Where do you get your health information?
As many of you know, I am a big health newsletter fan. I have found over the years that subscribing to a couple of these has helped me keep up with the seemingly ever changing world of nutrition and health. One of my favorites, the Nutrition Action Health Letter, the world’s largest circulation newsletter, just had its fortieth birthday. I want to share with you a few of the highlights from the January/February issue entitled “Unexpected, Surprising Findings from the Last 40 Years”.
- Excess pounds boost cancer risk. Most of the research linking cancer to obesity has been conducted over the last 15 years. The list of cancers that excess weight clearly increases the risk of now includes endometrial, post menopausal breast, colon, esophagus, kidney and pancreatic. Several other cancers including leukemia in adults, lymphoma, cervical, gallbladder, liver and aggressive prostate cancer may also be influenced by weight. Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, suggests that “There are probably as many cancers caused by overweight and obesity in the U.S. as caused by smoking because there are fewer smokers than overweight people.”
- Coffee gets a makeover. It wasn’t too long ago that many thought coffee and the caffeine that came along with it was a contributing factor to a number of health problems including pancreatic cancer and heart disease. According to Dr. Willett, “it turned out to be remarkably safe”. Not only safe, but it might actually lower the risk of some serious disease. The evidence is strong that moderate (4 – 6 cups) consumption of regular or decaf coffee lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. And regular consumption of regular coffee lowers the risk of Parkinson’s disease and gout. Surprisingly, Willett says, “coffee has turned out to be a health promoting beverage rather than a carcinogen.
- Too little sleep can lead to too much fat. The average American now sleeps two hours less per night than he/she did 40 to 50 years ago. ”We now have lots of studies on sleep and obesity” explains Kristen Knutson, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, “and most of them find that short sleepers, (fewer than 6 hours a night) are more likely to be obese than longer sleepers. Sleep deprivations is associated with exhaustion, making it difficult to follow through on an exercise and nutrition plan. Sleep deprivation also interferes with the proper production and release of important hormones that influence appetite management. While it doesn’t get much attention, getting a good night sleep just might be one of the most important behaviors you can work on to help you control your weight.
If you have found this information interesting and would like to read more, you may want to subscribe the Nutrition Action Health Letter. Subscribe by visiting their website – you can even read through the archives.