Doctor Housecalls Blog

Healthcare related news and updates



Higher Coffee Consumption Is Linked with Lower Risk of Death for Many

A new study released by the European Society of Cardiology Congress found that higher coffee consumption is linked with a lower risk of death. That does not mean just one cup of coffee a day. Up to 4 cups of coffee a day can reduce your chances of an early death. Previous studies have shown that high coffee consumption may be linked with a higher risk of mortality, however this research has never been conducted in a Mediterranean country. Researchers thought that the risks or benefits of coffee consumption may be different  for those who consume a Mediterranean diet and lifestyle.

 

The study followed 20,000 patients whose average age was 37.7 years old. The participants were researched and studied for over the course of ten years. The results of the study found that participants who drank four or more cups of coffee a day had a 64% lower risk of death than those who never or almost never drank coffee. For participants over the age of 45, drinking two additional cups of coffee a day reduced their risk of death by 30%. Another study found that drinking coffee contributed to a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

 

In conclusion, drinking 4 cups of coffee today as a part of a healthy diet can contribute to that healthy diet. Therefore, if you are following a healthy diet and lifestyle, don’t worry about cutting down on the coffee, consider drinking more instead. However, this study did not show that drinking coffee can benefit people with unhealthy diets.

 



2 Teaspoons of Salt a Day is Too Much for Your Heart

The typical American diet contains too much salt, and it is a direct cause of heart problems. A US Study suggests that the amount of salt each American adult eats a day is enough to damage the heart muscle and make it more difficult to pump blood. It is already well known that a high-salt diet is linked to an elevated risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure. This study reinforces that, but draws a direct correlation between daily intake of salt and heart problems.

In the study, the people who ate two teaspoons of salt a day were “more likely to have enlargement in the left chambers of the heart that are responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood into the body” in comparison to people who ate less than two teaspoons of salt a day. They were also more likely to have a muscle strain in the heart.

This study makes it very clear that American adults should cut back on their daily salt intake. To be on the safe side, adults should try to eat less than 2 grams of salt every day.

 



Fewer Overweight and Obese Americans Trying to Lose Weight

 

The AP reported that fewer overweight and obese Americans are trying to lose weight in recent years. It has been speculated that “fat acceptance” may be one of the many reasons.

 

Some researchers have concluded that the socially accepted body weight in the US has gotten heavier and heavier. Many people do not view being overweight as a problem anymore.

 

Other reasons may be that people are giving up after a few failed attempts at losing weight. A government health survey showed that over the last 30 years less and less of the participants had tried to lose weight, while more participants in the study were classified as overweight or obese.

 

There has specifically been a decline in black women trying to lose weight. It is hard to tell whether that is due to social acceptance of being overweight or diet frustrations. However, many researchers do believe in a recent incline of “fat acceptance”, and while it is good that less people are being ridiculed for their weight, there is a major concern for the health risks associated with obesity. Obesity can increase risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other ailments.

 



Although diabetes was thought to have been a problem mainly in wealthier countries, the Washington Post reports that the condition now disproportionately affects poor countries. According to the World Health Organization, diabetes cases have doubled worldwide between 1980 and 2014. This means that one in 12 people around the world is diabetic. This increase in diabetes has been attributed to a number of factors such as excess weight gain, obesity and an aging population.

Not only does diabetes significantly shorten lifespans, it is a huge economic burden. Current health spending to treat diabetes and related conditions is over $800 billion every year. The World Health Organization is calling on all governments to draft legislation that will promote healthier lifestyle decisions and limit the consumption of foods that are high in fat and sugar.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/04/06/diabetes-was-once-a-problem-of-the-rich-now-it-belongs-to-the-poor/



According to Bloomberg News, data from federal nutrition surveys revealed that people who have consumed fast food in the last 24 hours may have elevated levels of certain industrial chemicals in their bodies. These chemicals, called phthlates, have been shown to disrupt the male reproductive system in rats, and there is evidence that a similar effect could occur in humans.

The data also showed that fast food was a significant source of phthlates, and that the chemicals may leach into food from machinery used in processing or packaging or from gloves worn by workers.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-13/fast-food-eaters-have-more-industrial-chemicals-in-their-bodies



A study published in the British Medical Journal found that consuming too much vegetable oil may increase the risk of heart disease rather than decrease it. The research re-evaluated experiments conducted between 1968 and 1973 that suggested that vegetable oil helped to protect the heart from the damage that animal fats were thought to do. It was discovered that only part of the trial’s results were published, particularly contrary data that suggested that vegetable fats did not protect the heart when they replaced animal fats.

http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i1246



An article posted on the New York Times “Well” blog suggests that high-fat diets can be linked to daytime sleepiness. According to research published in the medical journal “Nutrients,” men who were in the highest one-quarter of fat intake in an 1,800 person survey were 78 percent more likely to feel sleepy in the middle of the day and almost three times as likely to have sleep apnea when compared to those who were in the lowest one-quarter of fat intake. The connection between fat intake and sleep apnea was also more apparent in people with a higher body mass index.

http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/4/207/htm



If you watch or read the news, you’ve probably read about the E. coli infections linked to the Chipotle restaurant chain.  While these outbreaks were large, with 52 people in nine states infected, they are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S.  According to a New York Times (12/15, Bakalar) report, the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that from 2010 to 2014, there were 120 multi-state foodborne infection outbreaks.  These outbreaks caused a total of 7,929 illnesses, 1,460 hospitalizations, and 66 deaths.

While these numbers are alarming, the Boston Globe (12/15, Rocheleau) reports that CDC data reflects a downward trend in the numbers.  The number of outbreaks actually peaked in 2000, with 1,405 cases reported.  Since then the numbers have leveled off to about 800 cases per year.  No one state had more outbreaks than another and imported foods account for only 18 percent of the outbreaks.  The main sources of the outbreaks are fruit, beef, sprouts, and vegetable row crops like lettuce.  Other contamination has come from dairy products, turkey, chicken, eggs, and fish.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’]http://www.drhousecallsofpv.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/sjlphoto1sm.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]
Steven J. Lipsky MD, FACEP has been a Board Certified Emergency Physician in Arizona for the last 37 years, and a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley for the last 37 years. Steve Lipsky on Google Plus[/author_info] [/author]



Green Coffee Bean Extract–Magical Weight Loss Supplement: Fact or Fiction?
Joseph Flanagan MD, FACEP, FACEP

By now, everyone has heard all the hype about green coffee bean extract and its ability to cause weight loss. It seems like we have been bombarded with this news on the internet and television. The questions is: Does it really work? The answer, it seems, is yet to be determined. The most recent study involved only 16 adults between the ages of 22 and 46. They were given a standard coffee bean extract of chlorogenic acid and other organic acids at varying doses of between 700-1050 mg per day for 12 weeks. These over-weight adults (BMI greater than 25 with normal being between 18.5 and 25) lost an average of 18 lbs or 10 % of their over-all body weight, with no dieting or increase in exercise. There were no reported adverse side effects. The researcher did not believe caffeine was the cause of the weight loss.

Previous studies have suggested that chlorogenic acid is the key chemical causing this weight loss. It has been shown to decrease liver glucose (sugar) and slow the absorption of fat from foods while increasing the metabolism of fat. The roasting of coffee beans for brewing is done to remove its bitterness. The roasting also removes most of its chlorogenic acid.

The results of this small study are promising, but it will take a much larger study of longer duration to sort out long term effects and safety. Additionally, given the limited age range of the test subjects, efficacy, and safety for older adults is not known.

Not all green coffee bean extracts are created equal. Make sure to search for a product that lists its ingredients. Look for a product that has 45% or more of chlorogenic acid at doses of 200-400mg. Take it no more than three times per day, 30 minutes before meals. Do not take it if you are allergic to caffeine or coffee.

If you decide to try it, understand that supplements are not held to the same scrutiny as pharmaceutical medications and there have been many problems caused by supplements in the past. Also, be aware that because it has not been adequately studied, there is risk of unknown adverse side effects.



SuperFoods
Dr. Steve Lipsky MD, FACEP

It has long been known that certain vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, berries, and teas are good for you, but several are now known to provide health benefits, such as strengthening our immune systems and preventing / combating diseases. These so-called “Superfoods” provide benefits besides basic nutrition, and a recent article in the Arizona Republic discussed 10 of them, (although there is no “official” list):

  • Oats – Reduces bad cholesterol and thus helps prevent heart disease. Research has shown that one bowl per day may reduce cholesterol up to 23%
  • Doctor Housecalls bannerBerries – Red, blue, or black have large stores of antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals and other high energy molecules that are thought to lead to cancer and premature aging. They have more fiber, minerals, and vitamins per weight that other fruits. Some studies show that only 1 cup/wk is effective.
  • Walnuts – These are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids which protect against cancer, inflammation that causes disease (even those thought to cause heart disease by many) and inflammation that accelerates aging.  They even play a role in possibly stabilizing moods and increasing brainpower. (Dr. Oz loves them!!)
  • Fish rich in Omega-3 – Salmon, mackerel, trout, and swordfish are rich in this fatty acid that is cardioprotective, and has been shown to help treat depression and arthritis. They should be eaten 2-3 times per week.
  • Quinoa – A seed that was a staple of the ancient Incan diet, is a “complete protein” meaning it contains all the 8 essential amino acids that one’s body can use to make the other 13 if needed. These are the building blocks of all proteins in the body. It is a delicious substitute for rice, and is gluten-free.
  • Dark Greens – Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, seaweed, etc. are packed with antioxidants that (as above) reduce inflammation that can lead to cancer and heart attacks.
  • Avocado – Lowers cholesterol and helps prevent cancer and heart disease due to containing oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated “good” fat, as well as being packed with minerals.
  • Dark Chocolate – Helps decrease blood pressure, reduce “bad” cholesterol, and is good for the heart.
  • Yogurt – Contains probiotics that are the “good” bacteria that line our intestines. These help to resolve diarrhea problems wherein the normal  bacteria population has been offset, as well as helping boost the immune system, and have been shown to improve asthma, eczema and Crohn’s disease as well.

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