Plain and Simple: Conquer the Desire for Sugar

Just as with any harmful addiction, breaking the sugar habit can be difficult. But as more health research comes to light, it truly is necessary to reduce sugar consumption, if not eliminate it completely from our diets.

Research continues to show that sugar reduction is among the top product claims sought after by consumers. A recent survey conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) shows that:

  • 48% of consumers say they are eliminating certain foods and beverages from their diets.1
  • 25% are using low-calorie sweeteners instead of sugar.2
  • 22% are switching from caloric beverages to low- and no-calorie options.3

Many consumers have a mixed opinion about low – and no-calorie sweeteners, but 63% now believe that these sweeteners help them reduce sugar consumption.4

Our previous blogs discussed healthy natural sweeteners The Healthiest Natural Sweetener vs. the unhealthy artificial sweeteners.

The increased focus on sugar consumption in relation to health has led to new regulatory guidelines in markets globally. In the United States, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has implemented changes to labeling added sugars and dietary fibers on Nutrition Facts to make it more clear to consumers. Nikken began the transition to the new labeling requirements as early as last year. Below is an example of the differences in labeling.

Revised Nutrition Facts (Blog).png

Here are some tips for reducing sugar consumption in pursuit of Active Wellness:

  1. Eliminate sodas and other sugary beverages.
  2. Need a sugar fix? Eat a piece of fruit or a sweet vegetable, such as a carrot or beet.
  3. Frozen berries, grapes, cherries and bananas are delicious as sorbets when blended.
  4. Are you a coffee or tea drinker? Try to drink it “straight” or only with a little creamer—without any sweeteners. Lemon in tea is a flavorful replacement and you can train your taste buds to appreciate tangy over sweet.
  5. Be careful with “alternative” sweeteners, such as honey and molasses. They are still forms of sugar, high in calories and have limited nutritional value. Instead, choose no-calorie natural sweeteners such as monkfruit and stevia.
  6. Do you want something sweet without empty calories? Have a “milk shake” made with Kenzen Vital Balance® mixed with the milk of your choice: coconut, soy, almond, cashew or regular!
  7. Drink more water. A recent survey in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics found that people who drank just 1% more water daily cut sugar intake by one to four teaspoons.5
  8. Read labels. Packaged food contains lots of hidden sugar, so eat fresh food whenever possible. For example, instead of packaged oatmeal, buy oatmeal that requires cooking. The packaged oatmeal frequently has little to no fiber and instead contains added sugar and artificial flavoring.

Sugar is a bad habit, but the good news is, we can beat it!

1, 2, 3, 4 http://www.foodinsightorg/2017-food-and-health-survey

5 https://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/g2480/low-sugar-diet/

World Autism on the Rise: April is Autism Awareness Month

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction. The symptoms are present from early childhood and affect daily functioning.1

The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD. Some children and adults with ASD are fully able to perform all activities of daily living while others require substantial support to perform basic activities. ASD occurs in every racial and ethnic group, and across all socioeconomic levels. However, boys are significantly more likely to develop ASD than girls.1

There is no cure for ASD. Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can substantially improve those symptoms. The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of the individual. Most health care professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.

A new government survey of parents suggests that 1 in 45 children, ages 3 through 17, have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is notably higher than the official government estimate of 1 in 68 American children with autism, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).2

“The 1 in 45 estimate is not surprising and is likely a more accurate representation of autism prevalence in the United States,” comments epidemiologist Michael Rosanoff, Autism Speaks director for public health research. “This means that 2 percent of children in the U.S. are living with autism. The earlier they have access to care, services and treatment, the more likely they are to progress.”

Research suggests that autism develops from a combination of genetic and nongenetic, or environmental, influences.3 There is reason to be concerned about high levels of exposure to toxic chemicals in our environment. For this reason, Autism Speaks continues to support research to better understand the effects of chemical exposures during pregnancy, as there is preliminary evidence that pesticides may increase the risk of autism. Although researchers cannot confirm that avoiding exposure to pesticides or any specific chemical can reduce autism risk in a child or future child, they do say that exposure to toxic chemicals during pregnancy or early infancy poses a general threat to future health. High lead exposure has been shown to lower IQ scores. Certain endocrine disrupting chemicals have been linked to birth defects. So it’s reasonable for parents to take reasonable steps to avoid these exposures.4

Scientists also have been reporting links between the composition of bacteria in the gut and autistic behavior. A review of more than 150 papers on ASD and gut bacteria found that since the 1960s, studies show that restoring a healthy balance in gut bacteria can treat ASD symptoms.5

Dr Qinrui Li of Peking University, China says, “The environmental factors include the overuse of antibiotics in babies, maternal obesity and diabetes during pregnancy, how a baby is delivered and how long it is breastfed. All of these can affect the balance of bacteria in an infant’s gut, so are risk factors for ASD. Efforts to restore the gut microbiota to that of a healthy person has been shown to be really effective. Our review looked at taking probiotics, prebiotics, changing the diet – for example, to gluten- and casein-free diets, and fecal matter transplants. All had a positive impact on symptoms such as increased sociability, a reduction in repetitive behaviour, and improved social communication: all hugely beneficial to the life of an ASD sufferer.5

A Nikken Wellness Home can help create a healthy environment with clean water, organic nutritional supplements and effective Sleep Products. Here are just a few success stories:

Carla P. says, “My son James was diagnosed with autism before he turned three. Over the years, we made progress, but James still had difficulty sleeping and this child would get up and roam all over the house, turn on lights, turn on TVs with loud volume, and go into his brothers’ rooms and wake them up. It disrupted the entire household. I decided to try a Kenko Mattress Topper on his bed.  It still amazes me. He continues to sleep every night, and he is now making progress through the day because of this good sleep he is getting.

“He has had other positive effects from Nikken products, and if I didn’t experience this myself, I would have never believed it.  The best part was how non-invasive all of these products are. Autism is like a puzzle, and you are always seeking the right pieces that fit.  Well, I definitely found some of the biggest pieces to help my son.  It didn’t cure him, but his quality of life is so much better. And isn’t that ultimately what we all desire?”*

Lorri from Alberta, Canada says, “After two weeks of sleeping on the Kenko Sleep System, Brody was sleeping well and this good sleep has helped him function better during the day.  Brody wears the magnetic insoles and necklace during the day to help him feel more relaxed and calmer.  After using all of these magnets, his behavior has also improved. Now, a year later, I can’t believe it! Wow oh wow, it’s wonderful stuff! Everyone notices such a huge difference in him.”*

Beth says, “My cousin’s adopted son is a five-year-old who is autistic. He has always been a high energy, non-speaking autistic child. Since the day he was put on the large Kenko PetPad and the insoles in his shoes, he has calmed down considerably. When my cousin unwrapped the PetPad, he walked up to it and wrapped his arms around it. It seemed to immediately ‘soothe’ him and help him feel more relaxed and calm. He now goes to sleep at regular hours, remains calm throughout the day and is able to function better as a result of the Nikken products. Nothing else in his life has changed, only the addition of Nikken products.”*

Gretchen T. says, “I worked with a woman with a 21-year-old autistic son. She used the Kenko Sleep System for him because he had never been able to sleep an entire night in his life. He would wake up several times. He would also pull his covers over his face, which made his mother very nervous. From the first night on the system, he slept all night long and never pulled the comforter over his face, and was more relaxed. So she then tried the PiMag water with him. He always hated drinking water and would only take a few sips. The first glass of PiMag water he was given, he drank right down and even asked for another one. Was she ever delighted!”*

Do you know someone with a child who is on the spectrum and might benefit from a Nikken Wellness Home? You could be the one who helps improve lives with Active Wellness!

*These testimonials are not paid for or endorsed by Nikken.

1 https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Autism-Spectrum-Disorder-Fact-Sheet

2 https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/new-government-survey-pegs-autism-prevalence-1-45

3 https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/learn-more-autism/what-causes-autism

4 https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2012/04/06/avoiding-environmental-hazards-during-pregnancy

5 https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-06-autism-gut.html\

The Horror of the World’s Plastic Footprint

The discerning mind understands the importance of drinking filtered water and commits to using a good filtration system. Unfortunately, the success of the bottled water industry continues to grow, even with the knowledge that plastic bottles are a huge potential health hazard. As reported in the Japan Times earlier this month, the world’s leading brands of bottled water have been contaminated with tiny plastic particles that are likely seeping in during the packaging process.1

There’s also the matter of conscience. Every one of us can choose to contribute to the preservation of our environment or expedite its demise. As recently as earlier this month, the Ocean Cleanup Foundation—with researchers at institutions in New Zealand, the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Denmark—published in the journal Scientific Reports, that 79,000 tons of plastic debris, in the form of 1.8 trillion pieces, now occupy an area three times the size of France in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii.2 It’s known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

According to the Ocean Cleanup Foundation researchers, the plastic is coming largely from Pacific countries, but they also believe that some of the debris comes from elsewhere, moved by ocean currents. Based on prior examinations dating back to the 1970s, the study finds that the plastic in the patch is growing, as more flows in than out. 2

Plastic pollution is so far-reaching that even the pristine Artic has been infiltrated. A study published in 2017 in the journal Science Advances, estimates that 300 billion pieces of tiny plastic are suspended in Arctic waters, with even more on the seafloor. 3 Because the population in the Arctic is so small, it is unlikely that it directly contributed to so much waste. Instead, researchers believe the aged and weathered state of the plastic waste suggests that it has been traveling the seas for decades, breaking down along the way. The study was led by Andrés Cózar of the University of Cádiz in Spain, together with researchers from universities in Denmark, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Environmental engineer Jenna Jambeck at the University of Georgia conducted a study on plastic waste processes in 2015 and found that humans were filling the oceans with an estimated eight million tons of plastic annually. Projections are that this will increase 22 percent by 2025.4 In addition, the study found that much of the plastic was sinking and damaging the lower depths of the ocean as well as the seafloor. As the plastic footprint enlarges, the future of our planet diminishes.

For Active Wellness and for the planet, quit the bottled water habit. You have until the end of this month to benefit from the PiMag® Waterfall sale, indisputably an amazing deal for PiMag® water technology.

1 https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/16/business/top-bottled-water-brands-contaminated-plastic-particles-report/#.Wr0YvrT83zI

2 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22939-w

3 http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/4/e1600582.full

4 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/02/12/humans-are-putting-8-million-metric-tons-of-plastic-in-the-oceans-annually/

 

What’s in Your Water?

There are three different types of drinking water: tap water, filtered water and bottled water. In many countries, tap water is not potable, so it has to be boiled first. Even in North America, not all tap water is potable—for example, the Flint, Michigan water crisis1 and the First Nations indigenous water crisis in Canada2 are still not fully resolved.

Water is supposedly tasteless, but everyone knows tap water can taste nasty. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) conducted a study in 2003 that showed public water supplies in 19 of America’s largest cities delivered drinking water that contained contaminant levels exceeding EPA limits, including rocket fuel, arsenic, lead, fecal waste and chemical byproducts.3

According to the NRDC, approximately 25% of bottled water is nothing more than tap water. The best way to find out is to read the label and see whether it tells you how the water is filtered. If it doesn’t say, chances are it’s straight from the tap.

The other problem with bottled water is the bottle itself. Many plastic bottles are created with a chemical called bisphenol A, otherwise known as BPA. It’s linked to numerous health issues, including infertility, obesity, diabetes, insomnia, arthritis, heart disease and more.4 And, the plastic bottles add to the trash that goes into landfills and the oceans, adding to environmental degradation.

Filtered water is clearly the best option for drinking. According to the Food and Water Watch Organization, even expensive water filters are more cost effective than bottled water, especially when evaluating costs over a 5, 10 and 20-year period.5

Water filters offer the last line of defense between the body and the more than 2,100 known toxins that may be present in drinking water.6 Experts recommend looking for a water filter that satisfies the standards of NSF International, a nonprofit organization that conducts safety testing for food and water industries. Look specifically for what type of contaminants the water filter will remove.

The PiMag Waterfall® complies with NSF standards as follows:

  • NSF Standard 42—Reduction of chlorine, chloramine, taste and odor*
  • NSF Standard 53—Reduction of mercury, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs)*
  • NSF Standard 372—Lead compliance

*Reverse Osmosis systems do not remove VOCs, chlorine or chloramine.8

The PiMag Waterfall® is an advanced filtration system that produces water with added minerals (unlike expensive Reverse Osmosis systems that leach out beneficial minerals) in a pH range of 8.5-9.5. Regular tap water typically has a pH range of 6.5-8.5, with 7 considered “basic” and below 7 as acidic.7

Because the PiMag Waterfall works without electricity or plumbing, it can be used in any location. As with all PiMag products, the Waterfall is made with recyclable and biodegradable materials, including a polymer that does not leach chemicals into water.

Waterfall-promo_nikken_3-18.jpg

From now through the end of this month, get a deal you can’t pass up: $120 off the retail price of the PiMag Waterfall and $12 off the replacement filter retail price!

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_water_crisis

2 https://news.vice.com/en_ca/article/3kpjby/canadas-indigenous-water-crisis

3 https://www.greenamerica.org/green-living/facts-about-water-filters

4 https://draxe.com/bpa-toxic-effects/

5 https://www.waterbenefitshealth.com/filtered-drinking-water.html

6 http://www.allaboutwater.org/water-filters.html

7 www.water-research.net/ph.htm

8 https://www.waterbenefitshealth.com/filtered-drinking-water.html