Category Archives: Longevity

Should You Eat Salads?

A masterpiece by Sunny Parker

I’m not generally a fan of U.S. federal government committee recommendations on what we should eat. They’ve led us astray before. For what it’s worth, the USDA and National Cancer Institute have put together a Healthy Eating Index. Salad-eaters score higher on the Index, which they say is better for you. I do believe the best salads are better than the crap most Americans eat.

From the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Abstract

Background

Consuming salad is one strategy with the potential to harmonize diets more closely with national dietary guidance. However, it is not known whether nutrient intake and diet quality differ between people who consume vegetable-based salad and those who do not.

Objective

The objective of this study was to compare nutrient intake and diet quality between salad reporters and nonreporters.

Design

This study is a cross-sectional analysis of 1 day of dietary intake data collected via 24-hour recall.

Participants/setting

Adults 20 years and older (n=9,678) in What We Eat in America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011-2014 were included. Respondents who ate salad on the intake day were considered salad reporters.

Main outcome measures

This study estimated nutrient intake from all foods and beverages (excluding supplements) and evaluated diet quality using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) 2015.

Statistical analyses

Nutrient intake and HEI scores were compared between salad reporters and nonreporters using paired t tests with regression adjustment for confounding variables. Results were considered significant at P<0.001.

Results

On the intake day, 23% of adults consumed salad. Energy, protein, and carbohydrate intakes did not differ between salad reporters and nonreporters. Salad reporters had higher intakes than nonreporters of dietary fiber, total fat, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins A, B-6, C, E, K, folate, choline, magnesium, potassium, and sodium (P<0.001). Total HEI 2015 scores were significantly higher for reporters (56 of a possible 100 points) than nonreporters (50 points) P<0.001. Reporters also had significantly higher scores for eight of 13 HEI components: total vegetables, greens and beans, whole fruits, total protein foods, seafood and plant proteins, fatty acids, refined grains, and added sugars (P<0.001).

Conclusions

Incorporating vegetable-based salad into one’s diet may be one effective way to increase nutrient intake and improve overall diet quality. Regardless of salad reporting status, HEI scores show that diets of US adults need improvement.

Source: Consuming Vegetable-Based Salad Is Associated with Higher Nutrient Intakes and Diet Quality among US Adults, What We Eat in America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011-2014 – Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Low-Carb Diets Linked to Premature Death

…and high-carb diets might be just as harmful. In the research at hand, low-carb was defined as under 40% of calories from carbohydrate, and high-carb was over 70% of calories.

Grain-based high-carb Neolithic food

The longevity sweet spot was 50-55% of calories from carbs.

If you want to eat low-carb, read more below to identify the possibly healthier substitutions for carbs. Tl;dr version: Eat plant-derived protein and fats.

From a 2018 study in The Lancet Public Health:

Background

Low carbohydrate diets, which restrict carbohydrate in favour of increased protein or fat intake, or both, are a popular weight-loss strategy. However, the long-term effect of carbohydrate restriction on mortality is controversial and could depend on whether dietary carbohydrate is replaced by plant-based or animal-based fat and protein. We aimed to investigate the association between carbohydrate intake and mortality.

Methods

We studied 15 428 adults aged 45–64 years, in four US communities, who completed a dietary questionnaire at enrolment in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study (between 1987 and 1989), and who did not report extreme caloric intake (4200 kcal per day for men and 3600 kcal per day for women). The primary outcome was all-cause mortality. We investigated the association between the percentage of energy from carbohydrate intake and all-cause mortality, accounting for possible non-linear relationships in this cohort. We further examined this association, combining ARIC data with data for carbohydrate intake reported from seven multinational prospective studies in a meta-analysis. Finally, we assessed whether the substitution of animal or plant sources of fat and protein for carbohydrate affected mortality.

Findings

During a median follow-up of 25 years there were 6283 deaths in the ARIC cohort, and there were 40 181 deaths across all cohort studies. In the ARIC cohort, after multivariable adjustment, there was a U-shaped association between the percentage of energy consumed from carbohydrate (mean 48·9%, SD 9·4) and mortality: a percentage of 50–55% energy from carbohydrate was associated with the lowest risk of mortality. In the meta-analysis of all cohorts (432 179 participants), both low carbohydrate consumption (70%) conferred greater mortality risk than did moderate intake, which was consistent with a U-shaped association (pooled hazard ratio 1·20, 95% CI 1·09–1·32 for low carbohydrate consumption; 1·23, 1·11–1·36 for high carbohydrate consumption). However, results varied by the source of macronutrients: mortality increased when carbohydrates were exchanged for animal-derived fat or protein (1·18, 1·08–1·29) and mortality decreased when the substitutions were plant-based (0·82, 0·78–0·87).

Interpretation

Both high and low percentages of carbohydrate diets were associated with increased mortality, with minimal risk observed at 50–55% carbohydrate intake. Low carbohydrate dietary patterns favouring animal-derived protein and fat sources, from sources such as lamb, beef, pork, and chicken, were associated with higher mortality, whereas those that favoured plant-derived protein and fat intake, from sources such as vegetables, nuts, peanut butter, and whole-grain breads, were associated with lower mortality, suggesting that the source of food notably modifies the association between carbohydrate intake and mortality.

Source: Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis – The Lancet Public Health

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: This type of research is often unreliable. If you have a better study design or more reliable data, please share with the world.

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David Sinclair’s Anti-Aging Regimen

dementia, memory loss, Mediterranean diet, low-carb diet, glycemic index, dementia memory loss

“Darling, think about upping your NMN dose.”

David Sinclair is a PhD professor and researcher at Harvard. Harriet Hall, M.D., reviewed his 2019 anti-aging book at Science-Based Medicine. Here’s his current anti-aging regimen as outlined by Dr Hall:

He makes no recommendations for others except “Eat fewer calories”, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, and “Exercise”.

But he argues that if he does nothing, he will age and die, so he has nothing to lose by trying unproven treatments, and he has personally chosen to do these things:

    • He takes a gram each of NMN [nicotinamide mononucleotide] resveratrol, and metformin daily.
    • He takes vitamin D, vitamin K2, and 83 mg. aspirin.
    • He limits sugar, bread, and pasta intake, doesn’t eat desserts, and avoids eating meat from animals.
    • He skips one meal a day.
    • He gets frequent blood tests to monitor biomarkers; if not optimal, he tries to moderate them with food and exercise.
    • He stays active, goes to the gym, jogs, lifts weights, uses the sauna and then dunks in an ice-cold pool.
    • He doesn’t smoke.
    • He avoids microwaved plastic, excessive UV exposure, X-rays, and CT scans.
    • He tries to keep environmental temperatures on the cool side.
    • He maintains a BMI of 23-25 [click to calculate your BMI].

He plans to fine-tune his regimen as research evolves. He acknowledges “It’s impossible to say if my regimen is working…but it doesn’t seem to be hurting.” He says he feels the same at 50 as he did at 30.

Source: Aging: Is It a Preventable Disease? – Science-Based Medicine

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Prevent Cardiovascular Events By Taking Hypertension Meds at Bedtime

High blood pressure is linked to heart attacksVery

This may be the most important biomedical research of 2019. Very recently I have noticed hypertension patients taking their medications at bedtime. Now I know why.

From Medscape:

Taking antihypertensive medication at bedtime led to an almost halving of cardiovascular events in a new study.

The Hygia Chronotherapy Trial is the largest ever study to investigate the effect of the time of day when people take their antihypertensive medication on the risk of cardiovascular events.

The trial randomly assigned 19,084 patients to take their medication on waking or at bedtime and followed them for an average of 6 years.Results showed that patients who took their pills at bedtime had a 45% reduction in overall cardiovascular events. This included a 56% reduction in cardiovascular death, a 34% reduction in myocardial infarction (MI), a 40% reduction in coronary revascularization [bypass surgery and angioplasty/stenting], a 42% reduction in heart failure, and a 49% reduction in stroke, all of which were statistically significant.

***

“We showed that if blood pressure is elevated during sleep then patients have increased cardiovascular risk regardless of daytime pressure, and if blood pressure during sleep is normal then cardiovascular risk is low even if the [doctor’s] office pressure is elevated,” Hermida said.

***

Results showed that during the 6.3-year median patient follow-up, 1752 participants experienced the primary cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcome (a composite of CVD death, MI, coronary revascularization, heart failure, or stroke).

Drug classes as physicians’ disposal were ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics. Preventative effects were most pronounced for ARBs and ACE inhibitors.

Don’t change your BP medication dosing until you check with your personal physician.

Source: Bedtime Dosing of Hypertension Meds Reduces CV Events

Did you know most heart attacks occur in the morning, and those tend to be the most serious?

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Marriage Linked to Longer Lifespan

dementia, memory loss, Mediterranean diet, low-carb diet, glycemic index, dementia memory loss

“Sweat Pea, let’s schedule you a check-up with Dr. Gupta.”

From UPI:

Married men in 2017 had an age-adjusted death rate of 943 per 100,000, compared to 2,239 for widowers. The death rate was 1,735 per 100,000 for lifelong bachelors and 1,773 for divorced men.

Married women had a death rate of 569 per 100,000, two-and-a-half times lower than the 1,482 rate for widows. The death rate was 1,096 for divorcees and 1,166 for never-married women.

*  *  *

While the death rate for married men and women declined by the same 7 percent, women’s overall death rate was much lower.

But the death rates among men in all other marital categories remained essentially the same between 2010 and 2017, researchers found.

On the other hand, the death rate for widowed women rose 5 percent, while the rate for never-married women declined by 3 percent and remained stable for divorced women.

Source: Marriage linked to longer lifespan, new data shows – UPI.com

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Dog Ownership Reduces Risk of Premature Death

paleobetic diet, paleo diet for diabetes

Parker Compound guard dogs waiting for bacon

From UPI:

A pair of new reports found that dog owners have a lower risk of early death than people without canine companionship, particularly when it comes to dying from a heart attack or stroke.

Dog ownership decreases a person’s overall risk of premature death by 24 percent, according to researchers who conducted a review of the available medical evidence.

The benefit is most pronounced in people with existing heart problems. Dog owners had a 65 percent reduced risk of death following a heart attack and a 31 percent reduced risk of death from heart disease, the researchers said.

Source: Having a dog can lower risk of death from heart attack, stroke – UPI.com

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Red Meat Not Quite as Deadly as Imagined

From New York Times:

Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

Whew…What a relief! Dodged that bullet.

Click for Gina Kolata’s article.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Raman May Increase Risk of Fatal Stroke

…at least if you’re Japanese. I rarely eat ramen, but understand it’s fairly popular among young adults in the U.S, particularly among college students, because it’s cheap, quick, and tasty.

Click for details of the study in Nutrition Journal. Some background from the article:

Ramen is one of the most popular foods in Japan, despite being of Chinese origin [11]. Since its original introduction in Japan, ramen has been adapted and now consists of wheat noodles served in broth topped with sliced pork, seaweed, or menma (a Japanese condiment made from lacto-fermented bamboo shoots; Additional file 1). Being tasty and inexpensive, ramen became a popular food that was available from street food stands in Japan after World War ΙΙ. Although the number of ramen stands has decreased markedly, ramen remains highly popular in Japan. High dietary sodium content was recently reported to be a risk factor for stroke [12]; ramen has a high sodium content. However, the relationship between stroke and ramen consumption remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the association between the number of ramen restaurants in each Japanese prefecture and stroke mortality in that prefecture.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Tighter Blood Pressure Control Benefits Folks With Diabetes

Not bad

For decades, physicians thought a blood pressure of under 140/90 was adequate for preventing heart attacks, strokes, and premature death. Not so.

From Diabetes Self-Management:

The new study evaluated roughly 11,000 people with type 2 diabetes in 20 countries over four years, finding that those who received the blood pressure drugs perindopril and indapamide to keep their blood pressure levels at or below 130/80 had fewer heart attacks, strokes and other complications than those receiving placebo (inactive treatment). They also had a “lower overall risk of dying from any cause.”

Source: Tight Blood Pressure Control Benefits Type 2 Diabetes: Study – Diabetes Self-Management

You may think the aforementioned health benefits stem from use of perindopril and/or indapamide. It’s either that, or simply the result of BP lowering. I suspect it’s the latter while admitting that not all BP drugs are created equal. As a hospitalist in Scottsdale, AZ, I rarely run across patients taking perindopril, and only occasionally folks on indapamide. The popularity of various drugs often depends on which part of the country you’re in and the attractiveness of the drug reps visiting the prescribers. We need to be more scientific than that.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Losing excess weight and exercise are two ways to lower blood pressure without the expense and side effects of drugs.

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Soft Drink Consumption Linked to Premature Death

The study at hand involved Europeans. It’s the first time I’ve seem artificially-sweetened soft drinks linked to premature death.

From JAMA Network:

This study found that consumption of total, sugar-sweetened, and artificially sweetened soft drinks was positively associated with all-cause deaths in this large European cohort; the results are supportive of public health campaigns aimed at limiting the consumption of soft drinks.

Source: Association Between Soft Drink Consumption and Mortality in 10 European Countries | Cardiology | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

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