March 7th, 2014
07:27 AM ET
Here's a roundup of five medical studies published this week that might give you new insights into your health. Remember, correlation is not causation – so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.
Don't diss canned vegetables
Researchers at Michigan State University analyzed more than 40 scientific journal studies to see if canned fruits and vegetables provide the same nutritional benefits as fresh and frozen produce. Cans are often cheaper than fresh or frozen products, and therefore easier for low-income families to buy.
March 5th, 2014
09:12 AM ET
Eating a high-protein diet in middle age could increase your risk of diabetes and cancer, according to a study published this week in the journal Cell Metabolism. But don't stay away from meat for too long - the same study showed those over 65 need more protein to reduce their mortality risk.
Insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, is a protein in your body related to growth and development. Past studies have linked IGF-1 to age-related diseases, including cancer. Mice and humans with higher levels of IGF-1 often have a higher risk of developing these diseases.
Scientists believe protein intake plays a role in IGF-1 activity. Eating less protein, studies have shown, can lead to lower levels of IGF-1 in your body. So theoretically, protein consumption could be directly linked to disease incidence and death. FULL POST
February 24th, 2014
04:01 PM ET
Nearly a third of American adults have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Often called the "silent killer" because it provides few warning signs, hypertension increases a patient's risk for heart attack and stroke.
New research suggests eating a vegetarian diet could help combat this deadly disease.
A healthy blood pressure is 120/80 mm HG. Previous studies have shown that each increase of 20/10 mm Hg in that number doubles the patient's risk of cardiovascular disease. But lowering that top number just 5 mm HG can reduce your chances of dying from cardiovascular disease by about 7%. And eating more fruits and vegetables may be a good way to do that, according to the new study, published Monday in the scientific journal JAMA Internal Medicine. FULL POST
February 6th, 2014
11:24 AM ET
You've been eating well all week: oatmeal for breakfast, a salad for lunch and grilled chicken with vegetables for dinner. Then the weekend hits. Suddenly your taste buds want French fries at the bar and Mom's cheesy lasagna is calling your name during Sunday dinner.
Not to worry. A new study suggests small weight gains on weekends are normal, and as long as you can compensate during the week, indulging a bit may even help you lose weight long-term.
“There is a clear weekly rhythm to weight variation for most people,” says one of the study authors, Anna-Leena Orsama, a research scientist with VTT Technical Research Center of Finland. “On the weekends there is more variability and unpredictability in what we eat.”
February 3rd, 2014
04:01 PM ET
In recent years, sugar - more so than fat - has been receiving the bulk of the blame for our deteriorating health.
Most of us know we consume more sugar than we should. Let's be honest, it's hard not to.
The (new) bad news is that sugar does more damage to our bodies than we originally thought. It was once considered to be just another marker for an unhealthy diet and obesity. Now sugar is considered an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, as well as many other chronic diseases, according a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.
January 30th, 2014
10:49 AM ET
The baby fat lingering around your 5-year-old's face (and tummy and thighs) may be an indicator of his or her weight for many years to come, a new study suggests. Children who enter kindergarten overweight are four times more likely than their normal weight peers to become obese by age 14, researchers say.
Though recent studies have shown signs of progress in the fight against childhood obesity, an estimated one out of every eight preschoolers in the United States is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers are higher in African-American and Hispanic populations, at one in five and one in six, respectively.
The new study, published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests a big part of a child's obesity risk is already established by age 5. Interventions to combat childhood obesity may need to focus on those children who are overweight early in life, the study authors say.
January 22nd, 2014
12:01 PM ET
You may want to program the thermostat in your office down a couple of degrees today, despite the more-than-chilly temperatures outside. A paper published Wednesday in the scientific journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests doing so could help you lose weight.
Regular exposure to mildly cold temperatures help people burn more calories, according to the paper's authors, who have been studying this phenomenon for more than a decade.
"Since most of us are exposed to indoor conditions 90% of the time, it is worth exploring health aspects of ambient temperatures," lead author Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt said. "What would it mean if we let our bodies work again to control body temperature?" FULL POST
January 15th, 2014
05:43 PM ET
Nearly 80,000 people die as a result of drinking alcohol each year in North and Latin America, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal Addiction.
Researchers looked at alcohol as the cause of death by examining death certificates, over a two-year period in 16 North and Latin American countries. Men accounted for 84% of alcohol-related deaths.
Maristela Monteiro, study author and a senior advisor on alcohol and substance abuse at the Pan American Health Organization, says people are drinking too much and "it's killing people before they should be dying."
"These deaths are all 100 percent preventable," she says. FULL POST
January 7th, 2014
08:01 AM ET
What if eating healthy was as easy as playing your favorite childhood game?
In March 2010, Massachusetts General Hospital's cafeteria got an overhaul. Healthy items were labeled with a "green light," less healthy items were labeled with a "yellow light," and unhealthy items were labeled with a "red light." Healthier items were also placed in prime locations throughout the cafeteria, while unhealthy items were pushed below eye level.
The "Green Light, Red Light, Eat Right" method is a favorite among experts fighting childhood obesity. But doctors at Massachusetts General wanted to know if the colors could really inspire healthier eating habits among adults long-term.
December 5th, 2013
04:01 PM ET
Eating nutritional foods is one of the best ways to reduce obesity. But following a healthy diet isn't always easy, especially for lower socioeconomic groups.
One of the biggest barriers to buying good food is the cost, many experts say. Now researchers at Harvard School of Public Health have put a dollar amount on the price of healthy eating. By reviewing 27 studies on the cost of healthy vs. unhealthy foods, they've estimated the daily cost of eating better. Their results are published in the British Medical Journal.
"Conventional wisdom has been that healthier foods cost more, but it's never been clear if that's actually true or exactly how much more healthier foods might cost," said lead study author Mayuree Rao. "We found that the healthiest diets cost about $1.50 more per day, and that's less than we might have expected."
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.