New Study Suggests That Belly Fat Is Worse Than Obesity For Your Heart Health


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The Body Mass Index (BMI) is generally used to assess overall fitness, however, a new study has found that weight concentrated around the middle can be more harmful than obesity itself.

The waist to hip ratio is proving to be a better predictor of heart disease and other illness than BMI alone.

Participants were divided into six groups based on which of the three BMI groups they fell into, and whether they had a normal or high waist-to-hip ratio. Men whose waist measurement was 90 percent or more of their hip measurement were considered to have a high hip-to-waist ratio. The same was true of women; those with waists that were 85 percent of their hip size were classified as having a high hip-to-waist ratio.

Participants with normal BMI but a high waist-to-hip ratio had the risk of dying of cardiovascular disease, and the highest risk of dying from any causes among the six groups.
The risk of cardiovascular death was 2.75 times higher, and the risk of death from any cause was 2.08 times higher among normal-weight people with “central obesity,” compared with normal-weight people who had a normal waist-to-hip ratio.
“The high risk of death may be related to a higher visceral fat accumulation in this group, which is associated with insulin resistance and other risk factors,” said study researcher Dr. Karine Sahakyan, also of Mayo Clinic.

Men can be highly susceptible to accumulating belly fat and inactivity, poor diet and stress contribute to visceral fat.

Keeping your abs toned and your middle “whittled” is the best way to avoid disease and keep your heart strong.

Three Health Issues Every Man Should Discuss With His Doctor


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Most men are squeamish about discussing their concerns about testosterone, erectile disfunction or trouble urinating, however these embarrassing topics could shed light on deeper more serious health issues like heart disease, cancer or hormone imbalance.

Since most visits to the doctor last less than 20 minutes, getting warmed up can take some effort.

Be armed with a list of questions and concerns to get the most out of your time with your physician.

Calorie disclosure labels at restaraunts don’t change eating habits.

Many cities and counties around the country have imposed regulations that require restaurants to post the calories of all their meals. Big brother’s reason for the legislation? Once consumers saw the ramifications, i.e., number of calories, of their dietary choices, they would opt for a healthier one. However, not surprisingly, the evidence is indicating that mandatory labeling is having no effect on consumer choices.

There is a great concern among many of the people who study calorie labeling that the policy has moved way beyond the science and that it would be beneficial to slow down,” said George Loewenstein, a behavioral economist at Carnegie Mellon University who studies calorie labeling. In a recent editorial in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, he asked: “Given the lack of evidence that calorie posting reduces calorie intake, why is the enthusiasm for the policy so pervasive?”

“In New York, the first big city to adopt menu labeling, NYU researchers studied the eating choices of low-income fast-food diners, focusing on those who saw the labels. “Even those who indicated that the calorie information influenced their food choices did not actually purchase fewer calories,” the study says.”

The Washington Post

If human beings always based decisions on whether something they were doing was unhealthy, we wouldn’t have so many doing drugs, becoming obese or smoking. The fact is, most people disregard obvious information, even if it’s unhealthy, when it’s in-congruent with what they want.

Is Taking Fiber Supplements Risky?

If you’re healthy, taking a daily fiber supplement isn’t risky. Fiber supplements are only dangerous if you are on medication or if you have intestinal problems. Some doctors also believe that fiber supplements can be harmful if you have diabetes. Fiber supplements can aggravate intestinal conditions, they can decrease the absorption of medications, and according to some doctors, they can reduce blood sugar levels. For healthy individuals, however, a daily fiber supplement has a number of benefits.

It is estimated that only 5 percent of Americans get enough fiber in their diets. Although fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and legumes are the best sources of fiber, in some cases, access to these foods is limited. Food deserts are a reality and thanks a shaky economy, many families just can’t afford to buy fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. In these cases, an inexpensive alternative such as fiber supplements may be the only option.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a daily fiber supplement can help normalize bowel function, maintain bowel integrity and health, lower blood cholesterol levels, help control blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss. Some studies show that fiber may also help prevent colorectal cancer.

If you don’t think you’re getting enough fiber through healthy foods, consider taking a supplement. Before you choose a supplement, it is important to understand the different types of fiber.

Fiber is commonly classified into two categories: those that don’t dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber).

Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, and many vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.

When purchasing a fiber supplement, be sure to read the labels to make sure you’re taking the right kind for your individual needs. The three types of supplements are psyllium, methylcellulose, and polycarbophil.

Psyllium bulks up the stool by breaking down in the gut. Here, it becomes a food source for the bodies beneficial “good bacteria.” This process makes the stool easier to pass. Psyllium can be taken every day. Brand names include Metamucil, Fiberall, Hydrocil, Konsyl, Perdiem, and Serutan.

Methylcellulose is made from plants and it is non-fermentable. This type of fiber creates a softer stool. Brand names include Citrucel, Citrucel Clear Mix, Citrucel Food Pack, Citrucel Lax, and Citrucel SF. This type of fiber can be taken every day.

Polycarbophil is also plant-based and it absorbs water in the intestinal tract. This helps create a bulkier and softer stool. Brand names include Equalactin, Fiber Lax, FiberCon, Fiberlax, Fibernorm, Konsyl Fiber, Perdiem Fiber Caplet, Mitrolan, Fiber Laxative, Fibertab, Polycarb, and Fiberall Tablets. This type of fiber is usually used to treat IBS, constipation, and diverticulosis. If used long-term, it may cause bloating.

For more information about fiber, visit MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Good Fats and the Bad Fats Facts!

Does fat make us Fat?

Everyday in the news is some information about the fat.

We all need it, we all eat it.

What are the facts?

Here’s a simple guide to fats, the good, the bad and the ugly.

First realize that fats are a necessary part of any diet. We need fats to make hormones, build and repair tissues, and for energy. Gram per gram, fat provides about more than twice the energy of carbohydrates (9 calories per gram vs 4 calories per gram for carbs). Fats also help us absorb certain vitamins and satiates our appetite more than carbs or protein.

But there really are good fats and bad fats and the Cliff notes version of this column is this — if a fat is solid or semi-solid at room temperature, you should avoid it.

Most dietary fats fall in to three categories: Saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and mono unsaturated fats.

Low testosterone levels hinder your health.


low testosterone levels put men at risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and early death?? One study shows that testosterone treatment reduces LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol.? Another study that looked at the cause of death in almost 2000 men aged 20 to 79 years.? The men with low testosterone at the start of the study had a 2.5 times greater risk of dying during the next ten years compared with men with higher testosterone levels.? These studies, and more, will be presented at The Endocrine Society’s annual meeting, in San Francisco, suggest that testosterone therapy has several positive effects.
(Vitacost.com Daily Health Tip; June, 2008)

Hormones and heart health

If you had to rank the most important factors for a healthy heart, hormones would likely show up last on your list. But the truth is that these chemical messengers have a strong influence on just about every single one of your body’s delicate systems… and your cardiovascular system is no exception.

You may not realize it, but your blood vessels are lined with estrogen receptors, which play a key role in regulating healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and normal clot formation in both men and women.1 This may be one reason why pre-menopausal women enjoy more optimal heart health statistics than their male and postmenopausal counterparts—and why heart health becomes an important focus for women as they grow older.

Read The full article

U.S. News and World Report; Best hospitals of 2010-2011

US News and World Report ranks America’s hospitals? They also rank colleges, law schools and medical schools. I’ve read that these institutions go through great lengths to improve their standings because these reports have so much influence. This year, only 152 of the 4,852 hospitals evaluated performed well enough to rank in any specialty. And of the 152, just 14 qualified for a spot in the Honor Roll by ranking at or near the top in six or more specialties. Below are the top 3 in three major categories.

Cancer:
#1 University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX
#2 Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY
#3 Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN
#9 Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland, Ohio

Heart and Heart Surgery:
#1 Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland, OH (Hometown pride)
#2 Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN
#3 Johns Hopkins Hospital
Baltimore, MD

Neurology and Neurosurgery:
#1 Johns Hopkins Hospital
Baltimore, MD
#2 Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN
#3 Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA
#6 Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland, Ohio

Go to USNews see all the rankings of the best hospitals including the top children’s hospitals

More good news for saturated fat

A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (March 2010 9(3)535-546), combined the relative risk rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) from 21 studies. This Mega-analysis represents almost 350,000 subjects whose diets and health outcomes had been followed for 5 to 23 years. The conclusion: “There is no significant evidence concluding that saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CVD.
Fallon, S, & Enig, M. (2010). Caustic commentary. Wise Traditionsin Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, 11(2).

Coconut oil for optimum health

Taken from the fruit portion of the seed off the coconut palm tree, coconut oil is one the most beneficial foods you can consume. In tropical regions where coconut oil or fat is a large portion of their caloric intake, people are much healthier and experience a much lower incidence of the modern diseases we do in the U.S. [1, 2]

There is an array of positive research published in the last few years showing the significance of coconut oil. [3] Coconut oil is classified as a “functional food” because of its health benefits that go far beyond its nutritional content. In fact, the coconut palm is so highly valued by Pacific Islanders as a source of food and medicine that it is called “The Tree of Life.” [4]

Coconut oil is the most saturated of all fats. Saturated fat has three subcategories: short chain, medium chain and long chain. Coconut oil contains approximately 65% medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). Although recognized for its health benefits many centuries ago, it wasn’t until 40 years ago that modern medicine found the source to be MCFA. Remarkably, mother’s milk contains the same healing powers of coconut oil. [5]

The saturated medium chain lipid lauric acid, which comprises more than 50 percent of coconut oil, is the anti-bacterial, anti-viral fatty acid found in mother’s milk. [6] The body converts lauric acid into the fatty acid derivative monolaurin, which is the substance that protects adults as well as infants from viral, bacterial or protozoal infections. This was recognized and reported as early as 1966. [7]

Since the first half of the 19th century, infection has been implicated as a cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD). [8] Researchers have been studying what causes the changes in the arterial wall. Professors Russell Ross and John Glomset formulated a hypothesis in 1973 about what causes CVD, concluding that CVD occurs in response to localized injury to the lining of the artery wall, which has been brought about by a number of things including viruses. [9, 10] The injury, in turn causes inflammation/infection. The plaque that develops is a result of the body trying to heal itself. It has been very well established that pathogens play an integral role in cardiovascular disease.

What is interesting about the role of viruses that have been found to initiate cardiovascular disease is they can be inhibited by the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil. One could say that consuming coconut oil decreases one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sources of Coconut oil:
Only use organic virgin coconut oil. I am currently using Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil. This oil is truly unrefined and made from organic coconuts. It contains a very high lauric acid content between 50 and 57 percent. I use between two and four tablespoons per day, which is what is recommended.

references:
1. Enig, Mary. “A New Look at Coconut Oil.” westonaprice.org. http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/coconut_oil.html

2. Rethinam, P. Muhatoyo. “The Plain Truth About Coconut Oil.” http://www.apccsec.org/truth.html

3. Enig, Mary. “Latest studies on coconut oil.” Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts. Spring,2006;7(1).

4. “Coconut.” Coconut Research Center. http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/

5. Kabara, Jon J. “Health Oils From The Tree of Life – Nutritional and Health Aspects of Coconut Oil.” http://www.coconutoil.com/John%20Kabara.pdf

6. Enig,Mary. Know Your Fats. Silver Spring: Bethesda Press, 2000

7. Lee, Lita. “Coconut Oil: Why is it Good for you.” Dec. 2001. coconut.com http://www.coconutoil.com/litalee.htm

8. Epstein, Stephen, et al. “Infection and Atherosclerosis.” Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2000;20:1417 http://atvb.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/20/6/1417

9. “Getting to the Heart of Atherosclerosis.” The UW Office of Research. http://www.washington.edu/research/pathbreakers/1973b.html

10. Furci, Michael. “Fats, Cholesterol and the Lipid Hypothesis.” www.bullz-eye.com.

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