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!

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.
Continue Reading...

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."

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?

Citywide Diet

Well, this is certainly ambitious. Oklahoma City's mayor wants the city to drop 1 million pounds as its New Year's resolution. Sean Murphy of the Associated Press reports:
Prompted in part by his own struggle to lose weight, Cornett wants to end Oklahoma City's dubious distinction as one of America's fattest cities.


"The message of this obesity initiative is that we've got to watch what we eat," Cornett said Thursday. "Exercise is part of it and the city is trying to change into a city that is less sprawling, has more density and is more pedestrian friendly, but you're not really going to take on obesity unless you acknowledge that we eat too much and don't eat the right foods."

As part of the initiative, residents can sign up and track their weight loss on a new Web site, http://www.thiscityisgoingonadiet.com. More than 2,600 people had registered by Thursday. They've lost more than 300 pounds.

Besides a body mass index calculator, the site includes recipes and links to metro-area fitness centers. Plans call for expanding the site to include the opportunity to blog and network with other participants, Cornett said.

"It's always easier if you're doing something hard if you have other people to do it with," he said.
Can they do it? I don’t know. They’ve only got 359 days to go! Although, what might help is bulldozing all the fast food restaurants. I don’t know, just a thought.