- Here’s What To Do If You Get Frequent Headaches
- From Paleo to Atkins: How Popular High-Protein Diets Stack Up
- Naked Juice Lawsuit Says The Drinks Are Not as Healthy as They Seem
Posted: 07 Oct 2016 08:56 AM PDT
Do you get headaches all the time? As if that weren’t bad enough, you may be at increased risk for hypothyroidism—a common medical problem that can cause mood swings and weight gain, among other seriously unpleasant symptoms.
Previous research has suggested a link between the two conditions, and now, one of the largest and longest studies to date provides the strongest evidence yet. University of Cincinnati researchers found that people with headache disorders were 21% more likely to be diagnosed with hypothyroidism, compared to those without.
The group included anyone who’d been diagnosed with migraines, cluster headaches, or tension headaches, or who reported taking headache-specific medicine. Among migraine sufferers specifically, the increased risk jumped to 41%.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the body can’t make enough thyroid hormone to function properly. It can affect mood, weight, energy levels, concentration, and women’s menstrual cycles, and can even cause constipation and hair loss. The condition is estimated to affect about 2% of people, and women are five to eight times more likely to be diagnosed than men.
Health.com: 19 Signs Your Thyroid Isn’t Working Right
To investigate the suspected link between headaches and thyroid disorders, researchers looked at data from 8,412 people who were interviewed and followed for an average of 12 years. The results were published this week in the online edition of Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain.
The study’s implications may apply most to people who get headaches regularly, says co-author Vincent Martin, MD, co-director of the Headache and Facial Pain Center at the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute, because a large percentage of study participants with headache disorders stated on a questionnaire that their headaches were “frequent.”
There are several reasons why headache disorders may be a risk factor for thyroid problems, Dr. Martin says. One possibility is that an overactive immune system—triggered by recurrent headaches—makes the body more vulnerable to thyroid disease. Inflammation also seems to be involved in both conditions.
“No one knows for sure why there’s an association,” he adds. “It could even be a product of some of the medications people take to prevent their headaches; we just don’t know yet.” Environmental or genetic factors could play a role as well.
It’s also possible that the development of a thyroid disorder, and subsequent low thyroid hormone levels, can make headaches worse and more frequent, Dr. Martin says.
In addition to headache disorders, people were more likely to receive a hypothyroidismdiagnosis if they were female, older, obese, or taking certain medications, such as lithium, interferon, and amiodarone. Cigarette smoking actually seemed to have a protective effect—although no doctors would recommend this as a preventive measure, says Dr. Martin, as its risks greatly outweigh its benefits.
The good news? The symptoms of hypothyroidism can be well managed with replacement hormones, usually taken as a daily pill. “The silver lining here is that if you are diagnosed with thyroid disease, it can be easily treated—and if it is treated, your headaches or your migraines might actually improve.”
Health.com: The Best and Worst Foods for Your Thyroid
Dr. Martin encourages physicians to be vigilant in screening people with known headache disorders for hypothyroidism, and says anyone with regular headaches should be aware of their increased risk, too.
“When you have migraines or bad headaches, you can feel fatigued, you don’t think quite as well, you can have a lot of symptoms that can resemble hypothyroidism,” he says. “Some people might be attributing those symptoms to their headaches or to the treatments for them, when in reality they have an underlying—and treatable—thyroid disorder.”
Posted: 07 Oct 2016 05:00 AM PDT
Protein is crucial to nearly every bodily function. We need it to have energy, to feel full, to build muscle, to process nutrients and to boost immunity to send chemical signals—basically, to stay alive. And with so much new research pointing to the nutrient’s power as a hunger buster and super sculptor, it’s easy to think the more protein, the better. But is that wise?
When experts decry protein-heavy diets, the issue is usually not quantity but quality. “It’s not protein per se that’s a problem, but the ‘passengers’ it brings with it,” explains Tom Rifai, MD, regional medical director of Metabolic Health and Weight Management for the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. “You can’t compare egg whites, fish, or beans to fatty porterhouse steak.” Eating a lot of meat means getting a ton of calories and saturated fat as well as a digestive by-product called TMAO, all of which can contribute to higher risks of certain cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Indeed, a 2014 study published in Cell Metabolism showed a hike in cancer mortality risk for people who ate more animal protein in midlife. On the flip side, a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that adults who ate a plant-based diet and dropped one or two servings of animal-based foods—to four or fewer servings a day—cut their risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 20 percent. The takeaway: If you want to bump up your protein, grab those extra grams from plant sources or even fish (both of which offer beneficial nutrients on top of protein) rather than red meat.
Curious about how some of the more popular high-protein diets stack up? Here’s the lowdown.
What it is: In Phase 1 of the classic plan (now called Atkins 20), you aim for 10 percent of daily calories from carbs; the rest come from protein and fat.
Pros: Can help you shed weight short-term; may improve blood sugar levels.
Cons: Many people replace the missing carbs with red meat and saturated fat.
Bottom line: It can help kick-start weight loss, but the long-term effects of restricting carbs and eating excessive animal fat are murky. A vegan spin-off, Eco-Atkins, calls for getting protein (about 31 percent of calories) from plant sources.
Health.com: 10 Ways Get Protein Without Eating Meat
What it is: Focuses on foods that can be hunted and gathered, with 19 to 35 percent of calories coming from protein (mostly animal sources).
Pros: Banishing refined carbs and processed foods can help with weight and blood sugar control.
Cons: Often high in saturated fat; omits healthy dairy, whole grains, and legumes.
Bottom line: Eating more whole foods, including quality protein and produce, is never a bad thing, but cutting out legumes and whole grains could leave you short on vitamins and fiber.
What it is: Reduces carbs to about 30 percent of daily calories (in its first phase), with the balance made up by lean protein and unsaturated fats.
Pros: While the first phase reduces carbs somewhat steeply, the plan as a whole provides a healthy combination of fruits, veggies, legumes, grains, good fats, and protein.
Cons: If you get most of the protein from animal products, the diet can still be high in saturated fat.
Bottom line: It’s a more moderate way to slash carbs and ramp up protein intake.
Health.com: 10 Protein-Packed Pulse Recipes That Satisfy
What it is: Every meal and snack aims for a mix of 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbs and 30 percent
Pros: Promotes weight loss; includes less total fat and cholesterol and a more moderate amount of carbs than other high-protein-diets.
Cons: You may still end up eating fewer veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and other healthy carbs.
Bottom line: It can be hard to stick with a plan that demands a formula each time you bring fork to mouth.
Posted: 06 Oct 2016 01:49 PM PDT
On Tuesday, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) filed a lawsuit against PepsiCo, parent company of Naked Juice. A statement from the nonprofit group argues that the fruit-and veggie-based juices are advertised as “predominantly containing high-value ingredients such as acai berry, blueberries, kale, and mango, when in fact the predominant ingredient in the product line is usually cheap, nutrient-poor apple juice.”
CSPI also takes issue with the juices’ claims of “no sugar added,” which it says implies that they are low in sugar. In fact, the group points out, a 15-ounce bottle of Kale Blazer (the first ingredient is orange juice) contains eight teaspoons of sugar. A 12-ounce can of Pepsi, in comparison, has 10 teaspoons.
Finally, the lawsuit implies that PepsiCo tricked consumers into buying Naked Juices by giving them misleading names and filling their labels with pictures of highly nutritious ingredients (like kale) but not of more prominent ingredients, such as apples and oranges and juices.
“Kale is the king of the garden,” according to the text on the side of the bottle. “And, when it’s blended with cucumber, spinach, celery and a pinch of ginger, you get a royal roundtable of yum.” Advertisements for the product on social media and elsewhere state that “…you might actually live forever because kale has tons of antioxidants that combat aging,” and that the drink is a way to “pack more kale into your diet.”
“Consumers are paying higher prices for the healthful and expensive ingredients advertised on Naked labels,” said CSPI litigation director Maia Kats. “They’re not getting what they paid for.” Other flavors mentioned in the legal filings include Green Machine and Very Berry.
The plaintiffs of the class-action lawsuit say they would not have purchased these beverages if they’d been aware of their true nutritional profile, the lawsuit claims. It is seeking refunds for consumers, as well as an injunction to stop PepsiCo’s marketing.
PepsiCo released a statement on Wednesday in response to the lawsuit, saying: “There is nothing misleading about our Naked Juice products. Every bottle of Naked Juice clearly identifies the fruit and vegetables that are within. For example, the label on our Kale Blazer juice accurately indicates each bottle contains 5 3/4 Kale leaves.” You can read it in its entirety here.
In 2013, Naked Juice settled another class-action lawsuit for its use of the term “all natural” on its labels, although it denied the term was misleading. CSPI has also sued other brands, including CocaCola’s Vitaminwater, over health claims made on their labels.
Does this mean Naked Juice is unhealthy? Not necessarily, says nutritionist and exercise physiologist Felicia Stoler, RD, who is not affiliated with PepsiCo or any other juice companies.
Consumers should read nutrition labels and be aware of a drink’s full list of ingredients, she says. But despite their high sugar content, people could do a lot worse than a drink made of vegetables and fruit juice. “It may be high in calories, but at least the Naked Juice also has vitamins and minerals,” she says. “Compare that to a soda, which has nothing except for calories. If somebody’s on-the-go or they have a day when they haven’t gotten any fruits and vegetables, these drinks can be a way to get some nutrition in.”
Some sugar from fruit juice isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either, she says, especially for people who are physically active and consuming an appropriate amount of calories overall. “Sugar equals carbohydrates equals energy equals fuel,” she says. “I’d rather somebody eat a whole vegetable or a whole apple, but drinking a green juice is certainly better than nothing.”
The fact that Naked Juices’ veggie drinks are predominantly orange- and apple-flavored don’t bother her either. “It’s all about consumer taste,” she says. “If they really put 100-percent kale juice on the shelf, very few people would buy it. People don’t like the taste of vegetables that much.”
The key, she says, is knowing what you’re drinking—and making sure that it’s just one component of an overall healthy, balanced eating plan. Don’t guzzle fruit (or veggie) juices in excess; don’t use them as your sole source of produce; and don’t buy a product without reading the label.
Keep those guidelines in mind, and the occasional green drink or berry blend can be a delicious part of your diet.
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