Happy New Year!

Upcoming presentations

Tuesday, January 28th at 10:45 a.m. at the Rancho Santa Fe library. The health benefits of wine and chocolate. Wine and chocolate are derived from plants and thus contain nutrients that have specific health benefits. Not all forms of these pleasurable foods are healthy, however. Learn which claims are legitimate and how to select the healthiest forms of wine and chocolate.

Friday, January 31st at 2:30 p.m. at the LIFE program at Mira Costa College in Oceanside, The annoyances of aging. Growing older is inevitable but many of the physical and mental challenges that seniors face are not. More than twenty such topics that range from decreased energy to liver spots, irregular sleep to poor memory can be postponed or even avoided completely. Details at http://www.miracosta.edu/life.

In the news

Is this really our future?

“The obesity rate will soar above 50 % in 29 states.” “…no state will have an obesity prevalence below 35%…” “…about one in four adults are projected to have severe obesity,” which is usually 100 lb. of excess weight. This is the staggering prediction for the year 2030 from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

Hmmmm! Seems to be a disconnect here as I write this at the end of the holiday eating cycle while announcing a presentation about wine and chocolate! However, if you Google Goscienski make it a gainless holiday you’ll find some redeeming advice, and an ounce of dark chocolate — my usual recommendation — has only 150 calories.

The hazards of obesity are well described even in the lay press. It leads to coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and fourteen types of cancer, and it is a contributing factor in a myriad of other health problems. Is it really beyond our control?

There are two (relatively) painless steps that we can take to rein in weight gain. The first is to eliminate our intake of refined starch and sugar and to replace them with vegetables (not French fries!) and fruit, nearly all of which contain only 50-100 calories per serving! The upside is that they are not only filling but they provide vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are virtually non-existent in packaged foods.

Eighty percent of Americans don’t get enough exercise but in spite of the crowds we’ll see in the local gym this week – and never again – exercise really doesn’t contribute much to weight loss. Does that surprise you? Consider that brisk walking for an hour will burn about 300 calories, about as many as there are in a slice of apple pie and about half as many as you’ll get in the average restaurant dessert. One of the benefits of exercise is that when you seriously reduce your calorie intake the weight that you lose will consist almost entirely of fat; if you don’t exercise while on a low-calorie diet of any type, much of the weight loss consists of muscle. That’s a lousy trade-off!

 

Lifestyle

Continuing our series on the annoyances of aging: dizziness and fainting

       These have multiple causes but they should NEVER be ignored. Not only are they often the first symptom of a serious medical condition, the fall that often occurs during one of these episodes can lead to a hip or skull fracture, either of which can really ruin your day!

A common reason is a side effect of medication for lowering blood pressure but other causes include an abnormal heart rhythm, low blood sugar or dehydration. If you have ever felt light-headed or dizzy after standing up from a seated position or lying down it may indicate orthostatic hypotension; it’s not serious but it’s still an  indication for getting checked out by a physician.

The bottom line: dizziness and fainting are not normal and always require medical evaluation.

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