Saturday, December 26, 2015

How Does Mobile App Link Less Sleep To More Eating?

Smartphone has become an indispensable tool for many of us because a smartphone has apps for almost everything. One can use these apps to do many things, for instance, to check weather, to communicate with friends or to take and edit pictures. There are many health and fitness apps, too. One such food-related app called myCircaidianclock was created to collect, analyze, and interpret food data so as to aid research about when humans ate.

In a small study conducted by researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, more than 150 volunteers were asked to use the app (myCircaidianclock) to snap pictures of everything they ate and drank over a period of 3 weeks. These volunteers were healthy males and females between the ages of 21 and 55 who were not actively managing their diet and who did not go through any weight loss program in the past 6 months.

Most participants consumed food and drinks over about 15 hours of the day, taking in less than 25 percent of their calories before noon and more than 35 percent after 6 p.m. While most people think they just eat 3 meals and a snack or 2 within a 10-12 hour window, the researchers found the majority eat and drink over a very long time.

Eating or drinking over a longer stretch of waking hours and consuming more calories at night could confuse the body’s biological clock and might cause people to be obese and develop diabetes, fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, and even heart disease and stroke.

Based on the snapshots recorded, the researchers discovered what and when the volunteers ate, and under what circumstances. Their analysis showed that coffee was more common in the morning, while alcohol was more likely to appear at night. Tea was drunk throughout the day, and images of chocolate and candy made regular appearances from about 10 a.m. onward.

The app was also tested to see if it might help people eat less by encouraging them to consume food and drink over a shorter period of the day. 8 overweight people who tended to eat over more than 14 hours of the day were asked to cut back to 10 to 11 hours. After 16 weeks, these people lost about 3.5 percent of their excess body weight and reported sleeping better.

Unfortunately, the study was too small to draw any broad conclusions, acknowledged by researchers in their paper published online September 24, 2015 in ‘Cell Metabolism’. Though the study was not designed to prove if mobile apps or other forms of food tracking can actually help weight loss, the findings did build on a large body of research linking self-monitoring of dietary habits to weight loss.

Compared to paper diaries, smartphones can make self-monitoring easy. Mobile apps might also provide more real-time reminders in reaction to pictures or data supplied by dieters. Nevertheless, these tools still rely on people’s own motivation to interact with the technology.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - How Would Smoking Worsen Diabetes Complications?

Cigarette smoking has been known to be a risk factor of Type-2 diabetes. A study that was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology pointed out that smoking 16 to 25 cigarettes a day raises the risk for Type 2 diabetes to 3 times that of a non-smoker. Moreover, diabetics who also smoke are more likely than nonsmokers to have trouble with insulin dosing and with controlling their disease. More detail can be found at:

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Effect of Smoke-Free Laws On Youth Smoking Behaviors

Almost every organ of the body can be harmed by smoking, which will cause many diseases including heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). More importantly, smoking will not only harm smokers themselves but also people around them.

Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States, as shown in the figures for 2014 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 42,000 of these deaths came from secondhand smoke exposure. That is why governments around the world have tried all means to curb smoking. One way to do this is to implement smoke-free laws.

Smoke-free laws for public spaces initially aimed to prevent secondhand smoke exposure. But a 11-year study indicated that smoke-free laws in workplaces were linked to a lower likelihood that adolescents and young adults would start to smoke, and smoke-free bar laws were associated with fewer days of smoking for youth who had already started. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of California and published online September 8, 2015 in journal ‘JAMA Pediatrics’. The study was funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute and National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth from 1997 to 2007 was used to analyze the effect of smoke-free laws on individual smoking behaviors of 4,098 teens and young adults who aged between 12 and 18.

The youth were asked whether they had ever smoked in 1997, and in later years were asked whether they had smoked since the last interview. Those who were smokers reported on how many of the previous 30 days they had smoked. The answers obtained were compared to the state level cigarette taxes, and smoke-free laws at the state, county and city levels.

It seemed that smoke-free bar laws did not affect whether or not the youth would start smoking, but smoke-free workplace laws lowered the odds of smoking initiation by 34 percent. Taxes were linked to a lower percentage of new smokers but not current smokers among adolescents and young adults. Each 10-cent increase in cigarette taxes would decrease the likelihood that a youth would start smoking by 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, youths living in areas with 100 percent smoke-free bar laws were 20 percent less likely to be smokers and current smokers smoked 15 percent fewer days per month than those not covered by such laws.

There has been conflict between groups pushing for smoke-free laws and those concerned with youth smoking initiation. But the new findings indicated that there is really no conflict: Smoke free policies can be prevention policies too! According to researchers, policymakers should combine smoke-free laws and cigarette taxes so as to have the maximum effect.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Are Diet And Exercise Best For Diabetes Prevention?

Diabetics are at a higher risk of developing many diseases including blindness and kidney failure, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Diabetes can also cause mild to severe nerve damage, and trigger diabetes-related circulation problems that often leads to the loss of a leg or foot. Fortunately, Type-2 diabetes is preventable. More details at:

Friday, December 11, 2015

Why Should Air Pollution Be Controlled?

When the air is physically, biologically or chemically contaminated either indoor or outdoor, the air is said to be polluted. Air pollution occurs when any harmful gases, dust, smoke enters into the atmosphere and makes it hard for plants, animals and humans to survive.

Air pollution can cause depletion of ozone layer, global warming and acid rain as well as many health problems. It is known to create several respiratory and heart conditions along with cancer. Millions of people die because of direct or indirect effects of air pollution. According to a recent study, air pollution currently causes 3.3 million premature deaths a year globally, and it will kill up to 6.6 million a year worldwide by 2050.

Researchers from The Cyprus Institute, Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Cyprus University of Technology and King Saud University, College of Science published their findings online September 16, 2015 in the journal ‘Nature’.

China has the most air pollution fatalities with 1.4 million deaths a year, followed by India with 645,000 and Pakistan with 110,000. The United States, with 54,905 deaths in 2010 from soot and smog, ranks 7th highest for air pollution deaths.

By combining a global atmospheric chemistry model with population data and health statistics, the researchers estimated the relative contribution of different kinds of outdoor air pollution, mainly from so-called fine particulate matter, to premature deaths.

Their results indicated that in India and China, for example, the emissions from heating and cooking, have the largest number of death, while in much of the United States and a few other countries, emissions from traffic and power generation are crucial. In the eastern United States and in Europe, Russia and East Asia, agricultural emissions are the biggest source of the kind of fine particulate matter that gets into people's lungs, causing illness, disability and death. The study has highlighted a need to have air quality control, particularly in heavily populated parts of Asia.

Heart disease, stroke or a lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are the common causes of death associated with air pollution. Air pollution is also linked to deaths from lung cancer and acute respiratory infections. Research showed that air pollution triggers heart attack even when levels are rated as safe. Exposure to pollutants can raise the risk of heart attack by up to 5 percent, with the effects being felt within a day, according to evidence presented at the European Society for Cardiology Congress 2015 held from August 29 to September 2 in London.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Effect Of Saturated Fats On Heart Disease

Other studies conducted in the past could not find any differences in heart disease risk when saturated fats were replaced by carbohydrates. Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts and other institutes believe this is because the studies did not distinguish between types of carbohydrates. Click the following link for more details:

Friday, November 27, 2015

How To Lose Weight Healthily?

Many health issues, including sleep apnea, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, Type-2 diabetes and even certain types of cancer, could just happen to a person who is overweight or obese.

According to 2011-2012 statistics provided by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there are 69 percent of American adults who age 20 years and over are overweight (including obesity). Meanwhile, the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was US$147 billion in 2008 and the medical costs for people who are obese were US$1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

Certainly, people should avoid becoming overweight or obese if they want to be healthy. That is why most people will try to get rid of the extra pounds around their waist whenever they know they are overweight. Sadly, not too many overweight people can actually do so, even after spending lots of money in weight loss programs.

One should know that while promising to quick weight loss is often attractive, the effect does not last. More importantly, losing too much weight too quick is not good for the health. Healthy weight loss should not exceed 0.5 kg to 1 kg a week. For most people, the initial weight-loss target should be set to lose 10 percent from the baseline body weight over a period of about 4 to 6 months.

Losing weight requires not only determination but also appropriate plan. The following tips might help one to set up a feasible plan to lose weight healthily.

First of all, all meals and snacks should be planned so as one does not feel hungry most of the time. To do so, he or she should snack on low-calorie drinks, consume fruit and raw vegetables like carrot sticks. Switching to brown rice or eating more servings of vegetables and fruits during meals can help slow down digestion and absorption, which can always feel full for a longer period of time.

Then, drinking enough water is essential because hydration is important in optimizing the body's metabolic rate and its energy expenditure. The average recommended daily water intake should be between 8 and 10 glasses of 250 ml each.

Alcohol should be avoided at all time. Alcoholic drinks are high in calories and the drinks also suppress fatty acid oxidation, the process by which fatty acids are broken down by various tissues to produce energy.

It is important that one should never skip breakfast. When one does not eat breakfast, his or her body goes into starvation mode and tries to protect itself by conserving energy. This will not make the body's metabolism to be at an optimal rate. People will tend to snack before lunch or overeat during the next meal. In fact, all 3 meals of the day should not be missed. Remember this, a successful weight-loss program should minimize hunger and fatigue.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Why One Should Be Active To Prevent Heart Disease?

Undoubtedly, a healthy lifestyle that can help prevent people from developing these chronic diseases should consist of having a healthy diet and regular physical exercises, in additional to not smoking and drinking. But a recent study argued that… Find out more at:

Friday, November 20, 2015

How To Save A Cardiac Arrest Victim?

Each year, there are between 300,000 and 400,000 deaths in the United States from cardiac arrest. Most cardiac arrest deaths occur outside the hospital. The current out-of-hospital survival rates are very low: between 1 and 5 percent.

Cardiac arrest usually occurs when the heart's electrical activity becomes disrupted and the heartbeat gets dangerously fast (ventricular tachycardia) or chaotic (ventricular fibrillation). As a result, irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia) occurs and the heart stops beating effectively and cannot adequately pump blood. But if an electric shock from an AED can be delivered in time across the chest and through the heart, the fatal rhythm of ventricular fibrillation can be turned back to a normal rhythm.

An AED (automated external defibrillator) is a device that can be attached to a person’s chest. It can sense the heart's rhythm during cardiac arrest and in some cases, deliver an electric shock to get the heart beating again. The device, when used together with CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) by trained persons offers the best chance of survival for a person who suffers a sudden cardiac arrest. CPR can keep some blood flowing to the heart and brain for a short time.

People who has a cardiac arrest will suddenly lose consciousness. So when one sees someone pass out, the first thing he or she should do is to check whether the victim is unconscious and not breathing. Once confirmed the victim is unresponsive, an ambulance should be called immediately and an AED should be secured right away. AEDs are now commonly available in many public places including the shopping malls, office buildings, sports arenas, golf courses, schools, and airports and airplanes.

CPR should then be started on the victim until the AED arrives. Once the device is switched on, voice prompts will advise what to do. Sweat, if any, should be wiped from the chest of the victim before attaching the electrode pads to the bare chest. The first pad should be placed on the victim's upper right side, just below the collarbone, while the second pad is placed just below and to the left of the left nipple. The device will advise if shock is advised. If shock is required, the helper should make sure no one is touching the victim before pressing the button. The helper should continue to follow the voice prompts until the ambulance arrives.

Nevertheless, one should note that an AED can only for certain types of cardiac arrest that involves specific types of heart fibrillation, and it will not revive everyone in cardiac arrest.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Can Sleep Deprivation Cause Heart Disease And Stroke?

Lack of sleep can make one feel tired, forgetful and sometimes even grumpy. People who have inadequate sleep might not be able to make sound judgment and are prone to causing accidents on the road or at their work places. Long period of sleep deprivation may lead to depression and weight gain, too. That is not all… Read the full article @

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Why Is Onion Skin Good For Health?

Being a vegetable, onion is an indispensable ingredient in cooking as it adds a baseline of sweet and earthy flavor, and contributes a spicy accent when served raw. But onion can be useful in other aspects, too. 

Historically, onion has been used as a preventative medicine during epidemics of cholera and the plague. It contains chromium that helps regulate blood sugar and phytochemicals that improve the working of Vitamin C in the body for improved immunity. Raw onion also encourages the production of good cholesterol (HDL) for heart disease prevention.

People might wonder why there is a low incidence of heart disease among the French, who favor relatively high-calorie diet. While some has often attributed the phenomenon to the antioxidants in the red wine they often consume, others suspect that onions, which are very popular in French cuisine, might play a role.

The skins are usually peeled and thrown away before use. But for years, onion skins have been used to create a natural dye. People have been dying Easter eggs purple using red onion skins. Onion skins can also be utilized to dye all sorts of things including cotton and paper. Moreover, onion skins can be a good ingredient in making all sorts of soup stocks or bases.

Recent research even confirms that the outer skins of onions provide an exceptionally rich source of quercetin. Quercetin, which is a flavonoid, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. Quercetin is under study as an agent for lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol and blood pressure, fighting allergies, reducing inflammation, enhancing muscle growth and function, treating depression, some forms of cancer, and other conditions.

Sulfur in onion skin can also lower the accumulation of platelets, and improve cardiovascular functioning and blood flow. It controls cholesterol and blood pressure, too.

As a matter of fact, skins of many produces are good for the health. According to scientists, plants have to manufacture what they need to protect and heal themselves because they cannot move around. The compounds they produce to respond to stress would actually help human under similar circumstances. Many of these protective compounds are in the outer coverings, say skins, where most environmental attacks would likely occur.

Onions, on an ounce-for-ounce basis, rank in the top 10 of commonly eaten vegetables in their quercetin content. The flavonoid content of onions can vary widely, depending on the exact variety and growing conditions. The average onion is likely to contain less than 100 milligrams of quercetin per 3-1/2 ounces, but some onions do provide this amount. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Would Hole In The Heart Cause Heart Attack And Stroke?

Complications can arise from hole in heart. For those with VSD, a large defect can result in heart failure, failure to gain weight, recurrent respiratory infections and damage to the blood vessels in the lung. ASD, on the other hand, can lead to right heart failure, arrhythmias, stroke, pulmonary hypertension (increased pressure in the pulmonary arteries). There is also a risk of infection of the heart. Find out more at:

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Why One Should Not Eat While Walking?

Overweight and obesity can lead to many chronic diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and Type-2 diabetes. Lack of physical activities and unhealthy diet can of course lead to weight gain and so can overeating. But how can people overeat?

People overeat because of habits, or because they eat too fast or they simply not aware of the calorie intake. Recently, researchers from the University of Surrey found that having meals while walking can also lead to overeat. Their findings were published online August 20, 2015 in the ‘Journal of Health Psychology’.

60 women were each given a cereal bar to eat under 3 different conditions: one group watched a 5-minute clip of the television show "Friends" while eating; the second group ate while walking around the hall; and the final group ate while sitting and talking with a friend. After the experiment, they were then asked to complete a follow-up questionnaires and a taste test involving 4 different bowls of snacks, including chocolate, carrot sticks, grapes and crisps. The researchers measured how many snacks they ate after they left the room.

Eating while walking around were found to trigger more overeating compared to eating during watching TV or having a conversation with a friend. Participants ate more snacks at the taste test if they had eaten the initial cereal bar whilst walking around and specifically they ate 5 times more chocolate. In other words, eating on the go might just make a person overeat later on in the day.

Walking is a powerful form of distraction that disrupts one’s ability to process the impact eating on one’s hunger, according to researchers. Meanwhile, people may regard walking as a form of exercise that justifies overeating later on as a form of reward. Any form of distraction including eating at the desk or in front of a TV can lead to weight gain. This is because people just do not track or recognize the food that has just been consumed when they are not fully concentrate on their meals.

By slowing down and paying attention, people can recognize when they are beginning to get full and stop before overeating. So in order to avoid overeating, it is important to focus on the food and refrain from eating while doing other activity like watching TV, looking at computer or cellphone, and to eat slowly by increasing the number of chews per bite.

Also, planning ahead can help one stick to a healthy diet. Instead of grabbing whatever looks good when hungry, grocery shopping should be done at the beginning of the week with a list to cover meals and snacks for the days ahead.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Could Depression Raise Heart Failure Patients’ Death Rate?

While previous study has shown that depression is linked to death in patients with heart failure, it was thought that this could be due to the fact that depressed patients have more severe heart failure and more comorbidities. A recent study indicated that depression could actually raise the risk of death among people with heart failure. Click the following link for more:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How Is Protein Related To Heart Disease Prevention?

Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Human body uses protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals, and protein is also an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. A recent study by the University of East Anglia and King’s College London pointed out that foods high in protein could be as good for the heart as stopping smoking or getting more exercise.

The findings, which were published online July 22, 2015 in the ‘Journal of Nutrition’, revealed that people who eat high levels of certain amino acids found in meat and plant-based protein have lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness. The effect is more or less similar to making life style changes, for instance, lower salt intake, exercise regularly, cut alcohol consumption and quit smoking.

Effect of 7 amino acids (arginine, cysteine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, leucine, and tyrosine) on cardiovascular health were investigated among 1898 female twins aged between 18 and 75 who had healthy BMI. The data was taken from TwinsUK -- the biggest UK adult twin registry of 12,000 twins which is used to study the genetic and environmental causes of age related disease.

Researchers studied their diet and compared it to clinical measures of blood pressure and blood vessel thickness and stiffness. It was found that those who consumed the highest amounts of amino acids had lower measures of blood pressure and arterial stiffness.

While previous studies have found that increased dietary protein may be associated with lower blood pressure, they did not clearly indicate protein from plant or from animal, was more beneficial.

In the new study, researchers looked at the different amino acids found in both meat and vegetables. Higher intake of amino acids from animal sources (glutamic acid, leucine, and tyrosine) was found to be most strongly associated with lower levels of arterial stiffness, while all 7 amino acids result in lower blood pressure.

High blood pressure can lead to heart disease or stroke. Lowering blood pressure could reduce mortality caused by stroke or coronary heart disease. Changing diet to include more meat, fish, dairy produce and pulses could actually help prevent and treat heart disease and stroke.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that people should just consume as much protein as possible. In fact, the amount of proteins people should eat each day is still pretty small. According to researchers, beneficial daily amounts of proteins equate to a 75 g portion of steak, a 100g salmon fillet or a 500ml glass of skimmed milk.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Can Chocolate Really Prevent Heart Disease?

Being the most liked food in the world, chocolate is made from cocoa beans. Many studies have revealed that it has several health benefits. German researchers recently found that substances called flavanols that are found in cocoa could help people have healthy heart circulation as they get older. Find out more at:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Would Depression Or Bipolar Disorder Lead To Heart Disease?

Depression can happen to anyone at some point or another when he or she encounters disappointments. For most people, it should be over after a while but for some, the depression can become so severe that it will affect their daily lives and can become a serious illness. There are many forms of depression, namely major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness or bipolar affective disorder, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. It is characterized by periods of 2 extremes of mood - mania (elevated) mood and depressive (low) mood.

The disorder often develops in a person's late teens or early adult years. At least half of all cases start before the age of 25. Some people have their first symptoms during childhood and others may develop symptoms late in life. About 3 percent of people in the United States have bipolar disorder at some point in their life, and around 1 percent are found in other countries. 

While the cause is not clearly understood, bipolar disorder tends to run in families. It could be caused by brain structure and functioning, too. Nevertheless, most scientists agree that there is no single cause for such disorder. Instead, the illness can likely be the results of many factors act together.

In a scientific statement released on Aug 10, 2015 by the American Heart Association, the researchers warned that major depression and bipolar disorder can put teens at a significantly higher risk of heart disease, and hence adolescents with mood disorders need to get extra screening. The findings were also published online Aug 10, 2015 in the journal ‘Circulation’.

Several studies on depression, heart disease and adolescents were reviewed by the researchers. Their findings revealed that youths with depression and bipolar disorder were much more likely to have high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, obesity, Type-2 diabetes and damaged arteries than most of their peers.

A 2011 study included in the review examined more than 7,000 American adults younger than 30 and found that a history of depression or attempted suicide was the top risk factor for heart disease death caused by narrowed or blocked arteries in young women; it was the fourth highest risk factor in young men.

Reasons for the increased risk were unclear. But inflammation and other types of cell damage are more common among teens with mood disorders, which might help explain the increased risk of heart disease. 

Youth with mood disorders have not been widely recognized as a group at increased risk for excessive and early heart disease. The new findings, however, should remind doctors to pay extra attention to the heart disease risks of teens with depression and bipolar disease.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Would Bystanders’ CPR Raise Cardiac Arrest Survival?

Cardiac arrest might be reversed if someone nearby can perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and use a defibrillator to shock the heart in order to restore a normal heart rhythm within a few minutes. Hence, bystanders can make a difference when somebody collapses with cardiac arrest. Read the full article @

Friday, October 09, 2015

Should Food Labels Reveal Details of Added Sugars?

The 2015’s new dietary guidelines for Americans advise people to cut consumption of added sugars. Added sugars refer to all types of sugars, including honey, molasses, brown sugar, white sugar, agave, which are added to foods that do not normally contain sugar.

People should, according to the new guidelines, cut down intake of added sugars from all sources to about 10 percent of total calories eaten daily. For instance, if a person eats 1,500 calories daily, he or she should consume about 150 calories of sugar. That is about the amount of sugar in one 12-ounce can of soda or a bowl of sugary cereal.
Added sugar contributes extra calories to the body but provides little nutritional value. Moreover, added sugar is often found in foods that also contain solid fats, such as butter, margarine or shortening in baked goods. Eating too much foods with added sugar and solid fat can cause weight gain or even obesity, which might lead to health problems including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

On July 25, 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that all food labels should contain more detail about how much sugar is in a product. The proposed rule requires food labels indicate not only how much sugar is in a product, but also what percentage the sugar added to the daily recommended intake. The FDA is also proposing to change the current footnote on the Nutrition Facts label to help consumers better understand the percent daily value concept.

Surely, the new proposal is welcomed by health activists because many people are just consuming too much sugar without knowing it. But the new proposal is also criticized by the food and beverage manufacturers arguing that there is no scientific evidence to justify the dietary limits on added sugars and the new labels would simply confuse the consumers. Some of them also claimed that additional nutritional information would be costly to implement, yet rarely influences consumer behavior.

However, a survey that was published June 15 in the ‘Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ found otherwise. The survey indicated that ‘added sugar’ did confuse a majority of the 1,088 respondents, who mistakenly thought that products with labels listing added sugars contained more sugar than they actually did. The survey also found that consumers would be less likely to buy a product if its nutrition panel listed added sugars.

It seems that the new proposal might further affect the sales of soda drinks. According to Beverage Digest, the sales volumes of soda related beverages had already fallen for 10 straight years because of obesity and diabetes concerns.

Not all food food companies are against the proposal. For instance, Mars Inc. (makers of M&M’s and Snickers), agreed that the new labeling would provide consumers with helpful information about how much sugar should be consumed, and affirmed their commitment to making more treats that are under 200 calories.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - How To Improve Survival Rate Of Cardiac Arrest?

In July 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that most non-aspirin NSAIDs will have to carry a stronger warning on their labels about their cardiovascular risks. They also advised people to think carefully about taking these drugs, both over-the-counter versions and prescription pills. Read more...

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Should Statins Be Given To More People?

Statins, which include Lipitor, Mevacor, Crestor and Zocor, are the most widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications in the world. About 15 percent of American adults are taking them at a cost ranging from about $4 per month for the cheapest generic version to $600 for a pricey name-brand.

Old guidelines advised people to aim for a total cholesterol level of less than 200, keeping LDL (bad) cholesterol to 130 for average people and under 100 for those considered at risk of a heart attack. In 2013, new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommended that statins should be given to anyone with a 7.5 percent risk or higher of developing heart disease over the next 10 years. Adopting the new guidelines also means that between 8 and 13 million more people would be prescribed with statins.

Experts fear that the new guidelines would put too many Americans to statins’ risks without compensating benefits. Statins do have side effects. They can damage muscle in 5 to 15 percent of patients. In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated labeling on statins to include warnings about confusion and memory loss, elevated blood sugar leading to Type 2 diabetes, and muscle weakness. Many patients and doctors are also complaining that the new guidelines are confusing.

But 2 recently released papers concluded that the new guidelines might prevent tens of thousands of heart disease, stroke and death, and they are cost effective, too. Both papers were published July 14, 2015 in the ‘Journal of the American Medical Association’

In one paper, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health proposed a formula that considers age, weight, blood pressure and other factors like whether patients smoke or have diabetes, to predict whether they have at least a 7.5 percent chance of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. Using the formula, the researchers estimated that between 41,000 and 63,000 heart attack, stroke or death could be prevented in the over a 10-year period. They further pointed out that if statins were given to people with a 3 percent risk of developing heart disease over 10 years, another 160,000 heart attacks and strokes would be prevented.

Another paper, which was conducted by researchers from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital and other institutes, revealed that the 7.5 percent risk for cardiovascular events is a cost-effective threshold using standard cost and longevity measures. They also proposed that people with even a 3 percent or 4 percent risk of suffering heart attacks or strokes could be put on statins cost-effectively.

Heart Disease Prevention - How To Improve Survival Rate Of Cardiac Arrest?

Training people in CPR and having automated external defibrillators (AED) handy will certainly help to increase the survival rate. Meanwhile, emergency medical service personnel must be trained to respond swiftly and correctly. For instance, operators managing 911 calls can be trained to talk people through CPR while waiting an ambulance to come, and the emergency departments need smooth and coordinated responses. To find out more, please click the following link.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Why People Should Have Mediterranean Diet?

Mediterranean diet is not new. As shown by numerous studies, it can help people live longer and prevent heart disease. Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, fish and poultry, and limiting intake of red meat. It may incorporate cooking with olive oil, herbs and spices. If desirable, red wine may also be added as part of the diet but in moderation and is not compulsory.

Researchers from Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques at Hospital Clinic, Barcelona and other institutions found that Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts might help prevent age-related cognitive decline in older population. Their findings were released online May 11, 2015 and published in July 2015 in the ‘Journal of the American Medical Association's JAMA Internal Medicine’.

A group of 447 volunteers (233 of them were women) in Spain, who had an average age of 67, were followed. They were considered at high risk of heart disease, which has somehow been known to relate to dementia: people with a higher risk of one frequently have a higher risk of the other.

The volunteers were divided into 3 groups: 155 were assigned in the group with 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil added each day, 144 belonged to the group with 30 grams of nuts (a mix of walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds) added a day, and the remaining people were asked to have the low-fat diet.

From time to time, the volunteers were tested on memory skills. The group who ate the extra nuts did better in terms of memory and the group given extra virgin olive oil performed better on tests that required quick thinking.

Slightly more than 13 percent of those in the group getting extra olive oil and about 7 percent of those in the group getting nuts were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment that may or may not lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Around 13 percent of those in the group with low-fat diet developed memory loss. 

Over the period of 4 years, many of the volunteers actually had their memories get better. On average, those in the low-fat group lost some memory and thinking skills but those who got extra nuts had their memory skills improve, and those who got olive oil had improvement in problem-solving and planning skills.

In view of the lack of effective treatments for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, it is necessary to have preventive measures to delay the start or minimize the effects of these conditions. Though the current findings on Mediterranean diet is encouraging, according to researchers, further studies are still necessary for confirmation.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Alternative Way To Predict Heart Heart

A new study, conducted by researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and other institutes, suggested that the strength of a person’s hand-grip could actually predict the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Their findings were published online May 13, 2015 in the ‘Lancet’ medical journal. Find out more at: 

Heart Disease Prevention - Alternative Way To Predict Heart Heart

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Would Drinking Benefit Elderly?

Light to moderate drinking is supposed to be healthful. But according to a recent study, elderly people might suffer heart damage from even moderate drinking. Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and other institutions suggested that elderly people who increased alcohol intake could have mild alterations in cardiac structure and function. More details at:

Friday, August 28, 2015

What’s New About the New Smoking Ban in China?

Being the world’s biggest tobacco producer and consumer, China has more than 300 million smokers consuming a third of the world’s cigarettes. Almost a third of adults and more than half of adult men regard themselves as regular tobacco users, according to the figures shown by WHO (World Health Organization). It is a common greeting among men in China to offer a cigarette, and a carton of cigarettes is often considered a popular gift.

Smoking could bring along many health risks including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Many smokers, however, are simply not aware of these risks. Each year, more than 1 million people in China die from smoking-related illness. Another 740 million of Chinese are exposed to second-hand smoke and more than 100,000 of them die from second-hand smoke. 

Chinese authorities declared in 2011 that smoking is prohibited in all public spaces nationwide including hotels and restaurants. But the rules were fairly vague and often flouted by Chinese smokers who are not keen in abiding the laws. Hence the smoking ban have more or less failed to curb the habit. Meanwhile, anti-smoking campaigners are accusing the authorities not offering sufficient warning to the smokers about the risks. Instead, the authorities are blamed to be addicted to the tax revenues generated by cigarette sales.

On June 1, 2015 (International Children's Day), a day after World No-Tobacco Day organized by WHO in 1987, Beijing (China) imposed a tough new smoking ban, threatening to name and shame repeat offenders and levying fines 20 times higher than existing penalties. Areas banned for smoking include offices, restaurants and public transport. Offenders will be fined up to 200 yuan (US$32), compared to 10 yuan (US$1.60) under a law passed in 2011.

Under the new law, anyone who is caught breaking the law 3 times will be named and shamed on a government website. 1,000 inspectors are deployed by the city government to enforce the law. It is expected that the new law will permanently bring clean air to all of Beijing’s indoor public places. It would also protect Beijing’s more than 20 million people from exposing to toxic second-hand smoke.

The new law does not seem to be a big deal, but the power of Internet should never be under estimated. Reaction of online citizens in Asia can be very harsh in condemning inappropriate behavior. In 2005, when a woman in South Korea who refused to clean up her dog’s waste was caught in photos that was posted online, the Internet users swiftly discerned her identity. She was harassed so badly that she finally quitted her university.

Heart Disease Prevention - Are Full-Service Restaurant Food Healthier Than Fast Food?

Fast food restaurants have always been blamed as the culprits that cause obesity epidemic by supplying to public food that is of high fat and high salt (sodium). Naturally, people might think that foods served in full-service restaurants should be healthier than those from the fast food chains. But… To find out more, check it out @Heart Disease Prevention - Are Full-Service Restaurant Food Healthier Than Fast Food?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Are People Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables?

Daily consumption of adequate fruit and vegetable is part of a healthy diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults who have less than 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day should consume 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily. More active people may be able to consume more without adding too many calories to their diet.

Maintaining a healthy diet is important in preventing many diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. But a new study found that less than 15 percent of American adults eat enough fruits and even fewer adults eat enough vegetables daily to meet the guidelines.

From 2007 to 2010, half of total United States population consumed less than 1 cup of fruit and less than 1.5 cups of vegetables per day; 76 percent did not meet fruit intake recommendations, and 87 percent did not meet vegetable intake recommendations.

Researchers at CDC (Centers for Disease Prevention and Control) analyzed the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey of 373,580 people across all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC). People in the survey were asked about the frequency of their fruit and vegetable intake, and their personal characteristics such as ethnicity, age and income into account were taken.

In the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released on July 10, 2015, the researchers pointed out that in 2013, only 13.1 percent of people in the United States reported eating sufficient fruit and 8.9 percent reported eating enough vegetables to meet that recommendation.

Fruits and vegetables add nutrients to the diet and they can protect people from developing many chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Eating fruits and vegetables instead of foods that are high in calories, added sugars and solid fat can prevent from gaining weight, too.

Hence, substantial efforts should be made to build consumer demand for fruits and vegetables. All places including childcare, schools, grocery stores, communities and workplace should have access to fruits and vegetables that are competitively priced, prominently displayed and promoted. The CDC suggested workplaces, schools, childcare and other education providers meet or exceed current federal nutrition standards for meals and snacks by serving fruits and vegetables whenever food is offered.

While all types of fruits and vegetables count, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that most of the fruit intake should come from whole fruit instead of fruit juice and that people should eat fruits and vegetables that have limited amounts of added sugars and solid fat. The guidelines also recommend that people should raise the intake of dark green and orange vegetables as well as beans.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Does Slim Hypertensive People Have Higher Cardiovascular Risk?

While overweight or obese people with hypertension (high blood pressure) could end up with disastrous outcome, some previous studies done in the past 30 years did suggest that thinner people with hypertension might have worse outcomes than overweight or obese people. Chronic events linked to hypertension include diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, stroke and cancer. Check it out at: Heart Disease Prevention - Does Slim Hypertensive People Have Higher Cardiovascular Risk?

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Longer Life Expectancy Is Expected!

While most babies born in 1990 did not live beyond 50 years old, life expectancy around the world has increased steadily. The improvements in sanitation, housing and education, cause a steady decline in early and mid-life mortality that is due mainly to infection. The dramatic advances in health care also plays a role in making people live longer.

According to a report released on October 8, 2014 from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), American life expectancy has reached a new high. A baby born in the United States in 2012 can expect to live 78.8 years (from 78.7) on average.

By comparing final mortality data on deaths and death rates from 2012 with that of 2011, the researchers investigated age-adjusted death rates by ethnicity and sex, the 10 leading causes of death. The 10 leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, unintentional injuries, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide.

It is expected that women can live till 81.2 years old whereas men till 76.4 years old. Despite relatively small changes in mortality from one year to the next, there is no doubt that the mortality rate is declining over the long-term. The rise in life expectancy was attributed to a reduction in many major causes of death including cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Age-adjusted death rate was found to decline in 8 of the 10 leading causes of death in 2011-12: 8.3 percent for Influenza and pneumonia, 2.2 percent for kidney disease, 1.8 percent for heart disease, 1.5 percent for cancer, 2.4 percent for chronic lower respiratory disease, 2.6 percent for stroke, 3.6 percent for Alzheimer's, and 1.9 percent for diabetes. The death rates for suicide, on the other hand, increased by 2.4 percent, while the death rates for unintentional injuries remained the same in 2012 as in 2011.

Mortality rates of infant were also found to decline. Comparing to 2011, there was a 1.5 percent reduction in 2012. The infant mortality rate is generally regarded as a good indicator of the overall health of a population. The 10 leading causes of infant death in 2012 were the same as reported in 2011 and accounted for 69.8 percent of all infant deaths in the United States. Besides a 12 percent decline in deaths from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), there were no significant changes found in the remaining 9 leading causes of infant death.

The WHO (World Health Organization) already reported on May 15, 2014 that the average girl born in 2012 can expect to live to the age of 72, and the average boy to 68. People around the world are living longer, and the average life expectancy has gone up by 6 years since 1990.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Would Coffee Cut Diabetes Risk?

Health effects of coffee is controversial. Extensive scientific research has been carried out to find out the health effect of coffee consumption, and the general consensus among health experts is that moderate coffee consumption in healthy individuals is either essentially benign or mildly beneficial. Find out more at: Heart Disease Prevention - Would Coffee Cut Diabetes Risk?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Is There A Link Between Wildfire And Heart Disease?

A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation occurring in the countryside area. Sometime, it is also called forest fire, bush fire or brush fire. It differs from other kinds of fire by its extensive size, the speed at which it can spread out from its original source, and its potential to alter the direction unexpectedly. 

Wildfires in Australia are a common occurrence because of the generally hot and dry climate. They can happen during all times of the year though mostly throughout the hotter months of summer and spring. In the United States, there are typically between 60,000 and 80,000 wildfires that occur each year, burning 3 million to 10 million acres (12,000 to 40,000 square kilometers) of land depending on the year.

Inhalation of smoke from a wildfire could pose some health risks. As reported by Australian researchers, air pollution from wildfire might trigger heart attack, cardiac arrest or other types of heart disease. The finer particulate matter, which is presented in extremely high concentration in wildfire, is small and easily inhaled making it harmful for the human body.

Smoke wildfires has long been linked to respiratory problems such as asthma. While some previous studies had already associated PM 2.5 (particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or smaller) with inflammation and heart disease, the evidence of the relationship between wildfire smoke exposure and heart disease has been inconsistent. 

Due to the climate, vegetation and protracted droughts, Victoria is particularly vulnerable to wildfires. In December 2006 and January 2007, Victoria experienced a long-running series of wildfires that burned about one million hectares (2.4 million acres) of land with smoke reaching cities situated far away from the source fires.

Using the health data obtained during the period of December 2006 to January 2007, researchers from Monash University and associates examined the relationship between out‐of‐hospital cardiac arrests, ischemic heart disease, heart attack, and angina (hospital admissions and emergency department attendance) and PM2.5 concentrations.

The findings, which were published July 15, 2015 in the ‘Journal of the American Heart Association’, reported that there were 457 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, 2,106 emergency department visits and 3,274 hospital admissions for coronary artery disease during the fire period.

After taking into account of temperature and relative humidity, the researchers also found that as the concentration of fine particulates in the air increased over about a two-day period, the risk for cardiac arrest among men and people over age of 65 raised. The risk for emergency department visits due to coronary artery disease also rose, particularly among women.

During wildfire events, general pollution is advised to stay indoors, maintain medication, and if they are worried at any stage due to a health condition, they should seek help immediately. Taking note that elderly or people with preexisting conditions are at the highest risk.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Why Do Married People Have Lower Heart Disease Risk?

Married people are at a lower risk of getting a heart disease and stroke. A large study that was released on March 28, 2014 and presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session on March 29, 2014, found that married people are less likely than singles, divorced or widowed people to suffer from any kind of heart or blood vessel problem. Check it out at:

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Can Walking Keep One Fit?

It is generally thought that spending an hour of running or working out in the gym is the only way to fitness, yet some fitness experts think otherwise. They argued that walking is just as good.

Modern people spend plenty of time sitting. In fact, there is a new category of people, known as “actively sedentary” who are fit for one hour but sitting around the rest of the day. Obviously, exercising for just an hour or so can never be able to offset the long hours of stillness.

Emerging evidence has suggested that combined physical activity and inactivity may be more important for chronic disease risk than physical activity alone. In a study conducted in 2013 by researchers from the University of Texas School of Public Health, 218 marathoners and half marathoners were asked to report their training and sitting times. It was found that median training time was 6.5 hours per week, and median total sitting time was between 8 and 10.75 hours per day. This suggested that these runners were simultaneously highly sedentary and highly active.

Sedentary lifestyle has been blamed for years to cause obesity epidemic, which ultimately lead to many chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. So getting active is the key to one’s overall long-term health. 

A paper published in the journal ‘Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise’ by scientists at Indiana University found that three 5-minute walks done throughout 3 hours of prolonged sitting did reverse the harmful effects of prolonged sitting on arteries in the legs.

Physical activity is undoubtedly essential to health, and walking is the most basic foundation of movement. It is easier to get movement than it is to get exercise. There is a growing number of people calling walking a “superfood”, though this is somehow controversial.

While walking can benefit one’s health, it is definitely not a magical cure because walking would not help muscle or improve cardiovascular system. In order to help prevent disease and lose weight, weights and more intense cardio such as jogging are necessary, according to some fitness experts. Nevertheless, walking might be the only choice of physical activity for some people, especially for those who are not fit for jogging and those who are elderly. 

One might consider setting a target on number of steps to finish everyday. If fitness-walking guidelines of 10, 000 steps per day is too much, maybe one can begin at about 7,500 steps per day and at least 150 minutes of activity each week. Some habits change can help achieve the target. For instance, one might start with walking to friend’s house or the grocery store if they are within walking distance. If one takes public transport, get off a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. If possible, one can fit a walk every evening. Walking, when combined with healthy diet, would certainly benefit one’s health in one way or another.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Are Sugary Drinks Really So Bad For The Heart?

Sugary drinks could actually make people feel not as full as if they had eaten the same calories from solid food. A recent study reported that sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year, and insisted that such drinks should be eliminated from people’s diets. Visit the following link for more details:

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Is Trans Fat Considered Safe?

Trans fat has been a hot topic lately. Why are so many people talking about it? According to a recent announcement made on June 16, 2015 by the FDA (Food And Drug Administration), trans fat will have to disappear from the American diet because it is not “generally recognized as safe” for use in the human food. So FDA orders food manufacturers to stop using trans fat within 3 years.

While trans fat occurs naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy products, it is mainly formed by making liquid oil goes through a process called hydrogenation that makes the oil solid or semi-solid. That is why trans fat is also known as hydrogenated fat. It is often used for frying or as an ingredient in processed foods because it can help give products a longer shelf life, and it makes foods smooth and taste better, too.

Unfortunately, trans fat raises levels of bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, LDL) and reduce levels of good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, HDL). In other words, it put people at a higher risk of getting heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Fried and baked goods, from doughnuts and biscuits to frozen pizza and stick margarine, often contain trans fat. Microwave popcorn and fast food might also contain trans-fats. Often foods that stated “trans fat free” do contain trans fat. This is because food manufacturers are allowed by FDA to indicate “trans fat free” in the labels so long the foods do not have more than 0.5 grams of trans fat.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), people should consume good fats like olive oil, canola oil, and sunflower or safflower oil. Soft margarine should be used as a substitute for butter. When choosing foods, people should look for “0 gram trans fat” on the nutrition facts label and “no hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list. People are also advised to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and less of the fried and processed foods that most likely to contain trans fat.

Once trans fat is determined by the FDA as not generally recognized as safe, companies will have to seek explicit FDA approval if they intend to use it in foods. However, it is expected that the new ruling should not have great impact on the food industry since food manufacturers have already been using less trans fat. The Grocery Manufacturer's Association of America indicates that food makers have lowered the amount of trans fat in processed foods by 86 percent since 2003. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - How Should Diabetes Be Managed?

One way to manage diabetes is to avoid certain foods like refined carbohydrates, and added sugars and sweeteners that could eventually lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, and diabetes. In fact, besides diabetes, many of the health disorders are actually linked to overconsumption of carbohydrates. A critical review provided major evidence proving that low-carbohydrate diets should be the first approach for Type-2 diabetes and the most effective adjunct to medications for Type-1 diabetes. Read more at:

Saturday, July 04, 2015

How Much Exercise Do Women Need To Prevent Heart Disease?

Exercise plays an important role in keeping one healthy. But how much exercise does one need without wasting time or risking injury? Current physician guidelines suggest that adults should have at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, at least 5 days a week.

According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford, middle-age women may not need as much exercise as previously recommended in order to stay healthy and prevent heart disease. The study, known as Million Women Study, involved 1.1 million women aged between 50 and 64 who had no prior vascular disease.

Participants reported their frequency of physical activity and many other personal characteristics in 1998. 3 years later, they were asked about hours spent walking, cycling, gardening, and housework each week. During an average of 9 years follow-up, about 7.5 percent of the participants had suffered a heart attack, stroke or a dangerous clot called venous thromboembolism. Their findings were published online February 16, 2015 in the American Heart Association journal ‘Circulation’.

Researchers found that women engaging in regular, moderate physical activity had the lowest cardiovascular risk among women in the study, after comparing outcomes with self-reported physical activity. Those who reported moderate amounts of activity just 2 or 3 times a week had a 20 percent lower rate of heart attack, stroke and blood clots, comparing to inactive women. 

While women engaging in strenuous physical activity like running also had a lower risk for heart disease, but only when doing such activities 2 to 3 times a week. Surprisingly, those participating in daily vigorous exercise actually had a higher cardiovascular risk than those exercising a few times a week.

It is not necessary to perform vigorous exercise every single day to prevent heart disease, as suggested by the study. People just need to exercise a few times a week. In fact, certain levels of activity will help keep the heart in shape, lowering cholesterol and inflammation in blood vessels, and essentially preventing the formation of plaque that blocks blood flow.

Health experts cautioned the data regarding physical activity was self-reported and women’s physical activity levels might have changed over the course of study. Moreover, women engaging in vigorous exercise only made up 3 percent of the entire study population that obviously put the study up to potential error. Nevertheless, the findings might just offer hope and possibly motivation to the estimated one-third of adults who do not exercise. These individuals just need to raise their physical activity, even in small amounts.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Can Heart Failure Be Cured?

Recently, scientists might discover a way to repair heart failure. A study found that paroxetine that is an antidepressant also known as Paxil could improve heart function in laboratory mice and even reverse heart damage more effectively than beta-blockers, the current standard of care for heart failure.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Are Low-Salt Foods Available In Grocery Stores?

Salt, or more precisely sodium, is required by human body to help nerves and muscles function correctly. It also plays an important part in fluid balance (regulation of water content).

However, consuming too much salt can raise the risk of hypertension as well as cardiovascular (heart disease and stroke). In 2006, a study from the University of Helsinki even linked sodium intake to obesity.

One third of American adults have hypertension, and at least a quarter of those cases are affected by sodium intake. More than two-thirds of American adults and nearly one-third of children and youth are overweight or obese.

A recent study by CDC (the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) indicated that it is difficult to find low-sodium food in grocery stores. The new findings, which were published in the journal ‘Preventing Chronic Disease’, could explain why more than 90 percent of American adults consume more than the recommended daily amount of sodium.

Fewer than half of packaged grocery-store products in most food categories were found to meet Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for being labeled as a healthy food, according to the researchers from CDC.

More than 70 percent of pizzas, pasta mixed dishes, and meat mixed dishes, and 50 percent to 70 percent of cold cuts, soups, and sandwiches exceeded FDA’s healthy labeling standards for sodium, whereas less than 10 percent of breads, savory snacks, and cheeses did.

The researchers looked at all sales in 2009 from grocery stores in 3 United States Census regions: the South Atlantic, East North Central, and Pacific. In all 3 divisions, 50 percent or more of products sold in most food categories exceeded the sodium-per-serving conditions for a healthy food.

FDA allows food manufacturers label food as healthy only if the food contains less than 480 milligrams of sodium in a single serving of individual foods such as bread, or less than 600 milligrams in a main dish meal.

It is clear that most of the salt that Americans eat is hidden in processed foods such as bread. In fact, bread is the single biggest source of sodium in the American diet because people eat so much of it.

Data found in the study also supports recent findings that meeting sodium recommendations might be difficult in the current food environment because many of the top-selling packaged food products in each region were national brands, regional variation in sodium content of available products may be limited.

Public is, therefore, advised to get fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables since unprocessed food rarely contains much sodium. If one wants to buy packaged food, he or she should spend some time reading the label and should try choosing a lower sodium option.

Heart Disease Prevention - Why Is Dietary Guidelines Important For Heart Disease Prevention?

According to the experts, Americans have very bad food choices and eat too little vitamin D, calcium, potassium and fiber and consume too much fat and salt. And these bad eating habits are making people sick. New recommendations reaffirm the 2010 guidelines: eat more vegetables, less fat and salt and to exercise more with some key differences. Find out more at: