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Jan 22

A Cardiologist and Athlete Says a Plant-Based Diet Is the Key to – The Beet

When you think about heart disease, you may imagine an overweight, older male experiencing heart palpitations and chest pain. Thats definitely valid, but also be aware that heart disease is not one-size-fits-all it has a wide variety of symptoms and affects individuals of all ages. It is currently the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Even though heart disease is pretty common, it can be preventable 80% of the time, according to the American Heart Association. Now, youre probably wondering, if heart disease is preventable, why are rates still so high? This is attributed to the Standard American Diet (SAD) which consists of processed foods high in sugar and fat and the sedentary lifestyle adopted by most individuals in our country. It goes way back to the beginning of the 20th century, where heart disease was an uncommon cause of death in the United States. By mid-century, it had become the most common cause. Some historians attribute it to the lack of physical activity as the majority of Americans started using automobiles as a mode of transportation. Others attribute it to harmful changes in Americans diet, where people consumed more processed foods, saturated fats, and added sugars, according to this study. Unfortunately, many are still engaging in this lifestyle today despite knowing a healthy diet and regular exercise has the power to reverse heart disease.

Dr. Heather Shenkman, MD, FAAC, a vegan cardiologist and athlete, is on a mission to help individuals regain their health and maintain a healthy heart focusing on healthy lifestyle changes. In her practice, she takes a whole-person approach treating food as medicine by promoting

plant-based food choices in addition to regular exercise habits. In an exclusive interview with The Beet, Dr. Shenkman walks us through her journey to becoming vegan, the benefits of a plant-based diet for cardiovascular health, and her personal favorite vegan meals. She leads by example when it comes to lifestyle and has blossomed into an endurance athlete fueled entirely by a vegan diet. Her advice will motivate you to add more plants and movement to your life, which will nourish your body and leave you feeling full of life.

Dr. Heather Shenkman: I became a vegetarian while in high school, because of my love for animals. I was a vegetarian throughout college and medical school, but I became a vegan during my cardiology fellowship. I had originally become a vegetarian because of animal cruelty. However, as I learned more about the plight of farm animals, I felt like it was the right thing to do to also cut out dairy and eggs. I became fully vegan during my cardiology fellowship. During my research at that time, I had read about the work that Drs. Esselstyn and Ornish had done to successfully reverse heart disease with a plant-based diet. So since then, about 16 years ago, Ive been a vegan.

HS: I've always been active physically in one way or another. In 2005, the same year I adopted a vegan diet, I was recovering from a foot injury, and could not do the running that I used to do to stay fit. As a result, I took up swimming and road cycling. Once my foot healed and I started running again, I asked my spin instructor, who was an avid triathlete, to coach me for my first triathlon, the Finger Lakes sprint triathlon, in September 2005. I had so much fun training, meeting other triathletes, and racing, that I was hooked!

HS: My interest in cardiology initially stemmed from an interest in being able to make an impact in my patients' lives, and honestly didn't have anything to do with a plant-based diet. I didn't go plant-based/vegan until the second year of the cardiology fellowship. I used every chance I could to encourage my patients to make better diet and lifestyle choices. But, back then in 2005, there wasn't much understanding of plant-based diets, this was before Forks Over Knives and before most people had any understanding of the word "vegan". As time has gone on, it's become easier to encourage patients to adopt more plant-based styles of eating.

HS: I encourage my patients to eat more fruits and vegetables. That's always a good starting point.We talk about minimizing processed food, restaurant food, fried foods, soda, and sweets. We agree that years of animal products, fast food, junk food, lack of exercise, and smoking have all contributed to their current state of health. We also agree that in order to do better, some of those habits need to change. To help guide them in the right direction, I advise them to watch the Forks Over Knives documentary and frame a whole-food, plant-based diet as the healthiest choice. Since no other diet has been shown to reverse heart disease, I tell them that the closest they can come to this diet as possible is best for their heart.

HS: I wanted my patients to know the basics of heart disease and that they can make an impact on their own health. I talk about how to incorporate better eating habits and incorporate more exercise, and how to find joy in it all. Now, I recognize that not every patient who walks into my office is going to walk out a vegan. In fact, most wont. My goal as a cardiologist is to provide my patients with the best information on how to improve their heart health and reduce their risk of cardiovascular events.

HS: I give them literature, in particular, the Physicians Committee's "Vegetarian Starter Kit". It reinforces a lot of why a plant-based diet is a healthy choice and provides meal ideas. I try to frame diet change as an adventure, not deprivation, a chance to try new foods, and something that will help them to feel better and improve their health.

HS: For breakfast, I love oatmeal or a homemade smoothie. Many mornings, I will make a smoothie bowl for myself and my 17-month-old daughter Ava; I add a banana, an orange, frozen strawberries, a couple of chunks of carrot, and maybe a tiny amount of broccoli, unsweetened soy milk, oats, dried coconut, flax and chia seeds to my Vitamix. I also love cooking up a shepherd's pie with lentils and veggies and mashed potatoes on top.

HS: So many of my patients tell me that they are not used to eating vegetables.But also, much of my motivation to advocate for healthy meals in schools is that I now have a young daughter and want her to be healthy. We know that our preferences for foods start early in life. If we can introduce children to healthy foods when young, this will shape their taste buds for years to come.

HS: I'm proudest of earning a medal at the Maccabiah Games in Israel in 2013. I competed in the "Maccabi Man and Woman" Competition, which was a four-event competition occurring within a week, including a time-trial bike race, a half marathon, an Olympic distance triathlon, and a 5-kilometer swim. It was challenging not only to compete in these events but to do so in such a short amount of time, in very hot weather.

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A Cardiologist and Athlete Says a Plant-Based Diet Is the Key to - The Beet

Jan 22

The Recovery Room: News beyond the pandemic January 22 – Medical News Today

The coronavirus pandemic dominated the headlines and our daily lives for most of the past year. Medical News Today have covered this fast-moving, complex story with live updates on the latest news, interviews with experts, and an ongoing investigation into the deep racial disparities that COVID-19 has helped unmask.

However, this hasnt stopped us from publishing hundreds of fascinating stories on a myriad of other topics.

This week, our editors busted myths about consuming sugar, reported on a significant breakthrough that may lead to a cure for paraplegia, and found a surprising link between a persons diet and their risk of disease. Its not all down to genetics, after all.

MNT also published an animated guide to exercising the core muscles and a pair of articles on depression the first on how a persons metabolism may predict the recurrence of this condition, the second on how personalized deep brain stimulation may relieve it.

Finally, we released an in-depth feature all about antioxidants, a story on how online therapy may be here to stay, and an article about why stepping away from your desk to take a walk through the woods should become a habit for anyone who finds their work stressful.

We highlight this research below, along with some other recent stories that you may have missed amid all the COVID-19 fervor.

This weeks Medical Myths article looks at sugar the sweet stuff that finds its way into so many of our foods and beverages. What is sugar? Is it addictive? Does it cause diabetes, make children hyperactive, or cause cancer? Senior News Editor, Tim Newman, tackles each of these myths in turn.

This article is the weeks most popular, with 40,000 sessions so far. It also features a highlights video presented by MNTs Research Editor, Yella Hewings-Martin, Ph.D. Be sure to scroll down a little and check it out.

Learn more here.

The search for a way to repair spinal injuries and cure paraplegia has continued for decades, so far without success. However, this week, MNT reported on a new treatment that restored the ability to walk in mice with paraplegia.

Researchers at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany used a genetically engineered virus to deliver instructions to produce a designer signaling protein to motor neurons in the brain. This protein, called hyper-IL-6, was then distributed to more remote regions of the nervous system, where it triggered regeneration.

Within 23 weeks of receiving a single injection of the virus, the paralyzed mice were able to walk again. As senior study author Dr. Dietmar Fischer remarks, this came as a great surprise to us at the beginning, as it had never been shown to be possible before after full paraplegia.

Read our full coverage of this promising finding and the teams future plans for research.

Learn more here.

We also reported on another surprising finding, this time concerning the human gut microbiome. An international study involving institutions across Europe and the United States found that a persons gut microbiota exert a stronger effect on the risk of developing certain conditions than their genetics.

The researchers also found that eating a diet rich in healthful, plant-based foods and healthful, animal-based foods, such as oily fish, led to high levels of good microbes in the gut. Many of the microbes they found are new to science and yet to be named.

This article explains how these findings could lead to the development of healthful diets that are specifically formulated to suit each persons unique biology.

Learn more here.

One of this weeks most popular articles, attracting more than 177,000 views over 4 days, was this roundup of core exercises.

Access to public gyms remains restricted for many people, but all of the exercises in this article are doable at home, with minimal or no equipment.

The article begins with an explanation of what the core is, the muscles that make it up, and the benefits of training for core strength. Each exercise is accompanied by an animation that shows how to complete it with the correct form, as well as some advice for people looking for more of a challenge.

Learn more here.

A common ingredient in sunscreen came under the spotlight this week, as our team reported on links between benzophenone-3 (BP-3), diet, and breast cancer.

The link is not entirely straightforward. In mice who ate a low fat diet at puberty, BP-3 appeared to offer some protection against one kind of tumor development while also increasing the aggressiveness of another. However, mice who ate a high fat diet during puberty saw none of the beneficial effects of BP-3 on tumors, which grew more aggressively.

This is concerning, as researchers detected BP-3 in96%of the U.S. population between 2003 and 2012. Onerecent studyfound that a single heavy application of sunscreen could exceed the point at which BP-3 becomes a risk.

When there are alternatives, stay away from BP-3, recommends one of the authors of this new study.

Learn more here.

An international pilot study has identified two types of metabolic marker that could predict whether or not a person is likely to have recurrent episodes of major depressive disorder.

With around 17.3 million U.S. adults experiencing at least one major depressive episode each year, the ability to predict which individuals are most likely to experience a recurrence could have huge benefits for mental health.

The authors of this study claim that their method for analyzing metabolism was able to unmask a latent signature of future risk of recurrence with 9099% accuracy. Our new article looks at this study and its limitations in detail.

Learn more here.

Also on the topic of depression, another of our most recent articles reports on the prospect of treating depression with personalized therapies.

The finding emerged in a new case study from the University of California, San Francisco. The researchers found that stimulating three specific brain areas in the patients brain could help induce calm, renew energy levels, or reignite pleasure.

The patient, a 36-year-old female, reported that every time they stimulated, I felt like, Im my old self, I could go back to work, I could do the things I want to do with my life. The researchers now plan to include more patients with the same condition in an expanded clinical trial of this deep brain stimulation methodology.

Learn more here.

Last weeks Recovery Room featured the first article in our new Honest Nutrition series. It was on the topic of the link between nutrition and mental health. This week, we look closely at what we really know about antioxidants.

What are antioxidants, and what role do they play in the bodys defenses? Are the antioxidants present in supplements the same as those present in foods, and are they as effective? Can too many antioxidants harm health?

This article in our Honest Nutrition series looks at the evidence and recommends some ways to get enough antioxidants in the diet.

Learn more here.

A previous Recovery Room featured a guide to finding free online therapy, which was timely, given the pandemic-related restrictions on meeting people.

New research data suggest that many clients who undergo psychiatry may wish to continue attending therapy sessions online rather than resuming their sessions in person, with nearly 50% preferring to continue this way. The majority, nearly 83%, chose video chat over telephone sessions.

Only a small percentage, slightly over 1%, chose to postpone their treatment until they could meet with their therapist once pandemic-related restrictions are lifted.

Learn more here.

Finally, this article offers some evidence for what many people deeply believe: Escaping the office and getting out into nature is good for mental health.

Researchers in Japan calculated each of the 6,466 participants sense-of-coherence (SOC) score at the beginning and end of the study. Scientists developed SOC scoring as a measure of a persons sense of living a meaningful, manageable life.

The researchers found that workers who took walks in natural settings at least once per week showed a significantly positive association with a strong or middle SOC score. This should enhance their resilience in the face of stress.

If youre thinking of venturing out today, study co-author Prof. Sasahara certainly recommends it, saying: Forest/green space walking is a simple activity that needs no special equipment or training. It could be a very good habit for improving mental health and managing stress.

Learn more here.

We hope that this article has provided a taste of the stories that we cover atMNT. Well be back with a new selection next week.

We publish hundreds of new stories and features every month. Here are some upcoming articles that may pique our readers interests:

The Recovery Room: News beyond the pandemic January 22 - Medical News Today

Jan 22

Whats on your plate? 10 signs you need to change your diet – YourStory

No diet is ultimate and forever. One of the core principles of food, lifestyle, and dietary choices is that nothing is permanent. Your health is a journey.

You might find yourself needing a change based on age, season, symptoms and stressors.

Image source: Shuttertock

You may be well aware of the connection between food and mood when it comes to an instant reaction. For example, you may be aware that excessive ice cream can trigger a headache.

But what about long term signs that the diet you are following overall is not working for you? Ive seen several people who are quite health conscious following a diet that has made them lose a lot of weight.

They think that the diet has worked, and they also start advising others. Is weight loss the only measure of success of dietary choices?

Lets look at those ten signs that your diet actually needs a change.

One of the biggest signs that your diet is not working for you is the quality of your sleep. It is not how much you sleep, but how rested you feel when you awaken that matters. If you find yourself walking up several times during the night quite frequently, something is not right.

A good diet ensures good quality sleep | Image source: Shutterstock

You do not need to wake up even to use the restroom as your body releases an antidiuretic hormone to prevent your need to urinate at night.

A big way that a diet troubles you is if it triggers some form of digestive distress.

Each of these can show different aspects of what is happening within your digestive system, and they can each be triggered by specific diets that do not work for you.

One example of this is a ketogenic diet triggering heartburn when your body does not have the resources to digest that level of fats. It can also show up as perpetual gas and bloating from suddenly increasing lentils on a plant-based diet.

Your skin is truly the indicator of what is happening within your physiology. If the diet that you are following has some food that is inflammatory to you personally, or if it is deficient in certain nutrients that are required for skin health, you will see it show up as frequent acne.

Ive often heard people talking about themselves having acne-prone skin and relying on frequent antibiotics and expensive topical treatments. This is never true. The only reason that you have acne-prone skin is if your diet is not working for you.

This is more common than you might even think. I see several people who have lost a lot of weight with a diet, but they have headaches very frequently.

Headache point towards poor blood sugar balance and nutrient deficiencies | Image source: Shutterstock

Headaches point towards poor blood sugar balance, nutrient deficiencies, and inflammation, all of which are signs that your dietary choices, the timing of your meals, and habits are not working for you.

Bad breath might be the butt of ridicule but if you struggle with it, you know how frustrating it can be. Bad breath is a sign of toxic overload and poor liver health.

Bad breath points to poor detoxification and that is a big sign that you need to change something.

Stress might be different for each person. Resilience to stress can also be different. If you are on a diet and swear by it because you have lost a lot of weight, ask yourself if you are more content, relaxed, and calm, or more angry, jealous, and frustrated.

A diet that might make you lose weight can still be harmful for you, if you are unable to deal with what is going on outside. If you find yourself blaming everyone for every reason why you are angry, your diet needs a change.

Image source: Shutterstock

One of the most common signs that your diet is not working for you is craving salt or sweet. Often, people follow a diet because someone has suggested it or because it looks to be ideally perfect.

If you find yourself craving something beyond your balanced meals, you need a change.

If your diet was truly balanced and stabilised your blood sugar, you would not have cravings.

You might have lost a ton of weight with a diet. But if you find yourself catching a cold, cough or viral as often as every few months, there is something that is not working within your body.

Your diet could be triggering low-level inflammation and stressing your immune system. One of the things that I tell everyone is that falling sick is not normal.

If you get a fever or cold more often than perhaps once a year, something needs careful attention.

If you need to resort to frequent hair treatments for extra conditioning, you are probably low on several nutrients.

Poor hair can be a sign of low level of nutrients | Image source: Shutterstock

Poor hair can be a sign of poor detoxification and a low level of nutrients. Just like your skin, your hair is an indicator of what is happening within your body.

I might have saved the best for the last. I talk about anxiety all the time. Anxiety is not solved by a pill. Anxiety points towards poor gut health, challenges with the liver, poor hormonal balance, adrenal dysfunction and much more.

You might not have all these signs, but I would say that if you have even four or five of them, you might want to consider looking deeper at your diet and wondering about where you might want to change something.

Weight loss is never the single indicator of a diet that is working for you. Sadly though, many people have made weight loss the only thing to consider in the efficacy of a diet.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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Whats on your plate? 10 signs you need to change your diet - YourStory

Jan 22

Troy Aikman Knows Better Than to Look at the Peloton Leaderboard – GQ

Legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman says that, in March, when the pandemic was just beginning, he decided he was going to get in the best shape of his life. Then he laughs, catching himself.

When you say you're in the best shape of your life, usually what that means is that you're old, the now 54-year-old adds with a chuckle. You don't hear 20-year-olds saying, I'm in the best shape of my life! But I feel really good. I think it's as healthy as I've ever been, physically, mentally and emotionally.

If he is indeed in the best shape of his lifeand he looks like he might bethat would be quite a feat considering that, in the 1990s, he won three Super Bowls in four years as the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. Forced to retire in 2000 because of back pain after a 12-year career, its not clear that Aikman has spent any time in the intervening years out of shape. (Thanks, in large part, to a workout regimen that, until two years ago, kept him working out 360 days a year.) Keeping tabs has been relatively easy given that hes been on TV since 2001 as part of FOX Sports NFL broadcast team. Now the lead analyst, hell call this Sundays NFC Championship game between the Tampa Bay Bucs Tom Brady and the Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers, two quarterbacks wholl eventually join Aikman in the Hall of Fame.

GQ caught up with Aikman earlier this week to see how hes stayed fit into his fifties, what hed change about his workout and diet routine in his 20s, and how hes adjusted to exercise during the pandemic.

For Real-Life Diet, GQ talks to athletes, celebrities, and everyone in between about their diet, exercise routines, and pursuit of wellness. Keep in mind that what works for them might not necessarily be healthy for you.

GQ: I don't think I've ever seen you out of shape. Have you been in good shape since you stopped playing?

Troy Aikman: I've always worked out. I've always been pretty strict about it, and worked out pretty hard. So that hasn't changed. My diet has. I've gotten really strict since the quarantining started last March. I felt that people were going to go one of two ways: they were going to be in the best shape of their life or they're gonna be in the worst shape of their life. I decided that I was gonna be in the best shape of my life. So I've just tried to take it to a little bit of a different level for me. I'm eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, whole foods, and a lot of fish and lean meats. I feel really good.

When you say super strict, are there certain things you've cut out?

I love peanut M&M'sI've got a big bowl right here on my table in my officeand vanilla ice cream and oatmeal cookies. I haven't had any since last March. I cut out all sweets. I bought a juicer about that about a month ago, because I read how a celery juice was a big thing. I've been doing that each morning and I've really noticed a huge difference in the way that I feel.

How does it make you feel?

I've had a sinus issue for years. I've had a couple of surgeries. My doctor gave me a new antibiotic just a couple of weeks ago. I did that and it cleared up some of the issues within a couple of days. I didn't want to stay on the antibiotics. Thats when I was told about celery juice, that it might be a preventative deal going forward. So that's why I got the juicer and started doing celery juice. It's made a huge difference. I never really had an answer for it.

What a typical day of eating and a week of working out?

I do the juice in the morning. At lunch, turkey chili is my general go-to. And then in the evenings, I'll have a big dinner relatively early. Usually around 5:00. That's when I eat a lot of vegetables: broccoli, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, asparagus. And fish, things like that.

For my workouts, I lift four days a week. As for cardio, I'm 54 now and I feel like I may have been overtrained in the past. I'm trying to take more days off. It used to be, in a year365 daysI would maybe take five days off from cardio. Then I started taking Sundays off during the football season before broadcasting games. I would just use that as a day of rest. I found it to be helpful. Now, I'm mixing in more days off and not beating myself up so much mentally when I do it. Ive just read more and more about how you need to give your body a break, and rest is important.

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Troy Aikman Knows Better Than to Look at the Peloton Leaderboard - GQ

Jan 22

There’s a Surprising, Smelly Reason Why Eating Less Meat Is Linked to Healthy Aging – ScienceAlert

High-protein diets are having a moment. In any grocery store you can now buy a protein bowl, pick up a protein box of eggs and nuts for lunch, or snack on a protein bar.

But there's evidence that restricting which proteins you eat - particularly cutting back on meat - could be important for healthy aging. The surprising reason: it forces the tissues to make hydrogen sulphide (H2S), a gas that's poisonous if inhaled and smells like rotten eggs, but promotes health inside the body.

As a physiology researcher, I have long been interested in the strange role of H2S in the body. This is not a gas anyone wants around. It stinks, is a component of flatulence, and its toxicity has been linked to at least one mass extinction.

And yet, the body naturally produces small amounts of it as a signalling molecule to act as a chemical messenger. Now, we are starting to understand the link between diet and H2S production.

Less can be more when it comes to food. When scientists have put organisms on carefully balanced but restricted diets, these organisms have substantially increased healthy lifespans.

This holds true for yeasts, fruit flies, worms and monkeys. In mice, such diets reduce cancer risk, strengthen the immune system and improve cognitive function.

But because aging and longevity are complex processes, it has been difficult for researchers to pin down the mechanisms at work. Recent studies have shed new light, and it is apparent that H2S plays a crucial role.

Studies since the 1990s have shown that reducing intake of certain sulphur-containing amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, can increase longevity in rats by around 30 per cent. More recently, a collaborative team involving me and led by scientists at Harvard, performed a series of animal studies in which we restricted the intake of two sulphur amino acids - cysteine and methionine - to study what effects this had.

It caused the animals to ramp up production of H2S in their tissues, which triggered a cascade of beneficial effects. These included increased new blood vessel generation, which promotes cardiovascular health, and better resistance to oxidative stress in the liver, which is linked to liver disease.

But it remained to be seen whether similar effects would occur in humans. Earlier this year, a study using data from the 11,576 adults in NHANES III, the US national nutrition survey, delivered evidence that they do. It found that reduced dietary intake of these sulphur amino acids is linked to lower cardiometabolic risk factors, including lower levels of cholesterol and glucose in the blood. Cardiometabolic risk factors are those linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The upshot of this research is that there's good evidence that limiting intake of foods containing high levels of sulphur amino acids can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, and promote healthy aging.

In North America, most of us are a long way from achieving this. Because these sulphur amino acids are abundant in meat, dairy and eggs, which feature prominently in our shopping carts, we eat on average 2.5 times our daily requirement of them.

Red meat is particularly high in sulphur amino acids, but fish and poultry white meat also contain a lot (the dark meat has less). Switching to plant-based proteins would help reduce this intake.

Beans, lentils and legumes are good sources of protein that are also low in sulphur amino acids. But beware: soy protein, which is the basis of foods like tofu, is surprisingly high in sulphur amino acids. Meanwhile, vegetables like broccoli contain lots of sulphur but not in amino acid form.

One important caveat is that sulphur amino acids play vital roles in growth, so children should not adopt diets that are low in them.

It might seem odd that a toxic gas can help maintain health, but it may reflect the origins of life on early Earth when the atmosphere was much richer in sulphur gas than it is today. Indeed, we are starting to appreciate how fundamental H2S signalling may be.

For example, it has also been shown to reduce inflammation, opening the door to potential new treatments for arthritis or potential use as a painkiller.

The trick is delivering H2S where it's needed - safely. Several pharmaceutical companies are working on compounds that bind it while in transit through the body, and release it in tiny doses in the tissues. In time, these could be used as preventive measures to support healthy aging. This would be useful because the drawback of a low-sulphur amino acid diet is that humans are notoriously bad at sticking to such plans long-term.

In the lab, we can control experimental diets. In the real world, people snack or grab a burger when they don't want to cook. If delivery mechanisms can be made reliably and cheaply enough, it could be possible to gain the health effects of increased tissue H2S without dictating what people eat.

Rui Wang, Dean, Faculty of Science, York University, Canada.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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There's a Surprising, Smelly Reason Why Eating Less Meat Is Linked to Healthy Aging - ScienceAlert

Jan 22

How to Work Out Safer During the COVID-19 Winter – Healthline

With COVID-19 restrictions keeping many gyms closed or at limited capacity, the bitter cold temperatures that come in the dead of winter may affect many peoples workout routines.

While taking a jog or bike ride may have been a pleasant way to burn calories in the spring and fall, the idea of gearing up to work up a sweat in the chilly winter air might not be as appealing.

But experts said that for most people, its perfectly safe to exercise outside in the colder temperatures.

Still, depending on your fitness level and if youre not used to working out in the cold, there are some things to keep in mind.

People with certain underlying health conditions might also need to be cautious before working up a sweat in the cold.

Dr. Michael Fredericson, sports medicine physician at Stanford Health Care, said that when it comes to health benefits, working out in colder temperatures isnt much different than exercising when its warm.

Its just good to stay active and exercise no matter what the weather is, he told Healthline.

Still, there may be some advantages. Some studies suggest exposure to cold temperatures while exercising causes our metabolism to pick up and activates our brown fat or, the good fat that breaks down fat to maintain body temperature, said Heather Milton, MS, an exercise physiologist at NYU Langone Healths Sports Performance Center.

This may help the body burn through calories in a more efficient way.

Another benefit to exercising in cooler temperatures is that our body doesnt have to work so hard to cool itself down.

This means less blood flow is directed towards the skin, Milton said. When less blood flow is circulating to the skin, more is directed towards working muscles. We also tend to lose less water in sweat, so our blood volume does not dip during longer workouts as it would in hot environments.

For most people, going for a run around their neighborhood or at a local park is usually the easiest way to get in physical activity outside.

But any type of exercise thats done in warmer temperatures is also safe in the cold.

When asked what forms of exercise she would recommend people do in the cold weather, Milton said: Anything, (except maybe swimming).

She recommends: HIIT workouts, cycling, calisthenics, boot camp, dance workouts, you name it. Just be sure to do a full warmup to ensure your muscles are warm, and your core temperature is elevated before getting into higher intensity exercises.

If youre in a climate with snow, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and even sledding can be fun ways to work up a sweat.

Outdoor group exercises are safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, experts said, as long as proper physical distancing measures are taken.

Make sure youre keeping at least a 6-feet distance from other people, ideally more, Fredericson said.

The key to dressing for exercise in the cold is layers.

The base layer should wick away sweat, said Katie Lawton, an exercise physiologist in Sports Medicine at Cleveland Clinic. Cotton absorbs sweat and is not a good option for a base layer. If performing an activity or sport like running where you may sweat more, a synthetic fabric base layer is a good option.

For a second layer, Fredericson recommends fleece or wool to help keep in the warmth.

If its raining or snowing, some type of light waterproof jacket can be helpful, he said. But layering is important because as you warm up, you may want to shed some of those, so have something you can tie around your waist.

If its particularly cold, you may also want to wear a hat, gloves, and scarf.

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises everyone to wear a mask and maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance while working out either indoors or outdoors.

In addition to preventing the spread of COVID-19, Milton said wearing masks comes with other benefits, especially during the winter months.

Masks come in handy nowadays, as it can cover your nose and cheeks, keeping your face warm and safe from the cold, she said. They can also aid in warming the air you breathe in, which is helpful to your airways.

People with certain underlying health conditions need to take certain precautions when exercising outside during the winter.

For people with asthma, cold weather can be harder to adjust to, Milton said. The cold air causes a reaction of the airways to constrict.

This can make it difficult to breathe and even trigger an asthma attack.

A slow and gradual warmup is recommended to avoid this, Milton added.

And again, a scarf or mask over the face not only helps prevent the spread of COVID-19, but can also be beneficial in warming the air you breathe in.

People with asthma should also remember to carry their inhaler when exercising in case of an asthma attack.

Some cold weather activities, particularly shoveling snow, may be risky for certain people.

Shoveling snow is actually a really vigorous exercise, Fredericson said. If youre used to exercising, then its probably fine, but if youre someone who doesnt exercise a lot and you start shoveling snow, it can actually trigger a heart attack.

Older adults and people with heart disease are at an increased risk of heart attack from shoveling snow. They should get clearance from their doctor before engaging in such strenuous activity or leave the shoveling to someone else, Fredericson said.

For most healthy people, the biggest concern that comes with exercising in the cold is the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.

Were talking extremely cold temperatures here, Fredericson said. Generally, if the wind chill factor gets below 17 or 18 degrees Fahrenheit, you should probably hold off.

At this temperature, frostbite can occur on exposed skin in less than 30 minutes.

Hypothermia, which is when the bodys temperature is abnormally low, is more likely to occur at very cold temperatures but can happen even at cool temperatures above 40F if a person becomes chilled by sweat, rain, or water, according to the CDC.

Use common sense, Fredericson said. Make sure you can feel your fingers and toes. If you really start to shiver, try to get out of the cold. You want to be able to carry on a conversation. If youre so cold you cant even talk or you start to feel confused, thats not a good sign.

Staying hydrated is also important in the cold weather.

Though we may need slightly less fluids in the winter, we do still lose fluids during exercise due to breathing, sweating under your base layer, and the drying effects of the air, and thus must maintain our fluid intake, Milton said.

And dont forget the sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing sunscreen when youre outside. This is especially important in the winter if theres a lot of snow on the ground due to the intensity of the reflection of the sun, Milton said.

Finally, watch out for ice.

If you go run or bike early in the morning, be sure to pay attention to this factor, as a slide or fall would not only hurt more on frozen ground, but also could lead to injury, Milton said.

All things considered, experts said its important that people know they shouldnt be afraid to work out in the cold.

Particularly as it relates to COVID-19, light to moderate exercise is very healthy for your immune system and may actually give you protection against COVID-19 or any type of flu or cold during the winter season, Fredericson said.

Additionally, your risk for disease transmission outside is so much lower, he said. So if you cant exercise indoors or you just like exercising outdoors, I would encourage people to do that using proper precautions.

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How to Work Out Safer During the COVID-19 Winter - Healthline

Jan 22

Counting calories: What to know to lose or gain weight – Medical News Today

Counting calories may help anyone wanting to safely lose or gain weight. However, it is also important to get calories from healthful sources and to sleep and exercise in the right amounts while moderating levels of stress.

Counting calories may seem overwhelming, but a range of tools, including apps and online calculators, can help.

In this article, we look into what calories are, how many to consume for healthful weight changes, and some of the best tools and tips for counting.

Calories are a unit of measurement. They are a way to express an amount of energy.

People are generally most familiar with big calories, which convey the amount of energy in foods and drinks.

Caloric energy is vital in supporting life and health. It helps maintain key bodily functions, such as the functioning of cells.

The body converts calories from food, for example, into energy. It uses this energy immediately or stores it for later use, depending on its current needs.

There are many reasons to count calories. Broadly speaking, doing so allows a person to measure how much energy they are consuming per day.

If a person takes in more than their body uses, they generally begin to gain weight. If a person takes in less than their body requires, they generally start to lose weight.

If, over a prolonged period, foods rich in simple sugars are a primary source of excess calories, a person is at risk of:

People who are significantly increasing their activity levels need extra calories to account for those they are burning.

If a person consumes too few calories, they are at risk of:

The number of calories that a person should consume depends on their:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide an online tool that calculates how many calories a person should be consuming to reach their goal weight.

The calculator also factors in the amount of time in which the person would like to reach this goal.

Several free apps available on iPhone and Android help people count calories, including:

Most foods and drinks have labels that indicate portion sizes in cups, ounces, grams, pieces, slices, or numbers.

Considering portions can help with counting calories and maintaining a healthful weight.

For example, if the label on an ice cream tub shows that a portion measuring 2/3 cup has 230 calories, a person can measure out that amount and know exactly how many calories they are consuming. But if the person only has 115 calories left in that days allowance, they would consume only 1/3 cup to stay on track.

It helps to have an accurate set of cups, scales, and other measuring equipment handy.

Consuming more or fewer calories should never be the only consideration when setting weight or fitness goals. Sleep, stress, and activity levels all play a role in maintaining a healthful weight.

In addition, the source of calories the quality and type of food or drink involved can have a significant effect.

Every calorie converts to energy, but the same number of calories from different foods may have different effects.

For example, if a person consumes their daily allowance of calories from foods with plenty of added sugar and refined carbohydrates, this can raise their blood sugar levels and result in an increase in fat storage.

Similarly, if foods rich in animal fats, particularly red meat, contribute a significant number of calories on a regular basis, this may increase the risk of certain cancers, such as esophageal cancer.

It is crucial to obtain calories from a healthful diet that contains fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy sources of fats, such as nuts, avocados, and olive oil. These foods contain the nutrients that the body needs to function.

Refined sugar may be a particular concern, as a diet that contains an excess of it can lead to insulin spikes, causing fat cells to store calories. As these calories do not contain necessary nutrients, the body responds with a sensation of hunger.

Alcohol is likewise full of these empty calories, and it may contribute to unintentional weight gain.

The following strategies may help with counting calories:

Counting calories can help people reach and maintain their weight and fitness goals, as it involves tracking how much energy is going into the body each day.

Several apps and online tools can estimate how many daily calories a person needs to reach their goals and help track them day by day.

For anyone looking to make a change to their weight, it is crucial to also consider levels of stress and physical activity, plus the quality and amount of sleep. These factors all play a significant role.

Original post:
Counting calories: What to know to lose or gain weight - Medical News Today

Jan 22

These Kitties Are On Diets, But SPCA Is Helping Them Get In Shape –

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD The SPCA of Anne Arundel County is looking for homes for these cuties. If you are interested in adopting one of this week's adorable adoptables, head to the SPCA website.

Sassy is a lovely seven-year-old calico cat. She is a little on the large side, but working hard to get back into shape. True to her name, she can be a bit Sassy at times, but she does enjoy attention when she's in the mood, especially head and neck rubs. She likes to play and she will jump up onto the sink to get fresh water straight from the tap.

Rocky:Meet Rocky! This sweet senior is looking for a calm, loving home. He is a very affectionate cat and we're told he really enjoys laps. Rocky is a recent arrival to the shelter and he's hoping not to have to stay too long. He is currently on a weight-loss diet and will require regular brushing to keep his coat healthy.

Kween:Cute little Kween is only 3 years old, but she's already a grandma! Kween arrived at the shelter with her mom and her daughter, and her daughter just had a litter of kittens. Kween is a friendly girl and she gets along fine with other cats. She is currently hanging out at the new adoption center Paws at the Mall, so come by and see her today!

Angel:Angel is 11 years old. She is a nice lady but set in her ways and can have a little "cattitutde" towards other cats who get in her face. Angel is diabetic, but she is doing very well with twice daily insulin injections. These are easy to administer and we would be happy to teach you how! Angel is available for foster or adoption. Please contact us if interested!

These Kitties Are On Diets, But SPCA Is Helping Them Get In Shape -

Jan 22

Is Saturated Fat Good or Bad for You? It Depends on the Science. –

ALBI SKENDERI IS sitting on a leather love seat in his studio apartment in Manhattans Meatpacking District. A road bike leans on a wall and a punching bag hangs in a corner.

Beneath it are a yoga mat, a medicine ball, and a few dumbbells. Hes wearing a Henley shirt that accentuates his build: six feet and 180 hard, veiny pounds.

The Meatpacking District is an aptly named neighborhood for Skenderi to live in. I switched to a carnivore diet a couple months ago, says Skenderi, who is 33 and works in finance. One of my coworkers was heating up steak in the microwave at eight in the morning, smelling up the entire office. And I was like, Dude, what are you doing?

His colleague had discovered the diet from listening to an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast and replied, Meat is all Ive been eating for the last couple weeks. I have so much energy and my body is fantastic right now.

Until then, Skenderi had been eating all vegetables all the time. Id become plant-based after watching The Game Changers, he says, referring to the movie that catalogs the alleged perils of animal foods. And I felt good on plants. But this guy made me wonder . . . Am I doing this all wrong? I went down a rabbit hole. I listened to a podcast and read The Carnivore Code. So I went to Whole Foods and bought a bunch of steak.

Men's Health

Even crazier and more confusing than Skenderis dietary 180 is the fact that scientists cant yet tell us for sure which approach to eating is healthier. At the heart of the debate is a nutrient most commonly associated with animal proteinssaturated fatand whether or not eating too much of it will kill you.

The fact that podcasts, books, and movies can draw on research about meat and saturated fatand if you should consume itand come to opposite conclusions shouldnt be surprising.

Nutritional science is less certain than you might imagine, and warring, possibly compromised camps are exploiting that squishiness to promote polar-opposite agendas. And not just in pop culture.

This war is taking place in our nations capital and in the halls of our most venerated academic institutions. It involves allegations of biased research funding from Big Beef and Nut Boards, a contrarian investigative journalist, and an esteemed Ivy League researcher railing against the disinformation triangle.

It has professors and deans at Harvard and Yale slinging mud. It includes accusations of data misrepresentation, fear mongering, political hardball, and all-around general bullshitting.

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The war has grown more intense with the anticipated release of the federal governments 2020-25 dietary guidelines, sending both sides into a blitzkrieg assault to either keep or kill the long-standing saturated-fat recommendations.

And the fallout from this war is hitting average Americans, driving more of us to search for dietary salvation at the poles. Veganism rose nearly 1,000 percent in the U.S. between 2010 and 2019. According to Nielsen, nearly 40 percent of Americans say theyre making an effort to eat more plant-based products.

Yet meat and dairy consumption has also ticked upward; theres now a bevy of mail-order meat-subscription companies, and carnivore diet books are best sellers.

When those new guidelines do drop, most of us might be left to wonder: Who can we trust in this billion-dollar food fight? And what does all this mean for our health?

TO UNDERSTAND the history of governmental nutrition guidelines in the U.S., you have to know nutrition research at Harvard University. To do that, you have to know Walter Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H.

Dr. Willett, 75, is slim but sturdy, with a head of silver hair and a wispy white mustache. He graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School when Nixon was in office.

When I was practicing medicine, I became frustrated because my patients had conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease that I couldnt cure, says Dr. Willett. I wanted to understand what was causing the conditions to prevent them in the first place.

Until the 1940s, most Americans didnt really worry about whether food would blow up their waistlines or clog their arteries, says Adrienne Bitar, Ph.D., a food historian at Cornell University and the author of Diet and the Disease of Civilization. Food was considered medicine in the sense that eating a healthy diet moved you further away from malnutrition and disease.

Then, in the 1950s, Ancel Keys, Ph.D., a physiologist at the University of Minnesota, noticed a paradox. Rich guys in America were well-fed, but they suffered from a high rate of heart disease. Middle-aged men in the U.S. had a four- to ten-times-greater risk of the disease compared with men in postwar Europe, Japan, and other countries.

Keys believed diet, specifically a diet that included lots of saturated fat, was to blame. Fat made up 40 percent of the calories in the average American diet but just 20 percent in the Italian one.

Keys figured that if people ate less fat, theyd reduce their blood cholesterol and, therefore, their risk of heart disease. And, hed find, foods higher in saturated fats seemed to raise blood cholesterol.

Then in 1955, President Eisenhower had a heart attack, says Bitar. Thats when public attention cohered around the idea that heart disease was an epidemic. Eisenhower went on a low-fat diet. Not long after, the federal government started raising concerns about fat in the diet.

In 1980, Dr. Willett earned his doctorate from the Harvard School of Public Health and joined the epidemiology department as a professor. He developed rigorous diet questionnaires, which researchers distributed to nearly 122,000 nurses, looking for links between eating habits and health.

We set the study up to look at the type of fat because of the concern at that time, he says of the landmark Nurses Health Study.

Dr. Willetts work has consistently shown that, for heart disease, saturated fats arent necessarily bad. But they also arent good. Its really about comparison, he says. If you compare saturated fat to trans fats, then saturated fat looks good.

For every 2 percent of your calories that come from trans fats (the FDA banned artificial trans fats in 2015, in part due to Dr. Willetts work), for example, your coronary-heart-disease risk rises by 23 percent, according to a review in The New England Journal of Medicine. But if you compare it to unsaturated fats, then saturated fat looks bad, says Dr. Willett.

But Dr. Willett, despite his academic stature and decades of expertise, has his critics.

NINA TEICHOLZ, 55, was something of a vegetarian for 25 years, she says. She says she was constantly trying to lose 15 to 20 pounds and always felt tired and depressed.

Then around 2005 she began researching and writing The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, and while she started incorporating more animal products into her diet, she says her health started to improve.

Saturated fat has been the rate-limiting factor in the consumption of animal foods, says Teicholz. Meat and dairy, principally, are foods that we depend on for essential nutrients and vitamins for human health. Theyre the most calorically efficient way to get the vitamins and nutrients you need for life.

Teicholz says there is evidence these foods are healthy even at nearly twice the current guideline recommendation. Suggesting that people limit saturated fats, she argues, steers people away from whole foods such as red meat and dairy.

Teicholz wrote a piece for this magazine in 2007 called What If Bad Fat Is Actually Good for You? and has appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience to talk about the topic.

In 2014 her career shifted after John Arnold tweeted an op-ed she wrote for The Wall Street Journal about saturated fat.

Arnold is a billionaire hedge-fund manager with a history of bankrolling counterintuitive nutritional ideas. For example, Arnold spent $40 million in 2012 and 2013 to launch the Nutrition Science Initiative, a project that supports research that tests fundamental assumptions about the metabolic and hormonal causes of obesity and related disorders, as stated on its website.

According to Teicholz, she reached out to Arnold after the tweet and he invited her to meet his team at the Arnold Foundation. That meeting eventually led to the Arnold Foundation funding Teicholz to conduct an analysis of the 2015 dietary-guidelines advisory-committee report, which was an independent project, she says.

Following that, I was funded to start the Nutrition Coalition, whose main goal at that point was simply to educate policy makers about the need for an outside review of the dietary-guidelines process, since there had never been one, she says.

Teicholz is the Nutrition Coalitions executive director, a role that, at least as of 2018, was paying her $144,000 a year. The coalition, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, reports that its funding comes from donations and grants. In 2018, it brought in roughly half a million dollars.

Vince TalottaGetty Images

The Nutrition Coalition has argued that the governments dietary guidelines are based on weak scientific evidence. In order to continue the limits on saturated fat, health officials must show ample and consistent evidence that these fats damage health, the coalition has stated. It points to some 20 review studies that have shown an inconsistent link between saturated fat and heart disease.

Whats more, the Nutrition Coalition charges that the members of the USDAs 2020-25 guidelines committee have damning potential conflicts of interest. Three of the 20 members of the most recent committee, the coalition highlights in a post on its website, have previously received funding from nut commissions or the potato industry, or were affiliated with Nestl or Dannon.

But the accusations fire both ways.

David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., founding director of Yale Universitys Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, and other scientists believe the Nutrition Coalition is lobbying for the meat industry, which has been influencing U.S. dietary guidelines for decades.

Why would the beef industry care about the arguments for or against saturated fats?

Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., a food and nutrition researcher at New York University, explains it this way: The guidelines currently tell us to eat more in the context of foods but use nutrients when referring to what you should eat less of. Nutrients are euphemisms for foods. Saturated fat means meat. They dont have to say, Eat less of those foods directly, thereby saving a lot of political hell, Nestle says.

There is no evidence that the Nutrition Coalition receives funding from the beef or dairy industry, or any industry at all, but its scientific board does include a member with ties to Virta Health, a company that recommends high-fat, ketogenic diets to help treat insulin resistance in people with diabetes.

And the coalition has supported the work of scientists who conduct research funded by the beef industry. And theres another grenade critics of the Nutrition Coalition lob: a lack of necessary experience.

The people who have positions of prominence [at the Nutrition Coalition] include many people with no formal training in nutrition or in science, Dr. Katz says.

In fact, half of the coalitions board had no previous experience in the health sectorTeicholz included. She has a B.A. in American studies and an M.A. in Latin American studies.

Despite the accusations made against it, the Nutrition Coalition has moved the dial.

According to Teicholz, her most successful effort as an advocate was to plant the idea, in 2015, that Congress might consider an independent outside review of the dietary guidelines. The hope for this review was to improve the transparency and scientific rigor of the guidelines.

And she has chosen to respond to her critics.

Teicholz is at odds with Harvards research, and in particular Dr. Willett, because he has significant intellectual and financial conflicts of interest which he almost never declares in any of his papers, she says, and the studies he oversees are a significant part of the foundation of the dietary guidelines.

Not to mention Dr. Willett is an ideological vegan whose work supports the idea of moving towards a vegetarian-slash-vegan diet, she says. Teicholz has published a ten-page dossier laying out the terms of how Dr. Willetts vegan agenda can be explained by his ideological and financial conflicts.

Maybe scientists could write Teicholz off (and some within the field have). Except that more minds in nutrition are becoming sympathetic to the idea that perhaps animal foods arent as bad as science has previously made them seem.

I kind of appreciate [what shes doing], says Tamar Haspel, a columnist for The Washington Post who has been covering nutrition and the food industry for two decades. Shes poking the bear, and the bear needed to be poked.

IN THE fall of 2019, a group of scientists dropped a series of six papers in the Annals of Internal Medicine, one of the most influential journals in the field, that reviewed the research on red and processed meats.

The papers included studies assessing the health risks of consuming those foods, ultimately questioning the validity of the health guidelines as they pertained to saturated fat.

The 49-person research team found that among study participants, those who ate about four to seven servings of red and processed meats a week had approximately the same risk of cancer, heart attack, or death from any cause as those who ate one to four servings a week.

The difference between the two groups meant that for every 1,000 people who eat less meat, only two would avoid the increased risk of death from any cause that comes with eating more meat.

Based on these findings, this group published its own dietary guideline recommendations for Americans: You enjoy beef and bacon, so continue eating it.

This research sent the other side, scientists who have shaped American food policy for the past four decades, scrambling into Defcon 1.

Reenter Dr. Katz, who also leads True Health Initiative (THI), a group of 500-plus health experts that derives its funding from 46 different non- and for-profit groups, most of which are in the fields of health care or nutrition and many of which promote plant-heavy diets or products.

When prerelease copies of the Annals papers landed on the desks of Dr. Katz and others at THI, we started calling one another and saying in effect . . . Holy shit, this is not for print, says Dr. Katz. We thought [it was] going to hurt a lot of people.

Dr. Katz, who is a Mens Health advisor, believes the scientists who authored the Annals studies were leveraging the authority of the respected journal to issue their own set of alternative guidelines, as he put it, without any actual legitimate authority: If theyd just published the [data] and not the guidelines, it would have been a yawn from us. But to devise guidelines directly at odds with your own findings and pretend like thats business as usual . . . this is a provocation, he says.


THI responded to the research by pulling together 14 leading scientists and collectively requesting that all six papers be preemptively retracted and given due and appropriate review. . . . We do so on the basis of grave concerns about the potential for damage to public understanding and public health, wrote Dr. Katz and his cosigners.

But as THI cooked up its academic retort, the work of the independent committee tasked with reviewing nutrition and health topics that would inform the 2020-25 dietary guidelines, including possible adjustments to saturated-fat caps, was already under way.

"AT THE core of this conflict is the value of nutritional epidemiology, says Stephan J. Guyenet, Ph.D., a neuroscientist and obesity researcher.

So lets say that people who eat lots of red meat have more heart attacks than people who eat less red meat, says Guyenet. You could see that and conclude that red meat causes heart disease. But maybe people who are eating a lot of red meat are also smoking more cigarettes.

Teicholz says that when it comes to beef and dairy, the evidence on saturated fat is flawed. These studies find extremely weak data associations, not causation, she says.

Richard Feinman, Ph.D., a professor at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, puts it like this: Willetts textbook on nutritional epidemiology is quite good in that its thorough, but it doesnt let you draw the right conclusions. In a toxic tort case in a court of law, for example, these studies wouldnt hold up as evidence, he says.

Dr. Willett believes his detractors and those who laud the supposed benefits of beef, in particular, are part of what he calls the disinformation triangle. Its a triangle of interests that are people not working together to guide consumers, he says.

Its three points are food-industry groups, such as Big Beef; academics who make a career bashing others epidemiological research and/or supporting industry research that misleads the public; and the sensationalist media, which reports on that industry-funded research.

His critics, he says, are missing the larger point: His food-frequency questionnaires were never designed to be perfect.

A perfect nutrition study would be unfeasible, and downright unethicalscientists would have to hold many thousands of people in a lab and feed them specific diets over the entirety of their lives. Dr. Willett says his type of studies are good enough to make rational decisions.

But he isnt off the hook.

Teicholz points out that Dr. Willett and Harvards nutrition department have conducted studies funded by nut boards or other trade groups.

Nestle, the NYU nutrition researcher, is also aware of this funding and says, I really wish they wouldnt do that.

THERE'S YET another complicating factor to all this: Although the saturated-fat debate centers primarily on red meat, the nutrient is found in many other foods.

Its not possible to eat saturated fat in isolation. Therefore you have to question the significance of studies that study saturated fat as opposed to the foods that contain it, says Nestle.

Perhaps the strongest statement suggesting a rethink on saturated-fat caps came out in The BMJ in 2019.

Nineteen leading scientists (many of whom declared ties to the dairy, nut, and other industries) concluded that the established guidelines fail to take into account considerable evidence that the health effects vary for different saturated fatty acids and that the composition of the food in which they are found is crucially important.

The saturated fats found in a square of dark chocolate or in nuts are different from those in a rib-eye steak. And they have different effects in the body, says Ronald Krauss, M.D., Ph.D., director of atherosclerosis research at Childrens Hospital Oakland Research Institute, who helped develop the American Heart Associations dietary guidelines in 2000.

Theres not just one LDL cholesterol particle. They vary in size from large to small, says Dr. Krauss. The smaller LDL particles have properties that make them more likely to have adverse effects in the artery and promote [heart disease]. This is why zoning in on saturated fat as a single macronutrient category as the basis for the nutritional recommendation, to me, is a flawed approach.

Lumping together all saturated fats, some scientists now believe, may steer the food-marketing industry toward advertising foods that are low in saturated fat, yes, but also high in refined starch and sugar.

This effect happens often with many broad recommendations based upon single nutrients, says Trevor Kashey, Ph.D., a former cancer researcher who now owns Trevor Kashey Nutrition.

In fact, its happened in the recent past: The recommendation to eat more fiber is meant to encourage people to eat that nutrient from whole-food sources, says Kashey. Whole foods like grains, fruits, and vegetables. But then, Kashey says, bakeries start making bran muffins.

FORMER U.S. secretary of health and human services Sylvia Burwell and former secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack oversaw the development of the current nutritional guidelines.

And in 2015 Congress pulled the two into a hearing to ask about them. The key here is taking a look at the preponderance, the greater weight of the evidence, and trying to make a judgment . . . this is really about well-informed opinion. I wish there were scientific facts, said Vilsack.

And so was born a new directive for the scientific committee: to look at the totality of the nutrition and health research for those facts.

Five years later, the 20 scientists on the advisory committee whose report forms the basis of the 2020-25 nutritional guidelines looked at the evidence about saturated fat and are recommending changing . . . nothing.

And, in all likelihood, the eventual government dietary guidelines will reflect that exact recommendation: Americans should consider swapping saturated fats with unsaturated fats and limit their saturated-fat intake to 10 percent or less of their total calories per day.

But the report also stated that its more important to account for a persons overall diet than individual nutrients. People do not consume nutrients or foods in isolation but in various combinations over time, the scientists wrote.

Instead, people should aim for higher intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, low- or nonfat dairy, lean meat and poultry, seafood, nuts, and unsaturated vegetable oils and low consumption of red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, and refined grains.

That part of the report is a good one, nutrition experts argue.

We dont eat saturated fat, says Kashey. We eat bacon cheeseburgers and ice cream.

Just 28 percent of the saturated fat the average American eats comes from proteins and dairy, such as a piece of meat or glass of milk. Sixty percent of it comes from multi-ingredient foods.

If people actually followed the guidelines and stopped eating all the bacon cheeseburgers and ice cream, theyd be healthier, says Kashey.

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Is Saturated Fat Good or Bad for You? It Depends on the Science. -

Jan 22

Health and Nutrition 101: Macros, Calories and Exercise … Oh, My! (Part 1) – Capistrano Dispatch

SUPPORT THIS INDEPENDENT JOURNALISMThe article youre about to read is from our reporters doing their important work investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers businesses have been impacted. Thats why The Capistrano Dispatch is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insiders program here. Thank you.


By Gina Cousineau

My entire adult life, I have talked diets, either because I was on one or someone I knew was on one.

As a fitness professional, trained chef, and as a nutrition expert, I regularly want to pull my hair out over the conversations I overhear, paired with all the noise I see across the internet regarding diets.

The best one yet was a diet program in which you can win money. It was the perfect storm for those with disordered eatingthe majority of uspaired with gambling. Oh, my!

So lets unpack the latest and greatest, as we once again hear fromU.S. News & World ReportsBest Diets 2021.

Leading the way, as in years past, are omnivore-type diets, including the Mediterranean, DASH, and Flexitarian diets, which are plant-focused. In other words, a plant-based diet that includes dairy, as well as animal and plant proteins mixed in. They all promote a whole food nutrition approach that islowin sugar, saturated fat, sodium, along with limiting highly processed foods. Not brain surgery, folks.

Macronutrients, or macros, remain high on the list of buzzwords when it comes to diet-speak. In reality, macronutrients are foods that provide calories, which include carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

There are all kinds of spewing of if it fits my macros, macro percentages, and I count macros going on. But what does this really mean?

Fact is, counting macros tells us nothing of food quality, nor the number of calories that are being consumed, so I use this opportunity to educate my readers as to why you should know what macros are and how they can help you reach your goals for the New Year.

Bottom line, if you are on a diet, you either want to lose, gain or maintain your weight; are concerned about improving or holding onto your current health scenario; and/or you want to improve your performance (speed, body composition, strength, etc.).

If you have no concern for these things, you likely eat foods that are convenient, regardless of their repercussions.

Macros provide the calories needed to exist in life. If you over-consume them, you store body fat and potentially increase your risk of lifestyle diseases linked to obesity, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, colorectal cancers and the like.

Under-consume calories, and you risk sarcopenia, the loss of lean tissue mass, including muscle and bone, leading to a host of health concerns. Malnutrition and lack of proper nutrition can happen no matter how many calories you consume.

Homeostasis is the bodys happy place and the home in which I want my clients to reside.

The type of macros you consume is dictated by the foods you choose. Carbohydrates are the bodys preferred and primary fuel source. Wholesome foods rich in carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, whole grains/starches, and dairy products.

Fats are imperative for most every metabolic process in the body. Healthier options include fats from foods such as avocados, olives, nuts, seeds and oils from these foods. Protein helps to build and repair, along with it being the matrix of our skin, muscle and bones. Nutritious picks are lean animal and dairy sources, eggs, and plants rich in soy and legumes.

Those macros in combination are called meals and snacks, and not only can bring joy to our lives, but wonderful nutrition to our bodies. They can also be our demise.

Recommendation from Mama G: Choose wholesome macronutrients most of the time as close to nature as possible. Stay tuned for more on macros next month.

Gina Cousineau sees clients virtually and in person out of her San Clemente office. Her extensive educationa BS in dietetics and MS in integrative and functional nutritionchef training, and 30-plus years as a fitness professional allow her to help clients lose weight and improve their health.You can reach her at, 949.842.9975, and on Instagram and Facebook @mamagslifestyle.

BECOME AN INSIDER TODAYTrustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.


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Health and Nutrition 101: Macros, Calories and Exercise ... Oh, My! (Part 1) - Capistrano Dispatch

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