Lack of Sleep Equals More Prone to Choose Junk Food

Being sleepy might make you more prone to munching on junk food rather than snacking on nutritious vegetables.

Research published Aug. 6 in Nature Communications reveals that lack of sleep leads to brain changes that make it harder for us to make good decisions — and in turn make us more likely to give into some cravings.

“What we have discovered is that high-level brain regions required for complex judgments and decisions become blunted by a lack of sleep, while more primal brain structures that control motivation and desire are amplified,” study senior author Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience, said in a press release.

Walker said that this means that high-calorie foods are more appealing because of the brain’s altered state.

The researchers looked at the brains of 23 healthy young adults after a normal night’s sleep and after a sleepless night. They measured brain activity in the subjects using an fMRI scan as the subjects looked at 80 different pictures of food that ranged from high to low-calorie, and healthy and to junk food. Items included burgers, pizza, doughnuts, strawberries, apples and carrots.

The subjects were also asked to rate how much they wanted to eat the particular food. After the experiment, they were given the item they wanted the most.

The researchers discovered that lack of sleep negatively affected the brain’s frontal lobe, which is a region in charge of decision-making processes. Sleepiness also increased the activity in the deeper centers of the brain that are involved in reward pathways.

When junk foods like pizza were put in front of sleep-deprived subjects along with leafy whole grains, they eagerly picked the greasier path. However, they were capable of making better choices after a good night’s rest.

“These results shed light on how the brain becomes impaired by sleep deprivation, leading to the selection of more unhealthy foods and, ultimately, higher rates of obesity,” lead author Stephanie Greer, a doctoral student in Walker’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory, said in a press release.

A 2012 study from Columbia University researchers also found similar evidence of increased activity in the brain’s reward centers in sleepy subjects shown pictures of unhealthy foods.

Recent research in the America Journal of Clinical Nutrition also suggests that junk foods full of processed carbohydrates like cakes, cookies and chips may affect pleasure centers in the brain more than other foods, causing people to crave them and overeat.

Dr. Laurent Brondel, from the department of physiology at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France, added to  New Scientist that the study’s results may link back to our evolutionary roots.

Brondel, who was not involved in the study, explained that longer summer days, especially in high altitudes, make it harder to sleep, which means that people would spend more time awake and eating. This would help them get through shorter days during winter when food was not as available.


Dr. Kenneth P. Wright Jr., director of the sleep and chronobiology lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told the New York Times that the study might explain why people make bad food choices when they are tired and eat more when they are exhausted.

“There’s something that changes in our brain when we’re sleepy that’s irrespective of how much energy we need,” Wright, who was not involved in the study, said. “The brain wants more even when the energy need has been fulfilled.”

In addition to getting sufficient sleep, you may want to try eating before buying food in order to make healthier choices. A separate study published May in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that shopping on an empty stomach makes people more likely to buy higher-calorie foods.


Source: CBS News

Leaky Gut Syndrome : What It Is, How To Cure It

Leaky gut syndrome is one of those insidious ailments affecting millions of people around the world. Our Doctors Clinic uses the term insidious because the majority of individuals suffering from this debilitating problem are totally unaware that they have it. From the sound of it, you may think that leaky gut syndrome only affects the gut, but the reality is that what starts out as a gut problem ends up doing a great deal of damage elsewhere in the body.

Think of the lining of your digestive tract like a net with extremely small holes in it – allowing only a select few substances to pass through it. Your gut lining acts as a barrier that keeps out harmful substances. When it erodes, those harmful substances pass through and do a great deal of damage to your body. The image below does a brilliant job of describing exactly what happens when one has a leaky gut.

Looks scary, doesn’t it? Well, there’s no need to worry. There is a way to treat this issue, and you can return to great health. It just takes time, and a great deal of effort on your part to eat the correct foods and avoid the bad foods. Our doctors at Doctors Clinic Houston are going to go the full 10 yards to give you all the information you need to end the leaky gut madness.


Before we talk about the treatment, let’s focus on the symptoms. If you don’t have any of these symptoms, then the chances that you have leaky gut are infinitesimal. If you do, then its best that you become not only more vigilant, but more proactive in finding out what is wrong. The inimitable Ayn Rand once said, “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” That is the mentality you need to accept and live by, if you want to combat this incredibly destructive health issue. You need to fight tooth and nail to get rid of it. And if that means reading this entire article, and then looking into the problem for another 4 or 5 hours, then it’ll definitely be worth the time.
The symptoms for leaky gut are the following:

  • Bloating
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Skin issues like rosacea and acne
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Brain Fog

What Causes Leaky Gut?

The four main causes of leaky gut which include:

  • Poor diet
  • Chronic stress
  • Toxin overload
  • Bacterial imbalance

There are other causes, but these cover the most common ones. Finding out that you have leaky gut is scary, but knowing what causes can be its own anodyne, for you know that there is a cure!

The 4-Step Plan to Heal Leaky Gut

  1. REMOVE foods and factors that damage the gut
  2. REPLACE with healing foods
  3. REPAIR with specific supplements
  4. REBALANCE with probiotics

The foods you need to eat are the following:

  • Bone Broth
  • Raw Cultured Dairy
  • Fermented Vegetables
  • Coconut Products
  • Flaxseeds and Hempseeds

Eat these foods and you will well be on your way to recovering from such a pernicious health issue.

Easy Nutrition Label Guide


Start with the Serving SizeNutritionFactsPanel

  • Look here for both the serving size (the amount for one serving) and the number of servings in the package.
  • Compare your portion size (the amount you actually eat) to the serving size listed on the panel. If the serving size is one cup and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients listed on the label.

Check Out the Total Calories and Fat

  • Find out how many calories are in a single serving and the number of calories from fat. It’s smart to cut back on calories and fat if you are watching your weight.

Let the Percent Daily Values Be Your Guide

Use percent Daily Values (DV) to help evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily meal plan:

  • Daily Values are average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5 percent DV of fat provides 5 percent of the total fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day should eat.
  • Percent DV are for the entire day, not just one meal or snack
  • You may need more or less than 2,000 calories per day. For some nutrients you may need more or less than 100 percent DV.

The High and Low of Daily Values

  • 5 percent or less is low. Aim low in total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.
  • 20 percent or more is high. Aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Limit Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium

Eating less fat, cholesterol and sodium may help reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.

  • Total fat includes saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat. Limit to 100 percent DV or less per day.
  • Saturated fat and trans fat are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
  • High levels of sodium can add up to high blood pressure.
  • Remember to aim for low percentage DV of these nutrients.

Get Enough Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber

  • Eat more fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron to maintain good health and help reduce your risk of certain health problems such as osteoporosis and anemia.
  • Choose more fruits and vegetables to get more of these nutrients.
  • Remember to aim high for percentage DV of these nutrients.

Additional Nutrients

You know about fat and calories, but it is important to also know the additional nutrients on the Nutrition Facts Panel.

  • ProteinMost Americans eat more protein than they need, so a percentage Daily Value is not required on the label. Eat moderate portions of lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, plus beans, peanut butter and nuts.
  • CarbohydratesThere are three types of carbohydrates: sugars, starches and fiber. Eat whole-grain breads, cereals, rice and pasta plus fruits and vegetables.
  • SugarsSimple carbohydrates or sugars occur naturally in foods such as fruit juice (fructose) or come from refined sources such as table sugar (sucrose) or corn syrup.

Check the Ingredient List

Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first. This information is particularly helpful to individuals with food sensitivities, those who wish to avoid pork or shellfish or limit added sugars or people who prefer vegetarian eating.


Get Back in The Swing of Spring


Birds chirping, trees blooming and feet on the pavement all signal the arrival of spring. However, hitting the great outdoors for a 5K or fun run involves more than just lacing up your sneakers and programming the perfect playlist. After a long winter slumber, these five simple steps will get you on your feet again the safe and healthy way.



Go Eat

Starving yourself should never be part of an exercise regimen, but eating right should. Fuel up with whole-wheat breads, pastas and brown rice two hours before your workout. “Whole grains … are going to give you a longer lasting energy to get through your runs,” says Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Amy Jamieson-Petonic, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD, LMT. “Even half a whole-grain bagel a half hour before you run could help with that.”

Foods to avoid include anything high in sugar like jams and jellies, cookies, cakes, pies and doughnuts, says Jamieson-Petonic. “They tend to give you a quick burst of energy, but then your blood sugar bottoms out,” she says. Healthy substitutes include energy and granola bars, low-fat or fat-free yogurt and fruit smoothies, peanut butter on a bagel thin, and chocolate milk. Foods that may help reduce inflammation such as salmon, tuna and nuts are also good choices.

Go Drink

“Everyone should really be going into a workout hydrated,” says USA Triathlon Coach and professional triathlete Kim Schwabenbauer, RD, LDN. “It prevents muscle tears and it helps you feel better during the workout.” Schwabenbauer recommends drinking fluids throughout the day and definitely within the hour before you workout. Both Schwabenbauer and Jamieson-Petonic agree that water is great if the workout is under 60 minutes, but recommend a sports or energy drink for runs more than an hour.

Go Stretch

“The warm up and cool down are definitely important components of the workout and they should never be skipped,” says Schwabenbauer, who advises ditching static exercises such as grabbing ankles and stretching quads. “Static stretching is really a way of the past,” she says. Instead, try squats, forward lunges and the soldier walk. This is a stretch in which you stand in place with your arms out in front and try and kick your hands, all while keeping your legs elongated.

Go Slow

That race you ran last summer was a long time ago. Consider easing back into your routine if it’s been a while since you’ve run hardcore. “Don’t go out for the first run and think, ‘Today, I’m going to run three miles,'” says Schwabenbauer. “[People] run really hard and then they’re off the next four days because they’re so sore and tired.” Instead, Schwabenbauer advises picking a distance and then increasing gradually by 30-second intervals over time.

Go Rest

When you exercise you’re causing tiny microscopic tears in muscle fiber. Those muscles need time to build themselves back up. “It’s important that we allow our muscles a chance to recover and heal,” says Jamieson-Petonic, who advises either a day of rest or cross training for diehard workout junkies. “Get on a bicycle, get in a pool, do some strength training or core work such as yoga or other types of exercise, so you can give those muscles a chance to heal.”


Maintaining a Goal Weight

Reached your goal weight? What to do next? New diet or dame routine? Read what the experts say below:


The question: After you’ve slimmed down, should you use a different strategy for maintaining weight loss? Or will the same steps that help you drop pounds in the first place still work?

The expert: James O. Hill, Ph.D., executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado and author of State of Slim

The answer: Actually, your game plan for losing weight should be totally different from your game plan for keeping it off. When you’re in weight-loss mode, it’s a temporary situation primarily driven by food restriction (which is why it’s so much easier to lose weight through diet than exercise). “You can do things for three months that you can’t do forever,” says Hill.

When it comes to maintaining your weight, though, research indicates that exercise is the single biggest factor in predicting who’s going to prevent the weight from creeping back on, says Hill. “Keeping weight off is about delveoping new habits and rituals and routines,” he says. “It becomes much more important to look at long-term behavior change for maintenance.”

To kickstart your own lasting healthy habits, check out the 10 eating habits of perpetually fit people and read up on how to stick to your workout for good

Source: ABC NEWS – Health

GOOD NEWS: Teenagers Are Getting More Exercise and Vegetables


Teenagers are exercising more, consuming less sugar and eating more fruits and vegetables, a trend that may be contributing to a leveling off of obesity rates, a new study shows.

The findings suggest that aggressive anti-obesity messages aimed at children may be starting to make a difference, albeit a small one. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.

Still, most teenagers were falling short of federal recommendations, which call for children to get at least an hour of physical activity daily, a central message of Michelle Obama’s signature “Let’s Move” campaign. The new data showed that most children engaged in an hour of exercise fewer than five days a week and spent more than two hours a day watching television, chatting online and playing video games.

The numbers also revealed something of an age and racial divide. Younger children had the highest levels of physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption. But as children got older, the frequency of eating junk foods and engaging in sedentary behaviors crept up, along with average body mass index, a crude measure of obesity.

Black and Hispanic adolescents lagged behind whites on almost every measure of progress, even after the researchers tried to take into account the influence of socioeconomic factors.

“In some ways you can interpret what we found positively by saying we’re beginning to bend the curve, and hopefully we’ll start seeing a downward trend in obesity,” said Dr. Ronald J. Iannotti, a study author and chair of the department of exercise and health sciences at the University of Massachusetts Boston. “But there’s large room for improvement.”

The study analyzed data from a national survey of tens of thousands of schoolchildren in grades 6 through 10, which was carried out once every four years from roughly 2001 to 2010.

Childhood obesity rates, which have more than doubled since 1980, rose slightly between 2001 and 2006, then leveled off by 2010, at roughly 13 percent. The proportion of those who were overweight also plateaued at around 17 percent.

Obesity tends to follow children into adulthood, raising the risk of heart disease and cancer as well as Type 2 diabetes, a disease that has also risen sharply among children.

In the past year, other studies have hinted at improvements in the obesity rate among younger children, with some even showing a decline in some cities. But little was known about the extent to which physical and dietary behaviors might have played a role.

The new study found that at the same time obesity and overweight appeared to level off, there were, on average, very slight increases in physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption and the eating of breakfast, another habit public health officials consider a marker of healthy behavior.

The opposite trend was seen for behaviors that are widely discouraged. The amount of time teenagers spent watching television fell from about three hours a day in 2001 to less than two-and-a-half hours by 2010. Teenagers also reported drinking slightly fewer soft drinks and eating less candy.

Boys overall reported more physical activity than girls, but they also watched more television and played more video games and ate fewer fruits and vegetables.

One expert who was not involved in the study, David B. Allison, the director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said it was impossible from the data to deduce a cause and effect, since any number of factors that could influence obesity rates may have changed over time.

“We should be very cautious about drawing any attributions about causes based on time trend data,” Dr. Allison said.

But Dr. Iannotti said the findings seemed to suggest a pattern. “I think the public health message is beginning to be accepted,” he said.


info by By ANAHAD O’CONNOR of The NY Times



Gut bacteria may be key to fighting obesity

Different kinds of bacteria that live inside the gut can help spur obesity or protect against it, according to new research from scientists at Washington University in St. Louis.

They transplanted intestinal germs from fat or lean people into mice and watched the rodents change.

And what they ate determined whether the good germs could move in and do their job.


Thursday’s report raises the possibility of one day turning gut bacteria into personalized fat-fighting therapies, and it may help explain why some people have a harder time losing weight than others do.

“It’s an important player,” said Dr. David Relman of Stanford University, who also studies how gut bacteria influence health but wasn’t involved in the new research. “This paper says that diet and microbes are necessary companions in all of this. They literally and figuratively feed each other.”

The research was reported in the journal Science.

We all develop with an essentially sterile digestive tract. Bacteria rapidly move in starting at birth — bugs that we pick up from mom and dad, the environment, first foods. Ultimately, the intestine teems with hundreds of species, populations that differ in people with varying health. Overweight people harbor different types and amounts of gut bacteria than lean people, for example. The gut bacteria we pick up as children can stick with us for decades, although their makeup changes when people lose weight, previous studies have shown.

Clearly, what you eat and how much you move are key to how much you weigh. But are those bacterial differences a contributing cause of obesity, rather than simply the result of it? If so, which bugs are to blame, and might it be possible to switch out the bad actors?

To start finding out, Washington University graduate student Vanessa Ridaura took gut bacteria from eight humans — four pairs of twins that each included one obese sibling and one lean sibling. One pair of twins was identical, ruling out an inherited explanation for their different weights. Using twins also guaranteed similar childhood environments and diets.

She transplanted the human microbes into the intestines of young mice that had been raised germ-free.

The mice who received gut bacteria from the obese people gained more weight — and experienced unhealthy metabolic changes — even though they didn’t eat more than the mice who received germs from the lean twins, said study senior author Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, director of Washington University’s Center of Genome Sciences and Systems Biology.

“This wasn’t attributable to differences in the amount of food they consumed, so there was something in the microbiota that was able to transmit this trait,” Gordon said in a statement. “Our question became: What were the components responsible?”

Then came what Gordon calls the “battle of the microbes.” Mice that harbored gut bacteria from a lean person were put in the same cages as mice that harbored the obesity-prone germs. The research team took advantage of an icky fact of rodent life: Mice are coprophagic — or eat feces — so presumably they could easily swap intestinal bugs.

What happened was a surprise. Certain bacteria from the lean mice invaded the intestines of the fatter mice, and their weight and metabolism improved. But the trade was one-way — the lean mice weren’t affected.

Moreover, the fatter mice got the bacterial benefit only when they were fed a low-fat, high-fiber diet. When Ridaura substituted the higher-fat, lower-fiber diet typical of Americans, the protective bug swap didn’t occur.




Why? Gordon already knew from human studies that obese people harbor less diverse gut bacteria. “It was almost as if there were potential job vacancies” in their intestines that the lean don’t have, he explained.

Sure enough, a closer look at the mice that benefited from the bug swap suggests a specific type of bacteria, from a family named Bacteroidetes, moved into previously unoccupied niches in their colons — if the rodents ate right.

Robert W. Karp, a program director for genetics and genomics at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, told the New York Timesof the new study, “This is all weird and wonderful.”

How might those findings translate to people? For a particularly hard-to-treat diarrheal infection, doctors sometimes transplant stool from a healthy person into the sick person’s intestine. Some scientists wonder if fecal transplants from the lean to the fat might treat obesity, too.

But Gordon foresees a less invasive alternative: Determining the best combinations of intestinal bacteria to match a person’s diet, and then growing those bugs in sterile lab dishes – like this study could – and turning them into pills. He estimates such an attempt would take at least five more years of research.

“”In the future, the nutritional value and the effects of food will involve significant consideration of our microbiota–and developing healthy, nutritious foods will be done from the inside-out, not just the outside-in,” said Gordon.


2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Well, just maybe it’s not what you’re eating

Have you ever had one of those months when no matter what exercise you did or how many miles you walked, the pounds did not melt away? Well, maybe it’s not only the amount of calories; the carbohydrates, or the fats that are in the foods you are eating, you may need some medical assistance. We have 6 weight loss nurses available to answer your questions so call us today or make an appointment to visit with one of our doctors…and see how jealous your friends will become when you lose the weight.

Houston Medical Clinic – Six (6) Locations

Need a Houston Medical Clinic? Welcome to Doctors Clinic Houston. We provide many different services for Houston in the areas of Family & Internal Medicine (immunizations, Well Woman, flu shots), Occupational Medicine (drug screening, employment physicals, immigration physicals), Urgent Care (minor injuries), Skin Rejuvenation (laser hair removal and botox treatments), and most forms of Chiropractic Medicine!

We have a wonderfully trained staff who is eager to help you with the Houston Medical Services that you need! Call Today for an appointment or just stop by and see what we have to offer.