Health Connections: A Broader View of Wellness

What do sports, heart health, cancer prevention, eating disorders and wellness have to do with each other?

I just returned from the 30th Annual Symposium of SCAN Vitruvian Man– the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition dietetic practice group – a specialty group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which is the professional home of registered dietitians. SCAN has been on the cutting edge of nutrition since its inception, seeing the interconnections of these areas.

At this year’s SCAN Symposium, I was delighted to speak to a packed room about the connection of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  The three top diseases share numerous risk factors. And as research is increasingly showing, following recommendations that prevent cancer also reduce risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

During SCAN’s 30 years, the need to keep the big picture in mind has become even clearer among a variety of topics.

•    At one time, “wellness programs” focused primarily on heart health. Today, research identifies a broader vision of wellness, including how we can substantially reduce risk of cancer through eating and activity choices and a healthy weight. Wellness now refers to reducing people’s risk of disease and promoting their ability to live with vitality. Continue reading


New Analysis: Eat Slower, Eat Less

How long did it take you to eat breakfast? What about dinner? If you want to cut calories without being hungry, a new review of the research suggests that eating that meal a little slower may help you do just that. Clock Made Of Spoon And Fork

Dietitians, and mothers everywhere, have long suggested that people should eat slower. A few observational studies have also noted that heavier people eat more quickly than those who are leaner.

But this analysis focused only on experimental studies. It adds to the evidence that eating slower may help  people get to a healthy weight, without being hungry. And being at a healthy weight is one of the most important ways to reduce cancer risk, given that overweight and obesity link to increased risk of eight cancers.

For this analysis, researchers found 22 studies that each manipulated how fast people ate, then measured how much they ate. Most of the studies randomly assigned people to an eating-rate group. Continue reading


Is Your Morning Glass of OJ as Unhealthy as a Soda?

People are talking a lot about sugar these days, especially one kind called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – a sugar that seems to be added to just about all sweets in a box or package. HFCS usually contains more of one type of sugar – fructose – than table sugar or corn syrup.http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-oranges-table-man-drinking-orange-juice-image26777565

We know that too many sugary drinks – regardless of the type of sugar – can lead to obesity, which is a cause of eight different cancers. But some researchers believe that fructose is more harmful than other sugars, leading to a higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Others disagree, leaving the research to be inconclusive.

As the research continues on fructose, a new study published in the journal Nutrition, says that many sugary beverages Americans are drinking –  whether it’s HFCS soda or apple juice — actually contain similar amounts of fructose. Fructose is one of the two sugars that make up sucrose or table sugar; it is also a natural sugar found in fruit and fruit juice.

For their study, the researchers analyzed the sugar concentrations of the most popular sodas, 100% fruit juices, and juice drinks, including sports drinks. The researchers found that fructose levels among some HFCS drinks are often higher than a commonly used database researchers use. Continue reading