June 2017 Newsletter

In this month’s newsletter:

  • We’re Back from Vacation!
  • The Impact of Sweetened Beverages on Disease and Life Expectancy.
  • The ‘Disease’ of Being Busy
  • Sodium and Blood Pressure: Not What You Think!
  • Electronic Medical Records: Help or Hurt Patient Care?
  • Recipe of the Month: Garlic Bacon Avocado Burgers

Impact of Sweetened Beverages on Disease and Life Expectancy

As if we didn’t need more reasons to cut back our consumption of sugary drinks, here are two studies that show the dangers sweetened beverages such as soda, fruit juice and sweetened coffee beverages present to our health.  This also includes artificial sweeteners which aren’t the “healthy” substitute their manufacturers claim.

Estimated Global, Regional, and National Disease Burdens Related to Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption.

This study assessed the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on obesity related cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes in various nations, ages and genders. Key points from the article include:

  • Worldwide, the estimated deaths per year from sugar of sugar sweetened beverages is 184,000.
  • In Mexican men ages 20-44, 33% of deaths can be attributed to sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • In 2010, the mean global consumption of these beverages is about 7 oz every day.
  • “Global mortality and morbidity due to sugar-sweetened beverages may steeply rise as current generations age into higher risk of chronic diseases while continuing their higher intakes of sugar sweetened beverages.”

The study concluded sugar-sweetened beverages, are a single, changeable part of diet that can change the outcome of preventable death and disability around the world.

Sugar- and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and the Risks of Incident Stroke and Dementia: A Prospective Cohort Study

This study looked at the intake of sugary drinks (fruit juice, fruit drinks, regular soda) and artificially sweetened soft drink (diet soda) and the rate of stroke and dementia of patients over a course of 10 years. Key points from the article include:

  • The population studied with higher consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks were associated with an increased risk of stroke and dementia.
  • Drinking artificially sweetened soft drinks tripled the risk of suffering from both stroke and Alzheimer’s. Drinking artificially sweetened drinks daily also raised the chance of non-Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • Sugar and artificially sweetened drink consumption increase the risk of diabetes. In particular, artificial sweeteners alter gut microbiota causing glucose intolerance and then diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of stroke and dementia.

The study concluded “Artificially sweetened soft drink consumption was associated with a higher risk of stoke and dementia.  “The consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks is increasing in the community, along with the prevalence of stroke and dementia.”

The ‘Disease’ of Being Busy

Calendars are always full.  Smart phones often in our hands. Email inboxes full.  A pile of laundry sits in the corner, waiting for the wash.  When you ask someone how they are doing, a frequent response is “I’m so busy” or “I’m keeping busy”. It is not just the adults who are over-scheduled.  Children come home from school to do an hour of homework only to finish and head off to piano lessons, soccer and swim lessons. 

In his article “The Disease of Being Busy” Duke University professor Omid Safi argues that we have forgotten we are “human beings, not human doings”. Safi writes that being busy is taking a toll on our health and well-being and it robs us of personal and deep connections with our friends and family. Safi offers no quick solutions to clear our calendars however he says our society needs to come up with new models to structure our time in order to stop doing and start being. 

Sodium and Blood Pressure: Surprise!

A new study released by the National Heart and Lung Institute of Boston University counters the common belief that a low sodium diet is important to prevent high blood pressure.

Lynn L, Moore, DSc, who recently presented the study said “We saw no evidence that a diet lower in sodium had any beneficial long-term effects on blood pressure”.

Current dietary guidelines recommend that Americans eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, which is approximately a teaspoon of table salt.

The study followed 2,000 men and women over 16 years.  All participants started the study with normal blood pressure.  The study showed that participants who consumed less than 2,500 milligrams of sodium had higher blood pressure than those with higher sodium diets. Also of significance, the group that consumed over 4,000 milligrams of sodium daily had the lowest blood pressure.

Do Electronic Medical Records Hurt Patient Care?

Many health care providers say that Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are forcing them to spend more time focusing on the computer instead of focusing on the patient.  Though they were designed to make the process more efficient, this commentary from several doctors in Boston says EMRs have had unintended negative consequences.

Recipe of the Month: Garlic Bacon Avocado Burgers

These Garlic Bacon Avocado Burgers from The Pike Place Kitchen, are extremely flavorful and quick to make. Instead of using bacon as a topping, this recipe calls for the bacon to be mixed-in and cooked into the burger. If eaten without a bun or in a lettuce wrap, this great summer meal is Paleo friendly and smells amazing when cooking.