Fatty Facts

From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Onlyourhealth Your Child:

  • Saturated fat has the most powerful causative relationship with heart disease and cancer.
  • Besides sugar, butter and cheese contribute the most calories to children’s diets in America.
  • The food with the highest saturated fat content in the American diet is butter and cheese.

Cheese consumption has tripled in American in the last thirty years, and cheese is included as part of almost every meal. It’s melted on burgers and chicken breasts, sprinkled on salads melted over bread and pasta. It’s not surprising that cheese gives us more (artery-clogging) saturated fat than any other food.

Heart disease begins in our youth and is not easy to reverse. No one should eat more than five grams of saturated fat a day. Over this level, disease rates climb.

All food derived from animals contain cholesterol and tend to be high in the thick, heavy fats called saturated fats. Most plant foods are very low in saturated fat, except for some tropical plant oils like palm and coconut oil that are naturally saturated.

Reducing the consumption of animal foods reduces the consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat. Low intake of cholesterol and saturated fat leads to a leaner body, clean arteries, and reducing risk of developing heart disease and many other diet-related diseases such as stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Coach Karl On Cancer

Head coach of the Denver Nuggets George Karl knows how serious cancer is. He recently celebrated his first anniversary free of prostate cancer. But the coach wants to know why more isn’t being done to shutdown cancer for good. Chris Tomasson of The Rocky Mountain News quotes Karl:
"I have no idea why there is no national program to cure cancer," he said Wednesday. "If I were a politician, that would be my first platform. Forty to 50 years ago, we said, 'Let's go to the moon.' Now let's cure cancer. Let's throw millions and millions of dollars in federal funding to wipe away the pain and the death that cancer causes."
Regular readers know that most Americans can do a lot more to prevent cancer than they are currently doing. For instance, check out this previous post: Cancer Is a Disease of Fruit- and Vegetable Deficiency.

Health Points: Wednesday

In order to keep heat-sensitive sperm safe, the testes are a few degrees cooler than the rest of the body. When testicular cancer cells spread to the rest of the body, warmer temperatures may cause a weakening of protein scaffolding within the nucleus of the cells, said a team of Johns Hopkins researchers reporting in the July 26 Journal of the American Medical Association.

This increase in heat makes the DNA in the cancer cell's nucleus more vulnerable to radiation and chemotherapy, they said.

The Baltimore experts reviewed more than 30 years of research on testicular cancer. They suggested that heat also may prove effective against other kinds of cancer.
1. Patient goes to their doctor for something seemingly minor, then is told to go to the ED. Example: a mother takes her seven year old son to the doc for a cut, expecting the pediatrician can stitch it up, but is sent to the ED. Next time she'll head straight for the ED.

2. Patient lacks a good relationship with PCP despite having insurance and doesn't feel comfortable making contact for the first time on an emergent issue. Example: healthy woman who's recently finished having kids has a PCP selected for HMO registration purposes but hasn't seen the doc in years and the issue isn't appropriate for her OB/Gyn. Off to the ED she goes.
To assess the effect of obesity on the quality of imaging exams, the researchers reviewed all radiology records from tests performed at Massachusetts General Hospital between 1989 and 2003. Specifically, they were looking at incomplete exams due to patient size.

"We looked at people who were able to fit on the imaging equipment and get the scan," Dr. Raul N. Uppot, lead author of the study, and an assistant radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an instructor in radiology at Harvard Medical School said. "When radiologists read the film, they had trouble interpreting the film because the quality of the image was not very good because of [the patient's] size."
I have to say, I really admire the creativity of this McDonald's billboard in Chicago. The ad agency and an engineer did a great deal of research to find the perfect location create the effect. The aluminum set of McDonald’s arches (which are 4 x 3.5 feet) casts a shadow on a different breakfast item each hour until noon when it casts an undistorted shadow on a sandwich, signaling lunchtime. It will be removed in August when the sun's position changes.
1. Get to know your local fruitier
Antioxidants, which are abundant in fruit and vegetables, neutralise cancer-causing free radicals. Lycopene, a potent antioxidant, is found in tomatoes, watermelon, guava, pink grapefruit, blood oranges and other foods. Beta-carotene is found in many orange foods, including rockmelon, apricot and mango. But the banana is the superstar - a Swedish study of 61,000 women found those who ate bananas four to six times a week had half the risk of kidney cancer.

2. Choke the smokes
Smoking is the obvious cancer causer. It's related to a massive one-third of all cancers and 80 per cent of all lung cancers. But it's not just your lungs that are in danger. "Everything that the smoke passes as it weaves its way down to your lungs - your mouth, larynx and oesophagus - is at risk," says Anita Tang, chair of the Tobacco Issues Committee at The Cancer Council. Then there's the fact that smoking also greatly boosts your risk of stomach, cervical, kidney, breast, liver and prostate cancers. But there is some good news in the doom: if you give up the fags today, within 15 years your lung cancer risk will drop to almost pre-smoking lows. Top tip: Make a pact with a child - seeing the disappointment on their face if you light up again may be enough to make you stop forever.

Plant Fiber: Crucial For Healthy Body Weight

According to Reuters a new study connects consumption of fruit and fiber with healthy body weights, and linking foods higher in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol to obesity. Researcher Dr. Jaimie N. Davis of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles explains:
Davis' group found marked differences in the dietary habits of the two groups. The overweight and obese subjects consumed more total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, and less carbohydrate, specifically dietary fiber and complex carbohydrate, than normal weight subjects.

The differences in diet composition "may have played a vital role in promoting or preventing obesity," they write.
The research shows lower body fat percents are a result of increased dietary fiber consumption:
Normal-weight adults consumed an average of 33 percent more dietary fiber and 43 percent more complex carbohydrates daily than their overweight and obese counterparts. Dietary fiber and complex carbohydrate intake were inversely related to body weight and "most strongly" to percent body fat.

Compared with normal-weight subjects, overweight and obese subjects consumed about one less fruit serving daily, which may partly explain their lower fiber and carbohydrate intake.
For readers of Followhealthlife this information is nothing new, according to Dr. Fuhrman certain foods (especially leafy greens) actually make you thin. Consider this excerpt from a previous post:
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.
Now, the research team does acknowledge the social allure of popular high-protein, low carbohydrate diets, but offers this warning about them:
"The public is still attracted to popular weight-loss strategies that emphasize decreasing carbohydrate and increasing fat and protein," the study team notes in their report.

"Although there is evidence that high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets produce substantial weight loss in the short-term, to date there are no long-term studies that examine the effects of these regimens."
For information on the dangers of high-fat diets check out this previous post: Short and Long-Term Dangers of High-Fat Diets
High-fat diets are unquestionably associated with obesity, and eating meat actually correlates with weight gain, not weight loss, unless you radically cut carbs from your diet to maintain chronic ketosis.1 Researchers from the American Cancer Society followed 79,236 individuals over ten years and found that those ate meat more than three times per week were much more likely to gain weight as the years went by than those who tended to avoid meat.2 The more vegetables the participants ate, the more resistant they were to weight gain.
Continue Reading...

EU Bans Hair Dye Chemicals

Last week Reuters reported on the link between lymphoma and hair dye. This week the European Commission announced plans to ban 22 substances in hair dye proven to cause bladder cancer. The Associated Press reports:
"Substances for which there is no proof that they are safe will disappear from the market," said European Union Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen. "Our high safety standards do not only protect EU consumers, they also give legal certainty to (the) European cosmetics industry."

The Commission had asked the cosmetics industry to provide safety files for all chemicals used in hair dyes to prove they do not pose a health risk for consumers.
The ban goes into effect December 1st.

Less Chew for Big Leaguers

The basic premise of Dr. Fuhrman's work is to learn from the best available research about how you can optimize your health to prevent and reverse disease.

One of the most basic, important, and obvious examples of using research to make smart health decisions is avoiding tobacco. There is increasing evidence that this important step is taking place--even on the baseball diamond.

A new study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise reveals less Major League Baseball players are chewing tobacco; resulting in decreased occurrence of potentially cancerous mouth lesions. Jeannine Stein of The Los Angeles Times reports:
A recent study of Pittsburgh Pirate players, both in major and minor leagues, found that smokeless tobacco use went from 41% of players in 1991 to 25% in 2000. Much of the downward trend can be credited to the 1993 ban on chewing tobacco in the minor leagues, says Dr. Keith Sinusas, the study's lead author and associate director of the family medicine residency at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Conn. "As players progress to the major leagues, they're less likely to be using," he says, adding that education programs helped as well.

Researchers noted a parallel decrease in cases of oral leukoplakia, whitish lesions that form on the inside of the mouth that can become cancerous. Those numbers dropped from 22.6% to 9.4%, and Sinusas has good news for those who quit: "Within a few months of stopping use," he says, "most of the lesions go away."

Obesity: Heightens Breast Cancer Risk

As you know Dr. Fuhrman contends obesity heightens cancer risk and healthy body weight helps prevent cancer. This claim seems to be catching on. According to Michelle Fay Cortez of The Boston Globe a new study shows women can lower their risk of breast cancer by losing weight:
Researchers found that breast cancer may occur in about one in seven women because of the weight they gain as adults.

The risks rose to one in four among weight gainers who never used hormone replacement therapy, the study said.

``Weight is one of the few breast cancer risk factors that women can do something about," said lead author Heather Eliassen. ``Our study suggests it's never too late to lose weight to reduce breast cancer risk. The best advice would be to avoid gaining it in the first place."
The research revealed it doesn’t take a lot of weight gain to increase breast cancer risk:
The increased risk came even from adding as little as 5 pounds, the study found, and rose in proportion with the scale. The good news was that losing weight appeared to be protective.
Check out this previous report to see how obesity affects prostate cancer recurrence.

Exercise Powerfully Reduces Cancer Risk

From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:

Researchers at the University of Tromsø in Norway report that women who exercise regularly reduce their risk of developing breast cancer substantially. Their study involved more than 25,000 women age twenty to fifty-four at the time of their energy into the study. The researchers found that younger, premenopausal women (under forty-five years old) who exercised regularly had 62 percent less risk than sedentary women. The risk reduction was highest for lean women who exercised more than four hours per week; these women had a 72 percent reduction in risk.

Diet and exercise have a much more important role to play in cancer prevention than mammograms and other detection methods. Keep in mind that mammograms merely detect, not prevent, cancer; they show disease only after the cancerous cells have been proliferating for many years.1 By that time the majority of cancers have already spread from their local site and surgically removing the tumor is not curative. Only a minority of women have their breast cancers detected by a mammogram have their survival increased because of the earlier detection.2 The majority would have done just as well to find it later. I am not aiming to discourage women ages fifty to sixty-five from having mammograms; rather, my message is that this alone is insufficient. Mammograms, which do nothing to prevent breast cancer, are heavily publicized, while women hear nothing else about what they can do to prevent and protect themselves against breast cancer in the first place.

Do not underestimate the effect of a superior diet on gradually removing and repairing damage caused by years of self-abuse. Do not be discouraged just because you cannot bring your risk down to zero because of your mistakes in the past. The same thing could be said for cigarette smokers. Should they not quit smoking, merely because their risk of lung cancer can’t be brought down to zero when they quit? Actually, lung cancer rates are considerably lower (about one-fifth) in countries that have a high vegetable consumption, even though they may smoke like crazy.3 Raw fruits and vegetables offer powerful protection; leafy greens are the most protective.4

My main point is that our population has been ignoring those interventions that can most effectively save lives. We search for more answers because the ones we have found are not to our liking. Our most powerful artillery on the war against breast cancer, and cancer in general, is to follow the overall advice presented in my book Eat to Live and begin at as young an age as possible. Continue Reading...

Dyeing For Lymphoma

A study published in last week’s American Journal of Epidemiology reveals a link between hair dye and lymphoma risk. Reuters reports:
The researchers found an overall 19 percent increased risk of lymphoma among people who reported coloring their hair. The increased risk was 26 percent among those who used hair dye 12 or more times a year.

People who began coloring their hair before 1980 showed a 37 percent increased lymphoma risk, while those who had only dyed their hair before 1980, but not afterwards, showed a 62 percent increased risk.
Based on the findings, de Sanjose and her team calculate that roughly 10 percent of lymphomas in women could be due to the use of hair dye.

Health Points: Monday

Tobacco accounts for one in five cancer deaths, or 1.4 million deaths worldwide each year, according to two new reference guides that chart global tobacco use and cancer. Lung cancer remains the major cancer among the 10.9 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year, according to the Cancer Atlas.
A poll of more than 10,000 students in 23 countries showed more than half knew heredity was a risk factor. But less than five percent realized that eating and drinking too much alcohol and not getting enough exercise also had an impact.
I am a hypocrite. There are many well designed studies that proof that MSG is safe. If you just look at the science salt is much more dangerous, but there are hardly any scary websites about that. I still do not use it myself though. I do not explicitly avoid it, but products with MSG often are very processed or have ingredients I do not eat (animal products, lots of fat etc.). I wonder if I should give MSG a chance. I have not yet been able to find a way to make relatively inexpensive tasty low-sodium vegan soups and MSG may be the answer.
*It can create anxiety, stress, loneliness and increased likelihood for depression.

*It can cause problems with friendships and relationships.

*It can seriously impair academic and job performance.

*It can lead to underachievement and increased vulnerability to many self destructive behaviors.

*Worst of all, these negative consequences themselves reinforce the negative self-image and can take a person into a downward spiral of lower and lower self-esteem.
We in the United States take our health care for granted, but did you know that doctors take health care for granted, too? Many doctors spend more than a little of our time berating ourselves because we see patients in the clinic who have chronic diseases for which there is no cure and for which all we can do is attempt therapies which, if we are fortunate, provide only partial relief of symptoms. We feel like fakes, sometimes: able to cure some things, but most of what we see back is what we have been unable to cure, and these cases come back to us in the clinic and hospital over and over precisely because we are impotent to cure.

Eating to Age Rapidly and Die Prematurely

Adapted from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Cholesterol Protection For Life:

Certain foods lead to superior health and other foods lead to ill health. It is impossible to earn excellent health while consuming disease-causing foods. One cannot escape from the biological laws of cause and effect. It is impossible to eat the American diet without the eventual development of a serious disease. Autopsy studies on adult Americans who die in car accidents show over 95% have atherosclerotic heart disease. The only reason why more than 50% do not die of heart attacks and strokes is that cancer or some other illness gets them first.

Heart disease and strokes kill over half of all Americans.

If you eat the typical American diet, you will likely die of typical American diseases. In the typical American diet 40% of calories come from animal foods such as dairy, meat, eggs, and chicken, and 50% of calories come from processed foods such as pasta, bread, soda, oils, sugar, puffed cereals, pretzels, and other adulterated products. Cancer and heart disease is the consequence.

Americans consume only about 7% of their calories from unrefined plant foods defined as fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes, and whole grains. These unrefined plant foods are rich in fiber and anti-cancer nutrients, yet Americans eat very little of these nourishing foods.

Refined grain products, such as white bread, pasta, bagels, white rice, most breakfast cereals, and other denatured and processed grains are almost as nutrient-deficient as sugar. The nutritional value of these “foods” falls very low on the scale compared to healthful foods.

In a six-year study of 65,000 women, the women with diets high in refined carbohydrates from white bread, white rice, and pasta had two-and-a-half times the incidence of Type II diabetes, compared with those who ate high-fiber foods, such as vegetables, beans/legumes, whole grains, and fresh fruit.

Diabetes is not a lightweight problem; it is the fourth leading cause of death by disease in America, and the number of people developing diabetes is soaring. White flour, other refined grains such as sweetened breakfast cereals, soft drinks, other sweets, and even fruit juices are weight promoting and not only lead to diabetes, but can raise triglycerides and cholesterol levels, increasing heart-attack risk.

Every time you eat processed foods you not only exclude the important known nutrients from your diet, but also hundreds of other undiscovered phytonutrients that are essential for normal, human function. For instance, it is the outer portion of the wheat kernel (the part that is removed when white flour is made) that contains trace minerals, phytoestrogens, lignins, phytic acid, indoles, phenolic compounds and other phytochemicals, as well as all of the vitamin E. It is the diversity of micronutrients, both known and unknown, that are necessary to ward off cancer.

Additionally, when we eat baked goods, cold breakfast cereals, pretzels, and other snack foods, we are getting heart-disease-promoting trans fats and a high dose of acrylamides. Acrylamides are toxic, cancer-promoting compounds produced when foods are baked or fried at high temperatures. Chips, pretzels, cold breakfast cereals, roasted soy nuts, browned foods, crusted foods, and fried foods contain high levels of these toxic compounds that are formed when carbohydrates are exposed to high dry heat. These harmful compounds are not formed when foods are water cooked, when you steam vegetables or make soups for example.

Refined or processed foods also include salad oil. All oils are 120 calories per tablespoon and nutrient-poor. Oils leave behind the fiber and most of the nutrients that were in the original food. When eating these oils we consume more “empty” or nutrient poor calories, reducing the nutrient density of our dietary intake. Refined oils, such as olive oil, are removed from nature’s protective packaging, rich in nutrients and antioxidants. They may be a big improvement over butter and margarine (containing saturated and trans fats) but they still promote weight gain and therefore are not heart disease favorable.

More On Pomegranates and Your Prostate

We’ve talked about the power of pomegranates in the past, but it seems this fruit’s legend continues to grow. According to Reuters reporter Lisa Richwine a new study funded by juice maker Pom Wonderful found men who drank the beverage had a longer time until doubling of their blood levels of PSA occurred:
In the study, the time until PSA doubling after treatment extended to 54 months on average when the men started drinking eight ounces of pomegranate juice a day. Before drinking the juice, PSA doubled in an average of 15 months.

"That's a very big difference. ... It's an indicator of how quickly the cancer is growing," said Dr. Allan Pantuck, a urologist at UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center and the study's lead author.

Each of the 50 men who took part had radiation, surgery or other treatment for prostate cancer before enrolling in the study. No major side effects were reported from drinking the juice.

"It's too early to tell people with prostate cancer they should drink pomegranate juice" because the evidence is preliminary, Pantuck said in an interview.

A larger study is under way to try to confirm the findings, with results expected in two years, he said.