Crohn's Disease and Cow Juice

“Accumulating evidence has implicated a bacterium that is transmitted via pasteurized cow’s milk in the etiology of Crohn’s disease,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. According to him, dairy and Crohn’s Disease are dangerous bedfellows. Take a look:
It was discovered that a bacteria called Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP) found in dairy products survives the heat of pasteurization and causes inflammatory bowel disease in a variety of animals, including monkeys and chimpanzees.
Certainly a daunting prospect—especially since humans aren’t that genetically far removed from monkeys and chimpanzees—and the research supports the insidious Crohn’s disease-cow’s milk connection. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
In the last few years, this same bacterium has been detected in a large percentage of humans who have Crohn’s disease.1 To quote the most recent of these referenced medical journal articles, “The rate of detection of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in individuals with Crohn’s disease is highly significant and implicates this chronic enteric pathogen in disease causation.”
Now, not everybody is sold on the dangers of Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis. Guest blogger Rachel Kirby drops this post on Aetiology. Here’s a bit:
One of the first I came across and strangest but most relevant to an infectious cause was that the bacteria enters your body through contaminated milk (dairy) or water products. The bacteria are a mycobacterium that is abbreviated MAP (Mycobacterium avium subsp. Paratuberculosis).There seems to be some correlation between culturing MAP in patients with Crohn's. The idea that there is a bacterial cause may come from the idea that there is a similar bovine disease called Johne's disease. It has many of the same symptoms. Because of the similarities with Johne's disease, a mycobacterial cause of Crohn's disease has been sought for many years. It has been disproved that they have any real connection. In one study it suggests that once the bovine strain enters a human host it becomes less virulent. Another reason there is a problem making the correlation of MAP and Crohn's is because MAP is often hard to culture. Why they do they still suggest that there is an infectious agent that causes Crohn's? This could be because they still continue to culture MAP in Crohn's patients but there is not strong enough evidence to fully support the theory. It may be that MAP is present even before the onset of Crohn's.
Perhaps there is a grayish hue surrounding the MAP-Crohn’s disease link, but at the very least, the preponderance of evidence certainly warrants further investigation. Let’s check back with Dr. Fuhrman:
An unexpected finding from all this research on Crohn’s disease was the revelation that patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome may also be affected with MAP from dairy product consumption.2 The problems caused by the MAP bug, transmitted from dairy products, may be a severe public health issue.
Okay, here's what I take away from this disagreement. When you look at the dairy with a wide angle lenses, you’ll see that there are A LOT of reasons to avoid it. Here’s just a handful:
All I can say is—EEK!
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Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, Zone Diet--All Poop Out...

A new study has determined that fad diets like Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and the Zone produced only modest weight-loss with limited sustainability. Ian Ayres of the Freakonomics blog has more:

A randomized control year-long study looked at the impact of four different diets (Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets) on a group of overweight and obese subjects who were looking to lose weight. The diets produced only “modest” average weight loss of about 6.4 lbs (2.3 percent of original body weight) and found no statistically significant difference in weight loss for the four different diets.

People do a pretty good job of losing weight for about half a year, and then their weight tends to drift back toward their pre-diet number. The difficulty of sustaining weight loss can be seen in this figure taken from a 2-year randomized study of the Weight Watchers program:

Now, news like this is rather redundant. Diets programs like Atkins and Weight Watchers are nothing but hype—BIG wastes of time! According to Dr. Fuhrman diets like these are doomed to fail. He explains:

All those second rate diets fail, because without addressing adequate micronutrient density, people crave more food than their body requires for good health.

In spite of the more than $110 million consumers spend every day on diets and “reducing” programs (more than $40 billion per year), Americans are the most obese people in history. To be considered obese, more than one-third of a person’s body must be made up of fat. A whopping 34 percent of all Americans are obese, and the problem is getting worse, not better.

Unfortunately, most weight-loss plans either don’t work or offer only minor, usually temporary, benefits. There are plenty of “rules and counting” diets, diet drugs, high-protein programs, canned shakes, and other fads that might enable you to lose some weight for a period of time. The problem is that you can’t stay on these programs forever.

Here’s my UNEXPERT opinion. Ditch the “diet” and change your lifestyle. Hey, it worked for me—Healthy, with a Vengeance!

Plaque Rupturing Cholesterol

Last October, Dr. Jung San Huang of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine determined that cholesterol contributes to atherosclerosis; i.e. artery plaque. Reuters was on it:
Cholesterol is known to promote plaque build-up in blood vessels, which raises the risk of heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems. Now, new research suggests that cholesterol does this by reducing the activity of a chemical called transforming growth factor (TGF-beta).

"The finding that cholesterol causes atherosclerosis (plaques) by attenuating TGF-beta responsiveness in...cells could lead to the development of novel and effective therapies for atherosclerosis," senior investigator Dr. Jung San Huang told Reuters Health.
I know, not exactly new news, but important nonetheless. Now, get this. New research claims that total cholesterol is linked to the risk of plaque rupture. More from Reuters:
In individuals without symptoms who have thickened walls of the carotid arteries, two major arteries located on each side of the neck that provide blood and oxygen to the brain, the total blood levels of cholesterol are strongly associated with the presence a lipid, or fat-based," core within plaque, which have a vulnerability to rupture, researchers report.

"We know that a lipid core, made up of fatty dead tissue deposits, within an atherosclerotic plaque puts the plaque at risk for causing an adverse clinical event, such as a stroke if the plaque is in the carotid artery or a heart attack if the plaque is in the coronary artery," lead investigator Dr. Bruce A. Wasserman told Reuters Health.

To identify factors associated with a lipid core, Wasserman of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, and colleagues examined subjects taking part in a study of atherosclerosis, also referred to as hardening of the arteries. All of the subjects were free of cardiovascular disease and were among participants with the thickest carotid artery walls, as determined by ultrasound.
Okay, here’s a no-brainer—lower cholesterol! Not sure how? Dr. Fuhrman offers up some advice for getting your cholesterol down. Check it out:
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 population1…

…The dietary program I recommend for heart-disease reversal utilizes natural cholesterol-lowering therapies instead of drugs, which eliminates the risks of drug side effects. And because my dietary program is richer in fiber and nutrients than the typical vegetarian diet, my patients achieve spectacular reductions in cholesterol, body weight, and blood pressure. Fortunately, this approach also can help those who already have heart disease. They can avoid future heart attacks and reverse and remove atherosclerosis.
And trust me, not only is Dr. Fuhrman’s approach effective—it’s delicious! Oh, and for more on cholesterol, don’t forget about Wednesday’s post Low Cholesterol and Cancer-Risk.
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Low Cholesterol and Cancer-Risk

“Low cholesterol as a result of eating healthfully does NOT place one at higher risk of cancer,” exclaims Dr. Fuhrman in response to a recent Reuters report that low cholesterol has been linked to stomach cancer-risk. From the report:
Some studies have linked low cholesterol levels to higher death rates from cancer in general, Dr. Kouichi Asano, of Kyushu University, Fukuoka, and colleagues explain in the International Journal of Cancer. "With respect to gastric cancer, a limited number of studies suggest this inverse association, while others do not."

The researcher looked into this in a study involving some 2,600 residents of Hisayama, Japan, who were followed for 14 years.

Gastric cancers developed in 97 subjects. After accounting for age and gender, stomach cancer rates rose significantly with descending cholesterol level. For example, among subjects with the highest cholesterol levels, the gastric cancer rate was the equivalent of 2.1 cases per 1000 persons per year; among those with the lowest cholesterol, the rate was 3.9 per 1000 person-years.
I talked to Dr. Fuhrman at length about this study and he thinks it’s a bunch of hooey. He goes on to explains why you shouldn’t worry about low cholesterol and cancer if you’re consuming a superior diet. Take a look:
Low cholesterol levels around the world in healthy populations are linked lower rates of all cancers and that was confirmed in the China-Oxford-Cornell Study. That means if you eat a cardio-protective diet that earns you a low cholesterol level. That is indicative of a lower risk and protection against multiple cancers.

Cancer is a disease with a slow doubling time. It is in the body on the average of 8-12 years prior to diagnosis in the U.S. and 12-18 years prior to diagnosis in areas without modern screening and detection. Having cancer and having cancer even when it is not yet diagnosed lowers cholesterol levels. Having very low cholesterol, on a diet that you would expect to generate a high-cholesterol, is suspicious and it could potentially be a sign of an undiagnosed or early cancer.
Take my cholesterol numbers for example:

I’m not worried about getting cancer from low cholesterol—are you?

Our Foods, Less Nutrient-Dense?

A new study claims that many of our foods—fruits and veggies included—are losing their nutrients over time. Julie Deardorff of Julie’s Health Club is on it:
Here are more findings Halweil cited from Thomas' study that used data between 1940 to 1991:
  • "Spinach's potassium content dropped by 53 percent, its phosphorus by 70 percent, its iron by 60 percent and its copper by 96 percent."
  • "Substantial data show that in corn, wheat and soybeans, the higher the yield, the lower the protein and oil content."
  • "The higher tomato yields (in terms of harvest weight), the lower the concentration of vitamin C, levels of lycopene (the key antioxidant that make tomatoes red) and beta-carotene (a vitamin A precursor.)"
This is certainly fascinating stuff—reminds me of Dr. Fuhrman’s commentary on soil depletion in Eat to Live. Here’s an excerpt:
Soil depletion of nutrients is not the problem—our food choices are! 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.

Our government publishes nutritional analyses of foods. It takes food from a variety of supermarkets across the country, analyzes it, and publishes the results. Contrary to claims of many health-food and supplement enthusiasts, the produce grown in this country is nutrient-rich and high in trace minerals, especially beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.1 American produced grains, however, do not have the mineral density of vegetables. Grains and animal-feed crops grown in the southeastern states are the most deficient, but even in those states only a small percentage of crops are shown to be deficient in minerals.2

Thankfully, by eating a diet with a wide variety of natural plant foods, from a variety of soils, the threat of nutritional deficiency merely as a result of soil inadequacy is eliminated. Americans are not nutrient-deficient because of our depleted soil, as some nutritional-supplement proponents claim. Americans are nutrient-deficient because they do not eat a sufficient quantity of fresh produce. Over 90 percent of the calories consumed by Americans come from refined foods or animal products. With such a small percentage of our diet consisting of unrefined plant foods, how could we not become nutrient-deficient? Since more than 40 percent of the calories in the American diet are derived from sugar or refined grains, both of which are nutrient-depleted, Americans are severely malnourished. Refined sugars cause us to be malnourished in direct proportion to how much we consume them. They are partially to blame for the high cancer and heart attack rates we see in America.
I got to side with Dr. Fuhrman on this. First, let’s get people eating more healthy plant foods and then we’ll deal with the other stuff—what do you think?
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Health Points: Wednesday

On Monday, Pfizer took the doctor and inventor of the artificial heart off the mound as pitchman for the world's best- selling medication, after his credentials - in medicine and in his own exercise regimen - came under fire.

In the ads, which began their heavy rotation on TV and in print in 2006, Jarvik touts the benefits of Pfizer's cholesterol-lowering drug. As of Monday afternoon, Jarvik's photo still appeared on Pfizer's Web site advertising the drug.

But House Democrats said the ads could be misleading to consumers because Jarvik appeared to be giving medical advice, even though he is not licensed to practice medicine. While Jarvik holds a medical degree, he did not complete the certification requirements to practice medicine.
The study raises ethical questions about when it's acceptable to withhold perhaps futile treatment and let people die, and whether public health issues should ever be considered.

"Advanced dementia is a terminal illness," said study co-author Dr. Susan Mitchell, a senior scientist with the Harvard-affiliated Hebrew Senior Life Institute for Aging Research in Boston. "If we substituted 'end-stage cancer' for 'advanced dementia,' I don't think people would have any problem understanding this."

Many experts, including the Alzheimer's Association, consider Alzheimer's and other dementias to be fatal brain diseases. Patients die of infections such as pneumonia and other complications, but the underlying cause is damage to brain cells.
“Eating a big meal just before going to bed has been found in studies to elevate triglyceride levels in the blood for a period of time,” r. Louis J. Aronne, director of the comprehensive weight control program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said. A higher triglyceride level “has been associated with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance,” both related to weight gain, he said.

Dr. Aronne suggested a theoretical framework for why late meals may stay with you. “If you ate 500 calories during the day but walked around afterward, your muscles would be competing with your fat cells for the calories and could burn them up as energy for physical activity,” he said. “But if you consume it at bedtime, with no physical activity, the body has no choice but to store the calories away as fat.”
Heart disease in Europe claims over two million lives every year, and cost the European Union 192 million euros (285 million dollars) in 2006, a group of health organizations said Tuesday.

A statistical study by the European Society of Cardiology and the European Heart Network also shows huge differences across Europe in death rates due to coronary artery disease and strokes, the two main types of heart disease.

Several countries in eastern and northern Europe -- notably Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia and Estonia -- have mortality rates five to seven times higher than western European nations, especially France, Portugal and Switzerland, the study showed.
Another systematic review, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise in 2004. It looked at multiple studies and found that stretching “was not significantly associated with a reduction in total injuries,” but also concluded that more research was needed.

For now, many experts say that what may work is a quick warm-up, like low-impact aerobics or walking. It also helps to ease into an activity by starting off slow and then increasing speed, intensity or weight (for lifting).

Research suggests that stretching does not affect soreness or risk of injury during exercise.
Scientists are investigating other causes for the deterioration of brain function, including the deposition of a protein called amyloid in brain tissue. This process is thought to be accelerated by inflammation in the body.

Research shows that the foods we eat probably play a role in decreasing inflammation in the body. Taking this into account, the brain-healthy diet includes:

* Five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. This includes apples and onions for their flavonoids, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach for their carotenes, cooked tomatoes for lycopene (another carotene) and blueberries for their antioxidants.
Between August and October 2007 Food Standards Agency (FSA) surveyed 2627 people about if they had five or more portions of fruit and vegetables the day before being questioned. There were 58% positive answers, which shows an increase compared to 2006's 55%. However, the increase is too low to indicate healthy diet improvement.

Besides, the survey shows disparities between different social classes: AB class reported 71% positive answers, DE class reported 45% positive answers. This means, that higher social grades are more successful in diet management that lower ones.

Disparities also occur between men and women: 63% of surveyed women were able to manage five or more portions of fruit and vegetables compared to 54% men.
Dr. Kenneth R. Wilund and colleagues found that the overall gallstone weight was 2.5-fold greater in sedentary mice compared with mice that exercised. The researchers suggest that exercise may provide similar benefit to humans.

"The basic physiology of gallstone formation is pretty similar in humans and mice," Wilund told Reuters Health. Many of the proteins involved in the liver's cholesterol and bile acid metabolism are very similar, he said.

"So it is reasonable to suggest that the changes we believe were responsible for the reduction in gallstone formation in the exercise-trained mice could also occur in response to exercise training in humans," commented Wilund, of the University of Illinois, Urbana.

Super-Size that Organ Damage

If you ever see me eating fast-food, odds are I’ve got a gun pointed to my head. A quick burger and fries is a bad idea, and now, a new study has determined that fast food can stress the liver. ABC News reports:
In a new study, 18 slim, healthy Swedish men and women took on a fast food diet, eating meals from popular chains twice a day for four weeks while refraining from exercise.

At the end of the experiment, blood tests showed evidence that the subjects eating fast food had liver damage. They also had gained an average of 16 pounds.

The subjects were eating "an outrageously high amount" of calories, said Keith-Thomas Ayoob, associate professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Ayoob said the calorie intake was almost double the average daily caloric intake of most Americans, which is about 2,700 calories.

Studies have shown that a diet high in fat and calories — the magic recipe for delicious, greasy fast food — puts people at greater risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes, both of which can lead to cardiovascular diseases and heart failure.
How can a boardroom of fast-food executives live with themselves? I guess they just call the tobacco execs for support.

Some Decent Heart-Smart Tips...

Cathy Fitzgerald, a registered dietitian with the University of Michigan Health System, offers up some pretty good tips to stay heart-healthy in the supermarket. Here’s four I really liked:
  • Omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats have been shown to benefit the heart. Fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and trout are good sources of omega fats and are low in saturated fat.
  • Sterols and stanols. Plant sterols and stanols are cholesterol-lowering substances often added to products like margarine and salad dressings. Review the label carefully to make sure a product states it offers the cholesterol-lowering benefits of plant sterols and stanols.
  • Sodium. Look for phrases like "low sodium" or "reduced sodium." This is especially important in processed and canned foods. If a food is labeled as "reduced" in sodium, it has 25 percent less salt than the regular product.
  • Trans fats. Eat trans fats sparingly, as they raise your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol. Fried foods and processed foods that have a long shelf life are often loaded with them. The term "partially hydrogenated oil" on an ingredient's list indicates the food contains trans fats.
For the rest of the list, check out the report from HealthDay News: How to Be Heart Smart at the Supermarket.

Confusion Says: Diet Linked to Breast and Ovarian Cancer

This Reuters report got me excited—diet tied to breast and ovarian cancer risks—but when I started reading it, right away I found problem. Can you spot it? Take a look:
Women who eat diets rich in meat and dairy may have a decreased risk of breast cancer, while those who bulk up on fiber, fruits and vegetables show a lower risk of ovarian cancer.

The findings, published in the International Journal of Cancer, add to questions surrounding the role of diet in women's risk of the cancers…

…Using detailed dietary questionnaires, the researchers identified four common dietary patterns in the study group: an "animal product" pattern, which was heavy in meat and saturated fat, but also zinc, calcium and certain other nutrients; a "vitamins and fiber" pattern, which besides fiber was rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene and other nutrients found in fruits and vegetables; an "unsaturated fat" pattern that contained high amounts of vegetable and fish oils, as well as vitamin E; and a "starch-rich" pattern high in simple carbohydrates, vegetable protein and sodium.

Overall, the study found, women who followed a pattern rich in vitamins and fiber had a 23 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer than women who consumed the lowest amounts of those foods and nutrients.

On the other hand, the animal-product pattern was linked to a similar reduction in breast cancer risk.
Meat and dairy decrease cancer-risk—since when! Uh hello, The China Study? Here’s a quote from The China Study. Author T. Colin Campbell, PhD drops the hammer on milk:
What protein consistently and strongly promoted cancer? Casein, which makes up 87% of cow’s milk protein, promoted all stages of the cancer process. What type of protein did not promote cancer, even at high levels of intake? The safe proteins were from plants, including wheat and soy.
Okay, let’s see what he has to say about animal protein in general. My guess is the cattle ranchers of the world are going to be just a wee bit upset. More from Dr. Campbell:
Indian researchers had studied two groups of rats. In one group, they administered the cancer causing aflatoxin, then fed a diet that was composed of 20% protein, a level near what many of us consume in the West. In the other group, they administered the same amount of aflatoxin, but then fed a diet that was only composed of 5% protein. Incredibly, every single animal that consumed the 20% protein diet had evidence of liver cancer, and every single animal that consumed a 5% protein diet avoided liver cancer.
Make no mistake about it. Animal products are no friend to cancer-prevention. Now, Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Campbell are friends, so, here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s take on all 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.
Trust me, he’s not kidding. Plants are strong medicine! Take green vegetables for example. Leafy green or cruciferous vegetables are potent cancer-fighters. Check it out:
These vegetables also contain indole-3- carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity. Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables and the compounds they contain can do the following:
  • Halt the growth of breast cancer cells2
  • Dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer3
  • Prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells4
  • Inhibit the progression of lung cancer.5
Good stuff and the sooner you start eating lots of veggies—the better! Consider the plight of young women and breast cancer-risk. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
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.6
The newswires are a virtual ping-pong of what’s good for you and what’s not—drawn your own conclusions—here, this might help. From the European Journal of Cancer Prevention:
The aim of this study was to investigate whether polymorphisms in N-acetyl transferase 1 and 2 modify the association between meat consumption and risk of breast cancer. A nested case-control study was conducted among 24 697 postmenopausal women included in the 'Diet, Cancer and Health' cohort study (1993-2000). Three hundred and seventy-eight breast cancer cases were identified and matched to 378 controls. The incidence rate ratio (95% confidence interval) for breast cancer was 1.09 (1.02-1.17) for total meat, 1.15 (1.01-1.31) for red meat and 1.23 (1.04-1.45) for processed meat per 25 g daily increment in intake. Compared with slow acetylators, the IRR (95% confidence interval) among fast N-acetyl transferase 1 acetylators was 1.43 (1.03-1.99) and 1.13 (0.83-1.54) among intermediate/fast N-acetyl transferase 2 acetylators. Interaction analyses revealed that the positive associations between total meat intake and red meat intake and breast cancer risk were confined to intermediate/fast N-acetyl transferase 2 acetylators (Pinteraction=0.03 and 0.04). Our findings support an association between meat consumption and breast cancer risk and that N-acetyl transferase 2 polymorphism has a modifying effect on the association, indicating that the association is confined to only genetically susceptible women.
Alright, since we’ve already crossed over into nerd territory. Let’s look at one more study. It appeared 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.
Ultimately it’s your call, but I think the evidence is clear, eat more veggies and less meat. So, when you read headlines like this, you got to dig deeper and THEN see if you believe it.
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Hard to Digest...

This is neat. MSN Health & Fitness list the ten foods toughest to digest. I thought these three were particularly relevant. Take a look:

Raw Onion
Onions and their cousins like garlic, leeks and shallots are filled with a variety of phytonutrient compounds—some of which seem to offer healthy, heart-protective benefits, and some of which cause stomach distress (or it could be the same compounds that do both). Cooking them seems to deactivate some of the problem-causing compounds. But on the chance that you’re also deactivating some of the good stuff, dietician Mary Ryan, suggests using mix of cooked and raw so that you can reap the benefits without suffering the consequences.

Broccoli and Raw Cabbage
These fiber- and nutrient-rich vegetables are incredibly healthy, but they are also well-known for causing gas buildup in the gut. Fortunately, the solution is simple. “Cooking them—or even just blanching them slightly—will deactivate the sulfur compounds that cause gas,” explains Ryan.

Beans have such a notorious reputation for causing gastric distress that they even spawned their own rhyme (come on, you all know it! “Beans, beans …”). And there is some truth to it. The enzyme needed to break down beans is found only in our stomach bacteria. And if you don’t routinely eat beans, you might not have enough of this enzyme to comfortably digest them. The result, of course, is gas and bloating. Cooking beans in soup can help—the extra fluid will help digest the large amounts of fiber beans contain, and the extra cooking time will start breaking the beans down even before you eat them. By adding beans to your diet gradually, you will help build up the enzyme necessary to digest them without issue.
I like that they don’t discourage people from eating these veggies. Instead, they suggest eating more of them! Now, here’s the other seven courtesy of HealthandMan:
Fried Chicken Nuggets: Battered and deep fried spell trouble for just about any food you throw down your gullet.

Spicy Foods: Can cause heartburn due to esophageal irritation.

Chocolate: Causes your esophageal sphincter to relax allowing stomach acids to creep back up (uh-h-h-h-h, He said Sphincter).

Citrus Juices: Extra acids in the stomach cause irritating stomach aches.

Mashed Potatoes: Can be a nuisance to lactate intolerable persons due to added milk.

Ice Cream: Goes down so good…but there is that whole lactose problem again.

Sugar Free Gum: Another culprit of gas…I never knew. That explains a lot.
You know this list of seven looks a lot like the typical standard American diet to me. No wonder why so many people are grumpy—they’re bloated!

Vitamin Water, Extra Calorie Water

I’m not a sports drink guy, so all this hype surrounding vitamin waters is lost on me. The CBS Early Show explains why these designer waters come with a price. Check it out:
Registered dietician Keri Glassman cautioned Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith Friday that, "You see all these waters out there loaded with vitamins and minerals. The problem is, they're also loaded with lots of sugar. A lot of these bottles of water have about 150 calories. We're over-consuming calories as a nation…

…As for the vitamins in the designer waters, many aren't water-soluble, Glassman points out, meaning the body won't retain them, anyhow. And it's not worth the added calories just to get the ones the body does retain.
Now, since we’re talking about sports drinks. Here’s my latest gripe, the brainlessness that is protein water. These "fitness experts" are rambling about it:

These protein-based magic potions make my eyes roll. Dr. Fuhrman thinks they’re a bunch of mumbo-jumbo too. His thoughts:
The average American consumes about fifty percent more protein than the recommended daily amount. Yet we often see—in addition to misinformed athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and bodybuilders—businessmen and women, homemakers, and those seeking to lose weight turning to protein powders, drinks, and nutritional bars in their quest for even more protein.

It is true that resistance training and endurance workouts can break down muscle protein and increase our need for protein to fuel repair and growth. But the increased need of protein is proportional to the increased need for calories burned with the exercise. As your appetite increases, you increase your caloric intake accordingly, and your protein intake increases proportionally. If you meet those increased caloric demands from heavy exercise with an ordinary assortment of natural plant foods—vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts, which contain more than 50 grams of protein per 1000 calories—you will get the precise amount of extra protein you need.
The worst is watching people finish up a grueling run and then stop to choke down some goopy gritty brownish mixture—YUCK!

How's Your Meat Habit...

We all know Michael Pollan is a leading voice in nutrition news. I’ve blogged about him a bunch of times in the past. Have a look:
Now, Lloyd Alter of TreeHugger is pondering something. He wants to know if Michaels Pollan’s opinions on food have changed your meat eating habits. Take the survey:

I answered vegan or vegetarian, even though I’m neither, but out of those choices that best describes me. Anyway, check out the results, very encouraging:

Hopefully things like the recent beef recall really do factor into people’s decision making—it be quite foreboding if it didn’t.

Poverty's Diet Strain

Poverty is more than a fiscal problem. It can also affect health. Canadian researchers have determined that poor households end up eating nutritionally risky diets. Alan Mozes HealthDay News reports:
The new study is the first to show that food insecurity directly translates into poor nutrition. It also suggests that in such homes, adults and teens, rather than very young children, are the most likely to be subsisting on diets low in vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables, grains and meat.

"Over the long term, [food insecurity] could be expected to precipitate and complicate diet-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease," cautioned study co-author, Sharon Kirkpatrick, a doctoral candidate in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto…

…The study highlights similar estimates for 2006, suggesting that 12.6 million U.S. households experience food insecurity, while 4.6 million have one or more family members going without food. Recent Canadian research indicates that just over 9 percent of households are food-insecure.

Against such numbers, Kirkpatrick and Tarasuk set out to analyze eating habits, detailed in interviews conducted by Statistics Canada between 2004 and 2005. The survey included 35,000 Canadians between the ages of 1 and 70 drawn from all socioeconomic groups.
The poor—I hate using that term—do take quite the health hit. It comes up in the news all the time. Let’s look at some previous reports. First, from the Associated Press, Why are U.S. Kids Obese. Here’s a bit:
"The environment that they live in matters," said Lisa Powell of the University of Illinois at Chicago, who studied restaurant and food store options in the neighborhoods and food-related television advertising aimed at teens.

She said when people cannot get to supermarkets but instead must rely on the convenience stores that proliferate in many poor neighborhoods, families end up eating less healthy food.
Next up, Paige Parker of The Oregonian tells us why poor kids are at a high-risk of packing on extra summer vacation pounds. Take a look:
A new study highlighted the summer weight-gain phenomenon among young children. Researchers in the Midwest looked at the body mass index, which relates height to weight, of 5,380 students. They followed them for two years, from kindergarten through first grade, and found the average index grew more than twice as quickly over the summer than during the school year.

Children of the working poor may be especially at risk because they are left indoors while their parents are at jobs. While at home, kids eat and drink what they want, says Dr. Jennifer Bass, a pediatrician who chairs a national pediatricians special-interest group on obesity. Bass estimates as many as 30 percent of her patients are overweight.
Now Randy Dotinga of HealthDay News explains that low-income children face a heighten chance of being obese, even before they are out of diapers. Check it out:
"The message is that we're seeing overweight and obesity at younger ages than we thought possible," said study author Rachel Tolbert Kimbro, a health and society scholar at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. "It's a particular problem in lower-income communities, and it's something we need to keep an eye on and prevent as much as possible."

According to Kimbro, there's been little research into weight problems among very young children. But, studies have shown high rates of obesity among older children and teenagers.

In the new study, the researchers examined surveys of parents who had children from 1998 to 2000 in 20 large U.S. cities. The parents lived in urban areas and were poor.
Finally, this report looks out way the poor and immigrants living in New York City are waist-deep in the diabetes epidemic. More from N.R. Kleinfield of The New York Times:
New York, perhaps more than any other big city, harbors all the ingredients for a continued epidemic. It has large numbers of the poor and obese, who are at higher risk. It has a growing population of Latinos, who get the disease in disproportionate numbers, and of Asians, who can develop it at much lower weights than people of other races.

It is a city of immigrants, where newcomers eating American diets for the first time are especially vulnerable. It is also yielding to the same forces that have driven diabetes nationally: an aging population, a food supply spiked with sugars and fats, and a culture that promotes overeating and discourages exercise.
Frightening news, no doubt it compounds when you consider that most low-income families either have limited or no insurance. Makes you wonder how much better the state of American healthcare would be if everyone starting eating a nutrient-dense diet!

Women: Strokes Up

Not good. Apparently strokes have tripled among middle-aged women in the United States. And it appears obesity is to blame. Marilynn Marchione of the Associated Press reports:
Nearly 2 percent of women ages 35 to 54 reported suffering a stroke in the most recent federal health survey, from 1999 to 2004. Only about half a percent did in the previous survey, from 1988 to 1994.

The percentage is small because most strokes occur in older people. But the sudden spike in middle age and the reasons behind it are ominous, doctors said in research presented Wednesday at a medical conference.

It happened even though more women in the recent survey were on medicines to control their cholesterol and blood pressure — steps that lower the risk of stroke.

Women's waistlines are nearly two inches bigger than they were a decade earlier, and that bulge corresponds with the increase in strokes, researchers said.
This news is not to be taken lightly, and, this graphic really drives it home:

Now, improving your diet can help. Here Dr. Fuhrman talks about stroke-preventing monounsaturated fats and essential fats from plants:
There is no longer any question about the importance of fruits and vegetables in our diet. The greater quantity and assortment of fruits and vegetables consumed, the lower the incidence of heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.1

The best fats are monounsaturated fats and essential fats (omega-3 and omega-6) present in whole, natural plant foods, including avocados, olives, and raw nuts and seeds. Studies continue to show that consumption of raw nuts protect against both heart attack and stroke, without the risks of increasing heart disease and cancer, as is the case with the high consumption of animal-origin fats.2 When the fats you consume are from whole food, rather than oil, you gain nature’s protective package: a balance of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytonutrients.
So come on ladies—shape up your diet! We need you. We—I mean men—can’t be trusted to run the world by ourselves. Eat your veggies!
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Salty Kids...

Most people don’t realize it, but, salt is everywhere—not just the salt shaker. Even foods like canned vegetables are packed with sodium. You’d do well to avoid them, even if you’re already eating a nutrient-dense diet. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
A large body of data illustrates that populations with low salt consumption have lower levels of blood pressure compared to populations with higher salt intake. In Japan and China, salt intakes are often as high as eighteen grams or more per day. Hypertension (high blood pressure) and stroke are the major causes of premature death in these nations. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that in the United States, the man salt intake is eight grams per day. This high intake of sodium assures that we have an elderly population with high blood pressure.
The Japanese and Chinese may eat a lot of vegetables, but they’re retarding the benefits with all that salt. And just what are drawbacks of high salt intake? Dr. Fuhrman lists some, take a look:
High salt intake, and resultant high blood pressure later in life, does not merely increase the risk and incidence of stroke. It also can lead to kidney failure, congestive heart failure, and heart attack.
Now, it appears researchers are very concerned about all this salt—especially in regard to kids—a new study hopes to curb childhood obesity by cutting the salt. Jamie Stengle of the Associated Press reports:
Kids who load up on salty meals and snacks get thirsty, and too often they turn to calorie-filled sodas. So maybe cutting back on the salt is a good way to cut the calories. That's the idea coming from a British study published Wednesday in an American Heart Association journal…

… Not only could less salt translate to fewer soft drinks and therefore fewer calories, but a modest reduction in salt has already been shown to lower blood pressure, which increases the risk of later-in-life heart attack and stroke, researchers say…

…The study suggested that cutting in half the amount of salt British children consume - a decrease of about half a teaspoon a day - would lead to an average reduction of about 18 ounces of sugar-sweetened soft drinks per week.
Again, Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of salt. “I recommend that no salt at all be added to any food,” he once said, and, he really wants you to keep it away from your kids. Here are his five most dangerous things to feed your child, have a look:
Butter and cheese: full of saturated fat and fat-delivered chemical pollutants

Potato chips and French fries: rich in trans fat, salt, and carcinogenic acrylamides

Doughnuts and other trans fat-containing sweets:
rich in trans fat, sugar, and other artificial substances

Sausages, hot dogs, and other luncheon meats: contain N-nitroso compounds that are potent carcinogens

Pickled, smoked, or barbequed meats: places you at risk of both stomach cancer and high blood pressure.
What do all these things have in common—other than being disgusting—salt! In fact, I bet if you check the wrapper on those sweets and doughnuts you’ll find an inordinate amount of salt—what do you think?

Food Scoring Guide: How Nutrients Control Your Appetite

Hunger is a complicated thing. It is controlled by a system of messengers—hormones, nerves, and neurotransmitters. When your body’s micronutrient needs are not met, you can be driven to eat more calories than you need for optimal health.

Because of poor diet and health habits, many people experience uncomfortable symptoms a few hours after eating. This leads them to eat too often—and too much—as a way of preventing the discomfort. The symptoms are similar to those drug addicts feel when they are too long with their “fix” Like drug addicts, people with food addictions feel poorly after digestion because their bodies are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Since eating again (akin to taking another “fix”) makes the discomfort go away, these detoxification symptoms are mistaken for hunger. I call these symptoms “toxic hunger.” Toxic hunger goes away when you establish the habit of eating a high-nutrient diet.

Symptoms of Toxic Hunger
  • Shakes
  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Stomach fluttering
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Mental confusion
Be forewarned. Eating healthfully may make the symptoms of toxic hunger feel worse temporarily. When you stop drinking coffee or discontinue other harmful habits, you may experience withdrawal or detox symptoms for a week or so. However, in short time these long-standing symptoms will disappear, and you will not be driven to overeat anymore. You quickly will become comfortable eating less, and you will no longer desire the extra calories you used to crave to palliate unpleasant symptoms

What "Real Men" Eat

I’m a guy’s guy. I lift weights, I watch football, and, I can quote lines from The God Father, but, I don’t eat what many would call "manly" food. I eat spinach over steak and blueberries over bratwurst. In fact, here’s what I ate yesterday:
Chocolate pudding made with bananas, seeds, nuts, coco-powder, avocado, spinach, lettuce, dates, and unsweetened almond milk. Plus a shot of pomegranate juice!

A small salad; Romaine lettuce, carrots, tomato, red onion, avocado, with some random seed-based dressed I came up with, and a nectarine.

Some water sautéed broccoli rabe and sliced garlic with a tablespoon of olive oil and a bunch of garlic powder. Oh, and I had a banana later in the evening too.
Now, I ate all this and you’ll still find me shouting at the basketball game on TV and playing fantasy football. Speaking of sports, check out how these uber-men of the NBA and MLB are shaping up of their diets. From Sally Squires of The Washington Post:
Washington Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler, have hired personal chefs to assist them at the dining table. "Your body is your temple, so you want to keep it as fresh as possible," Butler says. "Eating right gives you an edge on your opponent."

Washington Nationals relief pitcher Ray King has learned that lesson, too. Concerned that extra pounds were throwing him off balance on the mound, he changed his habits during the offseason. Not only did King work out, he also stopped drinking soda and swapped greasy, fast-food burgers for salmon…

...The Pittsburgh Pirates first added rice and beans to their menus when Dominican-born players requested them. The low-calorie, high-protein meals proved so popular that they are now standard fare. That move paved the way for other foods when the team opened Pirate City, its new training facility. Now vegetable kebabs, stir-fries, steamed vegetables and a salad bar with a wide range of greens are popular items, Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
I’m not a Wizards fan, but Gilbert Arenas is the man! Kansas City Chiefs tight-end Tony Gonzalez is pretty cool too. He went vegetable-based and had lots of success: Gonzo Gone Veggie.

Recalled Beef Already Down the Hatch...

Again, whether you eat beef or not, this should give you the creeps. It seems that recalled Californian beef we learned about yesterday, has most likely already been eaten. CNN explains:
Federal officials are trying to track down the 143 million pounds of beef recalled Sunday, but they say that most of it has probably been eaten.

Keith Williams, a U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman, said investigators have found no cases of illness related to the recalled meat…

…Dick Raymond, the undersecretary of agriculture for food safety said cattle that had passed pre-slaughter inspections but then lost the ability to walk were slaughtered without being re-examined for chronic illness by an inspector, a practice he said violated federal regulations and had been going on for at least two years….

…Raymond said the average age of the cattle involved is 5 to 7 years, meaning most of them were probably born long after a 1997 ban on a type of cattle feed suspected to cause the disease. He said the incidence of the disease in U.S. cattle is "extremely rare."

It's important to keep downed cattle out of the food supply because the animals have weaker immune systems and sometimes wallow in feces, raising the risk of contamination, according to The Associated Press.
I don’t eat beef, but my friends do, my family does. I don’t want them exposed to “sick meat.” This is a food-supply issue—it transcends carnivore, vegan, or vegetarian hang-ups—shame on Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company!

Lick My Ad!

Welch’s Grape Juice has gone insane. They’re actually encouraging people to LICK their new advertisement in People magazine—the stupidity is hurting my brain—Jim Foster of Diet Blog doesn’t like it either. Check it out:
Welch's Grape Juice has somehow been embedded into a full-page advert.

The front of the advertisement shows a huge bottle of the juice, while the back has a strip that peels up and off, with text that reads: "For a TASTY fact, remove & LICK." (via Wall Street Journal.)

Apparently if the sticker has been lifted - then someone else has already run their tongue over the page.

Scented ads are one thing - but saliva on magazines is another thing altogether.
Here's the ad:
Great! Looks like I’m done thumbing through the magazines at the barber shop—eek! In short, ditch the juice. Just eat some darn grapes!

Prevent Cancer, You Need Nutrients

I asked Dr. Fuhrman for a quote on cancer once and here’s what he said, “Cancer is a fruit and vegetable deficiency disease.” Is he right? Wait! Before you decide, let’s let him drop some more knowledge on us. Check it out:
Not surprisingly, fruits and vegetables are the two foods with the best correlation with longevity in humans. Not whole-wheat bread, not bran, not even a vegetarian diet shows as powerful a correlation as a high level of fresh fruit and raw green salad consumption.1 The National Cancer Institute recently reported on 337 different studies that all showed the same basic information.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t alone in his thinking—eat your fruits and veggies—because a new study has determined that a lack of vitamins leads to cancer. Its over at EMaxHealth, here’s a peek:
Bruce Ames examined how junk food stuffed with calories causes micronutrient deficiency and leads to diseases. Lack of micronutrients damages DNA and cells, causing weakness to immune system. This leads to numerous diseases, mostly cancer.

"DNA damage increases on deficiency of each of the 15 micronutrients that have been examined in humans, primary human cells in culture or in rodents," said Ames. "These deficiencies are associated with cancer."

Among common lacking vitamins professor mentions Vitamin E, among common minerals magnesium. About 56% of US population lack magnesium, about 93% lack Vitamin E. Micronutrient deficiency commonly occurs among poor, teenagers, elderly and obese people. African Americans generally lack Vitamin D.
Okay. I’ve got to be honest. The length of my attention-span could fit into a thimble—I love bullet points. So, if you’re like me. Dr. Fuhrman serves up four quick reasons to eat lots and lots of fruits and veggies. Take a look:
  1. Vegetables and fruits protect against all types of cancers if consumed in large enough quantities. Hundreds of scientific studies document this. The most prevalent cancers in our country are mostly plant-food-deficiency diseases.
  2. Raw vegetables have the most powerful anti-cancer properties of all foods.
  3. Studies on the cancer-reducing effects of vitamin pills containing various nutrients (such as folate, vitamin C and E) get mixed reviews; sometimes they show a slight benefit, but most show no benefit. Occasionally studies show that taking isolated nutrients is harmful, as was discussed earlier regarding beta-carotene.
  4. Beans, in general, not just soy, have additional anti-cancer benefits against reproductive cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer.2
See! Fruits and fruits and veggies are loaded with those ever-necessary vitamins and minerals. Heck, they sure beat popping some random multi-vitamin and then gobbling up the standard American diet. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Though Americans would prefer to take a pill so they could continue eating what they are accustomed to, it won’t give you the protection you are looking for. Consume high levels of fruits, green vegetables, and beans. This is the key to both weight loss and better health.
And here’s the great part—not to sound like a commercial—but eating tons of whole fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and beans is awesome! Once you experience it, there’s no better feeling than eating for your health—yippee!
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HealthDay News: Irritable Bowel News

Can a healthy diet fix your irritable bowel syndrome? I mean, we already know that it works wonders for things like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, cholesterol, but what about those angry bowels? Take it away Dr. Fuhrman:
I also see a large number of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some feel better within three days of following this diet, although others take a few weeks or longer to adjust to the comparatively large amount of fiber. Both animal products and flour products are triggers for bowel symptoms in many individuals.1
Let me let you in on a little secret. Before I took my health back with a vengeance, I had some serious IBS, but now, I’m as regular as the mail. Not convinced it can work for you? Okay, fine! Dr. Fuhrman, if you will:
British researchers have documented that increased production of methane and other gaseous products representing increased fermentation in the colon from meats, dairy products, and refined grains correlate with bowel complaints. However, there are other mechanism by which a natural-food diet high in nutrients and fiber reestablishes normal gut motility and tone. It can take time to undo a lifetime of wrong eating; most of my patients need three months to see improvement.
Now, since we’re talking about IBS. HealthDay News has a couple interesting articles worth mentioning. The first, new research contends you can manage irritable bowel syndrome with your mind. Karen Pallarito reports:
Recent studies show that using one's own thoughts in a process called cognitive behavioral therapy may help ease symptoms. Likewise, using hypnosis to visualize the pain and imagine it seeping away can be a powerful treatment strategy, too.

"Research indicates that the probability of achieving benefits is excellent with either approach, even for patients who haven't improved from standard medical care," said Olafur S. Palsson, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders…

… Doctors generally advise patients to avoid certain foods that may exacerbate symptoms. Several different medications may be recommended for relieving abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation. But these approaches don't always provide adequate relief.

"For some people, medications and dietary changes are the perfect match, but most of our patients -- the great, great majority of patients -- have not responded to medications and dietary changes," said Jeffrey M. Lackner, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York, and a behavioral medicine specialist whose research focuses on gastrointestinal disorders, particularly IBS.
Makes you wonder what kind of “dietary changes” they’re referring to. My money is on NOT a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet. Anyway, check out this report linking IBS to allergy disorders and depression. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News is on it:
In this study, researchers looked at 125 adults and found the likelihood of IBS was much higher in patients with allergic eczema (3.85 times) and seasonal allergic rhinitis (2.67) times. They also found that IBS was 2.56 times more likely in people with depression.

"The reported presence of allergic dermatitis was highly correlated to the presence of IBS in our population," the study authors wrote. "In atopic disease, allergic dermatitis is the first step of the 'atopic' march.' In early childhood, AE (allergic eczema) is frequently associated with gastrointestinal dysfunction and food allergy. A clinical history of AE may be a useful marker for patients with gut hypersensitivity and atopic IBS."
I take all of this as living proof that switching to a health-promoting diet—loaded with whole fruits and veggies—is the REAL way to go. What do you think?
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A Very Meaty Recall...

A California meat-packer has announced the largest U.S. beef recall. Reuters reports:
Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co voluntarily recalled all of its beef produced since February 1, 2006. USDA said Hallmark violated rules against the slaughter of "downer cattle" -- that is, animals too ill to walk.

"This is the largest beef recall in the history of the United States, unfortunately," said Agriculture Undersecretary Richard Raymond.

Based in Chino, California, Hallmark/Westland has been closed since early February. Company officials were not immediately available for comment.

The Humane Society of the United States showed videotapes on January 30 showing workers at the plant using several abusive techniques to make animals stand up and pass a pre-slaughter inspection. These included ramming cattle with forklift blades and using a hose to simulate the feeling of drowning.
Whether you eat beef or not, do you really want to eat sick beef?

Trans-Fat Free, Yeah Right!

A lot of food producers now claim their products are “trans-fat free,” but health experts are still urging consumers to be leery of those nutrition facts. Amy Norton of Reuters explains:
In a sampling of packaged foods at a local Wal-Mart, researchers at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis found that a majority of margarines and butters, cookies, cakes and snack foods had gone trans fat free.

However, a number of products still had substantial amounts of the fat, the researchers report in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

For example, three of 40 brands of chips, crackers and popcorn contained at least 3 grams of trans fat per serving, according to the products' labels.

So, despite the food industry's move toward cutting trans fat, consumers still need to check labels, according to the researchers, led by graduate student Matthew J. Albers.

Trans fat has become notorious because it not only raises "bad" LDL cholesterol, but also lowers heart-protective HDL cholesterol. The main source of trans fat in the diet is the partially hydrogenated oil used in many commercially prepared baked and fried foods -- including cookies, crackers, chips, breads and french fries.
These shyster tactics are pretty typical, but don’t take my word for it—again, I’m just a dopey blogger—Dr. Fuhrman’s friend Jeff Novick, MS, RD explains. Watch and learn:

Don’t worry there’s not a lot of deceptive labeling going on in the produce isle.

Your Diet is a Failure!

Diet Blog serves up 5 Reasons Why Your Diet Is Failing. Here’s my favorite reason:
What Are You Drinking?
Did you know that calories from beverages make up a massive 22% of the average American diet (see more). I have a friend who eats small meals - thinking he's watching his weight - but then consumes hundreds of calories from beer.

Take time now to examine how many liquid calories you consume.
Think about it. How many chronic dieters do you know who literally go belly up at the bar?

The Onion: Don't Skimp on the...

The ever-clever Onion reports, that those foods that most Americans “don’t skimp on” or only want “just a silver” of, can in fact screw up our health. Take it away Onion:
People who frequently start sentences with the phrase "don't skimp on the" are 40 percent more likely to develop some form of heart disease. "Use of the phrase poses a very serious health risk, especially when the speaker is in close proximity to mayonnaise," said Dr. Keith Logsdon, a leading cardiovascular researcher and chief author of the study. "We have also found data suggesting that the seemingly benign utterance 'just a sliver' could be equally detrimental to heart health, particularly when used three to four times in the span of an hour."
Granted, it might be fake news, but hopefully it’ll make you think twice before you dollop the Daisy:

“Clog your arteries with a dollop, a dollop, a dollop!” Eek!

Diet Differences, Love on the Rocks

I’m single and believe it or not, one of my date criteria is diet. If you’re a meat and potatoes kind of girl, it’s not going work. Now, there's more to this, Kate Murphy of The New York Times proves that diet differences can muck up a relationship. Take a look:
Ben Abdalla, 42, a real estate agent in Boca Raton, Fla., said he preferred to date fellow vegetarians because meat eaters smell bad and have low energy.

Lisa Romano, 31, a vegan and school psychologist in Belleville, N.Y., said she recently ended a relationship with a man who enjoyed backyard grilling. He had no problem searing her vegan burgers alongside his beef patties, but she found the practice unenlightened and disturbing.

Her disapproval “would have become an issue later even if it wasn’t in the beginning,” Ms. Romano said. “I need someone who is ethically on the same page.”

While some eaters may elevate morality above hedonism, others are suspicious of anyone who does not give in to the pleasure principle.

June Deadrick, 40, a lobbyist in Houston, said she would have a hard time loving a man who did not share her fondness for multicourse meals including wild game and artisanal cheeses. “And I’m talking cheese from a cow, not that awful soy stuff,” she said.
Okay, here’s a true story. Last spring I met a nice girl. Smart, sweet, cute, sexy—perfect! Now, I later found out she was a total basket case, but here’s another list of reasons why I had to break it off. Brace yourself:
  • Drake’s Coffee Cakes
  • Pizza
  • Chicken Parmesan
  • Coca-Cola
  • Lipton Brisk
  • Sara Lee Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Sun Chips
  • Cheese
  • White Bread
And the list goes on. The truth is I can’t be with somebody that eats that junk—I just can’t. Here’s my barometer. If a girl eats mushrooms, chances are she’s my kind of gal. So, if you’re 20-something, love mushrooms, and hate cheese—I’m yours!

Health Points: Friday

A recent review of scientific research suggests cranberries may offer a natural defense against the development of this dangerous disease. Researchers feel that many of these results are due to the fact that cranberries contain a greater concentration of antioxidants than other commonly consumed fruit and that these nutrients may be working together to offer even greater benefits.

The report conducted at Tufts University, and published in Nutrition Reviews, found that cranberries offered a range of different benefits that work to promote cardiovascular health. These benefits include effects on cholesterol as well as on blood pressure and the development of blood clots, all established risk factors for heart disease.
One in five of all male deaths and one in 20 of all female deaths between the ages of 30 and 69 will be caused by smoking, said the study, conducted by a team of doctors and scientists from India, Canada and Britain and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"The results we found surprised us, because smokers in India start later in life and smoke fewer cigarettes or 'bidis' than those in Europe or America, but the risks are as extreme as in the West," said Prabhat Jha of the Center for Global Health Research at the University of Toronto, the lead author of the study.
On average, the students gained 14 pounds, added 2.6 inches to their waistline, and padded their body fat percentage by 3.7% during the study.

Blood samples provided by the students throughout the study show a spike in levels of the liver enzyme alanine aminotransferase (ALT). ALT levels rose quickly -- typically within a week -- after the students started the fast-food diet.
Tuna is one of those annoying pregnancy foods that might be really, really good or really, really bad for the baby.

Instead of driving yourself crazy (like I did!) trying to guess the proper amount to ingest without putting increasing your mercury level to the point of now return, you can use the handy dandy Tuna Calculator that will give you a suggested weekly serving based on your weight.
PCC Natural Markets is prohibiting suppliers from using cloned animal products in their food. It also wants them to disclose where ingredients are from and what they mean by terms such as "natural flavors."

These moves come months after the Seattle chain eliminated high-fructose corn syrup from its eight stores and began identifying the countries of origin for its meat, seafood, peanuts and fresh and frozen produce.
According to the research, red wine and alcohol consumption were found to have virtually identical impact on health, with one drink of either substance helping to reduce the work rate of the heart.

The findings, which are published in the February edition of the American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology, could challenge the perception that polyphenol content of red wine is responsible for cardiovascular benefits.

Red wine has been linked to extended survival rates of mice and prevented the negative effects of high-calorie diets, in other testing, due to the presence of the polyphenol, resveratrol.
"You're in a dark, gloomy place," said Bruce Hollis, a leading vitamin D researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina. "In the winter, you could stand outside naked for five hours and nothing is going to happen."

Increased use of sunscreen has turned a seasonal shortfall into a year-round condition for many people. A recent survey in Britain found 87 percent of adults tested during winter, and more than 60 percent in summer, had subpar vitamin D levels. Doctors in many parts of the world — including California — report a resurgence of childhood rickets, soft bones caused by lack of vitamin D.
Tobacco giants Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco actively collude with cigarette smugglers to gain a foothold in lucrative developing markets, campaigners alleged on Wednesday.

"Transnationals benefit in a number of ways from the illicit trade in tobacco," said Kathyrn Mulvey, director of international policy with the lobby group Corporate Accountability International (CAI).

Food Scoring Guide: Weight Loss and Cholesterol

When you drop body fat, your cholesterol lowers somewhat. But when you reduce animal protein intake and increase vegetable protein intake, your cholesterol lowers dramatically. In fact, when a high-fiber, high-nutrient, vegetable-heavy diet was tested in a scientific investigation, it was found to lower cholesterol even more than most cholesterol-lowering drugs.1 As you eat more vegetables and fewer animal products, the nutrient density of your diet will go up automatically. Vegetables not only contain adequate protein, they have no saturated fat or cholesterol, and they are higher in nutrients per calorie than any other food. You can achieve your ideal weight and slow the aging process with a high phytochemical intake. So eat more vegetables!

The cholesterol-lowering effects of vegetables and beans (high-protein foods) are without question. However, they contain an assortment of additional heart disease-fighting nutrients independent of their ability to lower cholesterol.2 They fight cancer, too. Cancer incidence worldwide has an inverse relation with fruit and vegetable intake.3 If you increase your intake 80%, the risk of getting cancer drops 80%.
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Healthy Eating: Don't Deceive Your Kids

Want your kids to eat healthy? It’s actually pretty simple. Parents, it starts with you. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Setting an example supported by both parents is the most important and most effective way for your children to develop a healthy attitude toward food.
Don’t worry. It’s not as rigorous as you might think. You’ve just got to roll with the punches. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
As parents, we must be consistent, but not perfect. Likewise, it is okay for the children to be consistent, but not perfect either.
Now, one thing’s for sure, this idea of “sneaking” healthy food into junk food is pretty dumb. Mark Bittman of Bitten doesn’t like it:
I sincerely hope that the moronic idea of hiding food that kids don’t like in foods they do — see “The Sneaky Chef” and “Deceptively Delicious” — is a passing phase. (The funniest thing about these two books is that the public uproar wasn’t over their approach to cooking but over which author had the idea first.) This does a real disservice to kids and — not that this is my bailiwick — is evidence that today’s parents will do anything to avoid a confrontation.
Mark’s not the only one. Well’s Tara Parker-Pope is not impressed by it either. Here’s a snippet from my interview with her:
Let's talk about that Jessica Seinfeld book, “Deceptively Delicious,” it is one of the single worst things to happen to childhood nutrition ever.

This idea that we have to hide vegetables from our kids is so wrong. Our job isn't just to inject nutrients into their little bodies. It’s about teaching them about healthful eating. Why are we so puritanical about vegetables, serving them steamed and flavorless? We make our good food taste really good. We should make our good-for-you food taste really good too.
Again, instead of singling out the kids, the whole family should start eating healthfully. Back to Dr. Fuhrman:
No rules only for children. If the parents are not willing to follow the rules set for the house, they should not be imposed on the children.
Veggies are great, but a sugary brownie packed with carrots doesn’t sound healthy to me—what do you think?

Pepsi in the Raw?

Soft drinks are bad—I know, duh—between the corn syrup and caffeine, what’s good about them! But what about an all “natural” soda? Times Online introduces Pepsi Raw:
Pepsi Raw, which will initially only be launched in the UK, is the first drink the multi-national cola brand has added to its range in more than ten years.

Pepsi claims the new drink is made from natural ingredients and contains no artificial preservatives, colours, flavourings or sweeteners and that by replacing corn syrup with cane sugar, it has managed to reduce the calorie content of a 300ml bottle from around 120 calories to around 90 calories.

The drink apple extract, plain caramel colouring, coffee leaf, tantaric acid from grapes, gum arabic from acacia trees, cane sugar and sparkling water. It is paler in colour and less fizzy than other cola brands.
Be sure to check out the taste challenge. Here it is:

Lest anyone think cane sugar is an upgrade. Most soymilks and nut milks are sweetened with it. Put it to you this way, if you check the fridge in Dr. Fuhrman’s office, you’ll only find “unsweetened” soymilk. Actually, take a look at this:

That’s my refrigerator right now and as you can see there’s no cane juice in there.

Clots and Clots of Heart News

“What we eat during our childhood affects our lifetime cholesterol levels,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. Makes sense, after all. You are what you eat! Here’s more from Dr. Fuhrman:
There is considerable evidence that the lipoprotein abnormalities (high LDL and low HDL) that are linked to heart attack deaths in adulthood begin to develop in early childhood and that higher cholesterol levels eventually get “set” by early food habits.1
If you’re building a house and you lay a bad foundation, over time, bad things will happen. Need proof? A new study has uncovered lots of young adults with clogged arteries. Reuters reports:
The researchers said their findings suggest a four-decade-long trend of declines in heart disease may be about to come to a screeching halt.

They studied autopsy reports from younger people in one Minnesota county who died from accidents, suicide and murder and found most had clogged arteries and more than 8 percent had significant disease…

"…The dietary quality has deteriorated over the last 15 years," Dr. Philip Mellen of the Hattiesburg Clinic in Mississippi said in a telephone interview.

"In our study, the youngest age group was the age group with the worse disease," he said. "This age group will have major problems as they continue to age."
Now, the authors of this study cite junk-food as a culprit. Perhaps triglycerides should be added to that list. First, let’s find out what they are and why they are bad. Take it away Dr. Fuhrman:
Triglycerides comprise the largest proportion of fats (lipids) in the diet, in the adipose tissue, and in the blood. Immediately after a fatty meal, triglycerides rise in the bloodstream. We store triglycerides in our fatty tissues and muscle as a source of energy, and gradually release and metabolize it between meals according to the energy needs of the body. Only a small portion of your triglycerides is found in the bloodstream. High blood triglyceride levels are reflective of increased body fat stores. High triglycerides further promote and contribute to atherosclerosis in people with high cholesterol.
And what foods are the major harbingers of triglycerides? The insidious and always bad, white flour and refined grains. Dr. Fuhrman talks about them:
White flour and other refined grains such as sweetened breakfast cereals, soft drinks, other sweets, and even fruit juices are weight-promoting and not only lead to diabetes, but can raise triglycerides and cholesterol levels, increasing heart attack risk.
So, it should be no surprise that new research is linking triglyceride levels to the risk of coronary disease. Ed Edelson of HealthDay News reports:
"Triglycerides traditionally have been viewed as second-class citizens," said Dr. Michael Miller, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and lead author of the report in the Feb. 12 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.. "LDL cholesterol has always taken center stage. We know that LDL is intimately involved in bringing cholesterol to scavenger cells, which deposit them to form plaques in the arteries. This study shows that triglycerides in and of themselves are also lipids to blame."

The original study was designed to test the effectiveness of two LDL-lowering statins, Pravachol and Lipitor, in reducing recurring coronary disease after a heart attack. The new study went over the data on the 4,162 participants in the trial, looking at the association between triglyceride levels and the incidence of heart problems and death.

"The patients who had heart attacks came back after 30 days," said Miller. "We measured LDL levels and triglyceride levels and followed them over the next two years, evaluating for the occurrence of new events and death. If a patient had triglyceride levels below 150 [milligrams per deciliter], there was a 27 percent lower risk of having a new event over time. After multiple adjustments, for such things as age, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, the risk reduction was 20 percent."
News like this HAS to inspire people to clean up their diets—right? Not necessarily, because in many cases even a diagnosis of heart disease isn’t enough to prompt a change in diet. Anne Harding of Reuters explains:
A one-year follow-up study of patients with heart disease found that few are meeting recommendations for fruit, vegetable and fiber intake, and they were eating a "disturbing" amount of trans fat, Dr. Yunsheng Ma and colleagues from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester found.

They surveyed 555 people about their eating habits one year after they had been diagnosed with heart disease using coronary angiography. All had suffered some type of cardiac event, such as heart attack, abnormal heart rhythm, or chest pain.

To gauge the quality of their diets, the researchers used the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), which measures several aspects of heart-healthy eating such as fruit and vegetable consumption, amount of trans fat consumed, and ratio of white to red meat eaten.

On average, patients scored 30.8 on the AHEI, out of a possible 80. Just 12.4 percent were eating five or more servings of vegetables a day, while 7.8 percent were eating at least four servings of fruit each day. Fewer than 8 percent met recommendations for cereal fiber consumption.

And while public health guidelines recommend getting less than 0.5 percent of total calories from trans fat, people in the study consumed an average of 3.41 percent of their calories in trans fat form.
Sad, but I think I’ve said it before. You can show people all the research and reports in the world, but until pandemonium hits their doorstep, they won’t do a freaking thing and even then, who knows.
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Puberty before the Age of Ten

Hard to believe? No. It’s reality. Sandy Maple of ParentDish shares her feelings on premature puberty in her own family. Take a look:
I know several women, including my daughter Christy, who hit puberty before the age of ten. Breast development is considered the first sign of the onset of puberty, but lord knows it isn't the only one…

…One new study claims that environmental toxins may be to blame. The mycoestrogen zearalenone (ZEA), which has properties similar to estrogen, can be found naturally in the environment but is also structurally similar to anabolic growth agents used in animal breeding…

…Clearly, the true cause of this phenomenon is yet to be discovered and it very well may be a combination of many factors. But as a parent of a young girl, the trend concerns me.
Certainly a dicey topic, but one we’ve talked about before. Here’s a refresher from last month’s post, Girls and Puberty, Sooner and Sooner:
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…

…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 modification1...

…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 twelve2…

…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.3
Now, I scanned this out of Disease-Proof Your Child—and yes, I did a bad job—but, it should help put things into perspective. Check it out:

Hopefully this influences parents like Sandy to ratchet up their kids’ diet.
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Health Points: Wednesday

Dr. William Hall of the University of Rochester has a theory for how these people could live to that age. In an editorial in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine, where the study was published, he writes that it might be thanks to doctors who aggressively treat these older folks' health problems, rather than taking an "ageist" approach that assumes they wouldn't benefit.

For the study, Boston University researchers did phone interviews and health assessments of more than 500 women and 200 men who had reached 100. They found that roughly two-thirds of them had avoided significant age-related ailments.
Braden Eberle, 4, of San Jose, Calif., told his mother that he had swallowed something, a tiny magnet attached to a toy. His mother assumed that it would pass through. The next day, his parents saw him swallow another…

…An X-ray five hours later showed that the object was not moving properly. Dr. Dutta’s laparoscopy found the magnets stuck together, pinching bowel tissue.
Many patients say PT — physical therapy's nickname — really stands for "pain and torture," said James Osborn, who oversees rehabilitation services at Herrin Hospital in Southern Illinois.

Using the game console's unique, motion-sensitive controller, Wii games require body movements similar to traditional therapy exercises. But patients become so engrossed mentally they're almost oblivious to the rigor, Osborn said.
Dr. Partha Basu, the study's lead author and associate professor in Duquesne's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said laboratory analysis reveals that the antibiotic arsenic compound roxarsone, which promotes the growth of blood vessels in chickens to produce pinker meat, does the same in human cell lines -- a critical first step in many human diseases, including cancer.

"This is a significant finding as it relates to potential human health effects from roxarsone," said Dr. Basu, who worked on the study with scientists from Thermo Fisher Scientific laboratories and the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Environmental and Occupational Health.
Private citizens can sue to enforce California's food labeling laws, the state Supreme Court said Monday in a ruling that revives a consumer complaint about the chemically induced orange coloring of salmon raised on fish farms.

Consumer lawsuits filed in 2003 and 2004 accused supermarket chains of misleading customers by failing to disclose on labels that the fish, naturally grayish, had been fed chemicals to give their flesh the color of wild salmon. Lower courts combined the cases and dismissed them, saying federal law barred states from allowing private suits over food labeling, but the state's high court unanimously disagreed and reinstated the claims.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Pennsylvania State University are nevertheless studying ways to limit excess fat, for three reasons. Producers don't want to waste feed. Fatter chickens might not lay as many eggs. And studying the genes of the barnyard bird may illuminate pathways that lead to human obesity, says the USDA's Monika Proszkowiec-Weglarz.

Fat content has risen because chickens have been bred to grow faster, and the faster-growing birds seem to eat more than they need, says her colleague Mark Richards.
Some political scientists are beginning to change their minds on what shapes our political views. They're starting to wonder whether some of our political identity is rooted in our DNA.

The theory goes something like this: Choosing a political point of view involves thinking through issues: Will more lax immigration rules put the U.S. at risk? Will tighter gun-control laws help lower the murder rate?
Federal standards that specify the length of auto seat belts date back four decades and only require that seat belts accommodate a 215-pound man. Some manufacturers offer bigger belts or extenders anyway, but other auto companies have concerns about effectiveness and liability.

Vanderbilt University psychologist David Schlundt studied the relationship between seat belt use and weight after noticing that obese people sometimes struggled to fit into the auto restraints.

"They really have a hard time getting that belt buckle over them," Schlundt said. "They have to stretch it out and then over and then some can't see the buckle."
In an analysis of 42 studies, researchers found that current smokers were twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop colon polyps. Former smokers also showed a heightened risk, though it was less than that of current smokers.

What's more, the analysis found, smoking was particularly linked to "high-risk" polyps; while most colon polyps are not dangerous, high-risk ones are relatively more likely to become cancerous.
Will the chicken go cold? It seems that the time it takes for people to scarf down the chicken is not long enough for a cool-down.

Carbs Okay for Weight-Loss

Honestly, I hate using the word “carbs.” It’s a such a fad word, for fad diets, but carbs are in the news and this report caught my eye. One nutritionist claims carbs can actually help promote weight-loss. Check out this video from ABC News:

I don’t know about “resistant carbs.” Sounds like mumbo-jumbo to me, but fiber certainly isn’t and whole foods are loaded with fiber; like beans, bananas, green vegetables, and squash. And as Dr. Fuhrman explains, these foods/carbs do in fact encourage weight-loss:

When you eat high-carbohydrate foods, such as fresh fruits and beans, you eat more food and still keep your caloric intake relatively low. The high fiber content of (unrefined) carbohydrate-rich food is another crucial reason you will feel more satisfied and not crave more food when you make unrefined carbohydrates the main source of calories in your diet.

Don't fear eating foods rich in carbohydrates and don't be afraid of eating fruit because it contains sugar. Even the plant foods that are high in carbohydrate contain sufficient fiber and nutrients and are low enough in calories to be considered nutritious. As long as they are unrefined, they should not be excluded from your diet. In fact, it is impossible to glean all the nutrients needed for optimal health if your diet does no contain lots of carbohydrate-rich food.

Clearly, the taboo against carbohydrates is ill-informed. Refined junk—like white rice, bread, and sugar—are the “carbs” you want to avoid, but wholesome fiber-full foods like fruits and vegetables are the key to a healthy diet. More from Dr. Fuhrman’s Food Scoring Guide:

I urge you to start eating a diet that contains more high-nutrient plant foods today. Eat fewer animal products and fewer processed foods, and replace these calories with more fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and beans. At minimum, I recommend that you cut back on animal-product consumption from servings a day to one serving a day. Better yet, when you use animal products, add them to a dish in small amounts like condiments so that the total amount you consume each week will be even less. Eat vegetarian dinners frequently.

Make this dietary transition an exciting adventure where you learn new great-tasting recipes with high-nutrient plant foods. Design a food plan that uses large quantities of the most powerful anticancer, disease-fighting foods on the planet, make it taste, and then test it to see what kinds of results you get. I can tell you now that the results will astound you!

So, when you hear fad-terms like carbs, zone-diet, and south beach, just ignore them and focus on natural things like fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds—phooey to the hype!

Whole-Wheat or Faux-Wheat Bread?

Here’s a good question, “Are those “whole-wheat” bagels really made from whole grain?” The answer might surprise you—but probably not—Dr. Fuhrman explains:
No. In most cases, it is primarily white flour. It is hard to tell sometimes. Ninety-nine percent of pastas, breads, cookies, pretzels, and other grain products are made from white flour.
It gets worse. That hearty brown color might not be from grain at all. Let’s just say it has a “caramel” complexion. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Sometimes a little whole wheat or caramel color is added and the product is called whole wheat to make you think it is the real thing. It isn’t. Most brown bread is merely white bread with a fake tan.
Unreal! You talk about false advertising. These over-marketed “healthier” breads are nothing more than standard American junk food. Dr. Fuhrman again:
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.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the only wary of faux-wheat bread. On The CBS Saturday Early Show, Dr. Mallika Marshall, shares her thoughts on most “wheat” breads:
White bread, she continues, isn't the best choice because that means they took out the good stuff: They just left the starchy part of the grain, then they threw back in a couple B-vitamins and some iron. Also, there's little or no fiber, which you need for good digestive health, and for helping ward off heart disease and some cancers.

Still, Marshall cautions, don't just "go brown" with your bread: Not all brown breads are created equal.

Breads that look brown aren't necessarily good for you. It may simply have caramel coloring. What you want to see on the label is the term "whole wheat" or "whole grain," and you want that to be the first or second ingredient on the list. Other words to look out for are "whole mill," "whole barley," or "whole oats."
I once heard Dr. Fuhrman say, “Don’t eat a bread-based diet.” I think that pretty much sums up what you should do here—don’t you agree?

Weird Science: Fake Sugar, GMO Vegetables

A new study claims artificial sweeteners are linked to weight-gain. Randy Dotinga of HealthDay News reports:
Purdue researchers report that saccharin altered the ability of rats to control their appetites. However, the head of an artificial sweetener trade group scoffed at the findings, saying they don't necessarily translate to humans.

"We found that the rats that were getting artificially sweetened yogurt gained more weight and ate more food," said study author Susan Swithers, an associate professor of psychological sciences at the Ingestive Behavior Research Institute at Purdue University. "The take-home message is that consumption of artificially sweetened products may interfere with an automatic process."

That process, she said, involves the body's ability to detect that it will soon be full. "We often will stop eating before we've been able to absorb all of the calories that come from a meal. One of the reasons we might stop eating is that our experience has taught in the past that, 'After I eat this food, I'll feel this full for this long,' " she explained.

It seems to be a subconscious process based on automatic estimations of how much energy certain foods will provide, she said. For example, a sweet taste might be a sign that "calories are coming, and I should prepare my body for the arrival of those calories." However, when the sweetness is not followed by a lot of calories, the body's digestive system gets confused, and the metabolism rate does not gear up as much the next time sweetness is tasted.
Not that surprising, Dr. Fuhrman will tell, fake sugars are risky propositions. Take aspartame for example:
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.
Now, sticking with the weird science theme, researchers want to genetically amp up the calcium in carrots. From Jeannine Stein of The Los Angeles Times:
"Fruits and vegetables are generally a pretty low source of calcium," says Jay Morris, a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine's Children's Nutrition Research Center in Houston and lead author of a study published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "But if we can increase calcium in a wide variety of foods, we can have a modest effect in the amount of calcium available to people in their diets."

In the study, 15 men and 15 women ages 21 to 29 ate regular carrots, and carrots that had been genetically modified to allow them to store more calcium. Through urine tests, researchers found that subjects absorbed about 41% more calcium per serving than from the regular carrots.
Well, I guess if the only veggie you’re eating is carrots, you’d like if they were more calcium-rich, but as Dr. Fuhrman points out, plants—in general—are packed with calcium:

Yeah, sometimes science can be a wee-bit unusual.

Olympic Chinese Food Worries

It seems many U.S. Olympians are concerned over the safety of Chinese food, so, they’re packing a lunch. Ben Shpigel of The New York Times reports:
In the past two years, the U.S.O.C. has tried to figure out how to avoid such dangers at the Olympics. It has made arrangements with sponsors like Kellogg’s and Tyson Foods, which will ship 25,000 pounds of lean protein to China about two months before the opening ceremony, but will hire local vendors and importers to secure other foods and cooking equipment at the Games.

The bulk of that food will be served at the U.S.O.C.’s training center at Beijing Normal University, about 20 minutes from the Olympic Green, where for the first time United States athletes will have access to their own facility providing three meals a day. The dishes served will be compliant with the U.S.O.C.’s overhauled diet plan, placing a greater emphasis on nutrition, which officials hope will boost athletes’ performance.

The diet plan is already in place for the athletes residing at each of the three United States training centers — here and in Chula Vista, Calif., and Lake Placid, N.Y. And the organization is urging all United States athletes to be aware of what they ingest. Under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s drug-testing code, athletes are responsible for whatever is in their bodies, regardless of the source.

Much of the dietary strategy falls to Jacque Hamilton, the executive chef of the U.S.O.C. She has consulted with dietitians and sous chefs over the past year and a half to modify more than 1,500 recipes and prepare to serve about 700 meals a day at the U.S.O.C.’s training center in Beijing. Many countries do not have the resources for a training center in Beijing, but those that do may choose to serve their own food as well.
Just be thankful we’re not sending these athletes’ food to China:

Pacific Islanders Facing Modern Health Problems

Western life and diet isn’t doing Pacific islanders any favors. David Brooks of the AFP is on it:
Pacific islands are in the midst of a crisis of obesity and its associated dangers of diabetes, strokes and heart disease.

A diet which used to be dominated by fish, root crops, green leaves, coconuts and fruit is now heavily reliant on fatty imported meats, rice, and sugar and fat-laden processed snack foods.

Many islanders are now urbanised and drive to the local shop to buy tins of corned beef, spam, cooking oil and rice instead of tending crops and gathering seafood in the lagoon and surrounding ocean.

"What we have in this country is a raging epidemic. We have 6,000 to 8,000 cases of diabetes out of a population of 53,000 people," says Carl Hacker, the Marshall Islands director of economic policy, planning and statistics.
Spam? Oh man, I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Diabetic Confusion: Low-Carb Unhealthy, Veggies Healthy

And that’s the truth! If you’re looking to get healthy, lose weight, and prevent and reverse disease, DON’T even consider “low-carb” or high-protein diets. Here’s why in a nutshell. Dr. Fuhrman explains:

Americans already eat approximately 40 percent of their calories from animal products; we have seen a tragic skyrocketing in cancer and heart-disease rates in the past fifty years as a result of such nutritional extravagance.1 You can lose some weight on the low-carb diet, but you run the risk of losing your health at the same time.

Now, most health experts agree—even Dr. Fuhrman—that eating a lot of carbs is a bad idea, but Dr. Fuhrman’s criticisms focus on the refined and process carbohydrates. Here’s why he thinks this stuff is bad news:

Diets containing refined grains and refined sweets are consistently linked to stomach and colon cancer, and at least twelve breast cancer studies connect low-fiber diets with increased risks.2 Eating a diet that contains a significant quantity of sugar and refined flour does not just cause weight gain, it also leads to an earlier death.

Once you kick the refined junk to the curb, you’re left with the good stuff—the healthy carbs! In fact, these carbohydrates are important brain and muscle fuel. Let’s check back with Dr. Fuhrman:

Our bodies need carbohydrates more than any other substance. Our muscle cells and brains are designed to run on carbohydrates. Carbohydrate-rich foods, when consumed in their natural state, are low in calories and high in fiber compared with fatty foods, processed foods, or animal products.

You can find these healthy carbs in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, and, as Dr. Fuhrman points out. Plant foods likes these are the benchmark of healthy living. Here Dr. Fuhrman talks about the power of plants:

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.3

So, what’s wrong with “low-carb” diets—A LOT—Atkins-like diets dupe people into believing that increased consumption of animal products and decreased consumption of plant foods is healthy—WRONG! Dr. Fuhrman elaborates:

It is an interesting phenomenon to me low-carb dieters search to find small pearls of dissent in the scientific literature to support their views as they ignore thousands of well-performed studies, I wonder why they are so attached to their diets or views that they can’t accept the preponderance of evidence and modify their stance.

And when you exam the facts, you’ll quickly realize the profound link between eating too much animal products and saturated fat and diseases; like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Again, Dr. Fuhrman explains:

Today, the average American consumes 100-120 grams of protein per day, mostly in the form of animal products. This high level of animal product consumption has been linked to not just heart disease and strokes, but to higher rates of cancer, as well4…

…High-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diets also are heart unfriendly. One comprehensive study on the Atkins’ approach showed that after one year on the diet, blood flow to the heart diminished by an average of 40 percent and inflammatory markers that predict heart attacks increased.5 The low levels of plant fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidant nutrients on these unbalanced, low produce diets expose the diabetic patient to additional risks.

Okay, by now we’ve worked up a good information-base—low-carb bad, veggies good—so let’s check out this study appearing in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It suggest that low-carb is better than low-fat for preventing diabetes. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News is on it:

"One study is never enough to change a recommendation, but this study is interesting in that it shows that a low-fat diet is no better than a low-carbohydrate diet in preventing type 2 diabetes," said Thomas Halton, lead author of a study in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. "The one diet that did seem to show a protective effect was a vegetable-based, low-carb diet which consisted of higher amounts of vegetable fat and vegetable protein, and lower amounts of carbohydrate."

The findings, Halton added, were a bit surprising in that most doctors and nutritionists recommend a low-fat diet to prevent type 2 diabetes. "This study showed that a low-fat diet didn't really prevent type 2 diabetes in our cohort when compared to a low-carb diet. I was also surprised that total carbohydrate consumption was associated with type 2 diabetes, and that the relative risk for the glycemic load was so high."

Now, despite the dirty term “low-carb” the study is looking surprisingly good, but just to be safe, let’s look at the actual study, pay very close attention to the conclusion. From The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

Background: Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets remain popular; however, the long-term effects of these diets are not known.

Objective: The objective was to examine the association between low-carbohydrate-diet score and risk of type 2 diabetes

Design: We prospectively examined the association between low-carbohydrate-diet score (based on percentage of energy as carbohydrate, fat, and protein) and risk of diabetes among 85 059 women in the Nurses' Health Study.

Conclusion: These data suggest that diets lower in carbohydrate and higher in fat and protein do not increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. In fact, diets rich in vegetable sources of fat and protein may modestly reduce the risk of diabetes.

Vegetable fat and vegetable protein—not the high animal fat fallacy perpetuated by Atkins and his ilk. In fact, when you strictly limit all the meat, dairy, and oil in the typical Atkins menu and upgrade the fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, you’re left with a diet naturally free of refined carbohydrates and packed with nature’s best foods! One more quote from Dr. Fuhrman:

Knowing that the right micronutrients in the right proportions are easily available to us in whole, natural foods is wonderful. But we no longer get our foods in natural form from the wild. Most of the food we eat is concocted in factories. These processed foods do not contain the level and diversity of the vitamins and minerals we get in natural foods. For example, the fruits and vegetables that primates eat in the wild are loaded with micronutrients, giving these primates a diet far richer in many essential vitamins and minerals than the diets consumed by any humans in the modern world.

Clearly these primates are eating the right kind of low-fat diet and NOT monkeying with dangerous high-protein diets. For more on this topic, be sure to check out Standard American Low-Fat—JUNK—Diet.

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Comfort Food, Food Addictions

“Some cravings and food behaviors have emotional overtones from childhood or compensate for stress and emotional dysfunction,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. He calls this emotional attachment to food. Now, the CBS Early Show examines the root of all comfort food:
  • Cinnamon buns, fresh from the oven: Their smell transports you to that secure, familiar place. Biggers is big on the Pillsbury ones you can buy from the grocery store. She just loves the way the smell fills her home. She says the smell of cinnamon and sugar takes her back to her childhood.
  • Tuna noodle casserole -- half with bread crumb topping: The texture of comfort foods is at work here, along with satisfying the expectation of having something soft and mushy, with a crunch on top.
  • Mac 'n Cheese: Twenty years ago, we never would have imagined finding this on the menu at a fine restaurant, but comfort sells! Now, some of these recipes feature delicious, high-end cheeses, so it's not the same old cheap cheese you used to find.
  • Meat loaf and mashed potatoes and peas: The best of comfort food is also derived from leftovers. Sissy says this dish is the perfect comfort food: It has the aroma, is easy to make, and is soft and flavorful.
I’m sorry, but as someone who eats a nutrient-dense plant-based diet, none of this junk sounds “comforting” to me. In fact, I’m feeling a little queasy. People that like this stuff are probably food-addicted and according to Dr. Fuhrman, they need help:
Some food-addicted people eat compulsively in spite of their awareness of the consequences. These people need a more intensive program. Similar to a twelve-week drug-rehabilitation program, an intensive food recovery program should include counseling. Food re-education can work even for the most difficult cases.
Alright, let me come clean. I do have a few emotional attachments to food. In the form of avocados, bananas, and carrots—poor me.

Food Scoring Guide: Diet and Disease

Diets of all description flood the market, but fewer than 3 people out of a 100 are successful at losing weight and keeping it off permanently. The number of overweight and obese individuals is at an all-time high and still climbing. Although many people accept the notion that disease is the result of genetics or luck, the reality is that nutrition, exercise, and environment overwhelmingly overshadow genetic considerations. For example, those living in rural China have less than a 2% heart disease risk, but when these same individuals move to America, their children develop the same rates of heart disease as other Americans.

Obviously, the diseases that afflict today’s Americans are not the result of luck of genetics. They are a recent phenomenon in human history and directly parallel unhealthful changes in dietary patterns. The ten-fold increase in heart attacks in the last 100 years is because we are eating more low-nutrient foods—lots more. You cannot escape from the biological law of cause and effect. Health results from healthful living and eating. Disease and premature death result primarily from unhealthful food choices.

Standard American Low-Fat--JUNK--Diet

Kudos to Diet Blog for finding this one. Apparently some researchers think all these low-fat health guidelines we have been force-fed for years are doing more harm than good. Here’s an excerpt from ScienceDaily, take a look:
In 2000, the Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee suggested that the recommendation to lower fat, advised in the 1995 guidelines, had perhaps been ill-advised and might actually have some potential harm. The committee noted concern that "the previous priority given to a 'low-fat intake' may lead people to believe that, as long as fat intake is low, the diet will be entirely healthful. This belief could engender an overconsumption of total calories in the form of carbohydrates, resulting in the adverse metabolic consequences of high-carbohydrate diets," the committee wrote, while also noting that "an increasing prevalence of obesity in the United States has corresponded roughly with an absolute increase in carbohydrate consumption.
Okay, to better understand this quote, let’s talk about these age-old dietary recommendations. Perhaps nothing better illustrates them than the infamous United States food pyramid. Check it out via The University of Pennsylvania Health System:

Yeah, cause eating that way makes sense—tisk-tisk. Now, we all know that people eat too much refined and processed foods, but despite the carbophobia, Americans are still eating way too much fat. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
The claim that Americans have dramatically cut their fat intake is incorrect. In fact, nationally recognized food surveys, such as the National Food Consumption Survey and the National Health and Nutrition Survey, indicate that Americans consume somewhere between 34 and 37 percent of their calories from fat.1 Americans are still eating a very high fat diet. The reason for the rise in obesity in America is no mystery: we eat a high-calorie, high-fat diet.
Now, in the Food Scoring Guide Dr. Fuhrman’s describes what the typical American diet is made of—a lot junk! More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Americans have access to a greater abundance of affordable high-nutrient, low-calorie fruits and vegetables than any other people on the face of the earth. But a shocking 93% of the typical American diet consists of low-nutrient, high-calorie processed foods, animal foods, and dairy products, and only 7% of the calories we consume come from healthful fruits and vegetables. Sweet desserts, and soft drinks now comprise 25% of all calories consumed in America.
This chart should paint an even clearer picture for you. Have a look:

Neither of these graphics demonstrate that Americans understand the importance of eating mostly plant-foods. Okay, I’m no fan of idol worship, but here’s an image we can all get behind. It simply screams, “Eat your fruits and veggies!” Don’t you agree? Enjoy:

When you start eating as described in Dr. Fuhrman’s food pyramid you’ll avoid nasty fat and refined carbohydrates and that’s a good thing! Because as he explains, they are a deadly duo. Here’s why:
The combination of fat and refined carbohydrates has an extremely powerful effect on driving the signals that promote fat accumulation on the body. Refined foods cause a swift and excessive rise in blood sugar, which in turn triggers insulin surges to drive the sugar out of the blood and into our cells. Unfortunately, insulin also promotes the storage of fat on the body and encourages your fat cells to swell.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my fat cells to swell—EEK!
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Have a Coke and Some Gout

New research has determined that sugary drinks increase a guy’s risk of gout by as much as 85%. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News is on it:
In this study, published in BMJ Online First, researchers looked at more than 46,000 men, aged 40 and older, with no history of gout. Information on the men's food and beverage intake was collected at the start of the study, and details about their weight, medication use and medical conditions were recorded every two years during the 12-year study.

During that time, 755 of the men were diagnosed with gout. The risk was much higher in men who drank five to six servings of sugar-sweetened soft drinks per week and was 85 percent higher in those who drank two or more of the beverages a day, compared to those who had less than one serving per month.

The increased risk was independent of other gout risk factors such as body-mass index, age, diuretic use, high blood pressure, alcohol intake and dietary habits. Diet soft drinks did not increase gout risk.
Now, just think about all the soda commercials you saw during the Super Bowl last night—scary.