'Healthy Obesity' Myth Debunked; Blueberries Linked to Lower Blood Pressure

Healthy Obesity Myth?

The trendy concept of “healthy obesity” is taking a hard knock from a group of researchers from the University College London. Those researchers have recently published a new study — The Natural Course of Healthy Obesity Over 20 Years — in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Healthy obesity is a condition in which someone has healthy cholesterol, hypertension and glucose readings despite being overweight.

But that picture of health — strong vital numbers and obesity — can be misleading, according to researchers from University College London.

“A fundamental question is whether healthy obese adults maintain this metabolically healthy profile over the long term, or naturally transition into unhealthy obesity over time,” the researchers said.

To answer that question, the team studied data from more than 2,500 people over a 20-year period.

Here are the study results:

  • After two decades, about half of the study participants had become “unhealthy obese,” and only 10 percent retained the “healthy, but obese” designation.
  • Adults who are “healthy but obese” were eight times more likely to become “unhealthy and obese” after 20 years, compared to healthy, non-obese adults.

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FSU Study: Blueberries & Blood Pressure

There are more reasons to call blueberries a super food, says a researcher from Florida State University. Eating about a cup of blueberries a day could lower blood pressure, according to the FSU study, which was published in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a medical journal.

The study tracked 48 postmenopausal women from the Tallahassee region. For women, the risk of hypertension increases after menopause, and those selected to participate in the study had pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension.

The participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: One group received a daily serving of 22 grams of freeze-dried blueberry powder (which equals about a cup of blueberries), and the other received 22 grams of a powdered placebo. During an eight-week period, the blueberry group posted significant improvements in their blood pressure, according to baseline, four-week and final readings.  The placebo group showed no improvement.

“After 8 weeks, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure, and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity,  were significantly lower than baseline levels,” the study reports.

The blueberry group had increased production of nitric oxide, a chemical linked to widening and relaxing of blood vessels.

“Daily blueberry consumption may reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness, which may be due, in part, to increased nitric oxide production,” researchers reported.

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