CAT | Heart Health
Obesity and a lack of exercise have long been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and premature death, but a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that being inactive may take even more years off your life than being obese. However, just one brisk walk every day may reduce the risk of an early death by up to 30 percent.
Dr. Ulf Ekelund and a team of researchers from the University of Cambridge recently analyzed the health data from more than 300,000 men and women who participated in a 12-year health and nutrition study. They compared factors such as height, weight and physical activity to overall death rates and found that the rate of premature death in those who were inactive was more than double the rate of those who were obese.
Participants were classified as either inactive or moderately active. Members of the inactive group were likely to have sedentary jobs and not exercise at all, while members of the moderately active group also had sedentary jobs but reported some daily physical activity—comparable to about a 20-minute walk at a vigorous pace. Just that brief walk, the team determined, was enough to decrease the risk of an early death by 16 to 30 percent.
If indeed staying physically active—even just a little bit each day—can add years to your life, why not make it a point to get moving in 2015? Start with that brisk, 20-minute walk each day!
Have you checked the labels in your pantry lately? Chances are more than a few include high-fructose corn syrup (not to mention the fridge, where soda and sports drinks are among the biggest culprits). In 2015 it’s time to say enough is enough, especially since yet another study has revealed the hidden dangers of HFCS.
Using mice, researchers from the University of Utah recently examined the effects of a diet high in HFCS—and the results may be a red flag for millions of Americans. According to lead author Wayne Potts, the fructose-glucose mix found in HFCS is significantly more toxic than sucrose (table sugar) and may pose a significant health risk. Unlike sucrose, HFCS is absorbed more quickly (due to the extra fructose), and the fructose travels directly to the liver where it contributes to a number of metabolic imbalances such as increased triglycerides and insulin resistance.
Potts and his team analyzed two groups of mice, each receiving one-quarter of their calories from either HFCS or sucrose—an amount similar to human consumption. Those in the HFCS group saw reduced reproduction (specifically 26.4% fewer offspring) as well as higher death rates among females.
“This is the most robust study showing there is a difference between high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar at human-relevant doses,” said Potts. The team points out the link between the introduction of HFCS into the American diet in the 1970s and the corresponding rise in obesity and diabetes. Their advice? Reduce added sugars in the diet and avoid products made with HFCS—an excellent health goal for the new year!