Monkeying with Calorie Restriction

If you thought yesterday’s post about calorie restriction was interesting, you’ll love this report—it’s got monkeys! Everyone loves monkeys. Especially a healthy looking social monkey and an overweight lethargic grumpy one—the primate odd couple!

The New York Times introduces us to Canto and Owen, two rhesus monkeys on totally different sides of the calorie restriction spectrum. Canto who eats 445 calories a day is healthier and much younger looking than his buddy Owen who consumes 885 calories daily—Owen doesn’t appear happy about it. Some scientists believe the plight of Canto and Owen sheds serious light on the benefits of calorie restriction for humans. Michael Mason reports:
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have been tracking the health of small groups of calorie-restricted dieters. Earlier this year, they reported that the dieters had better-functioning hearts and fewer signs of inflammation, which is a precursor to clogged arteries, than similar subjects on regular diets.

In previous studies, people in calorie-restricted groups were shown to have lower levels of LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, and triglycerides. They also showed higher levels of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, virtually no arterial blockage and, like Mr. Linksvayer, remarkably low blood pressure.

“Calorie restriction has a powerful, protective effect against diseases associated with aging,” said Dr. John O. Holloszy, a Washington University professor of medicine. “We don’t know how long each individual will end up living, but they certainly have a longer life expectancy than average.”

Researchers at Louisiana State University reported in April in The Journal of the American Medical Association that patients on an experimental low-calorie diet had lower insulin levels and body temperatures, both possible markers of longevity, and fewer signs of the chromosomal damage typically associated with aging.
Anyone else want a pet rhesus monkey now?

Is Heart Disease Totally Preventable?

From the November 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

If we do a careful look at the scientific evidence at our disposal, we can make some claims with a strong degree of certainty. It is my belief that every heart attack death is an appalling tragedy because that person did not have to die. I believe every bypass surgery, every angioplasty, and every emergency treatment for heart attack could have been prevented. If all cardiac patients, heart-disease sufferers, and even those who will soon die of cardiac arrest were given the option a few years ago to choose to eat and live healthfully in order to be free of heart disease, what do you think they would have chosen to do?

I am convinced that if all of these individuals had been convincingly informed that heart disease and premature death could be avoided and that health could be improved dramatically with changes in diet and lifestyle, they would not have chosen suffering and premature death. Faced with this sober choice, diet and lifestyle changes would seem a delightfully enjoyable choice.

Here is the preliminary evidence and experience we have accumulated so far:

1. The Eat to Live vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been shown to be the most effective cholesterol-lowering dietary approach in medical history. This newsworthy data with the potential to save millions of lives has been ignored by the mass media. With this dietary approach, most patients drop their total cholesterol below 150 and LDL below 100, without the need for medications.

2. During the two years that the Eat to Live vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been under research study by the University of Southern California, patients have shown an average weight loss of forty-nine pounds, the most sustained weight loss ever recorded in a medical study in history.

3. In areas of the world where people eat a diet of unrefined plant foods, people have total cholesterol levels below 150, and there is zero incidence of heart disease in the population.1

4. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation followed a group of eighteen patients with advanced heart disease who adopted a plant-based vegetarian diet, with the addition of cholesterol-lowering drugs to maintain cholesterol levels below 150. These individuals experienced no heart attacks and no cardiologic interventions over the next twelve years, whereas in the eight years prior to the study, these patients had experienced forty-nine coronary events. Adherence to the diet was the key factor determining the absence of future cardiac disease.

5. My experience with thousands of patients over the past thirteen years, utilizing a high-nutrient, plant-based approach to diet, with the addition of natural cholesterol-lowering therapies when needed to assure adequate cholesterol-lowering, corroborates Dr. Esselstyn’s observations. No cardiac events have occurred in my patients, even patients with advanced disease, who were long-term-compliant to this cardio-protective lifestyle. Both Dr. Esselstyn’s and my patients report that their physician’s commitment to the same dietary approach was a powerful aid to patient compliance.

6. Combining modest dietary changes (as suggested by the American Heart Association and conventional physicians and dietitians) with medications to aggressively lower cholesterol lessens risk but does not result in the elimination of cardiac disease.2 To be 100 percent effective in preventing cardiac death, you need both cholesterol-lowering and adherence to the protective diet outlined in Eat to Live.

7. Aggressive dietary intervention alone significantly lessens risk, but does not preclude the possibility of cardiac disease. You need to assure cholesterol-lowering in conjunction with a protective diet to ensure maximal effectiveness. You also need to assure homocysteine levels are normalized, with supplementation if necessary.

8. The vegetarian diets typically suggested by leading vegetarian authors and advocates do not lower cholesterol or triglycerides or improve lipid profiles to the extent that the vegetable-based Eat to Live approach does. Neither do they result in the dramatic protection and dramatic reversal of atherosclerosis seen by my patients. My approach emphasizes the consumption of cholesterol- lowering fibers and nutrients found in natural foods—greens, fruits, beans, and nuts. The Ornish studies, which demonstrated reversal of coronary artery disease in the majority of patients, likewise did not see the dramatic benefits I routinely observe.

9. Attempting risk factor reduction with drugs while patients continue to eat the toxic American diet results in only marginal benefits because patients remain overweight and glucose intolerant, and have low levels of protective phytochemicals. Since the dietary causes of disease are not eliminated, chronic illness advances. Medications can result in dangerous side effects, including muscle and liver damage, memory loss, and—in some rare cases—death. Lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar with medications while giving patients permission to continue their toxic dietary habits is unacceptably inferior care—care that results in patients gradually growing sicker and sicker.

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Why NFL Players Shouldn't be Nutritionists

When Chicago Bears wider-receiver Bernard Berrian isn’t torching defensive-backs—and my fantasy team—he occasionally shares dietary advice with school children. His number one recommendation? Bacon and maple syrup. I know what you’re thinking—what the? Yeah, I’m calling a foul on this one too.

Yesterday during ESPN’s Mayne Event he shared some dietary advice with bunch of school kids. Here’s how it went:
Bernard: Hello kids.


Classroom: Hello!

Bernard: Do any of you know what it takes to make it in the NFL?

Redhead freckle-faced ginger-kid: Four-three forty speed?

Kid-giggles.

Bernard: That always helps, but first you have to lay a foundation—make your body strong. Do any of you know how to do that?

Pretentious kid with overly dramatic delivery: Massive amounts of jumping-jacks?

Bernard: No, I’m talking about diet—the food you put in your body. Before ever game in college I used to eat bacon and syrup, and I brought some with me. Come on everybody let’s eat!

And the crowd goes wild.
What ensued was a melee of animal fat drizzled in hearty helpings of liquid sugar. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t these the types of things school food reforms are trying to knock out? It gets worse, here’s my favorite—well not-so-favorite—quote from Bernard:
It’s the perfect combination, you should eat it everyday and you’ll be in the NFL too.
Now, I’m not so Fuhrman-ized that I don’t realize this piece is intended for humor. I know Bernard Berrian isn’t really campaigning to make bacon and syrup one of the food groups, but still, what kind of a message does it send?

Especially—as Dr. Fuhrman puts it—a lot animal products aren’t exactly longevity-promoting:
For athletes, as I explain in Eat to Live, I recommend much more nuts and seeds, and a diet mugh higher in fat. Because keep in mind that bulking up is dangerous to one's longevity and power lifters and football linebackers often eat in a way that radically shortens their lives. If you were a weightlifter, for instance, you might improve your chances of muscle growth with more animal products then I recommend, certainly. But my point is too much animal products is not conducive to longevity. But if size is your only goal, go for it.
NFL players aren't the only ones with twisted diets, take a look at what Detriot Pistons' shooting-guard Richard Hamilton is eating.

Dangers of High-Protein, Low-Carb Diets

From the January 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

Proponents of high-protein diets such as the Atkins diet have brought dangerous fad-dieting to new heights, in spite of mounting reports of deaths attributed to them. High protein diets—those in which calories come predominantly from animal foods—increase the risk of cancer and heart attack and have been linked to cardiomyopathies, electrolyte imbalances, and kidney damage. Dr. Robert Atkins himself had a heart attack from a cardiomyopathy a year before his death, and his autopsy results still remain hidden from the public.

In addition to increased risk of disease from Atkins and other animal-food-heavy diets, research has shown that these faddish eating plans are not very effective—most adherents do not achieve long-term, permanent weight loss. Unfortunately, this has not lessened the popularity of these diets. Well-funded publicity campaigns have succeeded in getting the media to “report”glossed-over, one-sided information. Until news outlets begin to report more accurately, more and more tragedies are going to occur.

Girl dies while dieting

Most recently, a sixteen-year-old girl who had no history of medical problems died after two weeks on the Atkins diet. When the paramedics arrived, she was pulse-less, and the electrocardiogram revealed ventricular fibrillation (a usually fatal loss of normal heart rhythm). Her emergency room evaluation showed electrolyte imbalances that occurred as a result of eating a diet of meat, cheese, and salads for two weeks. She was doing the diet together with her mother.

An ongoing tragedy
Sadly, even as additional dangers are revealed and reported, more and more people misled by one-sided advertising and publicity—are being put at needless risk. At the same time, proven healthful weight loss recommendations are being ignored. Unless Americans quickly learn the facts about these harmful diets, many pointless deaths will continue to occur.

For more on the Atkins Diet check out DiseaseProof's week-long investigation:

Also, be sure to visit AtkinsExposed.org for studies discounting the merits of the Atkins Diet.

Health Points: Monday

Doctors say it is good news that the number of pounds gained is less than the widely believed 15, but bad news that "Generation XL" kids seem to be learning patterns of gradual weight gain that could spell trouble way beyond graduation.
  • Okay fellow gym rats, how many of you get stiff or sore from working out? It certainly happens to me from time to time. Jeannine Stein of The Los Angeles Times explains the right stretches can help get you right:
Your stiffness and soreness might be due to the fact that although weight-lifting increases the size of the muscle, it does nothing to make the muscles more flexible, according to Suzanne Martin, an Alameda-based physical therapist, Pilates instructor and author of the book "Stretching." For that, you need to stretch.
But a now-ponderous stack of research has shown that trans fats raise heart disease risk four to five times more sharply than do saturated fats. Trans fats both raise "bad" cholesterol, or LDL, and cause "good" cholesterol, or HDL, to drop, while saturated fats only raise LDL. Moreover, trans fats are linked to ailments such as diabetes and dementia, said Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at Harvard University's School of Public Health.
Scientists pointed to numerous factors that contribute to 32.7 percent of boys under 10 and 27.8 percent of girls being overweight: massive portions at meals, the "energy density" -- calories per gram -- of food eaten, children being drive rather than walking to school, and ethnic group, among others.
Obesity -- which affects one in every three Americans -- and the illnesses associated with it cost the United States some 90.7 billion dollars a year in health care costs, a University of Pennsylvania researcher said.
  • I don’t think this will alarm too many Eat to Livers, but we have an egg salad crisis. The Associated Press reports suspected contamination caused a particular brand to be recalled from seventeen states:
Ballard's President David Ballard said the company has temporarily suspended producing egg salad while it investigates the contamination. Consumers can return the 12-ounce containers of egg salad for a refund.
"There is an overwhelming number of studies that show a link between obesity and breast cancer," Cheryl Rock of the University of California, San Diego said at the annual conference of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO).

Health Points: Friday

A billion people out of the world's six billion population are now considered overweight, compared with 800 million who do not have enough to eat.
Researchers said the drug appeared to slow children's growth rates. They grew about a half-inch less in height and weighed 3 pounds less than expected, based on estimates of their growth.
"Hazardous electronic waste is flowing to Africa on container ships every day. It's not as dramatic as was what happened in Ivory Coast, but over the long run it will have more of an environmental impact," Jim Puckett, founder of the Seattle-based environmental watchdog, Basel Action Network, told The Associated Press by telephone from London.
Women who underwent high-dose radiation therapy to their uterus seem to be the most likely to have problems. The authors of the study, published in the Oct. 18 issue of the Journal of the
National Cancer Institute, found that half of babies born to a sampling of these women were premature, compared to roughly 20 percent among their sisters.
In an article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association on Oct. 11, Dr. Daniel Menzies, a clinical research fellow in the Asthma and Allergy Research Group at the University of Dundee, said the study showed that the smoking ban “has led to a rapid and marked improvement in the health of bar workers.”
  • Keep all windows and doors to the house locked to keep her from wandering outside.
  • Don't let her sleep in a bunk bed, and put baby gates in front of stairs.
The researchers assessed the effects of modern shoes on gait and lower extremity joint loads in 75 patients with knee OA [osteoarthritis]. Their mean age was 59, their mean body mass index was 28.4, and 59 of the 75 were women.
Researchers also found that participants who were taking insulin were six times more likely to die from infectious diseases or kidney failure than non-diabetic participants. Women treated with insulin had a particularly high mortality risk.
"There are people who have been dropped to their knees" by trigeminal neuralgia, said Alana Greca, a registered nurse and director of patient support for the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association. "That's how intense and how horrendous the pain can be."
Researchers say those consuming the highest amounts of bread doubled the risk for kidney malignancy, compared to those eating the smallest amounts.
Full-time working mothers were suffering the most with 59 percent saying they were not getting enough sleep. Half of the working mothers said they were getting six or fewer hours sleep a night.
Smoking will be banned in government offices, shops and halls from January. But the ban will not be applied to bars and other places of entertainment until 2009 to give them time to adjust.
"In mice and rats ghrelin triggers the same neurons as delicious food, sexual experience, and many recreational drugs; that is, neurons that provide the sensation of pleasure and the expectation of reward," the researchers write in Friday's issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Reverse Heart Disease Aggressively!

From the November 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Most people are not aware that the development of heart disease is very likely a death sentence—especially for women. Not only does heart disease kill more women than men, women die more quickly from it. Thirty-nine percent of women who have heart attacks die within a year, compared with 31 percent of men. During the first four years after a heart attack, the rate for a second heart attack is 20 percent for women, 15 percent for men. Clearly, physicians are not doing enough to intervene in this disease process and are not giving heart patients the information they need to protect themselves.

Once significant heart disease develops, we know that the likelihood of this patient having future cardiac problems is great. Twenty-five percent of patients who undergo coronary bypass surgery die within ten years. One study compared a group of patients who had a heart attack and then underwent bypass surgery with a comparable group of heart attack patients who did not undergo bypass. Both groups had comparable coronary artery disease. Seventy percent of the patients who underwent bypass surgery had heart attacks or other cardiac problems necessitating hospital admission within five years, compared with 49 percent for the control group.1

These statistics are disappointing and avoidable, since aggressive medical management that successfully achieves optimal levels of cholesterol and blood pressure can prevent about half of all cardiac events.2 Unfortunately, most patients do not achieve optimal levels of cholesterol and blood pressure even with aggressive medical management. Aggressive drug therapy is certainly better for many patients than little or no therapy, but it is still not ideal.

A safe, effective approach

When you normalize your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol with nutritional intervention rather than drugs, you accomplish even greater risk reduction. As your weight drops, your blood sugar, triglycerides, blood pressure, and cholesterol also drop dramatically. Your body is flooded with nutrients that protect your blood vessels from disease and rupture. This approach provides maximal protection and offers benefits beyond merely lowering cholesterol.

The dietary program I recommend for heart-disease reversal utilizes natural cholesterol-lowering therapies instead of drugs, which eliminates the risks of drug side effects. And because my dietary program is richer in fiber and nutrients than the typical vegetarian diet, my patients achieve spectacular reductions in cholesterol, body weight, and blood pressure. Fortunately, this approach also can help those who already have heart disease. They can avoid future heart attacks and reverse and remove atherosclerosis. It is never too late to make the delicious and lifesaving change to the Eat To Live diet.

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Defeat Heart Disease Now!

From the November 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Today, when Americans’ concerns about external threats to our safety and security are at their highest levels, there is a surprising lack of concern about the very real dangers posed by homegrown threats to our well-being.

Each day, the media presents horrific news of death and destruction caused by war, terrorism, and other violence. It virtually ignores a silent but much more deadly enemy that is causing untold suffering to families and undermining the health and economic well-being of our country. I am talking about the many deadly diseases—especially heart disease—we bring upon ourselves through our unhealthful diet.

When we consider the recent losses of thousands of lives in events here and around the world, we experience a tremendous sorrow. We also experience a desire for steps to be taken that will prevent these tragedies from happening again. What should our response be to the millions of unnecessary deaths caused by preventable illnesses? Let’s look at the most deadly of these diseases—heart disease.

A deadly enemy

More than 1.5 million people will have a heart attack this year, with about 1 million deaths due to heart attacks. That amounts to a death every 30 seconds. (As you read this article, three more people will die.) In 1997, the direct medical costs attributed to heart disease came to $58 billion—more than any other medical condition—and 17 million new cases of heart disease were diagnosed that year.

Are we helpless against this onslaught? The answer is an emphatic “no.” But, if we are to put an end to this health nightmare, people need much better diet and health information than they currently are receiving.

Dangerous misinformation

When it comes to combating heart disease, most information sources promote drugs and surgery as the only viable lines of defense. As a result, the demand for high-tech, expensive, but largely ineffective medical care is high, causing medical costs and insurance rates to skyrocket. This chase for “cures” is both financially devastating and futile. Morbidity and premature mortality from heart disease continue to rise, with no sign of abating.

Interventional cardiology offers only partial benefits, since these procedures do not remove the causes of the problem. Attempts to intervene with invasive procedures or surgery after the damage already has been done have not been shown to offer a significant reduction in cardiac deaths. We need to keep in mind that angioplasty and bypass surgery have some significant adverse outcomes, including heart attacks, stroke, and death. These invasive procedures only attempt to treat a small segment of the diseased heart, usually with only temporary benefit. Patients treated with angioplasty and bypass surgery continue to experience progressive disability, and most still die prematurely as a result of their heart disease.

The average person is not aware that there are safer, more effective options available. Unfortunately, government agencies often are slow to respond to new scientific information and continue to advocate outdated recommendations. Economic and political forces also make it difficult for Americans to be clearly informed that heart disease is nutritionally-induced and totally avoidable by eating a nutritionally-excellent diet. For example, six of the eleven members, including the chairman, of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Committee in the Year 2000 had financial ties to the meat, dairy, and egg industries. Not surprisingly, the foods these industries produce figure prominently in government dietary recommendations in spite of their documented links to increased health risks. Similar problems exist in recommendations by non-profit health organizations. Sadly, even the American Heart Association advocates a diet that actually has been shown to increase heart disease.1

Accurate information
Fortunately, we can win the war against heart disease by making a few simple, but profound, dietary and lifestyle changes. By following the recommendations in my book Eat to Live, virtually everyone can improve their heart health. In fact, if you start in time, you actually can make yourself heart-attack proof. I believe all people should be informed they have a choice to protect themselves.

There is no magic to heart health. Educating yourself with the latest scientific findings and eating a diet of delicious, natural, unprocessed food allows you to protect yourself and your family from the heart disease tragedies you see all around you.

Following this approach, you can achieve positive results simply by making the right diet and exercise choices—consistently, without the use of drugs or surgery. Almost everyone can achieve protection against heart disease by reaching the following goals:
  • Achieve an LDL cholesterol of 100 or lower.
  • Achieve a homocysteine level below 10.
  • Achieve healthful weight and blood pressure.
These are realistic goals. All who truly desire to protect themselves can do so, without expensive and risky prescription drugs. Self-care is more effective and overwhelmingly less expensive than conventional care. My high-nutrient, vegetable-based diet has enabled patients to achieve remarkable reductions in these cardiac risk factors. Furthermore, by adding natural side-effect-free nutritional supplements for those who do not reach an LDL under 100 from dietary changes, we can enable almost everyone to achieve this protective level without medications and their risky side effects.

Lifesaving dietary facts
The following dietary facts will give you some idea of the powerful heart-protective qualities of the diet I recommend in Eat to Live.
1. A diet that is based on vegetables, beans, nuts, and fruit has been shown in scientific studies to lower cholesterol more powerfully than drugs.2

2. People who adopt this dietary approach—consisting primarily of natural plant-foods do not develop heart disease.

3. Studies have shown that people with advanced heart disease who combine a plant based diet with cholesterol-lowering therapies are able to reverse their heart disease and totally prevent the future occurrence of heart attacks.3

4. When needed, natural (side-effect free) substances are effective at lowering cholesterol further, making an LDL cholesterol below 100 obtainable without (risky) medications for almost all patients.

5. The same diet that helps protect you against heart disease reverses obesity, high blood pressure, and adult diabetes also protects against cancer.
Firefighters’ heart disease
Heart disease is a much bigger problem than most people think. Consider a recent study on firefighters who die in the line of duty.

We think of firefighters as courageous, highly-trained men and women who risk their lives to save others. We imagine that they are at greatest risk when rushing into emergency situations and natural disasters where they are surrounded by dangerous conditions. Recent findings suggest otherwise.

All on-duty firefighters’ deaths are investigated by the US Fire Administration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. During the decade between 1990 and 2000, 44 percent of all on-duty deaths were due to cardiovascular disease. Among firefighters aged fifty-five to sixty, 76 percent of all on-duty deaths were due to heart attacks.4

I believe that firefighters—like all other Americans—could stop dying needlessly if accurate diet and health information from respected sources were readily available to them.

Dangerous eating habits take away the lives of hard-working men and women every day. Americans simply have not been adequately informed about the deadly health risks of donuts, bagels, cheese, hot dogs, luncheon meats, and other “fast” foods. Would people commit what amounts to slow suicide by diet if they knew the importance of making more healthful food choices? I think not.

My Heart Disease Reversal Program
My book Cholesterol Protection for Life is designed to be distributed quickly, easily, and relatively inexpensively to many people. In about seventy-five pages, it clearly outlines the methods I recommend to people who want risk reduction naturally, without risky medication and surgery. It explains that cholesterol-lowering drugs, angioplasty, and bypass surgery are not the answer and do not offer real protection against future heart attacks.

Cholesterol Protection for Life supplies the plan and the evidence necessary to show how this program can work to prevent heart attacks with 100 percent effectiveness. Accurate dietary and health information can make a huge difference in your health and longevity. Information is the most powerful artillery we have to save lives. Continue Reading...