Most prepared meals, salty snacks for toddlers too high in sodium!


A taste for salt, acquired as a toddler, may be putting young Americans at risk for later hypertension. Almost three-quarters of commercially prepared meals and salty snacks for toddlers are too high in sodium, researchers report.


The study, which researchers believe is the first to determine current salt levels in commercially prepared foods for babies and toddlers, was presented at EPI|NPAM 2013, the Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions.


The researchers determined the sodium content in 1115 food products sold for babies from four to 12 months old and for toddlers from one to three years old. The foods were deemed to have a high sodium content if they contained more than 210-mg sodium per serving, based on Institute of Medicine references for children aged one to three years and ChooseMyPlate recommendations for children aged one to three.

Foods for babies did not surpass the recommended sodium levels except for one exception.

However, many toddler foods were excessively salty. A total of 64 of 90 (71%) commercially prepared meals and two of four (50%) savory snacks surpassed sodium-content recommendations. Some toddler meals contained as much as 630-mg sodium per serving.


“The concern is about the possible long-term health risks of introducing high levels of sodium in a child’s diet, because high blood pressure as well as a preference for salty foods may develop early in life,” lead author Joyce Maalouf (CDC, Atlanta, GA) said in a statement. “The less sodium in an infant’s or toddler’s diet, the less he or she may want it when older.”


Parents and other caregivers should read nutrition labels on baby and toddler foods to check the sodium levels and then choose the healthiest options for their child, the group advises.


via Most prepared meals, salty snacks for toddlers too high in sodium |

Fit physicians more likely to encourage patients to be active!

Its so common to be advised by a Physician to exercise for good health. But have you ever asked a Physician if he exercises?

Healthcare providers who were physically fit themselves—were more likely to encourage their patients to make regular physical activity a part of a healthy lifestyle, researchers report.

Their findings, based on a literature review of 24 observational and four interventional studies, were presented at EPI|NPAM 2013, the Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions.

Lead author Isabel Garcia de Quevedo (CDC, Atlanta, GA) found that  “being more active [yourself, as a healthcare provider] . . . gives you the tools to give better counseling.”

The researchers identified 28 studies of how physical-activity habits of healthcare providers were related to counseling patients about physical activity. The fitness habits of the studied healthcare providers—physicians, nurses, pharmacists, others, and nursing and medical students—significantly influenced the likelihood that they would take time to counsel patients about fitness.

Physicians who exercised were more likely to counsel about exercise. They were more confident and efficient about this counselling about this health habit than their sedentary counterparts.

Physicians can be positive role models. McCrindle, who does triathlons among other activities, noted that patients “are more likely to view healthy lifestyle advice in a positive manner if the physicians themselves look like they are following their own advice.”

When counseling patients, healthcare providers should share their personal fitness stories, which can help motivate patients and make the physician seem more human. “Patients will react to a personal story . . . rather than [simply being told] “you should do this, and this is how you should do it,” McCrindle noted.

Be active thyself  before advising thy patients!

via Fit physicians more likely to encourage patients to be active |

Stroke Warning Signs!


Learn to recognize a stroke, because time lost is brain lost.

Call 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY if one or more of the following symptoms suddenly occur:

Numbness or Weakness

Of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body


Or trouble speaking or understanding

Vision Disturbances

Or trouble seeing in one or both eyes

Loss of Balance or Coordination

Dizziness or trouble walking

Severe Headache

With no known cause

A stroke is a medical emergency!

If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.



Excess salt blamed for 2.3 million deaths from CVD worldwide in 2010

Ever wondered what makes a food taste good? Most of the time it is the salt and/or oil/fat which make the food tasty. However we have some revealing facts about salt and its after-effects!

Researchers estimate that in 2010, adults in most parts of the world consumed about twice as much salt as recommended, and millions of Cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths worldwide were linked to excess sodium [1,2].

These findings were presented at EPI|NPAM 2013, the Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions.

In the first study, Dr Saman Fahimi (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA) and colleagues reported that in 2010, adults in 187 countries consumed, on average, 3950 mg sodium a day—roughly twice the maximum intake recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) (2000 mg/day) or the AHA (1500 mg/day).

In the second study, Dr Dariush Mozaffarian (Harvard School of Public Health) and colleagues reported that in the same year, they estimate that excess dietary salt led to 2.3 million deaths from CVD worldwide and about one in 10 deaths from CVD in the US.

The average salt consumption in the US was 3600 mg/day, and the US ranked 19th of the 30 largest countries, in estimated numbers of CVD deaths that were thought to be related to excess salt consumption.

Sodium intake in only six countries of 187 countries met the WHO guidelines,” Fahimi said.

When counseling patients about the impact of dietary salt on heart health, physicians need to be aware that salty snacks such as peanuts and chips are not the only culprits, Mozaffarian said. “In the US and in most highly developed countries, 90% of the salt in the diet comes from packaged foods,” where salt is used as a preservative; perhaps surprisingly, bread is the number-one source of salt, and cheese is a major source, he noted.

High-salt diet, a universal finding!

Excess sodium intake was universal—seen in men and women of all ages, living in low- to high-income countries. In 2010, the average daily sodium intake exceeded 2000 mg in 181 countries and exceeded 3000 mg in 119 countries.

Sodium intake varied widely between different parts of the world. Kazakhstan had the highest sodium intake (6.0 g/day), followed by Mauritius (5.6 g/day), and Uzbekistan (5.5 g/day), whereas Kenya (1.5 g/day), Malawi (1.5 g/day), and Rwanda (1.6 g/day) had the lowest daily intake of sodium.

Model linked CVD deaths to sodium intake:

Globally, of the CVD deaths attributed to high dietary sodium, 42.1% were from CHD, 41.0% were from stroke, and 16.9% were from other types of CVD.

Deaths from CVD that were related to dietary salt did not occur only in older men in wealthier countries:

Four in five deaths were in low- and middle-income countries.

40% of the deaths were in women,

One in three deaths occurred in people younger than 69.



So, guys take that salt with a pinch of salt! Try herbs instead!

via Excess salt blamed for 2.3 million deaths from CVD worldwide in 2010 |

Energy drinks may prolong QT interval, raise BP!

Most of us like drinking energy drinks. Some of them taste good, some sour and some awful. However, they provide us with calories and energy which is replenished quickly compared to a regular meal. However, are they risky?

Tossing back one to three energy drinks may result in more than just a buzz. A small-meta analysis found that immediately afterward, subjects had increased systolic blood pressure and, more troubling, they also had, on average, a 10-msec prolongation in their QT interval.

The study, by Dr Sachin Shah (University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA) and colleagues, was presented at EPI|NPAM 2013, the Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions.

Having increase in blood pressure is not so worrying as having a increase in QT interval. An abnormally increased QT interval increases the risk of having dangerous cardiac heart beats, some of which can cause life threatening cardiac arrest.

These drinks are not regulated as stringently as new drugs by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The patients studied, were all young (aged 18 to 45) and healthy, underwent ECG and blood-pressure testing before and just after drinking one to three cans of energy drink—most commonly Red Bull, but also others such as Full Throttle and Meltdown RTD. An 8.4-oz can of Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine, compared with 35 mg of caffeine in a 12-oz Coke or about 100 mg of caffeine in an average cup of coffee. An increase of 10 ms  and 4 mm Hg was found in the QT interval and systolic blood pressure respectively.

In view of the above findings, it would be advisable to restrict the intake of energy drinks in patients with high blood pressure and a congenital condition called Long QT syndrome .

via Energy drinks may prolong QT interval, raise BP |

Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, olive oil and 7 glasses of wine a week! prevents heart disease and stroke!

This is the largest randomized trial to date. The Mediterranean diet has been studied previously in randomized trials but not in a trial as large as this!

It is fascinating that this was a study of more than 7400 individuals who were randomly assigned to 3 different diets. Two were Mediterranean diets enriched with either extra-virgin olive oil or nuts and other Mediterranean foods, both including more than 7 glasses of wine per week. The control diet was a low-fat diet, which some people have argued is not an ideal control. There was very good compliance with the diets in this large number of people for many years. The primary endpoint was death, heart attack, or stroke. There was a very important significant reduction of this cluster endpoint in the Mediterranean diet groups. Particularly noteworthy, even by itself, was the reduction in stroke.

So what does the Mediterranean diet consists of?

The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional recommendation inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of southern Italy, Greece and Spain. The principal aspects of this diet include proportionally high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables, moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt), moderate wine consumption, and low consumption of meat and meat products. (Source: from Wikipedia).

So go on!

Fruits, veggies, legumes,

7 glasses of wine a week,


salads with olive oil dressing

should do the trick!

via Topol: ‘Evidence Is Compelling’ on Mediterranean Diet.

REDUCE SUGAR (not fat) INTAKE to reduce weight!


In a fascinating new book, Robert Lustig, a professor of clinical paediatrics at the University of California, expounds a whole new scientific theory.

He argues that the urge to overeat and lounge around doing nothing is not a sign of weakness. It is, he says, a hormonal issue, triggered by eating too much sugar!


Conventional wisdom and government policy still blame dietary fat for our ever-rising obesity levels (and horrific heart disease statistics).

However, Professor Lustig is part of the band of obesity specialists who question the validity of this argument.

The seminal ‘Seven Countries’ study by U.S. epidemiologist Ancel Keys in the Eighties demonised fat, triggering a massive change in food manufacture.

In an effort to make low fat food more palatable, many manufacturers raised the carbohydrate level, adding quantities of sugar to almost everything (both sweet and savoury). 

For instance, a small pot of low fat yoghurt can contain as much as four teaspoons of sugar, and even wholemeal bread hides two teaspoons per loaf.

Gradually tastes and eating habits have changed,  Lustig says, resulting in growing populations worldwide inadvertently hooked on easy-to-eat high sugar foods. 

Professor Lustig believes the key to losing weight is to reverse leptin resistance by reducing sugar intake

Here is his action plan:

1. Have just one dessert a week

When cooking, reduce sugar in every recipe by a third, and eat dessert as a treat, once a week.

2. Fibre leads to weight loss

Fiber is now routinely stripped from foods to give a finer texture. Eating fiber slows down the digestion process. Slower digestion also gives your brain a chance to register that you are full.

3. Take 15 minutes’ exercise daily

Exercise alone cannot cause significant weight loss (unless you change your diet at the same time) but Professor Lustig says 15 minutes a day is enough to improve your insulin sensitivity (because activity helps cells become more receptive to insulin), and build muscle at the expense of fat.

Although you may not see a drop on the scales, by improving insulin sensitivity and lowering insulin levels, exercise,  will improve leptin signalling.

4. Eat like your Grandma

Beware packaged food.  Professor Lustig’s mantra is: ‘Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t  recognise. If the food has a company logo you’ve heard of, it’s processed.’

5. Don’t eat on your feet

Eating standing up means you will be eating fast, with no time for satiety signals to kick in, says Professor Lustig.

Always include some sort of  protein (chicken, pulses) in every meal (to slow the digestive process and reduce the risk of insulin spikes) and avoid any ‘food’ that is just fat, carbohydrate and sugar (such as doughnuts, milk-shakes, pastries).


via The REAL reason you eat too much: New theory could revolutionise the way we lose weight | Mail Online.

Atherosclerosis in ancient mummies!

It is generally thought that Atherosclerosis is a consequence of the disordered lifestyle and diet prevalent in today’s industrial world. Many of us also hold the view that older civilizations would not be suffering from atherosclerosis as we did.

However, Whole-body computed tomography (CT) scans of mummies from four geographical regions across a period of 4000 years suggest that atherosclerosis was more common in ancient populations than previously believed. Studying individuals from ancient Egypt, ancient Peru, ancestral Puebloans of southwestern America, and hunter-gatherers from the Aleutian Islands, researchers were able to identify atherosclerosis in more than one-third of the mummified specimens, raising the possibility that humans have a natural predisposition to the disease.

The findings show for the first time that the disease was common in several ancient cultures with varying lifestyles, diets, and genetics, across a wide geographical distance and over a very long span of human history.

The study is published March 10, 2013 in the Lancet.

Led by Dr Randall Thompson (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine), the research is unique in that it assesses atherosclerosis across four different preindustrial populations from different geographical regions. The ancient Egyptians and Peruvians were farmers, the ancestral Puebloans were forager-farmers, and the Unangans of the Aleutian Islands were hunter-gatherers without agriculture. None of the cultures was known to be vegetarian, and all were believed to be quite physically active.

In total, whole-body CT scans were performed on 137 mummies, including 76 ancient Egyptians, 51 ancient Peruvians, five ancestral Puebloans, and five Unangan hunter-gatherers. Probable or definite atherosclerosis was evident in 34% of the mummies—29 ancient Egyptians, 13 ancient Peruvians, two ancestral Puebloans, and three Unangan mummies had documented evidence of atherosclerosis as defined by calcified plaque in the wall of the artery (or probable atherosclerosis if calcifications were observed along the course of the artery).

The study concluded that  atherosclerosis was common in four preindustrial populations, including a preagricultural hunter-gather population, and across a wide span of human history. It still remains prevalent in contemporary human beings. The presence of atherosclerosis in premodern human beings suggests that the disease is an inherent component of human aging and not associated with any specific diet or lifestyle.”

via Atherosclerosis in ancient mummies |