December 8, 2016

Avocados: An Excellent Way to Fight Cholesterol

hass-avocoado-with-slice_zyPwlDO_Lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are a reality that many adults are challenged with. An abundance of cholesterol causes your blood stream to carry more plaque and cholesterol in your arteries. Excess plaque can create a blockage that causes chest pains and greatly increases the risk of heart attacks and other heart conditions.

The first step to avoid these severe situations is to improve your diet by consuming foods that help lower LDL levels. A recent study that was reviewed by WebMD showed the beneficial effects of avocados on your LDL levels. This comes as a surprise to many people, as avocados are commonly seen as a fatty food, which seems counteractive to combating high cholesterol. However, they are in fact high in monounsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber, all ingredients that help lower LDL levels. Researchers concluded that “people on a moderate-fat diet who ate an avocado every day had lower [LDL] cholesterol levels than those on a similar diet without an avocado a day or those who were on a lower-fat diet” [1].


[1] Avocados Help Lower Cholesterol in some People. WebMd. Retrieved from:]

August 1, 2015

Lack of Exercise May Not Have Anything to Do with Obesity

Filed under: disease,epidemic,overweight — Tags: , , , — drwatson @ 8:00 am

Weight Loss GoalsAn article published in The BMJ (British Journal of Sports Medicine) takes a look at why obesity continues to be a problem.  The article featured a review conducted by sports medical researchers and clinicians who feel sugar and carbs may be leading factors contributing to obesity instead of lack of exercise or regular physical activity.The review says exercise can still be helpful in reducing a number of health risks, but some say there are elements of this concept that need further review.

Consuming high levels of sugar and carbohydrates could be the leading cause behind excessive weight gain or the obesity epidemic.  This means part of the problem leans towards poor dieting habits. Researchers still support regular exercise but say even athletes or people who are physically active could be at risk of gaining weight.  Regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes.  So, why are people more likely to gain weight through sugar consumption versus lack of exercise?

Researchers believe poor dieting puts people at a greater risk of developing a disease more than smoking, alcohol and lack of exercise combined.  This element may also give clarity as to why more children are experiencing obesity.  Researchers believe individuals are at risk for obesity due to metabolic abnormalities they believe roughly 40 percent of people may harbor.   Such abnormalities are key players in cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

The food and beverage industry is receiving criticism in light of these findings. While many people say this is something consumers have known for years, there is an element that has a need for clarification.  For years food beverage companies spend millions of dollars promoting the aspect of “fewer calories.”  Some companies try to link their product to sports activity.  Such companies are believed to mislead consumers into thinking their products (energy drinks, soda pop, etc.) are okay to consume as long as you are physically active.   Yet, many beverages alone have high amounts of sugar and calories the body is known to store and increase a person’s hunger. Calories from fat encourage satiation.

Researchers feel the food industry is trying to make the aspect of lack of exercise as the core issue behind obesity.  They feel their tactics are similar to what big tobacco companies do to encourage people to keep smoking.  The food industry engaged in similar tactics when a previous study looked into how the industry may play a role in tooth decay.

January 27, 2011

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits

Filed under: food — Tags: , , , , , — drwatson @ 12:07 am

Apple cider vinegar is commonly referred to as a cure for just about any ailment you can think of. Could that be physically possible though? Vinegar is used for a lot of things, but there is no concrete evidence found in research to show that any form of vinegar can be used for good health.

Apple cider vinegar is made through the process of fermentation. Yeast and bacteria are added to juices that are crushed and squeezed out of apples; the sugars are then turned into alcohol. The alcohol is then converted to vinegar by an acid forming bacteria known as acetobacter. The acid in vinegar is what gives it such a sour taste.

Some health magazines claim that vinegar will do great and different things for an individual’s health. It is claimed to treat diseases, health conditions, and even some annoyances. It is said that vinegar will kill head lice, ease digestion, reverse aging, and wash toxins from the body. All of these claims have been made with little to no research.

Although many claims are made with no research, there are some medical uses that show promise:

High cholesterol – A study on rats done in 2006 showed that vinegar does have the potential to lower cholesterol. While this study looks promising there is still no concrete proof to show it is possible.

Diabetes – Vinegar affects blood sugar levels in very positive ways. Several studies show that vinegar may also help glucose levels.

Weight Loss – Vinegar has been used as a tool for weight loss for a very long time, the reason being that it helps people feel full. A recent study had people eat bread with and without vinegar which showed that those who had vinegar felt fuller after they ate.

While this looks promising, negative effects of vinegar have also been found. Apple cider vinegar and a lot of other vinegars are very acidic; this has a lot of negative health effects on its own. The acidity can harm tooth enamel, and tissue in your mouth and throat. Long term use of apple cider vinegar could lower potassium levels and reduce bone density. It can also affect people with diabetes; vinegar contains chromium which has potential to alter insulin levels.

It is unclear whether or not using apple cider vinegar is a good idea due to lack of research. Using very small amounts from time to time shows very low risk, however using it in large doses is not recommended. Using apple cider vinegar shows both negative and positive results whether or not it’s a good idea or not is up to you!

July 12, 2010

Mandatory High Cholesterol Screening For Kids

Despite all the high cholesterol screenings being conducted left, right, and centre, kids are being left out. A recent study finds that some children who have a genetic case of high cholesterol would benefit from medications for high cholesterol. Ten percent of children who have high cholesterol are missed in these screenings.

It was discovered in the study that 36 percent of children who have high cholesterol that is treatable by medication have been missed in cholesterol screen tests. It was also found by taking lipid tests in West Virginia that 71 percent of the children meet screening requirements based solely on their family history. If cholesterol screenings were mandatory it is thought that early diagnosis would be beneficial for children.

The only loophole in this plan is putting children on medication that they may have to rely on for their entire lives. This may be best not to start at such a young age. Obesity levels were not taken into account in this study.

Information provided on this website is for general purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of advice from your practitioner.

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