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OptimumU Score & Fitness
Score Rationale

The OptimumU Score and Fitness Score are visualizations of your progress. They’re designed to give you a metric for your success, by comparing you, not to other people, but to yourself over time. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. The more data you can input the better and more useful the score becomes. For those that see a healthcare professional being able to show them your health over time can also lead to a more in-depth discussion of your wellness.

The Fitness Score is acquired from your physical measurements, your daily activities and other useful wellness inputs such as:

The OptimumU Score combines all of your inputted data for an overall snapshot of your current health and wellness. The OptimumU Score takes into consideration your Fitness Score along with lab results that you may get from your doctor or qualified technician such as:

OptimumU – Score range 72%- 100%
The highest quality of life, and higher performance, with continued vitality even as you age, as well as the lowest possible risk for a disease.

Active – Score range 56% – 71%
Having good health can be considered a state of good overall physical, mental and social well-being.

Average – Score range 35% – 55%
Living a life far below your potential. Possibly feeling a decrease in physical vigor which leads almost inevitably to substantial degrees of impaired system functions.

Lightly Active – Score range 16% – 34%
Living a mediocre quality of life, with loss of vitality and higher possible risk for a disease.

Sedentary – Score range 0% – 15%
Living a poor quality of life, poor performance, having the greatest possibility of disability, and highest risk for a disease.

OptimumU – range 72%- 100%

Active – range 56% – 71%

Average – range 35% – 55%

Lightly Active – range 16% – 34%

Sedentary – range 0% – 15%

Below is information on each wellness metric and their importance to your overall health.

What is my ideal body fat percentage?
Remember that ideal body fat percentage is different for men compared to women, as women require a higher body fat percentage to maintain menstruation and the ability to have children (see chart).

Women Men
Athletes 10-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Average 25-31% 18-24%
Obese >=32% >=25%
Alert 0-9% 0-5%

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition used the following equations to predict adult body fat percentages:
For men: (1.20 x BMI) + (0.23 x age) – 10.8 – 5.4
For women: (1.20 x BMI) + (0.23 x age) – 5.4

For example, a 5-foot, 4-inch 25-year old female weighing 120 pounds would have a BMI of 20.5 and could estimate her body fat percentage to be about 25 percent using this calculation: (1.2 x 20.5) + (0.23 x 25) – 5.4 = 24.95

A 2013 study in BMC Public Health showed a BMI calculation that included age and gender was as effective as some clinical measurements of body fat percentage. However, it won’t be as accurate as other methods — like underwater weighing — used to determine body fat levels. However, if consistent (as in a scale body fat %) and with the measurement, it can show a trend either up or down.


A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute. Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. For example, a well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats a minute.

To measure your heart rate, check your pulse. Place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery — which is located on the thumb side of your wrist. When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by 4 to calculate your beats a minute.

Regular exercise is good for your heart. But keep in mind that many factors can influence heart rate, including:

  • Activity level
  • Fitness level
  • Air temperature
  • Body position (standing up or lying down, for example)
  • Emotions
  • Body size
  • Medications

Although there’s a wide range of normal, an unusually high or low heart rate may indicate an underlying problem. Consult your doctor if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats a minute (tachycardia) or if you’re not a trained athlete and your resting heart rate is below 60 beats a minute (bradycardia) — especially if you have other signs or symptoms, such as fainting, dizziness or shortness of breath.

Medicines, especially blood-pressure and heart meds, can affect RHR too.


BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. BMI does not measure body fat directly, but research has shown that BMI is moderately correlated with more direct measures of body fat. Furthermore, BMI appears to be as strongly correlated with various metabolic and disease outcome as are these more direct measures of body fatness.

A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness. BMI can be used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems but it is not diagnostic of the body fatness or health of an individual.

BMI can be used for population assessment of overweight and obesity. Because calculation requires only height and weight, it is inexpensive and easy to use for clinicians and for the general public.

How is BMI calculated?
BMI is calculated the same way for both adults and children. The calculation is based on the following formulas:

Weight (kg) ÷ Height2 (m)
Weight conversion: weight in lb ÷ 2.2 = weight in kg
Height conversion: (height in inches x 2.54) ÷ 100 = height in meters

Height = 5’ 8” Weight = 196 lb (5’ x 12) + 8 = 68” 196 / 2.2 = 89 kg (68” x 2.54) ÷ 100 = 1.73 m
89 kg ÷ (1.73 m x 1.73 m) = 29.7


Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burns calories. This includes things like climbing stairs or playing sports. Aerobic exercises benefit your heart, and include walking, jogging, swimming or biking. Strength and stretching exercises are best for overall stamina and flexibility.

The most straightforward, positive change you can make to improve your heart health effectively is to start walking. It’s enjoyable, free, easy, social and great exercise. A walking program is flexible and boasts high success rates because people can stick with it. It’s easy for walking to become a regular and satisfying part of life.

For Overall Cardiovascular Health:
At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 – OR – At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity AND Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.

For Lowering Blood Pressure and Cholesterol – An average 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 or 4 times per week.


Walking is a fundamental part of daily life and is a prominent focus of public health physical activity guidelines. Steps can be accumulated throughout the day during chores, exercise, child care, errands, and transportation. Walking for exercise remains the most frequently reported leisure-time activity. Other types of sport and exercise can also be viewed as strategies to increase steps/day, but some activities, for example, swimming, and bicycling are alternative healthy physical activities that do not readily lend themselves to tracking with pedometers. We acknowledge that step-based recommendations for physical activity might be more appropriate and better received by the large segment of the population who do not regularly engage in any sport or other exercises apart from walking. Incorporating at least 30 minutes.







We judged mood on a scale using a user input from 1-5 (one being least satisfied or angry and five being happiest). Positive emotions can have an incidental effect of building an individual’s resources, including physical resources, intellectual resources, and social resources. Happier people tend to live more productive and fulfilling lives.


Standard Push-up Testing:

  • As before any fitness testing, don’t forget to warm up first.
  • Assume the typical push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and elbows fully extended.
  • Lower your upper body so your elbows bend to 90 degrees, all while keeping your entire body (toes to shoulders) in a straight line.
  • Push your upper body back up to where you started, which is the completion of one repetition.
  • Continue in this manner, completing as many reps as possible while keeping form.
  • Tally up the number of push-ups completed.

Modified Push-up Testing (for those with less relative upper body strength):

  • As before any fitness testing, don’t forget to warm up first.
  • Assume the typical modified push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and elbows fully extended.
  • Drop your hips, moving hands forward until a straight line is formed from your knees up to your shoulders, and then lower your upper body so your elbows bend to 90 degrees.
  • Push your upper body back up to where you started, which is the completion of one repetition.
  • Continue in this manner, completing as many reps as possible while keeping form.
  • Tally up the number of push-ups completed.
Push-Up Assessments
Male Age 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+
Excellent >54 >44 >39 >34 >29
Good 45-54 35-44 30-39 25-34 20-29
Average 35-44 24-34 20-29 15-24 10-19
Poor 20-34 15-24 12-19 8-14 5-9
Very Poor <20 <15 <12 <8 <5
Female Age 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+
Excellent >48 >39 >34 >29 >19
Good 34-48 25-39 20-34 15-29 5-19
Average 17-33 12-24 8-19 6-14 3-4
Poor 6-16 4-11 3-7 2-5 1-2
Very Poor <6 <4 <3 <2 <1

McArdle W.D. et al, Essentials of Exercise Physiology, 2000, 2006. Published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

The objective of this test is to monitor the development of the athlete’s leg strength. To undertake this test you will require a chair that makes your knees bend at right angles when you are sitting.

How to conduct the test:

  • Stand in front of a chair, facing away from it, with your feet shoulders width apart.
  • Squat down and lightly touch the chair with your backside before standing back up.
  • Keep doing this until you are fatigued.
  • Record the number of squats completed.
Body Squat Assessment
Male Age 18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+
Excellent >49 >45 >41 >35 >31 >28
Good 44-49 40-45 35-41 29-35 25-31 22-28
Average 35-38 31-34 27-29 22-24 17-20 15-18
Poor 25-30 22-28 17-22 13-17 9-12 7-10
Very Poor <25 <22 <17 <9 <9 <7
Female Age 18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+
Excellent >43 >39 >33 >27 >24 >23
Good 37-43 33-39 27-33 22-27 18-24 17-23
Average 29-32 25-28 19-22 14-17 10-12 11-13
Poor 18-24 13-20 7-14 5-9 3-6 2-4
Very Poor <18 <20 <7 <5 <3 <2

Mackenzie, B 2005 101 performance evaluation tests London Green

Measuring your midsection
To measure your waist accurately, exhale and wrap a measuring tape around your bare abdomen just above your navel (belly button). Don’t suck in your gut or pull the tape tight enough to squeeze the area. Record your number.

What should you do about visceral fat?
People with abdominal obesity — even if they’re not overweight — can lessen their heart disease risk with regular exercise and healthy eating habits. That’s why losing as little as 7% of your total weight helps lower heart disease risk: the most dangerous visceral fat disappears first.


VO2 Max is the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use during a specified period of usually intense exercise that depends on body weight and the strength of the lungs — called also maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, max VO2.

VO2 max is a measure of your maximal aerobic capacity. In general, as your aerobic fitness increases, your VO2 max increases.

In specific terms, VO2 max is the highest rate at which you can transport oxygen (via blood) to your muscles so that your muscles can produce energy aerobically.

A higher VO2 max has been linked to lower incidence of conditions such as heart disease, certain types of cancer, dementia, depression, and Type 2 diabetes. Much of this relationship is because a high VO2 max is usually associated with good fitness and health habits, especially with age.

https://www.runnersworld.com/vo2-max https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/VO2%20max

What do your blood pressure numbers mean?
The only way to know (diagnose) if you have high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) is to have your blood pressure tested. Understanding your blood pressure numbers is key to controlling high blood pressure.

To learn what’s considered normal, visit the American Heart Association website at https://www.heart.org

Note: A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. A doctor should also evaluate any unusually low blood pressure readings.

The five blood pressure ranges as recognized by the American Heart Association are:

  • Normal blood pressure: Congratulations on having blood pressure numbers that are within the normal (optimal) range of less than 120/80 mm Hg. Keep up the good work and stick with heart-healthy habits like following a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
  • Elevated: Elevated blood pressure is when readings are consistently ranging from 120-129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic. People with elevated blood pressure are likely to develop high blood pressure unless steps are taken to control it.
  • Hypertension Stage 1: This is when blood pressure is consistently ranging from 130-139 systolic or 80-89 mm Hg diastolic. At this stage of high blood pressure, doctors are likely to prescribe lifestyle changes and may consider adding blood pressure medication.
  • Hypertension Stage 2: This is when blood pressure is consistently ranging at levels of 140/90 mm Hg or higher. At this stage of high blood pressure, doctors are likely to prescribe a combination of blood pressure medications along with lifestyle changes.
  • Hypertensive crisis: This is when high blood pressure requires medical attention.If your blood pressure readings suddenly exceed 180/120 mm Hg, wait five minutes and test again. If your readings are still unusually high, contact your doctor immediately. You could be experiencing a hypertensive crisis. If your blood pressure is higher than 180/120 mm Hg and you are experiencing signs of possible organ damage such as chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, change in vision, difficulty speaking, do not wait to see if your pressure comes down on its own. Call 9-1-1.

Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:

  • Systolic blood pressure (the upper number) — indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
  • Diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) — indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.

Which number is more important?
Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure (the top number) as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term build-up of plaque and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.

However, elevated systolic or diastolic blood pressure alone may be used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure. And, according to recent studies, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase among people from age 40 to 89.

Why blood pressure is measured in mm Hg
The abbreviation mm Hg means millimeters of mercury. Why mercury? Mercury was used in the first accurate pressure gauges and is still used as the standard unit of measurement for pressure in medicine.

Taking your pulse versus checking your blood pressure
Your blood pressure and heart rate (pulse) are two separate measurements and indicators of health.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/KnowYourNumbers/Understanding-Blood-Pressure-Readings_UCM_301764_Article.jsp#.Wh7y9raZMdU https://www.heart.org

Is a waxy substance produced and released into the bloodstream by cells in the liver. The body uses cholesterol to form cell membranes, aid in digestion, convert Vitamin D in the skin and develop hormones. Cholesterol is stored inside a waterproof envelope of lipids (fat), along with specific proteins that weave in and out of the envelope’s outer shell. These particles are called lipoproteins. While there are several types of lipoproteins, your cholesterol score measures just two:

LDL are considered “bad” cholesterol. While they carry needed cholesterol to all parts of the body, too much LDL in the system can lead to coronary artery disease, due to the buildup of LDL deposits in the artery walls.

HDL are called “good” cholesterol because they remove cholesterol from the bloodstream and the artery walls. A higher HDL score is desirable and will improve your overall cholesterol score.

Triglycerides are a type of fat that is packaged with cholesterol when the lipoproteins form in the liver cells. Triglycerides are stored in fat all over the body and can be an energy source, like carbohydrates. Your cholesterol scores will show a measurement for triglycerides. A score higher than normal may mean you have a higher chance of developing coronary artery disease.

A blood sample will be taken after an overnight fast. A fasting blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) is normal. A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) is considered prediabetes. If it’s 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or higher on two separate tests, you may have diabetes so check with your doctor.

When fasting the hormone glucagon is stimulated and this increases plasma glucose levels in the body.

If a patient doesn’t have diabetes, their body will produce insulin to rebalance the increased glucose levels.

However people with diabetes either don’t produce enough insulin to rebalance their blood sugar (typically in type 1 diabetes) or their body is not able to use the insulin effectively enough (typical of type 2 diabetes).

Consequently when blood glucose levels are tested, people with diabetes will have blood sugar levels significantly higher than people who do not have diabetes.


This blood test indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. It measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. The higher your blood sugar levels, the more hemoglobin you’ll have with sugar attached. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates that you have diabetes. An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes. Below 5.7 is considered normal.

The A1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, or glycohemoglobin test. The A1C test is the primary test used for diabetes management and diabetes research.

How does the A1C test work?
The A1C test is based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. In the body, red blood cells are constantly forming and dying, but typically they live for about 3 months. Thus, the A1C test reflects the average of a person’s blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher a person’s blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent.


Really? If you are smoking seek help to quit. There is so much evidence against smoking that it would take up many pages to cite and discuss. But here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t smoke.

From the Center of Disease Control and Prevention – Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases, and reduces the health of smokers in general. Quitting smoking lowers your risk for smoking-related diseases and can add years to your life.

Smoking and Death
Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

  • Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. This is nearly one in five deaths.
  • Smoking causes more deaths each year than the following causes combined:
    • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
    • Illegal drug use
    • Alcohol use
    • Motor vehicle injuries
    • Firearm-related incidents
  • More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States.
  • Smoking causes about 90% (or 9 out of 10) of all lung cancer deaths.1,2 More women die from lung cancer each year than from breast cancer.
  • Smoking causes about 80% (or 8 out of 10) of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Cigarette smoking increases risk for death from all causes in men and women.
  • The risk of dying from cigarette smoking has increased over the last 50 years in the U.S.

Smoking and Increased Health Risks
Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.

  • Estimates show smoking increases the risk:
    • For coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
    • For stroke by 2 to 4 times
    • Of men developing lung cancer by 25 times
    • Of women developing lung cancer by 25.7 times
  • Smoking causes diminished overall health, increased absenteeism from work, and increased health care utilization and cost.


Ideally zero alcohol consumption is best. Drinking too much – on a single occasion or over time – can take a serious toll on your health.  Here’s how alcohol can affect your body:

Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.

Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:

  • Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
  • Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure

Research also shows that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may protect healthy adults from developing coronary heart disease.

Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:

  • Steatosis, or fatty liver
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Fibrosis
  • Cirrhosis

Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.

Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, including cancers of the:

  • Mouth
  • Esophagus
  • Throat
  • Liver
  • Breast

Immune System
Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease.  Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much.  Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.

Alcohol consumption, even at moderate levels, is associated with adverse brain outcomes. Read that line again.

Research – Moderate alcohol consumption as risk factor for adverse brain outcomes and cognitive decline: longitudinal cohort study.
Higher alcohol consumption over the 30 year follow-up was associated with increased odds of hippocampal atrophy in a dose dependent fashion. While those consuming over 30 units a week were at the highest risk compared with abstainers even those drinking moderately (14-21 units/week) had three times the odds of right sided hippocampal atrophy. There was no protective effect of light drinking (1 – 7 units/week) over abstinence. Higher alcohol use was also associated with differences in corpus callosum microstructure and faster decline in lexical fluency.
“Unsafe drinking” was defined – > 21 units (168 g) or 6 oz a week for men and > 14 units (112 g) or 4 oz for women

UK pint = 19.25 US oz
14% all by vol wine
5.2% all by vol. beer

Per week consumption
1/3 pint of beer or about 6.5 US oz Beers
4/5 glass of wine or 4 oz US


Food plays such a big part of our lives. From socialization, community, parties, and so much more. It also plays the most important part in our health. When something means this much to us we should really be thoughtful about what we consume. Most people focus on exercising for heath – like that one hour a day is going to make up for the other 23 hours. Well probably not. In OptimumU we don’t count calories – we make it easier for you by helping you think about the bigger picture. Michael Pollan’s quote is all too true: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” By food he means real food not the stuff that is overly processed with added chemicals n a factory.

We broke it down like this. One being our take on the best in terms of nutrition for the average human and six being the worst. If you are eating mostly 1’s & 2’s then you are eating more fiber, less sugar and less saturated fats. All positives for long term health and a healthy weight.

So what are you eating?
1) Mostly vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, purple or sweet potatoes
2) Some vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and meats
3) White flour pasta, white flour bread, a few vegetables, and meats
4) Processed frozen dinners and heavily processed prepared foods
5) Dairy, fast food, soda
6) Anything deep fried, sweets, transfats, artificial sweeteners, overcooked/charred meats and processed meats

“Participants weren’t instructed to count calories or stick to a prescribed number of calories per day, yet collectively they lost more than 6,500 pounds,” says Gardner. “It’s not that calories don’t matter. After all, both groups ultimately ended up consuming fewer calories on average by the end of the study, without realizing it. The point is that they did this by focusing on nutritious whole foods that satisfied their hunger.” Interestingly, neither genes nor insulin levels predicted which diet was better for which people either. David L. Katz, MD, MPH, founding director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, isn’t surprised by the results. “We’re a common species and should all be eating basically the same wholesome foods,” he says, “Personalization is the icing on top. The fundamentals of healthy eating is the well-baked cake.”

Adherence to DASH Diet May Reduce Risk of Depression.


Impact of Fiber
Eat more fiber. You’ve probably heard it before. But do you know why fiber is so good for your health? Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But foods containing fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Selecting tasty foods that provide fiber isn’t difficult. Find out how much dietary fiber you need, the foods that contain it, and how to add them to meals and snacks.

What is dietary fiber?
Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes the parts of plant foods your body can’t digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn’t digested by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body.

Fiber is commonly classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, or insoluble, which doesn’t dissolve.

  • Soluble fiber: This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
  • Insoluble fiber: This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are good sources of insoluble fiber.

Most plant-based foods, such as oatmeal and beans, contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. However, the amount of each type varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.

Benefits of a high-fiber diet – A high-fiber diet has many benefits, which include:

  • Normalizes bowel movements: Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.
  • Helps maintain bowel health: A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.
  • Lowers cholesterol levels: Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that high-fiber foods may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
  • Helps control blood sugar levels: In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Aids in achieving healthy weight: High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than low-fiber foods, so you’re likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. And high-fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

But studies to this day associating high fiber intake with lower risk of disease and death relate only to fiber from food intake rather than from fiber isolates or extracts. It is not at all clear whether fiber consumed as a supplement is beneficial.

In retrospect, maybe it was a mistake to isolate fiber from the overall field of plant food nutrition. The evidence supporting the value of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as opposed to only fiber, has proved to be much more consistent. Whole plant foods are of fundamental importance in our diet. Fiber is just one of the beneficial components of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and beans. Much of the effort on defining fiber and studying the fiber isolate would have been better applied to a whole-plant-food approach.

Impact of Added Sugar
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are (7): Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons). Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons). Added sugars are sugars added to foods and beverages when they’re processed or prepared. Consuming too much can lead to disease – and even early death.

There are two types of sugars in American diets: naturally occurring sugars and added sugars.

  • Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose).
  • Added sugars include any sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation (such as putting sugar in your coffee or adding sugar to your cereal).

Added sugars (or added sweeteners) can include natural sugars such as white sugar, brown sugar and honey as well as other caloric sweeteners that are chemically manufactured (such as high fructose corn syrup).

You can use sugars to help enhance your diet. Adding a limited amount of sugar to improve the taste of foods (especially for children) that provide important nutrients, such as whole-grain cereal, low-fat milk or yogurt, is better than eating nutrient-poor, highly sweetened foods.

Sources of added sugars:
The major sources of added sugars in American diets are regular soft drinks, sugars, candy, cakes, cookies, pies and fruit drinks (fruitades and fruit punch); dairy desserts and milk products (ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk); and other grains (cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles).

Easy ways to avoid them:

  • Check nutrition facts label and ingredients
  • Limit sweet and sugary beverages
  • Choose simple foods over heavily processed ones
  • Rinse canned fruits if they are canned in syrup

Impact of Saturated Fats
The American Heart Association recommends aiming for a dietary pattern that achieves 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat. For example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 of them should come from saturated fat. That’s about 13 grams of saturated fat per day.

From Dr. Greger – The latest guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommend reducing trans fat intake, giving it their strongest A grade level of evidence. And the same with reducing saturated fat intake, and since saturated and trans fats are found in the same place–meat and dairy–cutting down on foods with saturated fat will have the additional benefit of lowering trans fat intake. They recommend pushing saturated fat intake down to like 5 or 6% of calories. So that’s what you see when you go to the American Heart Association’s website: no more than 5% or 6% of calories. People don’t realize how small that is. One KFC chicken breast could take you over the top. Or, two pats of butter and two cubes of cheese and you’re done for the day—no more dairy, no meat, no eggs. That’d be about 200 calories, so they are in effect saying 90% of your diet should be free of saturated fat-containing foods. So that’s like the American Heart Association saying OK, two meals a week can be packed with meat, dairy, and junk, but the entire rest of the week should be unprocessed plant foods. That’s how stringent the new recommendations are.

Intakes of fats should range between 20 to 35% of the total energy intake, with different values recommended for infants. Intakes of both saturated and trans fatty acids should be as low as possible within the context of a nutritionally adequate diet.



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