|“There are now more obese people in the United States than overweight people. I think we can safely say that Diet Coke is a complete failure.” |
Aspartame is a non-caloric, high-intensity artificial sweetener that’s 200 times sweeter than sugar. Chemically speaking, aspartame is a “dipeptide.” This simply means it’s composed of two amino acid-like compounds—aspartic acid and the methyl ester (i.e., methanol) of phenylalanine.
It’s true that the components that make up aspartame (i.e., aspartic acids and phenylalanine) are similar to those found in everyday foods. However, similar does not mean alike. And there is nothing in nature quite like this lab-created additive.
Aspartame is the artificial sweetener in little blue packets. It is best known under the brand name Equal®. You may also remember NutraSweet®, which shut its production of aspartame down in 2014 citing foreign competition that made it “impossible for us to sustain a profitable business.”
This sweetener is found in over 6,000 foods, medications, and beverages (most notably, diet drinks). Millions of American adults and children consume aspartame daily (often unknowingly). Despite its widespread use, aspartame remains one of the most controversial food additives.
On one side, you have scientists and health zealots providing compelling evidence that aspartame (and its metabolites) are responsible for a broad range of adverse effects, such as headaches, compromised memory, anxiety and depression, behavioral disturbances, hair loss, weight gain, and cancer.
On the flipside, you have groups arguing that aspartame is safe, hanging their collective hats on decades’ old safety data and approval of numerous international bodies, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Canada, and the European Food Safety Authority.
Is Aspartame Safe?
As with most questions, the irritating answer is “it depends.” And in this case, it depends on who you ask. On one hand, if you play Dr. Google, you’ll have no trouble finding one frightening personal account after another attributing multiple health disasters as the side effects of aspartame. In contrast, aspartame marketing paints an entirely different picture, implying it embodies a healthy way of life and is a useful tool for weight and glucose management.
Since 1981, when the FDA first approved aspartame—which, by the way, was launched by Monsanto (the same company notorious for the weed killer glyphosate/Roundup, not to mention the dissemination of genetically modified plants and foods)—researchers have debated both its recommended safe amounts and its general safety to organ systems. The World Health Organization and regulatory food authorities in Canada and Europe consider safe doses (i.e., acceptable daily intake, ADI) of aspartame to be below 40 mg per kilogram of body weight per day (mg/kg/day). Meanwhile, the FDA draws the line for the ADI at 50 mg/kg/day.
To put it into perspective, a 150-pound person weighs about 68 kilograms, for which the ADI would be between 2,720 and 3,400 mg of aspartame. According to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a single packet of Equal contains 37 mg of aspartame while a 12-ounce can of diet soda contains 200 mg.
Unless you’re using 90-plus packets of Equal a day or drinking 200-plus ounces of diet soda daily, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about, right? Not so fast. While the safety data can be useful (for getting a patent, for instance), it doesn’t always tell the whole story. For instance, rodent studies (which are typically the basis for safety data studies) don’t tell us the functional impact or practical significance.
In a study published in the journal Research in Nursing & Health, researchers from the University of North Dakota examined the real-life effects of considerably lower amounts of aspartame. When folks consumed diets containing 25 mg/kg/day aspartame (half the “safe” amount, according to the FDA guidelines) for 8 days, they were more irritable, more depressed, and scored worse on tests of cognitive function.
While it may seem outrageous to use 45 packets of Equal, believe it or not, there are people drinking 100-plus ounces of diet soda on the regular. Although that may be an extreme example, there’s certain to be folks who are sweetening their food and drinks with Equal, drinking diet soda, and chewing sugar-free gum, eating breakfast cereals, yogurt, sugar-free candy, and other reduced-calorie and sugar-free food products sweetened with aspartame.
It all adds up, and so, too, may the cumulative effects. In other words, it may not just be a matter of how much. It may also come down to frequency and duration.
Four Scary Side Effects of Aspartame
1. Cognitive Dysfunction, Behavior Issues, and Mood Disorders
There’s at least a handful of potential reasons why aspartame may be harmful. According to one recent review study published in the journal Nutrition Reviews, for example, “The existing animal studies and limited human studies suggest aspartame and its metabolites, whether consumed in quantities significantly higher than the recommended safe dosage or within recommended safe levels, may disrupt the oxidant/antioxidant balance, induce oxidative stress, and damage cell membrane integrity, potentially affecting a variety of cells and tissues and causing a deregulation of cellular function, ultimately leading to systemic inflammation.”
Chances are you’ve heard by now that chronic systemic inflammation is bad news. It’s an underlying factor (if not key cause) of almost all chronic degenerative diseases. While there are multiple factors that can contribute to chronic inflammation, excess oxidative stress is a major trigger. In a study published in the journal Drug and Chemical Toxicology, researchers found long-term consumption of aspartame significantly reduced concentrations of glutathione, the body’s “master antioxidant,” in the brain.
From a neurobiological standpoint, it’s also important to understand a bit of biochemistry about aspartame. Once ingested, aspartame is metabolized to yield aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. Phenylalanine is involved in neurotransmitter regulation, and aspartic acid is an “excitatory” neurotransmitter.
Disturbances in neurotransmitter regulation can result in neurobehavioral disturbances. Aspartame also compromises the blood-brain barrier, increasing its permeability and altering concentrations of neurotransmitters (such as dopamine).
It’s also worth noting that part of the reason aspartame is thought to increase the risk of neurologic deficits (and even cancer) is because of its conversion to methanol and formaldehyde. When stored near or above room temperature, methanol (one of the components of aspartame) is metabolized into formaldehyde, which is a known human carcinogen.
Given these effects on the nervous system, aspartame has been linked to mental disorders, cognitive dysfunction, headaches, and more. Along those lines, randomized controlled trials (yes, involving humans) have shown that some of the dangerous side effects of aspartame are:
Longer memory lapses
Impaired memory and word recall
Slower reaction times
Impaired attention and focus
More irritable mood
Greater feelings of depression
Impaired performance on tests of cognitive function
One study had to be stopped prematurely due to the severity of adverse reactions in depressed participants who consumed aspartame. The researchers concluded, “Individuals with mood disorders are particularly sensitive to this artificial sweetener, and its use in this population should be discouraged.”
In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers from the National Cancer Institute evaluated the connection between soft drink consumption and the risk of depression among a sample of over 260,000 participants in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. They found that frequent consumption of diet sodas (which are typically sweetened with aspartame) significantly increased the risk for depression among older adults.
2. Weight Gain & Obesity
As a zero-calorie sugar substitute, it seems like it would be a no-brainer that aspartame would help with weight loss. After all, if it’s 200 times sweeter than sugar, swapping 5 g of aspartame (which is considered an average amount annually) for its equivalent of 1,000 g (or 1 kg) of sugar, which represents about 4,000 kcal, would lead to a theoretical 1 pound or so loss in weight.
Even the astute Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics takes the position that non-nutritive sweeteners can help limit energy intake as a strategy to manage weight and blood glucose.
As intuitive as that conclusion may seem, however, it doesn’t seem to work that way in the real world. At best, the evidence that aspartame prevents weight gain or obesity is inconclusive. Worse, there’s compelling evidence that aspartame may prevent, not promote, weight loss.
In a recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers found that potential side effects of aspartame are long-term weight gain and increased risk of obesity, as well as increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
In general, increased awareness of the health consequences of excess sugar consumption has fueled a dramatic uptick in the consumption of zero-calorie artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. However, new research published in the journal Experimental Biology shows sugar substitutes like aspartame can cause health changes that are linked with diabetes and obesity. This suggests switching from regular to diet soda, for example, may be a case of “out of the frying pan, into the fire.”
According to lead researcher Brian Hoffman, PhD, assistant professor in the department of biomedical engineering at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University, “In our studies, both sugar and artificial sweeteners seem to exhibit negative effects linked to obesity and diabetes, albeit through different mechanisms from each other. We also observed that replacing sugars with non-caloric artificial sweeteners leads to negative changes in fat and energy metabolism.”
If that’s not worrisome enough, check this out: Recent research reveals that women who drank artificially-sweetened beverages like diet soda (presumably containing aspartame at least a majority of the time) every day while pregnant were more likely a year later to have infants with a higher body mass index (BMI). In other words, women who consumed more aspartame and other artificial sweeteners were more likely to have overweight babies. To put it differently, the dangers of aspartame consumption seems to affect offspring, trickling down at least one generation.
3. Type 2 Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome
Zero calories and sugar-free, there shouldn’t be any concern about aspartame when it comes to blood sugar management and metabolic health, right? That’s a rational thought process. In fact, it’s why many healthcare practitioners recommend its use to type 2 diabetics. After all, it’s 200 times sweeter than sugar yet has a negligible effect on blood glucose levels.
However, research shows that the side effects of aspartame may include increased risk of weight gain (rather than weight loss) and impaired glucose tolerance in type 2 diabetics.
In a report published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, a team of Massachusetts General Hospital investigators found a possible mechanism explaining why the use of aspartame may lead to metabolic syndrome—a group of symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In the study, the researchers showed how the aspartame breakdown byproduct phenylalanine blocks the action of an enzyme (i.e., intestinal alkaline phosphatase) that can prevent obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. In the study, they also showed mice receiving aspartame in their drinking water gained more weight and developed other symptoms of metabolic syndrome than animals fed similar diets without aspartame.
And according to another study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, aspartame intake is associated with greater glucose intolerance in individuals with obesity. The researchers at York University’s Faculty of Health said, “Individuals with obesity who consume artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame, may have worse glucose management than those who don’t take sugar substitutes.”
While human studies are somewhat limited and inconsistent, rodent studies paint a fairly clear picture that common side effects of aspartame include glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and hyperinsulinemia.
It’s believed aspartame may act as a chemical stressor by increasing levels of the hormone cortisol, which has many bodily functions, including raising levels of blood glucose. As mentioned, aspartame may lead to the production of excess free radicals, triggering systemic oxidative stress and inflammation, which are well-established factors linked to type 2 diabetes.
Aspartame may also alter the activity and balance of gut microbes, and it may interfere with the N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, resulting in insulin deficiency or resistance. That’s a lot of mumbo jumbo, I know, but the point is that despite being a non-nutritive sugar substitute that doesn’t impact blood glucose, there’s compelling evidence that aspartame may do more harm than good when it comes to glycemic control and variability.
4. Negative Gut Bacteria
In addition to its potential impact on metabolism, appetite, weight management, cognitive function, and mood, aspartame may also have negative effects on the digestive system, namely on gut bacteria. In fact, negative alterations in the gut microbiota seem to underlie at least some of the other negative effects of aspartame mentioned above (e.g., glucose intolerance).
While artificial sweeteners like aspartame are touted because they’re sugar-free, recent research shows that gut bacteria may be able to break down artificial sweeteners, resulting in negative health effects.
Admittedly, it’s challenging to understand exactly how aspartame influences the gut microbiota because it tends to be rapidly broken down in the small intestine. Be that as it may, there’s compelling evidence that despite being metabolized in the upper intestine, gut bacteria still used and are affected by aspartame (perhaps via the byproducts of its metabolism), or maybe yet-to-be-determined mechanisms are involved.
According to a new paper published in Molecules by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of Negev in Israel and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, are toxic to gut bacteria. Researchers say the consumption of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, can adversely affect gut microbial activity, causing a wide range of health issues from cancers to type 2 diabetes.
While they are considered safe, there is increasing controversy regarding the potential of artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, to promote metabolic derangements. Recent research suggests that alterations in glucose metabolism (e.g., glucose intolerance) seem to be functionally mediated by alterations of the gut microbiome.
How to Avoid the Side Effects of Aspartame
While the rationale for aspartame and other non-nutritive artificial sweeteners makes enormous sense, studies show counterintuitive links between non-caloric artificial sweeteners and the same ailments of metabolic syndrome they are meant to prevent, such as weight gain, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more. Several physiological explanations have been suggested, such as increased sugar absorption, disruption of the ability of sweet taste to signal caloric consequences, an increase in appetite, impaired glycemic or insulin responses, and disturbances in the gut microbiota.
Put differently, there’s drastically less upside to aspartame than we have been led to believe. Even worse, there’s compelling and significant evidence to believe it may be harmful, especially when consumed in meaningful amounts for prolonged periods of time. While you could potentially make a case for its application as a sugar substitute for someone who’s consuming a substantial amount of added sugar and excess calories, that would be a very short-term approach. Even then, there are much safer, better options.
Having said all that, while I would like to take a more agnostic viewpoint, I just don’t see any benefit to the regular, long-term consumption of this artificial sweetener, especially given all the potential side effects of aspartame. With that in mind, here are some action steps:
Take attendance. The first step is being mindful of your consumption of aspartame. While diet sodas are the most recognizable suspect, aspartame is found in a wide variety of products:
Sugar-free condiments (e.g., ketchup, syrup)
Sugar-free ice cream and toppings
Diet drinks (e.g., iced tea)
Sugar-free fruit drinks
Meal replacement shakes/snacks
Sugar-free sports drinks
Most obvious: The blue packets used to sweeten coffee, tea, etc.
Cut back. If you find you’re consuming a lot of the products mentioned above—either a wide variety, a lot of a single category, and/or both—then work on cutting back. There’s more on this below, but the constant hankering for something sweet is something that needs to be addressed in and of itself.
Make better choices. As mentioned, the potential costs far outweigh the benefits when it comes to aspartame. The good news is there are better choices, such as stevia, monk fruit, erythritol, isomaltose, and xylitol, which have far fewer downsides and even some potential upsides.
In general, I think you could make an argument that most people could stand to reduce the amount of “sweet stuff” they eat. Between added sugars and non-nutritive, high-intensity sweeteners, many people are persistently exposed to sweet-tasting foods, which tend to be highly reinforcing and lend to the development of a “sweet palate” (notably at an alarming rate among children).
One of my favorite conclusions comes from an editorial published in the British Medical Journal and written by Professor Michael Lean, Chair of Human Nutrition (Medicine) at the University of Glasgow, who said, “The cynical conclusion is that there is probably too much sweetness and never enough light, and the public probably needs protection against misleading websites.”
Questions? Call me, Dr. Deborah Pearson, a chiropractor serving Roswell, Alpharetta, Peachtree Corners, and Johns Creek, @ 770-993-3200
“Diet Coke with Lemon – didn’t they used to call that Pledge?”
I think this is a great article for you to enjoy. If you have any questions, please contact me, Dr. Deborah Pearson, a chiropractor serving Johns Creek, Roswell, Alpharetta, and Norcross.
YOU MIGHT THINK chiropractors are only able to help with back aches, stiff necks, slipped discs and whiplash injuries. If so, you’re not alone – but you’re missing out.
Chiropractic care – which is based on the understanding that, given the opportunity, the mind and body can heal itself – can treat many issues that might surprise you.
Here’s a look at the top five most surprising conditions a chiropractor can treat:
1. Migraines and tension headaches
Nine out of 10 Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional. Some are persistent. Some are dull and nagging, while others cause debilitating pain and nausea. Taking a painkiller and hoping your headache goes away is one option. But there’s a better one.
Research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by chiropractic doctors – is an effective way to treat tension headaches and headaches that begin in the neck.
In a clinical trial conducted at Macquarie University, 72 percent of migraine sufferers experienced either “substantial” or “noticeable” improvement after a period of chiropractic treatment.
In fact, most headaches are related to muscle tension in the neck, which is an increasingly common condition among Americans who spend hours in the same position or posture (such as in front of a computer or television), leading to joint irritation and tension in the upper back and scalp that cause headaches.
What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?
- Perform spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate stress on your system.
- Provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet or the addition of vitamins.
- Offer advice on posture, ergonomics, exercises and relaxation techniques.
2. Stress and anxiety
We perceive stress from three basic sources: our environment, our body and our emotions.
Environmental stress includes noise, weather, physical threats, time pressures and performance standards. Body stress includes disease processes, organ malfunction, poor nutrition, poor sleep and physical injury. And emotional stress is more difficult to define, but it encompasses our reactions, in both thought and emotion, to environmental and physical stressors.
Jobs today are increasingly complex as the business world becomes more and more competitive. Physical stresses such as sound, air and water pollution have also grown worse over the last century – especially in the United States – and so have emotional and psychological stresses caused by an increasing awareness of troubles and tragedies around the globe, brought to our attention every hour by the Internet and its 24/7 news cycle.
Many illnesses are caused or worsened by stress, which activates our “fight or flight” reaction. This systemic reaction affects almost every part of the body, as the hypothalamus in the brain stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which causes an increase in heart rate, blood volume and blood pressure, redirecting blood away from our digestive system and extremities.
When prolonged, the long-term effects of this state can be disastrous to good health and cause high blood pressure, muscle tissue damage, diabetes, infertility, damage to the immune system and slowed healing from disease and injury.
Chiropractors work primarily with the spine – the root of the nervous system through which nerve impulses travel between the brain and the rest of the body – and can help the body manage and process this stress in a healthier way.
What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?
- Chiropractors can release muscle tension, one effect of chronic stress that leads to nerve irritation and creates uneven pressures on the body’s bony structures, which can cause the spinal column to become misaligned. This, in turn, helps the body return to a more balanced, relaxed state.
- Chiropractic adjustments can reduce spinal nerve irritation and improve blood circulation, which can help signal the brain to turn off the “fight or flight” response and begin the healing process.
- A doctor of chiropractic can suggest nutritional supplements, like B complex vitamins, to help the body cope with stress.
- A chiropractor can also recommend relaxation techniques and discuss posture and environmental changes to help you recover from chronic stress.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder involving widespread pain and sensitivity throughout the entire musculoskeletal system. To be diagnosed with FM, a patient typically has a minimum of 11 out of 18 specific tender points on the body. In addition to pain, patients also report long-term fatigue and/or disturbed sleep and mood. Other disorders commonly associated with FM include irritable bowel syndrome, TMJ pain and dysfunction, psychological conditions and some autoimmune diseases.
Fibromyalgia is a widespread condition that affects about 2 percent of the United States, and medical science has yet to discover the cause of this condition.
Since those with FM often experience an altered mood, like depression, many experts focus on the psychological aspect of the disease. Others feel that FM is more physiological and has its origins in physical trauma or chronic postural alterations. Still others suggest that FM is a central nervous system disorder rooted in neurochemical imbalances, since those with FM are hypersensitive to even the slightest stimuli and often have a pain response to normally non-painful pressure or activity. Since all information from the outside world is collected and analyzed by the nervous system, it’s logical to assume that if a person with FM is sensitive to a stimulus that others are not, there may be something wrong with this system.
It’s often difficult for patients to find solutions for all of their symptoms, but recent studies show that chiropractic adjustments combined with a soft tissue technique called ischemic compression can help FM patients.
In one study, 60 percent of the subjects treated by a chiropractor experienced a significant improvement: reduced pain, improved sleep and decreased fatigue.
What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?
- Chiropractors are trained as neuromusculoskeletal specialists, and one of the main focuses of chiropractic care is the positive impact it can have on a person’s nervous system. Therefore, chiropractic adjustments can improve a FM patient’s nervous system, which gives them a better chance for recovery.
- Chiropractic care can treat pressure points, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches and pain from musculoskeletal injuries.
- Chiropractors can also reduce a patient’s overall pain through spinal adjustments that increase the mobility between spinal vertebrae, which have become restricted, locked or slightly out of proper position, thereby increasing cervical and lumbar range of motion.
4. Weak immune systems
The nervous system, endocrine system and immune system are inextricably linked. Together they share tiny messenger molecules that mediate communication between them, creating optimal responses for the body to adapt and heal appropriately.
Until recently, one of these messenger molecules, IL-2, was thought of as an immune system molecule. But recent studies have clearly shown its presence and activity in the nervous system, leading researchers to believe that neural dysfunctions due to spinal misalignments are stressful to the body and can cause abnormal changes that lead to a poorly coordinated immune response.
Subluxation is the term for misalignments of the spine that cause compression and irritation of nerve pathways, affecting the body’s organs. Subluxations are an example of physical nerve stress that affects neuronal control. According to researchers, such stressful conditions lead to altered measures of immune function and an increased susceptibility to a variety of diseases.
It’s important to note here how the endocrine system also impacts the immune system by producing cortisol in the adrenal glands – endocrine glands that are directly connected to the nervous system through the sympathetic nervous system – a stress hormone that inhibits the immune system.
If the sympathetic nervous system is too “switched on” due to stress and subluxation, it can increase the adrenal glands’ synthesis of cortisol, in turn affecting the immune system.
What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?
- Chiropractic care is the only way to detect and eliminate subluxation, and chiropractic adjustments have been shown to reduce the stress on the nervous system, thereby boosting the coordinated responses of the nervous and immune systems.
- One research group found that when an adjustment was applied to a subluxated area, the white blood cell count collected rose significantly.
- Another study measured the effects of six months of regular chiropractic care on the immune system function of HIV patients. At the end of six months of care, the patients who had received regular adjustments showed a 48 percent increase in the number of CD4+ T cells, whereas patients who had not been adjusted showed an 8 percent decrease in CD4+ T cells.
When we’re younger, it’s easy to take our extensive range of motion and flexibility for granted. As we age, a number of health conditions – and the cumulative effects of wear and tear – can affect our ability to move the way we used to.
But a decrease in range of motion and flexibility can result in a downward spiral of disability.
For example, an injury or degenerative condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness, may limit our flexibility and range of motion. When this happens, we may avoid activities that involve the affected body parts, either consciously or unconsciously.
This then becomes a classic case of “use it or lose it.” Without regular exercise, the muscles and joints stiffen, adhesions and scar tissue can form, and mobility may be further reduced. Eventually, a person can become completely incapacitated, and ordinary tasks such as picking up something off the floor or tying your shoes can become extremely challenging or painful.
Regular chiropractic can help increase both range of motion and flexibility.
A study performed by researchers at the Phillip Chiropractic Research Centre of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that chiropractic adjustments increased range of motion in the 105 patients who participated in the study. There were three phases of this study, in which each of the participants was given no adjustments, fake adjustments or true adjustments. In each phase, the patients who were given the true adjustments showed a significant improvement in range of motion, which was not the case for the other two groups.
What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?
- A chiropractor uses spinal adjustments and manipulations to other parts of the body to realign the bones and joints so as to reduce pain, restore range of motion and improve flexibility, balance and coordination.
- Your chiropractor can also recommend specific exercises that can be done at home to increase your strength and flexibility so that you’re able to maintain and build upon the gains from your chiropractic adjustments.
- Regular chiropractic care can reduce or eliminate the source of your back and joint pain, allowing you to resume your normal activities and to remain more flexible into your golden years.
I hope eveyone is making plans to watch the eclipse. I’ve personally been excited for it for the past 3 years. I thought I’d give you all a few reminders to help you enjoy your day…
Remember, you’re going to be looking up for about three hours, plan on bringing either a reclining chair or laying flat on a blanket so you don’t hurt your neck (but if you do, I’ll be back at the office Tuesday morning).
If you are going to be in The Path of Totality, you can take off your glasses for the 2 1/2 minutes that the full eclipse is occuring. After, make sure you put them back on.
Plan ahead for healthy meals and snacks. You don’t want to feel bloated because you decided to pick up some taquitos from the QT.
Have a great time!
If you have any questions contact me, Dr. Deborah Pearson. A chiropractor serving Roswell, Alpharetta, and John’s Creek.
Juicing typically requires using a machine or equipment in order to turn raw fruits and vegetables into a liquid. By using special blades, most juicers chop up your fruits or vegetables into tiny pieces and spins them in a way to separate the juice from the pulp, which eliminates the majority of the fiber. You can ask around at local stores or consult Consumer Reports to find the juicer that’s best for you.
There are many health benefits of drinking freshly juiced fruits and vegetables, and it’s a great way to add nutrients from the fruits or vegetables that you normally wouldn’t eat. Fruit and vegetable juices retain most of of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) that would be found in the whole versions of those foods. These nutrients can help protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer and various inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis. Valuable compounds called flavonoids and anthocyanins are abundant in a variety of fruits and vegetables and guard against oxidative cellular damage, which comes from everyday cellular maintenance and is exacerbated by exposure to chemicals and pollution.
However, beware claims that juicing is the only way to stay healthy, that you should avoid solid foods, or that juicing is a substitution for a medical diagnosis or treatment. There’s not much research out there that proves that juicing is healthier than eating the whole fruits and vegetables; however, juicing does makes them easier to consume on a regular basis.
Some advocates for juicing may claim that your body absorbs more nutrients from juices than the whole fruit because the fruit’s fiber gets in the way. However, there isn’t much research out there that supports that claim. Your digestive system is designed to handle fiber and extract nutrients from a variety of foods. Plus, fiber is important for digestive function and has a multitude of health benefits.
Care to go raw? Stay tuned for our next blog on the benefits of eating raw. May be a good New Years Resolution!
A road trip is the easiest and cheapest way to make a family vacation happen, especially for a larger family where the price of individual flights can add up fast. The problem is, a car trip takes a lot longer. If you have a bad back, this can lead to a week’s worth of back pain and agony. You don’t want to spend your whole vacation struggling to find back pain relief, so here are some great ways to keep that back pain away.
First, make the car itself as comfortable as possible. Sit up straight, rather than slumping over. You can bring a small cushion or pillow to help support your back. Place it on your back around your ribcage area for proper support. Adjust your headrest so you can lean back against it and let your neck muscles just relax. This may not feel like a natural sitting position at first, but it will keep you from straining your back or neck while on a long trip.
Whenever you stop, get out and take that opportunity to do some lower back stretches and simple therapy exercise. You can place your hands on your lower back and very gentle lean back, stretching slightly farther every time you do this. Try the rotational touch, where you cross your hands over your chest and, keeping your hips facing forward and your feet on the floor, twist to the left until you feel some tension in your lower back. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then return to your normal position and twist the other way. Toe touches are also great simple exercises for stretching your back.
If you are still have back pain after you’ve made sure to sit correctly in the car and stretch whenever you get out, there are some steps you can take to relieve that pain. You can immediately curb that pain by icing the area for 20 minutes to help reduce any swelling caused by joint inflammation. Make sure you don’t apply ice directly to the back. Wrap it in a towel or an ice pack to avoid ice burn.
If you don’t find relief with these exercises, please come see us here at Sports Chiropractic Center and get an adjustment!
Like sugar, but don’t like the calories? Try Stevia. It has zero calories and is all natural. There are too many posible side effects for artificial sweetners, why risk it? At our office we keep Stevia packets and add it to our herbal tea. We love it.
Check out this link on the aspertame controversy.
Allergy season is creeping up on us again. Start now to minimize your symptoms.
A healthy diet is important. Eat fresh, raw, organic fruits and vegetables. The nutrients in these foods boosts your immune system.
Ingesting local honey can also help. Since the honey is made from local plants, which contain polen, it gives the body a natural “vacination”.
Lastly, chiropractic care. Chiropractic adjustments boosts the body’s immune system.
Questions? Contact me, Dr. Deborah Pearson at Sports & Family Chiropractic.
“Retired couples would need $416,000 for health care costs if their drug costs were average.” -The Huffington Post 3-25-10
Spend a little money now on staying healthy, spend your drug money on awesome vacations and grandchildren.
There is a lot of information swirling around about health, and it seems to change all the time. The bottom line is, being healthy is easy. There are 5 factors of health that are universal and will never change no matter what the latest trends are. Are you ready for them? Hold on to your seat…
1. Proper Nutrition
2. Peaceful Sleep
3. Positive Mental Attitude
4. Proper Exercise
5. A Healthy Nervous System to connect it all together > Chiropractic
My friend wrote a great book that elaborates on the 5 aspects of health, you can check it out here.
If you have any questions, please contact me, Dr. Deborah Pearson, chiropractor serving Alpharetta, John’s Creek, Roswell, and Norcross.
Children often have unremarkable results under chiropractic care. One of the cutest patients is in grammar school. Her mom brought her to me one year ago because she had been on anti-constipation medicine since she was a baby. After one month she no longer needed the medicine. Today, she is drug free.
Nerve roots in the lumbar spine connect the nerves of the colon to the spinal cord. It is theorized that the reason we see examples like this is because pinched nerves near the spine block messages from the brain.
If you have any questions, please contact me, Dr. Deborah Pearson, chiropractor for John’s Creek, Alpharetta, Roswell and Norcross.