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Here you will find great tips for healthy living, nutritional advice, and the latest news on health studies and research.

Tag Archives: cholesterol

Reduce the bad carbs, live longer?

I touched on a study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine in which they concluded that we should rethink worrying about lowering saturated fat in our diets to prevent heart disease.  They conclude it is more important to focus on decreasing insulin resistance and inflammation in the body by targeting exercise, diet and reducing stress. During a review of previous studies the researchers found that even those people who lowered there LDL cholesterol and overall cholesterol and replaced their saturated fat with omega-6 fatty acids, still had a higher rate of death. Researchers went on to say that we should concentrate on a Mediterranean style diet.  The problem is that when people try low fat diets (to avoid saturated fats) they tend to eat more refined carbs which leads to insulin resistance, higher blood sugar, higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and obesity.  The bottom line is that we as a society must be more focused on lifestyle changes that prevents insulin resistance and reduces inflammation.

Eggs to lose weight?

If you like eggs, and want to lose some weight, this might be just for you. A recent study of men and women who ate two eggs at breakfast (as part of a reduced-calorie plan) lost a whopping 65% more weight than those who ate a bagel breakfast of equal calories. The egg eaters also felt more energetic. As far as the yolk, nutritionists are encouraging you to eat the yolks in that they contribute to the weight loss, but also increase the HDL cholesterol as well as being a good source of vitamin B12 and choline. I wouldn’t recommend the buttered toast, hash browns and bacon to go along with those eggs, if you are trying to lose some weight, however, having protein to start the day, helps reduce appetite and keeps blood sugar levels from wild fluctuations.

Eat the fat, not the sugar!

I am always amazed when I read health news. It seems as soon as one study comes out, the next research contradicts the previous one.  I read an interesting but controversial article where the researchers (three cardiologist from Britain) say that saturated fat does not clog your arteries and that the “clogged pipe” model of heart disease is “plain wrong.”  They go on to say that in people over 60, the number one risk factor for heart attacks is inulin resistance, driven by a number of dietary factors, especially increased sugar and other refined carbohydrates.  In other words, its not the saturated fat in your burger that causes the problem, it is the bun, fries and sugary drink that you wash it down with, that you should be concerned with. Remember inflammation is a driver of cardiovascular disease and pro-inflammatory ingredients are the sugars, refined carbs and industrial seed oils found in processed foods.  I will have a bit more on this next time!

Inflammation and carbs may drive cardiovascular disease!

In a follow-up to my last blog, several years ago I talked about a very large study on statins (cholesterol meds) that showed being on them gave you about a 1-2% less chance of dying from a “cardiovascular incident” than those people not taking them.  I would never tell a patient or friend to not take their meds but I would ask them to take a close look at the scientific evidence in light of the current trend of physicians to load patients up with meds that barely work and have significant side effects.  The current thinking on cardiovascular disease is that cholesterol is not a significant driver of cardiovascular disease but bad carbohydrates and inflammation are.  This is evidenced by the newest statins that were discontinued from study because even though they lowered cholesterol, those taking them died more often, or as often, as the control group from a cardiovascular incident.  Take a good close look at your diet and eating habits and be proactive and look for foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and reduce the bad carbs.  It may save your life without the side effects!

Cholesterol…good, bad, or myth!

The Thanksgiving holiday is over and the cholesterol feast has ended.  Speaking of cholesterol, did you know that the latest and greatest cholesterol drugs have been incredible failures?  In fact, even though these drugs have actually lowered bad cholesterol and increased the good cholesterol, they have had literally NO effect on heart health.  The drugs in question are called statins. The most recent super, duper drug is called evacetrapib, however those study participants taking it had more heart attacks than the placebo group. Strokes and heart attacks killed almost as many on the drug as those in the placebo group. Many doctors now think the cholesterol debate is being blown out of proportion.  It seems cholesterol meds are drugs looking for a problem instead of a problem in need of a drug.  The trend now is looking at inflammation and carbohydrates as the main culprit in heart disease. More on this next time!!

Your dog betters your health!

If you are a dog owner, chances are you may be reaping the health benefits of owning a dog without even knowing it. Several studies have shown that dog owners usually have lower blood pressure than non-owners. There is also some evidence that owning a dog is associated lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Scientists are not sure why, but they think the dog owners may get more exercise by walking the dog and that the power of touch has a calming effect (pet effect). Many senior centers have pet visitations due to this very reason!

Which is healthier?

Most people consume drive through fast food at times, for a reason (convenience usually) and we know it is not generally the healthiest way to eat.  However, is eating at a full service restaurant a better way to eat? A study recently surveyed over 18,000 Americans and found that if you eat at a full service restaurant verses eating at home, you will likely consume 200 more calories.  Also, you may be consuming less nutritious foods verses the fast food drive through.  Though you may be getting more nutrients at a full service restaurant, depending on your order, you are also likely to consume more sodium and cholesterol.  In either case, buying healthier foods for home consumption can provide better nutrition and fewer calories than eating out at most places.

Trans Fats- No levels are safe for consumption

If you are the slightest bit interested in health, then you know a little about trans fats.  If nothing else, we know they are not good for us in any amount.  The FDA recently decided to eliminate trans fats all together from foods as it was determined in 2002 that there is no safe levels of trans fatty acids and we should eat as little of them as possible.  Believe it or not, a 100 year old scientist in Illinois lead the crusade to eliminate them and warned about the dangers of trans fat in our foods back in 1957.  Trans fats are artery clogging, contribute to heart disease and have remained a staple in processed foods for decades.  The scientist, Fred Kummerow finally sued the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to get a ban on trans fats. Dr. Kummerow does not worry about cholesterol as he does not believe it is the central culprit in heart disease.  Read labels, be diligent and throw out the trans fats, they are dangerous to your health.

Statins & Diabetes (warning, this isn’t good)

Every few days I read a study or article that indicates bad news to a previously published study, especially when it comes to health.  A new study published in Diabeteolgia found that men who took statins (cholesterol meds) were 46% more likely to develop diabetes after 6 years compared to those who didn’t take them.  Even worse, the meds also make people less resistant to insulins effects and secrete less insulin. That my friends, is an incredible and noteworthy number, and serious health issue.  If you or someone you know takes statins to control cholesterol, tell them about this study and let them know they need to talk to their prescribing doctor immediately.  A huge study called JUPITOR, a few years ago, found only a 1-2% chance difference of preventing a cardiovascular event while on meds verses not on meds, if you have never had an event.  Is it worth the side effects?

Fat yes, Carbs no!

An article recently published in the journal OpenHeart, explains how our fat consumption guidelines, first introduced in 1977, stating that we should only consume 30% of our total daily calories from fat, were wrong. Amazingly enough it should have never been made. In fact there is no evidence to support those guidelines. The 30% number was arbitrary, made up. The “30% was not tested, let alone unproven.” In fact one study showed that men who ate copious amounts of high fat foods did not show higher levels of blood cholesterol as predicted, suggesting that fat from food had little do with the cholesterol circulating in the body and produced by the liver. In fact a professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and spokesperson for the American Heart Association says, that the cholesterol from food fats is “not a major driver” for the clogging of heart vessels. Guess what happened? When the focus was on cutting out fat, people increased carbohydrates, which are broken down into sugars and a different form of fat called triglycerides, which actually may be causing more harm to the heart than cholesterol from animal products. This doesn’t necessarily mean to start eating fatting steaks everyday, (though tempting) but it does indicate, time to cut the carbs!