Friday, June 28, 2013

Walk 15 Minutes After EVERY MEAL!

I recommend to most of my clients, especially diabetics, to try to move after you eat, even if it’s just a walk to get the mail, but more activity like walking, biking, or lifting weights is even better. After you eat there is a raise in blood sugar levels, and the muscles act like sponges (when active) to soak up excess blood sugar that is streaming around your blood.
A study released in early June, sponsored by the National Institutes on Aging, found that a fifteen minute walk after every meal significantly reduces the risk of developing diabetes. The study’s lead author, Loretta DiPietro stated:

"You eat a meal. You wait a half-hour and then you go for a 15-minute walk, and it has proven effective in controlling blood sugar levels, but you have to do it every day after every meal. This amount of walking is not a prescription for weight loss or cardiovascular fitness — it's a prescription for controlling blood sugar.”

The results of the study emphasized the importance of timing of the exercise throughout the day for controlling blood sugar. The researchers found that splitting up walking into three 15 minute bouts after breakfast, lunch, and dinner, was significantly better for reducing (3 hr) post-dinner glucose compared to when the participants walked for 45 minutes straight in either morning of afternoon, and much more significant compared to their days of inactivity.

My recommendations: This study further emphasizes the importance of “sit less, move more!” Instead of eating lunch and going back to your desk for 3 hours, try to get outside for a quick walk. As mentioned by the study’s lead author, do not think these walks after your meals count as your exercise for the day. Walking throughout the day should be normal activity and not counted in your “exercise” plan. You must do additional cardiovascular exercise on top of those little walks to improve your cardiovascular health. If you don’t have more than those 15 minutes to get in activity, you better make it a super brisk walk or even a run- no dilly dallying when you are low on time! Remember, walking is good for lowering post-meal blood sugar, but effective EXERCISE for cardiovascular health should be challenging and uncomfortable.

References: 1) Loretta DiPietro, Andrei Gribok, Michelle S. Stevens, Larry F. Hamm, and William Rumpler. Three 15-min Bouts of Moderate Postmeal Walking Significantly Improves 24-h Glycemic Control in Older People at Risk for Impaired Glucose Tolerance. Diabetes Care


Friday, June 14, 2013


People always ask me what they should eat before and after a workout. As I have previously posted, you theoretically will burn more fat in a fasted state. However, your workout may not be as vigorous if you haven’t eaten compared to when you’re well-fueled. Therefore, you may burn fewer calories in the end if you don't eat before. Also, if you aren’t used to working out hard on an empty stomach, you could faint due to low blood sugar, which is not a good thing. I always recommend people eat at least a little something with carbohydrate before any workout. It is always important to have enough glucose to have your muscles run on during a workout, so eating a healthy meal about 2 hours before is ideal (e.g: whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, fruit), or at least a banana if you are workout out first thing in the morning.

It is most important to eat AFTER a workout to replenish your muscle glycogen stores so that they can be functioning optimally at your next workout. However, what you eat really depends on how hard your workout was. Keep in mind that calorie expenditure varies greatly depending on the age, gender, and size of a person, and obviously, how hard you worked. A large man may very well burn 800 calories in a 1-hr spin class at a very vigorous effort, while a small woman might burn around 300 at the same effort. So, don’t trust what you hear about how many calories you burn in an exercise class or what the machines say you burned… some of these numbers may overestimate as much as 1 ½ - 2x the amount of calories you actually burned.

My Recommendation: After a very hard cardio and resistance exercise, you need to eat carbohydrates and protein in about a 3:1 ratio. So, I recommend yogurt or cottage cheese and a piece of fruit (blend it into a smoothie if you want!).  Personally, my post-workout favorite is oat bran made with milk, cinnamon, fruit, and chia or hemp seeds. However, if weight loss is your goal, make sure you aren’t eating more calories than you burned after a workout, unless it is a full meal. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Guest Blog Post: Why Free Range Beef is Better than Factory Farmed

Below is a guest blog post from Danielle Mcann. Danielle is a copywriter working with Cannings Free Range Butchers. When Danielle's not writing content she enjoys swimming, shopping and taking her Golden Retriever dogs for a walk.

Free range beef meatballs. Image from Cannings Free Range Butchers.
  1. Hygiene

Factory farmed animals live in disgusting conditions. To save space they are crammed into tiny spaces and tiny cages living on top of each other. The results are foul: There is animal excrement everywhere, including in the animal’s mouths and faces. To combat this, the animals are pumped full of antibiotics and false growth hormones, to stop infections and make them grow at the same pace they would if they weren't in spaces that restricted their growth. The growth hormones also serve to make the animal grow at an unnaturally fast rate, meaning the quickest turnaround time and the most money for the farmer. This means that you are eating meat that is potentially very unclean, full of infection, false hormones, and worst of all, antibiotics. Arsenic substances (very low, but nonetheless!) are often added to the high-fat feed mixture of the animals, which is eventually condemned by humans. Free range meat, meanwhile, is subject to strict guidelines as to how much space the animal is given to roam in, and free range often means grass fed. 

  1. You are what you eat
Grass fed meats have a dramatically higher instance of omega 3 (good fat, fat that is essential for cell regeneration) compared with omega 6 (bad fat, fat that will clog your arteries are cause you heart disease). Grain fed, force fed, and factory farmed meats are always, always, higher in fat and lower in protein, which means more or less that it has very little good and a lot of bad.

To contact Danielle with questions or concerns, email her at: 

Kelly's Note: As a dietitian, I agree with the experts who recommended to eat a "mostly plant based diet" in the 2010 US Dietary Guidelines. As far as red meat is concerned, I do recommend limiting the quantity of red meat one consumes since the research is very conflicting about red meat intake and impact on health. Even though grass-fed beef does contain higher levels of omega-3's and is generally lower in fat than grain-fed beef, there is new research suggesting that the L-carnitine found in high levels in red and processed meats may contribute to atherosclerosis. However, processed meats like bacon, sausage, and hot dogs, seem to be much worse for health than natural and unprocessed beef. I posted this blog because beef is a great source of protein, iron, and other vitamins and minerals. I know that many people do consume beef regularly, and therefore, you should be educated about your purchasing decisions.Since humans do not need to consume high quantities of meat each day to be healthy, you should spend the money to buy a smaller portion of grass-fed beef as compared to cheaper and larger quantities of factory-raised beef.