Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Mouth – Why Chewing is Important

The “physical” aspects of digestion begin in the mouth. Please consider what goes in our mouth is generally a volunteer action! For the most part we choose what we eat, how many times we chew our food, and the pace (fast/slow) of the eating experience. Some may argue that digestion begins before we eat as the smells, sounds, and overall environment affect us. To some extent I’d agree with this. It is a biological fact that if we are stressed our digestion is adversely impacted. No reason to digest if you’re running away from a lion or tiger, right? And, if we are in a pleasant environment, calm and relaxed, this will aid our digestion. Nothing like the smell of grandma’s cooking to get the digestive juices flowing. But, at the end of the day if we gulp down crappy food we’re going to have digestive issues.

In our mouth we have our teeth and the salivary glands (of which the parotid is the largest). Our teeth are very important as they are the first stage in breaking up our food so we can process it. The more we chew and break up the food, the more surface area there is to be acted upon. Saliva contains mucus, lysozymes, and amylase. Believe it or not, we make 1-2 quarts of saliva per day! Saliva should be alkaline with a pH of 7.4, although it can vary throughout the day. If you would like to test your saliva you can purchase pH paper. The most accurate reading is in the morning after waking up. If saliva is acidic (pH < 7) it will interrupt digestion of carbohydrates in mouth. The saliva pH is indicative of general health of the liver. Mucus is important because it lubricates the food to help it pass through the esophagus. Lysozymes poke holes in the walls of bacteria which weaken them so they can be taken care of (eliminated) by the stomach. Amylase is an enzyme and it begins the digestion of carbohydrates. Ever notice how if you have a piece of bread in your mouth for awhile it starts to taste sweet? This is the carbohydrate breaking down into sugars. It appears the body was designed to handle carbohydrates first. So what we do in the mouth is very important. If we do not chew our food sufficiently more work has to be done in the stomach to break the food down. Remember – this is a “north to south” process. How many times to chew? I’ve heard anywhere from 20-40 chews per mouthful. The 40 seems a bit stretching it, but 20 seem reasonable. And, the more we chew the more saliva is produced and mixed with the food providing the mucus, lysozymes, and amylase required. Not enough mucus and the food has a harder time getting to the stomach. Too few lysozymes and it is more likely for harmful bacteria to survive. Short on amylase and carbohydrates do not get broken down and begin to ferment in the stomach since their next chance for activity is in the small intestine (but I’m getting ahead of myself). I’m sure you can see how each step has an impact on what takes place next. If the initial job is not done correctly the next step needs to catch up or make an adjustment. Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He has offices in Glendale and Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.

Digestion – Introduction – The Body Positive

Digestion – Introduction

Our tour of the body begins with the digestive system. After all, we are what we eat! What we put into our body provides the fuel our body has to work with in performing all the functions that give us life. Without food there is no life. Without strong digestion there is no useable fuel. What we eat and drink needs to be processed and utilized by the body. Therefore, when I speak of “digestion” remember it is inclusive of breaking down our food, absorbing our food, utilizing our food, and removing the waste products of the food from the body. All of these are critical steps in what we term “digestion.”

Many people suffer from poor digestion (dysbiosis). Do you? How would you know? Well, common signs of poor or compromised digestion include heartburn, belching, burping, gas, bloating, cramping, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. But did you know bad breath, rashes, skin eruptions, acne, allergies, and autoimmune diseases stem from poor digestion as well? When your digestive issues get serious enough for you to see your doctor you may receive an official medical diagnoses such as: Acid reflux, GERD, Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel, Celiac, and others.

When we have “symptoms” this is our body sending us a message. Something is wrong. Something is not working as designed. Our body has over 120 trillion cells, all of which need to be nourished. Everything we put into our mouth will ultimately have a consequence – either it is nourishing or it is stressful. One definition of nutrition is an act or process of being nourished. It is through digestion that we receive our nourishment.

The next big question is: What creates symptoms? Obviously it is not how our body was originally designed! As my friends at the IFNH (International Foundation for Nutrition and Health) like to say, “Digestion is a north to south process.” It has several stages and what happens at each phase is greatly influenced by the preceding phase. The digestive system includes: mouth, pharynx (throat), esophagus, stomach, small intestine, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, large intestine, rectum, and anal canal. Now we’ll learn what each part does.

February 2012 Newsletter – Calories Are Not Created Equal!

It’s February, one month in to the New Year. How are you doing with your resolutions? I’ll give myself a “B-” so far. There are a few “A’s” to report. The number of distracting e-mails has been cut significantly. Although, I have noticed that some of them won’t let go and even after repeated attempts to unsubscribe they keep coming! My posts are “positive”, although fewer. I’m enjoying listening to Bob and Brian in the morning, although sometimes I keep listening rather than getting up! I’ve ramped up my meditation practice. The business consulting project that I referred away looks like it will be a dead end, so it is a good thing I didn’t put any of my time into it. And, I’ve been doing my weekly study of The Path of Yoga. Unfortunately, I can only give myself a “C-“ on my book efforts. I’ve begun, but not close to where I need to be. That grade may have been an “F” except that I have begun the basis for one of the Chapters. I call this Chapter “The Body Positive” and you can read about that below. Since I’ve always been a good student, I want “A’s” – so I expect to ramp it up this month!

In other news, January presented many new clients and re-engagement of past clients. Lots of interest in the cleanse/purification program – an all-time favorite of many clients. I’ve also had a very positive response to the new Blood Chemistry Analysis service.

I did have some time to watch some of the DVD I had purchased from the Weston Price Foundation 2011 Conference in London. One of the presenters was Barry Groves. His was an excellent discussion breaking the great calorie myth that has been thrust upon us. You’ll definitely want to read my article below and decide for yourself whether or not all calories count!


Calories – Not Created Equal and Perhaps Not All That Relevant

Many diet and exercise programs are based on us “counting calories” and assuming all calories are created equal. This goes back to the 1870’s and the scientific finding of the First Law of Thermodynamics. We learn from Wikipedia, “The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can be transformed, i.e. changed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed. It is usually formulated by stating that the change in the internal energy of a system is equal to the amount of heat supplied to the system, minus the amount of work performed by the system on its surroundings.” This theory was applied to the human being. Resulting in the myth that whatever calories we consume through eating we need to burn through activity otherwise these calories will store as fat and we will gain weight.

For the rest of the article, click here. http://brwellness.blogspot.com/2012/02/calories-not-created-equal-and-perhaps.html

Announcing The Body Positive

I have several favorite “nutritional sayings” (as I like to call them) that I use with my clients. One of these stems from the fact that most of us have no idea how our body works. How do I know this? I ask people all the time and I get the same answer. “I didn’t know that.” So here’s my saying “Unfortunately our body did not come with an Owner’s Manual.” One of my main objectives in working with any client is education on how the body works and how this relates to our lifestyle. Over the next year this will be the focus of my writings, newsletters, and postings. The information will be available in a variety of formats – posts on my Rosen Wellness Facebook page, tweets on Twitter, updates on LinkedIn, and articles on my Rosen Wellness blog site. Each writing will be brief and to the point exploring one particular aspect.

I’m calling this undertaking “The Body Positive” and I hope you’ll join me and as you can see there are many options to do so. As I experience every day with my clients, when they know and understand how their body works they make different choices – positive ones leading to improved health and happiness.

I have five simple rules: You are what you eat; you are what you eat eats; you are what you digest; you eat what you are; and balance and moderation. We’ll be exploring these concepts in conjunction with learning some basic anatomy (the parts) and physiology (what the parts do) of the body.

Look for “digestion” coming soon to a social media site near you!

Calories – Not Created Equal and Perhaps Not All That Relevant

Many diet and exercise programs are based on us “counting calories” and assuming all calories are created equal. This goes back to the 1870’s and the scientific finding of the First Law of Thermodynamics. We learn from Wikipedia, “The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can be transformed, i.e. changed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed. It is usually formulated by stating that the change in the internal energy of a system is equal to the amount of heat supplied to the system, minus the amount of work performed by the system on its surroundings.” This theory was applied to the human being. Resulting in the myth that whatever calories we consume through eating we need to burn through activity otherwise these calories will store as fat and we will gain weight.

Also during this period of time scientists were able to assign specific calories to specific foods through the use of a new breakthrough – the bomb calorimeter. Basically, this device measures heat flow in water from the burning of a specific substance. The change in temperature in the water is then converted into calories.

So this leads us to the key question. Does our body really work like a bomb calorimeter? And, are all calories used for energy and therefore the same independent of the food we eat?

As far as a calorimeter goes, I think we can all conclude that our body does not operate that way. But let’s assume that it does. If so, does it treat all calories equally? While you will see many studies supporting the notion that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie let’s take a logical view of this. A hardboiled egg has 75 calories. Approximately one half of a slice of bread or a bagel has 75 calories. Perhaps one bite of a donut or a piece of cake has 75 calories. Could it really be that these 75 calories would have the same impact in your body? I don’t think so and shortly you’ll see why.

Let’s go back to the calorimeter for a minute. Here’s what was discovered. Carbohydrates were 4.2 calories per gram and this was rounded down to the familiar 4.0 that we know of today. Proteins were 5.0 but were rounded down to 4.0 due to some perceived inefficiencies of how they burn. Fats were 9.2 also rounded down to 9.0. So, this gives us the numbers that we are all familiar with: 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate and protein and 9 calories per gram of fat. Simple conclusion – eat too much fat and you get fat.

Well, to start with, the figures are wrong! Let’s look at fats first. Different fats have different amounts of associated calories depending upon saturation levels. Further studies have shown that polyunsaturated fats have 9.1 calories per gram, animal fats range from 6.5 to 8.0 calories per gram, while cocoa butter (the most saturated of fats) has 5.5 calories per gram. This is significant. I’ve written previously on the benefits of saturated fat, and yet it is these fats that have been so vilified that actually have less calories than the unsaturated oils we have been told are so healthy! The true fact is that the more saturated the fat, the fewer calories.

Now let’s look at carbohydrates. I’ve written many times that to your body carbohydrates equals sugar. All carbohydrates (both “simple” and “complex”) are broken down into simple sugars. To do this the body uses a process called hydrolysis. Basically water is added to a reaction. This causes total mass to increase which actually creates more calories! So, simple sugars really do have 4.2 calories per gram, yet starches (the more complex carbohydrates) have 4.44 calories per gram. Also note that soluble fiber has 2.0 calories per gram. What does this mean? We are getting significantly more calories per gram of carbohydrate than we may think.

Now for the grand finale! This whole theory assumes that all calories we consume are used for energy. This simply is not true. Protein is used for a variety of body building functions. In fact very little protein is used for energy. Therefore, these calories really don’t count. Think about the Atkins diet. It includes lots of protein, yet people lose weight. In fact they are told to eat as much as they want and still lose weight. Next, let’s look at fat. Fat too is used for other functions besides energy. So, in reality, only some of these calories truly count. And here’s the important point – it is only carbohydrates where all the calories count! Many studies have shown that the number of calories is insignificant compared to their composition. People can gain or lose weight on calories ranging from 1000 to 4000 calories per day. It is all about how much fat, protein, and carbohydrate were in the diet!

My special thanks to Barry Groves and the Weston Price Foundation for his wonderful presentation sharing these facts.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He has offices in Thiensville and Glendale. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.