There’s no “good fat” when it comes to obesity

Is it possible to be simultaneously hefty and healthy? In a study presented at the European Congress of Obesity, researchers who scrutinized 20 years of electronic health records for 3.5 million people discovered that people who were overweight, but did not have any of the metabolic problems usually linked to excess weight, were more prone to develop metabolic problems. Compared to non-overweight individuals, “healthy obese people had a 50% higher risk of heart disease, a 7% higher risk of stroke, twice the risk of heart failure and a greater risk for peripheral artery disease.” The takeaway: physicians should encourage weight loss among obese patients irrespective of metabolic abnormalities.

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Counting down to counting calories… eventually

The FDA has again delayed implementation of its requirement for food sellers (supermarkets, chain restaurants, etc.) to post calorie counts of food items on their menus. Originally set to go in effect on May 5, the affected businesses now have until May 7, 2018 to get calorie counts up. While some trade groups representing the industry are happy to see this get delayed, they’re also hoping that a regulation-averse White House will either weaken the requirement, or do away with it altogether. There are certainly some valid criticisms of the requirement, especially in regard to how the hell sellers without menus are supposed to be labeling their products (like convenience stores already starved for space,) however, there’s also things like this to consider.

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Diet…dementia?

Many say a healthy diet is the path to a healthy life, but one kind of diet might not be helping much. Diet sodas. While the consumption of their sugary counterparts does contribute to 184,000 deaths each year, using the diet alternatives to cut out sugar might not be the right call. The American Heart Association’s Journal published a study linking the artificially sweetened drinks to higher risks of stroke and dementia. Compared to never drinking diet sodas, those who had one a day were three times as likely to be diagnosed with dementia, and those who had one to six a week were 2.6 times as likely to experience an ischemic stroke. The lesson here… just stick to high quality H2O [Warning: stupid Adam Sandler GIF]

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Take this research with a grain of salt

Study finds that people don’t eat enough vegetables and the primary given reason is taste. If only we’d all use more herbs and spices, they hypothesize, we’d jettison the french fries in favor of healthy vegetable choices. Yeah, that would be just as satisfying. The problem, however, may be less about taste and more about how sugary, fatty, salty foods make us feel. When a seasoned carrot makes people feel as good as a burger, you have yourself a breakthrough. Also, the study was sponsored by the McCormick Science Institute. Look in your spice cabinet. You’ll recognize the name. Then look to the left, grab the giant tub of Morton’s salt and take a grain of it as you consume the results of this research.

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Self-help enthusiasts had it partially right

It turns out “do what makes your heart happy” is not just a self-help cliché. Scientists recently identified another reason to take good care of one’s heart: a link between vascular health and Alzheimer’s Disease. A plasma component named Factor XII, usually involved in blood clotting and inflammation, may play a part in Alzheimer’s Disease for some patients. Reducing Factor XII in mice with AD showed less brain inflammation and better memory function than untreated AD mice. It is still unclear how changes in one’s blood might catalyze the disease, but the discovery corroborates previous findings that people with compromised vascular systems are at increased risk for AD. Need some motivation? Here are 28 ways to show your heart love.

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5. Stop priming the proton pump

Which would be worse, your doctor demands you change your eating habits or prescribes a medication that increases your risk of stroke? For those still resisting lifestyle changes in favor of drugs, tune in to this: a popular category of heartburn medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) has been linked to a 21% greater risk of stroke. A study of 245,000 patients who had an endoscopy showed that within 6 years of follow-up, 9,500 patients had their first ischemic stroke. Researchers controlled for other risk factors, investigated their medications and found patients on the highest dose of PPIs had a stroke risk from 30% for lansoprazole to 94% for pantoprazole. Add that to PPIs’ links to dementia and heart attacks and then reconsider fatty foods and large portion sizes.

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