Thursday, June 12, 2014

Diet high in protein lowers stroke risk

A new study suggests that people with diets higher in protein, especially from fish, may be less likely to have a stroke than those with diets lower in protein.

"The amount of protein that led to the reduced risk was moderate-equal to 20 grams per day," study author Xinfeng Liu, MD, PhD, of Nanjing University School of Medicine in Nanjing, China said.

"Additional, larger studies are needed before definitive recommendations can be made, but the evidence is compelling," Liu said.

The meta-analysis looked at all of the available research on the relationship between protein in the diet and the risk of stroke. Seven studies with a total of 254,489 participants who were followed for an average of 14 years were included in the analysis.

Overall, the participants with the highest amount of protein in their diets were 20 percent less likely to develop a stroke than those with the lowest amount of protein in their diets.

The results accounted for other factors that could affect the risk of stroke, such as smoking and high cholesterol.

For every additional 20 grams per day of protein that people ate, their risk of stroke decreased by 26 percent.

"If everyone's protein intake were at this level, that would translate to more than 1.4 million fewer deaths from stroke each year worldwide, plus a decreased level of disability from stroke," Liu said.

The findings are published online in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Carolina Monroe Written by: Carolina
Way To Be Healthy Updated at: 4:45 AM

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Contrave Waiting On The FDA For Approval; Orexigen's Diet Pill Waiting For Drug Classification

A new pill might soon be available for obese people who are trying to lose weight. The drug in question is Orexigen Therapeutics' Contrave, currently known as NB32. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to make a decision by this Wednesday and according to analysts, that decision will go in favor of the drug.

The FDA had previously rejected Contrave in January 2011. In order to resubmit an application for FDA review and approval, Orexigen conducted a multiyear study to find evidence that Contrave is safe for patients' cardiovascular health. So far, the ongoing study that involves 8,900 patients has found evidence that the drug is safe or safe enough.

The researchers reported that 53 percent of the people taking Contrave were able to lose at least five percent of their body weight. Only 21 percent of the people in the placebo group lost at least five percent of their body weight. Analysts added that unlike two other popular diet pills, Vivus' Qsymia and Arena's Belvig, Contrave contains an ingredient that helps patients stay on the medication longer, which could make the drug a better option for some patients. This ingredient is a mixture of naltrexone and bupropion.

"Bupropion, we believe, is what makes for greater persistence [of patients taking Contrave]," Piper Jaffray's Duncan said according to CNBC. "Being an antidepressant, it can help you feel good."

With all weight loss drugs, side effects can be expected. All three-drug manufacturers have been studying the potential dangers that the drugs might have on cardiovascular health. Aside from heart health, researchers are looking into the drugs' effects on mood, fetal health and other health concerns. Despite potential health concerns associated with Contrave, analysts expect the FDA to approve Contrave. If that happens, Contrive can contribute $1.2 to $1.5 billion in total sales in 2020.


Carolina Monroe Written by: Carolina
Way To Be Healthy Updated at: 4:41 AM

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Obesity research confirms long-term weight loss almost impossible

There's a disturbing truth that is emerging from the science of obesity. After years of study, it's becoming apparent that it's nearly impossible to permanently lose weight.

As incredible as it sounds, that's what the evidence is showing. For psychologist Traci Mann, who has spent 20 years running an eating lab at the University of Minnesota, the evidence is clear. "It couldn't be easier to see," she says. "Long-term weight loss happens to only the smallest minority of people."

We all think we know someone in that rare group. They become the legends — the friend of a friend, the brother-in-law, the neighbor — the ones who really did it.

But if we check back after five or 10 years, there's a good chance they will have put the weight back on. Only about five per cent of people who try to lose weight ultimately succeed, according to the research. Those people are the outliers, but we cling to their stories as proof that losing weight is possible.

"Those kinds of stories really keep the myth alive," says University of Alberta professor Tim Caulfield, who researches and writes about health misconceptions. "You have this confirmation bias going on where people point to these very specific examples as if it's proof. But in fact those are really exceptions."

Our biology taunts us, by making short-term weight loss fairly easy. But the weight creeps back, usually after about a year, and it keeps coming back until the original weight is regained or worse.

This has been tested in randomized controlled trials where people have been separated into groups and given intense exercise and nutrition counseling.

Even in those highly controlled experimental settings, the results show only minor sustained weight loss.

When Traci Mann analyzed all of the randomized control trials on long-term weight loss, she discovered that after two years the average amount lost was only one kilogram, or about two pounds, from the original weight.
Tiptoeing around the truth

So if most scientists know that we can't eat ourselves thin, that the lost weight will ultimately bounce back, why don't they say so?

Tim Caulfield says his fellow obesity academics tend to tiptoe around the truth. "You go to these meetings and you talk to researchers, you get a sense there is almost a political correctness around it, that we don't want this message to get out there," he said.

Last fall, the Dubai government launched a 30-day weight loss challenge called "Your Weight in Gold" to encourage dieters and combat growing obesity in the Gulf Arab emirate. It should probably save its money if the current science is right. (Reuters)

"You'll be in a room with very knowledgeable individuals, and everyone in the room will know what the data says and still the message doesn't seem to get out."

In part, that's because it's such a harsh message. "You have to be careful about the stigmatizing nature of that kind of image," Caulfield says. "That's one of the reasons why this myth of weight loss lives on."

Health experts are also afraid people will abandon all efforts to exercise and eat a nutritious diet — behavior that is important for health and longevity — even if it doesn't result in much weight loss.

Traci Mann says the emphasis should be on measuring health, not weight. "You should still eat right, you should still exercise, doing healthy stuff is still healthy," she said. "It just doesn't make you thin."
We are biological machines

But eating right to improve health alone isn't a strong motivator. The research shows that most people are willing to exercise and limit caloric intake if it means they will look better. But if they find out their weight probably won't change much, they tend to lose motivation.

That raises another troubling question. If diets don't result in weight loss, what does? At this point the grim answer seems to be that there is no known cure for obesity, except perhaps surgically shrinking the stomach.

Research suggests bariatric surgery can induce weight loss in the extremely obese, improving health and quality of life at the same time. But most people will still be obese after the surgery. Plus, there are risky side effects, and many will end up gaining some of that weight back.

If you listen closely you will notice that obesity specialists are quietly adjusting the message through a subtle change in language.

These days they're talking about weight maintenance or "weight management" rather than "weight loss."

Michelle Obama has been on an eat better campaign ever since her husband was elected to the White House. An estimated 2.1 billion people on the planet are now considered overweight or obese. (Reuters)

It's a shift in emphasis that reflects the emerging reality. Just last week the headlines announced the world is fatter than it has ever been, with 2.1 billion people now overweight or obese, based on an analysis published in the online issue of the British medical journal The Lancet.

Researchers are divided about why weight gain seems to be irreversible, probably a combination of biological and social forces. "The fundamental reason," Caulfield says, "is that we are very efficient biological machines. We evolved not to lose weight. We evolved to keep on as much weight as we possibly can."

Lost in all of the noise about dieting and obesity is the difficult concept of prevention, of not putting weight on in the first place.

The Lancet study warned that more than one in five kids in developed countries are now overweight or obese. Statistics Canada says close to a third of Canadian kids under 17 are overweight or obese. And in a world flooded with food, with enormous economic interest in keeping people eating that food, what is required to turn this ship around is daunting.

"An appropriate re-balancing of the primal needs of humans with food availability is essential," University of Oxford epidemiologist Klim McPherson wrote in a Lancet commentary following last week's study. But to do that, he suggested, "would entail curtailing many aspects of production and marketing for food industries."

Perhaps, though, the emerging scientific reality should also be made clear, so we can navigate this obesogenic world armed with the stark truth — that we are held hostage to our biology, which is adapted to gain weight, an old evolutionary advantage that has become a dangerous metabolic liability.

Carolina Monroe Written by: Carolina
Way To Be Healthy Updated at: 2:52 AM

Friday, June 6, 2014

How Can Oatmeal Help You to Lose Weight?

Oatmeal is a versatile hot cereal that can help you lose weight and stay healthy. Rolled oats, steel-cut oats and instant oats all provide health benefits, and eating oatmeal for breakfast is the best way to include it in a weight-loss regimen. Oatmeal fills you up, gives you energy and provides essential nutrients.


When you eat oatmeal it's likely that you are eating it for breakfast. Starting the day with a healthful breakfast fills you up, making it easier to avoid high-fat and sugar laden snacks later in the day. The energy you get from eating breakfast boosts your metabolism and can make you more physically active during the day and better able to burn more calories. As a whole grain, oatmeal is one of the healthiest choices you can make for breakfast. It is full of fiber and nutrients and helps reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.


By itself, oatmeal is low in fat and fairly low in calories. A typical serving of one-half cup of uncooked rolled oats contains 150 calories and 3 grams of fat. Only 25 of the calories stem from the fat content. There is 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat per serving. The total fat content represents 5 percent of the recommended daily value for fat. Eating a bowl of oatmeal every day for breakfast makes it easy to stay within your daily calorie needs.


A diet high in fiber aids weight loss. Fiber makes you feel full and helps prevent spikes in blood sugar levels, which can make you hungry. Oats have more soluble fiber than any other whole grain, points out the American Heart Association. This high fiber content makes oats an excellent choice for a high-fiber diet. Each serving made from one-half cup of uncooked oats contains 4 grams of dietary fiber. Half of the fiber in a serving is soluble fiber.


All types of oatmeal are healthful and low-fat, but steel-cut oats are less processed than rolled oats and are believed to retain more nutrients. Packets of instant oatmeal often contain more sugar than oats you cook yourself. Regardless of the type of oatmeal you choose to eat, be careful of what you add to your bowl. Choose skim milk to keep the calories low. Instead of sweetening your oatmeal with sugar, try berries or dried fruit, which also offer additional fiber and nutrients.

Carolina Monroe Written by: Carolina
Way To Be Healthy Updated at: 2:53 AM

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fitness and 'fatness' both matter to the heart

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Losing fitness or packing on fat with age each can be bad for the heart -- but avoiding either one of those fates may protect the ticker, a study published Monday suggests.
U.S. researchers found that of more than 3,100 healthy adults they followed, those who improved -- or simply maintained -- their fitness levels were less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol or other well-established heart disease risk factors.

Similarly, people who maintained their weight had fewer of those red flags than people who became heavier over time.

That may sound logical, but part of what's new in the findings, researchers say, is that changes in fitness and "fatness" each appeared important on their own.

In general, people who kept their fitness levels over time seemed to counter some of the ill effects of weight gain. And dips in fitness levels weren't as bad if a person lost some excess body fat.

The results suggest that protecting heart health is not as hard as some people think, according to lead researcher Duck-chul Lee, of the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

That is, just maintaining your weight and fitness levels as you age may be enough to see benefits.
"If you're overweight, losing weight and improving your fitness may be the best combination," Lee told Reuters Health. "But that's very challenging."

For many people, "maintenance" may be more achievable, Lee said.
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, included 3,148 men and women in the Dallas area who were in their early 40s, on average, at the outset.

Over six years, they developed high blood pressure at a rate of four percent each year, high cholesterol at a rate of three percent per year and so-called metabolic syndrome at a rate of two percent per year. (Metabolic syndrome refers to a collection of risk factors for heart disease -- including high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, abdominal obesity and high blood sugar.)

But people who kept up or improved their fitness levels -- as measured during treadmill tests -- had lower odds of developing those heart risk factors.

Their risks of high blood pressure or high cholesterol were 26 percent to 30 percent lower, versus people whose fitness levels declined. And their risk of metabolic syndrome was 42 percent to 52 percent lower.
Similarly, when people increased their percentage of body fat over time, they were more likely to develop heart risk factors.

For each one percent increase in body fat, the odds of those risk factors climbed anywhere from three percent to eight percent.

But in general, people who gained weight stayed healthier if they kept up their fitness levels. And if overweight people shed some fat, they countered some of the negative effects of waning fitness.
The bottom line, according to Lee, is that people who are active should stay active. Even if you don't see a benefit on your bathroom scale, you'll stay fit.

"If you're already exercising, keep it up, and maybe increase the intensity if you can," Lee said.
If you're sedentary but healthy, he said, you can safely take up moderate exercise like brisk walking. Lee added, though, that people who are obese or have chronic health conditions should talk to their doctors first.
"It's the sedentary people who will get the most benefit from exercise in a short time," Lee said.
He was, however, referring to the benefit of improved fitness. Overweight people often fail to see the pounds fly off when they first start exercising -- possibly because they are hungrier and start eating more.

Don't get discouraged by that, Lee said. You can improve your cardiovascular fitness even without shedding the extra body fat. One way to tell if your fitness is improving, Lee said, is to simply notice how you feel when you go about your normal exercise routine; if it's getting easier, you're getting fitter.
To actually lose weight, diet changes are needed as well.

"Most people will lose weight with exercise," Lee said, "if they also pay attention to the calories they're taking in."


Carolina Monroe Written by: Carolina
Way To Be Healthy Updated at: 4:54 AM

Monday, June 2, 2014

Study Says Short Men Live Longer—But Only if You're Really Short

RESEARCH HAS SHOWN time and again that being tall offers rewards way beyond the satisfaction of dunking a basketball or reaching the highest shelf in the cupboard. You may have read the study, for example, that found that tall people (especially men) earn more money, get more respect, and amass higher status than short people. Or that voters prefer taller presidents over shorter ones; the bigger candidate won 58% of the time between 1789 and 2008. Then there are the pop-cultural references, perhaps best embodied by singer-songwriter Randy Newman's perennially popular 1977 hit song "Short People," with its stinging opening line: "Short people got no reason to live."

Well, society can laugh its big head all it wants at short men, because when it comes to mortality and height, diminutive dudes are living longer than their cocky, taller counterparts.

Led by researchers at the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine, the study analyzed data from two long-term health studies of more than 8,000 Hawaiian men of Japanese ancestry, born between 1900 and 1919. After splitting the study sample into two groups—men 5'2" and shorter, and 5'4" and taller—results showed that "The taller you got, the shorter you lived," lead researcher Dr. Bradley Willcox said in a press release.

Now, before anyone thinks Willcox and his colleagues are just some height-challenged activists, the objective of this study wasn't to scare tall people. Willcox, whose specialty is geriatrics, has been studying a gene called FOXO3. His previous research has shown an association between a variant of FOXO3 and increased longevity in humans.

The current study sought to assess the relationship between height, the longevity-promoting FOXO3 gene variant, and age at death. The new finding—that the shorter a man was the more likely he was to have the longevity-promoting variant of FOXO—brought with it other benefits like insulin regulation, tumor suppression, and DNA repair. "This study shows, for the first time, that body size is linked to this gene," Willcox summed up..

Previous studies had found that the FOXO3 variant was prevalent among Italian and German centenarians. But neither study of these populations looked at height. So it's still possible that height is only a factor among the Japanese-Americans evaluated in the Hawaii study, something the study authors acknowledged.
But there's another factor that might give one pause: Men under 5'2" lived longest, but how many men do you know under 5'2"? Jesus, even Elijah Wood is a towering 5'6"!


Carolina Monroe Written by: Carolina
Way To Be Healthy Updated at: 3:07 AM
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