New Guidelines: Hold the Salt

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The American Academy of Personal Training

The government is telling Americans to take a pass on the salt.  According to new dietary guidelines, consumers are now being asked to drastically cut their daily intake of salt.  For the first time, the guidelines target people who are 51 and older, all African Americans, and people at risk for high blood pressure and diabetes, which basically means anyone that is overweight or obese.  That group should reduce their daily salt intake to a little more than half a teaspoon a day.  Everyone else should limit their sodium intake to about a teaspoon a day.

One way to limit your salt is to eat more fresh foods and avoid the processed foods.  When eating out, ask the restaurant not to add salt.  Other recommendations in the new guidelines include eating less than 10% of you calories from saturated fats; that includes full fat cheeses and meats.


Walk to lower risk of diabetes

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of AAPT

A new study suggests that the more you walk, the more you can lower your risk of diabetes.  500 middle aged adults were followed with pedometers for 5 years.  After factoring in lifestyle changes like diet, alcohol and smoking, researchers discovered that by taking just 10,000 steps a day 5 days a week, they were able to lower body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and improve insulin sensitivity.  10,000 steps equals 5 miles.

Earlier recommendations were for 3000 steps per day, but this study contends that adding these extra steps can improve your overall health.


Exercise prescribed to help control diabetes!

By:  Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

Exercise as a prescription?  This is a common question.  What is the best kind of exercise for patients with Type II diabetes?  A new study suggests that a variety may be the best when trying to control this disease.  We have always known that people with Type II diabetes can benefit from exercise.  Now, new research examines exactly what type of exercise is the most beneficial to improve blood sugar levels over time.

In a study that appears this week in JAMA, The Journal for the American Medical Association, an exercise regimen that combines aerobic exercise and resistance training produced the best results.  Researchers from  the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and co-authors conducted a randomized controlled trial of 262 sedentary individual with Type II diabetes who had hemoglobin A1C levels of 6.5% or higher.  One group walked, another lifted weights, a third combined both of these activities, and a control group maintained just normal activity.  The combination group lost the most body fat at almost six pounds.   They did not lose any lean muscle, which is important because muscle is critical for helping control blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes.  An added bonus, participants were able to reduce the amount of medications they were taking.  Participants completed the nine month program exercising 140 minutes per week, which researchers say reinforces the governments 2008 physicial activity guidelines.  The encouraging news here is that you can do something about your diabetes, something that you will actually enjoy but can also good for your health!!

Americans are fatter than ever

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

There’s no doubt about it…Americans are fatter than ever.  By some estimates as many as a third of all adult Americans are overweight.  Being overweight is not just an esthetic problem.  It greatly increases your risk of serious diseases like high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  Unfotunately, Type 2 diabetes goes hand in hand with obesity; and as more Americans become obese, they also become diabetic.  That puts you at risk for a whole host of diseases and conditions because diabetes can harm literally every organ system in the human body.

With Type 2 diabetes you can’t manage your sugar properly because the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or its resistent to the insulin you produce.  Insulin helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.  If left untreated, the consequences can be life threatening.  Researchers have now identified a hormone produced and released by the liver which may contribute to the insulin resistence seen in Type 2 diabetics.  The discovery may offer a new target for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes because studies in mice show that when that hormone production was blocked, insulin resistence improved…hence blood sugar levels went down.

In the meantime, we need to take back control of our bodies and get FIT!  Losing weight can reverse these harmful effects and the diabetes can improve…and even GO AWAY.