Health, Medicine & Nutrition
How to Lose 20 Pounds PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Madeline Vann, MPH   
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 13:53
A focused strategy will help you reach your weight-loss goal. Counting calories and getting active will help.

Search online and you’ll find dozens of Web sites promising to tell you exactly how to lose 20 pounds (or more), often with hyped-up claims of speedy success, like losing the weight in 30 days or “just six weeks!” The reality is that losing 20 pounds is an achievable goal if you apply proven strategies, such as counting calories. This approach may take a bit longer than those miracle diets, but it will actually work and help you develop healthy habits to keep the weight off, and even lose more, if that’s your goal.

“Having a realistic weight goal makes good sense,” says dietitian Jenna Anding, PhD, RD, of the department of nutrition and food science in the Texas A&M System at College Station. “Eliminating 500 calories a day can help promote a one-pound-per-week weight loss. Increasing physical activity can also help promote weight loss.”

In order for counting calories to work, you will have to do a little math (it’s okay to cheat and use a calculator). If you want to lose 1 pound a week (it is safe to lose up to 2 pounds a week or 1 percent of your body weight, if you weigh more than 200 pounds), that means you need to cut out or burn through exercise about 500 calories a day. But remember not to eat less than 1,200 calories daily, so that your body doesn’t retreat into starvation mode. A reduction of at least 500 calories a day means you could lose a pound every week or 20 pounds in about five months.

Here are four diet truths to help you achieve your goals:

  • Cutting out sweet drinks is non-negotiable. Sweet tea, soda, and flavored and sweetened milks, waters, and coffees all have to go. Drink plain water, low-fat milk, and sugar-free drinks instead. A study of 810 adults between 25 and 79 years old showed that after 18 months, those who cut out sweet drinks had greater weight loss than those who cut down on food calories. One possible reason: While your body lets you know when it is full of food, there is no way for your body to tell you when you’ve maxed out on liquid calories.
  • Physical activity helps counting calories. Being physically active burns calories while it improves your overall health. Aim for 30 minutes a day most days of the week. A brisk 30- to 45-minute walk burns 100 to 200 calories. If you can burn 200 calories through exercise, you only have to cut out 300 calories in food or drink to reach your daily calorie-cutting goal.
  • Strategically eating less drops weight. A study of 811 overweight people who participated in four popular diets found that whether diets were low-fat, high-protein, or a combination didn’t matter — weight-loss success depends on cutting out calories. In fact, you can continue to eat filling portions if you simply replace high-calorie foods with low-calorie foods that contain a lot of water, such as fruits and vegetables. A study of 97 obese women who ate either a low-fat diet or a low-fat diet with additional fruits and vegetables found that those who emphasized fruits and veggies lost up to five pounds more.
  • Journaling leads to success. Counting calories is easier if you write down (or type in) what you eat, including serving sizes and details such as condiments you may have added. “Research has shown that exercise and journaling really make a difference in long-term weight management,” says Gail Curtis, assistant professor at Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, N.C. A detailed journal will help you identify your successes and pinpoint where you can cut additional calories or replace high-calorie foods with low-calorie ones.

With dedicated work you can apply these truths to lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks or less. So get moving!

 
Can Cinnamon Help Treat Diabetes? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Diana Rodriguez, Everyday Health   
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 13:47
Several studies have investigated the effects of cinnamon on blood sugar, but the results are mixed.

There are medications available to help manage type 2 diabetes and lower blood sugar levels. A diabetes-friendly diet and regular exercise can also help to keep type 2 diabetes under control. But some researchers suspect that there could be a more natural source of blood sugar control to help manage diabetes: cinnamon.

Some studies have investigated the effect of cinnamon on blood sugar levels, but there aren't enough of them or enough carefully compiled results — or consistency in those results — to draw hard and fast conclusions yet. "There's not very much research on it," explains Philip A. Kern, MD, an endocrinologist and director of the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington. But there is potential.

The studies that have tried to measure the effects of cinnamon on blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes have been small and not well controlled. In general, a reliable study is one that is large (at least 500 to 1000 patients), has patients randomly assigned to different groups, and is double blind — meaning neither the researchers nor the subjects know who is getting the treatment. That type of detailed and careful research just hasn't been done on the subject of cinnamon’s role in diabetes, says Dr. Kern, adding that the results of the small studies that have been conducted "are all over the place."

"Some say that the cinnamon does lower blood sugar or improves some other measure — some studies report a benefit, and some studies don't report a benefit," says Kern. His initial reaction was dubious, he admits, but after studying what little research is available, the effects of cinnamon are "probably something deserving of a larger study."

For instance, one study suggests that cinnamon may be effective in lowering blood sugar levels because it has a similar effect on the body as insulin, the hormone that people with type 2 diabetes produce in insufficient amounts. 

Cinnamon: A Dash or a Dollop?

The amount of cinnamon needed to produce a positive effect is unclear. In some of the clinical trials, diabetic patients were given about 1 gram of cinnamon in a capsule — that amount of pure cinnamon is about the size of the tip of your pinkie finger.

Swallowing that much cinnamon powder would be downright painful (and probably not taste very good), so Kern says you shouldn't try to ingest cinnamon on your own in an effort to lower blood sugar. You also shouldn't chow down on a big cinnamon bun or sip a cinnamon latte, thinking you're getting a health benefit — even if additional research concludes that cinnamon is of benefit in lowering blood sugar and managing diabetes, Kern says you're still not getting a free pass for the sugar and calories.

So what's the take-away message? Kern believes it's not so much that people with diabetes should eat more cinnamon, but that "maybe [it] has a property that might be beneficial." He adds, "If you could figure out exactly what it is about cinnamon, you could design a drug that would target that beneficial property.”

So, Kern says, if anything does come of cinnamon as a blood sugar-lowering agent, the recommendations for patients with diabetes will be in the form of a new medication that has captured the properties of cinnamon, not necessarily dietary changes.

For more diabetes news, follow @diabetesfacts on Twitter from the editors of @EverydayHealth.

 
Got High Cholesterol? Yes, You Can Eat Eggs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Jaimie Dalessio, Senior Editor, Everyday Health   
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 13:41
Many people avoid eggs because they're afraid of driving up their cholesterol levels — but the fear is unwarranted, say Cleveland Clinic cardiac specialists. This is just one of the heart health myths they debunk in a new book.

MONDAY, Feb. 13, 2012 — If you’ve banned eggs from breakfast under the pretense that they’ll hike up your cholesterol levels, here’s good reason to bring them back and get your sunny side on.

Only 20 percent of the body’s cholesterol comes from diet, according to Cleveland Clinic heart specialists Steven Nissen, MD, and Marc Gillinov, MD, who teamed up to write HEART 411: The Only Guide to Heart Health You’ll Ever Need.

Are you doing everything you can to manage your heart condition? Find out with our interactive checkup.

The remaining 80 percent of your cholesterol is made by your liver. Furthermore, saturated fat and trans fat in your diet play a bigger role in cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol, which means you can’t blame your lousy lipid levels on diet — or fix them by eliminating foods rich in cholesterol (like eggs) from your diet alone.

Eggs can be a part of your heart-healthy meal plan, in moderation. Doctors Nissen and Gillinov recommend eating no more than one to three eggs per week if you’re trying to lower your LDL “bad” cholesterol levels.

And while we’re at the breakfast table, let’s squash the debate over what you should sip: Neither coffee nor tea is bad for the heart, according to the authors. Read on for some more myths they debunk in the book.

Myth: Fish Oil Capsules can Lower Cholesterol

Nissen and Gillinov say: "If anything, fish oil supplements increase both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol. Although they lower triglycerides, we have not established evidence for a reduction in heart risk due to lowering of triglycerides."

Everyday Health says: Eating the real thing is the best way to reap the benefits of fish for heart health. Salmon, tuna, trout, and Atlantic or Pacific mackerel are especially great sources of heart-healthy omega-3s.

 
Don’t delay. Get your HealthCare.gov account ready PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by The HealthCare.gov Team   
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 09:44

Important note: If you’ve recently logged into your HealthCare.gov account successfully, you can ignore this message.

Now’s the time to come back to HealthCare.gov and enroll in a health plan for 2015!

If you haven’t logged in recently to your Marketplace account on HealthCare.gov, please visit today and make sure your account is ready.

Learn how to find your username and reset your password now.

Remember: Enroll by December 15 for coverage starting January 1, 2015.

The HealthCare.gov Team

If you need health insurance for 2015, make sure you’re signed up to receive reminders about important enrollment deadlines.

Click here to sign up.

 
Medicare Part D PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Alzheimer's Association   
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 16:33
As you and your family review options for Medicare Part D prior to the Dec. 7, 2014 enrollment deadline, please consider coverage of any drugs related to Alzheimer's disease or other dementias.

Of particular note is a change to the availability of the Alzheimer's drug Namenda. The company that produces Namenda will cease production of one version of Namenda (Namenda IR tablets, usually taken twice per day) in January 2015.

While supplies of Namenda IR may be available at local pharmacies for a period of time after the company stops distribution in January, it is anticipated that individuals on this prescription will have to switch to another version of Namenda (XR = extended release once per day capsules). In addition, it is our understanding that a generic version of Namenda IR may be available as early as mid-2015; however, an official date has not been shared.

As with any prescription change, please have a conversation with your physician regarding options and next steps for you or your family members.

For more information regarding Medicare Part D, please visit our website.

 
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