Chicken or Cow? New Study Suggests Both Contain Same Level of Saturated Fat

June 19th, 2019

Chicken and cow next to each otherA new study finds that white meat may be just as bad as red meat when it comes to cholesterol.

New Study

Both red and white meat contain saturated fats, which increase levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases a person’s risk of heart attacks, strokes and peripheral artery disease. 

The study from the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) found that people who ate white meat diets consisting of chicken and turkey ended up with cholesterol levels that were no different from those who ate red meat diets consisting of lean beef or pork. Both diets caused significant jumps in cholesterol compared to people whose diets consisted of plant-based proteins.

The small study involved 113 adults who were separated into a high or low saturated fat diet plan. All participants tried a red meat, white meat and plant based protein diet for one month each, with the order in which they ate these diets decided at random. In between the monthly diets, participants were able to eat their normal diet for a few weeks. Cholesterol levels were checked before and after each test.

Both the red and the white meat likely raised the participants’ cholesterol levels higher than the plant-based diet because they contain different kinds of fat.

The study authors said this is the first study to show that both kinds of meat, red and white, cause cholesterol levels to go higher than plant based protein sources. 

The key take away from the study according to nutritionists, is to watch out for saturated fat, no matter the protein source.

The research was published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”

Lower Your Saturated Fat Intake

The American Heart Association recommends aiming for a dietary pattern that achieves five to six percent of calories from saturated fat.

Saturated fats are simply fat molecules that have no double bonds between carbon molecules because they are saturated with hydrogen molecules.

Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods. The majority come from animal sources, including meat and dairy products. Additionally, many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats. 

To get the nutrients you need, eat a dietary pattern that emphasizes:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Poultry, fish and nuts
  • Whole grains

You should replace foods high in saturated fats with foods high in monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats. This means eating foods with liquid vegetable oil and also fish and nuts.

What IAA has to Say

It is important for everyone’s health to strive for a well-balanced diet. Insurance Administrator of America wants you to have a dinner plate filled with protein and veggies! IAA is here to remind you that a plate full of color means getting the nutrients you need.

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June is Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month

June 12th, 2019

Myasthenia gravis awareness buttonMyasthenia gravis is characterized by weakness and rapid fatigue of any of the muscles under your voluntary control. Take the time to learn more about this little known disease in support of Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month.

What is Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia gravis is considered to be an autoimmune disorder. In an autoimmune disease, some of the body’s antibodies (special proteins in your body that are supposed to be programmed to fight foreign invaders such as bacteria, virus or fungi) mistake part of your own body as foreign, resulting in its destruction.

Muscle weakness caused by myasthenia gravis worsens as the affected muscle is used. Symptoms tend to progress over time, usually reaching their worst within a few years after the onset of the disease.

Although myasthenia gravis can affect any of the muscles that you control voluntarily, certain muscle groups are more commonly affected than others:

  • Eye muscles: In more than half the people who develop myasthenia gravis, their first signs of any symptoms involve eye problems such as eye drooping and double vision.
  • Face and throat muscles: In about 15 percent of people with myasthenia gravis, the first symptoms involve face and throat muscles which can:

o   Affect chewing: The muscles used for chewing might wear out halfway through a meal.

o   Cause difficulty swallowing: You might choke easily.

o   Impair speaking: Your speech may sound soft or nasal, depending on which muscles have been affected.

  • Neck and limb muscles: Myasthenia gravis can also cause weakness in your neck, arms and legs.

Though this disease can affect people of any age, it’s more common in women younger than 40 and in men older than 60.

What are the Causes of Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia gravis is caused by the breakdown in the normal communication between nerves and muscles. This breakdown can be caused by:

  1. Antibodies: Your nerves communicate with your muscles by releasing chemicals that fit precisely into receptor sites on the muscle’s cells at the nerve-muscular junction. In myasthenia gravis, your immune system produces antibodies that block or destroy many of your muscle’s receptor sites for a chemical acetylcholine. With fewer receptor sites, your muscles receive fewer nerve signals.
  2. Thymus gland: The thymus gland is a part of your immune system, situated in the upper chest beneath your breastbone.  Researchers believe the thymus gland maintains the production of antibodies that block acetylcholine. Large in infancy, the thymus gland is small in healthy adults. In some adults with myasthenia gravis, this gland is abnormally large.
  3. Other causes: Some people have myasthenia gravis that isn’t caused by antibodies blocking acetylcholine. This type of myasthenia gravis is called antibody-negative myasthenia gravis.   Antibodies against another protein called lipoprotein-related protein 4 can play a part in the development of this condition.

In rare cases, mothers with myasthenia gravis have children who are born with the condition.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to take the time this month to help make others aware of myasthenia gravis. By sending this blog post on to friends and colleagues, you can help support Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month.Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

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WHO Recognizes “Burnout” as a Medical Issue

June 5th, 2019

Woman in business suit looking stressed.The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes burnout as an occupational phenomenon. The agency now includes burnout in its International Classification of Diseases Handbook, which guides medical providers in diagnosing diseases. 

Diagnosing Burnout

WHO describes burnout as a syndrome resulting from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”  According to WHO, doctors can issue a diagnosis of burnout if a patient exhibits three symptoms:

  1. Feeling depleted of energy or exhausted.
  2. Feeling mentally distanced from or cynical about one’s job.
  3. Problems getting one’s job done successfully.

Burnout is to be used specifically in the occupational context and it should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.

Before making the call, doctors should first rule out adjustment disorder as well as anxiety and mood disorders.

Signs of Burnout

Psychologist Herbert Freudenberger is credited with inaugurating the formal study of the state of burnout with a scientific article published in 1974. The telltale signs of burnout are:

  • Detachment
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of focus
  • Negative feelings
  • Physical and emotional fatigue

One in five highly engaged employees is at risk for burnout.

Tips to avoiding burnout:

  1. Sleep: Insomnia is one of the symptoms of burnout. When you don’t sleep, your brain doesn’t function at its prime. Getting too little sleep also has serious consequences, including lack of judgment, increased likelihood of car accidents and development of chronic diseases like cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and depression. Science has proven that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep nightly to function optimally.
  2. Exercise: Regular exercise reduces levels of stress, improves self-confidence, prevents cognitive decline, increases productivity, and improves memory.
  3. Laugh: Laughing relieves stress and has many positive short-term and long-term effects.
  4. Socialize: Spending time with people outside of work gives you much needed emotional fulfillment. Making work your entire life will leave you burned out and emotionally detached.
  5. Start saying no: Choose what is most important to you and what is most necessary to your work.

In 2018, a Gallup Survey found nearly one in four employees feels burned out always or often.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to live a healthy and well balanced life.Before you start to suffer from symptoms of burnout, take the time to evaluate if the choices you are making at work are what is best for your overall health.IAA knows that a good work /life balance is what is best for everyone.

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Highly Processed Foods can add to Your Waistline

May 29th, 2019

Woman eating junk food from an open fridge. Less expensive, easier to prepare, ultra processed foods can make you fat, a new study says.

New Study

People who were limited to a diet of primarily highly processed foods ate more calories and gained more weight than when their diet mostly consisted of minimally processed foods, according to a new study.  

During a one month study, 20 healthy adult volunteers stayed at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, where all of their meals were provided for them. For 14 days, they were limited to each diet and told they could eat as much or as little as they liked. The two versions of the meals had the same amounts of calories, sugars, fiber, fat, and carbohydrates.

On the ultra processed diet, people ate faster while consuming about 500 more calories a day than they did while on the unprocessed diet; this increase in calories was due to higher quantities of carbohydrates and fat, but not protein. As a result, they gained about two pounds on average.  While on a diet of unprocessed foods, they lost an equal amount of weight.

The ultra processed foods caused people to eat too many calories and gain weight, researchers concluded.

The gender of the participants, the order of their diet assignment and their body mass index did not influence the varying calories each participant ate on each diet, according to the study authors.

The small scale study is the first randomized controlled trial examining the effects of ultra processed foods.  Ultra processed foods are defined as containing ingredients such as:

  • Hydrogenated oils
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Flavoring agents
  • Emulsifiers

The study was published on May 16 in the journal, “Cell Metabolism.”

Eat Right

In the United States, 61 percent of adults’ total diet comes from ultra processed food, in Canada, it is 62 percent, and in the United Kingdom it is 63 percent, a recent unrelated study found.  The United States Department of Agriculture has tips on how to keep your diet on track:

  1. Enjoy your food, but eat less: Use a smaller plate at meals to help control the amount of food and calories you eat.
  2. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  3. Drink water: Sip water or other drinks with few or no calories to help maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Eat whole grains more often: Foods with high fiber content can help give you a feeling of fullness and also provide key nutrients.
  5. Learn what is in foods: Use both ingredient and nutrition fact labels to discover what various foods contain.
  6. Cut back on some foods: Cut calories by cutting out foods high in solid fats and added sugar.
  7. Be active whenever you can.  

You can also try out healthier recipes that use less solid fat, salt and sugar.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America knows that everyone enjoys processed foods, but they should be more of a treat than a part of a regular diet. Making healthier choices is best in the long run. IAA knows you can make positive changes to your dietary habits.

Interested in reading more on this topic? Click here!

May is Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month

May 22nd, 2019

Outline of person brain is showingHuntington’s disease is an inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. In honor of Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month, educated yourself on this condition!

How Does Huntington’s Disease Occur?

Huntington’s disease is caused by an inherited defect in a single gene. Huntington’s disease is an autosomal dominant disorder, which means that a person needs only one copy of the defective gene to develop the disorder.

In 1993, researchers found the gene that causes Huntington’s disease. Everyone has the gene, but in some families an abnormal copy of the gene gets passed from parent to child.

Over 10 to 25 years, the disease gradually kills the nerve cells in the brain.  

Signs and Symptoms

Huntington’s disease usually causes movement, cognitive and psychiatric disorders with a wide spectrum of signs and symptoms:

  1. Movement disorders: The movement disorders associated with Huntington’s disease can include both involuntary movement problems and impairments involuntary movements such as:
  • Difficulty with the physical production of speech or swallowing
  • Impaired gait, posture and balance
  • Involuntary jerking
  • Muscle problems, such as rigidity or muscle contracture
  • Slow or abnormal eye movements

       2.Cognitive disorders: Cognitive impairment often associated with Huntington’s disease includes:

  • Difficulty in learning new information
  • Difficulty organizing, prioritizing or focusing on tasks
  • Lack of awareness of one’s own behaviors and abilities 
  • Lack of flexibility or the tendency to get stuck on a thought, behavior or action
  • Lack of impulse control that can result in outbursts
  • Slowness in processing thoughts or “finding” words 

      3.Psychiatric disorders: The most common psychiatric disorder associated with Huntington’s disease is depression. Depression appears to occur because of injury to the brain and subsequent changes in brain function. 

Most people with Huntington’s disease develop signs and symptoms in their 30s or 40s.

Stages of Huntington’s Disease

Symptoms of Huntington’s disease tend to develop in stages:

  1. Early stage: Changes may be quite subtle in early stages. You may just require a little extra help.
  2. Middle stage: With time, symptoms begin to interfere with your day-to-day life.
  3. Late stage: In this stage, people with Huntington’s disease must depend on others for their care. Walking and speaking or not possible.

Symptoms can vary greatly from person to person and stress or excitement can worsen symptoms.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to help spread awareness about Huntington’s disease. Take the time to help make others aware by sharing this blog post with friends, family and colleagues.IAA knows that a little support can go a long way!

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