early death

  1. Too much sugar can caus sex problems and early death

    A little sugar, a lot of damage

    You can eat right, get regular exercise and keep a healthy weight. You can look good, feel good and even pass every mainstream measure of health.

    But if you have a regular soda habit, there's a good chance you're not healthy -- because even moderate amounts of soda can have too much sugar and can increase your risk of death and disease in ways that aren't always obvious.

    One new study on mice shows that millions of Americans get too much sugar each day causing very different -- and very serious -- consequences in men and women.

    Male mice given sugary drinks had serious reproductive problems. They fathered fewer pups, had fewer mates, controlled less territory, and were less likely to defend the territory they did have.

    In female mice, the consequences were even worse...MUCH worse: Sugar-fed mice were twice as likely to die during the 32-week study as female mice fed no sugar.

    What's really concerning here is that this is not the effect of obesity, which can strike when you get too much sugar. No, the mice in this study weren't obese and weren't even overweight.

    In fact, they actually ate completely healthy foods.

    The one exception was the sugary drinks, which made up roughly a quarter of their calories.

    That may sound like a lot, and it is. It's just too much sugar.

    But that's also the same level of sugar roughly 25 percent of all Americans get each day, with most people getting all that sugar from soda.

    Now, I realize this is a study on mice, and we humans are certainly not mice. But there are good reasons we do so much research on mice -- starting with the fact that 80 percent of things that are toxic to mice are also toxic to us.

    I personally don't think it's a stretch to believe sugar is part of that 80 percent, especially when you consider the undeniable fact that the white stuff can cause or contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, cancer and more.

    Having too much sugar can even change behavior, especially in children, with another new study showing that kids who drink soda are more prone to violence.

    And in adults, sugar can cause depression and other mood disorders.

    It's tempting to think the answer here is to switch to diet sodas and sugar substitutes instead of real sugar.

    The soda companies certainly want you to think that. Coca-Cola has even launched a new ad campaign touting the supposed safety of aspartame and the other sweeteners used in its diet soft drinks.

    But don't be misled by marketing.

    Science shows that aspartame can cause everything from cancer to migraines, and studies have shown that switching from regular soda to diet won't even do much to improve your health.

    One study I told you about just a few months back found that just three bottles of diet soda a week can actually increase your risk of diabetes by 60 percent.

    If you're thirsty, there are better, safer, healthier and tastier options than soft drinks. I recommend teas such as green tea and herbal tea as well as filtered water and seltzer, infused with fruit if you want some flavor.

    And if you need a sweetener, stick to natural options such as lo han and xylitol.

  2. Eyes linked to heart risk

    When it comes to heart disease, it looks like the eyes have it.

    Researchers say they can spot who's more likely to suffer the life-threatening condition by simply checking for yellow spots on the eyelids. People who have them face a 50-percent increase in the risk of a heart attack.

    The study of nearly 13,000 people in Denmark also found that the yellow spots -- actually little pockets of cholesterol called xanthelasmata -- can up the odds of heart disease by 39 percent and an early death by 14 percent.

    That may not sound like a lot, but over the years it can add up -- and over the course of a decade, the researchers say a person with xanthelasmata has a one in five chance of developing heart disease.

    You can see where this is going, right? Since the spots are made of cholesterol, the researchers wrote in BMJ that patients who have them should be given cholesterol treatment -- a not-so-subtle code for meds like the statins that have become so overused.

    But it's just not that simple, because there's no clear link between those yellow cholesterol pockets and blood levels of the fats. In fact, half the people who develop xanthelasmata have perfectly normal blood cholesterol levels -- and even the new study found that the link to heart disease was there regardless of those blood cholesterol levels.

    So instead of blindly flinging statins around, docs should use the yellow patches as a sign they need to dig deeper and get a more complete picture of your heart disease risk factors. As far as those risk factors go, both yellow eyelids and even those cholesterol levels are actually pretty low on the list.

    The one that beats them both is homocysteine, the inflammation marker that can signal everything from heart problems to dementia risk -- and you don't need a drug to help lower it.

    Something you probably have in your supplement cabinet at this very moment will do that for you: fish oil.

    As I've told you before, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can slash homocysteine levels -- and, as a bonus, they can even lower your levels of deadly triglycerides and boost HDL cholesterol, aka "the good cholesterol."

    It's like killing two birds with one fish.

  3. Poor sleep linked to hypertension

    If you're battling blood pressure problems, you don't need another med -- you just need better sleep... and that doesn't necessarily mean more sleep.
  4. Literacy can save your life

    It's about how they understand -- or fail to understand -- information about their own health, and researchers say those who suffer from "health illiteracy" are more likely suffer from actual health problems and are even at risk for an early death.
  5. Apnea in new heart risk link

    But now, researchers say that in addition to leaving you gasping for air in the night, sleep apnea could also be responsible for serious blood vessel abnormalities -- problems that can actually steal blood right from your heart.
  6. Salt isn't the problem after all

    Salt has been called every name in the book and labeled Public Health Enemy Number One for its supposed role in heart disease and an early death.
  7. Take a stand against sitting

    Too much time on your rear could put your bottom at risk and your life on the line: A new study finds that people who work sedentary jobs have a dramatically higher risk of colorectal cancers.
  8. TV linked to death

    A new study finds that those of us who spend the most time tuned in are most likely to check out early: Two or more hours of TV a day can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and an early death.
  9. Sleep better to live longer

    Good sleep isn't just measured in terms of hours, but how often you wake and how well you feel when you get up in the morning.

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