Keep your Diet on Track during the Holidays

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The average American gains 1 pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Although this doesn’t sound like much, most people do not lose this weight when the holidays are over, and it begins to accumulate year after year. Even the most disciplined people can find it difficult to stick to their health routines during the holidays. The good news is that there are several steps you can take to stay on track this year:

  1. Don’t show up to a holiday party on an empty stomach. Many people make the mistake of “saving up” their daily calories in order to indulge at a party. This can result in overeating, so enjoy a sensible snack beforehand, such as a handful of nuts and some fresh fruit.
  2. Once you arrive at the holiday party, choose mostly healthy options. Pick two or three of your favorite less healthy items, and fill the rest of your plate with nutritious foods. If you are bringing a dish to the party, choose fresh fruit, vegetables with dip, pita chips and hummus, salsa and whole grain chips, or cheese and whole grain crackers.
  3. Be aware of calorie rich drinks. Eggnog, for example, can contain 350 calories or more per glass. Alcohol contains lots of empty calories, so stick to moderate alcohol intake, which is equivalent to 1 alcoholic beverage per day for women and 2 for men. Furthermore, alcohol lowers inhibitions and increases the likelihood of overeating. Rather than high calorie drinks, stay hydrated with water. Drink a large glass of water before a meal to fill you up. Aim for at least six to eight glasses of water per day.
  4. Manage your stress and stay active. The holidays can be a busy time of year, and during times of stress, people tend to skip exercise and forgo healthy eating. Exercise is a great stress reliever, so be sure to set aside time for physical activity. Plan your workouts for the week so they are a part of your daily schedule.
  5. Track your food intake and activity level. This helps you to be more aware of the amount of calories you are consuming and burning. Even if you do eat higher calorie foods, choosing smaller portion sizes will help you to stay within your daily caloric goals.
  6. Remember that the holiday is just a single day. In reality, one day of indulgence won’t break your health goals, however, many people get into the pattern of indulging during the entire season. Enjoy the holiday, but don’t let that lead to an entire season of poor nutrition and physical activity habits.

Remember that the holiday season is more than just about food. Focus on taking the opportunity to connect with friends and family. If you do indulge, do so mindfully and in moderation. Take steps to engage in healthy behaviors that will help you to stay on track during the holiday season.

World Diabetes Day

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World Diabetes Day was created by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes across the globe.

Diabetes, which is a group of conditions characterized by elevated blood glucose (sugar), affects over 30 million children and adults in the United States, which is 1 in 11 Americans. Outside of this, 84 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes; 90% of these individuals are not even aware their blood sugars are elevated. Every 21 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes. If current trends continue, studies project that as many as one in three American adults could have diabetes by 2050.

Outside of the staggering growth of the diabetes epidemic, there are economic implications as well. The total cost of diabetes and prediabetes in the United States is about $322 billion annually, including both direct medical costs and reduced productivity. These costs are a burden on employers as well as employees and continue to increase year after year. For example, the average price of insulin alone has nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013!

Prevention is the key to successfully decreasing these staggering statistics on diabetes, with the focus on type 2 diabetes, which accounts for about 90% of diagnosed cases in the United States. There are many factors that put you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and unfortunately some of them are out of your control; for instance genetics or race. However, focusing on those factors you can control is the best prevention method:

Control Your Weight

Excess weight is the single most important cause of type 2 diabetes. Being overweight increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes seven fold. Being obese makes you 20 to 40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a healthy weight.

Losing weight can help if your weight is above the healthy-weight range. Losing 7 to 10 percent of your current weight can cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes in half.

Get Moving—and Turn Off the Television

Inactivity promotes type 2 diabetes. Working your muscles more often and making them work harder improves their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose. Studies suggest that walking briskly for a half hour every day reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30 percent.

Television-watching appears to be an especially-detrimental form of inactivity: Every two hours you spend watching TV instead of pursuing something more active increases the chances of developing diabetes by 20 percent; it also increases the risk of heart disease (15 percent) and early death (13 percent). The more television people watch, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese, and this seems to explain part of the TV viewing-diabetes link. The unhealthy diet patterns associated with TV watching may also explain some of this relationship.

Tune Up Your Diet

Four dietary changes can have a big impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes:

  1. Increase the fiber in your diet by eating more whole fruits and vegetables and whole or intact grains. Fiber has been shown to decrease spikes in blood sugar and help the body manage blood sugars better. In addition, foods high in fiber tend to also be high in necessary vitamins and minerals.
  2.  Skip the sugary drinks, and choose water, coffee, or tea instead. Sugary drinks, such as regular soda, juice and energy drinks cause blood sugars to spike, provide no nutritional value and aid in weight gain.
  3. Choose healthy, unsaturated fats, such as olive and canola oils, nuts, seeds, nut butters and fish, instead of unhealthy, trans fats or hydrogenated oils, such as the ones found in highly processed snack foods, fast food restaurants and fried foods.
  4. Watch your red meat consumption, including beef and pork, and avoid processed meats such as hot dogs and sausages.

If You Smoke, Try to Quit

Add type 2 diabetes to the long list of health problems linked with smoking. Smokers are roughly 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers, and heavy smokers have an even higher risk.

Alcohol Now and Then May Help

A growing body of evidence links moderate alcohol consumption with reduced risk of heart disease. The same may be true for type 2 diabetes. Moderate amounts of alcohol—up to a drink a day for women, up to two drinks a day for men—increases the efficiency of insulin at getting glucose inside cells. And some studies indicate that moderate alcohol consumption decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes. If you already drink alcohol, the key is to keep your consumption in the moderate range, as higher amounts of alcohol could increase diabetes risk. If you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no need to start—you can get the same benefits by losing weight, exercising more, and changing your eating patterns.

Diabetes can be a serious disease and is becoming a problem epidemic in the United States. Prevention is the best medicine; keep these strategies in mind for better blood sugar management!

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Men’s Health: Prostate Cancer & Suicide


Have you heard of “Movember” or “No shave November”?

Each November, you may notice men growing out a mustache or beard to raise awareness about men’s health issues, such as prostate and testicular cancers as well as suicide. Check out and for more information.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among American men. Most men with prostate cancer are older than 65. Luckily, most prostate tumors are slow-growing, and the risk of death is relatively low – only 3%. Men have a higher chance of getting prostate cancer with advanced age, if they are African-American, or have a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer.

People often wonder about the link between nutrition and cancer. While nutrition may not fully prevent you from getting cancer, due to factors such as genetics, many studies have shown that certain foods and dietary patterns are associated with better outcomes and quality of life. Some studies also show that physical activity interventions enhance quality of life of the individual, and may reduce cancer-related fatigue.

Check out our recommendations below to reduce your risk:

Lifestyle changes:

  • Keep moving! Regular aerobic exercise is associated with a reduced prostate cancer risk. Aim for 150 minutes of vigorous activity per week.
  • Get regular screenings.
    • Digital rectal exams can help to detect changes in the prostate gland. Screenings generally begin at age 50 in healthy men.
    • The PSA test can help to measure cancer markers but the test sometimes produces false positives and false negatives. Discuss what screening method is right for you with your doctor.


  • Take a multivitamin which includes vitamin D and antioxidants, especially selenium.
  • Eat little to no red meat and reduce saturated fat intake.
    • Diets high in red meat and saturated fat have been correlated with an increased risk for prostate cancer.
  • Eat more vegetables, especially more tomatoes, tomato sauce, and watermelon. Tomatoes and watermelon contain lycopene, a carotenoid. Higher intakes of lycopene have been associated with reduced risk of getting prostate cancer.
  • Eat whole soy foods, such as miso, tempeh, tofu, soy milk, and edamame (whole soybeans in the pod). One or two servings per day is recommended. Soy contains genistein, an isoflavone that helps normalize hormone levels and seems to be linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer.
    • Avoid highly processed soy, such as soy protein isolate, soy supplements, and soy ‘junk foods’ like soy ice cream, soy oil, and soy burgers.
  • Eat fish at least once per week. Fish intake is associated with lower risk of prostate cancer.
  • Eat more fiber. Fiber helps in the elimination of hormones such as testosterone which influence changes in the prostate.
  • Drink green tea. Research shows that the antioxidant compound EGCG found in green tea kills prostate cancer cells in the test tube. Another compound in green tea blocks the actions of an enzyme that promotes prostate cancer.



  • White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2015
  • Firearms account for almost 50% of all suicides
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle age – white men in particular

If you or someone you know is battling severe depression or suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. It’s never too late to reach out to a friend or family member for support. We need you.

Suicide prevention resources from the WI Dept of Health Services:




National Diabetes Month

Image result for national diabetes monthToday, 24 million Americans are living with diabetes and 57 million more are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. “Even though diabetes can seem overwhelming, there is support for every patient,” says Jackie Wilkinson, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. “It is my job to make sure that every patient gets the attention and care they need and deserve to live a long and happy life with diabetes.”

This January (2018), Upland Hills Health will be launching our Diabetes Self Management Program (DSMP), accredited by the American Diabetes Association. Patients recently diagnosed with diabetes, or who have not received diabetes education, will be eligible for 10 hours of diabetes education, in both individual and group settings, covering a wide variety of topics including general nutrition, meal planning, grocery store navigation, basic food prep, blood sugar monitoring, treatment of high and low blood sugar, sick day management, foot care, long term complication management, emotional aspects/coping strategies, physical activity, and much more.

“We ask our diabetic patients to do so much,” says Jackie, “from checking blood sugars multiple times per day to completely changing how they eat to remembering to take medications, all while trying to have a good outlook on this difficult condition. We need to provide support and education for our patients to thrive and that is where the Diabetes Self Management Program comes in.”

If you are interested in learning more about the DSMP, ask your Primary Care Provider. The DSMP requires a provider referral for insurance reimbursement. Most insurance companies will cover most, if not all, the costs associated with Diabetes Self Management Education; however if you have questions, your insurance company can answer them most accurately.

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