My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘stroke’

It’s Not Just Candy Causing Childhood Obesity this Halloween

Halloween is just two weeks away, and most parents are worried about the frightening amount of sugar children consume. That’s understandable. But Halloween is just one day. What really scares me are the meat and dairy products lurking in children’s diets every day and everywhere—from fast food to school lunches. Unfortunately, some parents don’t share this fear. Some parents may not yet realize how healthful a plant-based diet can be for their children.

Meat and dairy products are loaded with fat and cholesterol that lead to childhood obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. A new study in the British Medical Journal found that obese children as young as 5 years old were already showing signs of heart disease that could seriously increase their risk of heart attacks and stroke as they get older. Now that gives me nightmares.

But time and again, evidence-based science shows that plant-based diets can help prevent these unnerving consequences. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals—says that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”

In this video, I’ll share some more morbid statistics about the health of America’s children—and why a plant-based diet is the treat we should provide children on Halloween and every day of the year:

http://www.pcrm.org/media/blog/oct2012/not-just-candy-causing-childhood-obesity-halloween

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Beta Blockers May Not Prevent Heart Attacks and Strokes

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/video/beta-blockers-effective-previously-thought-17378539

By SYDNEY LUPKIN
Oct. 2, 2012

New research suggests that beta-blocker pills don’t prevent heart attacks, strokes or cardiac deaths in patients with heart disease, but doctors are torn over whether there’s enough in the study to make them want to stop prescribing the drugs. Beta blockers have been a standard heart medication for decades.

The study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association, looked at nearly 45,000 patients with prior heart attacks, coronary artery disease or risk factors for coronary artery disease, and found that those on beta blockers didn’t show significantly lower rates of heart attack, stroke or cardiac death than those not on the medication.

“This is a very compelling study that has the potential to shake up the conventional wisdom that exists regarding the role of beta blockers in the management of patients with cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Randal Thomas, a cardiovascular specialist at the Mayo Clinic. “At a minimum, it will lead to new studies that address this issue once again.”

Beta blockers work by blocking adrenalin receptors in the brain that become activated when the body is stressed. Beta blockers are used to treat heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety and other conditions.

Some doctors say they are glad beta blockers are being questioned because their use had been “written in stone” for so many years, but others say using a non-randomized data sample is not as reliable as a randomized drug trial.

While the authors attempted to account for differences between the patient groups that might have had an impact on their health, they did not have access to information on why some patients were prescribed these drugs and some were not, said Dr. Richard Besser, the chief heath and medical editor at ABC News.

Dr. Melvin Rubenfire, who directs cardiovascular medicine at the University of Michigan, said he’d been hoping for a study like this, but it won’t change his prescribing habits because he uses beta blockers only in specific cases. Rubenfire also weans patients off the pills 18 months after they have a heart attack if they experience adverse side effects, such as fatigue and erectile dysfunction.

Rubenfire said the existing data wasn’t enough to determine which patients would benefit from beta blockers, and what kinds of beta blockers are better than others. Beta blockers include at least six brand names, including Sectral, Tenormin and Zebeta.

Even study coauthor Christopher Cannon, a professor at Harvard Medical School, said he will continue to prescribe beta blockers to his patients, adding “I would not make too much of this” because the study is only observational.

“All it can do is raise up an idea for us researchers to consider for further study,” he said.

Cannon said this research shows that it’s unclear whether beta blockers add more benefit than the other therapies developed in the decades since beta blockers became a standard of practice for treating patients with heart disease. Since patients are often taking several drugs, it’s hard to pinpoint how much one agent helps compared with another.

Dr. Steven Nissen, who chairs the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, said the medicine might not be ideal for all of the patients it’s prescribed to, but a new randomized, controlled trial will be necessary to change guidelines for prescribing beta blockers.

“Abandonment of this type of therapy for post-MI [post-heart attack] patients based upon an observational study is not warranted,” he said.

For the time being, the study raises questions, said Dr. Harlan Kumhulz, a professor of medicine, epidemiology and public health at Yale University.

“The question it raises is about how long after having a heart attack should patients remain on beta blockers?” Kumhulz said, noting that beta-blocker patients didn’t have better outcomes than the other patients did after the first year. “The study cannot definitively answer that question — but raises doubts about the need to continue to take them for the rest of a patient’s life.”

Dr. Lauren Hughes of the ABC News Medical Unit contributed to this report.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/beta-blockers-prevent-heart-attack-stroke-study-jama/story?id=17378403#.UG32y5jA-Sp

If You Think We’re Fat Now, Wait Till 2030

By Maggie Fox, NBC News

Image Source / Getty Images file

In the 13 heaviest states, 60 percent of residents will be obese in less than two decades if current trends continue, finds a new report.

 

Think Americans are fat now? After all, a third of us are overweight and another 35 percent are obese. But a report out Tuesday projects 44 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030.

In the 13 worst states, 60 percent of the residents will be obese in less than two decades if current trends continue, the report from the Trust for America’s Health projects. That’s not chubby or a little plump – that’s clinically obese, bringing a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, several forms of cancer and arthritis.

“The initial reaction is to say, ‘Oh it couldn’t be that bad’,” says Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health. “But we have maps from 1991 and you see almost all the states below 10 percent.” By 2011 every single state was above 20 percent obesity, as measured by body mass index (BMI), the accepted medical way to calculate obesity. Those with a BMI or 30 or above are considered obese.

In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 12 states have an adult obesity rate over 30 percent. Mississippi had the highest rate of obesity at 34.9 percent. On the low end, 20.7 percent of Colorado residents are obese. CDC projections for obesity resemble those in Tuesday’s report – it projects 42 percent of adults will be obese by 2030.

The problem isn’t just cosmetic. “The number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could increase 10 times between 2010 and 2020 — and then double again by 2030,” the report projects.  “Obesity-related health care costs could increase by more than 10 percent in 43 states and by more than 20 percent in nine states.”

That’s bad news when states are already strapped to pay for public health programs such as Medicaid and the federal government is struggling to fund Medicare.

 

Over the next 20 years, more than 6 million patients will be able to blame obesity for their diabetes, 5 million will be diagnosed with heart disease and 400,000 will get cancer caused by obesity.

And some of them are frighteningly young.

“Now I am seeing 25-year-olds weighing 350 pounds who present with chest pain or shortness of breath,” says Dr. Sheldon Litwin, a cardiologist at Georgia Health Sciences University. “Everything from the heart disease process to its diagnosis and treatment are affected by obesity. We see it every day. This really is the number-one issue facing us,” added Litwin, who worked on one of a series of obesity studies published in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The trend is not inevitable, according to the report, entitled “F as in Fat.” Some programs are beginning to make a dent in the rising rates.  “We certainly see, in some communities, the beginning of some changes,” says Levi. “We know what some of the answers are.”

Convicted killer: I’m too obese to be executed

For instance, making it easier for people to exercise day in and day out, and making it easier to get healthy food. “A large-scale study of New York City adults found that increasing the density of healthy food outlets, such as supermarkets, fruit and vegetable markets, and natural food stores is associated with lower BMIs and lower prevalence of obesity,” the report reads.

What about initiatives like New York’s controversial ban on the largest sodas? “Every community is going to experiment with different approaches. It is going to be very interesting to see what happens in New York and whether this makes a difference,” Levi said.

New York’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, defends the move in the medical journal’s obesity issue. “How should government address the health problems caused by this successful marketing of food? To do nothing is to invite even higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and related mortality,” he wrote.

Trust for America’s Health

Many studies have also shown that people who live in big, walkable cities such as New York and Washington D.C. are thinner than their rural and suburban counterparts, and it’s almost certainly because they walk more and use public transportation instead of sitting in cars.

If everyone lost just a little weight, the savings would be enormous, the study predicts.

“If we could lower obesity trends by reducing body mass indices (BMIs) by only 5 percent in each state, we could spare millions of Americans from serious health problems and save billions of dollars in health spending —between 6.5 percent and 7.8 percent in costs in almost every state,” the report says.

Education can’t hurt, either. The more educated people are, the less likely they are to be obese. Higher-earners are also thinner. “More than 33 percent of adults who earn less than $15,000 per year were obese, compared with 24.6 percent of those who earned at least $50,000 per year,” the report notes. And several studies have shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables are thinner, as well as healthier. “Seven of the 10 states with the highest rates of obesity were also in the bottom 10 for fruit and vegetable consumption,” the report says.

Levi believes it’s worthwhile targeting kids the hardest. New nutritional guidelines for schools will help, he said, as will initiatives to restore recess and physical education classes. Beverage makers have agreed to replace sugary sodas in vending machines with water and other low-calorie drinks. “It is as simple as an hour a day less of screen time and one less sugar beverage,” Levi says.  “Just 120 calories can make a big difference as to whether a kid crosses over from being normal weight into overweight and obesity.”

Another study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that kids who exercised 20 minutes a day lowered an important measure of diabetes risk by 18 percent. Exercising 40 minutes a day cut the risk by 22 percent. The researchers also noted it’s important to make exercise fun for kids

“Regulation sports tend to have kids standing around a lot waiting for the ball. We had enough balls so everyone was moving all the time,” said Dr. Catherine Davis of Georgia Health Sciences University. “It had to be fun or they would not keep coming.”

For some people, drastic measures remain an option. One study in the Journal shows that gastric bypass surgery is a viable option. And two doctors present opposing views over whether the Food and Drug Administration holds obesity drugs to an unreasonably high standard. On Tuesday, one of the newest obesity drugs hits the market – Qsymia, made by Vivus.

Are you obese? The National Institutes of Health has a BMI calculator here.http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

If you’re 5 feet 6 inches tall, you become overweight at 160 pounds (a BMI of 25.1) and obese at 192 pounds, when your BMI grows to 30.1.

http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/18/13922737-if-you-think-were-fat-now-wait-till-2030

This Esselstyn Guy Knows His Stuff image

Quit Soda and Lower Your Risk of Stroke Cleveland Clinic

Quit soda and lower your risk of strokehttp://bit.ly/I8iPWe

Five Major Poisons Inherently Found in Animal Foods

The McDougall Newsletter

Five Major Poisons Inherently Found in Animal Foods

Protein, fat, cholesterol, methionine (a sulfur-containing amino acid), and dietary acids, which are all superabundant in animal foods, are poisoning nearly everyone following the standard Western diet. Most people cannot fathom this, because it takes four or more decades of consumption before disability, disfigurement, and death become common from these endogenous toxins. This long latent period fools the public into thinking there is no harm done by choosing an animal-food-based diet. If the case were one of instantaneous feedback—one plate of fried eggs caused excruciating chest pains, paralysis from a stroke followed a prime rib dinner, or a hard cancerous lump appeared within a week of a grilled cheese sandwich—then eating animal foods would be widely recognized as an exceedingly unwise choice. Similar failures to appreciate slow poisonings from our lifestyle choices are seen with tobacco and alcohol use. If one package of cigarettes were followed by a week on a respirator or a bottle or two of gin caused hepatic (liver) coma then no one would indulge in these instruments of long-drawn-out death either. The difference defining the failure to take long overdue actions is that the dangers from tobacco and alcohol use are universally known and accepted, whereas almost everyone considers red meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products necessary parts of a healthy diet.

The Art of Selling Slow Poisons: Distract the Consumer

Sellers of animal foods for human consumption draw in customers with the marketing strategy of “unique positioning”—each industry tries to make its merchandise stand apart from other foods by promoting a nutrient that is especially plentiful in its product. Over time this effective advertising approach has meant that the mention of calcium brings to mind milk and cheese, iron has become synonymous with beef, and eggs are well known as the “best source of high quality protein.”

Because these highly sensationalized nutrients are always plentiful in basic plant foods, illnesses from deficiencies of these nutrients are essentially unknown, as long as there is enough food to eat. Thus, there are no real nutritional advantages to choosing red meat, poultry, dairy, and egg products with an especially high density of one particular nutrient. Ironically, milk and cheese are iron deficient, and red meat, poultry, and eggs (unless you eat the shells) contain almost no calcium.

Focusing on the abundance of an individual nutrient accomplishes an even more insidious marketing goal; it diverts the consumer’s, and oftentimes the professional dietitian’s, attention away from the harmful impact on the human body of consuming all kinds of animal foods. In my 42-years of providing medical care I have never seen a patient sickened by eating potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, rice, beans, fruits, and/or vegetables (unspoiled and uncontaminated). However, during my everyday practice I have witnessed (just like every other practicing medical doctor has) a wide diversity of diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, type-2 diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer, from eating fresh killed and/or collected, as well as processed and/or preserved, animal-derived foods.

A Simplified View of Animal-food Poisoning

Animal foods—be they from cow, pig, or chicken muscles or the ovum of a bird or the lactation fluids of a mammal—are all so similar in their nutritional makeup and their impact on human health that they should be considered as the same (see the comparison tables at the end of this article). In order to avoid the confusion created by the marketing strategy of “unique positioning,” lets look at different kinds of animal products mixed together to make one food; and compare them to their antithesis, starches.

If I were to blend together red meat, chicken, eggs, and cheese, which most Americans do three or more times a day in their stomachs, the end product would be a highly acidic mixture of mostly protein, fat, and water—each individual food having contributed a similar amount of each component. A blend of various starches—beans, rice, potatoes, and sweet potatoes—would produce an opposite in composition.

Continued at:  http://drmcdougall.com/misc/2010nl/jan/poison.htm

Frequent red meat eaters at higher risk of stroke

Raw Beef

A high-protein diet might benefit health in some ways, but depending on what kind of protein a person consumes, it could raise their stroke risk too, suggests a large new study that finds eating lots of red meat ups the likelihood of having a stroke while poultry lowers it.

“The main message from this paper is that the type of protein or the protein package is really important for the risk of stroke. We have to consider protein in the context of the foods,” said Dr. Frank Hu, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the authors of the study.

He and his colleagues collected data from two massive health surveys that tracked tens of thousands of men and women from roughly middle age to their senior and elderly years.

Over 20-some years of the study, nearly 1,400 men and more than 2,600 women had a stroke.

Caused by a blood clot or a burst blood vessel that stops blood flow to the brain, stroke is the third most common cause of death in the United States. Twenty-six out of every 1,000 people in the U.S. have experienced a stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and about 800,000 die of stroke each year.

To see what influence different types of dietary protein have on stroke risk, the researchers divided up the people in the study based on how much red meat, poultry, fish, dairy and other sources of protein they typically ate each day.

Men who ate more than two servings of red meat each day — which was at the high end of the meat eaters — had a 28 percent increased risk of stroke compared to men who averaged about a third of a serving of red meat each day, the low end of the red meat eaters.

The researchers considered a serving of red meat as four to six ounces of beef or a hamburger patty.

Women who ate nearly two servings of red meat a day had a 19 percent higher risk of stroke than women who ate less than half a serving each day.

A 19 percent increase in stroke risk means that instead of 26 out of every 1,000 people having a stroke, 31 out of every 1,000 people would have one.

The researchers also looked at the change in stroke risk that would come with substituting different forms of protein for one daily serving of red meat: swapping in one serving a day of poultry lowered stroke risk by 27 percent, a serving of nuts or fish was linked to a 17 percent drop in risk and a serving of dairy dropped the risk by 10 to 11 percent.

Dr. Adam Bernstein, the lead author of the study and a researcher at the Cleveland Clinic, said he was not surprised to see that red meat eaters suffer more strokes.

“We’ve also done work on red meat and diabetes and red meat and coronary heart disease. So it makes sense that these cardio-metabolic diseases are grouped together,” Bernstein told Reuters Health.

An earlier study, led by Susanna Larsson at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, also found that eating red meat had a link to stroke risk (see Reuters Health story of December 31, 2010).

What was new in the current study, Larsson said, was that frequent poultry eaters showed a lowered risk of stroke.

People who ate the most chicken or turkey each day — about a half serving for women and three-quarters of a serving for men — had a 13 percent reduced risk of stroke compared to those who ate barely more than a serving a day.

One serving was considered four ounces.

“I do not think that poultry has been considered as a protein source that might lower the risk of stroke. This is new,” Larsson told Reuters Health in an email.

Also surprising in the study was that fish seemed to offer no protection against stroke.

Larsson pointed out that earlier work has found fewer strokes among groups who eat fish often.

It’s possible that the benefits of fish depend on how it’s served, Bernstein said.

“There’s a lot of variation in how people cook and prepare fish, and we couldn’t get down to that level,” he said.

The researchers didn’t prove that beef is to blame for the increased number of strokes, but Bernstein said it could be that the fat and iron in red meat play a role.

Larsson said the findings support current recommendations to limit how much red meat people eat, and to opt for chicken and fish instead.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/01/12/frequent-red-meat-eaters-at-higher-risk-stroke/#ixzz22zp7SJ3k

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