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Hello! Dr. Alvi here,

Are carbohydrates unhealthy?

This is one of the most common questions my patients ask me. In order to answer this question, lets start by taking a look at what carbohydrates actually are.

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients our bodies need. The other two are fat and protein. Each macronutrient serves its own specific function and all three are a vital source of nutrition. It is important to remember that many Whole Foods have some combination of these three macronutrients.

When evaluating the carbohydrate content of a food, its important to look at the TYPE of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates can be broken down into complex and simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are found in naturally occurring unprocessed or minimally processed foods such as health promoting whole grains and vegetables. Simple carbohydrates are found in both unhealthy processed or refined foods and health promoting fruits.

Grains can be broken down to whole grains and refined grains. We can use the schematic of a whole grain and refined grain above to understand the difference between the two types.

As you can see, a WHOLE grain (shown on the left) is full of fiber, nutrients, minerals, and phytochemicals while a REFINED grain is stripped away of some of the most nutritional components of the grain. The refined grain (shown on the right) is devoid of the beneficial bran and germ layers and left with the higher carbohydrate endosperm.

Studies have shown that those eating WHOLE grains have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and even premature death. Those eating refined carbohydrates may increase their risk of the same chronic diseases.

So in summary, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Eating a doughnut is NOT the same as eating Kale or Oatmeal. Complex carbohydrate and Whole grain options are Quinoa, Brown rice, Oats, and Amaranth.


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Hello, Dr. Alvi here,

Let’s talk about fruit.  As an Endocrinologist, I often get asked about it:

  • Is it healthy?
  • Does it have a lot of sugar?
  • Can I eat any fruits, or stick to certain ones?

There is certainly a lot of misinformation out there, so it’s a topic that deserves the time to be discussed!

The answer to these common questions can be explained simply by looking at what fruit is providing nutritionally, alongside a deeper dive into the the evidence-based literature  supporting how healthful fruit can be. 

Fruits NATURALLY contain simple sugars such as fructose, glucose, and sucrose. Sugars commonly ADDED to a lot of foods are these exact simple sugars. Since these simple sugars are found in both foods, they are indeed the root of the confusion and misinformation. 

Let’s talk about what the whole fruit provides: HEALTH PROMOTING Water, Fiber, Nutrients, Minerals, Antioxidants, and Phytonutrients.  There are many studies to support the favorable outcomes of fruit on health. One large epidemiological study showed higher fruit consumption being associated with a lower risk of Diabetes.  

Let’s talk about what added sugar provides: Essentially it provides Empty Calories. Sugar sweetened beverages in particular have been linked to Type 2 diabetes. 

My take away is basically the same message when it comes to nutrition – to look at foods as a whole package and the benefits they can provide to optimize overall health. 

I love all fruit, but mangos are my top favorite fruit.  What are your favorite fruits?

References:

  1. Du et al. Fresh fruit consumption in relation to incident diabetes and diabetic vascular complications: A 7-y prospective study of 0.5 million Chinese adults. PLOS med. 2017
  2. palmer et al. Sugar sweetened beverages and incidence of type 2 DM. Archives of Internal Medicine 2008.

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April 18, 2019 Lifestyle Medicine

Treating the causes of disease
How you live your daily life – your lifestyle – impacts your overall health and risk of chronic diseases.

Through the discipline of lifestyle medicine, Dr. Alvi treats the causes of endocrine-related disease – focusing on ways to prevent chronic diseases and conditions through changes in your daily habits. Dr. Alvi works with you on lifestyle behaviors including improving your diet, ways you’ll enjoy being active and more fit, managing stress, stopping smoking, sleeping more soundly and more. She develops a “Lifestyle Rx” – your personalized plan to help you manage your lifestyle and attain better health, based on your current health, family history and goals. Together, you’ll track your progress in sustaining your healthier you via evidence-based lab tests to screen, diagnose and monitor lifestyle-related diseases.

You’ll be empowered with the knowledge and life skills to make effective behavior changes that address the underlying causes of disease.

By changing your lifestyle, you invest in your better health, lower health care costs and enhanced well-being. This approach helps you avoid chronic conditions before they develop. It can also help you manage and even reverse chronic conditions you already have.

Dr. Alvi is working toward her accreditation as a Lifestyle Medicine Physician from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), the professional medical association for physicians, medical professionals, allied health professionals and those with professional careers devoted to advancing the mission of lifestyle medicine. This preventive approach is rooted in a modern value and outcomes-based system of care versus the traditional fee-per-service treatment of chronic conditions.


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Saadia Alvi, MD believes in the power of both evidence-based conventional and lifestyle medical approaches to prevent, manage and treat endocrine conditions. After 13 years of practice, she opened her membership-based care practice to help her patients actively pursue better health.

Her practice is based on conventional evidence-based medicine. An Endocrinology Specialist, she is Board Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in the specialties of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.

Contact Information

ADDRESS
7932 W Sand Lake Rd
Suite 307
Orlando, FL 32819

PHONE
407.614.7481

eFax
877.852.6517

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