To my Patients and Friends,
Here are some important health news items…enjoy!
Short people draw the short straw
According to a study recently reported in the Journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, short people are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes relative to taller people. This study looked at over 27,000 Europeans and found that, for each 10 centimeters (or 3.9 inches) increase in height, there appears to be a 41% decreased risk of diabetes in men and a 33% decreased risk in women. So to all the shorter people out there (myself included): make every effort to live a healthy lifestyle as a means of avoiding diabetes—this means sticking to a healthy dietary pattern (rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains), getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.
More information has emerged regarding the potential negative effects of a popular category of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. This group of antibiotics, which includes ciprofloxacin (brand: Cipro), levofloxacin (brand: Levaquin), and moxifloxacin (brand: Avelox) plays important roles in fighting certain infections. However, they are also known to be associated with significant side effects including tendon rupture, secondary gastrointestinal infections that can cause severe diarrhea or colitis, nerve damage and heart rhythm disturbances. And this recent study just published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has now shown that these medications can also be associated with aortic aneurysm ruptures and heart valve abnormalities.
Although these medications have traditionally been considered first-line choices for certain types of infections, there are usually very good alternatives available. If your physician happens to prescribe a quinolone for you, before heading to the pharmacy I would encourage you to inquire about acceptable, possibly safer options.
Mixed meat messaging
You may have read about a recent controversial Annals of Internal Medicine dietary “guideline” indicating that despite an abundance of strong evidence to the contrary, red and processed meat intake is not associated with poorer health outcomes. Legitimate criticism abounds within the medical and nutrition communities, largely because of flawed methodologies used to come up with these recommendations. Additionally, since the publication of this report, it was determined that the lead researcher—Dr. Bradley C. Johnston failed to disclose ties to the meat industry.
The bottom line: when it comes to red and processed meats, less is definitely more. Paying heed to these dangerous recommendations will negatively impact individual, public and planetary health.
Why we tend to gain weight as we age
Many of us struggle to maintain a healthy weight over the course of time. Some recent research has helped us to understand why that may be. A Swedish study just published in the journal Nature Medicine has found that turnover of fat molecules (or lipids) in our fat tissues tends to decrease during aging, which makes it more difficult to keep the weight off.
As one expert weighed in (pardon the pun): “A normal process of aging is slower metabolic rate. Our body uses less energy to function, and as a result, there is less ‘lipolysis,’ or breakdown of fat,” said Sharon Zarabi, director of the Bariatric Program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “Ultimately, what influences weight loss is our metabolism, microbiome (the abundance of beneficial bacteria that live within our gastrointestinal tracts), hormones, nutrient intake, genetics, muscle composition, exercise and environmental toxins.”
My interpretation: science has shown how our metabolism changes over the course of our lives. We should keep in mind, however, that we can compensate for these changes in part by getting regular exercise and adhering to a healthy diet rich in plant-based foods—not only for the nutritional and caloric components (which are important), but also for the positive impacts these measures have upon our microbiome, which has been shown to impact our metabolism independent of the effects of diet and exercise.
Lastly, another reminder to get your flu shot!
That’s all for this installment…stay healthy and enjoy the fall foliage!