Wellfie Wednesday Tip #77: Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Heart Disease Risk in 2018

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! This week is brought to you by Alyssa (@kuhnalyssa_spt).

     According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 610,000 people die of heart disease each year- that’s 1 in 4 people! Heart Disease remains the leading cause of death in both men and women and coronary artery disease (CAD) takes the cake as the most common form of heart disease. So what causes it?

     Many people used to believe that arteries became “clogged” due to high consumption of saturated fats- commonly found in animal and dairy sources, along with highly processed foods. When arteries get “clogged”, the clots can burst and travel to the heart causing ischemia of the blood- aka a heart attack. The British Journal of Sports Medicine (2017) recently discovered that saturated fats may not play a large part after all.

     A recent meta-analysis found that there was no association between saturated fat consumption and (1) all-cause mortality, (2) coronary heart disease (CHD), (3) CHD mortality, (4) ischemic stroke or (5) type 2 diabetes in healthy adults. Interestingly enough, another study found that in postmenopausal women with coronary heart disease, greater intake of saturated fat was associated with less progression of atherosclerosis (“clogging”), whereas carbohydrate and polyunsaturated fat intake were associated with greater progression. It has also been found that instead of looking to levels of LDL, typically deemed as “bad” cholesterol to determine risk of CAD, the ratio of total cholesterol (TC) to HDL cholesterol (“good”), has been shown to be the best predictor of cardiovascular risk.

But what does this tell us?

     Fat may not the enemy in our diets. It turns out that a high fat, Mediterranean diet (vegetables, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, oily fish) improved outcomes for recurrent myocardial infarctions and all-cause mortality discovered in the Lyon Heart study. We also need to find ways to decrease the TC to HDL ratio in order to diminish risk of CHD.

So, what do we do?

     It’s been shown that replacing refined carbohydrates (highly processed foods) with healthy high fat foods (notably plant fats and vegetables can decrease the TC to HDL ratio significantly. Physical activity can also play a part as those who walk briskly at or above 150 minutes/week (22 minutes per day) have been shown to increase their life expectancy by up to 3-5 years compared to physically inactive adults!

Overall, the two simple ways to reduce your risk of CAD and help to keep your heart healthy:

1.     Eat REAL food. Decrease the amount of refined carbohydrates and processed sugars. Stay in the outer perimeter of the grocery store!

2.     Get moving! Walk 22 minutes a day (which is only 2% of your day!) to keep your heart strong!

     Give it a try this upcoming new year! Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt@kuhnalyssa_spt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew



Malhotra A, Redberg RF, Meier P. Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions. Br J Sports Med. 2017;51(15):1111-1112. 

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #70: Don't Let Food Labels Confuse You!

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week brought to you by Patrick (@PBernerSPT). 

     This week's tip highlights one of the many things wrong with how companies label their food products. It's an issue I have been aware of for quite some time, but this post was sparked when I came across Peel Back the Label, a movement aimed at separating facts from fear mongering in food labeling (@PeelBackLabel). "Consumers have a right to both truth and transparency in food labeling. It’s time to peel back the label on deceptive marketing tactics." And that's really what some companies are doing with their labeling. They utilize the latest buzz words to draw in consumers, phrases such as "Gluten-free" "GMO-free" "No Hormones Added" are used time and time again, even when the products will never contain them anyway. You've probably noticed "Gluten-free" being placed on literally everything now, even fruits and vegetables. Though gluten is the protein portion of wheat flour, providing structural characteristics to baked goods, and will hardly ever be found elsewhere. 

     However, my favorite misleading claim is "No Hormones Added," especially when added to poultry/chicken products, as it is ILLEGAL to sell poultry in the United States that was raised with added hormones. From the USDA: "Hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry. Therefore, the claim "no hormones added" cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says "Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones."" If you were to look close enough on your packaging, you'll notice the claim followed by ** and than that federal regulation phrase in small print, likely hidden somewhere else. 

     Take a closer look at what you're buying and let us know what you find. And thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@PBernerSPT@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew

Wellness Wednesday Tip #8: How to Shop your Grocery Store

Happy Wellness Wednesday Folks! Thanks for joining us again!

     This week’s tip involves that weekly visit to the grocery, which I’ll admit I sometimes dread, but it can be quite easy if done right. We’ll go ahead and jump right into things with this tip, as it contains a few smaller tips for food choices that can certainly be elaborated on in the future. 

Start out by planning your week
Go ahead and create your menu for the week and then make a list of all the items you’ll need. ChooseMyPlate.gov has excellent resources, including a weekly menu template and grocery list template that separates things into their food groups. Keep in mind that you can have some flexibility in your shopping. When making a list, I’ll sometimes just write “a vegetable” or “fish” and let things fall into place after seeing what’s available. 

Initially, shop the store perimeter
The store perimeter will contain your fresh foods and some of your healthiest options. 

  • Shop for in-season fruits and vegetables
  • Choose lean meats, though think about having some meatless meals
  • Take advantage of fresh fish choices
  • Choose lower fat dairy and cheeses

Don’t entirely avoid the inner aisles  
Down the aisle is where you’ll find many other nutritious food items.

  • Look for whole grains and healthy cereal options
  • Pick up some canned or frozen vegetables, choosing lower sodium options
  • Look to add beneficial snacks, like walnuts or almonds
  • Choose healthy cooking oils like peanut and olive oil

Finish off with making sure you’ve covered everything on your list and filled in those “a vegetable” spots. 

Enjoy shopping!

-    Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT
-    Dr. Eric Uveges, PT, DPT