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Healthy Eating Roundup: Behind the headlines

How do you set priorities to assure that your “healthy choices” are doing the most good for health and vitality? Nutrition headlines in perspective

A look at several studies making headlines in the last few weeks shows that the answer may not be as clear-cut as it seems.

Let’s pull them together for a look at the big picture.

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For Healthy Eating, Do You Focus on Big Picture or Details?

How do you move from a vague goal of healthy eating to actionable steps you can take?For healthy eating, aim for overall pattern or small step choices?

Have you heard the expression, “The devil is in the details”? It’s a way of saying that the little details of how we do something can make a big difference in outcome. But what about the idea that sometimes “you can’t see the forest for the trees”? That’s referring to how easy it is to be so focused on details that you miss seeing the impact that comes from how the little things all fit together.

For me, the answer for eating choices that support health is not which view is better. It’s about how to go back and forth, holding both views in balance. As you think about this balance and the choices you make for a healthy lifestyle, here are a few recent studies you might find helpful.

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Diabetes Prevention: 7 Dangerous Misconceptions

You’ve probably heard that diabetes incidence is soaring.  Is this mainly a concern if diabetes runs in your family? Or is it if you’re overweight – and if so, how overweight is overweight enough to put you at risk? Some people have told me they’d rather not know they’re more likely to develop diabetes, because they’d rather not live with the worry hanging over their head.Misconceptions about prediabetes are common and can be harmful

Well, research has brought important news.  With 79 million Americans estimated to have prediabetes – more than one in three adults — holding on to misconceptions about prediabetes and diabetes prevention puts your health at risk. Continue reading

Carbs, Glycemic Index & Cancer Risk: New Studies in Perspective

New studies are adding to the picture of how our eating habits, including the carbohydrate-containing foods we choose, affect our cancer risk.  Although the amount of data is building, the picture is still anything but clear when we stack the studies next to one another.Carbs, GI and Cancer Risk - New Studies

This week I’m in Indianapolis, where the American Association of Diabetes Educators asked me to speak at their annual meeting. My topic: At the Crossroads: How do Diabetes and Cancer Intersect? As I’ve talked with colleagues here, the question of whether glycemic index is part of this intersection has come up several times.

Let’s step back from the relatively large volume of studies focused on glycemic index and cancer, and look at how we can weave together the common threads into a picture that makes sense. Continue reading

The Diabetes-Cancer Connection: What does it mean?

OK, call me a Pollyanna, but some good can come from realizing the increase in cancer risk linked to type 2 diabetes.  By supplying evidence of an important pathway in cancer’s development, we have more clarity on steps that can have double impact, decreasing risk of diabetes and all its complications AND decreasing cancer risk at the same time.changing to healthy habits now can reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer risk

Last week I was fortunate to speak on this topic as part of a webinar for the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE).  My co-presenter was the distinguished Canadian researcher in this field, Michael Pollak, M.D.  Don’t get me wrong – the diabetes-cancer link is worrisome, since the skyrocketing rates of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. suggest that in years to come, rates of diabetes-related cancers could soar as well. Today, though, let’s focus on the silver lining: if we act now to create a few basic changes in lifestyle and eating patterns, we might still turn this Titanic around in time. Continue reading