Very Low Calorie Diet Reverses Type 2 Diabetes

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Very Low Calorie Diet Reverses Type 2 Diabetes

Laurence T. Gayao, MD

 

A team of researchers from Yale University have discovered that placing animals with type 2 diabetes on a very low calorie diet (VLCD) rapidly reverses diabetes. These findings collaborate the findings of a study on those who had type 2 diabetes who underwent bariatric surgery to restrict caloric intake for weight loss purposes that also showed a rapid improvement or resolution of their diabetes.

 

What is Type 2 Diabetes

 

Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes

According to a 2017 report by the American Diabetes Association one in ten Americans have been diagnosed to have diabetes or about 23 million, but there are about 7 million who have diabetes who are undiagnosed (make sure you are one of them). So, there are about 30 million diabetics in America. It has also been noted that the older the age group the greater the incidence of diabetics, for example among people who are 65 years and older it is 25% or one out of four.

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Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

What is Very Low Calorie Diet

The link of diabetes and diet has been long established but this study add to the growing evidence that type 2 diabetes could be reversed in many cases. How much calories per day is VLCD? The ideal diet for a non-diabetic is 1,500- 2000 calories per day, the VLCD has about 800 calories or less per day. Take note the is the ideal daily caloric intake, I know that sometimes we take more than the recommended daily amount of calories in just one meal.  One should take note that there is a restriction of the amount of calories but still there should be no compromise to taking the right amount of essential nutrients.

 

How Does Very Low Colorie Diet Help Diabetes

According to the Yale researchers VLCD resulted in dramatic lowering of the blood sugar. It was noted that this was a result three things: 1) decreasing the conversion of lactate and amino acids to sugar; 2) decreasing the conversion of glycogen to sugar in the liver; 3) decreasing the fat content, which in turn improves the liver’s response to insulin. These beneficial effects were noted after just three days on the diet.

 

Importance of Health Coach

To undertake this process, it is recommended that one work with an experienced health coach to personalize the program and supplement dietary regimen with exercise and monitor the overall progress. The aim is just not having a good blood sugar control but modify the lifestyle to have a lifetime control of the diabetes.

 

Importance of Controlling Diabetes

Why is it important to control type 2 diabetes? Diabetes is responsible for 15% of deaths in the US and is responsible for many other health problems, like coronary heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, and amputations. It is one of the leading causes of premature deaths that are preventable. It has been also noted that more and more people having this problem and they project at the current rate increase there would be 1 in 4 cases of type 2 diabetics by year 2050. That is staggering amount and that would definitely put a strain in health budget.

 

Medications May Not Address the Cause

I have observed patients taking 3 to 4 medications for their diabetes and still finding no resolution to their problem. Some of these medications have been noted to be doing more harm than good. I am sure you have heard or seen some advertisements by malpractice lawyers soliciting business saying, “If you have been taking this ____ diabetes medicine and had developed this ____ problem call us.” Take note medications may control your sugar but it does not reverse the diabetes. Talk to your healthcare provider and discuss how to reverse or put to remission your type 2 diabetic disease.

If you have type 2 diabetes or someone you don’t resign to the idea that this is an incurable problem and you are consigned to life time of medications and suffer through the complications of this illness. Explore the possibility of reversing your illness and embracing a lifestyle to enhance your health.

Your Fitness Doc

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Mushrooms Antiaging Potential

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Mushrooms Antiaging Potential

14555 youth news Mushrooms Antiaging Potential
Ravages of Aging

Laurence T. Gayao M.D.

According to studies lead by Dr. Robert Beelman, Professor Emeritus of Food Science at Penn State, show mushrooms antiaging potential after researchers found that mushrooms had unusually high amounts of two important antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione.

 

Antioxidants Glutathione and Ergothioneine

Some of you may have used cosmetics and soaps that has glutathione to help rejuvenate your skin. Some even have taken it intravenously for the same purpose. It is also used to help lighten the skin pigment.  Our cells contain glutathione, which is a substance made from three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate, and glycine. Glutathione plays a role in many chemical reactions in your body. It also helps detoxify chemicals, including some that your body creates naturally, as well as pollutants and drugs.

Ergothioneine antioxidant is another example of just how vital amino acids are to the functionality and health of our entire bodies, including our skin. It has been observed to aggregate in areas of the body were there is high oxidative process to provide protection.  Experts have known about its existence for a century, but ergothioneine is only now becoming more widely recognized as an essential nutrient that may need to be supplemented through our diets and topical products. It too has been incorporated into cosmetic products for its antiaging properties.

According to studies published in recent issue of Food Chemistry the levels of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione vary from species to species of mushroom. The wild mushroom porcini found to have the highest. This particular species is popularly used in Italy.

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Porcini Mushroom
What are Free Radicals

 The body uses food to produce energy and in the process, causes oxidative stress as a result of free radicals are produced.  Some free radicals are formed as natural byproducts of your body’s processes, including eating and breathing, and you are exposed to free radicals from environmental toxinshousehold chemicals and cigarette smoke. Antioxidants made by your body and consumed in plant foods helps prevent free radical damage.

 These free radicals cause damage to cells, proteins and DNA which leads to aging. Free radicals are toxic, the body tries to control them with antioxidants but if there is enough buildup of the level in the body it could cause damage which could result in aging, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and even Cancer.

 

Other Food Packed with Antioxidants

The Mayo Clinic Health Letter details many of the foods that pack a high-antioxidant punch, including:

Berries: Colorful berries, particularly blueberries and strawberries, appear to have heart-healthy effects. Research suggests they may lower blood pressure and positively influence blood vessel health.

Curcumin: Curcumin is found in the spice turmeric, the main spice used to prepare curry. Curcumin is thought to have antioxidant properties, as it may decrease swelling and inflammation. Preliminary research suggests that curcumin may prevent cancer and possibly slow the spread of cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables: This family includes broccoli, cauliflower, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, kale and turnips. Research suggests these foods have a protective effect in preventing prostate, colorectal and lung cancers.

Blue Corn: Corn often gets a bad rap as a starchy vegetable. But blue corn, and even cornmeal, contain substances known for strong antioxidant and anti-inflammation activities.

Foods, rather than supplements, are the safest way to increase antioxidant levels. Some high-dose antioxidant supplements, including beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E, have been associated with health risks including an increased risk of overall mortality. No concerns have been raised about the safety of antioxidants consumed in foods.

Blue Zone and Antioxidants in their Diets

The Blue Zones, are places identified around the world with populations with longer life span and with more concentration of centenarians. One thing in common among this group is their diet, they were high in antioxidant though not necessarily vegans but their diets were predominately plant based and rich in nutrients, from freshly grown fruits, vegetables, nuts and grain. They also consumed notably lesser amounts of animal protein and processed foods.

Yes, Mushrooms Antiaging Potential, but let us not forget that eating more fresh plant food products helps slow down the aging process and also prevents many health problems.

Your Fitness Doc

 

 

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Fake Health News and Advice

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Fake Health News and Advice

 

By Laurence T. Gayao, MD

When I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2006, seemingly news about it spread like wild fire among my friends and aquintances. Facebook was only two years old then and I started receiving information volunteered by friends about different natural treatments using different plant products that many of them said were used by their friends and relatives who got cured from cancer. In advent of the internet there is tremendous amount of health information decimated.  How does one discriminate which is true from fake health news and advise?

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World Wide Web snd Fake News and Advice

Physicians are inundated with studies after studies about effectiveness of drugs in treatment of illnesses especially by drug sales representatives trying to promote their products. A good number of times these studies are sponsored by the manufacturers of the drugs being promoted..

 

How do you check websites of health news or advise?

First, check the source. In the internet looking at the URL gives you some clues. Sites that end up in .org, .gov, or .edu (non-profits, government organization, universities) are more reliable. Prominent news organizations such as CBS, NBC, Newsweek, and other established national and international news outlets can be a good source. However, some folks would use .co instead of .com at the end of for example NBCNews.com.co instead NBCNews.com to fool people to believe that they are affiliated to national media conglomerate when they are not. Some of health websites looks so legitimate and their presentations looks so credible.  The important questions are who runs and pays for the website.

 

Beware of faulty statistics

Physicians are required to study statistics to aid them in analyzing research data in a critical manner. A good number of researchers have been caught extracting false conclusions from studies to favor the products of those that sponsored their studies.

For example a drug to prevent stroke is tested. They chose a group that has a 2 percent chance of having a stroke. The result of the study shows the group just has a 1 percent occurrence of strokes when they take the drug. So, they come up with the conclusion that the drug is effective in dropping down the risk of stroke by 50%. An impressive number.

But that may not be completely true because it is not the whole story. The relative risk may have drop 50% compared to the placebo group but the absolute risk of preventing a stroke just dropped only 1%. Considering the side effects and the price of the drug it may just be worthless. Remember even physicians could be fooled by sales representatives using relative risk reeducation instead of absolute risk in the effectivity of drugs.

People who sell multivitamins and food supplements are not controlled by FDA and many times they come with claims about how effective their products are using the same statistical maneuvers to support the effectivity of their products. So, they the use words like significantly or overwhelmingly showed to do what they claimed their products could do.

Another faulty conclusion is confusing association with causation. For example, a study showed that people who took multivitamins were noted to have 20% less Alzheimer’s disease. So instead of saying people taking multivitamin is associated with 20% lesser Alzheimer’s disease they would mistakenly claim taking multivitamins prevents Alzheimer’s disease. There may be other factors that maybe making the difference, people who take multivitamins may have a healthier life style, maybe more financially well of or have better nutrition and other factors.

 

Who is sponsoring the research.

 

Studies shows that smokeless tobacco does not cause lung cancer or drinking red wine prevents heart disease. Well, many of the studies that come out with those conclusions were financed by the industries that benefit financially from the sale of these products. These are blatant examples of manufactures sponsored research to promote their products. Many medications and health products came to market because of results of research sponsored by manufactures which were later found to be defective and some instances outright dangerous and had suddenly withdrawn from the market.

 

Health Guru’s making a fortune

I am sure many of you have received e-mails from self-promoting health gurus directing you to their websites. Some of them unfortunately are physicians presenting themselves as specialists, researchers, scientists, authors who offer free advice. They then present products such food supplements that enhances one health or that detoxifying the body and etc. that they offer for a trial period which leads to membership to get their products at discounted rate on a monthly basis. We could say many of these peddlers are just a more sophisticated version of the snake oil salesmen of the past with wider outreach because of the internet. Yes, it all about the money and in a multibillion dollar industry.

 

Objectives of fake news and advise

Fake news articles are posted in the internet to appear as real news by folks making a living from it. It’s not only in politics that fake news is used but some industries to use  it to destroy or discredit their competitors or promoter their products.

In the food industry like the dairy or the poultry industry may pay someone to develop some fake news to promote their products. How do we fact check these articles? One could do a quick internet investigations using Snopes.com a website that investigates rumors and claims for validity.

 

Know the author

If you read an article say about vaccination and the author is an anti-vaccination advocate immediately you will know you are receiving biased information. People who advocates for certain causes usually presents one side of the story and not the whole picture. You will find then if you google them. They could be folks against use of microwave oven because it causes cancer, use of chlorine and fluoride in water. They could be paid by the companies they right for.

 

Discuss with your healthcare providers

If you are considering an alternative healthcare approach after finding information on the web, it’s a good idea to share the information with all your healthcare providers and get their opinions. This is important especially if you are under treatment for some health issues. Some food supplements may be contraindicated in certain illnesses or may not be compatible with your medication to render it ineffective or may even result in an adverse reaction.

 

Consumer Beware

In this day and age with all information out there and folks using a baits to promote products through world wide web we need to be educated healthcare consumers to know what is fake information and what is for our own good.

Your Fitness Doc

 

 

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Banana or Avocado a Day Keeps Hardening Arteries Away

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Banana or Avocado a Day Keeps Hardening Arteries Away

Laurence T. Gayao, MD

Early on in my career I heard someone said, “You are only as old as your arteries.” After thinking about it, really made sense. It has been observed that ones’ arteries hardens as we get older, the medical folks refer to this as pathogenic vascular calcification or arteriosclerosis. This hardening of arteries causes high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and circulation problems especially of the lower extremities which may result in limb amputation. A new study shows how low dietary potassium is associated with development of arteriosclerosis. So now we could say, Banana or avocado a day keeps hardening arteries away.

University of Alabama of Birmingham Study

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) did a study that shows for the first time that reduced dietary potassium is associated with the development  hardening arteries in mice as compared with normal potassium feed mice. This is an important in the prevention of diseases related hardening of arteries. It also raises a red flag for those taking medications that potentially lowers potassium in the blood.

The study was lead Yabing Chen, Ph. D. UAB professor of pathology and a research career scientist. They found that that a high potassium diet inhibited vascular calcification. Cell culture showed low potassium enhanced calcification in smooth muscles cells in the walls of blood vessels which leads to its hardening. It is postulated that when the potassium in the smooth muscle is low, calcium another essential substance in the blood builds up in the smooth muscle of the blood vessels and permanently binds to it to stiffen it thus it losses its elasticity. This process is called calcification. Remember calcium is important for body function and it only does that when our blood potassium is low.

Function of potassium in the body

Potassium is an electrolyte “a substance that conducts electricity in the body, along with sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium. Potassium is crucial to heart functionand plays a key role in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, making it important for normal digestive and muscular function.”

Low potassium symptoms

Symptoms of low potassium are usually mild. At times the effects of low potassium can be vague. There may be more than one symptom involving the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, kidneys, muscles, heart and nerves.

What are some common foods rich in potassium:

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Foods rich in potassium

Sweet potato

A medium baked sweet potato has 542 mg (12% DV) of potassium. These tubers are also rich in vitamin A

White potato

Surprise, surprise: A single medium baked potato has 941 mg (20% DV) of potassium.

Tomato sauce

This plain old pasta topper is a secret source of potassium, with 728 mg (15% DV) in each cup. Look for a low-sugar variety sold in BPA-free packaging.

Beets

A cup of cooked, sliced beets delivers 518 mg (11% DV) of potassium, while a 1-oz serving of beet chips has an impressive 90 mg.

White beans

White beans might be the best source of potassium in the grocery store: A single cup has 1189 mg. That’s a full quarter of what you need every day

Beets

A cup of cooked, sliced beets delivers 518 mg (11% DV) of potassium, while a 1-oz serving of beet chips has an impressive 90 mg.

Avocados

I cup, sliced (146 g) has 708 mg. It is also rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which also prevents arteriosclerosis.

Bananas

One medium banana has 422 mg. It is also is rich in multi vitamins and source of many other nutrients.

More foods with high potassium go to the website (click)

Watch this video on potassium rich foods.

Warning for those with kidney disease

Please note, if you have kidney disease please consult your physician for advice on potassium rich food intake because in kidney disease may increase your blood potassium level because of impaired excretion by the kidneys. With the retention of the potassium in the blood it may get elevated to dangerously life threatening levels.

Diet best medicine

This study highlights diet low in potassium is a major contributor  to the development arteriosclerosis and the importance of additional dietary modification to fight its progress. Again this re-enforces the idea that the right diet is the best medicine. Remember you are only as old as your arteries.

Your fitness Doc.

 

 

 

 

 

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Clearing The Confusion About Fats

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Fats part of a healthy diet.

Clearing the Confusion About Fats

Laurence T. Gayao, MD

A few weeks ago, I had a 57-year-old friend suddenly died of a heart attack while driving his pickup. Then I was having lunch the other day with my two sons, and one of them asked me if a 44-year-old could have a heart attack. He added that he just got news of friend who was said to have had a heart attack and was currently unconscious on life support. I said yes, and told him the youngest patient I had encountered that had heart attack was 27 years of age. All these victims had no previous known heart problems. These premature deaths underscores the importance of preventing heart disease.

Lately nutritional news releases have created confusion about role of fats in the causation of coronary heart disease. You may have heard “butter is back.” Eating fat has no bearing on coronary heart disease (CHD).  On the  other extreme fear of fats still affects many of us. Many of us may still have the mistaken notion that if we get off fats in our diets we would solve our weight problems and get rid of heart disease, because we have been constantly being told that “Fats are bad”. To add to this confusion many articles have come up with the idea that fats after all has no bearing on increasing of deaths from coronary heart disease, which of course has been repudiated by multiple studies. Lately the British Medical Journal affirmed that there is reduction of coronary heart disease by replacing bad fats with good fats in the diet.

Fats Part of Healthy Diet

The truths is, we need fats in our diet. The United States Department of Agriculture’s 2005 Guidelines recommends that adults get 20-30% of their calories from fats.  The American diet has about 34-40% calories are from fats because it tastes good and it is part of many favorite foods.

It is important at the outset to clear the confusion on dietary fats. What is its role in cardiovascular disease which is global leading cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths a year.

 Types of Fats

First, we need to know there are good and bad fats and it is recommended  to swap good fats for bad fats in our diets.

Fats we need to stay away from are the trans fats and saturated fats. These fats you find in packaged and manufactured food. Manufacturers use trans fat, partially hydrogenated oil, because it is less likely to spoil, so foods made with it have a longer shelf life. Trans fat is formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which causes the oil to become solid at room temperature.

Saturated fats: “Examples of foods containing a high proportion of saturated fat include animal fat products such as:

  • cream
  • cheese
  • butter
  • other whole milk dairy products
  • fatty meats which also contain dietary cholesterol.
  • Certain vegetable products have high saturated fatcontent, such as coconut oil and palm kernel oil.”

Is saturated fat bad for you? A diet rich in saturated fats can drive up total cholesterol, and tip the balance toward more harmful LDL cholesterol, which prompts blockages to form in arteries in the heart and elsewhere in the body by causing inflammation in the wall of blood vessels. For that reason, most nutrition experts recommend limiting saturated fat to under 10% of calories a day.

Monounsaturated fat: From a chemical standpoint, monounsaturated fats are simply fat molecules that have one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule, this is also called a double bond. Oils that contain monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled.

Polyunsaturated fats. “Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats. That means they’re required for normal body functions but your body can’t make them. So you must get them from food. Polyunsaturated fats are used to build cell membranes and the covering of nerves. They are needed for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation.” A polyunsaturated fat has two or more double bonds in its carbon chain. There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. The numbers refer to the distance between the beginning of the carbon chain and the first double bond.”

What should you eat?

Foods with Monounsaturated fat — found in

  • Nuts, such as almonds, cashews, pecans and macadamias.
  • Canola oil
  • Nut butters
  • Peanut oil

— is a healthier option than is saturated fat. Nuts, fish and other foods containing unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids are other good choices of foods with healthy fats.

Polyunsaturated fats. When you pour liquid cooking oil into a pan, there’s a good chance you’re using polyunsaturated fat – common examples

  • Corn oil,
  • sunflower oil
  • safflower oil
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flax seeds or flax oil
  • Fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna, and trout
  • Soybean oil

Eating polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated fats or highly refined carbohydrates reduces harmful LDL cholesterol and improves the blood cholesterol profile. A good cholesterol profile is when your high density cholesterol is high and the low density is low. It also lowers triglycerides. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and unhydrogenated soybean oil. Omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent and even treat heart disease and stroke.

In all these discussions about fats, let us not forget eating a higher percentage of calories from added sugar is associated with significantly increased risk of cardio vascular disease deaths and if combined that with eating more bad fats it puts the individual in greater danger of premature death.

So eating healthy fats, fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes all in moderation and staying away from manufacture foods is the key to healthy eating. Hope this helps in Clearing the Confusion About Fats.

Bon appetite,

Your fitness Doc

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Sugar Is Nutritional Public Enemy #1

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Sugar Is Nutritional Public Enemy #1

 

Laurence T. Gayao, MD

 

Sugar is nutritional public enemy #1. Sugar has now displaced fatty foods which use to occupy that position. For years nutritionists had blamed fats and cholesterol as the main cause of obesity, diabetes, heart disease that plagues western society. In recent years however multiple research results have scientists and nutritionists now pointing their fingers to sugar as  real villain causing these problems.

sugar poison Sugar Is Nutritional Public Enemy #1
Enjoy now die later

Lately you may have heard of cities imposing tax on sugary drinks to promote health among its citizens, just like they do on tobacco products. Many school districts have removed vending machines selling these drinks. They too don’t serve them in their cafeterias.  All these in an attempt to control childhood obesity which in recent years has been on the rise at an alarming rate.

There are 62 calories in two teaspoons of sugar. That is not really much. However if you consider the amount of sugar in a 12 ounce soda is about 13 teaspoons so on average the total calorie for just one drink would be about 403 calories. Add to that sugar in  cakes, cookies, ice cream, processed foods and other sources, it does not take rocket scientist to figure out why many of us have weight problems.

The US government has released Dietary Guidelines For Americans for 2015-2020. The title of their introduction is ‘Nutrition and Health Are Closely Related.’ It states that “About half of all American adults—117 million individuals—have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity. In 2008, the medical costs associated with obesity were estimated to be $147 billion. In 2012, the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes was $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in decreased productivity.”

You have heard the US president and congress talk about working on healthcare reform to curve spending. If you listen to their discourse not one of them are talking about addressing controlling preventable causes of illnesses in order to control the sky rocketing rise in health care spending through promoting  healthy diet and lifestyle. Someone has said the right diet is the best medicine.

 

Sugar intake and Obesity

In the last three decades the amount sugar consumption per capita have increased by 30% and there has been also a proportionately increase in the percentage of  overweight individuals.

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate is naturally found in vegetables and fruits. These foods however use by food manufactures in their products where they add refined sugar to enhance their taste and preservatives to extend shelf life. The end being unhealthy and dangerous for human consumption. Even bottled fruit juice in you read the amount of sugar per serving is just as high as a sugary soda pop. Fresh vegetables and fruits contains sugar that provides the energy fuel for our bodies and along with nutrients in the right proportion.

OW Added Sugar Infographic smaller 1024x791 Sugar Is Nutritional Public Enemy #1Increase per capital sugar intake past decades

 

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Obesity increase past decades in US

Glucose

 Glucose is a single sugar molecule. Refined sugar is a pure form of sugar, when ingested it needs no digestion,  it is absorbed as is and goes straight to your blood stream and cause an immediate spike in your blood sugar level.

 

Sucrose

Sucrose may be more familiar to you as table sugar. Sucrose is made when a glucose and a fructose molecule combine together. It is derived from the refinement of a sugar beet. When taken in its refined from it too does not need digestion and is absorbed straight to your blood stream.  Sucrose also occurs as a natural sugar in many vegetables, such as peas, sweet potatoes and carrots.
 

Starch

 Starch are Is a complex carbohydrate or polysaccharide. These long chains of glucose molecules which is the form that plants store sugar. This required digestion before they are absorbed into the blood stream, thus they don’t cause spikes in the blood sugar when ingested.

 

Fiber

Dietary fiber is a naturally occurring carbohydrate found in many vegetables and fruits. In most vegetables, fiber is made of cellulose, a non-digestible complex sugar. This does not cause increase in your blood sugar. Your body’s digestive system can break down cellulose using the bacteria of the digestive system, but cellulose does not get absorbed by the small intestine. Instead, cellulose is useful to your body to promote the health of your digestive tract. Food manufactures usually remove much of the fiber so the sugar is more concentrated and their products tend to have more calories and may be constipating.

Cellulose fibers help keep your digestive system clean and running smoothly, by preventing constipation. This is known as natures laxative. If you have trouble with regularity of bowel movement and hard stools it is recommended that you increase fiber in your diet and water intake. Manufactures sells it as purified form of over the counter bulk laxative. Another benefit of fiber is it gives one the feeling of fullness preventing over eating.

 

I hope after going through this you would know about the different carbohydrates to help you choose which foods are healthy for you. Try to stay away from manufactured foods and refined sugars. You may have heard people say, ‘ I am on a low carb diet’ which In actuality is not a really a healthy diet because there are healthy carbs that are essential for body function. Stay away from empty calories like refined sugars which are high in calories with no nutrients and fiber . The best rule,  get your sugar in its natural state from fresh vegetables and fruits.

Happy healthy eating, Chow.

Your Fitness Doc.

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Do You Have Sleep Apnea

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Do You Have Sleep Apnea

Laurence T. Gayao MD, Fitness Doc

Do you have sleep apnea or know of someone who has it? How do you know if you have sleep apnea?  Apnea is defined as a disorder that causes you to stop breathing briefly, often while you’re asleep.

Symptoms of Possible Sleep Anea

 Do you have these problems?

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How could I sleep? He sounds like a freight train.

Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day

  • Forgetfulness, mood changes, and a decreased sex drive
  • Sleepiness while driving
  • Waking up with a very sore or dry throat
  • Loud snoring
  • Occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
  • Morning headaches
  • Restless sleep
  • Recurrent awakenings or insomnia

If you have these symptoms you may have sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea video/ courtesy of Mayo Clinic

Sleep apnea is characterized by repetitive episodes during sleep where there is repetitive pauses of breathing for an abnormal period during sleep. There are two causes of sleep apnea first is obstructive sleep apnea and second is central sleep apnea.

 

Types of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is secondary due to narrowing upper airway and often pause in breathing lasts for 10 to 30 seconds. On the other had central sleep apnea is cause by periods of luck of signal from the brain to breath and it my last any were from 10 to 90 second.

 

In both cases the abnormal breathing of sleep apnea periods of inability to get air to the lungs during sleep. This decrease the oxygen level to the brain. Usually the sleep partner usually reports that the patient would have these pauses of breathing when patient would gasp of air or repeatedly wakeup or not even remembering waking up.

 

These episodes result in giving the body large amount of stress. It may cause day time fatigue or sleepiness, irritability, mode changes, inability to focus and memory problems.

 

Health Problems Associated with Sleep Apnea

 

There is associated increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, dementia and premature death. These are reasons to diagnose and treat the problem early on before complications develop.

 

Sleep apnea may run in families because certain disorders that maybe inherited may predispose one to have sleep apnea. These disorders are:

  • breathing problems due defect in signals from the brain
  • due to floppy upper airway tissue
  • family history of obesity
  • irregular sleeping pattern
  • certain ethic groups people of African decent

 

 How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose sleep apnea based on medical and family histories, a physical exam, and sleep study results.

Sleep specialists are doctors who diagnose and treat people who have sleep problems. Examples of such doctors include lung and nerve specialists and ear, nose, and throat specialists. Other types of doctors also can be sleep specialists.

Medical and Family Histories

If you think you have a sleep problem, consider keeping a sleep diary for 1 to 2 weeks. Bring the diary with you to your next medical appointment.

Write down when you go to sleep, wake up, and take naps. Also write down how much you sleep each night, how alert and rested you feel in the morning, and how sleepy you feel at various times during the day. This information can help your doctor figure out whether you have a sleep disorder.

You can find a sample sleep diary in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s “Your Guide to Healthy Sleep.”

At your appointment, your doctor will ask you questions about how you sleep and how you function during the day.

Your doctor also will want to know how loudly and often you snore or make gasping or choking sounds during sleep. Often you’re not aware of such symptoms and must ask a family member or bed partner to report them.

Let your doctor know if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with sleep apnea or has had symptoms of the disorder.

Many people aren’t aware of their symptoms and aren’t diagnosed.

If you’re a parent of a child who may have sleep apnea, tell your child’s doctor about your child’s signs and symptoms.

Physical Exam

Your doctor will check your mouth, nose, and throat for extra or large tissues. Children who have sleep apnea might have enlarged tonsils. Doctors may need only a physical exam and medical history to diagnose sleep apnea in children.

Adults who have sleep apnea may have an enlarged uvula (U-vu-luh) or soft palate. The uvula is the tissue that hangs from the middle of the back of your mouth. The soft palate is the roof of your mouth in the back of your throat.

Sleep Studies

Sleep studies are tests that measure how well you sleep and how your body responds to sleep problems. These tests can help your doctor find out whether you have a sleep disorder and how severe it is. Sleep studies are the most accurate tests for diagnosing sleep apnea.

There are different kinds of sleep studies. If your doctor thinks you have sleep apnea, he or she may recommend a polysomnogram (poly-SOM-no-gram; also called a PSG) or a home-based portable monitor.

Polysomnogram

A PSG is the most common sleep study for diagnosing sleep apnea. This study records brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, and blood pressure.

A PSG also records the amount of oxygen in your blood (oxygen saturation), air movement through your nose while you breathe, snoring, and chest movements. The chest movements show whether you’re making an effort to breathe.

PSGs often are done at sleep centers or sleep labs. The test is painless. You’ll go to sleep as usual, except you’ll have sensors attached to your scalp, face, chest, limbs, and a finger. The staff at the sleep center will use the sensors to check on you throughout the night.

A sleep specialist will review the results of your PSG to see whether you have sleep apnea and how severe it is. He or she will use the results to plan your treatment.

Your doctor also may use a PSG to find the best setting for you on a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. CPAP is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. A CPAP machine uses mild air pressure to keep your airway open while you sleep.

If your doctor thinks that you have sleep apnea, he or she may schedule a split-night sleep study. During the first half of the night, your sleep will be checked without a CPAP machine. This will show whether you have sleep apnea and how severe it is.

If the PSG shows that you have sleep apnea, you’ll use a CPAP machine during the second half of the split-night study. The staff at the sleep center will adjust the flow of air from the CPAP machine to find the setting that works best for you.

Home-Based Portable Monitor

Your doctor may recommend a home-based sleep test with a portable monitor. The portable monitor will record some of the same information as a PSG. For example, it may record:

  • The amount of oxygen in your blood
  • Air movement through your nose while you breathe
  • Your heart rate
  • Chest movements that show whether you’re making an effort to breathe

A sleep specialist may use the results from a home-based sleep test to help diagnose sleep apnea. He or she also may use the results to decide whether you need a full PSG study in a sleep center.”

 

 Treatment of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea treatments is depends on the under lying cause of the problem. It may be lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or changing sleeppositions, to CPAP therapy, to ever surgery to correct the specific problem.

Treating Sleep Apnea at Home

You may be able to treat mild cases of sleep apnea by lifestyle changes, for example:

  • Losing weight.
  • Avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills.
  • Changing sleep positions to improve breathing.
  • Stopping smoking. Because smoking increases the swelling in the lining of the upper airway, which may worsen both snoring and apnea.
  • Avoiding sleeping on your back.

Continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP ) uses a machine to help a person who has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) breathe more easily during sleep. A CPAP machine increases air pressure in your throat so that your airway doesn’t collapse when you breathe in.” This is usually prescribed by a pulmonologist physician specialist.

If you suspect you or some you know has sleep apnea it is important to have it check you a physician before any permanent side effects set in.

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Conflicting Dietary Advise

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Conflicting Dietary Advise

 Laurence T. Gayao MD

For the last few years we have received conflicting dietary advise from the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetic Association and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Don’t we have enough studies on nutrition to establish guidelines for good nutrition? What causes the conflicting information regarding good nutrition guidelines? A closer look at   these studies shows there are a good number these studies that have been sponsored by different sectors of the food industries are skewed to promote their business interests and not that of us the consumers.

Major Health Organizations With Conflict of Interest

I googled for example the company sponsors of the American Dietetic Association and found among them are Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Abbott Nutrition, General Mills, kellogg’s, Mars,  SoyJoy, Turivia, Subway, Jamba Juice, Monsanto Funds and many different pharmaceutical companies. These are large multibillion corporate food manufacturers. Pharmaceutical companies sponsors who produce antibiotics, growth enhancing products for animals and other chemicals used in pesticides. Event sponsors for meetings were American Beverage Association, ConAgra Foods (producers of and assortment of processed foods for stores, restaurants and food service establishments), Post Cereal (cereal manufacturer) and Safeway (a grocery retailer).

food politics Conflicting Dietary Advise
Marion Nestles book showing the influences in the US nutritional government policies and guidelines. Image from Amazon

I checked  American Cancer Society, among their sponsors are: Tyson Foods (the largest supplier of poultry meat, Redners (retail food company), Walmart, Kroger and several large pharmaceutical companies.

Influence of Pharmaceutical Industry

to Barbara Roberts, M.D. and Martha Rosenberg “The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) released new cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines. They are a gross example of much that is wrong with medicine today.

The new guidelines propose a vast expansion of the use of statins in healthy people, recommending them for about 44 percent of men and 22 percent of healthy women between the ages of 40 and 75. According to calculations by John Abramson, lecturer at Harvard Medical School, 13,598,000 healthy people for whom statins were not recommended based on the 2001 guidelines now fall into the category of being advised to take moderate or high intensity statin therapy.

The American Heart Association (AHA) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to “build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.” Yet in its 2011-2012 financial statement, the AHA noted $521 million in donations from non-government and non-membership sources and many well-known large drug companies, including those who make and market statins, contribute amounts in the $1 million range.”

Instead of recommending lifestyle changes in diet and exercise they recommend the use of pharmaceuticals for heart disease prevention. In short, support pharmaceutical products of their sponsors on bases studies that were sponsored by the same companies.

 

Influence of Food Industry Lobby

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture has an advisory committee that releases nutritional guidelines every five years. The latest released was in 2015.  But a number of leading nutrition experts—including some tasked by the government to advise it on the latest research—say the guidelines are influenced too much by food manufacturers, food producers, and special interest groups.

“It’s upsetting to see cycles of misinformation coming back over and over again,” says Dr. David Heber, founding director of the University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Human Nutrition. “The public has been confused and will remain confused by these guidelines.”

Dr. Frank Hu one of members of the committee says the food industry has a very strong influence especially in the advice on red meat consumption, which lobbied not to especially strongly advice from staying away from eating processed meats (hotdogs and salami) which has been known to be linked to high incidence of cancer, and  the heavy eating of red meat which repeatedly in studies shows a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The committee instead recommended eating process meats, but to just cut down on the amount. It is just like saying it alright to smoke just cut down on the amount

See this documentary that exposes food politics causing misleading information 

The guidelines still recommends high intake of carbohydrates and avoid fats. “This advice to eat more carbs and avoid fat is exactly backwards if you want to improve health and lower body weight,” says Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco. He and other nutrition researchers say the popularity of anti-fat, pro-carb guidelines helped fuel a rise in diet-related health problems. The fats that need to be avoided are the trans-fats. A recent report from Harvard School of Public Health lists lower trans fat consumption as one of the major reasons rates of premature death and disease fell among Americans adults from 1999 to 2012.

The guidelines also say’s the average American don’t consume enough dairy products and recommended the increase their intake of dairy products. “There’s just no scientific evidence to support such large amounts of dairy consumption,” Harvard’s Dr. Walter Willett says, adding that dairy industry influence may have played a role in that as well.

On closer examination of these guidelines reveals the evidence of the underlying food politics. The Department of Agriculture supports the meat and dairy industries with subsidies on one side and there is the scientific knowledge on the other. The the advisory committee are under pressure by the business interests of the food industry which undermines public interests for their advantage.

Consumer Beware

There is indeed conflicting nutritional advise out there. A Canadian study found that government-run sites were consistently accurate in the Canadian system in their health advice, but news sites were right only 55 per cent of the time and those that were sponsored by a product or service gave no helpful advice. The Canadians offer free universal healthcare to its citizens, so there is greater incentive for the government to keep its citizen as hearth as posible. This just shows us to be discriminating on the source of our information. Total Fitness Medicine try’s to bring you as accurate information to avoid conflicting dietary advice that is promoted by those primarily to create more profits for their businesses but to the detriment of the consumers.

Your fitness Doc

 

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Moderate Drinking Damages the Brain

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Moderate Drinking Damages the Brain

 

Laurence T. Gayao, MD

 

The use of alcoholic beverages is an integral part of the American social scene. Advertisers gives the impression that no social activity is complete without it. Recent studies however has shown that even moderate drinking damages the brain

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Different forms of alcohol beverages

 

Alcoholics Shrunken Brains Impaired function

I have observed among alcoholics their CAT scans or MRI of their brains showed less tissue mass compared patients of the same age who were non-drinkers. A study just released showed that even moderate drinking showed associated changes in the brain structure and associated deteriorating brain function. This study was published in the June, 2017 issue of the British Medical Journal.

 

Everybody knows that heavy drinking damages the brain, we know this without doing a CAT or MRI scan of the brain. We may have alcoholic relatives (jolly old fellow uncle or cousin) or acquaintances that even in their sober state behaves in a goofy manner, with some degree of subtle mental dysfunction. I know of fellows in the family who succumbed to early dementia who abused alcohol.

 

Associated Changes in the Brain with Moderate Drinking

The study compared teetotalers, moderate drinkers in a total of 550 subjects who were middle-age. It was found that the more alcohol consumed the greater risk of shrinkage brain hippocampus. Damage to this structure is associated with memory dysfunction.

 

While working as an emergency room physician, through the years I have observed various levels intoxication. The funny thing we observed was in spite of how intoxicated these people were, they usually would admit to drinking only two beers.  How do we quantify moderate and heavy drinking? In the US the recommended guideline suggests that 24.5 units per week is safe for men and half of that amount for women. “A unit is defined as 10 ml (2 teaspoons} of pure alcohol. There are roughly two in a large beer, nine in a bottle of wine and one in a 25 ml (5 teaspoons) spirit shot.”

 

The study showed that those who drunk more than 30 units a week were prone to greater hippocampal injury, but even those who took only 14-24 units per week showed some significant damage. The study showed that the more one drinks resulted in a greater deterioration in memory function.

What is the difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse? (CDC)

There two classes of alcohol disorders or alcoholism, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency.

Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that results in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work. Manifestations of alcohol abuse include the following:

  • Failure to fulfill major responsibilities at work, school, or home.
  • Drinking in dangerous situations, such as drinking while driving or operating machinery.
  • Legal problems related to alcohol, such as being arrested for drinking while driving or for physically hurting someone while drunk.
  • Continued drinking despite on going relationship problems that are caused or worsened by drinking.
  • Long-term alcohol abuse can turn into alcohol dependence.

Dependency on alcohol, also known as alcohol addiction and alcoholism, is a chronic disease. The signs and symptoms of alcohol dependence include—

  • A strong craving for alcohol.
  • Continued use despite repeated physical, psychological, or interpersonal problems.
  • The inability to limit drinking.
Long Term and Short term side effects.

There are short-term and long-term side effects of alcohol intake. We know that immediate effect of too much intake of alcohol results acute mental and physical dysfunction proportionate to alcohol intake (commonly called Intoxication), which gets better as soon as the blood alcohol level goes down. Depending of blood alcohol level (mg/dl) symptoms could vary. This scale would apply to a typical social drinker: 

  • 50 mg/dL: Loss of emotional restraint, vivaciousness, feeling of warmth, flushing of skin, mild impairment of judgment
  • 100 mg/dL: Slight slurring of speech, loss of control of fine motor movements (such as writing), confusion when faced with tasks requiring thinking, emotionally unstable, inappropriate laughter
  • 200 mg/dL: Very slurred speech, staggering gait, double vision, lethargic but able to be aroused by voice, difficulty sitting upright in a chair, memory loss
  • 300 mg/dL: Stuporous, able to be aroused only briefly by strong physical stimulus (such as a face slap or deep pinch), deep snoring
  • 400 mg/dL: Comatose, not able to be aroused, incontinent(wets self), low blood pressure, irregular breathing
  • 500 mg/dL: Death possible, either from cessation of breathing, excessively low blood pressure, or vomit entering the lungs without the presence of the protective reflex to coughit out

The long-term effects of repeated consumption is associated with permanent damage to certain brain cells resulting in deterioration of function. There are numerous brain disorders associated with chronic alcohol abuse. For example, research shows that up to 80 percent of chronic alcohol users have a thiamine deficiency, and some in this group will progress to a serious brain disorder known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS). Symptoms of WKS include confusion, paralysis of eye nerves, impaired muscle coordination, and persistent problems with memory and learning ability.

 

Most Abused Drug

Alcohol though legal, is the most commonly abused drug in the United States. Over 50% of individuals 12 years and older in the US are alcohol users. “Approximately 8.7 million Americans under the legal drinking age (12-20 years of age) are current alcohol users. This statistic includes 5.4 million binge drinkers and 1.4 million heavy drinkers.” In this age group the highest cause of deaths are accidents and suicides which maybe both related to alcohol abuse. It is a well-accepted fact that alcohol abuse can exacerbate an underlying mental problem.

Video: Alcohol and Your Brain, Produced by: Australian Lions Drug Awareness Foundation


The effects of alcohol on someone who has just barely learned how to drive and on an emotionally disturbed teenager who has hot developed enough coping skills could lead to devastating consequences. This explains why motor vehicular accidents and suicides are the highest cause of deaths in this age group.

The developing brain of a fetus during pregnancy could be retarded or damaged by the mothers’ abuse of alcohol during that period, most especially in the first three months of pregnancy. In fact there are facial features and characteristics resulting from such toxic exposure that has been called fetal alcohol syndrome Disorder (FASD).

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Facial feature of fetal alcohol syndrome. Image: Alcohol Self-Help News

A person with an FASD might have:

  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum)
  • Small head size
  • Shorter-than-average height
  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school (especially with math)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills
  • Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones

“The brain is arguably the most important organ in the human body. It controls and coordinates actions and reactions, allows us to think and feel, and enables us to have memories and feelings – all the things that make us human.” So, whatever we eat drinking or do we need to make sure that this three-pound organ, protected by the skull is not harmed in any way. Remember the saying, “The mind is a terrible to waste.”

Your Fitness Doc

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Forgiveness Really Heals

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Forgiveness Really Heals
Few days ago, I read an article written by Dr. Honesto Pascual Jr. which to me was so touching. He wrote about the emotional journey he had to take from losing his father at young age in the hands of the brutal Japanese Kempeitai (Imperial Secret Police). For years, he lived harboring hate for the Japanese people and how circumstances lead to his change of heart. A testament to the fact that Yes, Forgiveness Really Heals.
I was born after World War II, a year after my father was released as prisoner war from the Japanese who occupied the Philippines. He was a member of the US Armed Forces of the Far East. Through the GI bill he was then able to go to school at Philippine Union College (now Adventist University of the Philippines) and was employed by the college after his graduation in 1949 as a high school teacher. We lived in the college campus, were Mrs. Pascual also taught, till I was eight years old .
As a child I heard many stories first hand from victims of the atrocities of Japanese soldiers during the war. I also heard bits and pieces of the story of Honesto Pascual a faculty member of the college that did not survive such atrocity. In fact, I remember his wife Josefina Pascual and her three boys Deleo, Jomey and Honesto Jr. I later made short tribute video about Honesto Pascual, who is the composer of the Philippine Union College school song, Shine On Forever.
“On soldiers, forgiveness, and friends”

FORGIVENESS

By: Honesto C. Pascual, MD
And forgive us our debts As we forgive our debtors… For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:12, 14-15 [NKJV]
“Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” Thus started President F. D. Roosevelt’s speech to the joint session of Congress.
The United States was drawn into World War II. Ten hours after the Pearl Harbor attack, Japanese forces bombed Manila; and the Philippines was drawn into that war which lasted until 1945.
October 12, 1944 when I was almost two, was our family’s day of infamy. That was the day my father was taken by Japanese soldiers under pretense of just needing to ask him and the president of Philippine Union College [PUC] a few questions. The American missionaries who had been running the school were interned, and so that responsibility was assigned to two Filipinos who were in their early 30s. My father was the business manager
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Honesto Pascual
The college president, my father, and three students were incarcerated at Fort Santiago in Manila, where they were repeatedly tortured and starved. And for what? For being pro-American, working under Americans at the missionary college. Miraculously, the president was released; but not my father nor the students. Japanese soldiers continued to torture and starve them until they were killed. They were murdered, really.
So, growing up, I always hated all Japanese people. I felt I was justified to hate them. They viciously robbed me of my right to grow up under the guidance and tutelage of my father. I was too young to remember him when they murdered him. So, I hated them all . As a boy playing soldiers with my older brother and our friends, I made sure I was among those who shot and killed the enemy, the Japanese.

 

An American missionary who spoke Japanese was the president of PUC when my mother was a student and started teaching there.

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Dr. Andrew Nelson baptizing Japanese prisoners.
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Japanese Baptized Prisoners

One of his personal missions in the Philippines was to give Bible studies to Japanese POWs who were incarcerated at the National Penitentiary.

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Josephina C. Pascual

 

My mother was among those who assisted him on Sabbath afternoons. A dozen or so of those POWs were eventually baptized in the baptistry at PUC. I witnessed that event. I was about 8 years old. It was my first time to see Japanese men live and in person. They came in a prison bus escorted by Filipino soldiers. Not one of them was attacked by anyone from within and outside the college campus. But I still hated them.

In May 1954, Asian Games II were held in Manila. We watched the basketball game between the Philippines and Japan. Philippines won the gold. The team and their coaches had to be escorted to and from the court by Filipino soldiers. They were booed and pelted with soda bottles and other debris causing the game to be stopped briefly a few times for the maintenance crew to clear the floor. No athlete was injured, but I was elated they lost to “my team”. Oh, how I hated them!
After the war, my mother, widowed at age 25, with three boys to raise, returned to college. She became a teacher at PUC, so we resided in one of the houses in campus. In the 1950s, Adventist Japanese students were sent to study at PUC. She had those Japanese students in her history classes. I noticed how my mother treated them fairly and decently. At times, she would help them with their English. She even had them for Sabbath lunch. I never observed any hint of animosity from her towards them. Her kindness slowly began to mellow my hatred.

 

Also during that decade, the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary held a summer session at PUC. Pastors and Bible teachers from the Philippines and all over Asia convened in campus. Naturally, Japanese ministers were in the group. Among them was a pastor who was a student at PUC when the war broke out. He was drafted by the Japanese Imperial Army and was assigned to Fort Santiago.

 

His duties there included English translator. It turns out that he was the one who wrote my mother the letter confirming my father’s torture, starvation, and death at Fort Santiago. He saw my father’s remains.

Until receiving that letter, my mother had hoped that my father survived, had amnesia, and was somewhere in the Philippines or even Japan as a POW. I can still remember being four or five years old and seeing my mother crying, holding that letter, which confirmed the unthinkable.

In 1959, one of the Japanese students who studied at PUC, was our tour guide in Tokyo

Yet here was my mother, inviting him and his fellow Japanese pastors to join us for Sabbath lunch. Again, I never observed any hint of animosity from her towards them.
In 1959, one of the Japanese students who studied at PUC, was our tour guide in Tokyo when my older brother and I stopped over en route by ship from Manila to San Francisco.
In 1962, one of my friends at Pacific Union College [the “other” PUC] was Japanese, the son of the very pastor who wrote the letter to my mother.
In 1964, I made friends with a Japanese student when I returned to PUC in the Philippines. We played softball together. He taught me a Japanese phrase: “Watashi wa anata o tomadachi,” I am your friend.
During my fellowship in 1975 to 1977, the chief of allergy and clinical immunology at the medical center I trained in was Japanese. Not only was he my mentor, he was my friend.
Over the last 35 years, every time I go back to the Philippines, I visit Fort Santiago. We visited there last month. There is a cross mounted on a pedestal. Engraved on marble are the words:
“THIS CROSS MARKS THE FINAL RESTING PLACE OF APPROXIMATELY 600 FILIPINOS AND AMERICANS WHO WERE VICTIMS OF ATROCITIES DURING THE LAST DAYS OF FEBRUARY 1945. THE APPEARANCE OF THEIR BODIES SUGGESTED STARVATION AND POSSIBLE SUFFOCATION. THEY WERE FOUND INSIDE A REAR DUNGEON WHICH HAD INNER DOORS OF MASSIVE IRON BARS AND OUTER DOORS OF IRON PLATE ON WOOD.”
I learned forgiveness from my mother. She had more reason than I to hate the Japanese people. But she forgave them. I can do no less. I too, forgive them. Today, I can go to Fort Santiago with no feeling of animosity towards them. They are my tomadachis.
When you embrace forgiveness, you release all the pain, negative vibes, distress, and baggage that, if left unchecked, interferes with your emotional, spiritual, and even physical wellbeing. There’s another saying that says “refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Yes, Forgiveness Really Heals, yurushi ga hotoni iyasu.
Your Fitness Doc.
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