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For April 24, 2017

  • Cutting Fat Wisely
    Cutting Fat Wisely

    From: Living Better Features

    Quality may matter just as much as quantity when it comes to consuming fats. In fact, diets with a higher percentage of fats -- if they are the right kind -- can actually be better for you than their lower-fat counterparts, according to a recent report issued by the American Heart Association (AHA) and published in the September 14, 1999, issue of the journal Circulation.

    Make sure you include healthful fats in your diet by stocking your kitchen with olive, canola and peanut oils -- examples of monounsaturated fats. The AHA's recommendation is that no more than 30 percent of your calories come from fat. But a diet rich in these monounsaturated fats, according to the September report, can help lower the risk of heart disease -- even if your fat intake somewhat exceeds 30 percent.

    Take a good look, too, at how much of your diet includes saturated fats -- fats that come from animal and dairy sources and some plant oils, such as coconut and palm oils. These can increase your cholesterol level and should be avoided.

    One of the study's authors is Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D. -- a distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State University and a member of the AHA nutrition committee. Her study suggests that a fat intake as high as 35 percent can still be healthy -- but she stresses that this is only true if the fats are monounsaturated.

    The AHA also recommends that saturated and polyunsaturated fats should make up less than 10 percent of your calorie intake, and that monounsaturated fats should make up no more than 15 percent.

    All Fats Are Not Created Equal

    Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) help lower LDL cholesterol, the kind that can build up on arterial walls and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, says Kris-Etherton, even if they make up as much as 35 percent of your calorie intake. But a diet high in saturated and polyunsaturated fats, even if kept within the 30-percent limit, can lower HDL cholesterol -- the kind that helps protect against heart attacks -- and can raise the level of triglycerides, the chemical form of most fat in the body.

    Still, a diet high in MUFA can have drawbacks. "When people start adding olive oil and other rich sources of monounsaturated fats, maybe they'll run the risk of adding too many calories to their diet," Kris-Etherton says. But she adds that a high-MUFA diet may be a good alternative to a diet that severely restricts fat, for people who can maintain a healthy weight while on it.

    "We have to figure out which diet is going to work best for different people," Kris-Etherton says. "It doesn't have to be a low-fat diet for everybody. What is nice about all of this is now we have another option in the prevention and treatment of heart disease."

    Healthy Choices

    No matter how healthy you are, make sure you don't consume too many saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol levels, says Alice Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University and member of the AHA nutrition committee. To decrease saturated fats, buy lean cuts of meat and take advantage of low-fat and nonfat dairy products.

    "It may not be exactly what you want, but you can make the substitution and not feel deprived," Lichtenstein says.

    It's in the Calories

    While Americans have somewhat decreased their saturated fat intake, they have more than made up for the calories in carbohydrate consumption, says Lichtenstein. As a result, the nation is getting heavier, opening the door for health problems such as heart disease and diabetes, which are associated with increased weight.

    Lichtenstein explains that avoiding weight gain means taking every calorie into account, remembering that "fat-free" or "low-fat" does not mean "calorie-free." And keeping track of how many of those calories you expend, rather than just how many you consume, is also important in maintaining a healthy weight.

    "Some people get so focused on fat that they forget total energy intake," Lichtenstein says. She adds that regular exercise, which allows you to eat more without gaining weight, has been shown to reduce a person's risk of heart attack.

    However, these heart-healthy changes shouldn't be viewed as a quick fix. "This type of lifestyle modification isn't like a course of antibiotics," she says. "You don't do it for 10 days and forget about it. It's OK to occasionally skip your morning exercise routine or have prime rib, but this approach has to be for the long term."

    1999 WebMD. All rights reserved.

  • The Overweight Now Rival The Hungry In Number, Study Says
    The Overweight Now Rival The Hungry In Number, Study Says

    January 17, 2000

    NYT Syndicate

    The number of overweight people in the world now rivals the number of hungry, underfed people, a study of global trends reported on Saturday.

    Drawing on research from a number of agencies and institutions, Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organization in Washington, said in its annual study "State of the World 2000" that 1.2 billion people, the largest number ever recorded, are underfed and undernourished.

    But, the report adds, another 1.2 billion people are eating too much or too much of the wrong food and have become "probably the fastest-growing group of the malnourished."

    About 2 billion people in a third category that overlaps with the first two are described as the "hidden hungry"; they may appear to be well fed but are weakened by a shortage of essential vitamins and minerals.

    "We've created a way of life where our level of physical activity has been so reduced that our caloric intake greatly exceeds our caloric expenditure, and that surplus translates into fat," said Lester R. Brown, president of Worldwatch, commenting on the rise in obesity.

    "What's sort of compelling about it is that in this country last year, there were 400,000 liposuction procedures. It shows how out of balance things are," he said.

    The report, published in New York by W.W. Norton, says that the two extremes of hunger and obesity are increasingly found in all societies, poor as well as rich, albeit in differing proportions.

    A 1999 U.N. study found that in China, the percentage of overweight people in the population jumped to 15 percent from 9 percent in three years in the early 1990s. In Brazil and Colombia the percentage of overweight people is reaching a par with several countries of Europe.

    In some developing countries, gaps between the underfed and overfed are growing. India, where obesity is common in pockets of affluence, has the world's largest population of underweight, malnourished children.

    The report notes that poverty, rather than food shortages, is the main underlying cause of hunger. It states that 80 percent of all malnourished children in the Third World in the last decade lived in countries that reported food surpluses.

    The report said that "poorly nourished people are a sign of development gone awry: Prosperity has either bypassed them and left them hungry, or saturated them to the point of self-indulgence."

    Copyright 2000 The New York Times Syndicate.
    All rights reserved.
  • Exercise, eating, and fat loss.
    Exercise, eating, and fat loss.

    Most people who exercise and decrease caloric intake can expect to see decreases in body fat. However, health and fitness professionals are becoming aware that this isn't always the case.

    Research has shown that the body has an internal control mechanism that drives it to maintain a particular level of body fat. The term used to describe this phenomena is "set point."

    The set point mechanism acts much like a thermostat, turning energy expenditure up or down to avoid either weight gain or weight loss. So when you restrict caloric intake, the body attempts to maintain its weight and fat by lowering the metabolic rate. Conversely, the body will lose weight gained in excess of its internally regulated point by increasing metabolism. This may explain why some people have to exercise quite a bit in order not to gain weight.

    Until recently we were told that the most efficient way of manipulating the set-point was by increasing exercise, thereby programming the body to store less fat. Now we know that after a certain amount of time this is no longer true. That internal control mechanism wants to maintain the equilibrium defined by your genes. So, although you can exercise your way to a leaner body than your parents, at a certain point it becomes counter productive.

    Most people who claim to be exercising more and eating less without seeing changes in body composition feel desperate. Consequently, they exercise more and eat less. In fact, the "cure" for a damaged set point is to drop back on your exercise program and increase the nutrient density of your diet. Since this flies in the face of everything you have heard it's a difficult task that can only be managed with daily support and dealing with body image issues that normally cause problems at this stage.

    Stress is another well recognized cause for the inability to decrease body fat despite a physically active lifestyle and low calorie diet. Experts now acknowledge there is a relationship between stress and weight gain. They even suggest that it has to do with the fight or flight mechanism that encourages the body to store fat under stress. However, there is no significant research to explain this phenomena.

    If you are exercising more and eating less and still not able to lose weight, you should seek professional help with a credited dietitian and/or nutritionist.

  • The effect of drugs on the body's ability to burn body fat and glucose.
    The effect of drugs on the body's ability to burn body fat and glucose.

    Most people forget that any medication, or drug, you take affects your entire body. Some medications increase appetite and food cravings, especially for sweet foods. In contrast, other medications reduce appetite and result in weight loss. Drugs alter taste, mood, ability to digest food, ability to burn fat and ability to maintain a normal workout.

    How medications affect nutrients in the body is complicated and poorly understood. For example, some drugs mimic the shape of, and are mistaken for vitamins, so they block any real vitamins from participating in metabolic reactions. Some bind to a nutrient and limit its absorption or, because a drug can reduce the time that food is in the intestine it can limit the absorption time of nutrients.

    Chromium picolinate has generated a lot of interest in the strength building environment because limited research shows that moderate increases in chromium picolinate might maintain or even increase muscle mass while fat is lost. Although chromium is essential in protein and carbohydrate metabolism and thus may participate in muscle growth and function, there is no evidence that these "anabolic" effects are significant. In fact, the study that precipitated interest in this product was conducted on six college male body builders. The study has not been replicated and it's mostly media hype, not research or statistical data that supports the strong sales of this compound that is readily available in diets that are high in green, leafy vegetables.

  • Osteoporosis
    Although most people think of osteoporosis as a disease of older Americans, steps to prevent it should begin early and continue throughout your life. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, a diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D, along with limited alcohol consumption, is part of a healthy lifestyle that can prevent the onset of this disease.

    Calcium is perhaps the most important mineral in building strong bones and preventing osteoporosis. It must be consumed from the diet, because the body does not manufacture it. If you have a calcium deficient diet, your body scavenges for the mineral, stealing it from your bones. Many people understand how important calcium is for children, because their bones are still growing. But calcium is also important for adults; the National Institutes of Health advises adult men to get 1,000 mg. of calcium per day, and 1,500 mg. per day for pre-menopausal women.

    Foods high in calcium include milk and milk products (low-fat and skim milks actually have slightly more calcium than whole milk), cheeses, sardines, salmon, Chinese cabbage, broccoli (especially fresh), soybeans, collards, turnip greens and tofu.

    Calcium absorption and excretion can be affected by what you eat. High caffeine foods, such as coffee, tea and caffeinated sodas, may deplete the body�s stores of calcium, and thus may promote bone loss. Diets high in protein and sodium also increase calcium excretion.

    Along with helping to build strong bones, vitamin D also helps the body absorb calcium. You can get vitamin D in two ways: from exposure to direct sunlight, or through your diet. There are relatively few foods which naturally contain vitamin D. Some good sources are egg yolks, liver and saltwater fish. However, many foods (including milk) are fortified with vitamin D.

    from John Hopkins Health
  • Does Blood Type Affect Diet Choices?
    Does Blood Type Affect Diet Choices?

    December 16, 1999

    The Medical Tribune

    Q: Does a person's blood type indicate the type of diet he or she should follow?

    A: No. You may have heard of a diet based on the idea that blood type indicates whether your genetic ancestors were hunters, farmers or nomads. This in turn tells you whether you should eat meat, chicken, dairy foods, etc. Supposedly, eating appropriately for your blood type helps control weight while preventing cancer and other health problems. Although reports of such a diet may include vague references to someone's "research," no research supporting such claims has appeared in a scientific journal where it could be reviewed by experts.

    Any weight loss that results from such a diet is probably due to the menus prescribed by the diet. These menus often contain calorie levels that are quite low, and many foods are restricted. Most experts agree that long-term weight control is best achieved by unrestricted access to a variety of foods, with emphasis on portion control, nutritional balance and regular exercise.

    As for cancer prevention, a landmark report from the American Institute for Cancer Research concluded that a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans is the best approach.

    Copyright 1999 Medical PressCorps News Service. All rights reserved.


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