Archive for January 2012
A recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care has found that low doses of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosaheaxaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) reduced the risk of heart arrhythmia-related events in diabetic patients who had previously suffered a heart attack.
1,014 diabetic patients, aged 60 to 80 years old, were randomized into four groups and consumed margarine that contained either 223 mg EPA and 149 mg DHA, 1.9 g ALA, both EPA/DHA and ALA, or no omega-3 fatty acids every day for 40 months. The group that consumed the margarine with EPA/DHA and ALA experienced an 84 percent lower risk of arrhythmia-related events and a 72 percent lower risk of arrhythmia-related events and fatal coronary events when compared to the group consuming the plain margarine. Heart arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat, and can lead to cardiac arrest.
The authors of the study suggest a few possible reasons why these omega-3s might be helpful in diabetics with heart disease. One, they might play a role in regulating insulin sensitivity, an important factor in diabetes. Two, they may help to lower blood sugar levels. And three, their anti-inflammatory properties may help to reverse insulin resistance. All these factors can lead to heart disease if unaddressed.
More studies will be done to determine the precise role each omega-3 plays in heart arrhythmia and heart disease, but this study adds to the thousands of studies illustrating the heart-healthy benefits of omega-3 oils.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found a three-fold increase in metabolic syndrome in children eating the least amount of dietary fiber when compared to the group eating the most. There were no differences when consumption of saturated fat or cholesterol was analyzed however.
The researchers recommend focusing on increasing fiber in the diet, and not worrying so much about finding low-fat foods. That does not mean teens should fill their diets with fat-filled foods, but it does mean seeking out nutrient-dense foods high in fiber.
Most low-fat foods today are those processed foods that have been filled with sugar to make up for lack of taste that comes with low-fat options. Replacing fat with sugar in foods is what has contributed to the current obesity and diabetes epidemic this country now faces. Up to 30 percent of teen’s dietary intake comes from beverages and sugary snacks.
But change can be tough. Joseph Carlson, the lead researcher, stated, “The trick is getting people into the groove finding the foods that they enjoy and that are convenient.”
The statistics are screaming at us from many different sources. Our diets and lifestyle have to change in order for us to see significant health improvements. This begins in childhood. ReNew Life founder Brenda Watson recommends that adults consume at least 35 grams of fiber daily. For children and teens, we recommend adding 5 grams to their age. So a 13-year-old should eat 18 grams of fiber daily. How can you add fiber back into your diet, and the diet of your family? For more information, visit ReNew Life’s fiber supplements page.