Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sleeping my way thin...

A few months ago, I went in for a routine doctor's visit. I mentioned that my wife said I sometimes stop breathing in my sleep. He suggested that I do a sleep study. I did the study a few weeks ago. Today, I went to the neurologist so that she could tell me about the findings. I stopped breathing for more than 10 seconds 82 times per hour and I had virtually no REM sleep. This is a condition called sleep apnea. The neurologist suggested that my sleep apnea might be a contributing factor to my weight problem. She says that the body only releases certain hormones during REM sleep. The lack of some of these hormones she says could cause weight gain.

After a quick search on the Internet, I've learned the following:

  1. Obesity is a major factor in sleep apnea. But, while significant weight loss may improve obstructive sleep apnea, it usually won't eliminate it completely. It is more likely that sleep apnea contributes to obesity which then makes the sleeping disorder worse.
  2. Sleep deprivation results in lower activity levels.
  3. Low energy causes cravings for high energy foods.
  4. Sleep deprivation causes lower levels of the hormone leptin which suppresses appetite. It also causes higher levels of grehlin which causes cravings for more food intake.

See these articles:

Article: Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated
Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index
)

About.com article: a recent study from Turkey now indicates that people suffering from sleep apnea have a higher level of leptin than is considered normal. This may cause an inability to
control appetite and weight.

And to think, all along, I had thought I simply wasn't a morning person. I had no idea that the quality of my sleep was so bad. Nor did I associate poor sleep with weight gain. But, it makes sense. When I feel low on energy during the day, that is when I reach for an energy boosting high-carb snack! And, since I feel somewhat tired all of the time, my metabolism is likely much slower than other people's. I can't say that sleep apnea is absolutely what made me fat, but I can now see that it was a contributing factor.

So what can be done about it? Treatment of sleep apnea usually involves the following:

  1. Medications to stimulate the respiratory center of the brain to keep you breathing while asleep.
  2. Masks (CPAP) that force your airway to stay open, thereby allowing you to breath.
  3. Mandible (jaw) positioning devices that help reposition the tongue to help prevent the airway obstruction.
  4. Surgery to relieve any obstructions. My doctor says that 9 out of 10 patients she has seen who tried surgery still had symptoms afterwards.
  5. Weight reduction (over 95% of individuals suffering from sleep apnea are obese). Weight may contribute but likely is not the root cause.

I'm opting for #2 (CPAP mask) & #5 (weight loss). Not only am I going to sleep my way thin, but I'm also going back on low-carb after Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Home Made Soda Pop Results

It's been almost two weeks since I mixed up some old fashioned ginger ale. There has now been ample time for the yeast to eat up the sugar which causes natural carbonation. I made 2 batches. One with a full load of sugar and one with just barely enough sugar for the yeast to eat plus some sucralose. The sugar one was in a two liter bottle. The low sugar version was split into two one liter bottles. And here's the results....

The control with a full load of sugar did not carbonate. The bottle is still flimsy.

However, one of the two low-sugar bottles did carbonate. The bottle felt hard and when pouring it into a glass, it had fizz. The other low-sugar bottle is still flat. The fizzy one tastes a little off. I'm thinking it might be mildly alcoholic. I'm not sure if it's a healthy drink so I'll probably not consume any more than a swallow.

I had suspected that if anything carbonated it would have been the full sugar version. I can't figure out why one low-sugar bottle became carbonated and the other did not. When funneling the mixtures into bottles, I filtered it. I did this so that I wouldn't have lemon pulp and ginger shavings in the beverage. But, I wonder if the filter didn't take out some of the yeast. This might explain the inconsistent results.

So, in short the experiment failed. If I want to make my own low-carb carbonated beverages, I think that I should stick with the modern method of using a soda fountain or soda siphon. The modern method of forcing carbon into the drink seems much safer than fermenting.

If any of you have made your own diet soda pop, I'd love to hear your stories and get some advice.