Posts Tagged "Diet"

COPD 2Among its many rewards, eating a healthy diet might help protect against the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, according to a new study.  

Based on more than 120,000 men and women followed for more than a decade, researchers calculate that those who ate a diet highest in whole grains, vegetables and nuts, and lowest in red meats and sugars were up to a third less likely to develop COPD – even if they smoked – than those who ate the worst diet. 

“I think that we need to emphasize the role of diet in respiratory diseases, which is largely unknown by the general audience,” lead author Dr. Raphaëlle Varraso, from the French

National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Villejuif, told Reuters Health in an email. COPD

“Respiratory health and lung function strongly predict general health status and all-cause mortality,” she said.

 COPD is an umbrella term for a group of progressive lung diseases that block the flow of air and cause breathing problems. They include emphysema, chronic bronchitis and some types of asthma.

Source: Reuters

clothes 2In recent years, many people who exercise have begun wearing compression clothes. These snug-fitting socks, shorts, tights or shirts, which squeeze muscles as tightly as sausage casings, are reputed to improve performance during exercise and speed recovery afterward.

But a new study and several reviews of relevant research raise interesting questions about whether the garments really function as expected and help people to exercise better and, if they do, whether it is the clothing or people’s expectations doing most of the work.

The rationales for wearing compression clothing are logical enough. “The garments supposedly increase blood circulation and thus oxygen delivery for improved sport performance,”clothes 3 said Abigail Stickford, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who led the new study of compression clothes.

The clothes also are thought to refine proprioception, which is someone’s sense of how the body is positioned in space. Better proprioception should, in theory at least, clothes 5improve the efficiency of movement and reduce the number of muscles that need to be activated, making exercise less tiring.

Meanwhile, the clothes also are believed to reduce fatigue and soreness after exercise by literally squeezing the muscles with a kind of no-hands massage and, by increasing blood flow to muscles, help to flush out unwanted exercise-related biochemical.

 

Source: The New York Times

Colon 5Both the incidence and mortality rates of Colon and Rectal Cancers have been decreasing in the United States, a trend that is largely attributed to the widespread screening of persons 50 years and older.

However, researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston have highlighted a concerning trend: incidence rates are actually rising in young adults.

The most pronounced increase, which was observed in patients between 20 and 34 years old, was in the incidence of colon and rectal cancer at all stages (localized, regional, and distant).Colon 2

Authors of a recent study analyzed Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data for 393,241 patients with CRC between 1975 and 2010 and evaluated the age at diagnosis in 15-year intervals, beginning at age 20 years.

The overall age-adjusted incidence rates decreased by 0.92% during the study period.

Colon 4However, although there has been a steady decrease in incidence among persons 50 years and older, the opposite is true for those in younger age groups, according to the authors, led by principal investigator George J. Chang, MD, associate professor, Departments of Surgical Oncology and Health Services Research at MD Anderson.

Source: The JAMA Network

 

 

*The Center’s Executive Physical includes Colon and Rectal Cancer screening and tumor marker tracking.

 

M Diet 2The Mediterranean diet consistently has been linked with an array of health benefits, including decreased risk of chronic disease and cancer. Until now, however, no studies had associated the diet with longer telomeres, one of the biomarkers of aging.

In a study published Tuesday online in The BMJ, researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) found that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet correlated with longer telomeres.

Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes that get shorter every time a cell divides. Shorter telomeres have been associated with decreased life expectancy and increased risk of aging-related disease, while longer telomeres have been linked to longevity. Telomere shortening is accelerated by stress and inflammation, and scientists have speculated that adherence to the Mediterranean diet may help protect against that effect.M diet 3

“To our knowledge this is the largest population-based study specifically addressing the association between Mediterranean diet adherence and telomere length in healthy, middle-aged women,” explained Immaculata De Vivo, an associate professor in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the senior author of this study. “Our results further support the benefits of adherence to this diet to promote health and longevity.”

The researchers analyzed 4,676 disease-free women from the Nurses’ Health Study who had completed the food-frequency questionnaire and whose telomere lengths had been measured. They found that a greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with longer telomeres, and that even small changes in diet made a difference.

“Our findings showed that healthy eating, overall, was associated with longer telomeres. However, the strongest association M Dietwas observed among women who adhered to the Mediterranean diet,” explained Marta Crous Bou, a postdoctoral fellow in the Channing Division of Network Medicine and the first author of the study.

De Vivo notes that future research should be aimed at determining which components of the Mediterranean diet drive this association. This would allow researchers to gain insight into the biological mechanism, as well as provide a basis for increased public education for informed lifestyle choices.

Source: Harvard Gazette

“The Presidential Healthcare Center Provides Nutritional Assessments.”  

good fats and bad fatsIf you’re going to overindulge and gain weight, at least try to make sure the extra calories come from unsaturated fats, a new study suggests.

When lean people pack on even a few extra pounds, heart disease risk factors in the bloodstream change – some for the better if the excess food contains unsaturated fats, versus saturated fats, researchers found.

Even a moderate weight gain of about three pounds for lean, young people clearly increased markers of heart disease risk factors like insulin resistance as well as signs of impaired vascular function, said senior author Dr. Ulf Riserus of the Unit for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism at Uppsala Science Park in Sweden.

But unsaturated fats in the diet improved cholesterol levels despite the extra calories and weight gain, which is surprising, Riserus told Reuters Health by email.

For seven weeks, two groups of healthy, relatively lean adults ages 20 to 38 were told to keep to their habitual exercise level and daily diets, adding three to four muffins to their diets each day.Coconut

The researchers provided the 240-calorie muffins, with half their energy from fats. One group of 19 adults received muffins made with sunflower oil, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), while the other group of 20 people ate muffins made with palm oil, a saturated fat. The muffins were otherwise identical.

After seven weeks, each group had gained between two and three percent of their body weight, about 3.5 pounds (1.5 kilos) each, and waist girth increased by about one percent, but blood pressure did not change significantly.

This level of weight gain in the short term is probably not dangerous at all, Riserus said, but if weight accumulates over time, especially abdominal fat, there can be health consequences.

salmonBased on blood tests, the sunflower oil group had lower cholesterol and lipid levels at the end of the study than they had at the beginning of the study. For the palm oil group, cholesterol went up, according to the results in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Both groups showed signs of increased insulin resistance, a diminished ability to process blood sugar that can be a warning sign for diabetes onset.

Riserus and his team had previously found that the type of fat in the diet determined how much of the excess calories were stored as abdominal fat and liver fat, he said.

“If the high-caloric diet was based on unsaturated fats rather than saturated fats, very little fat was stored as liver and abdominal fat, whereas the opposite was true for the diet high in saturated fats,” he said.

Saturated and unsaturated fats have different molecular effects on the liver, he said. Unsaturated fats signal the liver to take up cholesterol from the blood, he said.

“We believe our results are very relevant considering that a large part of most populations are in caloric excess and gradually gain weight over time,” Riserus said. “Although weight gain should be avoided, the results basically tell us that we may benefit from having enough unsaturated fats in our diets, irrespectively of how many calories we eat.”

The results support the American Heart Association recommendation to replace some saturated fats in the diet, like fatty beef, butter and cheese, with unsaturated fats like vegetable oils and nuts, he said.avacado

“I do not think people usually plan for weight gain, but, as we know, it just happens quite commonly,” said Ursula Schwab, an associate professor of nutrition therapy at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio.

“So, by following the guidelines regarding dietary fat, unintentional weight gain can be less harmful than in cases when the recommendations on the quality of dietary fat is not followed,” Schwab told Reuters Health by email. She was not involved in the new study.

All dietary polyunsaturated fats are beneficial, she said, but that is not necessarily the case for supplements.

In addition to sunflower oil, rapeseed oil and canola oil are good sources of polyunsaturated fats, Riserus said.

Source: Reuters

veggies-1The U.S. government recommends that American adults eat 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables depending on your age, gender, and activity level, but a new Harvard School of Public Health study suggests we don’t get additional health benefits if we eat more than five servings a day.

After analyzing 16 studies involving 833,000 participants who filled out dietary surveys, the researchers from Harvard and China discovered that each daily serving of produce was associated with a five percent lower risk of dying from heart disease or cancer during the studies, which lasted up to 25 years. Eating five servings a day, for example, lowered the risk of dying by 25 percent — but so did eating six or seven servings, according to the results published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal.

“The reduction in mortality plateaued at five [servings] a day, and five a day is a good target to achieve maximum health benefits in reducing mortality,” said study coauthor Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, via email from China.

Is there any harm to over-indulging on the kale, celery, and sliced strawberries?

Likely not, since the research didn’t find any negative health effects in those who ate six or more servings a day, according to Hu. What’s more, it couldn’t prove that eating five servings of produce a day actually prevented deaths, but rather found it was statistically associated with a lower mortality risk.

Still, it’s a smart move to “diversify plant-based foods,” Hu said, adding nuts, legumes, and whole grains to those salads. That will ensure that you get a wider range of nutrients, which often interact in the body to have a synergistic effect on disease prevention.

Source: Boston Globe

scaleSedentary lifestyle and not caloric intake may be to blame for increased obesity in the US, according to a new analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). A study published in the American Journal of Medicine reveals that in the past 20 years there has been a sharp decrease in physical exercise and an increase in average body mass index (BMI), while caloric intake has remained steady. Investigators theorized that a nationwide drop in leisure-time physical activity, especially among young women, may be responsible for the upward trend in obesity rates.

By analyzing NHANES data from the last 20 years, researchers from Stanford University discovered that the number of US adult women who reported no physical activity jumped from 19.1% in 1994 to 51.7% in 2010. For men, the number increased from 11.4% in 1994 to 43.5% in 2010. During the period, average BMI has increased across the board, with the most dramatic rise found among young women ages 18-39.

“These changes have occurred in the context of substantial increases in the proportion of adults reporting no leisure-time physical activity, but in the absence of any significant population-level changes in average daily caloric intake,” explains lead investigator Uri Ladabaum, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology and Hepatology), Stanford University School of Medicine. “At the population level, we found a significant association between the level of leisure-time physical activity, but not daily caloric intake, and the increases in both BMI and waist circumference.”

The study looked at the escalation of obesity in terms of both exercise and caloric intake. While investigators did not examine what types of foods were consumed, they did observe that total daily calorie, fat, carbohydrate, and protein consumption have not changed significantly over the last 20 years, yet the obesity rate among Americans is continuing to rise.

Researchers also tracked the rise in abdominal obesity, which is an independent indicator of mortality even among people with normal BMIs. Abdominal obesity is defined by waist circumference of 88 cm (34.65 in) or greater for women and 102 cm (40.16 in) or greater for men. Data showed that average waist circumference increased by 0.37% per year for women and 0.27% per year for men. Just like the rise in average BMIs, the group most affected by increased rates of abdominal obesity was women.

“The prevalence of abdominal obesity has increased among normal-weight women and overweight women and men,” observes Dr. Ladabaum. “It remains controversial whether overweight alone increases mortality risk, but the trends in abdominal obesity among the overweight are concerning in light of the risks associated with increased waist circumference independent of BMI.”

When Ladabaum et al grouped respondents to the most recent NHANES survey by race/ethnicity and age, they found that more than 50% of the workforce-aged adults in eight demographic subgroups reported no leisure-time physical activity. The following chart displays the results and highlights the differences between the 1994 survey results and those collected in 2010 (albeit, with slightly different survey methods). According to this data, women, and black and Mexican-American women in particular, showed the greatest decreases in reported exercise.

While increased caloric intake is often blamed for rising rates of obesity, no association between these was found in this study; in contrast, an association was found between the trends over time for lack of physical activity and high BMI numbers. “Our findings do not support the popular notion that the increase of obesity in the United States can be attributed primarily to sustained increase over time in the average daily caloric intake of Americans,” concludes Dr. Ladabaum. “Although the overall trends in obesity in the United States are well appreciated and obesity prevalence may be stabilizing, our analyses highlight troublesome trends in younger adults, in women, and in abdominal obesity prevalence, as well as persistent racial/ethnic disparities.”

There is no easy answer in our ongoing battle against obesity, but identifying the link between the drop in physical activity and increased BMIs, as well as the groups particularly affected, can assist public health officials to develop targeted, effective interventions. In an accompanying commentary Pamela Powers Hannley, MPH, Managing Editor, the American Journal of Medicine, notes, “If we as a country truly want to take control of our health and our health care costs, the Ladabaum et al paper should be our clarion call. From encouraging communities to provide safe places for physical activity to ensuring ample supply of healthy food to empowering Americans to take control of their health, we must launch a concerted comprehensive effort to control obesity.”

ImageGetting more protein in your diet, though not red meat, may reduce your risk for stroke, a review of studies found.

Scientists reviewed seven prospective studies involving more than 250,000 people and found that after adjusting for various stroke risks and for other nutrients consumed, those who had the highest consumption of protein had a 20 percent decreased risk for stroke compared with those with the lowest.

Each increase of 20 grams per day in protein — about the amount in a 3-ounce serving of chicken or fish or a cup of beans — was associated with a 26 percent decrease in risk, a dose-response relationship that further strengthens the association.

The finding does not apply to red meat, which has been shown to increase the risk for stroke and was not evaluated in the studies reviewed.

Some evidence suggested that animal protein was slightly more effective than vegetable protein, although there was not enough data on vegetable consumption to reach a definitive conclusion about the exact difference.

“Moderate dietary protein intake may lower the risk of stroke,” said the senior author, Dr. Xinfeng Liu, a neurologist at the Nanjing University School of Medicine in China. “This does not mean that people should avoid red meat entirely,” he added, but “increasing intake of fish or vegetables is recommended.”

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Popeye and our parents have been valiantly trying to persuade us to eat our veggies for decades now.

But Americans just don’t eat as many fruits and vegetables as we should. And when we do, they’re mainly potatoes and tomatoes — in the not-so-nutritious forms of french fries and pizza, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Americans eat 1.5 cups of vegetables daily, on average, the USDA finds. But the national nutrition guidelines recommend 2 to 3 cups a day for adults. And more than half our veggie intake comes from potatoes and tomatoes, whereas only 10 percent comes from dark green and orange veggies like spinach, carrots and sweet potatoes.

Of course, potatoes are great on their own — they’re a good source of potassium. But most Americans eat them with a hefty side of fat and sodium. According to the USDA’s handy chart, at home, most people get their potato fix in the form of chips. And when eating out, about 60 percent of the potatoes we consume are fried. Baked potatoes are also popular, but most people don’t eat the skin — a great source of fiber that fills you up

Tomatoes start out healthy as well, and they’re a good way to boost your vitamin A and C intake. Tomato sauce, on the other hand, can pack in a lot of hidden sugar and salt. While a cup of raw tomato has about 9 milligrams of sodium, canned tomato sauce can contain more than 1,000 milligrams of sodium per cup, according to the USDA.

And even potatoes and tomatoes in their healthy forms don’t make for a complete, balanced diet. Americans eat far less fiber than they should, the researchers say, and fiber is found in dark green and orange veggies. As we’ve reported, fiber can make you gassy, but it’s essential to a healthy microbiome.

After a 2002 government nutrition report found that higher fruit consumption correlated with a lower body mass index but not vegetable consumption, USDA researchers decided to look more into how Americans are getting their vegetables.

“We started thinking about it, and realized it’s quite common to just pick up a piece of fruit and eat it as-is,” says Joanne Guthrie, a nutritionist at the USDA’s Economic Research Service who co-authored the report. “But that wasn’t the case for vegetables.” Vegetables often need to be peeled, cut and cooked, so they’re just not as handy.

So maybe this tomato and potato finding isn’t a huge shocker. Just a few years ago public health experts were debating whether school lunch programs should get to count a slice of pizza as a serving of vegetables, and fries have garnered their share of negative publicity in recent school lunch battles, too.

But, as Guthrie sats, the report is a reminder that we need to pay more attention to how we prepare our vegetables. “We all want to have a healthful diet,” she says. So mind the sugar and sodium, and branch out from pizza and french fries.

Source: NPR

statins

Individuals prescribed statin therapy for high cholesterol levels have increased their caloric intake by nearly 10% and their intake of fat by 14% over a recent 10-year period, while no changes in eating habits have been observed among statin nonusers, a new study shows.

In addition, researchers report that individuals prescribed a statin had a larger increase in body-mass index (BMI) than those who weren’t taking the lipid-lowering medication.

Presenting their findings April 24, 2014 here at the Society of General Internal Medicine Meeting , the researchers say the study showed that statin users were consuming an extra 192 kcal per day in 2009–2010 than they were in 1999–2000, and this could have contributed to the increase in BMI, which was the equivalent of a 3- to 5-kg weight gain.

“Since the guideline recommends that patients should prevent weight gain, the observed increase in caloric intake and more rapid increase in BMI among statin users are of concern,” write Dr Takehiro Sugiyama (University of Tokyo, Japan) and colleagues in JAMA: Internal Medicine, where the study was published to coincide with the presentation. “According to the guidelines, people who receive statin therapy also should take steps to reduce fat intake, but we did not observe a pattern of combining statin use with dietary control.”

Dr Rita Redberg (University of California, San Francisco), the editor of JAMA: Internal Medicine, said she has treated many patients with statins over the years and has observed a “false reassurance” among those who receive the cholesterol-lowering medications. There is a perception, she writes, that “statins can compensate for poor dietary choices and a sedentary life.” The new data raise concerns of a potential hazard with statins, where the focus on “cholesterol levels can be distracting from the more beneficial focus on healthy lifestyle to reduce heart-disease risk,” suggests Redberg.

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), Sugiyama and colleagues examined the temporal trend in food intake among statin users and nonstatin users between 1999 and 2010. During this time period, the proportion of patients taking statins increased from 7.5% in 1999 to 16.5% in 2010. Statin users tended to be older, male, and white and have less education, a diagnosis of diabetes, and a higher BMI than their counterparts not taking statins.

In 1999–2000, statin users consumed 2000 kcal/day and ate 71.7 g/day of fat, both of which were significantly less than that consumed by individuals not taking statins. By 2009–2010, however, there was a significant increase in the number of calories consumed and the amount of fat eaten by statin users, whereas dietary habits were unchanged among those not taking the cholesterol-lowering medications. In 2009–2010, there was no significant difference in the amount of food consumed by statin users and nonusers, nor was there any difference in the amount of fat consumed. Similar findings were observed when the researchers restricted the analysis to saturated fat and cholesterol intake.

Regarding obesity, there was a 1.3-kg/m2 increase in BMI from 1999–2000 to 2009–2010 in the statin users and a 0.4-kg/m2 increase among statin nonusers.

Although the paper is limited by its cross-sectional design, Sugiyama and colleagues state that it is reasonable to conclude the average American treated with statins is eating more calories and more fat than the average American taking statins was doing a decade ago. At present, they can only speculate as to the reasons for this.

“One possibility is that statin use may have undermined the perceived need to follow dietary recommendations. Patients who recognized that their LDL-cholesterol levels were lowered drastically by statins may have lost the incentive to pursue dietary modifications,” write the researchers. “Physicians might have contributed to this process by shifting the focus of consultations from diet to statin regimen adherence once statin treatment had begun.”

Dr Mahesh Patel (Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC), who was not affiliated with the study, said the new analysis is interesting because it explores something that is rarely studied in medicine, that being the interaction between medication and lifestyle habits. However, he is cautious about making firm conclusions based on the data.

“It is tempting to conclude that patients prescribed statins adopted a more liberal diet than the individuals who were not taking the drugs, but the study only reflects population averages” and does not track the same patients over the 10-year period, he told heartwire .

Dr Sekar Kathiresan (Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center, Boston) agreed with the need for caution. The analysis, which is based on a somewhat “sexy hypothesis,” tends to fit with people’s preconceived notions about the ill effects of medication use. The lament often heard is that people will simply abandon moderation when it comes to diet because they are now being treated with a statin.

“The flaw is that this is a nonrandomized, observational study, and the statin use might simply be marking a subset of patients who ate more over a 10-year period,” Kathiresan told heartwire . As such, the observational nature of the NHANES analysis makes it impossible to imply causality, whereby taking a statin had the unintended effect of people eating more. Like Patel, Kathiresan noted that the researchers did not follow the same group of patients from 1999 to 2010, a major limitation of the data.

Previous studies have shown that the use of statins is associated with a modestly increased risk of diabetes. Kathiresan said that an increased BMI might be one of the possible reasons for this association but again urged restraint about reading too much into the data.

Both Patel and Kathiresan agreed that physicians need to be vigilant in getting patients to understand their risk factors. To heartwire , Patel said that patients should be reminded “they are not off the hook because they’re on a statin and their LDL-cholesterol levels are better” and that physicians should not “let off the gas” once their patients are treated with a moderate- or high-dose statin as recommended by the clinical guidelines.

Source: Medscape

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