Associate Professor, Food Policy. Director of World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Population Salt Reduction, George Institute for Global Health
Clare Farrand receives funding from World Health Organization.
Jacqui Webster is supported in her work through a joint National Health and Medical Research Council/National Heart Foundation Career Development Fellowship 2014-18. She receives additional funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council, The World Health Organisation and The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.
Some of the most common breads we see in the supermarket contain almost half the recommended day’s worth of salt in just two slices. That’s before you’ve even added any Vegemite.
Our new analysis looked at the salt content of 1,439 bread products sold in four major supermarkets since 2010.
What most surprised us was that the breads often thought to be the healthiest actually contain the most salt. For example, some rye breads in the survey contained twice as much salt as a serving of sea salt chips.
Wraps on average contained 33% more salt than sliced white bread. Some wraps had eight times as much salt as others.
This is important because while we’ve been trying to minimise sugar and fat intake, it seems we’ve been overlooking one of the biggest dietary killers of all – salt.
Heart disease is the leading cause of non-communicable disease deaths worldwide. Globally, it has been estimated more than 1.65 million heart-related deaths per year are attributed to excessive dietary salt intake.
Salt is sometimes called the “forgotten killer”, and it’s easy to see why. We’re eating way too much of it, often without even realising. It’s hidden in the processed and packaged foods we buy, and in foods we don’t even think of as being salty.
According to the most recent Australian Health Survey, the highest contributors of salt to the diet include bread and bread rolls (12.8%), processed meat (6.7%), ready-to-eat breakfast cereals (2-3%) and sauces, dips and condiments (6%).
We found rye breads contained on average 20% more salt than the voluntary sodium reduction targets that the Australian government set in 2009, to be achieved in three major food categories (ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, breads and processed meats) by 2013.
https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/JyOaE/2/The results from our research show the targets have worked, with 81% of breads meeting them. Salt levels in breads and bread rolls had dropped by some 10% in seven years.
They did not cover flat breads – which had the highest average salt content. Breads such as wraps, naan, roti and tortillas also included unnecessarily high levels of salt. On average, these contained a third more salt than white bread.
This highlights the need for clear salt targets across all ranges of processed foods, as well as transparent monitoring systems to ensure all manufacturers are reducing salt across the product ranges.
Schwob’s Dark Rye Sourdough contains twice as much salt as a serving of Kettle’s Sea Salt Chips.
Mission Wholegrain Wraps contain eight times more salt than one Vitastic Sorj Healthy Soft Wrap Wholemeal.
The huge difference in the amount of salt in breads is alarming. We need all bread manufacturers to reduce the amount of salt in bread to the lowest possible levels, across all types of products.
A good public health initiative example is in Victoria. The Victorian Salt Reduction Partnership, led by VicHealth, is supporting national activities to reduce salt. This includes working with industry partners to identify and promote solutions to lowering salt in processed foods in parallel with behaviour change campaigns.
If you don’t have the time to read nutrition information on packets of bread in the supermarket, then there is an app for finding find lower salt options: FoodSwitch.
Pharmacy Department, Fairview University Medical Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.
Fifteen percent of premenopausal women, 10-40% of postmenopausal women, and 10-25% of women receiving systemic hormone therapy experience urogenital atrophy. The most common symptoms are dryness, burning, pruritus, irritation, and dyspareunia. Estrogen loss, drugs, and chemical sensitivities are causes. Estrogen or hormone replacement therapy (ERT-HRT) is the treatment of choice in postmenopausal women. Dosages prescribed for menopause symptoms or to prevent osteoporosis (and, potentially, other conditions) can restore the vagina to premenopausal physiology and relieve symptoms. Concomitant progestins are necessary for women with an intact uterus to minimize or eliminate estrogen-induced endometrial cancer. Low-dosage oral and vaginal ERT can relieve urogenital atrophy but might not produce systemic effects. Progestins are not necessary with vaginal rings and vaginal tablets. If ERT is given only to treat urogenital atrophy, estrogen creams 1 or 2 times/week may prevent recurrence after symptoms are resolved. Progestins are not required for occasional estrogen cream use. Vaginal moisturizers provide longer relief by changing the fluid content of endothelium and lowering vaginal pH. Vaginal lubricants provide short-term relief. Women with contraindications to ERT-HRT could use lubricants for intercourse-related dryness or moisturizers for more continuous relief. The lay press promotes agrimony, black cohosh, chaste tree, dong quai, witch hazel, and phytoestrogens for vaginal dryness and dyspareunia; however, no evidence exists to support these specific claims. Pharmacists should be actively involved in identifying, preventing, and treating urogenital atrophy.
As human beings, we are susceptible to
hundreds, if not thousands, of diseases throughout our lives. Yet some
diseases are far deadlier than others. As the world’s foremost
international health organization, the World Health Organization (WHO)
has ranked the 10 diseases with the highest global mortality rates.
As the world’s foremost international health organization, the WHO has ranked the 10 diseases with the highest mortality.
Here they are, ranked according to the number of deaths each causes worldwide.
10. Cirrhosis. Accounting for 2.1% of all deaths
worldwide, cirrhosis is caused by chronic damage to the liver from
kidney disease, hepatitis, or chronic alcoholism. Risk factors include
chronic alcohol abuse, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and chronic
viral hepatitis. The complications of cirrhosis cause 1 million deaths per year throughout the world, and mortality rates have increased from 905,000 in 2000 to 1.2 million in 2015.
9. Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis accounted for 2.4% of deaths worldwide in 2015. But luckily, the prevalence of this disease—caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis—is
decreasing as is its mortality rate, from 2.3 million in 2000 to 1.3
million in 2015. Tuberculosis, however, remains one of the primary
causes of death in people with HIV (35%). Risk factors for tuberculosis
include low body weight, regular use of corticosteroid or
immunosuppressive drugs, diabetes, HIV infection, and living in close
proximity to those with tuberculosis. Preventive measures include the
bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, usually given to children.
8. Diarrheal disease. Dehydration caused by diarrheal disease resulted in 1.4 million deaths in 2015, but its prevalence is decreasing, having dropped from 2.2 million deaths in 2000 to 1.4 million in 2015. Unfortunately, diarrheal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 5 years, and a primary cause of malnutrition in this age group. Worldwide, almost 1.7 billion cases of childhood diarrheal disease occur each year. Risk factors include living in areas with poor sanitary conditions, malnourishment, a weakened immune system, young age, and no access to clean water.
7. Alzheimer disease. This progressive neurologic
disease accounted for 1.5 million deaths in 2015, and for 2.7% of all
deaths worldwide. Its prevalence over the past 15 years (2000-2015) has
increased from 1.2 million to 1.5 million. Risk factors include being
female, over age 65 years, genetic predisposition, an unhealthy
lifestyle, previous head trauma, and family history. In current studies,
researchers have shown that diet may play a large role in reducing the risk of Alzheimer disease, especially one that is heart-healthy, low in saturated fats, and high in monounsaturated fats from fish, nuts, and olive oil.
6. Diabetes-related. The prevalence of
diabetes-related death has increased from 1.0 million to 1.6 million
from 2000 to 2015. In 2015, diabetes-related illnesses accounted 2.8% of
all deaths throughout the world. Diabetes-related illnesses include
cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, nephropathy, and retinopathy, along
with a host of skin conditions and other complications.
5. Respiratory cancers. Cancers of the lungs, bronchus, larynx, and trachea comprise this group, and were responsible for 1.7 million deaths worldwide in 2015, totaling 3% of all deaths, and up from 1.2 million deaths in 2000. Pollution and smoking (both primary and secondary) are the primary causes of respiratory cancers. In fact, experts predict an 81% to 100% increase in respiratory cancers in developing countries due to these causes.
4. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the two primary forms of COPD, and
there is some thought to adding asthma as well, although no consensus
has been reached. COPD deaths accounted for 5.6% of all deaths
worldwide, totaling 3.1 million in 2015. Risk factors include smoking,
secondhand smoke, lung irritants, family history, and a history of
respiratory infections as a child.
3. Lower respiratory infections. Flu, pneumonia,
bronchitis, and tuberculosis are lower respiratory infections, and
comprise 5.7% of deaths worldwide. But the number of deaths from lower
respiratory infections decreased from 3.4 million in 2000 to 3.2 million
in 2015. Viruses are the main cause of these infections, but bacteria
are implicated as well. Risk factors include the flu, poor air quality,
frequent exposure to respiratory irritants, smoking, asthma, HIV,
immunocompromised status, and crowded childcare settings.
2. Stroke. Between 2000 and 2015, the mortality from
stroke increased from 5.7 million to 6.2 million. Stroke was
responsible for 6.2 million deaths in 2015, accounting for 11.1% of
deaths worldwide. Stroke is also the leading cause of long-term disability. Diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, and obesity are the leading causes
of stroke. Risk factors include high blood pressure, family history of
stroke, smoking (especially when combined with oral contraceptives),
African American race, and female sex.
1. Coronary artery disease (CAD). The number one
deadliest disease is CAD, responsible for 15.5% of all deaths worldwide.
And mortality rates have been increasing, with a significant jump from 6
million deaths in 2000 to 8.8 million deaths in 2015. The good news is
that mortality rates have gone down in the United States and many
European countries, but the bad news is that deaths due to CAD are
rising in many developing nations. Risk factors for CAD include
hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, diabetes, overweight and
obesity, and family history.
Had constipation? Here are 4 things to help treat it
January 29, 2020 2.01pm AEDT
Clare Collins Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle
Clare Collins is affiliated with the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, the University of Newcastle, NSW. She is an NHMRC Senior Research and Gladys M Brawn Research Fellow. She has received research grants from NHMRC, ARC, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Meat and Livestock Australia, Diabetes Australia, Heart Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, nib foundation, Rijk Zwaan Australia and Greater Charitable Foundation. She has consulted to SHINE Australia, Novo Nordisk, Quality Bakers, the Sax Institute and the ABC. She was a team member conducting systematic reviews to inform the Australian Dietary Guidelines update and the Heart Foundation evidence reviews on meat and dietary patterns.
Certain medications can also cause constipation including iron supplements, painkillers, diuretics (to help you get rid of sodium and water), and other drugs to treat heart disease, mental health conditions and allergies.
Constipation is more common in older adults and in women, due to hormonal changes that slow bowel motility – the time it takes for your body to digest food and expel the waste products (stools or bowel motions). Pregnant women are particularly prone to constipation.
The good news is it can be treated and then prevented.
If your bowels are so packed you can’t pass any bowel motions at all, see your GP. You may need treatment with specific laxatives to clear your bowels before you can start on a prevention plan.
Here are four things that research shows improve bowel function, which refers to the time it takes for food to move through your digestive system and be expelled as a bowel motion (called gut transit time), the frequency and volume of bowel motions, and stool consistency.
A good source of fibre is psyllium. It forms a viscous gel, which gets fermented in the colon, leading to softer bowel motions. Psyllium is the main ingredient in Metamucil, which is commonly used to treat constipation.
Other foods rich in fermentable carbohydrates include dark rye bread and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, four-bean mix, red kidney beans, baked beans); while wholemeal and wholegrain breads and cereals are high in different types of dietary fibres.
Kiwi fruit fibre absorbs about three times its weight in water. This means it helps make stools softer and boosts volume by increasing the amount of water retained in bowel motions. This stimulates the gut to contract and moves the bowel motions along the gut to the anus.
In a study of 38 healthy older adults, researchers found adding two to three kiwi fruit per day to their diets for three weeks resulted in participants passing bowel motions more often. It also increased the size of their stools and made them softer and easier to pass.
If you don’t like kiwi fruit, other vegetables and fruit high in fructans include spring onion, artichoke, shallots, leek, onion (brown, white and Spanish), beetroot, Brussels sprouts, white peaches, watermelon, honeydew melon and nectarines.
Prunes are dried plums. They contain a large amount of sorbitol, a complex carbohydrate that passes undigested into the colon where bacteria ferment it. This produces gas and water, which triggers an increase in bowel movements.
Eating prunes is even more effective than psyllium in improving stool frequency and consistency.
One study of adults with constipation compared eating 100 grams (about ten) prunes a day for three weeks to those who ate psyllium. The prune group passed an average of 3.5 separate bowel motions per week compared to 2.8 in the psyllium group.
The prune group’s stools were also softer. They rated, on average, 3.2 on the Bristol stool chart compared to 2.8 for the psyllium group, meaning their bowel motions were more toward smooth to cracked sausage-shaped motions rather than lumpy ones.
Not drinking enough water is the strongest predictor of constipation. When your body is a bit dehydrated, there’s less water for the fibre in your colon to absorb, meaning your bowel motions also become dehydrated and harder to pass.
Aim for around 1.5 to two litres of fluid per day, which can include liquids such as tea, coffee, soup, juice, and even jelly and the liquid from stewed fruit.
Start by increasing the amount of water or other liquids you drink. You should be drinking enough that your urine is the colour of straw.
Next, add in psyllium. Start with a tablespoon once a day with breakfast cereal.
Psyllium forms a gel as soon as it comes into contact with liquids so to make psyllium more palatable, mix it with a small amount of stewed fruit or yoghurt and eat it straight away. If needed, increase psyllium to twice a day.
At least once a day, have some prunes (either dried or canned) or kiwi fruit and a variety of other foods high in fibre, fructans, sorbitol and fermentable carbohydrate.