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.