This study refutes the so-called "obesity paradox" for diabetics. A previous study suggested that for diabetics, it is healthier be overweight or obese. This study found that the optimal BMI for diabetics is in the upper limit of the "normal weight" bracket (BMI 22.5 to 24.9). Stay tuned for round 2, fans of diabetes-obesity controversy!
Processed meats are strongly associated with heart disease and cancer. Most of the harm is due to extra sodium causing higher blood pressure. Unprocessed meats (all types considered together) have no such association. Fish, nuts, legumes, and vegetables are associated with lowered rate of heart disease.
Should I take omega-3 supplements like fish oil? This is a question I hear a lot. This smaller study finds that those who consumed the most DHA and/or EPA (the 2 key essential omega-3 fatty acids), had an 18% reduction in overall mortality. The effect on cancer reduction (23%) was greater than the possible benefit for heart disease. Of course, in correlation-finding studies like this you cannot be sure the correlation implies causation! So here is some evidence that you want to at least be the kind of person who would consume more omega-3s.
The title says it all. This I believe is the direction we are headed with promotion of physical activity. In the near future, a sedentary lifestyle will be widely recognized to be almost as harmful as smoking.
This is interesting. So the theory is that our highly refined, low-fiber American diet causes diabetes. The authors looked at all high quality studies to date on fiber and diabetes. Sure enough they found all types of fiber reduce diabetes significantly, like 20%. But interesting when they looked at the 5 studies that provided dosing data. They found that as your fiber intake goes from 0gm per day to about 20gm/day, we see not much reduction in diabetes. But as people's intake increases from about 20gm/day to 40gm/day, there is a steep reduction. So my takehome lesson is when we say fiber is important to help prevent diabetes, we mean you need to eat a lot of fiber. Shoot for 40 grams per day or more.
Bariatric surgery (gastric banding, gastric bypass) may be our most effective treatment for diabetes. Studies have found that in 57% to 95% of cases, diabetes will reverse with such surgery. We have no nonsurgical treatment that is remotely as effective.
Here is a study favorable toward dairy. They cite some evidence that dairy might reduce tendency to diabetes, obesity, or the metabolic syndrome which usually precedes diabetes. There is some research on each side of the issue, and it is not conclusive. But chalk 1 up in favor of dairy.
This trial found that top consumers of lowfat yogurt had 28% lower rate of diabetes compared with lowest consumers of lowfat dairy. Not clear what those who did not eat lowfat yogurt were eating instead. That's the key question.
6 major recommendations to prevent cancer were put to a 7 year test. The results? "Cancer-specific mortality was 61 % lower in respondents who met at least five recommendations compared to those who met none... Cancer-specific mortality was 10 % lower on an average with each additional recommendation met". What are the recommendations that might cut your risk of cancer by over half? (1) Stay as lean as possible without becoming underweight. (2) Be active for at least 30 minutes a day. (3) Limit consumption of calorie-dense foods and avoid sugary drinks. (4) Eat a plant-based diet that includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. (5) Limit intake of red meat (beef, pork, lamb) and avoid processed meat (ham, cold cuts, bacon, sausage). (6) If you consume alcohol, limit yourself to one drink/day for women, two drinks/day for men. Which of these had the biggest effect? #4, with an 18% reduction in cancer mortality risk.
What's better - exercise or drugs? This study looked at the available evidence, and concluded that "exercise and many drug interventions are often potentially similar in terms of their mortality benefits in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation after stroke, treatment of heart failure, and prevention of diabetes". In other words, exercise is about the same as effective as drugs for the diseases listed. And yes, typically the benefits are additive when you combine them both.