Beer for Kids!

No, I’m not joking. Here’s a Japanese commercial selling a fake BEER FOR KIDS! That’s all we need, little Tommy slurring through show and tell. Take a look:

(Via ParentDish)

Kid's Menus a Blessing?

Most parents would probably say that they are. Portions are smaller—kid-sized if you will, but, are they really a heaven-sent or just an easier way for kids to eat the same junk that their parents are already busy killing themselves with? David Kamp of The New York Times investigates:
For restaurateurs there are advantages, too. Marc Murphy, the chef and an owner of Landmarc in TriBeCa (and its new sister operation in the Time Warner Center), says doing a children’s menu has helped the bottom line at his bistro, which is known for its neighborhood clientele and value-priced wines.

“It totally drives that early seating for us,” he said. “The kids eat what they eat, and with our wine program, the parents can have fun.” Landmarc serves up the requisite greatest hits — the fingers, the burger, the grilled cheese — and throws in some curveballs, like “green eggs and ham,” flavored and colored with pesto sauce…

…I grew up eating what my parents ate, at home and at restaurants. Sometimes, the experience could be revelatory, as when I tried fish chowder for the first time on a trip to Boston, or when my mother attempted Julia Child’s Soupe au Pistou.

Other times, dinner was merely dinner, not transcendent but comfortingly routine. And then there were those bummer meals that I just didn’t care for, like stuffed cabbage, but that I endured because my parents offered no other choice. It was all experiential grist for the mill, and it made me — like millions of other Americans of my generation who were raised the same way — a fairly adventurous eater with a built-in sense of dietary balance.

It pains me that many children now grow up eating little besides golden-brown logs of kid food, especially in a time when the quality, variety and availability of good ingredients is better than ever.
I think the answer is pretty obvious. While a novel idea, most kid’s menus just seem like training wheels for the standard American diet. But don’t take my word for it. Linda Popescu is a Registered Dietician, and, she works in Dr. Fuhrman’s office. Here’s what she had to say on the topic:
Don’t underestimate your kids! Most children are very interested in nutrition and want to learn more. Give them the facts about how food choices can affect their health now and in the future. You’ll be surprised and impressed by the healthy and adventurous choices they make!

Frito-Lay Has Gone Insane

Sure, we’ve got an obesity epidemic, but, insanity might be just as far-reaching. Apparently Frito-Lay—maker of uber junk food—believes its new products should be classified as health food. From The U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
On January 24, 2007, the FDA received a notification from Frito-Lay, Inc. (Frito-Lay) submitted pursuant to Section 403(r)(3)(C) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 343(r)(3)(C)) and regarding a health claim for the relationship between dietary substitution of saturated fat with unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) and reduced risk of heart disease (the January 24 notification). The 120-day period from the date of submission of the Frito-Lay notification is May 24, 2007. Therefore, after this date, manufacturers may use the claim specified in the notification, as modified by the notifier in a letter to FDA dated May 11, 2007 (The May 11 letter), on the label and in labeling of any food product that meets the eligibility criteria described below, unless or until FDA or a court acts to prohibit the claim.

The following statements from the 1989 NAS report titled Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk listed in the January 24 notification are considered authoritative statements.
"Clinical and animal studies provide firm evidence that omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids when substituted for saturated fatty acids result in a lowering of serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and usually also some lowering of HDL cholesterol levels."

"Clinical studies indicate that substitution of monounsaturated for saturated fatty acids results in a reduction of serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol without a reduction in HDL cholesterol."
The claim language proposed by Frito-Lay was modified in the May 11 letter to read as follows:
"Replacing saturated fat with similar amounts of unsaturated fats may reduce the risk of heart disease. To achieve this benefit, total daily calories should not increase."
(via Diet-Blog)

Fat Babies, Fat Later On

According to Reuters, new research has determined that heavy infants have a higher risk of being obese later in life. Tan Ee Lyn reports:
Obesity has long been associated with a person's lifestyle and dietary habits, but the study shows it might just as well be dependent on "epigenetics" -- factors such as genes, and the eating habits and lifestyle of parents and grandparents, said researchers at the University of Hong Kong.

"You tend to assume it's just your lifestyle, but what people are realising is it's not just what you are doing now, but what people have done in your family in the past," said Mary Schooling, assistant professor at the university's School of Public Health.

New born infants would be considered heavy if they weigh 3.65 kg (8 pounds) and over.

Excess weight and obesity pose major risks for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and some forms of cancer.
All the more reason to upgrade the eating habits of the whole family.

Healthy Barbecue?

Barbecued meat, not exactly high on Dr. Fuhrman’s list of health-promoting foods, in fact, he considers barbecued meats some of the worst foods you can eat for health and longevity. In Disease-Proof Your Child he points out that even browned food is a bad idea. Take a look:
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.
But this is America, the land of apple pie, bloody steak, charred burgers, and wonder pills. So, if you have friends or family that simply must have barbecue, HealthDay News shares some tips to make barbecue “healthier.” Robert Preidt reports:
The longer the cooking time and the higher the heat, the more HCAs, say experts at the University of California, Davis, Cancer Center. That means that barbecuing produces the most HCAs, followed by pan-frying and broiling. Baking, poaching, stir-frying and stewing produce the least HCAs.

The UC Davis experts offer the following advice for limiting HCAs:
  • Before you barbecue meat, partially cook it in the microwave and then throw out the juices that collect in the cooking dish. Finish cooking the meat on the grill. Precooking a hamburger for a few minutes in the microwave reduces HCAs by up to 95 percent.
  • Flip hamburgers often. Doing so every minute reduces HCAs by up to 100 percent. This is likely because constant flipping keeps internal meat temperatures lower.
Another important thing to keep in mind when eating overcooked food are acrylamides.

Organic or Not

Now this is perplexing. How could something be called organic—if not all of its ingredients are organic! Yes, the USDA has lost its mind. As part of a new proposal the USDA is willing to allow non-organic ingredients into organic products, and—here’s the kicker—they can still be labeled “organic.” Unbelievable—right? Diet-Blog is all over it:
The Organic Consumers Association has been petitioning against a proposal to allow non-organic ingredients to be labeled as organic.

The USDA proposal is essentially this:
“Nonorganically produced agricultural products may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as "organic" when the product is not commercially available in organic form.”
That strikes me as being oxymoronic - and with products like hops in the list - I can almost smell some brewer lobbying.
Big news, especially if you consider the big difference between organic and non-organic. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Is Organic Food Safer:
There is another reason to feed our children organic food when possible. Organic food usually has more nutrients than conventional.1 One study performed at the University of California at Davis found that foods grown organically had higher amounts of flavonoids, which have protective effects against both heart disease and cancer. The researchers found flavonoids were more than 50 percent higher in organic corn and strawberries. They theorized that when plants are forced to deal with the stress of insects, they produce more of these compounds, which are beneficial to humans.2 Overall, organic foods taste better, and organic agriculture protects farmers and our environment.
Continue Reading...

Examining Frozen Sugar Water

Personally, I’ve never looked at a snow cone or Italian Ice and said, “Gee, what a nutritious fat-free snack.” It’s frozen sugar water! Sugar plus water isn’t exactly the blueprint for nutrient-density. But in case you didn’t know that, Kimberly Garrison of The Philadelphia Inquirer examines a Philly tradition, the water ice:
There are nearly 300 calories and 17.25 teaspoons of sugar in a typical 12-ounce serving. That's about five teaspoons more sugar than is found in a typical 12-ounce can of soda.

A 150-pound woman would have to walk at a pace of 3 mph for an hour to burn off that treat. If she's pressed for time, she could simply jump rope vigorously for about 30 minutes.

For the record, when my mom was growing up, she recalls that water ice came in a 4-ounce cup. That's half the size of today's kid's cup at local water-ice stands.

To quote a late-'80s song by Public Enemy, "Don't, Don't, Don't, Don't believe the hype" when you see the phrase "Fat Free."

Don't be misled by our national fat-free fixation. Sure, you'll save a few calories because the fat has been removed. But, fat free, I repeat, is not calorie free!

Remember that the next time you order a large water ice. Which, by the way, is nearly 19 ounces and 450 calories. That's a lot of excess calories, and it doesn't even include the "fat-free" pretzel many people get with their water ice.
When I read about sugar I always think about soda or soft drinks. Let’s face it, what’s the difference between a can of Sprite and a snow cone—thirty-two degrees? So with that in mind, check out this information on soda consumption and obesity. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Obesity rates have risen in tandem with soda consumption, and in the last twenty years the consumption of soft drinks by teenagers had doubled.1 Twelve to nineteen-year-old boys consume thirty-four teaspoons of sugar a day in their diet, and about half of that comes from soft drinks. Children start drinking soft drinks at a very young age, and advertisements and promotions by the soft drink manufacturers are aggressively marketed to the young…

…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.
But I understand, the weather is getting warmer and the temptation is there, so, if you simply must have a frozen sweet treat, give these a whirl. From Followhealthlife’s recipe category:
Strawberry Ice Scream

1 cup orange juice
2 slices dried pineapple
12 oz. frozen strawberries

Place all ingredients in a blender, food processor, or VitaMix. Blend until creamy smooth. If you do not have a VitaMix, you may have to soak the dried pineapple in the orange juice overnight to soften sufficiently to blend in a regular blender or food processor.
Watermelon Ices

5 cups seedless watermelon
1/2 cup raisins

Blend watermelon and raisins in a blender, food processor, or VitaMix until they form a creamy liquid. Pour into paper cups and freeze for one hour only. Remove partially frozen treat from the freezer. Blend again, spoon the mixture back into the cups, and place back in the freezer until served.

Continue Reading...

Mad Cow, Bird Flu: Response Improving

Well, I guess its good news—even if you don’t eat cow or bird. According to the AFP the veterinary response to mad cow and bird flu is getting better. Read on:
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said its International Committee, meeting here until Friday, "confirmed the world situation for highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 (has) stabilised" but urged continued vigilance.

OIE Director General Bernard Vallat told a press conference that countries where there had been renewed outbreaks of bird flu were now "well prepared and react swiftly."

He pointed to Hungary and Japan as countries that had responded well to recent outbreaks, but noted that bird flu remained endemic in Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria.

"The virus is currently stable" as far as the risk for humans is concerned, said Vallat. "There is a risk that it may mutate, but it hasn't happened yet."
You still won’t find me eating either anytime soon.

KFC: A Little Truth in Advertising

What if Kentucky Fried Chicken's ads looked like this?

(Via Diet-Blog)

"I’ll take a two-piece and a double-chin please!"

Diet-Blog Looks at Nourishing Traditions

Diet-Blog is pondering the information in Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions, which promotes the benefits of saturated fat. Here's more:

Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions has been in Australia promoting her book. Fallon promotes the benefits of saturated fats (from research undertaken by the Weston Price Foundation).

Fallon has come under heavy criticism from the Dietitians Association of Australia:

"She's basing her ideas on observations of primitive populations in isolated areas who eat traditional diets, and it's so far removed from Western civilisation," [...] "In a population that is sedentary there is no need to consume saturated fats." (The Age)

So what is the truth? Are there any real answers to this controversial and ongoing debate?

The truth? The truth is to ignore this book! Dr. Fuhrman believes Nourishing Traditions is a sad commentary on nutrition. He lays it on the line in Fanciful Folklore Is No Match For Modern Science, take a look:

Nourishing Traditions is full of bad science and illogical reasoning and its appeal is dependent on people’s ignorance about nutrition. Fallon and Enig perpetuate long-held nutritional myths by referencing the same people who started the myths in the first place.

Nutrition is a complicated subject, and it takes familiarity with a comprehensive body of scientific studies and articles to devise recommendations to prevent disease and promote longevity. Science is not perfect, but evidence builds on prior studies, and ongoing research attempts to test each hypothesis and check validity in an unbiased manner. Today, we have a comprehensive body of knowledge with over 15,000 articles written since the 1950s documenting the link between a diet high in saturated fat and low in fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and beans and the increased risk of cancer and heart disease.

While Nourishing Traditions has over 200 references, many are antiquated, with poor observations. For the most part, the authors reference their own articles and those of other Weston A. Price Foundation authors. Only fourteen of the references are from peer-reviewed journals published in the last ten years, and for most of those fourteen, the authors misrepresented what was stated in the articles. By contrast, my book Eat to Live contains over 1,000 medical references to peer-reviewed medical journals.

Asthma: Fish Good During Pregnancy?

Now, this next report gave me pause. Apparently a new study claims consuming fish during pregnancy is a good idea. Juhie Bhatia of HealthDay News reports:
Researchers from the Netherlands and Scotland have found that eating apples throughout pregnancy may protect against wheezing and asthma in 5-year-old children, while fish consumption may lower the risk of eczema, an allergic skin condition. The findings were to be presented Sunday at the American Thoracic Society's International Conference in San Francisco.

"To our knowledge, we are one of the first studies evaluating the influence of maternal consumption of so many different foods and food groups during pregnancy on childhood asthma and allergic disease," said study author Saskia Willers, a doctoral student at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Previous studies in the same group of children, part of the SEATON birth cohort conducted at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, found that maternal intake of vitamins E and D, and zinc during pregnancy may also lower the risk of asthma, wheezing and eczema. For this study, the researchers looked at how eating different foods, rather than individual nutrients, during pregnancy impacted these children.
Okay, eating apples is great, but, according to Dr. Fuhrman consuming fish while pregnant can be risky. From Disease-Proof Your Child:

Clearly, there are a lot of dangerous habits to avoid before pregnancy, and there are also a lot of fears women have that are not found in science or logic.

The real concerns are not microwave ovens, cell phones, and hair dryers. The things we know to be really risky for you and your unborn children are:

  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine, including secondhand smoke
  • Alcohol
  • Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs
  • Herbs and high-dose supplements, vitamin A
  • Fish, mollusks and shellfish, sushi (raw fish)
  • Hot tubs and saunas
  • Radiation
  • Household clear, paint thinners
  • Cat litter (because of an infectious disease called toxoplasmosis caused by a parasite found in cat feces)
  • Raw milk and cheese
  • Soft cheese and blue-veined cheeses such as feta, Roquefort, and Brie
  • Artificial colors, nitrates, and MSG
  • Deli meats, luncheon meats, hot dogs, and undercooked meats

Microwaves and Bacteria

Did you know microwaves aren’t really that good at killing harmful bacteria on food? I didn’t. Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times looks at a new study examining the microwave-bacteria connection:
One study, by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was published in The American Journal of Epidemiology. It looked at a salmonella outbreak after a picnic where dozens of people ate reheated roast pork. Of 30 people studied, all 10 who used a microwave oven became sick, compared with none of the 20 who used a conventional oven or skillet.

Another study, in the journal Epidemiological Infections, looked at six people who contracted salmonella at a buffet after eating a dish consisting of chicken and vegetables. The scientists found that the food had been heated in a 500-watt microwave oven for five minutes before it was consumed — which apparently was not enough.

Our Broken Food Supply

The recent E. coli outbreak and the melamine scandal have left me wondering, are we doing enough to protect our food supply? The answer seems to be no because former FDA Commissioner David Kessler is calling our food-safety system broken. Nancy Shute of the U.S. News & World Report has more:
Keeping homegrown food safe, too, requires diligence, from the field through the processing shed and factory, all the way to the supermarket. Farmers are legally bound to produce food that doesn't pose a health risk; so are manufacturers and retailers. Costco, for example, uses its own labs to test food samples for microbes and hires third-party auditors to inspect suppliers' farms and factories. Whole Foods, which increasingly looks abroad for its organic products, requires growers to shun pesticides allowed in their countries but not here. But with little oversight, human error or expediency can cause disease and death. "Our food-safety system is broken," former FDA Commissioner David Kessler told a congressional hearing this month. Last week, the USDA declared that 56,000 pigs fed melamine-tainted feed are safe for human consumption.

Hot Dog + Squid = Fun for Kids?

Can’t get your kids to eat calamari? Don’t know what to do? Silly—just cut up a hot dog to look like squid. From Parenting Dish:

But how, you ask, do you turn an ordinary, everyday hot dog into a deep-sea monster meal? With the Octodog Frankfurter Converter, of course. This handy-dandy device that no well-equiped kitchen should be without takes an ordinary hot dog and turns it into a tentacled horror ready to ravage your green bean casserole while delighting your kids.
Yeah, because eating hot dogs is a good idea—that was sarcasm! No doubt Dr. Fuhrman is pulling his hair out over this—not sarcasm. Why? Dr. Fuhrman considers hot dogs one of the worst foods you can eat. Look:
Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat

Healthy Diet: Why Bother?

I guess that’s the attitude many Americans have because as HealthDay News reports only a fraction of the people with high blood pressure are following a healthy diet. Granted, it’s the diet prescribed by the standard American healthcare system, but still. Ed Edelson explains:
The fact that so few people with hypertension -- just 22 percent in the group studied -- are following some simple dietary measures indicates a breakdown somewhere in the American health-care system, said lead researcher Dr. Philip Mellen, an assistant professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

"We don't know where it broke down," Mellen said. "We don't know whether their physicians have been telling them to do it or whether physicians don't feel they know enough to counsel them. We have evidence from other sources that there are problems all along the chain..."

…Mellen's study, which was to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, focused on people who had been told they had high blood pressure.

"Presumably, the guidelines should have prescribed their lifestyle changes," Mellen said. "They did not. Presumably, this would mean that changes in the population have overwhelmed the DASH diet recommendations."
Are you surprised by this? I’m not. And here’s why. Remember this quote from last fall. From Will America Ever Eat Better:
Who the hell cares about the veggies anyway? You don't need them and there is absolutely nothing essential about them. Don't let the acculturated veggie sympathizers tell you otherwise.
Whoa! Can you say, “Grow up!” Now, in Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman acknowledges many of us are creatures of comfort food and will continue to eat poorly—no matter what:
The “good life” will continue to bring most Americans to a premature grave. 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.

NYC: Healthy Food Not Always Available

This topic gets rehashed in the news every few months. The problem, many neighborhoods in big cities don’t have access to healthy foods like fresh fruits and veggies. So what happens? A growing number of residents develop tragic health problems—diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc.—due to the abundance of junk-food that somehow manages to find its way into the neighborhood.

Last year The New York Times focused on the diabetes epidemic in New York City. These articles make it pretty clear that limited access to nutritious disease-preventing food and wide-spread availability of inexpensive convenience food contributes greatly to the risk of type-II diabetes. Take a look:
Today the Associated Press examines Harlem and how its food retailers and restaurants are less likely to sell healthy food than other areas of Manhattan. Colleen Long has more:
In Harlem, fast-food restaurants are more prevalent than shops selling fresh vegetables, according to a city health report.

Food stores in the area in upper Manhattan are mostly bodegas, and the small groceries are half as likely to carry low-fat dairy products as their counterparts in swankier neighborhoods and seven times less likely to sell fresh vegetables, the report said. Only 3 percent of corner stores in Harlem sell leafy green vegetables, compared to 20 percent on the nearby Upper East Side, it said.

"Large health disparities exist between Harlem and other New York City neighborhoods, but we can close those gaps," said Dr. Andrew Goodman, associate commissioner of the East and Central Harlem District public health office, a division of the health department.

In addition, one in six restaurants in Harlem is a fast-food joint. All this adds up to serious health problems for neighborhood residents, who are three to four times more likely to be obese or have diabetes than people who live on the Upper East Side, Goodman said.
Most of the news on this topic seems to be just about blowing a lot of hot air and not really doing anything to fix the problem.

The E. Coli Outbreak: Still a Mystery

Evidently the exact cause of last year’s E. coli outbreak can join the ranks of the loch ness monster, the gunman on the grassy knoll, and leprechauns—all a mystery. As Stephanie Smith of CNN reports, its many months later and there is still no definite answers as to why the E. coli outbreak happened. Read on:
California produce, it seems, has a problem with E. coli 0157:H7, which is most commonly found in cattle feces. Since 1995 there have been more than 20 outbreaks of E. coli in lettuce and leafy greens traced back to farms in that state.

"You'd think that after so many outbreaks, the government and the leafy green industry would do something about this," said Bill Marler, a Seattle, Washington, attorney specializing in food-poisoning cases.

Marler has been at the helm of several lawsuits against the leafy green industry. He says investigations are traditionally slow, and he still does not have a report from a 2005 outbreak in Dole lettuce.

The FDA told CNN that the investigation into lettuce is on hold. It was derailed in part by recent investigations into melamine contamination in pet food, fish, swine and other foods.

"The FDA has to do what it can with the resources that it has," said David Acheson, assistant commissioner at the FDA Office of Food Defense, Communication and Emergency Response. "When there is an outbreak, investigators drop what they're doing and respond."

Applebee's Swats Trans-Fat

Yup, Applebee’s is the latest standard American restaurant to drop trans-fat. More from The Seattle Times:
Restaurant-chain operator Applebee's International Inc. said Thursday that it is no longer using trans fat frying oil at its more than 1,800 domestic restaurants.

Trans fat is made when hydrogen is added to liquid cooking oils to harden them for baking or a longer shelf-life. The process turns them into "partially hydrogenated oils", which may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other ailments.
The company, which started looking for replacement oils three year ago, is now using a blend of two soybean oils it claims do not compromise the taste, texture or quality of its food.

"After extensive testing with our guests, we found that our foods cooked in zero trans fat oil still have the great taste out guests have come to expect from Applebee's," said Dave Goebel, the company's chief executive officer, in a statement. "In some cases, the oil even enhances the flavor of the menu item."
This is a little surprising because late last year Applebee’s was one of the restaurants opposed to New York City’s ban on trans-fat. I blogged about it here, Trans Fat is Toast:
The city's move has been opposed by representatives of chain restaurants, such as Domino's and Applebee's, and by restaurant industry groups. Charles Hunt, executive vice president of the New York State Restaurant Assn., said he hoped to fight the ban through legislative or legal channels.
Now I wonder, did they jump on the ban-bandwagon because it is the socially responsible thing to do, or, is it just a good P.R. move?

FDA: Farmed Fish Okay

If the FDA says its okay, then it must be good—right? Yeah, that’s debatable. Anyway, remember how it was reported that farmed fished had been also exposed to the pet food contaminate melamine? No worries, the FDA now claims the fish is fine to eat—very fishy if you ask me. Randolph E. Schmid of the Associated Press reports:
The two fish farms that used the feed kept their fish off the market until the tests could be completed.

Dr. David Acheson, assistant commissioner for food protection, said fish being raised at Kona Blue in Hawaii and American Gold Seafoods in Washington state were found negative for the chemical melamine.

The questionable feed was also sold to 196 fish hatcheries. Because those fish are small and the feed has been recalled, Acheson said the FDA believes there no longer is any public health concern from them.

The FDA on Tuesday cleared for use 56,000 pigs given feed that included scraps of pet food contaminated with melamine.

BK Getting Sued

A nutrition advocacy group is suing Burger King because they have yet to eliminate trans-fat from their menu. Nichola Groom of Reuters reports:
In court papers filed in Washington, D.C. superior court, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said Burger King is the only leading restaurant chain that has not yet committed to eliminating trans fats from its menu.

"Burger King not only sells food cooked with this harmful ingredient, it does so without warning its customers about life-threatening consequences," the suit said. "Consumers have no way to guard against the risk of consumer trans fats."

Trans fat increases the low-density lipoprotein -- so-called bad cholesterol -- in food, and U.S. health officials have advised Americans to consume as little trans fat as possible.

Restaurants are not legally required to disclose the amount of trans fat in their foods, but CSPI attorney Stephen Gardner said the risks associated with eating trans fats make the products unsafe.

"Given the current state of knowledge... the deliberate use of trans fat, which is completely nonessential, makes those foods deleterious," Gardner said.
This is a little surprising because back in February we learned that Burger King had begun looking into trans fat alternatives, but, sometimes you just need to light a fire under someone’s behind—I wonder if it’ll leave flame-broiled griddle marks?

Cut Your Calories, Increase Your Life

From time to time news about calorie restriction (CR) hits the newswires—and for good reason—everything I’ve read about CR seems to imply that eating less food leads to a longer life. Even Dr. Fuhrman touches on it in Eat to Live. Have a look:
The evidence for increasing one’s life span through dietary restriction is enormous and irrefutable. Reduced caloric intake is the only experimental technique to consistently extend maximum life span. This has been shown in all species tested, from insects and fish to rats and cats.
Now, CR is a fascinating concept. In our society we associate well-fed—maybe even over-fed—with health, so the idea that strictly limiting our caloric intake is better for us, kind of flips the script—don’t you think? Julian Dibbell, a reporter for New York Magazine, found this out firsthand when he gave calorie a restriction a whirl this past October. Here’s some of his report:
It’s no secret. From mystics to anorexics, people who go for long periods without eating often report feeling more awake and energetic, even euphoric. It’s nice for a while, but even the calorie-restricted can get too much of it. When April started CR, she often went long stretches between meals and eventually decided something was a little off. “It makes you feel like you’re on drugs; I got too euphoric,” she says. “You know, thinking you’re in love when you’re not.” She switched to a more consistent, balanced eating schedule, came back down to Earth, and that, she says with a shrug, was that:

“It’s like, ‘Eat something! You’re not in love.’ ”
Again, very amazing, but, how about some proof? Sure, being told CR’s benefits is great, but what about a real-world example. Okay then, take a look at this. Late last year The New York Times shared with us the plight of two monkeys, Canto and Owen. Canto was enjoying a healthy life due to his calorie restrictive diet, and Owen—eating much more—was not so happy. Be sure to check out this graphic—priceless.

So, why all this talk about calorie restriction? Because The Diabetes Blog relays some new research linking calorie restriction to longevity. Here, it’s worth a read:
Researchers have found that persistent hunger promotes long life and identified a critical gene that specifically links calorie restriction (CR) to longevity. Genetic evidence has finally emerged in labs to explain the increased longevity in response to calorie restriction. This link was also identified between calorie restriction and aging. Of course this discovery immediately provoked the scientists to ponder the potential of the next generation of drugs to bestow the health benefits of calorie restriction without the discipline.

Fasting dates back as far as ancient Greek philosophers. Heck, even Mark Twain was a firm believer in fasting. In one of his essays he wrote, "A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors. I do not mean a restricted diet; I mean total abstention from food for one or two days."
In my opinion, the evidence for this style of eating is overwhelming—I’ve even toyed with the idea of giving CR a try. And fasting? Well, Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about the benefits of fasting for years. From his book Fasting and Eating for Health:
Therapeutic fasting accelerates the healing process and allows the body to recover from serious disease in a dramatically short period of time. In my practice I have seen fasting eliminate lupus and arthritis, remove chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, health the digestive tract in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and quickly eliminate cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and angina. In these cases the recoveries were permanent: fasting enabled longtime disease suffers unchain themselves from their multiple toxic dugs and even eliminate the need for surgery, which was recommended to some of them as their only solution.
It’s funny, in this age of modern medicine. Many of us won’t try something as simple as eating less, but, we’ll pop a magic pill in a heartbeat.

Diabetes Risk: Cereal Good, Veggies Not?

Okay, I have to admit. This article made me say, “Henh?” According to new research cereal fiber and magnesium can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, but, fruits and vegetables don’t. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Reuters reports:
The findings stem from an analysis performed by Dr. Matthias B. Schulze and colleagues from the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Nuthetal. The study involved over 25,000 adults, between 35 and 65 years of age, who were followed from 1994 to 2005 for diabetes. A food-frequency questionnaire was used to assess the participants for the amounts of dietary fiber and magnesium.

During follow-up, 844 subjects developed type 2 diabetes, the report indicates. Compared with the subjects with the lowest cereal fiber intake, those with the highest intake had a 28-percent reduction in diabetes risk.

Fruit and vegetable fiber intake, by contrast, did not affect the risk. Magnesium intake also showed no effect in this study.
Obviously this flies in the face of a lot of the things we discuss here on Followhealthlife. So for rebuttal, I decided to call in heavy reinforcements. Here’s what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about this study:
The reason for the findings is a huge variance in the amount of whole grain fibers consumed from none to a significant amount. This does make a big difference, especially since people who do not consume whole grains generally live on sugar and white flour. But since the level of vegetable consumption in the highest quintile was still relatively low by our standards there was not really a representative group with a high consumption of green vegetables.

So all this means is that whole grains are better than refined grains and that that change in a person's diet has a major implication for diabetic causation and treatment. It does not mean that green vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds are not likewise protective because the population tested still did not eat much of these foods.

Our Food: What Will Anthropologists Say?

Mark Di Ionno of The San Francisco Chronicle wants to know, when we’re all dead and buried, and anthologists start digging up our bones—what will they think? Why did we eat so much junk? Is that what killed us? Or were we marketed to death? Here’s the report:
So what will future anthropologists say about us? What conclusions will they draw from the super-sized coffins and the skeletal remains with missing toes, amputated by diabetes?

What will they derive from cemeteries that reveal a sudden downturn in American life expectancy when our junk food generations begin dying of heart disease and arteriosclerosis in middle age?

Or from the ruins of all the red and yellow plastic roof restaurants sunken by global flooding, or buried under nuclear dust, or volcanic ash or whatever else does us in?

What poisons will show themselves in their chemical analysis of our bones?

We already know the answers. Trans fats. Refined sugars and carbohydrates. Sodium.

This is why the $500 million initiative recently announced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to combat child obesity is so important. It's putting their money where our mouths are.
So, will museums of the future have to add a fat dude holding a bag of fast-food and a prescription for statins at the end of the exhibit depicting man evolving from ape-kind to humankind?

No Milk for Acne

Last week we found out that milk is no good for weight-loss—despite the million-dollar marketing campaign. Now get a load of this. ParentDish passes on a research claiming kids with acne should stop drinking milk. Read on:
I had huge acne when I was a teenager. My acne was the kind that hurt, under the skin stuff that felt like a revolting beacon on my nose, forehead, chin. I remember being told: Stay away from chocolate! Grease is bad for zits! Try this product. I spent nearly all my bussing tips on special potions and lotions and creams, to no avail. Perhaps, suggests a recent study done by Harvard University, I should have just stopped drinking milk.

According to the research, teens who drank a pint of milk or more a day were nearly 50% more likely to develop pimples that those who rarely or never drink milk. Analysis of over 47,000 teenage diets revealed that skim milk drinkers were at most risk for acne (raising the risk by 44%), followed by whole milk drinkers who were 12% more likely to develop the unsightly stuff.
No doubt the dairy mongers are all up in arms—“But, but, what else can I dunk my cookies in?”

A Look at Fat-Camp

You always hear about fat-camps—are they real? Or just ominous boogiemen used to keep overweight children on their toes? Well, apparently they do exist. Ibby Caputo of The Chicago Tribune offers up an in depth look at one weight-loss camp in upstate New York. Take a look:
There are dozens of camps scattered about the country. Most take both boys and girls, and all insist that they provide as much fun as regular camps.

At Camp Shane, for instance, traditional activities such as hiking, swimming and arts and crafts are augmented with nutrition and cooking classes, as well as a cognitive behavioral therapy program that strives to teach campers tools for successful weight management.

Campers learn to record their food intake and amount of exercise, as well as keep a journal about their thoughts and feelings in the process.

Many kids who go to these camps have spent agonizing years being picked on by their peers and sometimes even their siblings and parents. Often, they internalize these comments, something that does not help them take off the weight.

"We create who we are by the reaction of others toward us," said Larry Larsen, a child psychologist in Andover, Mass. "If our peers tell us we are fat, it becomes part of our self-concept of who we are."

But at weight-loss camps, kids join others who are dealing with the same issues. This exposure, camp officials say, often leads to creation of a supportive community.
I’m torn. On one hand, I think fostering a nurturing supportive environment is a good thing, but, I’m not really in favor of carting overweight children off to a place for the purposes of “fixing” them. And I’m not so sure Dr. Fuhrman would think this is a great strategy either.

In Dr. Fuhrman’s opinion the best place to teach kids to eat right and live well is at home. Why? Because it’s good for the whole family! Here’s more from Disease-Proof Your Child:
1. Keep only healthy food in the house. Every person in the household should have the same food choices available.

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

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

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

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

It is important to realize that it is never too late to teach your children the importance of eating healthy. As you learn, share enthusiastically with them. Work on improving your diets together. If your child is a teenager, let her read what you are reading. You may want to add that it will help their complexion and body shape. Even teenagers will make beneficial improvements in their diets when presented with compelling reasons. I have lectured to high school assemblies many times and am always impressed by how interested, enthusiastic, and willing to make changes teenagers can be. Research supports this willingness of adolescents to make significant dietary change when presented with accurate compelling information.1
This approach makes more sense to me. Sending your children to some camp so that strangers can fix a problem you can’t—or don’t want to be bothered with—seems like irresponsible parenting to me. After all, no one likes fat-camp. Especially Homer Simpson:

And don’t forget about Dr. Fuhrman’s podcast on Getting Children to Eat Well.
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Dairy Ousted for Weight-Loss

In what warped reality would dairy actually be associated with weight-loss? Oh wait! Here, in this country. Well actually, not anymore. Kim Severson of The New York Times reports that the dairy industry’s national advertising campaign that links dairy consumption to weight-loss has been dumped. Why? Because the science doesn’t support the claim! Now that is some gangster-like lying right there, more from the report:
The assertion that there is a link between weight loss and dairy consumption has long been contested by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine [PCRM], an advocacy and research group that promotes a diet free of animal products.

The group petitioned the F.T.C. in 2005 to argue that the advertisements were misleading. In a May 3 letter to the group, Lydia Parnes, director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said Agriculture Department representatives and milk producers and processors had agreed to change the advertisements and related marketing materials “until further research provides stronger, more conclusive evidence of an association between dairy consumption and weight loss.”

As of Thursday, the National Dairy Council still had a section of its Web site devoted to the weight-loss claim. But the site, along with some of the advertisements, will be changed, said Greg Miller, who is executive vice president of the council and has a doctorate in nutrition.
It’s a good thing the PCRM has some sense—oh, and in case you didn’t know—Dr. Fuhrman is a member of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. But truth be told, The PCRM is only doing a public service. Because according to Dr. Fuhrman dairy products and milk should never be confused as a health food. He explains in Disease-Proof Your Child:
The leading cause of digestive intolerance leading to stomach complaints is dairy products. Many kids have subtle allergies to cow's milk that perpetuate their nasal congestion, leading to ear infections.

Milk, which is designed by nature for the rapidly growing cow, has about half its calories supplied from fat. The fatty component is concentrated more to make cheese and butter. Milk and cheese are the foods Americans encourage their children to eat, believing them to be healthy foods. Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects on our children is a different story. Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases. If we expect our children to resist many common illnesses, they simply must consume less milk, cheese, and butter. Dairy foods should be consumed in limited quantity or not at all.

Invasion of the Sugary Drinks

Diet-Blog’s got another great post cooked up. Check out The 7 Most Sugar Filled Drinks. Here are a couple well known ones:

Sweetened drinks and soda consumption are vexations for Dr. Fuhrman—makes him angry. You’ll see why in this post, from Warning Labels from the Surgeon General on Soda:
Obesity rates have risen in tandem with soda consumption in the United States, and in the last twenty years the consumption of soft drinks by teenagers had doubled.1 Twelve to nineteen-year-old boys consume thirty-four teaspoons of sugar a day in their diet, and about half of that comes from soft drinks. Children start drinking soft drinks at a very young age, and advertisements and promotions by the soft drink manufacturers are aggressively marketed to the young.
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A Juicy Question

Do you drink fruit juice? I do—wait, wait, wait—relax! I know Dr. Fuhrman isn’t big on people downing tall glasses of fiber-less fruit juices. That’s why I only drink pomegranate juice, daily in fact, and even Dr. Fuhrman thinks that’s a good idea. From the comments of Pomegranate Power:
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.
But, Dr. Fuhrman does make it pretty clear that you’re better off eating the whole fruit instead of just consuming the juice—although, news reports can confuse us. Like this one about a new study claiming there is no link between childhood obesity and drinking 100% fruit juice. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
"We did not find a relationship between 100 percent juice consumption and overweight among children. Even among the children who consumed the most juice, we found no association at all with the children being overweight or at risk for overweight," Dr. Theresa Nicklas, a child nutrition researcher at the United States Department of Agriculture's Children's Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in a prepared statement.

The findings were expected to be presented today at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meetings, in Toronto, Canada.

Drinking 100 percent juice also had no impact on the amount of milk kids consumed, Nicklas said.

The mean daily consumption of 100 percent juice among the children in the study was 4.1 ounces (about 1/2 cup), which is in keeping with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

About 13 percent of the children consumed 12 ounces or more of 100 percent juice a day, but this increased consumption was not associated with overweight or increased risk for being overweight.
Now stop me if I’m rambling, but doesn’t this study give off the wrong impression. I’m no scientist, but even I could have guessed that only a small number of children consume 100% fruit juice. Have you seen 100% fruit juice (it looks like these Nutrient-Dense Juices)? It’s thick and heavy, not clear and watery like the trendy “all natural” beverages sold in supermarkets and advertised between Blue’s Clues and Sesame Street.

So I wonder. If your average person reads this report will they be able to differentiate between fruit juice and 100% fruit juice. Hold on, let me shake my magic 8-ball…”Outlook not so good.” Because it doesn't surprise me that 100% fruit juice won’t increase the risk of obesity, but, if all those pseudo-juices did, let’s just say I wouldn’t be shocked.

How do you feel about this research? Did you get the same impression as I did?

More Melamine Madness

I don’t eat pet food. So when the contaminated pet food story broke I wasn’t too nervous. I also wasn’t freaked out by the tainted pigs and chickens, but, contaminated fish? Now that’s a different story. I eat fish. And darn it! HealthDay News now reports that some farmed fish also ate the toxic compound melamine. Steven Reinberg is on it:
Levels of melamine in the fish are probably far too small to affect human health, stressed officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The FDA has so far not disclosed which fish farms received the contaminated food, or how many fish, of what type, may have eaten it.

"We have a preliminary list of fish farms, but I can't share it with you," Dr. David Acheson, the FDA's assistant commissioner for food protection, told reporters at a teleconference.

It's also not clear how much of the potentially tainted fish -- if any -- has made it to supermarkets. But Acheson noted that at least one firm's fish had not yet reached a size suitable for sale.

In addition, he said, the contaminated material used in the pet food and imported from China turns out to be wheat flour, not wheat gluten or rice protein concentrate, as had been widely reported.

"We have discovered that the wheat gluten and rice protein was mislabeled," Acheson said. "It actually contained wheat flour contaminated with melamine and melamine-related compounds. These are from the two Chinese firms we have already identified."
Like there isn’t enough reason to be mindful of fish as it is. Not sure what I’m talking about? Dr. Fuhrman discusses fish in this previous post. From Fishing for the Truth:
Higher levels of mercury found in mothers who eat more fish have been associated with birth defects, seizures, mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and cerebral palsy.1 This is mostly the result of women having eaten fish when they were pregnant. Scientists believe that fetuses are much more sensitive to mercury exposure than adults, although adults do suffer from varying degrees of brain damage from fish consumption.2 Even the FDA, which normally ignores reports on the dangers of our dangerous food practices, acknowledges that large fish such as shark, swordfish, and yellowfin and bluefin tuna, are potentially dangerous. Researchers are also concerned about other toxins concentrated in fish that can cause brain damage way before the cancers caused by chemical-carrying fish appear.
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No Cocaine for You

Well, who would have thought? Any energy drink called COCAINE wouldn’t fly in the market place. The Associated Press reports that the beverage has been yanked nationwide due to concerns over its name. Gee, you couldn’t see that one coming. Read on:
The FDA cited as evidence the drink's labeling and Web site, which included the statements "Speed in a Can," "Liquid Cocaine" and "Cocaine -- Instant Rush." The company says Cocaine contains no drugs and is marketed as an energy drink. It has been sold since last August in at least a dozen states.

"Of course, we intended for Cocaine energy drink to be a legal alternative the same way that celibacy is an alternative to premarital sex," Clegg Ivey, a partner in Redux Beverages LLC, said. "It's not the same thing and no one thinks it is. Our product doesn't have any cocaine in it. No one thinks that it does. We think it is most likely legal in the United States to ship our product."

Ivey said the FDA did not order the company to stop marketing the drink, but officials were concerned about possible legal action. They will announce a new name within a week and hope to have the product back on store shelves within a few weeks.

"What we would like to do is continue to fight to keep the name because it's clearly the name that's the problem," Ivey said. "What we can't do is distribute our product when regulators in the states and the FDA are saying that if you do this, you could go to jail."

Wal-Mart: Trans-Fat Out

Before you know it, trans-fat is going to be a collector’s item. More and more retailers and restaurants are giving it the boot, and now Wal-Mart is the latest to nix trans-fat. Reuters reports:
The switch to the healthier oil affects more than 2,400 delicatessen locations within Wal-Mart's Supercenter and Neighborhood Markets in the United States. While food selections vary from store to store, anything fried on-site at the delis will use the trans-fat-free oil, the company said.

The switch started in January and is now complete, Wal-Mart said.

Wal-Mart's announcement follows similar moves by restaurant companies, including Wendy's International Inc., Yum Brands Inc.'s KFC and Taco Bell chains and Starbucks Corp..

Contaminated: Pet Food, People Food

It all started with the contaminated pet food. Then we learned about the tainted hogs and chickens, and now, it seems the plot thickens even more. The Associated Press is reporting that the FDA plans to examine manufacturers of people food that might have used the contaminated batches of wheat gluten and rice protein. Randolph E. Schmid has more:
There is no evidence that any of the two contaminated batches of wheat gluten and rice protein from China ended up as an ingredient in human food, "but it's prudent to look," said Dr. David Acheson, assistant FDA commissioner for food protection.

Acheson said the inspections began this week, covering both human and pet food manufacturers to raise awareness of how important it is to know their supply chain and to make sure none of the contaminated products remain in stock.

The number of facilities to be visited could be in the range of hundreds, Acheson said, based on knowledge of what ingredients go to which manufacturer.

"This is going to go on until we feel satisfied we've got it covered. We're not setting the bar at 50 or 100 or 1,000. We're going to keep doing this until we're confident that we've got our arms around it," he said.

Nutritional Wisdom: Dangers of the Atkins Diet

I admit. It’s easy to poke fun at the low-carb lifestyle. What can I say? I’m a sucker for low-hanging fruit. But truth be told, Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear that carbohydrate restrictive diets—like the Atkins Diet—are no way to achieve optimal long-term health. You only have to check out these posts to see why:

But despite all this, millions of people pledge allegiance to a fad diet centered on animal fat. A huge concern for Dr. Fuhrman because—as he points out in the posts above—any diet where the majority of calories come from animal products increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, and a whole host of life-shortening maladies.

As you’ve seen, I’m quick to knock low-carb living. And so is Dr. Fuhrman, but, he’s smarter than me—yes, a little brownnosing here—so when he takes Atkins-type diets to task, he really exposes them for the over-hyped danger zones that they are.

Curious to hear what that sounds like? You’re in luck. Because it just so happens this week’s episode of Nutrition Wisdom is on that very subject. Here’s a bit I transcribed from the show. In it Dr. Fuhrman talks about how dangerous an Atkins-type diet can be for children and others. In fact, it can have deadly consequences. Take a look:

In recent years with the skyrocketing popularity of the Atkins Diet, there’s been a proportional skyrocketed increase in sudden cardiac death in young women. That parallels the increase in ketogenic diets. Right now we know that sudden cardiac death means irregular heart beat, as in cardiac arrhythmia. There has to be a warning on the Atkins Diet! There must be a warning that severe carbohydrate restriction—restricted ketosis—when you go into ketosis because of severe carbohydrate restriction, as a weight control method. There could be a traumatic increase in sudden death.

There was an important study in the Southern Medical Journal about a sixteen year-old girl who died after two weeks of following an Atkins Diet. They found that she was in profound acidosis, with about a twenty point base deficit because undeniably keto-acidosis caused acidosis in the blood. In other words, you can become highly acidic. We get dramatic lowering of potassium levels, especially when you first start out on the diet.

The continual denial of the dangers by the people who embrace and promote this ketogenic diet—it’s understandable why—because people are often economically invested with their egos and their food preferences into this diet. But, the risk of carbohydrate restriction ketosis is very powerful and with a lot of studies done on children who were put on ketogenic diets for seizure disorders and they use this for people who have seizures that are retractable—meaning they can’t be helped any other way—and they warn the parents of these children that it increases the risk of kidney stones, kidney failure, increases the rate of infection, and sudden cardiac death, including cardiomyopathy and cardiac-arrhythmias. For example, one study following children put on ketogenic diets—like an Atkins-type diet—they showed fifteen percent developed cardiac enlargement and dilated cardiomyopathy. Of course the diet had to be stopped.

Another study followed 129 children and found that seventeen developed severe complications and four people died out of the 129; two of sepsis because of the increased risk of infection, one of cardiomyopathy, and one of lipoid pneumonia. The point is when doctors are very careful they know these are dangerous diets, and they advise people of the dangers, but if a person wants to try it it’s their right. But the claims made by the Atkins people, for example, Atkins himself used say prevent breast cancer with butter, reverse heart disease with fillet mignon, it’s all the lying and misinformation and lack of telling people the risks of a diet that has such a great amount of dangers.

Lying? Of course they’re lying. There are millions of dollars at stake here. Can’t let unsightly truths get out—politicians have known this for years, but fortunately the truth does eek its way out every once and a while. For example, get a load of this study in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Fuhrman emailed it to me the other day. Apparently prolonged consumption of a low-carbohydrate–high-protein diet is associated with an increase in total mortality. Read on:

Subjects methods:
Follow-up was performed from 1993 to 2003 in the context of the Greek component of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition. Participants were 22 944 healthy adults, whose diet was assessed through a validated questionnaire. Participants were distributed by increasing deciles according to protein intake or carbohydrate intake, as well as by an additive score generated by increasing decile intake of protein and decreasing decile intake of carbohydrates. Proportional hazards regression was used to assess the relation between high protein, high carbohydrate and the low carbohydrate–high protein score on the one hand and mortality on the other.

During 113 230 persons years of follow-up, there were 455 deaths. In models with energy adjustment, higher intake of carbohydrates was associated with significant reduction of total mortality, whereas higher intake of protein was associated with nonsignificant increase of total mortality (per decile, mortality ratios 0.94 with 95% CI 0.89 –0.99, and 1.02 with 95% CI 0.98 –1.07 respectively). Even more predictive of higher mortality were high values of the additive low carbohydrate–high protein score (per 5 units, mortality ratio 1.22 with 95% CI 1.09 –to 1.36). Positive associations of this score were noted with respect to both cardiovascular and cancer mortality.

But sadly, this won’t phase the low-carb lemmings of the world. They’ll just yammer on and on about how much weight they lost and how great it feels not to give up their emotional attachments to fatty foods. “Whaa-whaa-whaa! Why can’t I eat steak wrapped in bacon and fried in butter every night—but I want it!”

Mad Cows...Again

Those crazy-zany mad cows are at it again. Canadian authorities have confirmed the country’s first case of mad cow disease since 2003. The Associated Press reports:
In the latest case, the disease was discovered in a dairy cow in the western province of British Columbia. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said no part of the animal entered the human food or animal feed systems.

The agency said it appears the 5 1/2-year-old cow was infected during its first year of life. It is now checking other animals born around that time to try to track down the source of the infection.
Like eating sane beef wasn’t bad enough? Check out this previous report, Beef Bad for the Boys.

Tainted Pet Food: Chickens Too

First, tainted hog meat entered the food supply, now, the FDA reports that millions of chickens that also ate some of the pet food contaminated with melamine hit the U.S. market back in February. E.J. Mundell and Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News have more:
Up to 3 million broiler chickens were fed melamine-tainted pet food and then sold on the U.S. market beginning in early February, U.S. health officials said in a press conference held late Tuesday.

The contaminated pet product made its way into poultry feed at 38 Indiana farms, 30 of which produced broiler chickens destined for restaurants and supermarkets, said officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Approximately 2.5 million to 3 million chickens fed contaminated pet food have already been sold, Kenneth Peterson, assistant administrator for field operations at the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said during the teleconference. "That's out of a total of 9 billion broilers processed in the U.S. each year," he noted.
Experts from both agencies downplayed any potential threat to human health.
If ask me, heads should roll over this. Our food supply is precious and should be protected.

Snack Addiction

Heck, even I’m guilty of it sometimes. But, like most Eat to Livers, if I snack it’s usually on stuff like peanuts, berries, or grapes—very different from the rest of the country. Because, as Regina Nuzzo of The Los Angeles Times reports, Americans love our snack food. Read on:
About three-quarters of American shoppers are now trying to eat more healthfully, according to a recent survey by Information Resources Inc., a market analysis research group. About two-thirds are trying to replace high-calorie snacks with healthier options or eat snacks with more nutritional value. And 57% are flat-out trying to snack less often.

These trends have certainly caught the eye of the snack food industry, even being called "growing concerns" in a state of the industry report at Snaxpo, the annual meeting of the Snack Food Assn. in March.

So food manufacturers, always responsive to society's needs (or, more accurately, the changing marketplace), are scrambling to expand into the fastest-growing niche in the snack market: healthful snacks.

Well, not-so-unhealthful snacks.

No longer just the stuff of hippie health food stores, new better-for-you snacks are likely to be comforting favorites — or familiar variations thereof — rejiggered and repackaged to reflect the latest health concerns. Trans-fat free. Whole-grain goodness. Or fortified with flavanols.

But be forewarned: Some nutritionists question whether the new snacks will actually make consumers healthier. Unnecessary calories are unnecessary calories — whether they're "free of trans fats," made with "real fruit juice" or stuffed with vitamins most people get plenty of anyway.

Rejiggered? Great word. But I agree, and I think Dr. Fuhrman would too. Nutrient-rich foods aren’t manufactured in sterile clean rooms. They’re growing all around us and have been for millions of years. So, why must we constantly futz with nature?
Who knows? But as Dr. Fuhrman discusses in Eat to Live, you can’t just engineer wholesome food. From the book:
Refining foods removes so much nutrition that our government requires that a few synthetic vitamins and minerals be added back. Such foods are labeled as enriched or fortified. Whenever you see those words on a package, it means important nutrients are missing. Refining foods lowers the amount of hundreds of known nutrients, yet usually only five to ten are added by fortification.

As we change food through processing and refining, we rob the food of certain health-supporting substances and often create unhealthy compounds, thus making it more unfit food for human. As a general rule of thumb: the closer we eat foods to their natural state, the healither the food.

Pistachios, Cholesterol, and Health

High cholesterol, not exactly a ticket for extended health and longevity—but don’t take my word for it! I’m just a blogger. According to Dr. Fuhrman, keeping your cholesterol down is a good idea, especially if you plan on living a longtime. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Heart disease begins in our youth and is not easy to reverse. No one should eat more than five grams of saturated fat a day. Over this level, disease rates climb.

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

Reducing the consumption of animal foods reduces the consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat. Low intake of cholesterol and saturated fat leads to a leaner body, clean arteries, and reducing risk of developing heart disease and many other diet-related diseases such as stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
So then, how do you keep your cholesterol within a healthy range? Expensive medications and invasive procedures? Well, Dr. Fuhrman wouldn’t recommend this approach. He talks about it in Invasive Cardiology Procedures and Surgeries Are Not Effective:
Bypass surgery and angioplasty only attempt to treat a small segment of the diseased heart, usually with only temporary benefit. Since atherosclerotic plaque blankets all the vessels in the heart, bypassing or removing the most diseased portion, still does not address all the shallow and non-obstructive lipid deposits. The major burden of disease is left intact and therefore the potential for a deadly heart attack is largely unaffected. The vast majority of patients who undergo these interventions do not have fewer new heart attacks or longer survival. The procedures themselves expose the patients to more risk of new heart attacks, strokes, infection, encephalopathy, and death. In addition, the symptomatic benefits erode with time.
Apparently pills and drugs aren’t really miracle workers either. Dr. Fuhrman elaborates in his book Cholesterol Protection for Life:
When resorting to medical intervention, rather than dietary modifications, other problems arise, reducing the potential reduction in mortality possible, as these individuals are at risk of serious side effects from the medication. The known side effects for various statins (the most popular and effective medications to lower cholesterol) include hepatitis, jaundice, other liver problems, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia.
Okay, if medications and procedures don’t cut the mustard, what does? Well, it seems wholesome natural food will do the trick. Just check out this report. HealthDay News reports that pistachios have similar heart-healthy effects to leafy green vegetables. Pretty cool, right? Robert Preidt has more:
"Pistachio amounts of 1.5 ounces and three ounces (per day) -- one to two handfuls -- reduced risk for cardiovascular disease by significantly reducing LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, and the higher dose significantly reducing lipoprotein ratios," study author Sarah K. Gebauer, a graduate student in integrative biosciences at Penn State, said in a prepared statement.

The multi-week study, which received funding from the California Pistachio Commission , concluded that three ounces of pistachios a day reduced LDL levels by 11.6 percent, total cholesterol levels by 8.4 percent, and non-high density lipoproteins (non-HDL) by 11.2 percent. Levels of non-HDL are considered reliable predictors of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.
This is great news, but hardly new news. Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about the healthful properties of nuts and seeds for years. More on that from Nuts and Seeds Are Excellent Foods:
Nuts and seeds are a natural part of the diet of homo-sapiens. They are perfectly adapted to the taste and ability of humans to pick, dry, store, and crack. No wonder study after study shows raw nuts and seeds not only lower cholesterol, but protect against common diseases of aging. I recommend almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, macadamias, filberts, and walnuts; and sunflower, sesame, flax, and pumpkin seeds. These delicious natural foods are high in nutrients and healthful unsaturated fats.