Study Finds Business Professionals to be at Risk for Heart Disease

“The social-business eating pattern, characterized by a high consumption of red meat, pre-made foods, snacks, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages and frequent eating-out behavior,” leads to heart disease researchers say.
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The “social diet” is a lifestyle that is all too familiar to me. Not I, but rather most of my clients at NuVision Health Center, live this way. In the world of high-level business professionals, meetings, non-stop air travel, and stress are often the cause of pushing aside the nutritious home cooked meals. In its place, professionals normally grab fast food and whatever convenience snacks lay in front of the checkout counter. Researchers say this leads to atherosclerosis, which is a slow clogging of the arteries.

A recent study was conducted to determine if the eating behavior described above actually drives the process of atherosclerosis in middle-aged adults. “We found that more than other diets, the ‘social business eating pattern’ specifically raises the risk for developing atherosclerosis disease,” says the author of the study, Dr. Valentin Fuster. He is a professor of cardiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Atherosclerosis is a result of the buildup of plaque in the arteries, putting you at risk for blood clots, heart disease, heart attack and even stroke.

Fusters team took 4,000 individuals between the ages of 40 and 54. Within the group, 40% followed a Western diet, a diet high in red meats, high fat dairy products, butter and refined grains. Another 40% followed the Mediterranean diet, a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts. Then lastly, there was the social diet, which 20% of the participants followed.

Imaging and ultra-sound tests were conducted to determine early signs of arterial clogging. The tests revealed that those who followed a social-business diet had a “significantly worse cardiovascular risk profile” and a notably higher risk for atherosclerosis. This was true even after accounting for age, exercise habits, smoking history and other influential factors, the researchers said.

How bad is it really?

According to the World Health Organization, 1:2 people die prematurely of heart disease. We also know from the American Heart Association that heart disease causes more that 17 millions deaths worldwide each year. These are significant issues that can be halted utilizing the right tools. I can say this with certainty, as I have biologically changed these disease patterns in many of my health participants.

What do I do?

From a clinical perspective I have tested many individuals, looking for cardiovascular disease factors. I want to know what lies ahead so that I can prevent and reverse heart issues before they become real. I find that business professionals are far worse off than the Average Joe, simply because of the lifestyle outlined in this study, compounded with stress.

It is important to realize that business does not need to be done around a 12 oz. steak, alcohol, and elaborate deserts. Meetings don’t need to be conducted around bowls of candy and high sugar treats. When I am brought into a company to do a full evaluation on how productivity and performance can be increased through nutrition, these are some of the first factors we have to consider.

Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard stated that the findings from this study “underscores the importance of developing healthful dietary habits for people with a busy and fast-paced life.”

Choose to make a better decision the next time you’re going to a business meeting, grabbing a salad, soup, or meat with veggies. Need snack ideas at work? I got you covered here. Also, planning ahead can also help you stay healthy while traveling.