Health-Points: Tuesday 11.25.08

  • Having no stress would be great! And there’s an added perk for cancer patients. New research in Cancer claims reducing stress, by exercising and eating healthfully, can help prevent relapses and fight cancer; via NewScientist.
  • China’s food safety has drawn intense scrutiny, prompting the FDA to open an office in Beijing. According to a spokesperson it will enhance the regulatory cooperation between the United States and China; CNN reports.

Super Bug in Supermarket Meat...

Bad news for meat mongers! Clostridium difficile, a bacteria normally linked with severe hospital infections, was found in 40% of meat products tested from 3 national supermarket chains and ground beef, pork, turkey and sausage contain a “super” strain of the bacteria; via MSNBC.

Gross! And previous reports have linked deli meat with listeria, that killed 12 people, and meat and poultry have been blamed for a lot of foodborne infections. Okay, now I’m going to puke.

U.S. Cholesterol: LDL Down, Triglycerides Up

At the American Heart Association's annual meeting researchers revealed LDL cholesterol levels in U.S. adults have dropped since 1980, but triglyceride levels are 5 times higher. Scientists cite increased awareness of the dangers of high-fat diets and statins for the drop in LDL and the surge in obesity for the jump in triglycerides; Reuters reports.

Okay, it’s good to hear people are getting wise to high-fat diets. Diets rich in saturated fat are linked to heart disease, but statins are no saving grace. They have serious side effects and only offer a band aid solution. However, plant-based diets lower cholesterol, improve triglycerides, reverse cardiovascular disease and promote healthy bodyweight.

Chocolate Craving, Walk it Off...

Chocolate is my weakness. Sometimes I need it! But next time a craving hits, I’ll try walking it off. A new study in Appetite claims a brisk 15-minute walk can halt chocolate cravings. And short spurts of exercise, like walking, might help improve mood and alertness too; Reuters reports.

For a healthier chocolate alternative, give my chocolate pudding a try!

The Healthiest City in America...

That’s Burlington, Vermont and it’s the healthiest city in the United States. The CDC reports Burlington, with 95%, has the largest percentage of people in good or great health. The population is younger, more affluent and very active in outdoors. They eat better too, enjoying plenty of vegan restaurants and co-ops; from the Associated Press.

Seems to agree with other reports, previously researchers from Harvard University's School of Public Health in Boston determined people living in neighborhoods with good walking environments and easy access to healthy foods were leaner than those living in less desirable communities. I guess Las Vegas is bad then. Because it was named the fattest city, twice!

Cutting Cow Flatulence

I don’t eat meat. Mostly for health reasons, but nowadays, I think about the environment a lot. Livestock and meat production sap natural resources. And the all the methane gas, produced by farting cows, contributes mightily to global warming.

But experts predict eating less meat could help lower rising temperatures. Although some scientists have taken a different approach, they’re trying to engineer less flatulent bovine diets, like high-tech grass and food additives; via Plenty Magazine.

Calories on Menus Could Go Nationwide...

We’re a fat country. We love horrible food! We eat it blindly. So to buck the trend, New York City started requiring fast food joints to post calorie-content on their menus. And it helped, New Yorkers like it. As a result, the legislation is gaining popularity in congress. Soon, calories-on-menus laws could be national; Reuters reports.

Saturated Fat Linked to Small Intestine Cancer...

A new study in Cancer Research claims eating foods high in saturated fat, like red meat, may heighten the risk of cancer in the small intestine. HealthDay News Reports:

Previous research had identified a link between red and processed meats and cancer of the large intestine, but this is the first prospective study to examine the association between meat and fat intake and cancer of the small intestine.

During the study, 60 adenocarcinomas and 80 carcinoid tumors of the small intestine were diagnosed among the participants, and an elevated risk for these cancers was associated with saturated fat intake.

Saturated fat is a health-destroyer. Previous reports have associated saturated fat with both prostate and ovarian cancer, not to mention heart disease and hypertension.

Kids and Soda, Can't Stop It

Districts have tried to stop kids from drinking soda by eliminating it from schools, but a new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior reveals nixing sugar-sweetened beverages and diet soda, does little to stop kids from drinking them; via A Better Life.

Clearly, kids are finding a way to get their soda fix. And a recent report found not only are children’s diets getting worse, but consumption of sugary drinks is up 15%. That’s why San Francisco’s governor wanted a surcharge on drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.

Nanotechnology Not Tested Enough, Experts Worried...

The UK’s Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution urges more assessment of nanomaterial’s impact on the environment and health. Nanotechnology-based products are flooding the market, but without sufficient safety testing; NewScientist reports.

Actually, previous reports have warned against using nanotechnology in things like food packaging, due to health concerns. Others claim carbon nanotubes act like asbestos if inhaled. Even Dr. Fuhrman wants more testing on nanotechnology.

Corn in the Hamburgers...

A recent chemical analysis of fast food from 6 major U.S. cities revealed corn molecules turned up in almost everything; from hamburgers to chicken sandwiches. Via National Geographic News:

Out of the hundreds of meals that we bought, there were only 12 servings of anything that did not go straight back to a corn source," said study lead author Hope Jahren, a geobiologist at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.

Corn's dominance in the nation's fast food is well known, "but the [chemical analysis] really bring it home in a way that hasn't been brought home before," said Craig Cox, Midwest vice president for the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.

More reason to avoid fast food! Now, corn is cool, but don’t base your diet on it. Humans should eat a biologically diverse diet, lots of DIFFERENT fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans.

Overeating Eating and Substance Abuse, Similar...

I know, sounds weird. But a new study in Psychiatric News claims compulsive eating and substance abuse share the same neurological pathways and chemicals in the brain. Analyzing this relationship could yield better treatment options for both; via Booster Shots.

No doubt, we’ve all had moments where overeating, or eating something we shouldn’t, made us feel better. Dr. Fuhrman calls this emotional eating and it’s a serious impediment to health. Good news, cutting junk foods and eating healthier can eliminate the problem. Hooray!

Diabetes: Fish Prevents Kidney Trouble

A new study in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases claims diabetics eating fish twice a week have less risk of kidney disease because they excrete less protein in their urine, a common indicator of kidney trouble; Reuters reports.

Here’s what Dr. Fuhrman said about it:

Anytime you add fish, fish oil, DHA supplements, flax or walnuts to a diet you will see dramatic health benefits for a variety of illnesses. This is consistent with other studies, so in that context it is reasonable to advise people to include sources of omega-3 and even DHA in their diet. This can be met with plant sources of omega-3 and a vegan DHA supplement such as DHA Purity or this need can be met with fish or fish oil.

Other foods, like green vegetables, beans, raw nuts and seeds, actually help prevent and reserve diabetes. Now, DHA deficiency has been linked to depression, dyslexia, aggressiveness, alcoholism and even reduced intelligence.

But, before you go fish crazy, be mindful of seafood’s pollution issues.

Live Long and Happy...

Want a long, healthy life? In a study in the Journal of Gerontology, older folks recommend staying positive and stress-free and not drinking or smoking; HealthDay News reports.

Great advice! And a recent survey of centenarians showed staying active, maintaining a sense of independence and having lots of friends and family helps too. Very cool!

Dairy Council Says Dairy Burns Fat...

Apparently, the news that milk does NOT work for weight-loss really peeved the National Dairy Council. Because they’ve just unleashed a new study, that they funded, claiming dairy foods boost fat-burning.

The “research” appears in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism. Reuters reports:

The study didn't find that eating the recommended three servings of dairy food each day made any difference in helping people keep off the weight that they had lost, but it did show that they were able to consume more calories without gaining weight compared with people who consumed less than one dairy serving daily.

Wow! Eat MORE dairy and you’ll be okay. Clever ploy National Dairy Council, if that is your REAL name! That’d be like Atkins publishing a study saying their dangerous diet is healthy. Oh wait, that happened.

So I guess we’re supposed to ignore the fact that dairy promotes Crohn’s disease and cancer, burdens the environment and harbors deadly bacteria!

Kids Eat like their Parents

A new study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine claims children mimic their parents’ diet. Leading researchers to suggest using the supermarket to teach kids to choose fruits and vegetables OVER snack and desserts; Reuters reports.

Makes sense, growing up my mom always ate a TON of vegetables. And as I got older, I quickly realized I was the only one of my friends who knew what broccoli rabe was. That’s why Dr. Fuhrman believes healthy eating is for the WHOLE family, not just the kids!

Deadly Bacteria Loves Meat and Dairy

Research by the University of Adelaide claims a bacterial toxin, named Subtilase cytotoxin, targets human cells that express the sugar Neu5Gc, found in animal foods.

The study appears in October 30th edition of Nature, Newswise reports:

Remarkably, humans cannot make Neu5Gc, and so we should all be resistant to the toxin,” Professor James Paton says. “However, consuming foods that have high levels of Neu5Gc, such as red meat and dairy products, leads to uptake of the sugar by human cells and this makes them susceptible to attack by the toxin.

Of course the veggie-haters will say, “What about the spinach-E. coli scare.” Sorry, the spinach didn’t make the bacteria. It was pooped on by pork products.

And let’s not forget, milk and beef are CONSTANTLY being linked with harmful bacteria.

Coffee Shrinks Breasts...

A pandemic is upon us, much worse than famine, drought and locusts, combined. The world’s boobies are SHRINKING! The cause, ordinary coffee.

A new study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, examined 300 coffee drinkers, obviously women, asking them how much coffee they drink per day and then measuring their bust size.

The data showed women who drank MORE than 3 cups of coffee a day had an average breast size 17% smaller than women who consumed LESS than 3 cups per day.

In general, women with BIGGER breasts are at higher risk.

"However, anyone who thinks they can tell which women are coffee drinkers just from their bra measurements will be disappointed,” Helena Jernstrom, from Lund University in Sweden, who led the study, told The Telegraph.

Scientists believe coffee’s impact on estrogen causes the shrinkage. And, it might affect testosterone too. Eek!

Listen, coffee isn’t healthy. Among other things, it raises blood sugar and contributes to arteriosclerosis. So ditch the coffee and SAVE the boobies!

Cheesy Election Art...

Artist Esteban Pulido uses cheese as his canvas. It’s not much to look at, but it's certainly better than eating it. Yuck!

Via Serious Eats.


I bet it’s healthier than a jack-o-lantern. It’s certainly not as scary. But it sure is creepy looking.

Via Serious Eats.


Healthy Hearts: Did You Set Your Clocks Back?

Hopefully you did! Because new research in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals 20 years of turning the clocks back has caused a DROP in the number of heart attacks on the Monday following the time switch, the extra hour of sleep could be why; via the Associated Press.

Sleep is good? Wow, who would have thought! A healthy diet and plenty of exercise are also smart ways to SUPERCHARGE your heart. And remember, things like diabetes, asthma and even erectile dysfunction have the opposite effect, they INCREASE heart disease-risk.

Visa Discoblog.

Eat for Health: Cut Back on Grains

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

As you well know by now, to eat healthfully, fruits and vegetables should form the base of your food pyramid. That means that grains should be consumed in a much smaller amount than you were most likely eating before you began this plan. Grains simply do not contain enough nutrients per calorie to form a substantial part of your diet.

Many scientific studies show a strong association between the consumption of white flour products, such as pasta and bread, with diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.1 Refined carbohydrates are also linked to enlargement of the prostate.2 These results continue to show that eating white flour and sweeteners is nutritional suicide that will undermine your health. Whole grains are the least nutrient-dense food of the seed family, and they do not show the powerful protection against disease that is apparent in the scientific studies of fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, raw nuts, or seeds. Just because a food is called “whole grain” or “organic” does not make it a good food. Many whole-grain cold cereals are so processed and overly cooked that they have lost most of their nutritional value. Because these foods were dry-baked to make them crisp, they are also generally high in acrylamides and other toxic compounds. Soaking, sprouting, or cooking grains in water, instead of eating pre-cooked breakfast cereals, is a much healthier and more nutritious way to eat them. Some of the healthier grains to consume include barley, buckwheat (kasha), millet, oats, quinoa, and wild rice. As a minor part of your diet, they can be water-cooked and used as a breakfast cereal with fruits and nuts or a dinner side dish.

White potato is also not a high-nutrient food, and many studies reveal an association between a diet high in white potato and obesity and diabetes.3 Granted these studies may be biased by the way potatoes are consumed, often fried or loaded with butter or sour cream, but, nevertheless, because of their relatively low-nutrient density and their high glycemic index they should play a minor role in your diet. Sweet potatoes, carrots, and peas are much healthier options.

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