Tainted Spinach Dealer Making Amends

Libby Sander of The New York Times is reporting that Natural Selection Foods, the company at the source of spinach-E. coli outbreak, is taking measures to right their wrongs and to ensure this type of incident never happens again:
The California produce company at the center of the recent E. coli outbreak announced steps yesterday to improve its food safety inspections and said it would offer to pay the out-of-pocket medical costs for those made ill.
Tests have not shown the company’s processing plants to be the outbreak’s point of origin, rather the growing fields seem to be the more likely source.

Health Points: Friday

A study done by the doctors at Temple University in Philadelphia showed that music played during a colonoscopy procedure made some patients able to relax enough to require less sedation, without sacrificing comfort.
Researchers found that gaining weight during that interval — not during the pregnancy itself — raised the risk of such complications as diabetes and high blood pressure during the second pregnancy, and even stillbirth.
Believe it or not, it’s in her book, Confessions of an Heiress Paris Hilton her blonde girl teen diet advice. A die-hard fan of McDonald’s and Taco Bell, she recommends eating chocolate, fast food, lasagna, and Coca Cola.
The Culinary Institute [of America], which buys directly from about two dozen local farms, is among the many colleges providing healthier choices for their students while throwing a lifeline to farmers getting by on thin margins.
  • Do you know what “learned helplessness” is? Neither did I. Retired Doc discusses its origin and how its affecting doctors in The United Kingdom. Could it become a problem in the United States? Maybe:
Are U.S. physicians far behind in the areas of learned helplessness and diminishing professionalism? To not speak out against the practices and structures of managed care that clearly are detrimental to patient care, and to go along to get along would be about as antithecal to medical professionalism as anything I can think of.
The mumps outbreak at Wheaton College has grown to 37 cases, with three more under investigation, DuPage County health officials said Thursday.
At a press conference yesterday, he said, "If you want to eat fries, nobody's taking away your ability to eat fries. I love McDonald's fries." It's just that restaurants should use fatty oils that just don't have trans fats! We expect McDonald's to be sending a truck of fries to City Hall shortly.
A Craftster competition to produce edible, miniature food inspired a wife-and-husband team to prepare an incredibly tiny fast food meal, complete with miniscule fries and a tiny soft drink -- they also made a miniature tray, cup, and fries-bag.

Trans Fat a Market Issue?

The other day the Associated Press reported New York City is looking to impose a strict ban on trans fat used in restaurants. Seems like a good idea right? Well according to this video report by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta not everyone is hip to it. One health expert contends we should let the market decide whether or not we want trans fat in our foods.

Legitimate Concern For Vegans

From the July 2006 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

There are some plausible reasons why a person might think that people should include some animal products in their diets. Primates and primitive humans did not consume a strict vegan diet. Even if they did not kill and eat animals, small insect matter and bacteria were always present on wild food. Modern washed and sanitized food even makes a natural, whole-foods vegan diet incomplete. There are three weaknesses of a vegan diet:
  • Plant foods contain no vitamin B12 (which all vegans should take).
  • Some vegans have a need for more taurine (or other amino acids) and may not get optimal amounts with a vegan diet. A blood test can be checked to assure adequacy.
  • Some vegans may no produce ideal levels of DHA fat from the conversion of short-chain omega-3 fats found in such foods as flax and walnuts. I advocate that people who do not eat fish should supplement with DHA or get a blood test to assure adequacy.
These three areas of potential deficiency on a vegan diet are easily remedied by taking supplements. Obviously, there are loads of advantages of a vegetarian diet that also should be considered, but that’s not the point here. A poor designed vegetarian diet or one that is not supplemented properly with vitamin B12 and vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) can be dangerous. However, these considerations cannot be used as an argument to justify dietary recommendations that include lots of high-saturated-fat animal products.

I advocate a diet rich in micronutrients, especially antioxidants and phytochemicals, and the largest percentage of everyone’s diet must be from unrefined plant foods—no matter what your genetic “type.”

In order to do this, you must understand the nutrient density of all foods and eat more foods higher on the nutrient density scale. (Animal products are very low in nutrient density.) This nutrient-per-calorie density principle is what my book Eat to Live is about.

To see just how lacking in nutrients animal products are, check out this previous post: Nutrient Density of Green Vegetables

The Return Of Spinach

After weeks of bad press, spinach is making a comeback. Grocery stores on the East Coast are restocking their shelves with spinach grown outside California’s Salinas Valley. Libby Sander of The New York Times reports:
Shoppers at several hundred Giant Food and Stop & Shop supermarkets throughout the Mid-Atlantic States and New England were able to buy bagged spinach, spokesmen for the two chains said, because it was grown in Colorado and Canada, far from the three California counties that federal investigators have identified as the source of spinach traced to the recent E. coli outbreak.
Although some store officials aren’t so quick to bolster their spinach inventory. A spokesperson for Food Lion in North Carolina is still awaiting verification of the new spinach’s point of origin.

Cervical Dysplasia Reversed

From the May 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Nutritional intervention brings about dramatic results!

Janice Alvarado, a twenty-six-year old high school English teacher, had consecutively worsening Pap smear abnormalities, leading to a cervical biopsy that revealed CIN-IIIII (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia). She was advised to have surgery to remove her cervix.

Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) means that dysplastic (abnormal, pre-cancerous) changes were seen on a Pap smear. These lesions are categorized into three levels of severity: CIN I, CIN II, and CIN III (CIN III carries the highest risk and includes carcinoma in situ).

Carcinoma in situ (CIS) is characterized by cells that look cancerous under the microscope but have not yet invaded surrounding tissue. CIS is included in the CIN III category of precursor lesions. Since CIS can progress to invasive cancer, it is recommended this condition be treated with surgery, especially the LEEP procedure.

Janice's biopsy report read, "high grad squamous intraepithelial lesion with severe dysplasia, chronic endocervicitis, and HPV effect."HPV refers to the vaginal and penile wart virus named human papilloma virus. This virus causes inflammation and is the initiator of cervical cancer. In the environment of inadequate nutrition, the HPV virus invades and damages cervical cells.

Janice was seen in my office for her first visit on December 7, 2004, and she wanted to know if nutritional intervention might help her condition and if she had to have surgery. Her diet was already mostly vegetarian before she saw me. She ate small amounts of eggs and shrimp, but lots of rice, beans, and salads.

I told her that it was perfectly reasonable to wait three to four months to see if nutritional improvements could give her immune system the boost it needed to destroy the HPV and allow those cellular abnormalities to repair themselves. We would then repeat the Pap smear, and, if no improvement was seen, we could always resort to a surgical procedure. At this first visit, her skin carotenoid score was 41,000 (which was already in the highest quartile of Americans).

Her diet was tweaked to include two servings of freshly squeezed vegetable juice daily, frequent consumption of blueberries and blackberries, and my high-cruciferous vegetable/bean soup and a blended salad every day. In addition to my multivitamin and DHA supplement, indole-3 carbinol and green tea extract were added.

On February 8, two months after her initial visit, Janice's skin carotenoid score had improved to 90,000. On April 12, four months after beginning the program, her Pap smear (thinprep Pap) read, "satisfactory for evaluation, endocervical/transformation zone component present, negative for intraepithelial lesion or malignancy." This was her first normal Pap smear in over two years.

Janice's case is not an isolated one. In the last decade of my medical practice, many women who have adopted my high-nutrient dietary program have reversed these pre-cancerous and cancerous cellular abnormalities.

Take That, Trans Fat

Back in June the Associated Press reported the American Heart Association was releasing new guidelines recommending a strict limit on people’s consumption of trans fat. You know trans fat, the stuff Dr. Fuhrman calls unnatural and poisonous. From Eat to Live:
Trans fats do not exist in nature. They are laboratory-designed and have adverse health consequences. They interfere with the body’s production of beneficial fatty acids and promote heart disease.1 As trans fatty acids offer no benefits and only clear adverse metabolic consequences, when you see the words partially hydrogenated on the side of a box, consider it poisonous and throw it in the trash.
Apparently all the bad press on trans fat hasn’t fallen on deaf ears. The Associated Press is now reporting that New York City is eyeing a total ban on artificial trans fatty acids:
The city health department unveiled a proposal Tuesday that would bar cooks at any of the city's 24,600 food service establishments from using ingredients that contain the artery-clogging substance, commonly listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated oil.
According to the article many health officials are praising the initiative. Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard University School of Public Health, believes the ban will help save lives. Chicago is also considering a similar ban.
Continue Reading...

Health Points: Wednesday

"We found that a lot of people have a hard time understanding the label and make mistakes when trying to interpret the label," Rothman said. "This can lead to people grossly overestimating or underestimating how much they are taking in of certain nutrients."
I have a bit of first-hand knowledge of this, as one of my studies involves taking samples from cattle and growing E. coli out of it. In the place pictured, their cattle almost exclusively graze, supplemented with hay and a bit of corn. (Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not even 100% sure that they give *any* corn...) Anyhoo, we've isolated O157 from some of these grass-fed cows. So certainly, diet isn't a cure-all, and it's not necessarily even beneficial as far as carriage of O157 goes, despite the one paper Planck cites.
Limit your child's screen time. The more hours spent sitting in front of the television or computer, the more likely kids are to be overweight or obese. The surprise: Research suggests that sedentary kids are most motivated to get active when television (in limited quantities, of course) is offered as a reward for healthy activity. One tool that may help: TV Allowance, a $99 timer that plugs into either the television or the computer. Both parents and children have a code that must be keyed into the timer to turn on the television or computer. When the time is up, the device turns off.
The experiment by the French National Center for Space Studies is an effort to develop robotic techniques for future surgeries in space, the doctors said. The surgeons will be strapped to the walls of the aircraft as they remove a cyst from a man's forearm in a three-hour operation.
Researchers from the University of Alberta compared fitness levels between the 10,000 step program, and a slightly more intense fitness regime. Not surprisingly they found that "gentle exercise was not enough to get fit."

Will America Ever Eat Better?

So, what do you think—will everyone eventually get hip to Dr. Fuhrman’s dietary advice? Let’s see what Dr. Fuhrman has to say. From his book Eat to Live:
No. The social and economic forces that are pulling our population toward obesity and disease will not be defeated by one book preaching about achieving superior health with nutritional excellence. The “good life” will continue to bring most Americans to a premature grave. The Eat to Live plan is not for everyone. I do not expect the majority of individuals to live this healthfully. However, they should at least make that decision being aware of the facts rather than having their food choices shaped by inaccurate information or the food manufacturers. Some people will choose to smoke cigarettes, eat unhealthfully, or pursue other reckless habits. They have that inalienable right to live their lives the way they choose.
Dr Fuhrman seems to be on to something. For many, fruit and vegetables are just not a part of life. Get a load of this commenter on the low-carb blog LivinLaVidaLowCarb:
Who the hell cares about the veggies anyway? You don't need them and there is absolutely nothing essential about them. Don't let the acculturated veggie sympathizers tell you otherwise.
Pretty crazy right? Especially since even the Atkins Diet calls for the daily consumption of vegetables.  Annie Groer of The Washington Post reports many adults still harbor childish anti-veggie attitudes:
At age 51, Billy Shore -- founder and chief executive of the anti-hunger charity Share Our Strength in Washington -- has some food issues himself.

Shore pretty much hates "the taste and texture" of all vegetables, except spinach and corn on the cob. And those two are fairly recent concessions in an otherwise vegetable-free life.

Denise Davis, 44, an elementary school teacher from Springfield, can't abide fish because "the smell is off," and has no use for most veggies. "I pick the peas out of pot pies," she says. "There used to be four peas per pie, and now I notice there are five."

Self-described "meat and potatoes guy" Lincoln Tyson, 32, who owns a consulting firm in Laurel, was at a glam dinner hosted by Tiffany & Co. last year. The social circumstances compelled him to choke down at least some of the very first salad he'd eaten in his life. Never again.
But there’s hope! Many of these “picky eaters” are trying to change their stripes. Groer writes that a growing number of Americans are seeking treatment for their powerful aversion to certain foods.

Breast Cancer Causation Is Multi-Factorial

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Disease-Proof Your Child:

Worldwide, there is a linear relationship between higher-fat animal products, saturated fat intake, and breast cancer.1 However, there are areas of the world even today where populations eat predominantly unrefined plant foods in childhood and breast cancer is simply unheard of. Rates of breast cancer deaths (in the 50-to-70 age range) range widely from 3.4 per 100,000 in Gambia to 10 per 100,000 in rural China, 20 per 100,000 in India, 90 per 100,000 in the United States, and 120 per 100,000 in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.2

Experimental evidence suggests that the susceptibility of mammary tissue to carcinogens is greatest in the childhood and teenage years. The time during breast growth and development is a particularly sensitive period in a woman’s life, affecting the later development of breast cancer in adulthood. Teenagers who eat more high-fiber, high-antioxidant foods such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts have less occurrence of benign breast disease, the precursor marker of breast cancer.3

Of particular concern is the pattern linking breast cancer to the early age of puberty we are witnessing in modern times. The average age of onset of menstruation in the nineteenth century was seventeen, whereas in the last fifty years in Western industrialized countries, such as the United States, the average age of onset of menstruation is twelve. The over-nutrition and heightened exposure to animal products, oils, and saturated fats4 earlier in life induces a rapid earlier growth and an earlier puberty. Earlier age of puberty increases one’s lifetime exposure to estrogens and is associated with a higher incidence of breast cancer years later.

Cohort studies, which follow two groups of children over time, have shown that the higher consumption of produce and protein-rich plant foods such as beans and nuts is associated with a later menarche, and the higher consumption of protein-rich animal foods—meat and diary—is associated with an earlier menarche and increased occurrence of adult breast cancer.5

Early puberty is strongly associated with breast cancer, and the occurrence of breast cancer is three times higher in women who started puberty before age twelve.6

A recent intelligently devised study investigated all twin sisters in northern Europe and England where on developed breast cancer and the other did not. The researchers found 400 cases of breast cancer in only one twin occurring before the age of fifty. They concluded that childhood growth before puberty (the twin with cancer was most often taller at age ten) and developing breasts before her cancer-free sister was the primary marker of the increased risk.7

Another recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 1,811 sets of twins and reported that for identical twins with cancer, the first twin to reach puberty was five times more likely to develop cancer at an earlier age.8 The link was even stronger when menstruation began before the age of twelve. Jo Ann Mason, M.D., of Harvard’s Brigham and Woman’s Hospital said the implications of the study are worrisome given the gradual decline in the age of puberty in the United States and the rise in childhood obesity.

Physicians are seeing more and more girls with precocious sexual development, even before today’s average age of twelve, and medical studies confirm that the trend is real and getting worse. How early are our children developing today? At age eight, almost half black girls and 15 percent of white girls start developing breasts or pubic hair. At age nine, those numbers change to 77 percent of black girls and a third of white girls.9

The critical questions, which our nation generally ignores, are how harmful is this and what can be done about it? Obviously, this anomaly in human history where girls mature so young is threatening. We will undoubtedly see breast cancer occurrence continue to climb as today’s children reach adulthood. Cancer occurrence has been shown to occur many years after dysplastic changes occur to the breast, and these changes are often viable in teenagers.

It is of particular importance to note the most significant age range where dietary intake most critically affects the age of puberty. A 1999 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology followed children since birth and reported that the girls who consumed more animal products and fewer vegetables between ages one and eight were prone to early maturation and puberty, but the strongest predictor was a diet rich in animal protein before age five.10
Continue Reading...

Tracking Down E. Coli

It seems sooner than later heads will roll—heads of spinach that is! The spinach-E. coli odyssey is narrowing down. The Associated Press reports officials are honing in on a particular batch of spinach processed in California as the source of the outbreak. Lisa Leff explains:
The investigation remains focused on Natural Selection Foods LLC, which officials believe packaged the tainted spinach for Dole and dozens of other brands. They're looking specifically at nine farms in three California counties that supplied the company with leafy greens.

Both tainted bags — one found in Utah over the weekend and the other in New Mexico earlier last week — were processed during the same shift on Aug. 15 at Natural Selection's plant, said Dr. Kevin Reilly, deputy director of prevention services for the California Department of Health Services.
Fearing exposure to the tainted batch, many retailers have voluntarily pulled products thought to contain spinach from Natural Selection off shelves. Leff continues:
Over the weekend, two companies in the Pacific Northwest voluntarily recalled some of their products because they may contain spinach supplied by Natural Selection.

Seattle-based Triple B Corp. recalled salad products distributed to retail stores and delis in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana that had "use by" dates of Aug. 22 through Sept. 20.

Pacific Coast Fruit Company, based in Portland, Ore., recalled salad and pizza that may have been made with spinach supplied by Natural Selections. The products were distributed in Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
To learn about the far-reaching affects of the spinach-E. coli crisis check out this post from yesterday: The Raw Truth of E. Coli

Grand Rounds Volume 3 Number 1 Happy Anniversary

The Raw Truth of E. Coli

The E. coli-spinach crisis is certainly taking its toll on this country; everyday a new headline reintroduces us to the severity of the situation. But what is E. coli? And how does it affect people? Monica Davey of The New York Times offers this sobering report:
“What do you say when your child asks you, am I going to die?” asked Elaine Krause, who has spent nearly all of this month beside her son’s bed at a hospital here, watching his skinny, lanky body do battle with E. coli. “I told him, ‘These people are trying to help you, and you are getting good care.’ But the truth is, I couldn’t answer him directly. We didn’t know.”

By this weekend, a national outbreak of E. coli linked to fresh spinach grown in California had sickened 170 people in 25 states and killed at least one here in Wisconsin, where more people have grown ill than in any other state. The authorities in Idaho and Maryland were investigating the deaths of two others, including a toddler whose parents said they gave him a fruit smoothie with spinach days earlier, trying to determine whether their deaths, too, were linked to the outbreak.
Given the potential seriousness of the bacteria, parents like Krause are scratching their heads over what to feed their children:
“Here you think you’re feeding your child a great, healthy meal,” Dennis Krause said sadly. “But here I was, poisoning him.”

Not all E. coli is harmful to humans, but certain strains produce toxins that kill cells in the gut and in the blood vessels, leading to abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea, said Dr. John Flaherty, associate chief of the division of infectious disease at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

One area where the toxins can wreak particular havoc is in the kidneys; when it happens, Dr. Flaherty said, the inflamed cells lining the blood vessels get “roughed up,” causing red blood cells to break open as they pass by and jam blood flow to the kidneys.

More Bad News for Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene, and Vitamin A

From the March 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Studies indicate that more isn’t better...and may be worse!

Vitamin E was found not to prevent cancer or cardiovascular disease and can, in fact, increase the risk of heart failure. That’s the conclusion of an extended trial of thousands of older people with a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes who were randomly assigned to take either 400 IU (international units) of vitamin E or a placebo.

The results, which were published in the March 16, 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found there was up to a 19 percent increase in the risk of heart failure in the study volunteers who took vitamin E compared to those on the placebo.

Earlier, a Johns Hopkins University study of vitamin E also suggested that a daily dose of 400 IU or more was linked to a 6 percent increased risk of death. In the analysis of 136,000 patients, the risk of death starts to increase at 150 IU, but at 400 IU, the risk of dying from any cause rises about 10 percent. This was another blow to the once-popular myth that taking extra doses of the antioxidant vitamins (E, C, and beta-carotene) helps protect against harmful free radicals and offers health-promoting effects, such as preventing heart disease.

Beta-carotene blues
Years ago, high doses of betacarotene were shown to increase the risk for cancer and death in smokers. In the last few months, beta-carotene has gotten more bad news. Six years after a study was halted early because a risky association between high-dose beta-carotene supplementation and heart disease and cancer was detected, follow-ups showed that for women, the bad effects lingered. The participants took 30 milligrams per day of beta-carotene plus extra vitamin A.

Researchers found that the increased risk of heart disease and cancer disappeared when the men in the study stopped taking the beta-carotene supplements, but the risk for women continued. Before the study was halted, the participants who took the supplement had a 28 percent greater incidence of lung cancer and 17 percent more deaths from all causes compared with those who didn’t take the beta-carotene. In the follow-up, women were 30 percent more likely to develop lung cancer, 40 percent more likely to die of heart disease, and 30 percent more likely to die of all other causes.

This lingering increased risk for women may be because beta-carotene and vitamin E are both fat-soluble, allowing any excess to accumulate in fat-cell membranes. This could explain the adverse effects of beta-carotene in women, who have more body fat than men. Vitamin C is water-soluble, and any excess leaves the body via urine.

Vitamin A problems

A recent study indicates that vitamin A intake dramatically weakens bones. A recent meta analysis of 20 studies indicated that vitamin A (retinol) intake—whether from diet (cod liver oil and animal livers) or from supplements—was negatively associated with bone density. As more vitamin A was consumed, hip fractures went up accordingly. The conclusion was that vitamin A supplements should not be used in any dose. Your body can make all the vitamin A it needs from the natural carotenoids found in fruits and vegetables.1 Continue Reading...

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

From the January 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Don’t underestimate the difficulty of breaking long-established food addictions!

It is difficult to break old, addictive eating habits and form new, healthy ones. One of the difficulties is the immense power of addiction, which makes the human mind hungry to rationalize and attempt to justify the bad habits. As a result, people often fail before they even attempt to change. They either use denial about the vital necessity of change—the need to improve their health and happiness, or they simply give up without even trying—thinking that change is too difficult.

Keep in mind, part of you (your intellect) wants to change and be healthy. It wants the suffering caused by the bad habits to end. But part of you (part of your subconscious) does not want to change. It wants to avoid confrontation and the discomfort that comes with withdrawal from addictive bad habits. That part of you wants to pretend that things are just fine the way they are, thank you, and it can come up with some mighty convincing reasons why you should not Eat To Live.

Here are some common ones:
  • It’s too radical a change.
  • There’s not enough protein.
  • I will get too thin and my skin will wrinkle.
  • My family won’t eat this way.
  • It is too difficult to eat this way on the road.
  • There is nothing to eat in a restaurant.
  • I’ve tried dieting before and I know I’ll just gain all the weight back.
  • I really don’t want to be a vegetarian.
Mind games
Addictions affect our ability to think rationally; they prejudice our judgment in favor of maintaining the addiction. That is why it is so difficult to even make the decision to change, much less actually change. Most smokers would love to be informed that it not smoking per se that is bad, it is just the pesticides used on the tobacco plant. That way they could justify the addictive habit by saying, “I only smoke organic, free-range tobacco.”

Those addicted to rich, heart-attack-causing foods are more than happy to believe the lie that a low-cholesterol level is not desirable and readily parrot high-protein enthusiasts who spread the myth that low cholesterol is dangerous. Most people addicted to animal foods would believe the earth is flat if they could use it to justify their consumption of fatty meats, butter, and cheese.

The great escape
Indulging in addictive behavior can seem like an effective way to escape sadness, loneliness, poverty, and fear because it brings momentary pleasure. Indulging oneself in momentary pleasure brings an immediate feeling of well-being, whereas the self discipline necessary to effect change brings on uncomfortable sensations of hunger (which more often than not are actually withdrawal symptoms) that can stir up painful, negative emotions. The advertising industry has converted almost the entire modern world to a new religion—a mass cult of pleasure-seekers, consuming coffee, cigarettes, soft drinks, candy, chocolate, alcohol, processed foods, and concentrated dairy fat (cheese) in a self-indulgent orgy of destructive behavior.

Feeling your pain
When the inevitable result of such bad habits appears—pain, suffering, sickness, and disease, the addicted cult members drag themselves to physicians and demand drugs to alleviate their pains, mask their symptoms, and cure their diseases. These revelers become so drunk on their addictive behavior and the accompanying addictive thinking that they no longer can tell the difference between health and health care.

As more and more pleasure is sought, the possibility of enjoying the simple pleasures of life “loses” its attraction and real food “loses” its taste. In fact, the natural pleasures of life and the delicious tastes of natural foods have not lost anything. What is lost is the ability of damaged individuals to appreciate and enjoy natural, uncontaminated experiences. In this damaged state, much of the modern world has become imprisoned by addictions, leaving us with a health-care crisis of unprecedented proportions. Ever newer and stronger addictive processed foods await the young in the toxic food environment that has become the accepted norm. Now, if people live long enough, their intelligence will deteriorate with age, and they will lose their dignity.

Rationalizing you
Occasionally, I meet someone who tells me, “I read Eat To Live. I know that it makes sense. But I can’t eat like that.” Or, “I read your book, but I could never be a vegetarian.” Most often, it turns out that they didn’t read the book in its entirety, but just skimmed it. If they read it all the way through, they would know that, for most people, dietary changes don’t have to be all-or-nothing decisions on day one. Incremental improvements bring benefits, too, and change can take place over time.

Another common remark is, “I could never eat that way. The food has no taste.” These individuals either never have had the experience of eating unadulterated natural foods, have lost their memory of it, or fear that healthful dietary changes remove all the pleasure from their lives. Make no mistake, healthy foods can taste fantastic, but you may have to rehabilitate your taste buds.

Eat To Live is not for everybody. You only can reap the wonderful benefits of eating the Eat To Live way if you have enough common sense to highly value your future health. If you want to age prematurely, become demented in your later years, and suffer with needless medical tragedies, then I guess Eat To Live is not for you.

Wake-up call
Even people who initially reject the Eat To Live diet may come to their senses eventually. Perhaps they just haven’t learned enough yet. Perhaps they don’t realize how addicting unhealthy food is, and how it can affect brain function to the point that they no longer can think straight.

Habits are hard to break, no question about it. Some people cannot be convinced by all the best science in the world that it is better to eat healthy foods. Nothing short of disease, fear, or pain (and often all three of these) will motivate them to change. Hopefully, it won’t be too late at that point.

Toxic eating is just as addicting as smoking or drugs. The same steps are necessary to overcome the addiction. The first step is to recognize that you have a problem and that it is an addiction. Then you may be willing to learn more about the benefits of the comprehensive Eat To Live approach to healthful eating and acknowledge the vital necessity for change. Knowledge can help defeat addictions.

It always helps to have a support system of others to reinforce the reality that any temporary suffering incurred as a result of change will result in a much more pleasurable and happier life.

Spinach Points

By now we’re all aware of the spinach-E. coli outbreak. The past week has been flooded with reports as officials search for the root of the crisis. Here’s a roundup of Followhealthlife posts and some of today's news circulating around the net:


Today's News

Health Points: Friday

Researchers from Tulane University in New Orleans and colleagues collected blood lead levels in 13,946 adults between 1988 and 1994. Then, they followed the participants and tracked who had died by Dec. 31, 2000.

They found that, compared with participants whose blood lead levels were below 1.9 g/dL, those with levels between 3.6 g/dL and 10 g/dL were 25 percent more likely to die from any cause, 55 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, 89 percent more likely to die from a heart attack, and 2.5 times more likely to die from a stroke.
The intriguing phenomenon of moles and other small tumors in the body that never go on to amount to anything threatening are being studied by scientists because it appears these little tumors that start as cancer and stop have not received much attention in the past. Dr. David Fisher, the director of the melanoma program at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, states, "I would bet my last penny that our bodies are riddled with these things."
The Cocaine Energy Drink, created by a Las Vegas beverage maker, contains no narcotics but boasts on its Web site, "Instant Rush. No Crash!"

Drinkers are told they will experience the "highest energy content of ANY energy drink on the market today! 350 percent greater than The Bull!" — a reference to Red Bull energy drink. Drinkers will experience "possible feelings of euphoria," all, apparently, from sugar and caffeine.

Jamey Kirby, the drink's inventor, said the Cocaine Energy Drink contains 280 milligrams of caffeine and costs about $2 a can. An average cup of coffee contains about 80 milligrams of caffeine.

Drug experts are appalled, and so are nutritionists, who say young people use the stimulating drinks to help them party through the night.
The study contributes to the existing body of research showing Americans are not getting enough fruits and vegetables...

Taking a Hard Look at the "Benefits" of Olive Oil

From the January 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Careful reading of FDA-approved health claim sheds light on potential weighty problems.

The FDA recently allowed olive oil and certain foods containing olive oil to put a health claim on their labels that includes the following sentence:

"Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about two tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil."

If you are a fan of olive oil, that sentence is good news, especially if you skip over the "Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence..." part and the qualifying words "may reduce." But, weak as it is, that sentence is only part of the FDA's approved language. The sentence that follows it contains the most important information contained in the approved health claim.

"To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day."

This sentence tells us that the "possible benefit" is only possible if you eliminate some existing saturated fat in your diet (such as butter), replace it with an equal amount of olive oil, and don't let the addition of olive oil to the diet increase the total amount of calories from fat. Unfortunately, many consumers won't heed this vitally important part of the message.

That part about not increasing the total amount of calories from fat is not so easy to accomplish because olive oil is an incredibly calorie-dense food—containing around 4,000 calories per pound. A little bit adds a lot of fat calories.

During the past 25 years, we have seen an epidemic of obesity in America. If you add just two tablespoons of olive oil (240 calories) daily on top of an already poor quality diet—without eliminating an equal amount of calories from other sources—you could gain as much as twenty four pounds in a single year! Clearly, this aspect of olive oil consumption is not a health benefit.

For real health benefits, skip the olive oil, take a walk, and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

You Name It, He Has Deep-Fried It

Does any remember baseball’s worst burger? You know the beef, bacon, cheese, and Krispy Kreme doughnut conglomerate clogging the arteries of minor league baseball fans in Illionois. Here I’ll refresh your memory:
This weekend I was watching a news report on "Baseball's Best Burger." Ever heard of it? It's the number one attraction of the Gateway Grizzlies, a minor league baseball team in Illinois. This burger is Dr. Fuhrman's worst nightmare.

First you grill up a thick juicy piece of cow, top with cheese and bacon, and then (brace yourself) you sandwich it between two halves of a grilled Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnut. This burger is so unhealthy, that if you asked me years ago before I even knew who Dr. Fuhrman was, I still wouldn't have eaten one.
Now I thought this was it. Surely no human mind could fathom more indulgent foods capable of topping a doughnut-burger! Not so. Meet Charlie Boghosian, preeminent fried-food innovator of Los Angeles County Fair and his cadre of deep-fried nightmares. David Pierson of The Los Angeles Times reports:
Boghosian sees himself as not just a fried-food salesman, but as a fried-food innovator. He recently saw possibilities in churros, the already deep-fried sugary treat. He bought one at a nearby stand and took it to his trailer, where he cut it into four pieces. He mixed the pieces in wet pancake batter and dunked them into a frying vat filled with 370-degree soybean oil.

After two minutes, the churros were crisp, golden pillows. Boghosian scooped them onto a wax paper tray and doused them in chocolate syrup, powdered sugar and rainbow sprinkles.
Oh it doesn’t stop there. There are plenty more refried-fried creations:
Visiting a fair in Miami, he noticed a vendor making deep-fried Twinkies.

"He was using wet batter," Boghosian said. "It absorbed too much liquid. I wanted to try myself. So I used an egg wash, then dry pancake mix. I made a real thin crust."

The result?

"The cream!" said Shaun Halladay, a customer trying his first deep-fried Twinkie at Boghosian's stand last week. "It turns into liquid, clear lava. It's all locked in there."

The first year Boghosian offered them, he sold 35,000 at the Orange County, Fresno County and L.A. County fairs.
Boghosian has deep-fried bananas, avocadoes, strawberries, chicken sandwiches,  and so much more. I think what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about baseball’s worst burger certainly can be applied to this report:
Food is addicting in proportion to its unhealthiness. Until people learn about toxic hunger and food addiction they won't understand how our ability to think rationally about what we eat is clouded by addiction, and the drive of the addicted individual to avoid the discomfort and anxiety that change provokes.

Spinach-E. Coli Crisis Worsens

You can try, but there is no escaping the state of spinach in this country. Everyday new news emerges about the E. coli outbreak, and unfortunately none of it is very good. And now, according to Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News, a total of sixty-six people have been hospitalized with symptoms:
U.S. and state health officials continued to scour California's Salinas Valley spinach fields Tuesday for the source of a massive outbreak of E. coli contamination, as the number of victims rose to 131 in 21 states.

Dr. David Acheson, chief medical officer of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, told a news conference Tuesday night, "The anticipation is that cases will continue to come in. We expect new cases to come in for the next few days."

Sixty-six people have been hospitalized, 20 of them with hemolytic uremic syndrome, which causes kidney failure, according to Acheson.

Acheson pointed out that the number of hospitalizations is unusually high for an E. coli outbreak. "It is possible that this is a particularly virulent strain of E. coli," he said. "It is also possible that not all cases have been reported, which could also affect the numbers."
Investigators from the FDA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California health officials are now inspecting and collecting samples from farms in California, Acheson said.
For more, check out this slideshow from Yahoo News:

Not All Salads are Health Foods

If there’s one thing that the Eating to Live on the Outside series has taught me it is that the American definition of "salad" is warped. Salad choices at many mainstream restaurants are merely standard American meals chopped up and tossed between “field greens.” Here’s what I mean, check out these excerpts from previous Eating to Live on the Outside posts:
Lonestar Steakhouse
Like usual my eyes gravitate towards the salad section of the menu; it’s like the Alamo, a safe haven in the middle of hostile territory. The Cobb Salad has some promise, but I’m making a couple alterations—goodbye cheese and adios bacon! Now, I can deal with the chicken and egg, I only eat meat once a week anyway, so I don’t really mind this concession. Overall my favorite thing about this dish is the avocado. I have bit of an avocado fetish.

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery
Now, usually the salad is a bastion of hope in standard American restaurants, but Perkins managed to compromise this old standby. All five of their options are served in “bread bowls”—whoopee! I’d still order a salad, but I’d hold off on the bread bowl, it’d be better utilized as a sombrero.

Even without the bread bowl these salads still concern me. As I’ve said before I have no problem eating meat once or twice a week, but other Eat to Livers aren’t so willing to compromise. The problem is all the salad options have some sort of animal product; eggs, cheese, chicken, ham, or godforsaken bacon. Of all the choices I’d probably go with the Chicken Fiesta (with or without the chicken) because it has the most veggies; black olives, red onions, red and green peppers, salad greens, and green onions. As far as the salad dressing, I’d ditch the ranch it comes with and opt for a little oil and vinegar or nothing at all.

Carrabba's Italian Grill
No surprise here, but the next dishes I’d consider ordering are salads. First you’ve got your basic house salad, which is usually a safe option (provided you limit or omit the oily dressing), but I’m also intrigued by the Insalata Fiorucci and the Insalata Carrabba. Are they perfect? Oh no, there’s some nit-picking to do. Sure, between the both of them you’ve got field greens, artichoke hearts, roasted red bell peppers, grilled eggplant, tomatoes, black olives, carrots, celery, and red onions. But there’s also plenty of stuff to make an Eat to Liver head for the hills; a hazelnut goat cheese medallion, and mozzarella and romano cheese, not to mention the vinaigrette. For me the solution is pretty clear, I’m cutting out the cheese, I can go either way with the chicken (of course some of you might prefer to ditch it), and I’d use just a teeny tiny bit of vinaigrette. See with a few alternations you’ve got a decent meal, take a moment and ponder all the phytonutrients.
Trust me this isn’t even the half of it. Go check out the actual menu’s for all the Eating to Live on the Outside restaurants and you’ll find a myriad of unhealthy salads; loaded with oil, croutons, crumbled cheese, salt, bacon, and other elements of the standard American diet (SAD).

Now, this article in today’s New York Times by Celia Barbour illustrates a prime example of how people comprise the healthful properties of salad vegetables by killing them with condiments. Brace yourself for some dangerous advice:
LIKE everything else in my life, salads grow more complicated in the fall. In June and July, I like lettuce plain, with olive oil and vinegar splashed on straight from the bottle, plus salt and pepper. It is one of the skills I am secretly exceptionally proud of, this ability to dress a salad in the bowl without mixing up the dressing on the side first. I am convinced that salad tastes better this way, though I can’t figure out why. And I enjoy doing it — I feel more in tune with the greens, and also more picturesque (which, by the way, is a vast and unexplored category of human satisfaction).

If you don’t already know how to do it, here is the secret: use more oil than you think you should, less vinegar than you think you should, and be generous with the salt.

Lettuce hates the heat of August, and while its timing couldn’t be worse — that’s just when we need its crisp, cool simplicity the most — I can’t say that I blame it. I let it have its month off and switch to tomatoes: tomatoes with garlic or onion or both, puddles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and bread to sop it all up.
By the end of the piece Barbour’s salad suggestions actually start to resemble that of typical restaurant offerings:
I often make salads that are simply variations on favorite fall meals. Roast chicken and parsnips becomes chicken and parsnip salad with roasted shallot dressing. Bacon and eggs becomes dandelion salad with bacon and fried egg. Soy-ginger tuna steaks become a kind of Asian salade niçoise, with Rick’s Picks’ addictive Windy City Wasabeans on the side.

The salad my family loves most starts with a head of sweet, mild lettuce to which I add toasted, salty pepitas, dried cranberries, thin slices of apple and goat cheese. My kids eat it by the bowlful.
Take a look at what Dr. Fuhrman has to say about salt:
A large body of data illustrates that populations with low salt consumption have lower levels of blood pressure compared to populations with higher salt intake. In Japan and China, salt intakes are often as high as eighteen grams or more per day. Hypertension (high blood pressure) and stroke are the major causes of premature death in these nations. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that in the United States, the man salt intake is eight grams per day. This high intake of sodium assures that we have an elderly population with high blood pressure.

High salt intake, and resultant high blood pressure later in life, does not merely increase the risk and incidence of stroke. It also can lead to kidney failure, congestive heart failure, and heart attack.
And olive oil is no saint either. In fact it can sabotage the healthfulness of any salad, Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts:
I know you were told that olive oil is health food. It is not. Keep in mind, oil is processed food, it is not a natural whole food. Oils, even if they are monounsaturated, should not be health food because they are low in nutrients and contain 120 calories per tablespoon, promoting weight gain.

Sure, olive oil and almond oil are improvements over animal fats and margarine, but they still are a contributor to our overweight modern world. Overweight Americans consume an average of three tablespoons of oil in their daily diet, adding and extra 360 calories to their food each day. You need to reach a thinner, ideal weight to achieve maximum protection against heart disease and to reverse heart disease. Use oil, even olive oil sparingly or not at all; certainly, do not have more than one teaspoon per day.

As an alternative to oil, you can make great tasting salad dressings from raw nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios and avocados.
So, what makes a healthy salad? Here are a few posts with some of Dr. Fuhrman's original recipes:

Seven Best and Seven Worst Foods for Health and Longevity

From the library of Dr. Fuhrman.com:

Because food has the power to heal, my patients often ask me for my top list of healthy food – the anti-oxidant foods, heart healthy foods, and nutritious foods that are central to the Eat To Live program. These high nutrient foods, consumed regularly, will contribute to your health and longevity. What you eat -- now and when you were growing up -- dramatically affects the state of your health. The effect is cumulative, influencing everything from the amount of energy you have (or lack), to your emotional state, medical condition, and ultimately longevity

Top Seven Foods for Good Health and Longevity
  • Black raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Flax Seeds
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli sprouts
The healthy and nutritious foods are high antioxidant foods, primarily fruits and vegetables. I selected these healthy foods because they contain the most powerful phytochemicals and anthocyanins which illustrate strong inhibition of chemocarcinogens.

Other foods with high antioxidant and high anti-cancer potential include walnuts, sunflower seeds, pomegranates, beets, cabbage, peppers, and parsley. Make your diet strongly cancer-protective and longevity-favorable by including these highly beneficial, nutritious foods.

A good way to think about nutritious food: Produce is the most important health care your money can buy.

Food also has the potential to harm, and these are effective foods for those attempting to die younger. One of my daughters calls this list the Seven Foods of Death.

Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat
Foods high in saturated fat and trans fat are consistently associated with high cancer rates. Cheese and butter typically contain over ten times as much saturated fat as fish and white meat chicken and turkey.

Salt has been consistently linked to stomach cancer and stroke, even in populations that eat diets low in saturated fat.

Add the carcinogenic potential from heated and overcooked oils (usually trans containing) delivered in doughnuts and fries with the powerful cancer inducing properties of carbohydrates cooked at high heat (acrylamide formation) and you have a great cancer potion.

Needless to say, I advise people to avoid the foods on my “worst list” entirely.

The best foods to eat are the healthy, nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. By making these antioxidant foods the major portion of your diet, you can protect yourself against cancer and other serious diseases. As you extend your youthful vigor into later years, you have contributed to your longevity by Eating to Live with a healthy, nutritious diet.

Health Points: Wednesday

And it's not as predictable as you'd think. The survey of 2,500 people found, for example, that opera fans were as likely as other music lovers to try hallucinogenic drugs, and that many hip-hop fans had somewhat conservative views on a wide range of issues.

While other studies of musical taste have focused on broad demographics, "this research, as far as I am aware, is the first time that people have looked at these really specific aspects of people's day-to-day lives," said study author Adrian North, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Leicester.
Nearly 42 percent of the French population older than 15 years has a weight problem, an ObEpi-Roche survey showed on Tuesday. Almost a third is overweight and 12.4 percent is obese.

Despite a notion that the French shun overeating and junk food, obesity is still on the rise, according to the study, which has been conducted every three years since 1997.

The closely watched survey is sponsored by drugs group Roche, which makes weight loss products, but it also mirrors growing concern in France on obesity and reflects other surveys which have shown trends such as rising average clothes sizes.
  • Cooking oil is no friend of this blog. But if you’ve ever wanted to know how many varieties of it there are, head over to Bitter Poison. Make note of differing fat contents.
Less than 10 percent of adults in the US has ever had some type of cosmetic surgery, yet almost twice as many hope to do so at some point in the future, a survey shows.

The results suggest that trends have changed significantly since the 1960s and 1970s when cosmetic surgery was "rarely talked about," Jeff Knezovich, executive vice president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS), which sponsored the survey, told Reuters Health. Today, the topic has become a "dinner table conversation," he said.

"People are becoming more aware of cosmetic surgery and its benefits," Knezovich said, noting that an individual's change in appearance may make them feel better, which can consequently lead to their increased performance.
The article’s strongest advocate for skipping breakfast is researcher Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging, whose work with rodents has shown it might be healthy to skip meals or occasionally fast.

Mattson’s main point is that skipping breakfast might be OK if you eat carefully the rest of the day.

But how many people do that? Studies show if you skip breakfast, you binge like mad at lunch. Or you stalk around the office, looking for food and eventually find chocolate or cake. Studies have also shown breakfast skippers have nutrient shortfalls and a greater risk of obesity.

Finding The Spinach-E. Coli Outbreak Point

Who would have thought spinach could cause some much fuss? Yesterday CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta helped get us up to speed on the spinach-E. coli situation. Today Andrew Bridges of the Associated Press reports officials are making progress on the source of the outbreak:
State and federal officials have traced the outbreak to a California company's fresh spinach, they still don't know how bacteria contaminated the leafy greens.

They have ruled out tampering, leaving multiple other potential sources of contamination, including the water and fertilizer that farmers in California's Salinas Valley use to grow much of the nation's spinach crop. Testing could reveal that source, though that isn't guaranteed.
Good news, but officials are still urging people to take raw spinach off their menu:
For now, officials warn consumers not to eat raw spinach. Natural Selection Foods LLC, whose multiple brands many people reported eating before falling sick, has recalled spinach products distributed throughout the United States. The company also distributed spinach to Canada, Mexico and Taiwan.

Test results on samples from produce packing plants are due in a week or more, said Dr. David Acheson of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Inspectors were due to begin visiting fields this week.

Various produce growers associations worked with the FDA to publish new guidelines for the safe handling of spinach and other leafy greens in April, after the agency voiced concerns about produce safety.
Given the severity of the outbreak, the internet is abuzz with spinach related news. Here’s a couple CNN video news reports worth watching:

Fish Eating and Breast Cancer

From the September 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

Both international comparisons and case-control studies around the world have documented a positive relationship between dietary fat and breast cancer. The Nurses Health Study involving 90,655 premenopausal women found red meat and high-fat dairy foods (cheese) to have the strongest association with an increased risk of breast cancer.1 It is well known that the fatty portion of animal products contains saturated fats, which are cancer-promoting. This is not surprising, since these same foods are associated with almost every other cancer as well.

However, further evidence in recent years has discovered another strong association—the link between fat-soluble pesticides such as DDT and dioxin with breast cancer. These organochlorine pesticides have received the most attention because their persistence in the environment gives them the ability to concentrate up the food chain. These pesticides are found in our food supply and in breast milk, and have the ability to be stored in the adipose (fatty) tissue of animals and humans. Women with breast cancer have been found to have higher levels of DDT in their bloodstream compared with age-matched controls without breast cancer.2 Even though these dangerous pesticides are now prohibited on food grown in America, they still remain in our environment and find their way back into our food supply through the fat in animal products, especially fish.

When a recent study looked at the relationship between fish intake and breast cancer, it found that women consuming a higher intake of fish have almost double the breast cancer incidence of women consuming little or no fish. This study followed 23,693 women until 424 of them were diagnosed with breast cancer. The researchers found that the preparation method (fried, boiled, or processed) and the type of fish did not matter. The significant association of breast cancer with fish consumption held firm for both lean and fatty fish prepared in any method.3

The bottom line is that for real cancer prevention and protection, we must avoid fatty meats, cheese, butter, and fish. Taking a non-fish derived DHA capsule is the best way to get a little extra of those favorable fish oils. I advise against eating fish for a source of these beneficial fats as fish is simply too polluted a food.

The scientific literature is routinely ignored by the media and health authorities. With a very high intake of clean produce and a low intake of cancer-promoting foods, millions of women’s lives can be saved every year. Green vegetables, fresh fruits, and beans have already shown a powerful dose-dependent ability to reduce breast cancer. Unfortunately, women are not given the clear message that true protection from cancer starts in the kitchen, not in the office of their doctor or radiologist. Continue Reading...

Dealing With Snack Cravings

You know how it is. Your day started off great. You did your morning exercise, ate a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but the sun is setting, you’re lounging around the house, and from the depths of your stomach, the snack monster stirs. And he craves cookies, cake, salty food, greasy food—the crappier the better! What do you do? How do you quell the beast?

Dr. Fuhrman acknowledges how difficult cravings can be, it’s easy to succumb, but with the right mindset and preparations you can subdue the beast. In Eat to Live Dr Fuhrman offers up some advice to help you show the monster who’s boss:
Implement strategies to prevent temptation and exposure to sedentary activities or social eating. The most important stimulus-control technique is structuring your environment. This means removing temptation from your home and stocking your cupboards and refrigerator with the proper foods. Eat only at the kitchen table, not while watching television. When you finish dinner, clean up and leave the kitchen area, then brush and floss your teeth, so you are not tempted to return and snack again. Try not to make food the center of your life. Keep active with interests that keep you from thinking about eating.
Now if Dr. Fuhrman’s advice doesn’t strike your fancy. Get a load of these from The Wichita Eagle, they seem destined for success—insert tongue in cheek. I don’t know about the lottery ticket idea, but brushing your teeth sure seems like a good move. Kathy Manweiler reports:
Just breathe: The munchies like to attack when I'm stressed out. Taking slow, deep breaths for five minutes works as a good stall tactic and helps calm me down.

This time-out gives me a chance to try to talk some sense back into my taste buds.

Give extra calories the brush-off: To reduce the risk of late-night snacking, I brush and floss my teeth and use Listerine as soon as I've hit my calorie limit for the day. It's rarely worth it to me to mess up my squeaky-clean teeth with a snack. Besides, no food on Earth tastes good with the aftertaste of Listerine.

Find a payoff: Every now and then, I buy myself a Powerball ticket when I win a battle against the munchies.

Who knows, maybe someday I'll become an instant millionaire just by passing up a plate of nachos.

My odds of hitting that jackpot are one in a gazillion, but even if I never win the lottery, I know that it still pays off to put up a fight against cravings.

More On The Spinach Crisis

Just in case you’ve been living under rock and missed the recent scuttlebutt over the E. coli-fresh spinach break out. Check out this video, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta will give you the lowdown.

Once you’ve gotten up to speed, take a look at this article by Alice Park of TIME. She reports some experts aren’t surprised outbreaks like this happen. Apparently new cost-cutting methods of harvesting crops are suspect:
When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to consumers on Thursday about E. coli contamination in bagged spinach, it didn't come as a surprise to Michael Doyle. So far, about 100 people have fallen ill and one death has been connected to the dangerous E. coli 0157:H7 bacterial infection, and the director of food safety at the University of Georgia says that outbreaks like this one will only continue if produce manufacturers don't change their practices.

E. coli 0157 is a particularly nasty strain of the E. coli that lives and thrives in our digestive tract. Animals such as cows tolerate 0157 far better than people, and often shed the bacteria in their feces. The bacteria can then infect crops such as lettuce, spinach, onions, or even apples when contaminated manure is used as fertilizer, or when contaminated water is used to irrigate fields. Most recently, E. coli 0157 found in bagged salads packaged by Dole sickened over two dozen people in 2005.

These outbreaks, warns Doyle, are an inevitable by-product of the way that many fruit and vegetable manufacturers have streamlined their production — and cut costs — by doing some of the processing of their ready-to-eat produce right in the fields, and not in the more controlled atmosphere of a factory. He sees it as a dangerous practice that could contribute to contamination. "Two to three years ago, I was asked to go out and view what was going on in the fields when there was an outbreak associated with a fast food restaurant chain from their cut-up lettuce," he told TIME." Every company at the time was using the same concept to process head lettuce — they would core the lettuce in the field, remove the outside leaves, and put it in chlorinated water. The goal is to reduce costs, because you don't have to take the waste from the factory and bring it back to the field. The problem is, they are working out in the dirt. There are so many different ways that E. coli can get into the food this way."

Magical, Mythical Protein?

From the May 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

My patients tell me that the question most frequently asked by their friends or family members about the Eat to Live diet is “How do you get enough protein, without eating lots of animal products?”

Many people are still tied to the myth that a diet needs to include animal products in order to be nutritionally sound. Adding to this confusion are the many diet books and magazine articles that promulgate the myth that increasing the percentage of protein in your diet helps lead to weight loss, while increasing the percentage of carbohydrates leads to weight gain.

Macronutrient juggling

Regarding weight loss, some diet book gurus argue that to lose weight you need to balance the precise ratio of fat, carbohydrate, and protein with a calculator, with the exact ratio to be determined by your heritage or blood type. Clearly, these trendy viewpoints are not scientifically valid and might just as well base the ratios on your eye color or shoe size. A sound perspective on human nutrition must include an understanding of the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients.

Protein, fat, and carbohydrate are macronutrients. In fact, they are the only macronutrients that exist. Macronutrients are the nutrients that contain calories; calories supply us with energy. Vitamins, minerals, and fiber are a few of the many micronutrients. Micronutrients do not contain calories; they have other essential roles to play. When it comes to designing a healthful, weight loss diet, micronutrients should be the focus of your attention, not macronutrients. Here’s why.

If you are overweight, you have consumed more calories than you have utilized. Tinkering with the percentages of fat, protein, or carbohydrate in your diet isn’t going to change the caloric density very much. What you need to do is consume fewer calories, which means fewer macronutrients—less protein, less fat, and less carbohydrate. And for goodness sake, don’t worry about not consuming enough of any one of the macronutrients. With the exception of individuals who are anorexic, it is almost impossible to find an American who is deficient in fat, protein or carbohydrate intake. If anything, most Americans (along with most people living in modern Western societies) consume more macronutrients than needed.

Impossible deficiency
Protein deficiency is not a concern for anyone in the developed world. It is almost impossible to consume too little protein, no matter what you eat, unless your diet is significantly deficient in calories. Part of the reason is that protein is contained in all foods, not just animal products. If there is a valid concern about protein consumption in America, it is that too many Americans are trying to eat more of it when they are already eating too much of it.

Study after study has shown that as protein consumption goes up, so does the incidence of chronic diseases. Similar studies show that the incidence of chronic diseases also goes up when carbohydrate and fat consumption go up. This is because if the consumption of any of the macronutrients exceeds our basic requirements, the excess hurts us. Americans already get too much protein (and fat and carbohydrates), and this is reflected in soaring increases in the diseases of excess—heart disease, high-blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and numerous others.

Micronutrient deficiencies
Most Americans eat diets that are deficient in micronutrients, not in macronutrients. Rather than worrying about macronutrient percentages in your diet, focus your attention on meeting all of your micronutrient needs. For example, fat intake on a healthful diet could vary from 10 to 25 percent depending on the percentage of higher-fat fare such as avocados and raw nuts and seeds as a percent of total calories. Eating more of these higher calorie, fattier foods may be necessary in an active thin athlete or a growing child. Any concern you might have about not eating excess fat should be focused on the fact that fatty foods are more calorically-dense foods, and generally lower in micronutrients than vegetables and other less calorically-dense foods.

The focus of my book, Eat To Live, is on micronutrients. Simply put, the goal of a healthful diet is to get the highest amounts of micronutrients—both in quantity and diversity—from the fewest calories. Micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fibers, bioflavonoids, antioxidants and other phytochemicals, are the key to superior health and ideal weight.

When you eat to maximize micronutrients in relation to calories, your body function will normalize, chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol will resolve, and you should be able to maintain your youthful vigor into old age.

Heart disease and cancer—the major killers in modern societies—would fade away and become exceedingly rare occurrences if the population adopted an Eat To Live lifestyle. The current epidemic of obesity also would fade away because when your diet is high enough in micronutrients, excess weight drops off at a relatively fast rate. When your diet is high in micronutrients, it’s as if you had your stomach stapled; you simply don’t crave to overeat anymore. It is actually very difficult to overeat when you eat your fill of high micronutrient food.

Incomplete protein myth
The commercially-promoted myth that high animal protein consumption is necessary for good health is something we urgently need to dispel if we want to halt the heart disease and cancer epidemic. One aspect of the animal protein mythology is the notion that plant proteins are “incomplete” and need to be “complemented” for adequate protein.1 In fact, fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds are all rich sources of protein.

All vegetables and grains contain all eight of the essential amino acids, as well as the twelve other “non-essential” ones. While some vegetables have higher or lower proportions of certain amino acids than others, when eaten in amounts necessary to satisfy your caloric needs, a sufficient amount of all essential amino acids is available. Because digestive secretions and sloughed off mucosal cells are constantly recycled and reabsorbed, the amino acid composition of post-prandial (after meal) blood is remarkably complete in spite of any short-term irregularities in the dietary supply of amino acids.

Inessential nutrients
In North America, about 70 percent of dietary protein comes from animal foods. Worldwide, plant foods provide 84 percent of calories. The first scientific studies to determine human protein requirements were conducted in the 1950s.These studies demonstrated that adults require 20-35 grams of protein per day.2 Today, the average American consumes 100-120 grams of protein per day, mostly in the form of animal products. People who eat a vegetable-based diet (vegan) have been found to consume 60-80 grams of protein per day, well above the minimum requirement.3 More importantly, eating more plant protein is the key to increasing our micronutrient intake.

It is interesting to note that foods such as peas, green vegetables, and beans have more protein per calorie than meat. But what is not generally considered is that the foods richest in plant protein also are the foods richest in micronutrients—vitamins, minerals, fibers, bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals. By eating more of these high-nutrient, low-calorie foods, you get plenty of protein and your body gets flooded with protective micronutrients at the same time. Animal protein does not contain antioxidants or phytochemicals and is filled with saturated fat—the most dangerous type of fat.

Even a professional bodybuilder desiring to build half a pound of extra muscle per week only needs about seven extra grams of protein per day over normal intake. No complicated formulas or protein supplements are needed to get sufficient protein for growth, even in the serious athlete. Since exercise results in increased hunger, athletes consume more food (calories), which provides the extra protein naturally.

Benefits of plant proteins
There are many benefits to meeting your protein needs with plant foods. For example, when you reduce body fat, your cholesterol levels tend to lower somewhat. But when you reduce or eliminate animal protein intake and increase vegetable protein intake along the lines I recommend in Eat To Live, you will lower your cholesterol dramatically. Why? Because vegetables are rich in protein, but also have no saturated fat or cholesterol, and they are higher in micronutrients than any other food. When study subjects are fed a vegetable- based diet, cholesterol levels drop radically, much more than when using the most powerful cholesterol- lowering drugs.4

In addition to the cholesterol lowering effects of vegetables and beans (high-protein) foods, these plant foods contain an assortment of heart-disease-fighting nutrients. They fight cancer, too.

The food plan described in Eat To Live serves the most powerful anticancer, disease-fighting foods on the planet, tastes great, and also provides tremendous potential health benefits. If more people ate this way, the health results would be astounding. Most people are simply not aware that a new approach to food and eating can be our biggest success in fighting obesity and the major illnesses that plague Americans.

Continue Reading...

Health Points: Monday

The number of people sickened by the E. coli outbreak linked to contaminated spinach from California's Salinas Valley has risen to 109 people in 19 states, while officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they have joined the investigation.

CDC officials said Sunday that they've started an emergency operations center in Atlanta to assist state health agencies with testing for E. coli, which has also been blamed for the death of a 77-year-old woman in Wisconsin. The center is assisting state agencies that can't perform the tests or when a second opinion is needed, agency spokeswoman Lola Russell told the Associated Press.
Why is that our doctors are typically so rushed during visits? Rarely return our phone calls, or have "new policies" that forbid their office workers from faxing patients' subscriptions to pharmacies and other helpful gestures? Because they are trying to do more with less, right?! At least that's what they've been bemoaning for years now, and I believe it.
Unless public health takes urgent measures, one in five children in the United States will be obese by the year 2010, the Institute of Medicine warned in a report.

Currently, one third of American children are obese or at risk of becoming so. The rate of childhood obesity has jumped from 16 percent in 2002, to 17.1 percent in 2004 and will reach 20 percent in four years, the report said.
1. Punahou School (private), Honolulu, HI
2. The Willow School (private), Gladstone, 6108032618
3. Desert Edge High School (public), Goodyear, AZ
4. East Clayton Elementary (public), Clayton, NC
5. Conserve School (private), Land O’Lakes, WI
The survey of 300,000 adults by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that overall, 60.5 percent of Americans were overweight, 23.9 percent were obese, and 3 percent were extremely obese.

Obesity was as common in men as in women -- 24 percent in both. Among ethnic groups, non-Hispanic blacks had the highest rates, with just under 34 percent of those surveyed considered obese, according to the survey known as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
Take the humble spanish peanut. Per 100 grams it contains 50g of fat, 26g of protein, and 16g of carbohydrate (of which 9g is fiber) - and that's just the macro-nutrients. The peanut butter process involves roasting the nut, stripping the outer skin, and grinding the nut into a paste.

Over the years food manufacturers have added sugar to appease our sweet tooth, they've added salt, and they've added various kinds of stabilizers to get that creamy texture. Eventually we end up with products like Skippy® Reduced Fat Creamy - a complete oxymoron because peanuts are all about fats and protein.

Breaking Bad Habits

From the September 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

If you read Eat to Live, you have learned which foods are best for your body, you have acquired some great recipes, and you have the kitchen equipment you need to get started. So, all your problems are solved... Or are they?

Good first steps
Identifying the cause(s) of your problems, eliminating your bad habits, and learning what is necessary to reestablish great health are tremendous first steps. But they are only 50 percent of the overall solution. Before you can achieve true success, you must practice, repeating your new beneficial behaviors over and over until they become part of you. Repetition will make these positive actions feel more and more natural. Soon, these new good habits will make your previous bad habits things of the past.

Just as you cannot expect to develop a perfect tennis swing or learn how to play a musical instrument without both good instruction and a tremendous amount of practice, you cannot hope to transform your health without the ongoing process of putting your new knowledge into practice. Moving in the right direction, improving the way you eat, and learning how to handle social situations that encourage bad habits are all part of an ongoing process of healthy change. It is a process that requires time and effort and the ability to learn from mistakes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. It is not enough simply to “know” what to do. You need to do it. You need to practice preparing recipes and eating super-healthful meals until such time as they begin to satisfy your desire for pleasurable eating.

Developing skills
Anyone who has become accomplished at demanding activities such as sports, martial arts, and music will tell you that it can be difficult to learn new things. It is not easy to develop new habits, and there is no such thing as a quick shortcut to developing new skills and expertise. To eat as healthfully as you or I want to takes practice and perseverance.

When you do something over and over, it creates a pathway in the brain that makes it easier and more comfortable to repeat it again later. That is one reason why it is so hard to change. It can be really tough to get a person with ingrained bad habits to change. For example, I would rather teach someone who never played tennis before how to properly swing a tennis racket than to try to teach someone who has been playing for years and swings incorrectly. But while change is difficult, it is not impossible. What makes change possible is students’ strong desire and motivation to change, their willingness to be uncomfortable, and their determination to work on it until they get it right. The same thing is true with healthful eating.

The more you make healthful meals, and the more days you link together eating healthful foods, the more your brain will naturally prefer to eat that way. Your taste for healthful foods will develop. It has been shown that a new food needs to be eaten about 10 to 15 times for it to become a preferred food. The more days you eat healthfully, the more you will lose your addiction to unhealthful, stimulating substances; and with time, you will look forward to—and prefer eating—a diet that is more natural and wholesome.

Don’t get discouraged if you occasionally fall back into your old habits. This is normal when learning new habits. Keep working at it, because you will get better with more effort. Never give up. The only failure is to stop trying.

Powerful addictions
The more stimulating the habit, the worse you feel when you stop it. The more poisonous the habit, the harder it is to stop. Habits that are the most stimulating are often the most toxic; you feel ill and even depressed when you don’t imbibe. For example, cheese, salt, and chocolate are all highly addictive, and it takes a prolonged period of abstinence to beat these addictions.

Chocolate cravings are often episodic and fluctuate with hormonal changes just before and during the menses. Chocolate contains several biologically active constituents (methylxanthines, biogenic amines, and cannabinoid-like fatty acids), all of which can cause abnormal behaviors and psychological sensations that parallel those of other addictive substances.1

Sugar and caffeine, especially when mixed together, are highly addictive. Sugar withdrawal has been demonstrated to be similar to opioid withdrawal. Repeated intake of sugar creates neurochemical signs of opioid withdrawal, including anxiety and tremors.2

Salt addiction has developed throughout civilization in the last 5000 years, creating a worldwide epidemic of high blood pressure and resultant strokes. Besides fatigue, cravings, and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, salt use gradually deadens your taste.3 The more salt you consume, the more you lose the ability to appreciate the subtle flavors of natural food. As salt deadens taste, it makes you want more and more salt to get back some of the missing flavor.

Road to success
The first step to achieving dietary excellence, attaining your ideal weight, and enjoying excellent health is getting rid of your addictions. After that occurs, you will be free from prison and will find it easier to get on with the program.

Addictions make attempts at dietary modification more difficult. But the good news is that the withdrawal symptoms end in a few weeks. It only takes a few seconds of decision-making to win the battle, to decide to say an emphatic “no” to the addiction and “yes” to your new healthful diet and lifestyle. However, the ability to make the right decision consistently requires planning. You need time to prepare your environment so that you have good-tasting healthful foods around you at all times, to minimize temptation.

If you are going to succeed at turning around your health or weight, you will need to commit to a significant investment of time. There are no shortcuts when it comes to health. Five minutes a day is not enough exercise, and you will not protect yourself from illness unless you can prepare your own food and take responsibility for what food goes into your mouth. Of course, it is faster, easier, and more convenient to eat fast food and junk food and eat out in restaurants. But, this is what caused your problems in the first place.

When you plan out your week and design satisfying meal plans, you dramatically increase the probability that you will eat healthfully. Decide what you are going to purchase in advance at your two weekly shopping excursions and write down what you buy. Revise the list each time to ensure that you include things you may have forgotten and to exclude things that you did not like or could not finish in the 3-4 days between excursions. For example, increase or decrease the amount of lettuce if you could not finish it all, or ran out one day too soon.

To successfully achieve your weight and health goals requires some advance planning, plus the patience and determination to allow the time necessary for recovery and transformation. But rest assured, the results of your efforts will be richly rewarding. Continue Reading...

Alcohol and Your Health

From the September 2002 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

A few years ago the University of California’s Berkeley Wellness Letter reported on new research about the so-called heart-healthy “benefits” of alcohol consumption. Previous studies had led to a recommendation that moderate consumption of red wine—but not other alcoholic beverages—helped reduce the risk of heart attack. What did the new research reveal?

If we were to rely on the Berkeley Wellness Letter for this information, the latest news would be that moderate consumption of any alcoholic beverage—red or white wine, even beer and spirits—can be heart-healthy. Unfortunately, their latest news is still woefully out-of-date. More recent studies show that even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to significantly increased incidence of atrial fibrillation,1 a condition that can lead to stroke, and to higher rates of breast cancer.2,3

Alcohol is not actually heart-healthy. It simply has anti-clotting effects, much like aspirin.

Researchers have found that even moderate consumption of alcohol—including wine—interferes with blood clotting and, thereby, reduces heart attacks in high-risk populations—people who eat the typical, disease-promoting American diet.

Moderate drinking is defined as a maximum of two drinks for men. Consuming more than this is associated with increased fat around the waist4 and other potential problems. For example, alcohol consumption leads to mild withdrawal sensations the next day that are commonly mistaken for hunger, which leads people to eat more than is genuinely necessary, resulting in weight gain.

It is worth nothing that alcohol’s anti-clotting properties have only been shown to grant some protective effect against heart attacks for people eating unhealthfully. There are no studies showing that this protective effect is valuable in low-risk individuals consuming healthful, plant-based diets with resultant low cholesterol levels. In my view, it is much wiser to avoid the detrimental effects of alcohol completely and protect yourself from heart disease with nutritional excellence. Continue Reading...

McDonalds Tackles Obesity

As odd and as contradictory as it may seem, apparently the McDonalds Corporation has donated $2 million dollars to fund obesity research. Nichola Groom of Reuters reports:
The world's biggest fast-food company is donating $2 million to the La Jolla, California-based Scripps Institute, the first time it has ever directly funded scientific research, said President and Chief Operating Officer Ralph Alvarez.

"Everything that we keep on seeing is the whole issue of childhood obesity and the early onset of Type 2 diabetes has grown exponentially," Alvarez said in an interview on Tuesday. "We felt we needed to get greater education in this area."

Report: Starbucks Not the Healthy Alternative to Junk Food

So much health news in The New York Times today...

Marian Burros of The New York Times rounds up the problems linked to many of America’s popular junk foods. Here’s one of note:
A venti — or 20-ounce — Caffè Mocha with whipped cream has 490 calories, equivalent to a Quarter Pounder with cheese. And a 24-ounce Java Chip Frappuccino with whipped cream has 650 calories, not to mention almost an entire day’s allowance of saturated fat.

According to the center, a nutritional advocacy group, the Frappuccino is equivalent in calories to a McDonald’s coffee plus 11 of their creamers and 29 packets of sugar.

Type II Diabetes: India In Crisis

Last week a report in the AFP explained how the Body Mass Index does not yield accurate information about health risks and bodyweight for Asians; specifically pointing to Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Indians:
The standard way to define obesity uses the body-mass index -- a measure of weight divided by height -- but weight-related ill health appeared in East and South Asians at a lower cut-off point than in Caucasians, they said.
This is dangerous because many of these countries are adopting more and more elements of the western lifestyle, i.e. poor nutrition, overeating, and insufficient exercise. A new report in The New York Times explains India is especially hard hit by the sequela of the western diet. N.R. Kleinfield reports:
In its hushed but unrelenting manner, Type 2 diabetes is engulfing India, swallowing up the legs and jewels of those comfortable enough to put on weight in a country better known for famine. Here, juxtaposed alongside the stick-thin poverty, the malaria and the AIDS, the number of diabetics now totals around 35 million, and counting.

The future looks only more ominous as India hurtles into the present, modernizing and urbanizing at blinding speed. Even more of its 1.1 billion people seem destined to become heavier and more vulnerable to Type 2 diabetes, a disease of high blood sugar brought on by obesity, inactivity and genes, often culminating in blindness, amputations and heart failure. In 20 years, projections are that there may be a staggering 75 million Indian diabetics.
In a country where health insurance is scarce, Kleinfeild reports some diabetes patients are taking drastic measures:
M.V. Hospital managing director Dr. Ramachandran recounts the case of an impoverished diabetic with a hideously infected leg. Unable to find medical care, he laid the leg across the railroad tracks. The next train to hurtle past did the surgery.
Others simply accept disease as part of God’s will:
S. Kalyanasundaram, the chief regional manager in charge at the Chennai office of the National Insurance Company, one of the country’s biggest, explained that the issue with insurance was the odds. “Insurance can only work if the law of averages applies,” he said. “There are too many people with diabetes.”

Some concepts are easy to sell in India, Mr. Kalyanasundaram said, but health insurance is not one of them. “The capacity to pay is not there,” he said. “And many people take disease as a God-given thing to just accept. So why buy insurance?”
Dr. Fuhrman's prescription for diabetes is explained in detail in a previous post Don't Settle For Diabetes:
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.

Pass On The Salt

A couple months ago Followhealthlife blogged about the dangers of salt and how the American Medical Association was calling for a slash in the nation's sodium intake. Salt is one of those standard American foods Dr. Fuhrman strongly warns against:
Any excess salt added to food, outside of what is contained in natural foods, is likely to increase your risk of developing disease. Salt consumption is linked to both stomach cancer and hypertension.1 For optimal health, I recommend that no salt at all be added to any food. The famous DASH study clearly indicates that Americans consume five to ten times as much as they need and that high sodium levels over the years has a predictable effect on raising blood pressure.2 Just because you don’t have high blood pressure now doesn’t mean that you won’t. In fact, your probably will have high blood pressure if you keep eating lots of salt over the years.
Today Melanie Warner of The New York Times follows up the nation’s salt situation:
The nation’s largest doctors’ group, the American Medical Association, is going after the government and the food industry to reduce what it sees as a persistently high level of salt in many processed foods.

At its annual meeting in late June, the medical association recommended that the Food and Drug Administration limit the amount of salt that food companies are allowed to add to products.

Specifically, the medical association, which had never before called for regulation of a food ingredient, asked the F.D.A. to revoke salt’s long-time status as a substance that is “generally recognized as safe,” a classification that warrants little oversight. Instead, the F.D.A. should regulate salt as a food additive, the medical group said.

If the recommendation were adopted, packaged-food companies would have to adhere to limits on allowable sodium levels for various categories of food, and speed up the search for an alternative to salt as a preservative and flavor enhancer.
Despite the growing consumption of sodium, in the same article, the food industry claims to be working on it:
“The industry has paid great attention to overall sodium levels,” said Robert Earl, senior director of nutrition policy at the Food Products Association, a lobbying group representing packaged food manufacturers. “It has responded over decades by creating reduced-, low- or no-sodium products, as well as making changes that the consumer never sees.”

Despite such efforts, American sodium consumption has not declined in recent years. The government’s dietary guidelines say that the average young adult should eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day and that the threshold should be 1,500 milligrams for certain people — those with high blood pressure, African-Americans (who are at higher risk for hypertension) and anyone middle-aged or older. Yet, on average, Americans consume more than 3,300 milligrams of sodium a day, compared with 3,100 milligrams in 1994, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About three-quarters of the salt Americans consume comes from processed food, according to the Department of Agriculture. No more than 10 percent comes out of the salt shaker, and another 10 percent is contained naturally in foods.
Continue Reading...

Spicy Food and Heartburn

As someone who used to suffer from heartburn-related problems, I find this article by Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times very interesting. According to a new study by the Stanford medical school, and contrary to popular belief, spicy foods might not contribute to heartburn:
In a study published in May in The Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers at the Stanford medical school analyzed hundreds of studies on heartburn dating to the 1970’s. They found that cutting caffeine, citrus fruits and spicy foods did not eliminate heartburn symptoms.

That may have something to do with the nature of heartburn, which is most commonly caused when the esophageal sphincter, which acts something like a control valve, relaxes more than it should and allows fluids in the stomach to flow toward the mouth. While there is some evidence that tobacco and alcohol can reduce the pressure exerted by the esophageal sphincter, most foods traditionally thought to exacerbate heartburn do not seem to have this effect.

Dramatic Reversal of Heart Disease

From the May 2006 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

Dramatic reversal of atherosclerotic heart disease is the norm in my medical practice. Not a week goes by when I do not see a patient whose heart problems, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels have normalized. The results I see are so effective because my recommendations are ideal for maximizing human longevity. The following stories show the power of diet and lifestyle changes.

John Pawlikowski
John recently returned to my office for a routine follow-up visit. He is now 84 years old and in excellent health. His cholesterol level is 142 with an HDL of 86. He is 5’10”, weighs 152 pounds, and he is muscular and fit.

He is a dramatically different man from the one who walked into my office 13 years ago suffering from advanced heart disease. At that point in his life, John was facing a major health crisis. Based on chest pains and the abnormal results of a stress test and cardiac catherization, he had been advised to undergo bypass surgery immediately.

I assured him that if he did exactly what I asked of him, his heart disease would melt away rapidly, and he would live a long life—free of heart disease—without the interference and intervention of cardiac surgeons and cardiologists.

In a few weeks, John’s chest pains lessened, and in a few months they disappeared. His cardiologist was so impressed with the results that he told John he no longer needed surgery and advised him to keep following my advice.

John lost about 60 pounds in the first year after coming to see me, and he has maintained his present weight for over 10 years. He has been free of any further heart problems, and he is on no medication. He has not had any medical problems in the past 13 years.

Bruce Heimlich
Bruce was not a patient of mine. He introduced himself after a lecture I gave in San Francisco, and we have corresponded since then. At the time, Bruce was 49 years old and weighed 225 pounds. He had tried many diets to lose weight, including the vegetarian one he was following when he found out that he had a significant blockage of his right carotid artery (ultrasound showed over 80 percent occlusion). Bruce read my book Eat to Live and decided not to undergo surgical treatment. Within one year, he lost 75 pounds. He repeated the test to evaluate the blockage in his carotid arteries, and the ultra-sonographer was shocked to see that no plaque or disease could be found. The atherosclerotic plaque obstructing the lumen of the blood vessels had disappeared completely.

Health Points: Monday

The two-year project will investigate the effectiveness of using the Koi herpesvirus as a way to control strains of carp present in Australia and will examine whether the virus will have any impact on certain native fauna.

"The virus works by attacking the carp's gills as well as other vital organs and eventually killing its host," Crane said. "Koi herpesvirus is attractive as a biological control agent as overseas studies suggest that it has a very limited host range, infecting only carp."
Cut each fruit in half and rap it on the counter to loosen the seeds. Remove all of the seeds and none of pith. Juice the seeds using an orange juicer, or the word on the street is a potato ricer will do the trick nicely as well. Transfer the juice to a non-reactive saucepan and simmer over medium heat until the juice thickens to the consistency of a syrup. You can expect somewhere between a tablespoon or two of molasses from each pomegranate.
  • Behold, the Korean pine nut! Ahmad Pathoni of Reuters explains an extract from this nut may be used to suppress appetite in the obese:
"We have a lot of new drugs that are in the pipeline and this is very encouraging," said Denise E. Bruner, an obesity expert from the United States.

She said U.S. research showed that pinolenic acid extracted from Korean pine nut could dampen the appetite.

"They looked at a group of women who had pine nut versus a group who didn't and they saw there's weight loss and they felt full longer," Bruner told Reuters on the sidelines of an anti-ageing conference in the resort island of Bali.
They promise to help you polish, buff or scrub without worrying about polluting the earth, having an allergic reaction or breathing in the organic chemicals widely used in conventional cleaning products. The makers of "green" cleaning products say they are made with "earth-friendly" ingredients and plant-derived essential oils, and they are touted as having the same cleaning power as conventional products filled with chemicals.

But how can consumers really be sure when they buy these products whether they are organic or not? Right now, natural cleaning products aren't regulated by the government, said Craig Minowa, a spokesman for the Organic Consumers Association, based in Finland, Minn., which promotes food safety and organic farming.

Health Points: Friday

The World Health Organization will hold an urgent meeting this week to seek ways to deal with deadly strains of tuberculosis that are virtually untreatable with standard drugs.
The meeting, in Johannesburg on Thursday and Friday, comes in response to recent reports from a number of the world's regions about a small but growing number of cases of the deadly strains, known as extreme drug-resistant tuberculosis, or XDR-TB.
In a study of older obese adults with type 2 diabetes, "there was a strong relationship between muscle power/speed and poor mobility and balance," study co-author Rhonda Orr, a lecturer at the University of Sydney, in Australia, told Reuters Health. "Those individuals with lower muscle power and slower muscle speed had greater balance and mobility impairment."

The study also shows that older obese type 2 diabetics can benefit from low-intensity, low-impact Tai Chi exercises as well as from regular stretching and calisthenics.
I just had the "pleasure" of doing an adult circumcision today in the office under local anesthesia...
Part of an initiative called "Fit Kids Happy Kids," similar classes are being held throughout the Southwest, including Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma, to curb childhood obesity rates.

"The earlier you start the development of these healthy habits, the better it is," said WIC dietitian and instructor Cindy Wachtler. "If you just start with changing one little thing, maybe that thing will stick and make a difference."
A report from ConsumerLab.com (CL), a company that tests and certifies supplements, suggests that some people might be ingesting too much lead as they try to keep cancer at bay. CL randomly selected various green tea preparations from store shelves, websites, and direct marketers and found that two out of four contained what is considered unacceptable levels of lead. Green tea products they recommend avoiding are Futurebiotics Premium Extract Standardized Green Tea tablets and Herbal Select Standardized Green Tea Extract. Products found to be totally free of lead are Life Extension Mega Green Tea Extract, Nature's Bounty Green Tea Extract, Pharmanex Tegreen 97, and Puritan's Pride Green Tea Extract.
The government reported Thursday that 4.4 percent of baby boomers ages 50 to 59 indicated they had used illicit drugs in the past month. It marks the third consecutive yearly increase recorded for that age group by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Meanwhile, illicit drug use among young teens went down for the third consecutive year, from 11.6 percent in 2002 to 9.9 percent in 2005.

BMI Not So Good For Asians

A couple weeks ago Linda Carroll of MSNBC reported on the growing doubt surrounding the Body Mass Index. The BMI is commonly used to determine if a person is of healthy bodyweight, but as Carrol explained it has its problems:
BMI can be way off, especially when it comes to assessing a particular individual. The commonly used measure can give a skewed result not only for fit body builders who come out with a high number because of the extra weight associated with muscle, but also for the elderly, who tend to have scores that underestimate obesity because they have so much less muscle.
In response Dr. Fuhrman provided his method of determining whether or not someone has a healthy bodyweight:
I just take a pinch near the umbilicus and squeeze it lightly between two fingers and measure the distance between the fingers.
Well, we might need to start pinching Asians. Because according to a new report by Malcolm Burgess of AFP the Body Mass Index often misdiagnoses them:
The standard way to define obesity uses the body-mass index -- a measure of weight divided by height -- but weight-related ill health appeared in East and South Asians at a lower cut-off point than in Caucasians, they said.

World Health Organisation guidelines say a BMI of 25 is healthy, more than 25 is overweight and more than 30 obese.

Taiwanese academic Pan Wen-Harn told the 10th International Congress on Obesity in Sydney that such criteria missed a large number of people in Asia.

Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Indians experienced metabolic risks such as hypertension and diabetes at a much lower threshold, she said.

"You don't have to wait until you get a BMI of over 25 -- even at 23 or 24 a substantial number of people have those diseases," she said.
Burgess cites the spread of the western diet and lifestyle as a reason why Asians are getting heftier:
Indian researcher Naval Vikram agreed that while the westernisation of the Indian diet and less physical exercise contributed to metabolic disorders, most blame lay with genetic make-up.

Indians tended to have high body fat, a low body-mass index, high abdominal fat and a low waist circumference, he said.

They suffered hypertension and lipid problems at a BMI of 22 or 23 -- much lower than other ethic groups, he said.

"If we use international definitions we will be missing about 15 to 20 percent of people whom we would be able to identify with a lower cut-off point. That's a substantially large proportion, taking the population of India," he said.
This story harks at the same issues illustrated in the series of reports by The New York Times investigating the diabetes epidemic in New York City. Here’s an excerpt from N.R. Kleinfield’s report:
One in three children born in the United States five years ago are expected to become diabetic in their lifetimes, according to a projection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The forecast is even bleaker for Latinos: one in every two.

New York, perhaps more than any other big city, harbors all the ingredients for a continued epidemic. It has large numbers of the poor and obese, who are at higher risk. It has a growing population of Latinos, who get the disease in disproportionate numbers, and of Asians, who can develop it at much lower weights than people of other races.
Fellow New York Times reporter Marc Santora offers up more evidence that the Western way of eating isn’t well-suited for Asians:
Asian children in New York are obese, more than twice the rate among their parents. And they say there is mounting evidence - including soaring diabetes rates in major cities in China, and in other countries with Chinese immigrants - that New York will soon experience a similar explosion as more Asians arrive and have their first encounters with Western ways.

The clash of cultures is vividly apparent in Flushing, one of the city's new Chinatowns. On streets like Roosevelt Avenue, older immigrants still throng traditional Asian markets, with their signs in Chinese, and dine at noodle shops where windows fog with steam. Their children, however, are increasingly lured by fast food. Along a 100-yard strip of storefronts are a McDonald's, a Burger King, a Taco Bell, a Pizza Hut, and a Joe's Best Burger.

Even in China, the number of obese people has tripled since 1992 to 90 million, as Western food has become popular and prosperity has made it possible to eat more. The World Health Organization has warned that Asia faces a "tsunami" of diabetes in the coming decade, and health officials have assailed the Chinese government for its tepid response to the crisis.
It really seems like the problem extends beyond the shortcomings of the BMI. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman explains Asians, in particular the Chinese who traditionally eat a very healthy plant-based diet, are biologically reeling from the effects of the Western lifestyle:
The Chinese [living in China], who on the average consume more calories, are thinner than Americans.1 In China the calorie intake per kilogram of body weight is 30 percent higher than in the United States. The Chinese eat about 270 more calories per day than Americans, yet they are invariably thin. Exercise cannot fully explain this difference, as researchers discovered the same thing with Chinese office workers as well.

This may be because calories from carbohydrates are not as likely to increase body fat as the same number of calories from high-fat foods such as oils and meats, which make up such a high proportion of the American diet. The data suggests that when a very low fat diet is consumed (15 percent average dietary fat in rural China), as compared to the typical Western diet (30-45 percent of calories from fat), more calories are burned to convert carbohydrate in fat, so the body cannot store fat easily.

The modern American diet receives about 37 percent of its calories from fat, with lots of sugar and refined carbohydrates. The combination of high fat and high sugar is a metabolic disaster that causes weight gain, independent of the number of calories.
Continue Reading...

Video: Techniques for Parents to Inspire Healthy Eating

Here’s a video from Montefiore Medical Center talking about how to get kids to eat better, i.e. more fruits and veggies. One of the experts they interview is William H. Dietz MD, PhD who advises parents to take charge of what their children are eating. If the child doesn’t want to eat the healthy food presented by parents, then that's OK, they don't have to eat it, but they don't get to have anything else. Hunger, he points out, is a powerful motivator. Dr. Fuhrman recommends a very similar approach to avoiding the food wars between parents and children. (For more on this check out what Dr. Fuhrman has to say in this podcast episode Dr. Fuhrman on Getting Children to Eat Well).

Dr. Dietz also touches on the importance of breastfeeding, describing its role in preventing childhood obesity and making kids more willing to try different foods.

Mercury and Teeth Fillings

One of the most reoccurring topics on Followhealthlife is the dangers of mercury, especially the contamination of fish, but mercury in teeth fillings is a new one. Andrew Bridges of the Associated Press explains there is an ongoing debate about whether or not these fillings should be allowed:
Consumer activists on Thursday pressed for at least a partial ban on dentists' use of a mercury-laden amalgam to fill cavities.

They made their demand as a Food and Drug Administration panel of experts met to review a government report that concluded silver dental fillings aren't dangerous, even though they expose patients to low levels of toxic mercury.

The FDA asked the panel to weigh in on whether the study -- a review of 34 recent research studies -- reflects current knowledge about the risks associated with the fillings. The FDA did not ask the panelists to discuss a ban.

The study found "no significant new information" that would change the agency's earlier determination that mercury-based fillings don't harm patients, except in rare cases where they have allergic reactions.

Consumer groups opposed to the use of mercury in dentistry dispute that conclusion. The groups petitioned the FDA earlier in the week for an immediate ban on use of the cavity-filler in pregnant women.
Dr. Fuhrman cautions that mercury and pregnant women simply shouldn’t mix. Here’s a short section from his book Eat to Live:
Higher levels of mercury found in mothers who eat more fish have been associated with birth defects, seizures, mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and cerebral palsy.1 This is mostly the result of women having eaten fish when they were pregnant.
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Thoughts on Feeding Children

Adapted from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child:

It is fine to abandon the “three meals a day” tradition; it is okay to let children eat twice or six times a day. Let your children have a say in what and when they will eat. Abandon the myths, the traditions, and the difficulty in attempting to control your child’s biological drives.

Parents are entrusted with the responsibility of securing the selection of healthy foods for the family and preparing the food in a way that makes it desirable. Children are responsible for deciding how much they eat. If they are in an environmental of healthful foods they will have no problem regulating variety and timing. They can choose what they eat, when they eat, and if they will eat. Don’t use food as a reward or punishment. Don’t offer a treat because the child was good or ate well. Offer healthy treats as part of the normal well-balanced diet.

If the family is having an “outside,” more conventional treat on occasion, don’t teach your child that is because of an achievement. If children are rewarded and comforted with cookies and ice cream, it builds emotional attachments to these foods. Special foods should be for holidays and the outside-the-home special occasion, not as a prize.

If childhood memories of vegetables included being forced to choke down peas, it does not help to nurture positive feelings and an affinity toward the taste of peas. Children will learn to enjoy these foods best by watching adults appreciate the flavors and health benefits in a subtle manner, which will lead to a lifetime appreciation of vegetables prepared in a variety of interesting ways.

Here is the most important: No rules only for children. If the parents are not willing to follow the rules set for the house, they should not be imposed on the children. Don’t argue about what your children should and shouldn’t be eating; discuss this in private. As parents, we must be consistent, but not perfect. Likewise, it is okay for the children to be consistent, but not prefer either. For example, if the parents decide that an unhealthy food or a restaurant meal is acceptable for the children once per week, then that goes for the adults, too. Setting an example supported by both parents is the most important and most effective way for your children to develop a healthy attitude toward food.

Parents must decide on the standards they want to set in their home. They should educate themselves, then come to an agreement about which foods are permitted and which are not. Whenever possible, consider your children’s input. Menus, school lunches, and planning what foods to purchase at the market should all be decided in advance to accommodate the likes and food preferences of all in the family. When you work together for the same goal as a family unit, you can encourage and help each other to eat healthier. Children can help parents, too.

A Global Ban On Junk-Food?

Yesterday’s post The Obesity Pandemic explained that obesity is now a worldwide crisis, and according to the AP report the number of overweight and obese people is tremendous:
The World Health Organization says more than 1 billion adults are overweight and 300 million of them are obese, putting them at much higher risk of diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke and some forms of cancer.
The health complications of obesity are real. In last week’s post The Obesity-Disease Connection we learned the health risks associated with obesity aren’t limited to these five. From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:

Health Complications of Obesity
  • Increased overall premature mortality
  • Adult onset diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Degenerative arthritis
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Cancer
  • Lipid disorders
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Gallstones
  • Fatty infiltration of the liver
  • Restrictive lung disease
  • Gastrointestinal disease
People’s worries about obesity are especially strong when it involves children. Given kids’ impressionable minds, many people are calling for measures to protect kids from obesity-promoting junk-food. Malcolm Burgess of the AFP reports:
The WHO says more than a billion people -- nearly one in six of the world's population -- are overweight, outnumbering the 800 million who are under-nourished.

The promotion of energy-dense foods such as confectionery and soft drinks in advertising was pushing children towards unhealthy diets, Hastings said.

Within the European Union, 5 million children were obese and 25,000 had type two diabetes, said the taskforce, which is the advocacy arm of the International Association for the Study of Obesity.

Australian academic Professor Boyd Swinburn said the group's draft guidelines sought to combat the problem from a child-protection perspective, using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"At the moment, the need to protect children from commercial exploitation is being largely overlooked by the food and advertising industries," he said.
According to Dr. Fuhrman many people don’t realize the stuff they’re feeding their kids spells disease down the road. More from Eat to Live:
Most Americans are not aware that the diet they feed their children guarantees a high cancer probability down the road.1 They don’t even contemplate that eating fast-food meals may be just as risky (or more so) than letting their children smoke cigarettes.2

You wouldn’t let your children sit around the table smoking cigars and drinking whiskey, because it is not socially acceptable, but it is fine to let them consume cola, fries cooked in trans fat, and a cheeseburger regularly. Many children consume doughnuts, cookies, cupcakes, and candy on a daily basis. It is difficult for parents to understand the insidious, slow destruction of their child’s genetic potential and the foundation for serious illness that is being built by the consumption of these foods.

It would be unrealistic to feel optimistic about the health and well-being of the next generation when there is an unprecedented increase in the average weight of children in this country and record levels of childhood obesity. Most ominous were the results reported by the 1992 Bogalusa Heart Study, which studied autopsies performed on children killed in accidental deaths. The study confirmed the existence of fatty plaques and streaks (the beginning of atherosclerosis) in most children and teenagers!3 These researchers concluded: “The results emphasize the need for preventive cardiology in early life.” I guess “preventive cardiology” is a convoluted term that means eating healthfully.
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Health Points: Wednesday

"They don't have very much money available to pay for their groceries and so they must buy the cheapest food available in order to keep their children fed," Aine Duggan, The Food Bank for New York City's vice president of government relations, told Reuters.

"Unfortunately what that means is they're buying the food that's highest in fat content and calorie content because the cheapest food available tends to be fatty food."
When the meals were large - people underestimated calorie levels by 38%. In smaller meals the calories were underestimated by only 2.9%.

A second part of the study was in the lab - where 40 undergraduate students had to estimate calorie content of 15 sizes of the same fast-food meal. The meal consisted of different amounts of fries, soda, and chicken nuggets.

Once again the larger meals were underestimated by 22.6%.
The cause of the abnormalities is unknown, but scientists suspect a class of waterborne contaminants that can confuse animals' growth and reproductive systems. These pollutants are poorly understood, however, leaving many observers with questions about what the problems in fish mean for the Potomac and the millions of people who take their tap water from it.
No S means:
    -No Sugar
    -No Sweets
    -No Seconds

    -On days that start with an S.
A staggering 70 percent of emergency workers at Ground Zero developed new or worsening respiratory problems from breathing highly toxic air, according to a grim health study announced yesterday.

Mount Sinai Medical Center doctors - who said the study provides conclusive proof that the WTC site caused illnesses - also found 61 percent of first responders and cleanup workers had no health problems before 9/11 and became ill after working downtown.
  • Now if my doctor used this "Rachel gets fruity" video (possibly not safe for work) instead of a plastic model I’d be more inclined to self-examine. Well, more inclined than usual anyway. Oh, and the plum has lots of phytonutrients. (Via: The Cancer Blog)
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The Obesity Pandemic

The news has had much of potential Bird Flu or a Small Pox Pandemics, but obesity? Now the Associated Press says obesity is crowding out other worldwide health problems like a big person in an airplane seat:
"This insidious, creeping pandemic of obesity is now engulfing the entire world," Paul Zimmet, chairman of the meeting of more than 2,500 experts and health officials, said in a speech opening the weeklong International Congress on Obesity. "It's as big a threat as global warming and bird flu."

The World Health Organization says more than 1 billion adults are overweight and 300 million of them are obese, putting them at much higher risk of diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke and some forms of cancer.
The article explains that even though wealthy countries are the fattest. Traditionally leaner countries are also adopting unsavory (or in this case savory) habits:
Thailand's Public Health Ministry, for instance, announced Sunday that nearly one in three Thais over age 35 is at risk of obesity-related diseases.

"We are not dealing with a scientific or medical problem. We're dealing with an enormous economic problem that, it is already accepted, is going to overwhelm every medical system in the world," said Dr. Philip James, the British chairman of the International Obesity Task Force.
The allure of unhealthy eating and exercise habits is very tempting and far reaching. Consider the fate of the Crete, as presented in Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:
In the 1950s people living in the Mediterranean, especially on the island of Crete, were lean and virtually free of heart disease. Yet over 40 percent of their caloric intake come from fat, primarily olive oil. If we look at the diet they consumed back then, we note that Cretans ate mostly fruits, vegetables, beans and some fish. Saturated fat was less than 6 percent of their total fat intake. True, they ate lots of olive oil, but the rest of their diet was exceptionally healthy. They also worked hard in the fields, walking about nine miles a day, often pushing a plow or working other manual farm equipment.

Today the people of Crete are fat, just like us. They're still eating alot of olive oil, but their consumption of fruits, vegetables, and beans is down. Meat, cheese, and fish are their new staples, and their physical activity level has plummeted. Today, heart disease has skyrocketed and more than half the population of both adults and children in Crete is overweight.1
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Milk Is For The Rapidly Growing Cow

Experts are encouraging the lactose intolerant to experiment with more dairy. Ed Edelson of HealthDay News reports:
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a new attitude about consumption of milk and milk products by children with lactose intolerance: Hey, give it a try.

New guidelines say the academy "supports use of dairy foods as an important source of calcium for bone mineral health and of other nutrients that facilitate growth in children and adolescents." Specifically, it does not recommend eliminating dairy products to treat lactose intolerance.

In practical terms, said Dr. Melvin B. Heyman, a member of the committee that wrote the guidelines, the new advice is for parents of children with lactose intolerance, in collaboration with pediatricians, to "test the system and see how much milk, cheese and ice cream they can tolerate."
According to Dr. Fuhrman dairy products, including milk, are linked to Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and ovarian cancer. Also, in his book Disease-Proof Your Child he explains that milk is especially dangerous for young children:
Milk, which is designed by nature for the rapidly growing cow, has about half its calories supplied from fat. The fatty component is concentrated more to make cheese and butter. Milk and cheese are the foods Americans encourage their children to eat, believing them to be healthy foods. Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects on our children is a different story. Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases. If we expect our children to resist many common illnesses, they simply must consume less milk, cheese, and butter. Dairy foods should be consumed in limited quantity or not at all.
Looking for a good source of calcium? Many people are surprised to find out that green vegetables like kale, broccoli, and Romaine lettuce are hearty sources of calcium:
Calcium Content Per 100 Calories of Plant Matter
    • Kale, 470 mg
    • Romaine Lettuce, 374 mg
    • Broccoli, 322 mg
This topic is no stranger to Followhealthlife, check out these previous posts:

Health Points: Friday

I'm almost 5-feet, 3-inches. A little more protein as a kid and I could have gone the extra quarter of an inch. In any case, I mention my height (or lack of it) to prove that I'm not trying to build myself up with the findings from a new study. Researchers tracked children from birth through adulthood and found that height correlated significantly with scores on cognitive tests. Huh? To put it into terms short people can understand: The taller you are, the smarter you are.
The bacteria lives uneventfully in the noses of many people, but sometimes it can trigger serious infection. Symptoms can range from an infected paper cut, to bloodstream infections, to infections of heart valves that can be fatal.

Methicillin-resistant S. aureus was, for a long time, limited to hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities or to people who had frequent contact with such facilities. In 1993, however, new strains among people who had not been in contact with the health care system emerged in Western Australia.
Down again. This time I think it's the lack of pork rinds yesterday. The salt seems to really effect me, and yet they are the perfect snack of pure protein and fat - the macronurtrients our bodies need. I'll be up tomorrow because I did eat the pork rinds today.
U.S. officials have intercepted and seized thousands of prescriptions filled by the pharmacy in recent months, said FDA Associate Commissioner Randall Lutter. Subsequent testing has revealed counterfeit versions of the cholesterol drugs Lipitor and Crestor, as well as the painkiller Celebrex, blood-pressure medication Diovan, baldness treatment Propecia and five other prescription drugs, the FDA said.
In a study published last week in the journal Current Biology, researchers from the University of Edinburgh reported that cooling mint oil compounds act through a newly discovered receptor found in some nerve cells.

The receptor, called TRPM8, is activated by the chemicals and stops pain messages from being sent to the brain.
Walking into Bamn the first thing you’ll notice is the wall of food. Keeping with automat tradition Bamn! serves up it’s dishes in what amounts to a large vending machine. Each portion of food is behind glass and kept warm for the people who want it.

Off To School, Bring On The Pounds

I’ve been through college, I’ve seen the way college kids eat; melted cheese comes to mind, and lots of it. I once witnessed a classmate top a steaming plate of spaghetti with gooey nacho cheese and bacon bits. I swear! If I’m lying I’m crying, and I haven’t shed a tear yet.

If you don’t think eating hot dogs with a side of Lucky Charms (yes, I’ve seen it) is a problem, well, have you ever heard of the “freshman fifteen?” It refers to the notorious fifteen pounds new freshman gain during their first year away at school. I know it, because it happened to me.

And I wasn’t alone. Lots of kids gorge themselves on their new found independence. Natasha Singer of The New York Times takes a look at why students take on these pesky pounds:
“I guess some people go overboard with junk food,” said Nina Marie, 17, a Purchase freshman from Pelham, N.Y., who plans to work out six days a week as a member of the tennis team. “But I already know you shouldn’t eat in your dorm, you don’t snack, and you can’t eat burgers and fries every day,” she added, even as she downed a cheeseburger and fries.

But Ms. Marie had the right idea, some experts said. College should be about making wise choices and developing healthy eating habits.
As the article explains, health experts aren’t ready to take a position on the freshman fifteen:
College weight fluctuation is a relatively new field of study. And because most of the published research on the topic involves only small groups of students on individual campuses, researchers do not know what percentage of the college population experiences weight changes, or even whether such changes are temporary or lead to long-term health consequences, said Daniel J. Hoffman, an assistant professor of nutritional sciences at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J..

Most kids are probably already consuming the fare of the standard American diet (SAD) at home, so why does this desire increase at the collegiate level? Maybe the precursors of the freshman fifteen start long before kids buy the yaffa blocks, shower shoes, and meal plans.
Janet Frankston of the Associated Press explains getting young teenagers to eat fruits and veggies might require a jaw clamp and a plunger:
The 13-year-old girl took a whiff of the steamed carrot, then took a taste.

She shook her head no and took the carrot out of her mouth.

"You just have to adjust your taste buds," her teacher, Towana Wise, told the class of teens. "You're young, and this is the best time to develop good eating habits. It's not going to kill you."

The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey has been trying hands-on nutrition workshops at its summer program for high school students in the Newark area.

And the kids haven't been thrilled. Some wanted to know why they had to have things like broccoli, fruit and milk for lunch.
Teaching kids early on the benefits of a healthy eating sounds like a good idea to me. Hook’em while they’re young! In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman says teaching children the importance of a nutrient-dense diet is paramount:
The goal is for your children to eat healthfully because they want to, and do so whether their parents are around or not. We need to respect their decisions as they mature and give them leeway to formulate their decision to eat healthfully because they want to. The reasons to do so are compelling. By educating them and being good examples, they will simply follow suit. In the same way, your children should learn to enjoy exercise. If parents exercise and engage in sports for fun and recreation, so will their children.
He also has a whole podcast episode about how to get your children to eat well.