Food Scoring Guide: Complete Protein

When you hear something over and over from the time you were a young child, it is easy to accept it as true. So it should not come as a surprise that the myth that we need to consume animal products to get adequate protein is still alive and well in America. The myth that plant proteins are “incomplete” and need to be “completed” for adequate protein is still alive, too.

Amino acids are the building blocks that make proteins. All vegetables and grains contain all eight of the essential amino acids (as well as the twelve other non-essential). While some vegetables have higher or lower proportion of certain amino acids than others, when eaten in amounts to satisfy your caloric needs, a sufficient amount of all essential amino acids is provided. Today’s nutritional science has deemphasized the importance of protein because we now know that it is easy to get enough, and that too much is not good.

Scientific studies on human protein requirements demonstrate that adults require 20-35 grams of protein per day.1 Today, the average American consumes 100-120 grams of protein per day, mostly in the form of animal products. This high level of animal product consumption has been linked to not just heart disease and strokes, but to higher rates of cancer, as well.2 We simply don’t need all this protein. Even people who eat a total vegetarian (vegan) diet, which contains no animal products, have been found to consume 60-80 grams of protein per day, well above the minimum requirement.3
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Allergies: The Power of Breast Milk

“Allergies are increasing because women do not breast feed long enough,” explains Dr. Fuhrman and it seems to be the same with mice. Researchers believe breast milk protects mice from allergic asthma. Reuters reports:
Lactating mice that develop tolerance after exposure to airborne antigens appear to be able to transfer this immunity to their offspring though breast-milk.


The tolerance was transmitted to the newborn mice through breast milk and antigen-stimulated allergic asthma was prevented, a French research team reports in the advance online edition of Nature Medicine. Antigens are substances the body recognizes as foreign that trigger the immune system to mount a defensive reaction, which accounts for allergy symptoms.

Dr. Valerie Julia, at Universite de Nice-Sophia-Antipolis in Valbonne, and associates exposed lactating mice to ovalbumin aerosols every other day until their offspring were weaned. (Ovalbumin is the major protein in the white part of an egg.)
I’ll go ahead and add this to the pile of evidence supporting breastfeeding. Now, in case you didn’t get the memo, Dr. Fuhrman thinks breastfeeding is very important. Why? The magic’s in the milk! He explains:
The antibodies derived from mother’s milk are necessary for maximizing immune system function, maximizing intelligence, and protecting against immune system disorders, allergies, and even cancer. The child’s immune system is still underdeveloped until age of two, the same age when the digestive tract seals the leaks (spaces between cells) designed to allow the mother’s antibodies access to the bloodstream. So picking the age of two as the length of recommended breast-feeding is not just a haphazard guess, it matches the age at which the child is no longer absorbing the mother’s immunoglobulins to supplement their own immune system. Nature designed it that way.
I’ve seen the word dozens of times, but I’m telling you, immunoglobulins would be a killer name for a rock bad. “Ladies and gentlemen, The Immunoglobulins!”

UPDATE: Dr. Fuhrman wanted to add his two cents to this article. Enjoy:
Wow, I am amazed that they could find all those women who would let mice nurse from their breasts!! I guess it was a better choice than rats.
I'm still laughing!

Medical Care and Weight

In Dr. Fuhrman’s new Food Scoring Guide, he explains that most people have quit on their health. Check out this excerpt:
Most Americans have given up hope of ever achieving their optimal weight and health. They have failed with diets in the past. They think they can’t lose weight, and they don’t think they can change. So they just throw in the towel.
And maybe this report supports that indictment. From The Washington Post, here’s how to handle your weight at the doctor’s office. Look:
  • If you're sensitive about your weight, ask that your doctor weigh you in a private area -- and enter your weight in your chart without comment.
  • If clothing or equipment doesn't fit or is uncomfortable to use, ask if your doctor can change it. Larger exam gowns, blood pressure cuffs and other equipment are available from many medical suppliers.
  • Be open to respectful discussions of body weight that don't assign blame. Your doctor or nurse may have helpful suggestions you haven't tried.
  • Consider pre-screening physicians.
What about taking control of your health and weight? Back to the Food Scoring Guide, Dr. Fuhrman suggests a positive approach to a healthy diet. Here’s more:
Make this dietary transition an exciting adventure where you learn new great-tasting recipes with high-nutrient plant foods. Design a food plan that uses large quantities of the most powerful anticancer, disease-fighting foods on the planet, make it taste great, and then test it to see what kind of results you get. I can tell you now that the results will astound you!
I guess the point to be made here, is don’t quit, don’t accept—take control!

Wednesday: Health Points

A study published Monday hints that fitness buffs appear to have "younger" DNA than the chronically sedentary. The finding could help scientists understand the effects of exercise and aging at a molecular level.

Previous research has shown that being physically active reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases, potentially extending longevity.

Previous research has shown that older people have shorter ends than younger folks. Indeed, biologists say they shrink every time a cell divides.
Some 84 million people risk dying from cancer over the next decade, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.


The IAEA, the UN atomic watchdog, is involved in the fight agaist the disease through its Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) division, which shares the organisation's knowledge of radiotherapy techniques with other partners in the field.

PACT head Massud Samiei told journalists that "the cancer epidemic will gather pace in developing countries."
About two-thirds of the cases were children who took the medicines unsupervised. However, about one-quarter involved cases in which parents gave the proper dosage and an allergic reaction or some other problem developed, the study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.


The study included both over-the-counter and prescription medicines. It comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned parents that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines are too dangerous for children younger than 2.
The key is for both spouses to be comfortable expressing anger, rather than one or both suppressing anger, University of Michigan researchers report.


"The key matter is, when the conflict happens, how do you resolve it?" asks Ernest Harburg, PhD, professor emeritus with the University of Michigan's School of Public Health and psychology department. "If you bury your anger, and you brood on it ... and you don't try to resolve the problem, then you're in trouble."

Harburg's team found a higher death rate among married couples in which both spouses suppress anger, compared with other married couples. Their findings appear in the Journal of Family Communication.
Studies in the past have demonstrated that cannabis can cause cancer, but few have established a strong link between cannabis use and the actual incidence of lung cancer.


In an article published in the European Respiratory Journal, the scientists said cannabis could be expected to harm the airways more than tobacco as its smoke contained twice the level of carcinogens, such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons, compared with tobacco cigarettes.

The method of smoking also increases the risk, since joints are typically smoked without a proper filter and almost to the very tip, which increases the amount of smoke inhaled. The cannabis smoker inhales more deeply and for longer, facilitating the deposition of carcinogens in the airways.
BREAKFAST CEREALS
Seventh-Day Adventists are credited with creating breakfast cereals. They founded the Battle Creek Sanitarium, where they manufactured and promoted wholesome cereals. Will Keith Kellogg was an Adventist who discovered corn flakes in 1894 when a pot of cooked wheat was overcooked and then dried. Each grain became a separate flake. He introduced Rice Krispies in 1929. The Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company was founded in 1906.


THE DOUGHNUT
Originally introduced by the Dutch as sweet dough fried in pork fat (known as "oily cakes"), the doughnut has been around a very long time, although its popularity surged with the doughnuts served to solders in World War I. The term "doughnut" either comes from the small balls of dough that looked like nuts, or a recipe from a mid-19th century cook who added nuts to the center of her fried dough and therefore referred to them as dough "nuts." The legend goes on to say that her son, a sea captain, didn't like the nuts so he had them cut out, creating the famous doughnut shape that we know today. Doughnuts remained as snacks, not breakfast -- often served in theaters -- until the doughnut machine was invented in the 1930s. By the 1940s and 1950s, Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Doughnuts had been introduced, and the pairing of coffee and doughnuts secured their place in the breakfast repertoire. By the 1950s, "drop" doughnuts became very popular and Orange Drop Doughnuts showed up in the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Since no rolling or cutting was required -- just drop spoonfuls of batter into hot oil -- this category of doughnuts caught on quickly.
The number of Americans being diagnosed with and also living with type 2 diabetes is soaring, presenting a major health and economic crisis for the United States, a new study reports.


"What's alarming is we have 47 million uninsured people, but these people [in the study, enrolled under Medicare] are all insured. So in this kind of insured program, we have so many people who are not adhering to the recommended care," said Frank Sloan, lead author of the study published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Sloan is professor of health policy and management at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
The ayurvedic menu at Ananda Spa has been designed to balance the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The doshas are roughly similar to our ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph body types, but they’re even more detailed, taking into consideration the shape of the face, skin type, hair, eyes, and temperament. Everyone is a mix of the three, but one dosha is predominant. If the doshas are balanced, you’ll enjoy good health, if not, you’re basically screwed…


…Once you know which dosha you align with, your ayurvedic practitioner will help you get in harmony through your food choices. To balance a Vata dosha, for example, you’re apparently supposed to eat mostly warm foods, such as soups, stews, warm milk, warm cereals, and baked bread (cream and butter are on the list too). And Vatas are advised to avoid cold foods, such as salads, iced drinks, and raw vegetables and greens. Hmm … doesn’t sound ideal for someone who is lactose-intolerant and loves her veggies.

Vitamin D and Calcium, Joint at the Hip

Sometimes I wonder about things. Like, why is the sky blue? Why do men have nipples? Why do we park in a driveway and drive on a parkway? Or, why is proper vitamin D intake important to calcium absorption? Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.
Sadly, Dr. Fuhrman had nothing on the whole driveway-parkway thing. Now, check out this parroting of good information. Reuters reports, vitamin D ups calcium's bone-building effect. Here’s an excerpt:
The women were between 70 and 80 years old. After 1 year, bone mineral density at the hip was preserved in the calcium group and the calcium+vitamin D group, but not in the double-placebo "control" group.


However, at 3 and 5 years, only the group that got calcium plus vitamin D group maintained hip bone density, the investigators report in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

They conclude that adequate levels of vitamin D are necessary for calcium to do its job in keeping bones healthy.
Oh dear, now I’m wondering again. Where do get all this “vitamin D?” Well, George Harrison once sung, “Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter. Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here. Here comes the sun, here comes the sun.”

You've Got Lead on the Brain

Earlier this month we learned that exposing monkeys—a close relative of ours—to lead ups their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease later on. The NewScientist was on it:
Monkeys exposed to the heavy metal during infancy may be predisposed to develop the equivalent of Alzheimer's disease.


"We're not saying that lead exposure causes Alzheimer's disease, but it's a risk factor," says Nasser Zawia of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, whose team discovered the link.

Zawia's team fed baby monkeys infant formula milk laced with low levels of lead, then followed their progress until the age of 23. While the adult monkeys did not show symptoms of Alzheimer's per se, post-mortem analyses of their brains showed that the lead-fed monkeys had plaques and other abnormalities identical to those found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.
Maybe there’s some proof in this pudding, because new research has linked lead to aging in older brains. Malcolm Ritter of the Associated Press is on it:
That's the provocative idea emerging from some recent studies, part of a broader area of new research that suggests some pollutants can cause harm that shows up only years after someone is exposed.


The new work suggests long-ago lead exposure can make an aging person's brain work as if it's five years older than it really is. If that's verified by more research, it means that sharp cuts in environmental lead levels more than 20 years ago didn't stop its widespread effects.

"We're trying to offer a caution that a portion of what has been called normal aging might in fact be due to ubiquitous environmental exposures like lead," says Dr. Brian Schwartz of Johns Hopkins University.

"The fact that it's happening with lead is the first proof of principle that it's possible," said Schwartz, a leader in the study of lead's delayed effects. Other pollutants like mercury and pesticides may do the same thing, he said.
Alright, even without this news, we know lead is bad news. So, what can we make of all this? Well, let’s start with the kids. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
We must be careful not to expose our children to chemical cleaners, insecticides, and weed killers on our lawns. Chemicals used in pressure-treated wood used to build lawn furniture, decks, fences, and swing sets have also been shown to place children at risk. When young children are around, we must be vigilant to maintain a chemical-free environment.
And maybe when they get older they can protect themselves, then their children and hopefully, this heightened awareness will nip the whole problem in the bud.

The Job, Your Heart, The Strain

“Humans are complicated creatures, and our minds have powerful effects on healing and wellness,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. He insists that being happy, is good for you. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
A positive purpose, loving relationships, self-respect, and the power to control our destiny have beneficial effects on our physiological—and ultimately physical—well-being. Few people have the perfect life without any negative stressors, but it makes a difference if you deal with those stressors with hope and action, rather than resignation and passivity.
That’s why I do Yoga! I’m as cool as a cucumber when I’m practicing and lucky for my colleagues, it carries over when I’m in the office. As Dr. Fuhrman points out being happy at work is important. Look:
A safe and satisfying work environment, a happy marriage, a satisfying social and/or family life, and activities you enjoy are all related to positive health outcomes. Emotional wellness starts right here your finger tips end. As you respect and appreciate the value in the world around you and develop interests in other people and in such things as art, music, entertainment, sports, nature, and physical activity, you can respect yourself more for your ability and desire to appreciate the value of things not yourself.
This is great to know, especially when you consider news like this. According to new research, job stress strains your heart. Check it out over at CBS News:
The workers, most of whom were men, were 35-55 years old when the study started. They got checkups and reported their drinking, smoking, diet , and physical activity. They also rated their job stress twice during the study.


Stressful jobs had lots of pressure and little control. Some also included social stress from bad bosses and unsupportive co-workers.

Chandola's team tracked new cases of heart disease - based on heart disease deaths, nonfatal heart attacks, and angina (heart-related chest pain) - among the workers for 12 years.

Those problems were associated with job stress, especially in younger workers who were in their late 30s or 40s when the study began.

Young workers who reported work stress twice during the study were 68% more likely to develop heart disease than those who never reported work stress.

The same wasn't true for older workers, perhaps because they retired during the study and no longer had any work stress.
Relax! Let’s return to our Zen-like state. Breathe, in and out, in and out. Better? Okay, here Dr. Fuhrman offers some advice for living free and easy. Have a look:
A healthy emotional response to life hinges on your ability to grant value and importance to things that are deserving of it. This ability and desire to interact in a fair and equitable way with the world around you forms the basis of your emotional contentment and self-esteem.
Yoga sure beats my old way of dealing with stress. I used to inhale a bag of chocolate like a Blue Whale coming up for air.

Cancer, the Pill, and a Load of Bull

This report sounds like a smarmy guy’s attempt to get his girlfriend on birth-control, but apparently research has determined that “the pill” protects against ovarian cancer. Maria Cheng of the Associated Press reports:
"Not only does the pill prevent pregnancy, but in the long term, you actually get less cancer as well," said Valerie Beral, the study's lead author and director of the Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University. "It's a nice bonus." The study was paid for by Cancer Research UK and Britain's Medical Research Council.


Beral and colleagues analyzed data from 45 studies worldwide, covering 23,257 women with ovarian cancer, of whom 31 percent were on the pill. They also looked at 87,303 women without ovarian cancer, of whom 37 percent were on the pill.

In both groups, the women on the pill took it for about five years. The researchers found that in rich countries, women taking oral contraceptives for a decade were less likely to develop ovarian cancer. Without the pill, about 12 women per 1,000 are expected to get ovarian cancer before age 75. But that figure dropped to 8 women per 1,000 in those on the pill.
Now, reports like this spread like wildfire. Actually, they’re more like a nugget that won’t flush. So in keeping up with the media frenzy, I asked Dr. Fuhrman about this research. Here’s what he had to say:
It increases the risk of the most common cancer in women; breast cancer and decreases the risk of ovarian cancer, which is comparatively rare and they are promoting more widespread use of the pill giving the false conclusion that it decreases cancer deaths overall. Pure bull! If people want to really decrease their risk of cancer they are simply going to have to eat lots of vegetables and exercise. How boring!
Honestly, can you make a bigger case for this country’s magical pill obsession? I mean come on! The medication in question is called, “THE PILL.” Perhaps next they’ll tell us it can part the sea and turn water into wine.

How Asparagus are You?

Who would have thought, apparently asparagus can affect people differently. Yeah, I’m confused too. Let’s check in with Susan Bowerman of The Los Angeles Times:

Asparagus' reputation for producing noxious urine is so widespread that those who produce the odor assume everyone else does too. That's not the case. Studies indicate that about 79% of Americans are "excreters" -- they excrete smelly sulfur compounds in their urine -- as are about half the people in Britain. Non-excreters don't suffer asparagus-eating's effect on urine odor because they don't produce these sulfur compounds. The ability to "excrete" is inherited.


Chemical analysis of the urine of excreters has identified six compounds responsible for the odor. Two, methanethiol and dimethyl sulfide, impart the most aroma, while the other four contribute to the unique and complex bouquet. Their source is from the breakdown of other chemicals present in the fresh vegetable.

A prime candidate is asparagusic acid, a sulfur-rich compound found only in asparagus. In 1987, a study found that excreters who ingested asparagusic acid produced the volatile compounds in their urine -- whereas non-excreters didn't. But researchers have also suggested that other compounds present in higher concentrations in asparagus than other foods could also contribute.

A few studies published more than 20 years ago suggest that the numbers on people who produce smelly urine may be unreliable. It could be, the authors argue, that everyone produces pungent urine after eating asparagus -- but not everyone can pick up the smell.

Don’t you just love talking about pee. Yes my mind is in the toilet and in this case it fits—pun intended. But seriously, asparagus is a great food. Dr. Fuhrman tells us why:

Asparagus is one of the most healthful foods on the planet. It leads nearly all fruits and vegetables in the wide array of nutrients it supplies. Ten ounces (one box of frozen spears) have only 68 calories and 9 grams of protein, yet it is like a vitamin pill, giving you a variety of minerals such as selenium, zinc, calcium, copper, and manganese. Plus, it is very rich in folate.


Asparagus has an exceptionally high nutrient-per-calorie ratio and is the perfect weight-loss food. Anti--cancer compounds that have been shown to prevent tumors and cancers in animals are plentiful in asparagus. Asparagus also contains isothiocyanates, indoles, and sulforaphane, powerful compounds that promote cellular rejuvenation with anti-cancer properties. It is rich in glutathione and rutin, healing compounds for the liver and blood vessels.

I really like asparagus, especially asparagus veggie-sushi rolls! Hey, speaking of food. Here’s a great asparagus recipe for you to try. Check it out:

Asparagus-Potato-Leek Ragout
2 large leeks, white and pale green
1 lb. small red potatoes
2 cups water, seasoned with VegiZest or another dehydrated vegetable seasoning
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally
1/2 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
Cut leeks lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Quarter potatoes and steam in a steamer until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a bowl. In skillet, water-sauté leeks in seasoned water for 3-4 minutes, stirring until tender. (Add liquid if needed.) Transfer leeks to bowl with potatoes. In skillet, heat more VegiZest water and water-sauté asparagus for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms and water-sauté mixture, and continue cooking for about 3 minutes or until mushrooms soften. Combine all ingredients. Before serving, squeeze a little lemon juice over vegetables, stir in mint, parsley, and pepper to taste, and gently toss. Serves 4.

All this talk about asparagus has got me psyched to go out eat some and then, have some wicked stinky pee!

All this Meat, At What Cost?

The New York Times takes a long hard look at the meat industry and what its costing us. More from Mark Bittman:
The two commodities share a great deal: Like oil, meat is subsidized by the federal government. Like oil, meat is subject to accelerating demand as nations become wealthier, and this, in turn, sends prices higher. Finally — like oil — meat is something people are encouraged to consume less of, as the toll exacted by industrial production increases, and becomes increasingly visible.


Global demand for meat has multiplied in recent years, encouraged by growing affluence and nourished by the proliferation of huge, confined animal feeding operations. These assembly-line meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world’s tropical rain forests.

Just this week, the president of Brazil announced emergency measures to halt the burning and cutting of the country’s rain forests for crop and grazing land. In the last five months alone, the government says, 1,250 square miles were lost.

The world’s total meat supply was 71 million tons in 1961. In 2007, it was estimated to be 284 million tons. Per capita consumption has more than doubled over that period. (In the developing world, it rose twice as fast, doubling in the last 20 years.) World meat consumption is expected to double again by 2050, which one expert, Henning Steinfeld of the United Nations, says is resulting in a “relentless growth in livestock production.”

So, I guess you can consider Atkins the SUV dealer of the food industry.

No, Not My Pet Turtle!

Actually, I don’t have a pet turtle, but if I did. I’d apparently be upping my risk of getting a salmonella infection. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:
According to the report, cases were reported in all but 15 states, with most cases occurring in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas.


Two of the infected children included a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl who became stricken after swimming in an unchlorinated in-ground pool owned by the family of the older girl. Two pet turtles, purchased at a South Carolina pet store and owned by the family of the older teen, were allowed to swim in the pool, the CDC reported.

Harris said many people aren't aware of the risk of Salmonella infections from pet turtles. "Only 20 percent of these cases [in the report] said they were aware there was a connection between Salmonella infection and reptile exposure," she said.

Up to 90 percent of turtles carry Salmonella, Harris said. "This is a very serious infection, especially for small children," she added.

The infection is spread from contact with the turtles, but the contact doesn't have to be direct, Harris said. "We have one case where a baby was bathed in a sink that turtle waste was disposed in," she said.

In some cases, the children put the turtle in their mouth. In other cases, children became sick from just living in the same house with a turtle or other infected family members. Salmonella can live on surfaces for weeks, Harris noted.
Personally, I’m more of a hermit crab guy.

Friday: Health Points

Uncontrolled diabetes wreaks havoc on the body, often leading to kidney failure, blindness and death. A new study shows that the nation's unchecked diabetes epidemic exacts a heavy financial toll as well: $174 billion a year.

That's about as much as the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism combined. It's more than the $150 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The incidence of diabetes has ballooned — there are 1 million new cases a year — as more Americans become overweight or obese, according to the study, released Wednesday by the American Diabetes Association. The cost of diabetes — both in direct medical care and lost productivity — has swelled 32% since 2002, the report shows.

Diabetes killed more than 284,000 Americans last year, according to the diabetes association.
  • Much to my personal delight, Yoga is growing in popularity. Katie Zezima of The New York Times investigates a boot camp for Yoga teachers. Check it out:
In May 2006, Sue Jones started YogaHope, an organization that teaches yoga at eight Boston-area women’s homeless shelters, substance-abuse treatment programs and domestic-violence safe houses, as well as two programs in Seattle. The focus is on teaching restorative yoga, and though many teachers have completed at least 200 hours of training, it is not a requirement.


Driven by a sometimes missionary zeal and a sense that yoga has become an exclusive pursuit, a small but growing number of yoga practitioners are forming organizations that teach yoga in prisons and juvenile detention centers in Oakland, Calif.; Los Angeles, Seattle and Indianapolis. They are working with the addicted and the homeless in Portland, Ore., and with public-school students in New York City.

Though concern about the cost of yoga is an issue (studio classes can cost $20 for a drop-in session, though some offer free or low-cost classes taught by less experienced teachers), most of the practitioners are motived by a desire to introduce yoga to those who might need it most, but wouldn’t think to do it on their own.
Stop-and-go pushup
Assume a pushup position. Brace your core and lower your chest to the floor. When you’re halfway down, pause 2 seconds before continuing. Then, when your chest is 2 inches from the floor, pause again for 2 seconds before pushing halfway back up. Hold for 2 more seconds, then straighten your arms. Do eight reps.


Stop-and-go split squat
Stand with one foot 3 feet forward and hold a barbell across your shoulders. Rise on the ball of your back foot, then bend at the knees. When halfway down, pause for 2 seconds. Pause again when your back knee is just off the floor. Push halfway up, pause again, and return to the starting position. Do six reps with each leg.
The campaign, to be launched in the summer, will form part of a wider strategy including aspects like food labelling, urban design and the promotion of exercise.


Department of Health officials said it will use simple messages -- such as the "five pieces of fruit and veg a day" slogan -- and be based on research into what actually works to make people change from unhealthy lifestyles.

"Tackling obesity is the most significant public and personal health challenge facing our society," said Health Secretary Alan Johnson as he launched the 372 million pound cross-government strategy.
"A didgeri-what?" you ask. While aborigines in Australia have been playing this long wooden trumpet for centuries, it's just recently been redefined as a modern-day medical device. Researchers reporting in the British Medical Journal evaluated 25 people with sleep apnea--a breath-stealing condition caused by flabby throat muscles--and found that those who took 4 months of didgeridoo (DIH-jeh-ree-doo) lessons had about 31/2 times less daytime sleepiness than the folks who didn't blow their own horns. The newly minted musicians also snored significantly less. Credit this uncommon cure to vibrations that exercise tissue in the mouth and throat, says researcher Milo Puhan, Ph.D. "When these muscles are strengthened, the tongue has less tendency to obstruct the airway."


If huffing on a wooden tube to treat your sleep apnea sounds a tad too weird, then you probably aren't familiar with the alternatives. The most commonly prescribed option is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which involves spending every night hooked up to a machine that pumps air down your throat to keep it from collapsing. The other approach is surgery, and that's only 30 to 60 percent effective. Now are you ready to toot the didgeridoo? You can pick up a beginner-friendly model for about $80 at L.A. Outback (laoutback.com). And don't worry; it's intuitive to learn, says co-owner Barry Martin. You purse your lips and blow into it with the beat.
  • Diet Blog hardly has a glowing endorsement for “Slim Coffee.” Jim Foster thinks it’s nothing but a big scam:
It must be so tempting for unscrupulous entrepreneurs:


Find an obscure weight loss product from somewhere overseas. Re-brand it. Hype it up. Create an infomercial. Make millions.

This time it's Slim Coffee. The claims are impressive: "Reduce appetite. Clinically tested. Lose 5 pounds per week". All from drinking coffee with a few supplements added (or so they say).

The makers of Slim Coffee have been pursued by the FTC - resulting in a $923,000 settlement.
Previous studies had suggested that people living in polluted areas are more at risk of heart disease. For example, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine last year showed that women in 36 American cities were more likely to develop heart disease if the air they breathed was rich in particles measuring 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter - known as PM2.5s - which are present in car exhaust fumes.


It now seems that a greater hazard may be posed by so-called "ultrafine" particles, about a dozen times smaller at 0.18 micrometres wide. The latest study in mice has shown that they clog up arteries with fatty atherosclerotic deposits, and chemically alter "good" cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, reducing its beneficial effects.
How does yoga help a professional athlete's game?
Yoga improves balance in the body and works the smaller muscles that normally wouldn't get worked. It also improves range of motion, whether that means swinging a golf club, throwing a baseball or shooting a basketball. It builds stamina through breath control and teaches techniques for relaxing in tense moments. Most important, yoga gives you confidence that your body will do what you want it to do when you need it to.

Meat and Diet Soda, Bad for the Heart

A guy walks into a fast-food restaurant, orders a double-cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, and, a diet soda. Why diet? Obviously he’s concerned about his health! Unfortunately for him, meat and diet soda are being linked to heart disease. Reuters reports:
People who eat two or more servings of red meat a day are much more likely to develop conditions leading to heart disease and diabetes, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.


Eating two or more servings of meat a day increases the risk of suffering from a cluster of risk factors known as metabolic syndrome by 25 percent compared to those who had only two servings of meat a week, the researchers reported in the journal Circulation.

The symptoms of metabolic syndrome include excessive fat around the waist, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure.

The study also found that diet soda consumption was linked to these elevated risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, echoing the findings of a study published in July.

"When we found that diet soda promoted risk we were surprised," said Dr. Lyn Steffen, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota.
No surprises here. Consuming too much animal products—like red meat—are consistently linked with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Unlike plant foods that promote the opposite. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
There is a relationship between animal protein and heart disease. For example, plasma apolioprotein B is positively associated with animal-protein intake and inversely associated (lowered) with vegetable-protein intake (e.g., legumes and greens). Apolioprotein B levels correlate strongly with coronary heart disease.1 Unknown to many is that animal proteins have a significant effect on raising cholesterol levels as well, while plant protein lowers it.2
What’s amazing is in light of research like this. Tons of misinformation still kicks around the internet. Speaking of misinformation, let’s check in with the one of the leading sources. Here’s the Atkins take on animal protein:
Protein also plays a role in weight loss or weight management. Compared to carbohydrate, consuming protein has less of an effect on insulin (which drives fat storage), a greater effect on glucagon (which drives fat release) and a considerably greater increase in metabolic rate. Several studies demonstrate greater body-fat loss on a high-protein diet than on a high-carb one. Increasing intake of protein relative to carbohydrates fills you up more, so you wind up eating less. A recent study showed that even eating snacks with a higher protein and lower carbohydrate composition can reduce the amount of food you eat at the next meal by 5 percent. And eating protein boosts your metabolic rate—the technical term is thermogenesis. In fact, one study showed that healthy young women experienced 100 percent higher thermogenesis after eating high-protein meals—even two and a half hours later than when they ate a “conventional” high-carbohydrate meal.
Now, as we know, when Atkins says protein, they’re referring to animal products—i.e. meat—but as Dr. Fuhrman just explained, all this animal protein is not health-promoting. Here’s more from Dr. Fuhrman, take a look:
A recent study showed that after following almost 200,000 Americans for seven years, those who regularly consumed red meat had a double the occurrence of pancreatic cancer.3

Dairy is best kept to a minimum. There are many good reasons not to consume dairy. For example, there is a strong association between diary lactose and ischemic heart disease.4 There is also a clear association between high-growth-promoting foods such as dairy products and cancer. There is a clear association between milk consumption and testicular cancer.5
As for diet soda, honestly, who in their right mind trusts these laboratory-created abominations? Wait, I guess the guy ordering all the burgers and chicken nuggets does. Real quick, here’s Dr. Fuhrman on sweeteners:
Clearly this is a controversial subject because much of the research documenting the so-called safety of aspartame was financed by the aspartame industry, and a huge amount of political and monetary pressure led to eventual FDA approval. My opinion is that the possible dangers of aspartame are still unknown. Utilizing such artificial products is gambling with your health. Aspartame also exposes us to a methyl ester that may have toxic effects. I recommend playing it safe and sticking to natural foods.


Many health gurus recommend substituting Stevia in place of artificial sweeteners. Stevia is natural and its use is permitted in Japan and other countries. Despite its widespread use, there is a surprising lack of human clinical trials evaluating its safety. Unlike with saccharin, no evidence has been reported that stevioside and its metabolites are carcinogenic. However, animal reports of nephrotoxicity do exist, which suggest that Stevia is likely safer than the other sweeteners, but not entirely without risk.6 The extent of risk is unknown at this time.
How about not consuming them at all! Instead eat some sweet and delicious fruit. It’ll help satisfy you’re crazing for sweet, and, supply your body with the important nutrients and phytochemicals it needs. Dr. Fuhrman explains why fruit (and vegetables) are so great:
Increasing your consumption of high-nutrient fruits and vegetables is the key to disease resistance, disease reversal, and a long, healthy life. The potential reduction in disease rates shows no threshold effect in the scientific studies. That means that as high-nutrient vegetables and high-nutrient fruits increase as a major portion of caloric intake, disease rates fall in a dose-dependent manner—the more the diet is comprised of these foods, the better your health will be.7
So, I guess the point to make here is that it’s important to remember that eating lots of animal products is not going to do your health any favors and masking food addictions with diet soda or sweeteners is not a long term approach to good health.
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Diabetes: Stomach Surgery a Good Idea?

If you’re looking to regain your health and lose weight healthfully, popular stomach surgeries are not the answer. From Eat to Live, here’s what Dr. Fuhrman and the National Institutes of Health have to say about them. Take a look:
Wound problems and complications from blood clots are common aftereffects of gastric bypass and gastroplasty surgery. The National Institutes of Health has also reported that those undergoing surgical treatment for obesity have had substantial nutritional and metabolic complications, gastritis, esophagitis, outlet stenosis, and abdominal hernias. More than 10 percent required another operation to fix problems resulting from the first surgery.1
Seriously, stomach surgeries might be all the rage right now. It seems like every time you turn on the TV another celebrity is singing the praises of stomach-stapling, but come on! You’ve got to consider the risks. Check out this chart:



So, when I say this—I hit the ceiling! Apparently a new study favors stomach surgery to treat obese diabetics. No, it’s not April Fools Day. Denise Grady of The New York Times reports:
Weight-loss surgery works much better than standard medical therapy as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes in obese people, the first study to compare the two approaches has found.


The study, of 60 patients, showed that 73 percent of those who had surgery had complete remissions of diabetes, meaning all signs of the disease went away. By contrast, the remission rate was only 13 percent in those given conventional treatment, which included intensive counseling on diet and exercise for weight loss, and, when needed, diabetes medicines like insulin, metformin and other drugs.

In the study, the surgery worked better because patients who had it lost much more weight than the medically treated group did — 20.7 percent versus 1.7 percent of their body weight, on average. Type 2 diabetes is usually brought on by obesity, and patients can often lessen the severity of the disease, or even get rid of it entirely, by losing about 10 percent of their body weight. Though many people can lose that much weight, few can keep it off without surgery. (Type 1 diabetes, a much less common form of the disease, involves the immune system and is not linked to obesity.)

But the new results probably do not apply to all patients with Type 2 diabetes, because the people in the study had fairly mild cases with a recent onset; all had received the diagnosis within the previous two years. In people who have more severe and longstanding diabetes, the disease may no longer be reversible, no matter how much weight is lost.
I’d be curious to see just what kind of “intensive counseling on diet and exercise for weight loss” these patients were given. Because according to Dr. Fuhrman switching to a vegetable-based nutritarian diet is your best bet against type-2 diabetes. He explains:
How can diabetics safely lower the high glucose levels that are slowly destroying their bodies? How can they lower their lipids and blood pressure, lose weight, and avoid taking dangerous drugs, such as insulin and sulfonylureas? They need to adopt a diet based on nutritional excellence.


When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature's perfect foods---green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away.
Now, let’s not forget exercise. Dr. Fuhrman also points out that exercise is an important part of preventing and combating diabetes. Take a look:
The most effective prescription for diabetes is exercise. An essential component of my prescription for diabetes is daily exercise; it is more important than daily medication. Two hundred calories a day of formal exercise on an incline treadmill and an elliptical machine are a great goal to shoot for. It is not an official recommendation of anyone except me.
I’m no health expert and I’m not trying to be overly negative, but, how can researchers and doctors willing endorse elective surgery on someone, especially when there are more effective, proven means of treatment. What do you think?
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Light Therapy and Bipolar Disorder

New research shows that light therapy can help women bipolar disorder. Reuters reports:
Bright light treatment started out as a way to relieve winter depression, but it has since been shown to be effective for seasonal and non-seasonal major depression. It could also benefit people with bipolar disorder, in which moods swing from depression to mania, note the authors of the report in the medical journal Bipolar Disorders.


To see what "dose" of bright light might be best, Dr. Dorothy Sit, of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania, and colleagues conducted a small study with nine women in the depression phase of bipolar disorder who were unresponsive to conventional treatments.

The women were given light boxes and used them for 15, 30, and 45 minutes daily, each for 2-week periods. Four patients used them in the morning and five at midday.

Of the four subjects treated with morning light, three developed mixed states; that is, "symptoms of depression and mania that occur at the same time -- racing thoughts, irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety and low mood," Sit explained in a press release.
Dr. Fuhrman is a big fan of light therapy. In fact, he sells therapeutic lights on DrFuhrman.com.

Stay in Shape, Stay Alive!

Hey, it’s stating the obvious, but it’s still cool. A new study claims the more fit you are, the longer you are likely to live. Jamie Stengle of the Associated Press reports:
The research builds on what is already known about the benefits of exercise and fills in some gaps by addressing the effects of fitness in blacks.


"A little bit of exercise goes a long way," said Peter Kokkinos, lead author of the study. "Thirty minutes a day, five days a week of brisk walking is likely to reduce the risk of mortality by 50 percent if not more."

With 15,660 participants, the researchers said the study is the largest to look at the link between fitness and mortality. The study also sets itself apart by looking at how exercise affects blacks, whose death rates are higher than whites. About 43 percent of the veterans in the study were black.
For more exercise news, check out DiseaseProof’s exercise category.

Cholesterol: Well Blog Encounters a Loon

The shortcomings of cholesterol-lowering medications are all over the news lately, but rather then continue the beat down. Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times Well Blog wants to know, is it possible to lower your cholesterol without drugs. Here’s a bit:

In fact, many doctors think dietary changes are too difficult for most of their patients. While they typically encourage better eating and a diet low in saturated fat, they also prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins as a faster way to lower bad cholesterol.


But many people can’t tolerate statins and their side effects. Others simply don’t want to take a pill every day or shoulder the cost of a prescription. For those patients, dietary changes may be a better option.

In 2006, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported on a study of 55 patients with high cholesterol who, over the course of a year, started eating a diet rich in soy proteins, fiber and almonds. All those foods may have cholesterol-lowering properties. Twenty-one patients managed to lower their cholesterol by 20 percent or more by the end of the year. The researchers noted that whether the patient was motivated and actually stuck with the diet most of the time was key.

Kudos to Tara! There needs to be more talk about this, because as Dr. Fuhrman explains, dietary intervention is the best way to lower cholesterol and prevent and reverse heart disease. Check out this excerpt from Cholesterol Levels and Heart Attacks:

Make no doubt about it: lowering your LDL cholesterol below 100 offers powerful protection against heart disease. The evidence is overwhelming today that heart attacks, which kill half of all Americans, are entirely preventable. Heart disease is a condition that is preventable and reversible through aggressive nutritional intervention and cholesterol-lowering.

Now, in this post Dr. Fuhrman points to some specific foods that have well-documented cholesterol-lowering properties. I’ve clipped this snippet from Ideal Cholesterol 199? Have a look:

A 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. 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

Okay, one last excerpt. In this post Dr. Fuhrman points to the landmark China Study; which illustrated the rarity of heart attacks in plant-food eating rural Chinese. From Can Cholesterol Be Too Low:

Clearly, if we attempt to rival the low cholesterol of populations that eat mostly natural plant foods and do not have heart disease, we are always looking at total cholesterols below 150 mg/dl. The average cholesterol level in rural China, as documented in the massive China Cornell Project, was 127 mg/dl. Heart attacks were rare, and both cancer and heart disease rates plummeted as cholesterol levels fell, which reflected very low animal product consumption. The lowest occurrence of heart disease and cancer occurred in the group that consumed plant-based diets with less than two servings of animal products per week.

Alright, now this is where I feel for Tara. In the comments of her post she encountered the persistent of lunacy of the low-carb consortium. Here’s the comment and Tara’s response from the Well Blog:

Commenter: Alternatively, you and Jane Brody could look at the growing mountain of evidence that the diet you think is “healthful” is actually the problem…evidence which includes Brody’s own health!
Or you could read the most important book on diet in the last century, “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes.

But you won’t; you’ll keep passing out the same old misinformation.

Nor will you publish this comment.

Tara: Of course I will publish your comment, and I think your point, if you strip away the personal attacks, is a good one. Nutrition writers like myself certainly have been complicit in confusing people’s notions about what constitutes healthful eating. (Although I’m curious about what I’ve written that offends you so.) I’m not sure I agree that Gary Taubes has written the most important book on diet (I’m a fan of Pollan as readers of this blog know). However, Mr. Taubes has certainly raised many important issues in his work. I agree, as Mr. Pollan writes, that the culture of nutritionism — viewing food as a sum of its nutrient parts — has been largely detrimental to the nation’s health.

Tara, I feel for you. This nonsense and its lemming-like supporters pollute the information super highway. Before I go any further, here’s Dr. Fuhrman dropping the hammer on Gary Taubes’ “most important book on diet in the last century.” From Nutrition Science and Gary Taubes:

Amazing how stupid people are. Gary Taubes is a known Atkins' devotee and nutritionally naïve and led by the Atkins' crowd. Now he has his own book. All I can say is that this makes me look like a genius comparatively when I am only stating the obvious. All I can say is: Health = Nutrition / Calories.


Your health is predicted by your nutrient intake divided by your intake of calories. Health = Nutrition / Calories, or simply H = N/C, is a concept I call the nutrient-density of your diet. Food supplies us with both nutrients and calories (energy). All calories come from only three elements: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Nutrients are derived from non-caloric food factors—including vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytochemicals. These non-caloric nutrients are vitally important for health. Your key to permanent weight loss is to eat predominantly those foods that have a high proportion of nutrients (non-caloric food factors) to calories (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins).

I think Tara did a great job handling this over-zealous loon and luckily for her he wasn’t as radical as most of them. Just get a load of these vitriolic comments from one of DiseaseProof’s low-carb blog-trolls. Oh! Despite the different names, it’s all the same person:

RN: “STOP lying to people. NOW! Support your contention NOT SUMMARIES of summaries The blind leading the blind…I can and WILL argue this all day because I UNLIKE Dr. Fuhrman CAN back up my views.”


Susan: “FUHRMAN FRAUD.”

Razwell: “Persons who claim "paradise health" by following a certain diet are CHARLATANS.”

What does all this prove? That no matter how much you back up your claims the crazies, the cultists, and the sensationalists will do their best to disrupt your day—just another day in the life of a health-blogger!

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Antioxidant Eyeballs

Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, antioxidants are strong medicine. In fact, antioxidants and other phytochemicals are profound cancer-fighters. He explains:

The most dramatic finding in nutritional science in the last fifty years is the power of plant-derived phytochemicals to affect health. Phytochemicals, along with the rich assortment of powerful antioxidants found in unrefined plant foods, fuel a defensive system that removes toxic cellular metabolites that age us. Phytochemicals also are required for maintenance and repair of our DNA.


Cancer may be promoted by toxic compounds, but we have cellular machinery, fueled by phytochemicals, to detoxify and remove noxious agents and to repair any damage done. Our body is self-healing and self-repairing when given sufficient nutrient support to maximize efficiency of protective cellular machinery. But, only when we consume large amounts of green vegetables and a diversity of natural plant foods can we maximize phytochemical delivery to our tissues.

And some new research links antioxidants and “rabbit food” to healthy eyeballs. Here’s looking at you kid! Karen Ravn of The Los Angeles Times reports:

Surprisingly, despite their reputation, carrots are probably not near the top of the list. Certainly, the vitamin A they're full of is necessary for eye health, says Dr. Michael Marmor, an ophthalmology professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. "But people are generally not vitamin A deficient in our society, and a high dose doesn't do any more good."


The most useful vegetables, according to new research, seem to be the leafy green ones -- such as spinach, kale and collard greens -- which are rich in the antioxidant carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

These are also the only carotenoids found in measurable amounts in the eye, says Bill Christen, a professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School. "That adds credence to the idea that they could be of benefit," he says.

Christen is lead author of a new study published this month showing that people who eat diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin are less likely to develop cataracts than others whose diets included less of those nutrients. A second new study by Australian scientists that is to be published next month, found similar results for age-related macular degeneration.

But while these studies show a diet-eye health relationship, they do not directly demonstrate cause and effect. Only one study to date has shown specific nutrients can cause reductions in risk for eye disease.

By you’re probably saying, “Where can I get some of those antioxidants?” Here’s a decent list of antioxidant sources from Diana Kohnle of HealthDay News. Take a look:

  • Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and juices; berries and other fruits; dark green vegetables; red and yellow peppers.
  • Vitamin E, found in vegetable oils, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables.
  • Selenium, found in whole grains, most vegetables, chicken, eggs, and most dairy products.
  • Beta carotene, found in colorful fruits and vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, red and yellow peppers, apricots, cantaloupes and mangoes.

I’m not feeling the vegetable oils, but I tell you one thing. I love sesame seeds! I sprinkle them on lots of things and according to Dr. Fuhrman they’re packed with antioxidants. Check it out:

Sesame seeds have the highest level of calcium of any food in the world. Interestingly, they not only have a highly absorbable spectrum of vitamin E, they increase the bioactivity of vitamin E in the body.1 Comparing the many forms of vitamin E in sesame seed with the vitamin E in supplements is like comparing a real horse to a toy horse. Sesamin, a sesame lignan, has beneficial effects on postmenopausal hormonal status, raises antioxidant activity in body cells, decreases the risk of breast cancer, and lowers cholesterol.2

Speaking of sesame seeds, here’s a little dialogue Dr. Fuhrman and I had about sesame seeds. And yes, we’re a little nerdy. These are the types of things we discuss. Enjoy:

Me: Are there any significant nutritional differences between regular sesame seeds and black sesame seeds?


Dr. Fuhrman: Regular sesame seeds are hulled, the outer brown cover it removed and along with it 90 percent of the calcium and other minerals. It is like comparing white bread to whole wheat. Brown and black sesame seeds are almost equal nutritionally but the important thing is neither has the hull removed.

Me: Gotcha. I buy raw black and brown sesame seeds from my farmers market. The black have an interesting peppery taste.

Anyone else enjoy black sesame seeds? I find they go great over spinach or blended into seed and avocado-based salad dressings.

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More on Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

Last week we learned that many popular cholesterol-lowering drugs fail to deliver. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of cholesterol medications. Take statins for example:
When resorting to medical intervention, rather than dietary modifications, other problems arise, reducing the potential reduction in mortality possible, as these individuals are at risk of serious side effects from the medication. The known side effects for various statins (the most popular and effective medications to lower cholesterol) include hepatitis, jaundice, other liver problems, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia.
Now, some doctors have come to the defense of popular medications. Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times looks at What That Cholesterol Trial Didn’t Show. Here’s a bit:
“I think this study is being interpreted wrong,” said Dr. Paul D. Thompson, director of cardiology at Hartford Hospital, who personally uses Zetia and (like most of the doctors quoted in this article) has consulted with makers of cholesterol drugs.


He pointed out that Vytorin users did experience a larger drop in cholesterol than the Zocor users. The disappointment was that the decline didn’t translate into a bigger benefit in arterial health. “It didn’t show harm,” Dr. Thompson said. “There were no more cardiac events, no more side effects. There was just no change.”

The fallout from the study was not limited to Vytorin. It has led to a whole new set of questions for scientists about cholesterol drugs. Is lowering LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, all that counts? Or must a drug also raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol, and fight inflammation?

Adding to the confusion, the Vytorin makers dragged their feet on releasing the results, issued the findings in a press release rather than a medical journal and made a lot of people mad.
Okay, this makes me ask… Actually, I’ll shut up. Dr. Petrillo was very eager to drop the hammer on this report. Brace yourself, she’s shot out of a cannon! Check it out:
Here's an idea. Stop gorging on cheeseburgers and you won't have to take Zocor or Zetia or Vytorin! Drug reps love to promote these "combo"-type medications with the argument that you're getting two meds for the price of one and attacking the condition in two different ways. But with asparagus as your sword and broccoli as your shield, you will attack high cholesterol without putting expensive drugs with uncertain effects into your body.


According to this recent study, while Vytorin users saw a greater decrease in cholesterol than Zocor users, there was no difference in plaque formation in the coronary arteries between the two groups. Don't just prevent plaque formation! Reverse it by following a high-nutrient-density diet and exercising and you won't need to rely on pills! Cholesterol comes from animal products (even the ads for the cholesterol drugs acknowledge this), so, to avoid blockages in your coronary arteries, fewer animal products, more veggies, less pharmaceuticals, more exercise, less cow, more kale!
“Asparagus as your sword and broccoli as your shield.” Perfect! Especially since I just saw the movie 300—yes, I’m a little behind on the times—here’s the perfect amalgamation of phytonutrients and battle. Enjoy:


This is Sparta! Oops. I mean…these are Phytonutrients!

Research: Low-Income Obese Kids

A new study attempts to debunk the claim that low-income kids are obese because they’re only eating cheap high-calorie low-nutrient food. Amy Lorentzen of the Associated Press has more:
For the study, the researchers analyzed 1999 data about 1,031 children living in low-income households in Boston, Chicago and San Antonio. They assessed whether the children had enough food for a healthy, active lifestyle, which is called food security by researchers. They looked at the individual child instead of the child's entire household, as previous studies had done.


The researchers asked each child's mother whether she had reduced the size of a meal due to lack of food or money, whether her child skipped a meal because food was not available, and whether her child went hungry because she could not afford more food.

They found that about half of the children in the study were overweight or obese, while only about 8 percent weren't getting enough to eat.

Craig Gundersen, lead author of the study, said children who did not get enough food were not more likely to be overweight, even though the two factors often coexisted in the low-income population they studied.

He said the study shows that if the government tries to expand food assistance programs to help children, officials can move forward without worrying about an increase in overweight children living in poverty.
I got to admit. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around this study, but Dr. Fuhrman’s colleague Jennifer Petrillo, MD was fired up about it. Here’s what she had to say:
This study is ridiculous. It says poor kids are getting enough to eat so they can't figure out why so many of them are fat! It's WHAT they're eating!
Dr. Petrillo is right. Simply put, I think we’re talking about an issue of quality over quantity. Dr. Fuhrman discusses this paradox in his new Food Scoring Guide. Here’s an excerpt:
Modern America is in the midst of an all-you-can-eat food fest that has us literally bursting at the seams. Clearly, we eat too much and too often, but we also eat all the wrong foods. The standard American diet now consists of 52% processed foods and 41% meats and dairy products. The most healthful foods—fruits and vegetables—make up only 7% of our national diet.


Eating the wrong foods leads us to consume far too many calories. The average American consumes 3600 calories per day, nearly twice as many as wee need. However, because all of these excess calories come from low-nutrient foods, most Americans are significantly undernourished. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that an astonishing 95% of all Americans fail to get the minimum daily requirement of nutrients. When you factor in the sedentary lifestyle most Americans have adopted (three out of ten American adults did not exercise even once last year), you have the perfect recipe for the obesity and chronic illness epidemics that are sweeping the nation.
Well now, this sure seems to address the crux of the problem. It always bothers me when I drive through low-income neighborhoods and see wall-to-wall fast food restaurants.

Antidepressants...Exaggerated?

Some stashed away studies suggest many antidepressants aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. From the NewScientist:
It's called the "file-drawer problem". A study fails to produce interesting results, so is filed away and forgotten - a practice that might mean antidepressants don't work as well as doctors think.


To get approval for the 12 antidepressants that went on the market between 1987 and 2004, drug firms registered over 70 clinical trials with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But when Erick Turner of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland and his colleagues combed through medical journals, they found that 23 of these studies never made it into a journal. All but one of the unpublished studies concluded that the effect of the drugs was negative or questionable.
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Girls and Puberty, Sooner and Sooner

It’s hard to fathom that an eight-year-old girl might be developing sexually, shouldn’t they be playing with toy ponies and think boys are icky—which we are—but apparently more and more young girls are starting puberty early. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it:
Physicians are seeing more and more girls with precocious sexual development, even before today’s average age of twelve, and medical studies confirm that the trend is real and getting worse. How early are our children developing today? At age eight, almost half black girls and 15 percent of white girls start developing breasts or pubic hair. At age nine, those numbers change to 77 percent of black girls and a third of white girls.1
This is an uncomfortable topic—even for a bull the china cabinet like me—but this is a serious matter and one that the medical community might be taking too lightly. Susan Brink of The Los Angeles Times investigates in Girl, You'll be a Woman Sooner Than Expected. Here’s an excerpt:
What's clear is that physical appearance is getting ahead of other aspects of girls' maturity. They might be perceived as far older than they are, even when they're still rummaging through their mothers' closets to clomp around in oversized high heels.


"My daughter started developing breasts maybe around age 8," says Rhonda Sykes of Inglewood. "She was still into her doll phase and dressing up to play." So Sykes began having frank mother-daughter conversations about curves and changing bodies a bit earlier than she expected.

"Whatever they look like, they know nothing," says Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women and Families. "Eight- and 9-year olds are learning to make change for a dollar. These are children who are learning the most fundamental facts in school. Imagine trying to teach that child the fundamentals of sex. They're not even playing Monopoly yet. They're still playing Candyland."

The medical community calls earlier puberty normal, the trend goes hand in hand with the obesity epidemic, and science has not yet pinpointed the reasons. And yet, when girls who are still children in the minds of their parents start developing breasts, many of their mothers remember that it happened later in their own lives -- and wonder why.
Brinks' report sites diet as a potential contributor to the problem of early puberty. She’s smart to do so. According to Dr. Fuhrman the standard American diet—which is responsible for all the obesity—is a major culprit. He explains:
Diet powerfully modulates estrogen levels. One recent study illustrated that eight-to-ten-year-olds, closely followed with dietary intervention for seven years, dramatically lowered their estrogen levels compared to a control group with dietary modification.2 Clearly, changing the diet of our children after the age of eight is not futile.
This graph might make things a little clearer for you. I scanned it—horribly—out of Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child. It compares sex hormone levels in individuals eating a Western diet and those consuming a more vegetable-based Asian diet. Take a look:


The concern with all these sex hormones centers on lifetime cancer risk. Dr. Fuhrman explains why, check it out:
Early puberty is strongly associated with breast cancer, and the occurrence of breast cancer is three times higher in women who started puberty before age twelve.3
Also, studies have revealed the effects of different varieties of foods on puberty and cancer risk. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Cohort studies, which follow two groups of children over time, have shown that the higher consumption of produce and protein-rich plant foods such as beans and nuts is associated with a later menarche, and the higher consumption of protein-rich animal foods—meat and diary—is associated with an earlier menarche and increased occurrence of adult breast cancer.4
As far as DiseaseProof goes, this is a common conclusion. The advantages of a vegetable-based nutritarian diet are profound. Dr. Fuhrman is stresses this in his new Food Scoring Guide. Here’s a quote:
Increasing your consumption of high-nutrient fruits and vegetables is the key to disease resistance, disease reversal, and a long, healthy life. The potential reduction in disease rates shows no threshold effect in the scientific studies. That means that as high-nutrient vegetables and high-nutrient fruits increase as a major portion of caloric intake, disease rates fall in a dose-dependent manner—the more the diet is comprised of these foods, the better your health will be.5
Granted, the problem is serious and apparently growing, but the good news is there is a solution, maybe the real problem is getting everyone on board.
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The Caffeine-Miscarriage Link

When you’re talking pregnancy, mom’s diet is very important. Even before you’re pregnant, eating healthy is a good idea. He explains in Disease-Proof Your Child:
It is important to eat healthfully prior to conception as well as once pregnancy has begun. Proper nutrition and good health habits are more important than ever during pregnancy and can help in maintaining good health for both mother and baby.
Now, one of the things Dr. Fuhrman suggests expecting mothers to avoid is caffeine. Caffeine has been linked to miscarriage. Back to Disease-Proof Your Child:
Caffeine has been a controversial topic for decades. Evidence clearly concludes that heavy coffee drinkers have an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight infants, but evidence is not clear for moderate users of caffeine.1 Nevertheless, is wise to stay away from as many potentially harmful substances as possible.
Some new research seems to confirm Dr. Fuhrman’s fears; study confirms the link between caffeine and miscarriage. Louise Daly of the AFP reports:
US researchers said Monday they have conclusive proof to show that women who drink a lot of caffeine on a daily basis in the early months of pregnancy have an elevated risk of miscarriage, settling a longstanding debate over the issue.


To be absolutely safe, expectant mothers should avoid caffeinated beverages of any kind during the first five months of pregnancy, the researchers said in a paper published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The concept that pregnant women may be putting their babies in jeopardy by drinking large amounts of caffeine on a daily basis is not new.
I’m not pregnant—the science is not yet available and ramifications would be monstrous—but if I were, I’d avoid caffeine; better to be safe than sorry. What do you think?
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Mevacor, The FDA, and Consumers

You remember the news about the over-the-counter statins right? A bizarre concept indeed! In case you need reminding, here’s some of the article from HealthDay News. Steven Reinberg reported:
For the third time in seven years, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has been asked to recommend making Merck & Co.'s statin drug Mevacor available over the counter.


But with groups such as the American Medical Association, Public Citizen and Consumers Union lined up against it, experts think Merck's proposal is likely to be rejected once again when the panel meets on Thursday.

"The third time is not the charm," said Dr. Steven E. Nissen, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. "It's time to move on."

Merck's proposal is being presented to a joint meeting of the FDA's Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee and its Endocrinology and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee. The FDA does not have to follow the advice of its advisory panels, but it usually does.
Now, let’s ignore the fact that Dr. Fuhrman thinks taking statins are a bad idea. How would the average person know when to take these? I mean it’s not like popping a Tylenol! The FDA seems to agree...kind of; FDA Weighs Cholesterol Drug Mevacor. Here’s a bit:
The government is questioning if too many of the wrong people will take cholesterol-lowering Mevacor if it's sold without a prescription, days before Merck & Co. makes its third try to move the drug over the counter.


Merck says selling a low dose of this long-used medication on drugstore shelves, next to the aspirin, could get millions of people at moderate risk of heart disease important treatment that they otherwise may miss.

A preliminary Food and Drug Administration review released Tuesday agreed that nonprescription Mevacor would be "a reasonably safe and effective" option — if consumers used it as directed.

But when Merck tested if consumers could judge who was a proper Mevacor candidate, only 20 percent answered all the questions completely correctly — 50 percent if researchers counted people who said they'd check some things with their doctor before purchasing, concluded FDA's lead medical reviewer.
What do you think? “If consumers used it as directed.” I’m not sure consumers can be trusted. How many people do you know who take handfuls of Tylenol every time they have a headache?

Fresh Popped Lung Disease

In early September ParentDish blogged about the growing concern over the safety of the butter flavoring used in microwave and movie theater popcorn. Here’s a refresher:
A pulmonary specialist at Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center thinks exposure to the fumes from microwave butter popcorn might be the cause of lung disease in one of her patients. She sent a letter to several federal agencies expressing her concerns. "We cannot be sure that this patient's exposure to butter flavored microwave popcorn from daily heavy preparation has caused his lung disease," said Dr. Cecile Rose. "However, we have no other plausible explanation."


Apparently the patient, a unidentified man, consumed "several bags of extra butter flavored microwave popcorn" every day for several years. The ailing patient's condition improved when he stopped making the popcorn.

This may sound far-fetched, but it's not. So-called "popcorn lung" is a real disease that has resulted in lawsuits by workers in food factories who were exposed to diacetyl, a chemical used to create that buttery flavor.
Popcorn lung? Are food-producers REALLY risking the health of their workers and customers for fake butter? The answer is yes. Why else would we have warnings like this? Take a look:


The dangers are real. I searched diacetyl in Wikipedia and here are some of the dangers that came up, for both workers and consumers—scary stuff—check it out:
Workers in several factories that manufacture artificial butter flavoring have been diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare and serious disease of the lungs. The cases found have been mainly in young, healthy, non-smoking males. There are no known cures for bronchiolitis obliterans except for lung transplantation.


While several authorities have called the disease "Popcorn Worker's Lung," a more accurate term suggested by other doctors may be more appropriate, since the disease can occur in any industry working with diacetyl: diacetyl-induced bronchiolitis obliterans…

…Dr. Cecile Rose, pulmonary specialist at Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center, in a letter, warned federal agencies or regulators that consumers, not just factory workers, are in danger of suffering the fatal popcorn lung disease from buttery flavoring fumes in microwave popcorn. David Michaels of the George Washington University School of Public Health first published Rose's letter on his blog. However, the only sample data known-to-date is the case where a consumer, who ate at least two bags of buttery microwave popcorn daily for 10 years, became diagnosed with the same disease affecting workers exposed to the substance, bronchiolitis obliterans. His lung problems were linked to breathing the vapors; although rare, the reported man's kitchen also had diacetyl levels comparable to those in popcorn plants.
Of course it’s always easier to relate to something when you attach a face to it. Meet Eric Peoples, a victim of Popcorn Lung. Here he is testifying in front of U.S. House Education and Labor Committee Subcommittee on Workforce Protections:


Unfortunatley for Eric, his story will not have a happy ending. According to Wikipedia the long-term prognosis for bronchiolitis obliterans is poor. Read on:
This disease is irreversible and severe cases often require a lung transplant. Evaluation of interventions to prevent bronchiolitis obliterans relies on early detection of abnormal spirometry results or unusual decreases in repeated measurements.
The whole diacetyl-popcorn lung situation spun Dr. Fuhrman into quite a tizzy. He emailed me his thoughts the other day and he didn’t pull a single punch. Have a look:
Diacetyl should be banned since we know it causes this irreversible and potentially deadly disease, but for some reason this poison is still allowed to be used on popcorn. Even breathing the fumes of the fake buttery flavor they put on the popcorn could damage a person's lungs, especially if you work behind the counter and serve it to people. We likely only know the tip of the iceberg about diacetyl poisoning.
When faced with all this information, I can’t imagine anyone coming to the defense of diacetyl. David Michaels of George Washington University certainly isn’t. He drops this great quote in The Washington Post. Enjoy:
"They're finding it there because they're looking there," said David Michaels of the department of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University. Michaels, assistant secretary of energy in the Clinton administration, accuses OSHA of "regulatory paralysis."


"It's not some carcinogen where you get cancer 30 years from now or something. The people are dying right in front of you," Michaels said. "You can't wait until you have all the evidence. You have to regulate it."
No doubt, a lot of experts are up in arms over diacetyl and bronchiolitis obliterans, but, will anything be done about it? The Angry Toxicologist doesn’t think so. Check it out:
Nothing will be done unless it’s regulated strongly, even by good companies and here’s why: Let say Bob’s Flavor Inc. wants to do the right thing and use an alternative flavoring that won’t hurt his workers. Bob knows, however, that this will drive up his prices and he’ll be driven out of the market by someone willing to do the wrong thing for a competitive advantage. Everyone is tied to the lowest cost operation, so the only way to make it safe for Bob to do the right thing is to level the playing field so that everyone has to do the right thing.
Okay, here’s my question. Is microwave and movie theater popcorn THAT precious? Stop eating it all together, and then, you’ll send one HELL of a message to rogue food producers and fat-cat cost-cutting businessmen—don’t you think!

PCRM Bashes Grilled Chicken

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) wants people to know, that grilled chicken sandwich you’re eating, is full of dangerous carcinogens. More from Reuters reporter Gina Keating:
If it seems consumers have nowhere to turn in choosing a healthy chicken entree, that's exactly the point, said Dan Kinburn, attorney for the Physicians Committee.


"Every day when a parent ... cooks chicken at home for their children they are trying to be health conscious," Kinburn said. "We think if people knew there were carcinogens in grilled chicken they would not choose it as a healthy alternative…"

…The chemical PhIP, which forms when meat -- and especially chicken -- is cooked at high temperatures, is on that list.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, would require the restaurants named as defendants to place "clear and reasonable warnings" about the carcinogen PhIP and would fine them $2,500 a day for each infraction.
Hey, people do have the right to choose, but they should be given ALL the facts. Actually, grilled chicken is loaded with bad news. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are even more concentrated in grilled chicken than in beef.1 Another recent study from New Zealand that investigated heterocyclic amines in meat, fish, and chicken found the greatest contributor of HCAs to cancer risk was chicken.2
I remember when I used to eat grilled chicken and pasta, and, I had the stones to think I was doing my health a favor—EEK!
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High Protein Stymies Hunger

New research illustrates how protein helps keep hunger at bay. Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters reports:
The study, which will appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, looked at the effectiveness of different nutrients at suppressing ghrelin, a hormone secreted by the stomach that stimulates appetite.


"Suppression of ghrelin is one of the ways that you lose your appetite as you begin to eat and become sated," said Dr. David Cummings of the University of Washington in Seattle, who worked on the study.

The researchers gave 16 people three different beverages, each with varying levels of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They took blood samples before the first beverage, then every 20 minutes for six hours afterward, measuring ghrelin levels in each sample.

"The interesting findings were that fats suppress ghrelin quite poorly," Cummings said in a telephone interview. They fared the poorest overall.

"Proteins were the best suppressor of ghrelin in terms of the combination of the depth and duration of suppression," he said. "That is truly satisfying because high proteins are essentially common to almost all of the popular diets."
Now, please don’t use this as an excuse to consume excess amounts of protein. Dr. Fuhrman gives one huge reason why that isn’t a good idea. Check it out:
To make matters even worse, you pay an extra penalty from a diet so high in fat and protein to generate a chronic ketosis. Besides the increased cancer risk, your kidneys are placed under greater stress and will age more rapidly. It can take many, many years for such damage to be detected by blood tests. By the time the blood reflects the abnormality, irreversible damage may have already occurred. Blood tests that monitor kidney function typically do not begin to detect problems until more than 90 percent of the kidneys have been destroyed.


Protein is metabolized in the liver, and the nitrogenous wastes generated are broken down and then excreted by the kidney. These wastes must be eliminated for the body to maintain normal purity and a stable state of equilibrium. Most doctors are taught in medial school that a high-protein diet ages the kidney.1 What has been accepted as the normal age-related loss in renal function may really be a cumulative injury secondary to the heavy pressure imposed on the kidney by our high-protein eating habits.2

By the eighth decade of life, Americans lost about 30 percent of their kidney function.3 Many people develop kidney problems at young ages under the high-protein stress. Low-protein diets are routinely used to treat patients with liver and kidney failure.4 A recent multitrial analysis showed that reducing protein intake for patients with kidney disease decreased kidney-related death by about 40 percent.5
Protein is truly misunderstood. Just read Bodybuilding Diet, Bad Idea.
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A-Corn...

Scientists have discovered a way to increase corn’s vitamin A content. Will Dunham of Reuters reports:
Writing on Thursday in the journal Science, the scientists identified a naturally mutated gene that enhances the provitamin A content of maize. Based on this, they developed an inexpensive way to select the parent stock for breeding corn with the highest provitamin A content.


Choosing varieties that have this mutated gene can provide on average three-fold higher levels of provitamin A, the researchers said.

There are thousands of different corn varieties, and they differ greatly in provitamin A levels, the scientists said. White corn does not have provitamin A, but yellow varieties have it in varying levels.

A common existing technique for assessing the provitamin A content of corn varieties can be prohibitively expensive for plant breeders, the researchers said, but the new one is vastly less expensive.
Here’s some more corny information—bad pun, I know—Dr. Fuhrman points out something special about organic corn. Take a look:
The researchers found flavonoids were more than 50 percent higher in organic corn and strawberries. They theorized that when plants are forced to deal with the stress of insects, they produce more of these compounds, which are beneficial to humans.1
Now, Dr. Fuhrman points out what happens to corn once you cook it. Check this out:
Cooking corn also has been shown to significantly boost its antioxidant activity, despite reduction in vitamin C.When the ability to quench free radicals was measured, cooked corn outperformed raw corn by between 25 to 50 percent. Cooking corn releases a compound called ferulic acid, which provides anti-cancer health benefits.
Corn is also a decent source of protein—YES—vegetables have protein. See for yourself:


I guess being corny isn’t so bad after all!

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Pedometers, Cold Weather, and Exercise

I’m not a pedometer guy, nothing against them. I’m just not so neurotic that I need to count every step I’ve taken, but for those who do. New research has concluded that pedometers help you lose weight. Reuters reports:
People who added 20 to 40 minutes of walking a day lost a small but steady amount of weight, the team at the University of Michigan found.


"The increase in physical activity can be expected to result in health benefits that are independent of weight loss," said Dr. Caroline Richardson, who led the study.

"Increasing physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems, lowers blood pressure and helps dieters maintain lean muscle tissue when they are dieting."

Writing in the Annals of Family Medicine, Richardson and colleagues said they reviewed nine studies involving 307 men and women. They took part in studies of pedometer use that ranged from four weeks to a year.
Now, if you’ve got a pedometer, but you think it’s too cold to go outside and use it, think again. Scientists contend that cold weather is no excuse for not exercising. More from Gina Kolota of The New York Times:
The problem with exercising in the cold, exercise physiologists say, is that people may be hobbled by myths that lead them to overdress or to stop moving, risky things to do.


Some worry that cold air will injure their lungs or elicit asthma symptoms. Or they are convinced that they are more susceptible to injury when it is cold and that they have to move more slowly — forget about sprinting or running at a fast clip.

But lungs are not damaged by cold, said Kenneth W. Rundell, the director of respiratory research and the human physiology laboratory at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa. No matter how cold the air is, by the time it reaches your lungs, it is body temperature, he explained.

Some people complain that they get exercise-induced asthma from the cold. But that sort of irritation of the respiratory tract is caused by dryness, not cold, Dr. Rundell said. “Cold air just happens not to hold much water and is quite dry,” he said. You’d have the same effect exercising in air that was equally dry but warm.
But I hate the cold! Oh well, time to bundle up like an Eskimo—and where’s my pedometer?

Kids and Cold Medicine...Still Dumb

Is cold medicine effective at treating children with coughs and colds? Yes. According to Dr. Fuhrman they’re just as effective as placebos. He explains:
A head-to-head comparison between placebo and cough remedies showed that the placebo worked just as well. All children improved significantly by day three, and there was no difference among the three treatment groups in any symptom parameter.1
Maybe this is why back in October the FDA wanted to ban over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for young kids. HealthDay News was on it:
Such a ban already has the support of safety experts at the FDA, who published a 365-page review last month that showed decongestants and antihistamines have been linked with 123 pediatric deaths since 1969.
And now the FDA has issued a public health advisory stating that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines shouldn’t be given to infants and small children. This time, Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News is on it:
Although concern about the safety of these medications when used in the very young has been widely aired in recent months, FDA officials said they were concerned the public wasn't getting the message.


"We strongly recommend that over-the-counter cough and cold products should not be used in young children under 2, because serious and potentially life-threatening side effects can occur from use of these products," Dr. Charles Ganley, director of the FDA's Office of Nonprescription Products, said during a morning news conference. "We have not come to a final decision on the use of cough and cold products in children aged 2 to 11 and continue to work within [the] FDA to arrive at a decision."

"We were concerned that parents would continue to use these products in children under 2, even with all the publicity," Ganley added.
No doubt, this will certainly be the end of the world for some parents who simply can’t deal with a sniffling child because it interferes with their shopping at the mall Continue Reading...

HealthDay News: Shopping Safely, part 3

And now, the conclusion of HealthDay News’ three-part look at food safety in the United States: A Shopping List of Solutions. Amanda Gardner and E.J. Mundell report:
The current hodgepodge of food regulations were simply adopted as the need arose, experts say.


"You have a system that developed organically from the turn of the [20th] century," explained Jessica Milano, who wrote a report on food safety, Spoiled: Keeping Tainted Food Off America's Tables, that was published in September by the nonprofit Progressive Policy Institute. "As economies developed with more commercial food manufacturers and multi-ingredient products, you have some overlaps and redundancies."

Those overlaps and redundancies have left regulators and producers unable to guarantee the safety of all foods sold in the United States, critics contend.

Solutions to the problem fall into two broad categories: government-mandated reforms and reforms generated by the food industry itself. How these reforms would be implemented depends on whether the food is grown domestically or abroad…

…Michael Doyle, a microbiologist who is director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia in Griffin, agreed.

"There really needs to be a single food safety agency so that you don't have all of this ridiculous overlap and duplication," he said. "When you have it split up into different agencies like that, there's a lot of bureaucratic infighting."

Such a merger would also address the current imbalance in agency budgets and responsibilities. The FDA's food inspection division -- which most agree is woefully underfunded -- is charged with inspecting all foods except for meat, poultry and eggs, which are covered by the better-funded USDA.

Although the "superagency" concept has been implemented in other countries, many observers doubt this will happen in the United States.
Be sure to check out the whole series, here are parts two and three:

A Sunny Cancer-Fighter

“Laboratory, animal, and epidemiologic evidence suggests that vitamin D may be protective against cancer,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. According to him a lot of research has shown vitamin D to be a potent cancer-fighter. Take a look:
Epidemiologic studies suggest that a higher dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, and/or sunlight-induced vitamin D synthesis, correlates with lower incidence of cancer, including lymphoma, breast, prostate, and colon cancer.1 In fact, for over 60 years, researchers have observed an inverse association between sun exposure and cancer mortality,2 and those with more sun exposure had fewer cancers.
Speaking of sun exposure—it’s important! Trust the facts. Being a mole-person is not a good idea. Get some sun, and, check out this study in the NewScientist. Sun-drenched populations are more protected against cancer. Andy Coghlan reports:
Sunshine is regularly blamed for causing fatal skin cancers, but it may help save your life if you develop a different cancer. It seems that sunlight has an overall protective effect as it stimulates the body's production of vitamin D, which helps to combat internal cancers, including those of the colon and prostate.


"A little sun exposure is a little better for you than avoiding sunlight," says Richard Setlow of Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, who co-led the new work. "Vitamin D doesn't lower the incidence of internal cancers, but it prevents more people dying from them."
Now, in case you’re curious or you forgot. Here Dr. Fuhrman explains just what makes sunlight so special. More reason to go into the light:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.
For a long time I used to be a cave-dweller. I’d stay indoors all the time and hardly ever go outside. Not anymore. Now I drag my butt outside fairly often. How about you?
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Aetiology on Antibiotic Resistance

Over at Aetiology, Tara C. Smith shares her opinions on a recent study about antibiotic resistance. Here’s a bit:
The current paradigm for antibiotic use is to prescribe relatively high doses of drugs for a few days to a few weeks (or months, in the case of tuberculosis), and patients are cautioned to stay on them until all the doses are finished. However, the new study RPM describes suggests this may be doing more harm than good, looking at what happens with Plasmodium species treated with antimalarials in a mouse model…


…This study doesn't take those into account, which is a limitation--but then again, it seems designed to be more of a paper to get fellow scientists thinking about these ideas in general, rather than an exhaustive test of every potential hypothesis stemming from them.

Either way, antibiotic resistance is certainly a huge problem, and we need to find better ways to preserve the drugs we do have. Reducing their use in this manner (lower and shorter doses) is certainly worth a second look.
For more on the antibiotic issue, check out this post: Antibiotics, Sinus Infections, Placebos, Oh My!

Hormone Therapy and Breast Cancer Risk

According to new research, hormone replacement therapy can raise the risk of an uncommon type of breast cancer. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
They found women who took combined estrogen/progestin hormone-replacement therapy for three years or more had four times the usual risk of lobular breast cancer.


Their study, published in the January issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, is one of dozens trying to paint a clearer picture of what dangers might come from taking HRT to treat menopause symptoms.

"Previous research indicated that five or more years of combined hormone-therapy use was necessary to increase overall breast-cancer risk," Dr. Christopher Li of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who led the study, said in a statement.

HealthDay News: The Imported Food Alarm, part 2

If you didn’t see it yesterday, HealthDay News has kicked off a three part series on food safety. Here’s the second installment, its about imported foods. E.J.Mundell reports:
According to a FDA report released in 2003, pesticide violations were cited in 6.1 percent of imported foods sampled versus 2.4 percent of domestic products. And a report issued by the agency a few years earlier found traces of salmonella or the dysentery-linked bacteria shigella in 4 percent of imported fruits and vegetables versus 1.1 percent of domestic produce.


And there's more imported food in the nation's supermarkets than ever before. According to the CDC, food imports to the United States have almost doubled in the past decade, from $36 billion in 1997 to more than $70 billion in 2007.

Trouble is, inspections by the FDA -- either at the source of production or at the borders -- can't keep up. The agency is responsible for inspecting all imported foods with the exception of meat and egg products, which are covered by the Food Safety and Inspection Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Overall, "there's been an 81 percent drop [in FDA inspections] since 1972," noted Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, in Griffin. "That's a huge reduction, and, at the same time, compared to 1972, we have a huge amount more of food imports."

In fact, the FDA's own data show that the number of inspectors at its Office of Regulatory Affairs dropped from 1,642 in 2003 to 1,389 in 2005 -- even as food imports rose from 9.3 million shipments per year to more than 13.8 million shipments annually.

The reason for the shortfall is simple, Doyle said: "Reduced budgets."
Oh! And here is the first part: U.S. Food Problems, part 1. Kudos to HealthDay News!

Cloned Meat, Mostly Safe?

What the heck does that mean? Well, as far as the FDA is concerned “mostly safe” is a good enough reason to approve cloned meat and milk. Reuters reports:
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration report finds that meat and milk from cloned animals is, for the most part, safe to eat, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.


The newspaper said it had obtained a copy of a long-awaited, 968-page "final risk assessment," from the agency ahead of release.

It said FDA experts measured vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6 and B12 as well as niacin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, fatty acids, cholesterol, fat, protein, amino acids and lactose in meat and milk from 600 cloned animals, including cattle and pigs.

Levels all looked normal.

The agency also found no health effects in animals fed meat and milk from cloned animals for more than three months.

"Food from cattle, swine, and goat clones is as safe to eat as that from their more conventionally-bred counterparts," the newspaper quotes the report as saying.
I just don’t know about this. I think cloning has some interesting implications, but eating cloned meat gives me the willies. Fortunately some people want the FDA's decision to be delayed until more studies can be done.

ParentDish meets The China Study

T. Colin Campbell’s China Study is a big deal here at DiseaseProof. It’s really drives home the point that a vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet is the way to go. In this video Dr. Campbell talks all about it:


Now, if you’re a parent or aspiring to be one, I suggest you give ParentDish a look. It’s a great blog. In this post Kristin Darguzas talks about her recent discovery of The China Study. Here’s a blurb:
I read the China Study. It's not written by an animal rights activist, nor by anyone who could be called insane by any stretch of the imagination. It's written by an extremely intelligent and respected nutritionist and researcher who presents his studies in a logical, methodical, terrifying way. And as I read the last page, I realized, oh no. I don't think I can eat dairy anymore. For me, this book is one of those soul-altering books that has changed the way I see the world, permanently.


Among some of the startling ideas in the book include the suggestion that the Dairy Industry's marketing board has been "educating" children with completely false information on the healthiness of cow's milk for decades, that animal meat causes cancer, that the knowledge (ie. a plant-based diet) is there to prevent heart disease but it's routinely ignored because...well, there is money to be made.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell suggests that he has the answers to America's obesity problem. I tend to believe him. My Dad says it's total hoey, there's a new fad every day... he'd also refuse to read it. My Mom just read it and says she won't be eating meat again. )
For more on The China Study, check out this interview with T. Colin Campbell over at Raw Vegan Radio. Here are a couple great quotes:
“We’ve had inklings and pretty good evidence to show, for example, that consuming vegetables and fruits and grains could help to prevent heart disease. And then it came about that also in the more recent years it was shown also to be associated with prevention of cancer as well.”


“It turns out that plant-based diets not only help to prevent these major diseases, these chronic degenerative diseases like cancer and heart disease, but also consuming that kind of diet, low in fat, low in salt, low in sugar, consuming that kind of diet also can be used to keep under control diabetes, and it can be used to control obesity to a great extent if its done right. Certainly a lot safer way to keep bodyweight down than the really rather silly Atkins nonsense that crept into our vernacular over the last few years.”
I love how the phrase “silly Atkins nonsense” just rolls off the tongue, but seriously, if you’re unfamiliar with The China Study, check it out. From The China Study website:
If you’re looking to enhance your health, performance and your success read The China Study immediately. Finally, scientifically valid guidance on how much protein we need and where we should get it. The impact of these findings is enormous.


Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Author of the bestselling book, Eat To Live
Hey! We know that Joel Fuhrman guy.

HealthDay News: U.S. Food Problems, part 1

This is pretty cool. HealthDay News is kicking off a three part investigation on U.S. food safety issues. More from Amanda Gardner:
More than ever before, Americans are worried about the safety of the food they put in their mouths -- and with good reason.


In little less than a year and a half, the nationwide recalls of tainted products have formed their own peculiar food pyramid: meats, vegetables, salad, snacks, fast food, even dessert items. The various pathogens in those products killed at least three people, sickened more than 1,300 others and touched almost every state in the country as well as Canada.

And even though the number of outbreaks has leveled off over the last few years, it is the variety of outbreaks that most troubles the scientists and government health officials who deal with them: Many of the contaminations are showing up in foods never before associated with poisoning…

…Increasingly today, produce is grown in fields close to cattle and, sometimes, wild animals. The E. coli spinach contamination could have come from cattle or boar feces, or from contaminated irrigation systems, federal officials concluded.

The widening of E. coli cases from protein products to fresh fruits and vegetables is related to "the fact that U.S. agricultural commodities tend to be grown in areas that have cattle, which are reservoirs for bacteria," explained Bruce Clark, a partner in the Seattle law firm of Marler Clark, which represents victims of food poisoning. "As soon as you have manure on the ground, and you have birds and wild animals and water, you have all these vectors for transferring bacteria to fresh fruits and vegetables."

And, most of the time, Clark added, produce is not subjected to the "kill step" (usually cooking), which would eliminate the pathogens. In fact, washing may not even help because of the ability of the organisms to cling to food surfaces.

Food Triggers, Bang-Bang

“It is not easy to change: eating has emotional and social overtones,” explains Dr. Fuhrman, “It is especially difficult to break an addiction. Our American diet style is addicting.” And according to Shari Roan of The Los Angeles Times, environmental triggers might be causing Americans to overeating. Take a look:
To make Americans eat less and eat more healthily, they contend, the environment itself needs to be changed -- with laws regulating portion size, labeling or the places where food can be sold or eaten. That would be much easier, the researchers add, than overcoming human nature. The theory that our society -- not us -- is to blame for our overall expanding waist size is garnering support from health and nutrition experts. To recap the dismal statistics: In the last 25 years, the number of obese Americans has increased from 14.5% to 32.2%. Two out of three adults are overweight, as are 19% of children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


"Almost everybody is gaining weight in almost all socioeconomic groups. It's not limited to certain people. It's everywhere," says Dr. Deborah A. Cohen, a senior natural scientist at Rand Corp. and the author of a recent paper on the environmental theory of obesity. "Look at doctors, nurses and dietitians who are overweight or obese. If it has anything to do with how much we know about nutrition or how much we're motivated, we would never see people with such expertise be overweight or obese…”

…Eating is an automatic behavior that has little to do with choice, willpower or even hunger, Cohen says. Her paper, with co-author Thomas Farley of Tulane University's Prevention Research Center, was published online last month in Preventing Chronic Disease, the peer-reviewed health journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cohen and Farley argue that automatic behaviors can be controlled, but only for a short time (the reason most diets ultimately fail). A more effective approach, they say, would be to decrease the accessibility, visibility and quantities of food people are exposed to, and the environmental cues that promote eating.
I don’t agree. In America, this land of plenty, most people have a choice. You don’t HAVE to partake in the endless piles of junk food. Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, it might be tough, but the sooner you kick your emotional attachments to food, the better. Here’s a quote:
Obviously, there are complicated emotional and psychological factors that make it more difficult for some to achieve success at overcoming food addiction. Additionally, some physical changes may initially discourage you. Stopping caffeine, reducing sodium, and dropping saturated fat from your diet while increasing fiber and nutrients may result in increased gas, headaches, fatigue, and other withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms are temporary and rarely last longer than one week. Eventually the high volume of food and high nutrient content will help prevent long-term food cravings.
Honestly, a few days of feeling crappy is well worth a lifetime of feeling fantastic—don’t you think?

Strength Training Good for the Neck

A Danish study has determined strength training exercises can help relieve chronic neck pain. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
The Danish researchers found that specific strength training exercises produced prolonged relief of neck muscle pain, but general fitness training led to only a small reduction in neck pain.


The study included 94 women with chronic neck pain who did assembly line or office work -- 79 percent of them used a keyboard for more than three-quarters of their working time. The women were assigned to one of three groups: supervised specific strength training (SST) exercises for the neck and shoulder muscles; high-intensity general fitness training (GFT) on a bicycle ergometer; or health counseling but no physical training.

The women in the two exercise groups worked out for 20 minutes three times a week for 10 weeks. Those in the SST group showed a marked decrease in neck pain with a lasting effect after the training ended, while those in the GFT group showed a small temporary decrease in neck pain after exercise.
Come to think of it. Reading all this health news everyday certainly gives me a crick in the neck!

Calcium, Exercise; Good for Young Girls

Most people are convinced that milk is the only REAL source of calcium—hogwash! Dr. Fuhrman makes it quite clear, fruits and vegetables—especially green vegetables—are loaded with calcium. He talks about in his book Eat to Live. Take a look:
Many green vegetables have calcium-absorption rates of over 50 percent, compared with about 32 percent for milk.1 Additionally since animal protein induces calcium excretion in the urine, the calcium retention from vegetables is higher. All green vegetables are high in calcium.
In fact, if you break it down per calorie. Many fruits and vegetables contain far more milligrams of calcium than foods like milk and eggs. Check out this chart:




Now, here’s something really cool—ladies pay special attention—new research has determined that a calcium-rich diet and lots of exercise early in life, is a great way to maintain strong bones later in life. Pohla Smith of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jan Grudziak likens the process of building bones strong enough to prevent osteoporosis to investing in a retirement fund. But in the case of bones, the fund is built from childhood on by eating calcium-rich foods and doing weight-bearing exercise.


His metaphor is particularly apt for women, who have lower peak bone mass than men, start to lose it much earlier and lose it at a slightly faster rate.

"The best picture is that it's an investment for the future," said Dr. Grudziak, of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. "With the retirement for bone, the age is 30 to 35. You have to drain the investments." Just like retirement funds, the earlier and bigger the investment, the more bone strength you have to lose…

…"It's been quoted that less than half [of the girls] get the calcium quantities they need," said registered dietitian Cindy Miller, who is part of the clinical nutrition staff of Children's Outpatient Nutrition Counseling Center. "For ages 9 to 12 it might be better. They're younger and parents might have a little more control over them than a teen who goes out to a restaurant and won't order milk. ... They say only 15 percent of teen girls get the required amount of calcium."

That amount is 1,300 milligrams, the high-calcium equivalent of four dairy servings. One serving is 8 ounces of milk or yogurt or 11/2 ounces of hard cheese, Ms. Miller said. Other good sources include pudding; dark leafy vegetables, particularly collard and turnip greens and broccoli; calcium-fortified or calcium-set soy; dry beans; and calcium-fortified foods like orange juice, soy milk or rice milk.
You got to love the kudos being given to veggie calcium—very cool! Another great source of plant calcium is flaxseed. Here’s what Dr. Fuhrman has to say about this neat little seed. Have a look:
Flaxseed is rich in lignans, a type of fiber associated with a reduced risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer, and omega 3 essential fatty acid, also known as alpha linoleic acid (ALA), which is essential for health maintenance and disease prevention. In addition, flaxseed is a good source of iron, zinc, calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and folate.
Now, as far as exercises goes. We all know it’s good for us, but, do you know the proper way to do different exercises? If you don’t, these exercise demonstrations from The Washington Post will get you up to speed. Here’s a couple:





Good thing that guy’s not straining too hard. In that position…bad things could happen—EEK!
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Alzheimer's: Lead Can Make You Coo-Coo

New research has determined that lead’s toxic effects may up the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Andy Coghlan of the NewScientist is on it:
Monkeys exposed to the heavy metal during infancy may be predisposed to develop the equivalent of Alzheimer's disease.


"We're not saying that lead exposure causes Alzheimer's disease, but it's a risk factor," says Nasser Zawia of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, whose team discovered the link.

Zawia's team fed baby monkeys infant formula milk laced with low levels of lead, then followed their progress until the age of 23. While the adult monkeys did not show symptoms of Alzheimer's per se, post-mortem analyses of their brains showed that the lead-fed monkeys had plaques and other abnormalities identical to those found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.
Lead’s been in the news a lot lately. Here are some recent posts:

Meat, a Bad Idea for Breast Cancer

No one wants cancer. In Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman explains that the best way to prevent cancer is adopting a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Take a look at this:
Humans are genetically adapted to expect a high intake of natural and unprocessed plant-derived substances. Cancer is a disease of maladaptation. It results primarily from a body’s lacking critical substances found in different types of vegetation, many of which are still undiscovered, that are metabolically necessary for normal protective function. Natural foods unadulterated by man are highly complex—so complex that the exact structure and the majority of compounds they contain are not precisely known. A tomato, for example, contains more than ten thousand different phytochemicals.
Conversely, eating lots of animal products and meat has the opposite effect. Need proof? Check out this study in the International Journal of Cancer. Here’s the abstract:
Meat intake has been positively associated with risk of digestive tract cancers in several epidemiological studies, while data on the relation of meat intake with cancer risk at most other sites are inconsistent. The overall data set, derived from an integrated series of case-control studies conducted in northern Italy between 1983 and 1996, included the following incident, histologically confirmed neoplasms: oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus (n = 497), stomach (n = 745), colon (n = 828), rectum (n = 498), liver (n = 428), gallbladder (n = 60), pancreas (n = 362), larynx (n = 242), breast (n = 3,412), endometrium (n = 750), ovary (n = 971), prostate (n = 127), bladder (n = 431), kidney (n = 190), thyroid (n = 208), Hodgkin's disease (n = 80), non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (n = 200) and multiple myelomas (n = 120). Controls were 7,990 patients admitted to hospital for acute, non-neoplastic conditions unrelated to long-term modifications in diet. The multivariate odds ratios (ORs) for the highest tertile of red meat intake (7 times/week) compared with the lowest (3 times/week) were 1.6 for stomach, 1.9 for colon, 1.7 for rectal, 1.6 for pancreatic, 1.6 for bladder, 1.2 for breast, 1.5 for endometrial and 1.3 for ovarian cancer. ORs showed no significant heterogeneity across strata of age at diagnosis and sex. No convincing relation with red meat intake emerged for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus, liver, gallbladder, larynx, kidney, thyroid, prostate, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and multiple myeloma. For none of the neoplasms considered was there a significant inverse relationship with red meat intake. Thus, reducing red meat intake might lower the risk for several common neoplasms.
You just can’t be solid concrete research. Want more? Get load of this study in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. The PCRM sent it over:
A substudy of the Diet, Cancer and Health study, a prospective cohort study established to evaluate the role of diet and cancer among 24,697 postmenopausal Danish women, was set up to evaluate the relationship between meat consumption and risk of breast cancer. This nested study looked at 378 women who developed breast cancer and matched them to controls who did not develop breast cancer. A higher intake of meat (red meat, poultry, fish, and processed meat) was associated with a significantly higher breast cancer incidence rate. Every 25 gram increase in consumption of total meat, red meat, and processed meat led to a 9, 15, and 23 percent increase in risk of breast cancer, respectively. However, the degree of risk may depend on genetics. Certain genes activate the carcinogens (heterocyclic amines) found in cooked meat. The study showed women with genes that rapidly activate these carcinogens are at particular risk of breast cancer if they eat meat.
Now, for more ways to prevent breast cancer, Dr. Fuhrman whipped up this list of ways women can protect themselves. Have a look:
1. Do not drink alcohol.
2. Do not smoke.
3. Do not take estrogen.
4. Have babies and nurse them for two years each.
5. Avoid dietary carcinogens, which are predominantly found in fatty fish and dairy fat.
6. Eat a high-nutrient, vegetable-based diet as described in my book, Eat To Live. Green vegetables are the most powerful anti-breast cancer food. Take note that a vegetarian diet does not show protection against breast cancer as much as a diet rich in green vegetables, berries, and seeds. It is the phytochemical nutrient density and diversity of the diet that offers the most dramatic protection against cancer, not merely the avoidance of meat or fat.
7. Take a multivitamin to assure nutritional completeness and take at least 100mg of DHA daily.
8. Use one tablespoon of ground flax seeds daily.
9. Don’t grill or fry foods. Steaming vegetables or making vegetable soups should be the major extent of cooking.
10. Exercise at least three hours a week, and maintain a lean body with little body fat.
I’m no doctor, but, I bet these tips would help against all cancers. What do you think?

Fat and Lazy...

New research claims obesity is linked to reduced productivity at work. More from the Armenian Medical Network:
Employees who are moderately to extremely obese have reduced productivity on the job, even compared to overweight or mildly obese workers, reports a study in the January Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).


Led by Donna M. Gates. Ed.D., R.N., of University of Cincinnati, the researchers measured various aspects of productivity in a random sample of 341 manufacturing employees. Most of the workers were overweight or obese, including a 23 percent rate of mild obesity (body mass index [BMI] 30 to 34.9) and a 13 percent rate of moderate to extreme obesity (BMI 35 or higher). Another 43 percent of workers were classified as overweight but not obese (BMI 25 to 29.9).

Workers with moderate to extreme obesity had the greatest health-related limitations at work, or “presenteeism.” specifically, moderately to extremely obese workers had limitations in time needed to complete work tasks and ability to meet physical work demands. These limitations were significantly greater than in the overweight or mildly obese groups.
Oh man. I can relate to this. When I was a porker, I worked like a beached whale, now, I buzz around the office like a coked up bumble bee.

Antibiotics, Sinus Infections, Placebos, Oh My!

“Hey doc! I got an ear infection and my sinuses hurt. Give me some antibiotics,” said Joe public. Now, the sadly reality is that this isn’t too far from the truth. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Many patients don't think a doctor is doing his job if he doesn't prescribe antibiotics or other medication. If he doesn't prescribe the medication they want, some patients actually will look for another doctor who will.
If I was a doctor, this little scenario would—quite frankly—piss me off, but, since big pharma has made most Americas pill-starved hypochondriacs, what can you except? More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Drug companies are a big part of this problem. They promote the use of their products through widespread advertising and the practice of giving free samples of the more potent, broad-spectrum antibiotics to doctors.


Most doctors perpetuate this problem because they give in to the pressure to prescribe antibiotics. They like to appear that they are offering an important and necessary service by writing prescriptions.
The scary part is, any self-respecting doctor will tell you antibiotics are useful, but, our overuse of antibiotics is making them less and less effective. Here Dr. Fuhrman talks about when antibiotics should be used:
Antibiotics are the appropriate treatment for severe bacterial infections. These infections include cellulitis, Lyme disease, pneumonia, joint infections, cat bites, meningitis, and bronchitis in a long-term smoker. Bronchitis in a non-smoker is just a bad cold. Almost every viral syndrome involves the bronchial tree and sinuses. The presence of yellow, brown, or green mucus does not indicate the need for an antibiotic.
So, with all this being said. What about sinus infections? Should physicians treat sinus infections with antibiotics? This blurb from Dr. Fuhrman will clear things up—no pun intended—take a look:
Sinusitis is not an appropriate diagnosis for the routine use of an antibiotic. Antibiotics should be reserved for the more serious sinus infections that show evidence of persistent symptoms lasting more than a week, such as continual fever and headache that accompanies facial pain and facial tenderness.
And let’s not forget, recent research already has determined that prescribing antibiotics is not always a good idea when treating sinus infections. The Associated Press reported:
The researchers say the findings are troubling because overuse of antibiotics is leading to more virulent and even drug-resistent bacteria. Their concerns echo those of doctors who've studied the effectiveness of antibiotics on ear infections.


"We don't want to be using up our antibiotics on these people," said Dr. Don Leopold, chair of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Department of Otolaryngology who worked on the sinus study.

The study, which appears in the March issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology, looked at two national surveys of patient data from 1999 to 2002. They showed 14.28 million doctor visits were for diagnosed chronic rhinosinusitis and another 3.12 million for acute rhinosinusitis.
Let’s explore this more deeply. Remember this report from HealthDay News? Apparently many pneumonia patients receive antibiotics when they don’t really need them. Take a look:
The study, conducted in 2005, followed a group of 152 emergency room patients who met eligibility criteria for receiving antibiotics. Of this group, 65.1 percent received antibiotics within four hours of arriving at the hospital. The remaining 34.9 percent were identified as "outliers," and more than half (58.5 percent) of the outliers did not have a final diagnosis of pneumonia. And 43 percent of the outliers had an abnormal chest X-ray, compared with 95 percent of those who received antibiotics…


…"It was not possible in many of the cases to actually have given them antibiotics because a lot of them didn't actually have pneumonia or got a diagnosis later," said Dr. Jesse Pines, author of an accompany editorial in the journal, and an attending physician in the department of emergency medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He supports the study findings.
Okay, but back to sinus infections. Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times conducts a brief and blunt mini-investigation of the claim that antibiotics will beat a sinus infection. Here’s a bit:
For years, doctors have prescribed what seemed like simple cures: a prescription for an antibiotic like amoxicillin or a steroid nasal spray. They may be the standard medications, but perhaps they are not as effective as once thought. Several studies have examined their effects and found that they are no better at shortening a sinus infection than no medication at all.


The latest study, published in December in The Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at 240 cases. The subjects were assigned to four groups for different treatments: a full amoxicillin course for a week along with 400 units of steroid spray for 10 days, just the spray, just the amoxicillin or just a placebo. The treatments were no better than placebo, a finding shown in studies of children. The reason is not entirely clear, but researchers suspect that antibiotics may not be very good at reaching the sinuses. Experts recommend other approaches like taking ibuprofen, inhaling steam or using salt water to flush the nasal cavity.
Makes sense to me, but in our quick-fix culture, I doubt it’ll catch on. Maybe if people were more in tune with the consequences of taking unnecessary antibiotics, they’d be more cautious. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Disease-Proof Your Child:
In every single person who takes an antibiotic, the drug kills a broad assortment of helpful bacteria that live in the digestive tract and aid digestion. It kills the “bad” bacteria, such as those that can complicate and infection, but it also kills these helpful “good” bacteria lining your digestive tract that have properties that protect from future illness.
This topic comes up a lot and people always seem concerned, but, like anything else, we probably won’t do anything about it until pandemonium is at our doorstep.

Diabetes vs. Beans--BRING IT!

Type-2 diabetes is no joke, but luckily for us, a vegetable-based high-nutrient is a great way to prevent and fight it! Dr. Fuhrman points this out:
When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature's perfect foods—green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away.
Pretty cool—right? Wait, it gets better. New research has determined that legumes (beans) are linked to a lower diabetes risk. Stephen Daniells of Food Navigator reports:
The dietary habits of over 64,000 women were assessed and correlated with the development of type-2 diabetes over about five years, and a high intake of all legumes was associated with a 38 per cent reduction in risk of developing the disease, report researchers in this month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


An estimated 19 million people are affected by diabetes in the EU 25, equal to four per cent of the total population. This figure is projected to increase to 26 million by 2030.

In the US, there are over 20 million people with diabetes, equal to seven per cent of the population. The total costs are thought to be as much as $132 bn, with $92 bn being direct costs from medication, according to 2002 American Diabetes Association figures.

According to background information in the study, it has been suggested previously that a high intake of these foods can have benefits against the development of type-2 diabetes, although data is limited for this link.
Sweet! This is reason to celebrate. Let’s party over beans until we explode—pun intended—get a load of this great bean information from Dr. Fuhrman. Here:
Your goal should be to eat an entire cup (or more) of beans daily. Beans are a powerhouse of superior nutrition. They reduce cholesterol and blood sugar. They have a high nutrient-per-calorie profile and help prevent food cravings. They are digested slowly, which has a stabilizing effect on your blood sugar and a resultant high satiety index. Eggplant and beans, mushrooms and beans, greens and beans are all high-nutrient, high-fiber, low-calorie main dishes. Throw a cup of beans on your salad for lunch. Eat bean soup. Scientific studies show a linear relationship between soup consumption and successful weight-loss.1 As weight-loss strategy, eating soup helps by slowing your rate of intake and reducing your appetite by filling your stomach.
For info on the benefits of beans, get a load of these previous posts:
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Health Points: Wednesday

To get an extra 14 years of life, don't smoke, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly and drink alcohol in moderation.

That's the finding of a study that tracked about 20,000 people in the United Kingdom.

Kay-Tee Khaw of the University of Cambridge and colleagues calculated that people who adopted these four healthy habits lived an average of 14 years longer than those who didn't.

"We've known for a long time that these behaviors are good things to do, but we've never seen these additive benefits before," said Susan Jebb, head of Nutrition and Health at Britain's Medical Research Council, which helped pay for the study.
Those Type A go-getters aren't the only ones stressing their hearts. Nervous Nelsons seem to be, too. Researchers reported Monday that chronic anxiety can significantly increase the risk of a heart attack, at least in men. The findings add another trait to a growing list of psychological profiles linked to heart disease, including anger or hostility, Type A behavior, and depression.


"There's a connection between the heart and head," said Dr. Nieca Goldberg of the New York University School of Medicine, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association who wasn't involved in the study.

"This is very important research because we really are focused very much on prescribing medicine for cholesterol and lowering blood pressure and treating diabetes, but we don't look at the psychological aspect of a patient's care," she added. Doctors "need to be aggressive about not only taking care of the traditional risk factors ... but also really getting into their patients' heads."
Low levels of vitamin D, a chronic problem for many people in northern latitudes areas such as Wisconsin and Washington, were associated with substantially higher rates of heart disease and stroke, according to a new study.
In one of the strongest studies to date linking the vitamin to cardiovascular disease, researchers followed 1,739 members of the Framingham Offspring Study for more than five years.


They found the rate of cardiovascular disease events such as heart attacks, strokes and heart failure were from 53 percent to 80 percent higher in people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood.

"This is a stunning study," said John Whitcomb, medical director of the Aurora Sinai Wellness Institute in Milwaukee. He was not involved in the study.
Young people who start smoking may be influenced to do so by movies they saw in early childhood, new research suggests.


What's more, the study found that almost 80 percent of the exposure to smoking scenes in movies came through films rated "G," "PG" and "PG-13."

"Movies seen at the youngest ages had as much influence over later smoking behavior as the movies that children had seen recently," said study author Linda Titus-Ernstoff, a pediatrics professor at Dartmouth Medical School.

"And I'm increasingly convinced that this association between movie-smoking exposure and smoking initiation is real," she added. "That's to say, causal. It is quite improbable that the association we see is due to some other influence, some other characteristic inherent in children or parental behavior. The relationship is clearly between movie-smoking and smoking initiation."
France, Japan and Australia rated best and the United States worst in new rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to treatable conditions in 19 leading industrialized nations, researchers said on Tuesday.


If the U.S. health care system performed as well as those of those top three countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United States per year, according to researchers writing in the journal Health Affairs.

Researchers Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine tracked deaths that they deemed could have been prevented by access to timely and effective health care, and ranked nations on how they did.

They called such deaths an important way to gauge the performance of a country's health care system.
China defended its fish farming industry on Tuesday and said it was making progress in curbing use of illegal additives, from pesticides to banned steroids, as the country's food safety record remains in the spotlight.


China has suffered a rash of scares over the safety of its food and manufactured products in the last year which highlighted shoddy oversight and prompted a wave of new regulations and clean-up campaigns from the central government.

Vice Minister of Agriculture Gao Hongbin said the country had made encouraging progress.
Those who perceived they had low subjective social status had a 69% increased odds of having a 2-unit increase in BMI (this is around 11 pound weight increase).


The results were adjusted for a large number of factors including age, race/ethnicity, baseline BMI, diet, television viewing, depression, global and social self-esteem, menarche, height growth, mother's BMI, and pretax household income.

The study highlights yet another piece in the very complex obesity puzzle.
A 2004 study in the journal Science raised concern among fish lovers with news that farm-raised salmon, the type found at most supermarkets, contained higher levels of cancer-causing pcbs than wild salmon. (Banned in the 1970s, PCBs still contaminate the environment. They are released by incinerators and toxic waste sites.) But two more recent studies, one on farm-raised salmon and the other on wild, found that both harbor similar levels of this pollutant. The first study, done with Chilean- and Canadian-farmed salmon, found an average of 11.5 parts per billion PCBs. The second, conducted by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, sampled 600 wild salmon from the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea, and found 8.2 to 10 parts per billion PCBs. It's important to realize that the amount of PCBs being talked about is very small, says Cornell University seafood specialist Ken Gall, who has studied fish safety issues for 22 years. "High doses of PCBs, like the kind of contamination that occurs with an industrial accident, can be dangerous," Gall says. "But it's uncertain whether the tiny amounts of PCBs found in many foods such as fish, meat, or milk can cause cancer."

Blogging, My Health is at Stake!

Folks, I’ll admit. I’m just a dingy blogger. I’m not saving lives, I’m not in harms way, or am I? According to this report in The New York Times, blogging is hazardous to my health—EEK! Dan Frost has more on this startling revelation:
Om Malik’s blog, GigaOm, regularly breaks news about the technology industry. Last week, the journalist turned blogger broke a big story about himself. Mr. Malik, 41, blogged that he had suffered a heart attack on Dec. 28.


“I was able to walk into the hospital for treatment that night and have been recovering here ever since,” Mr. Malik wrote. “With the support of my family and my team, I am on the road to a full recovery. I am going to be O.K.”

His heart attack — and his blogging about it — raises the issue of what happens when a blogger becomes a name brand.

“The trouble with a personal brand is, you’re yoked to a machine,” said Paul Kedrosky, a friend of Mr. Malik’s who runs the Infectious Greed blog. “You feel huge pressure to not just do a lot, but to do a lot with your name on it. You have pressure to not just be the C.E.O., but at the same time to write, and to do it all on a shoestring. Put it all together, and it’s a recipe for stress through the roof.”

Mr. Malik has 12 employees, including a chief operating officer, and editors run some of his blogs, Yet, “It’s his name on the door,” Mr. Kedrosky said. “People want to know what Om Malik thinks. People want to see posts with Om Malik’s byline.”
Sniffle, sniffle. I hope you all appreciate what I’m doing because I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around—no worries—my tongue is firmly in cheek.
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Cloned Food Groups

How do you feel about beef, pork, and milk? Not high on it. Neither am I, but, what about cloned beef, pork, and milk? My answer would be no, and, seriously? It’s true. The FDA is primed to accept cloned meat and milk. Rick Weiss of The Washington Post reports:
Having completed a years-long scientific review, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to announce as early as this week that meat and milk from cloned farm animals and their offspring can start appearing on supermarket shelves, sources said Friday.


The decision would be an act of defiance against Congress, which last month passed legislation recommending that any such approval be delayed pending further studies…

…Multiple studies compiled by the agency have shown that the chemical composition of those products is virtually identical to that of milk and meat from conventionally bred animals.

Studies in which rodents were fed food from clones have found no evidence of adverse health effects.
But public opinion has been negative, with some saying that not enough safety studies have been conducted and others concerned about the health of the clones, which are far more likely than ordinary farm animals to die prematurely.
Crap, as a staunch advocate of science, I’m not against cloning, I’m certain a lot of good will come from it, but, this gives me the willies. What do you think? Honestly, I wouldn’t eat the stuff anyway. Why? Dr. Fuhrman provides a great reason to go easy on the milk and meat:

When the death rates for prostate cancer and testicular cancer were examined in forty-two countries and correlated with dietary practices in a carefully designed study, they found that cheese consumption was most closely linked with the incidence of testicular cancer for ages twenty to thirty-nine, and milk was the most closely associated with prostate cancer of all foods.1 Meat, coffee, and animal fats also showed a positive correlation.
Although, I had a really good avocado the other day, I wouldn’t mind eating it again. Continue Reading...

Exercise, Coca-Cola Helps?

When I think Coca-Cola, I think unhealthy beverage, liquid sugar, caffeine addiction, and most vividly—DON’T DRINK—but, ExerciseTV thinks coke is an exercise ally. Diet Blog is on it:
Exercise TV – a video on-demand network that produces workout videos and other training tools is partnering with Coca Cola. In the agreement, numerous brands from Coca-Cola’s portfolio of beverages will be featured through a variety of integration channels.
Coca-Cola continues to make great strides in educating the public about the importance of exercise, and how its broad range of products can benefit health-conscious consumer.
Said Jake Steinfeld, founder of ExerciseTV.

Try as I may, it is difficult for me not to be bothered by this marriage.

Coke’s recent introduction of “healthier” beverages to the market notwithstanding, you can never separate the pod from the mother ship. Coca Cola’s core product will always be… Coca Cola. It’s the same as if it were to be sponsored by a fast food chain. After all, fast food chains do sell salads.
I’m with Diet Blog on this one. When I think about this marriage, I smell bull poop; especially when you consider soft drinks’ role in the obesity boom. Remember this from Soda Surcharge, Will it Work? Take a look:



Source: Data from the National Soft Drink Association, Beverage World,
published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (www.cspinet.org).

Coca-Cola’s exercise advocacy sounds like the work of highly paid corporate spin doctors to me. What do you think?

Traffic Bad for Babies

Traffic might be the single most annoying thing in the world—next to telemarketers of course—but the fumes from traffic are especially bad for babies’ brains. The NewScientist reports:
When Shakira Franco Suglia at Harvard University and her colleagues studied 200 children in nearby Boston they found that scores on verbal reasoning, visual learning and other tests were lower in those exposed to more traffic fumes. The IQ of children from areas of the city with above-average pollution levels was 3 points below those in cleaner areas, even after controlling for socio-economic factors (American Journal of Epidemiology, DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwm308).


That puts the impact of soot on a par with lead and other toxic substances that damage brain development, says Franco Suglia.
That’s it, I’m buying a rickshaw!

Happy, Happy, Health

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that feeling good is an important part of good health. Don’t believe me? Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Humans are complicated creatures, and our minds have powerful effects on healing and wellness. A positive purpose, loving relationships, self-respect, and the power to control our destiny have beneficial effects on our physiological—and ultimately physical—well-being.
Now, get a load of this new report. New research has determined that upbeat people have lower levels of the “stress” hormone cortisol. Amy Norton of Reuters reports:
In a study of nearly 3,000 healthy British adults, lead by Dr. Andrew Steptoe of University College London, found that those who reported upbeat moods had lower levels of cortisol -- a "stress" hormone that, when chronically elevated, may contribute to high blood pressure, abdominal obesity and dampened immune function, among other problems.


In the study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who reported more positive emotions had lower blood levels of two proteins that indicate widespread inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is believed to contribute to a range of ills over time, including heart disease and cancer.

Researchers have long noted that happier people tend to be in better health than those who are persistently stressed, hostile or pessimistic. But the reasons are still being studied.

One possibility is that happier people lead more healthful lifestyles, but not all studies have found this to be the case, explained Steptoe.
So, how do you go about staying happy and healthy? Dr. Fuhrman points out that it’s all about how you react to occurrences in your life. Take a look:
A healthy emotional response to life hinges on your ability to grant value and importance to things that are deserving of it. This ability and desire to interact in a fair and equitable way with the world around you forms the basis of your emotional contentment and self-esteem.
Okay, so I guess banging your head against the wall when your football loses isn’t a “healthy emotional response.”

Inactivity Bad for Obesity

Here’s a stunning revelation, if overweight and obese people exercised even a little bit, they’d be healthier. Jack Kelly of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
According to a study published in Science magazine in 2003, the typical American aged 20 to 40 has been gaining about 2 pounds a year. That could be prevented if we burned just 100 additional calories per day. We could burn an additional 100 calories each day by walking briskly for 10 to 15 minutes, dancing for 20, or doing housework for 30.


The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit group financed mostly by restaurants and food manufacturers, who have a vested interest in keeping us (over) eating. But the CCF's report is partially supported by two recent studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

About two-thirds of American adults are overweight, and half of these are obese, according to the National Institutes for Health. Obesity is defined by the NIH as having a body mass index of 30 or more. A person with a BMI of 40 or higher is considered morbidly obese. Body mass index is a ratio of an individual's weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of his or her height (in meters). A BMI of from 18.5 to 25 is considered optimal.

In the first study, published in JAMA Nov. 7, Katherine Flegal and her collaborators found that people who are overweight, but not obese, are at a lower risk for death than are people of normal weight. (Underweight people and the obese are at a significantly greater risk.)

In the second study, published in JAMA Dec. 4, Dr. Xuemei Sui and his collaborators found that senior citizens who keep fit are at a substantially lower risk for death, even if they are overweight.

Young Adults on Heart Meds

This is unreal! Here’s a look at the facts and figures concerning young adults and heart medications. Via The Los Angeles Times:

America, We're Number Two!

Now this is something we can be proud. According to a new report Americans are the second biggest fast gluttons. Great Britain edged us out. More from the AFP:
The survey of 13 countries also confirmed growing concern over obesity worldwide, but noted different priorities and strategies in different parts of the world for tackling it.


"People are inherently contradictory and nowhere is it more obvious than on such a sensitive and important issue as their weight," said Steve Garton of polling body Synovate, who produced the survey jointly with the BBC.

"The results show there's a world of people who cannot deny themselves that hamburger or extra piece of pizza, but probably make themselves feel better by washing it down with a diet cola."

In terms of fast food, Britain 45 percent of Britons agreed with the statement "I like the taste of fast food too much to give it up" ahead of 44 percent for Americans and Canadians at 37 percent.
It’s a sad day when we can’t lead the world in something we invented. First baseball, now this—sigh!

Little Sleep, a Lot of Fat

Sleep is important. One thing I’ve learned from Dr. Fuhrman is getting adequate undisturbed sleep is paramount. Here he explains why:
During sleep, your body removes the buildup of waste in the brain. Sufficient sleep is necessary for the normal function of your nervous and endocrine systems. Most civilizations in human history recognized the value of mid-afternoon naps. The desire for a rest, short sleep, or “siesta” after lunch should not be seen as an abnormal need, but rather a normal one. People who “cover up” their lack of sleep by using drugs (such as caffeine) as food and/or food (such as highly processed, sugary foods) as drugs sometimes claim (even boast) that they can get by with very little sleep. As you begin to live more healthfully, you may quickly recognize that you need more sleep than you previously thought.
Honestly, you can’t beat a solid eight hours. Now, according to this report sleep is REALLY important for kids. New research has determined that insufficient sleep can turn into extra fat. Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times is on it:
The study, being published Tuesday in the journal Sleep, also found that short sleep duration was associated with mood swings. The researchers had followed the subjects — 519 children in New Zealand — since birth, making periodic health and developmental assessments and interviewing their parents…


…Using sleep monitors, the scientists discovered some other patterns in the 7-year-olds. On average, the children stayed awake for 48 minutes after they went to bed, and slept about a half-hour longer on weekdays than weekends. They slept the least in the summer: 40 minutes longer on winter nights, 31 minutes longer in the fall and 15 minutes longer in the spring. Having a younger sibling cost a 7-year-old an average of 12 minutes of sleep per night.
So, maybe missing the school bus is healthier?

Milk Linked to Prostate Cancer

Reuters reports, low-fat or nonfat milk may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Take a look:
A total of 82,483 men from the study completed a quantitative food frequency questionnaire and various factors, such as weight, smoking status, and education levels were also noted, Park's group said.


During an average follow-up period of 8 years, 4,404 men developed prostate cancer. There was no evidence that calcium or vitamin D from any source increased the risk of prostate cancer. This held true across all racial and ethnic groups.

In an overall analysis of food groups, the consumption of dairy products and milk were not associated with prostate cancer risk, the authors found. Further analysis, however, suggested that low-fat or nonfat milk did increase the risk of localized tumors or non-aggressive tumors, while whole milk decreased this risk.

In a similar analysis, Dr. Yikyung Park, from the National Cancer Institute at National Institutes (NIH) of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues investigated the relationship of calcium and vitamin D and prostate cancer in 293,888 men enrolled in the NIH-American Association of Retired Persons Diet and Health Study, conducted between 1995 and 2001. The average follow-up period was 6 years.

A Smoke Might Make You Choke

Okay guys, this might be the best reason of all to quit smoking. New research has determined that men who smoke are prone to impotence. Serena Gordon of HealthDay News is on it:
In fact, emerging research shows that men with a pack-a-day habit are almost 40 percent more likely to struggle with erectile dysfunction than men who don't smoke.


"Smoking delivers nicotine and other vasoconstrictors that close down the blood vessels" of the penis, explained Dr. Jack Mydlo, chairman of urology at Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital in Philadelphia.

Erectile dysfunction -- also called "ED" or impotence -- is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection on repeated occasions. It's estimated that about two of every 100 American men have erectile dysfunction serious enough to warrant a doctor's visit, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders. As men age, the risk of erectile dysfunction increases.

A recent study of more than 8,000 Australian men between the ages of 16 and 59 found that those who smoked less than a pack a day had a 24 percent increased risk of erectile problems. And, as the number of cigarettes smoked went up, so, too, did the chances of erectile dysfunction. Those men who averaged more than 20 cigarettes a day increased their risk of erectile dysfunction by 39 percent, reported the study, published in the journal Tobacco Control.
Eek! And smoking isn’t the only thing that’ll knock you out of whack. Thank your mom for not eating beef while she was pregnant with you. From Beef Bad for the Boys:
"In sons of 'high beef consumers' (more than seven beef meals a week), sperm concentration was 24.3 percent lower," the researchers wrote in their report, published in the journal Human Reproduction.


The team at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York studied data on the partners of 387 pregnant women in five U.S. cities between 2000 and 2005, and on the mothers of the fathers-to-be.

Of the 51 men whose mothers remembered eating the most beef, 18 percent had sperm counts classified by the World Health Organization as sub-fertile.
Okay, I need to watch some football—STAT!