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Saturated fats, including coconut oil, are bad for your health

In the Journal Circulation, the American Heart Association (AHA) released their 2017 Presidential Advisory on Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease. The 2017 recommendations released by the AHA are based on updates in cardiovascular disease research.

Key messages include:

  • Replacing the intake of dietary saturated fat (from meat and animal products) with polyunsaturated fat (from vegetable oil) reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by about 30%
  • Dietary strategies that substitute the intake of saturated fat for carbohydrates do not prevent cardiovascular disease. This dietary strategy did not yield benefits to decreasing cardiovascular disease risk because the type of carbohydrates consumed were not restricted to healthier forms (i.e. whole grains, fruits/vegetables, and beans/legumes)
  • Saturated fat intake increases LDL cholesterol (i.e. bad cholesterol). Replacing saturated fat with healthy fats (polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat) decreases LDL cholesterol (high LDL cholesterol is a primary marker/risk factor for cardiovascular disease)
  • Coconut oil, a plant based source of saturated fats, increases LDL cholesterol levels. Due to this effect, widespread dietary intake of coconut oil is not advised
  • Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats lowers blood triglyceride levels (a marker of risk of cardiovascular disease)
  • In nonhuman primates, replacing dietary saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat prevents and improves atherosclerosis

For more on cardiovascular disease, or how a naturopath can help you to reduce your risk, please call 613-290-6115.

Graham Beaton is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing at Ottawa Collaborative Care in Ottawa.

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Moderate Sleep Apnea Influences Risk of Diabetes

Does mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea affect diabetes risk?
Researchers from the Sleep Research & Treatment Center at Penn State University sought to answer this question by following 1741 adults over 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period, individuals with moderate sleep apnea had an almost 3x higher risk of developing diabetes compared to people without sleep apnea.

What is the take home message?
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, talk to your health care professional about being screened for diabetes. In addition, take proactive steps to reduce your risk of developing diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight, by being physically active and by eating a healthy diet.

The above research was presented at the 2017 Sleep conference in Boston (poster number 0424).

Graham Beaton is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing at Ottawa Collaborative Care in Ottawa.

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Risk of heart attacks increases with NSAID use

A new study published in BMJ revealed that all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are associated with an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction (MI; i.e. heart attack).

The researchers pooled data from four studies (with 446,763 participants) looking at NSAID and MI risk. Results showed that taking NSAIDS increased risk of MI. The increased risk was also shown to be increased with short duration (one week) of use – especially in individuals taking higher doses of NSAIDS. Longer durations of NSAID use did not appear to raise risk above that of short term use.

To read the study, click here.

Graham Beaton is a naturopathic doctor in Ottawa

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Is it healthy for kids to drink fruit juice?

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently updated their recommendations on juice consumption for infants, children and adolescents. Here are the highlights.

  • Fruit juices are not nutritionally equivalent to whole fruit due to its lack of fiber.
  • Fruit juice does not offer any nutritional benefit over eating whole fruit for infants and children. It does it not play an essential role in a healthy children’s diet, and should not be given to children under the age of 1 (unless clinically indicated).
    Early introduction of fruit juice may be associated with a shift in food consumption, having juice replace foods that are higher in protein, fat, and vitamins and minerals. In addition, excess consumption may be related to malnutrition and short stature in children who consume excess amounts of fruit juice.
  • Excessive juice consumption is associated with digestive problems including diarrhea, flatulence and abdominal distension. Furthermore, excess juice consumption is associated with tooth decay. Tooth decay risk increases in children who consume fruit juice from bottles, covered cups and in those who consume juice at bedtime.
  • For children aged 1 to 3, intake of juice should be limited to 4 oz per day. For children aged 4 to 6, daily intake should not exceed 6 oz. For children aged 7 to 18, juice intake should not exceed 8 oz per day.

Overall, children should be encouraged to meet their daily fruit intake through the consumption of whole fruit and by consuming fruit juice.

For more information on nutrition, health, or how naturopathic medicine can help you, please call 613-290-6115.

Graham Beaton is a naturopathic doctor practicing in Ottawa.

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Where Does The Salt Come From?

A new study published in the journal Circulation (May 2017) reaffirms earlier findings that the majority of sodium in peoples diets come from foods that are prepared outside of the home.

To conduct the study, the authors recruited 450 participants, aged 18 to 75 years old, from 3 US cities – Birmingham (Alabama), Palo Alto (California), and Minneapolis-St. Paul (Minnesota). To determine participant’s sodium intake, the authors sought information on sodium volumes from:

  • Sodium added to food at the table
  • Sodium added to food during cooking at home
  • Sodium consumed from home tap water
  • Sodium consumed from what is naturally found in foods
  • Sodium that is added during food preparation outside of participants’ homes
  • Sodium from dietary supplements and antacids (non-prescription)

Results from the study indicated participants’ consumed on average 3501 mg of sodium per day. Of this amount, 70.9% of sodium intake originated from foods that were prepared outside of the home. Considering that health guidelines suggest people should limit consumption to 2300 mg per day (Health Canada) – foods prepared outside of the home can be the primary target in addressing excess sodium consumption.

Sodium reduction can be achieved through a combination of public education, including educating the public on healthy sodium consumption and food label reading, and public health regulations that curb sodium added in commercial preparation of food.
When eating out, or when choosing to eat prepackaged foods, remember to check the sodium content posted in the nutrition information poster (if available in place of purchase) or on the specific food package label.

For more information on nutrition, health, or how naturopathic medicine can help you, please call 613-290-6115.

Graham Beaton is a naturopathic doctor practicing in Ottawa.

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Health Effects of a Trans Fat Ban?

A new study in JAMA Cardiology (published online on April 12, 2017) examined the effects of a ban on trans fats on cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke) in residents of New York State. The authors found that restricting foods that contain trans fats resulted in a 6.2% decline in hospital admissions for heart attacks and strokes.

What are trans fats?
Trans fatty acids are a type of fat that is produced by hydrogenating oils. This process is designed to increase the shelf life and flavor of prepackaged foods.

Where are trans fats found in our diets?
Trans fatty acids are found in vegetable shortening and deep fried foods, and may be found in certain margarines, crackers, cookies and snack foods.

Other studies showing similar results?
There are several other studies looking into the health impact of eliminating trans fats, including:

  • The American Medical Association concluded that substituting trans fats for healthy fats could prevent 30,000 to 100,000 premature deaths in the US per year
  • In Denmark, a ban of trans fats from foods in 2004 led to a reduction of 14.2 deaths per 100,000 people. This effect was seen in 3 years of implementation of the ban

The evidence continues to mount on the negative health effects of trans fats. Not only have trans fats been shown to increase risk of cardiovascular disease, but it has also repeatedly been shown that cardiovascular events (heart attack and stoke) decrease significantly in regions where trans fats have been removed from foods.

Graham Beaton is a naturopathic doctor practicing in Ottawa.

For more on heart healthy diets or how a healthy diet can benefit you health, please call 613-290-6115 to book an appointment.

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Do Artificially Sweetened Beverages Affect Stroke and Dementia Risk?

According to a new study published in the journal Stroke, consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks was associated with a higher risk of stroke and dementia.

The authors collected data on the incidence of stroke (2888 participants aged 45 and over) and dementia (1484 participants aged 60 and over) during a 10 year period. As well, participants were given food frequency questionnaires to quantify their intake of artificially sweetened beverages over a 10 year period.

At the end of the 10 year period, the researchers found that the risk of stroke and dementia increased by three times amongst those who consumed one or more artificially sweetened drink daily. Risk of stroke and dementia was also increased in those who consumed a more moderate amount of artificially sweetened drinks per week (0-6 drinks per week), by 2.6 times and 1.7 times respectively.

Evidence continues to mount about the importance of avoiding artificially sweetened drinks (those that contain saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame and sucralose). Choose water instead.

For more information on nutrition, health, or how naturopathic medicine can help you, please call 613-290-6115.

Graham Beaton is a naturopathic doctor practicing in Ottawa.

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Dietary Choices and Physical Pain

A new study published in the journal Pain (2017) sought to establish the relationship between dietary choices, and physical pain, as chronic pain has been associated with higher body mass index (BMI).

What did the researchers do?
The researchers recruited healthy obese and non-obese adults, and 98 participants completed the study. Participants were interviewed on dietary habits, which were acquired via a 24 hour dietary recall. Using the information from the dietary recall, nutrient intake was assessed and quality of each participant’s diet was rated on a healthy eating score. Additionally, participants completed questionnaires to assess levels of bodily pain and BMI was determined.

What did the researchers find?
As was shown in previous studies, the researchers found that the greater the magnitude of physical pain reported, the higher one’s BMI. In addition, the study revealed that healthy eating (primarily characterized by seafood and plant protein intake) was associated with less physical pain. This reduction in pain was likely due to the anti-inflammatory components found in seafood and plant proteins.

What is the take home message?
Healthy eating can influence many aspects of one’s health. Specifically, healthy eating decreases and physical pain.
If you would like to know more about healthy food choices, healthy eating, or meal planning, please call 613-290-6115 to book an appointment.

Graham Beaton is a naturopath practicing in downtown Ottawa.

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Naturopathic Appointments Now Available on Saturdays!

Naturopathic appointments are now available in downtown Ottawa for those who have trouble booking during the week.

Please also note that early morning and evening naturopathic appointments are also available on request.

Call 613-290-6115 to book an appointment or to learn how Naturopathic Medicine can benefit your health.

Ottawa Collaborative Care is located at 102 Lewis Street – 3 blocks south of Elgin and Somerset in downtown Ottawa.

Is sugary drink consumption affected by taxation?

Recent evidence suggests that taxing sugary drinks may be an effective way of reducing their consumption. The latest proof, published in 2017 in Health Affairs, examined beverage purchasing trends in Mexico following the implementation of a tax on sugar sweetened drinks.

What was found?
Following the implementation of the tax in 2014 (1 peso per litre on sugar sweetened beverages – equivalent of 7 cents Canadian per litre), purchases of sugar sweetened drinks fell 5.5% that year and 9.7% in 2015.

Why is this important?
Most people don’t realize, but added sugars in foods and beverages can contribute significantly to total daily caloric intake, which in turn raises the risk of weight gain, obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Thus, any decrease in consumption of sugar, may lead to decreased rates of obesity, diabetes and chronic disease.

If you would like to know more about nutrition, food choices, meal planning or how Naturopathic Medicine can help you, please call 613-290-6115.

Graham Beaton is a Naturopathic Doctor working in downtown Ottawa.

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