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This Diet Has Been Linked to Sudden Cardiac Death, Study Shows



We all know junk food is bad for us. But how bad? A new study provides more evidence that a diet high in fried foods and sugary drinks can literally kill you. In the study, a “southern” eating pattern was shown to be particularly harmful to health. In fact, this diet is so dangerous that those who adhered to it most closely were almost twice as likely to have sudden cardiac death than those furthest away from it, as we originally learned on Medical News Today. Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, it is safe to say that the results are staggering.

“The [research] investigates the association between a southern diet that includes higher consumption of fried foods and sugary beverages with sudden cardiac death, a leading cause of death in the United States, ”explained Rachel McBryan, RD, a member of the Dietitians of Canada who helps people wise Make dietary decisions when faced with medical problems that require dietary changes, especially people who are finding it difficult to change their eating habits. “In a study of the effects of the Southern Diet, it was found that 46 percent of participants were at higher risk for heart disease than their counterparts.”

McBryan further breaks down the research, stating that the observational study analyzed data from 21,069 African American and Caucasian adults over the age of 45. “33 percent of the volunteers were black, 56 percent were women, and 56 percent lived in the Southeast, United States,” she continued, noting that this area is known as the stroke belt because of the number of related deaths since the 1940s with strokes than any other place. The researchers examined five different dietary patterns for their study:

  1. The convenience patternconsisting of takeaway food including pizza, Chinese food, Mexican food and pasta.
  2. The vegetable pattern, which was high in fruits, vegetables, and legumes, as well as yogurt, chicken, and fish.
  3. The candy patternin which people consumed large amounts of sweets, chocolate and sugary cereals.
  4. The southern pattern, in which people ate a diet high in fried foods, sweetened beverages, processed meat and offal, and eggs.
  5. The alcohol and salad pattern, made up of people who consumed an abundance of leafy greens, dressings, tomatoes, and alcoholic beverages.

After reviewing participants’ data, the researchers gave each individual a score that reflected how closely their eating patterns resembled the Mediterranean diet, a way of eating plenty of plant-based foods, with an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, and herbs , as well as fish. The main finding is that a score reflecting adherence to a Mediterranean diet was linked to a decreased risk of fatal heart attack, while a dietary pattern in the south was linked to an increased risk of fatal heart attack, says Dr. Glenn Gaesser, Ph. .D., Professor of Exercise Physiology at Arizona State University and a member of the Grain Foods Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board who has authored or co-authored several books, including Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health and It’s the Calories Instead of Carbohydrates ( his research focuses on the effects of exercise and diet on cardiovascular fitness and health). McBryan says following a Mediterranean diet was linked to a 26 percent reduction in cardiovascular death risk.

How unhealthy is fried food?

As this research shows, if you want to live a long, healthy life, it’s damn bad. “Fried foods contain trans fatty acids from the hydrogenated vegetable oil in which they are cooked, which in turn can trigger an inflammatory reaction. People who ate fried foods one to three times a week had a 7 percent increased risk of heart attacks and strokes compared to those who ate it less than once a week, ”McBryan quotes this study.

Deep frying foods can increase the calorie density of the foods and contribute to excess energy intake, she says. “It can also contribute to oxidative stress. Many fried foods like fried chicken and french fries are high in sodium, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease, ”continues McBryan. To protect your health, you should avoid fried foods. For the plant-based set, we speak of french fries, vegan onion rings, fried “chicken” or vegetable canapés and the like.

How unhealthy is sugar?

Surprisingly, in the present study, a “sweet” diet pattern was not associated with an increased risk of fatal heart attack, and the “sweet” diet pattern included desserts, chocolate, sweets, sweetened breakfasts, and added sugar, says Gaesser. “In fact, those who had a history of coronary artery disease were associated with the ‘sweet’ eating pattern with a lower risk of fatal heart attack,” he says. “That contradicts popular opinion, but that is what this study has shown. Even the “convenience” diet pattern of pizza, pasta, Mexican and Chinese food was not associated with the risk of fatal heart attack, ”he continues, noting that these confusing results are largely due to the limitations of epidemiological research This is due to the fact that participants self-report their food intake and the inability to fully consider the contribution of other factors that could also affect the risk of a fatal heart attack.

The study also found some other interesting results related to sugar. “The results of the” candy “nutritional pattern suggest that sugar itself may not be a problem for heart health. This also applies to sugar-sweetened drinks, ”says Gaesser. “Although the Southern diet was associated with an increased risk of fatal myocardial infarction across the study cohort, the Southern diet when analyzed separately for participants with or without a history of coronary artery disease was no longer significant at risk of a fatal myocardial infarction when other variables are controlled that could also influence the risk of a heart attack. “

Despite the atypical results of this new study on sugar, experts agree that added sugar in your diet can have devastating effects on your health. McBryan points to a JAMA study that showed those who consumed more than 10 percent but less than 25 percent of their total calories from sugar had a 30 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease, while those who did 25 percent or more of the calories consumed from sugar of their day tripled their risk. “An observational study also showed that excessive consumption of sugary drinks contributed to higher blood sugar,” says McBryan.

So how much sugar is too much? “The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories [daily] come from [added] Sugar for women and 150 calories from sugar for men. The main sources of added sugar in the American diet are sweetened beverages (37.1 percent), cereal-based desserts (13.1 percent), fruit drinks (8.9 percent), dairy desserts (6.1 percent), and sweets (5.8 Percent). ”The sugar naturally occurring in fruit and vegetables is not taken into account in this recommendation.

Gaesser summarizes these somewhat contradicting results from the current study and other research: “The bottom line: It is difficult to determine a certain food as ‘the’ cause of heart problems. Numerous other lifestyle factors influence heart health. “

Plant-based diet and heart health

Speaking of going herbal can be a huge win for your heart. “There is extensive research showing that a plant-based diet is associated with good heart health,” says Gaesser, referring to this 2019 study. “Plant-based diets are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that promote vascular health and reduce risk heart attacks, ”he explains, adding that a plant-based diet has been linked to improvements in key risk factors for vascular disease.

McBryan agrees, as do countless health experts and numerous studies on the value of a plant-based diet in protecting your heart. “Other studies have shown that a plant-based diet can reduce the severity and risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing atherosclerosis,” says McBryan (for example this study). “Atherosclerosis is the build-up of hardened plaque or fat in the arteries that blocks blood flow to the heart. Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can lower LDL cholesterol and improve antioxidants such as polyphenols. “

Another recent study found that eating a healthy, plant-based diet with fewer animal products, processed foods, and added sugar was linked to a lower risk of stroke. And if you need even more persuasion, a study last year found that in addition to red and processed meat, a diet high in chicken consumption was linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

If you’re not plant-based, it’s not too late to go fully plant-based or even become a Mark Bittman “part-time vegan”. “Improving your health is not impossible when you start to develop signs of heart disease. By switching to a Mediterranean diet and eating higher amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins, you can protect your body from heart disease, ”says McBryan. Some great vegan sources of protein are beans, tempeh, tofu, nuts, and quinoa.

We don’t know about you, but we want to avoid becoming a statistic. Two bean burgers with avocados and a vegan Caesar salad made from kale and chard are about to arrive, friends.

The top 20 vegetables with the most protein

Anyone considering switching to plant-based products has the same question: where do I get my protein from? Simple answer: vegetables! Contrary to popular belief that you need to eat animal protein to get enough in your diet, one of the best ways to get protein is by eating vegetables. Animals provide protein because they are fed protein-rich plants. So if you leave out the middleman – or in this case the middle cow or chicken – you can get the same protein by going straight to the source.

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Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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