2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Knowledge Base

Welcome to our extensive library of articles on health concerns and conditions, alternative therapies, nutrition, nutritional supplements, and much more. Acupuncture / Traditional Chinese Medicine Aging Allergies & Food Sensitivities Alternative Therapies Big Pharma Evils Bone Health Candida (Yeast) and Parasites Cardiovascular Health Case Studies Chiropractic & Physical Medicine Dermatology Digestion Diseases Ear, Nose & Throat Environmental Sensitivities Eye Care Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Fitness & Exercise Health Insurance Issues Healthy Lifestyle Immune System Inflammation Integrative Medicine Lyme Disease & Morgellons Men's Health Mental Health Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements, Vitamins, & Herbal Remedies Pain Management Sexual Health Thyroid, Adrenal, & Sex Hormone Issues Weight Issues Women's Health

Good News…And The Bad

Posted 03/26/2012

I recently saw a documentary about comedienne Joan Rivers. At one point, she shows viewers her “joke room,” which contains an entire wall filled with her joke files. Among them is a drawer packed with good news/bad news jokes.

Most of us feel anxiety when someone says, “I’ve got good news and bad news. What do you want to hear first?” Anxiety #1: the agony of decision making. Which do we really want to hear first? Anxiety #2: no matter which we choose, one will be bad news.

Good news/bad news jokes are ancient, first recorded in the Bible. Poor old Job (expect anyone else?). The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Millennia later we’ve advanced to…

Lawyer to client: “I’ve got good news and bad news for you. Which first?”
Client: “Give me the bad news.”
Lawyer: “Your blood was found all over the crime scene.”
Client: “That’s terrible! How can there be good news?”
Lawyer: “Your cholesterol’s down.

So today, a good news/bad news health tip
Me being a cup-half-empty Eeyore sort of person, I’ll give you the bad news first. But I promise we’ll end on a cheery note and within 15 minutes of finishing today’s health tip you could be doing something you love that’s good for you.

The bad news   In an immense study that tracked the physical activity of 222,497 Australian men and women over age 45, those whose waking lives were spent essentially sitting down had a significantly greater risk for early death from any cause than those who reported measurably less duff time. Provocatively, the dangers of too much sitting applied to everyone—even those who otherwise were quite physically active.

Even if study participants regularly did the recommended 30 minutes of vigorous daily physical activity, they still had risk issues if they were spending many of the remaining 6,500 minutes of the waking week in a chair.

In other words, all your exercise/physical exertion remains beneficial, and by doing it you’re better off than someone sedentary, but it’s not enough to reduce the risk of sitting for most of the rest of the time.

Long stretches of chair time–with or without the gym–increase obesity, decrease muscle tone, weaken blood vessels, and boost the risk of heart problems, diabetes, and cancer. We accumulate hours of inactivity in our cubicles, cars (cabs, buses, trains, trucks), in waiting rooms, in front of our computers and TVs, sipping Budweiser in lounge chairs, and seated at movies and spectator sports. Not to mention reading.

 

So here’s my revised exercise prescription:

  • As I’m sure you have been doing, continue to exercise vigorously at least 30 minutes every day.
  • After exercising, don’t sit down. Stay standing and move around. Walk on your errands and walk part or all of the way to work. Think about making a stand-up desk for using your computer and doing other work. Here’s how one woman did it for $20.

If you’re reading this in a seated position, let’s stand up now for…

The good news   By now, you must know that regularly eating a little dark chocolate is good for you, and the higher its cocoa percentage the better (usually high cocoa numbers mean less sugar too). Rich in plant-based antioxidants called phytonutrients, high-quality dark chocolate helps control your blood pressure, reduce heart disease risks, and improve your metabolism by increasing your sensitivity to insulin. Yet, you might wonder, since chocolate contains sugar and fats, is eating it every day really a good idea?

Yes, it is.

(That is good news!, the crowd cheers.)

In a report in last week’s Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers at the University of California School of Medicine measured the Body Mass Index (BMI) of 1000 patients 20 to 85. Then, all were given a questionnaire about their chocolate intake. If you’re not sure what your BMI is, click here, and you can calculate yours, filling in your current weight and height to see what category (underweight, normal weight, etc) you belong to.

You’d expect eating chocolate would nudge your BMI upward, that chocolate-eaters would all have unhealthy BMIs, wouldn’t you? Wrong. People with the most regular chocolate consumption also had the healthiest BMIs.

The researchers had theories but no positive answers as to just why this was occurring.  We do know the antioxidant polyphenols in chocolate (called catechins) improve muscle function and performance, and also increase lean muscle mass. In rats, weight loss occurs when chocolate calories replace other calorie sources like grains.

Overall, the researchers commented that these findings were intriguing and the data clear: daily chocolate=healthier BMIs.

So the very next time you see one of those high-grade chocolate bars placed seductively next to a cash register…go ahead and buy it, doctor’s orders. Open it quickly and have a couple pieces on the way to your car or on your walk home.

In fact, I have a better idea. Why wait? Get up from your chair of death right now and walk briskly to the nearest chocolate sales point. Treat yourself to the very best chocolate you can find and…

Be well,

David Edelberg, MD

Leave a Comment


  1. Rick says:

    As I read this and then found articles at NY Times and so on, I was wondering if the issue is staying in one position (sitting or standing) for 8+ hours daily. If we all shift to standing but still do it for so long, then will we have health problems that way, too?

    Second question: My BMI is 19.0 according to the tool Dr. E referenced in the article. I live in Colorado and am active with regular cycling, cross country skiing, and other activities. I may be in the best cardiovascular shape of my life at 41. But I have been sitting in front of computers for the majority of my work for years. How does this large amount of sitting and associated risks pertain to me? I guess my question is whether more exercise than 30 minutes per day and higher intensity outweigh the risks of extended sitting? Or will a shift to standing at work be noticeably helpful for someone like me, too?

  2. SKS says:

    I am curious whether problems with sitting are partially or completely addressed by using a yoga ball instead of a chair. It seems that it would be a viable option to the standing workstation since the muscles of the core and legs are engaged, but of course I am hoping so because I am sitting on one…

  3. Antonia Olsen says:

    Regarding the dark chocolate and BMI correlation – I eat about 1 0z of dark chocolate a day (71% cacao and not much sugar). The joke around our house is that my husband cannot eat the last of it or he will be responsible for me grabbing everything sweet in sight and putting on lots of pounds. This amount of chocolate per day is very satiating and decreases my need for all sweets or chips or other not-so-healthy foods.

  4. LKP says:

    Speaking of quality chocolate, one of the best I’ve tried is Green & Black’s, 85% dark organic. It’s rich, smooth, and just sweet enough. I grab a few pieces along with a handful of organic walnuts for a quick and satisfying dessert.

  5. ernie foutopolous says:

    Dr. E.
    I subscribe to several health newsletters, and I have to tell you that I have never been more depressed. Everyday, I am bombarded with columns telling me that my water is poison and the clothes I wear could be eating away at my skin tissue.
    Whenever my circle of friends would be discussing the latest health concern, I would say something like; “the next thing you know, they’ll be telling us that sitting in an easy chair is bad.” And everyone would laugh at my obvious exaggeration.
    You know what they say, Dr. E, that truth is stranger than fiction. Thinking about all this further depresses me, and I would go to my bedroom and lie down except that mattresses are probably the latest unpublicized carcinogen.

  6. Dr E says:

    Hi Ernie
    Newsletters of all stripes seem to relish worst case scenarios. Rather than getting depressed, I would suggest you simply see most of these gloom and doom reports as “suggestions” to make some relatively minor lifestyle changes. Concerning the dangers of “sitting,” just tell yourself to get up occasionally and walk around, but beyond that, don’t sweat the small stuff. Obviously, I am sitting as I write this and about to board a plane where I will sit some more. You just can’t agonize over all this.
    The only things that are REALLY dangerous to your health are skydiving, hanggliding, driving without a seatbelt and smoking. Everything else is just statistics and can change when the next researcher in line analyzes them. Your water, mattress and easy chair are all likely okay; their ‘dangers’ are probably a fraction of a percent and won’t affect you. Unless, of course, you are also lighting up a cigarette at the same time

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Upcoming Workshops

*Yoga Therapy for Digestive Health
1-3 pm Saturday, April 1

In this workshop you will:

  • Discover how biological and environmental factors shape the health of your gastrointestinal system.
  • Learn specific breathing techniques to reduce stress and feel more grounded in your body.
  • Practice yoga postures that soothe, detox, and ground the entire GI system.
  • Practice a mindful eating exercise (on gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free foods) to explore your relationship to food and cultivate fulfillment.

Registration
Insurance-eligible for WholeHealth Chicago patients.
$50 registration for self-pay or those new to WholeHealth Chicago.
Space is limited and registration is required. Register by calling (773) 296-6700.
More>>

Questions? Please email Renee here.

 

*An Introduction to Healing Touch
Thursday, April 6, 9:30-11:00 am
Would you like to find relief from pain and anxiety without medicine?
Are you interested in addressing the root cause of your symptoms and health concerns?
Would you like to explore ways to navigate life transitions and find more focus, creativity,

Introduction to Healing Touch offers:
-an overview of energy medicine
-specific methods that can be administered to others and utilized for self care
-support for health and well being in body, mind, and spirit

$25 Registration Fee; sign up online or call WholeHealth Chicago at 773-296-6700

Katie Oberlin, HTCP/I
Healing Touch Certified Practitioner/Instructor
More>>

 

*Awakened Body, Quiet Mind
An innovative workshop series for relieving mind/body stress and tapping into your true power and natural health.

Four Group Sessions with Meghan Roekle, PsyD.

Four meetings using a unique combination of embodiment meditation and mental inquiry for deep healing.

Fridays from 6:00-8:00pm beginning April 13th.  Register online or call 773-296-6700
More>>

*April Lyme Academy: Restorative Yoga for Lyme Disease
April 18th 5:30pm-7pm
Join WholeHealth Chicago’s Yoga Therapist Renee Zambo to learn breath work that combats brain fog as well as movements to reduce pain and tension. These gentle movements can be done seated, laying down, or even in your bed at home, and will leave you feeling lighter and more content.

Registration is open to patients of Dr. Kelley and pre-registration is required. Please call WholeHealth Chicago at 773-296-6700 or see a Patient Services team member to sign up.
Read More>>

Recent Health Tips

  • Trump’s New American: Sick, Dirty, Dumb, and Homeless

    Trump’s New American: Sick, Dirty, Dumb, and Homeless

    You’ve got to admit the past few days have been Washington nail biters. There was Obamacare (also called the Affordable Care Act, or ACA), slowly mounting the stairs to the guillotine. Up on the platform, blade-release rope in hand, was Donald Trump, quite GQ in …Read More »
  • A Medical Flip Flop for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    A Medical Flip Flop for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    Initially I thought I’d misread the conclusion of the re-analysis of the standard treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). “The claim that patients can recover as a result of (cognitive behavior therapy) and (graded exercise therapy) is not justified by the data, and is highly …Read More »

April Sale: 20% Off Metagenics Medical Foods

Metagenics pioneered the development of science-based medical foods to help manage specific health conditions. Take 20% off these products during April…
More>>