Surviving Heart Attack Often Means Leaving Job Behind
Recovering from a heart attack can be a long, painful process, and now a new study finds that almost one-quarter of those patients who returned to work ultimately left their jobs over the following year.
The findings suggest that “even though patients return to work after a heart attack, they may still require individual adjustments at their workplaces in order to stay employed,” said study author Dr. Laerke Smedegaard Petersen. She is a graduate student at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark.
An estimated 676,000 people in the United States survive heart attacks each year, according to the American Heart Association. Many survivors are of working age: The average age of heart attack is 65 for men and 72 for women, the association says.
The new study examined the medical and work records of over 22,000 patients in Denmark who were employed before suffering heart attacks between 1997 and 2012.
Of those, 91 percent returned to work within a year. But within a year of going back to work, 24 percent of the patients had left their jobs. That’s three times the normal rate of leaving a job, the researchers reported. It’s not clear, however, whether the heart attack survivors quit their jobs, or were fired or laid off.
Patients aged 30 to 39 and 60 to 65, and those who had heart failure, diabetes or depression, were especially likely to leave their jobs. Workers with higher incomes and more education were more likely to stay on the job, the findings showed.
Petersen said the percentage of heart attack patients who return to work and then leave their jobs may be even higher in the United States.
“In Denmark, all citizens have equal access to health care and all patients receive treatment free of charge,” she explained.
One U.S. expert said the findings are sobering.
“The study is an important reminder that recovery is often measured in months and years, not just weeks,” said Dr. Harlan Krumholz, director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.
“To understand the impact of a heart attack requires that we fully understand people’s roles and function. We should study how best to help people fully resume their prior activities and have the choice as to whether they want to continue working,” Krumholz explained.
Karina Davidson, executive director of Columbia University’s Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health, said fatigue and an inability to perform manual labor are some of the reasons why heart attack survivors leave their jobs.
“Patients after a heart attack do indeed have a long road to recovery, and cardiac rehabilitation, strong family support and follow-up with their medical care are important components to ensure the best recovery possible,” she said. “Returning to work full-time will be realistic for some patients, but not for all.”
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr C Carney
Risk of Stroke with Nexium, Prilosec, Other Heart Burn Drugs Seen in New Study
The findings of new research raise additional concerns about the potential side effects of Nexium, Prilosec and other heart burn drugs, suggesting that certain users of the popular medications may face an increased risk of stroke.
According to preliminary findings of a study presented this week at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016, researchers from the Danish Heart Foundation indicate that the overall stroke risk with Nexium, Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors (PPI) increased 21%, especially among users of higher doses, which is a strong indicator that the drugs are likely causing the strokes.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a class of heartburn medications used by millions of Americans, including blockbuster brands like Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Dexilant, AcipHex and others, many of which have over-the-counter versions available without a prescription.
Although most users assume the drugs carry few serious side effects, often continuing to use Nexium or other PPIs for years, without any attempt to discontinue the drugs, the medications have been linked to a number of possible health risks in recent years, including heart attacks, dementia, kidney disease and kidney failure. However, some experts suggest that the link between Nexium and strokes may be most worrying, if confirmed.
“At one time, PPIs were thought to be safe, without major side effects,” Dr. Thomas Sehested, the study’s lead author, said in an American Heart Association press release. “This study further questions the cardiovascular safety of these drugs.”
The study, which has not yet been completed or peer-reviewed, looked at the records of nearly 250,000 Danish patients, with an average age of 57, who underwent an endoscopy procedure to seek out causes of stomach problems. Nearly 9,500 of those patients suffered an ischemic stroke during the six year follow up period of the study. The researchers looked to see which of those patients were taking either Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, or Prevacid.
Researchers found that the overall stroke risk with Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix and Prevacid increased by 21% for patients taking the drugs. The risk increased at higher doses for some, with high doses of Prevacid increasing the risk of stroke to 30%, and high doses of Protonix carrying the most risk of stroke with a 94% increased risk.
The study also looked at another class of heartburn drugs, known as H2 blockers, which includes Pepcid and Zantac. However, no increased risk of stroke was seen with those other drugs.
The researchers said their findings should inspire doctors to be more cautious in prescribing PPIs, and suggested that they should carefully consider if a PPI prescription is necessary and for how long to keep the patient on the drugs.
Other Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, and Protonix Health Risks
Over the past year, a growing number of Nexium lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits ,Prevacid lawsuits, Protonix lawsuits, Dexilant lawsuits and other claims have been brought against the makers of proton pump inhibitors, alleging that users and the medical community were not adequately warned about the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.
The litigation has emerged over the past year, after a series of independent studies suggested there is a link between Nexium and kidney risks, including acute interstitial nephritis, acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney failure. This has raised questions in recent months about whether the drugs may be overused.
Earlier this year, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine also found an increased risk of chronic kidney disease with the heartburn medications, indicating that users of Nexium, Prilosec and other PPI may be 50% more likely when compared to non-users.
In 2014, a study published by researchers from the University of Findlay College of Pharmacy noted that not only was overuse and abuse of heartburn drugs widespread, but many who take the drugs do so for longer than four years. The study noted that this increases the risk of any side effects associated with the drugs, but it also has a large economic impact as well.
Plaintiffs claim that drug makers placed their desire for profits before consumer’s safety by withholding important safety information, alleging that if warnings had been provided about the risk of acute interstitial nephritis, kidney injury, kidney disease and kidney failure, many individuals may have been able to avoid these severe and potentially life-threatening injuries.
Given the large number of users throughout the United States, it is expected that thousands of cases may be filed in the coming months as heartburn drug injury lawyers continue to review and file cases.
We here at Health and Wellness Associates have mentioned this many times over the past few years. Luckily, we have helped many of you get off these drugs safely. If you are on any of these medications and you wish help in getting off them, please call us, or write to us, and we will be happy to get back with you.
Please share with family and loved ones.
Health and Wellness Associates
Director of Personal Healthcare and Preventative Medicine
How Drinking Alcohol Every Day Affects Your Health
Having one drink each day could put your heart at risk for abnormalities for the rest of your life.
Having an occasional happy hour drink or celebratory toast doesn’t typically increase your risk of disease. In fact, having a glass of wine throughout the week has been found to improve your heart health. But if having a drink turn into an everyday habit, a team of researchers at the American Heart Association warn it could drastically increase your risk of irregular heartbeats and blood flow.
For the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers recruited 5,220 American participants of the average age of 56. For six years, each participant underwent electrocardiograms (EKG), which is a way to measure the electrical activity of the heart in order to reveal any abnormalities. In addition, researchers surveyed participants to find out how much alcohol they consumed on a regular basis. Those who drank habitually every day – even if it was just one drink – were at the highest risk for atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that causes irregular beats and failure to pump blood properly.
“Our study provides the first human evidence of why daily, long-term alcohol consumption may lead to the development of this very common heart rhythm disturbance,” said the study’s senior author Dr. Gregory Marcus, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, in a statement. “We were somewhat surprised that a relatively small amount of alcohol was associated with a larger left atrium and subsequent atrial fibrillation.”
For every one drink a person had each day, not only did it increase their risk of developing atrial fibrillation by 5 percent, it also meant they were up to 75 percent more likely to have a larger heart chamber (left atrium). Living with these heart abnormalities greatly increases the risk of other conditions, such as high blood pressure, stroke, and abnormal heartbeats. Ultimately, this doubles a person’s risk of succumbing to a heart-related death. While alcohol’s effect on the heart is still not completely clear, researchers plan to continue exploring the link in order to reduce the risk of heart abnormalities.
“It’s not one size fits all when it comes to the effects of alcohol and heart health,” Marcus said. “Our hope is that by understanding the mechanistic relationship between alcohol and atrial fibrillation we might learn something inherent to atrial fibrillation in general that could help identify new ways of understanding and treating the disease.”
Health and Wellness Associates
Cut Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke in Half
This is heart healthy month!
Research reveals you can cut your risk of heart attacks and strokes in half within one week, just by lowering your risk of blood clots! If you have already had one heart attack or stroke, then you know that you are 75% greater chance of having another.
A few simple steps will give you almost immediate protection!
Ginger Helps Thin Your Blood
Adding ½ tsp of this flavorful spice to your daily diet can lower your risk of forming an unnecessary clot in as little as seven days. To make iced lemon ginger tea, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, turn off the heat. Add 3 tbs, lemon juice and ¼ cup grated ginger root. Steep 20 minutes, strain into a pitcher. Add honey or other sweetener (not white sugar) to taste.
Smiling stamps out harmful stress
The more often you smile, the less likely you are to ever develop clots. In fact, simply putting on a more upbeat expression on a regular basis helped many people cut their clots risk by 27%. Smiling calms your central nervous system, reducing your output of cortisol, a stress hormone that makes blood cells more likely to clump. Do you have more weight and inches around the middle of your abdomen than other places, then you have a lot of cortisol in your body?
Oatmeal offers hours of protection
Having one cup and only one cup of steel oats for breakfast could lower your risk of a blood clot for up to four hours. Oatmeal is rich in compounds that stop blood cells from clumping together and sticking to artery walls. One cup of steel oats, one or two eggs, and a bowl of berries works well together.
Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure
Keeping your blood pressure under control helps protect artery walls from the damage that can lead to clots. Drinking 4 ounces of beet juice daily can lower your blood pressure 10 points for 24 hours. Find beet juice in most health food stores, and not powder form. If the taste is too strong, mix it with another juice or a can or diet Canada Dry Ginger Ale. It is the only drink that contains citrate that cleans out your liver. Has to be their diet, and has to be Canada Dry.
Citrus zest keeps blood vessels young.
Zest, the colorful outer skin of citrus fruits. It is natures number on source of hesperidin, a plant compound that could cut your risk of a stroke, or heart attack triggering clot as much as 29%. Similar to L-arginine, but after 90 days L-arginine will actually hurt your blood vessels then help them.
Contact us for your Personalized Health Care Plan
Everyone is different!
Health and Wellness Associates
Can a Handful of Walnuts Keep the Doctor Away?
One of the basic tenets of optimal health is to eat real food. Nuts certainly fit into this category and, as a bonus, are a convenient, ready-to-eat snack that you can carry in a purse or backpack or stash in a desk drawer at work.
Two of my favorite nuts are macadamias and pecans, in large part because they’re high in healthy fats but relatively low in carbohydrates and protein, which most Americans consume in excess.
However, you really can’t go wrong when eating a variety of nuts, assuming you eat them in moderation. Walnuts are another top choice that have been making headlines due to their numerous beneficial effects on health.
Daily Walnuts May Improve Overall Diet Quality
Researchers from the Yale University Prevention Research Center and colleagues had more than 100 study participants add two ounces of walnuts to their diets daily.1
The participants ate the walnuts for six months then removed the daily walnuts for another six months. Half of each group also received counseling about healthy nutrition, including how to offset the additional calories consumed by eating walnuts.
Several interesting results were found from this one simple dietary change.
For starters, the participants, who were at increased risk of developing diabetes because they were either overweight or had elevated blood sugar or blood pressure levels, had improvements in blood vessel wall (epithelial) function, and lower levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
Improvements were also seen in other heart variables, such as blood pressure and body fat, but similar improvements were also seen in the group excluding almonds, which means the walnuts may not have been responsible for the heart benefits.
What was remarkable, however, was a significant boost in diet quality among the participants eating walnuts. And despite the added walnuts, none of the participants gained weight. David L. Katz, founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, told Forbes:2
“Our primary outcome was diet quality, and that differed significantly between walnuts-added and walnuts-excluded … The implication of that is that (a) walnuts displace less nutritious foods when added to the daily diet; and (b) the net effect is a significant improvement in overall diet quality.
… The take-away here is: eat walnuts routinely, improve your overall diet quality – and apparently, without risk of weight gain … That is because though high in calories, walnuts are very satiating. That high ratio of satiety-to-calories makes them helpful in appetite control.”
Eating Walnuts May Lower Your Risk of Heart-Related Death
Walnuts contain the amino-acid l-arginine, which offers multiple vascular benefits to people with heart disease, or those who have increased risk for heart disease due to multiple cardiac risk factors.
Walnuts also contain the plant-based omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is anti-inflammatory. Research shows that people who eat a diet high in ALA are less likely to have a fatal heart attack and have a nearly 50 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death.3
Eating just four walnuts a day has been shown to significantly raise blood levels of heart-healthy ALA,4 and walnut consumption supports healthy cholesterol levels.
Separate research showed that eating just one ounce of walnuts a day may decrease cardiovascular risk,5 and among those at high cardiovascular risk, increased frequency of nut consumption significantly lowers the risk of death.6
Previous research by Katz and colleagues also revealed that eating about two ounces of walnuts daily improved endothelial function in overweight adults with visceral fat without leading to weight gain.7 Endothelial dysfunction (affecting the inner lining of blood vessels) is associated with cardiovascular events.
Walnuts Have the Highest Level of Antioxidants of All Nuts
Antioxidants are crucial to your health, as they are believed to help control how fast you age by reducing free radicals, which are at the heart of age-related deterioration.
Walnuts contain several unique and powerful antioxidants that are available in only a few commonly eaten foods. This includes the quinone juglone, the tannin tellimagrandin, and the flavonol morin.8
Walnuts contain antioxidants that are so powerful at free-radical scavenging that researchers called them “remarkable,”9 and research has shown that walnut polyphenols may help prevent chemically-induced liver damage.10
One study also found that consuming high-antioxidant foods like walnuts “can decrease the enhanced vulnerability to oxidative stress that occurs in aging,” “increase health span,” and also “enhance cognitive and motor function in aging.”11
In another study, researchers found that nuts, especially walnuts, have potent antioxidant powers. Walnut polyphenols had the best efficacy among the nuts tested and also the highest lipoprotein-bound antioxidant activity.
The researchers concluded:12
“Nuts are high in polyphenol antioxidants which by binding to lipoproteins would inhibit oxidative processes that lead to atherosclerosis in vivo. In human supplementation studies nuts have been shown to improve the lipid profile, increase endothelial function and reduce inflammation, all without causing weight gain.”
Lead researcher Professor Joseph Vinson, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry at The University of Scranton, continued, “A handful of walnuts has almost twice the antioxidant content as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut.”13
The outermost layer of a shelled walnut – the whitish, flaky (or sometimes waxy) part – has a bitter flavor, but resist the urge to remove it. It’s thought that up to 90 percent of the antioxidants in walnuts are found in the skin, making it one of the healthiest parts to consume.14
Walnuts May Fight Chronic Diseases Like Diabetes and Cancer
When you add real foods to your diet, you’re adding in a multitude of beneficial compounds, from healthy fats to antioxidants. As such, you’ll find they tend to benefit your health in multiple ways as well. This is certainly the case with walnuts. In addition to potentially boosting your heart health, the beneficial dietary fat in walnuts has been shown to benefit metabolic parameters in people with type 2 diabetes.
Overweight adults with type 2 diabetes who ate one-quarter cup of walnuts daily had significant reductions in fasting insulin levels compared to those who did not, and the benefit was achieved in the first three months.15
Walnuts may even help reduce not only the risk of prostate cancer, but breast cancer as well. In one study, mice that ate the human equivalent of 2.4 ounces of whole walnuts for 18 weeks had significantly smaller and slower-growing prostate tumors compared to the control group that consumed the same amount of fat but from other sources.
Overall, the whole walnuts diet reduced prostate cancer growth by 30 to 40 percent. According to another study on mice, the human equivalent of just two handfuls of walnuts a day cut breast cancer risk in half and slowed tumor growth by 50 percent as well.16
Walnuts may even impact male fertility. Among men who consume a Western-style diet, adding 75 grams (a bit over one-half cup) of walnuts daily significantly improved sperm quality, including vitality, motility, and morphology.17
Weight Gain Typically Not an Issue
Several of the studies already featured noted that participants added walnuts to their diets daily but didn’t gain any weight as a result. Taking this a step further, walnuts may even help you to lose weight as long as you don’t overeat them.
In one review of 31 trials, those whose diets included extra nuts or nuts substituted for other foods lost about 1.4 extra pounds and half an inch from their waists.18 Eating walnuts is also associated with increased satiety after just three days.19Research presented at the 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition also highlighted nuts’ role in helping to reduce your risk of obesity. As reported in the Epoch Times:20
“[Purdue University’s Professor of Foods and Nutrition Dr. Richard] Mattes claims that nuts can actually suppress both the appetite and the brain’s desire for food, which can lead people to overeat even when they’re full.
Plus they’re energy-packed, which can impact the way your body adjusts your intake of calories throughout the day. Mattes suggested that a 100-calorie serving of nuts in the morning could decrease your calorie consumption by as much as 75 calories later in the day. This could be due to the filling nature of nuts, but more research is needed on this particular point.”
Raw and Organic Nuts Are Best
You can’t really go wrong when choosing nuts to eat, as long as you pay attention to quality (and by nuts I’m referring to tree nuts, not peanuts, which are technically legumes that I don’t recommend eating). Walnuts are highly perishable and their healthful fats easily damaged.
If you’re purchasing shelled walnuts in bulk, avoid those that appear shriveled or smell rancid, or that you cannot verify are fresh. Walnuts should be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator or freezer, whether they are shelled or un-shelled.
Phytic acid, which is found in the coatings of nuts and seeds, is an “anti-nutrient” responsible for leeching vital nutrients from your body. Soaking nuts will help to get rid of the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, which can interfere with the function of your own digestive and metabolic enzymes, in the nuts.
To make them more palatable you can use a dehydrator to improve the texture. Enzyme inhibitors in nuts (and seeds) help protect the nut as it grows, helping to decrease enzyme activity and prevent premature sprouting.
When nuts are soaked, the germination process begins, allowing the enzyme inhibitors to be deactivated, and increasing the nutrition of the nut significantly, as well as making them much easier to digest. One exception is with macadamia nuts (and other white nuts), which have only negligible amounts of enzyme inhibitors, so soaking is not as necessary. If you prefer to eat nuts and seeds roasted, do so yourself so you can control the roasting temperature and time.
Walnuts Should Be Eaten in Moderation
Most Americans consume three to five times more protein than they need, along with excessive starchy carbs and not enough healthy fats. Excess dietary protein can lead to elevated blood sugar, weight gain, kidney stress, leaching of bone minerals, and stimulation of cancer cells, and it’s easy to overdo it if you eat a few handfuls of high-protein nuts. A more ideal protein intake is likely around one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, which for most is 40 to 70 grams a day.
This is why my favorite nuts are those that are lowest in protein and highest in fat, including macadamia nuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts. The following list shows the nutrition facts in grams per one ounce for your most common tree nuts (one ounce of nuts equates to just over 28 grams, or about a small handful):21 If you’re a fan of walnuts, you can see they fall into the mid-range as far as protein and carbs are concerned. So feel free to eat them, even daily if you like, but do so in moderation.
Numbers are grams per ounce
Please feel free to share with family and friends, and as always check with your healthcare provider or make an appointment with us to see if this is best for your personal needs.
Health and Wellness Associates
According to soda companies like Coca-Cola, sugary beverages can be safely enjoyed as part of a “balanced” diet and lifestyle. But what kind of “balance” are they really talking about?
In essence, the “balance” referred to here is a balance between poison and nutrition. The idea they’re promoting is that if you eat a healthy diet, you can safely indulge in a little bit of poison every now and then.
This is the only balance they can refer to, because when it comes to real foods and pure water — which is the only beverage your body cannot live without — maintaining balance is not really an issue.
When you eat real food, it is beneficial and you don’t need to concern yourself with adverse effects like obesity and diabetes.
Even a Little Junk Food Adversely Impacts Health
Food either supports health, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, it shouldn’t be construed as an acceptable part of a healthy diet. It should be accurately portrayed as a junk food to be consumed as little as possible, if ever.
The idea that junk food can be safely enjoyed in moderation was recently demolished yet again with the publication of a study1,2,3 showing that eating just one junk food treat per day for one month is enough to trigger metabolic syndrome in healthy people.
The treats, which provided an additional 1,300 calories per day, included an assortment of candy bars and pastries.
In people already diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, which includes symptoms such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and elevated blood sugar levels, indulging in one milkshake per day for one month exacerbated their condition.
Metabolic syndrome in turn can have deadly consequences, raising your risk for diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. As noted by co-author Suzan Wopereis:
“Acute affects of diet are mostly small, but may have large consequences in the long run.
Our novel approach allows detection of small but relevant effects, thereby contributing to the urgently needed switch from disease-care to healthcare, aiming for a life-long optimal health and disease prevention.'”
Snack Ads Dominate While Cost of Severe Obesity Now Tops $8 Billion
Medicaid spends $8 billion per year on severe obesity4 — an expense that is entirely avoidable. Obesity may also be a contributing factor to increased use of prescription drugs in the US.
Harvard researchers warn that 59 percent of American adults now use at least one prescription drug5 — a 50 percent increase from a decade ago. More people are also taking multiple drugs, which increases the risk of adverse drug interactions.
About 15 percent of adults now take more than five drugs, and the researchers suggest this rise in drug use may be related to an increase in obesity.
To prevent obesity though, people need to be told the truth about nutrition and processed foods. The food industry must be held accountable for its lies, and junk food advertising for kids needs to be minimized or abolished.
According to a recent report, 40 percent of the ads kids see on television are for sugary snacks, and research6 shows these early impressions can significantly shape their future food habits.
Since 2010, snack ads have increased by 18 percent. In 2014, preschoolers saw an average of 582 snack ads on TV, kids aged 6 to 11 saw 629 snack ads, an increase of 10 percent since 2010, and teens saw 635 snack ads, an increase of 29 percent.
Food companies are also targeting certain ethnic groups to a greater extent than others. As reported by CNN:7
“Marketing of savory snacks to black and Hispanic youth shot up 551 percent, whereas yogurt ads dropped 93 percent between 2010 and 2014. Black children saw 64 percent more snack food ads on TV than white children, and 129 percent more ads for savory snacks.”
Adults are also seeing more ads for junk food. In 2014, adults saw 793 snack ads, a 32 percent increase since 2010. Millions of junk food ads were also placed on YouTube and Facebook in 2014.
Soda Linked to Increased Risk for Heart Failure
Swedish researchers are also warning that soda consumption may raise your risk for heart failure. The study8,9 included 42,000 men (aged 45 to 79) who were followed for nearly 12 years. Men who drank two or more glasses of soda or other sweetened beverages per day had a 23 percent greater risk of developing heart failure than those who avoided these types of drinks.
While the study cannot prove causation, lead author Susanna Larsson told Reuters10 that: “The take-home message is that people who regularly drink sweetened beverages should consider reducing their consumption.”
Cutting Sugar Can Quickly Improve Your and Your Child’s Health
Another recent and widely publicized study demonstrates just how quickly your health can improve simply by cutting out added sugars. The research11,12,13,14 was led by Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist who has long argued that added sugar is toxic when consumed in too-high amounts.
By replacing refined sugars and processed fructose with starches, obese children saw significant improvements in biomarkers associated with health in just 10 days, even though their overall calorie intake and the overall percentage of carbohydrates remained the same.
The study reduced the amount of added sugars from an average of 27 percent of daily calories down to about 10 percent, which is in line with the most recent recommendations by the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, issued in February.
“Every aspect of their metabolic health got better, with no change in calories. This study definitively shows that sugar is metabolically harmful not because of its calories or its effects on weight. Rather, sugar is metabolically harmful because it’s sugar.”
On average, the children (aged eight to 18) saw the following improvements in their lab work and disease markers after this short intervention:
LDL cholesterol fell by 10 points
Diastolic blood pressure fell five points
Triglycerides were reduced by 33 points
Fasting blood sugar dropped by 53 percent
Insulin levels also significantly improved
Refined and Processed Sugars Are Different from Sugars Found in Whole Foods
From a health standpoint, the children were not placed on an ideal diet — they were fed hot dogs and baked potato chips for example, but this was done specifically to demonstrate the impact of added sugars on metabolic health.
Refined sugar and processed fructose such as high-fructose corn syrup is FAR more harmful than glucose and other sugars found in whole foods. Even fructose in whole fruit is less harmful than processed high-fructose corn syrup due to the presence of fiber in the fruit.
Soda Politics and the Energy Balance Scam
The video above was produced by the Global Energy Balance Network, a front group secretly funded by Coca-Cola.16,17,18,19,20 The chief aim of this group appears to be to confuse consumers about soda science, and divert attention away from the mounting evidence showing that sweet beverages are a major contributor to obesity and diseases associated with insulin resistance, such as diabetes.
As reported by The New York Times,21 which exposed the ties between Coca-Cola and the Global Energy Balance Network back in August of this year:
“Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new ‘science-based’ solution to the obesity crisis: to maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise, and worry less about cutting calories. The beverage giant has teamed up with influential scientists who are advancing this message in medical journals, at conferences and through social media…
‘Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks, and so on,’ the group’s vice president, Steven N. Blair, an exercise scientist, says in a recent video announcing the new organization. ‘And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.'”
To claim that evidence is lacking is beyond ludicrous, and in support of the New York Times’ exposé, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) wrote a Letter to the editor22 signed by 36 leading researchers, scientists, and public health officials, noting that Coca-Cola is blatantly ignoring the “well-documented evidence that sugary drinks are a major contributor to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.”
My recent interview with Marion Nestle about her new book, Soda Politics, goes into extensive details on how the soda industry manipulates and distorts the truth on this issue to protect their business.
Food Companies Should Stop Fighting the Obvious, Obesity Expert Says
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed adding “added sugar” to the Nutrition Facts panel on processed foods, set at 10 percent of total energy intake for a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet. The total amount of added sugar would also be listed in grams. With few exceptions, food companies are aggressively opposed to the proposal, claiming it will only add confusion,23 as they believe all sugar calories are metabolically identical.
In an article24 titled “Food Companies Should Stop Fighting the Obvious: Sugar is Ruining Our Health,” Dr. Lustig blasts the food industry’s outdated view that all calories are created equal, and that there’s insufficient evidence demonstrating that added sugars are different from sugars found in whole foods.
He also notes that U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala) has even introduced a House bill that would restrict federal nutritional guidelines to those backed by “robust scientific evidence” only. This means any nutritional guideline would have to be proven through randomized controlled trials.
“The problem is that clinical nutritional data almost never reach robust proof, because you can’t change the diets of people for 50 years to see if they develop more diabetes or heart disease; it’s expensive, unethical, and unlawful,” Dr. Lustig writes. “Scientists have shown that adding extra sugar to people’s diets worsens cardiometabolic risk factors, such as high triglycerides, blood pressure, glucose and insulin levels, or low HDL — all components of what is called ‘metabolic syndrome.'”
Dr. Lustig goes on to discuss the findings of his latest study, in which biomarkers for health were significantly improved in obese children in just 10 days by trading added sugars for starches. Both are carbohydrates, but his short-term experiment clearly shows that all calories are NOT created equal when it comes to their health effects. As noted by Dr. Lustig:
“Our study… establishes a direct relationship between added sugar and these chronic diseases, unrelated to its calories or its effects on weight… [E]very aspect of their metabolic health improved… all without changing the children’s calorie intake or weight and without exercise.
We simply substituted starch for sugar in their processed food and watched their health improve. This is not correlation. It’s causation — the most robust evidence of all… To turn our epidemic of metabolic syndrome around, the food industry must reduce the sugar it surreptitiously adds to processed foods… Science should drive policy, but the politics get in the way.
And politics is based on money. The food industry nets about $450 billion per year, yet America wastes at least $830 billion per year caring for diseases linked to metabolic syndrome… This is unsustainable, and a major reason why Medicare and Social Security will be broke by 2030. The USDA must do the right thing and curb Americans’ consumption of added sugar, rather than kowtowing to the processed-food industry.”
Are You Eating Too Much Sugar?
The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend limiting your daily added sugar intake to 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men and 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women. The average American, however, consumes around 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day, and this is quite clearly far too much for your body to handle. A meta-review25 published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that once you reach 18 percent of your daily calories from added sugar, there’s a two-fold increase in metabolic harm that promotes pre-diabetes and diabetes.
I strongly recommend limiting your daily fructose intake to 25 grams or less from all sources, including natural sources such as fruit — regardless of whether you’re male or female. That equates to just over 6 teaspoons of total sugar a day. If you’re insulin resistant, which applies to about 80 percent of Americans, you’d be wise to limit your total fructose to 15 grams per day until your insulin resistance is resolved.
You don’t have to become another disease statistic… The power to get healthy really is in your hands, and one of the most powerful strategies to improve your health is to cut down (or eliminate) refined sugar and processed fructose (corn syrup). A good place to start would be to cut down on soda and juice if you’re currently drinking it on a regular basis, until you get to zero. Then, start working on trading out processed foods for whole foods. It’s not rocket science to figure out what a healthy diet is. In short, it’s REAL FOOD — food in its unadulterated state, or as minimally processed as possible.
The following chart will provide a few more clarifying details:
Foods that promote weight gain
Processed foods of all kinds Whole, unadulterated (ideally organic) vegetables, fruits, and berries
Added sweeteners, regardless of whether they have calories or not. This includes all forms of added sugars, especially processed fructose (such as high-fructose corn syrup), but also artificial sweeteners, which confuse your metabolism and trick your body into storing fat Unprocessed, unpasteurized traditionally cultured and fermented foods, such as kefir, kambucha, natto, kimchee, and fermented vegetables of all kinds
Meats from confined animal feeding operations, as they’re typically fed genetically engineered grains contaminated with glyphosate instead of plain grass, plus antibiotics and other growth promoters to fatten up the animals as quickly as possible.
Farmed fish are also fed an inappropriate diet that reduces their nutritional quality
Foods that promote healthy weight
Organically-raised grass-fed meats, pastured chicken, and wild-caught fish that are low in contaminants
Processed grains of all kinds, including organic ones, as they all break down into sugar in your body. Unless organic, grains may also be contaminated with glyphosate even if they’re not genetically engineered. Such is the case with most conventional wheat for example Fresh sprouts, which can be easily grown at home. A wide variety of seeds can be sprouted, which maximizes their nutritional value.
For example, once sunflower seeds are sprouted, their protein, vitamin, and mineral content will typically provide you with 30 times the nutrient content of organic vegetables
Trans fats, found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, such as margarine, canola, corn, and soy oils Healthy fats, including organically-raised grass-fed meats, fatty fish like wild caught salmon, coconut oil, olives and olive oil,26 avocado, raw nuts,27 organic pastured egg yolks, and butter made from raw grass-fed milk.
For cooking, tallow and lard are ideal. Since they’re saturated fats, they do not oxidize when heated. And, since saturated fats do not have double bonds that can react with oxygen, they also cannot form dangerous aldehydes or other toxic oxidation products.
Coconut oil is another healthy option, as it too resists oxidation when heated.
Health and Wellness Associates
Regular sauna sessions decrease risk of deadly heart disease by over half
Regular visits to the sauna may cut a person’s risk of death dramatically, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland at Kuopio and published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Middle-aged men who visited the sauna most frequently were 40 percent less likely to die from all causes during a 10-year period than men who went least often. Spending longer in the sauna on each visit also decreased the risk of death, with the greatest benefit coming from visits of 20 minutes or more.
Hot, dry saunas
The study was conducted in eastern Finland, which has a longstanding tradition of sauna use. The traditional Finish sauna is hot – 80 to 100 degrees Celsius – but dry, with only 10 to 20 percent humidity.
The research was conducted on 2,315 men between the ages of 42 and 60. The mean age was 53 and the average BMI was 26.9. At the start of the study, participants filled out questionnaires to help researchers assess cardiovascular risk factors such as activity level, alcohol consumption, blood pressure, smoking and socioeconomic status. Participants also reported on medication use and on any chronic diseases, which were confirmed by a doctor. The researchers directly measured participants’ blood pressure, body mass index, and cholesterol, and also took measures of their heart and lung fitness.
The researchers then looked at how many men died, in 10 years of follow-up, from cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, sudden cardiac arrest, and all causes. Deaths were confirmed with medical records.
Deaths from other causes were not analyzed separately, including some causes with a cardiovascular component such as cancer, burst aortic aneurysm, cardiac tamponade or pulmonary embolism. Men who died within five years of the study’s start were also excluded.
Reason for benefit still unknown
The researchers found that compared with those who went to the sauna only once a week or less, those who went two to three times per week were 24 percent less likely to die from all causes, 22 percent less likely from sudden cardiac death, 23 percent less likely from coronary heart disease and 27 percent less likely from cardiovascular disease.
The risk reductions among those who made four to seven visits per week were dramatically higher: 40 percent (all causes), 66 percent (sudden cardiac death), 48 percent (coronary heart disease) and 50 percent (cardiovascular disease).
Length of sauna visit also had a striking impact. Compared with those with an average visit shorter than 11 minutes, those whose visits were 11 to 19 minutes long were 7 percent less likely to die from sudden cardiac death. Spending more than 19 minutes per visit reduced sudden cardiac death risk by a whopping 52 percent. Similar benefits were seen for death from cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.
Length of sauna visit had no impact on all cause mortality.
All effects remained after controlling for other risk factors. The effect seemed strongest, however, among nonsmokers, people with type 2 diabetes and those with poor cardiorespiratory fitness.
“Although we do not know why the men who took saunas more frequently had greater longevity (whether it is the time spent in the hot room, the relaxation time, the leisure of a life that allows for more relaxation time, or the camaraderie of the sauna), clearly time spent in the sauna is time well spent,” said journal editor in chief Rita Redberg, of the University of California-San Francisco, in an accompanying editorial.
“Often I have advised a patient who was considering an unnecessary test, such as a coronary artery calcium test or carotid ultrasonography from a mobile van, to forgo that test and instead spend the money on something that he or she would actually enjoy, such as a massage or spa treatment.”
Please share with your family and friends
Health and Wellness Associates
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Free Range Eggs
Organic pasture-raised eggs are a great source of proteins, which are essential to the building, maintenance and repair of your body tissues such as your skin, internal organs and muscles. They are also the major components of your immune system and hormones. Pasture-raised eggs also contain healthful saturated fats and cholesterol—both of which your body actually needs for optimal
The definitions of “free-range” are such that the commercial egg industry can run industrial farm egg laying facilities and still call them “free-range” eggs, despite the fact that the birds’ foraging conditions are far from what you’d call natural.
True free-range eggs are from hens that roam freely outdoors on a pasture where they can forage for their natural diet, which includes seeds, green plants, insects, and worms.
Large commercial egg facilities typically house tens of thousands of hens and can even go up to hundreds of thousands of hens.
Obviously they cannot allow all of them to forage freely.
These confined animal feeding operations, also known as CAFO’s, are where the vast majority of commercially available eggs come from.
But while flimsy definitions of “free range” allow such facilities to sell their products as free range, please beware that a hen that is let outside into a barren lot for mere minutes a day, and is fed a diet of corn, soy, cottonseed meals and synthetic additives is NOT a free-range hen, and simply will not produce the same quality eggs as its foraging counterpart…
Free Range Eggs are More Nutritious
Mother Earth News’ 2007 egg testing project clearly demonstrated the nutritional differences between eggs from free-range pastured hens and commercially farmed hens. This difference is not an occasional fluke—it’s the natural and inevitable result of the diet of the hen laying the egg. Compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
1/3 less cholesterol 2/3 more vitamin A 3 times more vitamin E
1/4 less saturated fat 2 times more omega-3 fats 7 times more beta carotene
Where and How to Find High Quality Free Range Eggs
Your best source for fresh eggs is a local farmer that allows his hens to forage freely outdoors. If you live in an urban area, visiting a local health food store is typically the quickest route to finding high-quality local egg sources. Your local farmers market is another source for fresh free range eggs, and is a great way to meet the people who produce your food. With face-to-face contact, you can get your questions answered and know exactly what you’re buying. Better yet, visit the farm and ask for a tour. Most will be eager to show off their operation, as long as they’ve got nothing to hide. Your egg farmer should be paying attention to proper nutrition, clean water, adequate housing space, and good ventilation to reduce stress on the hens and support their immunity.
Cornucopia.org offers a helpful organic egg scorecard that rates egg manufacturers based on 22 criteria that are important for organic consumers. According to Cornucopia, their report “showcases ethical family farms, and their brands, and exposes factory farm producers and brands in grocery store coolers that threaten to take over organic livestock agriculture.”
Besides that, you can tell the eggs are free range by the color of the egg yolk. Foraged hens produce eggs with bright orange yolks. Dull, pale yellow yolks are a sure sign you’re getting eggs form caged hens that are not allowed to forage for their natural diet.
How to Eat Your Eggs for Maximum Health Benefits
The CDC and other public health organizations will advise you to thoroughly cook your eggs to lower the risk of salmonella, but eating eggs RAW is actually the best in terms of your health. While this may sound like a scary proposition for many, it’s important to realize that salmonella risk comes from chickens raised in unsanitary conditions. These conditions are the norm for CAFO’s, but are extremely rare for small organic farms. In fact, one study by the British government found that 23 percent of farms with caged hens tested positive for salmonella, compared to just over 4 percent in organic flocks and 6.5 percent in free-range flocks.
So, as long as you’re getting fresh pastured eggs, your risk of getting ill from a raw egg is quite slim. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, of the 69 billion eggs produced annually in the United States, some 2.3 million are contaminated with Salmonella—equivalent to just one in every 30,000 eggsi.
While eggs are often one of your most allergenic foods, I believe this is because they are typically cooked too much. Heating the egg protein actually changes its chemical shape, and this distortion can easily lead to allergies. If you consume your eggs in their raw state, the incidence of egg allergy virtually disappears. I also believe eating eggs raw helps preserve many of the highly perishable nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are powerful prevention elements for age-related macular degeneration, which is the most common cause of blindness.
Fresh raw egg yolk actually tastes like vanilla, in my opinion. The egg white is usually what most people object to when they say they don’t like the texture of raw egg. If this is an issue, consider discarding the egg white, or simply blend the whole raw egg into a shake or smoothie. Personally, I eat just the raw egg yolks—I have four nearly every morning. I remove the whites because it’s just too much protein for my challenged kidneys. Beware of consuming raw egg whites without the yolks as raw egg whites contain avidin, which can bind to biotin. If you cook the egg white the avidin is not an issue. Likewise, if you consume the whole raw egg (both yolk and egg white) there is more than enough biotin in the yolk to compensate for the avidin binding.
If you choose not to eat your eggs (or just egg yolk) raw, soft-boiled would be your next best option. Scrambling your eggs is one of the worst ways to eat eggs as it actually oxidizes the cholesterol in the egg yolk. If you have high cholesterol this may actually be a problem for you as the oxidized cholesterol may cause some damage in your body.
Cautionary Note for Pregnant Women
Please beware there’s a potential problem with consuming the entire raw egg if you are pregnant. Biotin deficiency is a common concern in pregnancy and it is possible that consuming whole raw eggs might make it worse. If you are pregnant you have two options:
Measure for biotin deficiency. This is best done through urinary excretion of 3-hydroxyisovaleric acid (3-HIA), which increases as a result of the decreased activity of the biotin-dependent enzyme methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase
Alternatively, take a biotin supplement, or consume only the yolk raw (and cook the whites)
Eggs Won’t Harm Your Heart
There is a major misconception that you must avoid foods like eggs and saturated fat to protect your heart. While it’s true that fats from animal sources contain cholesterol, this is not necessarily a health hazard. As I’ve discussed on many occasions, your body actually requires cholesterol, and artificially driving your cholesterol levels down is nearly always doing far more harm than good. Every cell in your body needs cholesterol. It helps to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps in the formation of memories and is vital for your neurological function. In other words, dietary cholesterol is your friend, not your enemy.
Besides, numerous studies support the conclusion that eggs have virtually nothing to do with raising your cholesterol anyway. For instance, research published in the International Journal of Cardiology showed that, in healthy adults, eating eggs daily did not produce a negative effect on endothelial function, an aggregate measure of cardiac risk, nor an increase in cholesterol levels.
i Risk Analysis April 2002 22(2):203-18)
Health and Wellness Associates
Which Oil Promotes Blindness?
There remains a great deal of confusion around the so-called “healthy” cooking oil called canola. If you are still cooking with canola or eating foods that contain canola, you will want to read this article.
There is no such thing as a naturally occurring plant named canola, but rather a plant that results from the super-hybridization (genetic modification) of the rapeseed plant, which is a member of the mustard family.
The name “Canola Oil,” which stands for “Canadian Oil Low Acid,” was invented because no one would buy a product called “Rapeseed Oil.”
As we reported earlier, oil from the rapeseed plant was originally used as a lubricant for steam engines and as a penetrating oil in the light rail industry. It was not meant for human consumption.
Canola oil is an excellent insecticide, which is registered with the EPA. It is the primary ingredient in many “organic” pesticide products. Vegol Year-Round Pesticidal Oil is 96 percent canola oil.
The product label states: “CAUTION: Avoid contact with skin or clothing.” There is even an Environmental Hazard warning that states: “Do not apply directly to water. Do not contaminate water when disposing of equipment…”
The label warns that if you get the product on your skin, you should rinse with water for 15 to 20 minutes, remove all contaminated clothing and then call poison control or a doctor for treatment advice.
There is no such warning, however, on a bottle of canola oil found in the supermarket. In fact, the label on this product states that it contains 100 percent canola oil. It is interesting that a product that contains 96 percent canola can be so hazardous while a product that contains 100 percent is not hazardous at all.
Although canola was not developed using biotechnology, the majority of what is grown today is from genetically modified seed so that it is able to withstand herbicides. In fact, canola oil is one of the most chemically altered foods in the American diet. Almost 90 percent of canola is genetically modified to be resistant to Roundup.
Because food manufacturers are not required to tell you whether an item contains genetically modified substances or not, it is wise to assume that if a food item contains canola oil – it is genetically modified.
Some common foods that contain canola oil are peanut butter, lunch meat, bread, salad dressing, bread, garlic salts, baked goods, french fries, diet shakes and bars and cereal.
In addition, the omega-3 in canola oil is easily damaged by heat and will become rancid and foul-smelling. Manufacturers deodorize the oil with dangerous chemicals, which changes the omega-3 fat into trans fats.
According to a study that analyzed canola and soybean oils, between .56 and 4.2 percent contain toxic trans fats. Of course, trans fats are insanely harmful and directly associated with a number of serious diseases, especially heart disease…. the number one killer in the world.
This highly refined oil is also void of any real nutrient value – it has no positive nutritional impact on the body. It is also high in oxidized omega-6 fats, and omega-3 fats that we are unable to use. Although omega-6 fatty acids are essential, Americans consume 11-30 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3′s – mostly in the form of partially hydrogenated oils.
If we consume high amounts of omega-6′s, it may put the body at risk for life-threatening conditions such as cancer, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and a variety of autoimmune disorders.
It is not only heart disease that we should be worried about when using canola oil. Author John Thomas reported in his book Young Again that rapeseed (canola oil) fed to cows, pigs and sheep between 1986 and 1991 in parts of Europe caused the animals to go blind and attack people. When the rapeseed was removed from the diet the
attacks and blindness stopped. The product was banned in Europe in 1991.
So… what oil are we to use
Keep in mind the truth that the closer foods are to their natural state the better they are for us. Any food that has gone through industrial processing has had its personality changed and is no longer recognizable by the body or of much use to it.
Substances that are of no use, such as those that have been denatured or hyper-processed, may also contain dangerous additives or by-products of the refining process.
However, there is one oil that has been used for thousands of years and, in its most natural form, is not only delicious but jam packed with nutrients and therapeutic properties which are garnering the attention of both natural practitioners and mainline physicians alike.
Coconut oil is like no other oil on this planet. Made by by pressing the raw meat of the coconut, this oil, although high in saturated fat, is translated into immediate energy in the body. It is a stable oil that is classified as a “functional food” – meaning that it provides a vast array of benefits beyond its nutritional content.
Along with this energy comes a host of other valuable properties including antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, anti-protozoa and antioxidant capabilities. Coconut oil has been proven to go head to head with the bacteria that cause ulcers, urinary tract infections, throat infections, pneumonia and gonorrhea.
Coconut oil also kills fungus and yeasts that can cause such things as candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash and other infections. In addition, coconut oil has been used as an effective remedy against tapeworms, lice, giardia and other parasites.
Known quite simply as “the healthiest oil on this planet,” coconut oil is different in composition from other oils – this unique composition is what makes it so effective and healthy.
All fats and oils are comprised of molecules known as fatty acids. Fatty acids can be classified one of two ways. The first way is by their saturation – there are saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
You can also classify fatty acids by the length of the carbon chain within each fatty acid – short chain, medium chain and long chain. Coconut oil is mostly medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Most other fats or oils in our diets from both plant and animal sources are long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs). In fact, almost 98 – 100 percent of all fatty acids we consume are LCFAs.
So, you might ask, what is wrong with a LCFA? The issue comes in when we look at how the body responds to the size of the chain. LCFAs are received differently in the body than MCFAs, which are absorbed quickly, transported in the portal blood directly to the liver, and able to be used for energy. In contrast, the longer chain fatty acids are carried through the lymph and are not readily available for energy, but rather stored as fat.
But… coconut oil contains saturated fat, doesn’t it?
Yes, it does. However, it is healthy saturated fat, and besides, it is actually a myth, all in the name of corporate profits, that saturated fat causes heart disease. The naturally occurring saturated fat that is in coconut oil actually promotes heart health, encourages weight loss, regulates blood sugar and supports thyroid function.
Using coconut oil is as easy as substituting it for your old oil. The rich tropical taste is an added bonus – just be sure you purchase organic virgin coconut oil from a reputable dealer.
Health and Wellness Associates
A Forbidden Food That Can Save Your Life
It’s true; some foods should be locked up. Put ‘em
away in a prison cell and throw away the key, because
they are good for nothing but tempting us. But this list
of forbidden foods isn’t as long as many people make
it out to be. You don’t have to stick to a diet of lemon
water and steamed vegetables for optimal health.
And you don’t have to be scared of putting things on
your plate. This special report I’ve put together goes
in-depth on five particular food choices that have a
lot of myths and apprehension attached to them. But
I will go about things differently than diet books and
many health-related publications by telling you the
truth. All we hear about is the need to quit eating this
and drinking that. Here I’ll tell you why you can keep
eating five things that might seem taboo and not feel
the least bit bad about it.
I’ve read a lot of the literature out there regarding
healthy eating. While most of it is basically correct, I
often see unnecessary fear mongering. Words such as
“calories,” “cholesterol,” “sodium,” and “fat” leap off
the page as things to avoid at all costs. Well, I hate
to break it to everyone, but not only is it virtually
impossible not to get these things in our diet, but it’s
also downright necessary!
- We burn calories for energy. Want to feel really
fatigued? Try eating a scant amount of calories.
- Not all cholesterol is bad. High-density
lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is imperative
to your body’s function.
- As for sodium, we have it in the fluid around
every single cell in our bodies. We need it
- Not all fat is equal. Polyunsaturated and
monounsaturated fats are powerful healthboosters
and are critical for disease prevention.
There are too many myths involved in the food
world. I want to dispel some of them. Overall, what
you need to remember is moderation. Get your
nutrients, calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium in the
right amounts and from the right sources. Obesity is
caused by many things, and one of them is overeating.
Moderation is the road to health.
What follows are five stories being set straight. They
are forbidden foods that need some discussion, because
they do carry colossal benefits—so long as you eat
them in the right amounts. As you’ll find, these foods
will slash your risk of getting heart disease and all the
conditions that lead to it. Eaten correctly, they will help
stave off obesity. They’ll drop low-density lipoprotein or
LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels in your body and replace
some of them with HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.
They help your body flush toxins out of its system. But,
that is only the beginning. These foods have special,
individual, unique benefits that cut across the whole
Sit back and smile, because you don’t have to give
up everything you crave for the sake of health.
The first scratch to make on your list of forbidden
foods should be used on the word “eggs.”
One of my friends is a vegetarian, and in the
past few months she also tried to cut out eggs. She
soon found it quite difficult to do so, because eggs
are in so much of what we eat. It’s easy to spot them
on breakfast plates across North America; that goes
without saying. But eggs are critical ingredients in a
huge array of sauces, dressings, dips, and desserts.
Many things would not resemble themselves any
longer if eggs were removed. So my friend tries to
avoid them, but know she slips quite often.
You can trace back our consumption of eggs to
about when we started eating chicken as a food. You
can trace it, but you’ll never figure out when it began.
It is assuredly in the ancient times. Humans have been
consuming eggs and chickens for some time now.
Whichever came first—that long-posed question—is
really a moot point. It was around the 1930s egg
production started to go through significant change.
Before the Second World War, eggs mostly came from
small farms that had fewer than 400 hens. In the few
decades following, technology was introduced, and
by the 1960s, egg production had turned into a major
operation. There are flocks of between 100,000 and
one million hens laying eggs in any one operation. In
total, the U.S. produces roughly 70.5 billion eggs a
year. No joke.
Eggs: Quality and Color
An egg consists of the yellow yolk surrounded by a
liquid see-through egg white, capped off with a shell.
No other food is quite like the egg, which transcends
food groups because of its use in cooking. The colors
of the shell and the yolk tend to vary—but they don’t
have anything to do with the quality of an egg or its
- The shell gets its color from the breed of the hen.
It will be somewhere between white and dark
brown. The only difference is price: brown eggs
are generally costlier because the chickens that
lay them are larger birds and require more food.
When farmers pay more, so do consumers.
- The white, translucent part of the egg is called its
“albumen.” It doesn’t turn white until cooked. If it
has some yellow or green in it, this simply signals
the presence of vitamin B2—quite the opposite of
something to worry about.
- The yolk’s color depends on what the hen was
eating. There are no artificial colors. It will be
mostly yellow if the hen eats lots of plant pigments
called “xanthophylls.” Medium-yellow yolks
come from a hen’s diet of yellow corn and alfalfa.
Hens fed wheat or barley produce light-colored
yolks. Sometimes hard-cooked or scrambled eggs
can have some green in them. Other than not
looking great, it’s not a health problem. (The cause
is iron found in the hen’s feed, or another cause is a
chemical change when you scramble for too long.)
When anyone discusses Grade AA, A, or B eggs,
they are talking about how big a particular egg is, how
firm the yolk is, and how thick the white inside is. It
is not so much a quality control measure. Then there
are organic eggs, produced when hen food is made
with ingredients that have never touched pesticides,
fertilizer, herbicides, or the like. They are more
expensive, as is organic produce, but worth the price
if you can manage it. Organic eggs will have the same
Eggs get a bad rap from those pushing healthy food
choices in our society. The main promoted cause
for concern is the high cholesterol count of eggs
that negatively impacts our heart to the point where,
if you eat enough of them, they put you at greater
risk of heart disease. But this needs some serious
First off, yes, the yolk in every egg is very high in
cholesterol for such a small thing. What is also true
is that the yolk contains many B vitamins, including
riboflavin, vitamin A, and iron. Meanwhile, the white
of the egg has no cholesterol at all and no fat. Now,
cholesterol is equated with getting blocked arteries—
which we all know can lead to strokes and heart attacks
and the condition of atherosclerosis. Logically, people
start assuming that, since eggs have cholesterol and
since cholesterol clogs arteries, eggs are not good.
But there is a distinction to be made here: dietary
cholesterol (found in your food) is far different than
blood cholesterol, which is the amount flowing through
your body. These two are not as directly related as
scientists used to think. The cholesterol inside the yolk
does not immediately become blood cholesterol, which
is the real problem that leads to heart conditions. Our
liver actually makes blood cholesterol, which comes in
two kinds: HDL (good) and LDL (bad).
Eggs are considered a forbidden food because of
this misconception about the similarity or difference
between dietary and blood cholesterol. I’ve read several
studies recently showing that adding one or two eggs a
day to your diet does not effect any major changes in
blood cholesterol levels.
There’s also a very interesting study out of the
University of Arizona, published in 1997. Examining 25
years’ worth of dietary research, these scientists came
to the conclusion that it is saturated fat—not dietary
cholesterol—that raises our blood cholesterol levels.1
And eggs are not that high in saturated fat, which would
explain why people who eat a couple of eggs a day
don’t have increased cholesterol levels.
So there you have it. The cold facts on cholesterol,
shredding the egg myth.
So, on the healthy side of the equation, what exactly
do eggs contain? Well, as you read the following bullet
points about the essential nutrients, the ingredients
shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider that
an egg is meant to contain everything that a baby chick
needs to develop properly.
- Protein: You get 11% of your daily value of protein
by eating one egg, which has 5.5 g of protein. And
it costs you less than 70 calories to do so. It’s highquality
protein, fresh and natural, and our bodies
crave it. The best part is that the egg whites are
loaded with protein, so if you elect to avoid the
high-cholesterol yolks, you still gain the nutrients.
- Vitamin K: This oft-forgotten nutrient is packed
into eggs, with one egg netting you 30% of your
daily value. Vitamin K plays a central role in blood
clotting, which is important for healing wounds. It
also helps make bones, in essence gluing calcium
to the bone. It is thought to prevent osteoporosis.
- Selenium: This powerful antioxidant mineral
protects your heart by empowering enzymes to
keep the artery walls clear and healthy. Selenium
is in the midst of serious discussion about its
seemingly important role in preventing cancer.
- Choline: We need to get this through the diet for
an adequate supply. Eggs contain a good chunk of
choline, essential for keeping folate levels strong.
One yolk provides 300 μg of choline, and 315 mg
of another form of choline. The nutrient boosts your
brain function, nervous system, and raises your
- Iodine: This mineral can be tough to come by
through food. One egg gets you about 15% of your
daily value, which is good. Iodine is critical for your
thyroid gland to work properly.
- Vitamin B2: Also known as riboflavin, you get about
14% of your daily value in one egg. This essential
vitamin helps convert carbs, fat, and protein into
usable energy. It also functions as an antioxidant,
and is believed to help prevent deteriorating eye
- Tryptophan: This is an essential amino acid that
your body uses, among other things, to make
serotonin and melatonin. You get more than 20%
of your daily value in an egg.
Other nutrients it has, to lesser but still significant
extents, include vitamins B12, B5 and D, molybdenum,
Clinical Studies Prove It
Here I’ll let you in on the results of some studies that
back up the fact that eggs aren’t as forbidden as they
might seem. In fact, they are proven to exert some
significant health benefits.
Eggs Improve Your Cholesterol Levels
See, far from making things worse, an egg can make your
cholesterol situation better. Take this study, for instance,
published late in 2004 in the American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition. It took place in northern Mexico, where
residents have diets that contain a lot of fat and have a
high risk of getting coronary artery disease. Researchers
sought to see what adding two eggs to the daily diets
of 54 children would do—specifically to their LDL and
HDL cholesterol levels. (Remember: first is bad, second
After a month of eating two eggs a day, the
children’s ratio of LDL to HDL did not get any worse.
And, as a matter of fact, it actually improved. What
improved was the size of those LDL molecules. This is
good, because bigger molecules are less likely to get
stuck in arteries and cause atherosclerosis than smaller
ones are. After one month, 15% of the children shifted
to a “low-risk” status.2
Eggs Do NOT Raise Your Risk of Heart
Research published in the prestigious Journal of the
American Medical Association confirms that up to
one egg a day is not likely going to affect your risk
of heart disease. The study group was enormous;
totaling more than 117,000 Americans aged 34 to
- Importantly, nobody had heart disease, diabetes,
cancer, or cholesterol at the beginning. In other words,
they were pretty healthy.
They wanted to see what relationship there were
between eating eggs and getting heart disease. Over 14
years, about 1,800 got heart disease and 820 people
suffered strokes. Then they looked at all the reasons
why this could happen—smoking, age, genetics, and
other risk factors for heart disease. After adjusting for
everything, the researchers found “no evidence” of any
association between eating eggs and getting stroke or
heart disease. Their results were based upon eating one
egg every day, and applied to both men and women.3
Yolks Could Prevent Dangerous Blood Clots
Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by eating
eggs—that’s the conclusion of a study from 2003.
Researchers say proteins found in yolk stop platelet
aggregation, which is a major factor with blood clots.
Those proteins also slow down the body’s creation of
fibrin, a substance that begins the clumping and clotting
process. In essence, the egg yolk is an anti-clotting
mechanism because of the special proteins it contains.4
Eggs Help Protect Your Vision
Can you believe it? Well, eggs have been found to
contain significant amounts of lutein, an antioxidant
nutrient that is documented to prevent cataracts and
macular degeneration. We’ve believed that leafy green
vegetables such as spinach were the best natural place
to get lutein. But recent research suggests the best place
could be eggs—the yolk increases the availability of
lutein because of the cholesterol and choline it contains.
(See, another advantage of cholesterol.) A big study last
year confirmed it: lutein’s availability is higher in eggs
than in other sources such as spinach, and even lutein
supplements themselves.5 Chew on that for a while!
The truth is that eggs need not be avoided. The key
is to eat them in moderation. Although many studies
show proof that one egg a day doesn’t raise your risk
of heart disease, I would still recommend not making
eggs a definitive part of your daily diet. But, say, four or
five times a week is perfectly fine, so that you gain the
nutritional value they contain. Many people love eggs,
and wouldn’t consider a breakfast spent without them.
Heck, even the Atkins’ diet proposes them for every
morning meal. If you are going to eat eggs every day,
may I suggest limiting it to one egg per morning? You
also might consider every few days eating a yolkless
egg—frying it up and cutting out the yolk, or cracking
an egg open into a strainer that catches the yolk.
Final point: the way you cook eggs will influence
the amount of oxidized—bad—cholesterol in your
blood. Cooking eggs in high heat is not a great idea,
as the temperature will promote the oxidation. Since
the yolk is the problem here, the one whose delicate
balance can suffer oxidation in high heat, the safest way
to cook eggs is to remove the yolk altogether. And cook
the whites only.
If you want the yolk—because, let’s face it we all
do—here are the two best ways to ensure its cholesterol
won’t be oxidized: 1) boil the egg; 2) poach the egg.
The reason is that the chances of oxidation grow when
the yolk is exposed to air while cooking. Both of these
methods keep it covered. Going by this reasoning, the
worst way to cook eggs is scrambling them.
If you are concerned about your food intake, and need help,
Please call to set up an appointment.
Health and Wellness Associates