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How to lower blood pressure: Cutting SALT from diet might not work …

The 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams a day for healthy people.

During the study researchers followed 2,632 men and women ages 30 to 64, all of whom had normal blood pressure at the start of the study. 

However over the next 16 years, the researchers found the participants who consumed less than 2,500 milligrams of sodium a day – about the equivalent of 6g of salt, had higher blood pressure than participants who consumed higher amounts of sodium.

Those with the lowest risk had sodium intakes in the middle, which is the range consumed by most Americans.

Dr Moore said: “Our new results support these other studies that have questioned the wisdom of low dietary sodium intakes in the general population.”

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How to lower blood pressure: Cutting SALT from your diet could be pointless

The 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams a day for healthy people.

During the study researchers followed 2,632 men and women ages 30 to 64, all of whom had normal blood pressure at the start of the study. 

However over the next 16 years, the researchers found the participants who consumed less than 2,500 milligrams of sodium a day – about the equivalent of 6g of salt, had higher blood pressure than participants who consumed higher amounts of sodium.

Those with the lowest risk had sodium intakes in the middle, which is the range consumed by most Americans.

Dr Moore said: “Our new results support these other studies that have questioned the wisdom of low dietary sodium intakes in the general population.”

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Could Diet Sodas Raise Risk of Dementia and Stroke?

Image: New York City Board Of Health Approves Bloomberg's Over Sized Sugary Drink Ban

Mario Tama / Getty Images

And other experts pointed out that sugary drinks are a major cause of obesity, diabetes, stroke and other ills.

“Both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks may be hard on the brain,” Dr. Ralph Sacco, chairman of the neurology department at the University of Miami, and colleagues wrote in a commentary in the same journal.

Sacco, a former president of the American Heart Association, led

another study that found women who drank diet sodas had a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and other types of heart death.

“Now with the growing number of studies that suggest a relationship between artificial sweetened beverages and vascular risk, I would say reach for a bottle of water before you reach for your artificial sweetened beverages,” Sacco told NBC News.

Related:

Drinking Diet Soda May Just Make You Want to Eat More

The researchers accounted for age, sex, education, overall how many calories people ate, diet quality, physical activity, and smoking. Most of the participants where white and affluent, however, and the team notes there may be others things that are also different about people who drink diet sodas.

Many may have switched to diet sodas because they had a health scare, for instance, including obesity and diabetes — both of which can raise the risk of stroke and dementia.

And Americans have been encouraged to switch to diet drinks.

“Your intake of soda and diet soda and other beverages is part of a greater pattern. There is no simple relationship between what you are eating and drinking,” said Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Related:

Could Diet Drinks Make Your Baby Fat?

Pase noted that the risks are still low and people who love their daily fix of diet soda do not need to panic.

“Even if someone is three times as likely to develop stroke or dementia, it is by no means a certain fate,” Pase said. “In our study, three percent of the people had a new stroke and five percent developed dementia, so we’re still talking about a small number of people developing either stroke or dementia.”

And Fargo said the study does not point to any specific mechanism for how a diet drink might damage the brain. It’s better for people to just do what the evidence shows will improve their health overall anyway — exercise and eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

“There clearly is a relationship between your heart health and your brain health,” Fargo told NBC News.

“You have got to pay close attention and be diligent about dietary habits, exercise habits, controlling your blood pressure. It is not going to be simple fix like ‘get rid of the diet soda,’” Fargo added. His group has recommendations online at

alz.org/10ways.

Research has long shown that artificially sweetened drinks are

not health drinks. While they may help people avoid more dangerous sugary sodas, studies show they don’t help people lose weight.

The American Beverage Association, the lobbying group for the soda industry, said its products are safe. “The Alzheimer’s Association points out that the greatest risk factors for Alzheimer’s are increasing age, family history of Alzheimer’s, and genetics — not sugar intake, from any source,” it said in a statement emailed to NBC.

Related:

Soda Company Donations Influenced Health Research

But Sacco said he’d stopped drinking diet drinks.

“I know that when we first focused our data on artificial sweetened beverages and stroke risk few years back, I stopped drinking them,” he said.

“We’re not suggesting to go back to sugar sweetened beverages,” he added.

So what can people drink?

Water is always a good option, doctors agree. And of course, there’s coffee. Studies show that people who drink regular, moderate amounts of coffee

are less likely to die from a range of diseases, from diabetes to heart disease.

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Healthy World Sedona presents program for pet lovers

SEDONA – Can old dogs learn new tricks? Come find out, and learn why locals Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD and Susan H. Pitcairn, MS are so excited about healthy and earth-friendly updates in the new fourth edition of their best selling,“Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.”

Presentation, discussion, QA, book signing and refreshments: it’s all at the Sedona Library Saturday May 6 from 2 to 3 p.m., 3250 White Bear Road, Sedona.

For more than 30 years, the Pitcairn’s Rodale Press classic has been the go-to resource for health-conscious animal lovers, based on Dr. Pitcairn’s discoveries in his practice of just how important it is to address all aspects of health: a fresh wholesome diet, exercise, loving care, a non-toxic home and the judicious use of natural medicines.

Long known for their attention to detail in creating carefully balanced home diets for dogs and cats, the Pitcairns offer all-new recipes that are more nutritionally complete than ever, thanks to detailed online databases.

“It was a project,” Susan notes, “but well worth it. We also collaborated with a high integrity supplement maker to ensure that each recipe meets the official dietary standards for dogs and cats. We also consulted with a number of colleagues who contributed their programs and tips.”

Among the first to advocate fresh meat diets for pets instead of overprocessed kibbles derived from often unsavory sources, the Pitcairns are once again breaking ground, with extensive research on compelling health, environmental and humane benefits of more plant-based fresh feeding options for pets.

“We especially recommend people explore whole food plant based diets for dogs, “ they

note, “not only because of the toxins that accumulate in animals products and the high

cost of such diets, but because we now know that dogs are omnivores who long ago genetically adapted to thrive on the starch based diets of early farmers. We also found so many cases of exceptionally healthy and long lived animals thriving on well planned vegan diets, to our surprise, even including cats.”

“Knowing that time and convenience are big issues,” Susan adds, “ We also now offer ‘Pets Plus People’ recipes that make tasty entrees for us as well. We’re talking yummy tofu meat loafs, bean burgers, burritos, scrambled eggs, pastas, stews and more. Our favorite is based on a lentil stew that sustained a Welsh border collie to the ripe old age of 25.”

Capped with Dr. Pitcairn’s extensive updated “Quick Reference” section on treating common animal diseases with natural remedies, the book presents a common sense whole-animal lifestyle approach to health. As always, it suggests how to reduce toxins in grooming and in the home, and how to help animals be happier and healthier with wise choices about behavioral issues, exercise, play, companionship and choosing a healthy breed in the first place.

“More than ever,” Dr. Pitcairn emphasizes, “We wanted to show people how they can also express a more caring attitude toward the earth and all animals in how they choose to care for their beloved dogs and cats. We want to speak to the core values of people who treasure animals deeply.”

The latest edition also offered a unique opportunity for Susan, known locally for her

regional landscape art, to try her hand at pen and ink illustration. Entrusted by the

publisher with the cover image, as well as sensitive new artwork for each chapter page, she is completely satisfied with the results. Though known for his veterinary skills, Richard has also lent artistry to the project in the form of poetry, reflecting a lifetime of working on behalf of animals and their people.

All in all, it’s a team effort and the culmination of a lifelong partnership, the Pitcairns say, and they invite the public to join them in celebrating their new contribution. Sponsored by Healthy World Sedona, the free program combines presentation and discussion, followed by a book signing and light refreshments. Bring your copy or purchase one at a special discount.

Questions or requests for additional information may be directed to [email protected]

Healthy World Sedona is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Sedona, AZ. As an affiliate member of PlantPure Nation, it espouses personal health and well-being, the humane treatment of animals, and the recovery and preservation of our natural environment through a diet and lifestyle based on whole foods from non-animal sources.

Further information about Healthy World Sedona is available at healthyworldsedona.com or by writing to [email protected]

Diet sodas may be tied to stroke, dementia risk


(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Gulping down an artificially sweetened beverage not only may be associated with health risks for your body but also possibly your brain, a new study suggests.

Artificially sweetened drinks, such as diet sodas, were tied to a higher risk of stroke and dementia in the study, which published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke on Thursday.

The study sheds light only on an association, as the researchers were unable to determine an actual cause-and-effect relationship between sipping artificially sweetened drinks and an increased risk for stroke and dementia. Therefore, some experts caution that the findings should be interpreted carefully.

No connection was found between those health risks and other sugary beverages, such as sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit juice, and fruit drinks.

RELATED: Burger Boss uses billboard to advertise against sugary drink tax

“We have little data on the health effects of diet drinks and this is problematic because diet drinks are popular amongst the general population,” said Matthew Pase, a senior research fellow in the department of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and lead author of the new study.

“More research is needed to study the health effects of diet drinks so that consumers can make informed choices concerning their health,” he said.

The new study involved data on 2,888 adults older than 45 and 1,484 adults older than 60 from the town of Framingham, Massachusetts. The data came from the Framingham Heart Study, a project of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Boston University.

In the older-than-45 group, the researchers measured for stroke and in the older-than-60 group, they measured for dementia.

“The sample sizes are different because we studied people of different ages,” Pase said. “Dementia is rare in people under the age of 60 and so we focused only on those aged over 60 years for dementia. Similarly, stroke is rare in people aged under 45 and so we focused on people older than age 45 for stroke.”

The researchers analyzed how many sugary beverages and artificially sweetened soft drinks each person in the two different age groups drank, at different time points, between 1991 and 2001. Then, they compared that with how many people suffered stroke or dementia over the next 10 years.

Compared to never drinking artificially sweetened soft drinks, those who drank one a day were almost three times as likely to have an ischemic stroke, caused by blocked blood vessels, the researchers found.

They also found that those who drank one a day were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with dementia.

Those who drank one to six artificially sweetened beverages a week were 2.6 times as likely to experience an ischemic stroke but were no more likely to develop dementia, Pase said.

“So, it was not surprising to see that diet soda intake was associated with stroke and dementia. I was surprised that sugary beverage intake was not associated with either the risks of stroke or dementia because sugary beverages are known to be unhealthy,” Pase said.

In response, Lauren Kane, a spokeswoman for the American Beverage Association, issued a statement from the group that said low-calorie sweeteners found in beverages have been proven safe by worldwide government safety authorities.

“The FDA, World Health Organization, European Food Safety Authority and others have extensively reviewed low-calorie sweeteners and have all reached the same conclusion — they are safe for consumption,” the statement said.

“While we respect the mission of these organizations to help prevent conditions like stroke and dementia, the authors of this study acknowledge that their conclusions do not — and cannot — prove cause and effect. And according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), many risk factors can increase an individual’s likelihood of developing stroke and dementia including age, hypertension, diabetes and genetics. NIH does not mention zero calorie sweeteners as a risk factor,” the statement said. “America’s beverage companies support and encourage balanced lifestyles by providing people with a range of beverage choices — with and without calories and sugar — so they can choose the beverage that is right for them.”

Separate previous studies have shown an association between the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and adverse health effects, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and possibly even heart failure.

“This article provides further evidence though on artificially sweetened beverages and their possible effects on vascular health, including stroke and dementia,” said Dr. Ralph Sacco, professor and chair of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, about the new study.

Sacco was a co-author of an editorial published alongside the study in the journal Stroke on Thursday.

“We believe the pathways of which artificially sweetened beverages would affect the brain are probably through vascular mechanisms,” Sacco said.

“When the authors controlled for hypertension and diabetes and obesity the effects diminish, which implies that some of the effects of artificially sweetened beverages could still be going through a vascular pathway,” he said about the new study. “Many strokes are caused by hardening of arteries, and the risk of dementia is also increased by the hardening of arteries in large and small vessels. So, I believe the mechanisms may be through vascular disease, though we can’t prove it.”

Heather Snyder, senior director of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer’s Association, called the new study “a piece of a larger puzzle” when it comes to better understanding how your diet and behaviors impact your brain.

“It’s actually really more of your overall diet and overall lifestyle that is linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk, and we do know that heart disease and diabetes are linked to an increased risk of dementia,” said Snyder, who was not involved in the new study.

“We know that sugary and artificially sweetened beverages are not great for us. This study adds strength to that, and also says they may not be great for your brain, specifically,” she said. “There are alternatives — things we can all do every day to keep our brains and our bodies as healthy as we can as we age.” Alternatives such as regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates heart rate and increases blood flow and doing puzzles and games to activate and challenge the mind. These are recommendations from the Alzheimer’s Associations list of 10 lifestyle habits to reduce risk of cognitive decline.

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