Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Treatment ideas for addiction to fattening foods and drinks....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 3-30-2010

Yesterday, AFP online health news had this story.: (So did several other news services.)

“Junkies and junk-food addicts share craving mechanism Mon Mar 29, 2010 PARIS (AFP)”

We did our post yesterday on this study.

This study was able to show that unlimited access to fattening foods and drinks actually resets the appetite to want enough more of the stuff to cause obesity and, in humans a near uncontrollable craving for a LOT of this stuff.

Clearly educating people on how dreadfully bad for them most of these foods and drinks are even in small amounts will help.

And, since unlimited amounts results in addictive consumption and obesity, this education also needs to include how very hard on you and bad for you that level of obesity is.

Some people who help people eat better or lose fat, literally help people who have been eating this way by showing up and filling a garbage can or two with their previous supplies of the all of the worst of this stuff. (Yes -- that’s wasteful in the short term. But it saves tens of thousand of dollars in the medical and drug bills it prevents. And, giving it away might very well harm the people it was given to and be a harmful and unethical choice.)

The study we reported on yesterday found that doing this to the rats they had addicted caused them to go on a hunger strike of about two weeks and eating very little normal food even when it was available. In humans, it might make sense to simply plan ahead for taking extra supplements and eating lightly since many people may simply feel temporarily less hungry for two weeks for less fattening foods.

Just learning the consequences of being addicted to fattening foods and drinks, learning what to eat and drink instead. – then tossing all the junk & learning how to eat differently HAVE worked for some people.

But it would be nice to be able to help the majority of people also who often need more than that.

So, since I remembered seeing information about a drug that sounded like a perfect match for this kind of addiction actually helping obese people lose extra weight, I just looked it up.

Naltrexone is a drug that has been found to help alcoholics with a close to uncontrollable addiction to heavy drinking stop entirely and even, in some cases, to help some learn to drink in moderation-only. Many alcoholics even were able to discontinue the drug and stay cured.

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant that has a very similar antidepressant effect on the brain to nicotine. And, it was discovered that giving Wellbutrin plus a nicotine replacement to people having trouble quitting smoking close to doubled the success rate over people who just had the nicotine replacement. (Zyban is the trade name used now for Wellbutrin that is prescribed for smoking cessation.)

So, somebody realized that if stuffing yourself was addictive and some emotional eaters were trying to become less depressed by eating treat foods until they felt better, a drug combining Naltrexone with Wellbutrin might be quite helpful in helping obese people lose fat weight.

The early reports suggests that it works like gangbusters!

The company decided to call the drug Contrave, Con or Contra meaning against and against cravings – thus Contrave.

The following story was in WebMD last June. But several other news services covered it too.:

“Contrave: New Weight Loss Drug Advances
Study: Obese Patients Lose Weight With Wellbutrin/Naltrexone Combo Pill
By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD June 8, 2009”

A new weight loss drug looks good in late-stage clinical trials.

The drug is Contrave, from Orexigen Therapeutics Inc.”

Here’s some key quotes from the story.:

“It's already known that people lose weight soon after starting Wellbutrin treatment. But this effect soon wears off, and people regain weight. That's where the naltrexone comes in, says endocrinologist Dennis D. Kim, MD, MBA, Orexigen's senior vice president for medical affairs.

"Naltrexone comes in and lifts the brake on the Wellbutrin effect," Kim tells WebMD. "So you have a synergistic effect to signal the hypothalamus to reduce food intake. Weight decrease is maintained over time." “

“The drug was tested in a clinical trial that enrolled nearly 700 obese people -- 90% of them women, with an average weight of 223 pounds. All study participants enrolled in an intensive weight loss program that included counseling, diet, and exercise. Two-thirds of the study participants also took Contrave.”

In the group that just did the program without the drug did this.:
“ After 56 weeks, they had an overall weight loss of just over 5% of their body weight -- 11 to 16 pounds. Moreover, 11% of participants who finished the study lost more than 15% of their body weight.”

“But those who took Contrave did even better.

After 56 weeks, they lost 9.3% of their body weight -- 20 to 25 pounds. And more than 29% of them lost more than 15% of their body weight.”

“Nausea, usually mild or moderate, was a frequent side effect of Contrave treatment. More patients on Contrave also reported mild-to-moderate headaches and constipation. All these side effects tended to occur early in the study.

Despite the side effects, patients on Contrave did not suffer worsening depression or psychiatric symptoms. In fact, they reported better quality of life than other participants.”

(Note that the side effects tended to go away in time. In addition, you can take ginger or literally eat it to combat mild nausea from other sources which might work for this kind of nausea also.)

It strikes me that children who get treated for obesity in a camp but then return home to find their family still consumes unlimited amounts of fattening junk or people married to spouses unwilling to give up all of their treats might be great candidates for taking this medication.

It would also help women who work in workplaces like my wife used to where both the other employees and the company provided a continuous daily stream of goodies and requests to consume it with the others.

My hope is that most people not in such bad circumstances can overcome addiction to fattening foods and drinks with learning in depth why it’s critical to stop 100 % and what to eat and drink instead.

Some people may need more initial help. They can do it but only if they have that extra help in breaking the physical addition for the first year or so.

And, some people while living in the circumstances just described -- where they have to successfully resist daily temptation too, may need to simply stay on the drugs to succeed.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Free & easy access to fattening foods causes obesity....

Today's Post: Monday, 3-29-2010

Today, AFP online health news had this story.: (So did several other news services.)

“Junkies and junk-food addicts share craving mechanism Mon Mar 29, 2010 PARIS (AFP)

The same molecular pathways that steer people into drug addiction also lie behind the craving to overeat, driving individuals into obesity, a new study suggests.

The research, based on lab animals, bolsters long-standing suspicions that addiction to pleasure stems from overstimulus of a key reward mechanism in the brain, its authors say.

Publishing online in the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida fed rats high-fat, high-calorie treats -- bacon, sausage, cheesecake and so on -- and watched the rodents bulk out dramatically.

The junk-food rats gobbled down twice as many calories as "control" rodents fed on a more balanced diet.”

The researchers had 3 groups. One got standard food; one had access to human comfort foods such as desserts, snacks, and fatty meats – but only for an hour a day; the third group that became unable to stop eating normally had 24 hour a day, “open bar” access to the fattening human comfort foods.

That third group, researchers found, became physically addicted to the fattening food; began eating more than twice the calories their bodies needed; and rapidly became obese.

To put it in layperson’s terms, they burned out their reward system enough that they needed the extra goodies to feel normally good. Key dopamine receptors declined in this third group of rats. So they needed the extra dopamine released by eating the fattening, reward foods to feel normally good.

To me, this has four implications.

First, I recently read that it is now relatively commonplace that toddlers have access to a continuous and unlimited supply of such feel good treats.

No one in his or her right mind who knows of this research and what it means would ever do such a thing to a child.

This research shows that doing this virtually guarantees these kids will be obese all their lives and stunted by the multiple medical problems this causes. Worse, if it happens soon to the vast majority of children, we simply will not be able to afford the medical care tab to treat these kids as they grow up. With that heavy a braking effect on our economy, it could simply collapse.

That, to my mind, makes massive education efforts for parents and schools extremely important, and very high taxes on this stuff virtually mandatory.

Second, no one should buy jumbo sized bottles or boxes or containers of such foods to snack on continuously in front of the TV every day.

The things I just said about doing to our children what the researchers did to the rats that made them addictively obese, applies to such purchases for adults too. The media should let people know what buying these things and consuming them any time you want for hours a day will to you. And, such super-sized containers should be so heavily taxed very few people buy them at all – perhaps to the point, they stop appearing on store shelves.

In addition, if you or your kids have been living that lifestyle and are fat or obese now, note that the rats that had some, an hour a day, limited access to this stuff but NOT unlimited 24- seven access, did NOT have the addiction problem. So one way to step down from having it 24-seven is to make it very limited access only.

This may be very challenging for some people. The rats they simply stopped feeding the fattening stuff to entirely declined to eat most of the normal food they had access to for two full week afterwards! My hope is that people who learn how harmful it is to ingest most of this stuff will be able to cut back about 70% or 80 % at first on how much they eat and drink and then cut down an additional 80 to 100 % of the remaining stuff after that. (Some of it is a LOT more harmful than others. Soft drinks and most desserts and snacks made with refined grains are harmful enough to cut back 100% at the end. )

Some rewarding foods better made with more traditional ingredients such as sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup and butter instead of the deadly, partially hydrogenated oils or with whole grains or olive oil in some cases, may still be OK once a week or less. And, fatty meats without nitrates or with onions and garlic or both once a week or less may be OK

Third, this research completely or very close to completely explains why one of the drugs that successfully helped people lose weight and fat, had as one of its two parts an effective anti-addiction drug.

This is a good news—bad news point. The good news is that if you are so addicted, you can get medical help to give you back control of your appetite.

The bad news is that the current expectation of people with little education, and even many who have some education, who now think that open access to treat foods is safe and normal to make use of. This research shows that’s totally false. It is NOT safe. It’s addictive and quite dangerous due to the obesity and removal of people’s ability to control what they eat that it causes.

Fourth, this suggests that obesity based on 24-seven access to fattening foods is actually a disease that doctors should know how to treat.

That’s very new indeed.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Hong Kong’s success may slash the rate of obesity too....

Today's Post: Friday, 3-26-2010

Today, AP online health news had this story.:

“Could Hong Kong teach China to quit smoking?”
AP Friday, March 26, 2010. By AP Medical Writer Margie Mason”

It begins with these two paragraphs.:

“Nearly one in three smokers worldwide lights up in China, where cigarettes — commonly given as gifts — are so tightly woven into the culture, some believe it's an impossible habit to kick. But a new report suggests the keys to quitting lie in the country's own backyard.

Hong Kong has successfully fought tobacco for two decades and seen its smoking rate drop from 23 percent in 1982 when the campaign began to 12 percent in 2008 — the lowest in the world. The former British colony, now under Chinese rule, hit cigarettes hard with taxes up to 300 percent, banned indoor smoking and promoted education through schools and public service announcements — proving that smoking and Chinese culture aren't necessarily married for life.”

This article also points out that the number of smokers in China equals the entire population of the United States. So, since China’s total population is about three times that size, that means that in mainland China, about one third, or 33%, of the people smoke.

In Hong Kong, it’s 12%!

How did Hong Kong in the same culture and now part of the same country get from 33% to 12%?

It’s in the article. Hong Kong, “The former British colony, …. hit cigarettes hard with taxes up to 300 percent, banned indoor smoking and promoted education through schools and public service announcements”

Even better, if their cigarette taxes went up a more, perhaps, 40 to 50 % more, and the new taxes went to fund more advertising and education of how horribly bad smoking really is on the smoker and the people around him or her, maybe they could get their rate down to 6% from 12%.

With the foods and drinks that cause obesity, I believe, treating them similarly with informing everyone on their harmful effects when consumed more than a few times a month -- and heavy taxes on them would be the most effective single way to combat obesity.

This would also prevent the other diseases the heavy consumption we have of this stuff now causes.

Now, 64 ounce plastic bottles of soft drinks can cost as low as 99 cents or $1.29. With a tax of 10 cents an ounce on the soft drink and a tax that works out to about 5 cents an ounce on the sweetener, the price would be $10.59 to $10.89 per bottle. Since 12 and16 ounce sizes would sell so much better, the 16 ounce size might disappear from the market. 12 ounce bottles would be something like $2.19 to $2.29 and 16 ounces ones would be $2.99 to $3.29.

Uneducated and uninformed people who buy the 64 ounce bottle and drink one a day – and who are 60 pounds fatter because of it, might well drink one 12 ounce soft drink instead -- and lose 48 pounds of fat!

Similarly, if refined grain foods, sugar of all kinds, salt, and addictive flavorings such as MSG were taxed comparably hard, consumption of packaged desserts, packaged pre-cooked baked goods, and packaged snacks would fall as much.

Foods like hamburgers and sandwiches that now are almost all made with refined grain flour would be almost all made with 100 % whole grain flour.

It would also make sense to tax white rice and potatoes as highly.

Restaurants would then serve more vegetables and far less potatoes and rice with the dinners they sell.

French Fries would still sell. But with small servings selling for more than jumbo servings do now, fewer people will eat them while those that do will mostly stop pigging out on them.

Then if every child in elementary, middle school, and high school learns why these foods are taxed and the consequences of ingesting lots of these foods every day instead of small amounts occasionally,
fewer and fewer people will continue to think that these foods are safe to eat in large amounts every day or that it is normal and completely OK to do so.

Yes indeed, applying the Hong Kong cigarette reduction method to fattening foods and drinks will end obesity as a massive and widespread problem.

It’s about a third of the adult population now. The Hong Kong example suggests it could be 12 % or less in 10 years if we instituted all this now.

Since something like 60 % of all medical costs go to fight diseases caused by ingesting this stuff and isn’t even that effective in its results, medical care costs will drop by at least 20 or 30% instead of going up by that much.

The people in the United States would be far healthier.

And, our economy would be so much better the average income would go up while the unemployment rate would go down.

Plus, that’s in addition to the revenue from the taxes going to the governments involved.

As I’ve pointed out before, such taxes are one of the very few ways governments can get funding while IMPROVING the economy.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

How much exercise does it take to NOT be fat?....

Today's Post: Thursday, 3-25-2010

A recent study that was reported by several online health news outfits found that women who exercised for an hour a day starting when they weren’t fat kept fat off and remained trim.

It also suggested that women who were overweight likely needed to do more exercise than that to lose the excess fat that made them overweight.

Is what this study suggests completely accurate? How much exercise does it take to NOT be fat?

That depends!

The bottom line is that you can lose fat weight and keep if off with less exercise than that.

If you do you have that much time to exercise, it DOES help. If you do exercise for about an hour a day and do it right, you can lose fat faster and more easily.

But many people, including individuals included in almost all the stories, have lost fat weight and kept if off with far less exercise time per day.

There are two reasons for that.

1. Most of the women in the study were likely ingesting a diet that was then typical of women in the United States that included lots of refined grain foods, packaged snacks, commercial and packaged baked goods and desserts, and also daily soft drinks. Most of them were probably watching an average amount of TV each week - over 20 hours a week.

2. And, most of them were walking for their exercise.

Women (and men) who eat very close to NONE of those things and never drink soft drinks, who watch 10 hours a week of TV or less, and who use interval cardio and strength training for exercise can lose fat and keep it off with far fewer weekly minutes of exercise.

True, if these women and men can also walk for an additional 30 to 40 minutes a day, they can lose fat faster, they can keep it off more easily, and their health will be slightly better.

(The ideal amount of exercise for good health is 3500 to 4200 calories a week. And, the ideal amount of calories a week for fat loss is 2800 or more calories a week. Doing both very vigorous exercise AND walking that much every day can safely get you to those numbers. But you can get excellent results with less.)

But, however nice that is for the people who have time for it and do it also, it’s NOT necessary to do the job.

If it was, only young people still in school and rich and retired people would be trim.

In fact, in case you missed it, we recently did a post that shows that interval cardio and strength training which can be done in as little as 8 to 15 minutes a day, has been shown to be quite effective in helping people be fit and healthy. And, those kinds of exercise also cause your body to burn extra calories for up to several HOURS after you stop doing them. They can often work BETTER for fat loss than an hour a day of walking.

(See, my post last month,
New discovery suggests maybe you DO have time to exercise....
Thursday, 2-25-2010)

You can even exercise 3 or 4 days a week and get results. But that’s IF you eat right and do the time efficient kinds of exercise.

I prefer exercising almost every day and even a second time on some days. That gives me three benefits.

Each session can be very brief and easy to fit into my day. I even have a Friday session of only 5 minutes.

If something prevents me from exercising one day a week, I still have most of my program going that week. (Losing a day if you only exercise three days a week cuts a full third of your exercise for the week by contrast.)

I get that extra calorie burn after my exercises seven days a week instead of three or four.

But if three longer sessions a week work for you and your results are good, by all means keep doing what works best for you.

Here’s two other tips.

Eat a DASH II or Mediterranean diet that’s higher than usual in nonstarchy vegetables, has very little whole grains and no refined grains at all -- and eat only health supporting proteins and oils.

Stop ingesting 95% to 100 % all of the other stuff you have been. (Some people can lose 60 pounds a year by just this step alone.)

Second, if you watch TV you can do one of two things.

You can list all of your TV shows that you watch and divide them into three equal groups, your top priority shows, those you like but not as much, and those you watch mostly out of habit but could do without.

Then, stop watching the third group completely and cut the second group at least in half. That will make time for exercise and for other things in your life you haven’t had time for.

Or, if you’ve already done that and still watch a lot of TV, get a stationary bike so you can get the equivalent of walking for almost all the time you watch TV.

So, there you have it.:

If you make it easy to get and stay trim and healthy using what you eat and how much TV you watch --or don’t watch to be more accurate, you need to do less exercise to do the job.

And, if you do the kinds of exercises that get results in 5 to 15 minutes, you can get by without walking for hours too.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Little known way to improve your health and save money....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 3-23-2010

Important introductory note:

You may have read the posts I’ve posted on this topic before. In addition, some of you may be familiar with the basic info as well from other sources.

But there is new information in this post that will pay you to read that you may not know or have gotten out of the habit of using.

Even though I was familiar with this topic and using the information daily, I’d missed a couple of key points that made me far less effective -- and that it may also benefit you to know. So if you already are familiar with this topic, scan through to the new information!

It might well double or triple the value of the information for you as it did for me!

I once believed, and many people still do, that the purpose of brushing your teeth is to clean the food off of them and that the purpose of flossing is to remove the food that is between your teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. A full NINETY % of the value of brushing your teeth is caused by doing these two things correctly.

Doing it right saves you from paying very large dental bills, horribly bad breath, having to buy and wear dentures AND removes a major cause of heart disease, heart attacks, and possibly strokes, senility, and erectile dysfunction.

It seems that by cleaning and removing food gunk from your GUMS and the area where they join your teeth at the gumline -- which keeps them healthy, you can completely avoid all that junk!

Brushing and flossing correctly prevents gum disease. And, gum disease is well worth the effort to avoid it.:

Gum disease causes very large dental bills to try to treat it, horribly bad breath, having to buy and wear dentures if it gets too bad because that causes your teeth to fall out. AND the bacteria in gum disease and the systemic inflammation from it combine to be a major cause of heart disease, heart attacks, and possibly strokes, senility, and erectile dysfunction. Yikes !!

Even better, keeping your gums healthy takes only a bit of extra daily effort added to brushing and flossing, particularly if you know how to do both of them right.

That’s a five-part process each of which takes just a few seconds to do.

(Three of the steps clean, protect, and stimulate your gums.)

1. Clean out the worst of the food pieces by vigorously rinsing your mouth with water, then using a toothpick or -- better, a Stimudent, a trademarked product that is safer and better shaped for the job, to get the biggest pieces of food from between your teeth - and then re-rinsing.

2. Floss in between your teeth AND have each part be a double-floss: also go down as far as you can on the bordering tooth on EACH side to clean its junction with your gums.

(If you just pop the floss up and down to clean out the pieces of food still trapped between your teeth, it does only 10 % as much for your gums. Until I went to our dental hygienist last time, that's all I was doing or knew to do.)

3. Put the toothpaste on your brush and brush the top or biting surface of your teeth. That cleans it and prevents tooth decay there also if you use a fluoride toothpaste. Do both top and bottom.

4. Then brush at the gumline inside and out and top and bottom. Since that's such an important step for cleaning the area in between your teeth and gums, I like to do it twice.

Here's the part that was new to me. As you do this, focus just a tiny bit on the gum side of the gumline instead of the middle AND angle your toothbrush AT your gum at a 45 degree angle. You angle the brush up when you do your top teeth and down when you do your bottom teeth. What that does is to ensure you massage your gums and clean the surface of your tooth just underneath your gum line by agitating the gum on top of it.

(I was just brushing at the gumline without aiming the toothbrush at my gums. Until I went to our dental hygienist last time, that's all I was doing or knew to do.)

5. Do a last pass top and bottom brushing of your gum itself above the gumline and while doing that brush the back of your ending tooth directly top and bottom on each side. Also during this step as you go by your two top, front teeth in the center of your mouth, your gumline is higher so give that place some extra brushing as it's easy to miss on the 4th part.

Then do your final rinse with water and you're done.

If you include the parts that I've highlighted in bold, you'll be able to feel an invigorated and stimulated feeling in your gums. Until recently I wasn't doing those two things. And, I can tell you first hand that you can FEEL the difference if you do them right!

By the way, if you’re rushed, you can skip part one and only do part 4 once instead of twice and, if you are doing each part right, you can zip through each part.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Poor & misleadingly titled vitamin article in the April, 2010 Reader’s Digest....

Today's Post: Monday, 3-22-2010

The April, 2010 Reader’s Digest has a “Vitamin Scam” headline with the extra comment, “Read this before you pop another pill,” on their Front Page.

Since that’s NOT the true theme of the article; and some people may simply read the headline and comment but not the article, that has the potential to harm people who aren’t knowledgeable and who don’t read the article. In addition, they leave out large numbers of relevant facts showing that many vitamins ARE beneficial.

1. The article says that taking a multivitamin fails to improve the health of people who eat badly, which is likely true given the harm eating badly can do. It also points out that there are valuable vitamins and minerals NOT in a multivitamin. That's true. And, though they don't mention it, many amounts in multivitamins are too low to be very effective. Some ARE high enough however, and the article fails to mention that.

They do note that women who might get pregnant probably should take a multivitamin. But, they do NOT note research showing that people who eat well and take a multi and take extra of the things that are low or missing in the multi, DO show better health.

They also suggest that very few people are so deficient in vitamins that a multi helps much. This ignores the new information that a majority of adults and children ARE deficient in vitamin D3. And, it ignores the research showing many older adults and alcoholics ARE also deficient in many vitamins.

2. They next debunk that vitamin C fights colds. They then show that it does but for many people the effect is small -- and for some groups under extra stress vitamin C DOES tend to prevent colds. Maybe the effect is less than people would like to believe. But the article itself shows it exists. And, vitamin C also DOES have other health benefits despite that for some people the cold fighting effect is overstated.

3. They then say that vitamin C doesn't help prevent heart disease. Preventing heart disease is a multipart job. I have seen some studies showing that taking vitamin C does help some parts of the job of preventing heart disease. So if you take vitamin C for what it DOES do and take the other actions that complement that and do the things vitamin C doesn't do, for you, taking vitamin C will help prevent heart disease. It may not do so by itself; but if you use it correctly it DOES help do the job.

4. They also suggest other vitamins are of no help in preventing heart disease. They then list things that seemed not to work when tested. But they conveniently leave out that the Berkeley Heart Lab has shown that the vast majority of people get more protection from heart disease from the B vitamin Niacin, B3, than they do from statin drugs. They also leave out that the B vitamins Choline and Pantothenic acid (B5) increases the protective HDL cholesterol.

They note that the studies tend to show that lowering homocysteine with B12, B6, and folic acid seems to show little protection. But they do NOT cover that many of these studies were done in people who ALREADY HAD heart disease; and it was too late to prevent it. They also say little about the other health benefits of these vitamins.

5. They quote the studies that lots of beta carotene was not beneficial in preventing cancer. At this point in the article, despite the heading that taking vitamins to prevent cancer is a myth, they conveniently leave out that multiple studies show that adequate, 2,000 iu a day or more, of vitamin D3 DOES test as preventing many kinds of cancer.

They DO state that the best way to get some vitamins is to eat foods high in them. TRUE. But they didn't know or didn't include that people who eat many other kinds of carotenes besides beta carotene and get a variety of the different kinds, which often do come from food, have been shown to have an anticancer effect. And, they leave out that by itself, the carotene lycopene, does test as having anti-cancer effects.
(Lycopene is most bioavailable in foods when they are chopped or cooked and eaten with health supporting oils. This apparently is true for many of the carotenes. So having extra virgin olive oil on your salad or in your pasta sauce is a good idea if you don't seriously overdo it.)

6. The only thing they came close to getting right is that new research IS showing that taking vitamin D3 in amounts larger than they used to think people needed DOES protect your health and is likely worth doing.

They aren't perfect on that though. They suggest 1,000 iu a day of D3 is enough when the studies I've seen show the most beneficial amounts start at 1700 to 2,000 iu and that twice that much may be better.

Lastly, given that the headline suggests vitamins are a complete waste, the benefits of vitamins they DO list, and the very large list of ways vitamins ARE beneficial that they leave out, this article is harmfully misleading and incomplete. And, the front page headline is worse!

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Progress report on my fat loss plan:

Today's Post: Sunday, 3-21-2010

As some of you may have seen, I've posted on fat loss topics, and, since early January, this year, I've been following a sustainable, multi-strategy effort to lost 14 pounds on the scale and to lose or at least begin to lose over 4 inches from my waist.

My January monthly check of my first efforts after just a couple of weeks, I'd not expected much. But I did lose some weight.

My February, check after 6 or 7 weeks on this new plan, lost some more for a total of 5 & half pounds.

I decided to check half way thru about 2 weeks ago and found no progress.

So, I came up with a new method to remove an additional 100 calorie a day.

That method plus the main methods I've done the whole time, finally got results. And,so this month I DID lose 2 pounds since the month before!

I believe that's significant and useful for two reasons.

1. Having a multipart program will ensure results if one part is temporarily side tracked.

2. One effective way to overcome problems is to add a new and effective method that you weren't using before -- even if the effect is small.

How does that follow from what I did this month?

This month I lost 2 pounds despite some adverse events that might have derailed a program with fewer parts.

On two days on a weekend this month, I ate a good bit more of things like home-made cookies that I hardly ever have any of and simply ate more than usual -- AND I drank about 3 more alcoholic drinks than usual. My Dad had recently died and that weekend was the two day memorial for him.

But the other days of the month, I did all the things in my program. And, even on those two days I did some things right from my program.

Also, about half way through the month, our commute changed in a way that removed a two daily walks on weekdays of about half a mile each. So now, I'm getting 500 or more calories a week LESS exercise.

But my new extra 100 calorie reduction plan is on track and will cover that.

I've also found a way to add two one mile walks a week back to cut the lost calories a week from 500 to 300.

Bottom line, these adverse events happened; but I lost 2 pounds on the scale anyway.

The other result was that I lost half an inch on my waist. I had to cancel doing jumping jacks two days a week and go from two to four days a week doing jump rope since the jumping jacks were causing my left knee to not feel right.

That's actually worked out well since I'm now making faster progress on the jump rope which I think will help my goal of losing over 4 inches on my waist.

This past week I had a truly horrible cold, so I had to do only half my set on my jump rope and cut back some on my other exercises. But by becoming more skilled at the jump rope, once I get over the cold, I'll be able to do more and resume making progress.

In short, adversity plus a multipart program plus small upgrades equals progress anyway!

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Alzheimers and high blood pressure strategies....

Today's post, Friday, 3-19-2010

This story appeared last Wednesday.

“Could Lowering Blood Pressure Help Stop Dementia?
by Amanda Gardner HealthDay Reporter Weds, 3-17-2010 (HealthDay News)”

This is a proposed study or the launching of one to see if lowering moderate to quite high blood pressure lower than is usual with drugs will help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

This strikes me a horrible waste of money and an even worse idea.

1. We know far less costly strategies to make Alzheimer’s disease far less likely.

Spending the same money on a program that simply makes sure to apply all of them at the same time to a group of people will likely get dramatically better results for preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Since those same strategies have other health benefits. This approach would help improve health and quality of life and lower future health care costs.

2. The research has already been done on using blood pressure drugs to lower high blood pressure. If the readings are well over 160 over 100 to start with and you lower them to about 150 over 80 or a bit less, the benefits outweigh the negative consequences of the side effects.

But, if you use drugs on people with readings well under 160 over 100 or push the levels down to less than 120 over 80 WITH DRUGS, you tend to do more harm to the health of the people involved and far more harm to their quality of life.

Will this change by having a research goal in mind for doing so. Not likely!

3. Many of the same nondrug methods to lower high blood pressure ALSO tend to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

4. The amount of money spent per person to use high doses of multiple drugs to lower blood pressure that much and keep it there is high enough to make it unlikely this will save money even if it works for some people!

There are three things that do make sense that could be done instead – OR, that you can do for yourself.

1. Do the things that do not involve drugs that make Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of senility far less likely.

2. Do the things, if you have high blood pressure, that will reliably lower it without drugs. (This makes extra good sense since there is considerable overlap between the first category and this one.)

3. If your blood pressure remains well above 140 over 90, try using a low dose of two or three drugs that either are most protective, have the fewest side effects, and those which have already been shown to have senility preventing effects! (There is one that clearly fits here and another that fits but not as well.)

The first set of things includes two kinds of lifestyle upgrades and some supplements.

The lifestyle changes or upgrades or lifestyle components that prevent senility are to have a more interesting and worthwhile life and to exercise and eat well for health.

People who often converse with social contacts get far less senility. They are less likely to get depressed. They generally get better support from other people when things go wrong which lessens the severe stress they are under. AND, just because people can talk easily due to doing it since they were quite young, researchers have found, they dramatically underestimate how much simple conversations of this kind exercise their brains.

People who often converse with social contacts exercise their brains as much as a champion athlete works out!

People who have a purposeful and meaningful life are less likely to get senility. They are far less likely to get depressed or isolated since their achieving their purposes keeps them connected and interested in life.

People who find many things of interest and keep learning also exercise their minds and are far less likely to get senility. People who speak more than one language are notably resistant to senility. And, I suspect, people who play a musical instrument well are also.

People who like mental challenges in an area that they have some background in also are less likely to become senile. Some people do crossword puzzles. Some people play bridge. I’ve become fond of the daily chess column to see if I can find the checkmate or to follow what it was if I cannot.

People who exercise regularly and eat right have far lower levels of the conditions that physically harm their brains or the circulation to their brains.
The DASH II and Mediterranean diets with a bit less grain work well.

(They provide a high vegetable and fruit diet with health supporting oils and fats and proteins AND extremely little or none of nonnutritive and junky treats such as soft drinks and snacks and desserts made mostly from refined grains, salt, some kind of sugar or artificial sweeteners, and oils high in omega 6 or that have been hydrogenated.)

Moderate daily exercise such as walking and interval cardio and strength training, strengthen your heart, and improve your circulation – including to your brain. These kinds of exercise even have been shown to relieve stress, prevent depression to some degree, and to grow new brain cells.

Further, if you do both these things, you’ll tend to avoid being obese or staying that way; your HDL will be high, your triglycerides and LDL and small particle LDL will be low, and you’ll avoid high blood sugar and insulin levels.

And, every one of those achievements keeps your circulation good and avoids conditions in your brain implicated in causing vascular senility and Alzheimer’s disease.

Exercise and eating right have also been proven to lower high blood pressure in people who already have it and to tend to prevent it in people who do not.

Then, as we posted on 2-19-2010 there are a whole list of supplements that either have strong or some ability to prevent senility. The two that are most promising are an intake of vitamin D3 of at least 2,000 iu a day and ingesting curcumin on most days – either by eating curried food that contains the spice turmeric or by taking a curcumin or turmeric supplement – or both.

Researchers are beginning to find that these two supplements tend to clean your brain of the damaging deposits that cause Alzheimer’s disease -- which prevents it or may even reverse it in its early stages!

The supplements and foods that lower high blood pressure strengthen your heart or fight depression or improve circulation. So, by taking them, you’ll be less stressed and have much better circulation. And, those two things are protective for your brain.

Ubiquinol, the dramatically more effective version of CoQ10 lowers high blood pressure AND by as much an effective blood pressure drug. Several supplements increase HDL such as niacin, inositol hexaniacinate, chromium polynicotinate, and choline. Several lower inflammation such as vitamin D3 and omega 3 supplements and curcumin, some lower LDL cholesterol – notably niacin and sterols and soluble fiber in plant foods, and eating right plus taking omega 3 supplements and eating onions and garlic tends to keep your triglycerides low.

Lastly, there ARE 3 kinds of drugs for high blood pressure that have been reported as having extra brain protective effects. It might be worth trying all three at once – but in doses low enough to reliably avoid side effects -- in people who have blood pressure over 140 over 90 – even if the results are NOT enough to bring the blood pressure below 120 over 80.

Doing so would NOT ruin the quality of life for the people involved. But the track record of the drugs is such that some significant benefits in brain protection might actually occur.

ARBs have been reported to be brain protective more than other blood pressure reducing drugs. ACE inhibitors have done the same but not as strongly. And calcium channel blockers tend to prevent heart attacks and strokes by making blood pressure changes less extreme without blunting normal responsiveness as beta blockers do. This tends to make the increase in blood pressure first thing in the morning moderate instead of extreme which is particularly protective.

In addition, low doses and even moderate ones in many people tend to produce few side effects. People who react badly to calcium channel blockers can get a lesser effect with no side effects by taking 600 to 800 mg a day of magnesium as it has a calcium channel blocker effect. People can be tried on a low dose of ACE inhibitors. (Larger doses tend to produce an unstoppable dry cough that is very harmful to quality of life.) Also, the herb hawthorn has ACE inhibitor effects and can be used for people who don’t do well on ACE inhibitor drugs.

THAT protocol looks likely to produce brain protection without causing severe side effects even though it may well NOT lower high blood pressure below 130 over 80.

To me, testing any of these three approaches will likely prove brain protective and to benefit the health and quality of life of the people involved.

The research proposed in last Wednesday’s article looks likely to waste LOTS of money and produce much suffering from avoidable side effects and achieve little results in preventing senility.

Why test something you know will cause people to suffer when much more effective methods can be tested that do not?

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Eating breakfast for fat loss....

Today's post, Thursday, 3-18-2010

Something like 90% plus of the people who have lost over 30 pounds and kept it off always eat breakfast. That’s the most important thing to know.

The reason for this is that people who do not, are often so hungry by mid-morning, they eat fattening snacks while people who eat breakfast are able to pass on doing so. Or they are so hungry by mid-day or even evening that they eat more food or eat more fattening foods than people who eat breakfast and don’t have that excessive hunger driving them.

Secondly, people who always eat breakfast apparently burn more calories than people who do not. So, in addition to being more successful at losing fat, breakfast eaters can literally eat more and still lose fat and weight on the scale. That’s extremely important because it makes keeping the fat and weight off doable.

Similarly, your body seems to process foods of every kind better at breakfast than other meals. Foods like whole grains and whole fresh fruit and fruit juice that are a bit fattening and bad carbs like waffles, pancakes, and even syrup and jam on some days can be OK at breakfast when they would stop your fat loss if eaten later in the day.

In fact, one book is out by an author who found that people who had favorite but fattening treats at breakfast one to three days a month were better able to stick with their fat loss efforts and lose the fat and keep it off than people who never did so. But eating the foods at breakfast was critical. This effect was much less the case if people ate these foods later in the day.

In addition, I saw a study that found that, in that study, always eating breakfast was critical for women who wanted to lose fat weight but somewhat less so for men.

Given the other things, I think it’s clear that men who always eat breakfast will be more successful at losing fat and keeping it off than men who do not.

But, women who never eat breakfast may simply not be able to lose any significant amount of fat at all!

The article I saw on always eating breakfast noted that some people needed to use very time efficient ways to eat breakfast to be able to do it every day.

There are two ways to do this.

1. You can stock foods that you can literally grab, sit down, and eat such as string cheese, yogurt that can simply be spooned from the container into a dish and eaten, and individual pieces of fresh fruit. (I currently use some fresh fruit; milk; fruit juice; and low cal, low sugar fruit juice; and a third of a can of cooked lentils in this way at many of my breakfasts.)

2. You can prepare your breakfast or parts of it, the night before -- or even better, prepare it on one of the weekend days the previous weekend. (I currently fix the oatmeal I eat sometimes for breakfast the night before on the days that I eat it and then eat it cold the following day. I also boil up the three boiled eggs I eat one of on three days a week the weekend before. Then I just grab one and eat it for breakfast.)

By doing this, you can have a decent breakfast on days you need to leave quickly in 7 to 10 minutes or so.

Some people who haven’t even got that much time on some days even simply pack their breakfast the night before and then spend 5 minutes or so first thing when they get to work eating it.

The second consideration is for heart health. Always eating breakfast protects your heart. In fact, even people who eat heart unhealthy breakfasts tend to have better heart health than people who never do so. Of course people who have heart healthy breakfasts do better than people who have poor ones.

Third, people – particularly children and teens – who always eat breakfast perform better mentally all day long than people who don’t. And, the people who have coffee or tea with their breakfast, do the best of all.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Running Marathons may be BAD for your health....

Today's post, Tuesday, 3-16-2010

Every so often, you’ll read of people who run for exercise normally who are running in a race of several miles or a Marathon who die or perhaps recover from a heart attack they had during the race.

Dr Al Sears for some good bit of time has pointed out that for most people much more moderate longer exercise like walking or MUCH briefer but more vigorous bursts of exercise with rests or a much easier pace in between is far better for your heart than exercises like running Marathons.

And, I’ve known that this kind of interval cardio is the fastest way to get fit. Further, I’ve recently posted on how this kind of exercise can be done so time efficiently that almost everyone can do enough to get real benefit.

Now the research has just come out. Not only does running Marathons at your fastest pace put you at risk for heart attacks DURING your run from the overtaxing of your heart without any breaks, but that kind of running may help CAUSE high blood pressure and heart disease that will put you at risk later even when you aren’t running!

This was in last Saturday’s online health news.:

“Marathoners Face Greater Risk of Artery Problems

SATURDAY, March 13, 2010 (HealthDay News)”

".... according to new research by Greek doctors who found that marathon runners have increased stiffness of the large arteries, suggesting that some types of high-intensity exercise may actually be bad for the heart, potentially leading to hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, heart attack and even death.

"Our data suggest that exercise may have an inverted U-shape relation with arterial stiffness. In other words, when you do not exercise you have higher risk of cardiovascular events, but the same also happens when you exercise too much," study lead investigator Dr. Despina Kardara, of Athens Medical School, Hippokration Hospital, said in a news release.

"Regular long-term endurance training is generally beneficial for heart health, but it seems that the cardiovascular system is like a sports car engine. If you do not use it, it will decay, but if you run it too fast for too long, you might burn it out."

“The findings were presented Saturday at the American College of Cardiology's annual scientific session, in Atlanta.”

A. So, for starters, for good health and for most people, walking much shorter distances than Marathon length, interval cardio, and strength training are far better ways to be fit, strong, and healthy than running Marathons!

You can do those things in a brief enough time to do them AND have a life and demanding work for one thing.

B. But, what if you do WANT to run longer distances? Or do it safely?

Might there be a way to do it safely?


1. One key is running in a way that enables you to cover long distances without overtaxing your heart.

In the book, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, he does a good job showing that people may even be genetically adapted to do this to some extent.

But the people who do it safely don’t just run a steady but brutal pace. The Tehamara Indians of Mexico who he studied do it far differently. They build up to it by running FOR PLAY at varying speeds and over varied terrain. And, they run in an unusually smooth and low impact way either barefooted or with very stable and light footwear.

They make unusually smooth interval cardio out of running long distances. So from a young age, their hearts have the capacity to do more plus their running style puts far less stress on it even if their runs cover many, many miles.

They also eat in a way that completely avoids them carrying any excess weight.

To repeat, my best suggestion is that for exercise, stick to much briefer interval cardio, strength training, and walking much shorter distances than Marathon length.

You can fit it in and still have a life and a demanding career besides.

But, if you WANT to run long distances, do yourself and your heart a favor and read and study the book Born to RUN. (http://www.amazon.com has it.)

(This is also a superb book for anyone who wants to do ANY running for exercise.

Why do it if you always get overuse injuries and always have to stop and then repeat the process over and over?

This book suggests running without injury IS possible and does have some good ideas as to how to make it happen.)

2. The second key is to do everything possible to protect your heart and keep your arteries flexible in other ways.:

Drink grape juice in moderation. Take supplements such as L-Arginine and grape seed extract that promote flexible arteries. Eat lots of kinds of berries each week.

Use some kind of program that works for permanent fat loss BEFORE you push too hard at running long distances if you have any fat to lose.

Use much briefer interval cardio, strength training, and walking much shorter distances than Marathon length

Do shorter runs such as two to six miles as you get in shape and lose fat and until you can simulate the running style of the Tehamara Indians of Mexico.

AND, eat right, exercise, and take the effective supplements until your HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and blood sugars are in the desirable zone or at least out of the riskier or danger zones –

And of most importance, do each of these BEFORE you do any running of over 5 or 6 miles.

People who do all these things might be safe running long distances.

For good health, no one else should do very long distance runs or races according to this research.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Pushing statins and blood pressure drugs at diabetics is NOT protective....

Today's post, Monday, 3-15-2010

This story is big enough that it made today’s San Jose Mercury in the Silicon Valley and probably many of the nation's larger newspapers -- and two of the online health services.

Here’s one of the summaries.

“Intense Cholesterol, Blood Pressure Therapies Don't Help Type 2 Diabetics

HealthDay Monday, 3-15-2010

SUNDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Two sets of results from a large U.S. government-sponsored trials find that neither aggressive treatment of cholesterol nor of blood pressure lowers the risk of heart events in people with type 2 diabetes.”

Here’s another:

“Studies: Intense treatment doesn't help diabetics AP Sun Mar 14, 2010 ATLANTA

Key results from a landmark federal study are in, and the results are disappointing for diabetics: Adding drugs to drive blood pressure and blood-fats lower than current targets did not prevent heart problems, and in some cases caused harmful side effects.”

This research shows that pushing statins and blood pressure drugs to diabetics is NOT protective for their hearts.

It suggests that only making the lifestyle changes that reverse the insulin resistance and which improve the other things is protective.

The only positive result found was that diabetics who actually HAD high blood pressure did get some protection from strokes.

And, in addition to these drugs NOT reducing heart attack risk, many of the people DID get side effects from the drugs which were sometimes severe, particularly from the blood pressure drugs.

I’d be willing to bet BIG dollars that their data likely also show this is particularly true for people with HBA1C levels below 7.0 and desirable readings on blood pressure and their blood lipids before they took the drugs.

I know someone who was diagnosed as diabetic who was in that range and who already had very desirable blood pressure readings and nearly as desirable readings on HDL and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. She was also doing far more than most to make the lifestyle changes that help reverse insulin resistance.

Believe it or not, this person was cold called by a clerk in the PHARMACY department of her HMO demanding to know why she wasn't taking a statin and the ACE inhibitor some guideline for full fledged diabetics then recommended.

Her doctor was a bit less dense & only suggested that maybe it was OK for now to pass, since her readings were in the desirable range already.

I'm so relieved that this study will put a screeching halt to this total nonsense now that the guidelines it was based on appear to be thoroughly discredited.

What lifestyle changes might actually be protective?

The ones that we've been posting on for many months if not years.

Exercise right and eat right and consider some of the supplements that do help reverse insulin resistance or prevent deaths from heart disease.

A. Exercise right

1. Try to get in walking or comparable moderate exercise for at least a few 10 minute sessions each week if you can.

2. Do at least a short session of some kind of vigorous interval cardio for very short intervals that you stop or slow down between at least 3 nonconsecutive days each week.

3. Do at least two strength training sessions 2 nonconsecutive days each week where you very gradually build up to more weight.

Diabetics and people not quite diabetic with blood sugar readings that are too high who do these kinds of exercises will see considerable drops in their blood sugar shortly after they do them AND, if they do this much exercise for 3 months, their
HBA1C that measures their average blood sugar over the last 60 to 90 days will also go down.

Such exercise is so effective because it tends to turn off insulin resistance. Or put another way, insulin resistance, diabetes, and all the damaging diseases diabetics get are symptoms of NOT getting the regular exercise that hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have optimized our bodies for.

B. Eat a version that fits your tastes best of a DASH II diet or a Mediterranean diet that:

HAS plentiful organic vegetables or even conventionally grown ones;
a bit less whole fruit--mostly the most nutritious or low glycemic kind;
some health OK protein such as eggs, nuts, beans and lentils, wild caught fish only, and either occasionally and very, very lean grain fed poultry and even less red meat -- or, better, only poulty or meat from animals fed ONLY their natural diet -- exclusively pasture-fed poultry and from animals fed only grass;
some health OK oils such as omega 3 oils from wild caught fish or pure supplements and monosaturated oils from extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and avocados;
and some but not a lot of 100% whole grain foods.

And, has ZERO:
Hydrogenated oils, high omega 6 oils such as soy, corn, canola, and safflower, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, or soft drinks.

And has close to zero foods made from refined grains, rice, potatoes, and sugar, on at least on 5 or 6 of 7 days a week and not very much on the days these things are eaten. It also helps to ONLY eat them together with better food to balance their bad effects.

And, has some, but very little salt and NEVER has huge amounts of it.

The same reasons apply, the foods on this list are those that hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have optimized our bodies for and the foods to avoid are those that are harmful to health for the reason that over that time, they were rarely if ever eaten.

Expecting good health by eating the things listed here to avoid and NOT eating the foods are bodies expect to be fed, makes about as much sense as trying to run a car on prune juice poured into the window instead of providing its engine with fuel or electricity.

It's guaranteed to make a mess instead of providing power. And, there's very ample evidence it does just that.

C. Some supplements seem protective due to actually improving the body's ability to process sugars or process fats.

Of the supplements that lower blood sugar in this way, chromium polynicotinate and alpha lipoic acid seem to do this for sure. But there are at least 8 other supplements that may do so. But it's essential do add those to the lifestyle upgrades rather than hoping the supplements alone will protect you.

And, of the supplements that lower bad blood lipids and increase HDL, the Berkeley
Heart Lab found that niacin works far better than drugs for almost everyone. And, if niacin, or perhaps inositol hexaniacinate, is taken properly, it's the only such intervention that has been shown to significantly lower the death rate or increase the longevity of the people taking it.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

More on taxing soft drinks and food ingredients harmful to your health....

Today's Post: Friday, 3-12-2010

Recently, there was an article about how New York has proposed a very modest tax on soft drinks.

Since one of these stories was on ABC new, it had many comments that I was able to read.

This post is in part to say why taxes on soft drinks five times as much as New York’s proposal are justified AND to speak to the points made in opposition in those comments.

A. One of the themes in the opposing comments was the belief that taxing bad foods and drinks was not effective.

First, here’s what was in my previous similar posts.:

This was in my post on Friday, 2-26,2010, two weeks ago.

That post reported a study that found that taxing bad foods WAS effective in lowering the calories in the groceries people bought and increasing the consumption of healthier foods.

The effect was large enough to cut the excess fat of the average adult in the United States about in half!

B. My posts also point out that taxing soft drinks and food ingredients and foods that make people fat and sick raises money for cash strapped governments without slowing the economy or causing people to lose their jobs while increasing the other kinds of taxes tends to do just that.

From the United States government to local cities most governments today are now extremely pressed for cash and revenues.

Yes. Governments can cut service levels and programs; and they have been.

But cutting back on things like libraries, parks, education, programs for pregnant women and babies and preschool children, and public health and public safety cause real harm now and later and definitely would be best avoided. Cutting back some kinds of health programs can even directly kill people and does. Cutting back on supporting mass transit not only harms people who have less money and harms the economy, it tends to increase driving and air pollution.

Governments can also increase the dickens out every possible kind of fee and they have been. Permits cost more as do traffic tickets – increasingly a LOT more – than they used to cost.

But whether young or old or less educated or less fortunate many people find these higher fees a problem because they are already themselves short of money.

Governments could raise their sales taxes by a lot and some may do so. But even though sales taxes are the easiest to be sure you can collect and tend to be fair since everyone has to pay them, doubling them or more will slow the economy and tend to impoverish people.

So that’s not a great idea either unless the taxes were very low to begin with.

The federal government and the states can also increase income taxes, particularly – at least on paper – on higher income earners. But that tends to cause collection problems and also tends to slow the economy and lower people’s standard of living if overdone.

There is some evidence that having capital gains taxes at all slows the economy and tends to prevent efficient changes in the economy by disincentivizing property transfers. It also tends to penalize people for inflation. Increasing them is an even worse idea.

Yet with virtually every part of their revenue down from the severe recession, hard-pressed governments have to do something to compensate!

But since these other alternatives they have often cause as many problems as they solve and many worsen the economy besides by therefore tending to reduce the governments’ revenues even more, wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way governments could raise more revenues without slowing the economy?

It’s not yet being used as much as it could be and should be; but there are several taxes that could be implemented that by making health harming actions cost more would not only raise the revenue the governments need but not slow the economy and would in fact increase it by sharply cutting health care costs.

It is as yet not as well recognized or used as it will be; but many kinds of food and drinks can and should be taxed for exactly that reason.

So far, since most people really don’t yet have a clue how dreadfully bad for you it is to drink soft drinks and to eat junky commercial desserts and snacks but do know they are enjoyable and everyone they know consumes them and likes them and any for one single serving, are modestly priced.

By contrast taxes on soft drinks and these junky foods tend to get vigorously opposed because these people simply have no idea what the consequences are.

But as of the news last Wednesday, 2-24, that is about to change big time!

Leaders in business, medicine, public health, and government know that health insurance rates and medical costs are going up enough to significantly slow and harm the entire economy. Worse, now that so many younger people are fat, the trends are for this bad situation to get even worse.

So, if it were definitely proven that taxes on the soft drinks and foods responsible for the sharp increase in fatness and obesity would help reverse that, it’s simply a matter of time until every bit of this junk is taxed everywhere.

The exciting news day before yesterday is that just exactly that HAS now been demonstrated to be the case!

C. Every can, bottle, and plastic container of soft drink consumed, however good it tastes, makes the person drinking it fatter than they should be. At a time when few people have the kind of continuously active lives we were evolved to live, this is making people fat and sick and costing our economy billions to treat the avoidable diseases it largely causes. Worse, diet soft drinks tend to make people consume extra sugar from other sources. ALL soft drinks should be taxed at least 5 cents an ounce everywhere in the United States.

For similar reasons, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, refined grain flour, and all artificial sweeteners should also be taxed separately.

This would also reduce the consumption of junky snacks and commercial desserts.

Is this justified? You bet it is! If both things were done, our future health care costs might well drop in half or more.

Such taxes have been proven to reduce consumption. And it is the very people, the young, the poor, the uneducated who don't know any better who consume the most, who also cut back the most due to lack of funds.

If this is not done and soon, our present economic misery will seem mild, because of the huge, ADDITIONAL, run-ups in health care costs we will otherwise experience!

Warren Buffett points out that overly high health care costs are already like a cancer working to destroy and drag on the prosperity of our economy.

Without such taxes everywhere and soon, these avoidable health care costs will double.

Guess what THAT will do to our economy!

If you like soft drinks, when they are taxed, people like you may drink enough less -- and on the average they will -- that they will be less likely to get type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

D. And because they won't get these diseases, their freedom FROM needing to take drugs with obnoxious side effects and extra doctor visits and added medical costs will INCREASE. They will be more likely to be freed from these consequences they would otherwise have to deal with.

The people who say that such taxes don't reduce consumption clearly WANT to believe that. The studies on taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, and recently one on soft drinks and similar junky food show repeatedly and conclusively that such taxes DO cut consumption.

In fact, the revenues from such taxes make it far LESS likely for them to be banned outright. Some of the damage this junk causes will simply be built-in to the price so most people will consume less of them But they can choose to consume them anyway.

Additionally, unlike sales taxes on ALL purchases or tripled traffic fines or higher income taxes, choosing to buy these things that harm your health is completely voluntary. Those other taxes are collected from everyone whether they like it or not.

But taxes on soft drinks are completely different. If you want to pay only half as much of such taxes, just buy only half as many of them.

Even better, if you want to pay no taxes at all of this kind, they are completely avoidable. There ARE other things in life that are enjoyable, that quench your thirst, that taste good, or that contain caffeine to wake you up. People who have sex, drink water, eat strawberries, or drink tea or coffee instead but buy no soft drinks will pay NONE of these taxes.

So, in many, many ways people will be MORE free when we have such taxes.

They’ll be freer to have a job in strong economy.

There will be some taxes they can choose to pay less of or even none at all.

They will be at least partly freed from increases in taxes they HAVE to pay.

They will be partly freed from horribly high health care costs and often from personal suffering, costs, and inconvenience due to avoiding diseases they would otherwise get.

E. Now that each of these facts is becoming known to leaders in government, business, medicine, and public health --AND they are now being proposed all over the world, I think it is inevitable that such taxes will be everywhere. And, those that are already in place will likely go up.

They work. They produce revenue for governments in a way that improves their economy instead of harming it. And, compared with the alternatives, they INCREASE freedom of choice.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

News about alcoholic drinks and fatloss....

Today's Post: Thursday, 3-11-2010

An article in the Archives of Internal Medicine, March 8, 2010 resulted in several stories that were online earlier this week.

While men who drink tend to get fatter, women who drink moderately -- to what, for a woman is a bit more than that -- tend to burn a bit more calories each day AND weigh less than women who drink no alcohol! (See the second part of this post for alcoholic drinks and men.)

And, as usual, red wine, tended to produce the most desirable result although other kinds of drinks worked nearly as well.

(Reuters Health) with a NEW YORK dateline on Mon Mar 8, 2010 titled the story:

“Wine may help women keep weight in check” -- written by Megan Brooks.

She opened by saying this: “Light to moderate alcohol consumption, especially red wine, is not only good for a woman's heart, it's also good for her waistline, according to a study reported Monday.”

She continued with:

“The study started out with nearly 20,000 trim middle-aged and older women. Over time, women who drank alcohol in moderation put on less weight and were less apt to become overweight compared to non-drinkers. This was true even after taking into account various lifestyle and dietary factors that might influence a woman's weight.

Red wine seemed best at keeping weight in check, but white wine, beer and spirits also had some benefit.

"Our study results showed that middle-aged and older women who have normal body weight initially and consume light-to-moderate amount of alcohol could maintain their drinking habits without gaining more weight compared with similar women who did not drink any alcohol," Dr. Lu Wang from the division of preventive medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, noted in an email to Reuters Health.”

All the groups of women gained some weight over the 13 years of the study

Women who did not drink gained an average of 8 pounds -- compared with 3.4 pounds for the women who drank 3 drinks or more each day.

The women who drank 1 ½ to 3 alcoholic drinks a day had the lowest risk of becoming overweight or obese, which was 30 percent less than that of non-drinkers. (The study may also have listed that they gained a bit less than the women who drank 3 drinks or more each day & a bit less than the 3.4 pounds gained by the heavier drinkers.)

The association between drinking and less weight gain and risk of becoming overweight or obese remained strong after accounting for the other factors looked at in the study. This suggests that drinking independently affects body weight and fat gain beyond its connection to the other factors they looked at.

There are several reasons why alcohol might help women stay trim, besides the ones listed from the study.

Here are two that were listed in the study.

In this study, women drinking more alcohol ate less, particularly carbohydrates -- a finding seen in other studies.

Also, it's been shown that women tend to burn more energy after drinking alcohol -- more so than that contained in the alcohol. (In another story on this study, it was suggested that since women only metabolize alcohol about half as well as men, this effect that they burn extra energy may be caused by this lower ability to metabolize it resulting in a tiny net loss of calories when they drink each drink.)

Two other kinds of reasons occur to me.

1. Women who drink, though they discounted for this in the study, tended to be more physically active than women who did not. But they may not have discounted for this enough nor did they realize the implications that has for the lifestyle of the women -- & that also may well make a difference.

Two groups of women are likely to be more active. Poor women with less access to cars often walk far more. And, women who are more upper middle to upper class & or educated and who drink tend to both exercise more as exercise and know how to eat more healthful food and do so -- including eating far less fast carbs and junky snacks and treats. (The poor women who drink likely eat less because they have far less money to buy food after buying the alcohol.)

2. And, women who drink may use -- to probably do use -- alcohol as a stress reliever instead of turning to high glycemic, high carbohydrate, or sugary comfort foods.

Those kinds of carbohydrates tend to result in weight and fat gain & may well do so far more than the alcohol does.

Here’s why that may be.: High glycemic, high carbohydrate, or sugary comfort foods either fail to turn off hunger at all and even when they do produce a rebound hunger effect that more substantial and natural foods do not. Alcohol is often either drunk just before eating or with food – and when that food is mostly substantial and natural foods such as protein foods and vegetables, the alcohol tends to make people drowsy or relaxed instead of hungry at about the same time fast carbohydrates give people rebound hunger.

These last two are speculations on my part but could be tested. The second one about using alcohol as a stress reliever instead of turning to high glycemic, high carbohydrate, or sugary comfort foods I think is particularly likely to test out as being part of the reason for this effect.

Many women who are too fat do tend to be emotional eaters and to eat high glycemic, high carbohydrate, or sugary comfort foods as a way of feeling good and as a stress reliever.

Those foods are unusually fattening, particularly when eaten often. So, it may well be that drinking some red wine for those effects results in less fat gained even though the wine also has calories.

Men, by contrast, tend to drink for stress relief and in social gatherings and at times of celebration but to have those drinks IN ADDITION to the food they eat. They also tend to metabolize the alcohol about twice as well as women and may well not burn as many calories to do so.

For men, cutting back from 3 drinks a day to an average of a drink and a half will lose half of the approximately 30 pounds of fat they’ll have to start with from drinking that much.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Can bad genes and bacteria stop your fat loss?....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 3-9-2010

There’s two stories that were online late last week.

In the first one, several news companies had the story that a company can test you to see if you will lose fat best by cutting carbs or by cutting fat or you need to do both --and may have a test that can show if exercise will help you some or a quite a bit in losing the fat you want to lose.

The second story has information suggesting that the bacteria in your intestinal tract can make you fat if they are the wrong ones.

For those that would like extra info, how get the $149 gene test, for example, I’ll include that after my part of this post.

But you can use the information now without getting any further diagnosis.

My part of the post is why that’s so and how to lose your fat regardless of these background factors.

Here’s the short version first.

There are some kinds of fats and oils that tend to cause disease or simply DO cause disease. If you want to lose fat, your intake of these should be as close to zero as you can make it! Your health will be dramatically better and you will be less fat. If you lose fat best from cutting carbs, you may only lose 5 to 15 pounds by eliminating these bad fats while someone who loses fat best by cutting fat may lose three times that. But, bottom line, it makes NO difference. If you eliminate these bad fats and are moderate rather than excessive in your intake of the good fats and oils, you will be less fat.

Similarly, there are some kinds of carbs that help people lose fat and so anyone wanting to be less fat should be SURE to eat more of them! And, there are some kinds of carbs that cause EVERYONE who ingests them to be far fatter than they should be or likely would like to be.

Same deal. Everyone, repeat everyone, who eats more of the good carbs and as close to zero of the bad carbs as they can manage, will be less fat, and in some cases dramatically less fat, than they were. Yes, the people who find cutting these bad carbs is most helpful will lose more; but the people who cut them who are less sensitive will also be far healthier and less fat, it will just do a bit less for them. Even better, the effects of eating the GOOD carbs will be just about identical for both groups.

Lastly, they may one day have a special treatment for people who have too many of the bacteria that tend to make and keep people fat. But there’s no need at all to wait for it.

Separate research has found that losing the bad fats and bad carbs and increasing the vegetables – particularly eating organic vegetables raw— which are the good carbs, the good bacteria increase and the bad bacteria will decrease. Similarly, people who eat (or drink) lots of the bad carbs and fats, will have their bad bacteria go up and their good bacteria go down.

In addition, if you take a probiotic supplement, you get three benefits.: You’ll be far less likely to get diarrhea from bacteria that otherwise would have caused it. The daily tune up this gives your immune system will help you have less colds and cases of the flu.

AND, the probiotic bacteria will gradually crowd out the kinds of bacteria that tend to make you fat. Simple. The good guys get daily reinforcements. The bad guys don’t!

As you can see, none of that need cause you to wait or guess. Regardless of these factors – your genes and the bacteria in your gut now, if you know how to eat right and do it, know how to exercise safely in a way that you find sustainable and do it, & you take probiotics, you WILL be far less fat and dramatically healthier.

Here are some repeats from yesterday’s post on what carbs and fats NOT to eat. Why eat or waste your safe caloric intake on calories that make you fat and sick. Eliminate to slash these to near zero.:

“Never, ever voluntarily eat ANY shortening, regular margarine, or any hydrogenated oils – or any product that has more than zero transfats listed on its label.

The stuff is quite literally heart attack starter. It directly causes your small particle LDL to go up. The research that showed that has been done. But far too many foods still contain it.”

“NOT eating foods made from refined grains, NOT drinking soft drinks, and eating foods with sugar only a few times a week or less tends to have a triple benefit. Your HDL will go up; you’ll either avoid gaining excess fat or lose a good bit if you were ingesting this stuff several times a day; you’ll be dramatically less likely to get or keep high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes; AND your CRP inflammation will go down. EACH of these things is heart protective. (White potatoes and French fries and chips made from them have similar effects.)

Note the extra emphasis on this one! In addition, many of the packaged snacks and desserts containing this stuff also have excessive amounts of salt and some still have hydrogenated oils and transfats.”

Not eating or drinking these things also lowers triglycerides which is heart protective.

These bad carbs either fail to make you less hungry when you ingest them or cause rebound hunger within an hour or two after you eat them or even do both! Guess what that does to your fat loss program!

“Eat berries or other fresh fruit, nuts, or even some dark chocolate instead of this list of bad actors -- and your overall health and heart health AND your lipid blood indicators will be dramatically better. Your doctor may even ask you what you did, they’ll improve so much.”

Also, if you have some treats that you really like on occasion and that contain these things, just eat them once or twice a month instead of 3 or 4 times a day! As the author of the book on the subject explains, French women still eat wonderful treats while NOT getting fat. And that’s one of the key reasons why!

The good carbs are those in green and nonstarchy vegetables and low glycemic fruit such as whole apples -- and to a slightly less extent those in beans and lentils, other fresh fruit, and in nuts. If you eat a lot of these and go heavy on the green and nonstarchy vegetables both raw and cooked, you will find you can eat a LOT of them and not be hungry for as much of everything else. It’s a virtually automatic -- no extra will power needed -- way to eat less of the foods that have more calories.

Weight Watchers assigns green and nonstarchy vegetables ZERO points.

Eating more green and nonstarchy vegetables makes you more able to cut back on the bad carbs and bad fats and even to avoid eating excessive amounts of the good kinds such as the fats and oils in wild caught fish, nuts, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, and omega 3 supplements that are the health supporting choices.

All these methods work regardless of your current gut bacteria and which genes you have.

That said, if you would do better if you knew what worked best for your genetic type and you have the $149 it costs, here’s that info

Here’s some of the AP story and the link I found separately to buy the test.

“Gene test claims to show what diet works best

By Marilynn Marchione, AP Medical Writer Thursday, March 4, 2010

Diet not working? Blame your genes. That's the pitch behind a new test that claims to show whether people will do better on a low-fat or a low-carb weight loss plan.”

“ "We were able to explain why some people were successful" and others were not, even though they ate the same way, said Mindy Dopler Nelson, a nutritional biologist at Stanford University who led the study but has no financial ties to the maker of the test.

The company, Waltham, Mass.-based Interleukin Genetics Inc., looked at studies on hundreds of genes and chose three genes that show a pattern for metabolizing fats and carbohydrates, said its chief scientific officer, Ken Korman.

The company then hired Stanford researchers to do a validation study of its $149 test, using people who took part in diet research that was published in 2007. That study tested four diets — Atkins (ultra-low-carb), the Zone (low-carb), Ornish (very low-fat) or a low-fat diet following the federal Food Pyramid.”

About one-third of the original participants, 138 women, sent cheek swabs with their DNA to Interleukin, which tagged them as "low-carb appropriate" or "low-fat appropriate."

Looking back at the original study's results, researchers saw that women whose diets matched their genetic makeup lost more than 13 pounds over a year compared to less than 3 pounds for women on mismatched diets, Nelson reported at a heart association conference this week.”

Reuters had this:

“Your best diet? It might be in your genes

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor Thurs, 3-4-2010 WASHINGTON (Reuters) (Editing by Xavier Briand and Todd Eastham)

Can't lose weight on a low-fat diet? Maybe you need to cut carbs instead, and a new genetic test may point the way, maker Interleukin Genetics Inc reported on Wednesday.

The small study of about 140 overweight or obese women showed that those on diets "appropriate" for their genetic makeup lost more weight than those on less appropriate diets, researchers told an American Heart Association meeting.”

“Massachusetts-based Interleukin's $149 test looks for mutations in three genes, known as FABP2, PPARG and ADRB2. “

>>> (Interleukin Genetics Inc http://www.inherenthealth.com/our-tests/weight-management.aspx is their sales site.)

My own take is to simply assume you need to do both cutting bad carbs and cutting bad fats well and do it, I guarantee you that will give you the best results even if you are one of the two other groups.

That story also had this line.: “ It also can test who might best lose weight in response to exercise.”

It is known that some people do better with exercise than others for losing fat. But the other health benefits of exercise are so powerful and its help in ensuring your weight loss is fat only, and in NOT gaining the fat back that you lost. EVERYONE should do exercise who wants to lose fat and keep it off.

The study I would like to see done would show how people who tend to respond less to exercise can improve their response and results.

The best story on the bacteria was this one in TIME online. (As you’ve seen, there is evidence you can protect yourself from the bacteria described in it by eating right and taking probiotics since those things tend to decrease the amount of the bad bacteria described in the article.)

“Obesity: How Intestinal Bacteria May Cause Weight Gain

TIME By Alice Park Friday, March 5, 2010

If you're fighting the battle of the bulge, most of your attention - and frustration - is probably aimed at your midsection. It makes sense, since that's where the extra pounds tend to gravitate, especially with the creep of middle age, piling on to form that dreaded spare tire. (See 10 myths about dieting.)
But a growing body of research suggests there's another, less visible reason to focus on your gut if you want to lose weight. Scientists led by Andrew Gewirtz at Emory University reveal that your intestines harbor a universe of bacteria - the so-called gut microbiota - that may play an important role in whether your body will store the food you eat as extra pounds.

Gewirtz's team, including researchers at Emory, Cornell University and the University of Colorado at Boulder, became intrigued by the relationship between gut bugs and weight when they noticed that lab mice lacking a certain protein had more of the bugs than other animals and were about 15% heavier. These mice also had a higher level of inflammation, which the authors explain in their paper published online Thursday in Science Express is what may account for the extra weight. Inflammatory signaling can promote a condition called metabolic syndrome, which causes weight gain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels and a higher risk for developing diabetes and heart disease.

The fatter mice in Gewirtz's study had been bred to lack a protein known as toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5), which most intestinal cells sprout on their surface. Its job is to recognize and bind to the whiplike flagella that bacteria use to move around. TLR5 acts as a traffic cop for controlling the mass of pathogens living in the intestine; without it, the normally harmless gut bacteria tend to overflourish and expand in number. (See and listen to an audio slideshow about obesity rehab.)

When that happens, the study found, it triggers an inflammatory state, as the body attempts to respond to the increasing population of bugs, and at the same time makes cells less sensitive to insulin. In a way, inflammatory factors and insulin compete for the attention of the same intestinal cells; if the cells are busy responding to inflammatory factors, then they are less likely to take up glucose and process it effectively. Such a desensitization to insulin and glucose then leads to the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, such as weight gain, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels and elevated blood pressure - which were all present in the TLR5-deficient mice.

"We don't think the bacteria are directly making the mice eat more, but the bacteria are causing low-grade inflammation, which causes insulin resistance and then makes the mice eat more," says Gewirtz.

To test that theory, the researchers conducted a series of experiments, the most illuminating of which revealed that when the TLR5-deficient mice were given unrestricted diets, they ate 10% more than normal mice, and that even when their food was limited, they were still less sensitive to insulin than their normal counterparts.
The finding was confirmed when the team transferred the bacterial gut population from TLR5-deficient mice into animals that were specially bred to have no immune system, making them incapable of rejecting foreign cells and bacteria. When these animals received the teeming gut world of the TLR5-deficient mice, they too began eating more and developed the same metabolic-syndrome symptoms that their donors had. In other words, the obesity profile of the heavier mice had been transferred to normal mice. "So, applying the logic to humans," says Gewirtz, "we know that to gain weight and become obese, [it] requires you to eat more. The question is, Why do people eat more? Our results suggest that one reason people might be eating more is because of changes in their intestinal bacteria."

A more fundamental question, then, is, What causes changes in gut microbiota? Many things, says Gewirtz, including the use of antibiotics, cleaner water and improved sanitation and hygiene in general, which influences the type and amount of microbes that reside in the intestines. In the current study, scientists found that in TLR5-deficient animals, the total percentage of 150 species of bacteria in the gut was three to four times higher than in normal mice, while 125 other types of bacteria were less common. "We don't have a sense of which is more important yet - that some of those species are missing, or that some are in greater abundance," he says. The net effect, however, is that in the absence of TLR5, the community of microbes changes and, as Gewirtz says, "when the intestinal bacteria is changed, the host response changes with them, and that may predispose you to a variety of diseases of which obesity and metabolic syndrome are perhaps the most mild."

Studying those changes is the next step for scientists like Gewirtz who want to understand the precise link between intestinal microbiota and obesity. An important part of that investigation will involve having an accurate map of the genetic makeup of those gut bugs. And in a separate paper published Wednesday in Nature, an international group of scientists generated the most comprehensive genetic map to date of human gut microbes, using 124 human fecal samples, which gives scientists just the critical window they need to figure out which species of bugs tend to reside in our intestines and which may contribute to weight gain.”

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Monday, March 08, 2010

What DOES protect your heart safely?....

Today's Post: Monday, 3-8-2010

There’s good news and bad news on this topic.

The good news first. There are literally dozens of ways to protect your heart that help & work effectively; that have abundant other health benefits; are safe with one mostly overcomable risk, and virtually side effect free.

The bad news is that doing dozens of things is a major campaign. (Some of these ways do a lot more than others and you may need some a lot more than others. So you can get a lot of leverage by doing the big things and the things your body needs most.)

The other bad news is that popular and massively prescribed statin drugs have quite a number of very negative side effects, some of them quite serious, that are ignored or minimized when they are prescribed – plus they tend to only cut the risk of heart attacks about 3 % and to NOT reduce the risk of death from heart disease significantly.

But, returning to the good news, you can do far better with the safer methods in this post and similar ones.

Doctors don’t recommend them in part since they haven’t the time to help people with the lifestyle upgrades and changes some of these ways need, or the better doctors sometimes have recommended some of these ways and found no improvement due to no use of them. They then decided that a poor drug was better than no help at all.

They also too often are unaware that niacin is far more protective, works better with most of the genetic types found by the Berkeley Heart lab than statins, and DOES reduce the overall risk of dying.

1. The major cause of heart disease is by small particle LDL that literally is so small that it sticks into the molecular chinks in your artery walls.

But it’s been found that some things reduce or increase this directly and that anything safe that increases HDL or lowers triglycerides reduces the level of small particle LDL.

Taking niacin increases HDL, lowers triglycerides, AND lowers LDL.

I only take two 300 mg capsules of niacin, one after breakfast and one after lunch. From that I do get a flush effect perhaps once to three times a month. That, I can live with, particularly since I know it may actually be protective to experience it. I also take two capsules a day of inositol hexiniacinate of 300 mg each. That’s also known as “No Flush” niacin. This supplement may be as effective as the equal amount of niacin and produces no flush.

And, it’s just low enough that it’s likely safe for my liver. For people who take well over 1,000 mg a day of niacin, you may overstress your liver and will need to have a doctor monitor you for liver distress. If your lipid readings are incredibly bad, taking niacin at that dose and getting these tests may be indicated. But statins need the same liver monitoring while niacin works better for most people and is far safer to take than statins.

2. Never, ever voluntarily eat ANY shortening, regular margarine, or any hydrogenated oils – or any product that has more than zero transfats listed on its label.

The stuff is quite literally heart attack starter. It directly causes your small particle LDL to go up. The research that showed that has been done. But far too many foods still contain it.

3. It’s hard to imagine something worse for your heart than eating trans fats. BUT, there IS one.

Tobacco smoke lowers HDL, increases CRP inflammation, speeds aging, and even keeps the HDL you still have from being protective. It’s so effective at producing heart disease that even kids under 12 exposed to secondhand smoke have been found to have measurably thicker artery walls from the plaque build up caused by the tobacco smoke. That also means, as we posted on recently, that smoking or being exposed to second hand smoke causes high blood pressure.

(Smoking also causes about 30% of ALL cancers, and particularly has been shown to cause prostate cancer and lung cancer. But as bad as that is, cancer is the LITTLE risk from smoking. Even some smokers don’t get it. But ALL smokers and people exposed to second hand smoke get heart disease.)

Tobacco smoke also TRIGGERS heart attacks in people who could otherwise have avoided them and increases the rate of aging.

Smokers even get to PAY the tobacco companies to do this to them!

That’s nuts. Do NOT smoke or voluntarily expose yourself to second hand smoke if you can possibly avoid it.

4. Be sure to work up to it gradually and not try to progress too fast, particularly when you haven’t yet got your blood indicators in good shape yet. But regular, almost every day, vigorous exercise directly lowers your small particle LDL. Even sessions as short as 2 to 15 minutes a day begin to be effective.

Plus it helps avoid too high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Plus it lowers CRP inflammation, strengthens your heart, and slows aging. It also makes you feel and be stronger and more fit. It can help you lose excess fat and look better. And, it tends to reverse depression or prevent it and reliably improves your sex life.

The other methods to protect your heart are as loaded with extra health benefits as exercise.

5. Here’s a short list of other things that also increase your HDL.

Moderate drinking, particularly of red wine, increases HDL. (Heavier drinking than moderate tends to cause obesity, high blood pressure, and death from car and other avoidable accidents, however. So, THAT is NOT a good idea.)

Choline increases HDL and tends to increase your mental abilities. Egg yolks, wheat germ, and liver are high in it. You can also take choline, lecithin, or phosphatidyl serine, or PS supplements; and many B Complex supplements include choline as it’s considered a B vitamin.

The supplement chromium polynicotinate also works. Apparently both the chromium and the niacin radicals increase your HDL.

Eating nuts if you aren’t allergic to them and you eat only raw or dry roasted nuts not only increases your HDL, it tends to increase your longevity!

Eating berries such as blueberries and cranberries and blackberries increases your HDL and has massive other health benefits besides.

NOT eating foods made from refined grains, NOT drinking soft drinks, and eating foods with sugar only a few times a week or less tends to have a triple benefit. Your HDL will go up; you’ll either avoid gaining excess fat or lose a good bit if you were ingesting this stuff several times a day; you’ll be dramatically less likely to get or keep high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes; AND your CRP inflammation will go down. EACH of these things is heart protective. (White potatoes and French fries and chips made from them have similar effects.)

6. Things that lower CRP inflammation and/or triglycerides include.:

NOT eating foods made from refined grains, NOT drinking soft drinks, and eating foods with sugar only a few times a week or less tends to have a triple benefit. Your HDL will go up; you’ll either avoid gaining excess fat or lose a good bit if you were ingesting this stuff several times a day; you’ll be dramatically less likely to get or keep high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes; AND your CRP inflammation will go down. EACH of these things is heart protective. (White potatoes and French fries and chips made from them have similar effects.)

Note the extra emphasis on this one! In addition, many of the packaged snacks and desserts containing this stuff also have excessive amounts of salt and some still have hydrogenated oils and transfats.

Eat berries or other fresh fruit, nuts, or even some dark chocolate instead of this list of bad actors -- and your overall health and heart health AND your blood indicators will be dramatically better. Your doctor may even ask you what you did, they’ll improve so much.

Using wild caught fish and purified fish oil, omega 3 supplements; nuts and avocados; and extra virgin olive oil for over 90 % of your fat and oil intake AND NOT using oils high in omega 6 such as soy, corn, canola, and safflower protects -- your heart and health in many ways.

And, since grains are high in omega 6 oils, don’t eat foods made from refined grains; go a bit easy even on whole grains; and mostly avoid eating meat from grain fed animals or farmed fish as their meat also has excess omega 6 oils because of their diet of grain that they are not evolved to eat. (That’s in addition to the herbicides and pesticides that are in the grain they are fed.) Wild caught fish, animals fed only grass or pasture fed on their natural diets do not have this problem. The other alternative is to eat the lowest fat version of meat from grain fed animals you can find – and eat more beans and lentils and wild caught fish and less meat.

7. Avoiding severe stress and or getting decent stress relief from enough, regular sleep, meditation, tai chi or other effective physical stress relievers also is heart protective, lowers high blood pressure, and slows aging.

In this list, #4 above, regular exercise is an effective method for stress relief if you don’t overdo it and you include some more moderate kinds that you actually like such as gardening, dancing, or walking in nice places, etc.

Stress relief is a huge subject; but anything effective you can do and do regularly will protect your heart.

8. Today’s news also brings the information that these two things are heart protective.:

a) A study recently released found that anyone who loses 12 pounds or more and keeps it off and does so in part by eating a more health supporting diet actually reverses plaque in their arteries and their blood pressure goes down!

b) Another study found that the worst kind of meat to eat for your heart is a kind I used to like myself, processed meats such as hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, and salami. These processed meats not only tend to be made from grain fed animals, they are high in excess saturated fat, and have high amounts of salt and nitrates added to them. Plus I strongly suspect that many have added MSG. That means they tend to increase high blood pressure and CRP inflammation in addition to their high levels of saturated fat.

So, eat those only on occasion. And, where you can, eat a more healthful version in small quantities. Eat bacon from Whole Foods that’s nitrate free a few times a year instead of regular bacon several times a week, for example.

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