Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Excess Weight and Cancer: The Risk Continues to Rise

It has been known for a long while now that people who are overweight (2/3 of all Americans and rising) are at increased risk for cancers of the colon, esophagus, kidney, breast and uterus. If that were not reason enough to get off the couch, skip the white flour bagel and shed a few pounds, a 2016 review of more than 1,000 individual studies by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, has concluded that eight additional cancers are linked to that jelly doughnut. Cancers of the stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, thyroid, ovaries, brain and blood are now linked to excess weight.

The link is thought to be related to the hormones and inflammation caused by excess body fat. The higher your Body Mass Index (BMI) the greater your risk.

One more reason to eat better, eat less, get moving, and reduce stress.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Good New/Bad News on Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancers remain the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the US, and the rate increases with age. But the incidence of these cancers in people over 50 - the longstanding age at which regular screenings are recommended - has been declining in recent years. This is unquestionably good news.

But - and here is the bad news - the incidence of colorectal cancers in people under 50 years old is increasing. And based on current trends, the numbers are expected to grow in coming years.

Researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center examined data from nearly 400,000 patents who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancers and concluded that the increase in risk among younger adults is real, and is expected to increase for at least the next 14 years.

Even though the precise reason(s) for this trend are unclear, suspected causes include:

1. Skyrocketing obesity rates. People who are obese are at a higher risk for colorectal cancers than those at a normal weight. And Americans are becoming obese at younger and younger ages.

2. Stubbornly crappy diets. The SAD (Standard American Diet) - high in processed foods, fast food and saturated fats, and low in fiber rich plant foods - has been strongly linked to higher cancer rates. Low fiber diets, in particular, are associated with higher risk for colorectal cancers.

3. Lack of physical activity. It used to be called "lack of exercise". Now it is "lack of physical activity", aka, getting out of your chair. Physical activity lowers the risk of developing colorectal cancers and increases the survival rate of people who have them. Younger Americans are less active then previous generations.

So what is a concerned and prudent person to do? Discuss your specific risk factors with your doctor at your next annual physical. (You do have an annual physical right?) And in the meantime, be on the safe side and:

1. Eat Less.

2. Eat Better.

3. Move More.

Hmmmm. That's pretty much the same prescription for everything that ails us.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Real Secret to Losing Weight Revealed!

With America on track to have half of us be obese in 25 years, losing weight just might be a national priority. So here, at last, is the real secret to losing weight and keeping it off......  CONSUME FEWER CALORIES THAN YOU BURN.

Seriously. Lets wake up people. The "weight loss/diet industry" is a $64 BILLION business (2014 data) and we are fatter than ever. Sorry if "fatter"is a politically incorrect word, but there it is.


Eat less. Eat better. Move more. Lose weight.

You don't need a pill. You don't need your stomach stapled shut. You don't need NutriSystem. You don't need a freakish special diet. You DO need to make the effort.

You heard it here first.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sugar and Heart Disease

It often seems to me that what gets permitted or prohibited by those responsible for regulating the safety of our food supply is governed more by the efficacy of one's lobbying firm and the size of one's political donations than what is actually good or bad for us. For example....

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Yang Q, Shang Z, Gregg EW. Added sugar intake and cardiovascular disease mortality among US adults. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2014: doi 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563.) consuming large amounts of dietary sugars can triple your risk of dying from heart disease.

Analyzing data on 31,147 people included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey - which included data from the late 1980s to 2010 - the study calculated the "consumption of all sugars used in processed or prepared foods such as sugar-sweetened beverages, grain-based deserts, fruit drinks, dairy deserts, candy, ready-to-eat cereals and yeast breads". Naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruit were not counted. Those who consumed 10% of their daily calories as sugars (sucrose, high fructose corn syrup and other caloric sweeteners) had a 30% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases. Those consuming 25% of their daily calories as sugars were almost three times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared with people who consumed less than 10% of their calories from sugars. For the average American's (excessive) 2,500 calorie daily intake, this is 250 and 625 calories, respectively.

To put that in perspective, a 12 oz can of soda contains about 150 calories from sugar, orange juice - yes, orange juice - delivers 130, while that Starbucks frappuccino will set you back nearly 400 calories.

And for all of this, we still have the FDA waffling about whether or not to even list the amount of sugars added to our foods because.... well, because the manufacturers don't want to.

Friday, October 7, 2016

"Diet" Soda is Not the Answer

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Piernas, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014; 99:567-577) analyzed the consumption of low-calorie and artificially sweetened soft drinks and the eating habits of individuals who regularly consumed them. They found that people consuming such drinks ate lower quality diets compared with people who did not drink such beverages.

While the reason for this remains largely speculation, a likely culprit is the mistaken belief that by cutting back on the sugar in the drink, you are free to eat more CRAP of other kinds. A similar phenomenon is eating more of something because it is "low fat". This, of course, is an entirely separate issue from the long range health effects of consuming large quantities of chemical sweeteners.

Walking into McDonald's and ordering a diet Coke with your double cheese burger, large fries and apple pie is not likely help you from joining the over 2/3 of us who are already overweight.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

You Can't Make this Stuff Up

"Texan Monica Riley, age 27 and weighing 700 pounds, is the most recent "super-sizes" woman to claim happiness in exhibiting herself semi-nude for "fans" (she clams 20,000) who watch online as morbidly obese people eat. She told the celebrity news site Barcroft Media in September that her 8,000 calories a day puts her on track to weight 1,000 pounds soon, and that her loving boyfriend, Sid, 25 and a "feeder" is turned on by helping her. Sid, for instance, feeds Monica her special 3,500 calorie "shake" - through a funnel - and supposedly will eagerly become her caretaker when she eats herself into total immobility."  - republished in the Colorado Springs Senior Beacon from SSBBW Magazine.

And, we can assume, when she is dying from this self-abuse, she will claim it is societies duty to pay for her care? Honestly, this just leaves me blogless.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Too Many Meds

According to Consumer Reports "On Health" newsletter, regularly taking five or more medications often does more harm than good. As the number of medications that a person uses increases, the chance of adverse reactions and side effects goes up dramatically. Interactions among drugs can magnify or diminish a drug's potency and effectiveness, and can sometimes trigger dangerous side effects.

An April 2016 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine by pharmacist Dr Dima Quato found that two out of three American adults aged 65 or older take five or more medications daily. And one in six of those who do are taking medications that should not be combined.

The best course may be to stay off medications, which an active lifestyle and healthy diet can certainly help you do. But sometimes medication just cannot (and should not) be avoided. If you are taking multiple medications, here are 4 free, simple things that you can do to lower your risk of side effects.

1. Use the same Pharmacy for all of your prescriptions. This will greatly reduce the chances of your taking medications that should not be taken together. Don't assume that because it is the same chain that such problems will be detected though, go to the same pharmacy every time.

2. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about non-drug alternatives. Often the are none, but you would be surprised at how often there are.

3. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about common side effects for any medication you take. Being aware of them can help you spot and deal with them before they cause any serious harm. Side effects are often subtle and may appear to be an unrelated issue. This often leads to "prescribing cascade"  when your doctor mistakenly prescribes another drug for the side effect, rather than stopping the drug that is causing it.

4. Read the insert that comes along with your prescription, and keep it handy for reference. Yes, I know it is even less exciting than re-reading your college chemistry text. But it has important information about when and how to take your medication and warnings about potential problems.

Finally, never abruptly stop taking any medication except under the supervision of your doctor. Some may need to be tapered off over time, or replaced with a different drug.

Monday, August 15, 2016

100% of Us Overweight by 2048

Could it be true? Could every American be overweight or obese in 34 years? Will "normal" weight and thin people be extinct?

If obesity trends continue, almost nine out of every ten Americans will be overweight or obese by 2030, and there will be no more thin or normal weight people at all by 2048, according to a new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health published in the July issue of Obesity.

Consider what this means, not only for you but for us. Nearly everyone will be diabetic and dependent upon pharmaceuticals for survival. Cancer and heart disease rates, already high, will be much higher. Sports will be a thing of the past. That's right, no more football, basketball, baseball. There will be no one left able to play. How do we as a society, in the dawning age of single payer, universal "healthcare", afford to pay for this?

None of this is inevitable. Obesity is not genetic. Its habitual. Our massive diet, poor nutrition and lack of anything resembling physical exercise is the culprit here. This is not happening to us. We are doing it to ourselves. When you can walk into Applebee's  and order an appetizer (Build Your Sampler) with 3,390 calories, 65 grams of saturated fat and 11,700mg of sodium (5 days worth!), its no wonder we are all getting fat. And that is before the entree arrives.

Its time we stopped making excuses and started making an effort.