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A reversal on carbs

A growing number of top nutritional scientists blame excessive carbohydrates — not fat — for America's ills. They say cutting carbohydrates is the key to reversing obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. “Fat is not the problem,” says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases.”

It's a confusing message. For years we've been fed the line that eating fat would make us fat and lead to chronic illnesses. “Dietary fat used to be public enemy No. 1,” says Dr. Edward Saltzman, associate professor of nutrition and medicine at Tufts University. “Now a growing and convincing body of science is pointing the finger at carbs, especially those containing refined flour and sugar.”

Americans, on average, eat 250 to 300 grams of carbs a day, accounting for about 55% of their caloric intake. The most conservative recommendations say they should eat half that amount. Consumption of carbohydrates has increased over the years with the help of a 30-year-old, government-mandated message to cut fat.

And the nation's levels of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease have risen. “The country's big low-fat message backfired,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. “The overemphasis on reducing fat caused the consumption of carbohydrates and sugar in our diets to soar. That shift may be linked to the biggest health problems in America today.”

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Dementia Can Be Avoided By Reading, Eating Well And Keeping Spirits High

According to the study published today in the British Medical Journal, the combined effects of reading, eating well and keeping spirits high would far outstrip the theoretical possibility of eliminating a gene known to increase the risk of dementia.

Dr. Karen Ritchie, a neuro-psychologist at the French National Institute of Medical Research leading her team of researchers assessed the change in the cognitive ability of 1,433 pensioners in Montpellier, over a period of seven years.

The participants in the study were asked series of questions regarding their lifestyle, medical history and educational background, including carrying out reading tests.

According to their findings, the amount of intellectual exercise a person indulges in greatly influences their likelihood of developing dementia.

Those with lower reading scores were 18% more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment or dementia, the former the forerunner of the latter.

Those suffering from depression were 10% more likely to develop it; while eating fruit and vegetables less than twice a day meant a 6.5% chance of developing dementia. Having diabetes was also a significant factor, leading to a 5% higher risk than those without.

In comparison, possessing a gene associated with dementia increased the risk by 7%.

These findings indicate intellectual activity to be the most important factor, which means the public health message should be to encourage literacy at all ages irrespective of innate ability.

Similarly, while the study found depression to be strongly linked to the development of dementia, treating it did not necessarily offer protection, nor was it easy getting people to eat more fruit and vegetables.

In conclusion, due to these problems, the most practical short-term solution was tackling diabetes, previous studies have also confirmed to be a causal factor. Obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are other risk factors associated with the disease.

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