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Soda Clogs Arteries Even in Skinny Women

Sugary drinks create heart risks for women even if they are normal weight. This is the finding of a study presented at the American Heart Association meetings in Florida by Dr. Christina Shay.

In this study, 4000 women from 45-84 years of age were followed for 5 years. Women who drank two or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day were compared to women who drank one or less daily. 

Women drinking two or more sugary drinks per day were four times as likely to develop high triglycerides. This was true for skinny women as well as those who were overweight. Elevated triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease. So, sodas in the daily diet can clog your arteries, leading to heart attacks and death. 

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Fructose-sweetened Foods May Lead to Obesity

Fructose consumption seems to decrease hormones that control food intake.

Researchers found that normal weight women who consumed fructose-sweetened beverages lowered their 24-hour insulin and leptin levels as well as increased the post-meal triglyceride levels as compared to glucose-sweetened beverages. The hormones insulin and leptin help control satiety levels, and the authors suggested that high fructose intakes might lead to obesity.

PositiveTip: Most soft drinks and many sweet desserts are high in fructose, and would best be avoided.


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Walnuts Reduce Cholesterol, Salmon Raises It

Walnuts & fatty fish influence different serum lipids in normal to mildly hyperlipidemic people.

Eating one and a half ounces of walnuts a day for a week lowered both total and LDL cholesterol by 5.4% and 9.3%, respectively. For every 1% drop in LDL cholesterol there is a 2% drop in coronary heart disease risk, so this translates to an 18.6% reduced risk of heart disease. 

In contrast, two 4-ounce servings a week of salmon raised HDL cholesterol about 4% and decreased triglycerides by 11%. However, for people with mild to moderately high cholesterol levels, salmon actually raised both the total and LDL cholesterol.

PositiveTip: Replacing servings of meat with 1.5 oz. of walnuts daily in cereal or added to salad can reduce your risk of heart disease.


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Abdominal Obesity Predicts Chronic Diseases and Mortality

Abdominal obesity is more prevalent in diabetics, hypertensives, and CAD patients.

Swiss researchers found that abdominal obesity (AO) is highly prevalent in coronary artery disease patients and among those who have significantly higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, lower HDL-cholesterol levels and higher triglyceride levels than non-abdominal obese patients. AO patients also have higher resting heart rates, which is a strong predictor of mortality.

PositiveTip: A calorie-restricted vegetarian diet and exercise are shown to reduce abdominal fat significantly more than a regular calorie-restricted diet and exercise. Also exercise reduces the resting heart rate as you become more fit.

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Effects of Soy milk as a Dietary Complement

Soy milk lowers cardiovascular risk, extends survival and prevents brain neuron loss.

Rats fed a soy milk supplemented diet showed decreased total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and an increase in HDL cholesterol. Soy milk decreased fat peroxidation in brain, liver and kidney tissue. Animals with soy milk in their diet lost fewer brain neurons and survived significantly longer than those on a standard diet.

PositiveTip: Soy milk can be great way to improve lipid profiles and reduce tissue damage from oxidative stress.

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Triglycerides Respond Well to Diet and Exercise

Intensive lifestyle changes can cut triglyceride levels by half.

The American Heart Association has released an expert report recommending diet and physical activity rather than drugs to lower blood levels of triglycerides. Based on an analysis of 500 studies from the past 30 years, this report recommends that anyone with a triglyceride level above 150 mg/dL should boost their physical activity to at least 150 minutes per week or more in addition to limiting added sugars, processed foods and saturated fats.

PositiveTip: Simple things such as walking more and eating a healthy diet can make a significant difference in lowering heart disease risk.

The Triglyceride/Waist Tool

Two simple measurements have been found accurately predict the development of coronary heart disease. One is measuring the distance around the waist at the level of the belly button and the second is measuring blood triglyceride levels.

This research was just published based on a study of 25,668 men and women in Norfolk, United Kingdom.