You may or may not have seen the American Heart Association’s (AHA) latest report, but I’m sure you’ve probably seen the social media frenzy that followed their statements on coconut oil.
An article by USA Today with the headline “Coconut Oil Isn’t Healthy, It’s Never Been Healthy”, has been shared over a half a million times. The AHA rehashed their age-old dietary guidelines for fats and cholesterol, attempting to finger them both as the cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD). But this time they took it one step further and took a stab at coconut oil, stating:
However, because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil.
So what’s going on here? Is coconut oil suddenly not as good for you as we once thought? Or, is the AHA report based on erroneous science? Continue reading
Recent reports continue to find an adverse relationship between Type 2 diabetes and the risk of Alzheimer’s, with diabetes shown to increase the risk of an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.
In light of this, it would make sense that we do everything we can to prevent the development of diabetes in our own bodies. That’s why it’s troubling to hear about new research that demonstrates that one of the most commonly prescribed classes of medications, statin drugs (used to lower cholesterol), has a profound impact on the chance that someone could develop Type 2 diabetes. Let’s dive into this research today. Continue reading
We are seeing ever-increasing efforts to make us believe that lowering our cholesterol is always going to be a risk-free event…and these efforts are working. Statin drugs to lower cholesterol have become among the most popular medications in the country!
But it’s really important to see what our most well-respected scientific journals are telling us about these drugs. In a meta-analysis study, researchers found that those individuals taking what were considered “higher dosages” of statin medications had more than a 50% increased risk for bleeding in their brains (intracerebral hemorrhage). Continue reading
I don’t think there’s any more controversial food than eggs. By and large, the reason we have been told to avoid eating eggs is because they contain cholesterol, and indeed that’s true. A typical egg may contain as much as 200 mg of cholesterol. But does that mean we shouldn’t eat eggs?
To answer this question, researchers in Finland conducted an extensive study in which they evaluated two parameters. First they looked at whether or not individuals developed coronary artery disease. In addition, they looked at a parameter called carotid intimal thickening. Basically this is a study, using ultrasound, that looks at the thickness of the lining of the carotid artery. The reason this is used is because it is a strong indicator of coronary artery disease if in fact there is thickening.
We’ve all seen the commercials. A man tries to eat a sausage sandwich, and the sausage turns away. The implication is that if he eats the sausage he’ll get “indigestion”…whatever that means. The call to action is to reach for an acid-blocking pill. Then, he can eat whatever he wants, and the world is a better place.
Generally, the reason people don’t tolerate foods has little to do with the food’s effects on stomach acid. When, like our friend above, foods aren’t tolerated, it might just mean there’s a good reason we shouldn’t be eating them in the first place.
But somehow, the idea that we are all suffering from “excess stomach acid,” has really taken hold in our society – no doubt because the fix for this condition is as easy as popping a pill.
To be clear, there are a handful of medical conditions in which there truly is an increased production of stomach acid, like Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, and there are conditions, like Barret’s esophagus and ulcer disease, in which reducing the production of stomach acid is worthwhile.
It’s now fairly common knowledge that for optimal health it makes sense to reduce the consumption of sugar. The idea that dietary sugars increase the risk for such things as hypertension and the development of health-threatening changes in lipid profiles is not new. But a commonly held perception seems to be that these health risks represent a direct consequence of the fact that increased dietary sugar consumption causes weight gain, and that the weight gain is specifically related to all the other health issues.
But in a new publication, researchers in New Zealand reviewed 39 studies that looked at diets in which sugar consumption was increased. Thirty-seven assessed lipid outcomes while 12 evaluated blood pressure.
Their results revealed that higher sugar consumption raised triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, low and high-density lipoprotein as well as both systolic and diastolic blood pressures.