junk food

  1. Lose weight to prevent diabetes

    Weight loss helps control diabetes

    You hear it from your doctor. You hear it from your friends. You even hear it from your spouse. You hear it so often that instead of well-meaning advice it starts to sound like nagging… so you tune it out.

    Don't.

    The advice is to lose some weight, and it's not just nagging. It's life-changing and even life-saving advice that could help prevent diabetes.

    If you don't have diabetes, weight loss can help you prevent diabetes. And if you already have the disease, it's even more important than ever to drop those extra pounds -- because weight loss is the single most effective way to slow the disease and even reverse some of the damage.

    And now, new research backs the benefits of weight loss in diabetics in a big way, showing how diabetics who lose about 9 percent of their body weight and keep 6 percent off for a decade are less likely to develop kidney disease, vision problems and depression than patients in a control group.

    More importantly, the new study shows how weight loss can also help prevent diabetes symptoms for getting worse by controlling blood sugar levels and reducing your need for medication.

    And most importantly of all, weight loss can decrease your risk of hospitalization and increase your overall quality of life, according to the study of more than 5,000 obese diabetics assigned to either weight loss or counseling sessions.

    The only surprise here is that weight loss didn't do much to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke among patients in the study -- but that may be more because of how they lost their weight and kept it off.

    The program in the study consisted of calorie counting and, at times, meal replacement drinks -- and while these types of diets can be effective at weight loss, they're not necessarily the best ways to get the nutrients you need for heart protection, especially over the long term.

    In fact, a strict calorie-control diet can actually allow for junk foods and other unhealthy treats as long as they're within your daily allotment -- and those low-nutrition foods can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and more even if you're at a normal weight and even if you're not diabetic.

    So lose the weight -- but do it with a diet that's proven to lower the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Do it by limiting saturated fats, avoiding processed foods and junk foods, and making sure you get plenty of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids your heart needs.

    I recommend the Mediterranean diet for diabetics and non-diabetics alike to prevent diabetes symptoms from getting worse, and for both weight loss and heart protection.

    I'm not done with natural heart protection yet. Keep reading for the most rewarding way to fight off heart disease yet.

  2. Slow down: 'Fast diet' is the wrong approach

    The too-good-to-be-true diet that's too good to be true

    Fad diets are never a good idea -- and the latest fad diet might be one of the worst yet.

    It's called the "Fast Diet," aka the "5:2 diet," and it allows you to eat pretty much whatever you want for five days a week -- as long as you stick to just 600 calories per day on the other two days.

    Supposedly, the fast diet helps people to lose about a pound a week and may even help lower both blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

    But even if that were true -- and, long-term, I doubt that any of those benefits are sustainable -- do you really think you would be healthy on a diet like this?

    It's almost certain that you wouldn't be -- because if you're eating junk five days a week, you will find yourself battling serious nutritional deficiencies that could set the stage for everything from mental health problems to major disease.

    For example, as I just told you, a diet high in saturated fats can rob your brain of a chemical it needs to remove damaging proteins, putting you at risk for dementia.

    And while short periods of fasting and low-calorie dieting can be beneficial in certain situations, they need to be carefully controlled to ensure you get proper nutrition for energy and overall good health.

    So skip the fads, especially the fast diet. Instead, commit to a healthy eating plan seven days a week. Trust me, it's not as hard as it seems sometimes.

    I've found there's one diet that allows for a wide variety of delicious foods -- including some of the foods you already love -- as well as filling meals every day, and it can help you to lose weight, improve nutrition and fight disease all at once.

    It's a Mediterranean diet rich in chicken, fish, fruits, vegetables and even allows for some chocolate -- and in recent studies, it's been shown to slash the risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia and more.

  3. High-glycemic index foods increase diabetes risk

    Foods high on the glycemic index -- especially sugars -- can dramatically increase the risk of diabetes, according to new research.
  4. The caramel color in sodas may be carcinogenic

    A key ingredient, caramel color, used in many colas and other soft drinks can increase your risk of cancer.
  5. How to avoid kidney stones

    More people than ever can expect to battle kidney stones, with new numbers showing the risk has nearly doubled over 16 years. Here's how to avoid them.
  6. Foods that will ruin your mood

    When I get a patient facing depression, one of the first things I do -- before I run a single test -- is ask what they've been eating. And most of the time, the answer to that question tells me everything I need to know -- because people who eat garbage usually end up with a mood down in the dumps.
  7. Junk food kills sperm

    You already know what junk food will do to your waistline -- but for men, a diet rich in poor choices can also hit below the belt. To put it simply, junk food kills sperm the way RAID kills roaches.
  8. Junk food in depression link

    It's a never-ending cycle that'll have you depressed and wearing pants with an elastic band in no time... and a new study links that cycle to one ingredient in particular: trans fat, the not-so-secret ingredient that helps to make junk food so tasty... and so dangerous.
  9. Kids sure do love their junk food

    Sadly, most of today's kids do get to eat pretty much whatever they want--and a new study shows what happens when they do: Up to 40 percent of the daily calories now consumed by children between 2 and 18 years old come from sugars and solid fats.
  10. Organic junk is still junk

    A new study finds that many people believe the word "organic" has almost magical powers to make unhealthy foods healthy, or at least lower in calories.
  11. Might as well face it: You're addicted to junk

    There may be a lot more truth to the phrase "junk-food junkie" than anyone ever imagined.

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