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The Facts on Fasting for Your Health

Fans of periodic fasting say the practice can help with everything from allergies to weight loss. Are they right? Here, the good, the bad, and the hungry on fasting to feel better.

Ritual fasting has been part of religious traditions for thousands of years, from Muslims who fast during daylight hours in the month of Ramadan to Mormons who take a regular break from food the first Sunday of each month. But a recent growing body of research shows that abstaining from food intermittently may have physical as well as spiritual benefits — the latest, a study from Utah researchers that found that occasional fasts (defined as extended periods of time in which people generally abstain from all food and drink except for water) may reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Google “fasting for health” and you’ll get more than 7 million hits, ranging from doctors who recommend it in their practices to treat a range of diseases, spas that promise detoxifying food-free vacations, and message board postings from devotees who say that fasting makes them feel clearer mentally and more fit. “I fast whenever my body feels like it needs a reboot,” says Yoli Ouiya, 31, a New York City blogger who writes about eco-friendly living. She fasts once every few months. 
But is fasting a good idea for your health? Possibly, says David Katz, MD, MPH, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University. Every day, organs such as the liver, kidney, and spleen work to remove and neutralize toxins from the body to keep our cells healthy. “When you fast, you eliminate input of additional toxins from food,” says Dr. Katz, “and there is a potential biological benefit to that.”
Leading researchers and experts share the details you need to know before you forgo food:
Your Body on a Fast 
Thanks to our history as hunter-gatherers, human bodies are equipped to handle periods of not eating, says Benjamin D. Horne, PhD, MD, author of the Utah study and director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City. And since the ancestors who made it through those lean times are the ones who survived, Horne suggests that our DNA may actually be coded to receive a benefit from fasting.
Here’s how your body reacts when you stop feeding it:
  • When you eat, your digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into the sugar glucose, the body’s major source of energy. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood, which then travels to your body’s cells to provide them with fuel.
  • If you haven’t eaten recently, the supply of glucose in your blood drops and your body turns to stored glucose, called glycogen, for energy.
  • Once the glycogen is used up, your body begins to burn fat and muscle stores to make its own glucose to fuel your cells.
  • After a few days without eating (which experts don’t recommend) your body kicks into ketosis mode, meaning you burn fat as the primary source of fuel, in order to spare muscle. You will lose weight in the form of body fat. However, ketosis also makes your blood will also become more acidic, and can cause bad breath, fatigue, and other unpleasant symptoms; long-term, it can lead to kidney and liver damage.

What Fasting Can and Can't Do for Your Health

  • Fasting may help your heart.
Fasting for a day once a month may prevent heart disease and insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes, according to two studies from Utah’s Intermountain Medical Center presented recently at the American College of Cardiology’s scientific sessions. When researchers looked at the habits of 200 men and women, they found that those who fasted once a month were 58 percent less likely to have heart disease than those who didn’t (after they controlled for factors such as age, smoking status, and high blood pressure). They then set out to understand why.
In a smaller study, the scientists measured various blood levels in 30 healthy adults after one day when they fasted and one day when they ate normally. After they fasted, participants had huge increases in human growth hormone (HGH) — 13-fold in women and 20-fold in men, among other changes. HGH protects lean muscle mass and encourages the body to burn fat stores instead. “During fasting, your fat cells are being metabolized and used as fuel,” says Horne. “If fat is being used for fuel, in the long run you have fewer fat cells in your body.” This may mean less insulin resistance and a lower risk of heart disease later in life.
  • There’s a chance fasting can cut cancer risk.
Periods of fasting did slow the rate of cell division (a measure of cancer risk) in mice, according to an American Journal of Physiology study. The researchers aren’t sure why, but say it may result from a decrease in growth factors that results from nutrient deprivation. But since the science is preliminary, you shouldn’t fast solely for cancer-prevention purposes until there is more definitive research on humans, says study author Marc Hellerstein, PhD, MD, professor of human nutrition at University of California, Berkeley
  • The jury's still out on fasting for other ailments.
In fact, one small Iranian study of 40 adults with multiple sclerosis found that there were no negative effects from fasting during the month of Ramadan compared with a group who didn’t fast. "If you’re not on prescription medicine, generally in good health, and want to fast periodically because you feel you get a health benefit from it, we don't have evidence that this would be harmful," says Katz.
  • Fasting won’t help you lose — and keep off — weight.
“Fasting for weight loss is just another form of yo-yo dieting,” says Joel Fuhrman, MD, board certified family physician specializing in nutritional lifestyle medicine and author of Fasting and Eating for Health. While you may see a small drop in the scale, don’t expect the weight loss to last.
“The pounds that come off on a short-term fast are mainly water and stored carbohydrates, which will come back as soon as you start eating again,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, author of the bestselling book Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches
And if you’re tempted to fast one day as a green light to eat whatever you want the next, think again. “Weight loss is about energy balance — if you have consume fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight,” Katz. “On the days you fast you have a calorie deficit. But what really comes into play is what you do on the other days.” In other words, you can negate the potential health effects of a fast by binging afterward.
Bottom line: True weight-loss success involves healthy eating (along with exercise habits) that you are committed to and can maintain over time.
  • Fasting can’t take the place of a healthy diet.
While there may be health perks to intermittent fasting, the research is still preliminary. Horne’s lab is currently working on studies that will evaluate how often and for how long people need to fast to see health benefits. One thing we know for sure about health: Eating well every day plays a major role in preventing heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. “Focusing on consistently eating enough nutrient-rich whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains snowballs into proven powerful benefits over time,” says Sass.

Another important thing to keep in mind: Just as fasting gives your body a break from toxins, it also saps your body of vital nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. “With fasting, you risk throwing out the baby with the bathwater,” says Katz. “As you create nutrient deficits on fast days, it may be difficult to compensate on the days you do eat.”

So if you choose to fast, you have to pack your diet with nutritious foods. “Fasting is not a way of fixing an otherwise broken diet,” says Katz. “It should be used only as a way of helping you establish a healthy way of eating, rebooting your body to focus on what’s important.”
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The Keys to Successful Weight Loss

One of the keys to successful weight loss is to have realistic goals. 

The treatment for obesity is weight loss, and there are a number of ways to achieve that, including:
  • Diet and lifestyle changes
  • Prescription medicines
  • Weight-loss surgery
For adults, particularly those using diet and lifestyle modifications to lose weight, the following are generally considered realistic goals:
  • Aim to lose 5 to 10 percent of your body weight over six months.
  • Lose weight slowly, at a rate of no more than 1 to 2 pounds a week.
  • Once you've lost 10 percent of your body weight, focus your efforts on keeping it off before attempting further weight loss.

Obesity and Lifestyle Modifications

Overeating is a major contributor to obesity, and some of the most common reasons for overeating include:
  • Fatigue
  • Boredom
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Feeling happy or wanting to celebrate
  • Eating too fast
  • Eating mindlessly, or without paying attention to what you're eating
  • Eating to please someone else or to fit in with a social group
  • Trying to follow a too-strict diet
  • Going too long between meals and getting overly hungry
Lifestyle modifications that can help to address these reasons and help with weight loss include:
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Becoming aware of the habits and/or emotions that lead you to overeat
  • Being mindful of how hungry or how full you are before, during, and after you eat
  • Following a healthy diet that provides enough calories and enough variety
  • Choosing foods that are high in water and/or fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes
  • Engaging in regular physical activity
  • Joining an in-person or online weight-loss support organization

Obesity Medications

Only a few prescription drugs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the long-term treatment of obesity.

Xenical is approved for use in adolescents and adults; the other three drugs are approved for use in adults only.
Each of these drugs works differently and has different side effects. Choosing which to try is a decision best made with input from your doctor.

The average amount of weight lost as a consequence of using one of these drugs ranges from 3 to 9 percent of body weight.
In studies, use of Qsymia results in more weight loss than any of the other three.
In all cases, weight-loss medications are intended to be used along with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, and their effects stop when the drug is stopped.
Some other weight-loss drugs are approved for short-term use, but their usefulness is limited, because most people regain the weight they lost when they stop using the drugs.

Obesity Surgery

Surgery for weight loss, called bariatric surgery, can result in significantly more weight loss than medications, but results vary from person to person.
There are several forms of bariatric surgery, including the following:
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass: This is the most common type of gastric bypass surgery.
In it, the size of the stomach is reduced to about the size of a walnut, and the middle portion of the intestine is attached directly to the stomach.
This limits the amount of food you can eat and reduces the amount of nutrients absorbed into the body.
Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding: This procedure involves positioning an inflatable band around the stomach and effectively dividing the stomach into a small upper pouch and a larger lower portion.
The pouch limits how much you can eat at one time, and the band can be tightened to further reduce the size of the upper stomach.
Sleeve gastrectomy: This is a newer type of surgery in which about 80 percent of the stomach is removed.
This creates a tube-shaped stomach, which limits how much food you can eat.

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The Dangers of Obesity

Obesity can lead to a host of physical and social ailments. Why are obesity rates rising, and what is considered obese anyway?

It seems everywhere we turn we hear about obesity. The statistics. The dangers. The effect it has on all areas of one’s life. The annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey released this week, which tracks respondents' self-reported height and weight data, revealed that its tracked national obesity rate has risen to 27.7 percent — up from 25.5 in 2008. Mississippi has the highest obesity rate at 35.2 percent, while Hawaii is the only state where fewer than 1 in 5 residents are obese. And for the first time since 2008, there has been a sharp increase in the number of obese Americans ages 65 and older.

We know weight gain — especially excessive weight gain — is bad, but when you’re surrounded by all-you-can-eat buffets and communities not designed for walking, is there any hope of winning the battle of the bulge? The answer is a resounding yes, and the first step is knowing what obesity is and how it affects all of us.

Obesity: What Is It?

Over the last 25 years, obesity rates have been climbing steadily. While the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index finds 27.7 percent of Americans are obese, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that nearly 35 percent of adults and 18 to 21 percent of children are obese.

In layman’s terms, obesity is carrying enough body fat to put an individual at risk for a variety of ailments including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, pulmonary disease, reproductive disorders, osteoarthritis, and cancer, among others. “In short, obesity can affect functioning of all major body organ systems,” says Jennifer Nasser, RD, PhD, assistant professor in the department of biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Obesity is typically determined by figuring out an individual’s body mass index (BMI) using a formula that includes his or her height and weight. For an adult, a number of 25 or larger falls in the overweight category, while a value of 30 or more is considered obese.

This formula is not appropriate for children and teens, however. “BMIs for children and teens are age- and gender-specific because the amount of body fat changes with age and growth and differs between boys and girls,” says Rose Clifford, RD, clinical dietitian in the department of pharmacy services at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. The CDC offers an accurate BMI calculator for those under age 20 with their Child and Teen BMI Calculator.

Obesity: What Causes It?

A variety of factors are converging to cause the current obesity epidemic. “More people are becoming obese because of the foods that are available and inexpensive,” says Caroline M. Apovian, MD, director of the Center for Nutrition and Weight Management at the Boston Medical Center. “We are eating 200 more calories per day than we did 50 years ago.”

Technology has made our lives easier, yet also more sedentary as we drive instead of walk and e-mail instead of wandering by a colleague’s desk. The environment, too, can be causing us to add extra pounds. “Weight gain results from the interaction between genes and environment,” says Linda Bacon, PhD, associate nutritionist at the University of California, Davis. “Environmental conditions are changing and some people’s genes make them susceptible to gaining weight in the current environmental conditions.” Bacon says that these include increased toxins in the environment, some of which cause changes in hormones which lead us to store fat, and changes in our eating habits — some of the nutrients more common today don’t trigger our internal weight regulation mechanisms as readily as foods from nature do.

Obesity: What Are Its Effects?

Besides health dangers, obesity can cause economic hardships and psychological effects including depression and self-esteem issues. Perhaps worst of all is the discrimination suffered by those who are obese. “Discrimination against larger people now exceeds that based on race and gender,” says Bacon.

And the effects don't stop there. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index also asked respondents to rate their overall well-being. The survey defines well-being through five key areas: purpose (liking what you do each day), social (relationships), financial, community (liking where you live), and physical (having good health and energy to get things done). The survey found that obese Americans are more likely to suffer in these key areas than those who are not obese.

While obesity can be affected by genetics and the environment, there is still plenty you can do to fight it. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss which weight-loss and treatment options are right for you. Stay active by scheduling exercise into your routine and avoid spending too much time on sedentary activities like TV-watching. And make healthy diet choices — with correct portion sizes and at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
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Must Read Facts about Diabetes

We often hear people asking how to cure diabetes, and medical doctors’ usual answers is –there is no cure for diabetes. Then people will be saddened by this fact, but they should not be because there are wide varieties of treatments available for them. With the world’s present technologies, it is not impossible that one day, our industrious scientists and researches will be able to find or even developed a real cure for diabetes.

Here are some facts that you should know about diabetes:
  • Global epidemic emergence of diabetes can be associated with the rapid increases of obesity, physical inactivity and overweight.
  • In year 2030, diabetes will be the 7th leading causes of deaths according to World Health Organization.
  • 80% of World Health Organization documented deaths from diabetes came from the developing countries.
  • Every second, one out of ten individuals with diabetes dies.
  • Type I Diabetes is formerly known as Juvenile diabetes.
  • An individual with type I diabetes are not capable of producing insulin.
  • Type II diabetes can produce insulin, only that it is insufficient for the human body requirements.
  • Type II diabetes are more common case than of Type I diabetes.
  • Children with type II diabetes are now emerging worldwide.
  • There is another type of diabetes known today as gestational diabetes.
  • Person with diabetes do not actually die because of the disease. They died because of the complications associated with their current condition.
  • Prevention of diabetes to occur in an individual with diabetic blood line is possible.
  • Few minutes of drastic exercise or physical activities daily can help reduce the threat of having type II diabetes.
  • Well balanced diet is vital for individual with diabetes.
  • Almost 30% of the populations are not aware that they actually have onset diabetes.
  • Type I diabetes cases are lower than type II diabetes cases.
  • Symptoms of type I and type II diabetes are almost the same.
  • Person with diabetes should have a daily meal plan.
  • Person with Insulin dependent diabetes should not be involved in long and drastic activities. The human body needs energy from the glucose breakdown.
  • Diabetes can also be associated with blindness that occurs in working adults.
  • Individual with diabetes have high risk of developing heart diseases.
  • Having diabetes is more costly than having tuberculosis.
  • Diabetes needs lifetime treatment.
  • Diabetic person should avoid intake of starchy foods like pasta, bread, rice potatoes and other root crops.
  • Insulin is the prime responsible to transfer glucose from the blood to the human cells.
  • Not all persons with diabetes are fat.
  • Both Type I and Type II diabetes is a lifetime condition that have serious impending life threatening risk.
  • Genital itching is possible symptoms of diabetes.
  • Drastic weight loss can also be a symptom of diabetes.
  • Slow wound healing is a concrete symptom of high glucose in blood.
  • Diabetes can cause kidney failure that may lead to human death.
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What is Asthma ? Facts and Fiction

Approximately 25 million Americans suffer from asthma, and the number of people with the condition has steadily risen since the 1980s among all age and racial groups, according to statistics compiled by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Every day over 44,000 Americans suffer an asthma attack, and nearly 5,000 people need to visit an emergency room in order to deal with an attack. Unfortunately some people never receive the care they need to overcome an attack, as the condition kills nine people a day in the U.S. The number of individuals asthma kills each year has increased by 50 percent in the last 30 years, with African Americans being three times more likely to die from the condition than other racial groups.

Asthma also takes its toll on the economy, as each year over $18 billion is spent either on treatment or lost due to missed work. Understanding your asthma can help you deal with the disease on a daily basis so you can live a healthy and full life.

What is Asthma?
A lung condition that impede with a person’s ability to breath, asthma stems from a chronic inflammation in the tubes that carry air into the lungs. Asthma can cause serious, recurring episodes of breathlessness and wheezing, known as asthma attacks, which can lead to a shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and an inability to stop coughing. In extreme cases, an asthma attack cuts off the amount of oxygen the body is receiving, requiring emergency treatment to help reopen airways and restore oxygen levels in the body. While asthma cannot be cured, it can be successfully managed.

What Causes an Attack?
Individuals with asthma experience constantly inflamed airway. Specific triggers can cause this inflammation to become worse and lead to a narrowing of the airways in the lungs. These triggers can also cause the body to simultaneously produce excess mucus that further closes the airways and reduces the amount of oxygen your body receives. When working together, the mucus and inflammation restrict the amount of air your lungs receive, and as too little air gets through, wheezing and breathlessness occur.

Asthma Allergens
A variety of allergens can trigger an asthma attack, including mold, cockroaches, dust mites, tree or flower pollen, and foods such as eggs, fish, or peanuts. Knowing what your asthma triggers are can help you reduce the number of asthma attacks you experience.

Here are some of the more common causes of asthma attacks:

Pets - Allergies to pets, or more specifically pet dander, is a common asthma trigger. The dead skin cells that collect on fur, clothing, and furniture, dander can cause an asthma attack in as little as 15 minutes after being inhaled. Individuals with cat allergies also react negative to the protein found in a cat’s skin, saliva, and urine. This protein can gather in the air and triggers asthma attacks in between 20 to 30 percent of all people with asthma.

Air Pollution - Whether you’re outdoors or in, air pollution can play havoc with your asthma. Smog, cigarette smoke, hairspray, and paint fumes are some of the many non-allergic triggers that can cause an asthma attack. These triggers cause attacks by irritating the airways in the lungs.

Exercise - Despite the many health benefits associated with exercise, physical activity can cause exercised-induced asthma attacks in many people. Fortunately this type of asthma attack can be control so it won’t interfere with your ability to stay fit.

Weather- Changes in weather, such as a drop in temperature, change in humidity, or extremely arid conditions, can lead to a asthma attack.
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5 Weight Loss Tips to Help You Avoid Junk Food

Is it accurate to say that you are having some difficulty maintaining a strategic distance from the urge to consume less than great nourishment? Regularly when you are attempting to attain your weight reduction objectives, the requirement for order is key.
Some individuals can oppose the allurement to consume garbage nourishment, yet in the event that you're not taught, then you need to expel them from your vicinity. On the off chance that you are the sort of individual that can walk away, see yourself as fortunate, in light of the fact that most individuals can't.

Stay Strong in Your Weight Loss Efforts

Everybody has minutes of shortcoming. Whether you're pushed, occupied with work, have an occasion, or are a casualty of our loved ones that frequently attack our endeavors without knowing it, there are going to be times when you are enticed on your way to weight reduction. It is vital at these times to utilize a mate framework to help you stay inspired. Fortunately, these 5 tips will help you to accomplish your weight reduction simpler with just a tad bit of order.

5 Tips to Avoid Temptation

Here are 5 tips to help you stay solid and abstain from consuming garbage sustenance while you attain your weight reduction objectives:

1) Keep garbage sustenance out of your house and far from your work area at work.

2) Never go staple shopping hungry, you'll wind up in the chip path in a matter of seconds. I generally advise my patients to adhere to the edge in the market, where the solid nourishment is. The greater part of the garbage sustenance is found in the center paths.

3) Always have solid nourishment or a sound nibble accessible to you so you're not starving and arriving at for a cheeseburger.

4) Remember a glass of water will go far in these circumstances and can control your yearning until you can consume something solid.

5) If you're focused on, attempt to quiet around striving for a walk. Activity builds your endorphin levels and will permit you to refocus.

You Can Do It!

Attaining your weight reduction objectives is not going to happen overnight and you're not going to constantly succeed, however recall — this is a lifestyle change. In the event that you tumble off the wagon, simply get right once more on. Utilizing these systems reliably will lead you to a healthier you and really soon consuming sound nourishment will get to be some piece of your every day existence without actually considering i
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How Does Cancer Impact Reproductive Health In Women ?

Suffering from cancer is one of the toughest ordeals for any person; however to be unable to rear a child after cancer can be even tougher for a woman. Women who have suffered from cancer are at a juncture of life where although they have survived their disease, they are unable to reproduce. The thoughts of not being able to be a parent are harrowing; however the right knowledge will help you overcome the problem. There exist many misconceptions surrounding the issue, which will be discussed further in the article.
Cancer Impact On Women

Getting Pregnant

After you have finished your cancer treatment, most oncologists suggest waiting 2 to 4 years before planning parenthood. This is because majority of recurrence occurs within this time frame; therefore it is to ensure that you are healthy enough to support yourself as well as the growing fetus. However, every person’s medical situation is different, thus your healthcare provider will be able to guide you properly.
As a woman, treatment via chemotherapy and radiation, may cause your eggs to be genetically damaged, it is thus advisable to wait until those eggs leave your body and are replaced by better ones.


There is a misconception that women who reach their menopause cannot conceive; in reality even if you have hit your menopause, you have the ability to get pregnant. You may not be able to get pregnant the natural way, but you can use the frozen eggs, frozen tissues or embryos. While in menopause, you may require hormonal injections in order to prepare your body for the pregnancy. If your uterus is healthy, you should not face any difficulties.


There is an increased risk of miscarriage in those women who have received radiation to their pelvic region. Miscarriage, low birth weight and preterm delivery are some of the common problems faced by women who have received radiation to their uterus. A specialist will evaluate your uterus and guide you regarding which is the right time to conceive.
Complications are also common if you have had fertility sparing gynecological surgeries. For example, those who have had a radical trachelectomy, continuous monitoring is required during the course of pregnancy and the delivery too is usually a cesarean-section birth. Also, if your cervix was removed, you have higher chances of miscarriage and preterm delivery. You must be in consultation with your oncologist in order to assess the risks. You can also consult a high risk obstetrician before trying to get pregnant.

Health Risks

Radiation and chemotherapy can cure you of cancer, but also cause long-term health risks. Some of these risks may cause damage to your heart or lungs which in turn make it difficult to carry a pregnancy. It is therefore important that you consult your oncologist for the long-term risks associated with your treatment plan. For example, many patients during pregnancy are recommended regular echocardiograms in order to ensure that their heart functions normally during the pregnancy term.
Children at Risk
Most cancer survivors worry whether their children too will be susceptible to cancer. But it is an unwarranted worry as research shows that a parent with cancer does not cause the child to be susceptible. The child is at the same risk as that of the general population. However the risk may increase if the cancer is genetically linked; but a small percentage of cancer are known to be genetically linked. Thus the risks are not higher, as is the preconceived notion amongst cancer survivors.
As a woman cancer survivor, you will have to assess the various risks especially that of recurrence and decide as there are chances that you may not be around after your child is bought into the world. Although it may be highly emotional, it is necessary to weigh all the options and address the problems before conceiving a child as the child’s future depends upon your present decisions.Get relevant information to help patients combat the deadly disease.
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