March 28th, 2012
03:56 PM ET
Hispanics are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States. By the year 2050, the U.S. Census Bureau projects Hispanics will compose 30 percent of the population. Most are Mexican-American. A new government study drills down on the changing way Mexican-Americans adults are eating and its effect on their health.
Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics compared statistics from 1982-1984 and 1999-2006.
Among the findings:
March 21st, 2012
04:18 PM ET
Most heart attacks hit without warning – when a blister plaque on the blood vessel wall ruptures. The resulting clot starves the heart of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood, causing a heart attack and possibly death.
Traditional diagnostic tools like treadmill stress tests only pick up major blockages in the blood vessels, but they don’t alert doctors to this type of impending catastrophe. That’s because the vast majority of heart attacks occur in people whose blood vessels are narrowed only slightly by cholesterol-laden plaque.
“We can’t detect these mild narrowings, which are almost exclusively responsible for heart attacks,” says Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California.
But Topol and a team of researchers now think they’ve found a way to determine which patients are only days or weeks away from a heart attack.
March 12th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
It's no secret that the empty calories in soda and other sugary drinks can contribute to weight gain and obesity. But a new study suggests these beverages also may harm your heart, even if they don't cause you to gain weight.
The study, which followed nearly 43,000 men for an average of 22 years, found that those who habitually drank one 12-ounce sweetened beverage per day were 20% more likely to have a heart attack, fatal or otherwise, than men who drank none.
The association could not be explained by obesity or weight gain alone. The researchers took into account the men's body mass index, along with their dietary habits, exercise levels, family history of heart disease, and other extentuating factors.
March 7th, 2012
03:49 PM ET
T. Colin Campbell co-authored a bestselling book touting the health benefits of eating like the rural Chinese. Now he’s trying to reacquaint the Chinese with the benefits of the plant-based diet he learned from them.
Campbell, who co-authored "The China Study" with his son, Thomas M. Campbell, said the Chinese are abandoning their vegetable-rich meals for fast food and other western fare.
“It’s ironic that some of the things we learned from the Chinese now we’re sort of taking back to China,” said Campbell, an American who is professor emeritus in nutritional sciences at Cornell University.
February 29th, 2012
03:08 PM ET
The next time you shop at the grocery store, you may see something new– nutrition labels on meat. The same types of labels you already find on other foods.
In 1993, the U.S. Department of Agriculture made nutrition labeling voluntary for many types of raw meats. The labeling becomes mandatory on Thursday.
The new rule affects all ground meat and poultry and 40 of the most popular cuts of meat in the United States such as chicken breasts, steaks, pork chops, roasts, lamb and veal. If the nutrition facts are not on the package, as in the case of some larger cuts of meat, look for posters or signs at the meat counter for this information.
February 29th, 2012
03:05 PM ET
It’s not a shocker: Kids eat lots of sugar.
About 16% of their daily calories come from sugar, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.
By sugar the report means sugars in processed foods like soda, cakes and ice cream. It also includes sweet substitutes like corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, fructose sweetener, honey, molasses, anhydrous dextrose, crystal dextrose and dextrin.
About 66% of sugary foods were consumed at home, according to the report. This means that the vast majority of kids get their sugar fix at their houses rather than school cafeterias, convenience stores or vending machines.
February 27th, 2012
06:30 PM ET
Most of us put a good deal of thought into the food we put in our bodies. But do we ever consider the food in our medicine?
That's right, the food in our medicine.
While television and print ads alike are loaded with messages about potential serious side effects, prescription drug disclaimers are issued to warn against possible unintended consequences resulting from a drug’s active ingredient(s).
But what you may not know is that the bulk of your prescription pill is made up of inactive ingredients, known as “excipients," and that your drugs couldn’t be made without them. Quite simply, excipients are what encapsulates your capsule or forms your pill into a solid as opposed to a powder.
Here’s the rub: One of the most common excipients used is gelatin, which is almost universally of animal origin. This presents a problem, as you might imagine, to those living within religious or dietary restrictions.
February 27th, 2012
04:01 PM ET
People with diets short on omega-3 fatty acids – the kind found in fish oil – were more likely to experience accelerated brain aging, a new study found.
“People with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids had lower brain volumes that were equivalent to about two years of brain aging,” said Dr. Zaldy S. Tan, a member of the UCLA Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research in the Department of Neurology.
The study was published Tuesday in the print edition of the journal Neurology.
February 9th, 2012
11:39 AM ET
How many times have you been to the movie theater, ordered a regular-sized popcorn or soda and been asked, “Would you like a large for a quarter more?” What about ordering a sandwich at your local deli? "Make it a combo!" you probably say.
We’re trained early on, oftentimes by our parents, to clean our plates or no dessert. Frequently, regardless of how hungry we are, that’s exactly what we’ll do.
Sure, the medium-sized popcorn would’ve been entirely satisfying, but if offered the larger portion, we’re going to take it and eat it – all of it.
This phenomenon, in part, is was what sparked a series of studies conducted at a fast-food Chinese restaurant on Tulane’s New Orleans campus.
The researchers conclude, in a study published in this month’s Health Affairs, that up to one-third of customers accepted a verbal offer to downsize their lunch, regardless of whether they were offered a minor monetary incentive to do so. Customers who accepted the downsized meals ate, on average, 200 fewer calories than did those who ordered the full-sized meals.
February 7th, 2012
03:19 PM ET
Nine out of ten adult Americans eat too much salt each day, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And it's not what we add at the dinner table that's the problem.
People are consuming high amounts of salt in processed foods and at restaurants. High sodium levels increase blood pressure, putting people at higher risk for heart disease and stroke.
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.