Tag Archives: healthy life style

the Krebs cycle: who cares?

Dear Ones,

I’ve been unpacking the challenges we face when we try to change our lifestyle. We want to achieve certain health goals. What prevents us from making those changes?

It isn’t easy. I talk about these challenges is on www.fb.com/betsybellshealth4u live steam at 8:30 Thursdays, Pacific time. In case you are not a FaceBook person, here are the first two videos unpacking challenges to life-style changes.

In the first live stream, I talk about my own struggle with sudden weight gain and the ineffective, in fact, detrimental steps I took to get the weight off. A good friend is approaching sixty and complaining of aches and pains, higher cholesterole and persistent belly fat. He called me to see if I had a pill for any of that. Here’s what I had to say.

To better understand how our cells metabolise the food we eat, I gave this short talk on the Krebs cycle, the process by which the food we eat is used to produce energy.

In plain English the process involves the interaction of the food that we consume and the biochemical processes within the body. These interactions produce energy that our body uses to do its work. The Krebs cycle is at the center of the many processes at work in the cell.

Knowing how this cycle works, we can change our diet, and change our behavior or activity to maximize results. The Krebs cycle is closely tied to our diet, and is directly involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats and its conversion to energy. Understanding what is going on in the body may help you with your eating and exercise –lifestyle–decisions, and help you to better control your body metabolism.

Focus on the 3 major sources of substrates or fuel molecules, carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Here we go:

What is the Kreb’s Cycle?

*This is the biochemical hub of the cell.

*It is thru this cycle that energy precursors are converted into ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), which is the then processed to produce the energy that the body utilizes.

*This pathway is the final common pathway for the oxidation of fuel molecules, namely – amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates.

*These molecules undergo processing and enter the cycle in the form of acetyl-coenzyme A.
Normally during aerobic conditions (or states wherein oxygen is available for utilization by the body), the body converts carbohydrates into glucose which is processed to form acetyl-CoA.

*The Krebs cycle allows the harvesting of high-energy electrons from fuels that we take in.

*The Krebs cycle forms the first stage of the cellular level of respiration. In this process, acetyl-CoA, coming from multiple sources (glucose, fat, and protein metabolism) is processed to produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) which is the primary resource of most energy consuming processes in the body.

*The Krebs cycle is closely related to other metabolic cycles and can explain how we utilize energy substrates we derived from our diet.

*Fatty acids and amino acids can both be converted to materials that the cells utilize as sources of energy.

*Most of the time, the body utilizes glucose, but in specific conditions, the body turns to other sources.

*Fatty acids, coming from fat, are shuttled into the metabolic pathways, and conditions that have high energy requirements tap into fat stores in the body for extra energy to perform the exercises or movements we want to complete at that time. Using fat energy is much faster than our typical glucose utilization.

This is good news. It is through this mechanism that we burn off the excess fat in our body. However fat did not create the excess fat in your body in the first place. It’s far more likely that excess sugar in your diet contributed to your fat gain. This is because your liver can’t keep up with all that sugar and eventually turns to storing it as fat as a means to deal with it.

Have you been eating low- fat, no-fat, processed foods, with loads of added sugar (so they taste good) for years to lose weight and had little or no success? These foods are the real culprits as to why you are fat. They have next to no nutritional value. All calories are no created equal. If that were the case you could eat 200 calories from sugar and 200 cals from protein and you’d get the same result. The problem being, you DO NOT get the same result.

The Metabolic Pathways Involving The Krebs Cycle

Glucose plays a major role in the generation of energy via the Krebs cycle. Other materials may be used to produce energy: fatty acids and amino acids. Fatty acids come from fat, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Though they all end up in a common path in the Krebs cycle, they are being processed by different mechanisms in the body.

Glucose metabolism undergoes processing by way of glycolysis. The end product — pyruvate is converted to Acetyl-CoA, that then goes into the Krebs cycle. Fatty acids are broken down via Beta-oxidation,which forms acyl-CoA, and is then processed into Acetyl-CoA.

Amino acids follow a different process. Protein is broken down and later on forms amino acids, which undergo transamination. In their new form, these amino acids are storaged as fat or glycogen, are made into new protein in the body, or are oxidized for energy.

The body utilizes these different pathways to provide you with adequate energy for every scenario and state possible. Knowing about these pathways and states helps us tailor our diet and physical activity to maximize our health benefits.

Exercise and Energy Metabolism

Now, under normal conditions, wherein we don’t exercise, and are just doing normal daily activities, we utilize materials coming from the metabolism of glucose from our diet. Anything in excess is converted into energy stores. Anything we eat that is beyond our energy requirement is stored by the body in different forms, primarily fa. That fat will remain as such until our body enters a state of high energy requirement (e.g. increased physical activity).

We limit the intake of glucose or carbohydrates to an amount that matches our caloric requirement, hence preventing the accumulation of fat stores. Also pay attention to the sugar you are getting daily.

Pay attention to the balance between carbohydrates (fresh fruits and vegetables or processed goodies), fat (dairy of all kinds and fatty meats, sausage, lunch meat, cheese) and protein (animal protein or plant protein which can get tricky). It all becomes glucose eventually.

Know how our body utilizes glucose for energy and how it turns to stored fats as extra sources of energy when we exercise. Then change the process through changing the fuel. Exercise uses our fat stores for extra energy, resulting in weight loss and less fat in the body.

I hope this is helpful and makes sense. Don’t try to memorize this. There is no quiz. Just use the information so that when you are putting something in your mouth you take note: will this bite become glucose quickly leaving the roll around my middle just where it is? Or will this bite require work to produce energy and therefore reach for to burn fat? Munch a carrot. Eat nuts. Have a bowl of rice and beans. Calories are not all the same. Keep the amount of calories equal to the energy required for your day’s activities.


Above all, be well, do well and keep moving,


And if you want to get a good start toward a new lifestyle, take advantage of the Shaklee Cleanse package. If you follow it to the letter, you will see results. If you’re like me and grow faint without protein, order a cannister of one of Shaklee’s sugar free shake mixes and add just a little to keep you on your feet during this week of vegetables and fruits.

www.HiHoHealth.com My Shaklee shopping site.


Facebook Twitter Email

Don’t take vitamins.

Gentle Reader,

“Whatever you do, don’t take vitamins.”  One more doctor/author has come out with a book of instructions on how to stay healthy.  Included in his list of what to do and eat is a chapter on why you should not take vitamins.  My renter just showed me his latest book, A Short Guide to a Long Life, by Dr. David Agus.  My own trainer who developed a highly efficient hands-on program for building muscles, reducing body fat and increasing strength and stamina wrote a book called Cracking Your Calorie Code.  These books all tell us supplement users that we are wasting our money and perhaps doing ourselves harm. They are catagorically against vitamins.  “Don’t take vitamins.  You don’t need them.  You are wasting your money.”

What is going on here?  What is the key question these books address?  Are they missing something?

How can I be healthier?  Have more energy?  Avoid chronic diseases that supposedly result from my life-style?   Aren’t these the questions we are all trying to answer? We are looking for a better way to stay healthy as we grow old.  We don’t want to spend our social time with doctors.  We want to enjoy the days we have and then die without a period of long, drawn out suffering.

These authors seem to agree on the life style we ought to follow.  They also claim we are wasting our money and even harming ourselves if we persist in taking vitamins.

First, let me clear up a couple things.  Before 1998, a few deaths in children were reported from taking sugar coated, brightly colors vitamins containing high levels of iron.  Since the packaging changed, only 1 death has been reported. Compare this with 59 confirmed deaths due to aspirin poisoning in 2003 and 147 deaths known to be associated with acetaminophen-containing products.  According to the FDA, Americans easily take more than 60 billion doses of nutritional supplements every year, and with zero related deaths.  This is an outstanding safety record.  Compare this to 14,800 deaths in 2008 from prescription pain killers.  About 6.1 million people abuse prescription pills, and overdose deaths have at least doubled in 29 states, where they now exceed vehicle-related deaths. In 10 of those states, rates tripled; in four of them, they quadrupled. (Reported in the Christian Science Monitor, 10/2013)

Second, let’s look at the healthy life style and eating habits these authors recommend,  including my trainer.  A quick rundown:

  • Adequate protein from lean meat, fish, eggs. (WebMD says 50 grams. daily, which is not enough, in my opinion. A good rule of thumb is 1 gram for every ½ pound of weight.  140 lbs. = 70 grams.)
  • 5- 9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. (Serving = 1 cup, 2 cups if leafy greens)
  • Whole grains (many people need to limit grains and refined carbohydrates like pasta and pastries to achieve optimal health)
  • 6 – 10 eight oz. glasses of water
  • Small amounts of fat, sugar, dairy. (Many food guides recommend more calories from dairy)
  • No smoking. Little or no alcohol.
  • Exercise at minimum ½ hour walking 4 days a week.

My question to you is this:  how many days last week did you achieve these markers for your healthy future? Are you really getting all those servings of fresh vegetables and fruits into your body every day?  Did you find time to exercise at least that much last week (and you can’t count the running around you do in the office or in your house unless you are wearing a pedometer.  You need to reach 10,000 steps a week.)

Fill out this checklist.  It is equivalent to the auto mechanic’s diagnostic tool for your car (which you can replace when it doesn’t work anymore).

Today’s date


__        Tired

__        Overweight or Underweight

__        Stress

__        Dry/Oily skin/Problem skin

__        Thinning hair/Dull hair

__        Emotional on empty stomach

__        Dandruff

__        Need caffeine/sugar

__        Can’t wake up

__        Can’t sleep/Restless sleep

__        Poor attention span

__        Splitting Nails

__        Irritability/Depression

__        Nervousness/Anxiety

__        Allergies

__        Bruise easily

__        Heartburn/Need antacids

__        sinus problems

__        Cold hands or feet

__        Poor night vision

__        Back pain/Leg pain

__        Constipation/Diarrhea

__      Poor digestion/stomach

__        High/Low blood pressure

__        High/Low blood sugar

__        Various aches and pains

__        Elevated cholesterol

__        Cravings for sweets

__        PMS/Hormonal problems

__        Menstrual cramps/problems

__        Subject to colds/flu/infection

__        Muscle cramps

__        Joint pain/Arthritis

__        Bleeding gums

__        Headaches

If you wear out your body, where are you going to live?
If you wear out your body, where are you going to live?

__        Breath or body odor

__        Decreased sex interest

__        Infertility/Sterility

__        Menopausal symptoms

__        Vague “blah” feeling



Whether we like it or not, a symptom is a message the body wants to express – which drugs suppress. If drugs are prescribed, new symptoms begin to appear.”

-Deepak Chopra, M.D.


You have only one body.  When this one body wears out, where are you going to live?

In 1985, I was physically and emotionally depleted.  I was eating the way I describe above, following all the guidelines provided by the various gurus on healthy living.  I had had cancer and was determined not to develop cancer again.  In spite of a perfect diet, frequent and vigorous exercise, little or no alcohol or refined, packaged foods, I was not healthy.  I took no vitamins.  I took some iron tablets at the recommendation of my doctor and they made me constipated.  I had no idea how to choose a vitamin.  “Don’t take vitamins” was not my thought or plan.  I was introduced to the Shaklee vitamins and began a foundation program of Soy smoothies, a multi, extra B, C and Calcium, plus Alfalfa and Herb Lax for constipation.  Within a month, my health change for the better.  Many of my symptoms (I checked off 10 – 12 on the above list) disappeared or changed for the better.

What more can I say?  I eat the way the textbooks suggest.  But not every day.  Some days I eat in my car, on the run, at someone else’s house, in a bar or restaurant and do not get all the fresh nutrients I need.  Supplements are just that, a supplement to an inadequate diet.  They don’t kill you.  They may even give you better health.  If you don’t feel better in a month of faithful consumption, Shaklee will give you your money back.  Guaranteed.  Does your drug store vitamin offer that? When is the last time your doctor gave you a money back guarantee on the prescription he/she wrote for you?

Enough said.

Be well, Do well and Keep Moving.


206 933 1889






Facebook Twitter Email