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metabolic syndrome

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Artificial Sweeteners Not So Sweet

Sucralose may cause inflammation and fat formation.

Sucralose is a popular non-caloric artificial sweetener thought to be safe. In a small, early study, researchers have shown its use may predispose people to metabolic syndrome. Dr. S. Sen, a senior study author, said, "The only part that's not there is the calories--it's not adding the calories, but it's doing everything else that glucose does." A larger study is now underway to assess other types of artificial sweeteners.

PositiveTip: Choose to enjoy less intensely sweet foods by lowering your intake of sweetened and artificially-sweetened foods.

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Importance of Meal Regularity

Regular meal times are healthier!

Research in Britain involving 1768 participants examined meal regularity. Those with the most meal irregularity were 34% more likely to experience metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors that raise the risk for heart disease) than those with the least irregularity. When this cohort was followed for 17 years those with more lunch time irregularity had a higher risk for metabolic syndrome. An early health reformer, Ellen G White wrote: "Irregularities in eating destroy the healthful tone of the digestive organs, to the detriment of health and cheerfulness."

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"Eveningness" and Diabetes Risk

Many factors in modern life--lights, computers, Internet--keep us awake at night!

If you tend to be a night owl, you may be at higher risk for diabetes. Korean researchers found middle-age adults with a preference for going to bed late were 1.73 times as likely to have diabetes and metabolic syndrome. These differences persisted after adjusting for sleep length and other lifestyle factors. This early study did not show causation. It could be that unhealthy lifestyle habits influence circadian rhythms, or the opposite could be true.

PositiveTip: Establish good sleep habits and reduce your risk of diabetes.

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Breakfast Habits May Predict Risk of Cardiovascular Disorders

Youth who eat a poor breakfast are at higher risk for metabolic syndrome in adulthood.

A new study from Sweden adds more evidence to the importance of a healthy breakfast. Researchers surveyed 889 adolescents's breakfast habits and then checked their health 27 years later. They found that youth who missed breakfast or ate a nutritionally deficient breakfast were 68% more likely to have metabolic syndrome than students who ate a hearty, healthy breakfast.

PositiveTip: Eat a healthy breakfast every day and you may prevent cardiovascular health risks later.

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Mediterranean-style Diet Wins Again

Using more plant foods gave firefighters a big benefit.

Researchers studied almost 800 U.S. firefighters for 5 years, gathering information on how closely they followed a Mediterranean-style diet along with specific health risk factors. Those who followed this diet most closely had a 35% lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome and a 43% lower risk of gaining weight, compared to the least conforming. Consuming more fruits and vegetables and not eating fried foods and sugary drinks yielded positive dividends.

PositiveTip: Make wholesome choices in your diet today to improve and support good health.

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Breakfast Consumption Reduces Heart Risks

Breakfast reduces cardiovascular risk and obesity.

Recent research into the effects of breakfast on cardiovascular risk in Italians shows that individuals who eat breakfast have lower CVD risk, enjoy better physical health, and have nearly 40% lower risk of metabolic syndrome. Eating breakfast lowered the risk of having a higher BMI, abdominal obesity, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, blood glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and C-reactive protein, all cardiovascular risk factors.

PositiveTip:  Eating a good breakfast can significantly reduce multiple CVD risk factors.


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Young Shift Workers May Have Higher Risk of CVD

Misalignment between circadian rhythm and behavioral rhythm may increase disease risk.

Shift workers younger than 40 years of age were found to have significantly higher levels of cortisol ("stress" hormone) compared to their day worker counterparts. This small Dutch study also found that shift workers weighed significantly more. These observations could place them at higher risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

PositiveTip: The lack of regularity in life, along with working outside of standard hours, may raise risks of disease. If possible, avoid these shifts.

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Work More, Get More (Benefit)!

Exercising longer and more frequently helps cardiac rehab patients lose more weight!

It seems in life that nothing worthwhile comes easily! A newly published research paper underscores this fact in finding the higher the energy expenditure of overweight patients in a cardiac rehabilitation program, the greater the improvement in risk.

Typical protocols result in little weight loss for the more than 80% overweight patients who enter cardiac rehabilitation programs. Investigators designed exercise programs which increased energy expenditure by 615 kcal per day compared to the 269 kcal increase in the control group. At five months those in the high-calorie exercise expenditure group had lost more than twice as much weight, and their insulin resistance was significantly better.