Internet News: A Web of Fat

If you read yesterday's post about the steady stream of press coverage surrounding the obesity epidemic you'll see that so many of those stories focus on miracle cures and surgical shortcuts (instead of the old "eat right and exercise").

But not all obesity-related news fits that mold. Here's a couple:

News items like these show that there are signs of countering the obesity epidemic, just as long as the focus involves developing weight-loss systems through valid scientific research and not sweeping problems under the rug the with fads, drugs, and surgery. Dr. Fuhrman's approach in Eat to Live is exactly that�adopt a healthy diet for disease protection and sustained wellness. He explains:

Eat to Live gives you the information and the motivation you need to take advantage of this opportunity to improve your health and maximize your chances for disease-free life.

Science and the development of modern refrigeration and transportation methods have give us access to high-quality, nutrient-dense food. In today's modern society, we have available to us the largest variety of fresh and frozen natural foods in human history. Using the foods available to us today, we can devise diets and menus with better nutrient density and nutrient diversity than ever before possible.

You have a clear choice. You can live longer and healthier than ever before, or you can do what most populations do: eat to create disease and premature death.

Foods That Make You Thin

It's pretty clear which foods will let you feel full with the least amount of calories--fruits and green vegetables. Green vegetables, fresh fruit, and legumes again take the gold, silver, and bronze medals. Nothing else in the field is even close.

Caloric Ratios of Common Foods
FoodsCalories Per PoundCalories Per LiterFiber Grams Per Pound
Potato chips of French fries2,6003,0000
White Bread1,3001,5000
Chicken and Turkey (white meat)9001,6000
Whole Grains (wheat and rice)6001,0003
Starchy Vegetables (potatoes and corn)3506004
Green Vegetables1002005

Green vegetables are so incredibly low in calories and rich in nutrients and fiber that the more you eat of them, the more weight you will lose. One of my secrets of nutritional excellence and superior healing is the one pound-one pound rule. That is, try to eat at least one pound of raw green vegetables a day and one pound of cooked/steamed or frozen green vegetables a day as well. One pound raw and one pound cooked--keep this goal in mind as you design and eat every meal. This may be too ambitious a goal for some of us to reach, but by working toward it, you will ensure the dietary balance and results you want. The more greens you eat, the more weight you will lose. The high volume of greens not only will be your secret to a thin waistline but will simultaneously protect you against life threatening illnesses.

The Secrets to Getting Your Children to Eat Healthfully

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Onlyourhealth Your Child:

1. Keep only healthy food in the house. Every person in the household should have the same food choices available.

2. Offer and feed a wholesome diversity of natural foods, vegetables, beans, raw nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit, while giving each child as much latitude as possible to eat what they prefer.

3. Don't attempt to manage your children's caloric intake. They can do that on their own.

4. If you, as parents, do not demonstrate proper respect for your own bodies by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and engaging in other healthful lifestyle practices, don't expect your children to do any better than you, now or in the future.

5. Educate your children about their nutritional needs and the importance of eating healthfully. Start this when they are young and continue to reinforce their learning, as they will be exposed to more toxic food choices as they get older and spend more time out of their home.

It is important to realize that it is never too late to teach your children the importance of eating healthy. As you learn, share enthusiastically with them. Work on improving your diets together. If your child is a teenager, let her read what you are reading. You may want to add that it will help their complexion and body shape. Even teenagers will make beneficial improvements in their diets when presented with compelling reasons. I have lectured to high school assemblies many times and am always impressed by how interested, enthusiastic, and willing to make changes teenagers can be. Research supports this willingness of adolescents to make significant dietary change when presented with accurate compelling information.1

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Grand Rounds: Volume 2, Edition 31

Health Business Blog hosts this week's Grand Rounds, which features Dr. Fuhrman's post Prostate Cancer: A Growing Disease In Men, click here to take a look.

Monday's Health Notes

Here's some health-related news making headlines:

  • Candice Choi of the Associated Press reports many hospitals are turning to technology to ensure patients are eating right during hospital stays.
  • According to Charnicia E. Huggins of Reuters a new study links television watching to obesity in some children.
  • WTOP reports a new study claims teenagers using fad diets to slim down may end up gaining pounds in the long run.

Hoodia Gordonii: Natural Healthy Weight Loss Herb or Snake Oil?

Dr. Fuhrman's colleague Dr. Steven Acocella, MS, D.C., DACBN, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist, American College of Lifestyle Physicians, and a Diplomat of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition, discusses a popular supplement:

An herbal extract of the Hoodia gordonii cactus was found to be useful in quelling the thirst and hunger pangs of desert nomads during times of famine. The proposed mechanism, according to Dr. Richard Dixey, a spokesperson for Phytopharm Pharmaceuticals, who heads a research team efforting the synthesis of P57, the appetite suppressing component of the plant, explains how it works:

"There is a part of your brain, the hypothalamus. Within that mid-brain there are nerve cells that sense glucose sugar. When you eat, blood sugar goes up because of the food, these cells start firing and now you are full. What the Hoodia seems to contain is a molecule that is about 10,000 times as active as glucose. It goes to the mid-brain and actually makes those nerve cells fire as if you were full. But you have not eaten. Nor do you want to."
Pretty impressive sounding stuff, but does it work? That depends on whom you ask. Naturally, any advertisement is filled with glowing endorsements. But there is only one published, peer-reviewed scientific evaluation of P57 and that was preformed on rats. This study concluded that there was evidence of drug-induced anorexia using the extract from Hoodia1. But before you run out to the health food store consider a few facts of this study. The study was conducted on rats whereby researchers injected huge dosages of P57 directly into the brains (hypothamus) of the animals and then observed their eating behaviors for several days (apologies to PETA). To date there are no credible published human trials. Basing the use of any product on a single animal trial and purely anecdotal information is risky.

Remember, the well known Leptoprin commercial, the "when is a diet pill worth 153 dollars a bottle�when it works" people? In it they state the effectiveness of their product is "backed by two major scientific clinical trials," what they don't tell you (and don't have to tell you) is that its effectiveness has also been debunked, refuted and disproved by 50 other clinical trials! It's up to us, the consumer, to do our own research.

Taking any substance that has not been thoroughly evaluated, or in which studies yield inconsistent or irreproducible results is a poor choice. Professionally I could never recommend, and personally I would never use, anything for which the credible scientific community has not reached a positive consensus. I don't experiment on my patients and I don't rely on social proof.

Smoke and Mirrors Weight Loss
The use of this substance as a weight loss aid really comes down to how you view health. The larger question we need to ask here transcends assessing if Hoodia is safe and effective, if it really works or is it is a scam. If we are desirous of losing weight and improving our health consider this:

Many of the Hoodia manufacturers boast that their product is safe because it is not a drug. And according to the Food and Drug Administration they're right; but relative to what Hoodia actually does in the body (if it really works) they're wrong. Hoodia is not a drug by FDA standards simply because it has not been approved by them (the FDA) to be "safe and effective in the treatment of aliments or conditions." Any substance that has been isolated, concentrated and ingested for the intent of producing a physiological response is a drug. I don't think anyone could have a problem with my definition here. With that said, during my pharmacology clerkship the first thing that my professor said is that every drug, no matter how trivial or potentially lifesaving has damaging negative side effects on the body that always accompany its intended beneficial use. There is always a 'health-tax' to pay with taking any substance. It's the nature of biochemistry and all drugs have negative side effects, no exceptions.

Okay, so let's say a thousand years of Hoodia use by the San tribesmen in the Kalahari Desert have got to give this stuff credibility, their Shaman can't be wrong, and it actually works well. Consider some potential negative side effects specific to taking Hoodia. Hoodia is said to suppress thirst as well as hunger. People taking it run the risk of dehydration which can lead to the development of kidney stones and other fluid related problems. More importantly, specific to weight loss, taking it over time it will do nothing to increase metabolism so you won't burn more calories at rest; as a good aerobic training regime will do for you. So, as soon as you stop taking it the body will go into a highly efficient fat-storage mode and store even more fat at an accelerated rate, the old diet rebound "yo-yo" syndrome. This phenomenon has been seen with every magic diet pill ever used. You've not changed any metabolic set points by taking Hoodia and your brain wants those stored calories back, big time. And, if you just continue taking it, it's possible that you'll begin to lose lean body mass and weight loss at that point can become deceptive and dangerous.

Also, what about those reduced calories you do take in? If you're on a reduced calorie diet style and in caloric deficit (the only way to lose weight) then you'll have to pay very close attention to what you eat to maintain excellent nutrition. A diet that does not contain the full complement of antioxidants, phytochemicals and other micronutrients and the right macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates and proteins) is disease promoting. If you've reduced your caloric intake 40% by using this substance then you'll have to get all of your nutrition from 60% of the amount of food you normally eat.

The problem is that the vast majority of Americans are already not getting nearly enough of the life-extending, health maintaining food elements eating 100% of their present calories to begin with! More food, or rather more higher quality food, not less low quality food is a much better way to get the appetite centers in the hypothalamus to cooperate and to lose weight. "Turning off" hunger can be achieved by not only the caloric component of food, but the bulk volume and nutrients present in the food as well. So, you can "suppress" (or better yet satisfy) your appetite with lower calorie, higher nutrient-dense foods and at the end of the day you've not only controlled your appetite, reduced your calories (and therefore weight) but you've also improved your nutritional status. Now we're talking!

Gee, what foods have all the following attributes at the same time?

A. High bulk, like lots of healthy fiber
B. Are extremely rich in nutrients
C. Are also much lower in calories

If you don't know the answer to this food trivia question we have a lot to talk about!

When it comes to Hoodia or any other quick fix medical breakthrough�flavor of the month diet pill�we just don't get something for nothing and there's always a price to pay. The arsenal in the war against being over fat and against obesity has got to include more than just weight loss; weight loss by itself does not necessarily equate to improved health. I regularly consult with patients that have lost large amounts of weight and are very unhealthy. What's the point of losing a bunch of weight only to develop some other diet-related morbid condition? Any change in body weight, up or down, should always result in an elevation of health and clearly this is not always the outcome of change, the scientific journals are full of such cases. I have seen several patients that have resorted to bariatic surgery (stomach stapling) and lost nearly 100 pounds each and are enduring tremendous nutrition-related health problems. And the damage I seen in victims of the Atkins weight loss scheme could fill volumes, but that's another article. A diet rich in Phen-Phen and Red-Bull can pretty much guarantee you rapid weight loss but it can be a bit hard on the system. Using some gimmick to fool the body to lose weight can result in the perfect body�corpse-weight! Write that down.

The smoke and mirror weight loss results you get from taking herbs and other diet drugs might win the battle short term but because it doesn't result in elevated health we still lose the war. Clearly Hoodia will not improve our nutrition and can further compromise our health over time. The only possible way it might be useful is if we were to learn how to eat healthfully while taking it, but if you learned how to do that you wouldn't need Hoodia anyway. Trust me; I see real weight loss success every day.

Allow me to leave you with the words of that pop-culture icon and high profile celebrity promoter of Hoodia, Anna Nicole Smith: "Hoodia works; it's the new miracle diet pill that aids in weight loss by suppressing appetite!"

Sorry Anna, we're not buying and neither should you. Now, how about you get with the program and go get a copy of Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman.

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Carnival of the Green #24

The latest installment of the Carnival of the Green hosted by The Evangelical Ecologist features Dr. Fuhrman's post about organic produce, click here to check it out.

Don't Settle For Diabetes

In a past edition of his Healthy Times newsletter (they're archived in the member center) Dr. Fuhrman discusses his approach to beat type II diabetes and get off insulin:

How can diabetics safely lower the high glucose levels that are slowly destroying their bodies? How can they lower their lipids and blood pressure, lose weight, and avoid taking dangerous drugs, such as insulin and sulfonylureas? They need to adopt a diet based on nutritional excellence.

Fortunately, the best diet for good health and longevity is also the best diet for diabetics. It is a diet with a high nutrient per calorie ratio, as carefully described in my book, Eat to Live. When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature's perfect foods---green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away.

Predictable success
I have achieved marked success with diabetic patients and the success at becoming "non diabetic" or almost "non-diabetic" regularly occurs on the Eat to Live program whether the patient follows a strict vegan diet or not. I describe the diet-style as a "vegetable-based" diet because the base of the pyramid is vegetables, not grains. Even though most animal products are excluded, it is not necessary to adopt a completely vegan diet to achieve the goals. I offer patients the choice of adding two servings a week of low fat fish, such as tilapia, flounder, sole, and scrod, as well as an egg white omelet, once or twice each week. A few servings of very low saturated-fat animal products each week can be interspersed with the vegan meals without diminishing the results achievable from the vegetable-based diet.

Real-life success
Jim Kenny walked into my office for the first time weighing 268 pounds and suffering complications from poorly controlled diabetes. Jim was taking a total of 175 units of long- and short-acting insulin each day, and he already had suffered from severe complications of type 2 diabetes, including two heart attacks and Charcot (destructive inflammation) joint damage in his right ankle. In spite of this huge dose of insulin and six other medications, Jim's glucose readings averaged between 350 and 400, even though he was following the precise dietary recommendations of a dietician who worked in the office of his endocrinologist.

A better approach
After his initial visit with me, Jim began following my nutritional program for diabetics. I initially reduced his insulin dose to 130 units per day, and continued to decrease it gradually over the next few days. After five days, his glucose readings were running between 80 and 120, and he had lost ten pounds. At this point, I put him on 45 units of Lantus insulin at bedtime and 6 units of Humalog regular insulin before each meal, for a total of 63 units per day. By the time Jim returned for his two-week visit, he had lost sixteen pounds. We were able to discontinue some of his blood pressure medications and reduce his daily insulin intake to a total of 58 units per day.

One-month follow up
After one month on the program, we were able to totally discontinue Jim's insulin intake and start him on Glucophage (one of the safer oral medications). He lost twenty-five pounds in the first five weeks, and his blood glucose readings were well controlled without insulin. His blood pressure also came down to normal, and he no longer needed any blood pressure medications. An evaluation of Jim's blood test results revealed an elevated homocysteine level. With the appropriate supplementation with a specific form of folate (methyl tetrahydrofolate) that Jim required, his homocysteine returned to normal range.

No more medication
Five months after beginning the program, Jim was off all medications for diabetes, he no longer had high cholesterol or high blood pressure, and he was more than sixty pounds lighter. His kidney insufficiency had normalized, as well. Jim's case illustrates how powerful my high-nutrient approach to eating is when it comes to reversing diabetes. It also illustrates the sad fact that the standard dietary advice given to diabetics by conventional physicians and dieticians is not merely insufficient; it is dangerous. Jim Kenny would likely be dead by now had his nephrologists not referred him to me for an effective dietary approach.

Nutrient-Rich Springtime Treats

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Onlyourhealth Your Child:

Apple Pecan Pudding

6 peeled and cored apples, dried
2 cups soy milk
2 cups pecans
� teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 medjool dates
2 cups organic sun-dried apples

Soak dried apples in soy milk overnight. Blend with remaining ingredients in the morning and place in muffin pan or small ceramic ovenware bowls. Cook at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool in refrigerator before serving. Serves 3-6.

Fuhrman Fudgsicles

2 ripe bananas
1 cup cashew nuts
2 tablespoons carob powder
� teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend ingredients together in blender or food processor. Spoon out into ice pop tray and freeze. Rinse outside of popsicle outside of popsicle tray with hot water to pull the pops out of the tray easily. Serves 6-8.

Whipped Banana Freeze

2 peeled frozen bananas (one per person)
frozen strawberries or blueberries (optional)
� cup unsweetened soy milk
� teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon of ground flax seed per person
1 tablespoon of crushed walnuts per person

Cut up the frozen fruit in small pieces. Put the soy milk, bananas, and vanilla into a blender, or food processor and blend until smooth. Sprinkle ground flax or crushed walnuts on top. Serves 2-3.

NY Times: Get Ready to Garden in NYC

Kim Severson reports and the Nation Gardening Association are working together to bring healthier food to New York City tables through educational programs, scholarships, cooking classes, and gardening tips.

The first Green Tables event will take place April 29 at Union Square Park South. The aim is help Americans understand the linkage between farms and the food they eat. Not unlike the previously blogged about Edible School Yard.

Monkey See Monkey Do

Going bananas trying to get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies? New research explains it's important for parents to lead by example. After all, if you won't eat it, why should your kids? Sally Squires of the LA Times reports:

Studies of children including those as young as 2 and teenagers consistently show that what parents eat can shape what their offspring consume.

"That's the strongest of all factors in influencing children's eating behavior," says Mary Story, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. "If father is saying, 'No way I'll eat that broccoli,' then it's very likely that kids won't eat it either."

Parents, when you consider the amount nutrients in produce, this seems like a worthy dietary adjustment for you too. The article also provides tips on incorporating fruit and vegetables into your children's diets. Here's a good one:

Exploit hungry moments. Most kids are ravenous after school, "so there's a really high chance that they will eat fruit and vegetables," says Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota. Dinner preparation is another high-appetite opportunity, so have fresh baby carrots, sugar snap peas and other veggies ready with dip. Also, place fruit and vegetables in strategic places where hungry kids scrounging for food are most likely to find them: on the kitchen counter and washed and cut up in bags on eye-level shelves in the front of the refrigerator.

If you haven't already heard it, you should also check out Dr. Fuhrman's podcast on how to get your children to eat healthy food.

Grand Rounds: Volume 2, Edition 30

The latest Grand Rounds is up on Fat Doctor, click here to view. This week Followhealthlife's post Overdosed America was included in the mix.

Preparing Your Home for Eating Healthfully

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Onlyourhealth Your Child:

  • Stock your home with a variety of produce, especially fresh fruits, raw vegetables, raw nuts, and seeds. Incorporate bean burgers, vegetable/bean soups, and fruit-centered desserts.
  • Replace foods of animal origin with foods of plant origin. Limit poultry to once or twice a week and red meat to even less. Remove skin from poultry. Use the light meat only.
  • Remove sugar, salt, and white flour from the home, as well as all products with these added. Use only whole-grain breads and pasta. Use tomato sauce for pasta, not oil-based or cheese-based sauces. Try bean or lentil pasta instead of wheat flour pasta.
  • Minimize the use of vegetable oils, replacing them with dressings and sauces made with avocados and whole nuts and seeds. Make delicious desserts with nuts, seeds, and avocados to encourage the consumption of healthy fats.
  • Do not keep cheese and butter in the house. If eating dairy foods, select no-fat varieties and only eat small amounts. Replace dairy products with soymilk and nut milk fortified with calcium and vitamin D and B12. If utilizing dairy products in your home, only use fat-free versions.
  • Avoid eating lobster, shrimp, mollusks, catfish, swordfish, bluefish, mackerel, pike, shark, tuna, and any fish caught in questionable waters. Limit other fish to once weekly.
  • Eliminate fried foods and barbecued foods, both of which expose you to high levels of carcinogenic compounds produced by these high-heat cooking methods.
  • Remove all sweet drinks, soda, and processed fruit juice from the house.
  • Make healthy snacks available; cherry tomatoes, raw nuts, carrots, fruit, chickpeas, corn, and raw string beans are great choices. (For toddlers below the age of two and a half, be aware of the choking hazard of whole nuts and carrots.)

Blog Discussion: Is All Dieting a Waste of Time?

Dr. Fuhrman dedicates a lot of his book Eat to Live to explaining that diets really don't work--for a number of reasons. His main point is:

A weight-loss program can be considered successful only if the weight loss is permanent, safe, and promotes overall health. Temporary weight loss is of little or no benefit, especially if it compromises your health.

Alas (the blog) recently published a massive essay essentially saying that dieting is a massive waste of time. It touches on a number of studies. If you read it, don't ignore the dozens of comments. There are some important points in there, too.

The essay is summed up in the conclusion like this:

1. No weight-loss diet has ever been scientifically shown to produce substantial long-term weight loss in any but a tiny minority of dieters.

2. Whether or not a weight-loss diet "works," people who go on weight-loss diets are likely to die sooner than those who maintain a steady weight or who slowly gain weight.

3. For fat people (or anyone else) concerned with their health, the best option is probably moderate exercise and eating fruits and veggies, without concern for waistlines. In other words, Health At Every Size (HAES).

4. The model on which most weight-loss diets are based - in which fat people eat like fat people and must learn to eat like non-fat people - is probably a myth.

Dr. Fuhrman is a staunch believer in the importance of weight loss in the name of health. But that doesn't mean this isn't an interesting discussion worth having.

To me, the thing that's missing from most discussions of weight loss, including this one, is the idea of excellent nutrition, that actually improves your overall health as you lose weight. (It's not just about avoiding certain foods--but is rather about gravitating to others.) Many of the important studies showing these kinds of effects have been described previously on Followhealthlife, and are as relevant as ever in this discussion. I'm interested to hear what you think.

The Haggis and Butter Diet?

The Scotsman reports fad diets like Atkins and processed convenience foods are taking Scotland by storm. With more and more Scottish citizens adopting these diet-styles, health correspondent Lyndsay Moss says Scottish bones could be at risk.

A balanced diet including calcium, vitamin D and other minerals is vital for healthy bones, which are less at risk of fracture.

But the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) warned that many Scots could be putting their bones at risk due to food fads and because they are eating more processed foods than before.

The charity said regimes such as the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet and the cabbage soup diet could mean people are not getting a nutritional balance.

Bone health is one of the less-discussed aspects of low-carbohydrate diets. A great place to find out more about it is at, which addresses bone health several times. Here are some highlights:

  • "Some high-protein, very-low-carbohydrate, weight-loss diets are designed to induce ketosis. When carbohydrate intake or utilization is insufficient to provide glucose to the cells that rely on it as an energy source, ketone bodies are formed from fatty acids. An increase in circulating ketones can disturb the body's acid-base balance, causing metabolic acidosis. Evidence suggests that even mild acidosis can have potentially deleterious consequences over the long run, including low blood phosphate levels, resorption of calcium from bone, increased risk of osteoporosis, and an increased propensity to form kidney stones." Read more.
  • "Urinary excretions of calcium and acids are correlated positively with intakes of animal and nondairy animal protein but are correlated negatively with plant-protein intake." Read more.
  • "The concern with bone health arises from the fact that muscle protein has a high sulphur content. When people eat too much of this meat protein, sulfuric acid forms within our bodies which must somehow be neutralized to maintain proper internal pH balance. One way our bodies can buffer the sulphuric acid load caused by meat is with calcium borrowed from our bones." Read more.
  • "Despite having some of the highest calcium intakes in the world, the Inuit also have some of the worst rates of osteoporosis." Read more.

Watch Out for Starch!

For those with heart disease or who are overweight, limit starchy foods to one serving or one-cup daily. That is, one corn on the cob, one baked potato, or one sweet potato. There is no limit on the amount of low-starch, plant foods you can eat. Although there is some flexibility with higher starch vegetables, if you are not overweight, you can eat more starchy vegetables.

Avoid all refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta. Oatmeal and steel cut oats are permissible for breakfast, but even whole grains such as 100 percent whole-wheat products should also be limited to one serving per day.

Healthier Starches (one or two daily): Turnips, parsnips, butternut & acorn squash, corn, sweet potato, peas, carrots, wild rice & brown rice, quinoa & millet, and steel cut oats & oatmeal.

Unhealthier Starches (none to one weekly): White bread, pasta, white rice, quick cook hot cereals, tortillas, chapattis, cold breakfast cereals, pancakes, and waffles.

The most important exclusion here is the removal of refined carbohydrates--sugar, white rice, white bread, white flour pasta, but even whole grains such as brown rice and whole wheat bread are limited to one serving per day. Squash, corn, sweet potato, carrots are preferable carbohydrate choices to white potato, and whole grain breads; they are richer in phytochemicals and carotenoids. They are best utilized by adding them to soups, mixed with greens and beans. Whether you use a little more or a little less of the high starch grains or vegetables (dependent on your body weight and activity level), your meals should still have a higher ratio of green-to-starchy vegetables when you are trying to lower cholesterol.

From the forthcoming revised version of Dr. Fuhrman's book Cholesterol Protection for Life.

Teenage Girls Not Getting Their Calcium

According to Healthday News a new study claims teenage girls, especially black girls, aren't consuming enough calcium. Study lead author Richard Forshee discovered this calcium deficiency when analyzing national data from 1994 through 2002. Robert Preidt reports:

They found that calcium intake increased for most age/gender categories, including adolescent females. Despite the increase, calcium intake among adolescent girls and young women remained well below recommended levels.

The adequate intake for calcium is 1,300 milligrams per day for females ages 9 to 18, but this study found average consumption in this age group was only 814 milligrams per day. Low calcium intake is especially serious among black females.

The study calls for ways to incorporate more calcium into teens' diets. Dr. Fuhrman's simple solution, green vegetables! Most people don't know that cruciferous (green) vegetables are excellent sources of calcium, iron, and protein. Click here for the nutrient density of green vegetables.

"Beans, Beans, a Wonderful Fruit..."

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) reports bean consumption�especially early in life�can lead to lower body weight and a decreased risk of obesity. Click here for more.

Grand Rounds: Volume 2, Edition 29

Included in this week's Grand Rounds hosted by Anxiety, Addiction and Depression Treatments is Followhealthlife's post The Physician and the Student, click here to view.

Educational Question of the Year

What knowledge or skills will students need most to be effective citizens of our world in the future?

Copper Weblog recently posed this question to professionals in education and related fields. Dr. Fuhrman was one of those asked to comment. Here's some of his answer:

We graduate from high school, college, even graduate and professional schools and we never learn about the most important knowledge we need to be in control of our health destiny. We live in a society that believes that we protect our health with access to medical care and drugs; it doesn't work. We can win the war on cancer and heart disease, not with more money put into medical interventions and drugs, but by unleashing the big artillery found in our kitchens; berries, green vegetables, beans and seeds to name a few. The science is important and motivating because we are eating ourselves into a tremendous amount of needless and tragic diseases in this country and our cancer rates have increased unrelentingly each year for the last seventy years. But aside from all the convincing scientific data, it is just as important to show people how they can deal with their picky eaters, get their family to like the healthful foods at the family table and make healthy eating great tasting and fun. My experience has been that after gaining the knowledge, people can transition their family over to a disease-preventive lifestyle and enjoy the change.

To read the entire post on Copper Weblog click here.

A Hefty Amount of News

America's weight problem is reported on weekly�if not daily. News of new complications and proposed solutions are everywhere. Here's some of this week's press coverage:

  • According to the Associated Press a new study shows the number of overweight women in the United States is leveling off, but men and children are still gaining.
  • Medical News Today reports over 250,000 American children under the age of six can't fit into car seats designed for their age group.

The New York Times was especially busy this week:

  • The Times reports in an attempt to improve the nutrition of New York public schools, apples slices will be sold as healthy alternatives to chips and other snack foods.
  • Another article from The New York Times explains that the obesity epidemic in children may start as early as age two.
  • According to The New York Times an amendment to the National School Lunch Act would require all food sold in schools to meet higher nutritional standards.

Soy's Anti-Cancer Effects

A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests soy consumption may be linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. Amanda Gardner of The Healthday News reports:

Asian women have lower breast cancer rates (39 per 100,000) than Western women (133 per 100,000) and, when Asian women migrate to the United States, their breast cancer rates tend to go up. This suggests that an environmental factor, perhaps related to diet, is at play.

Attention has zeroed in on soy products (consumed more in Asia) as they contain high quantities of isoflavones, molecules that affect pathways that could change breast cancer risk. Indeed, more and more women are taking high-dose soy or isoflavone supplements because of their perceived benefits, which include lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol.

The questionnaire style of data collection makes some researchers leery. Nevertheless, the results are certainly interesting:

When the data was pooled, researchers found a 14 percent relative reduction in the risk of breast cancer among women who had a high soy intake. The association was somewhat higher in premenopausal women.

The scientists quoted didn't endorse soy supplements or refined soy products, but suggested foods like soy nuts and tofu may offer cancer protection.

You can read a lot about Dr. Fuhrman's thoughts on soy in these posts:

Less Food, More Life

Denise Grady of The New York Times reports low-calorie diets may lead to longer life. Although due to the difficulty of conducting a large-scale/long-term study, there is no proof a low-calorie high-nutrient diet can prolong human life. But a new study hopes to change that:

A six-month study in 48 people directed by Dr. Ravussin, being published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first rigorous test of calorie restriction in people who are overweight but not obese. Most participants reduced calories by 25 percent, but some cut back more and ate only 890 calories a day for several months.

"There's never been a study like this one," said Dr. Evan Hadley, director of geriatrics and clinical gerontology at the National Institute on Aging, which paid for the study. He called the results "striking," even though the experiment was only a pilot study for a two-year trial of calorie restriction due to begin in the fall.

Among the main findings of Dr. Ravussin's study was that calorie restriction led to decreases in insulin levels and body temperature. Both are considered signs of longevity, partly because an earlier study by other researchers found both traits in long-lived people. The diet also led to a drop in thyroid hormones and declines in DNA damage.

But Dr. Ravussin and Dr. Hadley cautioned that the study was preliminary, and that it did not prove that calorie restriction could make people healthier or add years to their lives.

"It's an important step along the way," Dr. Hadley said.

Grand Rounds: Volume 2, Edition 28

Check Dr. Fuhrman's post about The Healthy Way to Integrate Meat Into Your Diet in this week's Grand Rounds hosted by UroStream. Click here to view.