Posts tagged: healthy diet

CDC Sounds Alarm Over Exploding Diabetes Epidemic Impacting 100 Million In USA Alone While Food Companies Keep Selling Junk Food

CDC Sounds Alarm Over Exploding Diabetes Epidemic Impacting 100 Million In USA Alone While Food Companies Keep Selling Junk Food
Image © shutterstock.com (under license)

All over the world, diabetes affects over 400 million people of various ages, young and old. According to the World Health Organization, the numbers rose from 108 million in 1980 to over 422 million in 2014. That is a fourfold increase in global prevalence for diabetes; these numbers continue to rise each year especially in middle- and low-income countries where access to healthcare and healthy food choices is quite limited. [1]

A publication by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2017 was alarming to say the least. The numbers were practically catastrophic; out of the projected 321 million population in the US in 2015, more than 100 million Americans were living with diabetes or prediabetes. The CDC estimated over 30.2 million people of all ages in the US had diabetes in 2015, with 23 million being diagnosed diabetics and the remaining 7.2 percent being undiagnosed diabetics. [2]

The scariest part is the number of prediabetics, which came up to a whopping 84.1 million people. The statistics also showed that nearly half of the adult population in the US 65 years and older were likely to be prediabetic. Prediabetics are people with high fasting blood glucose or HbA1C levels, indicative of the body being unable to absorb the excess glucose circulating in the blood. [2]

How Do You Get Diabetes

Getting diagnosed with diabetes isn’t as easy as blaming one thing, like an unhealthy diet (though that may be the case for some). A person becomes diabetic because of various risk factors. While genes may indeed play a role in increasing your risk for diabetes, modifiable risk factors such as a person’s lifestyle choices play an even bigger part.

The following are risk factors among diabetics in the US aged 18 years and older. [2]

1. Smoking, 15.9 percent of diagnosed diabetics were current smokers while 34.5 percent were past smokers who had had at least 100 cigarettes in their entire life.

2. Being overweight or obese, 87.5 percent of diagnosed diabetics were either overweight or obese, meaning they had a body mass index of 25 or higher. To breakdown the percentage further, 26.1 percent were overweight with a BMI of 25 to less than 30, 43.5 percent were obese with a BMI of 30 to less than 40, and 17.8 percent were severely obese with a BMI of 40 and higher.

3. Sedentary lifestyle or physical inactivity was a risk factor in 40.8 percent of diagnosed diabetics in the US. A sedentary lifestyle was characterized by less than 10 minutes a week of moderate or vigorous physical activity (either in work, leisure time, or transportation).

4. Hypertension was present in 73.6 percent of diagnosed diabetics, making diabetes and hypertension likely coexisting morbidities in one person. Hypertension was characterized by systolic blood pressure of 140 or higher or diastolic blood pressure of 90 or higher.

5. Hyperlipidemia or high cholesterol was seen in 58.2 percent of diagnosed diabetics aged 21 years and older who did not report a cardiovascular comorbidity and 66.9 percent of diagnosed diabetics aged 21 and older who self-reported a cardiovascular comorbidity.

6. Hyperglycemia is the golden standard among these risk factors, meaning an HbA1C value higher than 9 percent was seen in 15.6 percent of diagnosed diabetics in the US in 2015.

Other statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that diabetes was seventh on a top 15 list of leading causes of mortalities in the US, based on data from 2016. Diabetes was estimated to have caused 80, 058 deaths in 2016, which was 2.9 percent of the population during that year. [3]

Despite these harrowing numbers, diabetes remains largely a preventable disease that could be managed efficiently with the right lifestyle changes and choices. While most diabetics will need to be managed with medications and even insulin injections, a healthy lifestyle is still needed in conjunction with any sort of medical treatment for any effect to take place.

Diabetes Risk Reduction By Lifestyle Choices

1. Regular exercise: The American Heart Association recommends that you undertake 150+ minutes per week of of moderate aerobic activity (that’s about 30 minutes each day for five out of the week) or 75 minutes weekly of vigorous aerobic exercise. [4]

Examples of moderate intensity activities include brisk walking, water aerobics, dancing, gardening, doubles tennis, or biking slower than 10 miles per hour. Vigorous intensity activities include hiking uphill or with weights, running, swimming laps, aerobics, yardwork like digging, singles tennis, cycling fasted than 10 miles per hour, or jumping rope. [4]

2. Changing your diet: A healthy diet free from processed and junk food is probably your best weapon in lowering your blood sugar and fighting diabetes, or if you already have been diagnosed with diabetes, a healthy diet will make sure your blood sugar levels are kept in check. Avoid fast food, canned sodas and instant fruit juices, and processed snacks and canned meats. While these unhealthy food choices may be cheaper and less time consuming that preparing your own meal from scratch, they will help keep you healthier in the long run, preventing trips to the doctor and being prescribed medications that will hamper not only your budget but your lifestyle as well.

In 2016, the conclusion of a study published in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes was that a diet high in processed foods was related to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Contrarily, the researchers concluded that reducing consumption of processed food items and eating fresh local produce could potentially reduce your risk for diabetes. [5] Similarly, a study published in 2015 concluded that consuming sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice increased your risk for diabetes as well. [6]

While the marketing for junk food and fast food restaurants is quite appealing and would likely convince you to purchase them on your next grocery run or day out, better think again and make better choices for yourself and your family. Companies who want you to buy their products don’t care about your health, they only care about that money you will spend on their products. Keep that in mind.

References:

[1] World Health Organization. Diabetes key facts. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/data/statistics/national-diabetes-statistics-report.pdf

[3] National Vital Statistics Reports. Deaths: Final Data for 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr67/nvsr67_05.pdf

[4] American Heart Association. American Heart Association Recommendation for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults

[5] Reeds, J., et. al. Dietary Patterns and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in a First Nations Community. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27374251

[6] Imamura, F., et. al. (2015). Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: systematic review, meta-analysis, and estimation of population attributable fraction. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26199070

Colon Cancer Deaths Rise Among Younger Adults, And No One Knows Why

Colon Cancer Deaths Rise Among Younger Adults, And No One Knows Why
Image © shutterstock.com (under license)

Are you younger than 50? Has the thought of colorectal cancer crossed your mind? Well, probably not. Most colon cancer diagnoses occur after the age of 50 – the recommended screening age. But based on recent findings, the risk of colorectal (colon and rectum) cancer is steadily increasing among younger adults. In particular, a 2017 study [1] published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) discovered that the colorectal cancer mortality rates among young adults have been escalating since the mid-90s. Even worse, the reason for this trend is not clear.

Colon Cancer Statistics

According to American Cancer Society [2], colorectal is the third most common cause of cancer-related death in the United States among men and women. The condition is expected to cause over 51,000 deaths in 2019, with nearly 150,000 new cases diagnosed. As one of the most lethal forms of cancer, the increased risk among young adults is a cause for concern.

The study [1] by researchers affiliated with the American Cancer Society looked at the colorectal cancer diagnoses and deaths among adults (20-54 years) in the United States between 1970 and 2014. Their findings showed that the mortality rates dropped by 2% annually from 1970 until 2004, before increasing at an average of 1% every year annually between 2004 and 2014. Even more perplexing, the death rate increased in white people and decreased in black people – despite exposure to similar risk factors.

Although the exact reasons behind the worrying statistics are not clear, experts speculate that dietary supplements, smoking, alcohol, obesity, and other lifestyle factors might play a part. Another concern among medical practitioners is the late diagnosis of colorectal cancer among young adults. While the survival rate is 90% when diagnosed at an early stage, the thought of regular screening doesn’t often cross the minds of younger people.

Most victims only seek medical attention when they experience symptoms such as persistent abdominal cramping or rectal bleeding – and at that point, the cancer is at a later stage. Due to this trend – among other reasons – the American Cancer Society updated its screening guidelines [3] by lowering the recommended age to 45 years, rather than 50 years.

Tips To Lower The Risk Of Colon Cancer

Regardless of your age group, there are a few simple measures you can take to minimize the risk of colorectal cancer.

• Medical checkups to identify the irregularities such as abnormal levels of hemoglobin and iron deficiency, which can be signs of colon cancer

• Regular exercise – According to an article4 in the British Journal of Cancer, regular physical activity reduces the risk of colon cancer by up to 24%

• Drink water frequently

• Eat a healthy diet, paying attention to foods rich s in fiber such as lentils, broccoli, and whole grains

References:

[1] Siegel, R. L., Miller, K. D., & Jemal, A. (2017). Colorectal cancer mortality rates in adults aged 20 to 54 years in the United States, 1970-2014. Jama, 318(6), 572-574. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5817468/

[2] ACS. (2019). Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer. Retrieved 14 November 2019, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/about/key-statistics.html

[3] ACS. (2019). American Cancer Society Guideline for Colorectal Cancer Screening. Retrieved 14 November 2019, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/acs-recommendations.html

[4] Wolin, K. Y., Yan, Y., Colditz, G. A., & Lee, I. M. (2009). Physical activity and colon cancer prevention: a meta-analysis. British journal of cancer, 100(4), 611. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2653744/

Bowl Of Cereal Vs. Organic Apple & Grapefruit

Bowl Of Cereal Vs Organic Apple & Grapefruit
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Images source – Pixabay (PD).

In the words of nutritionist Adelle Davis, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”

Breakfast is rightfully regarded as the most important meal of the day – it makes us happier, lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes, boosts our cognitive performance, and prevents weight gain. [1][2][3][4] However, these health benefits have more to do with the content of your breakfast than the timing.

What is in a Bowl of Cereal?

As far as convenience is concerned, a bowl of cereal is an easy pick for most people – but at a cost. Cereals are often loaded with unhealthy carbohydrates, high-processed foods, unnecessary additives (e.g., preservatives), and sugars that may wreak havoc on your body.

Word of Advice: Ignore the marketing ploys and health claims in the commercials or on the front of the box. Always read the ingredients list before indulging in a bowl of cereal – the devil is in the detail! That said, there are several healthier alternatives such as whole foods (fruits, grains, vegetables, etc.) or dairy products.

What is in an Organic Fruit-Based Breakfast?

Rather than eating a bowl of cereal with questionable ingredients, consider single-ingredient foods such as grapefruits and apples.

As one of the most nutritious citrus fruits, grapefruit is rich in fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. [5] A medium-sized grapefruit contains vitamin C (64% RDI), vitamin A (28% RDI), fiber (2 grams), low calories (52), protein (1 gram), magnesium, folate, thiamine, and potassium.

Likewise, a 182-gram apple is rich in fiber (4 grams), potassium (6% RDI), vitamin K, manganese, vitamin C (14% RDI), vitamin E, and B vitamins. Additionally, apples contain polyphenols (micronutrients packed with antioxidants), especially on the skin.

So, what is your choice? A bowl of cereal or organic apples and grapefruit?

Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

References:

[1] Breakfast Cereal and Caffeinated Coffee: Effects on Working Memory, Attention, Mood, and Cardiovascular Function http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031938499000256.

[2] Eating patterns and type 2 diabetes risk in older women: breakfast consumption and eating frequency http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/06/12/ajcn.112.057521.abstract.

[3] Effect of breakfast composition on cognitive processes in elementary school https://ase.tufts.edu/psychology/spacelab/pubs/MahoneyEtAl.pdf.

[4] Association between Eating Patterns and Obesity in a Free-living US Adult Population http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/158/1/85.full.

[5] Grapefruit, raw, pink and red, all areas Nutrition Facts & Calories https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1905/2.