Medical Assistant

The fats of life


Monosaturated are prevalent in olive, canola and safflower oils; olives; nut butters; almonds, peanuts; avocados; dark chocolate. They reduce levels of the bad kind of LDL cholesterol, help increase good HDL cholesterol and get rid of plaque build up in arteries, especially when they are substituted for saturate fats. Enjoy, but if watching you weight be mindful of overconsuming calories.

Polyunsaturated are of two types:

1. omega-3 fatty acids which e prevalent in fatty fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil. These prevent heart disease by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol an triglycerides and may also decrease the risk of diabetes. Make these foods the bulk of your daily 20 to 35% of calories from fat.

2. omega-6 fatty acids are prevalent in vegetable oils, walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, some processed foods. Small amounts rime the body to attack invaders. Some of each of these fatty acids are thought to be linked to a lowered risk for CVD. Get these from whole foods.

Saturated fats are prevalent in mat, cream, butter, cheese and coconut oil. They may not be bad for your heart, but don’t enhance your diet either. Plus they are often eaten with carbohydrates which in large portions may increase your weight and risk for disease. Limit to 10% of total caloric intake.

Trans fats are prevalent in packaged cookies, chips, crackers, pastries, some microwave popcorns. They raise harmful cholesterol and lower the good kind. Indulge only occasionally.

January 2015

What’s the big fat deal?


5 myths about fat- debunked

Low-fat diets are the best for losing weight: eating fat won’t make you fat unless you eat too much of it. Fats are helpful for weight loss because at 9 calories per gram they help you stay fuller longer.

A daily fish-oil supplement will ward off heart problems: there is no scientific evidence that this is true. The benefit of these supplements depend on your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from dietary sources, including fatty fish and plants. If you’re already eating two 3.5 ounce servings of fish a week, whether you have heart disease or not- supplements will provide no additional benefit.

Cooking spray is calorie-free: It’s close to calorie-free if you stick with a single serving, meaning a spritz that lasts one-quarter of a second or less, which hardly coats your pan. Another consideration; even if the label boasts a good for you fat such a olive oil or coconut oil, the product may rely on other types of oils and flavorings as filler.

Saturated fats are OK now: There is no evidence that saturated fats are linked to heart disease. This doesn’t mean you should increase your intake because the evidence doesn’t say these are helpful either. Several studies suggest that eating red meat whether it is lean or a fattier cut boosts levels of a strain of gut bacteria that promotes hardening of the arteries.

’0 gram trans fat’ on the label means the product is free of trans fats: not always FDA allows products with as much as 0.5 gram of trans fat per serving to be labeled ’0 grams trans fat’, which can add up.




by Kimberly Goad January 2015

Your Metabolism Tune – Up Plan

Skip the 6 AM workout and sleep in instead. Resting metabolic rate is lowest when you are resting and drops about 15% overnight, reaching its slowest point in the early morning. By sleeping at night you charge up your metabolism to make the most of the daylight hours.

Get your exercise in through short bursts throughout the day. Long, strenuous workouts burns calories but as soon as you finish one, your thrifty metabolism will bring those expended calories right back, in case you need them later. So break your exercise into smaller, more frequent periods of activity. This will increase your active metabolism without causing a spike in appetite. You may also maximize a metabolic effect known as the after-burn. If you do one big workout a day, the after-burn is once and done. But if you do 3 or 4 10-minute workouts throughout your day, you kick-start that after-burn every time. You’ll also build lean muscle mass, which when you are active can burn as much as 20 times the calories as fat.

Except on days you splurge you’ll need o up the ante on that day’s regimen. The suggestion is to add 45-minutes more exercise when eating 75% more than normal.

Put protein on almost every plate because digesting proteins requires more energy than any other type of calorie. Because it could be harmful to health to eat a diet that’s 35 to 40 percent protein; you should consume a happy medium: consuming fat, carbohydrates, and lean protein with most meals. Your body metabolizes each micronutrient differently (carbohydrates are the easiest to digest, fat requires slightly more work) Eat all three together and your metabolism will chug along optimally.

Go easy on fried foods and sweets. Your metabolism gets in to a habit of storing high-carb and high-fat foods as extra fat. Enzymes block the usual process of converting fat and carbohydrate calories into fuel and instead store more and more of them inn to fat.

Don’t forget to snack; it’s not good for long waits between meals which can trigger that thrifty metabolic instinct.

Swap diet soda for seltzer. For every diet soda you drink on a daily basis, your risk of becoming overweight within the next decade may increase by 65%.  Diet soda may blunt you body’s ability to process sugar, and that in turn throws of your metabolism.

February 2015

Metabolism: A Crash Course


Three types: 1. basal or resting metabolism called the basal metabolic rate of BMR is the energy needed to keep the heart pumping and the lungs inflating, brain functioning … Basal metabolism accounts for 60 to 75% of your body’s total energy expenditure. Each person’s basal metabolism has slightly different caloric needs.

Age- basal metabolism is fasted in infancy and puberty. Once we start growing, it gradually declines. By the time you retire, you should be eating about one-third less over the course of the day than you did at age 20 to maintain the same weight.

2. active metabolism is dictated by how much you move. This accounts for 10 to 30 percent of your total daily expenditure of calories. 3. diet induced thermogenesis are the calories your body burns by consuming and digesting food. For every 1,000 calories you eat, as many as 100 of them are burned off within the next five to seven hours just through this process. Diet-induced thermogenesis accounts for 8 to 15 percent of your total calories burned.

Women’s BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – 4.7 x (age in years)

This formula estimates the minimum number of calories a woman needs to keep her body working when doing nothing. The average woman has a BMR of about 1500 calories a day. If lower than that, metabolism may  be on te sluggish side. If you have a lot of lean muscle, your BMR is probably higher than the formula’s result.

February 2015

Hidden Hazards of Cold Medications



OTC cold meds can relieve that stuffy nose and scratchy throat, but sometimes they do more harm than good.

Acetaminophen and liver damage: If you use this for arthritis pain, take a tablet to quell a headache and add a combination of cold medication for sniffles, you have gone well over the maximum safe daily dose of 3,000 to 4,000 milligrams which can lead to toxicity and liver damage. Initial symptoms including nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and loss of appetite are often vague and may mimic those of a cold. Later symptoms include dark urine and pain on he upper right side of the body.

Ibuprofen, ulcers, kidney problems: NSAIDS relieve body aches, head aches and fever. It may cause a sever allergic reaction especially to those allergic to aspirin, and can cause peptic ulcers and kidney damage with chronic use.  Ibuprofen may also increase risk for a heart attack or stroke, especially if you already have heart disease,  high blood pressure, smoke or have diabetes or use it long term. Report bloody or black, tarry stools immediately, if you experience a change in the frequency of urination or have problems walking, with vision or speech.

Decongestant, high blood pressure: These relieve nasal congestion by reducing swelling and constricting blood vessels in the nose, allowing you to breathe easier. Thy can also cause blood pressure to spike and interfere with the effectiveness of medications that control blood pressure. Decongestant nasal sprays cause fewer side effects but you can not use them more than recommended time due to a rebound effect. If you experience shortness of breath, irregular or slow heart rate or unusual nervousness,  seek medical help immediately.

Antihistamines and falls: Short-acting antihistamines block the production of the compound histamine and can relieve symptoms of a runny, itchy nose. The effect last four hours and make people sleepy. Sleepiness can be a problem for folks that get up during the night impairing coordination, reaction time and impact judgment which increases the risk for falls. Longer acting antihistamines are generally taken once a day and don’t usually cause drowsiness.

Combination meds, heart problems: recent research has indicated that OTC cold remedies that combine acetaminophen which the decongestant phenylephrine can bring on serious side effects, including irregular heartbeat,  dangerously high blood pressure and tremors.

Nissa Simon January-February 2015


Brain Protector

"TANGLES HIGH" by ADEAR: "Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, a service of the National Institute on Aging." - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

A drug approved to treat leukemia might help remove damaged tau protein in the brain, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Healthy tau helps deliver nutrients and other essential supplies but an collapse into tangles. New research shows that the cancer drug can help clean our tangles and plaque. The drug is also under study to combat Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

January-February 2015 bulletin

2015: What’s New for Superfoods


Move over quinoa – farro is going to be huge. A nutty, nutritious, ancient grain related to wheat.

Instead of goji berries from Asia, dried cherries from the US will be the homegrown superfruit.  Dried cherries are just as nutritious and delicious. Dried cranberries are in the same camp.

Make way, kale, brussel sprouts will also be on your table and are being used in more modern and fresh ways. Leaves can be roasted individually so that they’re crisp, like kale chips. We’ll be eating the whole plant including the stems, leaves and roots.

In addition to hummus spread, everyone will be embracing avocado spread. Spread on bread instead of butter, with sweet and savory toppings. People will be looking for sources of healthy fats.

Dietician Ellie Krieger, host of Healthy Appetite on Food Network. Cookbook: Weeknight Wonders: Delicious Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less 


2015: What’s New for Alzheimer’s


Rates of Alzheimer’s disease in the US are not climbing as fast as they were, possibly because people are getting their blo0d pressure and cholesterol under control which is good fro the brain.

Prevention is key- a half-dozen trials are underway to test whether lifestyle changes good for the heart such as exercising and adopting a Mediterranean diet can prevent or postpone this disease.

Brain stimulation works- and many types of brain-stimulation devices are being tested not only to treat and prevent the disease but also to improve cognition in people without dementia. Some of these devices ae implanted into the b rain and some are worn externally like a headband.

Get walking which is as good as running as it enhances blood supply to the memory centers.

P. Murali Doraiswamy is the director of the neurocognitive disorders program at Duke University and coauthor of The Alzheimer’s Action Plan.

Nutrition fact-check


The FDA is proposing to update the Nutrition Facts label first introduced 20 year ago to help consumer make more well-informed food choices.

The changes will incorporate three main goals:

1. Greater understanding of nutrition science

2. Refreshed design

3. Updated serving size requirements and new labeling requirements for certain package sizes

Some of the changes would require manufacturers to do the following:

1. Declare the amount of potassium and vitamin D on the label with vitamins A and C included on a voluntary basis

2. Make calories and serving sizes more prominent

3. Provide ‘per serving’ and ‘per package’ information on calories and nutrients

For more information on the differences between the current and proposed Nutrition Facts label, visit the FDA website.



2015: What’s New for Cancer Treatment


Among the most promising new treatment strategies is personalized or precision medicine in which doctors analyze the genetic blueprint of a patient’s tumor and use that information to choose the targeted therapy most likely to work for that particular patient.

Another area of tremendous potential is cancer immunotherapy. Researchers enlist the patient’s own immune system in the fight against disease engineering key immune cells in ways that turn them into tiny tumor fighting warriors.

Francis Collins, MD, Director of NIH