Diets with high-sugar, high-salt intake have been labelled 'a ticking time bomb of health problems', according to a new study.
The fat-and sugar-rich Western diet leads to a lifetime of health problems, dramatically increasing the risk of stroke or death at a younger age.
"I think we'll soon start to see people in their 30s or 40s having strokes, having dementia, because of this junk food diet," says Dr. Corbett, Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery. "Young people will have major, major problems much earlier in life."
Researchers found that a high-calorie, high-sugar, high-sodium diet nicknamed the 'cafeteria diet' induced most symptoms of metabolic syndrome – a combination of high levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and obesity – in rats after just two months.
<strong>Bad rep:</strong> Coffee is bad for you because it increase blood pressure. <strong>Good news:</strong> If you can't make it through the day without your daily caffeine hit, here's some good news for you - drinking two to four cups of coffee a day could significantly reduce your risk of a stroke. The study discovered that people who drank two cups of coffee a day, reduced their risk of a stroke by 14%. Furthermore, big coffee drinkers, who downed up to four cups a day, were 17% less likely to suffer from a stroke or blood clots.
<strong>Bad rep:</strong> Bread is full of salt, sugar and bad carbohydrates, causing weight gain and soaring sugar levels. <strong>Good news:</strong> Swapping white bread with wholemeal, brown bread can increase fibre intake and contain complex carbohydrates, which boost energy levels.
<strong>Bad rep:</strong> Full of sugary fats and packed with caffeine <strong>Good news:</strong> No, you're not halloucinating - chocolate can be good for your health! A recent study by Wayne State University found that those who would rather eat chocolate than exercise can take heart from new research that suggests one is as good as the other. Scientists found that small amounts of dark chocolate may improve health in a similar way to exercise. How? Epicatechin, a plant compound in chocolate, appeared to stimulate the same muscle response as vigorous activity.
<strong>Bad rep:</strong> Increase cholesterol levels. <strong>Good news:</strong> Yes, egg yolks contain cholesterol, but they're also packed full of protein and are also good sources of choline, which has been linked with preserving memory, and lutein and zeaxanthin, which may protect against vision loss from age-related macular degeneration.
<strong>Bad rep:</strong> Full of saturated fat and salt. <strong>Good news:</strong> Peanut butter is loaded with 'good' fats, protein, vitamin E, niacin, folic acid, and magnesium.
<strong>Bad rep:</strong> Full of sugar and bad for your liver and waistline. <strong>Good news:</strong> An ingredient in red wine can stop breast cancer cells growing and may combat resistant forms of the disease, research suggests. Resveratrol, a plant chemical found in grapes and red wine, blocks the cancer-fuelling effects of the female hormone oestrogen, studies have shown. It can also inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells that have become hormone resistant, say scientists.
The animals were at an age roughly equivalent to 16 to 22 year old humans at the time of disease onset, according to lead researcher Dr. Dale Corbett.
Researchers gave sedentary rats unlimited access to both nutritional food pellets and a daily selection of common junk food items including cookies, sausage and cupcakes. Animals were also given access to both water and a 30% sucrose solution designed to imitate soft drinks. Like humans, the animals greatly preferred to consume the treats.
Dr. Corbett highlights the importance of preventing metabolic syndrome with regular exercise and a balanced diet. "We're not sure whether metabolic syndrome can be reversed. If it can't, and we continue to live and eat like this, then we're each a ticking time bomb of health problems."
"Metabolic syndrome and stroke are huge health concerns for the public," says Dr. Mark Bayley, Co-Chair of the Canadian Stroke Congress and Medical Director of the Neurological Rehabilitation Program at Toronto Rehab. "We cannot afford to continue making poor nutritional choices. Our diet is killing us."
Since the advent of low-carb diet fads, the reputation of the humble potato has taken a serious dive among the health-conscious. But while the simple spud might not count as one of your five-a-day, it is packed with potassium, which helps to counteract the negative effects of salt. It was also found in a recent study that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/09/01/is-the-humble-potato-the-new-superfood_n_945208.html" target="_hplink">eating a portion of potato twice a day can lower blood pressure</a>, while a separate study identified 60 different types of phytochemicals and vitamins in potato skins.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/06/red-wine-health-pros-and-cons_n_1257409.html" target="_hplink">From protecting your heart health and lowering breast cancer risk to fending off colds and treating gum disease, barely a week goes by without news of a study hailing a new health benefit of red wine</a>. But that daily glass (or half-bottle) could be causing more harm than good. A recent statement by the Royal College of Physicians advised drinkers to limit their alcohol consumption to four days a week.
We're not suggesting gorging yourself on family-sized bars of Dairy Milk but when eaten regularly, a small quantity of dark chocolate (with a minimum of 70% cocoa solids) can benefit your health in a number of ways. As well as being packed with antioxidants, it can reduce blood pressure and is a rich source of magnesium, which may help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. It also contains iron and potassium, linked to a reduced risk of blood pressure and stroke. Hello Green & Blacks...
Peanut ButterFrom decreasing depression in women and lowering prostate risk in men to protecting against skin cancer and reducing stroke risk, your daily latte might not be as guilty a pleasure as you think.
It may have a higher fat content than your average spread, but peanut butter is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fat. Harvard Medical School researchers found that regularly snacking on peanut butter could nearly halve the risk of a heart attack. The spread is also high in protein, fibre and folate.
From <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/02/starbucks-stronger-coffee-british-latte_n_1315815.html#s747405&title=5_Health_Benefits" target="_hplink">decreasing depression in women and lowering prostate risk in men to protecting against skin cancer and reducing stroke risk</a>, your daily latte might not be as guilty a pleasure as you think.
The fiery condiment and Sunday roast staple is thought to improve digestion and boost liver function. It is also a rich source of iron and magnesium for energy production and calcium for healthy teeth and bones.
In addition to warning the Canadian public about the health dangers of a poor diet, the researchers' study opens the door to further research. "Laboratory models often use relatively young animals who are healthier and on better diets than we are," says Dr. Corbett. "However, it is important to remember that for many people, the consequences would be even worse, since a lot of people with stroke also have pre-existing health problems."
The study was presented today at the Canadian Stroke Congress.