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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Nutrition in the news this week


Obesity and Deaths:  Some interesting nutrition research was reported this week.  One study focused on obesity and noted more Americans are dying from obesity than previously thought.  Columbia University researchers have found that obesity accounts for nearly 20 percent of deaths for ages 40-85.  This is significant as previously they thought only 5% of deaths in adults was due to obesity.  So why is obesity causing more deaths than previously thought?  It seems researchers are now concluding that obesity has far worse consequences than previous reports indicated. 
This increase in deaths due to obesity may shorten life expectancy.  "Ryan Masters, a co- author of the study noted, “Obesity has dramatically worse health consequences than some recent reports have led us to believe.  We expect that obesity will be responsible for an increasing share of deaths in the United States and perhaps even lead to declines in U.S. life expectancy.” " (Obesity Causes More Deaths Than Previously Thought).  
Women fair less well than men when it comes to obesity.  Black women had a 27% risk of dying from obesity and white women a 21% risk.  Black men had the lowest risk of dying from obesity at 5%.  But black men didn’t necessarily live longer; they had other causes of death such as cigarette smoking.  

Does High Coffee Consumption Increase our Risk of Death?– as reported here previously (see Blog entry on 7-16-12), coffee can have great nutritional and health benefits.  However, this week different and seemingly conflicting studies were reported about the health benefits or lack thereof for coffee drinkers.   A study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings  found that men under 55 years of age coffee consumption of more than 28 cups of coffee a week 0r 4 cups a day, resulted in a 56% increase in the risk of death.  Women in this age group who consumed more than 28 cups of coffee a week had twice the risk of death.  Although researchers were not sure why high consumption coffee drinkers had an increased risk of death, they theorized that that it may be due to coffee increasing blood sugar levels, heart rate, and raising blood pressure. 
So should you stop drinking coffee?   No, according to other researchers.  For one, previous researchers found that coffee drinkers were at lower risk of death than non-coffee drinkers so this latest research is not consistent with previous research.  For those concerned, drinking four cups of coffee a day or less may be a prudent course of action. 

Does Coffee Drinking Lead to a Longer Life?  – in contrast to the apparently adverse health risks of drinking  28 cups of coffee a week, other studies notes that coffee drinkers life longer than non-coffee drinkers.  This study involved 400,000 people and showed they were less likely to die if they drank coffee.  Didn’t matter if it was decaf or regular coffee, those who drank up to 6 cups of coffee a day were less likely to die.  This study was done on participants in the National Institutes of Health and AARP Diet and Health Study.   Most study participants drank about 2-3 cups of coffee a day.  Only about 10% drank more than that.  Coffee Drinkers Live Longer

What should a person do about coffee with such conflicting results?  It seems moderation is key.  Coffee has been shown to have numerous health benefits, whether regular or decaf.  So enjoy your morning coffee, but think about limiting your intake to less than 4 cups a day. 


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