Organic...Lacking?

The New York Times takes a look at what’s in and what’s not in some organic foods—it’s kind of surprising. Take a look:
For many kids, commercial breakfast cereal is the main source of daily vitamins and minerals. Take a look at Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes reduced-sugar cereal. A serving provides 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of seven essential nutrients, including iron, folic acid and other B vitamins. It also provides 10 percent of the recommended intake for vitamins A, C and D.


Now look at its organic equivalent: EnviroKidz Organic Amazon Frosted Flakes. The only ingredients are organic cornmeal, organic evaporated cane juice and sea salt. A serving gives kids only 2 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin A and iron, according to the label.

Not every organic cereal is low on vitamins. Several cereals from the Barbara’s Bakery organic line are fortified with extra vitamins. A serving of Barbara’s Bakery Organic Apple Cinnamon O’s, for instance, actually provides higher levels of iron, folic acid and other nutrients than does an equal amount of Kellogg’s Apple Jacks.
For more on organic, check out this video on CNN, and, don’t forget about Dr. Fuhrman on organic. Here’s a taste:
Organic food is certainly your best bet, to further limit exposure to toxic chemicals. No one knows for sure how much risk exists from pesticide residue on produce, but here's what we do know: the younger you are, the more your cells are susceptible to damage from toxins. It seems wise to feed our young children organic food whenever possible.

Omega-3s and Type-1 Diabetes

New research claims a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can cut children’s risk of Type-1 diabetes. Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters reports:
"It is a relatively large effect," said Jill Norris, whose study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


"It is exciting because it suggests we might be able to develop nutritional interventions to prevent diabetes."

Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes in children. It occurs when the immune system goes haywire and starts attacking insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

No one knows exactly what triggers this process, but heredity and environmental factors such as diet are thought to play a role.
Hey! Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, omegas are important. Just check out Wednesday’s post Essential Fatty Acids. Here’s a snippet:
Optimal health depends on the proper balance of fatty acids in the diet. The modern diet that most of us eat supplies an excessive amount of omega-6 fat, but often too little omega-3 fat. This relative deficiency of omega-3 fats has potentially serious implications. Also, the consumption of too much omega-6 fat leads to high levels of arachidonic acid (AA). Higher levels of arachidonic acid can promote inflammation.

Green Veggie Doggie

Even though this dog chews with his mouth open, he still loves his green veggies. Check it out:

Friday: Health Points

The FDA is in charge of 80 percent of the U.S. food supply, mostly fruits and vegetables, and has been criticized as being too passive in handling the growing surge of imports into the United States. Total imports, including food, total $2 trillion annually.

"FDA has failed to implement literally hundreds of proposed solutions to specific import problems, which would have enabled the FDA to begin to progressively focus its limited resources where the risks are indeed the greatest," said Benjamin England, a former FDA official who co-founded a consulting firm that helps foreign and U.S. companies meet FDA import rules.
  • Are you a runner? If you are, you might want to consider running with a group. It’s a lot more fun. Gina Kolata of The New York Times explains:
Those who run in packs are part of a select society, or maybe a self-selected society. Anyone can join, but you have to run and you have to go to the designated meeting place at the designated time. You might join a club that sponsors runs each week or you might go to a place like a parking lot behind a school where runners gather on weekend mornings. It’s not hard to find these meeting places; local running groups and running stores know where to go. And when you show up, ready to run, the society opens up to you.


For the most part, these groups are not made up of people who are jogging for their health or because they want to lose weight. They are made up mostly of people who have been running long enough to be able to continue for miles and miles. And they love it. They are running for the sheer joy of it and for company to push them to run longer and faster and to share the inevitable pain that comes with the effort to improve.
People newly diagnosed with coronary artery disease had nearly double the normal incidence of colorectal tumors and cancers, a study by Hong Kong researchers found.


Both the tumors and the heart disease "probably develop through the mechanism of chronic inflammation," said the report by researchers at the University of Hong Kong that's published in the Sept. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Liquid candy" to detractors, sweetened soft drinks are so ubiquitous that they contribute about 10 percent of the calories in the American diet, according to government data.


In fact, said Dr. David Ludwig, a Harvard endocrinologist whose 2001 paper in the Lancet is widely cited by obesity researchers, sweetened drinks are the only specific food that clinical research has directly linked to weight gain.

"Highly concentrated starches and sugars promote overeating, and the granddaddy of them all is sugar-sweetened beverages," said Ludwig, who runs the Optimal Weight for Life Program at Children's Hospital in Boston.
  1. Get your food and go - Many work and social functions involve a large table covered with tasty looking morsels. Don't be one of those people who stand next to the table. Get your plate, put your food on it, and leave the table. Period.
  2. Choose a small plate Seems obvious - But a large plate typically means lots of food and all hope of appropriate portion size is abandoned
Health Canada is aware of the growing body of evidence on the role of vitamin D in relation to health. While a number of independent recommendations concerning vitamin D intake have been issued by various organizations, Health Canada believes these recommendations are premature and that a comprehensive review that looks at both benefits and safety needs to be undertaken before the Department can issue a revised recommendation.
Erectile dysfunction is the consistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. In a study of 4,763 Chinese men aged 35 to 74 years who were free of blood vessel disease and who reported that they had been sexually active within the last 6 months, the researchers found a significant statistical link between the number of cigarettes smoked and the likelihood of erectile dysfunction.


"The association between cigarette smoking and erectile dysfunction was found in earlier studies," said first author Dr. Jiang He of Tulane University School of Public Health, New Orleans. "However, most of those studies were conducted in patients with hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and cardiovascular disease. What distinguishes this study is that it is the first to find this association among healthy men."
  • Reduces risk of injury by strengthening muscles and joints.
  • Increases and restores bone density, helping prevent osteoporosis.
  • Builds lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories than fat.

Fruit & Veggies Matter

EMaxHealth is blogging about Utah’s plan to inspire its citizens to eat more fruits and vegetables. Here’s a snippet:
The old 5 A Day has a new look and name. The latest national campaign to promote fruit and veggie consumption sprang to life in Utah this month as Governor Huntsman signed a proclamation declaring September “Fruits & Veggies—More Matters Month.” Fruits & Veggies—More Matters is a simpler, more inspiring initiative that motivates people to simply eat more fruits and veggies.


The brand was launched after the creators, Produce for Better Health Foundation the CDC and other partners found the 15-year-old 5 A Day campaign wasn’t doing what they had hoped.

A Look at Organic

Here’s a nice little video from CNN about organic produce. Enjoy:


For Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on organic, give this post a whirl: Is Organic Safer?

Essential Fatty Acids

The two primary essential fatty acids are linoleic acid, an omega-6 fat, and alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat. The body can make other fatty acids, called nonessential fats, from these two basic fats. Linoleic acid’s first double bond is at the location of its sixth carbon, so it is called an omega-6 fatty acid, and alpha-linolenic acid’s first double bond is on its third carbon, so it is called an omega-3 fatty acid.


Optimal health depends on the proper balance of fatty acids in the diet. The modern diet that most of us eat supplies an excessive amount of omega-6 fat, but often too little omega-3 fat. This relative deficiency of omega-3 fats has potentially serious implications. Also, the consumption of too much omega-6 fat leads to high levels of arachidonic acid (AA). Higher levels of arachidonic acid can promote inflammation.

Wednesday: Health Points

  • Why are kids fat? This Reuters report has an answer for you—look around! Julie Steenhuysen explains:
"The environment that they live in matters," said Lisa Powell of the University of Illinois at Chicago, who studied restaurant and food store options in the neighborhoods and food-related television advertising aimed at teens.

She said when people cannot get to supermarkets but instead must rely on the convenience stores that proliferate in many poor neighborhoods, families end up eating less healthy food.

Lower-income neighborhoods also tend to have a higher proportion of fast-food restaurants, and black urban neighborhoods have the highest percentage of fast-food restaurants.
The benefits of flu shots for elderly people have been greatly exaggerated, according to researchers at Seattle's Group Health Center for Health Studies and George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


Even so, the elderly should continue to get vaccinated against influenza because "even a partly effective vaccine would be better than no vaccine at all," researchers wrote in the report, published Monday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Many countries, including the U.S., urge those 65 and over — who account for about 90 percent of flu-related deaths — to get flu shots to ward off flu complications.

That public policy has been based on flimsy — even nonexistent — evidence, these researchers conclude.
I’ve heard arguments about creationism and intelligent design before, but the Creationists really shouldn’t have this guy arguing for them (unless he’s secretly trying to take down Creationism from within–if so, nice work!).
The perks: Here's one big silver lining: According to a study published in a recent issue of the medical journal Neurology, a daily caffeine dose may help keep memory loss at bay in women 65 and older. The older you are, the bigger the benefits.


Anti-cancer drug? Another recent study by Rutgers University reported that the combination of exercise and caffeine in mice increased apoptosis (self-destruction) in precancerous cells that were damaged by the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Cancer deaths will more than double to 17 million people each year in 2030 with poor countries shouldering the heaviest burden from the disease, the head of the United Nation's cancer agency said on Monday.


An ageing population will bump up cancer rates worldwide in the coming years, especially in developing countries where the number of people who smoke and drink is on the rise, said Peter Boyle, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
We all know we're supposed to wash our fruits and vegetables before we cook or eat them, but how do you know how much washing is enough? And should you use soap or is water plenty? The editors over at Cook's Illustrated recently took on this question, washing apples and pears with four different methods. They discovered that using a scrub brush with water was fairly effective, removing 85% of bacteria, but that using a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water was the best. That method removed 98% of the bacteria.
We asked several registered dietitians, who agreed that the health claims for enhanced waters are "iffy" and that food is a far better source of nutrients. Consumers, meanwhile, should watch out for added sweeteners and calories.


"None of the ingredients are harmful," said Kris Clark, director of sports nutrition and assistant professor of nutrition at Penn State University. "The question consumers should ask themselves include: Are the ingredients useful to me? Do I need these ingredients? Or do I just need water?”
A high school student gains superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider.


An electron beam meant to clean up a bioterrorism site transforms a mild-mannered microbe into a life form able to withstand radiation doses hundreds of times stronger than would kill a person.

Altered by the absence of gravity, an everyday bacterium aboard a spacecraft mutates into a highly lethal bug that poses a surprise threat to astronauts.

Okay, Spider-Man is still fiction. But a pair of independent studies has brought the other two scenarios to life.

Dog Eats Cabbage

This guy is very proud of his cabbage eating pooch—although the dog looks oddly nervous. Take a look:

Grand Rounds: Anniversary Edition

Prostate Cancer Prevention

This might shock you, but prostate cancer can be prevented—no! You don’t say? It’s true. According to Dr. Fuhrman the right diet is essential to halting the development of prostate cancer. I’ll let him explain:
Eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, rich not only in lycopene but in thousands of other protective compounds. Each year, researchers find another carotenoid that has powerful beneficial effects and reduces cancer. Spinach was this year’s recipient of the anti-prostate cancer award, with researchers in Japan finding neoxanthin compounds (a class of carotenoids) that powerfully inhibit prostate cancer. In the past, pink grapefruit, watermelon, cooked tomatoes, pomegranate, cruciferous vegetables, red peppers, berries, figs, and many other foods all have been shown to inhibit the development of prostate cancer.
Heck, even the so-called “experts” think more cases of prostate cancer can be prevented or so claims the results of a new 15 year study. Alan Mozes of HealthDay News has more:
According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI), cancer of the prostate is the most common non-skin cancer among American men. Most patients diagnosed with the disease do not ultimately die of it. However, because of its high prevalence, prostate cancer remains the third biggest cancer killer for men in the Western world.


By age 40, one-third of men have already developed small carcinomas of the prostate, the researchers noted. By age 60, that figure rises to 60 percent, and, in North America, one in seven men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives.

But the disease is also often slow-moving, sometimes taking decades to develop from a single prostate cancer cell to advanced-stage illness.

That fact has led to the hope that doctors could intervene in ways that could halt disease progression at an early stage.
Well, I guess this is encouraging, but, as Dr. Fuhrman explains if you’re currently eating a nutrient-rich vegetable-based diet, you’re already doing a great job helping your body prevent cancer. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman again:
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.
For more on all this, check out these posts:

Lack of Sleep...Deadly!

That’s some good old-fashioned scare tactics, but in this case, it’s founded. According to new research inadequate sleep can lead to high blood pressure which in turn, increases your risk of heart disease. Ben Hirschler of Reuters reports:
Although the reasons are unclear, researchers said lack of sleep appeared to be linked to increased blood pressure, which is known to raise the risk of heart attacks and stroke.


A 17-year analysis of 10,000 government workers showed those who cut their sleeping from seven hours a night to five or less faced a 1.7-fold increased risk in mortality from all causes and more than double the risk of cardiovascular death.

The findings highlight a danger in busy modern lifestyles, Francesco Cappuccio, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Warwick's medical school, told the annual conference of the British Sleep Society in Cambridge.
Now, you don’t need to be a medical professional to know this, but, sleep is important. In fact, Dr. Fuhrman considers getting adequate rest and recovery—that means sleep—vital to a long-healthy life. He talks about it:
Adequate sleep is a necessary component of good health. Our modern society stays up late into the night and wakes in the morning to an alarm clock—long before sleep requirements have been fulfilled. To make matters worse, most Americans partake in stimulating substances—such as caffeine and sugar—to remain artificially alert during the day.


During sleep, your body removes the buildup of waste in the brain. Sufficient sleep is necessary for the normal function of your nervous and endocrine systems. Most civilizations in human history recognized the value of mid-afternoon naps. The desire for a rest, short sleep, or “siesta” after lunch should not be seen as an abnormal need, but rather a normal one. People who “cover up” their lack of sleep by using drugs (such as caffeine) as food and/or food (such as highly processed, sugary foods) as drugs sometimes claim (even boast) that they can get by with very little sleep. As you begin to live more healthfully, you may quickly recognize that you need more sleep than you previously thought.
This quote makes me want to take a flamer-thrower to my alarm clock.

Seattle Times on Pomegranates

Astrid Pujari, M.D. of The Seattle Times drops a little pomegranate knowledge on us. Take a look:
In 2004, researchers took 10 people with plaque buildup in their carotid arteries. The nice thing about the carotid arteries (other than that they help your brain to get blood so you can think) is that they are located in the neck. This makes it easy to measure how much plaque they have using a simple sound-wave probe.


These 10 people drank pomegranate juice for one year, and the thickness of the plaque dropped by up to 30 percent, and one of their blood pressure numbers (the systolic blood pressure) dropped by 21 percent. By comparison, the people in the study who did not drink the juice had an increase in plaque thickness of 9 percent.

Again, the downside here is that this is a small study. However, it seems to correlate with the results found above, and I think it is worth pursuing further — especially since pomegranate juice costs about $5 at the store. Who knows, it may even save our financially strained health-care system a few dollars if it turns out to work as well as it seems to in these studies.
Here’re some more points on pomegranates:

Strawberry, Strawberry, Strawberries!

The Vegan Diet tells the tale of the mighty strawberry. Take a look:
Nutritionally strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, a very good source of iodine and dietary fiber, and a good source of vitamins B2, B5, B6 and K, potassium, folate, magnesium, copper and omega_3 fatty acids.


Healthwise strawberries are also a rich source of phenols like anthocyanins. These phenols have potent antioxident properties and it is said that they may help in the prevention of cancer and heart disease. The antioxidants with the high level of vitamin C also fight free radical compounds in the body which can cause chronic illnesses. Note that anthocyanins are found in fresh and frozen strawberries but not in canned and processed strawberry products including baby food (refer the U.S. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry).
Dr. Fuhrman digs them too. He considers them one of his top seven foods. Here’s all seven:
  • Black raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Flax Seeds
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli sprouts
In general, Dr. Fuhrman things berries are amazing foods. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Add berries to morning cereals. Make dessert sorbets from frozen berries. My kids love frozen strawberries blended with an orange or orange juice. We usually add a slice of dried pineapple and use our Vita-Mix to make a smooth and delicious strawberry sorbet.
And sometimes, strawberries grow inside tomatoes—not!

Choose the Vegetable Soup

Which would you choose? The sugary cookies or the wholesome vegetable soup? You decide:

Apple Power!

“An apple a die, keeps the doctor away.” Maybe there’s some truth to that. Diet Blog extols the virtues of the humble apple. Have a look:
A frequent complaint from clients in clinic, is they don't eat fruit in winter because it's boring and the "really healthy fruit" are expensive.


Berries, citrus and stone fruit have long hogged the media spotlight. These glamorous fruits are praised for their colour, antioxidant content and flavour. However, we seem to have forgotten, the humble apple is also a nutritional wonder. Along with a bit of vitamin C, apples are packed full of antioxidant phytochemicals - particularly if you eat the skin.

Goofing Up Breakfast with Low-Calorie

When you make food choices, what are your criteria? Hopefully you consider a food’s nutrient-content in relation to its calorie-content. Dr. Fuhrman calls this concept, nutrient density. He talks about it in his book Eat to Live. Take a look:
The key to an extraordinary diet is a simple formula: H = N/C.


Health = Nutrients/Calories

Your health is predicted by your nutrient intake divided by your intake of calories. H = N/C is a concept I call the nutrient-density of your diet. Food supplies us with both nutrients and calories (energy). All calories come from only three elements: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Nutrients are derived from non-caloric food factors—including vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytochemicals. These non-caloric nutrients are vitally important for health. Your key to permanent weight loss is to eat predominantly those foods that have a high proportion of nutrients (non-caloric food factors) to calories (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins). In physics a key formula is Einstein’s E = mc2. In nutrition the key formula is H = N/C.

Every food can be evaluated using this formula. Once you begin to learn which foods make the grade—by having a high proportion of nutrients to calories—you are on your way to lifelong weight control and improved health.
Now, most people don’t get this concept, even the so-called experts. For example, take diet dunce—oops! I mean “Diet Detective” Charles Stuart Platkin. Here’re his picks for the healthiest fast-food breakfasts. I know, a real oxymoron. Check it out anyway:
McDonald's
English muffin (no butter): 140 calories, 1.5g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 260 mg sodium, 27g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g protein.


Burger King
Croissan'wich Egg & Cheese: 300 calories, 17g fat, 6g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 740 mg sodium, 26g carbs, 1g fiber, 12g protein.

Starbucks
Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon, Cholesterol-Free Egg, Reduced-Fat White Cheddar Sandwich: 350 calories, 11g fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 820 mg sodium, 41g carbs, 4g fiber, 20g protein.

Arby's
Ham & Cheese Croissant: 274 calories, 12g fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 842 mg sodium, 22g carbs, 1g fiber, 13g protein.
This is only a sampling of Platkin’s picks, but as usual, Charles’s main criteria for “good food” is calorie content. In his mind, the fewer the calories, the better the food—not always true. Just look at all the bread, sodium, and saturated fat in this junk. This quote from Dr. Fuhrman seems fitting:
The combination of fat and refined carbohydrates has an extremely powerful effect on driving the signals that promote fat accumulation on the body. Refined foods cause a swift and excessive rise in blood sugar, which in turn triggers insulin surges to drive the sugar out of the blood and into our cells. Unfortunately, insulin also promotes the storage of fat on the body and encourages your fat cells to swell.
Clearly Platkin’s recommendations are more harebrained than health-conscious, but he’s not alone. IateApie has concocted the list of the top ten low calorie breakfast cereals. Yeah, because refined cereals are loaded with nutrients—sigh. Anyway, here’s the top three:
1. Kashi Mighty Bites
Calories: 120 | Sugar: 5 grams


2. Kashi Organic Promise Strawberry Fields
Calories: 120 | Sugar: 9 grams

3. Lucky Charms
Calories: 120 | Sugar: 13 grams
I think this list and Charles Stuart Platkin’s drivel will only confuse people into believing these processed and fast foods are wise choices. It seems to me that calorie driven diet advice does little to satisfy Dr. Fuhrman’s formula of Health = Nutrients/Calories. More from Eat to Live:
If you attempt to follow the perverted diet that most Americans eat, or even if you follow the precise recommendations of the USDA’s pyramid—six to eleven servings of bread, rice, and pasta (consumed as 98 percent refined grains by Americans) with four to six servings of dairy, meat, poultry, or fish—you would be eating a diet rich in calories but extremely low in nutrients, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and vitamins. You would be overfed and malnourished, the precise nutritional profile that causes heart disease and cancer.
Personally, I seldom get caught up on calorie-content. Sure, I avoid junk foods like these, but I judge all my food by its nutrient content. Take avocados for example, they might be high in calories, but they pack the nutrients my body craves and needs; avocados’ Wikipedia page.

The World's Oldest Man

Could you imagine turning the very ripe, very old age of 112. Tomoji Tanabe of Japan doesn’t have to imagine, he recently celebrated his; reaffirming his status as the world’s oldest man. The AFP has more on this charming and remarkable story:
The world's oldest man celebrated his 112th birthday Tuesday with a healthy Japanese breakfast of rice, miso soup and seaweed, saying he wanted to live forever…


… Tanabe, a teetotaller who has repeatedly said that avoiding alcohol is a secret of his longevity, was given a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records by the mayor of his local municipality in June…

… Japan has the largest population of centenarians in the world. The number of Japanese aged at least 100 years old is expected to top 30,000 by the end of September, the health ministry said in a recent report.
A lot like last week’s senior gym rat, this is really an inspiring tale, but apparently pretty common. In a previous post we looked at John Robbins’s book Healthy at 100 and in it he includes Okinawans as one of the longest live populations—its part of Japan right? Take a look:
1. Abkhasia: Ancients of the Caucasus
Where people are healthier at ninety than most of us are at middle age


2. Vilcabamba: The Valley of Eternal Youth
Where heart disease and dementia do not exist

3. Hunza: A People Who Dance in Their Nineties
Where cancer, diabetes, and asthma are unknown

4. The Centenarians of Okinawa
Where more people live to 100 than anywhere else in the world
As Dr. Fuhrman points out, living a long time has a lot to do with what you eat, or, what you don’t eat for that matter. He discusses it in this post: Do Primitive Peoples Really Live Longer?

Thursday: Health Points

Dr. Stern, a specialist in geriatric emergency medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, noted that the elderly took about 40 percent of prescribed drugs, roughly twice what younger adults take, and that they suffered twice as many adverse drug reactions as younger people.

“The average community-dwelling older adult takes 4.5 prescription drugs and 2.1 over-the-counter medications,” Dr. Stern reported. Polypharmacy is responsible for up to 28 percent of hospital admissions and, he added, if it were classified as such, it would be the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Curious about back exercises? This article in The Detroit Free Press should give you plenty of ideas. The roman chair—eek—sounds like a torture device! Have a look:
Training your lower back can improve your posture, develop your abdominal muscles and help prevent lower back pain and injury. A great twist on an old favorite is the low-cable back extension. This is a little more challenging than the traditional exercise, but it's a welcome change of pace.


First, position a roman chair or back extension machine inside the cable station. The machine should be squarely facing the weight stack with enough distance between the machine and the weight stack that there is still tension on the cable when you are at the bottom of the exercise.
Weight training works just as well as running on a treadmill or biking to help the most important symptom of type-2 diabetes -- long-term control of blood sugar -- Canadian researchers said on Monday.


Doing both aerobic and resistance training lowered blood sugar levels better than either alone, researchers said -- and both appeared to be safe.

At least 194 million people worldwide have diabetes, and the World Health Organization expects the number to rise to more than 300 million by 2025.
Reading the food labels was "a little bit confusing, but after a while I got used to it," said the fifth-grader from suburban Doral.


"Since I find parents are not doing a bang-up job (teaching nutrition), I think it's important to empower the children with their own information," said Miami registered dietitian Ronni Litz Julien.

The FDA partnered with the Cartoon Network earlier this year to launch a public education campaign encouraging children ages 9 to 13 - or tweens - to read the nutrition facts on food labels.
"Patients are using the Internet to find health-related quality information, and the information is out there," noted lead researcher Dr. Michael J. Leonardi, from the department of surgery at David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles. "But the information is inconsistent and varies from Web site to Web site," he said.


A lot of Web sites try to rank hospitals, Leonardi said. But because there is no standard way of calculating quality differences, Internet sites come up with different results for the same hospitals, he noted.
The tainted bag of Dole’s Hearts Delight salad mix was sold at a store in Canada, officials said. Neither Canadian health officials nor Dole Food Co. have received reports of anyone getting sick from the product.


The voluntary recall, issued Monday, affects all packages of Hearts Delight sold in the United States and Canada with a “best if used by” date of September 19, 2007, and a production code of “A24924A” or “A24924B,” the company said.
Worried that you'll take up running and then quit? No chance. Just follow our simple but surefire training program. It just might be the most exciting time in your entire running career. But you won't necessarily realize it.


First steps...starting out...the beginning of a great adventure. In fact, in lots of ways, it's sort of a declaration of personal independence. A statement that says, "In a world that confronts me with mechanical convenience and idle luxury at virtually every turn, I have decided, nonetheless, to improve my physical fitness."
Of course, at issue is the fact that for doctors coming into close contact with many ill patients, all that extra fabric and buttons and ties and watches are just additional places for bacteria to colonize and hop on over to the next person.


Will it help? Not sure, but I suppose it falls under the "can't hurt" category. The article also notes that a study of doctors' ties a few years' back showed that almost half were contaminated with a minimum of one species of pathogen--so eliminate the dirty tie, maybe they'll pass around fewer germs? Time will tell, I suppose.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said new labeling on the drug will note that ailments, including QT prolongation, a disorder of the heart's electrical system that can lead to a life-threatening condition, have been observed in post-marketing studies.

The drug is also sold generically under the name haloperidol.

Several other drugs for schizophrenia, including a much newer J&J drug including Invega, have warnings about the risk of the serious cardiac effect.

Watermelon...Cubed!

Get a load of these watermelons—they’re total squares! Take a look:

Fiber Can Protect You

Fiber is a vital nutrient, essential to human health. Unfortunately, the American diet is dangerously deficient in fiber, a deficiency that leads to many health problems (for example, hemorrhoids, constipation, varicose veins, and diabetes) and is a major cause of cancer. As you can see, if you get fiber naturally in your diet from great-tasting food, you get much more than just constipation relief.


Banana Dog Dances

Here is a cartoon dog dancing around in a banana suit with maracas, singing about peanut butter and jelly. Take a look:


Well, bananas are healthy.

Stop & Blog: Grand Rounds 3.52

The Tomato Butcher

Halloween is right around the corner—so prepare yourself! The Tomato Butcher is coming. Proceed with caution:


Eek!

72 and Going Strong

How does this 72-year old guy stay in peak physical condition? Plenty of exercise, and, lots and lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts—go figure! Take a look:


A pretty good role model right here—don’t you think?

How Much Longer Do Vegetarians Live?

This is a difficult question to answer accurately, as there are few studies on lifelong vegetarians in countries with electricity, refrigeration, good sanitation, and adequate nutrition. American studies done in 1984 on Seventh-Day Adventists, a religious group that provides dietary and lifestyle advice to its members, sheds some light on this issue. Adventist leadership discourages the consumption of meat, fowl, and eggs; pork is prohibited. Because eating animal products is only discouraged and not necessarily prohibited, there is a large range in animal-product consumption. Some Adventists never eat meat and eggs, whereas others consume them daily. When we take a careful look at the Seventh-Day Adventist data, those who lived the longest were those following the vegetarian diet the longest, and when we look at the subset who had followed a vegetarian diet for at least half their life, it appears they lived about thirteen years longer than their average, non-smoking Californian counterparts.1 Most of the participants in this study were converted to the religion, not born into it. There was no data on those following such a diet since childhood. However, the data from this carefully constructed study was compelling; and what is of considerable interest to me is the association of green salad consumption and longer life.2 Leafy greens, the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet, were the best predictor of extreme longevity.

Some nutritional experts would argue that a strict vegetarian who follows a diet rich in natural vegetation, not refined grains, has the longest longevity potential, as indicated by evaluating the China Project data together with hundreds of the smaller food-consumption studies—but, of course, this is still educated speculation. Let’s not argue whether it is all right to eat a little bit of animal foods or not, and thereby miss the point that cannot be contradicted or disagreed with:

Whether you eat a vegetarian diet or include a small amount of animal foods, for optimal health you must receive the majority of your calories from unrefined plant food. It is the large quantity of unrefined plant food that grants the greatest protection against developing serious disease.
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Hardcore Veggies!

Wow! These are some intense vegetables—death before dishonor apparently. Well, cooking before dishonor. Take a look:


Egad!

Flavonoid Flavor

You know what flavonoids are—don’t you? You don’t! Okay, you get a pass this time, but don’t let it happen again! Now, here’s a little refresher on flavonoids from Dr. Fuhrman. Take notes:
Flavonoids and bioflavonoids mean the same thing. I will refer to them as flavonoids only. They refer to phytochemical compounds in plants that are absorbed by the body but then rapidly excreted as if they were a foreign substance, but without causing damage. Flavonoids do not function like conventional hydrogendonating antioxidants, but have an interesting hodgepodge of effects inside the cells. The hallmark of their unique properties is that they do not stay in the body very long and induce phase II detoxification enzymes in the liver, while at the same time attracting other toxins in the body to be expelled simultaneously. Flavonoids are like dust mops for toxins that get thrown out along with the dust that they collect…


… Along with the rising popularity of flavonoids has come a rise in production by the supplement industry, which has rushed to package and market flavonoids in the form of pills. At low concentrations, flavonoids help the body get rid of harmful free radicals and also promote the inhibition of enzymes like protein kinase, which is necessary in cell division. The effects of flavonoids are thought to be potentially anticarcinogenic because flavonoids can block and inhibit the excessive cell division characterized by cancer. Certain flavonoids can inhibit enzymes, such as protein kinases, that are involved in cellular proliferation and tumor progression. This is one reason flavonoids can be considered anticarcinogens. But even with all of the benefits that flavonoids provide the body, a great danger lies in overconsumption of the chemicals, the UC Berkeley scientists said. Although phytoestrogens are not as potent as endogenously produced estrogens, excess amounts of these compounds can actually promote breast cancer and feminize males.
The Cardio Blog is pretty high on flavonoids too. Blogger Chris Sparling takes a look at research claiming apples and pears are packed with flavonoids. Check it out:
It turns out that there's some truth to the old adage that An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away. According to a study published in a recent issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who eat apples regularly have a decreased risk of dying from coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.


What if you don't like apples? Try pears -- or even red wine. This same study revealed that consuming either of these will have the same preventative effects as eating apples. The researchers attribute these heart-healthy benefits to compounds known as flavonoids, which help reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol.
Can’t get enough flavonoids? This post will tell you all you need to know: Flavonoids and Bioflavonoids.

Veggies and Vision

We all know how Dr. Fuhrman feels about nutrition. In a nutshell, the food you eat—or don’t eat—directly affects your health and longevity. Too bad a lot of doctors don’t put two and two together. From Eat to Live:
Patients are told that food has nothing to do with the disease they develop. Dermatologists insist that food has nothing to do with acne, rheumatologists insist that food has nothing to do with rheumatoid arthritis, and gastroenterologists insist that food has nothing to do with irritable and inflammatory bowel disease. Even cardiologists have been resistant to accept the accumulating evidence that atherosclerosis is entirely avoidable. Most of them still believe that coronary artery disease and angina require the invasive treatment of surgery and are not reversible with nutritional intervention. Most physicians have no experience in treating disease naturally with nutritional excellence, and some physicians who don’t know about it are convinced it is not possible.
That’s why news like this is so great. We all worry about getting old and deteriorating physically, but could the right diet help us avoid breaking down like an old jalopy? Maybe so, HealthDay News reports veggies might ward off age-related vision woes. Robert Preidt explains:
People who consume high levels of the yellow plant pigments lutein and zeaxanthin may have a reduced risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of irreversible blindness among the elderly.


The Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group study, supported by the U.S. government, looked at more than 4,500 people who were between the ages of 60 and 80 when they were enrolled between 1992 and 1998.

Those who consumed the highest levels of lutein and zeaxanthin -- found in yellow and dark leafy vegetables -- were significantly less likely than those who ate the lowest levels of these nutrients to have advanced AMD, the research team found.
Just like the article says, leafy greens do offer up a lot of lutein. But don’t take my word for it! Dr. Fuhrman considers cruciferous vegetables to be among the world’s healthiest foods. For more on that, check out Cruciferous Vegetables. Here’s a bit:
As researchers have looked more deeply into nutritional science, it has become widely known that eating a whole-food, plant-based diet is a far better way to get your nutrients than fiddling around with supplements of various individual nutrients. And the very best way to get the benefits of this superior nutrition is to harness the power of high-nutrient super foods. Not all vegetables are created equal, and one of the most fascinating areas of research in the last 10 years has been the therapeutic value of cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are those in the broccoli and cabbage family and include such foods as bok choy, radishes, and watercress…


…Most of the phytonutrients we hear about (vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene) function as antioxidants in your body, meaning that they neutralize free radicals, rendering them harmless. The phytochemicals in cruciferous vegetables do this and more; they also activate your body’s own built-in antioxidant control system.
And as for vegetables and vision, take a look at these posts. They’ll help you see the light—corny, I know—read them anyway. Enjoy:

Fruit Salad Live!

Well, I haven’t quite recovered from the canned performance of fruit salad, but, if you like The Wiggles, you’ll love fruit salad live:


I hope you all appreciate the great lengths I endure watching this stuff.

Chewing the Fats

Great news! The experts are out from under their rocks. And it seems they’ve now gotten together to sort out good fats from bad fats. More from Madeline Vann of HealthDay News:
"Of greatest importance is the type of fat one chooses," registered dietitian and co-author Penny Kris-Etherton said in a prepared statement. "The healthiest choices are unsaturated fats found in liquid vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, and omega-3 unsaturated fats found in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and shellfish…"


…The Dietary Fatty Acids recommendations guide people to follow a food-based approach for achieving the following fatty acid recommendations:
  • Eat lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • Eat lean protein such as meats, poultry and low-fat dairy products.
  • Eat fish, especially those high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon.
  • Use non-hydrogenated margarines and oils.
Yuck dairy—yuck-yuck! For a better didactic on fats, check out this excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Cholesterol Protection For Life. Here:
SATURATED FAT
Some naturally occurring fats are called saturated because all the carbon atoms are single bonds. These fats are solid at room temperature and generally recognized as a significant cause of both heart disease and cancer. Saturated fats are found mainly in meat, fowl, eggs, and dairy. The foods with the most saturated fat are butter, cream, and cheese.


Saturated fat raises your LDL-cholesterol level more than anything else in the diet. Eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol is the main reason for the high number of heart attacks seen in North America and other countries.

UNSATURATED FAT
These fats are a mix of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. Eating unsaturated fats lowers cholesterol when substituted for saturated fats, but excessive amounts may promote cancer and obesity. Examples of unsaturated fats are the fats in nuts and seeds such as flax seeds, sunflower seeds, macadamia and pistachio nuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, as well as avocados and olives.
For Dr. Fuhrman’s entire breakdown of fats, give this post a whirl: The Glossary of Cholesterol.

Vitamins in the News

A new study shows vitamin C's cancer-fighting properties. Reuters reports:
The new research, published in the journal Cancer Cell, supported the general notion that vitamin C and other so-called antioxidants can slow tumor growth, but pointed to a mechanism different from the one many experts had suspected.


The researchers generated encouraging results when giving vitamin C to mice that had been implanted with human cancer cells -- either the blood cancer lymphoma or prostate cancer. Another antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine, also limited tumor growth in the mice, the researchers said.

Antioxidants are nutrients that prevent some of the damage from unstable molecules known as free radicals, created when the body turns food into energy. Vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene are among well-known antioxidants.
And, it seems Vitamin E may reduce blood clots in women. More from Reuters:
"The data indicated that, in general, women taking vitamin E were 21 percent less likely to suffer a blood clot," the American Heart Association, which published the finding in its journal Circulation, said in a statement.


"This is an exciting and interesting finding, but I don't think it's proven," Dr. Robert Glynn of Harvard Medical School said.

The American Heart Association generally does not recommend antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin E for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases or conditions, which include blood clots.

The study by Glynn and his colleagues reviewed data from 39,876 women aged 45 and older taking part in the Women's Health Study. They were given either 600 international units of natural source vitamin E or a placebo.
To round out the good news, according to Reuters Vitamin D may cut risk of early death. Look:
"Intake of ordinary doses of vitamin D supplements seems to be associated with decreases in total mortality rates," said Philippe Autier of the International Agency for Cancer Research in France and Sara Gandini of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan.

The reasons why were not clear but the researchers suggested the vitamin might block cancer cells from spreading or boost the immune system.

They did not conduct the studies themselves but did what is called a meta-analysis by reviewing 18 separate trials involving nearly 60,000 patients. The doses averaged 528 international units, within the range of most commercially available vitamin D supplements.
Want to know more about these vitamins and where to get them? Check out these two posts:
With the proper diet it’s easy to fuel you’re body right. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Eat to Live:
Food supplies us with both nutrients and calories (energy). All calories come from only three elements: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Nutrients are derived from noncaloric food factors — including vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytochemicals. These noncaloric nutrients are vitally important for health…


…Eating large quantities of high-nutrient foods is the secret to optimal health and permanent weight control. In fact, eating much larger portions of food is one of the beauties of a vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet.

Grand Rounds: Healthcare Innovations and New Technologies

Veggie Music Man

I don’t have any idea what he’s talking about, but, he sure makes beautiful music. Enjoy:



Yeah, I admit. It is a little creepy.

Tuesday: Health Points

Four years ago, Arkansas became the first state in the nation to track the number of overweight students in its schools. School officials say it has helped improve the state's childhood obesity rate.

A new report released Monday shows that while obesity is still a problem, the obesity rate in Arkansas's school children isn't rising.

State health officials said last year's mandatory BMI — body mass index — screenings showed that 20.6 percent of tested schoolchildren were overweight, while 17.2 percent were risk for being overweight, about the same figures as the previous year.
  • Here’s a cool veggie slideshow Dr. Fuhrman sent over the other day. Check it out, it’s over at MSN:
More and more consumers -- new mothers are leading the pack -- are expressing concern about potentially toxic chemicals in plastic products. Baby blogs are abuzz with warnings about chemicals in baby bottles and toys. Retailers say that demand for glass baby bottles is higher than it's been in decades and that shoppers are snatching up bottles and training cups made from plastics without bisphenol A. California lawmakers have taken notice: Last week, the state Legislature passed a bill to ban certain phthalates in plastic items meant for children younger than 3.


Recent widely publicized studies have shown that plastics are not only ubiquitous in the environment (marine researchers have shown that plastic debris outweighs zooplankton in remote parts of the Pacific), but are found in the bodies of nearly all Americans too. Scientists have hypothesized that chemicals in certain plastics may be linked to such conditions as asthma and even obesity. But most of the research, and the strongest evidence, points to effects that certain plastics chemicals appear to exert on the reproductive system. Findings are still considered preliminary (existing studies are small and few), but reports are enough to make consumers ask: Are plastics safe?
Researchers studying the enzyme that converts starch to simple sugars like glucose have found that people living in countries with a high-starch diet produce considerably more of the enzyme than people who eat a low-starch diet.


The reason is an evolutionary one. People in high-starch countries have many extra copies of the amylase gene which makes the starch-converting enzyme, a group led by George H. Perry of Arizona State University and Nathaniel J. Dominy of the University of California, Santa Cruz, reported yesterday in the journal Nature Genetics.

The production of the extra copies seems to have been favored by natural selection, according to a genetic test, the authors say. If so, the selective pressure could have occurred when people first started to grow cereals like wheat and barley at the beginning of the Neolithic revolution some 10,000 years ago, or even much earlier.
Jensen's Old Fashioned Smokehouse Inc. is recalling two smoked-salmon spread products because they may be contaminated with bacteria known as Listeria monocytogenes.


The recall includes 480 7-ounce plastic tubs of Jensen's Seattle Style Wild Smoked Salmon Spread Lemon Dill and Onion and 132 7-ounce plastic tubs of PCC brand Smoked Salmon Spread allnatural.

The products were distributed in Western Washington retail stores, the Seattle company said.

The Jensen's wild smoked-salmon spread in question is coded "sell By 10/14/07 and 10/15/07" and the PCC brand Smoked Salmon Spread all-natural is coded "sell By 9/29/07."

The company said no illnesses have been confirmed.
Some researchers have suspected that low levels of vitamin D contribute to the disorder, which is characterized by soaring blood pressure and swelling of the hands and feet, but the new study is the first to examine its role directly.

Pre-eclampsia affects as many as 7 percent of first pregnancies and can progress to eclampsia, which produces seizures and often-fatal complications of the liver, kidneys, lungs, blood and nervous system. Eclampsia causes 15 percent of maternal deaths during pregnancy and as many as 70 percent of such deaths in developing countries.

Epidemiologist Lisa M. Bodnar and her colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health Sciences studied blood samples taken from women and newborns early in pregnancy and just before delivery. They identified 15 women who suffered pre-eclampsia and compared them with 220 who did not.
The Food and Drug Administration opened a two-day meeting to collect comments from food companies, trade groups, watchdog organizations, medical experts and its overseas counterparts on the topic. Any action is likely years away.


Some food manufacturers and retailers already have begun labeling foods with symbols to indicate how nutritious they are. PepsiCo uses the “Smart Spot” symbol on diet Pepsi, baked Lay’s chips and other products. Hannaford Bros., a New England supermarket chain, uses a zero to three-star system to rate more than 25,000 food items it sells. And in Britain, the government has persuaded some food companies to use a “traffic light” symbol. That ranking system relies on green, yellow and red lights to characterize whether a food is low, medium or high in fat, salt and sugar.
Fairbank Farms, a U.S. ground beef producer, said on Wednesday it is voluntarily recalling beef patties sold to Shaw's Supermarkets in New England because of concerns about bacterial contamination.


Fairbank Farms said the patties could have been purchased by consumers in that area on Wednesday between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Food Additives and Hyper Kids

Hyper kids, a nightmare for a lot of parents. But what makes kids so hyper? I wonder. Wait, perhaps the food they eat has something to do with it? No! You don’t say. Researchers claim that food additives might fuel hyperactivity in children. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:
The findings have already caused the British government's Food Standards Agency, which funded the study, to issue a warning to parents about food additives.


"Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an increasingly common problem, and theories abound to account for that," said Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine. "Among them is the notion that food additives induce hyperactivity."

Despite this apparent connection, Katz cautioned that the increasing number of children with ADHD cannot be blamed on food additives alone.

"No one factor is solely responsible for rising rates of ADHD," Katz said. "Along with the hazards of a highly processed food supply, children are getting less and less physical activity as a means of dissipating their native rambunctiousness."
So, where do all these food additives reside? I’ll give you a hint. Not in the wholesome, nutrient-rich food Mother Nature designed. Nope! You’ll only find them in the over-processed nutrient-sparse junk food so many parents cram down their kids’ throats. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Not only do processed foods and fast foods often contain dangerous trans fats and other additives, but they also can have high levels of acrylamides. When processed foods are baked and fried at high temperatures, these cancer-causing chemical compounds are produced. Many processed foods, such as chips, french fries, and sugar-coated breakfast cereals, are rich in acrylamides.
With this being said, the next time you hear someone complaining about how nutty their kid is, you should frisk them for cookies and fruit-snacks—alright you, spread’em!

CDC Says, Eat Your Veggies

Madeline Vann of HealthDay News reports, the CDC wants families to eat more fruits and veggies:
According to the CDC, 90 percent of Americans do not meet the daily recommendation for fruit and vegetable consumption, even though the data shows people are aware of the health benefits of eating their greens. Most people need to double the amount they eat now to meet the latest dietary guidelines.


The Produce for Better Health Foundation and the CDC are teaming up during the back-to-school season to increase awareness of the importance of eating produce. The effort is part of the Fruit & Veggies More Matters campaign. That effort was launched in March in partnership with The Culinary Institute of America, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, and others.

The goal of the campaign is to encourage Americans to consume more fruits and vegetables in all forms -- cooked, fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and juiced. More than 23,000 supermarkets support the campaign, which is also mentioned on the produce packaging of more than 170 companies.

Dog Hate Banana

This dog really-really doesn’t like bananas:


Fruits and Veggies...Alive!

Here’s a creative video starring real fruits and vegetables. Too bad the video quality is a little iffy. Anyway, it’s still worth a look:


Friday: Health Points

In just under 2 percent of these patients, the mild knee arthritis was accompanied by non-small cell lung cancer. All patients were middle-aged men who had been heavy smokers for most of their lives. Once the cancer tissue was surgically removed, the knee pain cleared up as well.

About 85 percent of all lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Unless it is caught early, non-small cell lung cancer is difficult to treat. It spreads to the bones in one in five cases and is well advanced by the time it is diagnosed in half of all cases.
Mmm mmm, this is about as easy a freebie you'll ever see and I encourage you to take advantage of it before 11:59pm on September 29, 2007. But don't wait until the last minute because only one million of these coupons will be distributed and then they are gone…


…Easy peasy and it's FREE FOOD! If you ask for the chicken to be chargrilled without the bun, then they'll give you plenty of greens to wrap it in. And the Diet Coke can be replaced with unsweetened tea if you'd like that better.
After the salmonella strain, Salmonella Schwarzengrund, was detected in two dogs in the homes of two of the ill persons, and in unopened bags of dog food produced by Mars Petcare in the Everson plant in Fayette County, the company voluntarily recalled two brands Aug. 21. The plant was closed last week for inspection and cleaning. Officials from the company could not be reached to update the plant's status.


Further investigation of the outbreak is a collaboration between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health officials in the affected states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The break in the case -- tracing human sickness to dog food -- was made by Pennsylvania investigators, led by Dr. Stephen Ostroff, director of the bureau of epidemiology at the state Health Department.
San Francisco's Mayor Newsom, is supporting better nutrition options at schools with a $500,000 grant to the SFUSD Student Nutrition Services (SNS). What will be done with the money? SNS is planning to install salad bars at 25 SF schools this year, including three schools with Urban Sprouts gardens: June Jordan School for Equity, Excelsior Middle School and Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.
Researchers for the first time used the National Cancer Data Base, a tumor registry maintained by the American College of Surgeons, to explore these issues, using more than 170,000 cases diagnosed in 1998. Ten percent were in black women.

The study focused on the 95,500 women whose cancers were invasive rather than still confined to a milk duct. About 39 percent of such tumors in black women were estrogen receptor-negative, or ER-negative, compared with 22 percent of those in white women.

Estrogen helps tumors grow. Drugs that block this hormone, like tamoxifen and a newer class of medications called aromatase inhibitors, work against these cancers.
This characterization of the 1918 pandemic virus (serotype H1N1) as "swine flu" came back to haunt us in 1976, when H1N1 caused the death of a solider at Fort Dix, New Jersey and triggered a mass vaccination campaign here in the U.S. (with its subsequent fallout). Since then, sporadic human cases of swine influenza have been reported, either clincally (such as this one in Iowa earlier this year, or subclinically, as described in this research. Now in Ohio, they're looking to see whether swine flu has again jumped into humans. More after the jump.
After analyzing a year’s worth of sales data, Hannaford found that customers tended to buy leaner cuts of meat. Sales of ground beef with stars on their labels increased 7 percent, and sales of chicken that had a star rating rose 5 percent. Sales of ground beef labeled with no stars dropped by 5 percent, while sales of chicken that had a zero-star rating declined 3 percent.


Similarly, sales of whole milk, which received no stars, declined by 4 percent, while sales of fat-free milk (three stars) increased 1 percent.

Sales of fruits and vegetables, however, remained about the same as they did before the ratings were introduced. All fresh produce received stars.
The frequency of hot flashes among the women decreased 50 percent over six weeks. Flaxseed contains lignans and omega-3 fatty acids. Lignans have weak estrogen characteristics. Dr. Pruthi cautions that this was a pilot study and further study in a large, randomized placebo-controlled study may not turn out such results.
  • Not sure what to say about this one, but, get a load—a big load—of China’s newest pop-stars. Brace yourself. Maureen Fan of The Washington Post reports:
On stage, however, the four members of a singing group known as Qian Jin Zu He are strong and confident, belting out their signature rap song, "So What If I'm Fat," passing out photographs of themselves and signing autographs.


The lead singer, 26-year-old Xiao Yang, is 375 pounds; the others in the group are between about 200 and 300 pounds. Together, they tour the country, performing at nightclubs, paint factories, garment industry conventions and shopping malls.

Their success has been modest, but given the powerful discrimination against the obese in China, Xiao said her discovery by a talent agent has been "like a tree branch saving me in the water."

Shaping Up School Cafeterias

Sometimes I wonder, how did America get so fat? And then, I just walk through the typical supermarket; up and down the isles, lots of junk and convenience foods. In Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman explains this—coupled with lack of exercise—is what’s making us fat. Take a look:
Nationally recognized food surveys, such as the National Food Consumption Survey and the National Health and Nutrition Survey, indicate that Americans consume somewhere between 34 and 37 percent of their calories from fat.1 Americans are still eating a very high fat diet. The reason for the rise in obesity in America is no mystery: we eat a high-calorie, high-fat diet. We are eating more meals outside the home, relying more heavily on convenience foods, and consuming larger food portions. Consistent with trends in weight, caloric intake rose 15 percent between 1970 and 1994.2 The data actually shows increased consumption of junk food, fat, and calories in recent years.3


Weight has increased in America simply because total calorie consumption has risen and activity or exercise has fallen. Our diets are more nutrient-deficient than ever.
And as we know, this stuff has infiltrated our schools; vending machines, tatter tots, and ice cream. But lately, there’s been a concerted to straighten up our school cafeterias. So, how’s it going? Andrew Martin of The New York Times investigates the state of school food:
Food and beverage companies have scrambled to offer healthier alternatives in school cafeterias and vending machines, and some of the changes have been met with a shrug by students. The whole-wheat chocolate-chip cookies? “Surprisingly, the kids have kind of embraced them,” said Laura Jacobo, director of food services at Woodlake Union schools in California.


But some parents say that by cracking down on cupcakes in the classroom to celebrate birthdays and Halloween, school officials have crossed a line.

On top of the practical question of how PTAs and drill teams can raise the money that will no longer be earned with bake sales, there is a matter closer to the heart, where the cupcake holds strong as a symbol of childhood innocence and parental love.

“I remember growing up and a birthday party was a big deal when you got to bring a treat,” said Amy Joswick, who has two children in elementary school in Old Bridge, N.J., where cupcakes are not allowed at birthday parties. “I don’t agree with it because as a whole, parents should be monitoring what they are eating. It should start at home.”

Parents in Texas lobbied to get a “Safe Cupcake Amendment” added to the state’s nutrition policy. The measure, which passed, ensures that parents may bring frosted treats to schools for celebrations.
Here’s a question. Why do birthdays have to be associated with sweet treats and other junk food? I don’t know, I’m not a parent. Maybe if kids were learning good eating habits at home, they wouldn’t be tempted by the junk at school. Check out these tips from Disease-Proof Your Child:
1. Keep only healthy food in the house. Every person in the household should have the same food choices available.


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

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

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

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

There’s actually a chapter in Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live entitled “Overfed, Yet Malnourished.” This is an often overlooked symptom of our gluttonous society, but, a very real and very dangerous phenomenon. Now Dr. Fuhrman explains it much better than I can:
Medical investigations clearly show the dangers of consuming the quantity of processed foods that we do. And because these refined grains lack the fiber and nutrient density to turn down our appetite, they also cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and significantly increased cancer risk1…


…If you want to lose weight, the most important foods to avoid are processed foods: condiments, candy, snacks, and baked goods; fat-free has nothing to do with it. Almost all weight-loss authorities agree on this — you must cut out the refined carbohydrates, including bagels, pasta, and bread. As far as the human body is concerned, low-fiber carbohydrates such as pasta are almost as damaging as white sugar. Pasta is not health food — it is hurt food…

…Empty calories are empty calories. Cookies, jams, and other processed foods (even those from the health-food store) sweetened with “fruit juice” sound healthier but are just as bad as white sugar products. When fruit juice is concentrated and used as a sweetener, the healthy nutritional components are stripped away — what’s left is plain sugar. To your body, there is not much difference between refined sugar, fruit juice sweeteners, honey, fruit juice concentrate, or any other concentrated sweetener. Our sweet tooth has been put there by nature to have us enjoy and consume real fruit, not some imitation. Fresh-squeezed orange juice and other fresh fruit and vegetable juices are relatively healthy foods that contain the majority of the original vitamins and minerals. But the sweet fruit juices and even carrot juice should still be used only moderately, as they still contain a high concentration of sugar calories and no fiber.
So, when you consider that so many Americans gorge on low-nutrient high-calorie foods, you won’t find this next report all that surprising. According to new research obese children actually suffer from iron deficiency. Reuters reports:
It was the first time an association had been found between obesity and iron deficiency in children as young as 1, the researchers said, and they said junk food may be to blame.


"The reasons for the strong association in this age group are unclear and need to be elucidated," Dr. Jane Brotanek of the University of Texas and other researchers cautioned in their study, published in the journal Pediatrics.

"Dietary practices may play an important role since diets high in calories but poor in micronutrients may lead to both iron deficiency and overweight" children, they added.
When you start eating a nutrient-dense diet, you start evaluating foods differently. Personally, I don’t get too hung up on calorie content anymore. Rather, I pay close attention to the calorie-to-nutrients ratio—makes you really think twice about eating sweets!
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Vegetables Lost in Space

Well, you’ll either find this very funny, or, terribly painful. Either way, witness Dr. Smith from Lost in Space freak out on a veggie plant. Enjoy, or not:


Wednesday: Health Points

China will clamp down on foods tainted with illegal and excessive chemicals as it seeks to quell domestic and foreign alarm about toxins in meat, seafood and vegetables, the country's top agriculture official said…

…Minister of Agriculture Sun Zhengcai said consumers had no reason to fear eating most of the nation's farm produce, while the nation's quality inspection agency announced comprehensive food export tagging in a bid to reassure customers.
A study of nearly 1,700 children in rural Missouri found that those who usually ate homegrown fruits and veggies had one full serving more a day than those who didn't and were more likely to prefer the types of produce that they grew at home.


You don't need to live in the country to garden with kids. If you'd like to test out your green thumb with your youngsters, you can try container gardening (here's a tip: hollowed out oranges or grapefruit make excellent bio-degradable containers), planting in a window box, or even digging a small plot like we did. The joy is in the digging, the planting, the getting dirty, and the time spent together, as well as fresh veggies all summer long.
One child in five will be obese in the Netherlands by 2015, according to a study carried out by the Nicis research institute in the country's major cities, the Dutch news agency ANP reported Tuesday.


Fewer than 10 percent of children in primary school manage to average half an hour exercise a day. Among teenagers, it is fewer than 30 percent.


As a result, by 2015 one Dutch child in five will be too heavy, Nicis found.
The study tracked the eating habits of more than two thousand people over a ten year period. Wow. The researchers also reported that those whose diets contained fiber from mainly cereal or fruit sources did not fare so well - they had a higher risk for type 2 diabetes than those getting lots of fiber from veggie sources. The reason could be that foods high in vegetable fiber produce smaller fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels than would cereal or fruits. Lead researcher, Alan Barclay, says legumes are the best fiber source of all.
One study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology demonstrated this in 2003. The study, which was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that eating protein-rich foods — like milk — decreased the ability of tryptophan to enter the brain.


The trick, the study showed, is to eat foods high in carbohydrates, which stimulate the release of insulin. Insulin, in turn, makes it easier for tryptophan to enter the brain.

But surveys have found that many people swear by milk as a sleep aid, and that may have something to do with psychology.
The interaction of vitamins and minerals in the body (synergy) can have a strong impact on the effectiveness of many of them, but this seems like an odd one to me. Nevertheless, lipid and ascorbic acid interaction was studied in terms of possible cancer contributions to the upper stomach area (which is sensitive to cancerous issues and tumor development).
A Consumer Reports magazine poll released July 25 of 3,048 parents who have children ages 5 to 17 found that 91% say childhood obesity is a problem in the USA. But of the parents of children whose body mass index (BMI) categorizes them as overweight, half say their kids weigh what they should.


Only 36% of the parents with heavy children say their physician has suggested their child lose weight; the other 64% say the doctor didn't mention it.

Many parents simply don't realize their children are overweight, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian in private practice in Chicago and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "The doctor never told them. Other kids in the class look like their child, and their kid seems pretty healthy," she says.
What can you do to lower your salt intake? You can eat fewer processed foods and become a savvy label reader. You can make more of your foods at home and use spices instead of salts to flavor food. When eating out, ask for unsalted foods and empty your salt shaker at home. You can even consider making your own bread, since bread and cereal products account for a large portion of our daily intake. Shoot for 1,500 to 2,400 mg of salt a day, which seems like a lot but is much lower than the 4,000 to 6,000 mg the average American eats today.

Grand Rounds 3.50 is Up!

Dog Eat Carrot

Okay, we know this little dog loves carrots, but what about this big dog? I wonder. Take a look: