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Diet & Nutrition Round Up: Just in Time for Those New Year’s Resolutions

new years - stockOver the years, The American Journal of Medicine has published numerous commentaries and research articles about diet, nutrition, weight management, and healthy lifestyles.

Just in time for your New Year’s Resolution list (or your patients’), here is a round up of recent articles on diet and disease prevention.

Diets to Prevent Coronary Heart Disease 1957-2013: What Have We Learned?

Our understanding of the potential cardioprotective properties of nutrition is relatively recent, with most relevant studies completed in the last several decades. Early trials emphasized reduction of dietary fat with the goal of preventing heart disease by reducing serum cholesterol. Results from trials focused exclusively on dietary fat reduction were disappointing, prompting subsequent studies incorporating a whole diet approach with a nuanced recommendation for fat intake. This article reviews 56 years of dietary recommendations.

The Mediterranean Diet, its Components, and Cardiovascular Disease

One of the best-studied diets for cardiovascular health is the Mediterranean diet. This consists of fish, monounsaturated fats from olive oil, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes/nuts, and moderate alcohol consumption. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce the burden, or even prevent the development, of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, depression, colorectal cancer, diabetes, obesity, asthma, erectile dysfunction, and cognitive decline.

Does Overall Diet in Midlife Predict Future Aging Phenotypes? A Cohort Study

Data from British adults suggest that avoidance of a diet comprising of fried and sweet food, processed and red meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products is associated with a higher chance of achieving older ages disease-free and highly functional.

Total Antioxidant Capacity of Diet and Risk of Heart Failure: A Population-based Prospective Cohort of Women

Total Antioxidant Capacity from Diet and Risk of Myocardial Infarction: A Prospective Cohort of Women

These companion studies showed that diets high in antioxidants from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have heart disease prevention affects.

Back to the Future: Rethinking the Way We Eat

From foraging to farming to fast food, the human diet has evolved over millions of years. The findings reported by Rautiainen et al (above) may prompt some of us to question if our diet is better now … or just different from our ancestors’.

 An Evidence-based Guide for Obesity Treatment in Primary Care

Primary care physicians can use the 5As framework– Ask, Advise, Agree, Assist, and Arrange– to build and coordinate a multidisciplinary team that: 1) addresses patients’ psychosocial issues and medical and psychiatric comorbidities associated with obesity treatment failure; 2) delivers intensive counseling that consists of goal setting, self-monitoring, and problem solving; and 3) connects patients with community resources to assist them in making healthy lifestyle changes. This paper outlines reimbursement guidelines and weight-management counseling strategies.

Smartphone Applications for Patients’ Health and Fitness

As more and more people start to use smartphones, they may provide a tool to help improve a patient’s health and fitness. Specifically, fitness applications or “apps” on smartphones are programs that use data collected from a smartphone’s inbuilt tools, such as the Global Positioning System, accelerometer, microphone, speaker, and camera, to measure health and fitness parameters. The apps then analyze these data and summarize them, as well as devise individualized plans based on users’ goals, provide frequent feedback, personalized coaching, and additional motivation by allowing milestones to be shared on social media. This article introduces evidence that apps can better help patients reach their health and fitness goals.

Questions About Vitamin D for Primary Care Practice: Input From an NIH Conference

There is considerable consumer and physician interest in vitamin D as a possible therapeutic agent for a range of clinical conditions and, despite mixed evidence, the interest does not appear to lessen. Some clinicians believe that consumption of vitamin D is inadequate and, in turn, advocate vitamin D supplementation to increase serum levels of the nutrient. However, evidence concerning the role of vitamin D in health and disease is conflicting.

Medical Complications of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are serious psychiatric illnesses related to disordered eating and distorted body images. They both have significant medical complications associated with the weight loss and malnutrition of anorexia nervosa, as well as from the purging behaviors that characterize bulimia nervosa. No body system is spared from the adverse sequelae of these illnesses, especially as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa become more severe and chronic.

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