Watch Your Weight - part 2

Effects of food on the heart and blood pressure

In fact, one of the most important benefits of consuming low-fat diets is their positive effect on the heart and blood vessels. Heart ailments caused by high fat content diets are mainly responsible for most deaths among men and women across the globe.

Studies have established that majority of the heart attacks are caused due to a continuous alteration on the blood circulatory system and they develop over a period of time. In such cases, atherosclerosis - a slow but sure stiffening and coagulation of the blood vessels due to buildup of plaque (a flat, often raised, patch of a wax-like substance on the inner lining of arterial walls) is a major change in the circulatory system. The plaque develops owing to prolonged inactive lifestyle and poor eating habits. As the development of the plaque narrows the blood vessels, it slows down the flow of blood through the arteries. Simultaneously, people enduring heart ailments are more inclined to have blood clotting in the arteries that are already constricted owing to the plaque. Hence, even a small such blood clot may completely stop blood circulation resulting in a myocardial infraction - most commonly known as a heart attack. Since long, physicians are aware of the fact that taking diets that contain plenty of saturated fats is mainly responsible for the development of atherosclerosis. They are also aware of the fact that reducing the amount of such saturated fats from one's diet can not only slow down the process of developing atherosclerosis, but may even turn around the situation.

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Apart from reducing the risks of having a heart attack, consumption of diets containing low fats are also beneficial for lowering the perils of high blood pressure or hypertension - another key hazardous aspect for heart ailments. If you happen to be obese, one of the most steadfast methods to lower your blood pressure is by getting rid of some of the surplus body fat immediately.

People having perfect weight may change to low-fat diets with a view to keep them fit as well avoid several diseases. When individuals having normal weight switch to low-fat diets, they are able to regulate their blood pressure better. In fact, a number of studies have shown that consuming low-fat diets are effective in lowering blood pressure even with or without weight loss. According to studies conducted by epidemiologists, experts who undertake researches on ailments in populations of people, high blood pressure is more prevalent in developed nations like the United States. On the contrary, this condition is comparatively found less among people in under-developed nations as the people there usually consume lesser amounts of fat and more complex carbohydrates. What is worse is that people consuming diets that have rich fat content are also susceptible to formation of blood clots that may block the coronary arteries. Blockade of the coronary arteries is another major risk aspect for heart ailments. In such cases, reducing the amount of fat in diets offers speedy relief from the symptom.

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A small research conducted on young women having high cholesterol levels found that when they changed to low-fat diets for a period of just five months, there was a remarkable reduction in the risks of blood clot formation among these subjects. This research also established that switching over to low-fat diets also diminished their risks of death owing to heart attack by approximately 30 per cent.

Proper blood circulation has several other less noticeable advantages. Irrespective of their age, people who adopt a low-fat diet face a lesser risk of experiencing sexual inability compared to people whose arteries are virtually plastered with plaque. In fact, choked arteries have been associated with back aches. It has been found during autopsies that individuals whose arteries are bulky owing to plaque are inclined to develop weakening in the disks of the lower back that is eventually related to back aches.

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Foods and cancer

Any type of fat, irrespective of whether it is marbling your steak or settled around your waist at ease, has the potential to enhance the risk of building up certain kinds of cancer.

In fact, scientists have associated the development of prostate cancer, the second most widespread type of cancer among men in the United States, with ingestion of high-fat diet. Since long, scientists have noticed that incidents of prostate cancer was relatively low in countries where people traditionally consumed low-fat diets and avoided foods containing saturated fats, such as cheese, butter, meat and whole milk. It has also been noticed that when men from countries like Japan and Poland where intake of saturated fats is comparatively low shift to the United States their risk of developing prostate cancer increases remarkably. Thus, the scientists are of the view that the American way of life, particularly the eating habits that included high-fat diets and excessive consumption of cheese is responsible for the speedy development of prostate cancer among most men in the United States.

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In addition, the American approach of 'let-the-good-times-roll' in their eating habits also adds to the development of cancer with apparent ecological reasons, such as lung cancer and skin cancer. Lung and skin cancers are among the two most prevalent type of cancer in the United States and are associated with hazardous activities like smoking cigarette and exposure to sunlight. All said and done, these may not be the sole factors that result in the development of cancer.

Impact of foods on the immune system and diabetes

As discussed earlier, when an individual is over-weight it has a negative impact on their immune system - the body's in-build mechanism to fight every type of ailments, inclusive of cancer. Several researches have hinted that compared to people with normal weight, obese people have a more feeble immune system. It has also been found that compared to people with normal weight, obese people take longer time to recuperate after a surgery. What is worse is that people who are over-weight are less capable in eradicating the anomalous cells that may eventually develop into cancer.

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In the case of women, fat accumulation in the abdominal region is an ominous sign. Abdominal fat has an effect on a protein known as sex hormone-binding globulin that firmly binds to estrogens and transports it to the bloodstream. Women who have abdominal fat generate less of this variety of protein as a result of which most of their estrogen is carried by other proteins that are not as tightly bound. Consequently, the blood has more estrogen and this enhances the risk of cancer. In addition to this, ingesting a low-fat diet may also prove to be a significant approach in avoiding or controlling diabetes - an ailment suffered by over 13 million people in the United States. When people are suffering from diabetes, their pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin - a hormone that is essential to regulate the intensity of blood sugar in the body and also transform food into energy.

Type I or insulin dependent diabetes is widespread these days and usually majority of the people develop this metabolic disorder when they have passed 40 summers of their life. Another kind of this disease is known as type II diabetes, which is not dependent on insulin. If people enduring this form of diabetes do not avail proper treatment, they may experience acute problems, such as heart ailments, failure of the kidney as well as loss of vision. Type II is a hereditary ailment and you may develop it if anyone in your family is affected by the malady. However, biology does not depend on fate and experts are of the view that even if both your parents have type II diabetes, the odds of your developing the disease is just one in 20. However, in most instances, whether you develop type II diabetes or not, the matter entirely wrests with you.

More and more studies have established the fact that in addition to being a factor in obesity, foods containing rich fat contents may also have a role in enhancing the risk of diabetes in different ways. Researches have shown that the glucose tolerance of individuals consuming excessive fats are more prone to be damaged and this will cause problems for the body to metabolize carbohydrates. When the glucose tolerance of a person is damaged, he or she is at a greater risk of having diabetes.

Hence, reducing the fat intake as well as retaining a healthy weight may also help people already enduring diabetes to regulate their condition as well as avoid severe problems. In fact, taking the appropriate diet may also help type II diabetes patients to lower or completely do away with their requirement for insulin. It is important for diabetic patients to take low-fat diets as they are also more prone to heart ailments. Taking diets containing low fats will not only help them to avoid a heart attack, but also care for their blood vessels.

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