Obese People Have Sick Fat Cells

Alright, obesity is bad—that's common knowledge—but new research in Diabetes claims that fat people actually have “sick” fat cells that make insulin-resistant proteins. Krisha McCoy of HealthDay News reports:

The fat cells we found in our obese patients were deficient in several areas," study author Guenther Boden, the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Medicine and chief of endocrinology, said in Temple press release.

Boden said that the obese people's fat cells showed stress on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which helps cells synthesize proteins and monitor how they are folded. When the ER is stressed, Boden explained, it produces several proteins that ultimately lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance, in turn, plays a major role in the development of obesity-related conditions.

The differences in the fat cells between obese and lean people may help explain the link between obesity and a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, Boden theorized.

Certainly follows in line with what we already know about obesity and diabetes. As Dr. Fuhrman points out, extra body fat increases risk of type-2 diabetes, which screws up insulin and can eventually cause pancreatic poop out!

People need to eat more mushrooms—they can stop obesity! Speaking of obesity, rocker Ted Nugent recently called obese people vulgar and displeasing to look at. Eep!  

Cancer-Risk, Hotdogs of Doom...

This is fitting. Amidst the Maple Leaf deli meat killing spree The Cancer Project has released a TV commercial attacking hotdogs as a cancer-risk. See for yourself:


Finally, a gutsy ad! Hotdogs are not your friend. In fact, Dr. Fuhrman considers processed meats one of the WORST meat options—along with red meat. Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the PCRM and head of The Cancer Project, defends the commercial. Via CBS News:

Check the label of a name-brand hot dog, and chances are fat provides around 80 percent of total calories, more than double what's often advised. What's more, saturated fat and trans fat - the fats most strongly linked with artery-clogging - are common ingredients, in some cases providing at least half the fat content.

The hot dog council called the new ad an alarmist scare tactic, but the promoters, a group called The Cancer Project, defend their campaign.

Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, called the ad "a way to raise appropriate concern about a deadly concern." Barnard also heads The Cancer Project, an offshoot of his anti-meat advocacy group.

Hot dogs may be considered as American as apple pie, but Barnard said it's time to change that tradition.

"Children are born with no traditions whatsoever," he said. "You or I might think a hot dog, that just goes with baseball ... We can always change our traditions to be healthful."

The new ad is based on an analysis of five studies in adults by scientists working with cancer research groups not affiliated with Barnard's.

Their report last November said eating 50 grams a day of processed meats for several years increases colorectal cancer risk by 21 percent. That equals about one hot dog a day or two deli slices of bologna or five slices of bacon.

There’s a hotdog council! I’d love to see their cholesterol numbers. Now, despite the wiener consortiums self-preservation exclamations, processed meats DON’T support health and DO increase cancer-risk, but don’t take my word for it. Remember this post: News from The Cancer Project.

Stop Obesity, Eat Mushrooms!

Well, unless you like beef raised on potato chips, you might want to consider this report. New research in Appetite—cool name for a journal—claims mushrooms can help combat obesity; as a substitute for beef. Stephen Daniells of AP-FoodTechnology explains:

The researchers recruited 54 men and women to take part in the study and randomly assigned them to receive either beef or mushroom lunch entrées over four days – lasagna, napoleon, sloppy Joe and chili. Subjects then switched entrées to consume the other ingredient (mushroom or beef) the following week in order to act as their own controls.

The energy content of meat and mushroom lunches was 783 kcal and 339 kcal, respectively, while the portion size was held constant.

Lead researcher Lawrence Cheskin from John Hopkins Weight Management Center and co-workers report that total daily energy and fat intakes were significantly lower in the mushroom condition than the meat, while the subjects did not rate the palatability of the foods differently. Also ratings of appetite, satiation and satiety did not differ between the groups.

“We found that overtly substituting ground white button mushrooms for lean ground beef in a single meal for four consecutive days significantly reduced daily energy and fat intake, while maintaining ratings of palatability, appetite, satiation and satiety,” wrote the researchers.

“The method of substituting one food for another within familiar recipes may be more appealing to many prospective dieters than making more dramatic or restrictive changes in dietary behaviour.

Mushrooms are freaking incredible! Dr. Fuhrman also insists they are a great substitute for meat and you should eat them everyday. The problem is, too many Americans HATE mushrooms—sad, because mushrooms are also potent cancer-fighters.

Oh, and shrooms might save us from climate change too!

Yeah, Don't Eat Deli Meat...

Canada says 12 people have died after eating listeria-contaminated meats from Maple Leaf Foods. So far there have been 26 confirmed cases of listeriosis and another 29 suspected cases. Reuters has the latest details:

Maple Leaf has said it's unlikely it will be able to determine how its meat was contaminated, explaining that the listeria bacterium is common and pervasive.

"It's very, very, very difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint a cause," Chief Financial Officer Michael Vels told analysts on Monday before the latest health announcement.

"I don't know how important that is to consumers. I think our perspective is what's more important is we let them know what's going on and we take swift and conservative action to safeguard their health," Vels said.

Maple Leaf is double-checking procedures at all of its 23 plants but has no reason to believe any other products are at risk of contamination, he said.

Reimbursing customers for returned products, cleaning the plant and other direct expenses will cost the company C$20 million before taxes, Vels said.

Maple Leaf Foods CEO and President, Michael McCain, offered this video apology on YouTube: Message from Maple Leaf Foods regarding Listeria Recall.

Now, let’s get down to business. Don’t eat cold cuts. They’re beyond gross. In fact, similar foods like sausage and hotdogs make Dr. Fuhrman’s list of the MOST unhealthy foods. Also, Dr. Fuhrman suggests NOT eating deli meat if you’re pregnant; so does The New York Times.

Seriously, Chocolate Cows

Here’s a NEW reason to avoid beef. As high fuel prices continue to cut into profits, farmers have resorted to feeding their cattle POTATO CHIPS and M&Ms—it’s cheap. Of course, no one knows the health implications of this junk food diet. You’ve got to see this, via The Wall Street Journal.

Chemical Companies Say Organic Not More Nutritious

The Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) has concluded that organic fruits and vegetables do NOT contain more nutrients cheaper non-organic produce. Wow, no conflict of interest there! The study appears in SCI’s Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Here’s report, No Evidence to Support Organic is Best, via SCI’s press office:

The first cultivation method consisted of growing the vegetables on soil which had a low input of nutrients using animal manure and no pesticides except for one organically approved product on kale only.

The second method involved applying a low input of nutrients using animal manure, combined with use of pesticides, as much as allowed by regulation.

Finally, the third method comprised a combination of a high input of nutrients through mineral fertilizers and pesticides as legally allowed.

The crops were grown on the same or similar soil on adjacent fields at the same time and so experienced the same weather conditions. All were harvested and treated at the same time. In the case of the organically grown vegetables, all were grown on established organic soil.

After harvest, results showed that there were no differences in the levels of major and trace contents in the fruit and vegetables grown using the three different methods.

Produce from the organically and conventionally grown crops were then fed to animals over a two year period and intake and excretion of various minerals and trace elements were measured. Once again, the results showed there was no difference in retention of the elements regardless of how the crops were grown.

This is awkward. Clearly, the CHEMICAL SOCIETY has some vested interests here—fogging the credibility of this work. Especially since previous studies have shown the opposite, that organic fruits and vegetables DO contain more nutrients.

Now, Dr. Fuhrman prefers organic—reduces pesticide exposure and tastes better—but other experts cite climate change as a GREAT reason to go organic. Here’s what the Soil Association had to say. Jessica Daly of CNN reports:

In 2006 the UK's Manchester Business School assessed the environmental impacts of food production and consumption and concluded that there isn't a clear cut answer to whether the environmental impact is greater on a trolley full of organic food compared to a trolley full of non-organic food.

Not so, was the response from the Soil Association. Do you believe organic food is more nutritional?

It countered that: "Overall, organic farming is better for tackling climate change than industrial agricultural methods. As well as lower average energy use, organic farming also avoids the very large nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer manufacture."

"Additionally, organic farming builds up soil carbon, removing it from the atmosphere. Organic farming also supports more local food marketing, reducing food miles."

While the jury might still be out about whether organic farming is, on the whole, better for the environment, there is little doubt that it's a booming industry which is starting to catch on in other parts of the world.

Take this research by The Society of Chemical Industry with a grain of salt, I’d put more stock in it if were conducted by a third party—although nowadays that’s getting harder and harder to find.

Even still, local organic farming is catching on, like these folks from Los Angeles and some Londoners too! Personally, I do my best to stay organic. I belong to a CSA, grow my own tomatoes and buy organic bananas. So, how organic are you?

Candy Wars, Chocolaty Science...

Not to brag, but Followhealthlife is earning some chops. For example, I receive press releases ALL the time now. Like this email from Hershey's about new research involving dark chocolate and vascular health. Take a look:

I wanted to share some news that The Hershey Company just released today that I thought might be of interest to you and your readers. As you might know, dark chocolate has come to be recognized for its flavanol antioxidant benefits, but a new study, conducted by the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, has uncovered an important link to its vascular health benefits as well. The study, which used Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate, reported that dark chocolate has a positive impact on blood pressure and blood vessel function. The study's release comes on the heels of Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate, a rich dark chocolate featuring 60 percent cacao, earning renowned health and fitness expert Bob Greene's Best Life seal of approval – the first and only chocolate bar to earn that distinction.

The research appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Treatment and here’s Hershey’s official press release.

Now, originally I balked at this—don’t think promoting chocolate bars for health is a good idea—but then I saw this report. Research by Mars Inc. has determined that flavanols in cocoa may boost blood flow to the brain. Via Kelley Colihan of WebMD:

The ingredient is flavanols, which are nutrients found in cocoa. Flavanols are considered to act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories on cells. These chemicals can protect cells and tissue from damage, which in turn protects against heart disease and cancer.

The research and similar studies were funded by Mars Inc., the maker of Snickers and other foods….

….After one week, blood flow measures increased 8% in the group that got the flavanol-rich drinks. After two weeks that went up to a 10% increase.

When comparing participants drinking the high-flavanol cocoa to those who drank the low-flavanol cocoa, there was an increase in measured blood flow.

The researchers write that flavanols could have a "promising role" to treat brain conditions such as stroke and dementia.

Check out the study in Neuropychiatric Disease and Treatment. I think its interesting that two CANDY companies are talking about HEALTH, I wonder if they trying to convince us that sweets are ACTUALLY good for us—very funny, nice try!

Okay, as for flavanols. You don’t have to eat sugary M&Ms or KitKat bars to get them. Cocoa powder will do just fine and you can use it to make healthy recipes that include other super foods like spinach, walnuts and strawberries. See Banana Split Smoothie or Gerry’s Chocolate Pudding.

Health Points: Monday 8.24.08

In a population-based, case-control study, the researchers matched 1,001 men with prostate cancer diagnosed between 2002 and 2005 with 942 age-matched cancer-free controls from King County, Washington.

No overall association was observed between the risk of prostate cancer and the current or past use of statin treatment. Duration of statin use was also not associated with prostate cancer risk.

"We also found no evidence that use of a statin was associated with risk of developing more aggressive subtypes of prostate caner," Stanford said in an interview with Reuters Health. "Overall we found no support for the current hypothesis that statin use may reduce risk of prostate cancer."

However, the results do suggest a significant increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer associated with current statin use and with longer durations of use among obese men (defined as a body mass index of 30 greater).

A team led by Linda Bartoshuk at the University of Florida in Gainesville surveyed 1300 people, 245 of whom had a history of ear infections, and found that among the over-30s, those who had suffered from ear infections were twice as likely to be obese as those with no such history. A subsequent analysis of four US medical databases confirmed the link. Those who had suffered from ear infections also rated fattier foods as 18 per cent more pleasurable than the others.

Infections may damage the chorda tympani taste nerve, which is stimulated at the front of the tongue and passes through the middle ear to the brain, says Bartoshuk. She says that the nerve normally inhibits some of the creamy sensations of fatty foods, as part of a response that inhibits tactile sensations that would otherwise make us gag. But nerve damage would lower this inhibiting effect, making foods seem creamier and so more pleasurable.

The postures, breathing and meditation included in the yoga intervention were "aimed at one common effect, i.e. 'to develop mastery over modifications of the mind' ... through 'slowing down the rate of flow of thoughts in the mind,'" the researchers explain.

Women in the yoga group also listened to lectures on using yoga to manage stress and other yoga-related topics, while those in the control group heard lectures on diet, exercise, the physiology of menopause, and stress.

After eight weeks, women in the yoga group showed a significant reduction in hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances, while the women in the control group did not, Dr. R. Chattha, of the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana in Bangalore, India, and colleagues found.

The state has given its 37,527 employees a year to start getting fit -- or they'll pay $25 a month for insurance that otherwise is free.

Alabama will be the first state to charge overweight state workers who don't work on slimming down, while a handful of other states reward employees who adopt healthy behaviors.

Alabama already charges workers who smoke -- and has seen some success in getting them to quit -- but now has turned its attention to a problem that plagues many in the Deep South: obesity.

The State Employees' Insurance Board this week approved a plan to charge state workers starting in January 2010 if they don't have free health screenings.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children devote no more than two hours per day to watching TV and playing video games.

Experts also encourage children to exercise regularly; some groups, including the AAP, recommend that boys move enough to take 13,000 steps each day, while girls should strive for 11,000. Another common recommendation is for children and teenagers to get at least one hour of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week.

For the new study, researchers at Iowa State University in Ames looked at whether there were weight differences between children who met or did not meet recommendations for "screen time" and exercise.

They found that among 709 7- to 12-year-olds, those who did not meet either recommendation were three to four times more likely to be overweight than their peers who met both guidelines.

Both vaccines target the human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted virus that usually causes no symptoms and is cleared by the immune system, but which can in very rare cases become chronic and cause cervical cancer.

The two vaccines, Gardasil by Merck Sharp & Dohme and Cervarix by GlaxoSmithKline, target two strains of the virus that together cause an estimated 70 percent of cervical cancers. Gardasil also prevents infection with two other strains that cause some proportion of genital warts. Both vaccines have become quick best sellers since they were licensed two years ago in the United States and Europe, given to tens of millions of girls and women.

“Despite great expectations and promising results of clinical trials, we still lack sufficient evidence of an effective vaccine against cervical cancer,” Dr. Charlotte J. Haug, editor of The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association, wrote in an editorial in Thursday’s issue of The New England Journal. “With so many essential questions still unanswered, there is good reason to be cautious.

According to the data, women's life expectancy saw a significant decline in 180 counties between 1983 and 1999. The cause for this precipitous drop? The folks at Women's Health attribute it to chronic diseases associated with obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure.

Here is a quick look at the U.S. counties that have experienced the greatest drop (numbers measured in years of average decline in female life expectancy):

Pulaski County, VA - 5.8
Radford, VA - 5.8
Dolores County, CO - 3.3
Montezuma County, CO - 3.3
San Juan County, CO - 3.3.
East Feliciana Parish, LA - 3.2
St. Helena Parish, LA - 3.2
West Feliciana Parish, LA - 3.2
Callaway County, MO - 3.0
Danville, VA - 3.0

Ted Nugent has never been one to beat around the bush so why should he stop now. Honestly I respect the man for the way he is willing and quick to speak his mind, but sometimes he’s a bit too blunt about things. Old Uncle Ted was on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations show on The Travel Channel where he was exploring the elements of Southwestern cuisine and stopped by Ted Nugents ranch in Texas. Anthony and Ted were speaking on many things to include Obesity. The Nuge’ said “Obesity is a manifestation of a cultural depravation in its most vulgar and displeasing-to-look-at form. And it’s suicide as a lifestyle.” Nugent also added “It all comes back to the horror, the soullessness of a trend in America that is the abandonment of parenting. Somebody’s got to go, ‘You can’t eat that. You’re way too fat.‘”

While I can understand what Ted is saying, Obesity is more than just an image issue. The last part of his statement is true that it may lead to certain and early death, but I think someone needs to give this guy a lesson in tact.

Water World...

It’s pretty amazing. Bad foods take A LOT of water to produce. Here are a few photos from The Guardian’s Water: The Hidden Cost of Your Food and Drink. Take a look:



(via The Guardian)

Actually, the U.K. is a big over-consumer of water. According to a new report the British go through gallons and gallons of “virtual” water. ENN explains:

While each person in the UK drinks, hoses, flushes and washes their way through around 150 litres of mains water a day, they consume about 30 times as much in “virtual” water embedded in food, clothes and other items — the equivalent of about 58 bathtubs full of water every day.

Launching the report, UK Water Footprint: the impact of the UK’s food and fibre consumption on global water resources, at World Water Week in Stockholm today, Stuart Orr, WWF-UK’s water footprint expert, said the UK was the sixth largest importer of water in the world.

“Only 38 per cent of the UK’s total water use comes from its own rivers, lakes and groundwater reserves,” he said. “The rest is taken from water bodies in many countries across the world to irrigate and process food and fibre crops that people in Britain subsequently consume.

Personally, I keep a brick in my toilet to help conserve water. Not to mention reduce my water bill! Oh, and be sure to check out these related links:

Be proud that you eat lots of fruits and vegetables. They don’t require as much water as foods like meat and cheese, and, some of plant foods are packed with H20.

Radiated Spinach and Lettuce

The FDA has had enough of all the E. coli scares, so they’ve decided to allow the radiation of spinach and lettuce. Susan Heavey of Reuters reports:

Since then, other outbreaks have affected a variety of products, most recently Salmonella contamination in hot peppers from Mexico that surfaced earlier this summer.

"In the aftermath of the recent outbreaks, FDA wanted to fast track an important tool to help industry improve the safety of fresh produce," Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) spokesman Brian Kennedy said.

But FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek said the agency was making its decision now because it had finished reviewing all the necessary data.

Industry groups initially sought the agency's approval eight years ago to clear a wide variety of foods, including various meats and produce before amending their request to allow the agency to review certain foods first.

The FDA's review of the other foods is still ongoing.

Foods already approved for radiation treatment include meat, poultry, spices and molluscan shellfish such as oysters, mussels and clams, according to the agency.

About 76 million cases of E.coli and other types of food poisoning occur each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Patients stricken with a food- borne illness experience a wide variety of symptoms that can include abdominal cramps, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.

Unless this radiation can cause super human strength—or at the very least give me the ability to read minds—I’m pretty leery about it.

Michael Phelps for Frosted Flakes...

After setting an Olympic record with 8 gold medals, super swimmer Michael Phelps has agreed to appear on boxes of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes. Yeah, because processed cereals are healthy—GEEZ! The Associated Press reports:

Move over Tony the Tiger, here comes Olympic champion Michael Phelps.
The record-setting swimmer will soon be appearing on boxes of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes.
Kellogg Co. made the announcement Tuesday. The winner of eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics will be featured on Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes boxes expected to be in stores by mid-September.
Battle Creek-based Kellogg says the images of Phelps that will be used will highlight some of the most memorable moments of the games.
The 23-year-old Phelps is a Baltimore native who has lived and trained in Ann Arbor in recent years as part of the University of Michigan-linked Club Wolverine.

Worrisome, because kids look up to Michael Phelps and boxed cereals are NOT healthy, they’re nutrient-deficient, and, often contain toxins called acrylamides. Then again, you can’t expect much from Phelps, he eats chocolate-chip pancakes and white bread—BIG DUMMY—and world record sprinter Usain Blot is no better, he's powered by chicken nuggets and yams!

Applegate Cancer-Free, Following Double Mastectomy

After testing positive for a gene mutation associated with breast cancer, actress Christina Applegate opted to have both her breasts removed. A drastic measure, but the now cancer-free star of "Samantha Who” is optimistic about her future. Via the Associated Press:

She'll undergo reconstructive surgery over the next eight months.

"I'm going to have cute boobs 'til I'm 90, so there's that," she joked in the interview, which aired Tuesday. "I'll have the best boobs in the nursing home. I'll be the envy of all the ladies around the bridge table…"

… Applegate's cancer was detected early through a doctor-ordered MRI. She said she's starting a program to help women at high risk for breast cancer to meet the costs of an MRI, which is not always covered by insurance.

The news of breast cancer initially shook her up, she said.

"I was so mad," she told "Good Morning America." "I was just shaking and -- and then also immediately, I had to go into ... 'take-care-of-business-mode,' which was ... I asked them, 'What do I do now? What -- what is it that I do? I get a doctor, I get a surgeon, I get an oncologist? What do I do?' "

The actress said she quickly made appointments, and also changed her diet to one consisting of fish, grains, beans and vegetables, avoiding processed foods.

Great job Christina! Dropping the processed foods is just what the doctor ordered. Diet is a HUGE factor in the development of all cancers, not just breast cancer. Not to mention exercise has also been shown to ward off cancer.

For more, check out: Christina Applegate's Breast Cancer Diagnosis.

Dieting, Some Calories Don't Count...

In the history of weight-loss and dieting, people have tried some nutty things, like ingesting tape worms, swallowing expanding gelatin pills or the Atkins Diet. And now, Ali Hale of Diet-Blog, offers up the secret guide to making any food calorie-free. Here’s a bit:

"There are no calories in food belonging to someone else"

This includes anything...

  • Taken from your partner's plate in a restaurant
  • Made for you by your mom
  • Stolen from a communal fridge

The unwritten "rules" say that whoever owns the food should get the calories from it ... regardless of who eats it.

"There are no calories in free food"

This includes anything...

  • Eaten at a buffet or pot-luck
  • Packaged with a magazine
  • Given away as a sample (see also "There are no calories in small pieces of food")

Free food is too good an opportunity to miss. And if it doesn't cost you a dollar, it shouldn't cost you any calories either.

Be sure to read the entire post. It’s pretty funny! Although, in reality, counting calories is a pretty silly strategy: The Problem with Weight Watchers and other Calorie Counting Diets.

Red Bull, Real Bad!

Energy drinks. Catchy names, exaggerated claims. They’re bad news, especially for kids, not to mention teenagers, and now an Australian study claims Red Bull increases stroke-risk—as little as one can! Reuters reports:

One hour after they drank Red Bull, (their blood systems) were no longer normal. They were abnormal like we would expect in a patient with cardiovascular disease," Scott Willoughby, lead researcher from the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, told the Australian newspaper.

Red Bull Australia spokeswoman Linda Rychter said the report would be assessed by the company's head office in Austria.

"The study does not show effects which would go beyond that of drinking a cup of coffee. Therefore, the reported results were to be expected and lie within the normal physiological range," Rychter told Reuters.

Willoughby and his team tested the cardiovascular systems of 30 young adults one hour before and one hour after consuming one 250ml can of sugar-free Red Bull.

The results showed "normal people develop symptoms normally associated with cardiovascular disease" after consuming the drink, created in the 1980s by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz based on a similar Thai energy drink.

Red Bull is banned in Norway, Uruguay and Denmark because of health risks listed on its cans, but the company last year sold 3.5 billion cans in 143 countries. One can contains 80 mg of caffeine, around the same as a normal cup of brewed coffee.

The only way I’d drink Red Bull is if it ACTUALLY gave you wings. Now, the bad news isn’t over yet. That’sFit passes along some research in General Dentistry, suggesting energy drinks damage teeth and gums. So, you want energy? Eat some fruit!

Gonzo Still Doesn't Want the Beef

Ugh! As an Oakland Raiders fan this PAINS me to blog about. Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end and monster “neo-vegan” Tony Gonzalez is quick to remind his teammates about the dangers of beef. More from Michael Silver of Michael Silver’s Game Face:

An exaggeration? If so it's only a slight stretch. Of all the NFL stars who could've saved a man from choking, he may have been the only one who'd be quite so grossed out by the food he managed to dislodge. Just ask Gonzalez's teammates, who've grown so accustomed to his neo-vegan diet and the accompanying lectures that they sometimes shy away from him during meals.

"Eating with Tony is a great way to ruin your appetite," veteran quarterback Damon Huard said last Saturday from the team's training camp. "You'll be biting into a piece of meat, and he'll say, 'You know that cow was probably corn-fed. And because of that, they had to give it antibiotics, and that probably gave it ulcers. I don't even want to think about what might be in there.' By then you're pretty much ready to clear your plate."

An hour later, as he sat in the cafeteria at the team's University of Wisconsin-River Falls headquarters, Gonzalez expanded upon the carefully crafted dietary approach that has fueled his second decade of excellence. A year-and-a-half after swearing off most dairy products and meat, the 6-foot-5, 251-pounder is laying waste to the stereotype of the scrawny, wimpy herbivore.

Coming off a stellar campaign that included 99 receptions for 1,172 yards (leaving him 179 yards behind Shannon Sharpe for the NFL's all time lead among tight ends) and earned him a ninth consecutive Pro Bowl invitation, the 32-year-old Gonzalez insists he's at his physical peak, with no sign of a decline.

Tony's commitment is strong. He recently saved a man from choking on hunk of filet mignon, but I still hope I don’t end up drafting him for fantasy football team. Oh! And check out Salim Stoudamire of Atlanta Hawks, he’s another veggie-pro—via TrueHoop.

No Veggies for America's Athletes

Ironically, many of America’s superstar athletes eat like crap—call me naïve, but I always thought healthy diet and fitness go hand in hand—apparently not. Miami Heat and 2008 U.S. Olympic team shooting guard Dwayne Wade DOESN’T eat vegetables! Via Michael Lee of Heavy Medal:

"We got a spread of different stuff. You've got fish. You've got Chicken. You've got steak. A lot of different stuff," Dwyane Wade said. "Chef Lovie. He's great."

Wade was then asked why the players came to the other end of the globe to eat at Tony Roma's, California Pizza Kitchen and McDonald's.

"You got to stay with what you know," Wade said. "I don't eat seafood. I don't eat vegetables. I don't eat none of that stuff, so I got to really stick with what I know."

What, no vegetables? How does Wade get his nutrients?

"I don't know. I don't eat vegetables," he said.

So, far all the little kids out there looking for a reason not to eat their spinach and broccoli, you have a role model in Wade. An Olympian, NBA all-star and Finals MVP doesn't eat his vegetables. Dreams really can come true.

Carmelo Anthony said that before he leaves China, he will attempt to eat some actual Chinese food. But his teammates are trying to play it safe.

Ugh! No wonder why D-Wade is injury-prone. Sadly, it gets worse. U.S. super swimmer Michael Phelps consumes 12,000 calories a day; including stuff like cheese, white bread, mayonnaise, coffee, chocolate-chip pancakes, pasta and fried eggs—via The New York Post. Sheesh!

Tips, Keeping Kids Healthy...

I don’t have kids—I imagine someday I’ll trick a woman into it—but if I did have a couple little ones. I’d want to keep them fit and healthy. Jacki Donaldson of That’sFit passes along four good suggestions:

  1. Eat right. If you eat right, your kids are likely to follow suit. That means five servings of fruits and veggies each day, whole grains instead of refined products, and a limited number of red meats and processed foods.
  2. Move. Inspire your kids to get 60 minutes of vigorous exercise most days of the week by engaging in your own fitness pursuits. Discuss the value of being active with your kids too.
  3. Avoid smoking. Don't smoke, don't hang out around smoke, and chat with your youngsters about the dangers of smoking.
  4. Practice skin smarts. Protect your own skin from the sun, and slather your kids too. And teach them this American Cancer Society jingle: Slip! Slop! Slap! Wrap! Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap sunglasses around your eyes.

Not bad. Actually Dr. Fuhrman has his own tips for raising healthy kids, check out: The Secrets to Getting Your Children to Eat Healthfully.

Moron Takes a Burger Bath

Yuck! I feel ashamed mentioning this on the blog. Apparently some jackass decided it was a clever idea to take a bubble bath in a giant Burger King sink. More from Fox News:

The video, which was posted on MySpace.com by an employee calling himself “Mr. Unstable,” shows the teen taking a nude bubble bath in a large stainless steel sink as other employees and a store manager looked on, WDTN.com reported.

The video eventually made it to health officials, who were not amused.

"My first thought was ‘Oh my God," Greene County Health Commissioner Mark McDonnell told WDTN.

All of the employees involved were fired. Burger King’s corporate office released the following statement:

“Burger King Corp. was just notified of this incident and is cooperating fully with the health department. We have sanitized the sink and have disposed of all other kitchen tools and utensils that were used during the incident. We have also taken appropriate corrective action on the employees that were involved in this video. Additionally, the remaining staff at this restaurant is being retrained in health and sanitation procedures.”

Another reason NEVER to eat at Burger King, they hire idiots like this. If you feel like lowering your IQ, here’s the video: Burger King employee takes bath in Kitchen Sink. Warning, it is insanely stupid. Oh, and they fired the moron.

Health Points: Tuesday

With 23 percent of British children now considered overweight or obese, parents have increasing difficulty judging whether their own child is too heavy and most consider their overweight children normal, Ivan Lewis, the British health minister, warned. The letters home are designed as an early wake-up call, aimed at helping kids avoid later health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.

Starting next month, about 1.2 million British kindergartners and children in their last year of primary school will be weighed and notes about their weight mailed home, school and health officials said.

To avoid stigma, all parents—not just those of the overweight—will get an assessment of their child. And to avoid offense, the letters will avoid the use of "obese" or "fat," substituting instead "overweight" or "very overweight."
The recall is of beef prepared for shipment to retailers but not yet cut up in supermarket sized portions.

The recall is "Class 1," meaning there is a "reasonable probability" that eating the beef "will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death," the USDA said. It is the most dangerous level of the three classes of recall.

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said the beef was sent to processing establishments and retail stores across the United States and had been produced June 17, June 24 and July 8.

The recall is of primal and subprimal cuts that are larger sections of cows, such as chuck and rib, that can be cut down for individual or family-sized packaging. It also is of "boxed beef" or carcasses that have been partially disassembled for shipping.
There is little dispute that bisphenol A can disrupt the hormonal system, but scientists differ on whether the very low amounts found in food and beverage containers can be harmful.

The National Toxicology Program, a partnership of federal health agencies, said in a recent draft report that there is "some concern" that the chemical can cause changes in behavior and the brain, and that it may reduce survival and birth weight in fetuses. The conclusion was based on animal studies.

However, the Food and Drug Administration's associate commissioner for science, Dr. Norris Alderson, told Congress in June that there was no reason for consumers to stop using products that contain the chemical.

Despite the uncertainty, consumer concern has prompted some governments and retailers to act.
A report from Brigham Young University shows only 36 percent of babies are breast-fed through six months. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding through the first year.

The data are based on a weighted sample of more than 60,000 children, collected from national immunization surveys compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although the data are focused on childhood immunization rates, questions also were asked about breast-feeding, giving the researchers a representative sample of nursing patterns in the United States.

The researchers found that children who were most likely to be breast-fed for more than six months typically had mothers with higher levels of education and income. Married women and those who lived in Western states were also more likely to breast-feed. Hispanic women and women born in other countries were also more likely to breast-feed.

Returning to work, being a smoker or living in the Northeast decreased the likelihood of long-term breast-feeding. Notably, low-income women who participated in the subsidized Women, Infants and Children program, which provides food, milk and formula to mothers and young children, were also more likely to stop breast-feeding sooner.
Wright is not an exotic dancer in a strip club. She's a 38-year-old mother of two from Atlanta, Georgia, looking to get in a decent workout.

"It works the abs, oh my goodness, muscles I didn't even know I had," Wright chuckled.

On this night, Wright is among more than a dozen women of all shapes and sizes -- no men allowed -- attending a beginner class at PoleLaTeaz, an Atlanta dance studio owned by Angela Edwards.

"We get preachers' wives, teachers, nurses, accountants, lawyers, anyone between the age of 18 and 70," Edwards said. "It's not boring...you get to wear fun clothes, listen to good music...and release your inner sexpot."

If online listings across the country are an indication, the popularity of pole dancing is spreading across the country from Southern California to Chicago to the Bible Belt.
Researchers say those strong feelings pro and con show in themselves that it will take a large study to see what, if anything, stretching really accomplishes. If stretching were remarkably effective, athletes would notice its effects right away and everyone would agree on when to stretch and what stretching does.

The study in Norway was the inspiration of Dr. Andy Oxman, a senior scientist at the Norwegian Knowledge Center for the Health Services. He had just completed what he calls a public clinical trial. It was a sort of reality show on public television that asked whether the nutritional supplement Valerian helped with insomnia; 405 people signed up to receive Valerian or a placebo and reported on their sleep by logging onto a Web site. Some participants insisted that because they slept so well they were taking Valerian. Or they said they knew they had taken the placebo because their sleep didn’t improve.

Then, the results were announced on the TV show and published: Valerian had little or no effect on sleep. Some who maintained they had the supplement actually had the placebo and vice versa.
Yet many people are not getting enough vitamin D, which the skin makes naturally when exposed to sunlight. A nationwide survey found that 41 percent of men and 53 percent of women in the United States were not getting enough of this vital nutrient.

"The importance of vitamin D may be underappreciated," said lead author Dr. Michal Melamed, a clinical fellow at Johns Hopkins University. "There are studies that link low vitamin D levels to the development of heart disease, peripheral arterial disease, diabetes, hypertension and different cancers," she said.

The report was published in the Aug. 11 online edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

For the study, Melamed's team collected data on more than 13,000 men and women who took part in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Levels of vitamin D were collected in 1988 and 1994, and the participants were followed through 2000.
Nebraska Beef, an Omaha meat packer, has been linked to two separate outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 in the past two months. The first triggered a ground beef recall by Kroger's supermarkets. The second outbreak kicked off a ground beef recall by Dorothy Lane Market, a small chain in Ohio. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider these two separate outbreaks because they involve two genetically distinct strains of O157:H7.

Whole Foods initiated the recall after Massachusetts health officials investigating a cluster of E. coli illnesses discovered all seven victims had bought meat at Whole Foods. The chain pulled ground beef from some of its stores on Wednesday. The Nebraska Beef recall was announced late Friday night.

My colleague Ylan Mui and I have gotten some comments from people who noted that the natural food chain is telling folks no contaminated Whole Foods meat has been found yet and we reported that in our story on Sunday. But before anyone is lulled into some false sense of security, there is other microbiological evidence linking Whole Foods to the outbreak.

200 Calories Set to Music...

Look at how much MORE food you get from 200 calories of fruits and veggies, than 200 calories of bacon, bagels, hotdogs, hamburgers, French fries and other junk. Take a look:

Actually, they got it from WiseGeek. Here’s a post about it: Food Face-Off.

Blood Pressure, Salt's Not Your Friend...

Salt, unless you have an icy driveway, it won’t do you much good. In fact, Dr. Fuhrman recommends avoiding salt—for A LOT of reasons—and now a new study by the Harvard Medial School further exposes the link between salt and high blood pressure. Ed Edelson of HealthDay News reports:
The study, which included researchers at the University of Cambridge, looked at one possible genetic factor that might make people more or less vulnerable to the effects of salt intake on blood pressure -- variants of a gene for angiotensinogen, a molecule that can raise blood pressure by tightening arteries.

But the study of more than 11,000 European men and women found no relationship between variant forms of the gene and the effect of salt on blood pressure. The people who took in and excreted more salt had higher blood pressure, regardless of genetics, according to the report in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"It is a carefully done study that strongly confirms the relationship between salt and hypertension [high blood pressure]," said Dr. Mordecai P. Blaustein, a professor of physiology and medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who has done research on the mechanism by which too much salt causes high blood pressure.

"The power of this study is that it includes a very large cohort," said Blaustein, who is also director of the Maryland Center for Heart, Hypertension and Kidney Disease. "Also, they directly measured salt excretion."

Dr. Paul R. Conlin, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal, added: "The study clearly showed that people who had elevated salt intake were the ones who had high blood pressure. That was independent of the genotype for this specific gene."
Obviously, this is a good reason NOT to consume salty foods, but salt is a tricky thing. If you eat or buy food not produced by your own hands, it’s hard to avoid. I’ll be honest with you, being my own salt-arbiter is probably the biggest challenge I still face as a diet conscious individual.

Heart Disease, Doctors Failing Patients...

Perhaps the understatement of the century! Research from Outcomes, Inc., a Birmingham Alabama-based research firm, have determined that doctors often come up short when it comes to heart disease-prevention. Via Reuters Health:
Lead researcher Dr. Hamidreza Doroodchi and colleagues sent a survey on cardiovascular disease management to a random sample of 12,000 U.S. family physicians and general internists. A total of 888 completed the survey, which contained "case vignettes" for managing adults deemed to be at low or high risk of heart disease.

The study found that in the hypothetical case of a low-risk 45-year-old woman, only 28 percent of family doctors and 37 percent of internists made the "guideline-based preventive choice" of prescribing no aspirin or other antiplatelet therapy -- drugs that help prevent blood clots by keeping platelet blood cells from clumping together. The majority indicated that they would prescribe a daily aspirin for such a patient to reduce the risk of heart attack.

When asked whether they would start drug therapy to combat abnormal cholesterol levels, 51 percent of doctors said they would not do so in this low-risk patient -- which is in accordance with guidelines. On the other hand, 41 percent said they would prescribe a statin.

When it came to basic lifestyle advice, which is appropriate for low- and high-risk patients alike, doctors often fell short.

For example, while experts recommend that all adults limit their intake of artery-clogging trans fats, over one-third of doctors in the survey failed to recommend this measure for the low-risk 45-year-old woman.
A lot of it probably has to do with ignorance or the unwillingness to defy conventional medical thinking. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
For most people, illness means putting their fate in the hands of doctors and complying with their recommendations — recommendations that typically involve taking drugs for the rest of their lives while they watch their health gradually deteriorate. People are completely unaware that most illnesses are self-induced and can be reversed with aggressive nutritional methods.

Both patients and physicians act as though everyone’s medical problems are genetic, or assumed to be the normal consequence of aging. They believe that chronic illness is just what we all must expect. Unfortunately, the medical-pharmaceutical business has encouraged people to believe that health problems are hereditary and that we need to swallow poisons to defeat our genes. This is almost always untrue. We all have genetic weaknesses, but those weaknesses never get a chance to express themselves until we abuse our body with many, many years of mistreatment. Never forget, 99 percent of your genes are programmed to keep you healthy. The problem is that we never let them do their job.
I find that the problem gets even more out of whack when the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are they themselves overweight or unhealthy. Makes you think that the whole system is mucked up—I wanted to use another word here.

Calories on L.A. Menus Too?

Last month New York City restaurants began mandatory posting of calorie-content on menus and now it seems Los Angeles is pondering the same move. Jennifer Martinez of Reuters reports:
Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Michael Antonovich will present a proposed ordinance to the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors next week that would force fast-food chains and restaurants to display the number of calories alongside the price of items on their menus.

The proposed law is intended to decrease obesity among adults and children in America's second-largest city.

While Los Angeles has a reputation as a mecca of diet and exercise crazes, the county's Department of Public Health says residents are less fit than many realize.

The percentage of obese adults in Los Angeles County increased 46 percent over eight years, to 20.9 percent in 2005 from 14.3 percent in 1997, according to the department.

"The menu should be as informative of what its effect is on one's waistline as it is on their pocketbooks," Yaroslavsky said. "Not ingesting 800 calories in a meal makes a huge difference to one's health and quality of life."
I’m not a calorie-counter, but giving people as much information about their food as possible doesn’t really have a downside—right?

What we're Eating, Then and Now

The New York Times offers up this great graphic showing America’s food habits over time. More from Bill Marsh:

Wow, it’s hard to believe that our vegetable consumption is actually up. Could have fooled me! Click here for the full graphic.

McBurger Pizza, America We Got Problems...

You know, you try to be optimistic. You hope people will start eating better, but then you find something like this and that notion is shot to hell. Via And I Am Not Lying:

Makes you wonder, how big of a death wish must a person have to concoct that monstrosity. I can actually feel my chest tightening!

Protecting Your Prostate

In what some are calling a surprise move, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends not screening for prostate cancer in men age 75 years or older. Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times reports:
Screening is typically performed with a blood test measuring prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, levels. Widespread PSA testing has led to high rates of detection. Last year, more than 218,000 men learned they had the disease.

Yet various studies suggest the disease is “overdiagnosed” — that is, detected at a point when the disease most likely would not affect life expectancy — in 29 percent to 44 percent of cases. Prostate cancer often progresses very slowly, and a large number of these cancers discovered through screening will probably never cause symptoms during the patient’s lifetime, particularly for men in their 70s and 80s. At the same time, aggressive treatment of prostate cancer can greatly reduce a patient’s quality of life, resulting in complications like impotency and incontinence.

Past task force guidelines noted there was no benefit to prostate cancer screening in men with less than 10 years left to live. Since it can be difficult to assess life expectancy, it was an informal recommendation that had limited impact on screening practices. The new guidelines take a more definitive stand, however, stating that the age of 75 is clearly the point at which screening is no longer appropriate.
In our bilk-the-patient system of modern medicine, nixing this money-maker will certainly hit doctors and hospitals in the bottom-line. Now, there’s more you can do—eat your way to a healthy prostate. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, rich not only in lycopene but in thousands of other protective compounds. Each year, researchers find another carotenoid that has powerful beneficial effects and reduces cancer. Spinach was this year’s recipient of the anti-prostate cancer award, with researchers in Japan finding neoxanthin compounds (a class of carotenoids) that powerfully inhibit prostate cancer. In the past, pink grapefruit, watermelon, cooked tomatoes, pomegranate, cruciferous vegetables, red peppers, berries, figs, and many other foods all have been shown to inhibit the development of prostate cancer…

…Fresh fruits are an important component of the natural diet of all primates. Humans and other primates have color vision and the ability to appreciate sweets. We are designed this way so that we can recognize ripe fruits and be attracted to them. We have a natural sweet tooth designed to direct us to those foods most critical for our survival, but sugar and candy manufacturers also know that bright colors and sweet tastes are instinctually attractive. They have used that knowledge to their advantage. Remember, your instinctual reaction is designed to lead you to fruit—not sugary, processed foods. Fruit is an indispensable requirement to maintain a high level of health. Fruit consumption has been shown to offer the strongest protection against certain cancers, especially oral, esophageal, lung, prostate, and pancreatic cancer1…

…Over the last few years, the health benefits of seeds also have become more apparent. A tablespoon of ground flaxseed, hempseeds, chia seeds, or other seeds can supply those hard-to find omega-3 fats that protect against diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.2 Seeds are also rich in lignans, a type of fiber associated with a reduced risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer. In addition, seeds are a good source of iron, zinc, calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin E, and folate. The plant goes to great effort in producing and protecting its seed, filling each genetic package with high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential oils, and enzymes.
Okay guys, think about it. What would you rather do? Eat your fruits and veggies or get stuck with a needle in a place where no needle should ever be—eek!
Continue Reading...

New Obesity Research...

The infants were considered overweight if they had a body mass index (BMI) above the 85th weight-for-height percentile on 2 or more measurements taken at least 3 months part. This means that 85 percent of children their age and gender have a lower BMI, which is a measure of weight in relation to height.

In the first study, the researchers found that infants between the 85th and 94th weight-for-height percentiles actually had fewer hospital admissions and repeat admissions than normal-weight infants. However, higher than expected admission rates were seen in the most overweight infants (95th or higher percentile).

In the second study, overweight infants were more likely than their normal-weight peers to have developmental delays and snoring. There was also evidence that asthma and other breathing problems were more common in overweight infants.
According to the researchers, patients who were overweight or obese were less likely to die during follow up compared to their normal-weight peers. Being overweight or obese "remained protective" against death in a "risk-adjusted" analysis.

Heart failure patients who had a normal weight or who were underweight had the highest death rates. "It remains unknown, however, if higher body fat levels are actually the cause of better outcomes in patients with heart failure," the researchers note in the American Heart Journal.

"We believe there is a need for prospective studies to confirm these findings and elucidate potential mechanisms" for the potentially protective effect of increased body weight on heart failure, Oreopoulos and colleagues conclude.
The study, conducted by Dr. Erin J. Maher, from Casey Family Programs in Seattle, and colleagues, involved nearly 16,000 first-time kindergartners who had or had not been enrolled in childcare, defined as spending at least 10 hours per week in care not provided by a parent.

Childcare was subdivided into four types: 1) paid or unpaid care by a relative, friend, or neighbor, held at least occasionally at the child's home; 2) paid care by a non-relative family outside the child's home; 3) Head Start; and 4) care at daycare center, nursery school, preschool, or pre-kindergarten. Children were considered to be obese if their weight was in the 95th or higher percentile for height.

Overall, kids in childcare were more likely to obese than children not in childcare. Of the various childcare types, care by a relative, friend, or neighbor was most strongly linked to obesity. Compared with other racial groups, white children were less likely and Latino children more likely to be obese.

Living with Lupus, Really?

You don’t read a lot of lupus. I guess its one of those diseases that lacks a colored ribbon and a celebrity spokes person, but for many people lupus is a life-altering condition. More from Judy Fortin of CNN:
Amy Harned, who lives in Webster, Massachusetts, is among the 1.5 million Americans who suffer from the autoimmune disorder. Lupus causes the body's immune system to attack its own tissues, causing inflammation and damage. When Harned's lupus was first diagnosed, she said she "was really terrified, but gradually I got more information." She realized with proper treatment she could lead a somewhat normal life…

"…The prognosis for lupus today is very good," Lisa Fitzgerald, a Boston, Massachusetts-based rheumatologist, said. "The survival rate is really over 90 percent in five to 10 years of having the disease. In the 1950s it was probably 50 percent."

Part of the reason for the improved success has to do with better treatment in managing the condition. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen offer relief to some patients.

Other lupus sufferers might be prescribed an antimalarial drug called hydroxychloroquine.

"It's a quinine derivative. It's quite safe," Fitzgerald said. "It can make a big difference for patients who have mild disease."

Fitzgerald added she also prescribes corticosteroids "to squelch flareups." While they work well, she cautioned they do have side effects.
Wow! A life time of prescribed drugs—now that sounds like modern medicine! But what if there was another way? A healthier way to live your life without lupus, Dr. Fuhrman talks about it:
For the last 20 years, multiple studies have been published in medical journals documenting the effectiveness of high vegetable diets on autoimmune illnesses.1 These have been largely ignored by the medical profession and most doctors still deny the effectiveness of nutrition on autoimmune and inflammatory conditions; a high-nutrient eating-style is most effective in aiding people suffering with these conditions.
And here’s a little more from Dr. Fuhrman:
An aggressive nutritional approach to autoimmune illnesses should always be tried first when the disease is in its infancy. Logically, the more advanced the disease is, and the more damage that has been done by the disease, the less likely the patient will respond. My experience with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis is that some patients are more dietary-sensitive than others and that some patients have very high levels of inflammation that are difficult to curtail with natural therapy. Nevertheless, the majority benefit—and since the conventional drugs used to treat these types of illnesses are so toxic and have so many risky side effects, the dietary method should be tried first.
You got to wonder, why something as simple and noninvasive as changing diet isn’t always tried first. Oh wait! It doesn’t make money.
Continue Reading...

A Day's Worth of Calories in Kids' Meals

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has determined that many fast food kids’ meals contain enough calories of an entire day. Nanci Hellmich of USA TODAY reports:
Overall, the findings reveal that 93% of the kids' meals at McDonald's and Wendy's contain more than 430 calories, the average number of calories that children ages 4 to 8 should get at a single meal. The comparable numbers are 92% at Burger King; 89% at Dairy Queen; 69% at Arby's; 60% at Denny's. The latter's kids' meals don't include drinks.

On the healthful side, about 67% of the kids' meals at Subway have fewer than 430 calories.

"When you go to most chain restaurants, ordering off the kids' menu is a nightmare," says Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the mother of a 10-year-old daughter.

"Right now kids' meals are almost all unhealthy meals when they should be almost all healthy meals," she says "At the very least, restaurants should list calories on the menu so that parents can navigate through this minefield of calories and fat to find the healthy options."
Let that be a lesson to you if you actually believe fast food giants are concerned about kids’ dietary needs. For more, here’s the CSPI analysis: Obesity on the Kids’ Menus at Top Chains.

Stop Tooth Decay, Eat Gummi Bears

Apparently Gummi Bears—a CANDY—protect our teeth. Gummi Bears are made with the artificial sweetener xylitol; an ingredient that some claim reduces plaque bacteria. This brainstorm comes to us via the journal BMC Oral Health. Rebecca Smith of The Telegraph reports:
The results are published in the journal BMC Oral Health and show significant reductions on plaque causing bacteria amongst children eating both types of bears.

Lead author Kiet A. Ly, from the University of Washington, said: "For xylitol to be successfully used in oral health promotion programmes amongst primary-school children, an effective means of delivering xylitol must be identified. Gummy bears would seem to be more ideal than chewing gum."

The researchers concluded: "These results suggest that a xylitol gummy bear snack may be an alternative to xylitol chewing gum for dental caries prevention.

"A larger clinical trial is needed to confirm the xylitol results."

The researchers were surprised that both the xylitol group and the mannitol group showed reductions in plaque bacteria. Xylitol has been shown in previous research to be effective in helping to prevent tooth decay but evidence on mannitol, which is a very similar substance, has been conflicting.
Okay, Gummi Bears might be cute, but I’m not chewing some artificially flavored candy concoction to protect my teeth. Hopefully parents don’t buy into this jibber-jabber either—sheesh!

Eat For Health: The Stubborn Habits

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

Modern foods are designed to seduce your taste buds. You have been manipulated by profit motivated food manufacturers. We all have. The artificially concentrated flavors that the processed food industry uses to stimulate the brain’s pleasure center are designed to increase and retain sales. Tragically, the result is that they lead people’s taste buds astray. Artificial, intense flavors cause us to enjoy natural flavors less. Our taste buds become desensitized, and the more we succumb to the heightened, artificial flavors, the less appealing natural, whole foods become. Salt also desensitizes our taste buds, but the extra sweeteners and artificial flavors combined with the flavor enhancing qualities of salt are all addictive.

Fortunately, by practicing this eating-style, your taste buds are bouncing back. However, it might take more time to reset your receptors to appreciate the more subtle flavors of whole, unprocessed foods. Hang in there, and keep up your healthy eating! It’s the only way for this to happen, and it always does. It might take longer than six weeks, but your taste and flavor sensitivity will improve tremendously over time.

Realizing your impediments and gaining knowledge about great health are tremendous first steps, but they are only 50 percent of the overall solution. You must put into practice and repeat your new beneficial behaviors over and over until they become part of you. Repetition will make these positive actions feel more and more natural. It is not enough simply to know what to do. You need to practice preparing recipes, eating super-healthy meals, noticing the changes, and affirming yourself, until eating for health naturally satisfies you.

Developing a burning desire for optimal health will help you in the process of re-sensitizing your taste buds. Stay with the program and your taste buds will actually line up with your desire, your behaviors will line up with your beliefs, you will cease to crave flavor enhancers and highly seasoned food, and you will transform into a person who actually prefers to eat healthfully. As you learn more recipes, you will be able to substitute similar, healthy foods for those old, unhealthy options. For example, my healthy sorbets and ice creams are the perfect substitute for your craving of cold sweets.

It is not easy to develop new habits, and there is no such thing as a quick shortcut to developing new skills and expertise. When you do something over and over, it creates a pathway in the brain that makes it easier and more comfortable to repeat again. That is one reason why it is so hard to change bad habits. However, if you are motivated to persevere and keep trying, the change becomes considerably easier. The more you make healthful meals and the more days you link together eating healthful foods, the more your brain will naturally prefer to eat that way. Of course, feeling better and losing weight is a great motivator, but through this process, your taste for a different way of eating can be established. It has been shown that a new food needs to be eaten about 15 times for it to become a preferred food. Keep in mind that the more days you eat healthfully, the more you will lose your addiction to unhealthful, stimulating substances, and, with time, you will look forward to, and prefer, a healthy diet. Don’t give up. The only failure is to stop trying.

Health Grades, McDonald's gets a B!

Chick-fil-A an A, Dominos a C+, and Burger King a C, but Chipotle a D? Shenanigans, shenanigans! I’m calling shenanigans. Now, before I continue this rant, check out all the rankings via Eat This, Not That:
A: Chick-fil-A
A-: Subway
B+: Boston Market
B: McDonald’s
C+: Dominos
C: Burger King
D: Chipotle
F: Applebee’s, IHOP, Olive Garden, Outback, Red Lobster, T.G.I. Friday’s
Okay, I agree with an A- for Subway—in a pinch a Veggie Delight on wheat is cool—but Chipotle should be no less than a B and everything else gets a big fat F! These pictures make it pretty clear why—YUCK—take a look:


Boston Market



Burger King

Yeah, that garbage looks healthy—please! To quote my Jewish friend, this is a fakakta list, that’s a Yiddish word meaning dirty, full of crap, or screwed-up. All of which apply here. My goodness!