Saturday, August 16, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
MyPyramid - a free online weight loss program, , offers personalized eating plans, interactive tools to help you plan and assess your food choices, and advice to help you.
On My Pyramid.gov you can create a personalized plan using tools such as your own meal planner, exercise tracker, and an estimator for how much you need to sustain or lose your weight. Women who are pregnant or breast feeding can also find a section for them.
MyPyramid.gov also offers tips on each food group, vegetarian diets, eating out, and physical activity.
For a way to save time and money by not having to attend expensive weight loss programs that take your money and don’t offer realistic lasting plans you can live with, this is a great alternative. It is trustworthy, dependable, and the best part - it’s free!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Children who have poor physical control and coordination have a higher risk of being obese in later life, a new study suggests.
The research, published on bmj.com, found that at age seven years poor hand control, poor coordination and clumsiness occurred more often among individuals who would be obese adults.
In addition, poorer function at age 11 was associated with obesity at age 33.
The researchers from Orebro University hospital, Sweden, and Imperial College London argue that the findings contribute to a growing body of evidence on the link between poorer cognitive function in childhood and obesity and type two diabetes in adults.
They studied 11,042 individuals who are part of the ongoing National Child Development Study in Great Britain, which began in 1958.
Nearly 8,000 participants were assessed by teachers at age seven years to identify poor ability in hand control, coordination, and clumsiness, and 6,875 were tested for hand control and coordination at age 11 by a doctor.
Tests included copying a simple design to measure accuracy, marking squares on paper within a minute, and the time in seconds it took to pick up 20 matches.
The link between childhood coordination and adult obesity remained even when the researchers took other factors into account, such as childhood body mass and family social class.
"Some early life exposures [such as maternal smoking during pregnancy] or personal characteristics may impair the development of physical control and coordination, as well as increasing the risk of obesity in later life," the researchers conclude.
"Rather than being explained by a single factor, an accumulation throughout life of many associated cultural, personal, and economic exposures is likely to underlie the risks for obesity and some elements of associated neurological function."
WE have heard it all before. Obesity is on the rise and is considered a major health epidemic.
Being obese means there are risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, kidney disease and stroke, among others. To manage obesity, the oft-heard advice from doctors and experts is to diet — by eating healthy food which means more fruits and vegetables — and engage in physical activities. A sedentary lifestyle, after all, leads to obesity.However, according to one expert, encouraging obese people to exercise is fine but there has not been enough guidance on how much exercise is needed. Obesity problem specialist Dr Anthony Leeds says that while eating healthy food and diet have been the focus on reducing weight, most people tend to forget about exercising.Diet alone will not work without adequate time for physical activity. Even if someone is on a low-fat diet, there is still a need to exercise. [more]
Monday, August 11, 2008
Acne can occur in children as early as newborn babies and as late as 60 years old. Prime outbreak years meanwhile occur early in a person’s teenage years until the person’s thirties. It’s a matter of control when it comes to acne. Acne sufferers have to contend with the fact that acne can be controlled if not treated.
- Follow directions. Over the counter products can help you control acne and they contain ingredients that can stop acne before it becomes severe. Ointments, gels and powders containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and retinoids can help dry out pimples. However, follow the directions printed on the box. If used in larger dosages than necessary, it can cause scaling, burning and stinging and severe dryness which can only aggravate acne instead of helping ease it. Your doctor might also prescribe antibiotics to reduce the number of bacteria as well as speed up the healing process of the open pimples preventing scarring in the process.
- Keep your hands to yourself. Stop picking at your pimples or popping them out. This can do nothing but increase the scars on your face. Moreover, pus in the cysts or pimples can spread bacteria to other areas on your skin worsening your acne. Skin should be kept clean at all times.
- Consult your doctor. A specialist (dermatologist) can help you better understand acne and its implications. They can also prescribe the right dosages for the medication required. If you can afford it, talk to your doctor about the possibility of getting laser treatment, chemical peels or microdermabrasion. Your doctor can assess the extent of the acne and its damage and provide you with the proper treatment for it.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is an often painful condition that develops when tissue that looks and acts like the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) migrates outside the uterus.
This tissue implants itself on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, ligaments supporting the uterus, in the area between the vagina and rectum, on the outer surface of the uterus or on the lining of the pelvic cavity.
The tissue acts as if it were still in the uterus: Every month, in response to hormonal signals, it thickens, breaks down and bleeds. With no way out of the body, the trapped blood can cause inflammation, pain, scar tissue, adhesions and bowel problems.
The most common symptoms are severe menstrual cramps and pelvic pain during ovulation, intercourse, bowel movements or urination. Between a third and a half of affected women have fertility problems.
Conventional medicine treats endometriosis with pain medications and hormonal drugs, including birth control pills, to block ovulation and stop the menstrual cycle.
One drug is Danazol, a weak synthetic male hormone that suppresses growth of the endometrium. It can help but can also cause side effects such as acne and facial hair. Synarel blocks the menstrual cycle but can cause hot flashes and vaginal dryness. These drugs ease the pain but aren't a cure.
Try an anti-inflammatory diet to manage endometriosis nutritionally. Dr. Victoria Maizes, executive director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, suggests eliminating dairy foods for three weeks. Avoid all foods containing whey, casein and cow's milk or milk protein, because of the estrogenic hormones they contain. Other suggestions:
* Eat only hormone-free meat to avoid additional estrogen exposure.
* Avoid soy foods if you have not been eating them regularly; they are weakly estrogenic.
* Avoid alcohol (it affects how estrogen is metabolized).
* Choose organic foods.
* Try traditional Chinese medicine.
* Take omega 3 fatty acid supplements.
* Try whole licorice extracts, helpful for inflammatory disorders.
* Drink red raspberry leaf tea daily to relieve cramps.
* Take 500 mg of calcium and 250 mg of magnesium daily.
Do you have embarrassing acne scars that have you looking for ways on how to reduce acne scars?
When it comes to reducing acne scars you can either prevent them or treat them. Anyone who has suffered through acne doesn’t want to deal with the embarrassing after effects of scars.
So the following 3 tips can help you learn how to reduce acne scars.
1. You can choose to use natural methods to help reduce acne scar. Products with Vitamin E are a popular choice. Moisturizers are an excellent option. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money or use strong medical treatment, then Vitamin E is the best option to help you reduce acne scar. You can also choose to take Vitamin E orally to help improve your skin from the inside as well.
2. You can choose to use products that have aloe vera in order to reduce acne scar. When it comes to reducing acne scars, aloe vera can help fade scars faster and increase the healing of your skin. Aloe vera is available in gels, moisturizers and creams. However, each product will have different results so you may have to try several before getting your desired results.
3. If you want a fast remedy for acne scars then consider ice cubes. Rub the smooth side of an ice cube on your scar or face for at least fifteen minutes. This helps to freshen your skin and fade your scars.
Persons who are overweight, especially those who are obese, are more prone to weaken their immune system, develop dangerously high cholesterol and triglyceride blood levels, leading to accelerated hardening and blockages in their arteries to the heart and brain, kidneys and legs, resulting in high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, and even leg gangrene. They are also more likely to develop diabetes.
To manage and control weight, one does not need to spend a fortune buying weight loss pills, juices, diet foods, herbals, laxatives, or undergo chelation treatments, which is baseless and a scam. Besides, those expensive regimens are also unsafe and can cause more harm to the entire body.
Our weight is a function of how much calories we take in and how much calories we expend: calorie in, calorie out. If we take in more calories in a day than what we burn that day, obviously, we will gain weight, and vice versa.
Besides food intake, doing high energy exercises (brisk walking, swimming, aerobics, like dancing, tai bo for 30 minutes a day), will also help burn the calories. The best guide is by weighing once a week, at about the same time of the day, preferably naked. If the weight is still above the targeted weight, cutting down the food intake, especially carbohydrates (pop drinks and sweets, rice and bread, etc), which is the No. 1 culprit that leads to weight gain and added inches to the waistline, will scale one down to the desired weight. A diet primarily of fish and veggies, and some fruits, will work wonders in weight management and over-all health maintenance. Drinking a tall glass of water before each meal will also help.
While our own body (our liver) produces cholesterol on its own, the greater bulk of cholesterol in our blood comes from the food we eat. An elevated cholesterol level, which thickens our blood and causes hardening of the arteries that eventually plug the arteries, is implicated in the development of high blood pressure, arterial blockages in the abdomen and legs, heart attack, and stroke.
Here are medical tips on how to lower your cholesterol level:
- Minimize eating foods with high cholesterol contents, like red meats, especially processed meats, egg yolk, dairy products, coconuts, avocado.
- Maximize eating fish, vegetables, fruits, like berries (diabetics to add these to calorie count), high fiber items, like bran, wheat, nuts, especially almonds.
- Minimize or avoid carb, like sugar, white rice, bread, cakes, desserts, and soft drinks.
- Maintain normal calorie intake, by watching your weight.
- Exercise daily.
- Extreme moderation in alcohol intake.
- Learn how to relax and manage your stress.
- Stay away from smoking, firsthand or secondhand.
The diet industry is a multibillion dollar affair. For most of us, dieting means eating less. It is ironic that eating less should often cause us to spend more money. This makes little sense except to those peddling expensive diets and weight loss supplements.
In the broadest sense, there is no secret to effective dieting. Eating less and moving more should result in weight loss. However, many people want to know secrets about accomplishing tasks that are not particularly easy. Weight loss is simple, but it is not easy. Self-deprivation is rarely easy.
With that in mind, here are three secrets of effective dieting. In a way, this information is not secret at all. Anyone who thinks realistically about diets should be able to arrive at these keys on their own. But with so many diets and "methods" of losing weight being promoted, it is easy for us to lose our way. Once we have lost our way, the revelation of time tested truths often resonate as secrets.
3 Simple Tips In Creating an effective Diet
Eat Healthy - No weight loss regimen should be predicated on eating unhealthy foods. If we keep our caloric intake low enough, we could probably eat a diet of cakes, candies, cookies, puddings and pies and lose weight. This would not be good for our health though.
The foods we eat should be based on building our bodies even while we are looking to shed fat. Our muscles and organs need to be supported by quality vitamins and nutrients. A low calorie, junk food diet will not do that.
Additionally, if we utilize lots of sweet, fatty and salty foods low in nutrients in our weight reducing regimens, the instant we stop restricting our caloric intake our weight will probably balloon back up to where it was previously, or beyond. It is imperative that we eat healthy foods when losing weight. Weight loss at the expense of wellbeing is a deal made with the devil. In the long run it will do us no good.
Follow a Sustainable Regimen. If we do enough reading in the diet, health and fitness fields we will marvel at the limitless eating routines and regimens touted as magic weight loss formulas. There are pills, potions, shakes, exotic foods, etc. all designed to help us shed pounds.
The big question is, "How sustainable are such regimens?". What good is it if we lose 20 lbs. on a diet of shakes only to go back to our old eating habits? Diets composed of special foods do not take into account that when we have arrived at our goal weight we will return to regular eating. Will we have magically learned to eat healthy and utilize portion control?
Doesn't it make more sense to devise a healthy diet from the beginning, based on nutritious, satisfying food? Shouldn't we learn during our weight loss phase to base our portions on our level of physical activity and how much we need to eat to lose or maintain weight?
Diets based on special foods are a form of fool's gold. We are creatures of habit. If we force ourselves to follow an unrealistic eating plan, eventually we will rebel and go back to our typical patterns of eating. If, on the other hand, we adopt a superior, sustainable way to eat we will be able to maintain our new way of eating once we are at our goal weight.
Principally, the difference between a weight loss and maintenance diet should be the quantity of food we eat, not the kind of food we eat.
Real/Affordable Food-There have been diets based on eating relatively luxurious things like steak, shrimp and lobster. Without getting into the pros and cons of those foods from a health and nutrition standpoint, one thing is obvious. Those foods are expensive.
All of us would do well to seek congruence and complementary functioning between the various facets of our lives. For example, if we are on a tight budget does eating expensive food to lose weight make sense?
Many people find that the more stressed they are the more they eat to soothe their emotions. If we want to lose weight does it make sense to choose foods that are so expensive that we are going to be stressed wondering if we can continue our eating regimen?
Diets that are more plant based tend to be more affordable and may well be healthier than diets that are based on animal products. That is not to say that meat, chicken, fish, eggs and milk do not have nutritional value. Animal products may make good adjuncts to mainly plant based diets, but they should probably be just that, adjuncts.
A diet comprised mainly of whole grains, beans, lentils, vegetables and fruits with a judicious use of animal products may help us lose weight, stay healthy and not break our piggy banks in the bargain. Eating less should not cost us more.
Diets that are healthy, sustainable and relatively inexpensive are those that are bound to do us the most good in the long run. Remember, there is no quick fix to a long term challenge.
The incidence of melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer, remains unabated, in spite of early detection strategies introduced 15 years ago.
University of Otago researchers analysed figures from the New Zealand cancer registry to see whether thick melanomas (three mm thickness) had decreased between 1994 and 2004 because of detection strategies.
"Regrettably the answer is that we didn't find any decrease of thick melanoma over the last decade," said Tony Reeder. "There was the possibility that early detection and greater public awareness may have had an impact on later development of thick melanoma, but so far that is not the case."
Of those diagnosed with melanoma the proportion with thick melanoma is greater for older people, for males compared to females and for Maori compared to non-Maori and for those diagnosed with nodular melanoma.
Researchers believe there are two possible reasons for the lack of progress in combating this difficult disease which caused 249 deaths in 2004.
They said it may be too early to see any impact on thick melanomas of early detection, or the strategies may not be working as well as expected as they are not allowing the identification of some melanomas early enough.
Reeder believed that the situation needs to be monitored and that this study is an important baseline to work from in that regard. "The problem is that it is often quite difficult to identify thick melanomas early on."
"They tend to have a nodular shape, but don't necessarily stick out above the surrounding skin or have an irregular edge. They're not always dark either, and can be quite pale and flat," he added.
Similar issues are now surfacing internationally where despite widespread information about early detection of thick melanoma, many are being missed and the incidence rate has not declined as expected.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - When people lose weight, they often lose some bone mass as well. Now a new study suggests that changes in bone metabolism may persist even after the weight loss stops.
In a study of obese adults who followed a very low calorie diet, researchers found that even after the dieters stopped shedding pounds and entered the "weight maintenance" phase, changes in their bone turnover remained.
Bone turnover, or "remodeling," refers to the normal process by which the body constantly breaks down old bone and builds up new tissue to replace it. It's known that even moderate weight loss can cause an imbalance in this process, leading to a dip in bone mass, but it has been unclear whether changes in bone turnover persist after a person's weight stabilizes.
Among dieters in the current study, researchers found that the balance between bone breakdown and bone formation was restored after they stopped losing weight. However, the overall rate of bone turnover increased during weight loss, and it stayed higher once their weight stabilized.
This is a potential concern, says lead researcher Dr. Pamela Hinton, because increased bone turnover can make bones more fragile, even when bone breakdown and formation are balanced.
"Accelerated bone remodeling is thought to be an independent risk factor for bone fracture," explained Hinton, an associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia.
However, she told Reuters Health, long-term studies are still needed to see how weight loss ultimately affects people's actual bone density and fracture risk.
Bone mass changes slowly, Hinton noted, and it takes six months to a year to see a shift. Moreover, bone fractures may not occur for many years after the weight loss, she said.
Her team's findings, which are to be published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, come from a weight-loss study of 37 obese adults age 50 and older.
For three months, the men and women followed a liquid-based diet that provided just 500 calories per day; in the end, they lost an average of 20 percent of their initial weight.
Hinton and her colleagues then followed the dieters through a nine- month maintenance phase where they increased their calorie intake to a level designed to maintain their weight or to continue a slower, gradual weight loss.
Periodically, the researchers measured the study participants' blood levels of certain proteins that serve as markers of bone breakdown and formation. Based on those markers, the average rate of bone remodeling sped up during weight loss and remained higher during the weight-maintenance phase.
It's not clear what people can do to alter their bone turnover rate after weight loss. Hinton said there is some evidence that a high calcium intake -- 1,500 to 1,800 milligrams per day -- lessens bone loss and adverse effects on bone turnover as people are losing weight.
Weight-bearing exercise -- such as jogging, stair-climbing and weightlifting -- helps build bone in people who are not shedding pounds, Hinton noted. However, she said, research has been inconclusive as to whether it can prevent bone loss in people who are losing weight.
SOURCE: Journal of the American College of Nutrition, in press.
Research on the safety and effectiveness of different diets has been previously limited due to the high number of participants who drop out of studies and because the length of time that the participants are followed is often too short. Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel, and at Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s (BWH) Channing Laboratory have effectively evaluated three different weight-loss diets over two years and found that both Mediterranean and Low-carbohydrate diets are as effective in achieving weight-loss as low-fat diets.
“The findings suggest that because Mediterranean and low-carbohydrate diets are effective alternatives to low-fat diets, individual preferences could be taken into consideration when tailoring dietary interventions for weight loss,” said Meir Stampfer, MD, DrPH, associate director of the Channing Laboratory at BWH and senior author of the study. The lead author, Dr. Iris Shai of Ben Gurion University, planned the study when she was a Fulbright fellow at Harvard School of Public Health and Channing Laboratory.
Researchers followed 322 obese patients who were randomized to either a low fat, Mediterranean or low-carbohydrate diet for two years. Patients on the low fat and Mediterranean diets were restricted in the number of calories that they could eat, but patients on the low carbohydrate diet were not. Researchers report that after one year, 95 percent of patients had stuck to the diet and after two years, 85 percent had.
After two years, patients in the low fat diet group lost 2.9 kg; patients in the Mediterranean diet group lost 4.4 kg; and patients in the low carbohydrate diet group lost 4.7 kg. The Mediterranean diet-group consumed the highest dietary fiber and monounsaturated to saturated fat ratio. The low-carbohydrate diet-group consumed the fewest carbohydrates and the highest fat, protein and cholesterol. Among all three diet groups, the number of calories consumed was similar. Improvements in other health measures such as liver function and levels of cardiovascular disease were also similar among groups.
In an effort to encourage retention and to enable participants to stick to the diet, the trial was conducted in an isolated workplace at the Nuclear Research Center Negev, Israel, with an on site clinic. Daily diet-group-specific colored food labels were displayed in the cafeteria at the workplace.
The findings suggest that Mediterranean and low-carbohydrate diets are effective alternatives to low fat diets. The more favorable effects on lipids (low-carbohydrate) and on glycemic control (Mediterranean) suggest that personal preferences and metabolic considerations might inform individualized tailoring of dietary interventions.
For the second time in a month, beef from a large Nebraska meat processor has been recalled... this time, 1.2 million pounds.
According to the Washington Post, the fresh ground beef, believed to contain the dangerous E. coli bacterium, was recalled from the upscale Whole Foods stores nationwide Saturday. The beef had been processed at Nebraska Beef of Omaha, one of the nation's largest meatpackers, the newspaper reported.
Just last month, 5 million pounds of beef produced by Nebraska Beef had to be recalled after nearly 50 cases of E. coli had been confirmed. The meat processor was allowed to continue operations after making a number of operational changes, according to the Associated Press.
But 31 new cases have been reported since Aug. 1 in 12 states and Washington, D.C., the Post reports. Seven people who became ill from E. coli O157:H7 had bought their meat at Whole Foods, the newspaper reports. Whole Foods Market issued a statement saying that ground beef bought from from June 2 to Aug. 6 should be thrown out.
Meanwhile, Nebraska Beef continues to operate while being observed by inspectors from the U.S. department of Agriculture. "We will continue to investigate to see what is happening at the plant to see what they have to do to get a handle on their food-safety issues," USDA spokeswoman Laura Reiser told the Post.
E. coli O157:H7 can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration, and in severe cases, kidney failure. Children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of serious
New research in the latest issue of the Society of Chemical Industry's (SCI) Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture shows there is no evidence to support the argument that organic food is better than food grown with the use of pesticides and chemicals.
Many people pay more than a third more for organic food in the belief that it has more nutritional content than food grown with pesticides and chemicals.
But the research by Dr Susanne Bügel and colleagues from the Department of Human Nutrition, University of Copenhagen, shows there is no clear evidence to back this up.
In the first study ever to look at retention of minerals and trace elements, animals were fed a diet consisting of crops grown using three different cultivation methods in two seasons.
The study looked at the following crops – carrots, kale, mature peas, apples and potatoes – staple ingredients that can be found in most families' shopping list.
The first cultivation method consisted of growing the vegetables on soil which had a low input of nutrients using animal manure and no pesticides except for one organically approved product on kale only.
The second method involved applying a low input of nutrients using animal manure, combined with use of pesticides, as much as allowed by regulation.
Finally, the third method comprised a combination of a high input of nutrients through mineral fertilisers and pesticides as legally allowed.
The crops were grown on the same or similar soil on adjacent fields at the same time and so experienced the same weather conditions. All were harvested and treated at the same time. In the case of the organically grown vegetables, all were grown on established organic soil.
After harvest, results showed that there were no differences in the levels of major and trace contents in the fruit and vegetables grown using the three different methods.
Produce from the organically and conventionally grown crops were then fed to animals over a two year period and intake and excretion of various minerals and trace elements were measured. Once again, the results showed there was no difference in retention of the elements regardless of how the crops were grown.
Dr Bügel says: 'No systematic differences between cultivation systems representing organic and conventional production methods were found across the five crops so the study does not support the belief that organically grown foodstuffs generally contain more major and trace elements than conventionally grown foodstuffs.'
Dr Alan Baylis, honorary secretary of SCI's Bioresources Group, adds: 'Modern crop protection chemicals to control weeds, pests and diseases are extensively tested and stringently regulated, and once in the soil, mineral nutrients from natural or artificial fertilisers are chemically identical. Organic crops are often lower yielding and eating them is a lifestyle choice for those who can afford it.'
This research was supported by the International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS), Denmark.