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Mike Jorgensen, Published December 08 2012

Letter: Manage carbohydrate intake to control insulin production

In regard to the article on childhood obesity in the SheSays section of The Forum:

I think several critical facts were left out that could help parents and children in their battle with obesity. The first is understand-ing that one hormone in the body is more responsible for whether the body will store fat or burn fat. That hormone is insulin. Insulin is released in the body in response to an increase in the body’s blood sugar.

What drives up blood sugar? Several things, but some are much worse than others. This is where the “all calories are not equal” argument could be made. Not all calories consumed cause the same release of insulin. Carbohydrates cause the blood sugars to increase the most dramatically. This is why parents need to understand that “Pop Tarts,” Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs and even blueberry muffins are not a part of a complete breakfast like the ads tell us.

Most children’s diets today are exposing them to unnaturally high and prolonged amounts of carbohydrates. This is causing a prolonged period of insulin release. No matter how active these children are, their cells are being told to “store fat.” This overproduction of insulin also creates a pre-diabetic scenario, which is why we’re seeing the increase in childhood diabetes. Fruit juices are also guilty of spiking blood sugars, so in a child dealing with obesity, cut it out.

Some of the staples of foods kids love are their worst enemies when it comes to causing fat storage. Macaroni and cheese, pizza and french fries, not to mention the soda that goes along with them, are huge trouble makers. These are relatively cheap and convenient foods, which makes it all the more understandable that Americans are over-consuming them. It’s also why you’ll probably see them on the menu at your child’s school lunch.

Of course more activity will help, but not nearly as much as curbing the carbs our kids are getting. Try oatmeal with fruit in the mornings or, God forbid, take the time to make some scrambled eggs for a more protein-based meal. It will increase and prolong the sense of “fullness” and give the child a much better building block for growth.

Obesity, whether it’s affecting a child or adult, is not complicated. We need to look at a simple science that explains it and then do the most difficult thing of all: change our food choices. It just may save all of our lives and our headed-for-bankruptcy insurance/

health care system.

Dr. Jorgensen, a doctor of chiropractic and a certified chiropractic wellness practitioner, is with Red River Wellness of Fargo.