WellBeing: Diet Busters & Myths

Top 10 Most Surprising Diet Busters

Beware of those so-called “health-conscious” food products you’re buying – they may be disguised as low-calorie, but these culprits could put a dent in your diet goals. Just when you think you’re getting a low-fat muffin, you’re snacking on tons of extra calories. And the ones that seem to be obviously good for you, well, that isn’t always the case!

Soups: certain soups can be packed full of calories and fat, especially favorites like New England clam chowder or cream of broccoli.

Sugar-Free Cookies: It’s not uncommon for a fat-free or even sugar-free food to have nearly the same number of calories as its regular counterpart, and taste- wise, there’s no comparison to the real deal.

Pork: Depending on the cut, the piece of pork in front of you can be comparable to low-fat, low-calorie chicken, or as high in fat as a hot dog. And adding sauces can de-lean it!

Coffee: Coffee drinks can be astronomically high in calories depending on the ingredients and size of the drink one selects

Salads: Throw on a creamy dressing, cheese, croutons, and bacon bits, and your lunch is starting to look less healthy, more calorie packed, and detrimental to your diet.

Breakfast Bars: Some breakfast bars look healthy and even have healthy looking pictures on the box – look at the actual calories and extra sugars in its ingredients.

Dried Fruits and Granola: Granola sounds great, but it’s very rich in fat, so you have to watch how much you eat.

Juice and Soda: You have a juice midmorning, and a soda midafternoon, and next thing you know, you’ve consumed an extra 400 calories in liquids – they add up.

Low-Fat/Low-Cal Foods: Low calorie does not mean no calorie.

Nuts: Nuts are high in fat so they are only healthy if you can eat just one serving.

Before your diet goes south, consider the effects of the above diet busters. And before you pat yourself on the back for eating soup and salad for lunch, make sure you read the label.

Top Five Cholesterol Myths

Health care savvy Americans, confident in their cholesterol knowledge, may be in for a surprise. Knowing their cholesterol numbers-and where they should be-is not enough. To protect their heath, consumers need to recognize key myths surrounding cholesterol. According to experts, the top five include:

Myth No. 1: If my total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol are “normal,” I don’t need to worry about heart disease.

Wrong. Patients who get their total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol results back as “normal” may actually be at risk because standard cholesterol tests fail to measure many cholesterol abnormalities that can lead to heart disease. In fact, almost half of all patients who have heart attacks have “normal” cholesterol, as measured by the standard cholesterol test.

Myth No. 2: If I exercise and eat healthy, I don’t need to worry about heart disease.

That’s another fallacy. Many people who are at risk or already suffer from heart disease exercise and eat right. That’s because genetics play a significant role in heart disease. In fact, a recent study of male twins, one lean and athletic and the other heavier and more sedentary, found that the brothers tended to show the same cholesterol response to high-fat and low-fat diets.

Myth No. 3: Women aren’t as susceptible to heart disease as men.

This myth couldn’t be further from the truth. Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in women. In fact, nearly twice as many American women die of heart disease and stroke as from all forms of cancer combined, including breast cancer. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and women tend to have higher cholesterol than men starting in their 40s.

Myth No. 4: The routine cholesterol test gives an accurate measure of my LDL cholesterol.

Wrong again. A little-known fact about the routine cholesterol test is that it estimates LDL cholesterol, rather than directly measuring it. This process can result in a significant underestimation of a patient’s LDL level-and resulting heart disease risk.

Myth No. 5: If my good cholesterol (HDL) is high, I am protected against heart disease.

This may appear true, but there’s a catch: High-density lipoprotein (HDL) consists of subclasses (HDL2 and HDL3). While people with higher HDL2 are more protected against heart disease, those with more HDL3 may actually be at increased risk-even if they have normal total HDL.

What Can I Do?

A new, expanded cholesterol test debunks these myths by identifying up to 90 percent of people at risk for cardiovascular diseases-nearly twice the rate of routine cholesterol tests. The VAP® Cholesterol Test measures total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides. It also breaks down cholesterol further-providing information that can help your doctor better assess your true risk of heart disease. The simple blood test is available nationwide through national and regional diagnostic laboratories and is reimbursed by most insurance companies, including Medicare.