Why Is It Hard To Lose Weight ? 5 Medical Conditions That Make It Harder to Lose Weight

Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that it’s not easy.  You have tried everything but nothing seems to work. Of you must wonder why is it hard to lose weight? It’s easy to blame it on overeating and under-exercising but did you know if you have certain medical conditions, you may have an even tougher time than the average person? Weight loss may be a struggle for you if you have these conditions. Here are five health issues that make it harder to lose weight. If you have any of them, you’ll want to work closely with your doctor to stay healthy and achieve a healthy body weight.


Hypothyroidism is another name for an underactive thyroid gland. Since your thyroid gland sets your resting metabolic rate, how fast you burn energy at rest, it’s not surprising that an underactive thyroid makes it harder to lose weight. The thyroid, a small gland at the front of the neck, produces hormones that regulate your body’s metabolic rate.

When the thyroid is underactive, it makes less thyroid hormone, which slows down your metabolic rate. Your body burns calories at a slower rate, so you gain weight more easily. Doctors treat hypothyroidism with supplemental thyroid hormone. Talk to your physician. They may be able to adjust your thyroid replacement to help you better control your weight.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes makes your body less sensitive to insulin. In response, your pancreas sends more insulin into your bloodstream. Since insulin makes it easier for your body to store fat, it facilitates weight when you have a higher insulin level. Plus, your body stores more fat in places like your abdominal cavity and liver. This type of visceral fat increases inflammation, making it even harder to lose weight. To break the cycle, eliminate sugar and ultra-processed foods and exercise, preferably vigorously, at least 30 minutes daily. Try to move more throughout the day. How is your sleep? Make sure you’re sleeping soundly at night, sleeping enough, and managing stress. Doing these things will improve insulin sensitivity and make it easier to shed those extra pounds.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common health condition that affects women of childbearing age. Women with this disorder that causes cysts to form on the ovaries often have hair growth in places where it normally wouldn’t, like the face, chest, back, and stomach. Plus, PCOS often leads to weight gain and a rise in blood pressure and blood sugar. PCOS also makes it harder to lose weight because it’s linked with insulin resistance. When you’re insulin resistant, your body can’t use insulin properly, so your blood sugar levels stay higher than normal, and as a result, you have more difficulty losing weight.


Eating less and exercising more are good places to start if you’re trying to slim down. But if you have PCOS, you have to address other factors like insulin resistance. Over time, insulin resistance leads to an increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. To lose weight, you need to reduce the degree of insulin resistance you have. One way to do that is through exercise, although doctors sometimes also prescribe medications that help improve insulin sensitivity, like metformin to help with weight control.


Almost one in five people will suffer from depression at some point in their lives and the incidence increases with age. Major depressive disorder is not something that can be easily overcome, and the effects of depression can be devastating and life-altering. In addition to the emotional pain, people who suffer from depression often experience a loss of energy and lack interest in normal daily activities. These symptoms can make it difficult to lose weight and to get the motivation to exercise, making it easy to pack on the pounds. Improving sadness and depression helps with weight loss, however, doctors also use anti-depressants and some anti-depressants make it harder to lose weight.


Having trouble losing weight? You might be surprised to learn that some medications prescribed for other health conditions can actually have the opposite effect: they can make it harder to lose weight or even cause weight gain. That’s because some medicines can have an effect on our metabolism–the process by which our body converts food into energy. Other medications increase appetite.

If you’re concerned about how your medications might be impacting your weight, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to help you find a different medication or adjust your dosage to prevent this side effect. A number of medications used to treat health conditions cause weight gain. The list of medications that contribute to weight gain is long. It includes medications used to treat seizures, mental health conditions, corticosteroids, and some diabetic medications. If you’re taking medications, talk to your physician about whether they could make it harder to lose weight.

The Bottom Line

These are the most common medical conditions that make it harder to lose weight. If you have any of these health problems, talk to your doctor about your treatments. They may be able to make adjustments to your medications that will help you shed those extra pounds.


“Medical Causes of Obesity – WebMD.” .webmd.com/diet/obesity/medical-reasons-obesity.

“Depression, Anxiety Linked to Weight Gain.” 06 Oct. 2009, .webmd.com/depression/news/20091006/depression_anxiety_linked_weight_gain.

“Can Prescription Drugs Cause Weight Gain? – Drugs.com.” 08 Feb. 2020, .drugs.com/article/weight-gain.html.

“PCOS And Weight Gain: Understand The Connection.” 07 Sept. 2017, .sepalika.com/pcos/pcos-and-weight-gain-connection/.

“Polycystic ovary syndrome and weight management.” pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20187731/.


How to Find a Virtual Doctor? Try These 4 Ways

How to Find a Virtual Physician

Telemedicine is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunication technology.” Wherever a patient (or a healthcare professional taking care of that patient) is communicating with a healthcare professional, who is not at the same physical location, to find out what is wrong and to get treatment, this is telemedicine.

Telemedicine goes by many name such as virtual MD, On Line Doctor and others. Regardless of the search term use to find a doctor on line, you should do your research.

How do you find a good physician virtual doctor? This can be much the same as the process of finding any physician, but because you are not meeting in person, some of the questions to ask are a bit different.

Two Kinds of Telemedicine

There are two general kinds of telemedicine. The first refers to remote communication with your regular physician. This communication could take place via telephone, video call, text message, or any other form of telecommunication. This kind of telemedicine has been around ever since telephones—or maybe since there was snail mail—and is simply an extension of the relationship you already have with your doctor.

The second kind is an online-only telehealth companies, and refers to a kind of web-based telemedicine where you communicate with a doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner by video, text messaging, email, or through an app. Consider them hosting platforms or virtual environment for your visit with the doctor.

4 Ways to Find an  Online Doctor

Ask For Referrals

With the convenience of online search engines, we sometimes forget the importance of word of mouth and personal recommendations. But asking friends and acquaintances is still a good place to begin. Find out what they use and why, what they like and what they don’t. This will give you a good foundation for when you begin looking at the services that are available.

Check Your Insurance Benefits Plan

Unless you are in the small percentage of the population that can afford healthcare out-of-pocket, insurance coverage is an important consideration. In fact, an increasing number of insurance providers are contracting with telemedicine providers for preventative and primary care services for their clients. One plus of using telemedicine that is provided through your insurance is that the insurer is likely to have vetted the provider to ensure legitimacy and value. And of course, when you go through your insurer’s contracted service, you have a better assurance that the services will be covered by insurance.

 Ask Your Provider

Either directly through your insurance or through your local health system’s network, you may find that you already have an account with a telehealth provider. Call your provider’s office or check their website to find out if they offer remote or video visits. If this is the case, you can still use the suggestions below to help you determine when to use telehealth and when to go to a physical location.

Check Reviews

But as you do, don’t get caught up in whether they are five-star reviews. While the overall rating does matter, you also want to read the reviews to find out why the reviewer liked or didn’t like the service. Read between the lines to see if this is the type of service you are looking for. For example, you may find a review with only one or two stars, but if you read the review you may discover that the reviewer is upset because they got a referral for specialized care. However, you want to get referrals when you need them, so that review should make you think more, not less, of that provider.

Consider the things that are important to you, such as hours of availability, whether they have access to the rest of your health records, if you prefer video, phone call, or text messaging, and so forth. Read the reviews with these things in mind.

Don’t Replace Your Regular Doctor

Unless your virtual doctor is your primary doctor, don’t ditch you primary doctor.

Telehealth is best for minor issues, such as urinary tract infections or viruses. Mental health services can often be quite effective via telehealth. And in rural areas, telehealth can be the only accessible means of “visiting” a physician.

However, telehealth should not replace actual physical visits to your physician. Many parts of an exam cannot be done by video, including lungs, heart sounds and abdominal exams. Even looking at a sore throat by video can be nearly impossible.

In an emergency, don’t use telehealth—call emergency services or go to an emergency department. If you have signs of a stroke or heart attack, call 9-1-1 or your local equivalent and get immediate help. If you have an injury such as a fall, car accident or any kind of trauma then a visit to the emergency room is necessary.

As a general rule of thumb, most things that would be seen in an urgent care can be taken care of by telehealth, except for injuries that need to be cleaned and stitched, or other things that need hands-on care.

What Is A Virtual Doctor?

Senior with virtual doctorOverview of Telemedicine and Virtual Doctors

Virtual Doctor, Telemedicine, Remote physician, On-demand healthcare, Telehealth,Distance medicine, E-health.  The list goes on and on . There are so may different terms given to practicing medicine outside of normal face to face methods that is most commonly used. This way of providing care is to patient or consumers in on the rise.

You see advertisement on TV or even at the facility where you normally visit your doctor.. Many health insurance carriers send enrolment forms or membership cards to all their clients. But who or what is a virtual doctor? What can they do for your when you are ill or just need follow up on your chronic condition like hypertension or high blood sugar management. Why should you consider using it?

A major component of telemedicine is having a virtual doctor. These are some of the same doctors with the same credential that you will seen if you went to the clinic or doctors office. In fact some doctors do both virtual visits and regular visits.

This article provides a brief overview of what telemedicine is, how it works, what it can and can’t do, and why you might want to give it a try.

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunication technology.” Fernsehenwesen is the German word for television, but if you translate it literally, it means “the things that sees from a distance.” That is perhaps one of the best basic descriptors for what telemedicine does, in all its various forms.

Wherever a patient (or a healthcare professional taking care of that patient) is communicating with a healthcare professional who is not at the same physical location to find out what is wrong and to get treatment, this is telemedicine.

Telemedicine takes many forms. It might look like an emergency department physician consulting with a specialist at a university hospital to get rapid treatment for a stroke victim. Telemedicine can be a nurse doing a video call check-in with a diabetic in a remote village. Someone with an irregular heartbeat may wear a monitor that automatically records the heart rhythm and sends it to the cardiac physician’s computer. Persons of all ages, from premature infants to the elderly, are going home from the hospital with wearable technology that automatically triggers a follow-up phone call from a healthcare provider whenever the numbers fall outside a predetermined range.

Routine doctor visits and walk-in clinic visits can be and are being replaced by on-demand video consults with a doctor, who may or may not be in the same state, much less in the same town.

How does it work?

Telemedicine uses multiple forms of technology. Communication takes place over phone lines, satellite, cable, or fiber-optic internet connections, or cellular communication.

For the consumer, telemedicine is often incorporated into technology, such as a smartphone, that you already own and use. From websites to apps to specialized add-ons and plugins, the goal of telemedicine is to be easily accessible and compatible with available technological tools.

Within medical offices and healthcare facilities, telemedicine can be highly complex and expensive. A remote consulting tool such as is used to diagnose and treat a stroke in a distant facility needs to have video, audio, and electronic health record transmission and syncing capability and compatibility. This means that the consulting physician can video chat with the patient and their onsite care team, see the patient’s chart, view any cat scans, MRI’s or other imaging studies, and order medication and treatments without needing to travel to the patient.

Remote diagnostic equipment, such as remote heart monitoring systems and wearable blood sugar monitors, are worn by the patient and the device sends the information to the healthcare professional’s computer. Some devices send the information in real time, others upload periodically or when something is outside a predetermined range. This means that the patient can be monitored without needing to stay in the hospital or repeatedly visit a facility.

What telemedicine can and cannot do

Telemedicine is a wonderful tool for collecting information remotely, convenient monitoring, and doing remote consults. However, telemedicine cannot totally replace a human. In fact, in most applications, telemedicine is not even pretending to replace a human, but rather is extending the human’s reach

A doctor who is video chatting with a patient can ask questions and get real time answers. However, he or she cannot accurately see things like changes in skin color or rashes or other key visual information. It is impossible to do a physical exam via video (although one physician covering a large rural area will leave a Bluetooth stethoscope at his second office, so that people can come there, and he can listen to heart and lung sounds from a hundred miles away).

In reality, your healthcare team is probably already using telemedicine, although you may not have known this. As healthcare systems become larger—and healthcare becomes ever more specialized—consulting with a specialist via remote communication technology is common.

With the current technology, telemedicine is useful as an alternative to a walk-in clinic or urgent care visit, especially for minor ailments that can be treated with a simple prescription. The downside is that sometimes—because of the limitations of diagnosing without doing a physical assessment or seeing the patient in-person—a more serious condition is missed or misdiagnosed. Human error and confirmation bias plays in this. Since most people are using telemedicine to avoid going to a physical office, they want to hear that whatever is happening can be treated at home.

Why you might want to give it a try

Convenience and accessibility are the key selling points for telemedicine.

As a consumer, telemedicine allows you to access a healthcare professional without having to travel to their office, which is especially nice on those days when you are feeling sick. Hours tend to be flexible too, so that you can schedule your follow-up or check-in visit after hours and at a time that is most convenient for you. For many minor ailments, you can get a diagnosis and a treatment plan remotely, or they can tell you where you ought to go for more advanced treatment—which means you can skip the urgent care center and avoid the inevitable delay and referral to the emergency department.

Also, you can access a doctor’s services from any place with a cellular or wifi connection, whether that is your own home or while traveling. No matter where you happen to be, telemedicine can bring the professional to you.

Lastly if you have high blood pressure but you are having a hard time getting in the normal range then you can check your own blood pressure and check in with your virtual doctor without leaving your house.

Are Condiments Healthy? What To Put On Your French Fries and Hamburger

We all love our French fries and hamburgers. Throw in hotdogs and a few beers, and you have yourself a wonderful celebration. However, you have to be careful when consuming an abundance of these foods. Despite these foods being very delicious, too much can lead to serious health problems. In addition, it isn’t always the food item that is severely bad for you but the condiments that you put on them. If you are loading your burger with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and anything else you can get your hands-on, then you are actively making the burger even worse for your health. These are some of the most popular condiments on the market. Some are better with hotdogs, and some are better for French fries, but let’s see which ones are better for your health.


This condiment requires no introduction. Ketchup is the most popular condiment on the market, and people use it for just about anything. Ketchup is made with tomatoes, vinegar, salt, pepper, and a few other spices. It is actually not too high in calorie count at about only 20 calories per tablespoon. In addition, it has no fat content. However, this does not mean that you should go wild and pour mountains of it on your food. Ketchup contains relatively high amounts of salt and sugar. About 4 grams of sugar and 190 milligrams of sodium, which comes from the salt. So, if you are watching your blood pressure, then ketchup may not be the right choice of condiment. Sodium raises your blood pressure and puts a strain on your heart, kidneys, and arteries. You shouldn’t take this with a grain of salt. There are organic options that you can substitute, but I would recommend using ketchup with caution. Here is an estimate of the nutrition facts of ketchup.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Tablespoon (17g)

  • Calories – 19
  • Total Fat – 0g
  • Saturated Fat – 0g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 0g
  • Monounsaturated Fat – 0g
  • Cholesterol – 0mg
  • Sodium – 154mg
  • Potassium – 54mg
  • Total Carbohydrates – 4.5g
  • Dietary Fiber – 0.1g
  • Sugar – 3.7g
  • Protein – 0.2g


Mayonnaise is a condiment that has had quite a bit of controversy over the years. Mayonnaise is made with oil, egg yolk, and either lemon juice or vinegar. Mayo is very high in calories and Fat. One tablespoon contains about 103 calories and 11 grams of Fat. A good portion of this is saturated Fat. Saturated fat causes build up in your arteries. It also raises your LDL levels (bad cholesterol) and lowers your HDL levels (good cholesterol). In addition, it promotes unhealthy weight gain. With this said, you really may want to hold the mayo. However, there are plenty of substitutions for mayonnaise for those of you that cannot live without it. Light mayo contains about one-third the number of calories and Fat of the standard version. Reduced-fat mayo is even less with about 25 calories, 2 grams of fat, and no saturated fat. There is also mayonnaise made with canola or olive oils. These types of mayo are more heart-healthy and are high in monounsaturated fat as opposed to saturated Fat. Monounsaturated Fat has the opposite effect of saturated fats. They lower your LDL levels and raise your HDL levels. This dramatically decreases your risk of heart disease. No matter which version you choose, mayonnaise should always be used in moderation. Here is an estimate of the nutrition facts of mayonnaise.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Tablespoon (17g)

  • Calories – 100
  • Total Fat – 10g
  • Saturated Fat – 1.6g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 6g
  • Monounsaturated Fat – 2.3g
  • Trans Fat – 0g
  • Cholesterol – 6mg
  • Sodium – 88mg
  • Potassium – 3mg
  • Total Carbohydrates – 0.1g
  • Dietary Fiber – 0g
  • Sugar – 0.1g
  • Protein – 0.1g


Mustard is another vastly popular condiment on the market. Mustard is actually not as unhealthy as one might assume. Mustard is made from the mustard seed, water, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and turmeric. In fact, its yellow color comes from turmeric. This condiment provides numerous essential vitamins and healthy fats. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, and magnesium. A tablespoon of mustard contains about 15 calories and no fat. Mustard contains an antioxidant known as glucosinolate. These antioxidants are converted into isothiocyanates, which are compounds containing sulfur. Isothiocyanates help to protect the body against inflammation, cancer cells, and cardiovascular diseases. The turmeric found in mustard is also very beneficial. Turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory properties. It protects against liver damage, improves blood flow, and reduces osteoarthritis pain. To get the best results, you may want to make your own mustard at home. Store-bought mustard can be very processed and can take away from its nutritional value. Here is an estimate of the nutrition facts of mustard.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Tablespoon (17g)

  • Calories – 15
  • Total Fat – 0g
  • Saturated Fat – 0g
  • Trans Fat – 0g
  • Cholesterol – 0mg
  • Sodium – 18mg
  • Total Carbohydrates – 2.5g
  • Dietary Fiber – 0g
  • Sugar – 2.5g
  • Protein – 0.5g

Barbecue Sauce

Who doesn’t love a nice barbecue? Barbecue sauce is a popular condiment used for grilled meats and vegetables. The condiment is made with vinegar, tomatoes, various seasonings, and sweeteners. The presence of sugar and salt in this sauce makes it one to be wary of. These additions add to the number of calories and sodium in the product. As stated before, too much sodium will raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels. You should pay close attention to the ingredients in your barbecue sauce and stay clear of the bottles that contain high-fructose corn syrup. High-fructose corn syrup is even sweeter than sugar and much worse for you. It can lead to high blood pressure, unhealthy weight gain, and Type 2 diabetes. If you are going to use barbecue sauce, then look for products that are low in sugar and free of high-fructose corn syrup. Here is an estimate of the nutrition facts of barbecue sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Tablespoon (17g)

  • Calories – 29
  • Total Fat – 0.1g
  • Saturated Fat – 0g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 0g
  • Monounsaturated Fat – 0g
  • Trans Fat – 0g
  • Cholesterol – 0mg
  • Sodium – 175mg
  • Potassium – 39mg
  • Total Carbohydrate – 7g
  • Dietary Fiber – 0.2g
  • Sugar – 6g
  • Protein – 0.1g
Hot Sauce

There are a variety of hot sauces on the market; some spicier than others. Hot sauces are made primarily with hot peppers. There are several different peppers used for hot sauces, but they all have similar properties. They are low in calories, fats, sugars, and carbohydrates. Hot sauces are also high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C raises your metabolism, helps prevent heart disease, boost your immune system, and increases the development of connective tissues. Hot Chile peppers, in particular, are an excellent source of Vitamin A. Vitamin A contains several antioxidants and minerals that have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help lower your blood pressure. One of the most abundant features of hot sauces is the capsaicin. Capsaicin is what gives hot sauces their heat. Additionally, capsaicin causes cancer cells to basically kill themselves through a process called apoptosis. With this said, hot sauce may be a product you should consider adding to your diet. Here is an estimate of the nutrition facts of hot sauces.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Tablespoon (17g)

  • Calories – 0
  • Total Fat – 0g
  • Saturated Fat – 0g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 0g
  • Monounsaturated Fat – 0g
  • Cholesterol – 0mg
  • Sodium – 124mg
  • Potassium – 7mg
  • Total Carbohydrate – 0.1g
  • Dietary Fiber – 0g
  • Sugar – 0.1g
  • Protein – 0g

Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce is a popular condiment used for seafood. It is made with mayonnaise, pickles, parsley, lemon juice, sugar, and spices. Tartar sauce is extremely high in sodium, which in excess is not suitable for your health. There are definitely worse condiments on the market for you to consume, but you can also do much better. In truth, you are better off making your own tartar sauce at home. This way, you can avoid mayonnaise and find a healthier alternative. Here is an estimate of the nutrition facts of tartar sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Tablespoon (17g)

  • Calories – 30
  • Total Fat – 2.5g
  • Saturated Fat – 0.5g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 1.3g
  • Monounsaturated Fat – 0.5g
  • Cholesterol – 1mg
  • Sodium – 100mg
  • Potassium – 10mg
  • Total Carbohydrate – 2g
  • Dietary Fiber – 0.1g
  • Sugar – 0.8g
  • Protein – 0.1g


Chips and salsa are a popular snack for many. Salsa is typically made with tomatoes, lime juice, chilies, onions, and cilantro. Salsa is a good source of Vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C raises your metabolism, helps prevent heart disease, boost your immune system, and increases the development of connective tissues. Potassium is essential in regulating the body’s blood pressure and mineral balance. Most people do not consume enough potassium, and eating salsa will help with that. Like hot sauce, salsa contains capsaicin. This will help to prevent the growth of cancer cells. Capsaicin also increases the body’s fat-burning capabilities, which will help you to lose weight. Salsa is low in calories and barely has any fat. Just watch out for the sodium, and you should be good to go. Here is an estimate of the nutrition facts of salsa.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per 100 grams

  • Calories – 36
  • Total Fat – 0.2g
  • Saturated Fat – 0g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 0.1g
  • Monounsaturated Fat – 0g
  • Cholesterol – 0mg
  • Sodium – 430mg
  • Potassium – 270mg
  • Total Carbohydrate – 7g
  • Dietary Fiber – 1.4g
  • Protein – 1.5g

Worcestershire Sauce

In addition to being the hardest condiment to spell and pronounce on our list, Worcestershire Sauce is used in a variety of dishes to add flavors, such as chicken, turkey, beef, chili, pasta, and even salads. With so many possibilities, it seems impossible that it can have any kind of health value, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Worcestershire Sauce has an abundance of Vitamin C in it. This is because of the garlic, onions, cloves, and chili pepper that is used to make it. As stated before, Vitamin C raises your metabolism, helps prevent heart disease, boost your immune system, and increases the development of connective tissues. The sauce also includes the presence of Vitamin K. Vitamin K helps to prevent excessive bleeding as well as the loss of bone tissues. This can be very beneficial to women in reducing the amount they bleed during their menstrual cycles. Anchovies are another key ingredient in making Worcestershire sauce. Anchovies poses an abundance of niacin, which aids in digestion. Worcestershire sauce is definitely worth adding to your meals. Here is an estimate of the nutrition facts of Worcestershire sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Tablespoon (17g)

  • Calories – 13
  • Total Fat – 0g
  • Saturated Fat – 0g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 0g
  • Monounsaturated Fat – 0g
  • Cholesterol – 0mg
  • Sodium – 167mg
  • Potassium – 136mg
  • Total Carbohydrate – 3.3g
  • Dietary Fiber – 0g
  • Sugar – 1.7g
  • Protein – 0g

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans and wheat. It is high in salt and provides 38 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI). Anything high in salt is also high in sodium. You want to stay away from products high in sodium if you need to be watching your blood pressure. Soy sauce is also known to be high in Monosodium glutamate (MSG). This is a flavor enhancer that can be found in many foods. MSG often causes headaches, weakness, and heart palpitations after consumption. I assume these aren’t feelings that you want on the daily. People with wheat or gluten allergies should also stay clear of soy sauce. Being that it is made from wheat, you can see how this may be problematic. However, even for those without allergies, soy sauce should be consumed very lightly. Here is an estimate of the nutrition facts of soy sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Tablespoon (17g)

  • Calories – 9
  • Total Fat – 0.1g
  • Saturated Fat – 0g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 0g
  • Monounsaturated Fat – 0g
  • Cholesterol – 0mg
  • Sodium – 879mg
  • Potassium – 70mg
  • Total Carbohydrates – 0.8g
  • Dietary Fiber – 0.1g
  • Sugar – 0.1g
  • Protein – 1.3g

Sweet Relish

Sweet relish is a popular condiment for hamburgers and hotdogs. Relish is made with pickles, onions, bell peppers, salt, sugar, and various spices. While relish is low in calories and fat; it is high in sugar and sodium. Relish also contains some Vitamin C content, which is good. However, compared to the sodium and sugar content, it isn’t a big win. We have already spoken about all the risks involved in consuming too much sodium. On the other hand, sugar increases the risk of heart disease as well as unhealthy weight gain. There are healthier versions of relish on the market, but the more popular ones should be used with caution. Here is an estimate of the nutrition facts of sweet relish.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Tablespoon (17g)

  • Calories – 20
  • Total Fat – 0.1g
  • Saturated Fat – 0g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 0g
  • Monounsaturated Fat – 0g
  • Cholesterol – 0mg
  • Sodium – 122mg
  • Potassium – 4mg
  • Total Carbohydrate – 5g
  • Dietary Fiber – 0.2g
  • Sugar – 4.4g
  • Protein – 0.1g

Closing Thoughts

All of these nutrition facts are estimates. Depending on the brand that you choose they may slightly vary. It is always a good idea to check the ingredients listed on the label of the products that you are purchasing. There are definitely brands that are worse than others. French fries and hamburger are already unhealthy for you to begin with. There is no need to make them even worse. Remember, a moment on the lips but forever on the hips. Try eating your burger with only mustard and your french fries without ketchup and see how you like. It might not be as bad as you think.

What Are Good Carbs?

In recent years, carbohydrates (often called carbs) have been getting bad publicity. But are carbs really bad for you? Yes and no. Research shows that choosing the right types can actually aid in letting you achieve your desired body weight, and boost your health.

The Real Deal with Carbs

Carbohydrates are one of the three primary energy sources, in addition to protein and fat. According to the Institute of Medicine, carbs are essential macronutrients composed of units of sugar and should comprise about 45-65% of your diet. Carbs come in two types: simple (e.g., milk, honey, juice, fruit) or complex (starchy vegetables, fiber, grains). Complex carbs are the kind you want to have in your diet. They are basically long chains of simple carbs (or sugars).

Good sources of complex carbs include:
• Whole grains – oats, brown rice, wheat, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth
• Fruits – oranges, apples, pears, grapefruit, strawberries, plums, berries, dried fruits
• Vegetables – potatoes, corn, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, dark greens, asparagus, corn
• Legumes – lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, split peas

Simple vs. Complex Carbs

When you’re planning the carbohydrate component of your meals, you should focus on complex carbs because these have been processed minimally. Moreover, these will be more beneficial to your body than simple carbohydrates for the following reasons:

• Rich source of vitamins & minerals- complex carbs provide you with loads of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals. These include magnesium, iron, and selenium, which can help you achieve optimal health and longer life!
• Blood sugar friendly- the body digests these long chains of carbs relatively more slowly, which results in more stable blood sugar levels.
• Staves off hunger- these good carbs provide you the fuel you need over more extended period.
• Longer satisfaction- these fill the stomach faster and will leave you feeling satisfied for longer.

Know Your Carbs

The different types of carbs will have varying properties, including their degree of sweetness, rates of digestion, and absorption rates by the body. Complex carbs, for instance, will have three to several thousand sugar units. Hence, it takes the body longer to digest them.

Let’s explore the differences between the various types of carbohydrates, so you’re better equipped to make the right choices for your diet.

Simple carbohydrates – can release energy instantly, and have a simple structure, composed of one or two units of sugar only.

These come in 2 types:

1) Monosaccharides are single sugar carbohydrates, which include fructose (fruit sugar), glucose (blood sugar), and galactose
2) Disaccharides are double sugar carbohydrates such as sucrose (table sugar), lactose (milk sugar), maltose (malted grain sugar), and honey

Complex carbohydrates- are also referred to as polysaccharides (more than two units of sugars). These are formed when sugar molecules come together to form long chains and are found in plant food that contains fiber and starch.
a) Fiber is extremely beneficial for promoting healthy digestion, smooth elimination, and in preventing digestive diseases and colon cancer.
b) Starch represents the type of energy in plants, the same way human muscle relies on glycogen for energy. These are good for you in moderation.
How carbohydrates affect the pancreas, blood sugar, & insulin
When you eat carbs, your pancreas secretes insulin (the hormone that allows you to digest sugars and starches). The release of insulin by your body is sometimes referred to as an “insulin spike.” When your body takes in simple carbs (such as table sugar), this will produce higher insulin spikes compared with complex carbs such as starch.
Thus, if you have diabetes (the metabolic disorder which keeps you from producing enough insulin), you should be careful not to take more carbs than your body can digest.

When to eat carbs

Table sugar, sweets, and honey are recommended to be consumed only once in a while. If you are looking to keep your energy up and weight gain down, simple carbs are the type you need to avoid. And although simple carbohydrates can be considered natural and necessary to sustain health, the following tips should be kept in mind when eating simple carbs:
• Consume in small quantities.
• Follow prescribed levels to ensure it does not interfere with fat-reducing programs.
• It is best to avoid junk or processed foods.
• Consuming large amounts can contribute to obesity-related conditions, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
• Read food labels and look out for added sugars.
• Aim to get fewer than 10% of your daily calories from simple carbs.

Digestion time

Simple carbs such as table sugar are digested more rapidly than steel-cut oats, but more slowly compared to whole wheat bread. The complex carbs in cookies, potatoes, cakes, pretzels, and rice are digested fairly rapidly. Although the exact digestion time would depend on the amounts you consume at a given time, as well as other foods you are eating during the meal.

Complex carb takes longer to digest. This  will supply your body a steady source of energy for several hours after eating. You stay full longer.
Your digestive system can start extracting energy within 15-30 minutes of eating low glycemic index complex carbs. Although digestion will happen over a longer time in comparison simple carbs.

The Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) is a scheme of carbohydrate measurement developed at the University of Toronto in 1981. GI gives a handle on the amount of carbs through ranking foods according to how quickly they affect blood sugar levels in comparison with glucose.
Generally, simple carbs have a high GI, are digested quickly, and give you a blood sugar spike. Complex carbs, on the other hand, commonly have a low GI, and are broken down slowly. Hence, glucose or energy from complex carbs is released into the bloodstream over several hours. In effect, digestion is prolonged due to the slow breakdown, which is the reason why you feel full for longer.

• Low GI foods have a glycemic index value of 55 or less. These include most fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, low-fat dairy products, whole grain pasta, and bread.
• Moderate GI foods have a glycemic index value of 56-69 and include corn, white rice, couscous, white and sweet potatoes
• High GI foods have a glycemic index value of 70 or higher. Examples include cakes, doughnuts, white bread, croissants, most crackers, and packaged breakfast cereals

Good vs. Bad Carbs

Not all carbs are “bad.” It’s a good idea to identify the types of carbs that are best to fuel your body’s needs. If you want to boost your metabolism and lose weight, you need to include the “good” carbs into your diet every day. Simple carbs including sugar added in processed food, fruit and milk products, and in food containing white flour (especially the more refined forms), are typically considered the “bad” carbs. These also include less essential dietary fibers. Good carbohydrates are the complex carbs that provide nutritional value and energy. These are rich in fiber, are absorbed more slowly, and give lasting energy.
Below is a list of common “good” and “bad” carbs for different types of food.

Good Carbs

The following vegetables are classified as good carbs:

  • onions
  • broccoli
  • artichokes
  • eggplant
  • garlic
  • sweet potatoes
  • cauliflower
  • mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • dark leafy greens

The following fruits provide good carbohydrates:

  • melons
  • berries
  • the tropical fruits (mango, pineapple, papaya)
  • grapes
  • citrus fruits
  • apples, pears
  • cherries
  • plums
  • peaches
  • apricots

These grains, nuts and dairy products contain good carbs: whole wheat, brown rice, whole oats, bran, wheat germs, quinoa, almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts, whole milk, cheese, cream, sour cream, butter, unsweetened yogurt

Bad carbs

Potatoes are classified as  bad carbs
These fruits and fruit products may provide the harmful types of carbs: fruit juice, dried fruits, white bread, white flour, pasta, corn, baked goods, cakes, muffins, cream of wheat

These grains, nuts and dairy products may have the bad carbohydrates: breakfast cereals, quick oats, honey roasted oats, sweet or candy-coated nuts, peanut butter, ice cream, sweetened yogurt, and skimmed milk

Pros & Cons

Foods that contain a lot of sugar, specifically the refined form of simple carbs, often provide only a few beneficial nutrients. For example, the sugar found in sweetened beverages, sodas, sweets, baked goods, candies, and other desserts, when taken in increased proportions have been associated with obesity or weight gain. Additionally, eating too much of this sugary form of carbohydrates have shown to contribute to tooth decay and cavities.

On the other hand, here are some of the benefits of consuming complex carbs (“good” carbs):

• Energy boost- complex carbs provide the body with the energy you need, as soon as you need it. This is the primary purpose of loading with carbohydrates. So, depriving yourself of eating the right kind, will leave you feeling fatigued and tired the whole day.
• Digestion-friendly- carbs contain fiber which aids the body to regularize and smoothen the processes of digestion. If you experience some issues with digestion, go for whole grains, legumes, beans, vegetables, and fruits instead of opting for processed food.
• Optimal metabolism- being the natural source of energy, carbs are crucial for optimal metabolic processes. The energy and calories that complex carbs provide will improve your metabolism. In contrast, without it, your body’s metabolism will suffer and slow down the longer you prolong a low carbohydrate diet.
• Promotes sleep- good types like sweet potatoes, bananas, oatmeal, pumpkin, and brown rice contain significant proportions of tryptophan. This relaxes the body and can promote sleep effectively. Additionally, oatmeal, helps your body produce melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
• Fiber-rich- fiber wards off hunger and keeps you feeling satisfied for longer. This also serves a vital role in preventing or alleviating constipation.
As in all types of food, however, eating more carbs (especially the “bad” carbs) than what your body needs can result to obesity or weight gain, along with a list of unwanted health problems.

Whether good or bad here are some disadvantages of consuming too many carbohydrates:

• Obesity or weight gain- going overboard with unhealthy carbs does not promote satiety. It is, therefore, best to steer clear of the bad carbs as much as possible to avoid unwanted weight gain.
• Blood sugar problems- large amounts of carbohydrate loading causes your blood sugar to elevate after meals. It is not a good idea to overindulge in carbs, especially if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Your body may not adequately control your blood sugar properly. Uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to life-threatening conditions.
• Addiction to sugar- certain sugars (the bad carbs) are addictive, with properties similar to street drugs according to medical studies. Sugar addiction can lead to uncontrolled weight gain, obesity, and specific nutrient deficiencies.

Carbohydrate Recommendations: What to Avoid

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the daily added sugar intake to nine teaspoons (150 calories) or less for men; and only six teaspoons (100 calories) or less for women. Additionally, the Institute of Medicine suggests obtaining 45-65% of your calories from carbs, which is equal to 247-358 grams of carbs per day when following a 2,200-calorie diet plan.

The following are a list of simple carbohydrates that should be avoided:

• Enriched flour
• Cane syrup
• Evaporated can juice
• Cane sugar
• Sugar (e.g., brown sugar)
• Molasses
• Coconut syrup
• Maple syrup
• Bread, rolls, and cereals
• Processed foods

Wrapping it Up: The Real Score with Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are essential nutrients that we need to fuel our activities and sustain health. Our brain and muscles use carbs as energy sources. You can enjoy the different forms of carbs every day in moderation. Some types, specifically the complex carbs (e.g., fiber) are generally considered better than the other forms (i.e., sugars or simple carbs).

Additionally, low glycemic diets can help you with weight loss programs. On the other hand, it is best to steer clear of high glycemic index foods. Evidence shows that these may increase your risk for many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart problems, and many forms of cancers.

How Does Fat or Fiber Affect the Absorption of Sugar?

Most people who are trying to be healthy know that a meal of high sugar foods or processed foods is going to be a disaster for blood sugar levels. Many people don’t eat a meal like this.

Often what is eaten is a meal that is a combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates. However, what science has taught us is that the composition of your meal can definitely affect the absorption of sugar.

Two Ways to Delay Sugar Absorption

Two of the most effective ways to delay the absorption of sugar from a meal are to have just enough but not too much fat in a meal, and enough fiber in a meal.

When sugar is absorbed from food in a meal, the first thing that happens is that the sugar molecules are broken down by enzymes in the gut. The smaller sugar particles then enter into the bloodstream, raising the blood sugar levels. If the blood sugar level goes too high, then insulin will be released in super high amounts. This starts a whole cascade of events that end up in diabetes.

When blood sugar levels are high, the excess sugar has to go somewhere. It ends up getting deposited in the organs. When it deposits itself in the eyes, the result is cataracts. When it deposits itself in the nerves of the body, a condition called peripheral neuropathy occurs. This is where the nerves are irritated and start giving symptoms such as numbness, pain, tingling sensations, and hot and cold sensations.

The excess sugar levels make organs dysfunctional. This is one reason why diabetics – those with high blood sugar levels – have so many health problems later in life with cataracts, peripheral neuropathy, heart disease, blood vessel disease, immunity, wound healing and other degenerative conditions.

The easiest way to stay healthy is to curb blood sugar levels and keep them within normal limits. You can start the process and gain a certain level of control over your blood sugar levels by watching what you eat in a meal.

Fat and fiber can delay the process of the sugar molecules entering into the bloodstream but it’s not all types of fat and fiber that give the same response.

Guidelines for Fat and Fiber to Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels

Below are six guidelines that will help you make the right decisions about fat and fiber in your meals to delay sugar absorption.

1. Eat just enough fat but not too much in a meal.

2.Fat delays hunger. Fat delays the rise of blood sugar levels. It does this by keeping the food in the stomach for a longer period of time so that sugar is released more slowly into the bloodstream. But what if there’s too much fat in a meal?

One study at Georgia State University in 2015 found that when there was an excess of fat and sugar in a meal, there was a release of epinephrine that made the blood sugar levels rise even higher when the animals already had obesity or liver problems such as a fatty liver. It caused insulin resistance and converted the body over to the biochemical pathways that are related to stress, not healing. It also caused weight gain and increased blood sugar levels.

This study teaches us the importance of not ‘pigging out’ on fatty foods whenever we are pre-diabetic or diabetic. Fatty foods such as ice cream, fatty meats, fatty desserts, high fat dairy products and nuts and seeds can look exceptionally inviting at parties and barbecues.

The best thing to do when faced with a situation like this may be to ask yourself, “Can I take another physical hit from eating these foods right now? If I eat a high fat meal, it will cause the stress hormone epinephrine to be released, and insulin resistance will happen. My blood sugar level will rise and be stubborn about coming back down. Is it worth it to eat these foods now and feel bad later for hours or even days?”

Most often the answer will be NO. I won’t do it.

Another animal study showed that a high fat diet – where the calories from fat was 58% – showed that after the first week, the animals had already gained weight and their metabolic efficiency was lower. Their blood sugar levels increased after one week on the high fat diet and stayed high for one year. Their insulin levels increased progressively over time and their bodies could not show a proper insulin response to the high blood sugar level after one week of fatty diet eating. The diet caused early type 2 diabetes.

These Swedish scientists confirmed that eating a high amount of fat in the meal could actually cause diabetes! It screws up the body’s response to sugar.
The lesson here is to spend some time learning what foods are high in fat and mentally counting the fat grams in a meal so you don’t end up causing your own diabetes.

One teaspoon of fat gives you 45 calories. Thus, if you are on a 1200-calorie diet, you generally don’t want the fat in your diet to be greater than about 25%. Twenty-five percent of the 1200 calories would equal 300 calories, which is only about 6-1/2 teaspoons or a little over 2 tablespoons of fat FOR THE WHOLE DAY. In studies, a low fat diet means one teaspoon fat per meal.

More than this could easily put you into the category of a high fat diet – which can cause diabetes. A high fat diet would be 540 calories of the 1200 calories from fat. This is equivalent to 4 tablespoons fat per day.

Scientists in one study found that a high fat breakfast can adversely affect blood sugar levels for up to six hours later.

3. Avoid the unhealthy types of fat.
There are healthy and unhealthy types of fat. The healthy types of fat help you increase your reproductive hormones. They act as insulation for your body. They help keep cell walls strong.

The unhealthy types of fat – hydrogenated fat, vegetable oils such as soy, safflower, canola, and vegetable oil, and foods fried in oil heated to a high temperature cause a lot of inflammation in your body. These fats block the hormone receptor sites in the body. One of these hormone receptor sites may be insulin.

This means they can cause insulin resistance – and your blood sugar levels will stay high. They won’t come down and will be stubborn to do so over time.

Thus, here you have a negative effect of fat on the blood sugar levels. The moral of the story here is to stay away from these unhealthy types of fat. They just aren’t worth the health battles you will have to fight in the future.

4. Essential fats such as olive oil or medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) help you modulate the blood sugar levels.

In one study, scientists asked patients to consume either olive oil or butter and then exercise after a meal. They then watched their blood sugar levels.

What do you think happened?

It was the patients that consumed the olive oil in their meal – not butter – that had lower blood sugar levels. These patients had 26% lower blood sugar levels, attesting to the fact that the healthy monounsaturated fats in olive oil were better for blood sugar levels than the long chain fats found in butter.

There are a lot of people now that understand that taking a tablespoon of MCT oil helps them lose belly fat. That’s a good thing. The MCT oil is helpful for those who have insulin resistance and obesity from eating a high fat diet. The MCT oil caused a lower rise in blood sugar levels after eating.

5. Adding fat to a meal that contains high glycemic index foods helps improve blood sugar levels.

When Australian scientists first released their chart of carbohydrate foods and rated them according to how much each one of them raised the blood sugar levels, it shocked the world. Supposedly good foods like whole wheat, a baked potato, jasmine rice and even granola bars and protein bars had high glycemic indexes – and this meant trouble for anyone who was having blood sugar levels higher than normal.

For example, in the 1980s, scientists found that the addition of fat delayed the absorption of sugar when meals containing rice and apples were eaten but not so much potatoes. The glycemic index of potatoes is much higher than rice or apples (98 in a potato, 60 in rice and 40 in apples). The blood sugar levels didn’t go as high when there was fat in the meal.

What this means to us is first of all to get to learn what foods have a high, medium, and low glycemic index. The more low glycemic index carbs in your meals, the more you have control over your blood sugar levels. If you happen to eat medium high glycemic index foods (like rice), make sure there’s a little bit of fat in the meal to offset the rise in blood sugar levels that will result.

6. Know the high fiber foods and incorporate them into your diet.

Australian researchers are the best at testing foods for glycemic index. They tie the results to blood sugar levels and sometimes look at other factors about the food to see how the food affects the body.

They found that a certain type of snack bar would improve blood sugar levels. You could probably take a guess on what type of snack bars worked the best.

It was high protein high fiber snack bars that worked the best. They reduced the amount of food that the women in the study ate and improved their blood sugar levels by 16% and improved insulin levels. The women ate the snack bars at mid-morning and at mid-afternoon.

What makes a snack bar high protein high fiber? It would have to have a minimum of 10 grams protein and 5+ grams fiber. This 5+ grams fiber would be equal to what you get in a serving of Metamucil or other fiber that is added to drinks.

Sometimes people ask if you eat a donut but take Metamucil, is it a way to prevent the sugar spike and release of insulin. This is entirely possible and even probable if you are eating enough fiber – but to make it more effective, you could also take a capsule of a blood sugar lowering herb such as bitter melon, Gymnema, goldenseal, or banaba.

7. Understand a little bit about how different types of fibers affect blood sugar from the studies.

There’s no doubt that soluble dietary fiber affects the emptying of food from the stomach into the rest of the GI tract as well as blood sugar levels and insulin response in patients with type 2 diabetes. It improves this. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as chickpeas, oat bran, barley, beans, nuts and seeds.

Insoluble fiber foods include whole wheat, whole grains, and vegetables containing a lot of fiber that cannot be broken down in the GI tract such as celery, asparagus, and green beans.

Generally speaking, diets containing up to 15 grams soluble fiber per day are capable of reducing blood sugar levels by about 10 mg/dL. The same ting is true for high fiber diets up to 42.5 grams fiber per day.

Black beans and chickpeas have a low glycemic index. They are also high in fiber. If you’re eating beans and white rice for protein, studies show that black beans or chickpeas with white rice improves the blood sugar response, lowering blood sugar levels – better than eating white rice alone.

In a Canadian study, adding legumes to the diet of 121 patients with type 2 diabetes (1 cup per day) for three months lowered hemoglobin A1c levels of the patients more than those who added whole wheat products to their diet. The difference between these two foods is that legumes are higher in fiber than whole wheat and legumes are low glycemic index while whole wheat is a high glycemic index food.

Beans and lentils have been eaten since the beginning of time. They provide protein and fiber, and iron, zinc, folate, magnesium and other vitamins and minerals as well as plant chemicals that improve your health. For example, they offer anti-cancer and anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties. They are a healthy way to improve your health – and blood sugar levels.

The way these legumes reduce blood sugar levels and delay sugar absorption is amazing – as their bioactive compounds affect appetite levels, increase good probiotics in the gut, increase glucose transport, and inhibit the synthesis of fat cells.

What’s the lesson here? It’s to eat legumes when you can in a meal to control your blood sugar levels.

There’s a lot you can do to start impacting your own blood sugar levels! Try some of these suggestions today!

Ross, A.P., Darling, J.N. and Parent, M.B. Excess intake of fat and sugar potentiates epinephrine-induced hyperglycemia in male rats. J Diabetes Complications 2015 Apr;29(3):329-37.

Winzell, M.S. and Ahren, B. The high-fat diet-fed mouse: a model for studying mechanisms and treatment of impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes 2004 Dec;53 Suppl 3:S215-9.

Wakhloo, A.K., et al. Effect of dietary fat on blood sugar levels and insulin consumption after intake of various carbohydrate carriers in type 1 diabetics on the artificial pancreas. Dtsch Med Wochenschr 1984 Oct 19;109(42):1589-94.

Terada, S., et al. Dietary intake of medium- and long-chain triacylglycerols ameliorates insulin resistance in rats fed a high fat diet. Nutrition 2012 Jan;28(1):92-7.

Sasahara, C., et al. Beneficial effects of combined olive oil ingestion and acute exercise on postprandial TAG concentrations in healthy young women. Br J Nutr 2012 Nov 28;108(10): 1773-9.

Williams, G., et al. High protein high fibre snack bars reduce food intake and improve short term glucose and insulin profiles compared with high fat snack bars. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2006;15(4):443-50.

Frape, D.L., et al. Effect of breakfast fat content on glucose tolerance and risk factors of atherosclerosis and thrombosis. Br J Nutr 1998 Oct;80(4):323-31.

Yu, K., et al. The impact of soluble dietary fibre on gastric emptying, postprandial blood glucose and insulin in patients with type 2 diabetes. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2014, 23(2):210-8.

Silva, F.M., et al. Fiber intake and glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Rev 2013 Dec;71(12):790-901.

Winham, D.M., et al. Glycemic response to black beans and chickpeas as part of a rice meal: a randomized cross-over trial. Nutrients 2018 Oct 4;9(10).

Mudryj, A.N., et al. Nutritional and health benefits of pulses. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2014 Nov;39(11):1197-204.

Jenkins, D.J., et al. Effect of legumes as part of a low glycemic index diet on glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med 2012 Nov 26;172(21):1653-60.

Clark, I.L., et al. Rebelling against the (insulin) resistance: a review of the proposed insulin-sensitizing actions of soybeans, chickpeas and their bioactive compounds. Nutrients 2018 Mar 30;10(4).

7 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

walking forAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 37 percent of US adults have prediabetes.  This condition is associated with obesity and characterized by insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar levels.  Weight loss and increased physical activity can often prevent prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes.  Here are a few more lifestyle changes that can help to reverse prediabetes and return blood sugar levels to their normal range.


Have an extra cup of coffee

Drinking an extra cup of coffee every day could lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.  Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed data from three large studies involving 123,733 men and women.  Participants filled out food-frequency questionnaires every four years.  The data revealed that participants who increased their coffee consumption by more than one cup per day over a four-year period had an 11 percent lower risk of developing diabetes in the following four years.  Those who decreased their coffee intake by one or more cups raised their risk by 17 percent.

Get a good night’s sleep

Sleep deprivation causes insulin resistance in body fat, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.  A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine investigated the link between sleep and blood sugar metabolism.  Healthy young adults spent eight days and nights in a sleep lab. Their diet and calorie intake were strictly controlled and fat samples were collected each day.  Sleep was restricted to 4.5 hours on four of the nights.  Lack of sleep caused participants’ fat cells to become 30 percent less sensitive to insulin, dropping to levels typically seen in people with diabetes.

Walk after meals

Taking a 15-minute walk half an hour after eating can help to control your blood sugar levels.  In a study published in Diabetes Care, researchers tested the effects of walking on overweight, prediabetic volunteers.  On different days the participants either did no physical activity, walked at a moderate pace for 15 minutes after each meal, or took one 45-minute walk.  Their blood sugar levels were continuously monitored.  Walking after eating blunted the rise in post-meal blood sugar and helped to keep it steady for three or more hours.  Muscle contractions associated with exercise aid in clearing sugar from the blood.

Don’t be a fast-feeder

Frequenting fast-food chains could cause you to gain weight and become insulin resistant, two major risk factors for type 2 diabetes.  A study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute looked at the effects of fast food on the health of young adults.  The 3,031 participants, who were between the ages of 18 and 30 at the start of the study, were given dietary assessments over a period of 15 years.  By early middle age, those who ate fast food more than twice a week gained an average of 10 more pounds and developed double the rate of insulin resistance than those who treated themselves less than once a week.  A single fast-food meal can contain a whole day’s calorie requirement.

Start your meal with a vinaigrette salad

Vinegar reduces the blood sugar rise following a high-carbohydrate meal.  In an Arizona State University study, participants with were given an orange juice and bagel breakfast, high in sugar and starch. Before the meal, half received a drink containing 20 grams of vinegar and half received a placebo. Vinegar consumption caused blood sugar levels after the meal to drop by 34 percent in people with prediabetes and by 19 percent in people with type 2 diabetes.  It also slowed the rise of blood sugar in a healthy control group.  The acetic acid in vinegar interferes with carbohydrate digestion by deactivating starch-digesting enzymes.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress raises blood sugar levels.  Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that stress management techniques can lower them.  In the study, 108 patients with type 2 diabetes participated in five 30-minute diabetes education sessions.  Half of the patients were randomly enrolled in sessions that included instruction in stress management.  Training included breathing techniques, mental imagery and progressive muscle relaxation.  After six months, the blood glucose levels of the stress management group had improved while those of the control group had deteriorated.  The effect of the stress-lowering techniques was comparable to that of some diabetes drugs.

Eat more green leafy vegetables

Eating more green leafy vegetables could reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes.  Vegetables like spinach, broccoli or kale are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, but low in carbohydrates.  They help to keep blood sugar stable, unlike sweet fruits and starchy root vegetables.  A meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal reviewed six studies on links between the consumption of fruits and vegetables and type 2 diabetes.  The data, which covered more than 200,000 people in three countries, revealed that eating an extra serving of leafy greens each day reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 14 percent.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being overweight, storing fat primarily in your abdomen, having a sedentary lifestyle, having a diabetic family member and being over the age of 45.  Because type 2 diabetes is so common, it’s important to have your blood sugar levels tested every three years.  A diagnosis of prediabetes can motivate you to take the necessary steps to keep your blood sugar under control and prevent full-blown diabetes from developing.


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Is Avocado Oil Good For You?

Everything we know about Avocado Seed Oil

When looking for alternatives to the popular, yet unhealthy vegetable and canola oils, avocado seed oil has probably crossed your radar. But what is it about avocado seed oil that is making it more and more popular among home users, and how can it benefit you?

All this and more will be discussed in this breakdown of everything we know about avocado seed oil. Let’s get started!

Where does it come from?

Avocado seed oil has been a part of Mexican traditional medicine for years and is used to treat anything from diarrhea to asthma, to skin problems and for greasing hair.

First things first is that avocado seed oil comes from avocados. Dead giveaway, right? But don’t think you can make this oil in the same way you do your grandma’s world-famous guacamole.

You can make avocado seed oil at home by removing the skin and pulp away from the seed/pit and allowing it to dry. Then, using a mallet, crush the pit into smaller pieces and add them to the cold-press device of your choice to extract your oil.

Let the oil sit for a few days and scoop off any contaminants that rise to the top. You may also strain it to remove additional impurities. You can also heat the oil at 100°C to remove bacteria and excess oils, but we will take a look at that later.

On an industrial level, the seeds are chopped, then heated too 100-110°C in large containers while being stirred simultaneously. Once roasted, the seeds are pressed until they reach the desired viscosity and density, and are further refined or purified before they get to shelves.

The cold-press method takes longer, but it is the healthiest extraction method when it comes to any seed oil. If you don’t see the words cold-pressed on the bottle or container, chances are the latter method was used, and it may even contain some solvents and chemicals used to manufacture and preserve the oil.

Is it the same thing as avocado oil?

The short answer to this question is no. While they come from the same fruit, they are made in different ways and have different properties.

Unlike avocado seed oil which is made from the seed/pit of the avocado fruit, what we call “avocado oil” is made from the pulp or the fleshy green part that we use to make guac. Instead of being cold-pressed like the seed, the flesh/skin can be made into oil in three different ways:

  1. It can be sliced, pureed then cooked on a stovetop until the oils start to rise to the top, at which point it is strained through cheesecloth.
  2. The skin can be pressed using an orange press to extract the oil, which is then strained.
  3. The pump can be pureed and placed on a baking tray and put into an oven at 50°C for four or five hours until it is dried, then squeeze in some cheesecloth to extract the oil

These are at-home methods for making avocado oil. On an industrial scale, extraction methods vary and they typically contain more than just avocado oil.

Avocado oil is more widely used than avocado seed oil, in fact, not many people are aware that the seed is very useful and just end up throwing it away. But since we have distinguished between the two, it is time to delve deeper into avocado seed oil and what we actually know about it.

What is it used for?

Avocado seed oil is used for so many purposes, that you might even be surprised at its versatility.

Aside from acting as a carrier oil for other flavors and increasing the absorption rate of vitamins and nutrient when eaten, some common uses of avocado seed oil include:

Treating symptoms of arthritis, gout, and rheumatism

Avocado seed oil has anti-inflammatory properties. This is due to high levels of catechins and procyanidins which can reduce joint pain, aches, and soreness, along with swelling and loss of joint function. To reap this benefit, the oil is massaged into the skin by itself or added to other oils or creams.

Hair and skincare

Originally extracted for cosmetic purposes, avocado seed oil contains a number of antioxidants which help to rebuild collagen which in turn helps to improve the texture and appearance of the skin. Avocado seed oil is also a great natural alternative to sunscreen, especially if you are allergic to some of the ingredients found in store-bought sunscreen.

It can also be used to speed up the rate at which wounds heal and to treat stretch marks. If you suffer from psoriasis or eczema then you might want to check it out.

Shampoos containing avocado seed oil, or the raw oil itself is useful for thickening but also softening the hair, along with preventing graying and breakage. It also improves scalp health and can combat dry scalp or dandruff.

Heart health

The antioxidants within avocado seed oil promote good heart health by lowering cholesterol and regulating blood pressure thereby preventing cardiovascular disease and stroke

Cancer prevention

The phenolic compounds, flavanol, and polyphenols present in avocado seed oil play a very important role in preventing cancer and tumor growth. They may also help to relieve some of the symptoms experienced by cancer patients.

Nutritional facts

Avocado seed oil is known to contain minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. Fatty acids, starch, and dietary fiber are also present.

Its antinational components include oxalate, phytate, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, and cyanogenic glycoside.

Type of Fat

Avocado seed oil is similar to olive oil, in that they both share a monounsaturated fat profile. This is “good” fat.

Avocado Oil Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 tablespoon
Per Serving % Daily Value*
Calories 124  
Calories from Fat 124  
Total Fat 14g 21%
Saturated Fat 1.6g 1%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g  
Monounsaturated Fat 10g  
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Potassium 0mg 0%
Carbohydrates 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 0g  
Protein 0g  
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% · Iron 0%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Taste and smell

The vibrant orange-colored avocado oil has a strong, fatty odor.

Its taste has been described as a lingering avocado-like, but almost grassy-butter/mushroom flavor.

Smoke point

Both refined and unrefined avocado seed oil has a high smoke point of 249°C – 271°C due to its low acidity. This makes it suitable for cooking.


There are many advantages to using avocado seed oil over many other popular types of oils. Some of these benefits include:

  • It is full of antioxidants- 70% of the antioxidants found in avocados are located within the pit/seed. Its antioxidant content is also higher than most fruits.
  • High smoke point- Unlike other edible oils which have a low smoke point, the smoke point for avocado seed oil is much higher which allows it to actually be used in cooking, rather than just being a topper for some foods.
  • It is promising for the treatment of tumors – Numerous studies have been conducted on rats and mice as the seeds tend to produce antimicrobial and antitumor effects.
  • High fiber content- Because avocado seeds, and by default avocado seed oil, has such a high fiber content, it helps to regulate and even lower cholesterol levels. This is great for diabetics or if you have a heart condition.


We can’t look at the benefits of using avocado seed oil without looking at the drawbacks. Here are a few:

  • Allergic reaction- if you have sensitive skin then you may suffer allergic reactions when avocado seed oil is used topically.
  • Toxic in high does- While studies were being conducted on rats and mice, it was discovered that high doses can be toxic. The avocado seed actually contains a cyanide called amygdalin that can cause stomach aches if eaten in large quantities.
  • Limited research- Despite being a part of traditional Mexican medicine for years, there still has not been enough research conducted so you can’t really be a 100% sure that this is the miracle oil that people have been talking about.

What’s the best way to use it

Since it has a high smoke point, avocado seed oil is perfect for frying, sautéing, searing, stir-frying, baking, roasting and baking.

However, since avocado seed oil hasn’t been given the good-to-go signal, it is probably best that you use it in small quantities, as a topper and not necessarily for deep frying.


A great alternative to avocado seed oil is to grate the seed itself and add it to another oil, such as olive oil to reap its benefits. You can also add it to smoothies and curries for a little oomph.

Things to note

  • It is important to note that while the flesh and even the skin of the avocado have been given the green light for consumption, some scientists will argue that there has not been enough research to give the avocado seed the go-ahead for the public. With that being said, the research has been very promising so far and the benefits are irrefutable.
  • If you are allergic to latex, you have an increased chance of being allergic to avocado seed oil. Doing a patch test before using it topically is advised, as you may risk breaking out into hives and rashes, skin itching and reddening and even burning.
  • Women who are nursing or are pregnant should probably opt out of using avocado seed oil.

Conclusion- Healthy or Unhealthy?

Sure, avocado seed oil has its benefits, but don’t just go adding it to every single thing you can get your hands on. Maybe once in a while and in small amounts until everything is conclusive.



Pumpkin Seed Oil Benefits That Might Surprise You

Also known as pepita oil or ‘green gold’, pumpkin seed oil is loved by professional and home chefs all over the world for its remarkable health benefits and amazing smell and flavor when used when cooking.

If you are a bit iffy when it comes on to pumpkin seed oil, then take a moment to learn all there is to know about pumpkin seed oil benefits. You might be surprised by what you will discover!

Where does it come from?

Pumpkin seed oil, like the name suggests, comes from the seed of a pumpkin, but not any kind of pumpkin can make the cut. This oil is made from a special type of pumpkin known as the Styrian pumpkin which is native to Austria.

Traditionally made in Europe for over 300 years, the unhusked seeds are dried, roasted and pressed using a mortar and pestle until the dark oil begins to form. This oil can take on a dark green or dark orange-red color, depending on its thickness, and is bottled and sold in many parts of the world, including the US.

What is it used for?

Pumpkin seed oil is used widely in the culinary arena in salad dressing, desserts, stews, and soups. Aside from cooking, pumpkin seed oil has many other applications. These include:

Hair and skin care

Many persons who suffer from hair loss and balding, especially men, use pumpkin seed oil capsules to stimulate hair growth without experiencing any adverse effects. Some women who suffer from traction alopecia also find this oil to be useful.

And, since pumpkin seed oil is a natural antioxidant, it is used to reduce skin inflammation along with the appearance of age-related wrinkles and blemishes.

Heart health

While many people think of fats and oils as being unhealthy, the “good” fats such as pumpkin seed oil which contain oleic and linoleic acids are necessary for regulating blood pressure and cholesterol which helps to prevent various heart conditions such as heart attacks, stroke, and atherosclerosis.

Cancer prevention

Over the years, a number of studies have been conducted which support the idea that pumpkin seed oil may be useful in reducing the chances of developing colon cancer, breast cancer and even prostate cancer due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Mental health

Pumpkin seed oil is great for reducing the number of stress hormones present in the body and boosting mood. If you suffer from anxiety and/or depression, it is a great natural remedy and is a much better alternative to antidepressants that have many negative side effects.


Women who are going through menopause use pumpkin seed oil to treat many of the symptoms associated with it as such as cramps, joint pain, hot flashes, and headaches. There have also been noticeable increases in HDL cholesterol levels and decreased in diastolic blood pressure.

Nutritional Facts

Unlike many other oils, pumpkin seed oil is not just 100% oil. In fact, its fat concentration is just about 30% to 50%.

In a serving size of 2 teaspoons, organic pumpkin seed oil has:

Calories: 120

Calories from fat: 122

Total Fat: 14g

Saturated fat: 1.5g

Monosaturated fat: 2.0g

Polyunsaturated fat:5.5g

Sodium: 0mg

Potassium: 0mg

Carbohydrates: 0g

Dietary Fiber: 0g

Sugars: 0g

Proteins: 0g

Of Note : Despite the presence of carbohydrates in pumpkins and pumpkin seeds, there are none present in pumpkin seed oil.

Pumpkin seed oil also contains many different carotenoids, such as beta-carotene and lutein, which are a form of vitamin A. These account for the deep yellowish or reddish color and can benefit the skin and cancer patients.

Tocopherols and tocotrienols which are a form of Vitamin E are also present which account for some of the antioxidant properties of pumpkin seed oil.

Type of Fat

Pumpkin seed oil is comprised predominantly of polyunsaturated fat, mainly omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are “good” fats as they help to raise HDL cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

Taste and smell

In its pure form, pumpkin seed oil has a nutty taste and is added to plain flavored desserts such as vanilla ice-cream to give it a little kick. The browned oil has a bitter taste.

Pumpkin seed oil doesn’t smell too oily, in fact, it won’t be as noticeable as say soya bean or vegetable oil, and won’t throw off the overall presentation of your meal.

Smoke point

Because pumpkin seed oil is so rich in polyunsaturated fats, it becomes unstable when heated and has a very low smoke point, at about 320°F or lower. For this reason, it is not used in cooking and is added to food in its raw state.


If you used pumpkin seed oil, you stand to reap several benefits. Here are some advantages associated with using pumpkin seed oil:

  • It is a diuretic- Pumpkin seed oil is a great solution for problems related to urination. What it does is cause the excess salts and water stored in the body to be released thereby decreasing the pressure on the bladder and increasing overall urine production. It can also help with blood wetting in young children
  • It is a great moisturizer- Like coconut oil, pumpkin seed oil is a great way to moisturize the skin, especially the face to keep it hydrated for a long time. It also kills bacteria and keeps your skin smooth and clear. Pumpkin seed oil is also pretty dense. That makes it a great option for a massage oil.
  • It lowers blood sugar- if you are like many persons who develop diabetes later on in life, it is possible due to your poor diet and lifestyle choices. By introducing pumpkin seed oil to the diet, diabetes can be managed as it lowers blood sugar.


Though there are no known negative effects when combined with other medicines, or when used in its pure form, pumpkin seed oil still has a few drawbacks. These include:

  • Low smoke point- When heated too much, the oil loses the essential fatty acids that make it so beneficial to health.
  • Impurities- When going to buy pumpkin seed oil, ensure that it is cold-pressed. Otherwise, you can end up with hydrogenated fat molecules, or worse, carcinogenic compounds, chemicals, and toxic impurities.
  • Allergies- If you have sensitive skin and/or allergies, you should be extra mindful when using pumpkin seed oil as it could cause irritation, redness and even contact dermatitis.
  • Quality- The quality of pumpkin seed oil can diminish if not stored properly. After a year to eighteen months, it can cause an upset stomach due to its short shelf life.

What’s the best way to use it

As aforementioned, pumpkin seed oil has a low smoking point. Therefore, it is not a good idea to use it for frying, sautéing, stir-frying or any kind of cooking which will require high heat. Your best bet is to use it as a marinade, salad dressing or topping for dessert.

In fact, it is better to use pumpkin seed oil that has been cold-pressed to extract the oil, rather than using pumpkin seed oil that was extracted using heat as it loses its antioxidant properties and other benefits when heated.

When received, you should store it in a cool, dry place such as a cupboard, away from direct sunlight. This can last for up to two years.


If you don’t have pumpkin seed oil, avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil can be used as salad toppers. If you want a similar flavor or one that’s close enough to its nutty taste, your best bet would be walnut oil or toasted sesame oil.

Sea buckthorn or buriti oil with a bit of jojoba oil should get you that pumpkin seed oil color.

Things to note

  • The first thing you should note is that this oil can stain your clothes if it isn’t dealt with properly. Pro tip: DO NOT WASH OR SPOT TREAT THE STAIN. Instead, lay your blouse or whatever it messed up in the sun and it will disappear on its own.
  • Pumpkin seed oil can also come in a capsule form if you don’t wish to use it as a finishing oil, or just simply hate the taste. Therefore, you can get all the health benefits in a simple, convenient way.
  • Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding should probably stay away from it because there hasn’t been enough research conducted to confirm if has any effects on unborn babies or newborns.
  • When going to buy pumpkin seed oil, look for anything to indicate that it is Styrian grade. Many companies are coming out with different pumpkin seed oils, but nothing can beat the tradition and quality of pumpkin seed oil made from Styrian pumpkins. Otherwise, you might end up with something less impressive than what has been discussed.

Conclusion- Healthy or Unhealthy?

To sum everything up, pumpkin seed oil is a pretty healthy oil. And, the best part is, it can be used for many different purposes so it won’t just be another fad that is here today and gone tomorrow. From your food to your skin, you’ll be surprised by how quickly you will use it all up.



Sesame Seed Oil Health Benefits

There has been a lot of hype surrounding sesame seed oil and if you are like most skeptics, you will want to get to the bottom of it.

Every year there is a new trend in the natural community and while many of them have been backed by scientific research and studies, others have proven to be hoaxes.

Is sesame seed oil the miracle oil persons have been bragging about, or are its benefits another misconception? Find out the answers to this and more below when we uncover the truth about sesame seed oil.

Where does it come from?

Sesame seed oil comes from the seeds of the sesame plant (sesamum indicum). This oil has been extracted by humans for thousands of years and is one of the earliest forms of cooking oil that was traded amongst early civilizations. Today, sesame seed oil most popular in the Asian, African and Middle-Eastern markets, but it is also produced in the United States on a smaller scale.

To produce this oil, the seeds of the sesame plants are harvested by hand and extracted using various methods. In some countries, typically developing, the oil is extracted using cheap and manual-intensive methods such as water flotation, bridge, and ram presses, the Ghani process or small-scale expellers. In developed countries which can afford the technology to produce it faster, the sesame seed oil is extracted using large-scale extraction machines and chemical solvents.

Cold-pressing is another means of extraction which is done at low-temperatures which produces high-quality, pure sesame seed oil.

The color of the oil is dependent on the method of extraction. Sesame seed oil extracted using the cold-press method is typically a pale-yellow color, while methods that consist of heat have a golden to dark-brown color.

What is it used for?

Sesame seed oil is used widely for cooking in the Eastern parts of the world, on everything from ramen to eggs and salads. But cooking is not its only use. Other uses of sesame seed oil include:

Hair and skincare

Sesame seed oil contains hair-healthy vitamins B and E, along with nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. The oil can be applied to the scalp to provide hydration and nourishment, or heated and used as an oil treatment to make hair stronger and healthier. It can also be used to delay greying and reduce hair loss.

Zinc contained within the sesame seeds also helps to produce collagen which makes the skin more elastic. It can also help treat dry, inflamed, irritated or damaged skin.

The antibacterial properties of sesame seed oil make it a great moisturizer if you suffer from acne, and it can also soothe eczema and psoriasis.

Cancer treatment and prevention

Chemical compounds found within sesame seed oil such as sesamol and sesamin are known to reduce certain cancer cells and prevent them from spreading. They also help to stimulate the body’s natural defense mechanism to help it to attack cancer cells.

Mental health treatment

If you prefer natural treatment methods to deal with your anxiety, depression or even stress , you can benefit from consuming sesame seed oil. This is due to the presence of an amino acid called tyrosine which helps to increase the level of serotonin in the body, thereby boosting your mood.

Improving heart health and blood circulation

Sesame seed oil contains many nutrients that directly contribute to heart health and blood circulation. The presence of zinc and copper in the oil will help to improve bodily function which will allow you to produce new red blood cells. These healthy new red blood cells also foster healthy organs.

In addition to zinc and copper, sesame seed oil also contains polyphenols which help to lower cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease.

Dental hygiene

Aggressive brushing and flossing of the teeth cause tears in the gum. These can then become infected and cause further problems down the line if not treated properly, if at all.

Some dentists recommend oil pulling as a means of treating these tears. This process involves using natural, cold-pressed oils to pull harmful bacteria from the teeth, gums, and throat by swishing it around in the mouth for about 15 minutes.

It can also be used to treat plaque buildup, fight the bacteria which cause bad breath and as a part of the daily routine for preventing cavities and diseases like gingivitis.

Nutritional facts

While sesame seed oil cannot replace foods which are dense in nutrient, it contains some vitamins and nutrients which are beneficial to human health. In one tablespoon of sesame seed oil you will find:

  • Calories: 120
  • Total Fat: 14g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.9g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 0g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Omega-3: 40.5mg
  • Omega-6:5576mg

Sesames seed oil does not contain any minerals, however, it contains Vitamin E and K.

Type of Fat

There are good fats, and there are bad fats. However, sesame seed oil contains high percentages of good fats namely polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, and low percentages of the bad, saturated fats.

Taste and smell

The taste and smell of sesame seed oil depend on how it was made.

Cold-pressed sesame seed oil has a mild nutty, yet slightly musky taste with a grassy undertone. Others have even said that it is flavorless. Its smell is fragrant, like that of sesame seeds. It is more commonly used in the actual cooking of food.

On the other hand, sesame seed oil that was made by roasting/toasting are darker and has a flavor to match its appearance. It is primarily used as a finisher/topper because of its strong flavor.

Smoke point

Light sesame seed oil has a high smoke point of around 400°F. This means that it can take the heat and be used in a variety of dishes. However, dark sesame oil has a much lower smoke point.


Sesame seed oil has been very popular on the Asian and African continents for hundreds of years because of the benefits it provides. Here are some reasons why sesame seed use is so prevalent:

  • It can be used as seasoning- In Asia, much of the use of sesame seed oil is as a condiment. Instead of cooking with it, it is added to finished food to improve flavor and color. It can also be used as a marinade or dressing for red meat such as steak.
  • It protects and strengthens the skin and hair- Sesame seed oil is added to cosmetic products or used in its pure form to keep the hair and skin healthy and to treat conditions such as sun/wind exposure, acne, dandruff, fungus, lice and can even prevent malignant melanoma.
  • It is a natural remedy for many physical ailments- Sesame seed oil is a part of traditional medicine in many parts of the world. It is used to treat constipation, hemorrhoids, bronchitis, menstrual symptoms, insomnia, arthritis, sinus, intestinal colic, athlete’s foot, earaches, sore throats, and even vaginal yeast infection.


  • Low oxidative stability- Despite having better heat stability than most seed oils, the volatile compounds in sesame seed oil will increase if stored at temperatures about 60°C. When placed in a microwave for a few minutes, volatile aldehyde compounds will also develop.
  • May cause an allergic reaction- Individuals who are allergic to nuts or seeds are at a higher risk of having an allergic reaction when using sesame seed oil. Though reported incidents are low, cases of contact dermatitis have been increasing due to topical applications.
  • It can cause diarrhea- In large doses, sesame seed oil may cause diarrhea . It is recommended that no more than half an ounce be consumed daily.

What’s the best way to use it

The light-colored sesame seed oil has a higher smoke point than the dark sesame seed oil. This makes it suitable for high-heat cooking methods such as frying and stir-frying. It may also be used to sauté and sear food.

Dark sesame seed oil isn’t suitable for high-heat cooking, it may be added towards the end of stir-frying to preserve the flavor. It can also be used in making an omelet. In India, it is used to make curries and gravies.


If you happen to run out of light sesame seed oil, you can try any other light oils such as olive or avocado oil. These provide the same or similar health benefits of sesame seed oil.

For a dish which requires roasted/toasted (dark) sesame seed oil for flavoring, you could try adding roasted sesame seeds to another neutral oil to get that distinct flavor. Other oils which can provide that nutty flavor are peanut oil and walnut oil.

For the smell, perilla oil gives off a similar aroma as sesame seed oil and even has a similar taste.

Things to note

  • Despite being rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, sesame seed oil takes a much longer time to turn rancid when left out in the open. This is because of sesamol, a natural antioxidant found in sesame seed oil.
  • When storing low-quality sesame oil, such as the dark variety, it is best to store it in an amber-colored bottle to limit sunlight exposure.
  • Dark sesame seed oil has a strong flavor and a little goes a long way.

Conclusion- Healthy or Unhealthy?

Sesame seed oil can be a healthy addition to your meal, depending on what it is used for. Just remember that at the end of the day, it is still an oil so it should be used in moderation.