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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United States Set to Block Genetically Modified Food...

The Office of the Inspector General, which audits various branches of the government, has warned the U.S. Department of Agriculture to closely monitor genetically modified (GM) foods coming from foreign countries. Meaning, the U.S. may block GM crops, animals and rice imported from countries such as China, India and Brazil, where research on genetically modified foods has intensified; via NewScientist.

But just last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration praised genetically modified animals. And will NOT require meat from GM animals to be labeled for consumers. I guess there’s a double-standard. American-made food monstrosities are exempt.

We love futzing with nature. Do we really need food coloring made from crushed beetles and pigs engineered to produce omega-3 fatty acids! Yuck.

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Health-Points: Thursday 1.29.09

  • More and more food is turning up counterfeit. It’s dubious, wild fish is turning out to be farm-raised fish, soybean oil if being mixed with high-grade extra virgin olive oil, honey is cut with high fructose corn syrup and sugar-water is diluting maple syrup; USA Today investigates.
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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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White Bread and Double Stuff Oreos...

A couple times a week I go to the store on my way into work, usually to reload on avocados, since they take a few days to ripen. Anyway, I finished my shopping and got on line at the register. A second later, a lady gets behind me and starts unloading her basket. I didn’t think anything of it.

Right away, an acquaintance recognizes her and the two start chatting. Mid-conversation I hear this, “Oh nothing. I just ran in. Buying some lunch for the kids.” On the register was a bag of white bread, two packages of double-stuffed Oreos, a box of saltines and roast beef and turkey cold cuts.

Now, say what you want about cold cuts, like how you shouldn’t eat them if you’re pregnant and that they were recently blamed for a listeria outbreak, but Oreos, white bread and crackers! Listen, I’m no doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m just an idiot, but even I know, that’s a horrible lunch, for anyone!

I didn’t say anything. I didn’t care that much, still don’t. But the lack of nutrition in her purchase gave me the chills. If that’s lunch, what the heck is dinner? McDonald’s and Taco Bell with a side of Wendy’s!

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Salmonella Peanut Butter, Lots of Kids Sick

Last week, it was reported that people in 43 states were sickened by peanut butter tainted with salmonella and at least six had died. And now, according to officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the 500 people who fell ill, 280 of them are under the age of 18 and the number of deaths has risen to eight, but none of the fatalities were children. And the source of the bad peanut butter has been traced to a single plant in Georgia. It is now closed; Reuters investigates.

But the worst appears to be over. The CDC claims the outbreak is waning, citing a decline in the number of new cases reported over the last two weeks. Schools, long-term care facilities and hospitals using the contaminated peanut supplied by King Nut, were among the hardest hit; more from Reuters.

Now here’s the creepy part. Last year, inspectors found mildew on the ceiling and other problems at the Blakely facility. But the issues were considered minor and supposedly cleaned up; via CNN.

And this spring, salmonella also struck Honduran cantaloupes. And no, not my pet turtle too!

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Times are Tough, So Eat Pasta?

We all know the economy is bad right now. People are pinching pennies. And that’s why, despite the obvious recession, pasta-makers are experiencing growth. Apparently, total pasta consumption in the United States rose by 0.4% per volume and this doesn’t even include sales by mega-retailer Wal-Mart. Shoppers are buying more pasta because it’s cheap; the Associated Press explains.

No doubt, junk food producers love to hear this! Some companies have already started pushing unhealthy cheap food. Because previous reports indicate during a time of recession people are more likely to ditch healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, in favor of inexpensive stuff, like cereal and candy.

Okay, it’s not impossible to eat healthfully in these tough times. Just keep your eyes open. For example, every week I find all sorts of reduced price fruits and veggies. Hey, every little bit helps!

Via Fit Sugar.

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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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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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Reporters Eat Junk Food...

Tuesday’s inaugural kept everyone busy. From the new first family to the old first family and everyone in between! And journalists get worst of it. CBS’s Diane Sawyer tells Rachel Ray on busy days her and her fellow reporters gobble down nothing but sweet and salty snacks all day.

Rachel Ray breaks my heart. She’s super cute. But that food she cooks. It’ll kill you. Eek!

Via That’s Fit.

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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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No Luck of the Irish for Subway!

Subway plans to open 119 new restaurants in Ireland over the next two years. But one health advocate is against it, urging the government to put a cap on the number of restaurants. Saying Subway’s food is too high in calories and fuels obesity rates. Foot-long sandwiches can have as much as 1,160 calories, providing more than half of most people’s daily recommended intake; The Times Online reports.

It’s been rough for Subway. This summer, a patron sued after finding a dirty 7-inch knife in his 12-inch sandwich. Then, back in July, New York City enacted calories-on-menus laws for all fast food restaurants, including Subway, hoping it’ll help consumers make smarter food choices. And the idea is catching on! The U.K. just announced a 6-month trial period for similar legislation; via Diet-Blog.

Oh, and a new study determined students are more likely to eat junk food, like soda, if their school is located within walking distance of fast food restaurants.

Via CalorieLab.

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Junk Food Ads in Health Magazines

Hypocrisy, thy name is advertising. A new study in the European Journal of Public Health reveals 25.5% of advertisements in 30 popular British magazines are for ready-made meals, soups and sauces, which are full of salt. Another 23% are for high-fat and sugary foods, like ice-cream, chocolate bars, sweets and soft drinks. Only 1.8% of the adverts are for fruits and vegetables. And here’s the kicker, many of these advertisements appear alongside articles with healthy messages; ScienceDaily investigates.

Can’t say I’m shocked! Now, in December, research came out claiming sophisticated marketing campaigns do not acknowledge a drug’s rarer complications and hides any lack of long-term testing, putting people at increased risk of serious side-effects.

As for food advertising, last year Kellogg’s announced it would cut advertisements aimed at young children.

Via That’s Fit.

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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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Eating at the Inaugural...

Yesterday was a big deal for America! We swore in a new president. And like all big parties. They served food! Not for everyone of course, just the guests of honor. And the 2009 Inaugural Luncheon featured a bunch of Fuhrman-unfriendly foods. Eek!

The menu included seafood stew, first. Followed by pheasant and duck served with sour cherry chutney and molasses sweet potatoes. And lastly, apple cinnamon sponge cake and sweet cream glace, for dessert. Each course was accompanied by wine or champagne from California; via The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

We’re all hoping for change. But that menu sure seems like more of the same. Barely a veggie in sight! Well, at least President Obama, like many presidents before him, is way into exercise and fitness. He likes playing basketball and lifting weights.

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Japan Says Cloned Meat is Good to Eat!

On the heels of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s announcement that genetically modified animals can enter the food supply. Yesterday, Japan announced cloned meat, like Dolly the sheep, is okay to eat. Officials claim available scientific information shows cloned animals are just as safe as conventionally bred livestock; Reuters investigates.

Actually, last year, the FDA said the same thing when they approved the consumption of cloned meat, from animals like cattle, swine or goats. But, much like their stance on genetically modified animals, the FDA does not require labeling meat as coming from clones. I guess it’s supposed to be a surprise!

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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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Peanut Butter, All Sorts of Recalled!

It’s been in the news for a couple weeks now. But in case you haven’t heard. There’s a big peanut butter-salmonella outbreak going on. Kellogg’s recalled many products, like snack crackers, using peanut butter after people in 43 states fell ill and at least six have died; the Associated Press reports.

Actually, this isn’t the first peanut butter-salmonella recall. Back in 2007, Peter Pan and Wal-Mart brand peanut butter sickened over 300 people in 41 states. That’s why I buy natural peanut butter. I’d rather stir my peanut butter, than puke it up!

Oh, and this summer tomatoes got a bad rap for salmonella too. But it turned out to be some ornery jalapeño peppers instead. Muy mal.

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FDA Calls Genetically Engineered Animals Cutting Edge...

In a statement last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said genetically engineered animals, not including cloned animals, hold substantial promise for improving public health, i.e. these creatures can enter the food supply, but not before rigorous scientific testing. However, the FDA will not require companies to label that their meat has come from genetically engineered animals, outraging consumer groups. One organization claims the FDA is disregarding consumers' right to choose; CNN investigates.

There’s a bizarre compulsion in this country to futz with what Mother Nature took millions of years to perfect, like do we really need purple tomatoes infused with snapdragon genes or carrots with scorpion parts? I doubt it. Not to mention, an experiment in 2007 showed rats fed genetically modified corn developed signs of kidney and liver disease after 3 months.

And as for cloned meat, it won’t be labeled either and many health experts don’t want it.

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VitaminWater Gets Sued!

Quite frankly, I think energy drinks are stupid. And apparently so do consumer groups. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola, producers of VitaminWater, for making undeserving claims about their product, such as preventing chronic disease and supporting immune system function. CSPI points out that VitaminWater’s 33 grams of sugar in each bottle promotes obesity, diabetes and other health problems and the advertising is misleading; via Reuters.

Other “health” and energy drinks have also drawn heavy scrutiny. A couple years ago, a whacked out beverage called “cocaine” was pulled from stores and Red Bull, which has been linked to stroke risk, has been bashed for its dangerous caffeine load and marketing to children.

I’ve noticed that some of the unhealthiest looking people are the ones chugging down these drinks.

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Instant Coffee is Far Out, Causes Hallucinations...

Old hippies and frat boys will love this. A new study in Personality and Individual Differences claims people drinking 7 or more cups of instant coffee a day were 3 times more likely to hallucinate; psychotic experiences such as seeing ghosts and hearing voices. However, experts have their doubts, but, and this is really freaky, according to the report, 3% of people regularly hear voices; via BBC News.

Now, if hallucinating wasn’t bad enough! Previous research reveals daily coffee intake can actually shrink women’s breasts, 3 cups of coffee per day resulted in an average breast size 17% smaller than women who drank under 3 cups a day. Going insane and small boobies, sounds like a nightmare!

And other dangers of coffee, i.e. caffeine, consumption include heightened risk of osteoporosis, miscarriage and heart disease. So, is that morning pick-me-up really worth it? Probably not.

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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.

FDA Cracks Down on Crushed Beetles in Food

Sorry, I just threw up in my mouth. Apparently food producers have been grinding up bugs to make food colorings for years! Beetles are a source of carmine or cochineal extract, which makes red, pink, orange and purple. And there’s been very little restriction on its use. A spokes person for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has lobbied to get carmine banned, said there is no way to tell how many products contain the dyes, it can be anything red. The FDA has decided to act now, due to reports of allergic reactions, requiring manufacturers to list carmine or cochineal in the ingredients; The Palm Beach Post reports.

Sounds yummy! There’s actually a big obsession with cramming bug parts into our food. Recently, Greenpeace unveiled a series of advertisements, featuring green onions shaped like spiders, scorpion carrots and peapod grasshoppers, to raise awareness for genetically modified ingredients in food.

Not to mention, a previous experiment showed rats fed genetically engineered corn developed signs of liver and kidney toxicity after 3 months. The corn contained a compound to repel insects.

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.

Fruits and Veggies Tied to Breast Cancer Survival

A new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reveals women with early-stage breast cancer may live longer if they adopt a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and avoid things like red meat and refined foods. Researchers followed 1,901 women diagnosed with breast cancer for 8 years and found those maintaining a healthy diet had a lower overall death rate than those eating a Western diet, i.e. lots of processed meat, high-fat dairy and white bread. This trend held up even when other factors were considered, like tumor size and smoking; Reuters reports.

Actually, previous research, also in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, claims breast cancer survivors who eat more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day are less likely to develop recurring tumors. And pectin, a compound found naturally in citrus fruits and used in jams, has been shown to inhibit the growth of proteins responsible for cancer progression.

The powerful phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables have anti-aging effects, promote cardiovascular health and also lower the risk of other cancers, like prostate and pancreatic cancer. And a recent reported linked fruits and vegetables with reduced risk of colon cancer too.

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!

Enjoy Canned Ham!

Nope, I haven’t lost my mind. And yes, canned ham is disgusting. But not this kind! He’s a little cutie. And you know you want one.

The Haminal combines all the qualities of a guinea pig, hamster and a pig, crammed into a can. And at only $15 a piece, I may have to order a thousand of them!

Listen, playing with canned ham is certainly better than eating it. But if stuffed veggies are more your thing, check out these must have toys.

Via Serious Eats.