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Southern Diet Blamed for High Blood Pressure Among African-Americans

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

“Southern” foods, denoted for being heavy in fried dishes, processed meats, added fats, high-fat dairy, breads and sugar-sweetened beverages, may be the reason so many African-Americans in the South suffer from heart disease and high blood pressure, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Country ham, cornbread and egg dishes washed down with sugary drinks — think sweet tea — were singled out as some of the worst offenders, Newsweek said. Researchers conceded that the study couldn’t discern if any one component of the Southern diet was most to blame, or whether it was a combination of the poor diet and limited consumption of beneficial foods containing antioxidants and minerals.

Another confounder was that only half the participants returned for follow-up: A fifth of them died and 30 percent withdrew from the study. In the end, a professor of nutrition science at a different university told Newsweek that the take home message was that heart disease and blood pressure can be improved by lifestyle modification.

When studies like this come out it’s hard to know what the real take home message is, because too often they’re riddled with secondary problems like those in the featured article. How can you know what’s good and what’s not if half a study’s participants didn’t complete the study, and a fifth of them died? The bottom line is what the outside observer commented, and that is that you’re always healthier when you positively modify your diet.

Aside from giving up fried foods of any kind, you can give your heart and the rest of your body a boost by giving up sugar and processed grains. You can also help yourself by refusing to listen to the deceptive advertising that the sugar industry has been caught in, which promoted sugar as healthy when it’s been linked to heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

When it comes to fats — many of which you abandon just by giving up fried foods — it’s important to learn that you DO need fats in your diet. The important thing is knowing which fats are good, which ones are bad and how to tell the difference. My upcoming book, to be released November 13, “Superfuel: Ketogenic Keys to Unlock the Secrets of Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Great Health,” which I’ve co-written with James DiNicolantonio, gives you all that information, and more.

It’s the sequel to my last book, “Fat for Fuel,” which tells you about a novel strategy for the popular ketogenic and Paleo diets. Aimed at helping you understand the importance of mitochondria to your overall health, “Fat for Fuel” showed you how using cyclical ketogenesis could help you achieve metabolic flexibility to enable you to burn fat as your primary fuel.

Now, “Superfuel” goes the next step by diving into the historical perspective of how the wrong fats came to be demonized, and how people’s health has literally been destroyed by vegetable oils and trans fats. It will help you take control of your health by guiding you through your fat confusion, offering you the solid science about dietary fats and how you can burn fat for fuel and become healthier, soon.

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