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Processed Foods Carry a Penalty

Whole foods burn 50% more calories than processed foods.

Do processed "diet" foods leave you with lingering hunger and a desire to nibble on other foods, thus leading you to consume more calories than if you had prepared a wholesome meal? Researchers have found we burn 50% more calories metabolizing whole foods (WF) than comparable processed food (PF) meals with the same number of calories. Diets with a high percentage of PFs result in increased energy assimilation and may contribute to obesity.

PositiveTip: Eat wholesome foods which are lower in calories and burn more in metabolism.

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We are Burning Fewer Calories While Working

Occupation-related energy expenditure has dropped more than 100 kcal daily over last 50 years.

Decreased energy expenditure is a major contributing factor to the obesity epidemic. Although leisure time physical activity has increased, recent data indicates our jobs are less physically demanding. Researchers analyzed occupational physical activity over the past 5 decades and found daily energy expenditure dropped more than 100 calories per day. This decrease accounts for a significant portion of the increase in U.S. body weight.

PositiveTip: Increase your leisure time physical activity to compensate for these occupational-related losses. 

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The Function of HDL May Be the Key

How much cholesterol can your HDL remove from cells?

We know HDL is the good cholesterol. However, just increasing HDL levels may not lower risk. New evidence suggests "cholesterol efflux"--the ability of the HDL to remove cholesterol from cells may be the key. Researchers followed 2400 people without cardiovascular disease for 9 years. Those with the highest cholesterol efflux, independent of other risks, saw a 67% reduction in cardiovascular risk compared to those with the lowest risk.

PositiveTip: Eat a careful, wholesome diet and get daily physical activity to minimize your risk of heart disease.

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Patients are Accountable for Their Health

Patients must take responsibility for their health outcomes!

Physicians and hospitals earn bonuses or face penalties for how well they meet various metrics of quality based on patient outcomes. Is it really fair for the doctors to be penalized for things out of their control? What if a diabetic patient does not exercise, fails to check their sugar levels, and consumes sugar-laden sodas and desserts. Whose fault is it their outcome is poor?

PositiveTip: Engage with your physician for better health outcomes by making meaningful and important lifestyle changes and following doctors recommendations.

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Smoke Just Seems to be Smoke

Marijuana smoke may be as harmful to lung function as cigarette smoke.

An animal study reported as an abstract at the American Heart Association annual meeting found secondhand marijuana smoke to be as harmful as tobacco smoke. The endothelial function of the rats studied decreased 50-70% when exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke. This impairment did not depend on THC in the smoke, and was similar to tobacco smoke. (Reference: Wang X, et al "Brief exposure to marijuana secondhand smoke impairs vascular endothelial function" AHA 2014; Abstract 19538)

PositiveTip: Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke regardless of the source.

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Prostate Cancer Linked to Being Overweight

Greater body fatness is probably a cause of advanced prostate cancer.

New evidence suggests there is strong evidence that being overweight or obese elevates the risk of advanced prostate cancer. This finding is from the World Cancer Research Fund's Continuous Update Project that analyzes global research on how diet, exercise, physical activity and weight influence cancer risk.

PositiveTip: Avoid being overweight or obese to lower your risk of deadly prostate cancer and many other serious diseases.

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A Quarter of High School Students Use Tobacco

Half of all high school tobacco users used more than one product.

Analysis of the 2013 National Youth Tobacco Survey reveals that almost half of U.S. high school students have tried tobacco and almost 25% currently use it.  More high school boys than girls were current smokers, but was similar in middle school. Electronic cigarettes were tried at least once by 12% of high schoolers, and 3% of middle schoolers.

PositiveTip: Parents should rigorously monitor the forms of tobacco use by their youth--especially emerging products like e-cigarettes.

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Keep Energy Drinks Away from Children

Energy drinks can be poisonous for young children.

Data suggests more than half of calls to U.S. poison control centers are about unintentional energy drink exposure by children younger than six. Steven Lipshultz, a pediatrician from Wayne State University made a case at the American Heart Association meetings this month to place explicit risk warnings on the packaging of these drinks. Many children suffer seizures and heart problems, and people of all ages with underlying health issues should avoid them.

PositiveTip: Stay safe, keep your kids safe and avoid energy drinks, period.

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Pucker Up and Share Germs!

One intimate kiss on average shares 80 million bacteria!

Dutch scientists have found an intimate kiss lasting 10 seconds transfers on average about 80 million bacteria. They also found partners shared more similar bacterial colonies than two strangers. Before you insist your significant other swig mouthwash before each kiss, remember, diversity in bacteria can help your immune system response. This similarity did not correlate fully with kissing behavior. A shared lifestyle, environment, and genes also play a role.

PositiveTip: Intimate kissing probably plays a role in bonding and immunization. Keep kissing your partner!

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Front Line Report: The War on Ebola

Kudos to those who risk their lives to help the disadvantaged.

Ebola fears have dominated the media for weeks. However, the unsung heroes of the war against Ebola have received little attention. In mid-October at the LLU Global Healthcare Conference in Southern California, Gillian Seton, MD and James Appel, MD shared their first hand experiences of working in Liberia. Their story is heart-warming and inspiring.

PositiveTip: Support this fight with your prayers and help for those who are quietly making a difference.