Life Lines

Health News You Can Use | Vol. 28 No. 2 | Jan-Feb 2018


While intense exercise workouts have their benefits, walking should not be discounted, concludes a recent study. “In our study, close to 95 percent of people who engaged in any physical activity did some walking—but for half of those people, walking was the only moderate to vigorous exercise they got…” stated Alpa Patel, a researcher with the American Cancer Society. Those who did any physical activity for two and a half hours were 20 percent less likely to die prematurely than those who used less time. However, those who walked for the two and a half hours a week seemed to have a better defense against fatal respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer than those who walked less. Every little bit of exercise, especially fast-paced walking, counts towards a healthier, longer life. Doing This for 30 Minutes a Day Can Help You Live Longer,” Time Health magazine, October 19, 2017.


Evidence continues to mount that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A study conducted on 4,000 male and female participants from Spain, ages 40–54 years, revealed a fatal consequence to the habit of skipping breakfast—heart disease. The participants were separated into three groups according to their caloric intake for the morning meal. While only three percent of the group skipped breakfast, or just had a beverage, a full 69 percent of the group ate only a scanty meal. A mere 28 percent consumed a substantial breakfast with enough calories. Those who ate fewer morning calories had a significantly higher amount of plaque buildup than those who had a more substantial meal. Eating a nutritious breakfast each day can help keep cardiovascular disease (or a heart attack) at bay. The Importance of Breakfast in Atherosclerosis Disease,” Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Volume 70, Issue 15, October 2017.


It’s not only what you eat, but also how fast you eat that matters. In a study of 1,000 healthy adults, researchers asked participants to categorize themselves as slow, normal, or fast eaters. Five years later, 84 of the individuals had developed metabolic syndrome, which manifests as a cluster of diseases—stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. The speed eaters, however, were nearly twice as likely to develop metabolic syndrome than normal eaters, and five times more likely than slow eaters were. They also had a higher incidence of weight gain, larger waistlines, and higher blood sugars. Cardiologist Nieca Goldberg advises chronic speed eaters to “Eat in a situation where it’s conducive to eating…. If it’s at your desk, you really need to not work at the same time you eat….” Eating slower increases your awareness of what you’re eating and slows down your digestion—helping you to feel fuller on fewer calories. Eating Too Quickly May Be Bad for Your Health,” Time Health magazine, November 14, 2017.


Studies show that people who drink two glasses of water right before a meal eat 22 percent less than those who don’t drink any water. Researchers believe that about 500 ml (17 oz) of water is enough to stretch the stomach to send signals of fullness to the brain. Because water is also known to empty from the stomach quickly, for this tip to work, it may be best to drink the water as close to the meal as possible. Starting your meal with soup may give a similar response. Eating a bowl of soup immediately before a meal decreased hunger and reduced total calorie intake from the meal by about 100 calories. Eighteen Science-Based Ways to Reduce Hunger and Appetite,” Healthline,, June 3, 2017.


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