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Improved Diets Reduce Risk of Death

People who maintain a high-quality diet for 12 years have a lower risk of death.

Reports from two large cohort studies of health professionals demonstrate that people who maintain a high-quality diet over 12 years experienced significantly lower risks of death from any cause, compared to those who had a consistently low diet score. The Alternative Healthy Eating Index, the Alternative Mediterranean Diet, and the DASH diet yielded a 9-16% reduction in mortality.

PositiveTip: Following a balanced, healthy diet can yield big benefits in disease prevention.

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Muscle Health and Plant-based Protein

Plant-based protein supports excellent musculoskeletal function.

Traditional thinking held animal protein was necessary to maintain musculoskeletal health. Almost 3000 men and women with a mean age of 40 were studied to determine if this was correct. Researchers compared 6 dietary patterns, in one of which the protein came primarily from plant foods. All protein clusters provided recommended amounts of protein. It was found that the plant proteins were equal to those with the animal protein.

PositiveTip: As long as adequate amounts of protein are consumed, plant protein supports muscle health just fine.

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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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Diet Plus Exercise Good for Diabetes Prevention

Diet and exercise still the best way to prevent type 2 diabetes.

Almost 2800 adults were randomized to a lifestyle intervention (diet and exercise), metformin (medication), or placebo groups and followed for 15 years. The incidence of diabetes was reduced by 27% in the lifestyle group and 18% in the metformin group relative to the placebo group.

PositiveTip: Make healthy diet and exercise choices every day. They play a major role in preventing disease!

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Healthy Diet Helps Low-income Population

A good diet in the underserved population helps prevent illness.

Low-income U.S. adults who eat a healthy diet experienced about 20% lower risk of heart disease and cancer. Almost 78,000 adults, half who had an annual income less than $15,000, were followed from 2002 to 2009. The quality of their diets was evaluated using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Healthy Eating Index. After adjusting for confounders, the advantages remained.

PositiveTip: Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and some nuts. Reduce or eliminate red and processed meats and sugar-sweetened foods. 

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How You Eat Affects the Earth’s Future

Diets that “add about a decade to our lives can also prevent environmental damage”

Here is a new perspective: a recent ecological study found if populations switched from omnivore diets to either Mediterranean, pescatarian (no meat except fish) or vegetarian diets, it could improve life span, reduce diabetes by 25%, cancer by 10% and heart disease by 20%. Furthermore, food production greenhouse gas emissions would reduce in amounts equal to what all cars, trucks, plans trains and ships currently emit.

PositiveTip: Model healthy eating and reduce food consumption that taxes our planet.

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Lifestyle Matters!

Forty years of lifestyle changes in communities reduce morbidity and mortality.

A 40 year community-based effort in a rural Maine (U.S.) county to help residents control elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, stop smoking, eat healthfully, and exercise more appears to have yielded significant benefits. Compared with other counties in the same state, Franklin's residents have lower mortality rates and fewer hospitalizations resulting in savings of $5.4 million in hospital charges annually after adjusting for income.

PositiveTip: Simple, positive lifestyle changes yield big benefits over time!

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How to Avoid Bad Health Advice Online

The worst weight-loss websites often appear on the first search page.

Health news researchers rated the weight loss advice on 103 websites according to evidence-based criteria. Health blogs, government, medical and academic websites had the highest quality information while 80% of websites were below average. Unfortunately, 90% of all clicks usually originate on the first page of search results, which is where websites with poor information and unrealistic weight loss claims were most likely to appear.

PositiveTip: Read internet health advice critically, check the sources and skim (or skip) the first page of search results.

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Eating Healthy Foods Reduces Impact of Aging

Telomere length is longer with a healthy diet.

A Mediterranean dietary pattern is characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and unrefined grains; a high intake of olive oil and low intake of saturated fat; and a low to moderate amount of animal food. This type of dietary is now associated with longer telomere length--a biomarker for aging. The greater the adherence to this type of eating the longer the telomeres.

PositiveTip: A healthy diet may reduce the effects of aging!

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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.