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The new coronavirus: What we do — and don’t — know - harvard

The new coronavirus: What we do — and don’t — know

A novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, has grown quickly since late December. This primer on what we do –– and don't –– know can help if you're concerned about this rapidly evolving public health issue. The post The new coronavirus: What we do — and don’t — know appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 8 hours ago
Even Female Bosses Face Sexual Harrassment: Study  - web md

Even Female Bosses Face Sexual Harrassment: Study

Researchers examined workplace sexual harassment in the United States, Japan and Sweden. They found that female supervisors experienced between 30% and 100% more sexual harassment than other women employees.
web md - 1 day ago
Think hard before shaming children - harvard

Think hard before shaming children

Parents may offer what they think is constructive criticism to a child, but there is a fine line between criticism and shaming, and shaming can have lasting effects on a child’s self-esteem. The post Think hard before shaming children appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 day ago
The hype on hyaluronic acid - harvard

The hype on hyaluronic acid

A variety of beauty and skincare products now contain hyaluronic acid, a substance naturally found in the body that retains moisture. But what benefits do these products offer, and are they worth using? The post The hype on hyaluronic acid appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 days ago
What can you do to reduce the risk of birth defects? - harvard

What can you do to reduce the risk of birth defects?

Women who are hoping to become pregnant want to do everything they can to ensure that their babies to be as healthy as possible, which means following recommendations to minimize the possibility of birth defects. The post What can you do to reduce the risk of birth defects? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 days ago
Is your cell phone dangerous to your health? - harvard

Is your cell phone dangerous to your health?

Plenty of us use our phones in situations when we probably should be paying more attention. But how often does this behavior lead to actual injury? A data analysis offers some answers. The post Is your cell phone dangerous to your health? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 4 days ago
Saying Goodbye to One-Sided Relationships - positively positive

Saying Goodbye to One-Sided Relationships

The problem is, it’s not that easy to call someone out or tell them you’re no longer going to stick around while they continue their selfish ways. We like to tell ourselves we’re strong enough to walk away, but it takes time, courage, and a lot of confidence to accept you’re not loving yourself by keeping this person in your life. It takes lots of self-love to walk away from a friend you’ve known all your life or a partner who you love because you know you’re hurting yourself by keeping them around. The post Saying Goodbye to One-Sided Relationships appeared first on Positively Positive.
positively positive - 4 days ago
LDL cholesterol: How low can you (safely) go? - harvard

LDL cholesterol: How low can you (safely) go?

Lowering LDL cholesterol has been shown to lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have suggested that more aggressive goals for LDL levels in people who already have CVD can decrease risk even further. The post LDL cholesterol: How low can you (safely) go? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 5 days ago
Menopause and insomnia: Could a low-GI diet help? - harvard

Menopause and insomnia: Could a low-GI diet help?

Researchers examining dietary data from over 50,000 postmenopausal women found that women who ate foods with a higher glycemic index, and foods with more added sugars, were more likely to have insomnia. The post Menopause and insomnia: Could a low-GI diet help? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Diabetic retinopathy: Understanding diabetes-related eye disease and vision loss - harvard

Diabetic retinopathy: Understanding diabetes-related eye disease and vision loss

Over 7 million people have diabetic retinopathy, the most common form of vision loss in working-age adults with diabetes. It’s recommended that people with diabetes should work to keep blood pressure in the normal range and their A1c level below 7% to avoid complications such as diabetic retinopathy. The post Diabetic retinopathy: Understanding diabetes-related eye disease and vision loss appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery - harvard

Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery

Regular marijuana users who need surgery should disclose their use ahead of the procedure, because of its effects on the body and on the anesthesia medications required for sedation. The post Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
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What to do when your child swears - harvard

What to do when your child swears

Even young children can surprise a parent with salty language. Regardless of where they first heard it, use the occasion to help your child learn appropriate behavior in and outside the home. The post What to do when your child swears appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things? - harvard

Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things?

Combining multiple medications into a single pill, or polypill, is one approach to improving adherence (taking medication as prescribed). Depending on the conditions being treated, it may be easier for people to take a single pill, but there are also downsides to this approach. The post Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Targeted Ultrasound Destroys Cancer Cells: Study  - web md

Targeted Ultrasound Destroys Cancer Cells: Study

Focused ultrasound is already used to destroy tumors, with most approaches using either high-intensity beams to heat and destroy cells or injected contrast dyes. But both approaches can harm healthy cells and contrast dyes work only for a minority of tumors.
web md - 1 week ago
What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health? - harvard

What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health?

Health advice tells us to eat less processed food, but what does that mean? Researchers compared diets with most of the calories from unprocessed foods and from ultra-processed foods, to see how the subjects were affected. The post What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
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Harvard Health Ad Watch: When marketing puts your health at risk

Can health marketing be harmful? Watch out for health ads that make misleading or even dangerous claims that an unproven product or treatment is better than a proven one. The post Harvard Health Ad Watch: When marketing puts your health at risk appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Study: Young Women Getting Pelvic Exams They Don’t Need  - web md

Study: Young Women Getting Pelvic Exams They Don’t Need

The authors estimate that nearly one-quarter of young women aged 15-20 have received a pelvic exam in the last year. That’s 2.6 million girls. More than half of the exams -- 1.4 million -- may not have been needed.
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What parents need to know about a vegan diet - harvard

What parents need to know about a vegan diet

If your family follows a vegan diet––or your child expresses the desire to do so on their own––it's important for parents to be aware of the nutritional challenges of vegan eating, and how to meet them. The post What parents need to know about a vegan diet appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Vestibular migraine: Progress in the search for treatments - harvard

Vestibular migraine: Progress in the search for treatments

A sense of dizziness or spinning associated with migraine headache is called vestibular migraine. A small study found that a type of nerve stimulation treatment improved symptoms of vestibular migraine in study participants. The post Vestibular migraine: Progress in the search for treatments appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Hiatus - positively psychological

Hiatus

Hello Everybody! It is good to take a minute to write again. It has been too long since I have posted on this blog. When I started the blog over the summer, I was feeling very inspired to read as much psychological research as possible in an effort to share it with you guys. This … Continue reading Hiatus →
positively psychological - 3 weeks ago
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harvard
What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health?

What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health?

harvard - 2 weeks ago

You hear it all the time: the advice to eat less processed food. But what is processed food? For that matter, what is minimally processed food or ultra-processed food? And how do processed foods affect our health?

What are processed and ultra-processed foods?

Unprocessed or minimally processed foods are whole foods in which the vitamins and nutrients are still intact. The food is in its natural (or nearly natural) state. These foods may be minimally altered by removal of inedible parts, drying, crushing, roasting, boiling, freezing, or pasteurization, to make them suitable to store and safe to consume. Unprocessed or minimally processed foods would include carrots, apples, raw chicken, melon, and raw, unsalted nuts.

Processing changes a food from its natural state. Processed foods are essentially made by adding salt, oil, sugar, or other substances. Examples include canned fish or canned vegetables, fruits in syrup, and freshly made breads. Most processed foods have two or three ingredients.

Some foods are highly processed or ultra-processed. They most likely have many added ingredients such as sugar, salt, fat, and artificial colors or preservatives. Ultra-processed foods are made mostly from substances extracted from foods, such as fats, starches, added sugars, and hydrogenated fats. They may also contain additives like artificial colors and flavors or stabilizers. Examples of these foods are frozen meals, soft drinks, hot dogs and cold cuts, fast food, packaged cookies, cakes, and salty snacks.

According to a study published in The BMJ, ultra-processed foods are the main source (nearly 58%) of calories eaten in the US, and contribute almost 90% of the energy we get from added sugars.

How do processed foods affect our health?

A recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism compared the effects of an ultra-processed diet to the effects of an unprocessed diet on calorie intake and weight gain. The study involved 20 heathy, overweight adults staying at a medical facility. Each study participant received an ultra-processed diet and an unprocessed diet for 14 days each. During each diet phase, the study subjects were presented with three daily meals and were instructed to consume as much or as little as desired. Up to 60 minutes was allotted to consume each meal, with snacks (either ultra-processed or unprocessed, depending on the study phase) available throughout the day.

The meals were matched across the diets for total calories, fat, carbohydrate, protein, fiber, sugars, and sodium. The big difference was the source of calories: in the ultra-processed diet phase, 83.5% of calories came from ultra-processed food; in the unprocessed diet phase, 83.3% of calories came from unprocessed foods.

The researchers found that study subjects consumed about 500 more calories per day on the ultra-processed diet versus the unprocessed diet. The ultra-processed diet period was marked by an increased intake of carbohydrate and fat, but not protein. Participants gained on average two pounds during the ultra-processed diet phase, and lost two pounds during the unprocessed diet phase. The authors concluded that limiting ultra-processed foods may be an effective strategy for preventing and treating obesity.

The study did have several limitations. For one thing, with only 20 participants, this was a very small study. For another, there was significant variation in individual responses to the two diets. Eleven people gained extreme weight on the ultra-processed diet as much as 13 pounds over 14 days while a few participants saw no weight gain. Its also unclear how generalizable the results are to a wider population, because the study did not include people with chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes. In addition, the study was done in a clinical research setting, which could have affected their eating behavior (the study subjects may have been more isolated and bored than in their natural environments).

Another study, this one published in The BMJ, examined representative dietary records of more than 100,000 French adults over a five-year period. They found that those who consumed more ultra-processed foods had higher risks of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease. These results remained statistically significant even after the researchers adjusted for the nutritional quality of the diet (considering factors such as the amount saturated fat, sodium, sugar, and dietary fiber in the diets). Although large observational studies do not prove cause and effect, the research does suggest an association between ultra-processed diets and heart disease.

Learn to identify processed foods

Whenever possible, try to avoid or limit ultra-processed foods. Consider the examples in this table to help you quickly determine if a food is minimally processed, processed, or ultra-processed.

Minimally processed Processed Ultra-processed
Corn Canned corn Corn chips
Apple Apple juice Apple pie
Potato Baked potato French fries
Carrot Carrot juice Carrot cake
Wheat Flour Cookies

The post What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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