Tainted Hogs Update

Last week HealthDay News revealed some distressing news. Apparently 6,000 hogs were fed the infamous tainted pet food. Now, to make matters worse, some of those pigs were slaughtered and the meat actually entered the food supply. Steven Reinberg broke the story:
Some 6,000 hogs have been quarantined across eight U.S. states because they may have eaten contaminated salvage pet food, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced late Thursday.

At the same time, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials said that meat from 345 hogs that ate tainted feed has already entered the U.S. food supply, the Associated Press reported.

The quarantined hogs are on farms in California, New York, South Carolina, North Carolina, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma and Ohio, the AP said. And the USDA reported that swine from slaughterhouses in Kansas and Utah may have entered the food supply. Government officials, however, consider the threat to human health to be very low.

The swine are thought to have been exposed to food contaminated by two chemicals, melamine and cyanuric acid, that was sent as salvage by companies who have had to recall massive quantities of dog and cat food as the pet food recall rolls on.
Personally, I wouldn’t eat pork if you tied me down and shoveled it into my mouth. But, messing with our food supply is a big deal. Good thing HealthDay News has an update to this story. E.J. Mundell and Steven Reinberg report that hogs fed pet food contaminated with the chemical melamine have a "very low" likelihood of harming humans:
In a joint statement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stressed, "We are not aware of any human illness that has occurred from exposure to melamine or its by-products." They added that they have identified no illnesses in swine fed the contaminated feed.

The USDA first announced on Thursday that meat from 345 hogs suspected of eating the contaminated feed had entered the U.S. food supply. Some 6,000 hogs suspected of eating the contaminated product have since been quarantined and meat from these animals would be withheld from the food supply, both agencies said.

In the statement, the FDA and USDA said the possibility of human illness from eating swine exposed to melamine remains low for several reasons: "First, it is a partial ingredient in the pet food; second, it is only part of the total feed given to the hogs; third, it is not known to accumulate in the hogs and the hogs excrete melamine in their urine; fourth, even if present in pork, pork is only a small part of the average American diet."
Oh, the FDA says its okay? Gee, I feel real comforted now.

KFC: Trans-Fat Flies the Coop -- UPDATE

Like McDonald’s and Burger King before them, its now being reported that Kentucky Fried Chicken will no longer use cooking oils that contains trans-fat. Great news, but, the food is still garbage. More from Bruce Schreiner of the Associated Press:
The Louisville-based chain announced Monday that all 5,500 of its U.S. restaurants have stopped frying chicken in artery-clogging trans fat. The company had said in October that it was switching to a new soybean oil believed to be less likely to cause heart disease.

"This idea is a positive one for consumers, and we do expect it's going to really appeal to people and bring them into our stores," said James O'Reilly, KFC's chief marketing officer.

Sister brand Taco Bell also said Monday that its U.S. restaurants have completely switched to an oil with zero grams of trans fat. All 4,200 single-brand Taco Bells were converted to a canola oil, and all 1,400 multibrand locations switched to a soybean oil, the fast food chain said.

There are 23 Taco Bell items that contain no trans fat, including the chicken and beef crunchy taco, grilled steak soft taco, chicken and steak Gordita Supreme, and the chicken and steak Chalupa Supreme. Taco Bell said it's working to remove all trans fat from all its ingredients.
I don’t know about the folks over at KFC, remember, these are the same people that wanted the Pope to bless their new fish sandwich. Coo-Coo-Coo-Coo!

UPDATE: Well just look at what came in the mail today:

Trans-fat or not, I'm still not eating it:

Headaches and Migraines: Knock Them Out

Headaches are just awful. They can ruin your day before it even gets started. One of the pluses of Eating to Live is you hardly ever get a headache. At least I don’t. How about you? And here’s a good reason to stay headache-free. Apparently migraines are being linked to brain damage. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
People with migraines also may be suffering from some brain damage as brain cells swell and become starved of oxygen -- a finding that may help explain why migraine sufferers have a higher risk of stroke, researchers reported on Sunday.

Similar brain damage can occur with concussions and after strokes, the researchers said in this week's issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience.

They said their findings suggest that migraine sufferers should not simply get pain relief but should take drugs that prevent the migraine, which is often preceded by "aura" -- a series of visual disturbances that can include flashes of light or black spots.
Now, for years I thought headaches were just one of those things. Don’t know what causes them, just got to deal with them. Not so, according to Dr. Fuhrman. He’ll tell you, nutrition excellence knocks headaches and migraines right out of the box. From Eat to Live:
Recurrent headaches are not much different. They are almost always the result of nutritional folly and, like other reasons that keep doctors' offices busy, are completely avoidable.

The relationship between food triggers and migraines has been the subject of much debate, with varying results from medical researchers. Headache specialists such as Seymour Diamond, director of the Diamond Headache Clinic of Columbus Hospital, report that about 30 percent of patients can identify food triggers.1

My experience in treating migraine and severe-headache patients with a more comprehensive nutritional approach has shown that 90 to 95 percent of patients are able to remain headache-free after the first three-month period. These patients avoid common migraine triggers, but also in the healing phase they adhere to a strict natural-food vegan diet of primarily fruits and vegetables rich in natural starches like potatoes and brown rice. These patients must avoid all packaged and processed foods, which are notorious for containing hidden food additives, even though they are not disclosed on the labels. They also avoid all added salt.
I don’t know about you, but, I’d rather eat lots wholesome natural food instead of popping handfuls of high-dose ibuprofens any day of the week. Now, Dr. Fuhrman has had a lot of success treating headache and migraine suffers with nutritional excellence. Here are couple stories:
Still want to know more? Back in January Dr. Fuhrman discussed banishing your headaches on his radio show Nutritional Wisdom. Here’s the show summary:
You can travel to one headache specialist after another and try a hundred different remedies. But if you want to understand why you get headaches and how to beat them forever listen in to this fascinating show! Dr. Fuhrman explains how eating a high-nutrient diet can alleviate headaches, which are usually associated with other health-related problems.
Continue Reading...

The Tainted Hogs

Sounds like a cool name for a rock band, right? Well, its not. Apparently the U.S. has quarantined 6,000 hogs that were fed some of the infamous tainted pet food. It gets worse. Some of the slaughtered meat has already entered the food supply. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:
Some 6,000 hogs have been quarantined across eight U.S. states because they may have eaten contaminated salvage pet food, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced late Thursday.

At the same time, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials said that meat from 345 hogs that ate tainted feed has already entered the U.S. food supply, the Associated Press reported.

The quarantined hogs are on farms in California, New York, South Carolina, North Carolina, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma and Ohio, the AP said. And the USDA reported that swine from slaughterhouses in Kansas and Utah may have entered the food supply. Government officials, however, consider the threat to human health to be very low.

The swine are thought to have been exposed to food contaminated by two chemicals, melamine and cyanuric acid, that was sent as salvage by companies who have had to recall massive quantities of dog and cat food as the pet food recall rolls on.
Now, I’m sure no one reading this post eats pork, but, even still. This is a problem that our food supply just doesn’t need. The contamination of food is always a relevant issue. Here are a few posts to remind you:

Meat: Grill, Fry, or Broil it?

It seems neither. A new study claims that grilled, fried, or broiled meat contain toxins called "advanced glycation end products" (AGEs). And, Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports that AGEs can lead to a myriad of serious health problems, like diabetes and vascular disease. Here’s more:
Grilled, fried or broiled animal products such as meats and cheeses contain a class of toxins called "advanced glycation end products" (AGEs), which have been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes, vascular and kidney disease, and Alzheimer's disease, say a team from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City…

…"AGEs are quite deceptive, since they also give our food desirable tastes and smells," senior author Dr. Helen Vlassara, professor of medicine and geriatrics, and director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging at Mount Sinai, said in a prepared statement.

"So, consuming high amounts of grilled, broiled or fried food means consuming significant amounts of AGEs, and AGEs in excess are toxic. People should be given information about AGE intake and be advised to consider their intake in the same way they would think about their trans fats and salt intake. They should be warned about their AGE levels the way they are about their cholesterol levels or cigarette smoking," Vlassara said.
Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear. Too much meat and other animal products can contribute to serious health problems, namely cancer and cardiovascular disease. Here are couple posts that highlight this connection:
Okay, back to cooking foods. Does it really matter how we prepare our food? Be it animal or vegetable-based. Well for starters, Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t thinking frying is a good idea. He explains why in Disease-Proof Your Child:
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. 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.
Now, recently I asked Dr. Fuhrman if acrylamides show up in other foods, like cooked meats, specifically barbecued meat. No surprise here, his answer was yes. Actually, he pointed out that acrylamides form in all foods. Check out this study from the Scandinavian Journal of Nutrition, it sheds some light on the development of acrylamides:
The exact chemical mechanism(s) for acrylamide formation in heated foods is unknown. Several plausible mechanistic routes may be suggested, involving reactions of carbohydrates, proteins/amino acids, lipids and probably also other food components as precursors. With the data and knowledge available today it is not possible to point out any specific routes, or to exclude any possibilities. It is likely that a multitude of reaction mechanisms is involved. Acrolein is one strong precursor candidate, the origin of which could be lipids, carbohydrates or proteins/amino acids. Acrylamide is a reactive molecule and it can readily react with various other components in the food. The actual acrylamide level in a specific food product, therefore, probably reflects the balance between ease of formation and potential for further reactions in that food matrix. There are indications in support of that the Maillard reaction being an important reaction route for acrylamide formation, but lipid degradation pathways to the formation of acrolein should also be considered.
At this point it kind of seems like a basic math equation. If too many animal products are bad and eating overly cooked food is also bad, then putting the two of them together has got to be really bad, right? Well, it sure seems that way. In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman considers barbequed meat (and cheese) one of the worst foods you can eat for health and longevity. From the book:
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.

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.
So, will people heed these warnings and cut back on the amount of animal products they eat and be careful not to dangerously cook their food? My guess, probably not, especially with this kind of rhetoric kicking around the blogosphere. Like LivinLaVidaLowCarb’s ringing endorsement of frying meat in butter—sadly, I’m not kidding. Proceed with caution:
I agree with the advice to shun the fried foods specifically because of the breading. But if you want to fry up your meat in a pan full of butter, then knock yourself out. It’s a healthy way to enjoy that succulent protein-loaded food.

While it’s nice to bake, broil, and especially grill meats, don’t fall for the illusion that cooking these ways is any healthier than cooking meat in fat. Avoid the trans fats, of course, but you shouldn’t worry about saturated fats as long as you are livin’ la vida low-carb.
Take a moment to note that butter is also on Dr. Fuhrman’s list of the seven worst foods. Okay, it gets worse. Check out this quote from Carbohydrate Addict, apparently this Atkins dieter thinks grilled-cheese is fabulous—sigh. Here it is:
I think one of the reasons Atkins was so perfect for me was because I was on low fat/low cholesterol for sooooo many years. All of the forbidden foods suddenly became okay to eat without guilt and my cholesterol is finally FABULOUS. I'm still on a high when I eat them! Egg salad, bacon, chicken wings, mac and cheese, grilled cheese.... YUM!
Yum? For bacon and egg salad? Whoa! What a world we live in. Reading rants like this makes me think about the opposite. What does eating a lot of fruits and vegetables do for us? Well, when you’re talking health and disease-prevention, Dr. Fuhrman explains they’re the best! From Fruits and Veggies vs. Diabetes and Colon Cancer:
While fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of nutrients, the consumption of vegetables is more helpful in reducing cancer because they contain much higher amounts of cancer-protective compounds-- especially green vegetables. Among these green vegetables, the cruciferous family has demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects. Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens.

These vegetables also contain indole-3- carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity. Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables and the compounds they contain can do the following:
  • Halt the growth of breast cancer cells1
  • Dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer2
  • Prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells3
  • Inhibit the progression of lung cancer4
And here’s more, from Is Heart Disease Totally Preventable? Take a look:
The Eat to Live vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been shown to be the most effective cholesterol-lowering dietary approach in medical history. This newsworthy data with the potential to save millions of lives has been ignored by the mass media. With this dietary approach, most patients drop their total cholesterol below 150 and LDL below 100, without the need for medications.

During the two years that the Eat to Live vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been under research study by the University of Southern California, patients have shown an average weight loss of forty-nine pounds, the most sustained weight loss ever recorded in a medical study in history.

In areas of the world where people eat a diet of unrefined plant foods, people have total cholesterol levels below 150, and there is zero incidence of heart disease in the population.5
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The Salad Debacle

Salads, arguably the staple meal of Eat to Live, but, that depends. What kind of salads are we talking about? If we’re talking about salads like Dr. Fuhrman’s Indian Mango Salad or his Pecan Maple Salad, then we’re good. But, if we’re talking about many of the standard American restaurant concocted salads, well, those are no friend of an Eat to Liver.

And what is a standard American salad? Let me paint you a picture. Take some phytonutrient-rich lettuce and maybe some tomato and onions. Then, bombard them with cheese, grilled chicken, croutons, bacon, crispy noodles, more cheese, lunch meat, and finally, drown it in as much oil or cream based dressing that you can get your hands on. And what are you left? A meal formally known as healthy.

Need some real world examples? Thankfully the Eating to Live on the Outside series has become a virtual library of unsavory food selections. So, here’s a couple of all-star—insert sarcasm here—standard American salads:
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.

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.
If you consider all this, this next article shouldn’t really shock you. The Los Angeles Times reports that lots people can’t pick the healthy meals on restaurant menus, even though many of them boast "wholesome" options—the problem? Part of it seems to be those pesky standard American salads. Mary Engel explains:
The four-question quiz — which focused on food served at Denny's, Chili's, McDonald's and Romano's Macaroni Grill — was commissioned by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, a nonprofit group based in Davis, and conducted by Field Research Corp. The findings were the same, regardless of education or income levels.

Even the center's executive director, Harold Goldstein, flunked the test, despite holding a doctorate in public health.

"More and more fast-food restaurants are claiming that they are providing healthy choices, and commonly the choice will have a word like 'salad' in it," Goldstein said. "But you could be blindfolded throwing a dart at the menu board, and you've got a better chance at making the healthy choice."

The findings do not bode well for a state in the middle of an obesity epidemic, said Alecia Sanchez, a Sacramento-based spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society. More than half of California adults are overweight or obese and at risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. One in three cancer deaths is related to poor diet, inactivity or obesity, Sanchez said.

Goldstein's center is using the survey results to lobby for a bill, introduced by state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) that would require chain restaurants in California to include nutritional information on their menus, much as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires nutritional labeling for food sold in grocery stores.
This whole situation makes me think of the heavyset woman who walks into McDonalds, orders a Big Mac, large fries, apple pie, and then a Diet Coke.

Healthy Bad Habits?

Okay, I’m sure you knew this already, but, the world has gone mad. Yesterday we learned that the ganja may actually halt lung cancer, and today, it seems fruity cocktails might be good for us. No, I’m not kidding. Reuters reports:
Adding ethanol — the type of alcohol found in rum, vodka, tequila and other spirits — boosted the antioxidant nutrients in strawberries and blackberries, the researchers found…

…Dr. Korakot Chanjirakul and colleagues at Kasetsart University in Thailand and scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture stumbled upon their finding unexpectedly.

They were exploring ways to help keep strawberries fresh during storage. Treating the berries with alcohol increased in antioxidant capacity and free radical scavenging activity, they found.
So next time you see some dude passed out on the beach in a puddle of strawberry daiquiri, you’ll know he’s a health guy. Oh, if you’re interested, here’s what Dr. Fuhrman has to say about consuming alcohol. From Eat to Live:
Moderate drinking had been associated with a lower incidence of coronary heart disease in more than forty prospective studies. This only applies to moderate drinking—defined as one drink or less per day for women, and two drinks or less for men. More than this is associated with increased fat around the waist and other potential problems.1 Alcohol consumption also leads to mild withdrawal sensations the next day that are commonly mistaken for hunger. One glass of wine per day is likely insignificant, but I advise against higher levels of alcohol consumption.

Alcohol’s anti-clotting properties grant some protective effect against heart attacks, but this protective effect is valuable only in a person or population consuming a heart-disease-promoting diet. It is much wiser to avoid the detrimental effects of alcohol completely and protect yourself from heart disease with nutritional excellence. For example, even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to higher rates of breast cancer and to occurrence of atrial fibrillation.2 Avoid alcohol and eat healthfully if possible, but if that one drink a day will make you stay with this plan much more successfully, then have it.
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Why We Don't Eat Healthy Food

Diet-Blog offers up five reasons why Americans don’t eat healthfully:
Despite all the campaigns to promote fruit and vegetable intake - only a third of Americans eat two or more pieces of fruit per day. 25% don't eat any vegetables at all (ref).

Why not?

Recent research from Mintel shows 5 reasons for not eating healthy:
1. Availability
2. Cost
3. Confusion
4. Time constraints
5. Taste concerns

Pittsburgh Loves Ho Hos

People of Pittsburgh, stand up and be proud. Your city leads the nation in per capita consumption of Ho Hos. What’s a Ho Ho? Just a sugary processed chocolate snack cake, clearly, loaded with phytonutrients—hardly. Dan Majors of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more:
According to Hostess' data, the company produces 100 million Ho Hos a year. Pittsburghers pound 1.51 Ho Hos per person per day.

The only cities that come close are Buffalo/Rochester (1.39), Cincinnati (1.37), and Cleveland (1.15).

The announcement came as no surprise to Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at UPMC at the Center for Sports Medicine on the South Side.

"I guess we just really like our snack stuff here because it's tasty, it's easy to get, and they can be fairly economical, especially if you buy them in bulk," Ms. Bonci said. "We like that taste, and our lifestyle is grab-gulp-go. The Ho Ho just fits right in with that."
Sadly, our dangerous love affair with rotten food is all too common. Just get a load of these previous posts:
With food obsessions like this, its no surprise Dr. Fuhrman makes this comment about people’s unwillingness to eat healthy and how many will shun the dietary recommendations in Eat to Live. From Eat to Live:
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.

Talking About Organic

How do you feel about organic produce? Personally, I dig it. But, I don’t bend over backwards to get it. Only about 20% of my weekly vegetation intake comes from organic produce. Why only 20%? Well, according to Dr. Fuhrman the benefits of just eating more fruits and veggies outweigh many of the commonly worried about non-organic risks, like pesticide residue for example. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the majority of pesticides now in use are probable or possible cancer causers. Studies of farm workers who work with pesticides suggest a link between pesticide use and brain cancer, Parkinson's disease, multiple myloma, leukemia, lymphoma, and cancers of the stomach, prostate, and testes.1 But the question remains, does the low level of pesticides remaining on our food present much of a danger?

Some scientists argue that the extremely low level of pesticide residue remaining on produce is insignificant and that there are naturally occurring toxins in all natural foods that are more significant. The large amount of studies performed on the typical pesticide-treated produce have demonstrated that consumption of produce, whether organic or not, is related to lower rates of cancer and disease protection, not higher rates. Certainly, it is better to eat fruits and vegetables grown and harvested using pesticides than not eating them at all. The health benefits of eating phytochemical-rich produce greatly outweigh any risk pesticide residues might pose.
Organic and non-organic is always a hot topic of conversation. Even though I’m not a strict buyer of organic produce, I do think that we’d be better off if all our food was organic. What do you think? And here, to help fuel the discussion, check out this report by Amy Spindler of CookingLight.com. In it, the experts weigh in on organic verses conventional:
What's best for the environment is hotly debated among experts. "There is no scientifically accepted evidence that organic foods are better for the environment. Organic production allows natural pesticides, which can be toxic to humans and wildlife," says Alan McHughen, Ph.D., professor of botany and plant sciences at the University of California, Riverside. Organic fertilizers may also contain harmful bacteria, such as E. coli. Plus, organic farming yields only 75 to 90 percent of the crop of conventional systems, meaning that more land must be planted in order to have an equal return.

Organic advocates counter that chemicals used in conventional farming spread far beyond the fields where they are applied and have unintended consequences. "Synthetic pesticides have been linked to developmental and neurological problems," Benbrook says. "Organics eliminate synthetic pesticides and the damage they do to farmers, land, and drinking water."
Although, once the marketers hook into the organic idea, I’m sure they’ll be rolling out organic Big Macs, Chalupas, and Double Whoppers. Continue Reading...

Trans Fat Out, Saturated Fat In

The hammer is certainly falling on trans fat. In fact, a few months ago it seemed like every week another restaurant or food producer was giving it the heave-ho. Just take a look at this list:
So then, booting trans fat from the food supply must be a good thing, right? Well, there might be a problem with that too. The Associated Press reports banning trans fat might mean a resurgence of an old enemy, saturated fat. Lauran Neergaard explains:
Trans fat has become the new fall guy for bad nutrition. Chain restaurants are struggling to get it off the menu after New York City and Philadelphia required restaurants to phase it out by next year. Bills to restrict or ban trans fat in restaurants or school cafeterias have been introduced in at least 20 states.

At grocery stores, the government began forcing food labels to disclose the amount of trans fat in packaged foods last year, and the race was on to see which manufacturers could eliminate it first.

The irony: Americans eat about five times more saturated fat than trans fat. And while gram-for-gram, trans fat is considered somewhat more harmful than its cousin, too much of either greatly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other ailments.
Now, the low-carb loonies of the world might not see this as a problem, but, those of us who live in reality know that saturated fat poses serious long-term health problems. Don’t take my word for it. Dr. Fuhrman talks about the dangers of saturated fat in Disease-Proof Your Child:
When we study people who died young of coronary artery disease, we find that the highest risk of an earlier death occurs in those who were above average weight in childhood.1 Findings from the famous Bogalusa Heart Study show that a high saturated fat intake early in life is strongly predictive of later heart disease burden and the higher blood pressure in childhood and adolescence is powerfully predictive of cardiovascular death in adulthood.2

A low-fiber, high-saturated-fat diet with lots of animal products, dairy fat, white flour, and sugar creates a heart attack-prone person with high cholesterol levels. The anti-cancer lifestyle, a healthy diet style for the entire family, started early in life, will have the added benefit of making it easier for children to become heart attack-proof. A diet high in plant fiber shows a protective effect against developing high cholesterol, obesity, and elevated insulin levels. Eating more of the natural high-fiber plant food in childhood has a powerful protective effect on preventing later-life heart problems, even for those a strong family history of heart disease.3 For those whose family genetically predisposes them to heart disease, early-life dietary excellence can make the difference between a long life free of heart disease and a heart attack in one’s forties or fifties.
Continue Reading...

HealthDay News: Veggies Good, Cured Meats Bad

Here are a couple of great reports from HealthDay News. First up, Jeffrey Perkel explains that cured meats have been linked to the development of lung cancer:
Using data compiled as part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the study authors found a statistical association between people who ate 14 or more servings monthly of cured meats and the incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This held true even after the researchers factored in such variables as age, smoking, and the amount of fruits and vegetables in the subjects' diets.

"People who eat 14 or more servings of cured meat per month have about an 80 percent increased odds of COPD versus people who don't eat cured meat at all," Dr. Rui Jiang, an associate research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City said.

And, the more cured meats a person eats a month, on average, the higher the risk of COPD, the study said.
Not exactly new news for Followhealthlife, in a previous post Dr. Fuhrman calls pickled, smoked, and barbecued meats one of the worst foods you can eat for health and longevity:

Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat
Now, in related news, Serena Gordon of HealthDay News reports that fruits and vegetables help fight off cancer. Read on:
A trio of new studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research on Sunday found that vegetables and fruits help lower your chances of getting head and neck, breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers.

One of the studies even found that just one additional serving of vegetables or fruits could help lower the risk of head and neck cancer. Still, the more fruits and vegetables you can consume, the better.

"Those who ate six servings of fruit and vegetables per 1,000 calories had a 29 percent decreased risk relative to those who had 1.5 servings," said Neal Freedman, a Cancer Prevention Fellow in the division of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute and author of one of the studies.
Again, this is not exactly earth-shattering research for Followhealthlife. In this next post Dr. Fuhrman explains that cancer is a disease resulting from fruit and vegetable deficiency. Here’s more:
Vegetables and fruits protect against all types of cancers if consumed in large enough quantities. Hundreds of scientific studies document this. The most prevalent cancers in our country are mostly plant-food-deficiency disease.
In the end, it’s still cool when the media echoes what Dr. Fuhrman has been saying for years.

Crouching Cow, Hidden Disease

Mad Cow Disease freaks me out. Not because I eat beef—which I don’t. Just think about it for a second. When all the low-carbers go bonkers from their medium-rare overindulgence, who’s going be left to take care of them? Us!

And now, The Associated Press is reporting that a cow imported into the U.S. in 2002 was part of the same Canadian herd diagnosed with mad cow disease back in February. Take a look:
Older animals carry a higher risk of mad cow disease, which is known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.

"If it was showing any signs, it would not have been able to go to slaughter," Karen Eggert, a spokeswoman for the Animal and Plant Inspection Service said, noting that it was observed by Agriculture Department inspectors.

Meat from the animal probably entered the food supply, Eggert said, but is at "negligible" risk of having posed a threat to animal or human health.
How does "negligible risk" sit with you?

Clamping Down on Asthma

We live in an age of disease. It seems like everyone is popping a pill nowadays. And kids are taking the brunt of it. From ADHD and to ADD—surely, something is wrong with your child! But all these new-fangled conditions are overshadowing traditional maladies like asthma. Just like a Hollywood agent, “Sorry baby, you ain’t hip anymore.”

Maybe that’s why new federal guidelines are coming out this summer urging doctors to pay closer attention to children with asthma. Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press has more:
Federal guidelines due this summer are expected to urge doctors to more closely monitor whether treatment is truly controlling everyday symptoms and improving patients' quality of life — and to adjust therapy until it does.

Already, a campaign is under way to teach patients to recognize they need better help, and to tell them how to convey that to a doctor. If the doctor's happy that you've had no flare-ups but doesn't know you had to quit playing soccer to do it, you're not achieving good control.

Too often, physicians don't realize how severe symptoms are, says Dr. Jill Halterman, a pediatric asthma specialist at the University of Rochester. With children, their own parents may underestimate symptoms.

It's more complicated than denial: When wheezing while running or waking up at night coughing has been routine for years, people may not know to complain.

"It may be part of what they view as normal," says Halterman, who is studying the control gap. "We're hoping we can change that so the goal can really be for the child to have no symptoms and no limitations on activities."
Now, I’m sure every kid with chronic asthma wants to live without symptoms and have no limitations, but what if they could go one step further? What if they could knock their asthma out of the box? Impossible? Not so according to Dr. Fuhrman. In Disease-Proof Your Child he explains that nutritional excellence is a sure-fire way to shake asthma at its foundation:
Eating protein-rich and fat-rich foods of animal origin—meat, cheese, fried food, and saturated fat—is associated with a higher prevalence of both allergies and asthma.1 Eating in fast food restaurants and eating a lower intake of vegetables and other fiber-rich foods has been implicated by numerous studies. The same studies also show that the children in the lowest third of vitamin E intake were found to have three times the incidence of asthma compared to those children in the highest third of vitamin E intake.2 Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin found in greens, raw nuts, and seeds; it is not found in animal products. The consumption of white bread, butter, and margarine has also been noted to be strongly associated with asthmatic symptoms.3

The same pattern emerges. What is needed to battle the development of asthma allergies is the same adequate intake of omega-3 fat as well as diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Eating high antioxidant- and phytochemical-containing foods is related to lower occurrence of childhood allergies and asthma.4 Nutritional excellence can normalize an excessive inflammatory response. The inflammatory cascade release chemicals that attract white blood cells and fluid into the area, which results in the tightness and swelling that create the symptoms of asthma. When nutrient intake is low, the lung tissues become overly sensitive to irritating stimuli.
In a previous post Dr. Fuhrman talks about a young asthma sufferer who achieved great results with nutritional excellence. From Asthma Can Often Be Controlled With Proper Nutrition:
Jonathan was an excellent student and was keenly interested in learning how what he ate affected his health and his breathing problem. At the initial visit to my office, Jonathan was instructed on using a spacer with an inhaler and was taken off his three times a day nebulizer treatments. I told him his recovery hinged on the amount of green vegetables he was capable of eating. He was more than cooperative. This eight-year-old said to me, "I will eat dirt if you can fix my breathing." So I said, "How about if I give you great-tasting real food to fix your asthma. You can be a lot better within a year." Jonathan is now in fourth grade. It took about eight months until he no longer required any medication. He is now the picture of health and uses no inhalers or other asthma medications.
Also, according to Dr. Fuhrman breastfeeding is an important part of stopping the development of asthma in children. Here’s a couple of posts talking about that:
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Eating Together is Better

Growing up we never watched television and ate dinner at the same time. Now that I live alone I still don’t. And it’s a good thing. Because according to a new study, you eat better when you’re not watching the tube. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
For this study, more than 1,300 parents or guardians of children participating in New York's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children were surveyed on how many days a week the family ate dinner together, the number of days each week the TV was turned on during dinner, and how often fruits and vegetables were served.

More fruits and vegetables were served on the nights families ate dinner as a unit. Servings of fruits and vegetables decreased each night the TV was turned on during the meal. Neither eating together nor having the television on seemed to have any relationship with servings of milk.

Fruits and vegetables are important components of any healthful diet and have been associated with decreased cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

Contaminated Fish

In the May 2005 editition of Healthy Times Dr. Fuhrman points out that all fish have contamination issues. And this chart makes it pretty clear that they do, take a look:

The Hard Truth about Milk

I’ve never been much of a milk drinker. Growing up it used to make me sick. And now, I don’t touch the stuff. Call me a jerk if you want to, but when I see an adult sucking down a glass of milk, I honestly assume they’re a little touched in the head. After all, you’ve got to be crazy to drink poison, right?

Milk is poison? Well, that’s what author Robert Cohen contends in this Hard Copy report from 1998. Check it out, I found it on YouTube. It’s very daunting, so brace yourself:

Cohen is definitely going for the scare-factor, but, for good reason. Milk is bad news, but the countless knuckle-heads in this country refuse to believe it. Why? Probably just another shining example of our society’s emotional attachments to food. “Give up milk and cookies? No way!” Personally, a food-crush is not enough to keep me from ignoring the facts.

As Dr. Fuhrman points out in Disease-Proof Your Child, milk is not for humans—surprise-surprise—it’s for cows, but the dairy industry has done a nice job of tricking us to believe that milk is an integral part of the human diet—phooey!

Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, milk is good for something—promoting disease! In Milk: Does It Do A Body Good he points out that heart disease, ovarian cancer, and Parkinson’s are all afflictions caused by dairy consumption. The heart disease causation is particularly interesting:
Heart disease
A related recent finding is that deaths from heart disease also are strongly associated with milk drinking in adulthood. Of particular interest is that (as is the case with Parkinson’s) the association is with the non-fat portion of milk. Non-fat and skim milk consumption shows the same association as that of whole milk. Researchers found that heart disease death is strongly associated with circulating antibodies against milk. These antibodies are found to bind to human lymphocytes and platelets, thus increasing the likelihood of clot formation. The researchers also concluded that the non-fat aspects of milk have atherogenic effects (plaque-building) both biochemical and immunological, and the simultaneous attack from all these directions explains why milk was found to have such a strong effect on death rate.1
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Diet Soda a Farce?

Fast Weight Loss relays a story claiming diet soda is just as dangerous for us as regular sugary soda. Take a look:
Study finds that the drinking artificially sweetened soft drinks can stimulate the appetite, triggering cravings for sweet foods. And this can make you put on extra weight. The study says that you can lose weight if you avoid these soft drinks and drink water instead.

And despite having no sugar, diet drinks are not safe for teeth because they contain phosphoric acid or citric acid, which cause tooth enamel to erode. "It's different from decay, but can be just as bad for your teeth," the report warns.
As we saw in last month’s post Splenda: Big Business Protecting its Interests, Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of fake sugar. Take Stevia for example:
Many health gurus recommend substituting Stevia in place of artificial sweeteners. Stevia is natural and its use is permitted in Japan and other countries. Despite its widespread use, there is a surprising lack of human clinical trials evaluating its safety. Unlike with saccharin, no evidence has been reported that stevioside and its metabolites are carcinogenic. However, animal reports of nephrotoxicity do exist, which suggest that Stevia is likely safer than the other sweeteners, but not entirely without risk.1 The extent of risk is unknown at this time.
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Cancer Risk: Animal Fat & Protein

Here’s a great report from late last month, but, nothing we haven’t seen before. According to Reuters animal protein and fat raise endometrial cancer risk. Read on:
Women who received the most calories from animal protein had twice the risk of the disease compared to those who took in the fewest calories from animal sources, Dr. Wang-Hong Xu of Fu Dan University School of Public Health in Shanghai and colleagues found.

High levels of calories from animal fat boosted the risk by 50 percent. However, the women who ate the most protein from plant sources cut their endometrial cancer risk by 30 percent.

The results suggest that it's the source of fat or protein, not the macronutrients themselves, that is related to endometrial cancer risk, Xu and his team conclude.
For more on the meat-disease connection, check out these previous posts:

When Non-Dairy Means Dairy

Veg Blog is steaming over Jamba Juice’s “non-dairy” formula:
Water, Grade A Nonfat Dried Milk, Grade A Whey, Grade A Whey Protein Concentrate, Splenda, Sodium Alginate, Maltodextrin, Pectin, Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Natural Flavor, Annatto.
You won’t find me at a Jamba Juice anytime soon.

Wow, Magic Foods!

Aren’t we lucky? We live in a time where vitamins can be found water. Wondrous yogurt cultures set our digestive tracts straight. And cooking oils are infused with health-promoting substances. Just how did people survive before all this? Who cares! That was then and this is now.

Okay, I know. The sarcasm was a little over the top, but given the number of magic foods on supermarket shelves and how many millions of people buy them everyday, clearly someone has to think they’re a good idea, right? But are these products really worth it? E.J. Mundell of HealthDay News investigates the merits of “functional foods.” Take Danone's "Activia" for example:
Other functional foods are populating the dairy aisle. Danone recently introduced its Activia line of flavored yogurts enhanced with their own specially developed strain of "friendly" gut bacteria, Bifidus Regularis. The bacteria's name announces the purpose of the Activia line: To encourage frequent, on-time bowel movements…

…"In fact, many yogurts will have 'contains L.acidophilus' or something like that on the label, because they know there's a niche market of consumers looking for that," said Sanders, past president of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, who is based in Centennial, Colo…

…"Remember, if people just ate more fiber in their diets, more fruits and vegetables, they'd probably have bowel movements more frequently, anyway," Mary Ellen Sanders one of the nation's leading experts on bacteria-enhanced "probiotic" foods pointed out.
You’ve got to love that quote! Even though it doesn’t say it, it pretty much implies that it’s easier to convince people to consume engineered/heavily marketed “super foods” than it is to get them to eat regular-old fruits and veggies. “Waaa! But I don’t like broccoli Mommy!” That’s what it sounds like to me.

Dr. Fuhrman knows all about this kind of thinking. Some people are very standoffish when it comes to natural food and they’d rather eat all these manufactured foods and hope that their million dollar claims hold up, than to abandon their food addictions and start eating to live. From, Eat to Live:
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.
Now I realize that I crow-barred that quote in there, but even still, I think it crystallizes the issue here. Instead of teaching people to change their ways and give up emotional attachments to food. We spend tremendous amounts of time—and money—trying bend proper nutrition to our will, in the hope that we won't have to give up all the junk we’re accustomed to eating. Does anyone else think this is bizarre? Not to mention a giant waste of time…and money.

Organic Q&A

Do you buy organic food? I do. Actually, I buy a mix of organic and non-organic. I’m not too anal about it. Why? Well I wash my fruits and vegetables carefully before eating them and according to Dr. Fuhrman that’s really good way to protect myself from pesticide residue. He talks about it in Is Organic Food Safer:
Organic food is certainly your best bet, to further limit exposure to toxic chemicals. No one knows for sure how much risk exists from pesticide residue on produce, but here's what we do know: the younger you are, the more your cells are susceptible to damage from toxins. It seems wise to feed our young children organic food whenever possible.

Of course, wash your vegetables and fruit with water and when possible, use a drop of dishwashing detergent and then rinse well to remove all detergent residues for a little more efficient cleaning. Specialty pesticide removal products have not clearly demonstrated any more effectiveness than mild soap and water.
Now, if you’re still hungry for more information on organic food. Check out this article in The Seattle Times. Astrid Pujari and M.D. answer some common questions about organic versus non-organic:
Q: What foods have the highest level of pesticides?
A: Animal products probably have the highest levels overall. In a Romanian study, meat was six times higher in total pesticides than vegetables. Milk products were three times higher.

Remember that animal products often have hormones and antibiotics in addition to pesticides, which is another issue entirely. If you want to avoid all this, I recommend getting certified organic meat, eggs and dairy products. Note that "free range" and "natural" meat is not the same as organic; you need to look for the actual word "organic" on the label.

In terms of pesticides on vegetables and fruits, the worst are apples, celery, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, spinach, strawberries and sweet bell peppers. In my opinion, though, it's probably safest to eat everything organic if you can.
Good thing I barely eat meat anymore.