Category Archives: Health

Topics related to medicine and general health aspects.

Nuts and Weight Management

A few days ago a radio personality was talking about New Year’s resolutions, dieting, etc. and one of his listeners suggested that weight can be controlled “by drinking water and eating nuts.” The question arose, “How does that help?  Aren’t nuts fat and isn’t fat to be avoided?” And how does drinking water help keep weight off? I can share with you some of the information I used in my past Smoke Stoppers classes.  Some of this information was updated  with the South Beach Diet movement.

As we eat and fill the stomach, a message gets sent to the brain that “I’m starting to get satisfied, so decrease the appetite and slow down the eating.” By filling the stomach with a glass of water (no calories there) or a broth/ onion soup (few calories there) , we can decrease the amount of craving hunger that leads to rapid food intake and weight gain. You might even be able to take half the meal home with you to enjoy at a later time!

The second answer is that yes, nuts are mostly fats. But they’re the “good,” monounsaturated fats that help decrease cholesterol damage to the blood vessels throughout your body. Although nuts are  better for you than either the saturated or polyunsaturated fats, they are still fats and the amount one consumes should thus be limited. The South Beach recommendation is to eat about 10 unshelled peanuts (therefore 20 nuts), or about 15 pistachio nuts or almonds, or 5 walnuts with a meal. Their slower breakdown slows down digestion and prolongs stomach-emptying. Fats, like proteins, create a sensation of fullness more efficiently than ingestion of refined carbohydrates does. This leads to a more gradual  release of calories over the few hours following the meal. We thereby avoid the hunger between meals which often leads us to the fat food-filled, vending machine.

The South Beach Diet book also has a dessert recipe with low-fat ricotta cheese  that, as a fat, should help slow down stomach (gastric) emptying.  I urge anyone interested in trying this diet to read the book by Arthur Agatston, MD, and consult with their physician with any questions. In the event that more guidance/motivation is needed, one should call the New England Integrative Health Associates (NEIHA) in West Hartford, CT.  They have a number of dedicated physicians and dieticians who promote weight management and good overall health through healthy eating!




Refuse To Be A Victim Program

The Refuse To Be A Victim (RTBAV) program was started in 1993 by the National Rifle Association.  It was an educational endeavor aimed at educating women and girls about personal safety in various environments.  It became so popular that it went co-ed in 1997.  There are approximately 8,000 people certified to facilitate the program and the majority are non law-enforcement personnel who have a profound interest in safety and educating the public.  The student quickly realizes that it is frequently quick, convenient, and relatively inexpensive to avoid being a criminal’s target. For although a criminal has a perverted sense of right and wrong, he still is human; he wants to be successful (to commit the crime)and with as little effort as possible. If he perceives that his “victim” is actually an “opponent” he is most likely going to look for an easier target.


Welcome to Dr. Mike Taz. After 35 years of medical experience, I’ve been encouraged to share with you a number of observations to improve the quality of your life. My goal is to regularly post topics of interests in the categories of Fitness, Health, and Safety. I hope you enjoy reading them and find the information as useful as I have.