Take That Drug Ads!

As someone who studied marketing, I can tell you, marketing is predicated on fear. In Marketing 101 they call it need, but let’s face it, they mean fear. For example, Billy wants those new basketball shoes. Why? Because all the other kids have them, and, the commercials say they’ll help improve his game. So if Billy doesn’t get them?

Well, he won’t fit in, his peers will tease him over his knock-off shoes, and his game will suffer. Naturally, Billy thinks he needs those shoes. Again, why? Because he’s afraid of all the bad things that will happen if he doesn’t get them. See how easily it is to market fears as needs.

Human emotion is a powerful thing, especially when that emotion is fear. Scare a person the right way and you can get them to do almost anything. So obviously, I think it is highly unethical to toy with people’s emotions. Of course this doesn’t stop marketers, after all, there’s plenty of money to be made in fear.

Now I’m not asking you to believe me. Do a little reading and you’ll see what I mean. Consider this report by HealthDay News. According to Randy Dotinga, new research claims that televised ads for prescription drugs are riddled with emotional appeals and lack helpful information on the disease itself:
"The ads really use emotion instead of information to promote drugs," said the study's lead author, Dominick Frosch, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. "The question we have to ask ourselves is: (Should buying) prescription drugs be the same as buying soap?"…

… Ninety-five percent of ads made "emotional appeals," and 78 percent implied that use of the medication would result in social approval. Fifty-eight percent of the time, products were depicted as medical breakthroughs…

… Of course, even if patients are wooed by an ad, they can't get prescription drugs on their own. But, Frosch said, it's not enough to rely on doctors to make the right decisions about drugs that patients should take.

Doesn’t that sound like fear-marketing to you? Personally it’s a pet-peeve of mine and crystallizes my gripe with the industry. But I digress. Rather, let’s focus on the influence of pharmaceutical companies on medical care. Dr. Fuhrman addresses it in Eat to Live:
Drug companies and researchers attempt to develop and market medications to stem the obesity epidemic. This approach will always be doomed to fail. The body will always pay a price for consuming medicines, which usually have toxic effects. The “side” effects are not the only toxic effect of medications. Doctors learn in their introductory pharmacology course in medical school that all medications are toxic in varying degrees, whether side effects are experienced or not. Pharmacology professors stress never to forget that. You cannot escape the immutable biological laws of cause and effect through ingesting medicinal substances…

…Both patients and physicians act as though everyone’s medical problems are genetic, or assumed to be the normal consequence of aging. They believe that chronic illness is just what we all must expect. Unfortunately, the medical-pharmaceutical business has encouraged people to believe that health problems are hereditary and that we need to swallow poisons to defeat our genes. This is almost always untrue. We all have genetic weaknesses, but those weaknesses never get a chance to express themselves until we abuse our body with many, many years of mistreatment. Never forget, 99 percent of your genes are programmed to keep you healthy. The problem is that we never let them do their job.

Diabetes Still a Big Problem in NYC

If you read enough health news, it’ll start to seem like obesity and diabetes go hand in hand. This correlation is pretty evident in New York City’s diabetes epidemic. According to the AFP, one in eight adults in NYC has diabetes and all the while, obesity rates continue to climb:
The New York City Health Department found that the number of diabetics in the city of eight million people had doubled in the past 10 years and said the dramatic jump mirrored an increase in obesity…

… "New York City is getting healthier by almost all measures, but the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes are getting worse by the year," Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said, unveiling the new data.
So, what do we do about it? Turn to drugs? After all that seems to be the American way. Well one diabetes rep doesn’t think that’s a good idea. From Pharmaceutical Rep Urges Healthy Diet Over Drugs:
I am personally a pharmaceutical rep and promote a diabetic medicine. It is interesting to me the corelation between diabetes and eating. You would also be amazed at the offices I call on. When I order healthy, vegetarian lunches for offices, they complain that it's not some deep fried chicken choice! And these are the same people who are telling their patients to eat well…

… I want to tell you thank you for all the good work you do. If more people followed [Dr. Fuhrman’s] advice, we would find Americans would be living much healthier, productive lives. Let's face it: diabetes and cancer are expensive! Seeing the typical diabetic will be on about six medicines, if not more!
Perhaps people just need to be better educated on the development of Type 2 diabetes? And then maybe they’ll be more receptive to other ways of treating the disease. In Understanding the Development of Type 2 Diabetes Dr. Fuhrman does just that:
As little as five pounds of excess fat on your frame can inhibit the ability of insulin to carry glucose into your cells. When you have twenty pounds of extra fat, your pancreas may be forced to produce twice as much insulin. With fifty or more pounds of excess fat on your frame, your pancreas may be forced to produce six to ten times more insulin than a person who is lean…

… When you give an adult diabetic who has been suffering from the damaging effects of excess insulin for years more insulin to drive her sugar level down, you create additional problems. Giving the diabetic patient insulin increases appetite, which causes significant weight gain (often more than 20 pounds), which makes the patient more diabetic. Thus, the administration of insulin creates a vicious cycle that cuts years off a person's life.
Okay, since we’re discussing diabetes and New York City, you might want to check out The New York Times coverage of NYC’s diabetes epidemic from last year. Here are Followhealthlife’s posts on the series:

The Standard American Shockwave

Now, if you’re looking for praise of the standard American diet, you’re at the wrong place. Need proof? Here’s a few of my favorite Followhealthlife bashings of the standard American diet. Oh how sad it is. Enjoy:
Well if those didn’t get your dander up, this sure will. According to new research the wonderment (sarcasm) that is the standard American diet has wreaked havoc on what used to be one of the healthiest groups of people in the world, the Okinawans. Diet-Blog’s got the skinny:
This has all changed - and I was shocked to read that Okinawa Island now has the highest rate of obesity in Japan (almost double that of the rest of Japan). Diabetes affects 8.2% of Okinawans compared to 5.7% nationally (via am New York).

After World War II Okinawa was under US administration for 27 years, and during that time a number of large military bases were established. Along with the military came American food - burgers, soda, and french fries.
The Okinawan’s aren’t the only ones ravaged by the introduction of Big Macs and Krispy Chicken. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman tells the sad tale of the Cretans:
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 a lot 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
For more on the Okinawan research, visit The Okinawa Study.
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More Love for Veggie Calcium

For a long time I thought the only place you could get calcium was milk and since I’m lactose intolerant, well, I thought I was screwed. So I panicked, I used to take calcium supplements the size of horse pills. Sometimes I still have flashbacks that I’m grazing in a meadow, odd.

But now, even though I avoid dairy products like the plague, I’m not worried about my calcium. Why? I eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Greens like kale and romaine lettuce, not to mention hearty portions of sesame seeds; both of which Dr. Fuhrman considers great sources of calcium.

In fact, in a previous post he explains that vegetable calcium is absorbed better than animal calcium. From Choose Vegetable Calcium Over Animal Calcium:
Green vegetables, beans, tofu, sesame seeds, and even oranges contain lots of usable calcium, without problems associated with diary. Keep in mind that you retain the calcium better and just do not need as much when you don’t consume a diet heavy in animal products and sodium, sugar, and caffeine.
So if you’re system kicks back dairy like mine, here’s a thought, hit the produce isle with a vengeance! And it seems, this idea if being put to the test. The Los Angeles Times reports nutrition scientists are feeding older women with osteoporosis prunes in hopes that it will yield measurable restoration in their bone mass. Susan Bowerman explains:
Although that study was too brief to measure changes in bone density — something the new study will allow — the women who ate 10 dried plums daily had significantly higher blood levels of two compounds (the hormone IGF-1 and the enzyme BSAP) that are associated with greater rates of bone formation.

What do prunes offer that other dried fruits don't? Various substances, and scientists don't yet know which among them is most important. Prunes contain small amounts of calcium and magnesium — both bone-building minerals — and some natural acids that could improve mineral absorption.

They are a rich source of antioxidant polyphenols, which also could be bone protective. They're also rich in boron, a bone-building mineral that is often lacking in the diet. (Boron prevents excretion of calcium and magnesium, which allows these minerals to be deposited in bone tissue.)
It is kind of funny that prunes, a food already associated with old people, are good for them for a reason outside of, “Prunes, prunes, a wonderful fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot. The more you toot, the better you feel, so eat some prunes at every meal!” And yes, I know that song is really about beans, but it works!

For a couple charts on the calcium content of fruits and vegetables, check out these posts:
And here’s another interesting tidbit about fruits and veggies. Did you know that some vegetables have a more protein per calorie than meat? Oh I’m not making it up! Dr. Fuhrman explains Vegetables Deliver Protein with Micronutrients:
It is interesting to note that peas, green vegetables, and beans have more protein per calorie than meat. But what is not generally considered is that foods that are rich in plant protein are generally the foods that are richest in nutrients and phytochemicals. By eating more of these high-nutrient, low calorie foods we get plenty of protein, and our bodies get flooded with protective micronutrients simultaneously. Animal protein does not contain antioxidants and phtyochemicals, plant protein does. Plus, animal protein is married to saturated fat, the most dangerous type of fat.
As we saw yesterday in Michael Pollan’s article about nutritionism, the stuff that lurks in plants might be the best dietary recommendation of them all. Hey, maybe this Dr. Fuhrman guy is onto something. You think?

NY Times: Michael Pollan on Nutritionism

Hopefully you had the opportunity to read Michael Pollan’s recent article in The New York Times Magazine. In it, he proposes lots of reasons for America’s dietary indiscretions; misinformation, bad science, and the rise of industrialized food, to name a few.

Needless to say, my Fuhrman-senses were tingling. Especially concerning the concept of “nutritionism.” According to Pollan, “The term nutritionism refers to the widely shared but unexamined assumption that the key to understanding food is indeed the nutrient.” Meaning it’s up to scientists to discover the hidden healthful particles (nutrients) in food and then this will help us make informed decisions about which foods appropriately fuel our bodies and give us sustained health. Sounds good, right?

Well, as Pollan explains, historically these types of scientific discoveries—and their good intentions—tend to get mucked up along the way and ultimately become misconstrued. One might even argue bastardized. More from the article:
This is a great boon for manufacturers of processed food, and it helps explain why they have been so happy to get with the nutritionism program. In the years following McGovern’s capitulation and the 1982 National Academy report, the food industry set about re-engineering thousands of popular food products to contain more of the nutrients that science and government had deemed the good ones and less of the bad, and by the late ’80s a golden era of food science was upon us. The Year of Eating Oat Bran — also known as 1988 — served as a kind of coming-out party for the food scientists, who succeeded in getting the material into nearly every processed food sold in America. Oat bran’s moment on the dietary stage didn’t last long, but the pattern had been established, and every few years since then a new oat bran has taken its turn under the marketing lights. (Here comes omega-3!)

By comparison, the typical real food has more trouble competing under the rules of nutritionism, if only because something like a banana or an avocado can’t easily change its nutritional stripes (though rest assured the genetic engineers are hard at work on the problem). So far, at least, you can’t put oat bran in a banana. So depending on the reigning nutritional orthodoxy, the avocado might be either a high-fat food to be avoided (Old Think) or a food high in monounsaturated fat to be embraced (New Think). The fate of each whole food rises and falls with every change in the nutritional weather, while the processed foods are simply reformulated. That’s why when the Atkins mania hit the food industry, bread and pasta were given a quick redesign (dialing back the carbs; boosting the protein), while the poor unreconstructed potatoes and carrots were left out in the cold.

Of course it’s also a lot easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a potato or carrot, with the perverse result that the most healthful foods in the supermarket sit there quietly in the produce section, silent as stroke victims, while a few aisles over, the Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms are screaming about their newfound whole-grain goodness.
Now if you ask me, Pollan hits the nail right on the head. All this time and money wasted on figuring out which nutrient is going to be today’s fountain of youth. And when one is discovered, food-marketers from across the country just want to know one thing, “How can we use it to make people believe our mass-produced junk food is healthy?” Meanwhile fresh fruits and vegetables are staring us right in the face. Go ahead, let out a little sigh.

If you’re familiar with Michael Pollan’s work you know that he strongly supports a vegetable-based diet for health, disease-prevention, and longevity. So I kind of figured Dr. Fuhrman would agree with him here. And he does for the most part, but, unlike Pollan, Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t feel our grandparents were the best eaters. From the article, here are Pollan’s comments:
The sheer novelty and glamour of the Western diet, with its 17,000 new food products introduced every year, and the marketing muscle used to sell these products, has overwhelmed the force of tradition and left us where we now find ourselves: relying on science and journalism and marketing to help us decide questions about what to eat. Nutritionism, which arose to help us better deal with the problems of the Western diet, has largely been co-opted by it, used by the industry to sell more food and to undermine the authority of traditional ways of eating. You would not have read this far into this article if your food culture were intact and healthy; you would simply eat the way your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents taught you to eat. The question is, Are we better off with these new authorities than we were with the traditional authorities they supplanted? The answer by now should be clear.
Personally, despite this little disparity, I still think Michael Pollan is onto something—something good. For me, it all comes down to filtering out bad information. And yes, that takes steely resolve. You have to differentiate junk science from good science, marketing from the truth, and perhaps most important of all, learn to ignore dangerous reactionary claims. Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on Pollan’s piece should help explain where I’m coming from:
I think in the future more and more intelligent people will realize the message is clear. And certainly there will be more and more examples of others parroting a similar message to mine.

Eat less, eat mostly plants, don't eat processed foods. We agree. These are the main points.

I still don't think our grandparents ate too great, so we can do better than ever before with what we know about nutrition today. Too bad there are so many nuts out there confusing this issue, (Atkin's, Weston Price, Zone, Eat For Your Blood Type, Dr. Mercola's Metabolic Typing, Glycemic Index) leading the addicted masses into more and more confusion, so they miss the main points.
Maybe that’s what’s happening? All these fad diets get the press because they fly in the face of conventional thinking. And why not? It’s common knowledge that the standard American diet isn’t working. Don’t believe me? Just look at the obesity rates in this country, or the prevalence of cancer and heart disease. If you read these types of news reports for too long, you’d want to try something radical too!

In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman remarks that he doesn’t feel everyone will embrace his vegetable-based diet, mainly because of the influence of outside factors. After all, why meet the problem head on when you can devour an entire box of “enriched” chocolate breakfast cereal or have some doctor write you another prescription? I felt now was an appropriate time to mention this:
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. This plan is not for everyone. I don not expect the majority of individuals to live this healthfully. However, they should at least make that decision by 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.

Research: For Your Information and Health

Here’s some new research from one of Dr. Fuhrman’s friends at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Some of them already hit the newswires earlier this month, but if you’re like me, you have an insatiable desire to learn more. So, take a look:
Girls Most Likely to Become Overweight Before Teen Years:
The most vulnerable time for girls to initially become overweight is between ages 9 to 12, and being overweight in childhood was associated with a much higher risk of high blood pressure and unhealthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. In a study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, researchers measured weight and health indicators in 2,379 girls starting at age 9 until age 23. They found that girls were 1.6 times more likely to become overweight from ages 9 to 12 than during the teenage years. At every age, African-American girls were 1.5 times more likely to be overweight than Caucasian girls. Overweight girls were 10 times more likely to have high systolic blood pressure, 3 times more likely to have high diastolic blood pressure, 6 times more likely to have abnormal HDL levels, 3 times more likely to have abnormal LDL levels, and 3 times more likely to have abnormal triglyceride levels. In addition, overweight girls were 11 to 30 times more likely to be obese as young adults.1

Raised Blood Glucose Levels Responsible for Over Three Million Deaths Each Year:
Higher-than-optimum blood sugar levels are not only a risk for diabetes – they also contribute to heart disease and stroke. A group of researchers collected data from 52 countries to determine the health effects of raised blood sugar levels. Their findings showed that in addition to the 959,000 deaths due to diabetes, high blood sugar levels resulted in 1,490,000 deaths from ischemic heart disease and 709,000 from stroke.

Therefore, 21% of heart disease and 13% of strokes can be attributed to high blood sugar. Overall, over 3 million deaths each year are directly attributed to raised blood sugar levels, comparable to deaths from smoking (4.8 million), high cholesterol (3.9 million), and obesity (2.4 million), and putting this condition in the top five causes of worldwide mortality. These findings suggest that we should not just be concerned about diabetes, but also about increased blood sugar levels that high enough to be classified as diabetes, and provide another reason for the importance of healthy lifestyle changes including healthy eating and physical activity.2

Rising Health Care Costs Create an Increasing Financial Burden for Families:
Health care costs have continually risen over the past several decades. In 1980, health care spending represented 9.1% of the gross domestic product. This increased to 16% by 2004. As a result, families are now spending a greater percent of their income on health care costs. A survey of about 19,000 people in 1996 and almost 29,000 in 2003 was conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The survey included both insured and uninsured people under age 65. From 1996 to 2003, the percent of people living in families who spent more than 10% of their family income on health care increased from 15.8% to 19.2% (48.8 million people). The amount spending more than 20% increased from 5.5% to 7.3% (18.7 million people). Poor people, older people, and those with chronic medical conditions were the most likely to be spending a greater percent of their income on health care costs. In addition, families with private non-group coverage (that is, private insurance not provided by an employer) showed the greatest burden of health care costs – approximately 3 times that of families with employer-provided insurance.3

Red meat intake increases the risk for hormone receptor–positive breast cancer in premenopausal women:
The incidence of hormone-receptor–positive breast cancer has been increasing in the United States, especially among middle-aged women. Some components in red meat (such as exogenous hormone residues, heme iron, and heterocyclic amines in cooked meat) may promote the development of breast cancer by influencing hormone receptors. In this study of 90,659 premenopausal women aged 26 to 46 years followed over 12 years, those eating more red meat were more likely to develop hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. During the 12 years of follow-up, 1021 cases of invasive breast cancer occurred. As meat consumption increased, the risk of developing hormone-receptor–positive breast cancer increased. Women eating more than 1.5 servings of red meat a day were twice as likely to develop this type of cancer than those eating 3 or fewer servings a week. Red meat consumption was not associated with hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer.4

Reducing Salt Consumption Lowers Blood Pressure in Children:
An analysis of 10 different studies looking at the effect of reducing salt consumption in children concluded that a modest reduction in salt intake results in an immediate fall in blood pressure in children. The researchers used a technique called a meta-analysis, which allows them to combine the results from many studies for a better estimate of the effect of reducing dietary salt. The 10 studies included at total of 966 children, with an average age of 13 years. The reduction in salt consumption was 42%, and the average length of the study was 4 weeks. The researchers found that reducing salt intake resulted in an immediate decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. These findings indicate that reducing the amount of salt in a child’s diet may prevent the development of hypertension in adulthood, substantially reducing strokes and coronary heart disease.5

Vegetable Consumption Slows Rate of Cognitive Decline:
In a 6-year study of older adults, those eating a greater amount of vegetables showed a smaller decline in cognitive functioning than those eating fewer vegetables. A total of 3718 adults age 65 and older provided information on foods eaten and participated in tests of cognitive functioning over a 6-year time period. Those who ate 2.5 or more servings of vegetables per day slowed their rate of cognitive decline by about one-third compared to those who ate less than 1 serving per day — a decrease that is equivalent to about 5 years of younger age. In this analysis, the researcher statistically controlled for differences in sex, race, education, cognitive activity, physical activity, and alcohol consumption, so the findings were not affected by differences in these characteristics. The vegetables showing the highest association with cognitive functioning were green leafy vegetables. The amount of fruit consumption was not associated with cognitive functioning.6
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Red Meat, Heart Disease, and Diabetics

Now I’m not a red meat eater, and haven’t been for several years. Why? Well it’s one of those foods, along with bacon, potato chips, and doughnuts that I simply don’t trust. And according to Food Navigator there’s another reason to be suspicious of it—especially if you’re diabetic. New research has determined diabetics who eat lots of red meat increase their risk of heart disease by fifty-percent. Check it out:
The research looked at the effects of red meat and dietary iron intake on the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) among the 6,161 women with diagnosed type-2 diabetes enrolled in the Nurses Health Study…

… After adjusting the results for confounding factors such as age and BMI, the researchers report that high intake of heme iron from red meat, poultry and seafood was associated with a significantly increased risk of CHD for these diabetic women.
Issues surrounding red meat are no stranger to this blog. In fact, this past November a new study determined a link between red meat and cancer. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News was all over it:
"We found that higher red meat intake may be a risk factor for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer among premenopausal women," said lead author Eunyoung Cho, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "The majority of breast cancer is hormone receptor-positive, and the incidence of hormone receptor-positive tumors has been increasing in the United States," she added.
And let’s not forget this University of San Diego School of Medicine press release claiming milk and red meat contain a unique molecule which promotes diseases. More from the release:
The study’s senior author, Ajit Varki, M.D., UCSD professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine, and co-director of the UCSD Glycobiology Research and Training Center, said that although it is unlikely that the ingestion of Neu5Gc alone would be primarily responsible for any specific disease, “it is conceivable that gradual Neu5Gc incorporation into the cells of the body over a lifetime, with subsequent binding of the circulating antibodies against Neu5Gc (the immune response), could contribute to the inflammatory processes involved in various diseases.”
Some other posts worth taking a look at:

Stressed to Eat

A vegetable-based diet is a big part of my life, in fact, for dinner last night I had beets, spaghetti squash, and a mound of broccoli rabe. Not too shabby, right? But, I must admit I do have my dietary hangouts—most take place when I’m stressed. After all, my ultimate vice? Food! Take my sushi folly for example:
I just had sushi for lunch—and now I’m annoyed with myself! Looks like no more fish for me this month, and there goes my day off from the gym this week. Me and my bright ideas, next time I get another bright idea I’ll try keeping this quote from Homer Simpson in mind, “Shut up, Brain, or I'll stab you with a Q-tip!”
When it comes to food, stress can bring out the worst in me. Come on, I know I’m not alone on this one. How many of you have perpetrated a stress-related dietary detour? Be it sushi, chocolate, salty snacks, or—heaven forbid—worse. Well, according to Sally Squires of The Washington Post stress eating is a major problem in this country, and, it has some experts perplexed:
For others, working long hours is the trigger. "I'm a junior in college and often find myself craving salty snacks when I'm stressed and working late into the night," a Lean Plate Club member in Annapolis noted in a recent e-mail…

…"Fight-or-flight is the normal response to stress," notes Tatjana van Strien, professor of psychology at Radboud University in the Netherlands. "All the blood goes to the muscles so that you're ready for action and not for eating…So stress eating is highly unadaptive and highly strange." What's more, when people are under great stress, such as the death of a family member, they tend not to eat.
Now, even though I’m guilty of occasional stress eating and cheating, I still think all this could just be another byproduct of toxic hunger; as described by Dr. Fuhrman. Check out this excerpt from Eat to Live and let me know if you feel the same way:
It is our unhealthy tendency to eat without experiencing true hunger that contributed to our becoming overweight to begin with. In other words, to have become overweight in the first place, appetite, food cravings, and other addictive drives that induce eating have come into play. Poor nutrition induces these cravings (addictive drives), and nutritional excellence helps normalize or remove them.
Dr. Fuhrman explores the stress-hunger-obesity connection further in "Stress Hunger"--The Cause Of Obesity. Here’s some of it:
Most people never experience the healthy sensation of feeling hungry. In fact, most people desire to avoid feeling hungry. I think feeling hunger is good to experience periodically. Hunger is important to aid in our enjoyment of food and get the precise signals from our body to know the amount of calories we need to maintain our lean body mass. When we eat when we are hungry food tastes much better and we are physiologically primed for proper digestion. Hunger, in the true sense of the word, indicates to us that it is time to eat again.

Gridiron Gluttony

I’m a huge football fan, but according to this report, huge is the problem with football. Here’s a question. Where do mammoth NFL linemen come from? If you guessed, big kids, you’re onto something. Because a new study revealed that almost fifty-percent of linemen playing on Iowa high school teams qualify as overweight. Todd Dvorak of the Associated Press explains:
"These are 15- and 16-year-old boys that have a weight and body-mass ... that as they enter adulthood puts many at a very adverse health condition," said Dr. Joe Eisenmann, co-author of the study and a professor in pediatric exercise physiology at Iowa State…

…For years at the pro and college level, teams have sought bigger, stronger linemen who are harder to budge. Players have responded by adding weight and muscle mass, making the 300-pound lineman fairly common, sports medical experts said.
Personally I’ll take speed and skill over size any day of the week, but the issue of bulky lineman is more than just coaching preference. According to Dr. Fuhrman, it’s about health:
Bulking up is dangerous to one's longevity and power lifters and football linebackers often eat in a way that radically shortens their lives.
That’s why things like Chicago Bear Bernard Berrian’s bacon and syrup diet should make your head explode—especially since he's a fleet-footed wide receiver! Now, if a skinny wide out eats like that, imagine what the dietary habits of players like Sam Adams, Ted Washington, Langston Walker, and Jonathan Ogden must look like. For non-football fans, they’re all NFL lineman and all well over three-hundred pounds.

Playing professional football might be a dream come true for these guys, but a long healthy life seems like the ultimate win to me. For more on the potential dangers of “bulking up” check out these previous posts:

More Bad News for Bones

Well if today’s post about antidepressants and bone-loss wasn’t bad enough, check out this report by HealthDay News. Apparently a new study has found that a certain cancer medication caused bone loss and promoted tumor growth in the bones of mice. Robert Preidt reports:
G-CSF helps restore white blood cell counts after chemotherapy, which can destroy white blood cells. Low levels of white blood cells increase the risk of infection in patients.

In the study, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis gave G-CSF to mice for eight days.

They found that the mice lost bone mass. The rodents also showed increased bone tumor growth when they were injected with cancer cells.

Antidepressants: Bones at Risk

It’s always a bit unnerving when you read stuff like this, especially since so many people in this country take antidepressants. But according to a new study, many top-selling depression medications might increase the risk of bone breaks in older people. Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press reports:
People aged 50 and older who took antidepressants, including Zoloft, Prozac and other top-sellers, faced double the risk of broken bones during five years of follow-up, compared with those who didn't use the drugs, the study found…

…Research in animals suggests that the pills might have a direct effect on bone cells, decreasing bone strength and size, said Dr. David Goltzman, an endocrinologist at McGill University in Montreal and colleagues said.
Goltzman stresses the serious implications of these findings because millions of people take antidepressants, and, older people are already at risk for osteoporosis, a bone-weakening disease—quite the dubious double-whammy.

Now, this reminds me of all the reports from back in December linking acid suppression medication to heightened risk of hip fractures. Here's one from ScienceDaily:
Potent acid suppressive medications such as PPIs have revolutionized the management of acid-related diseases. Millions of individuals have been using these medications on a continuous or long-term basis, according to background information in the article. Some research has shown that PPI therapy may decrease insoluble calcium absorption or bone density in certain patients. These factors could increase the risk for hip fracture, which has a death rate during the first year after the fracture of 20 percent. Among those who survive this period, 1 in 5 require nursing home care and often an emergency department visit, hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation, with huge health care costs.
So, in case you’re worried about the potential dangers of acid medication, consider Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on the matter. From September 2005 edition of Healthy Times:
Bone strength is directly proportional to muscle strength, and bone health requires a lifetime commitment to regular exercise and physical activity. Inactivity or bed rest can be disastrous to the bones. Go to the gym, walk, wear a weighted vest, do back exercises, work in the garden, and stay involved with sports or fitness pursuits appropriate to your ability and health. Nutritional excellence is vitally important, and cannot be replaced by supplements. Taking supplements is merely an adjunct to other critical lifestyle factors that reduce risk.
Okay back to the issue involving antidepressants. Is there a safer way to help treat depression, one that doesn’t emphasize the popping of pills? More from Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times, this time the March 2006 edition:
Nutrition and Mood Disorders
With over a million prescriptions for antidepressants being filled each week and annual sales of 11 billion dollars at stake, it is unlikely that a new protocol for depressed people will emerge in America. Money usually dictates direction in the medical/drug/insurance industry. However, the conflict and controversy over the dangers of psychotropic medications used for depression, and the recent cardiac-related deaths from Ritalin prescribed for ADHD, are calling attention to the all-too-cozy relationship between government agencies and the drug industry. The public no longer can trust the validity of drug-related information that comes from even such formerly respected sources as medical journals and universities. These institutions depend increasingly on pharmaceutical dollars (advertising and grant monies), and this has led to numerous instances of inaccurate reports that conceal evidence and promote drug use.
Treating Depression Naturally
It is clear that people are more prone to depression and other diseases when their intake of high nutrient-containing plant food is low. It also has been shown that the response to medication and other therapeutic intervention can be suboptimal when antioxidant nutritional status is inadequate.1 Whenever we measure low levels of vegetable-derived nutrients, we find depression more prevalent. For example, low folate intake and low folate blood levels have been shown to correlate with depression.2 Low folate in the bloodstream is a marker for low fruit and vegetable intake. Deficiencies of folate, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and selenium tend to be more common among depressed than non-depressed persons.3

Natural therapies are surprisingly effective. Recent advances in non-pharmacologic treatments for depression can help people feel better—and even assist them in making total recovery—without dependence on medications. Researchers doing the studies in this field have been surprised to find that natural therapies can have very high success rates, rivaling those of drugs. Of particular interest is the fact that these non-pharmacologic treatments get results faster than drug treatments. Now is the time for all people with depression to give these safe, natural treatments a try. By combining the most promising facets of these approaches, the likelihood of improvement and recovery is greatly enhanced.
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Trans Fat Free Brings New Problems

Who would have thought? Franken-snacks might be problematic. New research has determined that replacing unhealthy trans fats by modifying fat in commercial products can raise blood glucose and depress insulin in humans. The Diabetes Blog is on it:
The study demonstrates the process of rearranging molecules in the fat adversely affect human metabolism of fats and glucose. The metabolism of unmodified natural saturated fat is healthier, in comparison. The trans fats are replaced with interesterified fat, which is a modified fat that includes hydrogenation followed by rearrangement of fat molecules by the process called interesterification. The rearranged fats are then enriched with saturated stearic acid. Experts on human lipid metabolism noted this study shows the specific location of individual fatty acids, particularly saturated fatty acids, seems to make a difference on fat and glucose metabolism.
Maybe it’d just be easier to avoid most commercial products altogether.

Do Androids Lift Electric Weights?

Now in this ever-wonderous age of technology we live in, I’ve noticed something. Gyms are being invaded by cyborgs! I see it everyday. At my gym everyone and I do mean everyone, comes wired with some sort of battery powered device. Be it a mp3 player, cellphone, or one of those blackberry thingies—sometimes all three!

And, in the odd chance that someone is not toting a gadget they are usually utterly transfixed by at least one of the dozen television screens. That in most cases are actually mounted to the treadmills. Personally I don’t mix entertainment and exercise. For me, music and TV are just background noise. I like to focus on what I’m doing, I don’t know, something about holding heavy weights above my head makes me want to pay attention, call me crazy.

Well according to this article by the Associated Press my attitude might be a good thing. It seems some experts believe all these gadgets can distract us from listening to our bodies. As the report points out this can be potentially hazardous. Michael Hill has more:
But are those distractions good or bad for exercisers? Researchers say it cuts both ways. Yes, a dose of video or audio can inspire better workouts. But distractions can also hurt performance. In a way, music can add some static to the mind-body connection…

… In a 2005 study, British researchers put 18 undergraduates on stationary bicycles to pedal either to silence or to "popular electronic dance music" on headphones. Participants worked about 13 percent harder to the up-tempo music compared to silence. One of the researchers, Sam Carr, suggested in an e-mail interview that music competes with an exercisers' awareness of how hard they're breathing, or how much their legs ache.
Okay, I admit it, the Rocky theme song makes me workout a little harder. But how many of you have been running and all of a sudden that Eye of the Tiger song comes on? Then you crank the treadmill up real high only to bring it down real low before the song is over, while exaggerating some kind of ache. Guilty!

Report: Cold Medicine and Babies Don't Mix

An infant with the sniffles might keep you up at night, but according to a new study giving them a shot of cold medicine can be a dangerous quick-fix. In fact, government research shows it could be deadly. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
"Cold and cough medications, especially medications containing pseudoephedrine [a nasal decongestant], have never been shown to have any beneficial effect on children less than 2 years of age, yet they clearly can have significant harmful effects," said Dr. Michael Marcus, director of pediatric pulmonology, allergy and immunology at the Maimonides Infants & Children's Hospital in New York City.

"There are no studies to support the use of cold medicine in infants," said Dr. Gwen Wurm, director of community pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "The thing to keep in mind is that colds go away. Kids might benefit from a humidifier by the bed and saline nose drops, but this kind of loving care is all most kids need."
Remind me to thank my father for not giving me cold medicine when I was a baby—although I’m not sure putting a close pin on my nose was great parenting either.

Trans Fat: The Great Debate

Trans fat has become quite the hot topic. Not all that surprising really. We’re a desperately fat nation, so of course we’re scrambling for a quick fix! Why not ban trans fat? Why not? Good question. And for me it’s not one with an easy answer.

Sure, it does make sense to ban a reportedly harmful substance, but what about choice? Shouldn’t you have the freedom to consume trans fat if you really want to? Do we need government intervention here? This is why, believe it or not, I’m both for and against the ban on trans fat. And no, I’m not normally a fence-sitter. It’s just this one has me stumped.

Now some people have stronger convictions than me. As you’ll see, not everyone sits on the perch of indecision. Here are some reader opinions from the numerous Followhealthlife posts on trans fat. And in case your like me, maybe they’ll help you decide:
NYC: Trans Fat is Toast
Louise: You're torn? I can't believe it! The Harvard School of Public Health and Wageningen University has found that removing trans fats from the industrial food supply could prevent tens of thousands of heart attacks and cardiac deaths each year in the U.S. The public depends on the government protecting them from harmful consumer products, especially food and drugs. Maybe you're in favor of legalizing drugs as well?

It's better for society if laws conform to benefit the human organism.

New York Times On Banning Trans Fat
Jackie Danicki: Look, the way you get people to take responsibility for their health is not to revoke the degree to which they must take responsibility for their health. It is sad that so many people choose to eat themselves to death - which they could do without trans-fats, as it happens - but the ugly truth is that it is their choice to make.

My choices are what led me to being very overweight, and my choices have brought me down by more than 100 pounds. No amount of interfering from the government would have made a difference. How many people do you know who are obese because of trans-fats alone? Or is it more realistic to say that people become obese because they don't have active lifestyles, they have sedentary existences, and they overeat in huge quantities? It is the latter, of course. Unless you plan to start forcing people to exercise by law, under threat of jail and fines, it makes no sense to start using jail and fines to dictate what food people can eat.

Leave Trans Fat Alone?
Helena: I think trans fat should go, obviously, but I am not sure a ban will accomplish major health benefits. I think the dangers of trans fat are grossly overrated. Sure, the stuff is evil, but trans fat free French fries are still evil. I cringe every time I see those "heart healthy" fries advertised around here and I am not even sure that soybean oil fried fries are that much healthier than trans fatty fries. In the end, I really do not think it matters much.

Howard Stern On Trans-Fat
Diana: It has to be BANNED because otherwise most restaurants will continue to have trans-fats in much of what they serve, and they won't be forced to eliminate it. That leaves very few options for people that would like the CHOICE of eating healthy when out.

They don't NEED to use it! Food does not taste better with trans-fats!
Clearly there is no shortage of opinions on trans fat. Obviously it’s a big deal. Heck, according to The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles is planning to study other cities’ bans on trans fat. Maybe another ban is the horizon. Read on:
Public health officials will be asked to review the issue with the restaurant industry and community health organizations, and to study whether the county can regulate trans fats at restaurants countywide or just in unincorporated areas.

Jot Condie, president of the 22,000-member California Restaurant Association, said he's open to suggestions but believes banning something widely used in homes "has more cons than pros."
Sound off on this one. We could always use more viewpoints for the pile.

Biased Studies: What to Drink?

Thirsty? Bones feeling a little weak? Worried about osteoporosis? Have a glass of milk, right? Yeah—not so fast! Because according to Dr. Fuhrman milk isn’t exactly programmed for human consumption. Cow's Milk and Kids Aren't Made for Each Other has more:
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.
Still thirsty? Okay, well what about juice? Can’t beat a big glass of juice—not totally! Dr. Fuhrman recommends people only drink an ounce of fruit juice a day. In Pomegranate Power he further explains his position on fruit juice. From the comments:
I do not think a little fresh squeezed fruit juice is bad, just not a good idea for those who are trying to lose weight. Certainly, even a few ounces of pomegranate or red grapefruit juice is not going to blow your diet. Similar to olive oil, people think because my book, Eat to Live encourages the reader to avoid oil, (because all oil is 120 calories a tablespoon and it can add up fast) that I am dead set against using even a little bit of olive oil occasionally. Apply the principles, but it does not have to be that rigid.
Now, this might seem like a dumb question (actually it is a really dumb question), but are soft drinks a good idea? Yeah, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t a fan. He elaborates in Disease-Proof Your Child:
Soft drinks and processed foods are full of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is not only fattening, but this inexpensive and ultra-concentrated sugar has no resemblance to real food made by nature. It is another experiment thrust upon our unsuspecting children with unknown dangerous consequences. Besides sugar, corn syrup, and chemicals, these drinks often contain caffeine, an addictive stimulant. Children crave more and more as they get older. By adolescence most children have become soft-drink addicts. It is no surprise that six out of the seven most popular soft drinks contain caffeine. Contrast this high level of sugary “liquid candy” with the meager intake of fresh produce by children and teenagers, and it is no surprise that we have an obesity epidemic beyond all expectations.
So why bring all this up? Well apparently some studies are being skewed to make milk, soda, and juice seem like good ideas. Now this is by no means my discovery. Marilynn Marchione of the Associated Press reports the beverage industry may have significant influence on medical research. Read on:
Biased science can affect consumer behavior, doctor recommendations and even federal regulation of marketing claims for such products, Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Children's Hospital Boston who led the work, said.

"I don't blame researchers for this problem. I think most are highly ethical and dedicated to science. The problem is that when government underfunds nutrition research, industry money becomes hard to resist," he said.
This is very gangster-like if you ask me.

Health Points: Tuesday

According to the report of the study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, overweight rates increased through adolescence from 7 to 10 percent in the Caucasian girls and from 17 to 24 percent in African American girls. Girls were 1.6 times more likely to become overweight between 9 and 12 years of age than in later adolescence.
She said she’d skip the wine but would take the cheese. Then she grabbed a handful of cheese cubes off the food platter and stuffed them into her mouth. After she swallowed, she looked at me, smiled, and said she wanted to die if she couldn't eat what she wanted. I called the doctor and my patient was treated for a sharp rise in her blood pressure.
The problem was the letter Karlind discovered, tucked inside her report card, saying that she had a body mass index in the 80th percentile. The first grader did not know what “index” or “percentile” meant, or that children scoring in the 5th through 85th percentiles are considered normal, while those scoring higher are at risk of being or already overweight.
My best advice is to keep the food that you want on hand and keep the types you don't out of the house. Start your children with healthy eating habits as soon as possible. Read labels and make informed choices.
The effects of the green-tea drinks go beyond those of caffeine-laden zero-calorie sodas, the manufacturers of Celsius and Enviga say. An antioxidant found in green tea — epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG — significantly increases metabolism, they say, which boosts the body's ability to burn fat.
Soft drink consumption:
  • All Americans: 6.4% of total caloric intake.
  • Teenage boys: 10%
  • Teenage girls: 9%
  • Will an online fitness tracker help people get people exercising? The American Heart Association sure hopes so. More from Jamie Stengle of the Associated Press:
The group hopes its new free Start! program will inspire Americans to follow through on those resolutions to get in shape. With its online fitness and nutrition tracker, participants can enter what they eat each day and how much exercise they get, then get a summary of calories in and calories out.
  • Ever heard of the Swine Flu? Sounds like something you order at a bar. Aetiology enlightens us:
The main swine viruses circulating are of serotypes H1N1, H3N2, and H1N2. (The news report doesn't identify the serotype this person was infected with). Some of these viruses are combinations of human, swine, and avian influenza viruses, and swine have previously been implicated in the generation of pandemic influenza viruses due to their ability to serve as a "mixing vessel" for avian and human-type influenza viruses. And since they're so closely related to humans (well, much more closely related than, say, birds, anyway), there is concern that a swine virus (or an avian virus that becomes adapted to mammals by infecting a pig) could enter the human population and wreak havoc. So, in a nutshell, that's one reason why we're so interested in swine influenza, even though "bird flu" has recently been so dominant in the news. And though this news report shows a fairly simple scenario so far, it raises a lot of unanswered questions.

Thursday Health Points: What's in the Papers?

The idea of preventing Alzheimer's and other forms of mental decline is immensely attractive -- and there is some early evidence that this may be possible. Recent research, including an article published two weeks ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that boosting mental skills with simple exercises can help slow the rate of decline as people age.
Dr. Lleras-Muney and others point to one plausible explanation — as a group, less educated people are less able to plan for the future and to delay gratification. If true, that may, for example, explain the differences in smoking rates between more educated people and less educated ones.

Smokers are at least twice as likely to die at any age as people who never smoked, says Samuel Preston, a demographer at the University of Pennsylvania. And not only are poorly educated people more likely to smoke but, he says, “everybody knows that smoking can be deadly,” and that includes the poorly educated.
In January 2006, a group of residents concerned about the town's health started a free program called "Get Lost in Jackson." Over the next year, participants checked in at monthly weigh-ins; attended classes on fitness, nutrition and health; and began exercising.
“In 19th Century China, being heavy was a sign of great wealth and success, both for men and for women. So this is really a change in the sense that . . . China has been a very poor country, and people are just very, very thin. Now, of course, China is doing very well, and many people have a very reasonable lifestyle and are not suffering at all, but it's not just something the eye is accustomed to seeing and the cultural norm is just that smaller is better.”
The legislation is part of a handful of sweeping bills that Kennedy and others will seek to pass as Democrats begin running Congress. Republicans like Tom DeLay , the former House majority leader who helped to thwart tobacco regulation, are no longer in office.
Low dietary calcium and vitamin D: Milk and other dairy products can provide a major source of bone-building calcium to most diets. Leafy green vegetables and soybeans are also high in calcium.
While some pundits rank radical feminism among the top threats to American manhood, James Rutz says we should shift some blame to tofu.

That's because tofu is made of soy. And soy consumption, writes the Megashift Ministries founder and religion columnist for conservative news site WorldNetDaily.com, "commonly leads to decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality."
Red tomatoes contain lycopene, which not only is good for your heart but also fights cancer and could boost prostate-gland health too.

Blue and purple fruits such as blackberries, black currants and plums promote urinary-tract health and memory function and could thwart the development of cancer. Cranberries have been shown to increase HDL, or good cholesterol, and they act as powerful antioxidants
Losing weight because you want to look good is an extrinsic motivation and one that usually won't take you very far. "Aesthetics can't drive it hard enough, like wanting to fit into your skinny jeans," Dixie Douville, a certified fitness trainer and co-founder of Active Weigh Health and Weight Loss Coaching in Flanders said. "The biggest reason it doesn't work is, a lot of people are unreasonable with the goals they set."

The Problem with Acrylamides

Food, it keeps our human machines running. Without it, we’d be dead. But if food is so precious, how come so many edibles are loaded with dangerous compounds? Need examples? Consider mercury contamination of fish, or what about PCBs found in animal fat, trans fat ring a bell, and let’s not forget pesticides on produce. In fact, you only have to look at the recent E. coli outbreak to realize that in many cases food is our worst enemy. Did I mention the obesity epidemic too?

So this next report shouldn’t surprise you. It’s about acrylamides. Know what they are? No? Well you’re not alone, according to Libby Quaid of the Associated Press not many people do. They also don’t know just how dangerous these compounds reportedly are and that they can be found in many of the foods we feed to our children. More from the article:
Acrylamide turns up in all kinds of tasty foods, including french fries, potato chips, breakfast cereals, cookies and crackers. But it's difficult for consumers to figure out how much acrylamide is in a particular meal or snack…

… Acrylamide also forms in plenty of other starches, like the toasted oats in Cheerios, the flour in hard pretzels or even the sweet potatoes in Gerber Tender Harvest organic baby food.

But compared with other worrisome chemicals in food, such as mercury in fish or benzene in soda, relatively little is known about how acrylamide forms, how it affects people or what to do about it. High levels of acrylamide in food were first reported by Swedish researchers in 2002.
Hopefully your attention is thoroughly piqued. Now, for more on acylamides check out this section of Onlyourhealth Your Child. According to Dr. Fuhrman acylamides have been linked to both breast and uterine cancer. Read on:
Not only do processed foods and fast foods often contain dangerous trans fats and other additives, but they also can have high levels of acrylamides. When processed foods are baked and fried at high temperatures, these cancer-causing chemical compounds are produced. Many processed foods, such as chips, french fries, and sugar-coated breakfast cereals, are rich in acrylamides. Acrylamides also form in foods you bake until brown or fry at home; they do not form in foods that are steamed or boiled.

There was worldwide alarm in the scientific community in 2002 after researchers announced that many of the foods children eat contain high levels of these potent cancer-causing compounds. Acrylamides cause genetic mutations, leading to a wide variety of cancer in lab animals, including breast and uterine cancer. It has not been definitively shown that acylamides are a major factor in the development of human cancers, but most cancer experts working in this field presume that it does.1 This offers another reason to avoid consumption of overly heated and processed foods.
Okay. I don’t know about you, but hearing that something “might” cause cancer is enough to make me seriously limit my exposure to it. If not avoid it altogether. In Onlyourhealth Your Child Dr. Fuhrman offers some advice for avoiding acylamides when cooking at home. Time to get out your steamers:
Steaming vegetables and making soups is called water-based cooking. Water-based cooking is the preferred way to cook because you can avoid cancer-causing acrylamides that are created when foods are browned by baking or frying.

Never eat browned or overly cooked food. Burnt food forms harmful compounds. If by accident something is overcooked and browned, discard it. Avoid fried food and food sautéed in oil. Experiment with low heat cooking to prevent nutritional damage to the food and the formation of dangerous heat-generated compounds.
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Weight-Loss Articles Cause Eating Disorders!

How’s that for sensationalism? Not good enough? Try these on for size: "Get the body you want" and "Hit your dream weight now!” Carla K. Johnson of the Associated Press reports headlines like those might actually influence unhealthy dieting behavior in young girls later in life. This according to a new study:
Teenage girls who frequently read magazine articles about dieting were more likely five years later to practice extreme weight-loss measures such as vomiting than girls who never read such articles, the University of Minnesota study found.

It didn't seem to matter whether the girls were overweight when they started reading about weight loss, nor whether they considered their weight important. After taking those factors into account, researchers still found reading articles about dieting predicted later unhealthy weight loss behavior.

Feed Your Family Right

Want your kids to eat healthier? Is hubby downing too many nachos and not enough veggies? Wife hooked on bonbons and chocolate? Need a solution? Well according to Dr. Fuhrman, healthy eating should be for the whole family. That way everyone eats better. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
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.

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 perfect 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.
Lead by example sure seems like a good idea. Especially when you consider what might happen if you slack off on family nutrition. For starters, according to HealthDay News filling baby’s sippy cup with sugary drinks is a one way street to cavity town:
"Sippy cups were created to help children transition from a bottle to drinking from a regular cup, but they're too often used for convenience because they reduce spills. When kids sip sugared beverages for extended periods, they are exposed to a higher risk of (tooth) decay," Dr. Philip H. Hunke, AAPD president, said in a prepared statement.

Between 1988-1994 and 1999-2002, there was a 15.2 percent increase in cavities among kids aged 2 to 5 in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If pricey cavities aren’t enough to get your family on the healthy eating bandwagon, what about this report claiming adults living with children consume more fat. More from the AFP:
The University of Iowa and University of Michigan health system study found that adults living with children ate an extra 4.9 grams of fat daily, including 1.7 grams of saturated fat. Adults living with children also were found to be more likely to eat high-fat foods and snacks.

"Adults with children in the home ate more of those snacks and other foods that we considered convenience foods," said Helena Laroche, a researcher at the University of Iowa.
I don’t know about you, but establishing a healthy family diet seems like the way to go.

Health Points: Tuesday

This year, farmers planted about three-quarters of a million acres of low-linolenic soybeans, about a third to a half of what is needed to meet the demand, said Steven W. Poole, a spokesman for Qualisoy, an association that researches and promotes soybeans with enhanced traits.
Ultimately, Mr. Poole anticipates that as many as five million acres of low-linolenic soybeans could be planted in the United States as more partially hydrogenated oils are replaced.
I've always liked fresh corn and peas. Each brightly colored, with a crisp sweetness, and both best when cooked very gently. Sit those kernels on a plate, they make a nice visual statement as well. Slopped between loops of intestine, stuck above the liver, soiling the hidden spaces around the pancreas and duodenum, filling the pelvis, some of the sensual pleasure of what may have been a nice meal gets lost, and dealing with it puts me off the feed for a while. Doesn't smell all that great, either. If it's embarrassing to get a drop of soup on your tie, imagine how it'd feel to see your omentum harboring a whole salad. Hanging down from the transverse colon like a wet apron, it can hide lots of cranberries in its crannies; getting them loose requires individual plucking, and can take a while. The upside is that a person with a perforated ulcer is generally in a lot of pain, and sewing up the hole, cleaning out the food, and copiously irrigating away the acids means s/he is likely to wake up with a smile. I can put up with a little personal unpleasantness when it produces results like that.
One 45-year-old professional writer -- who asked not to be named in order to speak more candidly -- described how she lost nearly 100 pounds over three years after doing some heavy soul-searching. "I had to think, 'Why do I do things that aren't so healthy?' and think about what motivates me, not only to be healthy but also what motivates one to not be healthy. What was I getting out of that?"

It is when people fail to develop healthy coping mechanisms that they fall back on bad habits such as smoking, according to John Banzhaf, George Washington University law professor and executive director of the District-based anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health. "And then a cigarette is no longer enough, so you go to alcohol. And on and on."
At times like this, you need beauty. Doesn't matter if it's a sunset or Body Worlds or a good bottle of wine; you need beauty.

And getting next to it can be enough. Getting to hear fetal heart tones coming from the belly of a woman who's had successful emergency surgery can be enough. Seeing one person walk that you never thought would is enough. Having a patient who's well enough to eat the food his family brought in for Eid ul-Adha is enough.
New guidelines from the industry are due in April on how to prevent contamination throughout the food chain, from before greens are planted until they reach the dinner table.

Members of Congress are asking federal agencies to report on what went wrong and how to fix the problem. Some lawmakers want to replace the patchwork system of federal food regulation with a single agency in charge of what people eat.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that one in three children born in the U.S. five years ago is expected to become diabetic in their lifetime. The number of diabetics has grown by 80% in the past decade.
As 2007 dawns, there are no wildly popular weight loss fads sweeping the country on the scale of Atkins or South Beach a few years ago, or, to a lesser extent, the Sonoma and Shangri-la diets of last year.
Bah! You're hardly meat. But you are quite popular, and people aspire to taste like you. You're probably quite skinny and free of vices. Except letting people eat your eggs.