Monthly Archives: March 2015

Win Garden of Life Raw Fit Organic High Protein Powder!

Please note this contest is OVER and is not active. Thanks much.

I was honored ot recently be asked to review Garden of Life’s Raw Fit Organic Protein Powder. I was curious about this productGarden of Life Raw Fit Organic Protein Powder and was therefore thrilled to be able to try it. I was interested in reviewing Raw Fit’s ingredients, taste, and nutrition.

I was so impressed with Raw Fit that I’ve decided bless one lucky reader with a full size container of the flavor of his or her choice. After reading this article, use the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this article to enter the contest. You have several different options for entering, some of which can be completed daily. Good luck!

Please note Garden of Life provided free products to me to use for this review. The receipt of free product was not intended to guarantee a positive review and did not influence my review in any way. Although I very much appreciate the fact Garden of Life sent me a generous selection of samples, I was not compelled in any way to write a positive review. Please also note that some links in this article are affiliate links from which I receive a very small amount of compensation if purchases are made using the links.

The Basics

Garden of Life is known for only using the very best, often organic, ingredients in their products. I have been a fan of theirs for many years, but often found the products in their “Raw” line tasted horrible. (Just being honest.) I was therefore curious to see how the Raw Fit products would taste. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Raw Fit Organic High-Protein Powders taste wonderful. I was provided Vanilla and Chocolate Cacao flavors, both of which were delicious. Other flavor options include Original and Marley Coffee. Packaging options include a 16-ounce canister and single-serving packets.

Garden of Life markets this product as a “weight loss” product. Although it may be a valid weight loss tool, I feel the ingredients would be better marketed as being helpful with blood sugar control. This product is obviously not a substitute for medical care, but contains several ingredients known to help lower blood sugars and improve insulin resistance. It also contains ingredients known to help lower cortisol levels and help the body adjust to internal and external stressors.

Heavy Metal Accusations

I want to comment about reports in 2014 stating Garden of Life’s protein powders contained high levels of heavy metals. Garden of Life worked with other organic protein powder manufacturers to find better sources for the brown rice protein used in their products. The companies reached an agreement to create an industry standard to limit the amount of heavy metals contained in protein products. The levels are extremely low, so I’m confident their products are safe to consume. It is impossible to avoid heavy metal contamination in food due to environmental contaminants. I am comfortable using this product. I tested heavy metal levels in my body using an electrodermal scan unit before and after consuming one daily serving of this product for one week. There was no rise in heavy metal levels in my body. It is nice to note that one source of protein used in this product – chlorella – is also known to help the body eliminate heavy metals.

Nutrition

Nutritional Label from Raw Fit OriginalRaw Fit Organic High Protein powder has an impressive array of ingredients and nutrition.  

The label shown at left is for the unflavored version of Raw Fit Organic High Protein powder. Working from the top of the label down, the product contains:

  • 170 calories
  • 1 gram of fat
  • Very little sodium (25 g) and no added sodium
  • 180 mg of potassium – Please note you may not need to take a potassium supplement if using this product on a daily basis
  • Only 12 grams of carbohydrates. Since 15 grams is considered a serving of carbs, this is a very small amount of carbs
  • 28 grams of protein – almost two full servings.
  • 1000 IU of Vitamin D
  • 340 mg of Magnesium – If you are taking a magnesium supplement, you may need to reduce your dosage if you use this product every day
  • The sprouted protein blend has a varied blend of sprouted seeds, vegetables and grains. (It is gluten-free.) The sprouted grains are much more easily absorbed.
  • Weight loss and stress management blend – A blend of a specialized decaffeinated Green Coffee Bean Extract and Ashwaganda root. Although I’m not a fan of mainstream Green Coffee Bean Extract due to its overuse and abuse (click the link for more information), I’m comfortable with the form used in this product, especially since it is organic and decaffeinated.
  • Glucose management blend – A blend of herbs known to assist with blood sugar management and insulin sensitivity.
  • Probiotic and Enzyme blend

Pros and Cons

Following is an overview of potentially positive and negative features of Raw Fit Organic High Protein Powder:

Pros Cons
  • Organic
  • Non-GMO Verified
  • Free of soy, wheat and dairy
  • Vegan
  • Unique flavor options that taste good
  • Great nutritional content
  • High protein content from sprouted
    seeds and grains for better absorption
  • Extremely low number of carbs per serving
  • Also contains digestive enzymes and 
    probiotics
  • Each container only contains 10 servings
  • Powder is very hard to mix into liquid
    and remains gritty
  • Powder tastes somewhat chalky
  • Price per serving is significantly higher
    than comparable organic protein powders
  • Contains herbs that could be harmful
    to some individuals
  • The flavor designations are
    hard to find on the label
  • Product is low in carbohydrates but
    does not provide much fiber

I will use this product again. I consider the potential “cons” to be very minor compared to the high quality ingredients used, high protein content and other benefits. I can’t wait to try the other flavors! When using these powders, I recommend using a shaker bottle or blender to blend the powder into water or a milk substitute. If you try a container, please let me know what you think!

One lucky reader can win a container of the flavor of his or her choice using the Rafflecopter widget that follows. Good luck!

Win a Container of Garden of Life Raw Fit High Protein for Yourself! 

I was so pleased with Garden of Life’s Raw Fit High Protein food that I decided to give away a container to one lucky reader. Please note I am not giving away one of the free containers I received. I will order the flavor of your choice and have it shipped directly to you.  Feel free to use the Rafflecopter widget that follows to enter as many times as possible.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Facts About Insulin Resistance in Type 1 Diabetes

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1967. Since then, I have dedicated my life to researching Type 1 diabetes and to helping people with any form of diabetes maintain better control. I suffered from insulin resistance in Type 1 diabetes (after diagnosis) until I committed myself to improving my insulin sensitivity.

Many people have fallen prey to the myth that people with Type 1 diabetes cannot have insulin resistance. This is absolutely not Insulin Resistance in Type 1 Diabetestrue. It is very common for people with Type 1 diabetes to also have insulin resistance. Carla Greenbaum, MD, who is a Member of the Benaroya Research Institute and serves as Director of the Diabetes Research Program and the BRI Clinical Research Center(1), has conducted multiple studies related to insulin resistance in people with Type 1 diabetes. An abstract from one of those studies states:  “Insulin resistance plays a larger role in the type 1 diabetes disease process than is commonly recognized.”(2) It is estimated that one in three people with Type 1 diabetes also has insulin resistance.(3) One study estimated that 25.8 million people in the US have Type 1 diabetes and insulin resistance; and that insulin resistance plays a large contributing role in the complications associated with Type 1 diabetes.(4) The phenomenon of people having both Type 1 diabetes and insulin resistance is sometimes referred to as “double diabetes” or “Type 1.5 diabetes.”

Sadly, many people with Type 1 diabetes do not believe it’s possible for them to have insulin resistance. This lack of knowledge and refusal to accept the truth can greatly inhibit their ability to control their blood sugars. Their lack of knowledge stems from the insistence that Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes have nothing in common. Although the causes of each type of diabetes are different, Type 1 and Type 2 have more in common than many people realize.

Before I go further, let’s review the three basic types of diabetes. There are others, but these are the most common:

Type 1 Diabetes:  An autoimmune condition characterized by insufficient insulin production due to the body attacking the beta cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes used to be known as “juvenile onset diabetes” or “insulin dependent diabetes.” Neither of those terms is accurate in today’s world where adults are often diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and where people with Type 2 diabetes often require insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.

Type 2 Diabetes:  A chronic condition characterized by the body’s inability to properly use insulin. The body’s inability to correctly absorb and use insulin results in high blood sugars and many of the same side effects as Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has many other names, most of which are outdated and inaccurate.

Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA):  A slowly progressing form of diabetes in which the beta cells in the pancreas are slowly destroyed due to an autoimmune attack. Destruction of the pancreatic cells usually occurs much more slowly than it does in Type 1 diabetes, with the patient often not needing insulin for months or even years. Type 1 diabetes and LADA are very similar and have very similar control protocols once someone with LADA progresses to the point of needing insulin.

It is very true that insulin resistance is a characteristic of Type 2 diabetes, but it is also a characteristic of Type 1 diabetes. People with Type 2 diabetes develop insulin resistance before they are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes; people with Type 1 diabetes usually develop insulin resistance after they develop Type 1 diabetes. Insulin resistance in Type 1 diabetes is very common, but there are ways to reduce its effects.

Symptoms of Insulin Resistance in Type 1 Diabetes

The following symptoms may indicate insulin resistance in someone with Type 1 diabetes:

  • Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain not associated with an increase in food or decrease in exercise
  • Needing increasing amounts of insulin to maintain normal glucose levels
  • Elevated liver enzymes:  High insulin levels are known to impair the liver’s ability to metabolize glucose, which may result in elevated liver enzymes in blood work.(4)
  • Coronary artery disease

It is somewhat interesting that many of the complications we associate with Type 1 diabetes may actually be caused by excessive use of insulin. Maintaining blood sugars as close to normal as possible is imperative, but there are things we can do to help reduce our need for insulin. My goal in my own control and when I work with clients who have Type 1 diabetes is to improve health by living a lifestyle that improves glucose control, lowers A1C levels, and requires less insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.

Potential Causes of Insulin Resistance in Type 1 Diabetes

The following reasons explain why people with Type 1 may develop insulin resistance:   

  • Stress and illness:  Stress and illness can cause temporary insulin resistance in anyone, but the effects may be much more noticeable in a person who has Type 1 diabetes and is checking blood sugars frequently. This is one of several reasons people with Type 1 diabetes typically need significantly more insulin during times of illness or stress.
    .
  • Large insulin requirements:  A healthy pancreas produces 20-25 units of insulin each day. Many people who are clients of mine were taking 100-300 units of insulin daily when they first came to see me. I was taking more than 100 units of insulin daily when I began making lifestyle changes to control my blood sugars better. I now take 20-25 units of insulin daily and maintain A1Cs below 6.0. The high amounts of insulin my clients took were required to maintain blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. The problem is that high insulin usage can have many negative side effects and can cause the body to become “overwhelmed” with insulin and stop absorbing it properly. This results in insulin resistance. Sadly, insulin resistance is very common in people with Type 1 diabetes. For more information in insulin, please read:  Surprising Facts About Insulin. The challenge is that maintaining normal blood glucose levels is essential, even if it requires large amounts of insulin. I’ll share more about effectively addressing that challenge later in this post.
    .
  • Ethnicity:  People with Type 1 diabetes who are African American, Eskimo, Asian or Hispanic typically have higher rates of insulin resistance than Caucasians with Type 1 diabetes. This is why people of the above ethnicities often require much higher amounts of insulin.
    .
  • High levels of insulin-binding antibodies:  It is common for people with Type 1 diabetes to have higher levels of insulin-binding antibodies than people who do not have any form of diabetes. (Insulin-binding antibodies are not the same antibodies that attack the beta cells in the pancreas.) Insulin-binding antibodies prevent the body from absorbing insulin and/or neutralize the insulin. This causes people with extremely high levels to require more insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels. Amounts of insulin-bining antibodies vary greatly from person to person. More research is being done about how to control these antibodies.(3)
    .
  • Obesity:  It is a well-known fact that obesity reduces insulin sensitivity. Unfortunately, insulin is a hormone that stimulates the body to store fat, so people with diabetes who are on large amounts of insulin often find it very difficult to lose weight.

Potential Ways to Reduce Insulin Resistance in Type 1 Diabetes

Although insulin resistance can make it very difficult to control Type 1 diabetes, there are certain lifestyle habits that can greatly improve insulin sensitivity in people with Type 1 diabetes. Those habits include:

  • Reducing carbohydrate consumption and eating mostly low-glycemic carbohydrates:  Reducing the amount of insulin the body needs is a first step to helping cells “reset” and restore insulin sensitivity.
    .
  • Exercise:  As little as ten minutes of exercise improves insulin sensitivity for up to six hours. One study found that people who engaged in exercise and who followed a low-glycemic eating style had improved insulin sensitivity within just a week. Heavy weight lifting can improve insulin sensitivity for up to 48 hours. I engage in aerobic exercise and heavy weight lifting at least three times a week. If you are not currently exercising, start out slowly and increase your activity very gradually.
    .
  • Limited use of supplements:  There are some supplements known to improve insulin sensitivity. I am not mentioning then here because they should be used with caution and because each person’s personal physiology needs to be considered when selecting an appropriate supplement. There’s nothing healthy about taking handfuls of pills every day, so I am very cautious when recommending supplements and rarely recommend more then two. I’ve seen A1C levels drop in some clients by as much as 30% after the addition of a single supplement, even if the client refused to make dietary and lifestyle changes.
    .
  • Working closely with your physician or endocrinologist:  As lifestyle and dietary changes are made, it is imperative to work very closely with one’s physician and to monitor blood sugars very closely so insulin dosages can be adjusted as needed.
    .
  • Medication:  Although it’s not my first choice, some people with Type 1 diabetes and insulin resistance find that using medication such as Metformin helps them maintain normal glucose levels. Some also find a short trial of Metformin helps them lose enough weight that their physician can then very slowly wean them off of their Metformin dose.

There are no “easy fixes” for insulin resistance in Type 1 diabetes, but a combination of dietary and llfestyle changes can help. I know, because I’ve been able to reduce my insulin resistance and improve my health dramatically using a variety of small changes. After almost 50 years with Type 1 diabetes, I have no complications and live abundantly with ample energy. It is possible!

References:

(1) https://www.benaroyaresearch.org/what-is-bri/scientists-and-laboratories/scientific-staff/carla-greenbaum

(2) Diabetes Metabolic Research Review. 2002 May-Jun;18(3):192-200.

(3) Wien Klin Wochenschr. 1985 Apr 12;97(8):359-63

(4) The Interplay of Autoimmunity and Insulin Resistance in Type 1 Diabetes, Nokoff, Rewers, Cee Green; University of Colorado School of Medicine, 2/14/2012

Sneaky Things to Watch for On Supplement Labels

Dietary supplements pack the shelves of at least one aisle in almost every store in the country. Few people know how to correctly read and make sense of supplement labels. Reading supplement labels is almost more important than reading food labels, even though both are vitally important. There are a few items on supplement labels you need to check to ensure you are purchasing what you need and are taking the right amount of the supplement. The graphic shown below shares a few of the top items to check when reading a supplement label:

Supplement Label 1Items to pay close attention to include:

  • Serving Size:  Many people purchase supplements and assume that a serving equals one capsule or tablet. This is often far from correct. Many supplements have a serving size that requires multiple capsules or tablets be taken. For example, some calcium supplements require 4-6 tablets  per serving, so it’s important to know what the serving size is. Failing to take the full serving size may mean you are not receiving enough of the supplement to have the desired effect. It is also important to know the number of capsules or pills per serving so you can calculate how many days the bottle will last if you take the recommended serving. It is important to note that the number of milligrams for each item listed in the list of nutrients reflects the amount in one serving. If the supplement’s serving is two capsules, the amount of each nutrient shows what is in two capsules, not a single capsule.
    .
  • List of Nutrients:  This portion of the label shows what nutrients, herbs, minerals or other beneficial ingredients the supplement contains. It is important to read this portion of the label to make sure the supplement contains what you think it does. It is also important to read the list of nutrients to ensure the supplement contains nutrients in therapeutic amounts. For example, I recently reviewed a supplement whose front label stated the supplement contained Zinc. When reviewing the list of nutrients, I found the supplement only contained 1 mg of Zinc – not enough to have a therapeutic effect. When reading the list of nutrients, pay close attention to long lists of ingredients listed as a single item. In the example above, the adrenal blend includes a wide array of herbs and enzymes known to benefit the adrenals. The blend includes 19 different nutrients included in the indicated 302 milligrams. This means the total amount of each item is fairly small. This label is from a supplement company I respect very much and use personally, so I know this blend is effective. Other supplement companies may not be as reliable.
    .
  • Other Ingredients:  This is potentially the most important part of a supplement label. The example shown above is from a company that uses no fillers or excipients, so the only “other” ingredient is a non-GMO vegetable cellulose capsule. Other supplements may use ingredients that are known to be allergenic, artificial, or potentially toxic. In the example shown below, note the wide variety of other ingredients, many of which are artificial and/or potentially toxic or allergenic:

Supplement Label 2

It is also important to note on the label shown above that a single serving is four gummies, and that one bottle only contains enough gummies for 15 days. Also note that this supplement contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. If a vitamin is sourced from whole foods, it should not need to have caffeine added as an energy booster. Natural, food-based vitamins very naturally boost energy levels without the addition of caffeine.

Another item to take note of on supplement labels is:

  • % Daily Value:  This refers to the percent of the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) the indicated nutrient provides. It is important to note that the RDA references the minimum amount of nutrients required to remain alive, not the amounts needed to achieve maximum health. It is therefore neither uncommon nor dangerous for a supplement  to contain 1200% of the RDA, which is common on many B12 supplements. I personally don’t pay any attention to the RDA, as I know maximum health usually requires higher amounts of nutrients than those reflected by the RDA. Many nutrients contained in supplements do not have established RDA. Those nutrients typically show a cross symbol or an asterisk under the RDA column.

Here is one more example of a supplement label. This label is for a liquid, so the nutrient list shows the nutrients contained in the liquid, and the actual ingredients are shown as “Ingredients::

Supplement Label 3

Your next assignment is to go read the labels for the supplements you take. Let me know if you find anything surprising!