Eating cheese does not raise risk of heart attack or stroke, study finds

Consumption of even full-fat dairy products does not increase risk, international team of experts says

Consuming cheese, milk and yoghurt even full-fat versions does not increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, according to research that challenges the widely held belief that dairy products can damage health.

The findings, from an international team of experts, contradict the view that dairy products can be harmful because of their high saturated fat content. The experts dismiss that fear as a misconception [and] mistaken belief.

The results come from a new meta-analysis of 29 previous studies of whether dairy products increase the risk of death from any cause and from either serious heart problems or cardiovascular disease. The study concluded that such foodstuffs did not raise the risk of any of those events and had a neutral impact on human health.

This meta-analysis showed there were no associations between total dairy, high- and low-fat dairy, milk and the health outcomes including all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease, says the report, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

Ian Givens, a professor of food chain nutrition at Reading University, who was one of the researchers, said: Theres quite a widespread but mistaken belief among the public that dairy products in general can be bad for you, but thats a misconception. While it is a widely held belief, our research shows that thats wrong.

Theres been a lot of publicity over the last five to 10 years about how saturated fats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and a belief has grown up that they must increase the risk, but they dont.

However, the governments health advisers urged consumers to continue to exercise caution about eating too many products high in saturated fat and to stick to low-fat versions instead.

Dairy products form an important part of a healthy balanced diet; however, many are high in saturated fat and salt. Were all consuming too much of both, increasing our risk of heart disease, said a spokesman for Public Health England. We recommend choosing lower-fat varieties of milk and dairy products or eating smaller amounts to reduce saturated fat and salt in the diet.

Givens and colleagues from Reading, Copenhagen University in Denmark and Wageningen University in the Netherlands analysed 29 studies involving 938,465 participants from around the world undertaken over the last 35 years, including five done in the UK.

No associations were found for total (high-fat/low-fat) dairy and milk with the health outcomes of mortality, CHD or CVD, they said. In fact, they added, fermented dairy products may potentially slightly lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Doctors, public health experts and official healthy eating guidelines have for many years identified saturated fats as potentially harmful for heart and cardiovascular health and advised consumers to minimise their intake.

That has led to consumers increasingly buying lower-fat versions of dairy products. For example, 85% of all milk sold in the UK is now semi-skimmed or skimmed.

Givens said consumers were shunning full-fat versions of cheese, milk or yoghurt in the mistaken view that they could harm their health. Young people, especially young women, were now often drinking too little milk as a result of that concern, which could damage the development of their bones and lead to conditions in later life including osteoporosis, or brittle bones, he said. Consuming too little milk can deprive young people of calcium.

Pregnant women who drank too little milk could be increasing the risk of their child having neuro-developmental difficulties, which could affect their cognitive abilities and stunt their growth, Givens added.

The most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey, the governments occasional snapshot of eating habits, found that dairy products, including butter, accounted for the highest proportion of saturated fat consumption in British diets 27%, compared with meats 24%. But if butter was not counted then dairy products together were the second largest source of saturated fat, at 22%.

Saturated fat is a vital part of diet. The NDNS found that adults typically got 34.6% of their total energy from fats as a whole, just below the 35% the government recommends. However, while total fat consumption was just within target, saturated fats still made up an unhealthily large proportion of total food energy 12.6%, against the recommended maximum of 11%.

Givens said: Our meta-analysis included an unusually large number of participants. We are confident that our results are robust and accurate.

The research was part-funded by the three pro-dairy groups Global Dairy Platform, Dairy Research Institute and Dairy Australia but they had no influence over it, the paper said. Givens is an adviser to the Food Standards Agency.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/08/consuming-dairy-does-not-raise-risk-of-heart-attack-or-stroke-study

Should link between dementia and artificial sweeteners be taken with a pinch of salt?

How peoples capacity for forgetfulness and lies may have impacted on research tying stroke and dementia to diet drinks

They were supposed to be the healthy alternative to their sugar-rich siblings. But now lovers of diet colas and other low-calorie drinks have been hit by news that will radically undermine those credentials: a counterintuitive study suggesting a link to stroke and dementia.

The study in the journal Stroke may cause a rethink among those worried about obesity, diabetes or a possible early heart attack from sugar-rich drinks who have been considering making a change. It comes to the alarming conclusion that people polishing off one can a day of artificially sweetened drink are nearly three times as likely to have a stroke or develop dementia.

Its a shocking conclusion. But the first reason to pause is that the study found no such risk in people who drank standard sugary lemonades and colas.

There is little previous evidence with regard to dementia, which is why the researchers were looking at it, but the link between sugar and stroke is very well known. Too much sugar raises the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks and stroke. Its altogether a bad thing, which is why the World Health Organisation is telling us all to cut down. So what was going on in this study?

The evidence it analyses is pulled from the well-respected Framingham Heart Study a cohort of more than 5,000 people in Massachusetts, US, whose diets and lifestyles have been monitored for nearly 50 years, with the main objective of finding out more about heart disease. Along the way, researchers have looked at other health outcomes.

What they are up against is peoples capacity for forgetfulness and lies. This is the case with every study into the food we eat except for those rare ones, almost impossible to do today, which have in effect imprisoned their subjects and controlled every sip and mouthful they took.Researchers understand this and try to take account of it, but it is difficult.

There are several possible other reasons why an increased stroke risk was associated with diet drinks and not sugary drinks. One is what is called reverse causality. People who come to realise that they are ill and have a high risk of a stroke then switch their behaviour by choosing diet drinks long after sugary drinks have helped cause the problem.

When it came to dementia, the link with diet drinks that researchers saw disappeared once they took some elements of the health of the people in the study into account. When the researchers accounted for other risk factors for Alzheimers, such as risk genes, diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol levels and weight, this significant association was lost, suggesting that these drinks are not the whole story, said Dr Rosa Sancho, head of research at Alzheimers Research UK.

The researchers point to it themselves: We are unable to determine whether artificially sweetened soft drink intake increased the risk of incident dementia through diabetes mellitus or whether people with diabetes mellitus were simply more likely to consume diet beverages, they write. But they call for more research and others will support them in that.

Artificial sweeteners have been viewed with suspicion by a lot of consumers for many years and not entirely deservedly. They are not natural, in the way that sugar is natural, being grown from beet or cane. Some of the hostility comes from those who worry about ingesting man-made chemicals. But while some artificial flavourings have been shown to carry health risks, studies have failed to find similar problems with artificial sweeteners.

Aspartame has been extremely controversial since its approval for use by several European countries in the 1980s, says NHS Choices. In 1996, a study linked it to a rise in brain tumours. However, the study had very little scientific basis and later studies showed that aspartame was in fact safe to consume, says the NHS.

Large studies have also been carried out to look at whether the sweetener increased cancer risks, and gave it a clean bill of health. The European Food Safety Authority said in 2013 it was safe even for pregnant women and children, except for anyone with a rare genetic condition called phenylketonuria.

Dumping aspartame from its low calorie bestseller did not give PepsiCo the halo effect it hoped. In 2015, it announced it was taking the sweetener some people love to hate out of Diet Pepsi and replacing it with sucralose. A year later, when it became clear Coca Cola would not follow suit and that fans preferred their drink the way it used to be, it did a U-turn and put aspartame back in.

There have been huge efforts to develop artificial sweeteners that will taste as good as sugar and be acceptable to the doubters. Stevia, a plant extract, is marketed as a natural sweetener to the increasingly sceptical health-conscious.

Now it is not just drinks. Public Health England is putting pressure on food companies to cut 20% of sugar from their products by 2020. That will probably mean smaller chocolate bars, where artificial sweeteners just wont deliver the same taste. But they will be part of the answer in other foods.

Sweeteners such as sucralose, which is 650 times sweeter than sugar, have long been in breakfast cereals and salad dressings, while saccharin is in store-bought cakes, despite a scare over bladder cancer which caused the Canadian government to ban it as an additive in 1977. It lifted the ban in 2014. The safety debate will go on, but artificial sweeteners are likely to play a bigger part in our diet as the squeeze on sugar ramps up.

There are those, however, who think artificial sweeteners will never be the answer to obesity and the diseases that follow in its wake. The problem, in their view, is our sweet tooth and the answer is to reduce our liking for sweetness. So they want to see the gradual reduction of the amount of sugar in our drinks and our food and snacks without it.

It worked with salt, says Cash, the campaign for action on salt and health, which did much to bring down the salt levels in our food without our noticing it. The same should be possible for sugar. But not if artificial substitutes are used to keep our food and drinks tasting just as sweet as they did before.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/apr/21/link-dementia-stroke-diet-drinks-artificial-sweeteners-study

Hidden Sodium #health #safety #highbloodpressure

Source: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP)
Running Time: (1:03) Release Date: 01/31/2013

Reducing sodium intake by knowing what to eat and main sources of sodium in the diet is important for a healthy lifestyle. Most sodium consumed is in the form of salt, and the majority of that is consumed in processed and restaurant foods. Too much sodium is bad for your health and can increase your blood pressure and your risk for a heart attack and stroke. Watch this short, fun, informative video and learn how to live a healthier life.

Top Tips to Avoid a Stroke

Al Palmer suffered a massive stroke as a young man.

"I was totally paralyzed on the left side; I regained 95% of my movement back."

He didn't know then what he knows now, that a personal habit may have been a contributing factor.

"First of all I was smoking. Then once you have the stroke, you quite smoking. It's a drastic change," says Palmer.

Stroke is the fourth leading killer in this country. It happens when blood flow to the brain becomes blocked, either by a blood clot or a burst blood vessel.

"A lot of studies look at identification of risk factors at the time of stroke, I think at least a third to 40% of the disease we recognize," says Dr. Ross Levine, Medical Director of Vascular Neurology for Lee Memorial Health System.

Three things, smoking, blood pressure and cholesterol, are major risk factors that people can impact with changes in behavior.

Smoking has long been linked to stroke. Kicking the habit is one way to reduce your risk. Another factor is high blood pressure.

"People in their fifties with high blood pressure, their risk of heart attack and stroke is four times the same person that doesn't have high blood pressure," says Dr. Levine.

Taking steps to lower blood pressure can also reduce stroke risk, likewise with high cholesterol.

"Blockages, high cholesterol, plaquing of arteries, high blood pressure. They kind of go hand in hand in a lot of ways," says Dr. Levine.

A good first step is talking to your doctor and making necessary changes. Something Al Palmer learned the hard way.

"There's a lot of things that cause changes in your life and I've been fortunate enough that I've only had one stroke."

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we've been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

Visit leememorial.org

Vital Signs — High Blood Pressure #health #heartdisease #highbloodpressure

Source: National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Running Time: (2:22) Release Date: 10/31/2012

In the U.S., nearly 1/3rd of the adult population have high blood pressure, the leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke – two of the nation's leading causes of death. This animated video will show you the risk factors of having high blood pressure and what you can do to control it.

The Increased Risk of Stroke in the Black Community

For more info visit www.newsinfusion.com

Black History Month is an important time to reflect on our accomplishments and the struggles we still face. Screen legend Cicley Tyson, who starred in such epics as Roots andThe Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, is taking on one challenge with her commitment to highlight the disproportionate effect of stroke on the black community and how we can’t let the state of our health hinder our accomplishments.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability for all Americans. But African Americans are at increased risk due to factors such as family history, high rates of diabetes and high blood pressure. The evidence is clear: blacks have higher death rates from stroke and have almost twice the risk of first-ever strokes compared to whites. The impact of stroke is profound. It not only affects the person afflicted, but their families, and our nation.

Stroke is not inevitable. Cicely Tyson and Dr. Rani Whitfield, “Tha Hip Hop Doc,” will be on hand to let audiences know that if they know and control their risk factors – such as high blood pressure and diabetes – and work with their doctors to eliminate or manage risks, they may prevent stroke. By knowing the warning signs, and getting prompt medical attention, rehabilitation and survival is possible – even probable.

Blood test can improve prediction of heart attack, stroke

New blood tests that help identify specific features of cholesterol molecules can help improve the ability to predict who will have a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack, but the change is only slight, according to research published in the June 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Some risk factors for cardiovascular disease that you can modify by maintaining a healthy lifestyle include:

• Cholesterol level

• Tobacco use

• Blood pressure

Researchers representing the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration collected medical records containing information on risk factors for cardiovascular disease for more than 165,000 individuals without cardiovascular disease who were participants in 37 research studies. The investigators assessed whether adding information from tests that provide information about the cholesterol molecules in the blood to standard information used to predict cardiovascular risk, such as total and HDL cholesterol, improved the ability to predict who would have a fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular event.

During an average follow-up period of more than 10 years, the participants had more than 15,000 cardiovascular outcomes. While adding the new information did improve the ability to classify participants as low, intermediate, or high risk for cardiovascular events, the effect was modest. The investigators estimate that for every 100,000 adults aged 40 or older, just over 15,000 would be classified as intermediate risk using conventional risk factors. The addition of the new information would correctly reclassify only about 1 to 4% of these patients as higher risk, bumping them into a risk category for which statin drugs are recommended from one in which they are not.

Today's research is an example of how new discoveries and technologies contribute to the evolution of cardiovascular risk assessment. The value of the specific information studied here for predicting risk remains to be confirmed, however.

The Synergy Co-Op High Blood Pressure

www.DanHammerHealth.com We've redone this video using Camtasia to improve both audio and visual production. We think it has made a huge improvement. Please let us know what you think.

The number one risk factor for a stroke or heart attack is high blood pressure. Most people rely on medications to help manage their high blood pressure. This typically results in side effects. Yet there is an organ in your body that actually regulates your blood pressure. It lines all of your cardiovascular system and is called the Endothelium. By learning how to properly nourish and support this organ to achieve therapeutic increase in Nitric Oxide production you can naturally help your body regain control over your cardiovascular system to bring your blood pressure back into a normal range. And, do it without side effects. This health webinar will teach you how!

If you have any questions about this information then please call me at 1-800-966-3012 or email me at dan@agingnomore.com

Dan Hammer

American Heart Association issues stroke guidelines for women

For the first time, the American Heart Association issued guidelines for preventing strokes in women. High blood pressure and smoking are risk factors for everyone, but the AHA says risks unique to women include gestational diabetes and the use of birth control pills. Dr. Jon LaPook reports.