New Guidelines: Hold the Salt

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The American Academy of Personal Training

The government is telling Americans to take a pass on the salt.  According to new dietary guidelines, consumers are now being asked to drastically cut their daily intake of salt.  For the first time, the guidelines target people who are 51 and older, all African Americans, and people at risk for high blood pressure and diabetes, which basically means anyone that is overweight or obese.  That group should reduce their daily salt intake to a little more than half a teaspoon a day.  Everyone else should limit their sodium intake to about a teaspoon a day.

One way to limit your salt is to eat more fresh foods and avoid the processed foods.  When eating out, ask the restaurant not to add salt.  Other recommendations in the new guidelines include eating less than 10% of you calories from saturated fats; that includes full fat cheeses and meats.

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Fat babies lead to unhealthy adults

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

One third of babies in the U.S. are far too chubby, and its not cute!  In fact, it can be a predictor of serious health risks ahead.  A new study finds that babies who are overweight at nine months are likely to be among the heaviest by the time they reach 2 years old.  Researchers used a database of more than 10,000 children and found that 62% of those babies were either overweight or obese by the time they were 2.

Experts are now warning that this generation may be the first in two centuries to have a shorter life span than their parents.  This does not mean that parents should put their children on a diet.  Instead, experts recommend you start introducing healthy food choices as soon as your baby starts to eat solid food.

 

Avoid the “middle-aged” bulge

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

Perhaps some of you are wondering how to avoid the weight gain that comes with aging.  This weeks JAMA report focuses on a new study that suggests the more exercise you do over time the less likely you are to develop that “middle-aged” bulge.

Researchers from Northwestern University studied a group of 18-30 year olds over 20 years and found that there are benefits; but only 11-13% of people were able to sustain a high level of activity for the long haul.

Americans are fatter than ever

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

There’s no doubt about it…Americans are fatter than ever.  By some estimates as many as a third of all adult Americans are overweight.  Being overweight is not just an esthetic problem.  It greatly increases your risk of serious diseases like high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  Unfotunately, Type 2 diabetes goes hand in hand with obesity; and as more Americans become obese, they also become diabetic.  That puts you at risk for a whole host of diseases and conditions because diabetes can harm literally every organ system in the human body.

With Type 2 diabetes you can’t manage your sugar properly because the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or its resistent to the insulin you produce.  Insulin helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.  If left untreated, the consequences can be life threatening.  Researchers have now identified a hormone produced and released by the liver which may contribute to the insulin resistence seen in Type 2 diabetics.  The discovery may offer a new target for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes because studies in mice show that when that hormone production was blocked, insulin resistence improved…hence blood sugar levels went down.

In the meantime, we need to take back control of our bodies and get FIT!  Losing weight can reverse these harmful effects and the diabetes can improve…and even GO AWAY.

Un-happy meals?

There are some very unhappy kids in San Francisco.  That’s because lawmakers there want to ban happy meals that include a toy, unless they meet certain dietary standards.  Under the proposed guidelines, happy meals are required to have fewer than 600 calories and less than 640 grams of sodium.  So for example, if McDonald’s does not adhere to these standards, they’re not allowed to add a toy to their happy meals.   McDonald’s is fighting back saying this is “not what their customers wanted or asked for.”  A final vote is expected next week; if passed, the restrictions be in affect by December.

Link between poor health & depression

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

If you’re feeling down these days you’re not alone.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9% of adult Americans currently meet the criteria for clinical depression.  Overall, more people in the Southeast are depressed compared to other parts of the country.  This clustering may be partly due to chronic health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, stroke and sleep problems, which are also common in that region.  Other risk factors include being female, minority, unemployed, single or divorced with lower education, sociaoeconomic status, and no health insurance.  The good news is more people these days are seeking treatment for depression, but there’s still a stigma.  Symptoms of depression include crying spells, feeling unhappy, hopeless, guilt or worthless and losing interest in normal activities.