FDA: Clear and Present Danger

Hopefully this doesn’t shock you, but, the FDA is being a little flaky. Apparently no one knows what they need to do their job. Christopher Doering of Reuters reports:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's failure to discuss clearly its strategy and the money needed to better protect the country's food supply could make it harder for a plan to succeed, a congressional watchdog agency told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Last November, the Bush administration proposed stronger rules to better protect the country's food supply. Some of the proposals require approval from Congress.

The Government Accountability Office said while the food safety inspection plan "proposes several positive first steps," it has failed to explain what resources and how much additional funding it will need to implement it.

"Without a clear description of resources and strategies, it will be difficult for Congress to assess the likelihood of the plan's success in achieving its intended results," said Lisa Shames, a GAO director, in a report delivered to a U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
To quote George Carlin, “This is the kind of crap you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude.” Not a government agency!

One Tough Asparagus

Finally, a superhero nutritarians can get behind, introducing—ULTIMATE ASPARAGUS! Oh! There are a couple dirty-words, but it’s worth it. Enjoy:

And don’t forget to check out, How Asparagus are You?

Vitamin D and Calcium, Joint at the Hip

Sometimes I wonder about things. Like, why is the sky blue? Why do men have nipples? Why do we park in a driveway and drive on a parkway? Or, why is proper vitamin D intake important to calcium absorption? Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.
Sadly, Dr. Fuhrman had nothing on the whole driveway-parkway thing. Now, check out this parroting of good information. Reuters reports, vitamin D ups calcium's bone-building effect. Here’s an excerpt:
The women were between 70 and 80 years old. After 1 year, bone mineral density at the hip was preserved in the calcium group and the calcium+vitamin D group, but not in the double-placebo "control" group.

However, at 3 and 5 years, only the group that got calcium plus vitamin D group maintained hip bone density, the investigators report in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

They conclude that adequate levels of vitamin D are necessary for calcium to do its job in keeping bones healthy.
Oh dear, now I’m wondering again. Where do get all this “vitamin D?” Well, George Harrison once sung, “Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter. Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here. Here comes the sun, here comes the sun.”

He's Gone Veggie Crazy!

This dude is out of his gourd! Seriously, he is absolutely nutty over vegetables. See for yourself:

Wow. Even Dr. Fuhrman isn’t that swoon over veggies.

Gonzo Gone Veggie

Kansas City Chiefs tight-end Tony Gonzalez is the enemy—sorry, I’m an Oakland Raiders fan—he is a vegan. Seriously, this 247-pound football player is all about the veggies. Reed Albergotti of The Wall Street Journal reports:
So last year, on the eve of the biggest season of his career, Mr. Gonzalez embarked on a diet resolution that smacked head-on with gridiron gospel as old as the leather helmet. He decided to try going vegan.

Living solely on plant food, a combination of nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains and the like, has long been the fringe diet of young rebels and aging nonconformists. Even the government recommends regular helpings of meat, fish and dairy. Vegans of late have gotten more hip with such best sellers as the brash "Skinny Bitch," and its more scholarly cousin, "The China Study." Both books argue vegans can live longer…

…Professional athletes, especially NFL players, need thousands of calories a day. Many enjoy a high-protein, high-fat smorgasbord of steaks, chops, burgers, pizza, ice cream and beer. Mr. Gonzalez's tight-end job requires him to push around monstrously sized opponents. Occasionally, he gets to catch a pass. Mr. Gonzalez is famous for combining the brute power of an offensive lineman with the acrobatic skills of a nimble receiver. "My biggest thing is strength," he says. "If you lose that strength you get your butt kicked."

Experts say athletes in training need as much as twice the protein of an average person to rebuild muscle. Their bodies also require a big dose of minerals and vitamins, as well as the amino acids, iron and creatine packed into fish, meat and dairy foods. It's fine to be a vegan, says sports nutritionist and dietician Nancy Clark, if you're willing to work at it. "It's harder to get calcium, harder to get protein, harder to get Vitamin D, harder to get iron," she says. "You have to be committed."
Now, despite my hatred for an AFC West rival, I must say, kudos to Tony! He’s certainly one of the few, because as we’ve seen in the past. Many sports stars are a bust when it comes to healthy eating. Here are a few examples:
Now, not to toot my own horn, I’m far from a professional athlete, but, I’m a lot bigger and more physical than most of the meat-heads I see at the gym sucking down protein shakes and bragging about beef, and, I only eat fish a couple times a month—go figure!

How Asparagus are You?

Who would have thought, apparently asparagus can affect people differently. Yeah, I’m confused too. Let’s check in with Susan Bowerman of The Los Angeles Times:

Asparagus' reputation for producing noxious urine is so widespread that those who produce the odor assume everyone else does too. That's not the case. Studies indicate that about 79% of Americans are "excreters" -- they excrete smelly sulfur compounds in their urine -- as are about half the people in Britain. Non-excreters don't suffer asparagus-eating's effect on urine odor because they don't produce these sulfur compounds. The ability to "excrete" is inherited.

Chemical analysis of the urine of excreters has identified six compounds responsible for the odor. Two, methanethiol and dimethyl sulfide, impart the most aroma, while the other four contribute to the unique and complex bouquet. Their source is from the breakdown of other chemicals present in the fresh vegetable.

A prime candidate is asparagusic acid, a sulfur-rich compound found only in asparagus. In 1987, a study found that excreters who ingested asparagusic acid produced the volatile compounds in their urine -- whereas non-excreters didn't. But researchers have also suggested that other compounds present in higher concentrations in asparagus than other foods could also contribute.

A few studies published more than 20 years ago suggest that the numbers on people who produce smelly urine may be unreliable. It could be, the authors argue, that everyone produces pungent urine after eating asparagus -- but not everyone can pick up the smell.

Don’t you just love talking about pee. Yes my mind is in the toilet and in this case it fits—pun intended. But seriously, asparagus is a great food. Dr. Fuhrman tells us why:

Asparagus is one of the most healthful foods on the planet. It leads nearly all fruits and vegetables in the wide array of nutrients it supplies. Ten ounces (one box of frozen spears) have only 68 calories and 9 grams of protein, yet it is like a vitamin pill, giving you a variety of minerals such as selenium, zinc, calcium, copper, and manganese. Plus, it is very rich in folate.

Asparagus has an exceptionally high nutrient-per-calorie ratio and is the perfect weight-loss food. Anti--cancer compounds that have been shown to prevent tumors and cancers in animals are plentiful in asparagus. Asparagus also contains isothiocyanates, indoles, and sulforaphane, powerful compounds that promote cellular rejuvenation with anti-cancer properties. It is rich in glutathione and rutin, healing compounds for the liver and blood vessels.

I really like asparagus, especially asparagus veggie-sushi rolls! Hey, speaking of food. Here’s a great asparagus recipe for you to try. Check it out:

Asparagus-Potato-Leek Ragout
2 large leeks, white and pale green
1 lb. small red potatoes
2 cups water, seasoned with VegiZest or another dehydrated vegetable seasoning
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally
1/2 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
Cut leeks lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Quarter potatoes and steam in a steamer until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a bowl. In skillet, water-sauté leeks in seasoned water for 3-4 minutes, stirring until tender. (Add liquid if needed.) Transfer leeks to bowl with potatoes. In skillet, heat more VegiZest water and water-sauté asparagus for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms and water-sauté mixture, and continue cooking for about 3 minutes or until mushrooms soften. Combine all ingredients. Before serving, squeeze a little lemon juice over vegetables, stir in mint, parsley, and pepper to taste, and gently toss. Serves 4.

All this talk about asparagus has got me psyched to go out eat some and then, have some wicked stinky pee!

Friday: Health Points

Uncontrolled diabetes wreaks havoc on the body, often leading to kidney failure, blindness and death. A new study shows that the nation's unchecked diabetes epidemic exacts a heavy financial toll as well: $174 billion a year.

That's about as much as the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism combined. It's more than the $150 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The incidence of diabetes has ballooned — there are 1 million new cases a year — as more Americans become overweight or obese, according to the study, released Wednesday by the American Diabetes Association. The cost of diabetes — both in direct medical care and lost productivity — has swelled 32% since 2002, the report shows.

Diabetes killed more than 284,000 Americans last year, according to the diabetes association.
  • Much to my personal delight, Yoga is growing in popularity. Katie Zezima of The New York Times investigates a boot camp for Yoga teachers. Check it out:
In May 2006, Sue Jones started YogaHope, an organization that teaches yoga at eight Boston-area women’s homeless shelters, substance-abuse treatment programs and domestic-violence safe houses, as well as two programs in Seattle. The focus is on teaching restorative yoga, and though many teachers have completed at least 200 hours of training, it is not a requirement.

Driven by a sometimes missionary zeal and a sense that yoga has become an exclusive pursuit, a small but growing number of yoga practitioners are forming organizations that teach yoga in prisons and juvenile detention centers in Oakland, Calif.; Los Angeles, Seattle and Indianapolis. They are working with the addicted and the homeless in Portland, Ore., and with public-school students in New York City.

Though concern about the cost of yoga is an issue (studio classes can cost $20 for a drop-in session, though some offer free or low-cost classes taught by less experienced teachers), most of the practitioners are motived by a desire to introduce yoga to those who might need it most, but wouldn’t think to do it on their own.
Stop-and-go pushup
Assume a pushup position. Brace your core and lower your chest to the floor. When you’re halfway down, pause 2 seconds before continuing. Then, when your chest is 2 inches from the floor, pause again for 2 seconds before pushing halfway back up. Hold for 2 more seconds, then straighten your arms. Do eight reps.

Stop-and-go split squat
Stand with one foot 3 feet forward and hold a barbell across your shoulders. Rise on the ball of your back foot, then bend at the knees. When halfway down, pause for 2 seconds. Pause again when your back knee is just off the floor. Push halfway up, pause again, and return to the starting position. Do six reps with each leg.
The campaign, to be launched in the summer, will form part of a wider strategy including aspects like food labelling, urban design and the promotion of exercise.

Department of Health officials said it will use simple messages -- such as the "five pieces of fruit and veg a day" slogan -- and be based on research into what actually works to make people change from unhealthy lifestyles.

"Tackling obesity is the most significant public and personal health challenge facing our society," said Health Secretary Alan Johnson as he launched the 372 million pound cross-government strategy.
"A didgeri-what?" you ask. While aborigines in Australia have been playing this long wooden trumpet for centuries, it's just recently been redefined as a modern-day medical device. Researchers reporting in the British Medical Journal evaluated 25 people with sleep apnea--a breath-stealing condition caused by flabby throat muscles--and found that those who took 4 months of didgeridoo (DIH-jeh-ree-doo) lessons had about 31/2 times less daytime sleepiness than the folks who didn't blow their own horns. The newly minted musicians also snored significantly less. Credit this uncommon cure to vibrations that exercise tissue in the mouth and throat, says researcher Milo Puhan, Ph.D. "When these muscles are strengthened, the tongue has less tendency to obstruct the airway."

If huffing on a wooden tube to treat your sleep apnea sounds a tad too weird, then you probably aren't familiar with the alternatives. The most commonly prescribed option is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which involves spending every night hooked up to a machine that pumps air down your throat to keep it from collapsing. The other approach is surgery, and that's only 30 to 60 percent effective. Now are you ready to toot the didgeridoo? You can pick up a beginner-friendly model for about $80 at L.A. Outback (laoutback.com). And don't worry; it's intuitive to learn, says co-owner Barry Martin. You purse your lips and blow into it with the beat.
  • Diet Blog hardly has a glowing endorsement for “Slim Coffee.” Jim Foster thinks it’s nothing but a big scam:
It must be so tempting for unscrupulous entrepreneurs:

Find an obscure weight loss product from somewhere overseas. Re-brand it. Hype it up. Create an infomercial. Make millions.

This time it's Slim Coffee. The claims are impressive: "Reduce appetite. Clinically tested. Lose 5 pounds per week". All from drinking coffee with a few supplements added (or so they say).

The makers of Slim Coffee have been pursued by the FTC - resulting in a $923,000 settlement.
Previous studies had suggested that people living in polluted areas are more at risk of heart disease. For example, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine last year showed that women in 36 American cities were more likely to develop heart disease if the air they breathed was rich in particles measuring 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter - known as PM2.5s - which are present in car exhaust fumes.

It now seems that a greater hazard may be posed by so-called "ultrafine" particles, about a dozen times smaller at 0.18 micrometres wide. The latest study in mice has shown that they clog up arteries with fatty atherosclerotic deposits, and chemically alter "good" cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, reducing its beneficial effects.
How does yoga help a professional athlete's game?
Yoga improves balance in the body and works the smaller muscles that normally wouldn't get worked. It also improves range of motion, whether that means swinging a golf club, throwing a baseball or shooting a basketball. It builds stamina through breath control and teaches techniques for relaxing in tense moments. Most important, yoga gives you confidence that your body will do what you want it to do when you need it to.

Meat and Diet Soda, Bad for the Heart

A guy walks into a fast-food restaurant, orders a double-cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, and, a diet soda. Why diet? Obviously he’s concerned about his health! Unfortunately for him, meat and diet soda are being linked to heart disease. Reuters reports:
People who eat two or more servings of red meat a day are much more likely to develop conditions leading to heart disease and diabetes, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

Eating two or more servings of meat a day increases the risk of suffering from a cluster of risk factors known as metabolic syndrome by 25 percent compared to those who had only two servings of meat a week, the researchers reported in the journal Circulation.

The symptoms of metabolic syndrome include excessive fat around the waist, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure.

The study also found that diet soda consumption was linked to these elevated risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, echoing the findings of a study published in July.

"When we found that diet soda promoted risk we were surprised," said Dr. Lyn Steffen, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota.
No surprises here. Consuming too much animal products—like red meat—are consistently linked with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Unlike plant foods that promote the opposite. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
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 disease.1 Unknown to many is that animal proteins have a significant effect on raising cholesterol levels as well, while plant protein lowers it.2
What’s amazing is in light of research like this. Tons of misinformation still kicks around the internet. Speaking of misinformation, let’s check in with the one of the leading sources. Here’s the Atkins take on animal protein:
Protein also plays a role in weight loss or weight management. Compared to carbohydrate, consuming protein has less of an effect on insulin (which drives fat storage), a greater effect on glucagon (which drives fat release) and a considerably greater increase in metabolic rate. Several studies demonstrate greater body-fat loss on a high-protein diet than on a high-carb one. Increasing intake of protein relative to carbohydrates fills you up more, so you wind up eating less. A recent study showed that even eating snacks with a higher protein and lower carbohydrate composition can reduce the amount of food you eat at the next meal by 5 percent. And eating protein boosts your metabolic rate—the technical term is thermogenesis. In fact, one study showed that healthy young women experienced 100 percent higher thermogenesis after eating high-protein meals—even two and a half hours later than when they ate a “conventional” high-carbohydrate meal.
Now, as we know, when Atkins says protein, they’re referring to animal products—i.e. meat—but as Dr. Fuhrman just explained, all this animal protein is not health-promoting. Here’s more from Dr. Fuhrman, take a look:
A recent study showed that after following almost 200,000 Americans for seven years, those who regularly consumed red meat had a double the occurrence of pancreatic cancer.3

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.4 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.5
As for diet soda, honestly, who in their right mind trusts these laboratory-created abominations? Wait, I guess the guy ordering all the burgers and chicken nuggets does. Real quick, here’s Dr. Fuhrman on sweeteners:
Clearly this is a controversial subject because much of the research documenting the so-called safety of aspartame was financed by the aspartame industry, and a huge amount of political and monetary pressure led to eventual FDA approval. My opinion is that the possible dangers of aspartame are still unknown. Utilizing such artificial products is gambling with your health. Aspartame also exposes us to a methyl ester that may have toxic effects. I recommend playing it safe and sticking to natural foods.

Many health gurus recommend substituting Stevia in place of artificial sweeteners. Stevia is natural and its use is permitted in Japan and other countries. Despite its widespread use, there is a surprising lack of human clinical trials evaluating its safety. Unlike with saccharin, no evidence has been reported that stevioside and its metabolites are carcinogenic. However, animal reports of nephrotoxicity do exist, which suggest that Stevia is likely safer than the other sweeteners, but not entirely without risk.6 The extent of risk is unknown at this time.
How about not consuming them at all! Instead eat some sweet and delicious fruit. It’ll help satisfy you’re crazing for sweet, and, supply your body with the important nutrients and phytochemicals it needs. Dr. Fuhrman explains why fruit (and vegetables) are so great:
Increasing your consumption of high-nutrient fruits and vegetables is the key to disease resistance, disease reversal, and a long, healthy life. The potential reduction in disease rates shows no threshold effect in the scientific studies. That means that as high-nutrient vegetables and high-nutrient fruits increase as a major portion of caloric intake, disease rates fall in a dose-dependent manner—the more the diet is comprised of these foods, the better your health will be.7
So, I guess the point to make here is that it’s important to remember that eating lots of animal products is not going to do your health any favors and masking food addictions with diet soda or sweeteners is not a long term approach to good health.
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Carrot has a Bad Audition

This carrot woke up with stars in his eyes. Little did he know how things would turn out—ouch! Take a look:

Light Therapy and Bipolar Disorder

New research shows that light therapy can help women bipolar disorder. Reuters reports:
Bright light treatment started out as a way to relieve winter depression, but it has since been shown to be effective for seasonal and non-seasonal major depression. It could also benefit people with bipolar disorder, in which moods swing from depression to mania, note the authors of the report in the medical journal Bipolar Disorders.

To see what "dose" of bright light might be best, Dr. Dorothy Sit, of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania, and colleagues conducted a small study with nine women in the depression phase of bipolar disorder who were unresponsive to conventional treatments.

The women were given light boxes and used them for 15, 30, and 45 minutes daily, each for 2-week periods. Four patients used them in the morning and five at midday.

Of the four subjects treated with morning light, three developed mixed states; that is, "symptoms of depression and mania that occur at the same time -- racing thoughts, irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety and low mood," Sit explained in a press release.
Dr. Fuhrman is a big fan of light therapy. In fact, he sells therapeutic lights on DrFuhrman.com.

Tahini, Gizmos, and Suzanne Somers

Yesterday, Steve a loyal Followhealthlife reader sent me a great email. First he wanted to talk about sesame seeds and tahini. Here’s what he had to say:
I never realized that sesame seeds should actually be dark. WOW! These days I am having trouble even finding raw tahini, I have never seen dark tahini. I guess I am going to have to start doing what you do, just sprinkle them into recipes. I will have to hit the "health food" stores to find them. The health food stores here in Waterloo are basically pathetic, pills and potions and expensive "detoxes", one for each organ in the body it would seem.
Hey! If you know where to find some raw tahini, speak up! Next, Steve wanted to weigh in on ab-machines and other fitness gizmos. Take a look:
I know what you mean about the ads on TV for fitness apparatus. They constantly give the impression that working the abs will reduce belly fat (spot reduction). I don't use an ab machine, but I am sympathetic to these little types of gizmos for working out. I have a minimalist "spare bedroom gym". I have one-ended dumbbells (for wrist exercises), one of those medieval things for working the back of the neck, tubing for hip rotations, and a Dynamic Axial Resistance Device (DARD) which works the oft-neglected shins.
Anyone else have a gripe about infomercial fitness gizmos? Do tell! Finally, Steve explains why he is mad at his town library. Check it out:
One last thing, I am going to chide my local library. I noticed only one Dr. Fuhrman book (Eat to Live), but about six different Suzanne Somers books. Come on! We are supposed to be a world leading "intelligent community", and this just looks bad.
Thanks for the email Steve! Keep reading. Remember, if you ever want to tell me something, just shoot an email to diseaseproof@gmail.com, or, make a comment. I’m always happy to hear from you. Peace.

Cholesterol: Well Blog Encounters a Loon

The shortcomings of cholesterol-lowering medications are all over the news lately, but rather then continue the beat down. Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times Well Blog wants to know, is it possible to lower your cholesterol without drugs. Here’s a bit:

In fact, many doctors think dietary changes are too difficult for most of their patients. While they typically encourage better eating and a diet low in saturated fat, they also prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins as a faster way to lower bad cholesterol.

But many people can’t tolerate statins and their side effects. Others simply don’t want to take a pill every day or shoulder the cost of a prescription. For those patients, dietary changes may be a better option.

In 2006, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported on a study of 55 patients with high cholesterol who, over the course of a year, started eating a diet rich in soy proteins, fiber and almonds. All those foods may have cholesterol-lowering properties. Twenty-one patients managed to lower their cholesterol by 20 percent or more by the end of the year. The researchers noted that whether the patient was motivated and actually stuck with the diet most of the time was key.

Kudos to Tara! There needs to be more talk about this, because as Dr. Fuhrman explains, dietary intervention is the best way to lower cholesterol and prevent and reverse heart disease. Check out this excerpt from Cholesterol Levels and Heart Attacks:

Make no doubt about it: lowering your LDL cholesterol below 100 offers powerful protection against heart disease. The evidence is overwhelming today that heart attacks, which kill half of all Americans, are entirely preventable. Heart disease is a condition that is preventable and reversible through aggressive nutritional intervention and cholesterol-lowering.

Now, in this post Dr. Fuhrman points to some specific foods that have well-documented cholesterol-lowering properties. I’ve clipped this snippet from Ideal Cholesterol 199? Have a look:

A vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been shown to be the most effective cholesterol-lowering dietary approach in medical history. This newsworthy data with the potential to save millions of lives has been ignored by the mass media. With this dietary approach, most patients drop their total cholesterol below 150 and LDL below 100, without the need for medications. In areas of the world where people eat a diet of unrefined plant foods, people have total cholesterol levels below 150, and there is zero incidence of heart disease in the population.1

Okay, one last excerpt. In this post Dr. Fuhrman points to the landmark China Study; which illustrated the rarity of heart attacks in plant-food eating rural Chinese. From Can Cholesterol Be Too Low:

Clearly, if we attempt to rival the low cholesterol of populations that eat mostly natural plant foods and do not have heart disease, we are always looking at total cholesterols below 150 mg/dl. The average cholesterol level in rural China, as documented in the massive China Cornell Project, was 127 mg/dl. Heart attacks were rare, and both cancer and heart disease rates plummeted as cholesterol levels fell, which reflected very low animal product consumption. The lowest occurrence of heart disease and cancer occurred in the group that consumed plant-based diets with less than two servings of animal products per week.

Alright, now this is where I feel for Tara. In the comments of her post she encountered the persistent of lunacy of the low-carb consortium. Here’s the comment and Tara’s response from the Well Blog:

Commenter: Alternatively, you and Jane Brody could look at the growing mountain of evidence that the diet you think is “healthful” is actually the problem…evidence which includes Brody’s own health!
Or you could read the most important book on diet in the last century, “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes.

But you won’t; you’ll keep passing out the same old misinformation.

Nor will you publish this comment.

Tara: Of course I will publish your comment, and I think your point, if you strip away the personal attacks, is a good one. Nutrition writers like myself certainly have been complicit in confusing people’s notions about what constitutes healthful eating. (Although I’m curious about what I’ve written that offends you so.) I’m not sure I agree that Gary Taubes has written the most important book on diet (I’m a fan of Pollan as readers of this blog know). However, Mr. Taubes has certainly raised many important issues in his work. I agree, as Mr. Pollan writes, that the culture of nutritionism — viewing food as a sum of its nutrient parts — has been largely detrimental to the nation’s health.

Tara, I feel for you. This nonsense and its lemming-like supporters pollute the information super highway. Before I go any further, here’s Dr. Fuhrman dropping the hammer on Gary Taubes’ “most important book on diet in the last century.” From Nutrition Science and Gary Taubes:

Amazing how stupid people are. Gary Taubes is a known Atkins' devotee and nutritionally naïve and led by the Atkins' crowd. Now he has his own book. All I can say is that this makes me look like a genius comparatively when I am only stating the obvious. All I can say is: Health = Nutrition / Calories.

Your health is predicted by your nutrient intake divided by your intake of calories. Health = Nutrition / Calories, or simply 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).

I think Tara did a great job handling this over-zealous loon and luckily for her he wasn’t as radical as most of them. Just get a load of these vitriolic comments from one of Followhealthlife’s low-carb blog-trolls. Oh! Despite the different names, it’s all the same person:

RN: “STOP lying to people. NOW! Support your contention NOT SUMMARIES of summaries The blind leading the blind…I can and WILL argue this all day because I UNLIKE Dr. Fuhrman CAN back up my views.”


Razwell: “Persons who claim "paradise health" by following a certain diet are CHARLATANS.”

What does all this prove? That no matter how much you back up your claims the crazies, the cultists, and the sensationalists will do their best to disrupt your day—just another day in the life of a health-blogger!

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Antioxidant Eyeballs

Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, antioxidants are strong medicine. In fact, antioxidants and other phytochemicals are profound cancer-fighters. He explains:

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.

And some new research links antioxidants and “rabbit food” to healthy eyeballs. Here’s looking at you kid! Karen Ravn of The Los Angeles Times reports:

Surprisingly, despite their reputation, carrots are probably not near the top of the list. Certainly, the vitamin A they're full of is necessary for eye health, says Dr. Michael Marmor, an ophthalmology professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. "But people are generally not vitamin A deficient in our society, and a high dose doesn't do any more good."

The most useful vegetables, according to new research, seem to be the leafy green ones -- such as spinach, kale and collard greens -- which are rich in the antioxidant carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

These are also the only carotenoids found in measurable amounts in the eye, says Bill Christen, a professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School. "That adds credence to the idea that they could be of benefit," he says.

Christen is lead author of a new study published this month showing that people who eat diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin are less likely to develop cataracts than others whose diets included less of those nutrients. A second new study by Australian scientists that is to be published next month, found similar results for age-related macular degeneration.

But while these studies show a diet-eye health relationship, they do not directly demonstrate cause and effect. Only one study to date has shown specific nutrients can cause reductions in risk for eye disease.

By you’re probably saying, “Where can I get some of those antioxidants?” Here’s a decent list of antioxidant sources from Diana Kohnle of HealthDay News. Take a look:

  • Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and juices; berries and other fruits; dark green vegetables; red and yellow peppers.
  • Vitamin E, found in vegetable oils, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables.
  • Selenium, found in whole grains, most vegetables, chicken, eggs, and most dairy products.
  • Beta carotene, found in colorful fruits and vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, red and yellow peppers, apricots, cantaloupes and mangoes.

I’m not feeling the vegetable oils, but I tell you one thing. I love sesame seeds! I sprinkle them on lots of things and according to Dr. Fuhrman they’re packed with antioxidants. Check it out:

Sesame seeds have the highest level of calcium of any food in the world. Interestingly, they not only have a highly absorbable spectrum of vitamin E, they increase the bioactivity of vitamin E in the body.1 Comparing the many forms of vitamin E in sesame seed with the vitamin E in supplements is like comparing a real horse to a toy horse. Sesamin, a sesame lignan, has beneficial effects on postmenopausal hormonal status, raises antioxidant activity in body cells, decreases the risk of breast cancer, and lowers cholesterol.2

Speaking of sesame seeds, here’s a little dialogue Dr. Fuhrman and I had about sesame seeds. And yes, we’re a little nerdy. These are the types of things we discuss. Enjoy:

Me: Are there any significant nutritional differences between regular sesame seeds and black sesame seeds?

Dr. Fuhrman: Regular sesame seeds are hulled, the outer brown cover it removed and along with it 90 percent of the calcium and other minerals. It is like comparing white bread to whole wheat. Brown and black sesame seeds are almost equal nutritionally but the important thing is neither has the hull removed.

Me: Gotcha. I buy raw black and brown sesame seeds from my farmers market. The black have an interesting peppery taste.

Anyone else enjoy black sesame seeds? I find they go great over spinach or blended into seed and avocado-based salad dressings.

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More on Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

Last week we learned that many popular cholesterol-lowering drugs fail to deliver. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of cholesterol medications. Take statins for example:
When resorting to medical intervention, rather than dietary modifications, other problems arise, reducing the potential reduction in mortality possible, as these individuals are at risk of serious side effects from the medication. The known side effects for various statins (the most popular and effective medications to lower cholesterol) include hepatitis, jaundice, other liver problems, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia.
Now, some doctors have come to the defense of popular medications. Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times looks at What That Cholesterol Trial Didn’t Show. Here’s a bit:
“I think this study is being interpreted wrong,” said Dr. Paul D. Thompson, director of cardiology at Hartford Hospital, who personally uses Zetia and (like most of the doctors quoted in this article) has consulted with makers of cholesterol drugs.

He pointed out that Vytorin users did experience a larger drop in cholesterol than the Zocor users. The disappointment was that the decline didn’t translate into a bigger benefit in arterial health. “It didn’t show harm,” Dr. Thompson said. “There were no more cardiac events, no more side effects. There was just no change.”

The fallout from the study was not limited to Vytorin. It has led to a whole new set of questions for scientists about cholesterol drugs. Is lowering LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, all that counts? Or must a drug also raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol, and fight inflammation?

Adding to the confusion, the Vytorin makers dragged their feet on releasing the results, issued the findings in a press release rather than a medical journal and made a lot of people mad.
Okay, this makes me ask… Actually, I’ll shut up. Dr. Petrillo was very eager to drop the hammer on this report. Brace yourself, she’s shot out of a cannon! Check it out:
Here's an idea. Stop gorging on cheeseburgers and you won't have to take Zocor or Zetia or Vytorin! Drug reps love to promote these "combo"-type medications with the argument that you're getting two meds for the price of one and attacking the condition in two different ways. But with asparagus as your sword and broccoli as your shield, you will attack high cholesterol without putting expensive drugs with uncertain effects into your body.

According to this recent study, while Vytorin users saw a greater decrease in cholesterol than Zocor users, there was no difference in plaque formation in the coronary arteries between the two groups. Don't just prevent plaque formation! Reverse it by following a high-nutrient-density diet and exercising and you won't need to rely on pills! Cholesterol comes from animal products (even the ads for the cholesterol drugs acknowledge this), so, to avoid blockages in your coronary arteries, fewer animal products, more veggies, less pharmaceuticals, more exercise, less cow, more kale!
“Asparagus as your sword and broccoli as your shield.” Perfect! Especially since I just saw the movie 300—yes, I’m a little behind on the times—here’s the perfect amalgamation of phytonutrients and battle. Enjoy:

This is Sparta! Oops. I mean…these are Phytonutrients!

Research: Low-Income Obese Kids

A new study attempts to debunk the claim that low-income kids are obese because they’re only eating cheap high-calorie low-nutrient food. Amy Lorentzen of the Associated Press has more:
For the study, the researchers analyzed 1999 data about 1,031 children living in low-income households in Boston, Chicago and San Antonio. They assessed whether the children had enough food for a healthy, active lifestyle, which is called food security by researchers. They looked at the individual child instead of the child's entire household, as previous studies had done.

The researchers asked each child's mother whether she had reduced the size of a meal due to lack of food or money, whether her child skipped a meal because food was not available, and whether her child went hungry because she could not afford more food.

They found that about half of the children in the study were overweight or obese, while only about 8 percent weren't getting enough to eat.

Craig Gundersen, lead author of the study, said children who did not get enough food were not more likely to be overweight, even though the two factors often coexisted in the low-income population they studied.

He said the study shows that if the government tries to expand food assistance programs to help children, officials can move forward without worrying about an increase in overweight children living in poverty.
I got to admit. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around this study, but Dr. Fuhrman’s colleague Jennifer Petrillo, MD was fired up about it. Here’s what she had to say:
This study is ridiculous. It says poor kids are getting enough to eat so they can't figure out why so many of them are fat! It's WHAT they're eating!
Dr. Petrillo is right. Simply put, I think we’re talking about an issue of quality over quantity. Dr. Fuhrman discusses this paradox in his new Food Scoring Guide. Here’s an excerpt:
Modern America is in the midst of an all-you-can-eat food fest that has us literally bursting at the seams. Clearly, we eat too much and too often, but we also eat all the wrong foods. The standard American diet now consists of 52% processed foods and 41% meats and dairy products. The most healthful foods—fruits and vegetables—make up only 7% of our national diet.

Eating the wrong foods leads us to consume far too many calories. The average American consumes 3600 calories per day, nearly twice as many as wee need. However, because all of these excess calories come from low-nutrient foods, most Americans are significantly undernourished. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that an astonishing 95% of all Americans fail to get the minimum daily requirement of nutrients. When you factor in the sedentary lifestyle most Americans have adopted (three out of ten American adults did not exercise even once last year), you have the perfect recipe for the obesity and chronic illness epidemics that are sweeping the nation.
Well now, this sure seems to address the crux of the problem. It always bothers me when I drive through low-income neighborhoods and see wall-to-wall fast food restaurants.

Grand Rounds Vol. 4 No. 18

Girls and Puberty, Sooner and Sooner

It’s hard to fathom that an eight-year-old girl might be developing sexually, shouldn’t they be playing with toy ponies and think boys are icky—which we are—but apparently more and more young girls are starting puberty early. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it:
Physicians are seeing more and more girls with precocious sexual development, even before today’s average age of twelve, and medical studies confirm that the trend is real and getting worse. How early are our children developing today? At age eight, almost half black girls and 15 percent of white girls start developing breasts or pubic hair. At age nine, those numbers change to 77 percent of black girls and a third of white girls.1
This is an uncomfortable topic—even for a bull the china cabinet like me—but this is a serious matter and one that the medical community might be taking too lightly. Susan Brink of The Los Angeles Times investigates in Girl, You'll be a Woman Sooner Than Expected. Here’s an excerpt:
What's clear is that physical appearance is getting ahead of other aspects of girls' maturity. They might be perceived as far older than they are, even when they're still rummaging through their mothers' closets to clomp around in oversized high heels.

"My daughter started developing breasts maybe around age 8," says Rhonda Sykes of Inglewood. "She was still into her doll phase and dressing up to play." So Sykes began having frank mother-daughter conversations about curves and changing bodies a bit earlier than she expected.

"Whatever they look like, they know nothing," says Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women and Families. "Eight- and 9-year olds are learning to make change for a dollar. These are children who are learning the most fundamental facts in school. Imagine trying to teach that child the fundamentals of sex. They're not even playing Monopoly yet. They're still playing Candyland."

The medical community calls earlier puberty normal, the trend goes hand in hand with the obesity epidemic, and science has not yet pinpointed the reasons. And yet, when girls who are still children in the minds of their parents start developing breasts, many of their mothers remember that it happened later in their own lives -- and wonder why.
Brinks' report sites diet as a potential contributor to the problem of early puberty. She’s smart to do so. According to Dr. Fuhrman the standard American diet—which is responsible for all the obesity—is a major culprit. He explains:
Diet powerfully modulates estrogen levels. One recent study illustrated that eight-to-ten-year-olds, closely followed with dietary intervention for seven years, dramatically lowered their estrogen levels compared to a control group with dietary modification.2 Clearly, changing the diet of our children after the age of eight is not futile.
This graph might make things a little clearer for you. I scanned it—horribly—out of Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child. It compares sex hormone levels in individuals eating a Western diet and those consuming a more vegetable-based Asian diet. Take a look:

The concern with all these sex hormones centers on lifetime cancer risk. Dr. Fuhrman explains why, check it out:
Early puberty is strongly associated with breast cancer, and the occurrence of breast cancer is three times higher in women who started puberty before age twelve.3
Also, studies have revealed the effects of different varieties of foods on puberty and cancer risk. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Cohort studies, which follow two groups of children over time, have shown that the higher consumption of produce and protein-rich plant foods such as beans and nuts is associated with a later menarche, and the higher consumption of protein-rich animal foods—meat and diary—is associated with an earlier menarche and increased occurrence of adult breast cancer.4
As far as Followhealthlife goes, this is a common conclusion. The advantages of a vegetable-based nutritarian diet are profound. Dr. Fuhrman is stresses this in his new Food Scoring Guide. Here’s a quote:
Increasing your consumption of high-nutrient fruits and vegetables is the key to disease resistance, disease reversal, and a long, healthy life. The potential reduction in disease rates shows no threshold effect in the scientific studies. That means that as high-nutrient vegetables and high-nutrient fruits increase as a major portion of caloric intake, disease rates fall in a dose-dependent manner—the more the diet is comprised of these foods, the better your health will be.5
Granted, the problem is serious and apparently growing, but the good news is there is a solution, maybe the real problem is getting everyone on board.
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The Onion: Frito-Lay's Healthy Snacks

According to the spoof-news experts at The Onion, Frito-Lay—makers of junk like Munchos, Fritos, Cheetos, and Doritos—are introducing a new line of healthy snacks. Warning! It contains grownup language. Take a look:
"Here," said Frito-Lay CEO Al Carey as he disgustedly tossed a bag of the company's new Flat Earth-brand snack crisps onto the lectern during a meeting with shareholders and members of the press. "Here's some sh*t that's made from beets. I hope you're all happy now that you have your precious beet chips with the recommended daily serving of fruit, or vegetables, or whatever the hell a 'beet' is."

"Mmm, dehydrated bulb things," Carey added. "Sounds delicious."

Carey appeared visibly appalled as Frito-Lay employees distributed Flat Earth snack samples to the audience.

"God help us all, would you look at these flavors," said Carey, gesturing toward a display showcasing the several varieties of Flat Earth chips, including Kauliflower Krunch, Raisins 'N Chives, Cranberry Spinach Explosion, Rutabaga Yum, Tofu Snaps, Eggplant Ecstasy, Broccoloroos, and Watercress. "Look at what you've reduced us to."
Big thanks to Pete for sending this over. The article made me laugh so hard I peed a little.

High Protein Stymies Hunger

New research illustrates how protein helps keep hunger at bay. Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters reports:
The study, which will appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, looked at the effectiveness of different nutrients at suppressing ghrelin, a hormone secreted by the stomach that stimulates appetite.

"Suppression of ghrelin is one of the ways that you lose your appetite as you begin to eat and become sated," said Dr. David Cummings of the University of Washington in Seattle, who worked on the study.

The researchers gave 16 people three different beverages, each with varying levels of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They took blood samples before the first beverage, then every 20 minutes for six hours afterward, measuring ghrelin levels in each sample.

"The interesting findings were that fats suppress ghrelin quite poorly," Cummings said in a telephone interview. They fared the poorest overall.

"Proteins were the best suppressor of ghrelin in terms of the combination of the depth and duration of suppression," he said. "That is truly satisfying because high proteins are essentially common to almost all of the popular diets."
Now, please don’t use this as an excuse to consume excess amounts of protein. Dr. Fuhrman gives one huge reason why that isn’t a good idea. Check it out:
To make matters even worse, you pay an extra penalty from a diet so high in fat and protein to generate a chronic ketosis. Besides the increased cancer risk, your kidneys are placed under greater stress and will age more rapidly. It can take many, many years for such damage to be detected by blood tests. By the time the blood reflects the abnormality, irreversible damage may have already occurred. Blood tests that monitor kidney function typically do not begin to detect problems until more than 90 percent of the kidneys have been destroyed.

Protein is metabolized in the liver, and the nitrogenous wastes generated are broken down and then excreted by the kidney. These wastes must be eliminated for the body to maintain normal purity and a stable state of equilibrium. Most doctors are taught in medial school that a high-protein diet ages the kidney.1 What has been accepted as the normal age-related loss in renal function may really be a cumulative injury secondary to the heavy pressure imposed on the kidney by our high-protein eating habits.2

By the eighth decade of life, Americans lost about 30 percent of their kidney function.3 Many people develop kidney problems at young ages under the high-protein stress. Low-protein diets are routinely used to treat patients with liver and kidney failure.4 A recent multitrial analysis showed that reducing protein intake for patients with kidney disease decreased kidney-related death by about 40 percent.5
Protein is truly misunderstood. Just read Bodybuilding Diet, Bad Idea.
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Scientists have discovered a way to increase corn’s vitamin A content. Will Dunham of Reuters reports:
Writing on Thursday in the journal Science, the scientists identified a naturally mutated gene that enhances the provitamin A content of maize. Based on this, they developed an inexpensive way to select the parent stock for breeding corn with the highest provitamin A content.

Choosing varieties that have this mutated gene can provide on average three-fold higher levels of provitamin A, the researchers said.

There are thousands of different corn varieties, and they differ greatly in provitamin A levels, the scientists said. White corn does not have provitamin A, but yellow varieties have it in varying levels.

A common existing technique for assessing the provitamin A content of corn varieties can be prohibitively expensive for plant breeders, the researchers said, but the new one is vastly less expensive.
Here’s some more corny information—bad pun, I know—Dr. Fuhrman points out something special about organic corn. Take a look:
The researchers found flavonoids were more than 50 percent higher in organic corn and strawberries. They theorized that when plants are forced to deal with the stress of insects, they produce more of these compounds, which are beneficial to humans.1
Now, Dr. Fuhrman points out what happens to corn once you cook it. Check this out:
Cooking corn also has been shown to significantly boost its antioxidant activity, despite reduction in vitamin C.When the ability to quench free radicals was measured, cooked corn outperformed raw corn by between 25 to 50 percent. Cooking corn releases a compound called ferulic acid, which provides anti-cancer health benefits.
Corn is also a decent source of protein—YES—vegetables have protein. See for yourself:

I guess being corny isn’t so bad after all!

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Having a Juicy Diet...

Here’s a question. Is drinking juice a good idea if you’re looking to eat healthfully? Let’s find out. Christine McKinney, MS, RD, CDE of Eat Right, Stay Well discusses juice. Take a look:
Fruit juice can fit into your daily diet if you follow these two rules: Drink only 100-percent fruit juice, and monitor your portion sizes. Read the food label to find out whether a product is 100-percent juice. Beware of terms like "fruit drink," "fruit cocktail" or "fruit punch," all of which may indicate it is not 100-percent juice and is loaded with artificial flavorings and extra sugar.

As for portion size, adults should drink no more than two cups (16 ounces) each day. This may vary depending on your age, body weight and gender, but it's a good general guideline.

Although most adults need about two servings or cups of fruit per day, 100-percent fruit juice can count as one, or even two, of those servings. The problem arises when people drink more than this, and those extra calories turn into extra weight.
I don’t know if “100-percent fruit juice” can ever equal a serving of fruit. What about all the other good stuff fruit contains, like fiber? From Eat to Live, here’s Dr. Fuhrman on juice:
Liquid calories, without the fiber present in the whole food, have little effect at blunting our caloric drive. Studies show that fruit juice and other sweet beverages lead to obesity in children as well.1 If you are serious about losing weight, don’t drink your fruit — eat it. Too much fiber and too many nutrients are removed during juicing, and many of the remaining nutrients are lost through processing, heat, and storage time. If you are not overweight, drinking fresh-prepared juice is acceptable as long as it does not serve as a substitute for eating those fresh fruits and vegetables. There is no substitute for natural whole foods.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t super ardent about not consuming any juice. Check out his response in the comments of Pomegranate Power. Here:
I do not think a little fresh squeezed fruit juice is bad, just not a good idea for those who are trying to lose weight. Certainly, even a few ounces of pomegranate or red grapefruit juice is not going to blow your diet. Similar to olive oil, people think because my book, Eat To Live encourages the reader to avoid oil, (because all oil is 120 calories a tablespoon and it can add up fast) that I am dead set against using even a little bit of olive oil occasionally. Apply the principles, but it does not have to be that rigid.
I’m with Dr. Fuhrman on this one. Part of my daily eating is a nice sip of pomegranate juice and its not making me fat.
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Pollan Hits the Well Blog

The New York Times Well Blog has a great Q&A with journalist and author Michael Pollan. Here’s one I really liked. Have a look:
Q: So how should we think about food and health?

A: I think health should be a byproduct of eating well, for reasons that have nothing to do with health, such as cooking meals, eating together and eating real food. You’re going to be healthy, but that’s not the goal. The goal should just be eating well for pleasure, for community, and all the other reasons people eat. What I’m trying to do is to bring a man-from-Mars view to the American way of thinking about food. This is so second nature to us — food is either advancing your health or ruining your health. That’s a very limited way to think about food, and it’s a very limited way to think about health. The health of our bodies is tied to the health of the community and the health of the earth. Health is indivisible. That’s my covert message.
For more on Michael Pollan, check out this Followhealthlife posts:

Eat Healthy at Work

I remember when I was a load. My work food used to consist of chocolate, BLTs, bagels, and cream sodas—egad! So, if you’re caught in this trap. Consider these quick ways to eat healthier at work. They’re over at Diet Blog, here’s a couple:
1. Buy five pieces of fruit at the start of the week – bananas, apples, satsumas – whatever takes your fancy! Keep them on your desk and eat one each day.

2. Set your alarm ten minutes earlier than usual and use the extra time to make a packed lunch. Include whole grains, lean protein and vegetables. It needn’t be complicated: how about a ham and lettuce sandwich on wholemeal bread, with a handful of cherry tomatoes on the side?
And remember. You can always pack a couple of bananas, and, if by some chance they happen to be Dole organic bananas, you can tell me about it—wink, wink, hint, hint.

Bodybuilding Diet, Bad Idea

Diet Blog asks the question, Is Your Bodybuilding Diet Plain Stupid? Here’s a taste:

Bodybuilding diets are stupid because of the underlying motivation. Bodybuilders are concerned with getting big and getting big quickly. If its not about getting big then it is about getting cut and getting cut quickly. Both of these bodybuilding goals fail to address the scared little guy in the corner - your health.

My many years in the martial arts and bodybuilding gyms have shown me that bodybuilders will almost always put their muscle gains ahead of their health. They will try supplements without knowing the side effects, they will use fat burners without understanding how it works and so on.

If you are sitting there saying: "No, no, no... that's not me" then ask yourself this question: "What negative effects does all that protein you are eating have on your body?"

Can you answer it?

Probably not.

I’m inclined to agree. The concept of “getting big” is dangerous. Take power-lifters and linebackers for example. Dr. Fuhrman explains:

Bulking up is dangerous to one's longevity and power lifters and football linebackers often eat in a way that radically shortens their lives. If you were a weightlifter, for instance, you might improve your chances of muscle growth with more animal products then I recommend, certainly. But my point is too much animal products is not conducive to longevity. But if size is your only goal, go for it.

And that’s the point—I’ve seen it first hand—people living to get big are protein obsessed! From hefty amounts of meat to nonsensical protein shakes. More from Dr. Fuhrman:

Unfortunately, most trainers and bodybuilders are influenced by what they read in exercise and bodybuilding magazines. This is worse than getting nutritional information from comic books. Look through any current bodybuilding magazine; what are the vast majority of advertisements selling? Supplements! Most of the pages in these magazines are devoted to pushing worthless powders and pills. Supplement companies slant the opinions of the magazine article writers. The articles in the magazines are geared to support their advertisers.

Our entire society is on a protein binge, brainwashed with misinformation that we have been hearing since childhood. The educational materials used in most schools have been provided free by the meat, dairy, and egg industries for more than seventy years. These industries have successfully lobbied the government, resulting in favorable laws, subsidies, and advertising propaganda that promote corporate profits at the expense of national health. As a result, Americans have been programmed with dangerous information.

Also, eating too much animal products isn’t any better. The risks of consuming too much animal protein and meat are well documented. Dr. Fuhrman again:

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.1

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 59.2

Now, the caveman response to all this is, “Ugh! What about complete protein? Me need beef.” It’s a myth. Jeff Novick, MS, RD discusses the Complementary Protein Myth:

The “incomplete protein” myth was inadvertently promoted in the 1971 book, Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe. In it, the author stated that plant foods do not contain all the essential amino acids, so in order to be a healthy vegetarian, you needed to eat a combination of certain plant foods in order to get all of the essential amino acids. It was called the theory of “protein complementing.”

Frances Moore Lappe certainly meant no harm, and her mistake was somewhat understandable. She was not a nutritionist, physiologist, or medical doctor. She was a sociologist trying to end world hunger. She realized that there was a lot of waste in converting vegetable protein into animal protein, and she calculated that if people just ate the plant protein, many more people could be fed. In a later edition of her book (1991), she retracted her statement and basically said that in trying to end one myth—the unsolvable inevitability of world hunger, she created a second one—the myth of the need for “protein complementing.”

In these later editions, she corrects her earlier mistake and clearly states that all plant foods typically consumed as sources of protein contain all the essential amino acids, and that humans are virtually certain of getting enough protein from plant sources if they consume sufficient calories.

If you put in the time and do the research, you’ll find that plant sources are the optimal and safest sources of protein. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s chart from Nutrient Density of Green Vegetables:

It’s really sad. At my gym, on any given day there at least a few gorillas stuttering around, grunting, and sucking down hype drinks and shakes. Crazy!

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HealthDay News: Shopping Safely, part 3

And now, the conclusion of HealthDay News’ three-part look at food safety in the United States: A Shopping List of Solutions. Amanda Gardner and E.J. Mundell report:
The current hodgepodge of food regulations were simply adopted as the need arose, experts say.

"You have a system that developed organically from the turn of the [20th] century," explained Jessica Milano, who wrote a report on food safety, Spoiled: Keeping Tainted Food Off America's Tables, that was published in September by the nonprofit Progressive Policy Institute. "As economies developed with more commercial food manufacturers and multi-ingredient products, you have some overlaps and redundancies."

Those overlaps and redundancies have left regulators and producers unable to guarantee the safety of all foods sold in the United States, critics contend.

Solutions to the problem fall into two broad categories: government-mandated reforms and reforms generated by the food industry itself. How these reforms would be implemented depends on whether the food is grown domestically or abroad…

…Michael Doyle, a microbiologist who is director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia in Griffin, agreed.

"There really needs to be a single food safety agency so that you don't have all of this ridiculous overlap and duplication," he said. "When you have it split up into different agencies like that, there's a lot of bureaucratic infighting."

Such a merger would also address the current imbalance in agency budgets and responsibilities. The FDA's food inspection division -- which most agree is woefully underfunded -- is charged with inspecting all foods except for meat, poultry and eggs, which are covered by the better-funded USDA.

Although the "superagency" concept has been implemented in other countries, many observers doubt this will happen in the United States.
Be sure to check out the whole series, here are parts two and three:

Farmers Markets are Good for You!

You can’t beat a good farmers market; fresh produce straight from the field—awesome. Wait, it gets better. According to new research, farmers markets actually boost people’s consumption of fruits and veggies. The New York Times Well blog is on it:
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles tracked the eating habits of 602 area women taking part in the federal W.I.C. program. Some of the women were given $10 in weekly vouchers for vegetable and fruit purchases at a nearby farmers’ market or supermarket, while a control group received coupons for non-food products in exchange for sharing information about eating habits.

After six months, women who shopped at the farmers’ markets were eating about three additional servings of fruits and vegetables a day, compared to the control group. Supermarket shoppers consumed 1.5 extra servings.

It’s not clear why mothers visiting a farmers’ market wound up buying more vegetables than grocery store shoppers, but some women told the researchers that the produce sold at markets seemed to be fresher and of higher quality than supermarket offerings.
Now, I’ve said it before, but I hit the local farmers market every week, and in fact, right here on Followhealthlife we’ve looked at farmers markets from all over the world. In case you missed any, here’s a recap:
In the end, I guess it doesn’t really matter where you get your fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, just as long as you get them. And what makes plant foods so special? Here’s a great quote from Dr. Fuhrman’s new Food Scoring Guide. Take a look:
There are over 1,000 important phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are the most recently found class of micronutrients, and they are necessary for your cells to remove waste and to maintain normal immune function. Fortunately, phytochemical are present in foods that also are naturally high in vitamins and minerals (i.e., natural plant foods).

For optimal health, you need lots of phytochemicals in your diet. Consuming abundant amounts of micronutrients will help protect you against disease, and if you already are sick, it can help you recover. Vegetables, beans, and fruit are naturally high in micronutrients, but Americans don’t eat much of them. We eat plenty of meat, cheese, chicken, pasta, white bread, oils, soda, and cookies, which are very low in micronutrients and contain no phytochemicals.
You know, looking at all those farmers markets, really makes me want to see the world, either that or flip on the travel channel.

HealthDay News: The Imported Food Alarm, part 2

If you didn’t see it yesterday, HealthDay News has kicked off a three part series on food safety. Here’s the second installment, its about imported foods. E.J.Mundell reports:
According to a FDA report released in 2003, pesticide violations were cited in 6.1 percent of imported foods sampled versus 2.4 percent of domestic products. And a report issued by the agency a few years earlier found traces of salmonella or the dysentery-linked bacteria shigella in 4 percent of imported fruits and vegetables versus 1.1 percent of domestic produce.

And there's more imported food in the nation's supermarkets than ever before. According to the CDC, food imports to the United States have almost doubled in the past decade, from $36 billion in 1997 to more than $70 billion in 2007.

Trouble is, inspections by the FDA -- either at the source of production or at the borders -- can't keep up. The agency is responsible for inspecting all imported foods with the exception of meat and egg products, which are covered by the Food Safety and Inspection Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Overall, "there's been an 81 percent drop [in FDA inspections] since 1972," noted Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, in Griffin. "That's a huge reduction, and, at the same time, compared to 1972, we have a huge amount more of food imports."

In fact, the FDA's own data show that the number of inspectors at its Office of Regulatory Affairs dropped from 1,642 in 2003 to 1,389 in 2005 -- even as food imports rose from 9.3 million shipments per year to more than 13.8 million shipments annually.

The reason for the shortfall is simple, Doyle said: "Reduced budgets."
Oh! And here is the first part: U.S. Food Problems, part 1. Kudos to HealthDay News!

The King, Singing about Salad

Well, I like salad and I like Elvis Presley, I’m not sure about this “Annie,” but, any friend of salad is a friend of mine. Take a look:

In case your curious, here’s Wikipedia’s explanation of Poke Salad Annie and Poke Sallet—EEK! It’s poisonous.

Cloned Meat, Mostly Safe?

What the heck does that mean? Well, as far as the FDA is concerned “mostly safe” is a good enough reason to approve cloned meat and milk. Reuters reports:
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration report finds that meat and milk from cloned animals is, for the most part, safe to eat, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper said it had obtained a copy of a long-awaited, 968-page "final risk assessment," from the agency ahead of release.

It said FDA experts measured vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6 and B12 as well as niacin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, fatty acids, cholesterol, fat, protein, amino acids and lactose in meat and milk from 600 cloned animals, including cattle and pigs.

Levels all looked normal.

The agency also found no health effects in animals fed meat and milk from cloned animals for more than three months.

"Food from cattle, swine, and goat clones is as safe to eat as that from their more conventionally-bred counterparts," the newspaper quotes the report as saying.
I just don’t know about this. I think cloning has some interesting implications, but eating cloned meat gives me the willies. Fortunately some people want the FDA's decision to be delayed until more studies can be done.

Grand Rounds: Briefing the Next US President

St. Louis Organic Farmers Market

Here’s a great look at a new farmers market in St. Louis. Enjoy:

And yes, he did say YOGA!

Calcium, Exercise; Good for Young Girls

Most people are convinced that milk is the only REAL source of calcium—hogwash! Dr. Fuhrman makes it quite clear, fruits and vegetables—especially green vegetables—are loaded with calcium. He talks about in his book Eat to Live. Take a look:
Many green vegetables have calcium-absorption rates of over 50 percent, compared with about 32 percent for milk.1 Additionally since animal protein induces calcium excretion in the urine, the calcium retention from vegetables is higher. All green vegetables are high in calcium.
In fact, if you break it down per calorie. Many fruits and vegetables contain far more milligrams of calcium than foods like milk and eggs. Check out this chart:

Now, here’s something really cool—ladies pay special attention—new research has determined that a calcium-rich diet and lots of exercise early in life, is a great way to maintain strong bones later in life. Pohla Smith of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jan Grudziak likens the process of building bones strong enough to prevent osteoporosis to investing in a retirement fund. But in the case of bones, the fund is built from childhood on by eating calcium-rich foods and doing weight-bearing exercise.

His metaphor is particularly apt for women, who have lower peak bone mass than men, start to lose it much earlier and lose it at a slightly faster rate.

"The best picture is that it's an investment for the future," said Dr. Grudziak, of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. "With the retirement for bone, the age is 30 to 35. You have to drain the investments." Just like retirement funds, the earlier and bigger the investment, the more bone strength you have to lose…

…"It's been quoted that less than half [of the girls] get the calcium quantities they need," said registered dietitian Cindy Miller, who is part of the clinical nutrition staff of Children's Outpatient Nutrition Counseling Center. "For ages 9 to 12 it might be better. They're younger and parents might have a little more control over them than a teen who goes out to a restaurant and won't order milk. ... They say only 15 percent of teen girls get the required amount of calcium."

That amount is 1,300 milligrams, the high-calcium equivalent of four dairy servings. One serving is 8 ounces of milk or yogurt or 11/2 ounces of hard cheese, Ms. Miller said. Other good sources include pudding; dark leafy vegetables, particularly collard and turnip greens and broccoli; calcium-fortified or calcium-set soy; dry beans; and calcium-fortified foods like orange juice, soy milk or rice milk.
You got to love the kudos being given to veggie calcium—very cool! Another great source of plant calcium is flaxseed. Here’s what Dr. Fuhrman has to say about this neat little seed. Have a look:
Flaxseed is rich in lignans, a type of fiber associated with a reduced risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer, and omega 3 essential fatty acid, also known as alpha linoleic acid (ALA), which is essential for health maintenance and disease prevention. In addition, flaxseed is a good source of iron, zinc, calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and folate.
Now, as far as exercises goes. We all know it’s good for us, but, do you know the proper way to do different exercises? If you don’t, these exercise demonstrations from The Washington Post will get you up to speed. Here’s a couple:

Good thing that guy’s not straining too hard. In that position…bad things could happen—EEK!
Continue Reading...

Its Vegetable Man!

This guy must inhabit the nightmares of low-carbers. It’s a hoot! Take a look:

He sounds like Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein.

Meat, a Bad Idea for Breast Cancer

No one wants cancer. In Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman explains that the best way to prevent cancer is adopting a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Take a look at this:
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.
Conversely, eating lots of animal products and meat has the opposite effect. Need proof? Check out this study in the International Journal of Cancer. 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.
You just can’t be solid concrete research. Want more? Get load of this study in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. The PCRM sent it over:
A substudy of the Diet, Cancer and Health study, a prospective cohort study established to evaluate the role of diet and cancer among 24,697 postmenopausal Danish women, was set up to evaluate the relationship between meat consumption and risk of breast cancer. This nested study looked at 378 women who developed breast cancer and matched them to controls who did not develop breast cancer. A higher intake of meat (red meat, poultry, fish, and processed meat) was associated with a significantly higher breast cancer incidence rate. Every 25 gram increase in consumption of total meat, red meat, and processed meat led to a 9, 15, and 23 percent increase in risk of breast cancer, respectively. However, the degree of risk may depend on genetics. Certain genes activate the carcinogens (heterocyclic amines) found in cooked meat. The study showed women with genes that rapidly activate these carcinogens are at particular risk of breast cancer if they eat meat.
Now, for more ways to prevent breast cancer, Dr. Fuhrman whipped up this list of ways women can protect themselves. Have a look:
1. Do not drink alcohol.
2. Do not smoke.
3. Do not take estrogen.
4. Have babies and nurse them for two years each.
5. Avoid dietary carcinogens, which are predominantly found in fatty fish and dairy fat.
6. Eat a high-nutrient, vegetable-based diet as described in my book, Eat To Live. Green vegetables are the most powerful anti-breast cancer food. Take note that a vegetarian diet does not show protection against breast cancer as much as a diet rich in green vegetables, berries, and seeds. It is the phytochemical nutrient density and diversity of the diet that offers the most dramatic protection against cancer, not merely the avoidance of meat or fat.
7. Take a multivitamin to assure nutritional completeness and take at least 100mg of DHA daily.
8. Use one tablespoon of ground flax seeds daily.
9. Don’t grill or fry foods. Steaming vegetables or making vegetable soups should be the major extent of cooking.
10. Exercise at least three hours a week, and maintain a lean body with little body fat.
I’m no doctor, but, I bet these tips would help against all cancers. What do you think?

About Vitamin C

About.com points out some good sources of Vitamin C. Take a look:
  • Red peppers
  • Papayas
  • Green peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, grape fruit, etc.)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Tomato Soup
  • Kellogg's Product 19 cereal
  • General Mill's Whole Grain Total cereal
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mangos
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach
  • Honeydew Melons
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
Here’s more info on where you can get your Vitamin C fix. Check it out:
Yahoo Health: 4 Healthy Foods
“Guava is a tropical super fruit. One cup provides 110 calories, 376 milligrams Vitamin C (that's more than 300 percent of the daily value), 699 milligrams potassium and nine grams of fiber!Guava also provides a hearty dose of lycopene - an antioxidant that appears to fight prostate cancer (when it comes to lycopene, most people only think about tomatoes).”

Strawberry, Strawberry, Strawberries!
“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.”

Popeye Was Right--Greens Pack a Powerful Punch
“Now, 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.”

It's Lime Time
“Nutritionally limes are a very good source of vitamin C, as mentioned before, and a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron and copper and they are low in sodium. They also contain the flavonoids called flavonol glycosides which have antibiotic properties and are said to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines. Due to the high vitamin C levels and antibiotic properties they are a natural way to prevent gum disease and to ease bacterial infections and colds. They are also a remedy for indigestion, heartburn, and nausea.”

Giant Chinese Vegetables!

China’s “Garden of Eden” is growing HUGE fruits and veggies. Check it out:

Eek! Imagine the price per pound.

Health Points: Wednesday

To get an extra 14 years of life, don't smoke, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly and drink alcohol in moderation.

That's the finding of a study that tracked about 20,000 people in the United Kingdom.

Kay-Tee Khaw of the University of Cambridge and colleagues calculated that people who adopted these four healthy habits lived an average of 14 years longer than those who didn't.

"We've known for a long time that these behaviors are good things to do, but we've never seen these additive benefits before," said Susan Jebb, head of Nutrition and Health at Britain's Medical Research Council, which helped pay for the study.
Those Type A go-getters aren't the only ones stressing their hearts. Nervous Nelsons seem to be, too. Researchers reported Monday that chronic anxiety can significantly increase the risk of a heart attack, at least in men. The findings add another trait to a growing list of psychological profiles linked to heart disease, including anger or hostility, Type A behavior, and depression.

"There's a connection between the heart and head," said Dr. Nieca Goldberg of the New York University School of Medicine, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association who wasn't involved in the study.

"This is very important research because we really are focused very much on prescribing medicine for cholesterol and lowering blood pressure and treating diabetes, but we don't look at the psychological aspect of a patient's care," she added. Doctors "need to be aggressive about not only taking care of the traditional risk factors ... but also really getting into their patients' heads."
Low levels of vitamin D, a chronic problem for many people in northern latitudes areas such as Wisconsin and Washington, were associated with substantially higher rates of heart disease and stroke, according to a new study.
In one of the strongest studies to date linking the vitamin to cardiovascular disease, researchers followed 1,739 members of the Framingham Offspring Study for more than five years.

They found the rate of cardiovascular disease events such as heart attacks, strokes and heart failure were from 53 percent to 80 percent higher in people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood.

"This is a stunning study," said John Whitcomb, medical director of the Aurora Sinai Wellness Institute in Milwaukee. He was not involved in the study.
Young people who start smoking may be influenced to do so by movies they saw in early childhood, new research suggests.

What's more, the study found that almost 80 percent of the exposure to smoking scenes in movies came through films rated "G," "PG" and "PG-13."

"Movies seen at the youngest ages had as much influence over later smoking behavior as the movies that children had seen recently," said study author Linda Titus-Ernstoff, a pediatrics professor at Dartmouth Medical School.

"And I'm increasingly convinced that this association between movie-smoking exposure and smoking initiation is real," she added. "That's to say, causal. It is quite improbable that the association we see is due to some other influence, some other characteristic inherent in children or parental behavior. The relationship is clearly between movie-smoking and smoking initiation."
France, Japan and Australia rated best and the United States worst in new rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to treatable conditions in 19 leading industrialized nations, researchers said on Tuesday.

If the U.S. health care system performed as well as those of those top three countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United States per year, according to researchers writing in the journal Health Affairs.

Researchers Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine tracked deaths that they deemed could have been prevented by access to timely and effective health care, and ranked nations on how they did.

They called such deaths an important way to gauge the performance of a country's health care system.
China defended its fish farming industry on Tuesday and said it was making progress in curbing use of illegal additives, from pesticides to banned steroids, as the country's food safety record remains in the spotlight.

China has suffered a rash of scares over the safety of its food and manufactured products in the last year which highlighted shoddy oversight and prompted a wave of new regulations and clean-up campaigns from the central government.

Vice Minister of Agriculture Gao Hongbin said the country had made encouraging progress.
Those who perceived they had low subjective social status had a 69% increased odds of having a 2-unit increase in BMI (this is around 11 pound weight increase).

The results were adjusted for a large number of factors including age, race/ethnicity, baseline BMI, diet, television viewing, depression, global and social self-esteem, menarche, height growth, mother's BMI, and pretax household income.

The study highlights yet another piece in the very complex obesity puzzle.
A 2004 study in the journal Science raised concern among fish lovers with news that farm-raised salmon, the type found at most supermarkets, contained higher levels of cancer-causing pcbs than wild salmon. (Banned in the 1970s, PCBs still contaminate the environment. They are released by incinerators and toxic waste sites.) But two more recent studies, one on farm-raised salmon and the other on wild, found that both harbor similar levels of this pollutant. The first study, done with Chilean- and Canadian-farmed salmon, found an average of 11.5 parts per billion PCBs. The second, conducted by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, sampled 600 wild salmon from the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea, and found 8.2 to 10 parts per billion PCBs. It's important to realize that the amount of PCBs being talked about is very small, says Cornell University seafood specialist Ken Gall, who has studied fish safety issues for 22 years. "High doses of PCBs, like the kind of contamination that occurs with an industrial accident, can be dangerous," Gall says. "But it's uncertain whether the tiny amounts of PCBs found in many foods such as fish, meat, or milk can cause cancer."

Real Food for Real People

Here’s a great PSA about eating real food. Take a look:

Personally, I’d wash the carrot first, specially if I was gardening with fertilizer.

Grand Rounds - Vol 4., No. 16

Veggie Sushi, So Simple

Like every red blooded America, there’s nothing I like better than some rare and tender—SUSHI! Honestly, sushi is one of my favorite foods, but nowadays I don’t eat a lot of raw fish. Instead, I’ve grown quite fond of veggie sushi, and, here’s how you make it. Enjoy:

I’ve actually debated going to school to become a sushi chef—obsess much! Oh! And the rice is the concession.

Grand Rounds

Happy, Happy, Health

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that feeling good is an important part of good health. Don’t believe me? Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Humans are complicated creatures, and our minds have powerful effects on healing and wellness. A positive purpose, loving relationships, self-respect, and the power to control our destiny have beneficial effects on our physiological—and ultimately physical—well-being.
Now, get a load of this new report. New research has determined that upbeat people have lower levels of the “stress” hormone cortisol. Amy Norton of Reuters reports:
In a study of nearly 3,000 healthy British adults, lead by Dr. Andrew Steptoe of University College London, found that those who reported upbeat moods had lower levels of cortisol -- a "stress" hormone that, when chronically elevated, may contribute to high blood pressure, abdominal obesity and dampened immune function, among other problems.

In the study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who reported more positive emotions had lower blood levels of two proteins that indicate widespread inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is believed to contribute to a range of ills over time, including heart disease and cancer.

Researchers have long noted that happier people tend to be in better health than those who are persistently stressed, hostile or pessimistic. But the reasons are still being studied.

One possibility is that happier people lead more healthful lifestyles, but not all studies have found this to be the case, explained Steptoe.
So, how do you go about staying happy and healthy? Dr. Fuhrman points out that it’s all about how you react to occurrences in your life. Take a look:
A healthy emotional response to life hinges on your ability to grant value and importance to things that are deserving of it. This ability and desire to interact in a fair and equitable way with the world around you forms the basis of your emotional contentment and self-esteem.
Okay, so I guess banging your head against the wall when your football loses isn’t a “healthy emotional response.”

A Broccoli Change of Heart

This odd looking bunny hated broccoli, but, after some singing and dancing…she loves it! Enjoy, well, at least try to enjoy it. Look:

Are You Missing Nutrients?

If you Eat to Live you’re probably doing just fine, but, if you’re deep in the throes of the standard American diet, you might be missing a nutrient or two—or seven! Elizabeth M. Ward, RD of WebMD offers up 7 Nutrients Your Diet May Be Missing, take a look:
You don't outgrow your need for calcium just because you're all grown up. While calcium is necessary to bolster developing bones, it's also needed to keep your skeleton strong throughout life. And that's not all. Besides participating in maintaining a normal heart rhythm, calcium plays a role in blood clotting and muscle function…

…Fiber is best known for keeping bowel movements regular and preventing other intestinal woes, including diverticular disease, an intestinal inflammation. Years of research on fiber underscores its importance in overall health, too…

…Magnesium is an unsung hero of sorts. This mighty mineral participates in hundreds of bodily functions that foster good health, yet few people know that magnesium contributes to bone strength; promotes peak immunity; and normalizes muscle, nerve, and heart function…

…Vitamin E, found primarily in fatty foods such as nuts, seeds, and oils, is a potent antioxidant. It combats free radicals, the unstable oxygen molecules that result from normal metabolism as well as from exposure to air pollution, cigarette smoke, and strong ultraviolet rays…

…Vitamin C is also vital for the production of collagen, the connective tissue that keeps muscles, skin, and other tissues, including bone, healthy. And, like vitamin E, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps ward off cellular damage…

…Vitamin A comes in two forms: as retinol (preformed and ready for the body to use) and carotenoids, the raw materials the body converts to vitamin A. Americans have no trouble consuming adequate retinol, but they don't get nearly enough carotenoids…

….Potassium is present in every cell of your body. It plays a central role in normal muscle contraction, transmission of nerve impulses, and fluid balance. Potassium even serves to promote strong bones, and it's necessary for energy production.
I asked Dr. Fuhrman why most people might be missing these nutrients—honestly, I knew the answer already—but here’s what he had to say and, like usual, Dr. Fuhrman cuts right to the chase. Check it out:
Well, since Americans eat 40 percent of calories from animal products and 50 percent from processed foods and they do not eat significant amounts of seeds, nuts, fruits, legumes and vegetables, of course they are deficient in many plant-derived nutrients.
Now, whether you Eat to Live or not, brush up on these posts for great sources of the aforementioned nutrients. Enjoy:
Sorry if that seems like a homework assignment.

Phytonutrient Music?

Happy New Year! I’m taking it easy today—meaning I’m off to the gym—but in the meantime, enjoy these fruit and veggie inspired musical creations. Pump up the volume:









Now, I hope you all appreciate just how long it took me to find fruit and veggie music. Seriously, I’m bleary-eyed. Again, Happy New Year!