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Sugar Ain’t So Sweet

by Dr. Willemin

TL;DR – Eating too much sugar is bad for you, especially added sugars. Simple diet tweaks can cut a lot of sugar from your diet and reduce your risk of a number of health conditions.

When we hear the word sugar, most people think of things like ice cream, cookies, cakes, candy, etc. What about bread? French Fries? Spaghetti Sauce? In the American diet we eat a lot of sugar, and it often isn’t as obvious as it seems. We are going to take a look at a diet that most people would consider to be fairly healthy, and see how much sugar is actually lurking there.

As with all of my blog posts, I like to explain why we even care about the topic. Well to put it simply, too much sugar is hard on your body. Sugar has been linked in studies to a variety of conditions including cancer, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. (1-5) Remember 2 seconds ago when I mentioned that Type 2 diabetes was associated with excessive sugar intake? Well it gets worse from that. Type 2 diabetes was associated with decreased cognitive function and accelerated aging of the brain. Meaning that excessive sugar intake can lead to mental decline; making it more difficult to learn new things and recall memories. (6) While all of those things sound unpleasant enough, it turns out sugar also causes inflammation. Which means that chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis (among many others) can be made worse by excessive sugar intake.(7)

Unfortunately, Americans consume a lot of sugar:

Meal Food Grams of Sugar Calories
Breakfast 1 Cup Raisin Bran 18 185
½ Cup 1% Milk 6 51
1 Cup Coffee with 1 Sugar Packet 4 15
Morning Snack 1 Medium Apple 19 95
Lunch Turkey Sandwich* 4 214
15 Baked BBQ Potato Chips 3 120
1 Can of Coca-Cola 39 150
Afternoon Snack 1 Chocolate Chip Cookie** 14 120
1 Cup Coffee with 1 Sugar Packet 4 15
Dinner 1 Cup Zucchini Noodles 3 33
½ cup Prego Sauce 10 70
1 Piece Garlic Toast 2 80
Evening Snack 1 Cup Fruit Salad 14 124
Miscellaneous 2 Wint-O-Green Lifesavers 7 30

*Turkey Sandwich = 2 slices whole wheat bread, slice of cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, 4 thin cut slices of turkey, mustard

**Chocolate Chip Cookie is from https://amyshealthybaking.com

Now most people would think of this as a pretty good day of eating. I didn’t get any fast food. The only real indulgences were the cookie and the can of soda. Well, the total grams of sugar? Drumroll….147 grams! This diet also, only included 1320 calories…yikes! What the heck is going on? What if you substituted a cup of chocolate ice cream instead of fruit salad at night? Add 20 grams of sugar and 162 more calories. What if that afternoon coffee was a second soda? That’s 35 more grams of sugar and 135 more calories. The scariest part if you’re doing the math is that even with those things, we are still only at 1617 calories, while being at 202 grams of sugar! The average American male eats 1000 more calories a day than that (8) – how many more grams of sugar do you think they are adding?

So why are we so hooked on sugar? Well research suggests that sugar can actually be addictive. Sugar can actually change the way your brain works on a neurochemical level and can lead to behaviors of addiction – Bingeing, withdrawal, craving, and cross-sensitization. (9) Dopamine is a chemical in our brain which is a major part of our reward system – meaning it gives us a feeling of pleasure. Well sugar, actually causes the release of dopamine, and so quite literally, it gives us pleasure to eat it. Unfortunately, the more sugar we eat, the less intense the pleasure effect becomes, so we crave more sugar to get the same pleasure result. (10)

What can we do? The answer is actually fairly simple, but simple doesn’t mean easy. Eat more whole foods. Here is another example of a day of eating:

 

Meal Food Grams of Sugar Calories
Breakfast 1 Cup of Oatmeal with 2 teaspoons of sugar and cinnamon 8 330
1 Cup of Coffee 0 0
Morning Snack 1 Cup Raspberries 5 65
1 String Cheese 0 80
Lunch Turkey Sandwich 4 214
¼ Cup Almonds 2 200
1 Glass Iced Tea with 2 Sugar Packets 8 30
Afternoon Snack 1 Biscotti 9 110
1 Cup of Coffee 0 0
Dinner 1 Cup Zucchini Noodles 3 33
1 Diced Tomato 3 25
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 0 100
1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese 0 22
1 Garden Salad With Grilled Chicken and Italian Dressing 3 164
Evening Snack 1 Cup Strawberries 7 49
Miscellaneous Mouthwash 2X 0 0

 

The totals for this day worth of eating – 52 grams of sugar and 1422 calories. That is 65% less sugar!

Now the take away from this article definitely is NOT to use artificial sweeteners. While they do reduce calories and sugar, it turns out they create the exact same problems, and sometimes even increase your risk. They have been shown to be linked with obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even type 2 diabetes. (11-12) The goal is to show that sugar hides in some seemingly innocent foods like raisin bran; and sometimes it isn’t hiding, but we underestimate the amount, such as soda. By switching to things like tea and homemade oatmeal, we can control the amount of sugar. You will be surprised at how much less sugar it takes to make something taste sweet enough when you are doing it yourself. Want a little self test? When you are home take a teaspoon and a plate. Then scoop out a teaspoon for every 4 grams of sugar in whatever food you are looking at eating, and decide if the pile of sugar in front of you seems like an appropriate amount to eat. This visual can really help you understand how much sugar is lurking in some foods.

Hopefully, you can take this information, make some simple changes to your diet, and reduce your risk of a number of potentially deadly diseases, as well as reducing pain and inflammation. That will definitely make life a little more sweet.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9298574
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8123778
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23460912
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15328324
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26376619
  6. http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/sugar-and-brain
  7. https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/foods-to-avoid-limit/food-ingredients-and-inflammation-2.php
  8. https://www.livestrong.com/article/327754-how-many-calories-does-the-average-american-eat-daily/
  9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763407000589
  10. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/01/15/262741403/why-sugar-makes-us-feel-so-good
  11. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170717091043.htm
  12. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/sep/14/artificial-sweeteners-raise-risk-of-type-2-diabetes-study-suggests

 

I just want to talk to the Doctor!

Our consultation gets such rave reviews because it offers an opportunity to discover if Align Chiropractic is right for you BEFORE you commit to us. No pressure, no tricks, just a simple conversation to help you decide.

We start this friendly conversation with you telling us about your health concerns. Once we know what brought you in, then we will provide as much insight as we can pertaining to your issue. The third and final part of the consultation is where we will tell you what separates us from the community of chiropractors in the area, by telling you what we do.

Our Complimentary Consultation requires no commitment by you. You may have heard of chiropractors that have you in the exam room before you’ve even had a chance to introduce yourself. That isn’t how we would want to be treated, so that isn’t how we will treat you.

All we need is about twenty minutes of your time, after that it is your decision if you would like to move forward with an examination. There is no obligation, but for your convenience we always have a block of time for an exam available immediately following a consultation.

Maybe you’re just curious about chiropractic, the different types of chiropractic care available, or you want to find out what makes us different, but you aren’t ready to do a face-to-face sit down with the doctor. We’ve got you covered. Our office does periodic 20-30 minute workshops that will teach you the ins and outs of chiropractic care. At the conclusion of the presentation, we allow time for a question and answer session to let you ask anything you might have missed, including duration of care, insurance and finances, plus just about anything else you want. If you plan on attending a workshop, please call our office at 248-601-6100 to let us know.

What can Align Chiropractic do for me?

After discussing the various options that are available for your particular health challenges, we will then go into an explanation of the specifics of our approach in a detailed and easy to understand way. This will help you to understand the dramatic positive impact our approach can have on your health issues.

 

Our office is specially equipped to focus on Structural Chiropractic Correction. As a result of investing in the additional training and technology required to give complete Structural Chiropractic Correction, we are able to address all of the components of a Structural Shift that may occur. We are able put our training and equipment to work for you to address the shifted spinal segments, the muscles, the intervertebral discs, and even the nerves which are being affected by the Structural Shift.

 

Based on your individual needs we can implement some, or all of the following treatments to achieve the best possible outcome:

 

Chiropractic Adjustment:

While most people assume that all chiropractors adjust the spine, that is actually not true. We frequently will have patients seek our care that report to us that their previous chiropractor never adjusted them, but rather elected to use nutritional supplements or muscle therapy to try to correct their problem. Additionally, we are not a “one-size fits all” sort of office. Our adjustments are truly tailored to the needs and wants of our patients. We have trained in a wide variety of adjusting techniques and have then honed those approaches based on the most effective per research and clinical outcome. Our office is equipped, and Dr. Willemin is trained, to use structural techniques that range from instrument assisted adjustments, specialized table assisted adjustments, and manual adjustments based on the needs and wants of the patient. We even have special equipment that qualifies under the American Disability Act to help provide access to care, regardless of your physical limitations.

 

Spinal Decompression Rehabilitation:

 One component frequently involved in Structural Shifts are changes to the intervertebral discs. People will frequently report that they have “slipped discs”, “bulging discs” or “herniated discs” in their back or neck, but no one has taken the time to give them the full clinical picture. Injuries to the intervertebral discs are complex and can involve a variety of presentations and structures. We are, to our knowledge, the only office with a specialized Spinal Decompression Table in Rochester. We have helped many of our patients avoid unnecessary surgery with our ability to retract disc herniations and address the underlying Structural Shifts.

 

Flexion and Extension Spinal Rehabilitation:

  Our office is equipped with multiple other specialized tables and equipment to provide Structural Chiropractic Correction which address both flexion AND extension. Structural Shifts are not limited to presenting in only one direction, and so we are prepared for any of those presentations. We have the necessary equipment to address the spine completely – whether it requires isolated rehabilitation of one region of the spine or broad rehabilitation of multiple regions of the spine.

 

Laser Assisted Soft Tissue Rehabilitation:

 While all tissue healing takes time we have committed our office to getting the best results as fast as possible. We know that a major component of a Structural Shift are the soft tissues (things like muscles, tendons, and ligaments). Injuries to soft tissues have to go through 4 distinct stages, and frequently, these injuries are pain generating. We offer safe and effective Class IV Low Level Laser Therapy to help speed up soft tissue recovery.

 

Structural Massage Therapy:

  While most massages feel great while you’re receiving them, our goal is to use coordinated care between our highly skilled Licensed Massage Therapists to provide the right care to facilitate great outcomes when Structural Shifts have occurred. Additionally, our massage therapists use 100% pure natural oils. Many massage oils and creams use harsh compounds which can cause skin irritation, inflammation, and have even been associated with certain types of cancer. Our natural oils make sure you aren’t left with new issues for your body to cope with. We also offer essential oil boosts to our massages to improve the relaxation and stress reducing effects of the massage.

 

Vibration Therapy and Balance Training:

 Whether you are looking to improve athletic performance, trying to restore your ability to perform your daily routine, or hoping to prevent falls and injuries, your body’s ability to know where it is and move is essential to your daily life. Structural Shifts can result in losses in these areas. As we correct the underlying Structural Shifts we will also be re-training your body in these essential functions to make sure your body performs at top level.

 

There are not a lot of chiropractors that focus on Structural Correction, and even fewer that have all the special equipment we have to help address all the components of a Structural Shift. We will take the time to share with you exactly what makes our approach unique, and how a Structural Shift (if detected during your examination) is associated with your Secondary Condition.

 

Lastly, we will present a customized care plan that is carefully designed to take you from where you are to where you need to be, by addressing all aspects of the presentation of your specific Structural Shift (once again – if detected during your examination). We want you to get to enjoy your life, so we will help establish a sound structural foundation. We will also explain how to maintain your correction, while protecting your spine and nervous system after your Structural Correction has been achieved.

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What are my treatment options?

 

A vital part of our mission is to provide you with objective information regarding your treatment options. We aim to empower you to make the best decision regarding your healthcare needs.

In order to achieve this, we will do our best to explain to you how other chiropractors and and other healthcare professionals traditionally address your condition. We will not be rendering an opinion specific to any other chiropractic or non-chiropractic treatments for your specific health challenge, but we will try and help you understand the various approaches available for your condition.  Even if you choose to look elsewhere for a solution, we want you to know you can rely on us to act as an objective health and wellness resource.

We will also explore the best course of action to achieve a Structural Correction. We will discuss what services we recommend, as well as the details of the time and financial aspects of care. We don’t want anything to be a surprise while you are a patient at our office, and so we will do our best to share with you the whole picture of what Structural Correction involves.

Not surprisingly, this approach has led us to getting calls from relatives and friends of patients asking us questions pertaining to their health challenges. It is more important to us that people know they can get straightforward and trustworthy information from us, than to have them under our care. To us that is simply doing what is right.

 

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What are Secondary Conditions?

Symptoms, or as we refer to them, Secondary Conditions can be an indicator of a more serious underlying problem in your body. Your body uses these to warn you that your body is not functioning ideally. Some of the Secondary Conditions that present to our office:

  • Pain – Neck, Mid Back, Low Back, Hip, etc.
  • Numbness & Tingling – Arms, Hands, Fingers, Legs, Feet, Toes, etc.
  • Disc Injury – Bulging, Herniated, “Slipped”, etc
  • Radiculopathy – Sciactica, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, etc.
  • Muscular Spasms & Tension
  • Headaches – Tension, Migraines, etc.
  • Dizziness, Vertigo, and Balance Issues
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Stiff and Restricted Motion
  • Spinal Canal Stenosis
  • Rotator Cuff & Shoulder Pain
  • Wrist Pain & Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Poor Posture
  • Muscular Imbalance

These Secondary Conditions are just some of the examples of what presents to our of office. If you have are currently experiencing a Secondary Condition, you may want to have us explore whether or not you have an underlying Structural Shift. The first step in that process is to schedule a Complimentary Consultation with the doctor and have a conversation, which at our office, is not a commitment.

 

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What do I need to know before my examination?

After being introduced to our office via a consultation with the doctor, when a prospective patient elects to proceed, the next step is to undergo our Structural Chiropractic Correction examination. There is no pressure to move forward immediately. If you feel that you need time to consider what has been discussed during the consultation, our examination can be scheduled for a later time and date. In order to thoroughly evaluate your condition our Structural Chiropractic Correction examination is comprehensive. Thus, you should plan on designating at least 45 minutes of your time for us during this portion of your visit.

What will the Structural Correction Examination consist of?

  • Orthopedic and Neurological Tests and Checks
  • Complete series of Structural Corrective Radiography with Specialized Analysis
  • Grid Posture Analysis
  • Bilateral Weight Distribution Test

The Structural Chiropractic Correction Examination, while essential for detecting Structural Shifts, also allows for a complete understanding of the underlying cause of your condition, and will allow for an improved understanding of “normal”. A conference will be scheduled following your examination where our findings will be explained, how we can help you, and what the approach will be if you decide to move forward with care at our practice.

 

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