Dairy and Weight Loss

I’ve never been a milk drinker. To this day, the expression “cow juice” still haunts my mind. Now, I know it sounds silly, but, the concept of bovine nectar isn’t that farfetched. Here’s what I mean. Check out this excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child:
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.
Okay, granted there are some “big” people out there, but I doubt any of them match the physiology of a baby cow. So why do they drink milk? Or consume dairy? Who knows? Maybe they’re eager to bring about various diseases. Dr. Fuhrman explains in Eat to Live:
Dairy is best kept to a minimum. There are many good reasons not to consume dairy. For example, there is a strong association between diary lactose and ischemic heart disease.1 There is also a clear association between high-growth-promoting foods such as dairy products and cancer. There is a clear association between milk consumption and testicular cancer.2 Dairy fat is also loaded various toxins and is the primary source of our nation’s high exposure to dioxin.3 Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical compound that even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency admits is a prominent cause of many types of cancer in those consuming dairy fat, such as butter and cheese.4 Cheese is also a power inducer of acid load, which increases calcium loss further.5 Considering that cheese and butter are the foods with the highest saturated-fat content and the major source of our dioxin exposure, cheese is a particularly foolish choice for obtaining calcium.
Now, given all these health risks, why would anyone even entertain the notion that dairy can help you lose weight? Especially since the dairy-weight loss claim was recently pummeled by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The New York Times covered it:
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.
But, I guess sometimes word doesn’t travel fast enough, because Michael Hecht of The Philadelphia Inquirer still thinks dairy can help you drop those unwanted pounds. Take a look:
There are a few theories as to how calcium and dairy products might be "weight friendly." One theory is that calcium and Vitamin D help regulate fat metabolism by stimulating fatty acid caloric burn and suppressing the body's production of fat.

Calcium in supplement form or dairy might also help to decrease fat absorption in the digestive tract by forming calcium-fatty-acid complexes called "soaps" that accelerate the loss of fat in the stool. Another theory is that extra calcium prevents fat storage by sending a signal that the body no longer needs to store fat.

It appears that low-fat dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese and low-fat milk do help facilitate weight loss as long as total caloric intake is observed.
Not to beat up on Mr. Hecht, but come on! Keep up with the times—no pun intended.
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Don't be Fat and Pregnant

I know, harsh words, but when you’re pregnant you’ve really got live in the best interest of your child; mind you, this is a guy talking, but still. Just take a look at this report. New research claims overweight women are at risk of pregnancy complications. Reuters is on it:
Using data from more than 24,000 UK women who gave birth between 1976 and 2005, researchers found that the risk of problems, such as high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia and premature delivery climbed in tandem with a woman's pre-pregnancy weight.

The findings, published in the online journal BMC Public Health, add to evidence that obesity is a risk for mothers and newborns.

They also support the belief that all pregnancies in obese women should be considered "high risk," and managed accordingly, conclude the study authors, led by Dr. Sohinee Bhattacharya of Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.

War Against Cancer, Serve Beef?

Sounds pretty silly—right? Especially since the consumption of red meat is directly linked to the development of cancer. Now I don’t take my word for it. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman points to this study (one of many studies referenced in the book) that illustrates the red meat-cancer connection. Here’s the abstract:
Meat intake has been positively associated with risk of digestive tract cancers in several epidemiological studies, while data on the relation of meat intake with cancer risk at most other sites are inconsistent. The overall data set, derived from an integrated series of case-control studies conducted in northern Italy between 1983 and 1996, included the following incident, histologically confirmed neoplasms: oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus (n = 497), stomach (n = 745), colon (n = 828), rectum (n = 498), liver (n = 428), gallbladder (n = 60), pancreas (n = 362), larynx (n = 242), breast (n = 3,412), endometrium (n = 750), ovary (n = 971), prostate (n = 127), bladder (n = 431), kidney (n = 190), thyroid (n = 208), Hodgkin's disease (n = 80), non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (n = 200) and multiple myelomas (n = 120). Controls were 7,990 patients admitted to hospital for acute, non-neoplastic conditions unrelated to long-term modifications in diet. The multivariate odds ratios (ORs) for the highest tertile of red meat intake (7 times/week) compared with the lowest (3 times/week) were 1.6 for stomach, 1.9 for colon, 1.7 for rectal, 1.6 for pancreatic, 1.6 for bladder, 1.2 for breast, 1.5 for endometrial and 1.3 for ovarian cancer. ORs showed no significant heterogeneity across strata of age at diagnosis and sex. No convincing relation with red meat intake emerged for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus, liver, gallbladder, larynx, kidney, thyroid, prostate, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and multiple myeloma. For none of the neoplasms considered was there a significant inverse relationship with red meat intake. Thus, reducing red meat intake might lower the risk for several common neoplasms. Int. J. Cancer 86:425-428, 2000
Apparently the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation didn’t get the memo, because they seem to associate themselves with some very beefy fundraisers. Ray Kellosalmi of Globe and Mail Update reports:
In the past couple of years, a number of rodeos across Canada, most notably the Calgary Stampede, have taken part in a fundraising campaign for the CBCF called Tough Enough to Wear Pink. Supported by the Wrangler clothing company, the campaign raises money through the sale of pink Wrangler shirts and other pink-themed merchandise, a percentage of which goes to the CBCF.

Everyone seems to benefit. Wrangler's brand is promoted and the CBCF gets money for cancer research. And the rodeo can associate itself with a worthy cause — quite handy to blunt criticism over its controversial treatment of animals (although one anti-rodeo activist recently told a Calgary newspaper that it was like putting pink icing on a cow pat).

But, while the CBCF joins the cowboys, cattle producers and meat companies at rodeo barbecues across the country, shouldn't it consider the health implications of the product it is indirectly helping to promote? In 2007 alone, several pieces of research have made connections between meat consumption and breast cancer.

(via The Cancer Blog)
I don’t find this all that surprising because after all, can’t you just hear the low-carbers saying, “No! But, uh, beef taste good. Me chew beef. Duh!" Oh! Check this out. If you're a guy, beef is especially worrisome: Beef Bad for the Boys.
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Sunlight, Strong Medicine

Even though I burn like an Irishman, I still try my best to get plenty of sun. Be it fishing or a long walk through Central Park, I get out there. And it’s a good thing, because according to Dr. Fuhrman getting adequate sun is potent cancer fighter. In Vitamin D and Cancer he explains why:
Laboratory, animal, and epidemiologic evidence suggests that vitamin D may be protective against cancer. Epidemiologic studies suggest that a higher dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, and/or sunlight-induced vitamin D synthesis, correlates with lower incidence of cancer, including lymphoma, breast, prostate, and colon cancer.1 In fact, for over 60 years, researchers have observed an inverse association between sun exposure and cancer mortality,2 and those with more sun exposure had fewer cancers. The inverse relationship between higher vitamin D levels in blood and lower cancer risk in humans shows a significantly lower risk among those with the highest vitamin D intake.
Now, I grew up in the Super Mario era. So as a kid I spent plenty of time in doors, but, my parents did do a good job of getting my butt outside. And I’m glad they did, because a new study links childhood sunlight exposure to a decreased risk of multiple sclerosis. Alan Mozes of HealthDay News reports:
"Evidence is building up that something in relation to sunlight and/or vitamin D exposure during childhood may play a protective role," said study co-author Dr. Thomas M. Mack, of the department of preventive medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. "It's now been suggested by several different studies that this is the case, and if it's true, it would be important."

The study is published in the July 24 issue of Neurology.

The findings echo those of a recent Harvard School of Public Health study, released in December and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That study found that among 140 white men and women, those with the highest levels of sunlight-derived vitamin D were 62 percent less likely to have developed MS than those with the lowest levels. The finding was not replicated in a smaller patient pool of either blacks or Hispanics, however.
Makes me want to move to Key West stat!

Exercise, Uber Medicine

As someone who exercises an average of ten hours a week, I love reading reports like this. New research suggests young type-1 diabetics benefit from exercise. When is exercise ever a bad thing? Anyway, Madeline Vann of HealthDay News is on it:
The researchers analyzed the physical activity levels outside of school and cardiovascular health of more than 23,000 subjects between the ages of 3 and 18. They found that heart health increased as the amount of physical activity increased.

The more active the children were, the lower the percentage of patients with high cholesterol and triglycerides. Nearly 40 percent of those with no regular physical activity had high cholesterol and triglycerides. Of the children who were active once or twice a week, 36 percent had high cholesterol and triglycerides, and for those who were active three or more times a week, only 34.4 percent had high cholesterol and triglycerides.

Writing in the August issue of Diabetes Care the researchers reported that children who were active at least once or twice per week were also less likely to have high blood pressure than those who had no exercise.
Since we’re talking about type-1 diabetes, it’s important to remember there is Hope for Type 1 Childhood Onset Diabetics.

Metabolic Syndrome: Low-Carb No Fixer

Dr. Fuhrman will tell low-carb diets are dangerous and ill-advised. And yet, scientists and researchers actually waste their time extolling the virtues—or more appropriately, the falsifications—of low-carb-high-protein diets. Take this study for example. HealthDay News reports low-carb diets combat metabolic syndrome:

The study participants didn't follow the diets strictly, study leader Matthew R. Hayes, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania found. "Phase one intake was 25 percent [carbohydrates], on average," he said, rather than the 10 percent recommended. "Phase two carb intake was 35 percent," he said, although 27 percent was recommended. But it was a reduction from the participants' pre-study diet, which included 47 percent of calories from carbohydrates, he said.

To find out why the weight declined, Hayes' team did hormone assays, measuring fasting and post-meal blood levels of hormones associated with appetite and food intake, such as insulin, leptin and cholecystokinin (CCK).

"We found some changes in hormone levels," he said. "We saw a decrease in insulin, a decrease in leptin levels by the end of phase one. It was fast."

"By the end of phase 2, the insulin levels had crept up toward baseline; the leptin levels also rose, but it did not come back to the levels at baseline," Hayes said.

"These alternations in hormone levels acting together help reduce the amount of food consumed," he said. "There's a synergy. Based on the literature already out there, we are speculating that this synergy of hormones may be the mechanism explaining why people are satisfied with less food and [the low-carb diet] results in weight loss."

Pardon me for a second—shenanigans, shenanigans! That’s right. I’m calling shenanigans on this study. Why? Because it’s bound to trick people into believing that low-carb is a safe way of restoring healthy metabolic function. Confused? I’ll let Dr. Fuhrman explain. I asked him about this junk science and here’s what he had to say:

Smoking cigarettes has beneficial effects on body weight. It can improve diabetes control and even has beneficial effects on ulcerative colitis. However, smoking cigarettes harms the body in other ways, so those benefits aren’t worth much. Pursuing studies on high protein, carbohydrate restricted diets, which have already been shown to increase all-cause long term mortality is ignorant and immoral. A high nutrient, vegetable-based diet is a more effective and has long-term health advantages, instead of long-term dangers. This shows the ignorance in the medical and research community that treat diets like drugs. When you have no comprehensive understanding of nutritional science, your implementation and interpretation of scientific studies is almost irrelevant and results in no useful information.

In the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition May 2007 a 10-year dietary assessment of 22,944 subjects was published. It was entitled, Low-Carbohydrate-High-Protein and long-term survival in a general population cohort. The conclusion reads, "Prolonged consumption of diets low in carbohydrate and high in protein is associated with and increase in total mortality." The bottom line is you do not have to smoke cigarettes or eat a dangerous diet to control obesity, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome. My Eat to Live diet-style offers a safe, highly effective option with more dramatic results and protection against cancer, heart disease and all cause mortality.

Yeah, I guess you could drive nails with your head, but using a hammer is a safer choice. In my humble opinion, low-carb only exists because it caters to people’s emotional attachments to food. And we all know there’s lots of money in people’s weaknesses. That should explain why many low-carb peddlers are multi-million dollar corporations.

For more dismantling of low-carb diets, don’t forget about our friends over at AtkinsExposed.org.

Low Cholesterol and Cancer, Linked?

Admittedly, I don’t know much about this. But apparently some scientists believe if cholesterol is too low, there’s an increased risk of cancer. Take this study for example. New research provides evidence for a link between low LDL levels and cancer risk. More from EurekAlert:
The authors of the study, published in the July 31, 2007, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), set out to understand how and why statins cause side effects, particularly damage to the liver and muscle cells. The study findings support taking multiple medications rather than high-dose statins to minimize those side effects. The researchers did not expect to find the increased cancer risk (one additional incident per 1,000 patients) from low LDL levels, and additional studies have already begun to investigate this potential risk further. A key component in future studies will be to confirm the risk and to identify whether the risk may be a side effect of statins or just low LDL.

“This analysis doesn’t implicate the statin in increasing the risk of cancer,” said lead author Richard H. Karas, M.D., F.A.C.C., professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. “The demonstrated benefits of statins in lowering the risk of heart disease remain clear; however, certain aspects of lowering LDL with statins remain controversial and merit further research.”

The researchers found one additional incident of cancer per 1,000 patients with low LDL levels when compared to patients with higher LDL levels. In their evaluation of randomized controlled statin trials published before November 2005, the researchers looked at 13 treatment arms consisting of 41,173 patients.
(via The Diabetes Blog)
Now, as an Eat to Liver I know my vegetable-based diet is working to reduce my cholesterol to disease-proofing range. So naturally, this research doesn’t make much sense to me. In order to clear this up—and basically shoot down this study—I dug up this post: Can Cholesterol Be Too Low? Here’s an excerpt:
There was some controversy years ago about striving for lower, protective cholesterol levels after some studies in the eighties noted that depression, suicide, hemorrhagic stroke, cancer, and death from other causes, were higher in some groups with very low cholesterol groups. Larger, recent investigations studying larger populations did not confirm these questionable findings.

When investigators looked more carefully at the individual characteristics of the studied populations they were able to explain the earlier findings. This issue is complicated because these studies evaluated individuals who were eating the modern American diet, rich in saturated fat and other components of animal products that raise cholesterol, and low in plant derived anti-oxidants, phytochemicals, and essential fatty acids that improve cholesterol ratios. Those who demonstrated very low (ideal) cholesterol levels, while following the traditional, modern, cholesterol-promoting diet, may actually have a compromised health status or undetected chronic disease.

For instance, we know cancer causes less cholesterol production in the liver. Low cholesterol may be associated with cancer, but does not cause it. Researchers showed that cholesterol starts to fall up to 8 years prior to a person dying of cancer, and that those with the greatest drop in cholesterol in a 4 year period without dietary improvements to lower cholesterol were those most likely to develop cancer.1 The low cholesterol did not cause the cancer; the cancer caused the low cholesterol. Those who work to lower cholesterol by avoiding saturated fats, eating a high nutrient diet with lots of raw vegetables, cooked green vegetables, and beans do not have a pathological condition causing their low cholesterol. They earned it.

This is why in rural China where the diets are nearly vegetarian, the average cholesterol levels are low and you see lower cancer rates, not higher. Those with the lowest cholesterol in the China study actually had the lowest cancer rates as well. Obviously, there is a difference between one who has a low cholesterol because his dietary style earns it, and one whose cholesterol seems unjustifiably low on a modern heart-disease-promoting diet that almost everyone in the west eats.
Now in my humble— and very layman—opinion, the above study is just the kind of junk science that misinforms people and leads them down the path of disease and premature death. Consider this: Increased Risk of Cancer Associated with The Atkins Diet.
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Enriching Foods, Not a Miracle

The concept of “enriched” foods is an odd one. You take wholesome natural food, process and strip it of its nutrients, and then, artificially reintroduce vitamins and minerals. Why are we reinventing the wheel? Just eat food as it is—wholesome and natural. Dr. Fuhrman thinks enriched food is a big waste of time too. He talks about in Eat to Live:
White or "enriched" rice is just as bad as white bread and pasta. It is nutritionally bankrupt. You might as well just eat the Uncle Ben's cardboard box it comes in. Refining removes important factors: fiber, minerals, phytochemicals, and vitamin E. So, when you eat grains, eat whole grains.

Refining foods removes so much nutrition that our government requires that a few synthetic vitamins and minerals be added back. Such food is 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 back 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 a more unfit food for human consumption. As a general rule of thumb: the closer we eat foods to their natural state, the healthier the food.
Hopefully these refined foods don’t reach your dinner table—especially when you read news like this. Research has revealed that increased consumption of enriched foods like bread, pasta, and rice have upped the number of reported cases of colon and rectal cancer. Lawrence Lindner of The Boston Globe is on it:
But the fortification of foods with folic acid, a B vitamin, may have also led to an unintended consequence: an estimated 15,000 more cases of colon and rectal cancer each year than there otherwise might have been.

It's well documented that more folic acid in young women's diets has prevented neural tube defects. This month, for example, Canadian researchers published a study in The New England Journal of Medicine showing that since 1998, the year that it became mandatory to add folic acid to certain foods, the prevalence of neural tube defects in seven Canadian provinces decreased from 1.58 per 1,000 births to 0.86 per 1,000 births -- a reduction of almost 50 percent.

The story is similar in the United States, which began requiring folic acid fortification the same year.

But the timetable of the downward trend in neural tube defects exactly corresponds to a significant, sustained upward tick in the rate of cases of colorectal cancer, according to new data from researchers at Tufts University.

The study, published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, shows that before the late 1990s, the incidence of colon cancer was decreasing on a steady, predictable curve, presumably because of increased screening with colonoscopies, during which precancerous polyps and early cancers are removed. However, the curve has shifted.
This doesn’t surprise me. Dr. Fuhrman makes it clear, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are incredibly important, but it’s the phytonutrients—found only in unprocessed plant foods—that are so instrumental to superior health. In the Fortified Food Farce Dr. Fuhrman makes a comment that really lays it on the line. Here it is:
When you attempt to meet you micronutrient requirements with supplements or fortified products you miss those thousands of phytonutrients that accompany produce that is naturally nutrient rich. So every fortified food you eat is increasing your risk of cancer by decreasing your dietary intake of a food that could have supplied those calories in a more nutrient complete package. Fortified foods = processed foods. Processed foods = obesity and cancer epidemic.
I don’t get the hang up here. Why are people so willing to consume processed food monstrosities for nutrients, instead of getting them from the source? I don’t know. Maybe they’re not sure which fruits and veggies to eat. Well, this’ll get them started: Ten Super Foods to Use in Your Recipes and Menus.

Antioxidants, Not Weak in the Knees

As someone who recently took up Yoga, I can tell you—KNEE STRENGTH IS IMPORTANT! And here’s a good way to help your knees stay strong. New research claims consuming plenty of antioxidants may protect against knee arthritis. Reuters reports:
Australian researchers found that middle-aged adults with higher dietary levels of vitamin C were less likely to develop certain bone abnormalities that contribute to knee arthritis.

The findings "highlight the potential of diet to modify the risk of osteoarthritis," they report in the online journal Arthritis Research & Therapy. Dr. Yuanyuan Wang of Monash University in Melbourne led the research.

The subjects were 293 men and women who were middle-aged, healthy and free of knee pain at the start of the study. At that time, they completed detailed questionnaires on their diets; 10 years later, their knee tissue was examined using MRI scans. All of the nutrients were obtained through food, rather than from supplements.

In general, Wang's team found, the higher a person's dietary levels of vitamin C at the start of the study, the lower the risk of certain bone changes 10 years on. The same was true when the researchers looked at overall consumption of fruit, a prime source of vitamin C.

Certain carotenoids, such as the lutein and zeaxanthin found in green vegetables, were also related to a lower risk of cartilage defects in the knee.
Antioxidants are no joke. Dr. Fuhrman talks about their power in Prevent Deficiencies with Plant-Based Nutrition:
The most dramatic finding in nutritional science in the last fifty years is the power of plant-derived phytochemicals to affect health. Phytochemicals, along with the rich assortment of powerful antioxidants found in unrefined plant foods, fuel a defensive system that removes toxic cellular metabolites that age us. Phytochemicals also are required for maintenance and repair of our DNA.

Cancer may be promoted by toxic compounds, but we have cellular machinery, fueled by phytochemicals, to detoxify and remove noxious agents and to repair any damage done. Our body is self-healing and self-repairing when given sufficient nutrient support to maximize efficiency of protective cellular machinery. But, only when we consume large amounts of green vegetables and a diversity of natural plant foods can we maximize phytochemical delivery to our tissues.

No Booze for Baby

I figured this was common sense, but maybe it isn’t. Drinking alcohol when you’re pregnant is a bad idea—why? Here’s one reason. New research has determined that drinking while pregnant may alter a child's brain. Krisha McCoy of HealthDay News reports:
Heavy prenatal alcohol exposure does not always lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, noted a team reporting in the August issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. In some cases, it can cause cognitive and behavioral problems without the facial features characteristic of fetal alcohol syndrome.

In their study, researchers at San Diego State University (SDSU) examined 22 children and adolescents (ages 8 to 18 years) -- 13 with and 9 without histories of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure. The participants were part of a larger study at the Center for Behavioral Teratology, SDSU.

The participants who were exposed to heavy alcohol before birth had altered responses in the frontal-striatal areas of the brain.

"We found two regions within the prefrontal cortex where the youth with alcohol-exposure histories had increased brain activation and one area in the subcortex (called the caudate nucleus) where the alcohol-exposed youth had decreased brain activation," study co-author Susanna L. Fryer, a graduate student in the SDSU/University of California, San Diego, joint doctoral program in clinical psychology, said in a prepared statement.
Kind of falls in line with yesterday’s post: Pregnancy: Healthy Eating for Two.

Belly Fat and Fitness

If you go to the gym, you’re bound to have seen them. Those guys with the pumped up arms and tight-fitting shirts; these guys actually think they’re in shape. Well, they would be, if it weren’t for the big bellies. Don’t get it? This Reuters report should lift the fog. Ann Harding explains fitness means less belly fat at any weight. Read on:
The higher a man's cardiorespiratory fitness, the less fat he has in his abdominal cavity, Dr. Jean-Pierre Despres of Hopital Laval Research Centre in Quebec and colleagues found. The relationship held true regardless of body mass index (BMI), a ratio of weight to height typically used to gauge overweight and obesity.

"This is why it's so, so important for the doctor to measure waist circumference," said Despres, who told Reuters Health he is on a "crusade" to get family doctors to check their patients' waist size and triglyceride levels.

High waist circumference combined with high triglyceride levels signal a substantially increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, he explained.

There is mounting evidence that fit people are at reduced risk of heart disease, even though they may be overweight or even obese based on their BMI, Despres and his team note in the Archives of Internal Medicine. At the same time, the researcher added, people of normal weight with bulging bellies can be "time bombs" for heart disease.

He and his colleagues hypothesized that fit individuals, regardless of BMI, would have less belly fat. To investigate, they looked at 169 healthy men, comparing their cardiorespiratory fitness with their amount of belly fat as measured by computed tomography (CT) scanning.
Dr. Fuhrman runs into the belly fat issue all the time. Check out this excerpt from Eat to Live:
Most people lose weight and then stop losing when they have reached their ideal weight. You are not the judge of your ideal weight; your body is. As almost everyone is overweight, many people think they are too thin when they have reached their best weight. I have many patients who, after following my plan to reverse diabetes or heart disease, report, "Everyone tells me I look too thin now." I then measure their periumbilical fat and check their percentage of body fat, and usually show them they are still not thin enough.

Coffee and Disease

Healthy Eating is blogging about coffee, cancer, arteriosclerosis, and dehydration. Check it out:
A new study published in the June 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined whether high coffee consumption (>2 cups a day) contributed to arteriosclerosis - the thickening and stiffening of the blood vessels that transport oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body. Following 228 healthy subjects over the course of a year, researchers found that those who drank the most coffee experienced greater hardening of the arteries - and particularly the aorta (the major artery that feeds blood to the rest of the arteries) - than their non-coffee drinking peers.

This is bad news for java junkies as arteriosclerosis can increase blood pressure as well as the risk of heart attack and stroke. Combine this with coffee's effect on homocysteine - raising levels of an amino acid associated with cardiovascular disease - and you've got a brewing health threat, particularly for those with a family history of heart disease.

Finally, as reported in a previous issue of the DNN, men who drink four or more cups of coffee a day dramatically increase their risk of bladder cancer. A Dutch oncologist who examined the link predicted that up to a third of bladder cancers could be prevented by the elimination of coffee consumption.

What Doctors Don't Know

The Cardio Blog is all over research suggesting many doctors aren’t worried about patients' out of whack cholesterol. Take a look:
61% of doctors stated they don't feel frustrated when they are unable to lower cholesterol levels in their patients, despite understanding the severe health risks that go along with it. Are they not taking it seriously? Is it that they just don't expect their patients to take it seriously? Whatever the issue, make sure you have a doctor that takes a personal interest in you and your health.
Now I respect doctors—heck, I work for one—but sometimes what they don’t realize is truly amazing. Dr. Fuhrman provides an example in Eat to Live:
I see about twenty to thirty new patients per week, and I always ask them, “Which has more protein — one hundred calories of sirloin steak or one hundred calories of broccoli?” When I tell them it’s broccoli, the most frequent response I get is “I didn’t know broccoli had protein in it.” then ask them, “So where did you think the calories in broccoli come from? Did you think it was mostly fat, like an avocado, or mostly carbohydrate, like a potato?”

People know less about nutrition than any other subject. Even the physicians and dietitians who attend my lectures quickly volunteer the answer, “Steak!” They are surprised to learn that broccoli has about twice as much protein as steak.
For more on broccoli’s nutrient content, check out Nutrient Density of Green Vegetables.

More Love for Flavonoids

The flavonoids are coming. They’re all around us. Will you harness their power? According to Dr. Fuhrman, fruits and veggies are packed with flavonoids, so—go get some! From Popeye Was Right--Greens Pack a Powerful Punch:
Which has more vitamin E or vitamin C--broccoli or steak? I'm sure you are aware that steak has no vitamin C or vitamin E. It is also almost totally lacking in fiber, folate, vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, vitamin K, flavonoids, and thousands of other protective phytochemicals. Meat does have certain vitamins and minerals, but even when we consider the nutrients that meat does contain, broccoli has lots more of them. For many important nutrients, broccoli has more than ten times as much as steak. The only exception is vitamin B12, which is not found in plant fare.
Now, even though Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t recommend going overboard with juice. The Diabetes Blog relays information claiming that the flavonoids in orange juice reduce inflammation:
A recent study by endocrinologists at the University of Buffalo reveals orange juice is packed with flavonoids. Not only that, flavonoids suppress destructive oxygen free radicals (aka reactive oxygen species or ROS). ROS can damage cells and contributes to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Previous research has shown 300 calories of glucose induces ROS and other proinflammatory responses. Now the researchers wanted to see how orange juice, fructose and saccharin-sweetened water impacted ROS compared to glucose. For this study, 32 healthy people between ages 20 to 40 were divided equally into four groups and given 300 calories worth of either o.j., fructose, saccharin water or glucose. Significant increases in ROS were reported in samples from the glucose group, but not the o.j., fructose or water group.
Blueberries and other foods are also loaded with flavonoids; Ten Super Foods to Use in Your Recipes and Menus.

Not Enough Vitamin D

According to new research, one billion people aren’t getting enough vitamin D. Krisha McCoy of HealthDay News reports:
In the July 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Michael Holick, director of the General Clinical Research Center at Boston University School of Medicine and director of the Bone Healthcare Clinic at Boston Medical Center, published an overview of his work on vitamin D.

According to Holick, it has been estimated that one billion people in the world are vitamin D deficient or insufficient.

Without vitamin D, only 10 percent to 15 percent of dietary calcium and about 60 percent of phosphorus is absorbed by the body. This can have a direct effect on bone mineral density.

There is evidence that people who live at higher latitudes -- where the angle of the sun's rays is not sufficient to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D in the skin -- are more likely to develop and die of Hodgkin's lymphoma, colon, pancreatic, prostate, ovarian, breast and other cancers. And there is an association between low levels of vitamin D and increased risk for type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin D and the lack of it, is no stranger to Followhealthlife. Check out the Importance of Vitamin D for more. Here’s a taste:
Vitamin D also works in concert with a number of other vitamins, minerals, and hormones to promote bone mineralization. Research also suggests that vitamin D is important to maintain a healthy immune system, regulate cell growth, and prevent cancer. Vitamin D has been shown to protect against the development of autoimmune disease such as inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It also has been shown to be helpful in decreasing disease severity for those suffering with autoimmune disease.1
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FDA Failing at Food Safety

I know I’ve said it before, but the Federal Food and Drug Administration is—at best—hit or miss. Sometimes they get it right, but more often than the not, the news ends up sounding like this. According to HealthDay News a congressional panel doesn’t think the FDA is doing a good job policing food safety, especially food imports. Steven Reinberg reports:
Food importers have found ways to avoid federal oversight of the products they ship into the United States, putting consumers at risk, the investigators told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's subcommittee on the FDA and food safety.

For example, when it comes to fish, importers sometimes route product through an inland point of entry, such as Las Vegas, instead of a big Pacific port city, the Associated Press reported. Importers can also get around FDA mercury inspections by offering younger, smaller fish to inspectors, then use the resulting agency approval to import larger fish with higher levels of the toxin, the investigators said.

A committee investigation also found that the FDA has little ability to police food imports. In San Francisco, for example, the agency's staff can manage only a cursory review of imports, generally dedicating just 30 seconds to each shipment as it flashes by on a computer screen, according to the investigators, the AP reported.

"We know that we are vulnerable to harm from abroad, where rules and regulations governing food production often are more lax than they are at home," said committee member Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., raising the prospect of terrorists tampering with imports entering the U.S. food supply, the news service reported.
I wonder, is part of the FDA job requirements graduating from clown college?

Your Waist, Your Heart

We all know excess bodyweight increases your risk of disease, and clearly, a really big waist probably means you’re sporting extra pounds. Now, new research claims reducing waist size decreases one’s risk of heart disease and diabetes—makes sense, seems like the opposite. Reuters reports:
French researchers found that men and women whose waistlines expanded by 3 inches or more over nine years were at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome -- a collection of risk factors, including high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels, that raise a person's odds of diabetes and heart disease.

In contrast, women who shed just an inch or more from their midsections had a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome than women whose waistlines stayed the same.

What's more, a slimmed-down middle benefited women who already had metabolic syndrome at the study's outset, the researchers report in the journal Diabetes Care. Compared with women who had metabolic syndrome and an unchanged waistline, those who lost an inch or more were nearly four times more likely to no longer have the syndrome at the study's close.

(via The Cardio-Blog)
Not exactly eye-opening research, but important nonetheless. Dr. Fuhrman often stresses that the one of the keys to long-term health and disease-prevention is maintaining healthy bodyweight. Take heart disease for example; from Reverse Heart Disease Aggressively:
When you normalize your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol with nutritional intervention rather than drugs, you accomplish even greater risk reduction. As your weight drops, your blood sugar, triglycerides, blood pressure, and cholesterol also drop dramatically. Your body is flooded with nutrients that protect your blood vessels from disease and rupture. This approach provides maximal protection and offers benefits beyond merely lowering cholesterol.

The dietary program I recommend for heart-disease reversal utilizes natural cholesterol-lowering therapies instead of drugs, which eliminates the risks of drug side effects. And because my dietary program is richer in fiber and nutrients than the typical vegetarian diet, my patients achieve spectacular reductions in cholesterol, body weight, and blood pressure. Fortunately, this approach also can help those who already have heart disease. They can avoid future heart attacks and reverse and remove atherosclerosis.

Junk Science: Fruits and Veggies Not Good For Cancer

Yup, can you hear it in the distance? The dangerously food-addicted are rejoicing. Because according to new junk science—oops, I mean “research”—eating lots of fruits and veggies doesn’t protect against breast cancer—yawn. So, if you like a good laugh. Reuters reports:
The study tracked 3,088 U.S. women. Half followed a diet with the widely recommended five daily servings of vegetables and fruit. The other half ate a diet doubling that intake.

Those who consumed twice the vegetables and fruit in a diet also high in fiber and low in fat were no less likely to avoid a recurrence of breast cancer or death than the women who followed the five-a-day diet.

The women, all of whom had been treated successfully for early-stage breast cancer, participated in the study from 1995 to 2000 at seven places in California, Texas, Arizona and Oregon. They were followed for between six and 11 years…

…The researchers emphasized nutrient-dense vegetables like dark, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and carrots, and did not count vegetables such as iceberg lettuce and white potatoes.

The researchers said the study did not look at whether eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit and fiber and low in fat earlier in life would reduce the risk of ever getting breast cancer.
Oops! Sorry, I almost nodded off. Reports like this are boring—but typical! One day fruit is good, next day it’s bad. Then veggies are up, and then their down. It’s like a rollercoaster of junk science and all it does is confuse people—want the truth? Dr. Fuhrman offers it up in Eat to Live:
There is still some controversy about which foods cause which cancers and whether certain types of fat are the culprits with certain cancers, but there’s one thing we know for sure; raw vegetables and fresh fruits have powerful anti-cancer agents. Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of these foods and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas.1 This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get.

Humans are genetically adapted to expect a high intake of natural and unprocessed plant-derived substances. Cancer is a disease of maladaptation. It results primarily from a body’s lacking critical substances found in different types of vegetation, many of which are still undiscovered, that are metabolically necessary for normal protective function. Natural foods unadulterated by man are highly complex—so complex that the exact structure and the majority of compounds they contain are not precisely known. A tomato, for example, contains more than ten thousand different phytochemicals.

It may never be possible to extract the precise symphony of nutrients found in vegetation and place it in a pill. Isolated nutrients extracted from food may never offer the same level of disease-protective effects of whole natural foods, as nature “designed” them. Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients, which work in subtle synergies, and many of these nutrients cannot be isolated or extracted. Phytochemicals from a variety of plant foods work together to become much more potent at detoxifying carcinogens and protecting against cancer than when taken individually as isolated compounds.
I’m with Dr. Fuhrman on this one. Plant foods are nutritional heavy weights—take green vegetables for example. But, since this report is buzzing around the newswires and thumping the bloglines, I figured I’d ask Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts. And here’s what he had to say:
This reminds me of something that happens with some of my new patients.

The patient comes back to see me after six weeks of supposedly following the diet I prescribed and not only hadn't they lost weight, but they had gained.

I said are you sure you are eating the exact diet I told you to follow? And the following ensues:
Patient: "Of course, I ate all that stuff!"

Me: "And nothing else?"

Patient: "You mean I was not supposed to eat my old diet too?"
These people actually gained weight and ate more fat as the study progressed. And the people who have actually read my materials know three critical facts:
1. A high cruciferous diet, with lots of raw greens is the only effective nutritional intervention for women who already have breast cancer.

2. The natural history of breast cancer which is caused by early life standard American diet cannot be changed by moderate changes, later in life.

3. A healthy diet has a high nutrient-per-calorie density, which means that empty calories and extra body weight has a significant negative impact on your health, even if you consume healthy foods along with it.
But hey! Maybe you need more convincing? Now, I’m no doctor, but here’s my professional advice. Get yourself some nice ripe pieces of fruit or some crisp veggies—right now I’m munching on some cantaloupe—kick back, and check out these posts for more information on how plant foods help protect us from all diseases, not just cancer. Enjoy:
Now don’t be shy. This is only a quick list of posts. Be sure to check out Followhealthlife’s categories. There you’ll find a lot more content—I know, I wrote most of them—the Cancer, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease categories are particularly good. Oh, and if you want to know just how much fruits and veggies you should be eating, take a look at this:

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Keep on Trucking...Healthier

The Diabetes Blog passes on some new research outlining the health risks for most truck drivers. Look:
According to a new survey of truckers, that lifestyle of long hours sitting on your tushie is catching up with the nation's big rig drivers. Obesity is rampant and so are obesity-related health problems like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Oh, then there's sleep apnea, smoking, and the fact that many drivers admit they don't bother with seatbelts.
Too bad all truck drives can’t look like this:

BMI, Blood Pressure, and Body Weight

The Cardio Blog relays some research that casts doubt on the BMI and the link between high blood pressure and body weight. Check it out:
A recent study published in the Epidemiology Journal questions the idea that BMI and blood pressure are tied together. The study -- which was done on the island nation of Seychelles -- found that as the number of people with a BMI over 25 rose, the association between BMI and hypertension decreased. The study likely raises more questions than it answers. How good of a measurement is BMI and how much of a role does obesity play in the development of high blood pressure?

Diabetes Drug: Triple the Side Effects

Not good news for the makers of the diabetes medication Avandia, its got some real-real serious side effects. Marilynn Marchione of the Associated Press reports:
In the month after a surprising analysis revealed possible heart risks from the blockbuster diabetes drug Avandia, reports of side effects to federal regulators tripled.

The sudden spike is a sign that doctors probably were unaware of the drug's possible role in their patients' heart problems and therefore may not have reported many such cases in the past, several experts said.

It also shows the flaws of the safety tracking system and suggests that a better one might have detected a potential problem before the drug had been on the market for eight years.

Avandia is used to control blood sugar, helping more than 6 million people worldwide manage Type 2 diabetes, the kind that is linked to obesity. These people already are at higher risk for heart attacks, so news that the drug might raise this risk by 43 percent was especially disturbing.
Now, for a real way to treat—and even prevent diabetes—check out Don't Settle For Diabetes.


According to new research, older people are being prescribed too many medications for all the wrong reasons. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
Too many older people are being prescribed too many medicines or the wrong drugs, and more research needs to be done to find out how to fix the problem, say two papers published in this week's issue of The Lancet medical journal.

The complexities of the prescribing process, along with other patient, provider and health system factors, are among the reasons why the use of drugs in elderly patients is often inappropriate, wrote a team led by Dr. Anne Spinewine of the Universite Catholique de Louvain, in Brussels, Belgium.

This inappropriate drug use among older patients includes being prescribed drugs they don't need, being under-prescribed medications they do need or being given inappropriate drugs.

Methods of ensuring appropriate prescribing of drugs to elderly patients include care by a multidisciplinary team of health providers; involvement of pharmacists in patient care; and including patients in the prescribing process, the Belgian authors said.

Cancer and Red Food Coloring

Well, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if it was. According to a new study food coloring Red 2G—which is often added to meat products—may cause cancer. Reuters reports:
Tests using animals indicated that aniline, a substance into which Red 2G is converted in the body, might cause cancer in animals and humans, possibly hitting the genetic material of cells, the EU main food safety body said in a statement.

“It is therefore not possible to determine a level of intake for aniline which may be regarded as safe for humans,” EFSA said.

(via Vegetarian Organic Life Blog)
Coincidently, just last week I blogged about Dr. Fuhrman’s suggestion for all those craving the red of red meat; Cravings: Red Color = Red Meat.

NY Times on Caffeine

Anna Jane Grossman of The New York Times examines the plight of caffeine in the United States; past, present, and, its newfound topical applications? I’m serious. Take a look:
Now drugstore shelves, which once had few things caffeine-related, save perhaps the odd mug cozy or cappuccino-scented candle, are offering an array of skin care products containing the beloved stimulant.

The 20th century was a confusing time for caffeine. The Food and Drug Administration vacillated on whether it was good or bad for you. Sanka was created, but so was the frappuccino. The new millennium, however, is shaping up to be a good one for it…

… In 2002, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science published a study led by Dr. Conney that used caffeine to kill off skin cancer sells on radiated mice. The results were promising, especially if you’re a mouse living in a coffee urn.

“Although caffeine has a sunscreen effect, it also has a biological effect of causing apoptosis — programmed cell death — in UVB-damaged skin cells and in tumors but not in normal skin or in areas adjacent to tumors in tumor-bearing mice,” Dr. Conney said in an e-mail message. “To the best of my knowledge, caffeine and caffeine sodium benzoate are the first examples of substances that have both a sunscreen effect and enhance cell death in a DNA-damaged tissue.”
Okay, here’s Dr. Fuhrman on caffeine consumption from Eat to Live and Disease-Proof Your Child:
Eat to Live
Caffeine addicts are at higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias that could precipitate sudden death.1 Coffee raises blood pressure and raises cholesterol and homocysteine, two risk factors for heart disease.2

Disease-Proof Your Child
Caffeine has been a controversial topic for decades. Evidence clearly concludes that heavy coffee drinkers have an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight infants, but evidence is not clear for moderate users of caffeine.3 Nevertheless, is wise to stay away from as many potentially harmful substances as possible. The bottom line, if in doubt, don’t do it.
And now, Dr. Fuhrman on caffeine and cancer from Ineffective Anti-Cancer Remedies: Coffee Enemas:
Caffeinated beverages delivered rectally are not health-supporting and cannot detoxify your body any more effectively than rinsing your mouth with them and then spitting them out. At least two deaths have been linked to coffee enemas, attributed to hyponatremia and dehydration. There is also a risk of contamination from unsanitary equipment used to administer enemas. For example, one outbreak of Campylobacter sepsis occurred among clients at a border clinic in Mexico that offered coffee enemas, and an outbreak of amebiasis was also linked to fecal contamination of an enema-delivery system.
Alight, that’s reason enough for me not to believe the hype—what about you?
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Cardio Blog: Fruit and Veggie News

The Cardio Blog has got a couple great posts about fruits and vegetables for health. For starters, take a look at this one. Organic produce may really be better for the heart:
The debate over whether organic produce is really better for you may have just come to a screeching halt. A recent 10-year study out of the University of California found that tomatoes grown organically have 79 to 97 percent more flavonoids than conventionally grown tomatoes. Flavonoids are linked to lower blood pressure, which may help prevent heart disease.
And check this out. Regularly eating apples and pears is a potent defense against heart trouble. Here:
Grape juice, the obvious non-alcoholic alternative to red wine, you can also source some serious flanonoids from apples and pears. After examining what more than 34,000 women ate over a 20 year span and the diseases they developed, researchers found that women that ate apples and pears regluarly had the lowest risk of death from heart conditions.
For more news about fruits and vegetables check out Followhealthlife’s Healthy Food category.

Don't Bash the Tomato!

As an Italian—I admit—I overreact when people bash the tomato, figuratively and especially literally! But this kind of “research” really peeves me. Apparently studies have determined that lypocene does not prevent cancer. Here’s the scoop from the AFP:
The FDA's review, which appears in the July 10 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, refutes numerous studies which have pointed to a link between ingesting lycopene and cutting cancer risk.

The "analysis found no credible evidence that lycopene, either in food or in a dietary supplement, was associated with reduced risk of any of the cancers evaluated," according to chief researcher Claudine Kavanaugh.

The review "found no evidence that tomatoes reduced the risk of lung, colorectal, breast, cervical or endometrial cancer."
And in case you’re like me—and learn better with pictures—check out this ABC News video report:

Oh what the heck, what’s one more report? Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times presents Lycopene Does Not Fight Off Prostate Cancer, Study Shows:
The study included 28,243 men, 55 to 74 years old, who were recruited as part of a larger cancer screening. The researchers measured blood concentrations of lycopene, beta carotene, lutein and other carotenoids in 692 randomly selected men in the sample who later developed prostate cancer, and 844 men who did not.

After controlling for other variables, the scientists found no link between prostate cancer and blood concentrations of lycopene or other carotenoids, except that men with the highest blood levels of beta carotene were somewhat more likely to suffer from aggressive disease than those with the lowest concentrations.
Articles like this are rampant; claiming that one particular vitamin or mineral doesn’t do what we thought it does, in this case protect against cancer, but as Dr. Fuhrman will tell you. This is a dumb way of looking at it; one vitamin won’t save the day. You must consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes—bio-diversity! After all, Monkeys Don’t Sit Under Banana Trees Eating Bananas All Day:
All primates, including humans, are driven to consume food from a variety of categories. Contrary to popular belief, a monkey does not sit under a banana tree eating bananas all day. He eats bananas and then may travel half a mile away to find a different type of food. He has an innate drive to consume variety; just satisfying the caloric drive is not enough. Likewise, children [or humans] will not be satisfied with eating only one or two foods; they will want to eat a portion of one food and want another type of food. As a higher-order animal with a bigger brain, we search for a variety of nutrient sources, and this variety assures that we get the broad assortment of nutrients that increases our immune function and longevity potential.
In the interest of preserving the good name of the tomato, here are a few posts singing its praises:
And just to spite all the tomato bashers out there—I’M PUTTING EXTRA TOMATO ON MY SALAD TONIGHT!

High-Fructose Corn Syrup Not to Blame?

New research is trying to claim that high-fructose corn syrup isn’t the nemesis of weight-loss and health we all believe it to be. Kyung M. Song of The Seattle Times reports:
People who drank the three sweetened colas in the morning said they felt equally full. At lunch, they all consumed similar numbers of calories.

A likely explanation is that once inside the body, the different sweeteners are indistinguishable, Pablo Monsivais, nutritional-sciences research fellow at the UW and the lead author of the report, said. The sugar in acidic beverages, such as cola, split into glucose and fructose molecules just as high-fructose corn syrup does.

But the experiment also turned up several dietary side notes worth exploring.

Subjects who drank the milk ate the smallest lunches. On the other hand, the people who had diet cola or drank nothing at all ate the biggest meals, presumably because they were hungrier.

But when researchers added up all the calories consumed from both the morning beverage and the lunch, subjects who drank diet cola or nothing consumed as many as 15 percent fewer calories than the other groups.

In short, people who had milk or the colas with sugar or syrup ate less at lunch, but not so much less that it balanced the calories they got from their morning drinks.
Don’t be fooled. Dr. Fuhrman considers high-fructose corn syrup (or HFCS) a real dangerous food and one that should be avoided. He talks about it in Disease-Proof Your Child:
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.
And as for milk, check out this previous post: Cow's Milk and Kids Aren't Made for Each Other.

Kids Not Walking to School

This next report made me think of the crabby old man saying, “In my day we used to walk to school barefoot, through snow and molten lava, and we never complained.” I guess they don’t make kids like they used to because a new study claims that kids living near school rarely walk there. Madeline Vann of HealthDay News has more:
Even though one out of three American children live within a mile of their school, barely half of those students regularly bike or walk to class, researchers report.

Children who live in the South, in rural areas or who have college-educated parents are among those least likely to bike or walk to school, notes the report, which is published in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Sarah Martin and colleagues at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studied data from more than 7,000 children between 9 and 15 years of age.

They found that almost 35 percent of the children lived within one mile of their schools. Children between 11 and 13 years old were more likely to walk or bike than 9-year-olds. Children whose parents had a high school education were more likely to bike or walk than children with college-educated parents.

Meat-Sweet Bad for Breast Cancer

I like the term “meat-sweet.” Researchers are using it to describe the Western or standard American diet. A new study has determined a diet rich in red-meat, starches, and sweets significantly increases a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
In the study, American and Chinese researchers studied women, ages 25 to 64, in Shanghai who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer between August 1996 and March 1998.

The dietary habits of the women with the 1,602 breast cancer cases were compared to those of more than 1,500 women without breast cancer.

The researchers found that overweight, postmenopausal women who ate a western-style diet had a greater than twofold increased risk of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancers. There was no association between breast cancer risk and a vegetable-soy-fish diet.

The "meat-sweet" western diet relies on various kinds of meats, saltwater fish and shellfish, bread, milk, dessert and candy. The vegetable-soy-fish diet favors various vegetables, soy-based products, and freshwater fish.
I know, not exactly earth shattering news. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman makes it clear. The correlation between meat and disease is profound. Take a look:
There is a relationship between animal protein and heart disease. For example, plasma apolioprotein B is positively associated with animal-protein intake and inversely associated (lowered) with vegetable-protein intake (e.g., legumes and greens). Apolioprotein B levels correlate strongly with coronary heart disease1…

…The consumption of chicken and fish is also linked to colon cancer. A large recent study examined the eating habits of 32,000 adults for six years and then watched the incidence of cancer for these subjects over the next six years. Those who avoided red meat but at white meat regularly had a more than 300 percent increase in colon cancer incidence.2
And as for sugar, well, let’s just say its bad news too. More from Dr. Fuhrman and Eat to Live:
Refined sugars include table sugar (sucrose), milk sugar (lactose), honey, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, corn sweeteners, and fruit juice concentrates. Even the bottled and boxed fruit juices that many children drink are poor food; with no significant nutrient density, they lead to obesity and disease.3
All this makes me wonder, how the heck could anyone eat something like this? It’s Baseball’s Worst Burger!

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UPDATE: Asthma feed it Fruit and Fish

I’m a big fruit eater—literally and figuratively—I can eat a whole watermelon in one sitting, no problem. In fact, just this morning I had two white nectarines, a banana, a plum, some grapes, and a few pineapple chunks. According to Dr. Fuhrman eating all this fruit will really help my asthma—if I actually had asthma that is. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
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.1 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.
Now, the good press for fruit just keeps on coming. A new study has determined that teenagers who eat lots of fresh fruit and fish have healthier respiratory systems; which lowers their risk of asthma. Serena Gordon of HealthDay News explains:
"Teens that have the lowest intake of fruits, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids tended to have lower pulmonary function and reported more respiratory symptoms than those with higher intake," said study author Jane Burns, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

"This is a time in their lives when they should all have good lung function, and they may not be obtaining optimal lung function. This may affect their lung function later in life," Burns added.

Results of the study are published in the July issue of Chest.

About 20 million Americans -- 9 million of them children -- have asthma, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. While the exact cause of the disease is still unknown, doctors do know that underlying inflammation of the airways is an important factor in the disease. Preventive treatments for asthma are aimed at reducing that inflammation.
The news about the fruit is great, but, why must Omega-3s constantly be shackled to fish or fish oil; take yesterday’s post for example: Fish Oil for Preemies. Fish and fish oils are often polluted with mercury or other toxic compounds. If you’re looking to increase your intake of Omega-3s, Dr. Fuhrman would much rather see you get from a safer source, like flaxseed. Back to Disease-Proof Your Child:
Flax Seeds are rich in lignans and omega-3 fatty acids, and scientific studies have confirmed that flax seeds have a positive influence on everything from cholesterol levels and constipation to cancer and heart disease. Keep in mind that the scientifically documented benefits from flax seeds come from raw, ground flax seed, not flax seed oil.
But, if you simply must have fish, read this post for Dr. Fuhrman’s consumption recommendations, and, contamination levels of popular fishes: Fishing for the Truth.

UPDATE: The good thing about being blogger and not a medical expert is making a mistake is not that big of a deal—i.e. no one dies when I hit the skids. Dr. Fuhrman just pointed out a little blunder I made with Omega-3s, fish, and flaxseed. Here’s our email dialogue about it…go ahead, laugh:
Dr. Fuhrman: I think when you were looking for a substitute for eating fish in that article, it was okay to mention flaxseeds as a source of short chain omega-3, but since they only convert about 2.5 percent into DHA, they do not supply what fish do (EPA and DHA) long-chain omega 3. My DHA Purity is a better option to supply what fish could, not flax. My DHA Purity is refrigerated because these oils can go rancid easily and we take extra care to preserve its cleanliness and freshness.


Me: Good point! Is your DHA the only source out there? Are there other natural alternatives too?

Dr. Fuhrman: There are other brands of non-fish DHA, but they are not refrigerated the whole time from manufacturing, shipping and storage like ours are. And when I tested the competitive brands in independent analysis they had very high rancidity scores.

You can buy a clean fish oil, a few of the best brands are purified and tested not to have the contamination and mercury that fish does, but that is still a limited resource (over-fishing) not a renewable resource like our DHA made from micro-algae grown under clean indoor conditions.

Me: Gotcha! I'll update the post with this little dialogue…and I’ll fall on my sword later.
Now, for more on Dr. Fuhrman’s DHA Purity, check out Vitamins and Supplements:
Dr. Fuhrman's DHA Purity: DHA Purity now comes in an all-new, purified liquid form of very highly concentrated DHA so that it can be digested easier and hidden easily in food. The children's dose is just one drop (measurable with a built-in graduated dropper) and easily disguised in their food, soup, drink or oatmeal. Just a few drops delivers a daily dose of essential Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA).

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Fish Oil for Preemies

Doctors—recognizing the healthful benefits of Omega-3s—are starting to experiment with fish oil to help protect premature babies against Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a disease that attacks their eyes. Is it a good idea? The researchers seem to think so. Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press reports:
Premature babies have still forming retinas; blood vessels necessary to nourish them haven't finished growing. ROP forms when something spurs those blood vessels to grow abnormally , too many form, and they leak.

But do omega-3s play a role? Dr. Lois Smith, an opthalmologist at Children's Hospital Boston, and colleagues at Harvard and the National Eye Institute first turned to mice to find out.

They harmed the mice retinas in a way that mimics ROP, and then fed them different foods: Half ate the rodent version of a typical Western diet, high in omega-6s and low in omega-3s. Half ate the equivalent of a Japanese diet, with a 2 percent higher omega-3 content.

That simple change cut in half the retinal disease among the omega-3-nibbling mice, Smith reported last month in the journal Nature Medicine.

More intriguing, the omega-3s didn't just block bad blood vessels from forming. They also helped normal, healthy blood vessels grow. They appeared to work by blocking well-known inflammation-causing pathways in the body, while mice fed more of the omega-6s experienced extra inflammation.

Now, Smith is about to begin a study in premature babies at her Boston hospital to see if adding omega-3s to their IV feedings , feedings that today contain omega-6s instead , decreases their risk of eye damage.
I always find it puzzling when experts miss glaring truths. You’d think somewhere in their research they would have dug up SOMETHING warning them about dangers of fish oil, and, that there are much safer sources of Omega-3 fatty acids available, but, I’m no know-it-all. I’ll let Dr. Fuhrman explain, from Fatty Acids and Fish Oil:
Flaxseeds and hempseeds are the foods with the highest concentration of this much-needed fat. Besides omega-3 fats, these seeds also contain very high levels of photochemicals, anti-oxidents and fibers that have been shown to have beneficial effects that inhibit prostate, breast and colon cancer. However, these protective nutrients and cancer-fighting lignans are not present in significant quantity in the oil, only in the whole seed…

… The amount of DHA can vary significantly in various fish. Some salmon (especially farm raised) has very little DHA, for example. More importantly, several studies have indicated that both fish and fish oil supplements are prone to contamination with toxic materials. For example fish and fish oils have been shown to contain large concentrations of dioxins and PCBs because the dumping of toxic waste and raw sewage into our oceans has taken a toll. Lipid peroxide contamination occurring with aging of the oil further complicates the supposed health benefits of fish oil consumption. Fish and fish oils also contains mercury. Data from the Center for Disease Control indicates that one in 12 women of childbearing age in the United States has unsafe mercury levels, and their threshold for safety is high. The major contributor to body mercury load is fish and fish oils, not dental fillings. Multiple studies have illustrated most of the body's mercury load is from the consumption of fish…

…If you avoid fish and instead consume fish oil, you may still have a problem. One problem with fish oils is that much of the fat has already turned rancid. If you have ever cut open a capsule and tasted it, you will find it can taste like gasoline. Many people complain of burping, indigestion and of fish breath. I have also observed that rancidity of this fish fat places a stress on the liver. Patients of mine with abnormal liver function noted on their blood tests when consuming fish oil have had these tests return to normal when the fish oils were stopped.
I don’t know about you, but, I wouldn’t want my child eating something that tastes like gasoline or potentially contains harmful toxins. Although, this shouldn’t underscore the benefits of Omega-3s; Dr. Fuhrman talks about Omega-3s in Disease-Proof Your Child:
For the brain cells to maintain their cell membrane fluidity and to properly recognize chemical messengers they must have the right ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fats built into their structure. Too little omega-3 fats and too much saturated fat and trans fat could stiffen the fatty acid membranes and interfere with proper cellular communication. Raw nuts and seeds supply children with unpolluted omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in a protective package rich in antioxidant vitamins and minerals.

UPDATE: Diabetes: Easy as Pumpkin Pie?

New research suggests pumpkin extract may be better for Type-1 diabetics than insulin. Madeline Vann of HealthDay News is on it:
Type 1 diabetic rats fed the extract had only 5 percent fewer plasma insulin and 8 percent fewer insulin positive (beta) cells than rats without diabetes. According to the researchers, the extract helped damaged pancreatic cells responsible for insulin production to regenerate and make more insulin.

The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Lead researcher Tao Xia, of East China Normal University in Shanghai, noted that although insulin shots will probably always be necessary for type 1 diabetics, pumpkin extract could drastically reduce the amount of insulin needed.
Although, studies using Jack-o-lantern extract have proved less than encouraging.

UPDATE: I'm not the only one with a snarky comment. Here's what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about this research:
Hard to believe that it could work so well in humans, I don't even believe this study, doesn't even intuitively make sense, that damaged and non-functioning beta cells could come back to life after exposure to a pumpkin. Maybe Cinderella's fairy godmother is behind this?

Fat for a Heart Attack

I know, the title sounds like the blueprint for a heart attack, but, according to this report in the Associated Press, being obese might give you a better chance of surviving a heart attack. No, I’m not kidding. There’s even research to back it up. Maria Cheng has more:
Scientists are stumped over why that seems to be the case and pose several theories. There may be physiological differences in the hearts of obese and normal-weight people. Or perhaps it depends on where the fat is on their bodies.

However, experts warn, the results should not be used as an excuse for the overweight to indulge.

"We really don't want people to think that they should put on a bit of weight to have a better chance with their bypass surgery," said Dr. Gerald Fletcher, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Florida and a spokesman for the American Heart Association.
Can you say—JUNK SCIENCE!

Nutrition Education a Dud?

Maybe all those school food reforms and trying to teach kids to eat better isn’t such a good idea? Because according to new research, nutrition education programs are failing. Martha Mendoza of the Associated Press reports:
An Associated Press review of scientific studies examining 57 such programs found mostly failure. Just four showed any real success in changing the way kids eat — or any promise as weapons against the growing epidemic of childhood obesity.

"Any person looking at the published literature about these programs would have to conclude that they are generally not working," said Dr. Tom Baranowski, a pediatrics professor at Houston's Baylor College of Medicine who studies behavioral nutrition.

The results have been disappointing, to say the least:

-Last year a major federal pilot program offering free fruits and vegetables to school children showed fifth graders became less willing to eat them than they had been at the start. Apparently they didn't like the taste.

-In Pennsylvania, researchers went so far as to give prizes to school children who ate fruits and vegetables. That worked while the prizes were offered, but when the researchers came back seven months later the kids had reverted to their original eating habits: soda and chips.

-In studies where children tell researchers they are eating better or exercising more, there is usually no change in blood pressure, body size or cholesterol measures; they want to eat better, they might even think they are, but they're not.
I don’t know, I still think educating people is a smart move—what about you?

Stressed Fat Mice

Diet-Blog passes on some information showing how stress can lead to weight-grain…in mice. Check it out:
Mice who were stressed AND who were also eating a high-sugar high-fat diet got fat: they tended to gain more visceral abdominal fat.

What was strange was that it was only the combination of the above factors that produced the result. Stress and a good diet was okay. No stress and a junk food diet was okay.

The scientists concluded that the stress and bad diet increased amounts of a brain chemical called neuropeptide-Y - which resulted in more fat cells in the abdominal area.
I think the same thing rings true for humans. Maybe that’s why Dr. Fuhrman believes An Emotionally Satisfying Environment is Vital to health and longevity.

Smell Gone, Alzheimer's In?

The Associated Press reports that a declining sense of smell could be an indicator of Alzheimer’s disease. Carla K. Johnson is on it:
Difficulty identifying common smells such as lemon, banana and cinnamon may be the first sign of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study that could lead to scratch-and-sniff tests to determine a person's risk for the progressive brain disorder.

Such tests could be important if scientists find ways to slow or stop Alzheimer's and the severe memory loss associated with it. For now, there's no cure for the more than 5 million Americans with the disease.

Researchers have long known that microscopic lesions considered the hallmarks of Alzheimer's first appear in a brain region important to the sense of smell.
For more on Alzheimer’s check out Followhealthlife’s Alzheimer’s archive.

Poisonous Potatoes

Did you know green potatoes are poisonous? I didn’t. At first it sounded like a lot of hooey, but, as Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times reports, green potatoes can make you sick. Take a look:

According to a recent report by Alexander Pavlista, a professor of agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, a 100-pound person would have to eat about 16 ounces of a fully green potato to get sick. That is the weight of a large baked potato.

The report noted that most green potatoes never reach the market. Still, to avoid the development of solanine, it is best to store potatoes in cool, dimly lit areas, and to cut away green areas before eating.

Another good rule: if it tastes bitter, don’t eat it. Unlike Dr. Seuss’s entree, this green meal would not have a happy ending.

Support Helps Weight-Loss

Nothing too shocking here, but, a new study has determined that diet counseling helps dieters lose more weight. Madeline Vann of HealthDay News reports:
The team at the Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, analyzed 46 studies focused on weight loss. They compared data from almost 6,400 people whose programs included dietary counseling and almost 5,500 people who were not in these types of programs.

Programs with frequent meetings and calorie restrictions resulted in more successful weight loss over time, according to the study, which is published in he Annals of Internal Medicine.

Three years later, most people maintained half the overall weight loss. However, by the end of five years, all participants had regained the weight.

"We did not know how much weight people lost on average through weight loss programs or how long it took to gain it back. This study shows that lifestyle change needs to be for the long-term," study author Dr. Michael L. Dansinger, a physician at Tufts-New England Medical Centers Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, said in a prepared statement.

Obesity and High Blood Pressure, a Weaker Link?

Some new research claims that obesity might not increase blood pressure like previously believed. Reuters reports:
It seems that the association between body mass index (BMI) and high blood pressure or hypertension has decreased since 1989, researchers say. The finding suggests that obesity may not have as much of an impact on heart-related disease as previously thought.

"High blood pressure is a leading cause of the global burden of disease," Dr. Pascal Bovet, of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and colleagues write in the medical journal Epidemiology. "The prevalence of hypertension, and of several other conditions (including diabetes), is considered to be linked to the worldwide epidemic of obesity."

The researchers examined trends in blood pressure and BMI over a 15-year interval in the Seychelles. Their analysis was based on two independent surveys conducted in 1989 and 2004 using representative samples of the population between the ages of 25 and 64 years.

There was a slight decrease in average blood pressure between 1989 and 2004 in both men and women. The prevalence of high blood pressure changed little during this time -- from 45 to 44 percent in men and from 34 to 36 percent in women.
Okay, I don't know if this is really true or not. The important thing to remember is carrying excess weight sets you up for increased health problems—period. Dr. Fuhrman explains in Eat to Live:
Obesity is not just a cosmetic issue—extra weight leads to an earlier death, as many studies confirm.1 Overweight individuals are more likely to die from all causes, including heart disease and cancer. Two-thirds of those with weight problems also have hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, or another obesity related condition.2 It is a major cause of early mortality in the United States.3
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Smoking is so Yesterday?

Smoking bans are everywhere—are people finally through with smoking! Maybe. The Cancer Blog is on it:
With Britain, Germany, Scotland, Australia and many large cities in the U.S. now banning smoking (or about to), it seems clear that much of the world is sick and tired of smoking. A bigger driver of this is the publicity second-hand smoke has gotten recently.

As a result, smoking bans are popping up all over the world. Also, many cancer groups are seeing that more and more people will end up quitting the habit once and for all. That, or find a corner in an isolated, outdoor space in which to light up.
Honestly, I’m not sure if the world is done with smoking just yet. After all, a dimly lit smoke-filled bar is still a pretty cool image—even if they don’t exist anymore.

Breastfeeding No Help for Obesity Risk

Kind of a daunting headline. New research claims breastfeeding does not protect against obesity. Anne Harding of Reuters reports:
Instead, the researchers say, the protective effect of breastfeeding some studies have found is likely due to the fact that women who breastfeed their infants also tend to have qualities that make them less likely to raise obese children.

"There are several reasons for why mothers should breastfeed their children, independent of obesity," Dr. Andre M. Toschke of Kings College London, the study's lead author, told Reuters Health. "(Our) study questions a little bit the argument of breastfeeding for protection against obesity."
Dr. Fuhrman thinks this is a bunch of junk. Here’s what he had to say:
My thoughts are that just because you were not breast fed for a prolonged period when you were a child, does not mean you are destined to fatness forever. Optimal nutrition and regular rigorous exercise still works and is necessary for optimal health whether you are overweight or not, and whether you were breast fed or not. So take that nipple out of your mouth, and get on the stair master right now.

Diabetes: Caveman or Mediterranean?

More lumps for the Mediterranean diet. New research has revealed that the Mediterranean diet doesn’t stack up against something called the “Stone Age” diet. The Diabetes Blog is on it:
Scientists took a small group of fourteen glucose intolerant heart patients and put them on the diet of a lifetime: lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts. This, it is assumed, is the sort of diet consumed by our Stone Age ancestors - hunter gatherers who lived around 70,000 years ago, long before the emergence of agriculture. Meanwhile, another group of patients with similar health issues were put on a supposedly healthy "Mediterranean diet" rich in whole grains, dairy, fruits and veggies, and unsaturated fats. Well, you guessed it. After twelve weeks, the researchers found those on the Stone Age diet had much more stable blood sugar levels and were better able to process carbohydrates without such major blood sugar fluctuations. In fact, all the Stone Age patients had normal blood glucose levels by the end of the study and also dropped a few pounds too. Those on the Mediterranean diet, however, experienced hardly any changes at all.
Now, talk about setting the bar low. Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t speak too highly of the Mediterranean diet. Just consider the people Crete. More from Eat to Live:
In the 1950s people living in the Mediterranean, especially on the island of Crete, were lean and virtually free of heart disease. Yet over 40 percent of their caloric intake come from fat, primarily olive oil. If we look at the diet they consumed back then, we note that Cretans ate mostly fruits, vegetables, beans and some fish. Saturated fat was less than 6 percent of their total fat intake. True, they ate lots of olive oil, but the rest of their diet was exceptionally healthy. They also worked hard in the fields, walking about nine miles a day, often pushing a plow or working other manual farm equipment.

Today the people of Crete are fat, just like us. They're still eating a lot of olive oil, but their consumption of fruits, vegetables, and beans is down. Meat, cheese, and fish are their new staples, and their physical activity level has plummeted. Today, heart disease has skyrocketed and more than half the population of both adults and children in Crete is overweight.1
As someone who reads a lot of health blogs, I already see the trouble with this research. Lots of people hear the words “cave man” or “Stone Age” diet and right away they start thinking primitive people and eating lots of meat is the secret to long-term health—a dangerous assumption according to Dr. Fuhrman. He talks about it in Do Primitive Peoples Really Live Longer:
No. For example, Inuit Greenlanders, who historically have had limited access to fruits and vegetables, have the worst longevity statistics in North America. Research from the past and present shows that they die on the average about 10 years younger and have a higher rate of cancer than the overall Canadian population.2

Similar statistics are available for the high meat-consuming Maasai in Kenya. They eat a diet high in wild hunted meats and have the worst life expectancy in the modern world. Life expectancy is 45 years for women and 42 years for men. African researchers report that, historically, Maasai rarely lived beyond age 60. Adult mortality figures on the Kenyan Maasai show that they have a 50% chance of dying before the age of 59.3

We now know that greatly increasing the consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and raw nuts and seeds (and greatly decreasing the consumption of animal products) offers profound increased longevity potential, due in large part to broad symphony of life-extending phytochemical nutrients that a vegetable-based diet contains. By taking advantage of the year-round availability of high-quality plant foods, we have a unique opportunity to live both healthier and longer than ever before in human history.
In regard to diabetes, Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, the best way to prevent and reverse Type-2 diabetes is a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet. More on that from Understanding the Development of Type 2 Diabetes:
How can diabetics safely lower the high glucose levels that are slowly destroying their bodies? How can they lower their lipids and blood pressure, lose weight, and avoid taking dangerous drugs, such as insulin and sulfonylureas? They need to adopt a diet based on nutritional excellence.

Fortunately, the best diet for good health and longevity is also the best diet for diabetics. It is a diet with a high nutrient per calorie ratio, as carefully described in my book, Eat to Live. When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature's perfect foods—green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away.
And fat? It’s especially bad for the diabetic. Dr. Fuhrman talks about fat and diabetes in his book Fasting and Eating for Health:
Experiments described in the medical literature have tested the effects of high-fat diets on insulin intolerance. In one study, healthy young medical students were fed a very high fat diet containing egg yolks, heavy cream, and butter, and within two days all of the students had blood sugar levels high enough to be labeled diabetic.4 Complex carbohydrates have been shown to have the opposite effect.5
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Healthy Eating, No Matter the Age

You’re never too old to start eating healthfully. At least that’s what new research has determined. Even if you’re middle-aged, an improved diet can lower your risk of heart disease and premature death. Ishani Ganguli of Reuters reports:
Middle-aged adults who began eating five or more fruits and vegetables every day, exercising for at least 2 1/2 hours a week, keeping weight down and not smoking decreased their risk of heart disease by 35 percent and risk of death by 40 percent in the four years after they started.

"The adopters of a healthy lifestyle basically caught up. Within four years, their mortality rate and rate of heart attacks matched the people who had been doing these behaviors all along," said Dr. Dana King at the Medical University of South Carolina, who led the research.

That is not to say people should wait until their 40s or 50s to get on track, he added.

"But even if you have not had a healthy lifestyle previously, it's not too late to adopt those healthy lifestyle habits and gain almost immediate benefits."
Sound advice if you ask me, but not surprising. Take vegetables for example. They have profound anti-disease effects, and, I doubt they dissipate because you’ve reached a certain age. From Eat to Live:
Vegetables have powerful levels of carotenoids and other nutrients that prevent age-related diseases. For example, the leading cause of age-related blindness in America is macular degeneration. If you eat greens at least fives times a week, your risk drops by more than 86 percent.1 Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids with powerful disease-prevention properties. Researchers have found that those with the highest blood levels of lutein had the healthiest blood vessels, with little or no atherosclerosis.2
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