar and/or HFCS intake to hypertension (high blood pressure)—even in teenagers. This condition seems to occur slowly and innocuously over time but research has shown that hypertension becomes a real possibility after about 18 months of regular consumption of sweetened beverages and foods.

How does this hypertension happen?

It has to do with how our arterial function and how dietary sugar and HFCS make our arteries struggle to maintain proper blood flow.

Our arteries are amazing in that they carry oxygen and glucose (energy from the food we eat) to the cells to help us produce energy for our daily lives and activities. When we exercise, the inner membrane cell walls of our arteries give off a chemical called nitric oxide which allows our arteries to open even wider (known as vasodilation) to allow greater blood flow when we need it. This nitric oxide is essential for arterial health and performance and allows our heart to work more efficiently. Sadly, sugar-sweetened beverages can–and will–lower nitric oxide levels in the blood. This means that the arteries become narrower and more constricted which, in turn, causes blood pressure to rise. Similarly, another essential nutrient that helps normalize and/or control blood pressure that is negatively affected by sugar intake is magnesium. The more sugar in the system, the more tense the smooth muscles of the blood vessels become and the higher the blood pressure due to lower levels of magnesium. This is why high blood pressure in teens as well as adults appears to be strongly related to the consumption of sweeteners like sugar and HFCS.

How much is too much?

Research seems to indicate that more than one serving PER DAY may be associated with a higher risk hypertension and high blood pressure. And don’t forget that higher sugar intake is also related to the risk for Type II diabetes—particularly in the absence of regular and vigorous exercise. Kidney stones have also been linked to sugar/sweetener consumption. As usual, moderation of sugar and sugar-sweetened beverage intake is major key to better health.  Remember that every 12 ounce can of sweetened “soda” and many iced teas contain the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar!! And don’t forget to look for and avoid the hidden sugar in many prepared foods when you shop. In other words, read and compare labels when you shop. The closer that one gets to fresh or frozen food without the added sugar or sweeteners, the lower the risk of many of the conditions and diseases discussed above. It all adds up!

I’m Dr. Paul Kennedy and that’s the “Be Fit, Stay Fit” Topic of the Month for July, 2014. Good luck with YOUR program! I KNOW you can do it!

Restaurant Food and Fast Weight Gain

by on September 29th, 2011

Doctor Paul Kennedy

It’s hard to believe but it turns out that the average American “eats out” about 20 times per month. Previous studies have shown even higher rates of food consumption away from the home. Another recent survey indicated that 20% of the population proudly consider themselves “fast food junkies.” As part of my seminar series on fitness and wellness, I include a section on weight loss and food consumption. Primarily, I ask the participants, if they have a personal issue with excess body weight (fat), to find just two hundred calories in their eating plan that can be easily eliminated. Keep in mind that two hundred calories is about the number of calories in a can of non-artificially sweetened soda and a small cookie. Clearly, this should be easy to do but, for some, even this is considered a “sacrifice”. What a pity because just this simple adjustment in their eating plan will result, if all other factors remain the same, in an annual loss of about twenty pounds of fat! To bring it into even sharper focus for the “fast food junkies”, I explain to them that it is possible to significantly reduce their caloric intake at a fast food restaurant with the following example.
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Heart Disease, Diabetes, Body Weight and Genetics

by on June 30th, 2011

Doctor Paul KennedyWe have known for years (decades really) that individuals that are overweight or obese are far more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes than those that are leaner or “skinny”. Clearly, there is much truth to that statement but some new genetic research has identified a gene known as IRS1 that is linked not only to having less body fat but, in addition, is linked to higher risk of heart

disease and greater chances of acquiring diabetes (Type 2). Many people always wonder what role genetics can play in a variety of diseases and conditions but the identification of this newly discovered genetic relationship is important.

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Wholly Guacamole

by on June 21st, 2011

Doctor Paul Kennedy
Summer makes me think of two of my favorite thing: Skinny Girl margaritas and guacamole! I usually make my own guacamole, but I noticed All Natural Wholly Guacamole in the produce section of the grocery store and thought I would give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised to see only a handful

of casino online ingredients: Hass avocados, Jalapeno puree, onion, salt and and NO additives, preservatives or trans fats. In addition, each serving contains heart healthy monounsaturated fat as well as folic acid, potassium and fiber. Now the important

part…the casino taste! Wholly guacamole has a very smooth and creamy consistency with a few chunks of avocado and just the right amount of spice and garlic. Serve with baked whole wheat pita chips for a healthy snack, or use on sandwiches, salads or grilled chicken for generic cialis a quick and easy dinner. My personal favorite is Wholly guacamole with scrambled egg whites and fresh tomatoes…delicious! Bottom line: a quick and easy alternative to homemade guacamole that tastes fresh and is loaded with heart healthy nutrients.


Stuffed Turkey Burgers

by on June 20th, 2011

Doctor Paul Kennedy

Serving: 4


  • 1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup shredded part- skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns


Separate turkey into 4 equal sized rounds. Make 2 online casino equal sized patties out of each round, so you have 8 patties total. Sprinkle 4 of the patties with 2 tablespoons

red peppers and 2 tablespoons cheese, and top with remaining patties, working the turkey around the edges to seal burgers closed. Season burgers with salt and ground pepper. Grill until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Serve on hamburger bun and bouncy castles for sale in canada


Nutritional Information (Per serving)

346 Calories; 3 g Fat; 28 g Protein; 28 g Carbohydrates; 3 g Fiber.

Fit and Fat? How Can That Be?

by on May 2nd, 2011

Doctor Paul KennedyWe’ve known for years that some people that are considered significantly overweight or “fat” seem to be able to accomplish activities that require significantly higher levels of fitness (based upon heart rate response and work load). A recent long-term study, for example, involving over 11 thousand women and lasting nearly thirty-five years showed that this is clearly possible. Studies involving men have also shown this to be true but the study referenced above showed that women too can improve their cardiovascular fitness and reap the benefits of a fitter body without necessarily being “slender” or “thin”. The bottom line in terms of what factor was important to longevity and cause of death in the women studied was cardiorespiratory fitness (or CRF). CRF is measured using a graded exercise test (usually on a treadmill or a stationary bike) that gradually increases resistance or workload while measuring and/or analyzing expired air and heart rate. In addition, time to fatigue may also be measured to determine endurance. But all of these tests are a way of finding out just how efficient the heart, lungs and circulatory are at delivering oxygen to the cells for the production of energy. Moreover, it is understood that the more oxygen that can be delivered and/or exchanged is an indication of better general fitness. This is also why resting heart rate is also considered a good measure of general fitness.

Once baseline and subsequent measures of fitness (described above) are determined and recorded over time, an analysis can be accomplished using other fitness indicators such as percentage of body fat, body mass index ( or BMI—see archive ), waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio to determine if a relationship exists. It was found that life expectancy for individuals that were overweight or obese, a higher level of cardiorespirartory fitness for all women studied was directly related to increased longevity regardless of the amount of additional adipose tissue (fatness). In other words, even when fat, women who were able to maintain a lower resting heart rate and higher fitness levels (due in large part to higher levels of regular physical activity) lived longer and, ostensibly, had lower rates of acquired diseases such as diabetes and many circulatory diseases.

Indeed, lower levels of cardiorespiratory (also known as “cardiovascular”) fitness was “a significant independent predictor of all-cause mortality”. In other words, the

higher the fitness level, the longer the life span regardless of the cause of death (other than accidental causes). The conclusion of the study is that predicting cause of death in an individual due to bodyweight factors such as obesity must take into account the health of the heart, lungs and circulatory system. It also indicates that being fit and carrying additional weight is not necessarily an indicator of an early death. Clearly, excess weight and especially obesity is a factor in individual health and mortality but being fit is also possible for those who struggle with their weight and can help to live a longer and more disease free life.

It should also be understood that part of a healthy lifestyle is related to nutrition habits. For most people, being overweight or obese is multi-causal. Exercising regularly and eating poorly is just as counterproductive as eating well and not exercising with respect to gaining unwanted pounds. Is there a genetic predisposition for overweight and obesity? Of course! But almost anyone can keep those unwanted pounds from happening with a little foresight, a little exercise and a little self-control with respect to calorie intake. But remember that regardless of body weight, improved fitness is possible, desirable and will allow the individual to live a longer and healthier life. If you struggle with your weight, you owe it to yourself to get started or RE-started on a fitness program that will improve your level of health. And there’s no time like the present!

I’m Dr. Paul Kennedy and that’s the “Be Fit, Stay Fit” Topic of the Month for May, 2011. Good luck with your program. I KNOW you can do it!

Dietary Fructose

by on March 2nd, 2011

Doctor Paul Kennedy
It seems that the bad news about fructose (or more precisely, high fructose corn syrup or HFCS) just won’t go away. I have written before on at least three occasions concerning the pervasive influence of this all-too-common sweetener and the rise of the obesity epidemic in our culture. Of course, as I stated in 2003, 2006 AND 2007, fructose naturally occurs in many foods (particularly fruits and vegetables) but is in such small and easily digestible and assimilated amounts that it can actually be nutritious. But the advent of the HIGH fructose sweetener (mostly from corn via a chemically induced and convoluted concentration process) almost 30 years ago changed the landscape—as well as our waistlines—and the results were not good.

Indeed, two recent studies in the Journal or the American Society of Nephrology has indicated that what is now known as “dietary” fructose(the processed sweetener referenced above) may have become a risk factor (based on animal studies) for kidney disease. In addition, and possibly more importantly, an even more recent study published in December of 2010 in the same professional journal involving over 4,500 adults and measured over a four year time frame showed a correlation between dietary fructose and high blood pressure. It must be understood that these findings are in addition to the already established relationship between dietary fructose (HFCS) and obesity. Just to be sure that the increases in blood pressure were directly related to HFCS, adjustments were made for other  factors such as total calories consumed, level of physical activity as well as salt and alcohol consumption so that the effects could be accurately measured and rendered statistically accurate.

In the study, the average daily intake of dietary fructose was comparable to two and one-half cans of sugary soft drinks. For each increase similar to that amount consumed daily (in other words, for every increase of 74 grams of fructose per day), blood pressure rose—on average– by approximately 25%. It should be remembered, of course, that sugary soft drinks is not the It was never an issue of whether youtube justin bieber baby privately hopes for the subjugation of African-American people. only source of HFCS in our food supple y. Many (most?) processed foods are sweetened by this same substance. Perversely, they are listed on the ingredients panel as high fructose corn syrup but on the calorie panel in grams as “sugars”. No wonder that the public has unknowingly conflated a processed sweetener that comes from with a product that comes from cane sugar.

Additionally, in the study human cited above, the individuals involved had no previous history of hypertension—none! In other words, the simple addition of the equivalent of no more than 2 ½ cans of sweetened soda or other HFCS sweetened foods per day kicked the average blood pressure PAST the pre-hypertension range to at least 135/85. Some participants with additional dietary fructose intake had a risk factor of 77% for a blood pressure reading 160/100 (which means that three out of four in the highest intake group reached that level).  As a corollary to this, it should be remembered that the source of dietary fructose is not only found in sweetened soda. The use of HFCS is ubiquitous in the American food supply and is found as the main source of “sweetening” in a wide variety of processed foods and snacks.  If a processed food contains a sweetener, chances are good that refined and concentrated fructose (HFCS) is the source.

For a simple low-calorie drink suggestion (since most soft drinks are loaded with HFCS), try brewing your own iced tea and flavor it with fruit juice. It’s a refreshing, healthful and easy way to avoid refined fructose sweeteners and still enjoy a flavorful beverage. As for foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, don’t buy them or, at least, keep their consumption to a minimum. Check the labels and use—in moderation—foods that are sweetened with cane sugar or, better yet, fruit juice. More naturally flavored foods are challenging to find but they do exist and many more stores (especially natural food stores) usually carry them. And after all, you SHOULD be reading the labels of ALL the foods you consume whenever possible. Increased demand for more natural foods will ultimately drive supply so be a warrior when it comes to choosing and/or requesting less processed foods that contain no HFCS.

I’m Dr. Paul Kennedy and

that’s the ‘Be Fit, Stay Fit” Topic of the Month for March, 2011. Good luck with YOUR health and fitness program. I KNOW you can do it!

An Ounce Of Prevention

by on October 5th, 2010

Dr. Paul KennedyWe all know that health insurance doesn’t insure health but, rather, it insures sickness. And we all know that those individuals who exercise on a regular basis are less prone to a growing list of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even some forms of cancer to name just a few. So why aren’t the insurance companies in the health business rather than the chronic disease business? Why would an insurance company not support (i.e. pay for) a weight loss/fitness program rather than gastric by-pass surgery. Well, aside from being tied to a profit motive (an unfair and counterproductive relationship when it comes to health), the tide may be starting to turn.
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Before and After Your Workout—What to Eat or Drink

by on August 1st, 2010

Periodically there is a reanalysis of what has become known as “sports nutrition” (which in most cases is essentially “exercise nutrition”) with respect to ratios or percentages of carbohydrate and protein consumption. As is usually the case in “exercise prescription” there are literally dozens of mitigating factors that may need to be considered in order to come up with the optimal amounts of these essential “nutrients” that will, hopefully, allow us to perform AND recover from exercise and/or competition more quickly and safely. Some of these factors include workout intensity, body type, gender, ambient temperature (temperature plus humidity), length of exercise bout or competition, current fitness level, type of exercise (endurance versus strength or power), the “timing” of the nutrient intake and even fitness goals (for example, weight management versus training for a specific activity or sport competition). It’s no wonder then that many people feel confused by all the commercial hype surrounding “supplements” or products associated with improving performance or even body composition. Let’s take a look at some fundamental ideas that will help to improve YOUR performance and maybe even save you a little cash.

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Sugar, Sugar — Another Look

by on June 1st, 2010

Everyone enjoys something sweet every now and then—myself included. But we as a culture eat more refined sugar in one day than our caveman ancestors did in a lifetime. It is estimated that the average person in the United States consumes about 40 POUNDS of sugar annually and another 160 POUNDS of “other sweeteners” such as viagr a pfizer high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)—the preferred sweetener used by manufacturers of carbonated soda and fruit juice “cocktail” (fruit juice sweetened with additional refined sugar or HFCS in order to make it cheaper). To put that amount of sugar per serving into perspective, assume that a person with whom you are having lunch orders a medium sized glass of carbonated water and calmly adds 10 TEASPOONS OF SUGAR before drinking it! You would probably be a bit shocked by that. BUT, that’s the same sugar “hit” as one 12-ounce can of soda. How much sugar in a “Big Gulp”???? Over 400! Get the picture? And there is even more “hidden” sugar in dozens of the processed foods that we love to eat. But just focusing on the overload of unneeded calories is only one part of the issue as described in my previous article on the subject (see “Sugar, Sugar”). The essentially non-nutritive value of refined sugar and HFC has many other unwanted effects that can be just as damaging as the creeping overweight due to caloric excess.

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Where The Calories Go To Play

by on March 1st, 2010

In last month’s TOTM (“ I Just Want to Lose Weight!”), I stated that the “culprit” in unwanted fat weight gain was too many calories compared to the amount of calories used to support the body’s activities. In other words, too little activity and too much food! But there is a corollary to the formula that many fail to implement in their daily lives. It’s easy to reduce caloric intake a bit (say, 200 calories per day) and to engage in a bit more daily exercise (a short daily walk, for example). But there are other factors that can help in a big way and that can have permanent positive effects on weight control. Here’s how?

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I Just Want To Lose Weight!

by on February 1st, 2010

The main driving factor in starting or maintaining most “fitness” programs is related to unwanted pounds. Although the other related health benefits of regular exercise’stronger muscles, healthier heart and circulatory system and lower incidence of chronic diseases— are, of course, thought to be important, weight loss is the primary goal for most individuals contemplating a fitness “program”. But it should be understood that “weight loss” should not be confused with the REAL goal of FAT loss. Anyone can begin to lose weight by drastically curbing his or her caloric intake. In fact, a drastic reduction in caloric intake will cause the body to lose weight almost immediately. Some of the weight loss will, indeed, be fat BUT some of the loss will be lean body tissue, which will possibly lead to a permanently reduced metabolic rate (the rate at which an individual burns calories). This reduced metabolic rate due to “binge dieting” or “crash dieting” can cause more problems down the road since the body’s ability to “burn” calories naturally will be negatively affected by less LEAN tissue.

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Diet and Immunity

by on December 1st, 2009

With a swine flu epidemic in full swing, it seems that there is no better time than the present to review the relationship between the strength of our immune system and our diet (i.e.-what we eat on a regular basis). The idea is to increase the quantity of foods that provide a “boost” to the immune system’an idea that was, for some time, thought to lack a sufficient data-base of proof. Well, no more! And the kicker is that many of those same foods that we always knew were good for us are, in many cases, not just foods that will keep us fit and trim but can also assist us in defending our bodies against “invasion” from viruses like the ones that cause colds and flu. Additionally, many of these same foods will help to increase our resistance to infections due to an increase in our white blood cell count—a critical part of our immune system.

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Fiber – Another Look

by on October 1st, 2009

It has been a while since an article about dietary fiber has graced these pages. It does seem that Americans are now getting the message about fiber based on information from the International Food Information Council Foundation that indicates that consumer awareness of the value of fiber has grown while focus on carbohydrates, while still important, has leveled off. What this information DOESN”T mean is that Americans are getting the fiber that they need. The USDA has estimated that only 20% of the population (about one in five Americans) gets the dietary fiber that they need. How much is enough? Well, for men and women fifty and under the amount is 38 and 25 grams respectively and for older Americans (those over fifty) it is, respectively, 30 and 21 grams. Dietary fiber, of course, allows the body to remain “regular” and stimulates the function of the bowels.
As a result, they help reduce the incidence many digestive disorders from irritable bowel syndrome to diverticulitis (small inflamed “pouches” that can develop in the colon) to hemorrhoids.

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Glycemic Index — Revisited

by on April 1st, 2009

It’s been nearly six years since I wrote about the glycemic index, or GI, as a factor in blood glucose control and weight control. The evidence at that time was still a bit speculative but in general showed that people that ate foods that were lower on the glycemic index (an index that measures how rapidly blood sugar can rise in relation to the consumption of a specific food), the greater the weight loss. But part of the issue back then also involved trying to measure how foods were mixed in the form of a meal. It appears now that the issue has been described in a little bit better detail with the development of a term now known as “glycemic load” or GL.

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Women, Weight control and Disease

by on January 1st, 2009

It’s not easy starting out the New Year with an article concerning a disease such as cancer. Indeed, the real purpose of this article is not necessarily to show the link between keeping one’s weight under control and the prevention of this challenging (and possibly deadly) disease but the fact that so few women understand or refuse to accept the link between the two. Of course, this disease causality factor (being overweight and/or obese) for men is similar but a study completed over a year ago and appearing in the medical journal “Obstetrics and Gynecology” in the fall of 2008 showed that the message concerning weight management and disease is not getting through – at least not to the degree that it should. Here are some of the facts.

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Mitochondria — Part Two

by on December 1st, 2008


three years ago, in January 2006, I wrote about the importance of exercise and weight loss with respect to the increase in the mitochondria of the cells (“Mitochondria-The Little Engines That Will!”). These mitochondria, as stated in the article, were just then being seen as an important part of any weight loss or weight management program. As it turns out, some new research has shown that this is, indeed, the case. In the most recent issue of my favorite nutrition periodical, “Nutrition Action” (published by the non-profit group The Center for Science in the Public Interest), the role of the mitochondria has been put into even clearer perspective. Usually, “Nutrition Action” rarely gets into the physiology of exercise and the components that contribute to weight management outside the realm of food rip-offs and diet control. However, it appears that the contribution of mitochondrial development as a result of proper exercise programs and its effect on “natural” and healthy forms of weight loss were too big to ignore.

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Holiday Feasting — Problem of Pleasure?

by on November 1st, 2008

Although it may seem a little early to start thinking about holiday eating issues, it seems that the average weight gain for Americans is influenced heavily (no pun intended) by events that begin in the fall and, of course, early winter. For example, how much leftover candy is till floating around your home or office after Halloween? It’s not easy to resist those little “fun size” candy bars is it? Whatever the Trick or Treaters don’t carry away from our door, we gladly use as temporary “snack” food for the next couple of weeks. And there is always someone at the office or workplace that puts out some goodies from his or her own Halloween leftovers.

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Diet and Brain Function

by on October 1st, 2008

I have written before about the obvious effects of diet and its relationship to various conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. The pervading factors in this relationship are usually high levels of fat (especially saturated fats) as well as excess calories. I’ve also discussed on some occasions the positive links between regular exercise and improved brain function. But the connection between diet and brain function is a little more tenuous and murky. Fortunately, some recent research has begun to show that there is a positive response by the brain (either reactive or proactive) to a proper diet that is lower in fat and calories – especially where it involves memory.

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Vitamin D — Revisited

by on September 1st, 2008

I have written about Vitamin D in the past (see “Vitamin D – Superstar” and “Supplemental Vitamins – Should I or Shouldn’t I?” in the archive) as part of a long-term lesson plan about supplementation and the functions and needs of specific nutrients. My first TOTW about vitamin D was nearly five years ago and the most recent was in 2006. Why another “story” about vitamin D? Well, the information about this important nutrient just seems to keep piling up.

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