Mercury, Fish, and More Testing

I really like fish. I also really like chocolate and bread, but like all iffy foods. I carefully limit how much of these I eat. And according to Dr. Fuhrman, when it comes to fish, limitation is a good idea. He explains:
Choose fish over other animal products, but be aware that the place where it was caught, and the type of fish, matters. Don't accept recreational fish from questionable waters. Farmed fish is safer. Never eat high-mercury-content fish. Don't eat fish more than twice a week, and if you have a family history of hemorrhagic stroke, limit it further to only once a month.
This concern about fish is catching on—pun intended. Restaurants and retailers are actually testing the fish they sell and serve for mercury contamination. Marian Burros of The New York Times reports:
A NUMBER of restaurants and retailers in different parts of the country have started testing the fish they sell in response to concerns about the amount of mercury in seafood, and the Environmental Protection Agency is beginning to examine the mercury content in fish sold in the New York City region…

…A chain of five stores in New York, Gourmet Garage, sold tuna that in the Times test had mercury concentrations above one part per million, the Food and Drug Administration’s “action level,” at which the fish can be taken off the market. The company said it would now carry only yellowfin tuna with no more than 0.4 parts per million. Yellowfin tuna is generally lower in mercury than bluefin…

…Hiro Nishida, the president of Food Scope America, which owns Megu, said he was not surprised. The average concentration of mercury in Kindai tuna is 0.6 parts per million, he said, but producers are “trying to decrease the parts per million to 0.2 by different feeding, and they will become much healthier to people who enjoy tuna.”
All this testing is a great idea, but, I’m with Dr. Fuhrman, I’ll continue limit to how much fish I eat, and, I’ll be certain to choose fish with the lowest contamination levels. Here’s a list of Dr. Fuhrman’s best and worst fish. Look:
Fish with Highest and Lowest Mercury Levels

white snapper

I use this little list as my measuring stick. Now, if you’ve got more questions about seafood safety, please check out I’ve been using the site for years now, very helpful.

Congress Going Green...

Going “green” has been in the news a lot lately. Personally, I think it’s great. We live with the planet, not on it. And it seems Congress is starting to think greener. More from Bryan Walsh of Time:
Hours and hours of hearings finally led to a legislative breakthrough in December: the passage out of the committee of the first bill that would put carbon caps on the U.S. economy. Co-sponsored by the Republican Sen. John Warner and the Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the America's Climate Security Act would cap U.S. carbon emissions at 15% below 2005 levels by 2020, with a 70% cut projected for 2050. If enacted, those carbon caps would all but force U.S. businesses to invest in cleaner technology and greater energy efficiency, and would help the country take a leadership role in international climate negotiations…

…Critics like Bush tend to focus on the economic costs of reducing carbon emissions — through increased energy prices — but Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, and many of her supporters, believe that combating climate change can have a net positive effect on the economy. Boxer hails from California, which has already passed the strongest state legislation on climate change, cutting carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Far from hurting the state economically, Boxer notes, the carbon bill has helped California become the center for green innovation in the U.S., with Silicon Valley venture capitalists pouring billions into alternative energy start-ups. Those businesses will create new, green jobs that should make up for the short-term costs of cutting carbon. "The cure for global warming is positive," says Boxer. "That makes it easy for me to approach it with hope."
Take carbon emissions for example, its bad news, why not take more measures to clean it up? Check out these posts for more:
Environmental pollution is a huge deal, there are tons of reasons why in Followhealthlife's toxins category.

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!

Wednesday: Health Points

A study published Monday hints that fitness buffs appear to have "younger" DNA than the chronically sedentary. The finding could help scientists understand the effects of exercise and aging at a molecular level.

Previous research has shown that being physically active reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases, potentially extending longevity.

Previous research has shown that older people have shorter ends than younger folks. Indeed, biologists say they shrink every time a cell divides.
Some 84 million people risk dying from cancer over the next decade, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

The IAEA, the UN atomic watchdog, is involved in the fight agaist the disease through its Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) division, which shares the organisation's knowledge of radiotherapy techniques with other partners in the field.

PACT head Massud Samiei told journalists that "the cancer epidemic will gather pace in developing countries."
About two-thirds of the cases were children who took the medicines unsupervised. However, about one-quarter involved cases in which parents gave the proper dosage and an allergic reaction or some other problem developed, the study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

The study included both over-the-counter and prescription medicines. It comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned parents that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines are too dangerous for children younger than 2.
The key is for both spouses to be comfortable expressing anger, rather than one or both suppressing anger, University of Michigan researchers report.

"The key matter is, when the conflict happens, how do you resolve it?" asks Ernest Harburg, PhD, professor emeritus with the University of Michigan's School of Public Health and psychology department. "If you bury your anger, and you brood on it ... and you don't try to resolve the problem, then you're in trouble."

Harburg's team found a higher death rate among married couples in which both spouses suppress anger, compared with other married couples. Their findings appear in the Journal of Family Communication.
Studies in the past have demonstrated that cannabis can cause cancer, but few have established a strong link between cannabis use and the actual incidence of lung cancer.

In an article published in the European Respiratory Journal, the scientists said cannabis could be expected to harm the airways more than tobacco as its smoke contained twice the level of carcinogens, such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons, compared with tobacco cigarettes.

The method of smoking also increases the risk, since joints are typically smoked without a proper filter and almost to the very tip, which increases the amount of smoke inhaled. The cannabis smoker inhales more deeply and for longer, facilitating the deposition of carcinogens in the airways.
Seventh-Day Adventists are credited with creating breakfast cereals. They founded the Battle Creek Sanitarium, where they manufactured and promoted wholesome cereals. Will Keith Kellogg was an Adventist who discovered corn flakes in 1894 when a pot of cooked wheat was overcooked and then dried. Each grain became a separate flake. He introduced Rice Krispies in 1929. The Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company was founded in 1906.

Originally introduced by the Dutch as sweet dough fried in pork fat (known as "oily cakes"), the doughnut has been around a very long time, although its popularity surged with the doughnuts served to solders in World War I. The term "doughnut" either comes from the small balls of dough that looked like nuts, or a recipe from a mid-19th century cook who added nuts to the center of her fried dough and therefore referred to them as dough "nuts." The legend goes on to say that her son, a sea captain, didn't like the nuts so he had them cut out, creating the famous doughnut shape that we know today. Doughnuts remained as snacks, not breakfast -- often served in theaters -- until the doughnut machine was invented in the 1930s. By the 1940s and 1950s, Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Doughnuts had been introduced, and the pairing of coffee and doughnuts secured their place in the breakfast repertoire. By the 1950s, "drop" doughnuts became very popular and Orange Drop Doughnuts showed up in the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Since no rolling or cutting was required -- just drop spoonfuls of batter into hot oil -- this category of doughnuts caught on quickly.
The number of Americans being diagnosed with and also living with type 2 diabetes is soaring, presenting a major health and economic crisis for the United States, a new study reports.

"What's alarming is we have 47 million uninsured people, but these people [in the study, enrolled under Medicare] are all insured. So in this kind of insured program, we have so many people who are not adhering to the recommended care," said Frank Sloan, lead author of the study published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Sloan is professor of health policy and management at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
The ayurvedic menu at Ananda Spa has been designed to balance the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The doshas are roughly similar to our ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph body types, but they’re even more detailed, taking into consideration the shape of the face, skin type, hair, eyes, and temperament. Everyone is a mix of the three, but one dosha is predominant. If the doshas are balanced, you’ll enjoy good health, if not, you’re basically screwed…

…Once you know which dosha you align with, your ayurvedic practitioner will help you get in harmony through your food choices. To balance a Vata dosha, for example, you’re apparently supposed to eat mostly warm foods, such as soups, stews, warm milk, warm cereals, and baked bread (cream and butter are on the list too). And Vatas are advised to avoid cold foods, such as salads, iced drinks, and raw vegetables and greens. Hmm … doesn’t sound ideal for someone who is lactose-intolerant and loves her veggies.

Danactively Sued

Yeah, I don’t buy the “help strengthen your body’s defenses” with yogurt claims, and, neither do some concerned consumers because they’re suing Dannon over their “probiotic” campaign. Reuters reports:
A proposed class action filed on Wednesday in California accuses The Dannon Co Inc of mounting a massive false advertising campaign to convince consumers to pay more for yogurt containing "probiotic" bacteria because of the products' health benefits.

The lawsuit, filed in a Los Angeles federal court, said Dannon's own studies failed to support its advertised claims that its Activia, Activia Lite and DanActive were "clinically" and "scientifically" "proven" to have health benefits that other yogurts did not.

It seeks reimbursement for all U.S. purchasers of Activia, Activia Lite and DanActive, and demands that Dannon engage in "a corrective advertising campaign."

Dannon spokesman Michael Neuwirth said the company was not aware of the lawsuit but stood by "the claims of our products and the clinical studies which support them."

Dannon Co, a unit of France's Groupe Danone has relied on Activia and DanActive to help boost its U.S. yogurt business.
Quite simply, Dr. Fuhrman thinks all this super-yogurt-talk is hogwash. In light of this news, he reminds us to think twice before BUYING into the hype. Take a look:
Consumers should be skeptical and doubt all health claims on food products and supplements in general. Almost every claim is advertising hype, designed to sell products. We have to inspect the scientific research for ourselves with every claim.
Personally, I think Dannon must be insane. How can they claim anything about dairy is a miracle-worker? Here’s a frightening snippet of Dr. Fuhrman on dairy:
Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects is a different story. Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases.
In the meantime, every time I see a Danactive commercial, I just laugh, laugh, laugh!

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!

The FDA, Keeping it Gangsta

Despite giving people a serious case of the willies—myself included—the FDA is downplaying the long-term impact of cloned animals in the food supply. Christopher Doering of Reuters reports:
Meat and milk products of offspring from the 600 cloned animals in the United States most likely have not entered the nation's food supply, an official with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday, as the agency downplayed the long-term impact of cloning.

The FDA last week said meat and milk from cloned cattle, swine and goats and their offspring were as safe to eat as products obtained from traditional animals. Before then, farmers and ranchers had followed a voluntary moratorium that prevented the sale of clones and their offspring.

"There is no feeling that this will ever become a way of mass producing animals," Stephen Sundlof, director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied nutrition, told reporters.

He noted that another reproductive technique used in agriculture, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer, has been used to create only a small portion of the millions of animals on U.S. farms.
Yeah, that sure gives me that “rest-assured feeling.” Sheesh! Well, at least here the FDA is behaving a little smarter. They’re planning to post overseas food inspectors. The New York Times is on it:
The agency’s commissioner, Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, said that he wanted to have “boots on the ground” in nations like India and China and regions like Central and South America and the Middle East.

The agency already sends inspectors to dozens of countries each year to inspect pharmaceutical plants and clinical trial sites. But Dr. von Eschenbach said in a briefing with reporters that he wanted the agency’s presence abroad to be on an “ongoing and continuous basis rather than episodic and periodic.”

“Right now, we come, we leave,” he said.

The inspectors would primarily “build capacity and bring others in to do inspections that are certified,” Dr. von Eschenbach said.

The agency has long helped to train foreign food and drug inspectors and even advise in the writing of legislation to empower foreign versions of the F.D.A.

As recently as 1996 in Canada and 1999 in Australia, health regulators did not have the authority to inspect clinical trial sites, said Dr. David Lepay, a senior adviser for clinical science at the agency.
This presents an interesting little debacle; one flaky response and one stringent. Okay, lets consider it a wash—what else you got FDA?

All this Meat, At What Cost?

The New York Times takes a long hard look at the meat industry and what its costing us. More from Mark Bittman:
The two commodities share a great deal: Like oil, meat is subsidized by the federal government. Like oil, meat is subject to accelerating demand as nations become wealthier, and this, in turn, sends prices higher. Finally — like oil — meat is something people are encouraged to consume less of, as the toll exacted by industrial production increases, and becomes increasingly visible.

Global demand for meat has multiplied in recent years, encouraged by growing affluence and nourished by the proliferation of huge, confined animal feeding operations. These assembly-line meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world’s tropical rain forests.

Just this week, the president of Brazil announced emergency measures to halt the burning and cutting of the country’s rain forests for crop and grazing land. In the last five months alone, the government says, 1,250 square miles were lost.

The world’s total meat supply was 71 million tons in 1961. In 2007, it was estimated to be 284 million tons. Per capita consumption has more than doubled over that period. (In the developing world, it rose twice as fast, doubling in the last 20 years.) World meat consumption is expected to double again by 2050, which one expert, Henning Steinfeld of the United Nations, says is resulting in a “relentless growth in livestock production.”

So, I guess you can consider Atkins the SUV dealer of the food industry.

No, Not My Pet Turtle!

Actually, I don’t have a pet turtle, but if I did. I’d apparently be upping my risk of getting a salmonella infection. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:
According to the report, cases were reported in all but 15 states, with most cases occurring in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Two of the infected children included a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl who became stricken after swimming in an unchlorinated in-ground pool owned by the family of the older girl. Two pet turtles, purchased at a South Carolina pet store and owned by the family of the older teen, were allowed to swim in the pool, the CDC reported.

Harris said many people aren't aware of the risk of Salmonella infections from pet turtles. "Only 20 percent of these cases [in the report] said they were aware there was a connection between Salmonella infection and reptile exposure," she said.

Up to 90 percent of turtles carry Salmonella, Harris said. "This is a very serious infection, especially for small children," she added.

The infection is spread from contact with the turtles, but the contact doesn't have to be direct, Harris said. "We have one case where a baby was bathed in a sink that turtle waste was disposed in," she said.

In some cases, the children put the turtle in their mouth. In other cases, children became sick from just living in the same house with a turtle or other infected family members. Salmonella can live on surfaces for weeks, Harris noted.
Personally, I’m more of a hermit crab guy.

Cereals: Poked & Prodded, Wait!

Scott Mowbray is on diet—here’s where it gets scary—according to him, “This diet I’m on has me eating more boxed cereal than I have in years.” Ah! Okay, before I comment. I’ll let him explain some more. From Poked & Prodded:
I have loved cereal since I was knee-high and hold countless memories of corn flakes, malt-flavored Muffets (“the round shredded wheat”), Rice Krispies, Cheerios, and the rare golden fruit of the sacred cereal chalice, Cap’n Crunch. With a big splash of coffee cream and spoonfuls of brown sugar (except on the Cap’n, whose crunch is sweeter than candy corn), it was good fuel for boys. My eldest brother sat across the table, making more noise than a wild boar rooting for grubs in the Tuscan woods. It drove me insane…

…Prowling the aisles now, I see that cereal boxes continue to shrink and prices do not. (General Mills announced a “Right Size, Right Price” box strategy last summer: meaning smaller boxes, similar prices.) Just yesterday I spotted a cute little seven-ounce box of Special K for $3.89, which, as the shelf label pointed out, is $8.89 per pound—a nice price for toasted rice. I am, admittedly, the sort of guy who complains about cereal prices while drinking a $12 thimbleful of obscure Polish vodka made from potatoes (to be clear: not for breakfast), but that is beside the point.
The high cost of this junk is one thing, but Scott, we got to get you off the cereal. Boxed cereals are bad news. They’re not doing your health any favors. Here, check this out. Dr. Fuhrman talks about why boxed cereals should be avoided:
Processed foods and fast foods often contain dangerous trans fats and other additives, but they also can have high levels of acrylamides. When processed foods are baked and fried at high temperatures, these cancer-causing chemical compounds are produced. Many processed foods, such as chips, french fries, and sugar-coated breakfast cereals, are rich in acrylamides. Acrylamides also form in foods you bake until brown or fry at home; they do not form in foods that are steamed or boiled.
And, despite what super glossy marketing-bolstered boxes might say, breakfast cereals are nutritionally bankrupt; even if they claim to be “enriched.” But don’t take my word for it, here’s Dr. Fuhrman on the subject. Take rice for example:
White or "enriched" rice is just as bad as white bread and pasta. It is nutritionally bankrupt. You might as well just eat the Uncle Ben's cardboard box it comes in. Refining removes important factors: fiber, minerals, phytochemicals, and vitamin E. So, when you eat grains, eat whole grains.
Scott, we got to get you eating more natural fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, and nuts, because these foods hold up well in Americans nutrient-deficient soil. Again, I’ll defer to Dr. Fuhrman. He knows all about this stuff:
Wheat grown on American soil is not a nutrient- dense food to begin with, but then the food manufacturers remove the most valuable part of the food and then add bleach, preservatives, salt, sugar, and food coloring to make breads, breakfast cereals, and other convenience foods. Yet many Americans consider such food healthy merely because it is low in fat.
Contrary to many of the horror stories you hear, our soil is not depleted of nutrients. California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Florida, and other states still have rich, fertile land that produces most of our fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. America provides some of the most nutrient-rich produce in the world.
Not to beat up on you Scott. Glad to see you’re trying to get slim and healthy, but the cereal’s got to go! Come on folks. Head over to Poked & Prodded and encourage Scott to ditch the cereal and have some fresh fruit for breakfast.

No Canned Green Beans for Me!

Oh man. This poor lady bought some canned green beans and didn’t realize they came with a complimentary mouse head. Not for the squeamish:

Honestly, I’m not sure what’s creepier, the severed mouse or the reporter. His eyes are freaky. Stop staring at me!

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 ( 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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The NYC Calorie War Rages On...

First, a judge stymied efforts to get calorie-content published on fast food menus. In response, health officials rallied for another attempt, and now, NYC has revived the vote for calorie-content. Amy Westfeldt of the Associated Press reports:
The city's original effort was struck down by a judge last September. That rule was reworked to make it comply with the court ruling.

The new regulation applies to any chain that operates at least 15 separate outlets, including those that don't currently provide any information on calories. Major fast-food chains make up about 10 percent of the city's restaurants.

Several chains, such as McDonald's and Burger King, have the information available, but don't list it on the menu boards that customers read before ordering.

City officials hope the rule would curb obesity by making people aware of the thousands of calories that can be packed into some of the meals. Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said Monday he hoped the chains would also respond by offering healthier options.

"I don't think we're going to see the 2,700-calorie appetizers that we see now," Frieden said.
Again, just like Tuesday’s post about grilled chicken, people have the right to chose, but, they should be given all the facts, especially if their health is at stake—don’t you think?

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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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.

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 Caffeine-Miscarriage Link

When you’re talking pregnancy, mom’s diet is very important. Even before you’re pregnant, eating healthy is a good idea. He explains in Disease-Proof Your Child:
It is important to eat healthfully prior to conception as well as once pregnancy has begun. Proper nutrition and good health habits are more important than ever during pregnancy and can help in maintaining good health for both mother and baby.
Now, one of the things Dr. Fuhrman suggests expecting mothers to avoid is caffeine. Caffeine has been linked to miscarriage. Back to Disease-Proof Your Child:
Caffeine has been a controversial topic for decades. Evidence clearly concludes that heavy coffee drinkers have an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight infants, but evidence is not clear for moderate users of caffeine.1 Nevertheless, is wise to stay away from as many potentially harmful substances as possible.
Some new research seems to confirm Dr. Fuhrman’s fears; study confirms the link between caffeine and miscarriage. Louise Daly of the AFP reports:
US researchers said Monday they have conclusive proof to show that women who drink a lot of caffeine on a daily basis in the early months of pregnancy have an elevated risk of miscarriage, settling a longstanding debate over the issue.

To be absolutely safe, expectant mothers should avoid caffeinated beverages of any kind during the first five months of pregnancy, the researchers said in a paper published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The concept that pregnant women may be putting their babies in jeopardy by drinking large amounts of caffeine on a daily basis is not new.
I’m not pregnant—the science is not yet available and ramifications would be monstrous—but if I were, I’d avoid caffeine; better to be safe than sorry. What do you think?
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No More Unhappy Report Card Meals

In December we learned that a school district in Florida was allowing McDonald’s to advertise on report cards. ParentDish was on it:
In Seminole County, Florida, McDonald's is doing their part to help ensure kids get good grades. They've agreed to give kids a free happy meal if they get good grades. It says so right there on the report card envelope. Wait, what? Yep, you heard that right. McDonald's has arranged to put their ad offering free food for good grades on the envelope the school district uses to send report cards home.

In exchange for putting their ad, complete with a picture of a Happy Meal, on the envelopes, McDonald's paid for the printing of the report cards. Sounds like a fair deal, eh? Actually, it sounds like a great deal for McDonald's -- reaching 27,000 kindergarten through fifth-grade students for next to nothing.
Luckily some concerned parents prevailed. McDonald’s has announced that it will stop putting its logo on report card envelopes. ParentDish is back on it:
Susan Pagan, a parent in the district, said that her nine-year-old daughter came home with her report card, wanting a happy meal. Pagan noted that "our family does not eat at fast food chains," when she told her no. "And, now I'm the bad guy," she added.

Interestingly, McDonald's chose to pull the ads, rather than the school district. According to McDonald's spokesman Bill Whitman, "It was McDonald's decision to remove our trademarks from report card jackets in Seminole County, Florida, because we believe the focus should be on the importance of a good education. McDonald's, not the school district, will cover the cost to reprint the report card jackets."
So where was the focus before Whitman made this statement? Anyway, kudos to Pagan and the rest of parents that took a stand!

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.

Fresh Popped Lung Disease

In early September ParentDish blogged about the growing concern over the safety of the butter flavoring used in microwave and movie theater popcorn. Here’s a refresher:
A pulmonary specialist at Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center thinks exposure to the fumes from microwave butter popcorn might be the cause of lung disease in one of her patients. She sent a letter to several federal agencies expressing her concerns. "We cannot be sure that this patient's exposure to butter flavored microwave popcorn from daily heavy preparation has caused his lung disease," said Dr. Cecile Rose. "However, we have no other plausible explanation."

Apparently the patient, a unidentified man, consumed "several bags of extra butter flavored microwave popcorn" every day for several years. The ailing patient's condition improved when he stopped making the popcorn.

This may sound far-fetched, but it's not. So-called "popcorn lung" is a real disease that has resulted in lawsuits by workers in food factories who were exposed to diacetyl, a chemical used to create that buttery flavor.
Popcorn lung? Are food-producers REALLY risking the health of their workers and customers for fake butter? The answer is yes. Why else would we have warnings like this? Take a look:

The dangers are real. I searched diacetyl in Wikipedia and here are some of the dangers that came up, for both workers and consumers—scary stuff—check it out:
Workers in several factories that manufacture artificial butter flavoring have been diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare and serious disease of the lungs. The cases found have been mainly in young, healthy, non-smoking males. There are no known cures for bronchiolitis obliterans except for lung transplantation.

While several authorities have called the disease "Popcorn Worker's Lung," a more accurate term suggested by other doctors may be more appropriate, since the disease can occur in any industry working with diacetyl: diacetyl-induced bronchiolitis obliterans…

…Dr. Cecile Rose, pulmonary specialist at Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center, in a letter, warned federal agencies or regulators that consumers, not just factory workers, are in danger of suffering the fatal popcorn lung disease from buttery flavoring fumes in microwave popcorn. David Michaels of the George Washington University School of Public Health first published Rose's letter on his blog. However, the only sample data known-to-date is the case where a consumer, who ate at least two bags of buttery microwave popcorn daily for 10 years, became diagnosed with the same disease affecting workers exposed to the substance, bronchiolitis obliterans. His lung problems were linked to breathing the vapors; although rare, the reported man's kitchen also had diacetyl levels comparable to those in popcorn plants.
Of course it’s always easier to relate to something when you attach a face to it. Meet Eric Peoples, a victim of Popcorn Lung. Here he is testifying in front of U.S. House Education and Labor Committee Subcommittee on Workforce Protections:

Unfortunatley for Eric, his story will not have a happy ending. According to Wikipedia the long-term prognosis for bronchiolitis obliterans is poor. Read on:
This disease is irreversible and severe cases often require a lung transplant. Evaluation of interventions to prevent bronchiolitis obliterans relies on early detection of abnormal spirometry results or unusual decreases in repeated measurements.
The whole diacetyl-popcorn lung situation spun Dr. Fuhrman into quite a tizzy. He emailed me his thoughts the other day and he didn’t pull a single punch. Have a look:
Diacetyl should be banned since we know it causes this irreversible and potentially deadly disease, but for some reason this poison is still allowed to be used on popcorn. Even breathing the fumes of the fake buttery flavor they put on the popcorn could damage a person's lungs, especially if you work behind the counter and serve it to people. We likely only know the tip of the iceberg about diacetyl poisoning.
When faced with all this information, I can’t imagine anyone coming to the defense of diacetyl. David Michaels of George Washington University certainly isn’t. He drops this great quote in The Washington Post. Enjoy:
"They're finding it there because they're looking there," said David Michaels of the department of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University. Michaels, assistant secretary of energy in the Clinton administration, accuses OSHA of "regulatory paralysis."

"It's not some carcinogen where you get cancer 30 years from now or something. The people are dying right in front of you," Michaels said. "You can't wait until you have all the evidence. You have to regulate it."
No doubt, a lot of experts are up in arms over diacetyl and bronchiolitis obliterans, but, will anything be done about it? The Angry Toxicologist doesn’t think so. Check it out:
Nothing will be done unless it’s regulated strongly, even by good companies and here’s why: Let say Bob’s Flavor Inc. wants to do the right thing and use an alternative flavoring that won’t hurt his workers. Bob knows, however, that this will drive up his prices and he’ll be driven out of the market by someone willing to do the wrong thing for a competitive advantage. Everyone is tied to the lowest cost operation, so the only way to make it safe for Bob to do the right thing is to level the playing field so that everyone has to do the right thing.
Okay, here’s my question. Is microwave and movie theater popcorn THAT precious? Stop eating it all together, and then, you’ll send one HELL of a message to rogue food producers and fat-cat cost-cutting businessmen—don’t you think!

PCRM Bashes Grilled Chicken

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) wants people to know, that grilled chicken sandwich you’re eating, is full of dangerous carcinogens. More from Reuters reporter Gina Keating:
If it seems consumers have nowhere to turn in choosing a healthy chicken entree, that's exactly the point, said Dan Kinburn, attorney for the Physicians Committee.

"Every day when a parent ... cooks chicken at home for their children they are trying to be health conscious," Kinburn said. "We think if people knew there were carcinogens in grilled chicken they would not choose it as a healthy alternative…"

…The chemical PhIP, which forms when meat -- and especially chicken -- is cooked at high temperatures, is on that list.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, would require the restaurants named as defendants to place "clear and reasonable warnings" about the carcinogen PhIP and would fine them $2,500 a day for each infraction.
Hey, people do have the right to choose, but they should be given ALL the facts. Actually, grilled chicken is loaded with bad news. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are even more concentrated in grilled chicken than in beef.1 Another recent study from New Zealand that investigated heterocyclic amines in meat, fish, and chicken found the greatest contributor of HCAs to cancer risk was chicken.2
I remember when I used to eat grilled chicken and pasta, and, I had the stones to think I was doing my health a favor—EEK!
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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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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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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:

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!

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.

HealthDay News: U.S. Food Problems, part 1

This is pretty cool. HealthDay News is kicking off a three part investigation on U.S. food safety issues. More from Amanda Gardner:
More than ever before, Americans are worried about the safety of the food they put in their mouths -- and with good reason.

In little less than a year and a half, the nationwide recalls of tainted products have formed their own peculiar food pyramid: meats, vegetables, salad, snacks, fast food, even dessert items. The various pathogens in those products killed at least three people, sickened more than 1,300 others and touched almost every state in the country as well as Canada.

And even though the number of outbreaks has leveled off over the last few years, it is the variety of outbreaks that most troubles the scientists and government health officials who deal with them: Many of the contaminations are showing up in foods never before associated with poisoning…

…Increasingly today, produce is grown in fields close to cattle and, sometimes, wild animals. The E. coli spinach contamination could have come from cattle or boar feces, or from contaminated irrigation systems, federal officials concluded.

The widening of E. coli cases from protein products to fresh fruits and vegetables is related to "the fact that U.S. agricultural commodities tend to be grown in areas that have cattle, which are reservoirs for bacteria," explained Bruce Clark, a partner in the Seattle law firm of Marler Clark, which represents victims of food poisoning. "As soon as you have manure on the ground, and you have birds and wild animals and water, you have all these vectors for transferring bacteria to fresh fruits and vegetables."

And, most of the time, Clark added, produce is not subjected to the "kill step" (usually cooking), which would eliminate the pathogens. In fact, washing may not even help because of the ability of the organisms to cling to food surfaces.

Food Triggers, Bang-Bang

“It is not easy to change: eating has emotional and social overtones,” explains Dr. Fuhrman, “It is especially difficult to break an addiction. Our American diet style is addicting.” And according to Shari Roan of The Los Angeles Times, environmental triggers might be causing Americans to overeating. Take a look:
To make Americans eat less and eat more healthily, they contend, the environment itself needs to be changed -- with laws regulating portion size, labeling or the places where food can be sold or eaten. That would be much easier, the researchers add, than overcoming human nature. The theory that our society -- not us -- is to blame for our overall expanding waist size is garnering support from health and nutrition experts. To recap the dismal statistics: In the last 25 years, the number of obese Americans has increased from 14.5% to 32.2%. Two out of three adults are overweight, as are 19% of children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Almost everybody is gaining weight in almost all socioeconomic groups. It's not limited to certain people. It's everywhere," says Dr. Deborah A. Cohen, a senior natural scientist at Rand Corp. and the author of a recent paper on the environmental theory of obesity. "Look at doctors, nurses and dietitians who are overweight or obese. If it has anything to do with how much we know about nutrition or how much we're motivated, we would never see people with such expertise be overweight or obese…”

…Eating is an automatic behavior that has little to do with choice, willpower or even hunger, Cohen says. Her paper, with co-author Thomas Farley of Tulane University's Prevention Research Center, was published online last month in Preventing Chronic Disease, the peer-reviewed health journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cohen and Farley argue that automatic behaviors can be controlled, but only for a short time (the reason most diets ultimately fail). A more effective approach, they say, would be to decrease the accessibility, visibility and quantities of food people are exposed to, and the environmental cues that promote eating.
I don’t agree. In America, this land of plenty, most people have a choice. You don’t HAVE to partake in the endless piles of junk food. Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, it might be tough, but the sooner you kick your emotional attachments to food, the better. Here’s a quote:
Obviously, there are complicated emotional and psychological factors that make it more difficult for some to achieve success at overcoming food addiction. Additionally, some physical changes may initially discourage you. Stopping caffeine, reducing sodium, and dropping saturated fat from your diet while increasing fiber and nutrients may result in increased gas, headaches, fatigue, and other withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms are temporary and rarely last longer than one week. Eventually the high volume of food and high nutrient content will help prevent long-term food cravings.
Honestly, a few days of feeling crappy is well worth a lifetime of feeling fantastic—don’t you think?

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?

Milk...has Killed

Three deaths have been blamed on tainted milk coming out of New England. The Associated Press reports:
At Whittier Farms dairy, the fifth-generation owners brag of the quality of their Holstein cows and still deliver milk right to your door, in glass bottles. Customers like the products because they are a hormone-free taste of old New England.

But health officials now say three elderly men have died and at least one pregnant woman has miscarried since last June after drinking bacteria-contaminated milk from the dairy’s plant in Shrewsbury, about 35 miles west of Boston.

All were infected with listeria, which is extremely rare in pasteurized milk. It is more often found in raw foods, such as uncooked meat and vegetables, and processed foods such as soft cheeses and cold cuts.
Instead of lost children, maybe they should start putting a skull and crossbones on milk cartons.

Antibiotics, Sinus Infections, Placebos, Oh My!

“Hey doc! I got an ear infection and my sinuses hurt. Give me some antibiotics,” said Joe public. Now, the sadly reality is that this isn’t too far from the truth. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Many patients don't think a doctor is doing his job if he doesn't prescribe antibiotics or other medication. If he doesn't prescribe the medication they want, some patients actually will look for another doctor who will.
If I was a doctor, this little scenario would—quite frankly—piss me off, but, since big pharma has made most Americas pill-starved hypochondriacs, what can you except? More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Drug companies are a big part of this problem. They promote the use of their products through widespread advertising and the practice of giving free samples of the more potent, broad-spectrum antibiotics to doctors.

Most doctors perpetuate this problem because they give in to the pressure to prescribe antibiotics. They like to appear that they are offering an important and necessary service by writing prescriptions.
The scary part is, any self-respecting doctor will tell you antibiotics are useful, but, our overuse of antibiotics is making them less and less effective. Here Dr. Fuhrman talks about when antibiotics should be used:
Antibiotics are the appropriate treatment for severe bacterial infections. These infections include cellulitis, Lyme disease, pneumonia, joint infections, cat bites, meningitis, and bronchitis in a long-term smoker. Bronchitis in a non-smoker is just a bad cold. Almost every viral syndrome involves the bronchial tree and sinuses. The presence of yellow, brown, or green mucus does not indicate the need for an antibiotic.
So, with all this being said. What about sinus infections? Should physicians treat sinus infections with antibiotics? This blurb from Dr. Fuhrman will clear things up—no pun intended—take a look:
Sinusitis is not an appropriate diagnosis for the routine use of an antibiotic. Antibiotics should be reserved for the more serious sinus infections that show evidence of persistent symptoms lasting more than a week, such as continual fever and headache that accompanies facial pain and facial tenderness.
And let’s not forget, recent research already has determined that prescribing antibiotics is not always a good idea when treating sinus infections. The Associated Press reported:
The researchers say the findings are troubling because overuse of antibiotics is leading to more virulent and even drug-resistent bacteria. Their concerns echo those of doctors who've studied the effectiveness of antibiotics on ear infections.

"We don't want to be using up our antibiotics on these people," said Dr. Don Leopold, chair of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Department of Otolaryngology who worked on the sinus study.

The study, which appears in the March issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology, looked at two national surveys of patient data from 1999 to 2002. They showed 14.28 million doctor visits were for diagnosed chronic rhinosinusitis and another 3.12 million for acute rhinosinusitis.
Let’s explore this more deeply. Remember this report from HealthDay News? Apparently many pneumonia patients receive antibiotics when they don’t really need them. Take a look:
The study, conducted in 2005, followed a group of 152 emergency room patients who met eligibility criteria for receiving antibiotics. Of this group, 65.1 percent received antibiotics within four hours of arriving at the hospital. The remaining 34.9 percent were identified as "outliers," and more than half (58.5 percent) of the outliers did not have a final diagnosis of pneumonia. And 43 percent of the outliers had an abnormal chest X-ray, compared with 95 percent of those who received antibiotics…

…"It was not possible in many of the cases to actually have given them antibiotics because a lot of them didn't actually have pneumonia or got a diagnosis later," said Dr. Jesse Pines, author of an accompany editorial in the journal, and an attending physician in the department of emergency medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He supports the study findings.
Okay, but back to sinus infections. Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times conducts a brief and blunt mini-investigation of the claim that antibiotics will beat a sinus infection. Here’s a bit:
For years, doctors have prescribed what seemed like simple cures: a prescription for an antibiotic like amoxicillin or a steroid nasal spray. They may be the standard medications, but perhaps they are not as effective as once thought. Several studies have examined their effects and found that they are no better at shortening a sinus infection than no medication at all.

The latest study, published in December in The Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at 240 cases. The subjects were assigned to four groups for different treatments: a full amoxicillin course for a week along with 400 units of steroid spray for 10 days, just the spray, just the amoxicillin or just a placebo. The treatments were no better than placebo, a finding shown in studies of children. The reason is not entirely clear, but researchers suspect that antibiotics may not be very good at reaching the sinuses. Experts recommend other approaches like taking ibuprofen, inhaling steam or using salt water to flush the nasal cavity.
Makes sense to me, but in our quick-fix culture, I doubt it’ll catch on. Maybe if people were more in tune with the consequences of taking unnecessary antibiotics, they’d be more cautious. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Disease-Proof Your Child:
In every single person who takes an antibiotic, the drug kills a broad assortment of helpful bacteria that live in the digestive tract and aid digestion. It kills the “bad” bacteria, such as those that can complicate and infection, but it also kills these helpful “good” bacteria lining your digestive tract that have properties that protect from future illness.
This topic comes up a lot and people always seem concerned, but, like anything else, we probably won’t do anything about it until pandemonium is at our doorstep.

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."

Cloned Food Groups

How do you feel about beef, pork, and milk? Not high on it. Neither am I, but, what about cloned beef, pork, and milk? My answer would be no, and, seriously? It’s true. The FDA is primed to accept cloned meat and milk. Rick Weiss of The Washington Post reports:
Having completed a years-long scientific review, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to announce as early as this week that meat and milk from cloned farm animals and their offspring can start appearing on supermarket shelves, sources said Friday.

The decision would be an act of defiance against Congress, which last month passed legislation recommending that any such approval be delayed pending further studies…

…Multiple studies compiled by the agency have shown that the chemical composition of those products is virtually identical to that of milk and meat from conventionally bred animals.

Studies in which rodents were fed food from clones have found no evidence of adverse health effects.
But public opinion has been negative, with some saying that not enough safety studies have been conducted and others concerned about the health of the clones, which are far more likely than ordinary farm animals to die prematurely.
Crap, as a staunch advocate of science, I’m not against cloning, I’m certain a lot of good will come from it, but, this gives me the willies. What do you think? Honestly, I wouldn’t eat the stuff anyway. Why? Dr. Fuhrman provides a great reason to go easy on the milk and meat:

When the death rates for prostate cancer and testicular cancer were examined in forty-two countries and correlated with dietary practices in a carefully designed study, they found that cheese consumption was most closely linked with the incidence of testicular cancer for ages twenty to thirty-nine, and milk was the most closely associated with prostate cancer of all foods.1 Meat, coffee, and animal fats also showed a positive correlation.
Although, I had a really good avocado the other day, I wouldn’t mind eating it again. Continue Reading...

Exercise, Coca-Cola Helps?

When I think Coca-Cola, I think unhealthy beverage, liquid sugar, caffeine addiction, and most vividly—DON’T DRINK—but, ExerciseTV thinks coke is an exercise ally. Diet Blog is on it:
Exercise TV – a video on-demand network that produces workout videos and other training tools is partnering with Coca Cola. In the agreement, numerous brands from Coca-Cola’s portfolio of beverages will be featured through a variety of integration channels.
Coca-Cola continues to make great strides in educating the public about the importance of exercise, and how its broad range of products can benefit health-conscious consumer.
Said Jake Steinfeld, founder of ExerciseTV.

Try as I may, it is difficult for me not to be bothered by this marriage.

Coke’s recent introduction of “healthier” beverages to the market notwithstanding, you can never separate the pod from the mother ship. Coca Cola’s core product will always be… Coca Cola. It’s the same as if it were to be sponsored by a fast food chain. After all, fast food chains do sell salads.
I’m with Diet Blog on this one. When I think about this marriage, I smell bull poop; especially when you consider soft drinks’ role in the obesity boom. Remember this from Soda Surcharge, Will it Work? Take a look:

Source: Data from the National Soft Drink Association, Beverage World,
published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (

Coca-Cola’s exercise advocacy sounds like the work of highly paid corporate spin doctors to me. What do you think?

Bad Foods that are Actually Great for Your Waist?

What the hell does that mean! The obviously coo-coo, Camille Noe Pagán of Health thinks red meat, ice cream, eggs, pizza, and Canadian bacon are getting a bad rap. Here’s some of this harebrained article:
Even burgers and meatballs can be light fare if you make them with ground sirloin, says Bonnie Gluck, M.S., R.D., a clinical dietitian at New York Methodist Hospital in New York City. "Lean red meat -- lean being the operative word -- is a great choice for women who are trying to shed pounds," she says. "It's an excellent source of protein. And protein takes longer to digest, helping you feel full and cutting the likelihood that you'll snack later on…"

…Not all studies support the dairy-aids-weight-loss claim. But Gluck feels there's more evidence for than against, even if full-fat dairy's secret is simply that it's more satisfying. "Many women find that low-fat versions of dairy products like ice cream and cheese just aren't satisfying," she says, "so they may eat a lot of them -- downing hundreds of calories in the process, trying to fulfill their craving -- when just a little bit of the full-fat stuff would have done the trick…"

…After years of being barred from the average American diet, things are looking sunny-side up for eggs. According to a study from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, overweight women who eat egg breakfasts lose twice as much weight as women who start their days with bagels. Researchers say the protein in eggs increases satiety and decreases hunger, helping women eat fewer calories throughout the day. "Eggs are a perfect protein source because they have all eight essential amino acids," Dave Grotto, R.D., author of "101 Foods That Could Save Your Life" says. "And recent research debunks the idea that they have adverse effects on the heart…."

…You already know you can enjoy some mozzarella on your favorite pie and still drop pounds. But there are other ways you can make that slice even healthier. To hike the diet-friendly fiber, choose a whole-wheat crust and top your pizza with veggies like peppers, artichokes, and broccoli. "Like protein, fiber is digested slowly and helps keep you feeling full, longer," Gluck says…

…Unlike a regular strip of crispy pork fat, Canadian bacon -- which comes from the loin, one of the leanest parts of the pig -- is a dieter's best friend, with a third less fat than regular bacon. If that isn't reason enough to put Canadian bacon on your plate, a recent study from Purdue University shows that women who eat a diet rich in lean pork and other protein keep more lean body mass during weight loss than women who eat a low- calorie diet with little pork and other protein sources. An added bonus: Women who eat meals rich in protein from pork report that they feel satisfied, in spite of the fact that they are on reduced-calorie diets, and say they're happier overall.
Okay, there’s no need to beat a dead horse here. Readers of this blog know that foods like this aren’t health promoting, so, I’ll make this a quick and decisive execution. First, here’s Dr. Fuhrman commenting on red meat. 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.1
Next up, dairy, yuck, just the thought of it makes me have to run to the bathroom. While I make a pit stop, you guys check out Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on dairy. Here:
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.2 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.3
Okay, all better. Now, onto eggs and this might surprise you, but, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t that down on eggs. Here’s what he has to say:
If you choose a limited amount of animal products to be included in your family’s diet, I favor eggs over fish or dairy, because of the potential for transmission of chemicals, mercury, and PCBs in the fish and dairy. Eggs, because they are virtually pollution-free, would be favored choice over other animal products to add to an otherwise vegan diet.
I admit, sometime I forget about this because I don’t eat eggs. Here’s another thing I don’t eat, cheese. So, just what does the good doctor have to say about cheese? See for yourself. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Dairy fat is also loaded various toxins and is the primary source of our nation’s high exposure to dioxin.4 Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical compound that even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency admits is a prominent cause of many types of cancer in those consuming dairy fat, such as butter and cheese.5 Cheese is also a power inducer of acid load, which increases calcium loss further.6
Finally, the dreaded bacon, this one is easy, but, I’ll give Dr. Fuhrman a breather with this one. Check out this report linking the consumption of cured meats to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). HealthDay News reported:
Using data compiled as part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the study authors found a statistical association between people who ate 14 or more servings monthly of cured meats and the incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This held true even after the researchers factored in such variables as age, smoking, and the amount of fruits and vegetables in the subjects' diets.

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

And, the more cured meats a person eats a month, on average, the higher the risk of COPD, the study said.
So, with ALL this being said, I hardly think there is anything great about gobbling up large amounts of meat and dairy. Camille Noe Pagán would do well to check her sources—don’t you think?
Continue Reading...

Oil is Fat

And I did mean F-A-T fat, not P-H-A-T phat. Dr. Fuhrman will tell hands down, olive oil is not health food. He talks about it in Cholesterol Protection for Life. Here’s an excerpt:
I know you were told that olive oil is health food. It is not. Keep in mind, oil is processed food, it is not a natural whole food. Oils, even if they are monounsaturated, should not be health food because they are low in nutrients and contain 120 calories per tablespoon, promoting weight gain.

Sure, olive oil and almond oil are improvements over animal fats and margarine, but they still are a contributor to our overweight modern world. Overweight Americans consume and average of three tablespoons of oil in their daily diet, adding and extra 360 calories to their food each day. You need to reach a thinner, ideal weight to achieve maximum protection against heart disease and to reverse heart disease. Use oil, even olive oil sparingly or not at all; certainly, do not have more than one teaspoon per day.

As an alternative to oil, you can make great tasting salad dressings from raw nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios and avocados.
Sadly, many food producers continue to try and dupe us into thinking that olive oil is a health savoir. Now, in this video Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN and his lively cousin further dispel the olive oil myth. Take a look:

Clearly food producers have figured out just how gullible most people really are.

Bottled Water, the Problem...

HealthandMen has a rather impassioned take on bottled water. Take a look:
Bottled water is a controversial thing to begin with because a lot of the companies claim that its filtered and purified when in reality they are filling the bottle normal like everyone else. The purification comes from the actual plant that the water has been sent through the first time, so technically they aren’t lying. I’ve tasted “spring water” that tastes like they filled it out of a toilet. Evian to me tastes terrible and the Stewarts Franchise in NY sells “Spring water” that to me tastes even worse than Evian…

… The real problem is everyone is saying that we need to do something about it but no one wants to create programs on a large scale to recycle. The only ones wanting to “Do something” about it are the sellers of water filters that look at this as a grand opportunity to sell their filters and slap a sticker on their box saying how toxic your faucet water is and how goody-goody they are because they are trying to help the environment by using a filter instead of plastic bottled waters. We need large scale recycling programs and we need them now. Sure some states have them but if they really wanted to help they would make it mandatory for all plastic bottles be recycled. In some states they charge a 5 cent deposit on every can or bottle, glass or plastic and even Canada refills bottles. These are just a few incentives for people to recycle. I rarely buy bottled water and when I do I buy a bottle and use the same bottle over and over by refilling it at the water fountain at work.

Tainted Milk...

“…Now I'm going to pack my things and go. Tainted milk, tainted milk…” That song might be tearing up the charts soon, because two people have died in Massachusetts from tainted milk. The Associated Press reports:
Dr. Alfred DeMaria, the state director of communicable disease control, said that could mean the listeria bacteria that sickened four people in Massachusetts entered Whittier Farms' milk supply after it was pasteurized. Two of those victims, a 78-year-old man and a 75-year-old man, died in June and October. Another elderly man and a pregnant woman survived, although the woman miscarried.

"My understanding is they did everything right," DeMaria said. "That could happen. You could do everything right and something bad could happen."

The Shrewsbury dairy has suspended operations and is cooperating with state officials trying to pinpoint the source of contamination, DeMaria said. The farm delivered milk mostly to homes in the Worcester area.
Wait! Milk is dangerous? No, you don’t say. Now, just in case you didn’t know milk is more foe than friend, give this video a watch. It’ll get you up to speed. Here:

So then, why are Americans so enamored with milk? Dr. Fuhrman offers a brief explanation. Check it out:
Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects is a different story. Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases.
“No milk! But what will I dunk my cookies in?” Grow up and get over your emotional attachments to food. Oh! And don't forget yesterday's post Milk Linked to Prostate Cancer.

America, We're Number Two!

Now this is something we can be proud. According to a new report Americans are the second biggest fast gluttons. Great Britain edged us out. More from the AFP:
The survey of 13 countries also confirmed growing concern over obesity worldwide, but noted different priorities and strategies in different parts of the world for tackling it.

"People are inherently contradictory and nowhere is it more obvious than on such a sensitive and important issue as their weight," said Steve Garton of polling body Synovate, who produced the survey jointly with the BBC.

"The results show there's a world of people who cannot deny themselves that hamburger or extra piece of pizza, but probably make themselves feel better by washing it down with a diet cola."

In terms of fast food, Britain 45 percent of Britons agreed with the statement "I like the taste of fast food too much to give it up" ahead of 44 percent for Americans and Canadians at 37 percent.
It’s a sad day when we can’t lead the world in something we invented. First baseball, now this—sigh!

Milk Linked to Prostate Cancer

Reuters reports, low-fat or nonfat milk may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Take a look:
A total of 82,483 men from the study completed a quantitative food frequency questionnaire and various factors, such as weight, smoking status, and education levels were also noted, Park's group said.

During an average follow-up period of 8 years, 4,404 men developed prostate cancer. There was no evidence that calcium or vitamin D from any source increased the risk of prostate cancer. This held true across all racial and ethnic groups.

In an overall analysis of food groups, the consumption of dairy products and milk were not associated with prostate cancer risk, the authors found. Further analysis, however, suggested that low-fat or nonfat milk did increase the risk of localized tumors or non-aggressive tumors, while whole milk decreased this risk.

In a similar analysis, Dr. Yikyung Park, from the National Cancer Institute at National Institutes (NIH) of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues investigated the relationship of calcium and vitamin D and prostate cancer in 293,888 men enrolled in the NIH-American Association of Retired Persons Diet and Health Study, conducted between 1995 and 2001. The average follow-up period was 6 years.

The Truth Behind 99% Fat-Free

Dr. Fuhrman’s colleague Jeff Novick, M.S., R. D. drops the hammer on the whole “99% fat-free” nonsense many food producers employ. Take a look:

Here’s a few of Jeff’s posts:
He doesn’t look it, but, the man’s a pit-bull!

A Smoke Might Make You Choke

Okay guys, this might be the best reason of all to quit smoking. New research has determined that men who smoke are prone to impotence. Serena Gordon of HealthDay News is on it:
In fact, emerging research shows that men with a pack-a-day habit are almost 40 percent more likely to struggle with erectile dysfunction than men who don't smoke.

"Smoking delivers nicotine and other vasoconstrictors that close down the blood vessels" of the penis, explained Dr. Jack Mydlo, chairman of urology at Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital in Philadelphia.

Erectile dysfunction -- also called "ED" or impotence -- is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection on repeated occasions. It's estimated that about two of every 100 American men have erectile dysfunction serious enough to warrant a doctor's visit, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders. As men age, the risk of erectile dysfunction increases.

A recent study of more than 8,000 Australian men between the ages of 16 and 59 found that those who smoked less than a pack a day had a 24 percent increased risk of erectile problems. And, as the number of cigarettes smoked went up, so, too, did the chances of erectile dysfunction. Those men who averaged more than 20 cigarettes a day increased their risk of erectile dysfunction by 39 percent, reported the study, published in the journal Tobacco Control.
Eek! And smoking isn’t the only thing that’ll knock you out of whack. Thank your mom for not eating beef while she was pregnant with you. From Beef Bad for the Boys:
"In sons of 'high beef consumers' (more than seven beef meals a week), sperm concentration was 24.3 percent lower," the researchers wrote in their report, published in the journal Human Reproduction.

The team at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York studied data on the partners of 387 pregnant women in five U.S. cities between 2000 and 2005, and on the mothers of the fathers-to-be.

Of the 51 men whose mothers remembered eating the most beef, 18 percent had sperm counts classified by the World Health Organization as sub-fertile.
Okay, I need to watch some football—STAT!