Author of Dr. A’s Habits of Health, Dr. Wayne Anderson, joins Wellness for Life Radio to share tips on how to “spring into a healthier diet."
Dr. Anderson provides valuable information on foods you eat that you think may be healthy but actually aren't.
He also guides you through the steps on how to clean up your diet and get ready for a healthier life.
RadioMD Presents: Wellness for Life Radio | Original Air Date: April 10, 2015
Host: Susanne Bennett, DC
Guest: Wayne Anderson, MD
You're listening to RadioMD. She's a chiropractic, holistic physician, best-selling author, international speaker, entrepreneur, and talk show host. She's Dr. Susanne Bennett. It's time now for Wellness for Life Radio. Here's Dr. Susanne.
DR SUSANNE: Spring is here. You may be purging your closets and garages this weekend, but it's also a perfect time to start spring cleaning your body by cleaning up your diet. Before you know it, summer will be here and some of us want to get into our favorite bikini or swim suit.
My guest today is Dr. Wayne Andersen, the author of Dr. A's Habits of Health and he's going to share with us tips on how to spring into a healthier diet.
Thanks for being with us, Dr. Andersen. There's so many different diets to choose from and many lists "to do", right? Do lists here. Don't lists there. Tell us some of the foods that people think are actually healthy for them, but they're not.
DR ANDERSEN: Well, that's great. Thank you so much for having me on your show. It's real exciting and it is spring and people are shedding their winter clothes and excited about getting out and being more active and fueling our body, obviously, as you say, Doc, is so important. So, one of the cool things that we hear are healthy, but actually aren't healthy that we have to be aware of are multigrain breads. We know how important it is to have whole grains, but a lot of these multigrains, literally, are full of sugar and refined grains, so you're not getting the full nutritional benefit once the husk is broken, as you know, and the outer shell and also, it's a much higher glycemic index and the glycemic load and the amount of carbohydrates you get is higher. The second one is salad. As you know, some of these prepared salads like tuna salads and chicken salads and shrimp salads, are loaded with hidden fats and calories because of the high mayonnaise content in them. So, what's really important is to use a low-fat mayonnaise and the other thing you can do is replace your mayo with something like Greek yogurt.
Then, the third one, just to move along here quickly is, granola. A lot of granola is filled with trans fats and sugar. So, obviously, that can increase our risk for heart attack or stroke. So, one of the things that you can do is try almonds or pistachios instead as an added crunch to your morning yogurt.
So, those are three tips that people should keep in mind. Things they think are health and really aren't.
DR SUSANNE: I love exactly what you're talking about. You talked about the glycemic index and load. You know, there are a lot of people that get confused about those two terms. Can you describe that just a little bit more?
DR ANDERSEN: Sure. Absolutely. Yes, absolutely. In fact, in the book you mentioned, Dr. A's Habits of Health, I have a whole system and because glycemic index and looking at the numbers can be a little difficult, what I did was, I created a color-coded systems that makes it easy, but here's the deal. Glycemic index means that after you ingest whatever food source you have, how rapidly, by the end of 30 minutes, how high does your blood sugar go? And, things that are high glycemic—so, if the number is larger, that means, in relationship to eating pure sugar, that you're closer to eating pure sugar. So, if you have a high glycemic index in something, it means that you're going to absorb a lot more sugar, which as your sugar goes up, obviously, your insulin responds to that and your insulin response curve is, especially if you eat something that's sugary, that has a high glycemic load, it's going to raise your blood sugar and then your blood sugar's going to fall as a result because your insulin stays higher and then you drop out. That's what causes the cravings. Our brain is so important to maintain a normal level of energy to the brain. So, if your blood sugar falls, the brain needs to use sugar, so it actually sends out those cravings and you get into that cycle. 76,000 Americans, Doctor, have insulin resistance as a result of eating all this sugar throughout the day.
DR SUSANNE: Absolutely. And the glycemic load. How does that relate to the index?
DR ANDERSEN: Yes. Yes. That is actually the amount of total load. So, if you take something like watermelon, it would be a good example. Watermelon has a high glycemic index. In other words, if you look at it, it will raise your blood sugar, but because it's mostly water, the glycemic load is actually low. So, actually, watermelon isn't a bad thing to eat. If you eat something that's got a like a pasta, like we were talking about these multigrain that have a high glycemic load and they also have a high glycemic index, then you're really raising your blood sugar significantly, which is what we don't want to do. So, there are some things you can do to lower glycemic index or this is a great thing, by the way, to put to get some zest on your food by putting lemon or lime on. By changing the acidity, it lowers the glycemic index. Pasta, if you keep it when it's al dente or not so mushy, it also has a lower glycemic index. So, there are some things you can do that can actually modify the glycemic index. Also, the amount of total absorption into your body which, as you know, we want to keep our glycemic index relatively low and eat things that don't stimulate our blood sugar to elevate our insulin.
DR SUSANNE: Right. I tell my patients all the time to use fiber as a way to slow down your digestion of carbohydrates. Have you heard of glucomannan? I'm sure you have.
DR ANDERSEN: Yes, I have.
DR SUSANNE: I use it with individuals who've got insulin issues and it helps slow down the absorption and the breakdown, actually, of the carbohydrates in your gut so that it doesn't make that spike. So, again, as you're saying the insulin in the glycemic index and the load—it's actually important to look at both so that you manage your blood sugar level properly.
DR ANDERSEN: That's so important. In fact, Susanne, the cool thing is, and you've talked about fiber. Fiber is so important. Actually, you know, one of the things I do is I've created an organization where I help people create long-term health. We use meal replacements to help people so when they're in a hurry, they can eat something that's designed to keep the healthy at the same time. We make sure that there's lots of fiber because fiber is a tremendous way to put yourself in the best possible situation. Obviously, there's two types of fiber: the soluble and the insoluble. People buy good sources of soluble fiber or vegetables or legumes, fruits, grains such as barley and oats. The insoluble fiber comes from everything such as whole wheat, cereals, seeds, fruit skins, vegetables. I love legumes. Legumes are great. You know, taking and getting some…if you do go to a sushi place to eat, it's always great to get some edamame in the front end.
DR SUSANNE: Yes. Hopefully, it's going to be GMO—free edamame.
DR ANDERSEN: Oh, of course. Of course.
DR SUSANNE: Yes. Yes. You know, tell us a little bit more about that book of yours, Dr. A's Healthy Habits because…
DR ANDERSEN: Dr. A's Habits of Health. I wrote Dr. A's Habits of Health in 2008 as kind of a comprehensive of taking people from wherever they are, and 68% of us, Susanne, are overweight, and so I start there and then I go through reaching a healthy weight, what are the key components of habits of health necessary to maintain a healthy weight and then moving forward on to optimal health and then longevity, living a longer, healthier life. In the continuum, if you set your sites and you now focus on a health orientation, over time it's amazing how much we can transform. I've helped over a million people now transform their health. I'll tell you that by taking it in baby steps and moving forward—not just in what you eat, but how you move, how you handle stress, all those things together make all the difference in the world. It's not just eating right. It's also sleeping right and moving enough and all these things. If we start focusing on little baby steps, we put ourselves in the best position to change our overall health.
DR SUSANNE: What you're talking about is really the foundation of optimal well-being. All of these lifestyle changes, you mentioned about sleep. You've got to change your diet, you've got to change your exercise. Is there one thing that someone can do right away today that you can share to get them started?
DR ANDERSEN: My favorite thing is to realize you have 168 hours in the week and, you know, many people really have a lack of affinity for exercise. So, what I say is, look at your leisure and look at your work and the first thing you can do is start moving more. The studies are coming out now, even if you exercise 3 times a week, if you're sitting on your rear most of the time because of your job or lifestyle or on a computer or watching TV, you're putting yourself at much higher risk. So, we want to get people up. We want to get them moving more. So, that's the one thing. The other thing I would say is, just drop and go down in 1/4 of your food that you're eating now. Just, basically, cut out that fourth. So, in other words, remove that from your plate before you eat and then just eat the 3/4 and that, by itself, is portion control. Dropping your energy in and increasing your energy out, those simple steps can help you start on the path to improving your health and your life.
DR SUSANNE: Love it! Love it! Thanks so much for all of your great information. To learn more about Dr. A's Habits of Health, go to DrWayneAndersen.com.
This is Dr. Susanne…