To Sanitize or Not to Sanitize

To Sanitize or Not to Sanitize

Article Highlights

  • The longer it has been since someone has washed their hands, the less effective a hand sanitizer will be
  • The best way to remove germs from your hands
  • If you choose to use hand sanitzer, use one with at least 60% alcohol

Hand sanitizers were originally designed to help those in hospitals and health care settings who work in relatively clean places and frequently wash their hands.

Sanitizers do not work well on dirty hands.

In fact, the longer it has been since someone has washed their hands, the less effective a hand sanitizer is likely to be.


Sanitizer vs Washing Hands

Although they are generally very effective at killing bacteria, and preventing the spread of bacterial and viral- based diseases like the flu, they do not remove dirt or feces from the hands. So using a sanitizer instead of washing your hands after going to the bathroom, well that’s just gross.

This is especially important to consider in places like day cares and schools, where dirt and remnants of feces can be common among the little inhabitants that play there. Day care workers should teach youngsters to correctly wash their hands, especially after using the bathroom, as this is a skill that needs to become a lifelong habit. Then sanitizers can also be used during the day as a helpful aid in keeping other germs from spreading.

The same principle rings true in the kitchen as alcohol, used in most sanitizers does not work as well against the norovirus also called E.coli. So washing hands correctly before preparing and eating food is another must.

Most respectable health professionals will tell you that hand washing with ordinary soap and water is the most effective way to remove germs from your hands. But in order to be effective, it must be done correctly.

Lathering up, not just spreading the soap around, for a full 20 seconds is best. That is about how long it takes most people to sing the ABC song, (although singing that in a public restroom might cause you to speed it up a bit). Be sure to get between the fingers and as far as you can under the nails. Make it a family law to wash hands first thing whenever anyone comes home from anywhere.

Antibacterial Soaps

Ironically, antibacterial soaps are probably the worst thing you can use to kill germs. Again, the range of effectiveness of these products varies greatly and many do not kill all of the bacteria on the hands. This may lead to bad bacteria building up and developing a resistance.

So do not rely on the soap to kill all the germs, instead concentrate on getting them to release from your skin and flow down the drain. After all, we don’t have to kill everything to prevent ourselves from becoming sick. We just need to keep the little critters off of our hands and out of our bodies.

Now that everyone is washing their hands again, it can be helpful to use a sanitizer in places where germs spread easily like offices, stores, cars and buses, etc. Hand sanitizers have shown to be effective in reducing gastrointestinal illness in homes, curbing absentee rates in elementary schools, and in reducing illness in university dormitories.

What Kind of Hand Sanitizer to Use

The CDC and the FDA recommend that alcohol based sanitizers are at least 60 to 95 percent ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol) or isopropanol to be the greatest at germicidal efficacy, (killing germs). Alcohol is so good at killing germs that it is not very likely they will build up a resistance to it. If you can’t tolerate alcohol, there are some non-alcohol sanitizers out there, but you will have to do some research to check their effectiveness.

Some products with less than 60% alcohol may claim to kill 99.9% of germs, but those studies are usually done on surfaces like countertops in a lab, not on real people’s hands. Studies reported by the FDA have found that some of these products are not as effective in real-life situations those containing at least 60% alcohol. Unfortunately, these are likely to be found in cheaper markets, making lower income individuals at higher risk getting less effective sanitizers.

With all of this in mind, you still need completely cover the hands with the sanitizer and rub for at least 15 seconds for the alcohol to do its job completely, killing both good and bad bacteria. But don’t worry, most of the time, there is enough good bacteria on the lower levels of the skin or upper arm that survive, re-colonize, spread, and continue helping the human species in the ways that we need them to.

For more information, you can check out the CDC’s website at or the following links.

Natural Anxiety Relief

Natural Anxiety Relief

Article Highlights

  • Keeping blood sugar constant throughout the day with small meals may help reduce anxiety levels
  • It is important to eat high quality foods, not energy drinks and fruit snacks to raise blood sugar levels
  • Planning your menu each day may be one of the best anxiety cures

Want to help overcome stress in a natural way?

How about by eating food?

Sounds good, but you must eat a certain way to make eating an effective anxiety remedy.


Amys Camera072408 1221When Should I Eat?

First let’s talk about when you should eat for treatments for anxiety, and the answer is – several times a day and at regular intervals – about two to four hours apart.

This DOES NOT mean snacking on junk all day.

It DOES mean starting out with a nutritious breakfast and then planning healthy snacks to eat between meals. Why? Because it is crucial to have blood sugar levels stay constant throughout the day.

Breakfast – The Kick Starter

Breakfast doesn’t have to be a big meal, but it is important to eat because overnight blood sugar levels drop as digestion finishes.

If blood sugar is low, your brain will eventually send the strong hunger and craving signals that you need to eat, making it much more tempting for you to get a quick fix from the vending machines, the convenience store, or the bakery you pass on your way to work.

As a matter of fact, people who skip breakfast tend to eat more calories throughout the day than those who do eat in the morning, so skipping meals can actually promote weight gain!

As far as helping anxiety, weight gain doesn’t seem like a great solution. But there is another even more important item you need to consider about blood sugar levels, and that is the way they affect how you feel.

The Blood Sugar Rollercoaster

When your blood sugar is low, you feel lethargic, low energy, your attention span shortens, and you can be easily distracted or irritated. Other symptoms of anxiety can become more acute like muscle pain, the inability to relax, weakness, or stress headaches. If you are anxious you feel awful anyway, why make these symptoms worse?

Some people try quick fixes like drinking a soda, an energy drink, or eating sugary foods to feel better and keep those hunger signals from the brain at bay. This may seem like a good solution at first because people do feel better when their blood sugar rises – at least for a little while.  People have more energy and their brain rewards them with some powerful feel good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, but then comes the crash.

What goes way up, must come way down. After a splurge, blood sugar levels may drop lower than they were before the sugary snacks. This causes a repeat of the vicious cycle. You feel awful, low energy, short attention span, little things start to bug you, and you can’t seem to focus enough on anything to get something done.

So again, your brain sends the signal, you eat snacks; get the high and then the low all over again. This contributes to – weight gain, increased anxiety symptoms, and a much higher risk of getting more serious diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and chronic anxiety.

Plan Your Menu

So planning your menu, may be one of the best anxiety cures.

Take a minute and plan what and when you will eat.

Try to include protein in your snacks, and make sure there are lots of healthy choices for your regular meals.



Don’t Have Enough Belly Fat? Do This.

Don’t Have Enough Belly Fat? Do This.

Article Highlights

  • Every time you drink a soft drink, your body goes on an insulin roller coaster ride
  • Fructose, the main sugar in most sodas, turns to fat faster than other sugar
  • One soda per day increases risk of many major chronic diseases

Many people who have problems coping with stress, with chronic anxiety, with college stress, or other stress related issues, turn to foods like sodas to self-medicate. Here’s why that is not a good idea. 

ABC News did an expose on what drinking soda does to your body.

The Effect of Soda on Your Body


Dr. Joseph Mercola of also gives this astonishing play by play of what happens to your body when you drink a soda.

HFCS typically contains a mixture of 45 percent glucose and 55 percent fructose (although recent investigations have found that many brand-name sodas actually contain 65 percent fructose!).

The Rapid Cycle

Once ingested, your pancreas rapidly begins to create insulin in response to the sugar. The rise in blood sugar is quite rapid. Here’s a play-by-play of what happens in your body upon drinking a can of soda:

* Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.

* Within 40 minutes, caffeine absorption is complete; your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. As you could see in the report above, DeNies’ blood glucose level was 79 at the outset of the experiment, and after 40 minutes it had risen to 111!

* Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – a physically identical response to that of heroin, by the way.

* After 60 minutes, you’ll start to have a blood sugar crash, and you may be tempted to reach for another sweet snack or beverage.

As I’ve discussed on numerous occasions, chronically elevated insulin levels (which you would definitely have if you regularly drink soda) and the subsequent insulin resistance is a foundational factor of most chronic disease, from diabetes to cancer.

Fructose Turns into Fat Far Faster than Other Sugars, and Fats

Lately, the media has finally begun reporting on the science of fructose, which clearly shows it is far worse than other sugars.

Fructose is processed in your liver, and unlike other sugars, most of it gets shuttled into fat storage. This is why fructose is a primary culprit behind obesity—far more so than other sugars. According to the news report above, drinking two bottles of soda per day can make you gain a pound of fat per week!

Aside from the weight gain, eating too much fructose is linked to increased triglyceride levels. In one study, eating fructose raised triglyceride levels by 32 percent in men! Triglycerides, the chemical form of fat found in foods and in your body, are not something you want in excess amounts.

Intense research over the past 40 years has confirmed that elevated blood levels of triglycerides, known as hypertriglyceridemia, puts you at an increased risk of heart disease.

Meanwhile, one of the most thorough scientific analyses published to date on this topic found that fructose consumption not only leads to insulin resistance but also decreases leptin signaling to your central nervous system. Leptin is responsible for controlling your appetite and fat storage, as well as telling your liver what to do with its stored glucose.

When your body can no longer “hear” leptin’s signals, weight gain, diabetes and a host of related conditions may occur. So, as you can see, fructose contributes to poor health through a number of mechanisms…

What Else is in Soda?

   -High fructose corn syrup: When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat. 120 calories of fructose, on the other hand, results in 40 calories being stored as fat. Consuming fructose is essentially consuming fat!

The metabolism of fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.

Fructose also interferes with your brain’s communication with leptin, resulting in overeating.

   -About 150 empty calories, most of which will turn into fat.

   -Between 30 to 55 mg of caffeine, which can cause jitters, insomnia, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, elevated blood cholesterol levels, vitamin and mineral depletion, breast lumps, birth defects, and perhaps some forms of cancer.

   -Artificial food colors, including caramel coloring, which has recently been identified as carcinogenic. The artificial brown coloring is made by reacting corn sugar with ammonia and sulfites under high pressures and at high temperatures.

This produces the chemicals 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, which have been found to cause lung, liver and thyroid cancer in lab rats and mice.

   -Sulfites. People who are sulfite sensitive can experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In severe cases, sulfites can actually cause death.

   -Benzene. While the federal limit for benzene in drinking water is 5 parts per billion (ppb), researchers have found benzene levels as high as 79 ppb in some soft drinks, and of 100 brands tested, most had at least some detectable level of benzene present.

   -Phosphoric acid, which can interfere with your body’s ability to use calcium, leading to osteoporosis or softening of your teeth and bones.

   -Aspartame: This chemical is used as a sugar substitute in diet soda. There are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption including brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and epilispsy/seizures.

   -Tap Water: I recommend that everyone avoid drinking tap water because it can carry any number of chemicals including chlorine, trihalomethanes, lead, cadmium, and various organic pollutants. Tap water is the main ingredient in bottled soft drinks.

   -Sodium benzoate, a common preservative found in many soft drinks, which can cause DNA damage. This could eventually lead to diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver and Parkinson’s.

Health Effects of Soda Consumption

After looking at the list above, is it any wonder that a number of studies have now linked soda consumption with obesity and related health problems?

One such independent, peer-reviewed study published in the British medical journal The Lancet found that 12-year-olds who drank soft drinks regularly were more likely to be overweight than those who didn’t. In fact, for each additional daily serving of sugar-sweetened soft drink consumed during the nearly two-year study, the risk of obesity jumped by 60 percent!

As mentioned earlier, soda clearly elevates your insulin levels, and elevated insulin levels are the foundation of most chronic disease. Not only does drinking just one soda per day increase your risk of diabetes by 85 percent, it also increases your risk of:

* Heart disease

* Cancer

* Arthritis

* Osteoporosis

* Gout

* Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)