2021 Publications

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Author Archive

“Food Addiction A Myth”

Jul 11, 2021

Food addiction is a concept that researchers use to describe compulsive eating habits in humans, which may resemble addiction-like behaviors. However, there is no universally accepted clinical definition of “food addiction,” and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not list it as a condition. Some researchers propose food addiction as a potential underlying cause of obesity in the U.S. and liken it to the addictive behaviors that people with substance abuse often display. Environmental cues, which include the sight, smell, and even appearance of foods, may trigger food cravings. Research indicates that some individuals may be more likely than others to experience addiction to palatable foods — meaning foods that are high in fat and sugar. Researchers have identified some behaviors associated with this concept. These include compulsive overeating, even in the absence of hunger; cravings for high fat and sugary foods; difficulty in controlling food intake; and binge eating and disordered eating patterns. Data from 2009, 2011, 2016, 2018, and 2019, among others, have highlighted that palatable foods — or even foods in general — stimulate the same parts of the brain and share the same neuronal activities as illicit substances.

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“Migraines Can Be Serious”

Jul 04, 2021

Migraine is a common condition, affecting more than 37 million people in the United States and up to 148 million worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), migraine is around twice as common in women than men. Often, the primary migraine symptom is a moderate to severe headache, and 85% of people with migraine headaches experience throbbing pain. However, for around 60% of people, the pain is one-sided, and about 80% of people experience nausea and 30% vomiting. In addition, almost everyone with migraine has increased sensitivity to light (90%) and sound (80%). Most types of migraine are not serious; however, they can be chronic and sometimes debilitating and disabling if not adequately treated. Migraine is actually a primary headache disorder and is much more than just a headache. In fact, headaches are only one symptom of migraine, and some migraines don’t have a headache at all. Some people might experience a so-called prodrome stage with subtle changes in their daily routine up to a day or two before a migraine sets in — a sort of warning period. A few of the most common prodromal signs are excessive yawning, depression, irritability, and a stiff neck. These warning signs provide an opportunity to initiate treatment very early in the course of the migraine episode, which significantly improves the likelihood that the treatment will be successful. Drinking caffeinated beverages can start a migraine attack, but “caffeine withdrawal” is an even more frequent migraine trigger.

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“Study Says Swear Words May Be Good For Us”

Jun 20, 2021

According to a recent survey, a majority of Americans use expletives every day, with one in four letting out their first cuss word of the day before breakfast. Swearing is the most common response to frustrations or stressful situations—whether finance-related, matters of the heart, or professional woes—according to 63% of survey participants. We have always been cautioned, especially by religious authorities, that use of curse or swear words can really get us into trouble. Swearing can get a bad rap but studies show there might be some health benefits to letting a curse word fly once in a while. Research suggests that the practice helps us manage stress and possibly provides measurable health benefits. From improving pain tolerance to providing a boost to physical strength and athletic performance, here’s what studies say about using swear words. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, this swear word response may be more than a knee-jerk reaction to stubbing a toe or accidentally touching a hot surface—it could help us deal with the pain. Researchers found that conventional swearing resulted in a 32% increase in pain threshold scores and a 33% increase in pain tolerance. Using curse words also increased subjects’ ratings for emotion, humor, and distraction, compared with the neutral word group.

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“Eggs, Cholesterol, and Confusion”

Jun 13, 2021

The health risks of eggs and cholesterol continue to be debated in research and nutrition circles. Here’s what current research says. Over the past decade, nutritional advice has flip-flopped on eggs, reflecting the current research studies of the time. On one hand, eggs have been maligned and linked to heart disease, yet they’ve also been publicized as an integral part of a balanced diet—with some research suggesting that they may actually be beneficial for heart health. Some say eggs on their own are not as bad as you think, as long as you skip the fatty bacon on the side. Others point to eggs as a fairly healthy form of protein that can help build muscle and even improve immune function. However, researchers have found that both the consumption of whole eggs and cholesterol intake were positively associated with all-cause mortality, as well as cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality. They concluded that for every additional 300 mg of dietary cholesterol consumed per day, the risk of all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality increased by 19%, 16%, and 24%, respectively. Given that a whole egg contains roughly 186 mg of cholesterol, this means eating two eggs each day could be increasing your likelihood of mortality from these causes. Researchers concluded that cholesterol from whole egg consumption contributed to more than 60% of both all-cause and cardiovascular disease deaths in the study. On the other hand, findings indicate that those who consumed egg whites or egg substitutes had lower all-cause mortality, as well as mortality from stroke, cancer, respiratory disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

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“Something Is Fishy About Fish Oils”

Jun 06, 2021

Television, radio and printed advertising is saturated with convincing complimentary ads for fish oil supplementation, but scientific studies are showing either no beneficial effects or they show a downside. Advertisers have claimed for years that fish oil (omega-3) improves heart health because they allegedly increase “good” HDL cholesterol. When scientifically tested, fish oil supplements (omega-3, PUFA) does not live up to the exalted claims of advertisers. Currently, fish oil supplements are indicated for patients with elevated plasma triglycerides to reduce cardiovascular risk. According to a new study, omega-3 supplements are associated with an increased likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation in people with high blood lipids. Some clinical trials have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with an increased risk for atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder. People with the disorder have a five times greater likelihood of having a stroke. The American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended use as “reasonable” for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease in patients with recent events and “might also be considered” in people with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction. To the contrary, the European Society of Cardiology has called a protective effect of omega-3s “debatable at best.” There is agreement that people should get their omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil from food rather than through supplements.

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“The Eight Glasses of Water a Day Myth”

May 30, 2021

With the warmer weather and longer days, we are reminded to “stay hydrated” and drink eight glasses of water – or about two liters – a day. But is this based on science or is it a myth? Healthy people can actually die from drinking too much water. However, since water and sodium balance are essential to life, it is extremely rare for people to die from drinking too much – or too little – fluid. In most cases, your body’s finely tuned molecular processes are unconsciously taking care of you. Sports and friendly competition try to ensure that we drink compulsory amounts of water throughout the day. “Gallon Challenges” support the widely held belief that water consumption beyond physiological need or thirst is healthy. But this is not so. Individual body water needs – intake – are primarily based upon how much water people lose. How much water each person needs to drink mainly depends on three factors: 1) Body Weight. The bigger you are the more water you need. 2) Environmental Temperature. The hotter it is the more you sweat and lose water. And 3) Physical Activity Levels. Exercise increases water loss. Consequently, a “one size fits all” fluid replacement strategy, such as drinking eight glasses of eight ounces of water per day, is inappropriate for everyone. It is not known where the eight glasses a day myth came from.

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“Mushrooms May Lower Cancer Risk”

May 23, 2021

According to a new Penn State study, published in March 2021 in Advances in Nutrition, higher mushroom consumption is associated with a lower risk of cancer. According to the findings, individuals who ate 18 grams of mushrooms daily had a 45% lower risk of cancer compared to those who did not eat mushrooms. In 2018, an estimated 18.1 million new cases cancer were diagnosed globally, and 9.6 million died from the disease. One in 5 men and 1 in 6 women worldwide will develop cancer during their lifetime, and 1 in 8 men and 1 in 11 women will die from cancer. Cancer incidence and mortality are rapidly growing worldwide. Worldwide, the total number of people who are alive within 5 years of a cancer diagnosis (the 5-year prevalence) is estimated to be 43.8 million. Mushrooms are rich in vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. The team’s findings show that these super foods may also help guard against cancer. Even though shiitake, oyster, maitake and king oyster mushrooms have higher amounts of the amino acid ergothioneine than white button, cremini and portabello mushrooms, the researchers found that people who incorporated any variety of mushrooms into their daily diets had a lower risk of cancer. When specific cancers were examined, the researchers noted the strongest associations for breast cancer as individuals who regularly ate mushrooms had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer. Future studies are needed to better pinpoint the mechanisms involved and specific cancers that may be impacted. Reishi mushroom has antioxidant properties and may enhance immune response. Reishi mushroom contains complex sugars known as beta-glucans.

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“Foods for Better Sleep”

May 16, 2021

Navigating which foods will actually help—or hinder—your sleep is a trickier path than it may first appear to be. Whether it’s due to their high caffeine content or difficulties with digestion, some foods will not only interfere with your ability to drift off but may even disrupt your sleep throughout the night. About 10% of men and 20% of women have chronic insomnia, meaning it occurs at least 3 times per week for at least 3 months. Meanwhile, 30% of US adults struggle with occasional or short-term bouts of insomnia. It’s a very prevalent problem. Certain foods and beverages can actually help you sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. They include the following: Cottage Cheese. Because it’s high in lean protein, cottage cheese contains tryptophan, an amino acid known to increase serotonin levels. And it’s even better if you plop some raspberries on top, because they’re rich in melatonin. Fruits. In addition to raspberries, many fruits also contain melatonin, including tart cherries, bananas, pineapples, and oranges. Whole Grains. Surprisingly, popcorn, oatmeal, or whole-wheat crackers with some sort of nut butter are much better choices before bed than complex carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, or sugary, baked items, that only act to reduce your serotonin levels. Nuts. For a quick, pre-bedtime snack, nuts are a good option because they contain melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep.  Download the PDF to see the rest !

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“Comparing the Best Cooking Oils”

May 09, 2021

When it comes to cooking with oils, paying attention to their smoke point (the temperature at which they begin to break down) is key. Olive Oil. Extra-virgin olive oil has a relatively low smoke point of 325°F to 375°F, so it’s best for sautéing over medium heat or used for dressing salads. It is not ideal for deep-frying. Olive oil is widely known as a heart-healthy cooking oil choice, but other oils can be fairly healthy too. Olive oil is regularly touted as a top health food and superior dietary fat. This is largely due to its high monounsaturated fatty acid content compared to saturated fats. Consuming monounsaturated fats can help lower your low-density lipoprotein (“bad” LDL) cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Extra-virgin olive oil also contains more than 30 phenolic compounds, which boast anti-inflammatory and blood vessel-expanding characteristics. Olive oil is known as a “healthy fat.” Olive oil consumption has links to weight loss and increases in overall longevity. Canola Oil. Having a diet that features canola oil as a primary cooking fat can result in lower total cholesterol levels. Canola is relatively versatile with its higher smoke point of 400°F.

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“The Dangers of Atrial Fibrillation”

May 02, 2021

More than 40 million individuals worldwide have atrial fibrillation (AFib), which is the most common heart arrhythmia disorder. An arrhythmia is when the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular way. Risk of developing the disorder rises with age and the number of other conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, coronary artery disease, kidney disease, obesity, and obstructive sleep apnea. AFib is a serious diagnosis. While this condition isn’t fatal in itself, it can lead to potentially life-threatening complications. Two of the most common complications of AFib are stroke and heart failure. Medications and lifestyle habits can both help prevent these in people with AFib. Patients with atrial fibrillation have an average of five co-existing conditions and these comorbidities have a negative impact on survival. In addition, three-quarters of atrial fibrillation patients take at least five drugs. But if it’s left untreated, atrial fibrillation can be serious and even deadly. A stroke happens as a result of a blood clot in the brain. Patients often require medications to control the heart rate and to prevent blood clots. In the first study looking at cessation of alcohol consumption and atrial fibrillation (AF) risk, UC San Francisco researchers have shown that the longer people abstain from drinking alcohol, the lower their risk of AF. In addition to causing high blood pressure, high sodium levels have been linked with a long-term risk of developing AFib. Avoid or reduce salty foods such as pizza, cold cuts, salad dressings, and soups to reduce your risk. Sleep deprivation, physical illness, and recent surgery are also common triggers for AFib.

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