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Healthy Living Newsletter - Volume 3, No. 2

Issue Date: February 20, 2006
Publisher: Mellanie True Hills, The Health & Productivity Revitalizer

February is Heart Month, so this issue of the Healthy Living News focuses on the latest findings related to our hearts.

The latest research says that for women, a low-fat diet doesn't impact our risk for heart disease or some cancers. Does that mean you can now eat fat without fear?

We'll also examine a study that explains why women's heart disease is generally missed by most diagnostic tests.

1. New Reason That Women's Heart Disease is Easily Missed

The latest research has discovered why many women with heart disease are missed by the tests that detect heart disease. The WISE (Women's Ischemic Syndrome Evaluation) study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, found that women's heart disease is fundamentally different from men's.

The fatty plaques that build up obstructions in men's large arteries generally show up in tests, whereas for women, plaque generally deposits uniformly throughout a woman's smaller arteries and doesn't show up as obstructions.

As a result, doctors need to pay much more attention to women's symptoms. They need to stop telling women with symptoms that since the conventional diagnostic testsstress test and angiogramare negative, then they must be fine, especially for post-menopausal women. This is one of the reasons that we lose more women than men to heart disease.

There is great newsnewer tests, such as thallium stress tests and stress echocardiograms, appear to be much more accurate at diagnosing heart disease in women. And magnetic resonance tests are also very promising.

If we women are aware of our symptoms, and insist on proper care, our chance of surviving heart disease is extremely high. Please take a moment to learn the symptoms and risk factors. Know what you can do to save yourself.

Read the Newsweek Online interview with Mellanie: How a near-death experience prompted one woman to make a career of telling others what they need to know about heart disease

2. Eat Fat Without Fear?

Have you heard the news? A diet low in fats, contrary to what you've always heard, won't save women from heart disease, or from breast cancer or colon cancer either. That's according to an 8-year, $415 million US-government funded study. Are you confused? Does that mean you can eat fats without fear?

Not so fast. If you're tempted to take these results to heart, don't. This study had a number of critical flaws, meaning that it would be a mistake to generalize it to the total population of women.

First, study participants were mostly older and post-menopausal. Their experience may not apply to you. And many were already overweight, presumably from a lifetime of bad eating habits that the study could not overcome.

Second, the study was technically obsolete—it was designed in the late 1980s, before we knew good fats from bad, and thus failed to consider which fats were eaten.

Third, and in my view, the most fatal flaw, was that the difference between the two study groups was miniscule—technically, both groups were high-fat. The control group averaged 38% of their daily calories from fat, while the so-called "low-fat group" attained a reduction to only 29%. The study had aimed for 20%, but found this level to be unattainable. 

For a woman who consumes 1,500 calories per day, 38% of daily calories from fat would be 63 grams of fat per day—that's horrendous. At 29%, that's 48 grams of fat—hardly any better. A more realistic low-fat diet is in the range of 10%15%, which would be 1725 grams of fat per day. After heart surgery, I was cautioned to stay well under 10%. No wonder there was so little difference in heart disease, breast cancer, and colon cancer risk for these two groups. They were essentially eating the same diet.

Truly stunning, however, was the assertion that attaining less than 28% of calories from fat is impossible in the real world, and that low-fat diets are not attainable population-wide without major societal and food industry changes. What they were saying is that we're just plain lazy, and that we find it too difficult to order special food preparation when eating out. That's insulting. We are quite capable of making these changes. It's not that hard!

Perhaps study participants weren't properly motivated to make dietary changes. I guess they didn't see it as life-saving, and thus didn't have the motivation to stick with the program. However, when you consider the risk of living with debilitating diseases, or even dying prematurely from them, not making such changes seems crazy.

Obviously, it was their choice, but trust me, heart disease is no fun. And as any survivor of stroke or breast cancer would tell you, those aren't any fun either. It's just too great a price to pay when we now know that how we eat can help prevent it.

There was heartening news in this study—those who had eaten the higher-fat diets before the study and became part of the so-called "low-fat group" had a reduced risk of breast cancer. And even slightly decreasing their bad fats—saturated and trans fats—reduced their heart disease and stroke risk as well. And that was just from changing from 38% of daily calories from fat to 29%—just think what going to 10%15% might have done.

For years, studies have shown the benefits of a low-fat diet. Let's not toss out all that evidence because of one faulty study. Since half of us will die from heart disease or stroke, can you afford not to have the right fats in your diet—to minimize the bad facts, and make sure you get the good ones? It could save your life.

You may be thinking that lower-fat eating means yucky or boring. That's not true. In fact, there are lots of good ways that you can eat in a lower fat, heart-healthy manner—A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life includes page after page of ideas. For example, women need chocolate, and dark chocolate is good for your heart (in moderation, of course). And did you know that there are tasty low-fat brownies and cookies?

It's Heart Month—a good time to think about what you eat. Heart-healthy eating can taste good. Don't buy into this thinking that you can eat fats without fear. If you do, you could pay dearly for it.

 Only a few days left...
Half-Price Special for Heart Month

(only until February 28, 2006) on
A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life

2005 Readers Preference Editor's Choice Award Winner

Wishing you a long, healthy, and happy life. It's easier than you might think.  


Mellanie True Hills
The Health & Productivity Revitalizer
®...improving lives & productivity
Speaker and Author of A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life
Read the first two chapters

PS. The # 1 Female Health Hazard Nearly Killed Mellanie – Now She Fights Back

Using her second chance, she coaches individuals on creating healthy lifestyles and works with organizations to create healthy, productive workplaces.

A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life is her story and a workbook designed to guide readers through the process of making permanent and life-saving changes. It is a winner of the Readers Preference Editor's Choice Award for 2005 and was listed in Publisher's Weekly as a nominee for the Quills Award Debut Author of the Year.

For Heart Month, get it for Half Price.

Buy it, or learn more...

PPS. Invite Mellanie to speak to your company, organization, or association. Her most popular topic is Staying Healthy and Productive in a Speed-Obsessed, Deadline-Driven World. See some organizations for whom she has spoken or with whom she has worked at and view comments from attendees at her speeches. Executives say "Mellanie delivers solid business results", and audiences say, "You changed my life."

PPPS. You may reprint this, or any of my articles, in your publication, company newsletter, or on your intranet. Please include attribution, copyright, and contact information and please send us a copy. Thanks.

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