Posts tagged metabolism
The Truth About Cholesterol

We've all heard the mantra: keep LDL levels – the “bad” cholesterol – down, and the “good” HDL cholesterol up. But thanks in part to the ubiquity of statins, such as Lipitor, which allow us to simply pop a pill to limit LDL production in the body, we've recently adopted tunnel vision when thinking about managing cholesterol. LDL levels are all we seem to care about now, as we strive for lower and lower numbers at each visit to the doctor's office. However, I think we're missing the bigger picture by focusing solely on LDL. First, it's made us reliant on medication to solve a problem that can many times be addressed with changes in diet and exercise regimes. Once someone starts Lipitor treatment, they'll be taking it for life, and if LDL levels don't quite get as low as they should, it's all too easy to solve the problem by increasing the dose. When patients first begin Lipitor treatment, physicians typically prescribe the lowest possible amount, 10mg. However, dosing can go as high as 80mg, which begs the question: Do higher doses of the drug really improve outcomes?

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Can High Blood Glucose Levels Cause Cancer?

Diets high in simple sugars and refined carbs cause metabolic disorders and Type II diabetes in millions of Americans. But to make matters worse, new evidence suggests that high sugar diets may be even more dangerous than we initially thought. Having too much excess sugar in the bloodstream is never a good thing, and can lead to medical complications such as kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, and eye problems. But could high blood sugar also cause cancer? A Swedish research team addressed this question by tracking over 500,000 patients for 10-25 yeas, and published their results in the December issue of PLoS Medicine.

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What the NYT and Slate Don't Seem to Understand About Behavior Change

Two articles posted online got under my skin this morning, and I just couldn't resist giving my two cents. First, Tara Parker-Pope, of the New York Times says:

Most obesity researchers now agree that metabolic differences, not willpower, are the driving forces behind weight and appetite control. Studies suggest that an imbalance of brain chemicals and hormones, including cortisol, ghrelin, leptin and serotonin, can increase cravings and make certain foods difficult to resist.

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