Nutrition and Lifestyle

If one thing's for certain, it's that there's never enough money to take care of all the needs of older adults. That holds true on the local, state and federal level, and costs, as they always have, only go up.

While there's no way to completely avoid the costs associated with the social and medical needs of adults as they age, there is an effective way to substantially reduce them by shortening the period in one's life when they're needed.

And that way is staying physically active – in whatever way – for as long as possible.

In order for that to happen, as a society we have to invert the debilitating mindset that's so pervasive in America, one which gives older adults permission to accept that "I'm getting older, so I better stop being active and start getting...

It’s a persistent question — does it make any difference how one’s meals are distributed during the day? Research has suggested that, given the same caloric intake, when one eats really doesn’t affect one’s body weight. But in free-living adults, would the caloric intake be the same? Or would one eating pattern make it more likely that a person would consume more and thus be more likely to gain weight? Dr. Rebecca Leech and colleagues from Deakin University in Victoria, Australia investigated the associations between eating patterns and nutrient intakes, diet quality, and adiposity. Their study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

These researchers used dietary data from two 24-hour...

In the latest report on the topic, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) paints a rather depressing picture of the status of the nation's obesity prevalence. In brief, in 2015-2016, just about 40 percent of American adults and nearly 19 percent of youth qualified as obese. These data reflect an increase since the previous report on the 2013-14 stats.

The information is derived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) — a yearly survey that involves actual interviews and measurements of about 5000 persons per year. Obesity in adults was determined as a BMI of 30 or more for adults, and in youth as a BMI greater...

Every once in a while, the scientific literature offers up a gift to write about. This study, Meat Consumption During Pregnancy and Substance Misuse Among Adolescent Offspring: Stratification of TCN2 Genetic Variants, is one of those times. Let me jump to their conclusion, 

“This study identifies low meat consumption in the prenatal period as potentially modifiable risk factor for adolescent substance use.”

That’s right if your mother was a vegetarian you are more likely to abuse alcohol, marijuana and even tobacco. How can this be? But not to worry, to say the study is flawed is being restrained. The underlying hypothesis was that:

“Vegetarian...

We often write about how one study says a diet or food is helpful followed in short turn by another review saying it has no effect or is even detrimental. What is a person to believe? And don’t these apparent contradictions tear at the value of science in helping make decisions? The recommendation to take or avoid soybean-based foods for women is one of those seemingly contradictory areas. Soybean-based foods contain isoflavones, specifically genistein, which is felt to mimic estrogen and accelerate breast cancer in susceptible women. (Those with cancer that are estrogen receptor positive) On the other hand, Asian women who eat a significant amount of soybean-based foods (and presumably have higher exposure to genistein) do not have this same experience. How can contradictory findings...

There are many who are devoted to black tea, not only for its strong, distinct flavor but also for its health benefits, both known and even perceived. A couple years ago the beverage was linked to added bone protection for the elderly, and possibly other benefits as well. Now, "for the first time," a new study has found that black tea may promote some form of weight loss. 

Researchers from UCLA reported today that in conducting mice experiments, decaffeinated black tea "alters energy metabolism in the liver by changing gut metabolites." For mice ingesting it, intestinal changes were identified where "bacteria associated with lean body mass increased."   

“Our new findings suggest that...

Decades ago, when activist groups were promoting every trace chemical they could find as a carcinogen (1), the American Council on Science and Health debunked a lot of those myths with the help of Walter Cronkite, the long-time CBS anchor who had become known as “the most trusted man in America.”

The documentary was called "Big Fears, Little Risks" and what we importantly noted was that an alarming number of cancers were caused by smoking and obesity. Joining Cronkite in that documentary were people like Dr. John Higginson, the first director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and Dr. Bruce Ames, creator of the Ames Test. Cronkite was already a legend and that documentary made him more so.

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Smoking really is as bad as everybody says it is.

A person's chance of getting lung cancer depends on how many years one has smoked, as well as how many cigarettes one has smoked per day. In general, according to the International Journal of Cancer, smoking makes a man nearly 24 times more likely to get lung cancer and a woman almost 8 times more likely. Put another way, smoking increases a man's risk of lung cancer by 2,300% and a woman's by 700%.

Lung cancer isn't the only thing a smoker needs to worry about. Smoking is linked to several different cancers, and it damages the cardiovascular, respiratory, and immune systems. Indeed, as the...

Researchers recently conducted a small study that showed promise for weight loss if you took part in a cheat day from your diet. Be careful, though, the plan can backfire.

 

When we think of a healthcare provider, the picture that most often comes to mind is of someone in a long white lab coat with a stethoscope slung around his or her neck. And we tend to accept much of what they tell us (although not as much as we used to) because we understand the extent of their education and experience. As my colleague Dr. Jamie Wells described it, a physician’s background includes “college, innumerable pre-med requirements, medical school, internship, residency and possibly specialty fellowship (sometimes more than one).”

However, Americans’ trust in the medical profession as a whole isn’t as great as it used to be — as...