Archive | Health problems

Should You Be on Statins?

tengblad

Dr. Anders Tengblad

Should you be on a cholesterol-lowering medication, a so called statin? This is much debated and this will likely be a controversial post.

Some claim that nobody should take such drugs, that they cause lots of side effects and no benefits, as heart disease “has nothing to do with cholesterol”.

Others claim that most people (even healthy people) should take statins daily to prevent heart disease, as they are “effective and almost free of side effects.” Many doctors prescribe statins to all their patients with a cholesterol level above some arbitrary number. For example a total cholesterol above 200 mg/dl (5 mmol/l), which most people have.

Pros and Cons

The truth is of course somewhere between these extreme alternatives. Statins have been showed to reduce the risk of heart disease, especially in people who already suffer from heart disease. However, they also carry a significant risk of side effects, such as an increased risk of diabetes, muscle aches, weakness, increased fatigue and actually a slightly lowered IQ, etc.

So who could benefit from this medication? Should you be on it? New guidelines – a step in the right direction – have been issued from the Swedish Medical Products Agency.

Here’s a sensible guest post on the subject by Dr. Anders Tengblad:

Guest Post

tengblad-pres2New guidelines on preventative treatment with drugs have been issued from the Swedish Medical Products Agency. The guidelines are also included in the new diabetes guidelines. If you’re 100% opposed to taking medication to prevent disease, you will of course not like these guidelines. Personally, I think the guidelines are good. Focus is moved from target levels to treating the total risk. Continue Reading →

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Dramatically Improved Heart Health in Sweden!

Heartattacks

Swedes are becoming heart-healthier, faster!

The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare recently released the latest statistics for the risk of myocardial infarctions in Sweden, up to the year 2013. This is encouraging reading for almost everyone… except for those who are desperately looking for signs that increased butter-consumption has something to do with heart disease.

The years when LCHF has been popular and butter sales in Sweden have more than doubled – from 2008 – are highlighted in green in the image. The risk of heart disease is not on its way up, as some have warned, but rather the risk is going down faster than ever!

Swedes are consuming a lot more butter and at the same time getting more heart healthy than ever before.

How will the outdated fat-fearing people at our agency for dietary guidelines explain away this? They’ll probably continue their usual tactics: acting as though nothing has happened. Or what do you think? Continue Reading →

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More Salt Is OK According to New Study

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Do you know anyone who has bought in to the fear-mongering propaganda against salt? Now yet another big study indicates that the fear of salt is highly exaggerated.

When they examined the salt habits of over 100,000 people, it turned out that people who salted more than the recommended amount had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease. Those who salted a lot less – according to official guidelines – had a higher (!) risk of disease.

NBCNews.com: Pour on the Salt? New Research Suggests More Is OK

JSW: Low-Salt Diets May Pose Health Risks, Study Finds

The study should be taken with a grain of salt (pun intended) as this is, as usual, only statistics. But like previous studies, it suggests it’s fine to put salt on your food at home without feeling guilty.

However, it may for many reasons, be wise to avoid ready-made foods and junk food (and bread) that have lots of added salt. This salt is to hide the boring taste of cheap, poor ingredients. Continue Reading →

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A Sneak Peek at “Carb-Loaded”

Carb-Loaded

Now you can watch a 3-minute trailer for the movie Carb-Loaded. It’s about the low-fat, sweet and floury causes of the obesity epidemic:

A sneak peek at “Carb-Loaded

Note also that there are subtitles in English and a few other languages. To chose a language, click on “CC” in the lower, right corner.

One of the interviews contains an explanation that I think sounds odd – how the body releases cholesterol to repair injuries to arteries. That is a metaphor that I’m not quite buying.

That small injuries to arteries and inflammation are central to heart disease is, however, probably true. As mentioned in the video, the result is like an abrasion on the inside of the arteries, that never heals completely.

Many things may contribute to injuries and resulting inflammation in the arteries, for example high blood sugar, high blood pressure, toxic substances from smoking and rancid small dense LDL cholesterol particles (which is primarily a result of too many bad carbohydrates in your diet).

What do you think about the video? Continue Reading →

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The Food Industry’s Own Studies Reveal the Risks with Sugar

A small, but tempting image

A small, but tempting image

Do you deserve to treat yourself to bad health today?

A new review of high-quality scientific studies shows yet again that sugar isn’t only bad for weight. Sugar is NOT just empty calories.

Sugar also has pronounced negative effects on health markers, such as blood pressure and blood lipids.

The New Zealand Herald: Sugar directly linked to heart disease – report

Continue Reading →

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Is Salt Dangerous? Or Good for You?

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Is salt dangerous? Certain organizations – such as those issuing official dietary guidelines – have warned for a long time against salt and recommended a reduced intake. But as often when it comes to nutrition, the science is far from settled.

A recent review of all good studies in this area shows that the amount of salt that most people consume is associated with good health. Both an extremely high salt consumption and a low consumption seem to be worse.

The review can be added to several similar reviews in recent years, that question the dead-certain warnings against salt. Neither too much, nor too little, seems to be best.

You can actually get too little salt. This causes fatigue, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. You lose focus. And maybe you don’t just feel worse from salt deficiency, perhaps it’s also really bad for your health.

Avoid high doses of salt from junk food, cheap processed foods, soda and bread. Extreme amounts of salt are hardly good for you, and there are more reasons to avoid such foods. But if you eat real food, you can probably put as much salt on your food as you like.

If you have symptoms of salt deficiency, try taking half a teaspoon of salt, dissolved in water. If you quickly feel better, you were probably salt deficient. Continue Reading →

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Saturated Fat Completely Safe According to New Big Review of All Science!

Good fat, good fat, good fat.

Good fat, good fat, good fat.

Are butter, and other saturated fats, bad for us? No.

Yet another new major review of all good science shows that saturated fat is as harmless as other natural fats, whether unsaturated or polyunsaturated.

This review goes through all observational studies and randomized intervention studies of high quality that have been done. Which means all the best science available on the subject:

The result? People who eat a lot of butter or other saturated fats don’t get sicker. And people who reduce their butter intake don’t get any better. There simply is no connection between butter and heart disease.

The same result – that butter is completely harmless – has recently been shown in major reviews of all science time after time, again and again and again and again.

When are older so-called experts going to give up their outdated and unscientific warnings about butter? It’s time to embrace science.

Today, fear of butter lacks scientific support. It’s based on old preconceptions and on an inability to update knowledge.

If you want to be taken seriously as a “nutrition expert” you’d better keep updated. It’s not good enough to continue spreading ideas from the 80’s about fat, ideas that have long since been refuted.

There has to be a limit to how long you can bury your head in the sand. Or what do you think?

Continue Reading →

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New Study: Does Sugar Cause Heart Disease?

Harmful soda

Bad soda

Are today’s high rates of overconsumption of sodas and other sugar sources a direct cause of heart disease? It’s possible, more and more people think so, and a new study gives this idea further support.

Of course, today’s study only shows statistical associations. In this study, people who consumed large amounts of sugar, for example sodas, got heart disease more often. Correlation doesn’t prove causation, so this doesn’t mean that this study has proven what is cause and effect. However, this study did demonstrate a linear association: the more sugar the greater the risk.

This study is just another piece of the puzzle, and more and more people are starting to see a clear picture, and taking the health hazards stemming from excessive sugar consumption seriously.

Prof. Laura Schmidt at University of California San Francisco writes in a commentary in JAMA:

We are in the midst of a paradigm shift in research on the health effects of sugar, one fueled by extremely high rates of added sugar overconsumption in the American public.

Past concerns revolved around obesity and dental caries as the main health hazards. Overconsumption of added sugars has long been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, under the old paradigm, it was assumed to be a marker for unhealthy diet or obesity. The new paradigm views sugar overconsumption as an independent risk factor in CVD as well as many other chronic diseases, including diabetes mellitus, liver cirrhosis, and dementia—all linked to metabolic perturbations involving dyslipidemia, hypertension, and insulin resistance. The new paradigm hypothesizes that sugar has adverse health effects above any purported role as “empty calories” promoting obesity. Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick.

The fight against cigarettes has almost been won in the West. Now the fight against sugar is starting to get serious. The health benefits may be at least as great. Continue Reading →

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