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Restaurant Meals Heavy in Calories

Making healthy choices while eating out continues to be a challenge!

A research team found when assessing 364 meals from 123 different restaurants in three average American cities that 92% exceeded the recommended calorie level for a single meal. They studied both large-chain and local restaurants. The researchers also found that a single serving, before appetizers, beverages, and dessert, often exceeded the caloric needs for a whole day!

PositiveTip: If you eat out often it may be very hard to maintain ideal weight. Beware of excessive serving sizes!

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Suboptimal Dietary Factors Associated with Death from Heart Disease

The highest proportion of cardiometabolic deaths were estimated to be related to excess salt.

A comparative risk assessment model has estimated that 45.4% of all cardiometabolic (heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes) deaths in U.S. adults was associated with suboptimal consumption of the following specific dietary factors:

  1. High sodium intake (9.5%).
  2. Low consumption of nuts and seeds (8.5%).
  3. High consumption of processed meats (8.2%).
  4. Low omega-3 fatty acids (7.8%).
  5. Low vegetable intake 7.6%).
  6. Low fruit intake (7.5%).
  7. High intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (7.4%).

PositiveTip: Optimizing the consumption of the items above could reduce the risk of premature cardiometabolic deaths significantly.

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Methods to Encourage Healthier Hearts

Small increases in fruit, vegetable, and whole grain intake occurred in all four groups.

Encouraging people to follow a heart-healthy diet continues to be a challenge. Researchers assessed the benefits of 6 months of dietary advice  on 919 healthy, but obese, participants. They were randomized to receive telephone-delivered advice plus a weekly food basket, advice only, food basket only, and diet as usual. After 6 months it was found a food basket resulted in the same small benefits as providing a pamphlet of information.

PositiveTip: Even small measures may lead to lasting positive dietary changes.

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The I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter Blues

SoyNut Butter contaminated with Escherichia coli.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now attributes the consumption of  I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter to at least 16 cases of E Coli infection in 9 states. Half of those infected have been hospitalized, and 5 have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (blood in the urine). The SoyNut Butter Co. has recalled all varieties of its products due to possible contamination.

PositiveTip: If you purchased this SoyNut Butter or any of the I.M. Healthy granola products, do not consume them. Return them to the place of purchase. Call the company at 1-800-288-1012 if you have questions.

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Colorectal Cancer Increasing Among Young Adults

Obesity in young adults increases risk of colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer appears to be increasing in younger adults after decades of declining rates. Between 1974 and 2013 colon cancer rates increased by 2.4% each year for adults in their 20s and by 1% among those in the 30s. The increase in the same population for rectal cancer was even greater. It is suspected that high obesity rates may play a significant role in this increase.

PositiveTip: While we often repeat this, maintaining ideal body weight through a balanced diet and physical activity reduces the risk of colorectal cancer.

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Excess Weight Increases Risk of Eleven Cancers

The absence of excess body fat lowers the risk of most cancers,

Scientists have found 11 types of cancer show a strong association with excess body fat, according to a systematic review of the literature. The strongest evidence was seen for gastric, colon, rectum, bile duct system, pancreas, breast, endometrial, ovary, kidney, esophageal adenocarcinoma, and multiple myeloma.

PositiveTip: Avoid consuming excess calories and engage in physical activity daily to maintain ideal weight and reduce your risk of these common cancers.

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AAP Issues Guidelines to Parents About Marijuana Use

Average cannabis potency has surged and many adolescents have overdosed.

While cannabis acceptance in society is increasing, there are significant issues parents need to be aware of:

  • the developing adolescent brain can be harmed by regular marijuana use
  • vaporizing cannabis may introduce toxic chemicals into young bodies
  • parents should not use marijuana in front of their children to avoid inadvertently encouraging its use
  • marijuana edibles should be carefully stored away from children

PositiveTip: Remember, the younger an adolescent begins using drugs, the more likely that adult drug dependence or addiction will develop.


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Exercise and Air Pollution

Cycling to work in certain cities could be more dangerous than doing nothing.

Fifteen cities in the world have air pollution so bad that 60 minutes of daily cycling outweighs the benefits of exercise. By measuring the annual levels of PM2.5 pollution (tiny particles that embed themselves deep in the lungs) which are created mainly by vehicles and factories, scientists modeled the health effects of active forms of travel and air pollution. No U.S. or European city is included in these 15 cities.

PositiveTip: Choose to exercise outdoors at the time of day when air pollution is at the lowest levels.

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How Exercise Contributes to Cancer Prevention

Exercise can lower the risk of developing cancer.

Exercise contributes many direct and indirect biochemical changes that help explain its anti-cancer benefits. A few of these include:

  1. Changes to cell-growth regulators.
  2. Stimulate proteins involved in DNA repair.
  3. Improves immunity, especially regular, moderate exercise.
  4. Helps reduce chronic inflammation.
  5. Contributes to weight management.
  6. Outdoor exercise can result in increased exposure to sunlight and vitamin D.

There are likely many other pathways as well. Learn more by reading this excellent summary.

PositiveTip: Choose to get moderate exercise almost everyday of the week to enhance your health and lower your risk of cancer.

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Is Butter Back?

Using healthy plant oils will definitely reduce the risk of heart disease.

In spite of media attention to a systematic review and meta-analysis looking at the association of butter consumption and chronic disease, a careful analysis would suggest otherwise.  Even the authors of this study suggest butter is not "back". What the headlines missed is that there are no specific comparators. The default comparison was butter vs. the rest of the diet--which is usually an unhealthy mix of refined grains, soda, sugar and red meat.

PositiveTip: Butter is still a worse choice than sources of healthy unsaturated fats like olive, soybean or canola oil.