This Topic Scares Most of Our Readers

Our desks are an absolute mess.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a cluttered desk. And my researcher is no different. Take a look at her reading pile:

My team and I spend our time scouring dozens of print and online newsletters, magazines, scientific journals, and more to bring the best information to you each day. And some of us are better about letting go of old journals than others...

But this kind of research helps us get deep into topics you care about. It also opens us up to questions about what we've read.

Take our recent article on joint pain. One of our readers, M.H., sent us this:

You allege that white flour, white rice, white sugar cause joint pain. I've never heard of this before, and I try to stay current on the subject. While there's at least some evidence of these high-glycemic foods contributing to diabetes, etc., I've not heard of any implication with joint pain. Yet your article leaves us hanging, since there's no citations or mention of what lends credence to this hypothesis.

The article we mention in the issue states that more and more folks have developed arthritis since about 1940. The authors suspect it has to do with sedentary lifestyles and possibly refined foods causing inflammation.

We did a tremendous amount of research into this link, and new evidence just coming out suggests inflammation may, in fact, be a contributing factor.

The extent is still unknown, but it makes sense to us. We've already seen that inflammation leads to heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases of aging.

Keep in mind, it's processed foods, not just high-glycemic foods, that cause problems. I often warn about the "white killers" – white bread, rice, and sugar. That's because they're the most commonly consumed processed foods. But pre-packaged foods and even artificial sugars cause inflammation, too.

We've linked a few of the arthritis studies in the "What We're Reading" section of today's issue. If there's a topic you'd like more information about or want to know which papers we read, please drop us a note at [email protected].

Q: Have you found any dry eye formulas that don't contain preservatives? The ones I looked at so far all contain benzalkonium chloride.

What about plain glycerin? Or glycerin mixed with saline solution? – E.

A: There are tons of eye drops on the market. Avoid any with benzalkonium chloride, as this is the main preservative that causes issues.

Glycerin and carboxymethylcellulose are generally safe. They may feel thicker though, so be aware you might need to adjust to that difference. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything with too many ingredients. I've had luck finding drops from Equate and Systane brands.

Q: Curious as to what the problem is with turmeric supplements? What is the best way to take turmeric? – D.K.

A: As with most spices and foods we write about, it's always better to go for whole foods instead of supplements. The problem with turmeric supplements is that higher doses can cause upset stomachs, diarrhea, and gallbladder contractions. It may also thin your blood. This last side effect is especially dangerous if you're already on blood thinners or an aspirin regimen.

Also, since turmeric is a spice, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate it. And no current studies set standards for an upper safety limit. Curcumin has these standards, and they vary by body weight. We suspect turmeric is probably similar.

What's more, turmeric supplements may contain other things besides the spice. That includes things like flour, food dyes, and lead. You can get a good helping of the spice with cooking, so try adding it to your next stir-fry or soup.

Q: With all of these hurricanes happening, I was wondering if I can share your piece on how to live through a hurricane? – J.T.

A: Yes, of course. You can share Retirement Millionaire Daily anytime you want. In our essay, "How to Stay Safe in a Hurricane," we detailed four tips that can help during a hurricane. We're right in the peak of hurricane season here along the Atlantic Ocean, so it's more important than ever to make sure you're prepared.

Q: I have recently been diagnosed with high blood sugar. As a result I want to make the most important changes in my life that really matter. I would like your opinion on what are good things to eat and those things not to eat.

I am 66 years old and have always been a big milk drinker (about a gallon every two days or so). I switched to skim milk several years ago. What is your opinion on milk and its effect on blood sugar. Are there other foods/drinks I should avoid or cut back on? – W.B.W.

A: We've covered high blood sugar (and specifically diabetes) a few times. Some of the best foods we've found include yogurt, apples, and chocolate. I've also had some friends try fasting with good results... there's evidence it helps with insulin resistance.

As for milk, I try to cut back on overall consumption and avoid skim milk. Research shows higher mortality for people drinking any type of milk. Researchers think it's the sugar in milk, galactose, that increases inflammation.

And lower-fat milks have all the sugar with fewer calories, meaning folks drink more of it. That's because, as we replace full-fat with low-fat foods, we crave the missing calories. Our bodies then seek to replace the calories, often making us crave carbohydrates and sugars.

It's important to remember that although there are some foods to cut back on, everyone's body reacts a bit differently. Understand glycemic load and plan your meals accordingly. Monitor your blood-sugar levels and keep a log of meals and blood readings to manage your individual health the best.

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What We're Reading...

  • Two more papers on the role of inflammation and arthritis here and here.

Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Retirement Millionaire Daily Research Team
New York, New York
September 8, 2017