Bingeing, cholesterol, and high-fructose corn syrup: Dr. Joey answers your questions

The questions are still pouring in, so I have decided to post a few of the most common ones.

Here we are … approaching Week 10 of our Cityline Weight Loss Challenge! We are having phenomenal results (and lots of fun). Of all our weight loss challenges on Cityline – I must say, this one has caused the most traffic and “buzz.” I am hearing from a wide variety of people — new moms, women in menopause, those who are sick of yo-yo dieting and even groups who are following along from the office! I applaud each and every one of you for taking the steps to feel better, lose fat and feel your best naturally from the inside out.

In terms of our 3 weight loss winners, here are their results thus far:

Stefania – 25 pounds down!

Mary – 24.5 pounds down

Mel – 15 pounds down!

Congrats ladies – you all look fantastic and I am so proud of you.

The questions are still pouring in, so I have decided to post a few of the most common ones. Don’t forget – you can ask me your questions live this Wednesday, March 20 on our online chat at 10amET. (Details will be posted on


Question: Oh no! I had a full cheat/food binge — what should I do?

Answer: So, you fell off the health wagon. First, let me assure you that this is completely normal and happens to everyone. As you will see on our upcoming show this Wednesday, there is no such thing as failure when it comes to weight loss and striving for health.

At this point, you can take one of two approaches:

1) Continue food bingeing and throw all the success and dietary strategies you have implemented out the window. Don’t choose this option of course!

2) Recognize and enjoy the cheat, see if you can identify your triggers and simply get back on track. Don’t let any feelings of guilt or blame get in the way of your success.

If you are having trouble getting back on track for some reason, seek out a weight loss buddy (a friend, spouse, sister, nutritionist). Simply having someone to report to daily will help you get back on track and assist you in grabbing hold of the rung to success once again. When I was losing all my baby weight (over 70 pounds, folks!), in addition to writing in my food journal, I would send my sister a daily e-mail of what I had eaten that day. Have a trusted “buddy” along my journey helped.

I assure you – weight loss is not an “overnighter” and it takes repetition. But…you can do this! The results and health benefits are definitely worth it.


Question: What is high-fructose corn syrup?

Answer: High-fructose corn syrup is a cheap sweetener that is often added to juices, sodas and other processed foods. The sweetener has become enormously popular for certain manufacturers, as it appears to extend a food’s shelf life. However, research has clearly indicated that the body does not treat this sweetener the same as other sweeteners and it promotes weight gain and fat deposition around the abdomen.

A recent study at the University of California had one group eat high volumes of high fructose corn syrup and another group eat high volumes of regular white sugar. After 10 weeks, the former group had new fat cells surrounding their vital organs, while the latter group had no additional fat cells. In short, this sweetener is a big no-no! When reading labels, beware: high fructose corn syrup may be cleverly disguised as corn sugar.


Question: Can you tell me a few foods that help to lower cholesterol?

Answer: Cholesterol is a waxy substance that occurs naturally in the body. It is a type of fat called a lipid, which is vital in making cell membranes, vitamin D and hormones.

Due to diet or genetics – a large portion of our adult population may have elevated cholesterol levels. In addition to seeking assistance from your doctor – diet, exercise and weight loss can definitely help to lower your cholesterol levels. The top foods that have been shown through research to have cholesterol lowering effects include:

  • Fibre – soluble fibre sources such as oatmeal, oat bran and psyllium have been show to be the most effective at lowering cholesterol. Research has shown that increasing soluble fibre by 5- 10 grams reduces LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) by about 5%. Soluble fibre is also found in kidney beans, apples, barley and prunes.
  • Nuts – walnuts, almonds and other nuts have been shown to reduce cholesterol and be heart-healthy. Walnuts in particular offer the riches source of omega 3 fatty acids and can also be helpful in suppressing appetite. The recommended amount is 1.5 ounces of nuts per day.
  • Fish – Cold water fish are heart healthy and good for lowering cholesterol as they are filled with omega 3 fatty acids. Ideally, for weight loss and cholesterol-lowering effects, you should consume two servings of fish per week. Options include salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and halibut. You can also take an omega 3 fish oil supplement (be sure to take one that is enteric-coated and distilled).
  • Olive oil – Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that has been shown to lower your LDL (“bad” cholesterol) but leaves your HDL (“good cholesterol) untouched. When picking olive oil, pick extra virgin olive oil that is kept in a dark bottle.
  • Spinach – In addition to being high in antioxidants, fibre and low in calories – spinach contains lutein, a phytonutrient which has been shown to have cholesterol lowering effects.
  • Garlic – Next time you hit the supermarket –be sure to pick up some garlic to toss in your pasta sauce or soup! Research shows garlic helps to keep individual cholesterol particles from sticking to artery walls.

Do you have a question? Simply e-mail me at – I would love to hear from you!

Dr. Joey