Study: Soda Consumption Increases Overall Stroke Risk

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According to a new study.

Researchers from Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute and Harvard University have found that greater consumption of sugar-sweetened and low-calorie sodas is associated with a higher risk of stroke. Conversely, consumption of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee was associated with a lower risk.

The study — recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition — is the first to examine soda’s affect on stroke risk. Previous research has linked sugar-sweetened beverage consumption with weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout and coronary artery disease.

“Soda remains the largest source of added sugar in the diet,” said Adam Bernstein, MD, ScD, study author and Research Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. “What we’re beginning to understand is that regular intake of these beverages sets off a chain reaction in the body that can potentially lead to many diseases — including stroke.”

In sugar-sweetened sodas, the sugar load may lead to rapid increases in blood glucose and insulin which, over time, may lead to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and inflammation. These physiologic changes influence atherosclerosis, plaque stability and thrombosis — all of which are risk factors of ischemic stroke. This risk for stroke appears higher in women than in men.

In comparison, coffee contains chlorogenic acids, lignans and magnesium, all of which act as antioxidants and may reduce stroke risk. When compared with one serving of sugar-sweetened soda, one serving of decaffeinated coffee was associated with a 10 percent lower risk of stroke.

Well, I always drink sugar-free sodas. But, I suppose I should limit the intake and if I need an additional caffeine bump during the day, I will drink coffee.


Fewer Americans Eating Healthy in 2011

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According to the latest Gallup Poll.

Americans’ self-reported healthy eating habits dipped slightly in 2011, after improving in 2010. The percentage of Americans reporting they ate healthy all day “yesterday” declined to 66.1% in 2011 from 67.7% in 2010. Likewise, 56.0% of Americans reported eating five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables on at least four days in the previous week last year, down from 57.1% in 2010. As a result, the gains observed from 2009 to 2010 were essentially undone last year.

This is not good news.

Come on folks, spend a little time in preparing an appropriate, nutritional diet and exercise a little bit.

It is for better health!

Healthy eating can help reduce people’s risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and several types of cancer, as well as help them maintain a healthy body weight. Good eating habits mean consuming various nutritious foods and beverages, especially vegetables, fruits, and low-fat and fat-free dairy products; limiting intake of saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium; and balancing caloric intake with calories burned to manage body weight.


Food and Drug Administration Says Soda is Safe – Not Cancer Causing

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I am relieved and I am sure most consumers that love caramel colored soda are too.

U.S. regulators said soft drinks from PepsiCo Inc and Coca-Cola Co posed no health risk, contrary to a U.S. watchdog group that reported several popular brands contain high levels of a chemical linked to cancer in animals.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said it found unsafe levels of a chemical used to make caramel color in cans of Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc’s Dr. Pepper, and Whole Foods’ 365 Cola.

The group asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban caramel coloring agents that contain the chemical known as 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MI. This follows a similar plea last year.

“Coke and Pepsi, with the acquiescence of the FDA, are needlessly exposing millions of Americans to a chemical that causes cancer,” said CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson. “If companies can make brown food coloring that is carcinogen-free, the industry should use that.”

The FDA said it is reviewing the group’s petition, but that the drinks were still safe.

“A consumer would have to consume well over a thousand cans of soda a day to reach the doses administered in the studies that have shown links to cancer in rodents,” said Doug Karas, an FDA spokesman, in a statement.

Now, as far as the sugar is concerned with regards to obesity and diabetes, that is another story.

Moderation with soda whether it be regular or not is the best course of action anyway.


New Anti-Obesity Drug Qnexa Receives FDA Advisory Panel Approval

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Although I have lost my weight through the long drawn out process of diet and exercise, a drug, Qnexa, is showing some promise.

The second time’s a charm for Vivus’s experimental obesity drug Qnexa, at least when it comes to FDA advisory panel votes.

As the WSJ reports, one of the agency’s advisory panels today backed approval of the drug by a decisive 20-2 vote. The FDA — which often but not always follows the advice of its outside panels — is due to make its decision by April 17.

If the drug is approved, it would be the first new prescription weight-loss drug in over a decade. Qnexa combines low doses of two existing drugs: phentermine, which cuts appetite, and topiramate, now used to combat seizures and migraines.

Back in July 2010, FDA advisors voted against approving Qnexa by a margin of 10-6. The FDA itself nixed the drug later in the year, requesting more safety information.

Vivus submitted additional clinical data to the FDA in an attempt to allay its concerns. It’s not clear whether that will be enough to satisfy the agency, though. In briefing documents released ahead of today’s meeting, the FDA raised concerns about possible effects on the heart and about birth defects.

But it also noted that Qnexa produced “significant” weight loss in the first year of treatment, with some regain in the second year.

So, we will see if the FDA grants full approval.

This drug may provide the jump start that people need to start on the road to better health. It is probably not a panacea.


Will Overeating Contribute to Memory Loss?

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Yes, actually doubling the risk of memory loss, according to a new study.

New research suggests that consuming between 2,100 and 6,000 calories per day may double the risk of memory loss, or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), among people age 70 and older.

The study was just released and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans April 21 to April 28, 2012. MCI is the stage between normal memory loss that comes with aging and early Alzheimer’s disease.

“We observed a dose-response pattern which simply means; the higher the amount of calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of MCI,” said study author Yonas E. Geda, MD, MSc, with the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

At my current weight of 230 pounds, I am eating around 1900 net calories. Of course, this will decrease, with my reduction in body weight.

But, at least I am under the threshold of daily calories at present.

The odds of having MCI more than doubled for those in the highest calorie-consuming group compared to those in the lowest calorie-consuming group. The results were the same after adjusting for history of stroke, diabetes, amount of education, and other factors that can affect risk of memory loss. There was no significant difference in risk for the middle group.

“Cutting calories and eating foods that make up a healthy diet may be a simpler way to prevent memory loss as we age,” said Geda.