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Ask Dr. Mike: Canned vs. Frozen Foods, Unhealthy Sodium/Sugar Intake & MORE

Here you'll find the answers to a wealth of health and wellness questions posed by Healthy Talk fans. Listen in because what you know helps ensure healthy choices you can live with. Today on Healthy Talk, you wanted to know:

Isn't there a protein-to-carb ratio that's good for sore muscles?

Yes. Recently, Dr. Holly Lucille was on Healthy Talk discussing a 1:2 ratio of protein and carbs. In the segment, she suggests one serving of protein to two servings of complex carbs (NOT sugar) 30 minutes after working out. Additional natural aids that can ease your sore muscles include curcumin, ginger, and glutamine.

Should I be concerned about my sodium and sugar intake?

Dr. Mike doesn't know you personally, but if you're eating the Standard American Diet, you might be eating too much sugar.

First, the most common reason why doctors say to limit your salt intake is if you have high blood pressure and kidney issues. Even if you don't have health issues, you still want to consume salt (as well as everything else) in moderation.

As far as sugar goes, you should be concerned. Added sugar is in almost everything and can cause health maladies such as weight gain, metabolic syndrome, obesity, acne, cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, nerve problems, brain problems, and so much more. If you're someone who eats a lot of processed sugars, it might be in your best interest to try healthier alternatives like turbinado and molasses. If you're looking for something to put an end to your sugar cravings, Dr. Mike suggests using saffron extract.

Are frozen foods healthier than canned foods?

Yes! Frozen foods have been shown to preserve the nutrients in the food better than in canned foods. Canned foods also contain high amounts of salt and other preservatives to help lengthen the shelf life.

If you have a health question or concern, Dr. Mike encourages you to write him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call in, toll-free, to the LIVE radio show (1.877.711.5211) so he can provide you with support and helpful advice.

RadioMD Presents:Healthy Talk | Original Air Date: February 26, 2015
Host: Michael Smith, MD

It's time for you to be a part of the show. Email or call with questions for Dr. Mike Now. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 877-711-5211. The lines are open. What are you waiting for? The doctor is in.

So, this question just came in on email and you can send me your questions right now and I'll read it on air. Here's one right now. That's This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

This is a reference to the 5 natural workout supplements segment that I did and so the question is:
"Isn't there a protein to carb radio that's good for sore muscles?"

That's a great question because I just learned this myself from a good friend of mine, Dr. Holly Lucille, who was on my show talking about delayed onset muscle soreness. More and more people are getting out, they're working out—which is great—but that causes some sore muscles which is not necessarily a bad thing, by the way. Sore muscles actually could be, according to Dr. Lucille, a good thing. You break down the muscle fiber a little bit. You cause these little micro tears and the muscle rebuilds itself and you can rebuild stronger at an increased amount.

So, that actually could be a good thing. She talked about a protein to carb radio of 1:2 thirty minutes after you work out. So, 1 serving of protein to 2 servings of a complex carb. Now, not sugar. She made that clear. Not sugar. So, a serving of protein to 2 servings of complex carbs 30 minutes after you work out. That can help to control muscle soreness. For additional help, she mentioned curcumin and ginger. I would throw in there, as a matter of fact, one of the workout supplements that I mentioned and that was glutamine. Glutamine can be very helpful for muscle soreness. So, there you go. It's a 1:2 protein to complex carb ratio.

Okay. Going on. Next question."Should I be concerned about my sodium and sugar intake?"

Well, you know, I don't know you personally, but I'm going to make two assumptions. Number one, if you're an average American, you're eating the Standard American Diet which is S-A-D. It is. It's a very sad diet that the average American eats, so I have to make an assumption that you're eating too much salt and sugar, yes. Then, of course, you're asking me this question, right? Most people that feel like they've got it under control don't ask that question. So, the fact that you're asking tells me that you probably do have an issue with salt and sugar.

Okay. Let's talk about salt first because there are a couple of myths about salt. First is about blood pressure. The most common reason doctor's say "Limit your salt," is because it could increase blood pressure. You know, that's not really true? Did you know that? If you have bad kidneys or you already have blood pressure issues and you do too much salt, then it can be a problem.

But, if you're blood pressure is fine and you've got healthy kidneys, you can do a lot of salt and your body handles it. Your kidneys metabolize and get rid of it. But, it's still probably a good idea to manage salt a little bit better, especially with all the salt alternatives out there. I mean, Mrs. Dash. You've got good fresh herbs, spices. There's so much out there. You know, 20 years ago, at your local grocery store, there were hardly any choices. I mean, yes, it was salt and pepper. That was it. The spice aisle or the salsa aisle, I mean, that was like the exotic place to go. Only weird people went down those aisles. But now, they're all over the place. So, you know, yes. I think it's important and I believe in balance. I believe in moderation of anything.

Listen, I come from a family where we used a lot of salt. My dad would salt a salt stick and it would cause fights—especially when my Greek grandmother was cooking food for him and he would salt her food before even tasting it. Oh! She would just...and she was a tough woman. So, yes. I think it is important to be careful with salt intake. I just wanted you to know that there are some myths about it. I mean, if you do have healthy kidneys and your blood pressure is normal, it's not really about that. It's just that we have to do things in moderation especially with so many of the great spices and stuff out there. So, try to use some of that stuff more and less of the direct salt.

Now, as far as the sugar, yes. I mean, this is the big one, right? I mean, I've talked about sugar so much and I will continue to talk about sugar because it's killing us. My gosh. I mean, you know, sugar is related to abnormal lipid profiles, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease. Obviously, diabetes, nerve problems, brain problems. We're now even maybe calling Alzheimer's "diabetes in the brain" because there's some insulin and weird sugar stuff going on there. So, yes, we have to watch sugar.

Sometimes when I'm doing some lectures, I like to ask people, "What are the two diseases that were almost unheard of before we brought in processed sugars?" Do any of my listeners know? What were the two diseases that were almost unheard of before we brought in processed sugars? Anybody? Anybody? Number one, diabetes. It was there, but it was pretty uncommon. And number two, acne. Yes. Acne. So, yes, we have to watch the processed sugars and especially, just like with the salt and all the alternative salts out there and the spices and stuff like that, there are better sugars. There are less processed sugars. There's Turbinado. There's molasses. There are different ways to get sugar. We just have to limit the amount and what's really hard today is, there's so much added sugar to things, too.

As a matter of fact, I'm going to be doing a segment coming up on the effects of added sugar and how that was actually shown recently to increase all-cause mortality. So, that's coming up on a future segment. So, yes, you need to watch your sugar. Because you're asking me the question, if you really have a big, big, big sugar craving, try something like saffron extract. If you're a sugar craver in the afternoon because of work stress, kid stress, life stress and sugar is your comfort, there's a reason for that. Cortisol is a sugar mobilizer that releases insulin. It drives the sugar out of your blood stream and you start craving the sugar. Plus, when you're stressed, you've got to feed the stress. You've got to feed your muscles and your brain because you're stressed out, so you need more sugar. So, you crave it.

What we have found is saffron is able to cut sugar cravings really well because it has an influence on serotonin which is the "feel good" neurotransmitter and so that can be helpful. So, try it. Watch your salt and try some of the spices and some of the...Is it Mr. Dash or Mrs. Dash? I can't remember, but I don't really use that. I just use a lot of spices and hot sauces and stuff like that. So, watch that salt and then, the real issue is the sugar. One great way to control sugar cravings is with things that boost serotonin. So, tryptophan, saffron extract, 5 HDT is another one there. So, yes. Please watch sodium and sugar intake.

Alright, next question."Are frozen foods healthier than canned foods?"

Yes. That was pretty easy. Frozen foods have been shown to preserve nutrients better. You don't have a lot of the salt preservatives and the nitrates that you find in canned foods so, yes. Fresh is always best, right? If you go into your grocery store, all of the fresh food is on the outside with refrigeration. That's where we need to be shopping.

We need to be filling up our shopping carts with about 80% of the stuff on the outside aisles--not the inside aisles. That's where you've got the pre-packaged stuff and the canned foods and the salts and the preservatives and the sugars and all that kind of stuff. So, you know, we can't always eat fresh. I get that. So, when you can't, stick to the frozen. It is better. More nutrients. Less preservatives. Yes, I like frozen food better than canned.

This is Healthy Talk on RadioMD. I'm Dr. Mike. Stay well.