Hotdogs Linked to Leukemia Risk

Last year, it was discovered processed meats and cheese speed up the growth of lung cancer tumors. And now, new research in BMC Cancer found children who consume cured meats, like hotdogs and bacon, were 74% more likely to develop leukemia. It’s believed nitrites, which build up in cured and smoked meats, amplify cancer-risk. Conversely, researchers suggest the potent antioxidants in vegetables and soy foods may help protect against cancer; Reuters reports.

Not surprising, Dr. Fuhrman considers processed meat, like luncheon meat, as one of the worst meat options available and discourages eating them, especially expectant mothers. Women who eat hotdogs while pregnant put their child at risk for brain tumors later in life.

And other research has shown diets high in saturated fat, i.e. meat, increase the progression of prostate cancer, while eating lots of fruits and vegetables stomps breast cancer risk!

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Howard Stern Wants Six-Pack Abs...

The King of All Media, Howard Stern, is a health nut. He’s runs like crazy, meditates and watches what he eats. And in the past, he’s railed against trans-fat and his sidekick, Robin Quivers, is a vegan.

But Howard’s got a problem. He’s got stubborn belly fat he can’t get rid of. And it’s making him mental! He wants six-pack abs. Yesterday he vented his frustration on air. Here’s the transcript:

Howard: I thought I lost weight yesterday. But I gained weight.

Robin: How did you—what?

Howard: I’m very neurotic my weight, as you know.

Robin: So, you really thought you had been eating well, is what you’re saying?

Howard: Yeah. But then I get on the scale this morning and I was up to 198, which means I got to go into stealth-mode. No snacks.

Robin: Really pull it back? No desserts.

Howard: Nothing. That’s it.

Robin: Isn’t it horrible when you’re so good, and you still gain weight?

Howard: Yeah, I’m so good and I always still have that lip around my waist. I still always have that belly. I don’t understand how that’s possible. I’m thin. I work out.

Robin: You run!

Howard: I worked out yesterday like a madman, everything aches. And there’s no noticeable improvement.

Robin: This is just to stay where you are!

Howard: Yeah, it’s so frustrating. I want to be a hot guy! I take off my shirt and I got a six-pack.

Fred: But what you got to do is imagine if you DIDN’T work out. You’d be a mess.

Howard: Well, I have this new theory that guys who are in really good shape don’t run. They just work out with heavy-heavy weights and watch what they eat.

Robin: Yeah, we’ve seen those, the bulky guys.

Howard: I need that. I want to be bulky! I have such a pencil neck.

I know what Howard’s talking about. That belly lip is the hardest to keep off. So, to help Howard out, and anyone else who wants ripped abs, I asked Dr. Fuhrman for some advice:

We all come in various size and shapes and genetics play a significant role here, but keep in mind our metabolic rate slows as we age and it takes more exercise and no snacking to keep off belly fat.

But Howard is certainly on the right track. What also works very effectively is to eat carefully every other day; just eat vegetables beans and fruit, with no grains, oils or animal products. That means, no bread, olive oil and no egg whites on those days; just salad, vegetable-bean soup, steamed veggies and fresh fruit with just a few ounces of sunflower seeds and walnuts. On the other days, just a touch of the other stuff, either some whole grains or animal products, but not both.

A good way to get rid of this belly fat is with four days a week of heavy exercise. You do two days of pulling exercises and two days of pushing exercises. That means no exercise is repeated more than twice a week. Try working out on the weekend, plus Tuesday and Thursday.

Besides the upper body, core, back and abdominal work, walk on a high incline on the pulling days and do leg curls too. On pushing days use an elliptical, stair master or both, plus leg extensions and leg presses or jumps. The upper body on the pushing days would include the bench press, incline press, decline press, dips, triceps extensions and straight arm extensions. On the pulling days do chin ups, cable pulls, rowing, curls, upright rowing and abdominal leg lifts and crunches.

For Howard’s sake, I hope he gets ripped. He needs too! His head of security, a.k.a. Mambo Man, a.k.a. Ricky Man, a.k.a. Scores Man, a.k.a. Ronnie Dice Clay, is really short and really old and regularly falls asleep on the job. “Hey, what’s your problem man!”

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Fired for Being Veggie!

A New York foreign-currency trader was fired after his boss learned he was vegetarian. Ryan Pacifico was mocked and endured remarks like, "You don't even eat steak, dude. At what point in time did you realize you were gay?" And his former boss would go out of his way to make him feel uncomfortable, by ordering hamburgers and sausage pizza for weekly team meetings. Mr. Pacifico, a married tri-athlete, called the situation bizarre; The New York Post reports.

How silly. Being veggie is totally badass! Batman is a vegetarian. And Iron Man drinks green shakes. Actually, sometimes guys bust my chops about not eating meat, and doing Yoga, but they back off when I punch them in the face. Just kidding, I could care less.

In related news, earlier this month a group of flight attendants were fired for being too fat.

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Study Compares Veggie Diets vs. Low-Carb --UPDATE--

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Steven Acocella, MS, DC, DACBN and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

At the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland and published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association researchers evaluated the short to medium term weight loss results of popular diets. Popular diets: correlation to health, nutrition, and obesity grouped the most popular diets into categories based upon the prescribed ratios of energy for each macronutrient. If you remember from Nutrition 101, caloric energy comes from only 3 sources, fat, carbohydrate and protein. For example, diets such as The South Beach Diet and The Atkins Diet derive 50% or more calories from fat while Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live derives the majority of energy from natural, unrefined carbohydrate.

The study looked at food intake over a 2 year period and included several hundred participants who followed the various diet styles compliantly. They then analyzed the relationship between a reduction of Body Mass Index (BMI), the diet style and the Healthy Eating Index (HEI).

The Healthy Eating Index scores were highest for the vegetarian or near vegetarian diet style and lowest for the low carbohydrate, high fat diets. Conversely, energy intake was highest for the Low Carbohydrate group, often exceeding the average accepted recommendations of 2000 Kcal/day or men and 1500 Kcal/day for women. This is strange considering these were weight loss eating plans that were followed intently.

The weight loss results were no surprise. The healthiest body mass was seen in the vegetarian group. A direct, proportional relationship was seen with a rise in the percentage of calories derived from fat and BMI. As the percentage of fat calories increased so did those subject’s BMI. Total calories were also directly related to the percentage of dietary fat with the average daily energy intake for the vegetarian or nearly vegetarian group consuming 1450 Kcal/day and the high fat diet group consuming 2200 Kcal/day. Researchers noted the relationship between the Healthy Eating Index verses calorie and fat percentages were inversely related.

Putting all this together, this important study using an excellent group of subjects has made the following observations: diets low in fat have the highest Healthy Eating Index scores and are generally the lowest in total calories. Those subjects on these diets enjoyed the most favorable BMI measurements and other biomarkers of health. Conversely, the high fat, low carbohydrate diet styles have the lowest Healthy Eating Index scores and those that consumed this diet style had poor BMI measurements and other indicators of health.

It is worth mentioning that the authors of this study discuss a review of the literature suggests that weight loss is independent of dietary composition and is solely a result of total calories consumed. They suggest that their findings, although supportive of this confers that successful, healthy weight loss over time is a function of quality as well as quantity.

UPDATE: Dr. Fuhrman had some thoughts on Steven’s post:

My health equation, Health = Nutrition / Calories is almost entirely ignored by the scientific community. If the micronutrient density index of a particular diet was published along with the other characteristics researchers would place less emphasis on the relative macronutrient composition and more on the micronutrient composition. Nevertheless, the long-term health potential of a given diet is based so much more on its micronutrient profile rather than its macronutrient profile.

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DHA Helps Brain Development of Premature Girls

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals increased DHA intake in premature babies improved the neurodevelopment of girls. Scientists gave breastfeeding mothers a DHA supplement or a placebo. The breast milk of the supplement group had .85% concentration of total fatty acids. The placebo group was only .25%. Researchers also tested two varieties of baby formula, one with a 1.1% concentration of total fatty acids and the other with 0.42%. At 18 months, infants were given standard developmental tests and those on high DHA diets scored 5 points higher than infants on a normal DHA diet and had less mental delay; via Martek Biosciences Corporation.

DHA or docosahexaenoic acid is an essential nutrient for optimal brain. Our brains are 50% fat! And children's diets are notoriously low in short-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which the body converts into DHA. DHA deficiency has been linked to dyslexia, depression, schizophrenia and other mental disorders. But according to Dr. Fuhrman, most people can make sufficient DHA from omega-3 fats. Omega-3s are found in walnuts, flax seeds, green vegetables, algae and fish that eat the algae.

And Dr. Fuhrman sells his own DHA supplement called DHA Purity. It’s veggie-derived, made from microalgae. Microalgae refers to phytoplankton, microphytes and planktonic algae.

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ADHD Drugs Give Kids Hallucinations!

According to a new study in Pediatrics many drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can cause hallucinations in children, even when taken as directed. Researchers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewed 49 clinical studies, conducted by pharmaceutical companies, and determined ADHD drugs can cause psychosis in some children, specifically worms, bugs and snakes crawling all over them. The list of medications included Ritalin, Focalin XR, Adderall XR, Daytrana, Concerta, Strattera, Celltech and Metadate CD; Reuters investigates.

My goodness, how many Scrabble points is all that worth! Now, Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of bombarding kids with drugs for ADHD, calling these medications unnecessary. Instead, he recommends a nutrient-dense diet, devoid of processed foods and packed with healthy foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and brain-building omega-3 fatty acids. And avoid food dyes too! They’ve been linked to ADHD.

Oh, and it was recently discovered drinking a lot of instant coffee causes hallucinations too.

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Mr. President, You're to Skinny...

Wow. That’s some list! Recently, a bunch of school kids wrote letters to our newly elected president. And one little girl thinks he’s too skinny. Her advice, gobble down lots of hamburgers, cupcakes, cotton candy and French fries. Eek! Clearly, good nutrition for kids still is a long, long way away. Luckily, other suggestions were better, such as taking walks and reading books; via The New York Times.

I wonder what her parents are feeding her! Maybe she’s eating nothing but French fries, like this little girl, or hotdogs in shape of squids. I’m not sure which is worse, fries or hotdogs. Actually, they’re both horrible. Dr. Fuhrman considers hotdogs and French fries, along with other foods, like butter, cheese, doughnuts, salt and sausage, as some of the worst foods you can eat. They’ll shorten your life!

People are monkey-see, monkey-do. If kids grow up around parents who eat healthy, eating lots of fruits and veggies, kids will eat good stuff too. Hey, the main reason I love greens and beans is because I grew up watching my mother eat it, then I started eating it, now I eat it all the time!

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Family-Based Approach Helps Kids Lose Weight

Change the way kids think about health and lifestyle. According to new research, published by The Cochrane Library, family-based interventions, such as improving diet and more physical activity, help overweight children lose weight more than conventional self-help approaches. Scientists insist it’s important for parents to get involved and influence their children’s behavior; Reuters investigates.

Instilling healthy habits early is a great idea, especially when it comes to fitness. It’s been reported that a person’s activity level in youth, influences their over health as an adult. Maybe that’s why South Korea is giving away free gym memberships to children. Darn it! I want a free membership.

And don’t forget. Studies have shown kids eat like their parents. So dad, put down deep-fried hotdog!

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Veggies Scarce in Poor Communities

A new analysis of 54 studies in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reveals America’s poorer neighborhoods have fewer supermarkets selling a variety of healthy foods at cheaper prices and more convenience stores that sell less fresh food at higher prices. Minorities and low-income individuals living near supermarkets consumed more fruits and vegetables, in some areas consumption rose by 32%. Poorer communities are also more likely to have more fast food restaurants; Reuters reports.

In New York City, supermarkets are leaving low-income communities, making it harder for residents to find fresh food. Officials claim 3 million people live in high-need neighborhoods, classified as having too many health problems and too few supermarkets. Lack of healthy food and the glut of fast food joints are fueling alarming rates of diabetes and obesity in poorer communities.

But some people are taking a stand. Los Angeles city officials want a moratorium on new fast food restaurants and other L.A. residents are turning empty lots into vibrant vegetable gardens. Awesome!

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A Brand New Victory Garden!

Eat the View is petitioning the new president to a replant a large organic garden on the First Lawn with fresh fruits and veggies going to the Whitehouse and local food pantries. In the 1940s, to the support the war effort, Eleanor Roosevelt revived the First Garden and encouraged others to do the same, calling them Victory Gardens.

And now, this uplifting video, The Garden of Eatin': A Short History of America's Garden, tells the story of the Whitehouse garden, from its meager beginnings in the 1800s, when John Adams first planted it, to today’s call to bring it back. I say, go for it Mr. President!

Via CalorieLab.

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Heart Health: Potassium Good, Sodium Bad...

Salt’s a bad guy! Dr. Fuhrman says consuming salt boosts stroke risk and previous studies show sodium leads to hypertension, i.e. high blood pressure. Even sea salt is a bad idea. When he was on Studio 10 TV in St. Petersburg, Florida, this past November, Dr. Fuhrman explained the supposed health benefits of sea salt don’t out weigh the negatives.

And now, a new study in Archives of Internal Medicine claims high sodium intake and low potassium consumption increases heart disease risk by 24%. Scientists collected data from 2275 participants, ages 30 to 54, with pre-hypertension. After examining urine excretion, researchers determined those people peeing out more sodium and less potassium were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease; from FoodNavigator-USA.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with a myriad of nutrients and vitamins. And foods like strawberries and plums are excellent sources of potassium. So, go buy some!

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Britons Choke Down Healthy Food...

Many Brits love a full English breakfast, but hate nutritious foods, like spinach, mushrooms, lentils, onions, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and other vegetables. But, they still eat them! According to a new report, during their lifetime, people living in the United Kingdom consume 4,000 portions of foods they dislike, because they know eating them is healthy. Nutritionists are astonished by the amount of food people are forcing themselves to eat; The Telegraph investigates.

Wow, that’s hardcore! But not nearly as tough as the mums who started dealing hamburgers on the playground when the local school tried to improve its menu, now that’s gangster!

Via CalorieLab.

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Cotton-Tailed Lettuce Thief!

Let this be a lesson to you. Do not leave your bag of greens around your pet rabbit. You may be left with a bag of pellets.

Oh, and watch out for canned green beans too. Sometimes they come with a free mouse head. Yucky!

Via ICanHasCheezBurger.

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Way More Americans Could Go on Statins!

Pretty soon, 11.2 million more people could be put on cholesterol-lowering medications. A new study in Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes reveals statins, such as Crestor and Lipitor, can lower heart attack and stroke risk by 44%. Currently, 33.5 million older Americans, with high cholesterol and hypertension, take statins. However, authors of the new study, called JUPITER, believe 44.7 million people now fit the criteria for statin therapy, meaning more and more prescriptions; HealthDay News reports.

Not all news on statins is good! Just last week, research came out linking statins, like the aforementioned Crestor and Lipitor, with rare eye disorders, including eyelid-droop and double-vision. That means 11.2 million more people will have googly eyes!

I guess it’s easier to prescribe pills and meds, than fruits and vegetables, which naturally reverse and prevent high cholesterol and heart disease.

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Antibiotics in the Soil and Veggies...

A new report in the Journal of Environmental Quality claims crops grown in fertilizer made with livestock manure actually absorb the antibiotics injected into cattle. Researchers point out that an alarming 70% of antibiotics produced in the United States are fed to livestock and 90% of those antibiotics are excreted in farm animal urine and feces. Putting vegetables at risk, even those grown on organic farms, exacerbating the fear over antibiotic-resistant bacteria; Environmental Health News investigates.

It gets worse! Last week it was discovered many pharmaceuticals, like cholesterol-lowering medications, painkillers and tranquilizers, are polluting our drinking water. Eek!

Also, in humans, antibiotics are over-used and misused. According to Dr. Fuhrman, doctors are too quick to prescribe antibiotics for conditions that will resolve on their own, like ear infections.

Via TreeHugger.

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Preschool Lunches, Parents Skimp on Healthy Stuff

This fall, a study revealed the food supplied to 94,000 public and private schools by the United States Department of Agriculture is of poor nutritional quality, too many high-fat foods, like pizza and chicken nuggets. In California, fruits and veggies only make up 13% of the total money spent on school food.

And now, new research in Journal of the American Dietetic Association claims most bagged lunches, packed by parents, did not have enough of fruits and vegetables. Researchers studied the lunches of 74 children from 5 different childcare centers, observing their packed lunch for 3 days. They found only 29% of the packed lunches had adequate fruits and vegetables. And many parents were more likely to pack foods kids liked, rather than healthy, nutritious foods; HealthDay News reports.

Not surprising. Some parents feed their kids pizza and French because they don’t like vegetables and fruit hurts their mouth. Kooky! That why Dr. Fuhrman says it’s the parents’ job to set the example, if you want your kids to eat healthfully, start eating YOUR fruits and veggies! Monkey see, monkey do.

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Research Questions Traditional Heart-Risk Assessments

Two new studies, one in the American Journal of Roentgenology and the other in the British Medical Journal, cast doubt on the long-established Framingham Risk Score for evaluating cardiovascular disease. The Framingham score assesses risk based on age, gender, total blood cholesterol, HDL, smoking, blood pressure and taking blood pressure medication. The first study did not accurately predict risk for a group of 1,653 people with no history of heart disease and the second revealed the Framingham score did no better than chance in predicting the 108 deaths; HealthDay News reports.

Okay, I admit, this report made me woozy, way over my head! So I asked Dr. Fuhrman about it. Here’s what he had to say:

Medical studies are clouded when they only look at the symptoms of unhealthy behavior such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These easily measurable numbers correlate with unhealthful lifestyle and diet-style, but they could reflect past habits, not present ones, plus they are not the sole cause of heart attacks.

These numbers do not incorporate other more critical factors such as diet-style and exercise tolerance and body weight. So if one person had higher cholesterol but was eating significantly healthier and exercising more, they might be at significantly lower risk than a person with a lower cholesterol and blood pressure, but with more intravascular and cellular oxidative stress from their low nutrient diet.

Hopefully that clears it up for you. Now, in other heart-related news, a recent report showed even a little extra belly fat can increase cardiovascular risk. And, in attempt to curb his own heart troubles and those of his city, Chicago’s health commissioner is encouraging everyone to go vegetarian!

Like Dr. Fuhrman says, a vegetable-based diet is the best way to aggressively reverse heart disease!

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Kids Talking Spinach...

I’m not much of a kid person. But these kids are pretty freaking cute. It’s a commercial for an insurance company, which stinks, but the little boy is priceless. It’s spinach, not Spanish!

Now, not all kids are enthusiastic about veggies. This little girl is totally whacked out about green beans. She REALLY doesn’t want them. Maybe she needs a visit from Captain Vegetable!

Via TrueHoop.

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Chicago's Health Chief Says No Meat!

The windy city is well known for big beefy “Da Bears” fans, but Chicago Health Commissioner, Dr. Terry Mason, wants all Chicagoans to kick the deep dish pizza and go vegetarian. This January, Dr. Mason, a practicing urologist, won’t eat any meat. Dr. Mason, who has high cholesterol and had a coronary stent implanted in 2005, hopes his example will encourage others, especially African-Americans, who have a high rate of hypertension and high cholesterol, to cut harmful fatty foods; The Chicago Tribune reports.

Kudos to Dr. Mason! Lots of cool people have gone veggie. And who’s cooler than Batman! That’s right, the dark knight himself, Christian Bale, is a vegetarian. Even Batman knows fruits and vegetables offer excellent protection against cancer and heart disease reversal.

And switching to a vegetable-based diet is good for the planet too. Meat and other animal products strain the environment and require vast amounts of natural resources to produce, unlike fruits and vegetables which are far less taxing. So eat your veggies, lots of them!

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Young Adults Don't Take Heart Risks Seriously...

You might not realize it. But heart disease starts early, i.e. childhood. According to Dr. Fuhrman, lifetime cholesterol levels are affected by the food choices we make as kids. In fact, for many people, even if they adopt a healthy plant-based diet later on, they still might not obtain as favorable cholesterol levels as they would have had, had they started eat healthfully as a young person.

And now, new research in Circulation claims young Americans who are told they have low risk of heart disease, could have a high lifetime risk. The study examined people under the age of 50, determining that individuals who had low risk of heart trouble over the next 10 years, already had damage to their arteries that might cause problems in the future, 91% of the participants had risk of heart disease; Reuters investigates.

Actually, previous reports have show heart disease begins developing in men during adolescence and the American Heart Association recently revealed obese kids can have middle-aged arteries. Now despite the benefits of eating fruits and veggies for you heart, some researchers recommend giving kids statins instead. Eek!

Cut Back Meat, Save the Planet...

You shouldn’t eat a lot of meat. It’ll boost your risk of heart attack, cancer and other diseases. But the rearing of livestock also beats up the environment, polluting water supplies and generating huge amounts of greenhouse gases. That’s why many scientists are scrambling to repurpose cattle emissions, i.e. cow farts, burps and poop, into sources of energy, specifically methane fuel.

Now, those systems cost money and might not always be practical. So here’s a simpler solution, don’t eat as much meat! It doesn’t mean you have to go vegetarian, vegan or even flexitarian, but some experts insist if Americans cut meat consumption from 12 ounces per capita to only 3.1 ounces per day, roughly the size of a deck of cards, we’ll slow global climate change; Fresh Greens explains.

Not a bad idea. Especially when you consider Dr. Fuhrman’s food pyramid, he recommends eating foods like meat and dairy very infrequently.

Via Serious Eats.

Slumping Economy, Slumping Diets

Okay, no matter what side of the political fence you fall on, we can all agree, the economy is in toilet. For most of us, money is tight. And according to experts, this spells trouble for the already horrible American diet. People might become more inclined to ditch healthier foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish, for cheaper, horrible foods, such as fast food and cereal; Reuters explains.

And previous reports have claimed up-ticks in candy sales are directly related to recession. But, you can survive hard times healthfully, if you keep your eyes open! You can find plenty of great, reduced priced produce at most supermarkets and farmers markets are a haven of affordable fruits and veggies.

Fruit and Vegetable Lapse...

You’d certainly be better off eating them, but here’s a time-lapsed look at what happens to various fruits and vegetables left to decompose for 74 days. It’s pretty amazing to see how quickly the strawberries fall apart and how durable the onions are. And the potatoes are certainly opportunistic! That growth you see towards the end is sprouting out of the spuds. I’m part nerd, so I find this stuff fascinating.

Now, for the opposite end of the plant lifecycle, check out the organic tomato I grew on a pile of garbage this past summer. “On the path unwinding. In the Circle. The Circle of Life.”

Statins May Weaken Eye Muscles

A new study in Ophthalmology claims statins, very popular cholesterol-lowing drugs, may cause rare eye disorders, like eyelid-droop, double-vision and weakening of the muscles that control eye movement. Researchers examined 256 cases where statins, such as Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor, were associated with eye-muscle disorders, of the cases, 62 patients reported no more eyelid-droop or double vision after they stopped taking the medication. Experts call this side-effect rare; Reuters investigates.

Statins might make drug companies a lot of money, but they come with a price. According to Dr. Fuhrman, other side-effects of statins include hepatitis, jaundice, liver problems, gastrointestinal complications, low platelet levels and anemia. And many doctors question whether statins even prevent heart attacks at all!

There’s a better way. A diet rich fruits and vegetables improves cholesterol and reverses heart disease.
 

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to C-Sections

According to a new study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism low vitamin D may increase the likelihood of having a Caesarean section. Researchers examined 253 births at a Boston hospital from 2005 to 2007 and determined women with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D were nearly 4 times more likely to have an emergency C-section than mothers with normal levels; The New York Times investigates.

Vitamin D is an important, but overlooked, nutrient. We get it from the sun. Our bodies convert ultraviolet rays into a chemical, which acts like a hormone, and tells our intestines to absorb more calcium and phosphorus. And other reports have associated vitamin D deficiency with hypertension, heart attacks, rickets and cancer. Dr. Fuhrman sells his own vitamin D supplement called Osteo–Sun.

I was born via C-section. But that’s because my horns and tail got stuck.
 

More Americans Have Multiple Chronic Conditions

A new study in Health Affairs claims more Americans have multiple chronic illnesses than ever before. The percentage of people with 3 or more chronic illnesses rose from 13% in 1996 to 22% in 2005 for ages 45 to 64. It increased 45% for ages 65 to 79, jumped 54% for individuals older than 80 and among all ages, figures went up 6% from 1996. And data reveals the number of Americans with 1 chronic condition, like cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart failure, was 41% in 1996 but rose to 44% in 2005. Obesity and inactivity are being blamed; Reuters reports.

And these maladies are hitting us in the wallet too. On average, obesity and it’s sequelae cost the United States more than $100 billion a year and physicians and hospitals usually fail to make a long term impact on the health of their patients, which is evident when you consider a recent report revealing 24 million Americans have type-2 diabetes, a risk factor for many chronic diseases, up 3 million since 2005.

Trillions Spent on Healthcare, Tax Soda

According to a new report, Americans spent $2.2 trillion on health-related costs in 2007, roughly $7,500 per person. Illustrated in Health Affairs, health spending accounted for 16.2% of U.S. gross domestic product in 2007. And at 6.1%, this is the slowest growth rate since 1998. Researchers attribute the broader use of cheaper generic drugs for the decline; Reuters reports.

What did you expect? More active, healthier living! Now, with healthcare expenses raging into the trillions, it’s no wonder why politicians, like New York’s Governor David Paterson, are proposing taxes on hurtful foods, like soft drinks. And in this video New York’s Health Commissioner, Richard F. Daines, MD explains how the soda tax would work. Just ignore the stuff about milk.

Eat Slowly, Lose Weight...

I’m a slow eater. I don’t rush, period. And findings in the British Medical Journal suggest people who eat fast and fill up quickly are 3 times more likely to become overweight than people who eat at a more leisurely pace; via RealAge.

Actually, eating MORE can help you slim down too. High fiber foods, like green vegetables, beans and fresh fruit, fill you up quickly and provide lots of nutrients, but are low in calories. So you’ll feel satisfied and still lose weight!

In fact, Dr. Fuhrman cites lack of a fiber as a primary reason why people get fat.

Via That’s Fit.

Is the Fitness of Your Significant Other Important?

FitSugar is kicking around a great question. When picking a partner, or as some would say, following in love, do you consider your potential mate’s health and fitness habits? Does it even matter?

As for me, I’ll be blunt. I won’t even date a girl that doesn’t exercise regularly. And I prefer if they eat healthfully too, not necessarily like I do, but let’s just say, I’ve dated more than a few vegans and vegetarians. And since we’re being frank, I’ll admit it. I've actually ended a relationship because the girl stopped exercising and brought snack cakes into my apartment. Oh hell no!

Sorry, but for me, a healthy lifestyle is one of those make-or-break issues, among other things, but what about you, are the diet and exercise habits of your significant other important? Do tell.

Wallace and Gromit to Promote Health

Short films by the creator of the stop-motion duo Wallace and Gromit are part of a new government program in the United Kingdom to help fight childhood obesity. The first animated advertisement featured primitive man evolving into a sedentary lifestyle and then shocked into exercising by pictures of fat pumping around his body. Estimates claim by 2050, 90% of children in the U.K. will be overweight or obese; Reuters reports.

In the United States farmers previously teamed up with Disney to put stickers of popular characters, like Mickey Mouse, on fruits and vegetables to help encourage young children to eat their veggies. Not sure how that worked out. But it’s certainly better than Scooby Doo on fruit snacks!

Do You Work in a Restaurant?


A funny thing happened yesterday. A couple months ago I switched Yoga studios. I like a vigorous practice and my old studio cut back on classes. Now, as luck would have it. My new studio is two doors down from a farmers market.

I’ve been shopping there for a while now. Here’s the stuff I bought yesterday: chicory, Bartlett pears, Bosc pears, broccoli, blueberries, red grapes, apricots and pineapple chunks. A smaller than average purchase for me, it only cost about 18 bucks.

Now, when it was my turn in line, the cashier, who I see every week and never makes small talk, asked me, “Hey, do you work in a restaurant? Because you always buy lots of stuff.” I smiled. I guess a short Italian guy buying bunches of produce every week does look like a restaurant owner, especially in New Jersey, the land of pizzerias and delis.

I laughed and told her no. To be brief, I explained I eat a vegetable-based diet and that I don’t eat meat. She wanted to know if I was a vegetarian. I said, “Sort of.” Telling her I eat fish once a week, but most of my diet is fruits and vegetables. She seemed to get it and thanked me for my repeat business.

So, has something like this ever happened to you? It wasn’t a first for me, but it was still pretty funny. Maybe I should open a restaurant. Apparently I look the part!
 

Diabetes Still Slamming the U.S.

Type-2 diabetes continues to wreak havoc in the United States. An estimated 24 million Americans have diabetes, up more than 3 million since 2005. This staggering figure also means increased incidences of heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputations, kidney disease, nervous system damage and other diabetes-related complications. Not surprising, experts cite weight-loss and lifestyle changes, such as exercise and healthy diet, as the best ways to stave off type-2 diabetes; HealthDay News reports.

Don’t be 24 million and one. A vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet not only prevents type-2 diabetes, but can reverse the effects of the disease. Many of Dr. Fuhrman’s patients actually kick their need for insulin! Wholesome foods, like green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds are the perfect medicine against type-2 diabetes.

In other diabetes news, recent reports show cancer is more lethal in diabetics and eating eggs boost diabetes-risk.

Captain Vegetable Redux

Actor and comedian John Leguizamo commits career suicide—oops, I mean—does a noble act, by revealing he is the mighty Captain Vegetable, the legendary champion of eating veggies. I’m not sure whether to feel proud of him or embarrassed for him.

Actually, you can’t beat the real thing. I like the original Captain Vegetable better. I’m sorry, but something about a grown man in tight green spandex and an onion head doesn’t make me want to eat healthier. Makes me want to call the cops.

Oh, and Happy New Year everybody! See you tomorrow.