Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] Seven Nation Army (update on the link between heart disease and food)

Excerpts from the 11 May 2014 item at The Paleo Pocket

Investigative author Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, has been investigating dietary fat and disease for nearly a decade. She has traced the history of the academic dietary establishment’s idea that you should reduce fat in your food – the idea that has lead to a replacement of fat with carbohydrates, turning us from fat burners to sugar burners. Her story has been published in many places, among them theWall Street Journal, where it quickly went to the top of the Popular Now list:

The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease

1961 was the year of the first recommendation from the nutrition committee on the American Heart Association that people should eat less fat, in particular saturated fat, in order to reduce heart disease. This came from a Dr. Ancel Keyes, who built his career on this theory. He was a highly persuasive man who obtained a seat on the committee. America was struggling with rising heart disease at the time and people wanted answers.

Where was his proof? He had done a “Seven Countries” study that was considered the most thorough study on the link between heart disease and food. For this study he picked countries that were likely to support his theory, such as Yugoslavia, Finland and Italy. He ignored France, Switzerland, West Germany and Sweden, countries with high-fat diets and low rates of heart disease.

And so today people suffer from the effects of replacing fat with carbohydrates turning to blood sugar. Nina Teicholz:

One consequence is that in cutting back on fats, we are now eating a lot more carbohydrates—at least 25% more since the early 1970s. Consumption of saturated fat, meanwhile, has dropped by 11%, according to the best available government data. Translation: Instead of meat, eggs and cheese, we’re eating more pasta, grains, fruit and starchy vegetables such as potatoes. Even seemingly healthy low-fat foods, such as yogurt, are stealth carb-delivery systems, since removing the fat often requires the addition of fillers to make up for lost texture—and these are usually carbohydrate-based.

The problem is that carbohydrates break down into glucose, which causes the body to release insulin—a hormone that is fantastically efficient at storing fat. Meanwhile, fructose, the main sugar in fruit, causes the liver to generate triglycerides and other lipids in the blood that are altogether bad news. Excessive carbohydrates lead not only to obesity but also, over time, to Type 2 diabetes and, very likely, heart disease.

The real surprise is that, according to the best science to date, people put themselves at higher risk for these conditions no matter what kind of carbohydrates they eat. Yes, even unrefined carbs. Too much whole-grain oatmeal for breakfast and whole-grain pasta for dinner, with fruit snacks in between, add up to a less healthy diet than one of eggs and bacon, followed by fish. The reality is that fat doesn’t make you fat or diabetic. Scientific investigations going back to the 1950s suggest that actually, carbs do.

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May 12, 2014 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raisins Found To Be As Effective As Sports Chews For Fueling Workouts

 

English: A pile of Sunmaid raisins.

English: A pile of Sunmaid raisins. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 25th July 2012 article at Medical News Today

 

New research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutritionsuggests that eating raisins may provide the same workout boost as sports chews.

Conducted by researchers at the University of California-Davis, the study evaluated the effects that natural versus commercialcarbohydrate supplements have on endurance running performance. Runners depleted their glycogen stores in an 80-minute 75% V02 max run followed by a 5k time trial. Runners completed three randomized trials (raisins, chews and water only) separated by seven days. Findings included:

  • Those that ingested raisins or sports chews ran their 5k on average one minute faster than those that ingested only water
  • Eating raisins and sports chews promoted higher carbohydrate oxidation compared to water only

“Raisins are a great alternative to sport chews as they also provide fiber and micronutrients, such as potassium and iron, and they do not have any added sugar, artificial flavor or colors,” said James Painter, Ph.D., R.D., and nutrition research advisor for the California Raisin Marketing Board. “As an added bonus, raisins are the most economical dried fruit according to the United Stated Department of Agriculture, so they are cost effective and convenient for use during exercise.” 

 

 

July 25, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carbohydrates: How carbs fit into a healthy diet

Grain products are often baked, and are rich s...

Image via Wikipedia

Carbohydrates: How carbs fit into a healthy diet

By Mayo Clinic staff

Carbohydrates often get a bad rap, especially when it comes to weight gain. But carbohydrates aren’t all bad. Because of their numerous health benefits, carbohydrates have a rightful place in your diet. In fact, your body needs carbohydrates to function well. But some carbohydrates may be better for you than others. Understand more about carbohydrates and how to choose healthy carbohydrates.

Understanding carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a type of macronutrient found in many foods and beverages. Most carbohydrates are naturally occurring in plant-based foods, such as grains. Food manufacturers also add carbohydrates to processed foods in the form of starch or added sugar. The most basic carbohydrate is a sugar molecule, which joins together one or two units of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Other carbohydrates contain three or more units of the carbon-hydrogen-oxygen trio.

Common sources of naturally occurring carbohydrates include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Grains
  • Seeds
  • Legumes

Types of carbohydrates

There are three main types of carbohydrates:

  • Sugar. Sugar is the simplest forms of carbohydrates. Sugar occurs naturally in some foods, including fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products. Sugars include fruit sugar (fructose), table sugar (sucrose) and milk sugar (lactose).
  • Starch. Starch is made of sugar units bonded together. Starch occurs naturally in vegetables, grains, and cooked dry beans and peas.
  • Fiber. Fiber also is made of sugar units bonded together. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and cooked dry beans and peas are among foods that are naturally rich in fiber.

More carbohydrate terms: Net carbs and glycemic index

You may see terms such as “low carb” or “net carbs” on some products, or promoted by some diet programs. But the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate these terms, so there’s no standard meaning. Net carbs is typically used to mean the amount of carbohydrates in a product excluding fiber or excluding both fiber and sugar alcohols.

You’ve probably also have heard talk about the glycemic index. The glycemic index classifies carbohydrate-containing foods according to their potential to raise your blood sugar level. Many healthy foods, such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products, are naturally low on the glycemic index. Weight-loss diets based on the glycemic index typically restrict foods with a relatively high glycemic index ranking, such as potatoes and corn. However, there also are health benefits from these foods, so you don’t necessarily have to eliminate them from your diet.

How many carbohydrates do you need?

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. So, if you get 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should be from carbohydrates. That translates to between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates a day.

You can find the carbohydrate content of packaged foods by reading the Nutrition Facts label. The Nutrition Facts label shows total carbohydrates, which includes starches, fiber, sugar alcohols, and naturally occurring and added sugars. It may also list total fiber, soluble fiber and sugar separately. You may also be able to find nutrient calculators online or find information on a manufacturer’s website.

Carbohydrates and your health

Despite their bad rap, carbohydrates are vital to your health for a number of reasons.

Providing energy
Your body uses carbohydrates as its main fuel source. Sugars and starches are broken down into simple sugars during digestion. They’re then absorbed into your bloodstream, where they’re known as blood sugar (glucose). From there, the glucose enters your body’s cells with the help of insulin. Some of this glucose is used by your body for energy, fueling all of your activities, whether it’s going for a jog or simply breathing. Extra glucose is stored in your liver, muscles and other cells for later use or is converted to fat.

Protecting against disease
Some evidence shows that whole grains and dietary fiber from whole foods helps reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Fiber may also protect against obesity and type 2 diabetes. Fiber is also essential for optimal digestive health.

Controlling weight
Evidence shows that eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains can help you control your weight. Their bulk and fiber content aids weight control by helping you feel full on fewer calories. Contrary to what some weight-loss diets claim, very few studies show that a diet rich in healthy carbohydrates leads to weight gain or obesity.

Choosing carbohydrates wisely

Carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy diet, and they also provide many important nutrients. Still, not all carbs are created equal. Here’s how to make healthy carbohydrates work in a balanced diet:

  • Emphasize fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Aim for whole fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables without added sugar. They’re better options than are fruit juices and dried fruits, which are concentrated sources of natural sugar and therefore have more calories. Also, whole fruits and vegetables add fiber, water and bulk, and help you feel fuller on fewer calories.
  • Choose whole grains. All types of grains are good sources of carbohydrates. They’re also rich in vitamins and minerals and naturally low in fat. But whole grains are healthier choices than are refined grains. Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. Refined grains go through a process that strips out certain parts of the grain — along with some of the nutrients and fiber.
  • Stick to low-fat dairy products. Milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are good sources of calcium and protein, plus many other vitamins and minerals. Choose the low-fat versions, though, to help limit calories and saturated fat. And beware of dairy products that have added sugar.
  • Don’t forget beans and legumes. Legumes — beans, peas and lentils — are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also have beneficial fats, and soluble and insoluble fiber. Because they’re a good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Limit added sugars. Added sugar probably isn’t harmful in small amounts. But there’s no health advantage to consuming any amount of added sugar. In fact, too much added sugar, and in some cases naturally occurring sugar, can lead to such health problems as tooth decay, poor nutrition and weight gain.

So choose your carbohydrates wisely. Limit foods with added sugars and refined grains, such as sugary drinks, desserts and candy, which are packed with calories but low in nutrition. Instead, go for whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

From the Mayo Clinic patient handout

Carbohydrates aren’t bad, but some may be healthier than others. See why carbs are important for your health and which ones to choose.

By Mayo Clinic staffCarbohydrates often get a bad rap, especially when it comes to weight gain. But carbohydrates aren’t all bad. Because of their numerous health benefits, carbohydrates have a rightful place in your diet. In fact, your body needs carbohydrates to function well. But some carbohydrates may be better for you than others. Understand more about carbohydrates and how to choose healthy carbohydrates.

Understanding carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a type of macronutrient found in many foods and beverages. Most carbohydrates are naturally occurring in plant-based foods, such as grains. Food manufacturers also add carbohydrates to processed foods in the form of starch or added sugar. The most basic carbohydrate is a sugar molecule, which joins together one or two units of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Other carbohydrates contain three or more units of the carbon-hydrogen-oxygen trio.

Common sources of naturally occurring carbohydrates include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Grains
  • Seeds
  • Legumes

Types of carbohydrates

There are three main types of carbohydrates:

  • Sugar. Sugar is the simplest forms of carbohydrates. Sugar occurs naturally in some foods, including fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products. Sugars include fruit sugar (fructose), table sugar (sucrose) and milk sugar (lactose).
  • Starch. Starch is made of sugar units bonded together. Starch occurs naturally in vegetables, grains, and cooked dry beans and peas.
  • Fiber. Fiber also is made of sugar units bonded together. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and cooked dry beans and peas are among foods that are naturally rich in fiber.

More carbohydrate terms: Net carbs and glycemic index

You may see terms such as “low carb” or “net carbs” on some products, or promoted by some diet programs. But the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate these terms, so there’s no standard meaning. Net carbs is typically used to mean the amount of carbohydrates in a product excluding fiber or excluding both fiber and sugar alcohols.

You’ve probably also have heard talk about the glycemic index. The glycemic index classifies carbohydrate-containing foods according to their potential to raise your blood sugar level. Many healthy foods, such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products, are naturally low on the glycemic index. Weight-loss diets based on the glycemic index typically restrict foods with a relatively high glycemic index ranking, such as potatoes and corn. However, there also are health benefits from these foods, so you don’t necessarily have to eliminate them from your diet.

How many carbohydrates do you need?

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. So, if you get 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should be from carbohydrates. That translates to between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates a day.

You can find the carbohydrate content of packaged foods by reading the Nutrition Facts label. The Nutrition Facts label shows total carbohydrates, which includes starches, fiber, sugar alcohols, and naturally occurring and added sugars. It may also list total fiber, soluble fiber and sugar separately. You may also be able to find nutrient calculators online or find information on a manufacturer’s website.

Carbohydrates and your health

Despite their bad rap, carbohydrates are vital to your health for a number of reasons.

Providing energy
Your body uses carbohydrates as its main fuel source. Sugars and starches are broken down into simple sugars during digestion. They’re then absorbed into your bloodstream, where they’re known as blood sugar (glucose). From there, the glucose enters your body’s cells with the help of insulin. Some of this glucose is used by your body for energy, fueling all of your activities, whether it’s going for a jog or simply breathing. Extra glucose is stored in your liver, muscles and other cells for later use or is converted to fat.

Protecting against disease
Some evidence shows that whole grains and dietary fiber from whole foods helps reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Fiber may also protect against obesity and type 2 diabetes. Fiber is also essential for optimal digestive health.

Controlling weight
Evidence shows that eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains can help you control your weight. Their bulk and fiber content aids weight control by helping you feel full on fewer calories. Contrary to what some weight-loss diets claim, very few studies show that a diet rich in healthy carbohydrates leads to weight gain or obesity.

Choosing carbohydrates wisely

Carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy diet, and they also provide many important nutrients. Still, not all carbs are created equal. Here’s how to make healthy carbohydrates work in a balanced diet:

  • Emphasize fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Aim for whole fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables without added sugar. They’re better options than are fruit juices and dried fruits, which are concentrated sources of natural sugar and therefore have more calories. Also, whole fruits and vegetables add fiber, water and bulk, and help you feel fuller on fewer calories.
  • Choose whole grains. All types of grains are good sources of carbohydrates. They’re also rich in vitamins and minerals and naturally low in fat. But whole grains are healthier choices than are refined grains. Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. Refined grains go through a process that strips out certain parts of the grain — along with some of the nutrients and fiber.
  • Stick to low-fat dairy products. Milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are good sources of calcium and protein, plus many other vitamins and minerals. Choose the low-fat versions, though, to help limit calories and saturated fat. And beware of dairy products that have added sugar.
  • Don’t forget beans and legumes. Legumes — beans, peas and lentils — are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also have beneficial fats, and soluble and insoluble fiber. Because they’re a good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Limit added sugars. Added sugar probably isn’t harmful in small amounts. But there’s no health advantage to consuming any amount of added sugar. In fact, too much added sugar, and in some cases naturally occurring sugar, can lead to such health problems as tooth decay, poor nutrition and weight gain.

So choose your carbohydrates wisely. Limit foods with added sugars and refined grains, such as sugary drinks, desserts and candy, which are packed with calories but low in nutrition. Instead, go for whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

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February 18, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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