Take the Bitter With the Sweet

Dumping packets of sugar in your morning coffee isn’t just bad news for your waistline; it may also have a surprising impact on heart health. In a study of more than 5,900 individuals involved in the Framingham Heart Study, guzzling back more than 12 ounces per day of sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, sports drinks and fruit-flavored drinks was associated with a 53% higher risk of having high triglyceride levels and a 98% higher likelihood of having low HDL cholesterol, compared with drinking lesser amounts. Both of these blood lipid measures…

Recipe for Health: Salmon Oat Loaf

If you train older individuals, it’s a good idea to urge them to stay on top of their vitamin D needs. Research discussed in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging showed that muscle function, including strength, was impaired in adults 60 and older who were deficient in vitamin D compared with those whose levels were adequate. Maintaining muscle function throughout life is critical for healthy aging: promoting independence and mobility, reducing frailty and lowering the risk of fractures from falls. More research is needed to determine what impact vitamin D…

Sleep Tight on a Healthy Diet

For a good night’s rest, keep the smartphone out of the bedroom and refined carbs off your dinner plate. Researchers analyzed information from food diaries kept by more than 53,000 older women involved in the ongoing Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. The scientists found that women who ate larger amounts of high-glycemic refined carbohydrates—like white pasta and sugary desserts—were more likely to develop insomnia. The findings, reported in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that consuming more whole grains, fiber, vegetables and whole fruit was associated with fewer insomnia…

Lifestyle and Longevity Go Hand in Hand

When it’s likely that you are going to live into your 80s and 90s, isn’t it a good idea to work toward a healthy life span? Five lifestyle choices—the ones fitness professionals regularly recommend—may help you do it, according to a new analysis published online in the BMJ. In this prospective cohort study, 73,196 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (34 years of data) and 38,366 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (28 years of data) reported their adherence to the Alternate Healthy Eating Index; how often they engaged…

Fresh Food and Vegetables Appear in Schools

Back in 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the Smart Snacks in School standards, which aimed to reduce fat and sugar in students’ diets by encouraging schools to provide healthier snacking choices like whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and leaner protein. The standards were put in place after research indicated that schools which offered foods and beverages containing solid fats and added sugars were helping to add “empty calories” to youngsters’ diets. Consuming empty calories can increase overall energy intake, leading to overweight and other health conditions. The…

The Med Diet Stands the Test of Time

Given the option, would you choose the Paleo diet, intermittent fasting (IF) or the Mediterranean eating pattern for weight loss? Among 250 healthy, overweight adults participating in a randomized controlled study, more than half (55%) went for IF (restricting intake 2 days a week), while 27% chose the Mediterranean diet (emphasizing whole grains, fruit and vegetables), and 18% opted to go Paleo (modified to allow some legumes and dairy). Participants also chose whether to try high-intensity interval training or a standard exercise regimen. After a brief educational session on their…

Physical Activity in Youth Leads to More Veggies in Adulthood

There’s another good reason to help children maintain their physical activity. In a Finnish study, being more physically active in youth was linked to greater fruit and vegetable consumption during adulthood. Over 30 years, researchers in Finland collected self-reported data on physical activity levels and fruit and vegetable intake among 3,536 males and females, starting when they were 9–18 years old and continuing until they were 33–48. Leisure-time physical activity was indexed according to frequency and intensity. Participants reported how often they ate vegetables and fruit over the prior month.…