How To Lose Weight With Time Restricted Feeding

woman eatingThe Salk Institute Study

The Salk Institute published a study in May of 2015, subsequently providing an intriguing new aspect to consider amid the world’s obesity and metabolic syndrome pandemic. The study showed mice limited to eating during an 8-hour period (called “time-restricted feeding” or TRF) to be healthier than mice eating freely throughout the day. After 100 days, the mice who ate frequently gained weight, developed high cholesterol and high blood glucose, showed evidence of liver damage and reduced motor control. The mice who ate in TRF fashion weighed 28% less, showed reduced levels of low-grade inflammation and showed no adverse health effects, despite consuming the same amount and type of food.

Lifestyle modifications such as a nutrient-dense diet and daily physical activity are first-line interventions in the treatment of metabolic syndrome. Much of the research to date has focused on nutrition optimization, as well as small, frequent meals throughout the day for blood sugar stabilization. However, the Salk study suggests that spreading food intake throughout the day may disturb metabolic pathways governed by the circadian clock, just as artificial lighting has been shown to disrupt sleep-wake cycles.

The University of California San Diego Study

Human studies have shown similar outcomes to Salk’s 2015 study. The University of California San Diego studied over 2,000 overweight women to find that TRF (a modified version of intermittent fasting) had positive effects on both blood sugar levels and immune markers. The data revealed each 3-hour increase in nighttime fasting was associated with a 4% decrease in postprandial glucose levels, regardless of how much women ate. Moreover, there was also a reduction in breast cancer risk.

Intermittent Fasting

As stated above, “time restricted feeding” or TRF is a modified version of intermittent fasting. If you’re new to this concept, it is a shift in lifestyle and eating patterns where you simply focus on extending the duration of time between eating. The idea is to clear the metabolic pathways governed by the circadian clock. Besides helping to reduce body fat, here are the major benefits of intermittent fasting:

  • has a dramatic impact on human growth hormone levels, resulting in greater endurance with faster muscle repair and growth
  • may help slow the aging process
  • can help regulate insulin levels, which is key for those who are diabetic or obese

Action Steps to an Intermittent Fasting Program

  1. Start by restricting your feeding time to a 12 or even 10 hour period. For example, eat only between the hours of 7am and 7pm or even 7am and 5pm.
  2. If you’re comfortable, move back to an 8 hour feeding time and monitor your progress.
  3. Limit all artificial lighting after dark. Dim lights, consider replacing your lights with red or amber lighting, use blue blocker glasses when viewing screens and monitors.

Need professional help implementing your own intermittent fasting program? Schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start working on your weight loss goals now.


The Insulin – Weight Gain Connection

scaleWe are now learning from science that the calorie model for weight loss is not the answer for long term success. Dieters have been finding out for decades that just because they eat less and burn more, it doesn’t always equate to pounds off, especially in the long run. The majority of people gain the weight back that they have worked so hard to lose.

If monitoring calories isn’t the answer for weight loss, then what is? While calories do matter to some degree, hormones matter more.

Why Hormones, Not Calories

To provide just one example about why hormones – not calories – are the key players in weight loss, let’s briefly look at insulin. When you eat sugar of any kind, your pancreas produces this master metabolism hormone.

Insulin’s job is to help sugar get into your cells. Once sugar is in the cells, it can be turned into energy by your mitochondria (the energy-burning factories in your cells). So insulin is designed to help you use the sugar you eat, or, if you eat more than you need, store it for later use.

At its best, the interaction between your insulin level and the sugar in your blood is a finely tuned machine. You eat some sugar, and your body produces just enough insulin to metabolize it. Later you eat a little more sugar, and the same thing happens again. It is a smooth, harmonious cycle that the healthy body carries out every day without your slightest awareness.

Insulin Resistance and It’s Effects

However, problems can occur when there is too much sugar in your diet. When you regularly eat a lot of sugar, especially sugars that are quickly absorbed, the insulin levels in your blood become elevated. Over time, you can become resistant to the effects of insulin and thus need more and more of it to do the same job. This insulin resistance has some very serious health implications as well as a direct impact on your appetite.

Insulin resistance is very much like a drug addiction. When you are addicted to a drug, you develop a tolerance to it and hence need more and more of it to produce the same effect. When you consistently have a high level of insulin in your blood, you develop a tolerance to it. As a consequence, your body’s tissues no longer respond normally to the hormone. Hence, your pancreas produces more of it, elevating your insulin levels even more in your body’s attempt to overcome this resistance.

This turns into a vicious cycle very quickly. When you have more insulin in your blood than you do sugar, your body tells you to eat some sugar to even out the balance. But every time you eat the sugar you cause your insulin levels to go up even more, causing you to want more sugar, and on and on the cycle goes.

In the meantime, you are storing all the excess sugar as fat, slowing down your metabolism, and promoting heart disease, dementia, and cancer. This is a condition known as pre-diabetes. It is also called metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and syndrome X.

Focus On Foods That Normalize Blood Sugar

The key to weight loss, then, becomes focusing on foods that normalize blood sugar and lower insulin levels. If you eat the same amount of calories from broccoli rather than cookies, you will lose weight.

Food is information that controls your gene expression, hormones, and metabolism. The source of the calories (and the information carried along with the calories) makes a gigantic difference in how your genes, hormones, enzymes, and metabolism respond.

If you eat food that spikes your insulin level, you will gain weight. If you eat food that reduces your insulin level, you will lose weight. This is true even if the food contains exactly the same number of calories or grams of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber.

The Only Diet That Science Shows Works

Low-glycemic-load diets are the only diets that have been proven to work— these diets don’t spike blood sugar and insulin.

In a landmark large-scale study, only one diet showed the capacity for maintaining the most weight loss over time. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the easiest diet to maintain, and the one that had the biggest impact on preventing weight gain after people had lost weight, was the low-glycemic-load, higher-protein diet.

When you focus on real, whole, unprocessed foods, you will automatically create a meal that has a low glycemic load. The glycemic load of a meal tells us how much of and how quickly a fixed quantity of a specific food will raise your blood sugar and insulin levels. The slower these levels rise, and the lower they are, the better.

Controlling the glycemic load of your meals isn’t very hard.You need to combine protein, fats, and whole-food, fiber-rich, low-starch carbohydrates from vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and a limited amount of whole grains and low-sugar fruit.

If you would like a personalized approach to the low glycemic diet and a better understanding of how insulin effects you individually, schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start working on your weight loss goals now.

5 Key Strategies to Lose Belly Fat

belly fat imageWhile your primary reason for wanting to learn how to lose belly fat may be due to vanity, there are also loads of convincing health reasons for wanting to trim down your waistline as well.

Dangerous visceral fat — the type of deep fat that tends to accumulate near your belly, surrounding your vital organs — raises the risk for serious conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and many others.

Visceral fat is also called “organ fat” or “intra-abdominal fat”. This fat lies in close proximity to the vital organs of the body, including the liver, kidneys and other digestive organs. Fat is actually similar to an organ, in that it releases compounds in the blood and alters hormone levels.

When fat is stored close to the vital organs, it’s easier for this fat to get into the bloodstream and circulate through the entire body. This leads to problems such as clogged arteries, hypertension and even problems with metabolic functions in the body. Several hormones are involved in accumulation of belly fat, including insulin, ghrelin, leptin and cortisol. Here are some of the ways that the “modern lifestyle” can cause belly fat to start increasing:

  • Insulin is the hormone that’s released when we consume carbohydrates. It helps take glucose (sugar) out of the bloodstream and brings it into cells to be used for energy. However, when too much glucose remains in the blood, it’s stored away for later use as body fat.
  • Appetite hormones, including ghrelin and leptin, control how hungry or satisfied we feel before, after and between eating. Eating chemically altered foods (which spike cravings), repeat yo-yo dieting, crash dieting, genetic factors and stress can all interfere with appetite regulation.
  • Cortisol is often called “the stress hormone” because we release more of it when we’re emotionally or physically stressed. Although we need cortisol for some essential functions, too much can contribute to fat accumulation around the midsection, increase appetite in some people, interfere with sleep quality and have other negative effects.

5 Ways to Start Trimming Your Midsection

1. Eat More Fat-Burning Foods

Focus on eating vegetables, fruits, seeds, clean meats and fish, legumes, and others grown in healthy, rich soils without any chemicals added when you’re trying to lose belly fat. This will help not only get rid of the unwanted visceral fat but also give your body the vital nutrients it needs to function properly.

Eating real foods will also result in you eating more of a high-fiber diet, beneficial for controlling appetite, digestion, heart health and more.

2. Eat Mindfully

Slow down while you eat so you’re less likely to scarf down too much, too quickly. Become aware of how much food it takes to make you feel satisfied when eating without becoming overly stuffed.

Face emotional or comfort eating head on by figuring out better ways to handle stressors in your life and eat in a healthy manner first and foremost in order to support your health long-term, rather than just to lose weight quickly.

3. Intermittent Fasting

Best approached as a shift in lifestyle and eating patterns, there’s no need to count calories or measure grams. Simply focus on extending the duration of time between eating the healthy foods you already eat, with a particular emphasis on healthy fats and proteins.

There are several ways to practice fasting, including: skipping breakfast, severely limiting calories on some days or even not eating anything at all some days, or limiting your eating hours to only 8 hours a day. Besides helping to reduce body fat, here are the major benefits of intermittent fasting:

  • has a dramatic impact on human growth hormone levels, resulting in greater endurance with faster muscle repair and growth
  • may help slow the aging process
  • can help regulate insulin levels, which is key for those who are diabetic or obese

4. HIIT Workouts

High-intensity interval training–style has been shown to be an excellent way to burn fat in a short period of time and help improve the physical performance of athletes of all kinds. HIIT workouts combines short, high-intensity bursts of exercise, with slow, recovery phases repeated throughout one short 15–20 minute session. It’s done at 85–100 percent of one’s maximum heart rate rather than 50–70 percent in moderate endurance activity.

5. Get Enough Sleep

A lack of sleep is often one of the most overlooked factors contributing to belly fat, and experts call getting good sleep an “important part of a obesity prevention approach.”  Getting enough sleep helps regulate your stress hormones, controls your appetite better, gives you more energy for physical exercise, may help reduce cravings for sweets and tends to decrease emotional eating.

Effective long-term weight loss that results in decreased visceral/belly fat depends on permanent changes in dietary quality, calorie (energy) intake, lifestyle habits and also physical activity.

Need help with your weight loss goals? Schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start losing weight fast.

How a Disrupted Circadian Rhythm Makes You Fat

lose-weight-1911605_1280How a Disrupted Circadian Rhythm Makes You Fat

While most people are aware about diet and exercise when it comes to weight loss, few really understand the impact of a disrupted circadian rhythm and how it causes poor body composition. Circadian rhythm is not just about trying to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, it’s also about timing of meals, exposure to light in the am and minimizing exposure to artificial blue light at night coming from tablets, phones, etc. The modern world we live in and the technological advances have disrupted our circadian rhythm a great deal.

The main way a disrupted circadian rhythm makes you fat is that it disrupts the appetite regulation center in the brain causing you to unconsciously eat more and seek out highly processed foods dense in sugars and fats. There is a growing body of research showing this is why many cannot stick to the healthier foods they know they should be eating.

Leptin and Grhelinleptin and grhelin are hormones that regulate appetite. High leptin levels mean we don’t feel hungry and low levels do make us hungry. Leptin is the main hormone that regulates body fat set point in the brain. Grehlin also play a role with hunger and appetite control and when you’re circadian rhythm is off, both leptin and grehlin are thrown off. The body doesn’t know how to regulate metabolism, appetite and hunger, as well as energy balance. Studies in rats show their metabolism goes haywire in as little as 1 day of disrupted circadian rhythm. Even if you’re eating a clean diet and working out regularly, a disrupted circadian rhythm will still push your physiology toward fat storage.

Day Length and Body Composition- day length also impacts circadian rhythm and body composition. Researchers studied 3 groups of rats with 3 different daily light conditions to test day length on fat mass. The caloric intake was the same with all 3 groups. Rats were exposed to either 12 hr, 16 hr, or 24 hrs of light each day. Rats exposed to 16 and 24 hrs of light had a dramatic increase in fat mass. Their metabolism slowed down and deposited calories as fat, instead of burning off. This study shows that artificial light exposure from tablets, phones, etc extends our day length and has a very negative impact. Think of a normal day with 11 hours of sunlight. You stay up and use 4 hours of artificial blue light from tv, computers, etc and your day length is now 15 hours. Remember the rats had the same calorie intake, all that changed was light exposure.

If you want to lose weight your Circadian Rhythm is just as important as your food intake and activity level.

It’s a sad fact that there are more overweight/obese people than ever and studies show fewer people are trying to lose weight. If you’re reading this and have not had success with past approaches, don’t give up. Schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start learning a comprehensive individualized approach to weight loss.

The Weight Loss Trap: Why Your Diet Isn’t Working

time weight loss trapOn May 25, 2017, TIME Health ran a cover story on the difficulties of losing weight and keeping it off. The article tells the story of Kevin Hall, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who, like many of us, thought that the solution for obesity was simple, just eat less and exercise more. He decided to study 14 contestants of The Biggest Loser for a scientific paper to see how their enormous weight loss was achieved. Over the course of the season, the contestants lost an average of 127 lb. each and about 64% of their body fat. However, over time, 13 of the 14 contestants Hall studied gained, on average, 66% of the weight they’d lost on the show, and four were heavier than they were before the competition.

Finding answers to the weight-loss puzzle has never been more critical. The vast majority of American adults are overweight and nearly 40% are clinically obese. Last year the NIH provided an estimated $931 million in funding for obesity research, including Hall’s, and that research is giving scientists a new understanding of why dieting is so hard, why keeping the weight off over time is even harder and why the prevailing wisdom about weight loss seems to work only sometimes–for some people.

What scientists are uncovering should bring fresh hope to the 155 million Americans who are overweight, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Leading researchers finally agree, for instance, that exercise, while critical to good health, is not an especially reliable way to keep off body fat over the long term. And the overly simplistic equation of calories in vs. calories out has given way to the more intricate understanding that it’s what makes up a person’s diet–rather than how much of it they can burn off working out–that sustains weight loss.

The low-fat craze, for example, that kicked off in the late 1970s was based on the notion that eating fat will make you fat and depended on the calorie-counting model of weight loss. That’s not what happened when people went low fat, though. The diet trend coincided with weight gain. In 1990, adults with obesity made up less than 15% of the U.S. population. By 2010, most states were reporting obesity in 25% or more of their populations. Today that has swelled to 40% of the adult population. For kids and teens, it’s 17%.

They also know that the best diet for you is very likely not the best diet for your next-door neighbor. Individual responses to different diets–from low fat and vegan to low carb and paleo–vary enormously.

The Personalized Approach

Scientists are showing that the key to weight loss appears to be highly personalized rather than trendy diets. And while weight loss will never be easy for anyone, the evidence is mounting that it’s possible for anyone to reach a healthy weight–people just need to find their best way there.

Weight-loss science experts are getting closer to understanding what it is about a given diet that works for a given person . The one commonality is that they had to make changes in their everyday behaviors. In a group of 10,000 real-life biggest losers, no two people lost the weight in quite the same way but they are encouraged to diverge from the program, with the help of a physician, whenever they want, in order to figure out what works best for them. The program takes a whole-person approach to weight loss, which means that behavior, psychology and budget–not just biology–inform each person’s plan.

Learning what variables are most important for each person–be they psychological, logistical, food-based–matters more than identifying one diet that works for everyone.

Another important factor of the obesity epidemic is chemical exposures. Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine and population health at New York University’s School of Medicine says, “Chemicals can disrupt hormones and metabolism, which can contribute to disease and disability.”

In addition, scientists are exploring how the microbiome–the trillions of bacteria that live inside and on the surface of the human body–may be influencing how the body metabolizes certain foods. Dr. Eran Elinav and Eran Segal, researchers for the Personalized Nutrition Project at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, believe the variation in diet success may lie in the way people’s microbiomes react to different foods.

In conclusion, the key to understanding individuals and their relationship with weight gain/weight loss is personalization. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an obesity expert and the medical director of The Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa says, “so long as we continue to pigeonhole people into certain diets without considering the individuals, the more likely we are to run into problems. The amount of effort needed to understand your patients is more than many doctors put in.”

 If you’d like an individualized approach to weight loss that considers your own personal situation and makeup, schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start working on your weight loss goals now.

Is Your Sunscreen Toxic?

woman sunscreenIt’s that time of year when we all start enjoying the weather outside, but did you know that 4 different studies conducted in the 1990’s indicated a higher risk of malignant melanoma among individuals who used the most sunscreen!

According to research from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), more than 75% of the sunscreens tested contained toxic chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer and other health issues.

The findings from the EWG research conclude that some sunscreen ingredients may:

  • Absorb into the blood
  • Release free radicals in sunlight
  • Act like estrogen
  • Disrupt hormones
  • Cause allergic reactions
  • Cause skin irritation
  • Have no rigorous safety standards

A recent study published in Environmental Science Technology has also shown the common sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, and PABA to be estrogenic chemicals linked to cancer.

Beware of non-mineral, conventional sunscreens

Non-mineral sunscreens penetrate the skin, are potentially disruptive to hormones, are allergenic, and can release free radicals when they break down. Oxybenzone is the most common ingredient found in sunscreens. Scientists recommend not using sunscreens containing oxybenzone on children because of this hormone disruption.

What to Buy?

Mineral sunscreens are ones containing zinc, or titanium.  These do not breakdown in sunlight, are not usually absorbed (so do not disrupt the body’s hormones), are not allergenic and are more effective at blocking UVA rays than non-minerals.  These sunscreens are a good choice for children and according to EWG have the best safety profiles of the choices in the United States.

When buying sunscreen, you can check the EWG database. Two top recommendations are, Kiss My Face SPF 30 and Aubrey Organics SPF 30 Children’s Unscented Sensitive Skin. These healthier sunscreens contain Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide as a more natural form of sunblock.

The Benefits of the Sun
In truth, the sun is essential for your health. Getting a moderate amount of sunshine daily can actually help decrease your risk of certain types of cancers. When you get approximately 20 minutes of direct sunlight, your body naturally generates enough Vitamin D3 (Calciferol), and your body also knows the right amount to generate without overdose. Be sure to cover up with light clothing before you get burnt when getting direct sunlight.

Vitamin D3 has been one of the most researched nutrients over the past 5 years and it has been shown to naturally help boost the immune system, help fight cancer and improve mood.


Mindful Eating and Weight Loss

MP900443279Mindful Eating and Weight Loss

Did you know that simply being mindful when you eat can help you to lose weight? There are two big reasons to be mindful when you eat:

  1. You will eat less and enjoy your food more.
  2. You will metabolize and burn food better rather than store it in your belly.

Study after study shows when we eat unconsciously, we eat more. In one particular study, participants were given snack food bags that automatically refilled from a secret compartment under the table. They were compared to people who just had a single bag full. The group that had the auto-refillable bags just kept eating.

Studies also show that when you eat in a stressed state, you store fat in your belly and don’t metabolize your food well. Same food, but eating this way creates more weight gain and inflammation.

Here’s what you can do to be more mindful and create better habits around food:

  • Say a blessing of thanks before each meal-gratitude and prayer help focus the mind and bring you to the present.
  • Always sit down and sit still-don’t eat while watching TV, talking on the phone, driving, standing or walking down the street with food in your mouth.
  • Eat from smaller plates-eating out of a package, bag or container is a good way to overeat and eat unconsciously.
  • Stop and breathe before eating-take 3-5 deep breaths in and out through your nose before every meal.
  • Create a peaceful environment-soft light, candles, quiet music-all of these encourage attention, slow eating and pleasure.
  • Chew each bite multiple times-you’ll improve digestion of your food and your enjoyment of it.
  • Serve food before you put the plate on the table-leave the serving dish on the counter rather than in the center of the table.
  • Don’t reward exercise by thinking, I just walked 3 miles, so I can have a (fill in the blank). Exercise is its own reward.You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.
  • Don’t shop hungry-if you are hungry when you shop, you’ll likely buy more quick snacks, processed foods, and fewer fruits and vegetables.
  • Buy in bulk-then put food into small bags or containers.
  • Make your home a safe zone-don’t keep tempting junk food, poor quality snacks and processed foods in the house.


Fat Cells and Sleep

Sick Young Woman Lying in Bed --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

In a study that challenges the long-held notion that the primary function of sleep is to give rest to the brain, researchers have found that not getting enough shut-eye has a harmful impact on fat cells, reducing by 30 percent their ability to respond to insulin, a hormone that regulates energy.

Sleep deprivation has long been associated with impaired brain function, causing decreased alertness and reduced cognitive ability. The latest finding — published by University of Chicago Medicine researchers in the Oct. 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine — is the first description of a molecular mechanism directly connecting sleep loss to the disruption of energy regulation in humans, a process that can lead over time to weight gain, diabetes and other health problems. The study suggests that sleep’s role in energy metabolism is at least as important as it is in brain function.

“We found that fat cells need sleep to function properly,” said study author Matthew Brady, PhD, associate professor of medicine and vice-chair of the Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition at the University of Chicago.

Brady said body fat plays an important role in humans.

“Many people think of fat as a problem, but it serves a vital function,” he said. “Body fat, also known as adipose tissue, stores and releases energy. In storage mode, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from the circulation where they can damage other tissues. When fat cells cannot respond effectively to insulin, these lipids leach out into the circulation, leading to serious complications.”

Esra Tasali, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and co-senior author, led the recruitment of six men and one woman, all young, lean and healthy. Each volunteer went through two study conditions, at least four weeks apart. In one, they spent 8.5 hours a night in bed for four consecutive nights. In the other, they spent 4.5 hours in bed for four nights. Food intake, strictly controlled, was identical under both study conditions.

On the morning after the fourth night following both the long and short sleep conditions, each volunteer took an intravenous glucose tolerance test, which measures total-body insulin sensitivity. The researchers performed a biopsy, removing abdominal fat cells from the area near each volunteer’s navel. Then they measured how these fat cells responded to insulin.

The researchers assessed insulin sensitivity at the molecular level by measuring the phosphorylation of a protein called Akt within fat cells. Akt phosphorylation is a crucial early chemical step in the cell’s response to insulin.

After four nights of short sleep, total-body insulin response decreased by an average of 16 percent. The insulin sensitivity of fat cells decreased by 30 percent. This reduction is comparable to the difference between cells from obese vs. lean participants or from people with diabetes versus non-diabetic controls.

They found that the sleep-deprived study participants had a decreased response to a range of doses of insulin. It took nearly three times as much insulin to provoke half of the maximum Akt response in volunteers who had been deprived of sleep.

“Sleeping four to five hours a night, at least on work days, is now a common behavior” said study author and sleep specialist Esra Tasali.

“Some people claim they can tolerate the cognitive effects of routine sleep deprivation,” said co-author Eve Van Cauter, PhD, the Frederick H. Rawson Professor of Medicine and director of the sleep, metabolism and health center at the University of Chicago. “In this small but thorough study, however, we found that seven out of seven subjects had a significant change in insulin sensitivity. They are not tolerating the metabolic consequences.”

The study was one of the first to bring together sleep research experts and biologists focused on energy regulation and metabolism in adipose tissue. The impetus came from a sleep-research graduate student, Josiane Broussard, PhD ’10, lead author of the study and now a Society in Science-Branco Weiss fellow at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She wanted to combine her interest in sleep and metabolism with research at the molecular level.

So she pulled together a team for this project that included the two sleep researchers, Tasali and Van Cauter, plus two specialists from the University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center, David Ehrmann, MD, and Brady, who studies how insulin regulates energy storage in fat and liver cells.

They focused on fat cells because of their direct links to metabolic disruption and weight gain. These cells store energy for the body, are exquisitely sensitive to insulin and help regulate appetite.

Witnessing the direct effect of sleep deprivation on a peripheral tissue such as fat at the cellular level “was an eye-opener,” Broussard said. It helps cement the link between sleep and diabetes and “suggests that we could use sleep like diet and exercise to prevent or treat this common disease.”

Brady said the study opens up many new questions.

“What signals from sleep loss affect the fat cell? What effect does dysfunctional fat have at the whole-body level?” Brady wondered. “And if we can deprive healthy people of sleep and make them worse, can we take sick people, such as those with the common combination of sleep apnea, obesity and diabetes, improve their sleep and make them better? That’s the missing link in the sleep-obesity-diabetes connection.”

This study is “a valuable contribution to the understanding of the causal pathways by which reduced sleep duration may directly contribute to diabetes and obesity,” according to an editorial in the journal by Francesco Cappuccio, MD, DSc, and Michelle Miller, PhD, of the University of Warwick, in Coventry, United Kingdom. “These results point to a much wider influence of sleep on bodily functions, including metabolism, adipose tissue, cardiovascular function, and possibly more.”

National Sleep Foundation

Toxic Sunscreens

sunblockThe Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently published their guide to safe sunscreens. They reviewed over 2000 sunscreens and over 257 brands. They found more than 75% of the sunscreens contained toxic chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer and other health issues.

The Dangers of Conventional Sunscreens
According to research from the EWG: Our review…shows that some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, and some have toxic effects. Some release skin-damaging free radicals in sunlight, some act like estrogen and disrupt hormones, and several can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. The FDA has not established rigorous safety standards for sunscreen ingredients. Sunscreens haven’t been regulated since 1978 in the USA, and the SPF factor only tells you how effective a sunscreen is against UVB rays which cause sunburn.

A recent study published in Environmental Science Technology has also shown the common sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, and PABA are estrogenic chemicals linked to cancer. Reading labels not only on food products but also sunscreen and body care products is very important because toxins are absorbed into the bloodstream.

List of Unsafe, Toxic Chemicals in Sunscreen

  • Para amino benzoic acid
  • Octyl salicyclate
  • Oxybenzone
  • Cinoxate
  • Dioxybenzone
  • Phenylbenzimidazole
  • Homosalate
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • Octocrylene
  • Methoxycinnamate
  • Parabens

There are two types of sunscreens: non-mineral and mineral.  And some that combine both.

Non-mineral sunscreens penetrate the skin, are potentially disruptive to hormones, are allergenic, and like I mentioned earlier, can release free radicals when they break down. Oxybenzone is the most common ingredient found in sunscreens. Scientists recommend not using sunscreens containing oxybenzone on children because of this hormone disruption.

Mineral sunscreens are ones containing zinc, or titanium. These do not breakdown in sunlight, are not usually absorbed ( so do not disrupt the body’s hormones), are not allergenic and are more effective at blocking UVA rays than non-minerals. These sunscreens are a good choice for children and according to EWG have the best safety profiles of the choices in the United States.

Some of the best brands include: Kiss My Face, Jason and Aubrey Organics.

Actions Steps
1. Get 20+ minutes of sunshine daily
2. Cover up with light clothing before you get burnt
3. Wear natural sunscreen if you’re going to stay out for a long period of time
4. Eat a diet high in anti-oxidants to protect your skin
5. If you get burnt, use a mixture of aloe, coconut oil and vitamin E on your skin