Vroom-Vroom French Fries

America’s had some great inventors, like George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, and Benjamin Franklin, and they are no doubt spinning in their graves. Via Jalopnik:


If the world needed any more proof that Americans are some fattie mcfatties, we present the French-Fry Holder. This $10 device fits in cup holders and holds a standard cardboard container of french fries. It even has a small holder for ketchup, for those fattersons that need to add a little more flavor (and sodium) to their deep-fried potato sticks. A no-slip grip secures the device in any cup-holder to prevent any wasted fries. Weren't French fries designed to be the perfect food while driving? Sure, we're all about driving safety, which this device addresses, but we wonder if the morbid-nature of this product outweighs its positives.
What makes this doubly amusing is my brother, Joey “Ketchup Boy” Pugliese, sent this over—seriously, the guy dips turkey burgers into puddles of ketchup.

New York Calorie-Count--NOW!


A federal court has ruled that NYC fast food restaurants must post calorie information on their menus effective immediately. Reuters reports:
A spokeswoman for the city law department said the city expects restaurants to begin complying with the rule by midnight on Tuesday.

The health code provision, which affects businesses that have at least 15 establishments nationwide, requires that restaurants post caloric information on menus and menu boards in the same font and format used to display the name or price of the menu item.

In a lawsuit, The New York State Restaurant Association argued the rule is a violation of free speech and will make menus difficult to read.

After a judge ruled in the city's favor, the association asked an appeals court to delay the rule from taking effect until its appeal had been heard. That request was denied.
Honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with telling people what’s in their food, but, I’m not sure calorie-count is the worst offender; sodium, trans-fat, saturated fat, etc.

Cavemen Ate Their Veggies...

Plant matter found in recently unearthed Neanderthal teeth confirms that our human ancestors ate their veggies. More from Sara Goudarzi of National Geographic News:
The new hard evidence is microfossils of plant material that investigators found in the dental plaque of 35,000-year-old Neanderthal teeth, said lead study author Amanda Henry, a graduate student in hominid paleobiology at The George Washington University.

"The formation of dental [plaque] traps the plant microfossils from food particles within the matrix of the plaque deposits, so the microfossils are protected and are a unique record of the plant foods put into the mouth," Henry said.

"So we can say with confidence that this individual Neanderthal ate plants," she added.
Maybe if they ate more plants they would have stuck around longer because primitive people that mostly eat meat, don’t live that long. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Similar statistics are available for the high meat-consuming Maasai in Kenya. They eat a diet high in wild hunted meats and have the worst life expectancy in the modern world. Life expectancy is 45 years for women and 42 years for men. African researchers report that, historically, Maasai rarely lived beyond age 60. Adult mortality figures on the Kenyan Maasai show that they have a 50% chance of dying before the age of 59.1
But, populations who eat mostly plant foods live a lot longer. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
We now know that greatly increasing the consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and raw nuts and seeds (and greatly decreasing the consumption of animal products) offers profound increased longevity potential, due in large part to broad symphony of life-extending phytochemical nutrients that a vegetable-based diet contains. By taking advantage of the year-round availability of high-quality plant foods, we have a unique opportunity to live both healthier and longer than ever before in human history.
Maybe centuries from now when they dig up my bones, archeologists will say, “This guy must have eaten a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet!”
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More Fish Hit High-Mercury List

Carolina has found elevated levels of mercury in yellow perch and black crappie—love the name—encouraging people to eat less of them. EMaxHealth has more:
Two more types of freshwater fish in southeastern North Carolina have been found to have elevated levels of mercury. They are yellow perch caught south and east of Interstate highway 85, and black crappie caught south and east of I-95. State public health officials are urging pregnant women and children to avoid eating those fish altogether, and urging others to limit their consumption of those fish to no more than one meal a week.

The two species join a growing list of freshwater and saltwater fish that are high in mercury. The state’s high-mercury list now includes the following freshwater fish: blackfish (bowfin), wild catfish, jack fish (chain pickerel), warmouth and yellow perch south and east of I-85 and largemouth bass across the state, as well as black crappie south and east of I-95.

Ocean fish on the state’s high-mercury list include canned white tuna (albacore tuna), all fresh or frozen tuna, almaco jack, banded rudderfish, cobia, crevalle jack, greater amberjack, South Atlantic grouper (gag, scamp, red and snowy), king mackerel, ladyfish, little tunny, marlin, orange roughy, shark, Spanish mackerel, swordfish and tilefish.
As a fisherman—and a bad one at that—mercury contamination worries me. For reference, here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s list of fish with the highest mercury levels. Take a look:

        • Tilefish
        • Swordfish
        • Mackerel
        • Shark
        • White snapper
        • Tuna
And the lowest levels of mercury:

        • Salmon
        • Flounder
        • Sole
        • Tilapia
        • Trout
Now, if you want to know more about water pollution and mercury contamination, check out our friends at OceansAlive.org.

Health Points: Wednesday

The new study involving nearly 39,000 women helps sort out the combined effects of physical activity and body mass on women's chances of developing heart disease, said Gulati, who wasn't involved in the research.

The study by Harvard-affiliated researchers appears in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.

Participants were women aged 54 on average who filled out a questionnaire at the study's start detailing their height, weight and amount of weekly physical activity in the past year, including walking, jogging, bicycling and swimming. They were then tracked for about 11 years. Overall 948 women developed heart disease.
Numerous claims have been made about water — that it prevents headaches, removes dangerous “poisons,” improves the function of various organs and is associated with reduced risk for various diseases. But none of these is supported by scientific evidence. The authors were not even able to find a study leading to the “eight glasses a day” rule, whose origin remains unknown.


The researchers, in the June issue of The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, say some studies have found evidence that drinking extra water helps the kidneys clear sodium, and long-term sodium retention might increase the risk of hypertension, but no clinical significance for the phenomenon has been established. Water also helps clear urea, but urea is not a toxin.

I never used to be a napper. In fact, daytime slumber was virtually beyond a congenitally wired type like me. My buddies would catch 40 winks on the long bus ride home from our high school, but for me that was out of the question. With age, however, my metabolism has changed. After the double whammy of a late-morning run and lunch, I'm pretty much a goner. I lie down and nod off in much the same way that Marlene Dietrich fell in love in that old song of hers: because I can't help it.


While it lasted, though, my nap resistance put me in sync with the American way of sleep: Do it all at once and strictly at night. Traditionally, we've begrudged ourselves naps. They may be forced on toddlers, recommended for pregnant women and tolerated among senior citizens with nothing better to do, but they've been frowned upon for worker bees in their prime. Recently, however, sleep scientists have discovered advantages to napping, which they view not just as solace but also as something akin to brain food. No longer written off as a cop-out for the weak and the bored, the nap is coming into its own as an element of a healthy life.
If only the millions of others beset with chronic health problems recognized the inestimable value to their physical and emotional well-being of regular physical exercise.


“The single thing that comes close to a magic bullet, in terms of its strong and universal benefits, is exercise,” Frank Hu, epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in the Harvard Magazine.
A House-Senate conference committee claims it's getting closer to adopting a bill that would ban smoking in most Pennsylvania workplaces, but it can't seem to close the deal.


The deeply divided six-member committee had planned to meet today to vote on compromise legislation to prohibit people from lighting up in most workplaces and public places.

But late yesterday, the chairman called off the meeting, saying the bill still isn't ready despite months of negotiations.

Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, a staunch critic of smoking, said the delay should only be for "a short period," meaning, probably, a few days.
According to an analysis of government statistics being released Tuesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the average dollar amount employees must pay per year for family health coverage went up by 30 percent from 2001 to 2005. During that time, incomes increased by just 3 percent.


"Nationally, insurance premium costs are going up ten times faster than people's incomes," said RWJF spokesman Michael Berman. "And in some regions, the gap is even greater. So what we've tried to do with this report is highlight for the nation's leaders what families already know; that it's getting harder and harder to afford health insurance in America."
Perhaps because Mayor Bloomberg's plan for congestion pricing in New York City has failed, the Big Apple is now trying to make up for it by becoming more bicycle-friendly. As it is, 112,000 New Yorkers bicycle on an average day, an increase of 10% over the last decade. The proposal, which is part of a new Department of Transportation strategic plan, hopes to double that number by 2015, as well as
  • Add 200 miles worth of new bicycle lane between 2007 and 2009
  • Install 37 bicycle shelters and 5,000 bike parking racks by 2011
  • Install 15 additional miles of protected on-street bike lanes by 2010 and 30 miles from 2011 to 2015
The company declined to discuss details in the so-called not approvable letter from the Food and Drug Administration. It would not comment on whether the agency had asked for further data or new clinical trials.


The drug, which was expected to be called Cordaptive, combines long-acting niacin with a new drug that prevents the flushing side effect common to niacin -- an uncomfortable sensation of burning in the face and neck that leads many patients to discontinue taking it.

Analysts widely expected the drug to be approved, especially after a committee of European regulators last week recommended it be cleared for sale there.
It's far from the only strength-boosting exoskeleton out there, but Honda's so-called "walking assist device" is one of the few that you can actually take for a test spin -- if you happen to be attending the Barrier Free 2008 trade show in Osaka, Japan next week, that is. Apparently employing some of the same technology developed by Honda for its ASIMO robot, the walking assistant is able to obtain information from hip angle sensors to help keep its wearer upright, with the device's motors also able to increase the wearer's natural stride. That, Honda says, should make the device ideal for the elderly or those with weakened leg muscles, although we're sure they could find at least a few other buyers if it ever actually hits the market at a reasonable price.
What follows are 10 of the tips for sabotaging the stress in your life, every one somehow related to nutrition and fitness.
  1. Eat a healthy breakfast
  2. Eat more fiber
  3. Eat oatmeal
  4. Eat almonds
  5. Drink black tea
  6. Hydrate
  7. Stretch
  8. Exercise
  9. Do yoga
  10. Sleep
Broccoli also contains the phytonutrients sulforaphane, indoles, kaempferol and isothiocyanates (they'll be a test later). These difficult-to-pronounce compounds have significant anti-cancer and other health effects. Here's what the literature says about it:
  • Men who ate more than a serving of either broccoli or cauliflower each week almost halved their risk of developing advanced-stage prostate cancer
  • Broccoli appear to have a unique ability to eliminate Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) - a bacteria responsible for ulcers. It has even been shown to eliminate Helicobacter when resistant to antibiotics.
  • Crucifers, including broccoli provide significant cardiovascular benefit. Those who diets most frequently included broccoli, tea, onions, and apples-the richest sources of flavonoids-gained a 20% reduction in their risk of heart disease.
The administration's decision to give the Defense Department and other agencies an early role in the process adds to years of delay in acting on harmful chemicals and jeopardizes the program's credibility, the Government Accountability Office concluded.


At issue is the EPA's screening of chemicals used in everything from household products to rocket fuel to determine if they pose serious risk of cancer or other illnesses.

A new review process begun by the White House in 2004 is adding more speed bumps for EPA scientists, the GAO said in its report, which will be the subject of a Senate Environment Committee hearing Tuesday. A formal policy effectively doubling the number of steps was adopted two weeks ago.

Whey Too Much Protein


Chris Sparling of That’s Fit takes a look at protein and all the hype surrounding whey supplements. Chris is thinking, “Yes whey!” Check it out:
Whey protein is incontrovertibly one of the most widely used and accepted forms of protein available in supplement form. While some people avoid whey because it is a derivative of milk and/or milk products, others make a whey protein shake or two part of their daily diet. But, enter into any GNC or Vitamin Shoppe store and you'll immediately feel a wave of whey protein confusion roll right over you. There are so many brands and types of protein to choose from…

…Starting first with whey protein concentrate, this form of whey protein is not as potent as isolate. It can contain anywhere between 29 and 89 percent protein. And, as the amount of protein in concentrate decreases, the amount of fat and/or lactose usually increases. As for whey protein isolate, this purer version contains at least 90 percent protein and little to no fat and lactose.
The whey fad is way overdone. Go to any gym and you’ll see dozens of people sucking down protein shakes and, like Chris says, there are so many brands and types, but according to Dr. Fuhrman, they’re all equally worthless:
Consider that the maximum muscle mass the human body can typically add in one week is about one pound. That is the upper limit of the muscle fiber’s capacity to make protein into muscle; any protein beyond that is simply converted to fat. It also is not necessarily advisable to gain a pound of muscle per week. Although athletes have a greater protein requirement than sedentary individuals, this is easily obtained through the diet. The use of protein supplements is not merely a waste of money, it is unhealthy.


Studies on supplemental amino acid consumption have not supported claims that such supplementation increases growth hormone or provides other touted benefits. In fact, increased whey protein added to the diet of rats increased tumors and cancers.
Frankly, protein shakes and diet drinks strike me as unnatural. And the hoopla over protein is even more overblown. Maybe that’s why, in another post, Chris wants to know if you’ve got enough protein in your diet. Take a look:
Every body is different, just as everyone's lifestyles are different. To that end, the amount of protein one person may require may be vastly different than another. Fortunately, there has been research done on this very topic, producing some semblance of an answer.


According to a study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, people who train at least 12 hours per week for at least five years need 1.37 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day to maintain their nitrogen balance. Sedentary individuals, according to the study, require only 0.73 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. This is not to say that you'll shrivel up and die if you fail to get this amount of protein every day. This is merely the amount suggested to maintain muscle mass over a longer period of time.
Dr. Fuhrman insists if you’re eating a healthy diet, you’re getting plenty of protein. There’s no need worry. He explains:
The average American consumes about fifty percent more protein than the recommended daily amount. Yet we often see—in addition to misinformed athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and bodybuilders—businessmen and women, homemakers, and those seeking to lose weight turning to protein powders, drinks, and nutritional bars in their quest for even more protein.


It is true that resistance training and endurance workouts can break down muscle protein and increase our need for protein to fuel repair and growth. But the increased need of protein is proportional to the increased need for calories burned with the exercise. As your appetite increases, you increase your caloric intake accordingly, and your protein intake increases proportionally. If you meet those increased caloric demands from heavy exercise with an ordinary assortment of natural plant foods—vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts, which contain more than 50 grams of protein per 1000 calories—you will get the precise amount of extra protein you need.
Personally, I don’t worry about my protein intake. Like Dr. Fuhrman says, focus on the micronutrient quality of your diet, not the macronutrient density—protein is a macronutrient.

Pregnant, Drinking, Lying?


According to a Swedish study some pregnant women say they’re not drinking, but results prove otherwise. Reuters is on it:
When Swedish researchers surveyed 103 pregnant women about their alcohol use and also tested their urine and hair to check for alcohol byproducts, they found that seven had levels "highly suspicious of heavy drinking," but just one admitted to drinking at all.

"You cannot solely rely on the self-reports given by the women; you have to add some other measure of (alcohol) consumption to get a better test of how many women consume (alcohol) during pregnancy," Dr. Inger Sundstrom Poromaa of Uppsala University, who led the study, told Reuters Health…

…Ninety-four of the women studied, or 91 percent, said they hadn't consumed alcohol at all during their pregnancy. Of the nine who admitted to drinking while pregnant, six said they drank once a month or less often, while three said they drank two to four times a month. Seven said they had one to two glasses of wine each time that they drank, one said she had three to four glasses, and another did not report how much alcohol she consumed.

However, hair tests detected alcohol use in 19 of the women, with levels in seven suggestive of heavy drinking. Based on the results, 25 percent of the women did in fact drink alcohol during pregnancy, but just 8.7 percent admitted to doing so on the AUDIT questionnaire.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman considers alcohol as one of the things you shouldn’t consume while pregnant, and, he points out that alcohol is very problematic for good health. Take a look:
Moderate drinking is defined as a maximum of two drinks for men. Consuming more than this is associated with increased fat around the waist and other potential problems.1 For example, alcohol consumption leads to mild withdrawal sensations the next day that are commonly mistaken for hunger, which leads people to eat more than is genuinely necessary, resulting in weight gain.
When you’re eating for health, it’s definitely drink at your own risk—that probably goes double if your pregnant.
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100 Calorie Dumb-Dumb Packs


“100 Calorie Packs” like the ones you see here are silly. Instead of a GIANT bag of junk food—try a mini-pack! Just silly, processed junk foods like these are bad at any size. From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health:
Foods that are refined, including chips, cookies, bread, and pasta, lose a dramatic amount of their nutrients in the refinement process. Plus, the process that browns foods and turns a grain into a baked flake or chip creates acrylamides—carcinogens that make these foods even more harmful. These processed foods are not only nutrient-poor, but they also contain elements that contribute to our health problems. They are typically high in salt, chemical food additives, trans fats, MSG, sodium nitrate, and other unhealthy ingredients.
So, ignore the hype surrounding this latest marketing fad, and, ignore the snacking advice of this loopy dietician:


And start eating healthy, wholesome, unprocessed food. DIY Life offers up some sensible 100 calorie snacks. Take a look:
The 100-Calorie Healthy Snacks
  • 7 baby carrots (five calories each)
  • 2 tsp. all-natural almond butter or peanut butter (about 66 calories)
  • Small fruit salad
  • 1 TB slivered almonds (33 calories)
  • 2 TB hummus (50 calories)
  • 5 baby carrots
  • As many cucumber and celery sticks as you'd like
  • 1/2 medium banana (55 calories)
  • 1-2 TB shredded coconut (for dipping!) (30 calories)
Sure, these all sound like good options, but personally, I don’t count calories. I just eat lots and lots of healthy food. Like today, for lunch I had an entire bag of baby spinach again—yes, an entire bag!

Food Dye and Flavored Milk--Why Bother?

Here’s an odd item. New research claims food dye may protect against cancer. From New Scientist:
Gayle Orner at Oregon State University in Corvallis added the carcinogens dibenzopyrene (DBP) or aflatoxin to the feed of trout for one month, with or without the food dyes Red 40 - one of six recently linked to hyperactivity in children - or Blue 2.

Nine months later, trout that had been fed either of the dyes in combination with aflatoxin had 50 per cent fewer liver tumours, compared with those that had been exposed to aflatoxin alone. Trout that had been fed DBP in combination with Red 40 had a 50 per cent lower incidence of stomach cancer and a 40 per cent lower incidence of liver cancer.

"The public perception is that food dyes are bad, but some of them may have good points as well," says Orner, who presented her results at the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego, California, last week.
Bizarre and about to get bizarre-er. Apparently flavored milk may be just as “healthy” as plain milk. Reuters reports:
Using national survey data on more than 7,500 2- to 18-year-olds, researchers found that those who drank flavored milk had similar intakes of calcium, vitamin A, potassium and saturated fat as those who drank only plain milk.


And both groups, the study found, got more of these nutrients than children who drank no milk at all.

One reason parents might be wary of chocolate or strawberry milk is that the added sugar might encourage excess weight gain. But in this study, milk drinkers and non-drinkers had a similar average body mass index (BMI), the researchers report in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
These studies are exactly the kind of junk-science that causes people to run out and buy harmful food—in this case dye and milk—for starters, milk is no health food. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
There are many good reasons not to consume dairy. For example, there is a strong association between diary lactose and ischemic heart disease.1 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.2 Dairy fat is also loaded various toxins and is the primary source of our nation’s high exposure to dioxin.3 Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical compound that even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency admits is a prominent cause of many types of cancer in those consuming dairy fat, such as butter and cheese.4 Cheese is also a power inducer of acid load, which increases calcium loss further.5
Now, as for food dye, listen, if you’re really looking to prevent cancer, just stick with fruits and veggies. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Foods are nutrient dense when they contain a high level of micronutrients per calorie. Vegetables win the award for the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Therefore, as you move forward in your quest for nutritional excellence, you will eat more and more vegetables. In containing the most nutrients per calorie, vegetables have the most powerful association with protection from heart disease and cancer.
Flavored milk and food dye? Welcome to bizarro world.
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Beef's Ups and Downs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has moved to ban certain cattle parts from being used in animal feed. Reuters reports:


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which oversees animal feed, said excluding high-risk materials from cattle 30 months of age or older from all animal feed will prevent any accidental cross-contamination between ruminant feed (intended for animals such as cattle) and non-ruminant feed or feed ingredients.
The new rule takes effect in April, 2009.

Contamination could occur during manufacture, transport or through the accidental misfeeding of non-ruminant feed to ruminant animals.
Canada and the United States banned the inclusion of protein from cows and other ruminant animals such as goats and sheep in cattle feed in 1997, following a mad cow outbreak in Britain.
Could this help restore consumer confidence? Because as it stands right now Americans are losing faith in the FDA. From Business Wire:
Majorities of U.S. adults give negative ratings for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on a number of measures, such as ensuring new drugs come to market quickly (60% negative) and managing recalls or withdrawals when safety concerns arise (53%). The perception that the FDA does a good job ensuring the safety and efficacy of new prescription drugs (35% positive) has declined from 45 percent in 2007 and 56 percent in 2004, even though the general population considers this to be the most important task for the FDA to focus on (61%).


Further, only 26 percent think the FDA does a good job ensuring the safety of prescription drugs that are manufactured outside the U.S. This is no surprise, particularly coming on the heels of the recent Heparin contamination incident, which stemmed from materials made in China.
Granted, the report focuses on prescription drugs, but, you’ve got to admit. The FDA could do a better job keeping tabs on things. Two examples:
The FDA should nip problems like these in the bud before they even get close to hitting the news, but, the bad press doesn’t scare everyone. Japan will continue to import U.S. beef despite a recent ban. Reuters reports:


Japan does not plan to halt imports of U.S. beef after the discovery of a U.S. shipment that included parts banned due to the risk of mad cow disease, Japan's government spokesman told a news conference on Thursday.


Tokyo has suspended imports from the meatpacker that supplied the beef, a National Beef Packing Co plant in California, after the discovery. "It seems it was shipped to Japan by mistake," Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said.

"I don't think there is a need to suspend imports," he said.

But Machimura added that Japan would increase testing, aiming to check 10 percent of incoming U.S. beef cargoes, up from the current 1 percent.
You can’t discount the bravery of the Japanese, I wouldn’t eat any beef, mad cow disease-risk or not. Why is red meat bad? Check out: War Against Cancer, Serve Beef?

Real Food, Real Unhealthy

I was surfing the newswires and this Dunkin’ Donuts advertisement caught my eye, and, annoyed the heck out of me! Take a look:



Real food! I hate the notion that greasy fast food is somehow “real food.” If people want to eat that garbage, be my guest, it’s a free country, but how about some truth in advertising? Here’s what I had in mind:



Now, I think that looks a lot better—don’t you agree?

Low-Fat Food, Not Always Healthy!

The low-fat food craze is almost as perverse as the low-carb craze. Most low-fat foods are hardly the healthy alternatives they are marketed to be. Jacki Donaldson of That’s Fit explores the issue in, “Low-fat foods are not free foods.” Here’s a bit:
Visions of low-fat Wheat Thins are swimming through my head right now -- I've been known to demolish a whole box of these treats.


I remember during my sweet-tooth days enjoying an occasional package of fat-free Twizzlers. Fat-free. Smart choice, right? Nope.

No matter how low-fat the food, calories still matter most. Eating low-calorie foods such as veggies means you can eat larger amounts. But starchy foods, like rice, bread, and yes, Wheat Thins, are higher in calories. Which makes them bad for weight loss and management.
Jacki’s right. These low-fat foods are bupkis! Just take a look at the nutrition facts for Low-Fat Wheat Thins and Strawberry Twizzlers:






What the heck? Salt, flour, high-fructose corn syrup, and ALL the sugar that goes into Twizzlers. Now, if you’re looking for REAL low-fat health foods—one word—vegetables! For example, my “low-fat” lunch yesterday was an entire bag of baby spinach—NICE!

Less Fat, Less Prostate Cancer


“For prostate health limit or avoid animal products to less than 5 percent of total calories, and don’t drink milk or eat cheese or butter,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. And, a new study has found that eating less fat may prevent prostate cancer. EMaxHealth is on it:
The study, which appears in the April 15 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Cancer Research, focused on fat from corn oil, which is made up primarily of omega-6 fatty acids — the polyunsaturated fat commonly found in the Western diet. Omega-6 fats are found in high levels in baked and fried goods, said William Aronson, a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and the study's senior author.

Researchers fed one group of mice a diet with roughly 40 percent of its calories coming from fat, a percentage typical in men eating a Western diet. The other group received a diet with 12 percent of calories from fat, considered a very low-fat diet. Researchers found a 27 percent reduced incidence of prostate cancer in the low-fat diet group.

Aronson also studied cells in the prostate that were precancerous, or would soon become cancer, and found that the cells in the mice eating the low-fat diet grew much slower than those in the high-fat group.
Yeah, if you’re looking to avoid any kind of cancer, you’ve got to eat plenty of plant foods. Take fruit for example. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Fruit is an indispensable requirement to maintain a high level of health. Fruit consumption has been shown to offer the strongest protection against certain cancers, especially oral, esophageal, lung, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.1
And dairy products are no better. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman again. Take a look:
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.2 Meat, coffee, and animal fats also showed a positive correlation.
Its got to be hard concocting all the fairytales of the benefits of high-fat diets.
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America Fat, World Starving...



Discover magazine’s Better Planet blog points out that while the United States is fat, many countries are in famine. Check it out:
Food prices have doubled as commodities prices have soared around the world. This puts people on the brink over the edge and may cause widespread starvation and rioting (some of which we’ve already see in Cairo, Mexico City, and the Philippines). The crisis is so bad that this week President Bush released $200 million in emergency food funding to help nations in need.

Walk through the slums of Mumbai, wonder out into the rural areas of Third World countries, as I have, and you’ll see how little margin for food error there is. This is serious. These are lives.

The World Food Bank reports that its reserves are the lowest they have been in about 30 years. Rice and wheat have become so expensive that nations have stopped exporting them. This causes panic and problems the likes of which the world has never seen. Meanwhile, recent health reports show the obesity rate for US adults stands at 64%. The Environmental Protection Agency says one of the most common items at landfills is tossed food
Okay, America might have a lot of food, but we eat too much of the wrong stuff—that’s why we’re so fat! It’s the quality of food that’s important. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in his new book Eat For Health. Here’s a bit:
What makes a food healthy is how many nutrients it delivers to your body. In other words, for optimal health we must eat foods that are rich in nutrients, in particular, foods that deliver the maximum nutrients in each calorie. This can be a strange concept for many people because they are accustomed to judging whether or not a food is healthy by analyzing how many calories, fat grams, or carbohydrates it has. Try to wipe those ingrained ideas from your mind. With this plan, your primary concern will be the nutrients in the foods you eat. However, to eat this way, we must first understand what nutrients are and which foods are richest in them…


…Eating foods that are rich in micronutrients is essential to achieving optimal health. A micronutrient-heavy diet supplies your body with 14 different vitamins, 25 different minerals, and more than 10,000 phytochemicals, which are plant-based chemicals that have profound effects on human cell function and the immune system. Foods that are naturally rich in these nutrients are also rich in fiber and water and are naturally low in calories, meaning they have a low caloric density. These low-calorie, high-nutrient foods provide the ingredients that enable your body’s self-healing and self-repairing mechanisms.
News like this worries me, because a lot of developing countries see America and start to emulate the good and—unfortunately—the bad too and the Standard American Diet is NOT something worth copying.

Blocking Calorie-Count


Some restaurants are looking to block NYC’s resurgent calories-on-menus law. Larry Neumeister of the Associated Press reports:
An organization of state restaurants asked a federal appeals court Tuesday to stop the city from immediately implementing a requirement that some chain restaurants post calories on menus.

The New York State Restaurant Association said in court papers submitted to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan that implementation should be blocked because the case raises legal issues that the courts have yet to address.

The widely expected request came after U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell ruled last week that the city requirement was constitutional and might help the city achieve its goal of reducing obesity.

He held off enforcement of the requirement until Friday so the restaurant association could appeal. Restaurants breaking the rule will not be fined until at least June 6.
Who knows if it’ll actually help curb the city’s weight problems, but shouldn’t people know exactly what’s in their food—any thoughts?

Health Points: Wednesday


Life expectancy has declined for many women in the United States, largely due to smoking-related diseases and obesity, a study published Tuesday showed.

Nearly one in five US women saw the number of years they are expected to live decline or hold steady, starting in the 1980s, showed the joint study by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Washington.

The study looked at data from more than 2,000 county "units" between 1959 and 2001.
BPA migrates into food from polycarbonate plastic bottles or the epoxy resin coatings that line canned food. The typical adult ingests an estimated 1 microgram of BPA for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. Babies who use polycarbonate bottles and formula from cans get more, an estimated 10 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. A microgram represents a trace amount. Consider this: a single M&M is about a gram. If you cut it into 100,000 slices, one slice would equal about 10 micrograms.


The 2003-4 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found detectable levels of BPA in 93 percent of urine samples collected from more than 2,500 adults and children over 6.
Agriculture Secretary Edward Schafer wasn't able to estimate how many additional cattle might be affected by a total ban, and the overall economic impact is difficult to calculate, though Mark Dopp, of the American Meat Institute, said it wasn't expected to be significant. Dairy farmers get several hundred dollars for each cow they sell for slaughter.


Undercover video taken at Westland/Hallmark Meat in Chino, Calif., showed workers shocking cattle and pushing them with forklifts to force them to slaughter. That led to the recall of 143 million pounds of beef, though authorities said the health risks were minimal.

Downer cows are more prone to infections such as mad-cow disease, partly because they typically wallow in feces.

On average, food racks up about 1,000 food miles (or 1,650 "food kilometers") traveling from farms to processing or packaging plants before reaching Americans' dinner plates, the study estimates.


The whole supply chain—including delivering grains to feed cattle and delivering fuel to farms, for example—adds another 4,200 miles (6,750 kilometers).

Yet all that shipping, driving, and flying accounts for only a sliver of foods' climate impact—just 11 percent of the total—compared with the impact from producing the food itself, the study showed.
About 180 people who ate at a Chipotle restaurant near Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, became sick with a gastrointestinal illness, the Akron Beacon Journal reports. Health officials began investigating the outbreak after people started arriving at local emergency rooms complaining of diarrhea, nausea, and severe vomiting.


Many of those affected were Kent State students who had eaten burritos at the restaurant on Thursday and Friday. Some had donated blood and gotten a coupon for free food at the restaurant, according to WLWT, the Cincinnati NBC affiliate.
While most environmentalists take aim at plastic, paper comes from trees, and processing bags creates greenhouse gases.


So, Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman points out, the best bag is the one you can use again and again -- provided you remember to bring it with you to the store -- and can get out of the habit of using them!

Some are even becoming fashion statements! The now chic "I'm not a plastic bag" by designer Anya Hindmarch quickly sold out in London and New York at $15 each, but are readily available at more than double that price on eBay!

In our post on Bisphenol A from Nalgene water bottles and other polycarbonate bottles, a number of commenters asked about the lining in SIGG aluminum bottles, expressing concern that their linings might leach BPA. So we asked them, and received a response from the CEO, Steve Wasik. He says that SIGG uses a proprietary liner formula from a Swiss supplier with "an impeccable reputation for quality" but that "as there are many copy-cat manufacturers in the market (most based in China) that would like to get their hands on this formula, our supplier has an agreement with SIGG to keep his formula confidential."


Wasik continues: "Very thorough migration testing in laboratories around the world is conducted regularly and has consistently shown SIGG aluminum bottles to have no presence of lead, phthalates, Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), Bysphenol A (BPA), Bysphenol B (BPB) or any other chemicals which scientists have deemed as potentially harmful.
Breakfast cereals for children are less healthy than cereals meant for adults, and those marketed the most aggressively to kids have the worst nutritional quality, according to a new analysis of 161 brands.


"The cereal the parent is eating him or herself is probably better than what they're feeding their child," Dr. Marlene B. Schwartz of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, the lead researcher on the study, told Reuters Health.

Schwartz and her colleagues also found that health claims made for kids' cereals were often misleading. Cereals sold as "low fat" or "low sugar" were not lower in calories, as parents might assume, and while brands touted as "whole grain" did have more fiber, they had just as much salt, sugar and fat as other brands and the same calorie content.
New Yorkers handed over $45 million in internet sales tax last year alone. Still, that’s less than half of what the government thinks it’s owed.


So, starting in June, 2008, New York will require the largest online retailers to collect sales tax on purchases shipped to the Empire State.

Japanese farmers have had somewhat better luck with the honor system, which they employ in thousands of unmanned produce stands across the country. Many of the stands see payment rates approaching 90 percent. But in Japan, as in New York, the free ride may be coming to an end, the Yomiuri Shimbun reports, as farmers start to insist on being paid in full.
In an analysis of pooled data from previous clinical trials, researchers in the Netherlands found that when healthy adults older than 55 improved their fitness through aerobic exercise, there was also often an improvement in memory, attention or other mental abilities.


The findings appear in the Cochrane Library, a publication of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research.

Aerobic exercise is any activity, such as brisk walking, that gets the heart rate up and improves endurance, over time. This type of exercise has proven benefits for the heart.

Eating for the Planet...

Okay, I’ve heard of “low-carb” diets—which are nonsense—but what are “low-carbon” diets? Kenneth R. Weiss of The Los Angeles Times explains:
"No hamburger patties?" asked an incredulous football player, repeating the words of the grill cook. He glowered at the posted sign: "Cows or cars? Worldwide, livestock emits 18% of greenhouse gases, more than the transportation sector! Today we're offering great-tasting vegetarian choices."


The portabello burger didn't beckon him. Nor the black-bean burger.

"Just give me three chicken breasts, please," he said -- and with that, swaggered off to pile potato wedges onto his heaping plate.

Although this perhaps wasn't the most accepting reaction, it resulted in the desired dietary shift as Bon Appétit Management Co. rolls out its new Low Carbon Diet in 400 cafes it runs at university and corporate campuses around the country. Chicken, it turns out, has a lower carbon footprint than beef…

… Bon Appétit has begun to reverse the trend of super-sized meals. Burgers on many college campuses, for instance, have been downsized from one-third to quarter-pounders, with prices adjusted accordingly.

Helene York, a Harvard- and Yale-educated MBA, is part carbon cop -- "I spent a lot of time beating up our suppliers" -- and part mom, reminding customers that their mother was right: You should eat more vegetables. You shouldn't waste food.
Look at this graphic. It pretty much lays it on the line. Foods like beef are rotten for the environment. Check it out:


I guess us nutritarians are already eating low-carbon diets—yippee! Actually, we’ve seen this sort of thing before. Remember this:






We already know these animal products are eroding our health, but apparently they’re walloping our environment too. Maybe that’s why so many people are growing kitchen gardens. From The New York Times:


It’s something you have to experience yourself, after doing something as simple as planting basil in a window box, or salad greens in one big pot and a no-fail cherry tomato plant in another.


Kitchen gardens are as old as the first hunter-gatherers who decided to settle down and watch the seeds grow. Walled medieval gardens protected carefully tended herbs, greens and fruit trees from marauders, both human and animal. The American colonists planted gardens as soon as they could, sowing seeds brought from Europe.

Call them survivor gardens.

Now, they are being discovered by a new generation of people who worry about just what is in that bag of spinach and how much fuel was consumed to grow it and to fly it a thousand miles.

Roger Doiron, a kitchen gardener in Scarborough, Me., produced so many vegetables last year that there are still a few rutabagas in his root cellar. “Our seed order was $85, and we did not buy a single vegetable from June through January,” he told me by phone earlier this month. He hadn’t planted peas yet, he said, but the spinach he planted last fall was greening up.
I’m not much of an environmentalist, but it does make me feel good that my food consumption isn’t straining our planet—know what I mean?

Heart Risks in Youth



According to new research, heart disease risk begins developing in men during adolescence. Ed Edelson HealthDay News reports:
The study of the 507 Minneapolis school children found that between the ages of 11 and 19, levels of triglycerides, a type of blood fat associated with cardiovascular disease, increased in the boys and dropped in the girls. Levels of HDL cholesterol, the "good" kind that helps keep arteries clear, went down in boys but rose in girls.

Blood pressure increased in both, but significantly more in boys. And insulin resistance, a marker of cardiovascular risk, which was lower in boys at age 11, rose until the 19-year-old men were more resistant than the women…

…A recent study found that more than a third of children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese.

The study points toward the importance of hormonal factors in cardiovascular disease risk, Dr. Antoinette Moran, chief of pediatric endocrinology and diabetes at the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital explained. "We knew that women had extra protection from cardiovascular disease, and we knew it disappeared after menopause," she said. "This adds further weight to the role of hormones by looking at the other end of the age spectrum."
Not exactly new news, being obese and eating poorly is a bad idea—at any age! Here Dr. Fuhrman talks about heart risk in youth:
As a result of the heart-unfriendly diet, blood vessel damage begins early. Not only does the development of coronary atherosclerosis develop in childhood, but earlier development of atherosclerosis and higher serum cholesterol levels in childhood result in a significantly higher risk of premature sudden death relatively early in life. Sometimes the effects of childhood dietary abuses can be seen relatively early, with premature death or a heart attack at a young age.


When we study people who died young of coronary artery disease, we find that the highest risk of an earlier death occurs in those who were above average weight in childhood.1 Findings from the famous Bogalusa Heart Study show that a high saturated fat intake early in life is strongly predictive of later heart disease burden and the higher blood pressure in childhood and adolescence is powerfully predictive of cardiovascular death in adulthood.2
And the drugs we pump kids full of aren’t doing them any favors either. It seems there might be heart risk in ADHD drugs. From The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Millions of children taking drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder should be checked for heart problems, the American Heart Association said yesterday, a recommendation that also might identify more youngsters with cardiac disorders.


Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, and other stimulants commonly prescribed to treat ADHD can increase blood pressure and heart rate. While not a problem for the vast majority of patients, they can lead to life-threatening conditions and even sudden cardiac death in those with heart conditions.

"We want all children to have safe access to these medications," said Victoria L. Vetter, a pediatric cardiologist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and lead author of the recommendations published today in Circulation, the heart association journal.

For the drugs to be truly safe, Vetter said in an interview, children with heart problems must be identified.

The committee of experts nevertheless emphasized that children on ADHD drugs should not stop. The recommendations are meant to prompt doctors to more carefully screen the heart health of young patients, Vetter said - "not freak out parents."
ADHD is a whole other issue. Here’s a little bit of Dr. Fuhrman on ADHD drugs. Take a look:
These medications with their reported adverse effects and potential dangers were simply unnecessary for so many children whom I have seen as patients. I have witnessed consistently positive results when these children followed my comprehensive program of nutritional excellence. The scientific studies lending support to a comprehensive nutritional approach to treating ADHD are ignored by physicians, and drugs are generally the only method offered.


Most new cases of ADHD are of the inattentive subtype. Inattentive ADHD are the children who have a short attention span, are easily distracted, and can appear to be a brain fog; they do not have hyperactivity. Research on the use of psychostimulants in these patients has shown high rate of nonresponders, and although medications showed a short-term decrease in symptoms, they did not improve grade point averages.1
Now, I’m not far seer, but, I’d be willing to bet A LOT of these problems could be avoided by upgrading the quality of kids’ diets—what do you think?
Continue Reading...

Go Flax!

Martha Edwards of That’s Fit thinks flaxseed is a super food. Check it out:
How good? Here's just a short list of ailments it can help ward off: Cholesterol, cancer, constipation, diabetes, heart disease, menopause, inflammation and depression. And it's no surprise -- Flax contains all-important omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a special thing called lignans. Lignans act like antioxidants and have anti-tumor properties. And that's not all: Flax has fiber, which, in addition to helping you lower your cholesterol and risk of heart disease, helps keep you ... well, regular.
  • Sprinkle it on your cereal or salad, or add it to your smoothie. You'll hardly taste it.
  • Substitute flax for eggs in your favourite recipes. One tablespoon of flax seed and three tablespoons of water is the equivalent of one egg. Or just add it to any recipe where you'd welcome a nuttier flavour.
  • Switch out regular oils with flax seed oil.
Flaxseed is amazing, I eat some everyday. I buy this one:



And Dr. Fuhrman loves flaxseed too. Here’s a quote:
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.
Although, he’s not too high on flaxseed oil—see for yourself:
There is no need to consume flaxseed oil. The best way to get omega-3 fatty acids is to consume whole flaxseed. Plus, when you consume whole flaxseed, not only do you get the best plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, you also get the richest source of dietary lignans. Lignans are converted by bacteria in the intestinal tract to horomone-like compounds called phytoestrogens that have protective effects against hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. In fact, consuming ground flaxseed has been shown to have beneficial properties for prevention and treatment of both breast and prostate cancer.
Got that? Flaxseed good, flaxseed oil bad!

Eat For Health: Dying from a Diet



This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

Most Americans are not in good health thanks to the standard, low-nutrient diet in this country. The risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and cardiovascular-related premature death is extremely high for all people who eat this way. Look at these statistics:
  • The lifetime risk for developing hypertension (high blood pressure) is over 90 percent.1
  • High blood pressure has climbed 30 percent over the past decade.
  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an enormous health care burden and is responsible for approximately 40 percent of all U.S. deaths annually.2
There’s nothing pre-programmed in the human genome that says as people get old they automatically get fat and have high blood pressure. They’re getting high blood pressure because their diets are calorie-rich and nutrient-poor. They’re eating processed foods and too much salt, and they’re avoiding physical exercise. Adding to the problem is that people are given prescription drugs that allow them to continue their disease-causing habits while gaining a false sense of security that they are protected from disease. If you eat like other Americans and don’t have a heart attack and die when you are young, you will inevitably develop high blood pressure and then be at high risk for either a heart attack or stroke when you get older. Populations around the world who live and eat differently are found to be free of high blood pressure in their elderly members.3 These diseases have known nutritional causes, and we never need to suffer from them.

Today, two in five are obese, and the vast majority of Americans are significantly overweight. We are in worse shape today, with heavier bodies and thicker waistlines, than at any time in human history. At the same time, we have learned that our waistlines and our weight are the most critical factors governing our health and lifespan. There is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that gives us the knowledge, but people are still dying prematurely and living a poor-quality life, with sickness and disability, because they are not questioning their current way of doing things. Heart disease, diabetes, and most cancers are preventable, but prevention requires change. It requires learning from our past mistakes and learning new information. It sounds simple, and it can be simple if you have an open mind and if you let knowledge, rather than habits and emotions, guide you.
Continue Reading...

Exercise Hard, Drink Coke?

Coca-Cola, a great way to rehydrate—seriously! Scott from HealthandMen recently learned this first hand. Take a look:
I bought a 12 pack of Coca-Cola today for my parents who are coming in to town this weekend and I noticed something it said on the bottom. It says:


“All beverages hydrate to include soft drinks. So if you are looking for hydration, but want the delicious and refreshing taste you get from Coca-Cola, don’t compromise - go for it! You’ll be hydrating your body with each and every sip.”

Maybe if all the water in the world is gone and Coca-Cola is the only thing left to hydrate yourself with it would be a good statement. You can not substitute water for ideal hydration.
No, this can’t be true. There’s no way the spin masters at Coke would make such a silly claim. I mean, come on:



What a load—a load of sugar and empty calories that is! Just check out cola's nutrient score from Dr. Fuhrman’s Food Scoring Guide:



The Center for Science in the Public Interest has been screaming about the ills of soda for years. From their site:
The empty calories of soft drinks are likely contributing to health problems, particularly overweight and obesity. Those conditions have become far more prevalent during the period in which soft drink consumption has soared. Several scientific studies have provided experimental evidence that soft drinks are directly related to weight gain. That weight gain, in turn, is a prime risk factor for type 2 diabetes, which, for the first time, is becoming a problem for teens as well as adults. As people get older, excess weight also contributes to heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.
So yeah, I’m not down with the soda for hydration rap. I’ll stick with water—out of a BPA-free bottle of course. Like these from Amazon. Hey, which one should I buy? Let me know.

New York City to Shows its Calories...

At first the push to print calories on NYC restaurant menus was stalled. From the AFP:
"This decision highlights some of the flaws in the New York City Board of Health's regulation," Peter Kilgore, acting head of the National Restaurant Association said in a statement after the ruling.


The rules, which would have applied only to restaurants that already disclosed calorie data, "would have attempted to punish the very restaurants that are already providing accurate and comprehensive nutrition information."
Then city officials decided revive the proposal. The Associated Press was on it:
City health officials announced Wednesday that they hope to revive their stalled plan to force fast-food chains to add calorie counts to the big menu boards that hang above their counters.


The city's original effort to put calories on menus was struck down by a judge in September, but Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said the regulation has been reworked and is ready for a second try.

"People deserve to have more information when they are ordering food," he said.
And now, a federal judge has upheld NYC's calories-on-menus law. More from the AP:
Chuck Hunt, executive vice president of the restaurant association's New York City chapter, said it would ask the judge to stay his ruling pending an appeal. The health department said it would not start fining restaurants until June 3.


"We don't object to people doing it voluntarily," Hunt said Wednesday. "Our problem was the government agency forcing them to do it. We think restaurants should be able to determine from their customers how they want to get the information."

The new rule applies to restaurants that are part of chains with at least 15 outlets nationwide. That includes fast-food places like McDonald's and Wendy's, as well as sit-down establishments like Olive Garden and T.G.I. Friday's.

Some eateries, including Starbucks and Chipotle, have already started to post calorie information -- and it appears to be having an effect.
Very cool, and remember, Chipotle is an Eating to Live on the Outside all star!

Pesticides: Best and Worst, Fruits and Veggies...

Health Points: Monday


“Based on all available scientific evidence, we continue to believe that Nalgene products containing BPA are safe for their intended use,” Steven Silverman, the general manager of the Nalgene unit, said in a statement. “However, our customers indicated they preferred BPA-free alternatives, and we acted in response to those concerns.”

The National Toxicology Program in the United States released a draft report on Tuesday reporting that some rats that were fed or injected with low doses of the chemical developed precancerous tumors and urinary tract problems and reached puberty early. While the report said the animal tests provided “limited evidence,” it also noted that the “possibility that bisphenol-a may alter human development cannot be dismissed.”
The current U.S. flu season has been the worst in four years, due, in part, to a vaccine that was not a good match for certain circulating strains of flu virus, U.S. health officials said Thursday.


For strains of influenza A (H3N2) -- the most prevalent virus during the 2007-08 season, the vaccine was 58 percent effective. But it was 100 percent ineffective against influenza B infections, leaving an overall vaccine success rate of about 44 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The tests do not show that drinking water is unsafe. But they do raise important questions for regulators and city officials aware of growing concerns about potential health effects from long-term exposure to drugs in our drinking water, even at very low levels.


"There are many unknowns," said Dana Kolpin, a researcher at the U.S. Geological Survey who conducted some of the first tests that found pharmaceuticals in municipal water supplies. "On one hand, levels of specific substances are very low and appear to be nothing to worry about. But the question is whether mixtures of many substances could build to a point where there could be some harmful effects."
But the Professor Woodpecker series, the brand new set of children's books from H and T Imaginations Unlimited, Inc., is out to change that. In the first three of the planned six book series -- "Professor Woodpecker's Banana Sandwiches"; "Green Apples, Red Apples, Yellow Apples and More"; and "Professor Woodpecker Loves Cereal" (published by AuthorHouse -- www.authorhouse.com) -- Professor Woodpecker shares invaluable nutritional advice and ideas with children everywhere, and no one is better equipped to share such dietary wisdom than clever and caring Professor Woodpecker.


Authoritative yet fun, educational yet entertaining, Professor Woodpecker serves as a role model and teacher for children and those around them who help make their nutritional decisions, like parents and grandparents. Each book features the wise and witty professor, who -- while carrying on fun activities and conversations -- introduces children to important information regarding wholesome nutrition.
"If the House and Gov. Rod Blagojevich go along, foods cooked with trans fat would be banned starting in July 2009. Such food would be prohibited in school vending machines a year later.


"State Board of Education spokesman Matt Vanover said the ban may not have a big effect on school menus because manufacturers have been shying away from the substance for several years.

"Trans fat is a man-made product that improves the taste and texture of foods, but is known to raise bad cholesterol while attacking good cholesterol. It also contributes to heart disease and diabetes."

This is the scene at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, where students attend weekly adaptive yoga class. Derived from traditional yoga, poses are modified for those with disabilities or health conditions.


Hundreds of miles away, longtime instructor Karen O'Donnell Clarke says the limitations could have a number of sources: multiple sclerosis (which she has), a sports injury, fibromyalgia or even a sedentary lifestyle. Post-surgical conditions, Parkinson's disease, stroke and arthritis may also cause some impairment. "Pretty much if you name a health condition, yoga can help with it," she says.

Physical therapist Sarah Knopf says the class' popularity is due to many patients asking what else they can be doing to strengthen their bodies or overcome a health challenge quicker.
Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York found that people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood experience an increased risk for a condition known as peripheral artery disease, or PAD.


PAD most often reduces blood flow to the legs, causing pain and numbness, impairing the ability to walk and in some cases leading to amputation. It develops when fatty deposits accumulate in the inner linings of artery walls, cutting blood flow and oxygen to the legs, feet, arms and elsewhere.

The researchers based the findings on a U.S. government health survey involving 4,839 adults who had their blood vitamin D levels measured and underwent a screening method for PAD that assesses blood flow to the legs.

I finally had a chance to use a Wii. After getting over some initial embarrassment, I had an awful lot of fun! I tried the tennis game and, sadly enough, I'm as bad at virtual tennis as I am on an actual tennis court. While the Wii was certainly more active than playing any other video game system, it wasn't nearly the same type of exercise as a real sport.


Both Bev and Bethany have written about the exercise potential in the interactive gaming system before. And, compared to sitting like a lump playing regular video games, the Wii is a great thing. But it doesn't take the place of real exercise. The active games are a great alternative to regular video games. Also, many of the games aren't violence based -- as a parent, I know I appreciate that. They also offer hand-eye coordination benefits. And, for kids (or adults) who aren't active at all, the games may be a stepping stone for developing interest in real sports.

Friday: News from You...


Lignans are plant compounds found in seeds, whole grains, vegetables and fruits. In laboratory studies, lignans have been shown to impact hormone levels and tumor growth. Researchers from Roswell Park and the University at Buffalo evaluated the dietary lignan intakes of 1,122 women diagnosed with breast cancer who participated in the Western New York Exposures and Breast Cancer Study (WEB Study) between 1996 and 2001. Lignan intake was calculated based on responses to a questionnaire that charted intake of over 100 foods.

The study found that dietary lignan intake had no relevance among premenopausal women with breast cancer. However, in postmenopausal women, those with a high lignan intake were 70% less likely to die from breast cancer.
Makes sense to me. Just ask Dr. Fuhrman, “Cancer is a disease of maladaptation. It results primarily from a body’s lacking critical substances found in different types of vegetation.”

Taking antioxidants like vitamins A and E to prolong life may actually have the opposite effect, new research has found.


A review of 67 studies involving more than 230,000 people found "no convincing evidence" that the vitamins prolonged life, the Press Association reported.

"Even more, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E seem to increase mortality," according to the researchers.

However, other health specialists said the research was "flawed" and the supplements were safe to take.
I doubt vitamins are poison pills. I wonder, if you take vitamins, but continue to eat an unhealthy diet, would those vitamins REALLY help? Food for thought—pun intended.

  1. Helps you lose weight. Since fruits and vegetables have a lot of fiber, the more of them you eat, the fuller you feel.
  2. Fights cancer. In a comprehensive review of the best research on fruits, vegetables, and cancer by an agency for the World Health Organization, the authors concluded that eating more vegetables "probably lowers the risk of cancers of the esophagus and colon-rectum" and "possibly reduces the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, stomach, larynx, lung, ovary, and kidney."
  3. Promotes heart health. A 14-year-long Harvard study of nurses and other health professionals found that the more fruits and vegetables a person ate daily, the lower that person's chances were of developing heart-related health problems like heart attack and stroke.
  4. Lowers cholesterol. According to a study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, people who ate more than four servings of fruits and vegetables a day had much lower levels of LDL or "bad" cholesterol than those who ate fewer servings.
  5. Reduces bowel problems. The fiber in fruits and vegetables relieves constipation and helps prevent diverticulosis and colon disease.
  6. Improves vision. Eating your vegetables may help prevent vision problems associated with aging.
Pretty cool! And Lilly had this to say, “Seems that just about EVERYONE is hopping on the more veggies bandwagon!

Food: Truth and Untruth in Advertising

Let’s start with the truth. Greenpeace wants you to know that, “The DNA of genetically modified plants may contain the genes of insects, animals or even viruses.” Check out their new ad campaign, via BehanceNetwork:








And apparently, “These products may potentially cause harm to your health.” Scary stuff! Now, on to the untruths. McCain’s, food processor of French fries and potato products, wants you to “Eat Your Greens.” From TreeHugger:



According to marketing gibberish “Eat Your Greens” refers to McCain’s food labeling scheme which indicates how healthy different foods are. Yeah, because when I think processed potato products, I think healthy—sheesh!

The DASH Diet is Good...

Okay, I go to admit. I couldn’t remember what the DASH diet is, so, I ran it through Wikipedia and here’s what came up:
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or the DASH diet is a diet promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the NIH, an organisation part of the government of the USA) to control hypertension. A major feature of the plan is limiting intake of sodium, and it also generally encourages the consumption of nuts, whole grains, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables while lowering the consumption of red meats, sweets, and sugar. It is also "rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, as well as protein and fiber."


The DASH diet is based on NIH studies that examined three dietary plans and their results. None of the plans were vegetarian, but the DASH plan incorporated more fruits and vegetables, low fat or nonfat dairy, beans, and nuts than the others studied. Not only does the plan emphasize good eating habits, but also suggests healthy alternatives to "junk food" and discourages the consumption of processed foods.
Doesn’t sound too bad—pretty Fuhrman-friendly—maybe that’s why the DASH diet has been shown to cute the risk of heart disease. Ed Edelson of HealthDay News reports:
The DASH -- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension -- study, reported in the same issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, is the first to look at the diet's effect on the incidence of heart disease and stroke, said study author Teresa T. Fung, an associate professor of nutrition at the Simmons College School for Health Studies in Boston.


"Previously, the benefits that were reported were for hypertension [high blood pressure]," Fung said. "No previous study looked at cardiovascular endpoints such as heart disease and stroke."

The study reported on 88,517 female nurses aged 34 to 59 who started with no evidence of cardiovascular disease or diabetes in 1980. In the 24 years that followed, the one-fifth of women in the group whose diets were most similar to that recommended in DASH -- low in animal protein, moderate in low-fat dairy products and high in plant proteins -- were 24 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease and 18 percent less likely to have a stroke than the one-fifth of women with the lowest DASH scores.

While the study was not the kind of carefully controlled trial that gets the highest regard in research, it carries a message, Fung said. "This report actually shows that those people whose diet resembles the DASH diet reduce the risk of actual cardiovascular disease," she said.
Now, I’m certainly not going to abandon my nutritarian lifestyle for the DASH, but, the benefits of cutting salt, limiting saturated fat, and eating lots of fruits and veggies are truly undeniable. From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat for Health:
As the consumption of animal products, saturated fat, and processed foods drops down to low levels in a population’s diet, heart disease goes to lower and lower levels, reaching less than one percent of the total cause of death. Eating a diet lower in saturated fat and higher in fruits and vegetables dramatically reduces the occurrence of the clots that cause heart disease and embolic strokes. However, hemorrhagic strokes are not caused by atherosclerosis—the buildup of fatty substances in arteries—and the resultant clots. These strokes are caused by a hemorrhage or rupture in a blood vessel wall that has been weakened by years of elevated blood pressure as a result of chronic high salt intake. The weakened wall ruptures and lets blood flow into and damage brain tissue…


…When a diet is high in fatty animal products and high in salt, the thickened blood vessel walls caused by the unhealthful, heart-attack-promoting diet actually protect against the occurrence of this more uncommon cause of strokes. In medical studies, higher cholesterol levels are associated with increased risk of other strokes…

…A recent study looked at the effects of a diet with more fruits and vegetables combined with a low saturated fat intake. It showed a 76 percent reduction in heart-disease-related deaths for those consuming more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day and less than 12 percent of calories from saturated fat, compared to those with less vegetation and more saturated fat.1 Even this small increase in vegetation and mild reduction in saturated fats showed a dramatic reduction in heart-disease-related deaths.
I’ll think of the DASH as just that, a short little burst of health, but eating a vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet—THAT’S FOR THE LONG HAUL!
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School Food: Healthy Better Food, Smarter Kids, Higher Costs!

 

A new study has determined that children, who eat healthier, actually do better in school. Reuters is on it:
Students who ate an adequate amount of fruit, vegetables, protein, fiber and other components of a healthy diet were significantly less likely to fail a literacy test, Dr. Paul J. Veugelers of the University of Alberta in Edmonton and colleagues found.

While a healthy diet is generally assumed to be important for good school performance, there has actually been little research on this topic, Veugelers and his colleagues note. To investigate, they looked at 4,589 fifth-graders participating in the Children's Lifestyle and School-performance Study, 875 (19.1 percent) of whom had failed an elementary literacy assessment.
But, feeding kids healthy food in school costs more, and many schools are feeling the financial pinch. Maria Glod of The Washington Post reports:
Sharp rises in the cost of milk, grain and fresh fruits and vegetables are hitting cafeterias across the country, forcing cash-strapped schools to raise prices or pinch pennies by serving more economical dishes. Some school officials on a mission to help fight childhood obesity say it's becoming harder to fill students' plates with healthful, low-fat foods.


School meal programs across the country are run somewhat like restaurants, relying on federal and state subsidies, and profits from meal and snack sales and catering services, to buy food and pay workers. Rising labor costs, coupled with the recent push for healthier meals — which has meant serving higher-priced foods such as whole-grain breads and fresh vegetables — has squeezed budgets. Soaring food prices make it even harder to break even.
A healthy diet is basically preventative medicine, shouldn’t these schools get extra help for TRYING TO HELP! What do you think?

Health Points: Wednesday

The Institute of Medicine report found there are only about 7,100 doctors certified in geriatrics in the United States, 1 for every 2,500 older Americans.

The report urged that all health care workers be trained in basic geriatric care and that schools increase training in the treatment of older patients.

And it said pay for geriatric specialists, doctors, nurses and care workers needs to be increased.

A doctor specializing in elderly care earned $163,000 on average in 2005 compared with $175,000 for a general internist, even though the geriatric specialist required more training.
If approved, vaccination will take place before the end of the fiscal year in March 2009, and mark the first case in the world in which the vaccines -- based on strains of the H5N1 virus from China and Indonesia -- have been given to such a large group of people prior to a possible pandemic.


Japan has stockpiled vaccines for 10 million people using strains of the H5N1 virus from China, Indonesia and Vietnam. So far the government's stance has been to use them only after a breakout.
Complete cloud cover halves the energy of ultraviolet rays, and shade reduces it by 60 percent, according to the National Institutes of Health…


…To strike a balance between useful exposure and protection, the N.I.H. recommends an initial exposure of 10 to 15 minutes, followed by application of a sunscreen with an S.P.F. of at least 15. The institutes say this much exposure, at least two times a week, is usually sufficient to provide adequate vitamin D, though some researchers suggest it may not be enough. At the earth’s northern latitudes for much of the year, and at the midlatitudes in winter, the sun does not stay far enough above the horizon (45 degrees) for the angle of the sun’s rays to guarantee an efficient ultraviolet-B bath. Northerners may have to rely on the vitamin D synthesized in the summer or on foods and supplements.
Dental practices may be a source of a dangerous form of mercury contamination in the water supply, a small study suggests.


In tests of wastewater from two dental practices, researchers at the University of Illinois found high levels of methylated mercury -- a chemically altered form of the metal that is toxic to the brain and nervous system.

Mercury is part of the silver dental fillings that have long been used to treat cavities; in this form, mercury is believed to be safe.
  1. Seattle, Washington: An abundance of fresh local foods, walker-friendly streets, and inclusive attitudes helps make Seattle America's best city for healthy living.
  2. Portland, Oregon: Life is good in our second-ranked city, thanks to its seemingly endless supply of outdoor activities, cutting-edge restaurants, and vibrant environmental consciousness.
  3. Washington, D.C.: Our capital city sets an accommodating agenda with farm-fresh dining, diverse cultures, and ample opportunity for exploration on foot.
  4. Minneapolis, Minnesota: In our fourth-ranked best city, lush parks and shimmering lakes provide a natural backdrop to a rich cultural landscape.
  5. San Francisco, California: Our fifth-ranked city steps up with one of the world's most unforgettable settings–along with great cuisine and an energetic spirit.
So why is belly fat so bad for your brain? Although it makes up less than 5% of total body fat, belly or visceral fat is nestled around the heart, pancreas, and other organs, according to Tongjian You, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of exercise and nutrition sciences at the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, New York.


And it's different from other types of fat because it produces all kinds of inflammatory compounds that can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and now, potentially, dementia.

"Visceral fat releases higher amounts of those cytokines, especially interleukin 6, that cause cardiovascular disease and diabetes," says Dr. You, who was not involved in the dementia study. But what's the brain connection? "Inflammation is a contributing factor to dementia, so that's a reasonable link," he says.
  • Cravings can be beaten, just by sitting them out. Force yourself to wait 20 minutes before getting that snack, and nine times out of ten, you'll no longer want it.
  • Find something to do - ideally, an activity that makes it hard to eat at the same time.
  • Find a hobby or interest to occupy you, if you've got too much time on your hands
Roche Holding AG <ROG.VX> will aim to reassure that big-selling drugs can keep driving profit when it kicks off the European earnings season, as big pharma's blockbusters face growing threats.


Weakness in sales of top products will be a theme for European drugmakers, reflecting ageing portfolios, safety issues with certain products and tough conditions for promoting new drugs.

Roche's local rival Novartis AG <NOVN.VX> -- digesting a $39-billion move for eye care company Alcon <ACL.N> to broaden its business as it faces loss of exclusivity on top-seller Diovan for blood pressure -- will likely highlight some of those problems when it reports next week.

Uruguay's Big Barbecue Equals Bad Health


Its official, Uruguay is now the record holder for the world’s largest barbecue. The Associated Press reports:
Some 1,250 Uruguayan grillmeisters sizzled up 26,400 pounds (12,000 kilograms) of beef Sunday, beating a 2006 record set in Mexico.

"It's all so beautiful. It's a record," Guinness World Records judge Danny Girton said after the chefs, in white hats and aprons, smoked and barbecued their way into the record book with help of 6 tons of charcoal and 1,500 metal barbecue stands.

The barbecue was so big that firefighters were called in to light the grills and make sure the flames did not get out of hand. It beat the previous record of 17,600 pounds (8,000 kilograms) of beef, Girton said.
Wow, that’s a BIG health gamble. Barbecuing food—i.e. blackening it—comes with a HUGE price. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in his book Eat For Health:
In the last five years there has been worldwide alarm in the scientific community after researchers have found that many of the foods we eat contain these cancer-causing compounds. Acrylamides form in foods that are browned by being fried, baked, roasted, grilled, or barbequed, but not in those that are steamed, boiled or sautéed in water. Water-based cooking prevents the browning or burning that forms these harmful compounds.


Even though these chemicals have been shown to be potent carcinogens in animal models, so many acrylamides are consumed in the modern world that good research documenting the extent of the cancer risk in humans does not yet exist. This topic is still being actively investigated in many different countries, but the risk is difficult to estimate because baked, browned, and fried foods are so ubiquitous in Western diets.
A backyard cookout is fun, but acrylamides aren’t your friend. This study from the Scandinavian Journal of Nutrition discusses the development of acrylamides:
The exact chemical mechanism(s) for acrylamide formation in heated foods is unknown. Several plausible mechanistic routes may be suggested, involving reactions of carbohydrates, proteins/amino acids, lipids and probably also other food components as precursors. With the data and knowledge available today it is not possible to point out any specific routes, or to exclude any possibilities. It is likely that a multitude of reaction mechanisms is involved. Acrolein is one strong precursor candidate, the origin of which could be lipids, carbohydrates or proteins/amino acids. Acrylamide is a reactive molecule and it can readily react with various other components in the food. The actual acrylamide level in a specific food product, therefore, probably reflects the balance between ease of formation and potential for further reactions in that food matrix. There are indications in support of that the Maillard reaction being an important reaction route for acrylamide formation, but lipid degradation pathways to the formation of acrolein should also be considered.
I’m sorry, but is some silly world record worth the health risks? Which are doubly bad when you consider all the saturated fat, more from Eat For Health:
Saturated fat comes from many food sources, including processed foods, meat, cheese, and other animal products. Thousands of scientific research studies demonstrate that saturated fat promotes both heart disease and cancer and powerfully raises cholesterol.1 It is exceedingly clear that avoiding all fat is not the secret to protecting your heart. It is avoiding saturated fat, trans fat, and processed oils.2 We get heart-healthy fats in their natural, high-antioxidant environment when we eat raw seeds and nuts. Indeed, avocado, nuts, and seeds are rich in fat. They may even contain a small amount of saturated fat, but their consumption is linked to substantial protection against heart disease. But, in the American diet, fats come primarily from meat and dairy, which are saturated, and we compound the problem by the low level of food derived antioxidants and phytochemicals we ingest.
Think about it, the people of Uruguay served up 26,400 pounds of health attacking food—EGAD!
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Which Doughnut Do You Want?

Bev Sklar of That’s Fit asks the question:


And apparently the cruller is the way to go:
If you answered French Cruller, you're right! At 150 calories and 8 g of fat, this sexy little number has 80 less calories than the next best selection in the poll, a Glazed Donut with 230 calories and 10 g fat. I always figured the Old-Fashioned Cake Donut was the best bet, but don't let this Plain Jane fool you. It has 280 calories and 15 g fat, more than every choice in the poll!
Alright, if any of these sound good to you—STOP—in the name of health! Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of doughnuts. Take a look:
Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat
Foods high in saturated fat and trans fat are consistently associated with high cancer rates. Cheese and butter typically contain over ten times as much saturated fat as fish and white meat chicken and turkey.


Salt has been consistently linked to stomach cancer and stroke, even in populations that eat diets low in saturated fat.

Add the carcinogenic potential from heated and overcooked oils (usually trans containing) delivered in doughnuts and fries with the powerful cancer inducing properties of carbohydrates cooked at high heat (acrylamide formation) and you have a great cancer potion.
Now, it’s true. Not all doughnuts are created equal, but as Dr. Fuhrman’s Food Scoring Guide shows us, they’re all created equal terribly:


I’m no nutritionist, but how the heck can you defend deep-fried sugar and dough? Yucky!

Breast Cancer: Drinking, Trans-Fat, Soy...


New research has linked alcohol consumption to an increased risk of breast cancer. Reuters reports:
The analysis of data from more than 184,000 women is the biggest of three major studies to conclude that drinking raises the risk of breast cancer for older women, Jasmine Lew, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute and the study's lead investigator said on Sunday.

The research found that women who had one to two small drinks a day were 32 percent more likely to develop a hormone-sensitive tumor. Three or more drinks a day raised the risk by 51 per cent.
More bad news, trans-fat is also being associated with a higher breast cancer risk. More from Reuters:
They found that women with the highest blood levels of trans-fats had about twice the risk of breast cancer compared to women with the lowest levels.


"At this stage, we can only recommend limiting the consumption of processed foods, the source of industrially produced trans-fatty acid," the researchers wrote in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
But this is good to hear. A compound in soy has been found to lower the risk of breast cancer: Reuters again:
Researchers found that among more than 24,000 middle-aged and older Japanese women, those with the highest levels of the compound, called genistein, were only one-third as likely as other women to develop breast cancer over 10 years.


Genistein is one of the major isoflavones, plant compounds found in soybeans, chick peas and other legumes that are structurally similar to the hormone estrogen, and are believed to bind to estrogen receptors on body cells.
So, to recap, drinking bad, trans-fat also bad, soybeans good!

Atherosclerosis and High Blood Pressure: Organ Trouble

It seems plaque build up in the arteries not only harms the heart, but other organs too. Theresa Waldron of HealthDay News reports:
"Atherosclerosis is usually associated with plaque formation in arteries," said study author Rita K. Upmacis, an associate research professor in pathology and laboratory medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. "But using a mouse model of atherosclerosis, we have demonstrated that the effects of this disease are more widespread, affecting . . . the heart, liver and lungs."


The finding, scheduled to be presented this week at the American Chemical Society annual meeting, in New Orleans, centers around the availability of nitric oxide (NO), an important gas within the body that relaxes blood vessel walls and helps prevent atherosclerosis. Certain substances in plaque remove NO and create a toxic substance known as peroxynitrite, which hampers the function of enzymes necessary to the health of blood vessel walls.
And high blood pressure isn’t exactly doing your brain any favors either. More from Will Boggs, MD of Reuters:
High blood pressure is associated with worse brain function than normal blood pressure in people aged 60 and older, according to a report by doctors at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC.


"Optimal control of blood pressure may be beneficial in attenuating the risk of cognitive decline as the population ages," they conclude.

Dr. Thomas Olabode Obisesan and associates used data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) to investigate whether abnormal blood pressure is independently associated with lower cognitive function in men and women between 60 and 74 years old at study entry.
I’m not doctor, but, I think the solution is clear. Try eating a diet that prevents both heart disease and high blood pressure. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
When you eat to maximize micronutrients in relation to calories, your body functions will normalize; chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol melt away; and you maintain your youthful vigor into old age. Heart disease and cancer would fade away and become exceedingly rare if people adopted a lifestyle of nutritional excellence. But in the here and now, what is exciting to so many people is that when your diet is high enough in micronutrients, excess weight drops off at a relatively fast rate. It’s like you had your stomach stapled. You simply don’t crave to overeat anymore. In fact, it becomes too difficult to overeat when you eat your fill of high-micronutrient food.
And hey, just think about how GREAT you’ll feel!

Health Points: Monday

The nine-member Atlantic City Council voted unanimously yesterday to approve a controversial measure that would prohibit smoking on all casino floors for the first time in the seaside resort's 30-year history of gambling.

The ordinance, which would allow smoking only in specially built nongaming lounges inside casinos, must go before the council again for a second reading April 23. But Atlantic City Mayor Scott Evans - who must sign it into law - has publicly stated his support of a total ban and of restricting smoking to the lounges, virtually assuring its final passage.
A form of substance abuse rampant in this country is rarely discussed publicly or privately. It involves abusing legally sold dietary supplements — vitamins, minerals, herbals and homeopathic remedies — all of which can be sold over the counter without prior approval for safety and effectiveness.


Although there was much publicity about the hazards of ephedra, once widely used as a weight-loss aid until it was found to be deadly, many other heralded dietary supplements have the potential for harm, especially when taken in large doses or in various combinations with one another or with medically prescribed prescription drugs.
Now, under the threat of regulation from Congress, the two industries promise to be more forthcoming about their spending. A dozen of the nation's leading drug and device makers have told Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, that they have plans or are working on plans to publicly disclose grants to outside groups. The details will be provided on each company's Web sites.


Watchdog groups say the companies are trying to head off legislation that would require public disclosure of their giving.
I know that the whole heart-rate monitoring issue is contentious. Many athletes strap on those slender black bands around the chests. Then they try to keep their rate at some percentage of their maximum, 70 percent, say, or 80 percent, depending on their goals for the workout.


For some activities, like using an elliptical cross-trainer or riding most Spinning bikes at the gym, it can be difficult to gauge your effort without a heart-rate monitor. You can’t figure out speed or distance the way you can if you are swimming in a pool or running or cycling outside. Maybe it’s all that sweating, but it always feels as if you’re working hard even when your heart rate tells you that you could do a lot more.

But experts disagree on whether heart-rate monitoring makes sense.
In the current study, Dr. Mon-Jia Tan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai and colleagues isolated and described several compounds from bitter melon known as cucurbitane triterpenoids, and tested their effects on glucose (sugar) and fat metabolism in cells and in mice.


When tested in muscle and fat cells, the researchers found, the compounds stimulated the glucose receptor GLUT4 to move from the cell interior to the cell surface, thus promoting more effective glucose metabolism. Several of the tested compounds had effects comparable to those of insulin.
Americans didn't suffer more food poisoning last year despite high-profile outbreaks involving peanut butter, pot pies and other foods.


But it's not getting better, either. Although there have been significant declines in certain food-borne illnesses since the late 1990s, all the improvements occurred before 2004, federal health officials said in a report released Thursday.

A food safety advocacy group called the report discouraging.
A top government health official said Wednesday that climate change is expected to have a significant impact on health in the next few decades, with certain regions of the country - and the elderly and children - most vulnerable to increased health problems.


Howard Frumkin, a senior official of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gave a detailed summary on the likely health impacts of global warming at a congressional hearing. But he refrained from giving an opinion on whether carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas, should be regulated as a danger to public health.
University of Michigan researchers have found that tiny little tart cherries can have a big impact on heart health and on diabetes. During the study researchers fed some rats a diet that included tart cherries; a control group of rats ate a diet that was equivalent in carbohydrates and calories but contained no cherries. At the end of the study, the rats who ate cherries had improvements in weight, fat percentage, cholesterol, and inflammation. A reduction in these risk factors is good news for heart health and diabetes.
"The only explanation may be that they are standing more upright, not so much crouching," study chief Dr. Jinsup Song of Temple University told Reuters Health. Song presented the findings April 4 at the Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society's Annual Meeting.

While past studies have investigated yoga for helping improve balance in elderly women, Song noted, they have typically used a relatively demanding form of the practice. In the current study, he and his colleague Marian Garfinkel, a certified yoga instructor, worked with B.K.S. Iyengar, the originator of Iyengar Yoga, to develop a program specifically designed for older people. "The poses were very basic -- how to stand upward, how to bend forward, sideways," said Song, who admitted he found some of the poses challenging himself.

Weight Discrimination



You hate to read news like this, but, apparently weight discrimination is a major issue in the United States. Amy Norton of Reuters is on it:
Discrimination against the overweight may be about as prevalent as racial discrimination, the results of a survey of U.S. adults suggest.

Using data from a survey of nearly 2,300 Americans, researchers at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut found that 5 percent of men and 10 percent of women said they had faced discrimination because of their weight -- ranging from job refusals to rude treatment in everyday life.

Among respondents who were severely obese -- having a body mass index

(BMI) of 35 or higher -- 40 percent reported instances of weight discrimination. A body mass index is the ratio between height and weight commonly used to classify individuals as over- or underweight.

Weight bias also rivaled the prevalence of other, long-recognized forms of discrimination, the researchers report in the International Journal of Obesity.
The good news is you can do something about it. Start eating a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet and the pounds will just melt away. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Eating more high-nutrient food is the only way to lose weight permanently, and eating more nutrients leads to permanent improvements in your health. Knowing these important facts and PUTTING THEM INTO PRACTICE is your key to health and longevity. Fortunately, eating more high-nutrient foods helps control food cravings and overeating behaviors, making it easier to reach your ideal weight. This knowledge can guide you for the rest of your life. It is not a fad, and it will never go out of style. High-nutrient eating is the way of the future, but you can enjoy it now. It can be your fountain of youth.
But in the meantime you can support those who are struggling with their weight.

To Egg or Not to Egg...

For as long as I can remember eggs have been America’s on again, off again lover, but as of this moment, they’re out…again. Reuters reports that Seven or More Eggs a Week Raises Risk of Death. Check it out:
Middle-aged men who ate seven or more eggs a week had a higher risk of earlier death, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.


Men with diabetes who ate any eggs at all raised their risk of death during a 20-year period studied, according to the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study adds to an ever-growing body of evidence, much of it contradictory, about how safe eggs are to eat. It did not examine what about the eggs might affect the risk of death.

Men without diabetes could eat up to six eggs a week with no extra risk of death, Dr. Luc Djousse and Dr. J. Michael Gaziano of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School found.

"Whereas egg consumption of up to six eggs a week was not associated with the risk of all-cause mortality, consumption of (seven or more) eggs a week was associated with a 23 percent greater risk of death," they wrote.

"However, among male physicians with diabetes, any egg consumption is associated with a greater risk of all-cause mortality, and there was suggestive evidence for a greater risk of MI (heart attack) and stroke."
Now, “seven or more eggs” sounds a bit excessive—don’t you think? Especially if you’re adhering to Dr. Fuhrman’s food pyramid. We talked about it earlier this week, but here’s another look:



Look closely:



If you’re eating more than seven eggs a week, you’re probably not eating them once weekly or less. Therein lies the problem. Too much animal foods—eggs included—and you’re playing with fire. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Today the link between animal products and many different diseases is as strongly supporting in the scientific literature as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. For example, subjects who ate meat, including poultry and fish, were found to be twice as likely to develop dementia (loss of intellectual function with aging) than their vegetarian counterparts in a carefully designed study.1 The discrepancy was further widened when past meat consumption was taken into account. The same diet, loaded with animal products, that causes heart disease and cancer also causes most every other disease prevalent in America including kidney stones, renal insufficiency and renal failure, osteoporosis, uterine fibroids, hypertension, appendicitis, diverticulosis, and thrombosis.2
But, Dr. Fuhrman is hardly anti-egg. Here’s why:
If you choose a limited amount of animal products to be included in your family’s diet, I favor eggs over fish or dairy, because of the potential for transmission of chemicals, mercury, and PCBs in the fish and dairy. Eggs, because they are virtually pollution-free, would be favored choice over other animal products to add to an otherwise vegan diet.
And for reference, check out egg’s Nutrient Scores:



So, I think you can ignore the wishy-washy research on eggs and just view them as other animal products—best kept to a minimum.
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Monsanto, Milk of Shadows...

Julie’s Health Club peers into the murky depth of Monsanto’s milk. Check it out:
Following the milk wars between Monsanto and dairy farmers? Or maybe you're just feeling a little concerned that one corporation with a history of deceit could one day control the world's food supply. If so, don't miss Monsanto's Harvest of Fear in the May issue of Vanity Fair piece by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele.


While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says milk from cows treated with the artificial growth hormone called Posilac is safe to drink, it comes with terrible side effects for cows. Monsanto supplied the safety data and long term studies have not been done.
Here’s some of the Vanity Fair article, from Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear:
Monsanto goes after farmers, farmers’ co-ops, seed dealers—anyone it suspects may have infringed its patents of genetically modified seeds. As interviews and reams of court documents reveal, Monsanto relies on a shadowy army of private investigators and agents in the American heartland to strike fear into farm country…


…Monsanto was founded in 1901 by John Francis Queeny, a tough, cigar-smoking Irishman with a sixth-grade education. A buyer for a wholesale drug company, Queeny had an idea. But like a lot of employees with ideas, he found that his boss wouldn’t listen to him. So he went into business for himself on the side. Queeny was convinced there was money to be made manufacturing a substance called saccharin, an artificial sweetener then imported from Germany. He took $1,500 of his savings, borrowed another $3,500, and set up shop in a dingy warehouse near the St. Louis waterfront. With borrowed equipment and secondhand machines, he began producing saccharin for the U.S. market.
Okay, back to the milk, Monsanto loves Posilac. Via MonsantoDairy.com:
POSILAC® bovine somatotropin has become one of the leading dairy animal health products in the United States and many other countries. Supplementing dairy cows with bovine somatotropin safely enhances milk production and serves as an important tool to help dairy producers improve the efficiency of their operations.

Bovine somatotropin, or bST, is a natural protein produced in the pituitary glands of all cattle and it helps adult cows produce milk. Milk from cows receiving supplemental bST is unchanged and just as wholesome and nutritious as always - full of calcium, protein, phosphorus and vitamins. In fact, the level of bST in milk remains the same.

Because POSILAC benefits large and small herds alike, it can play a critical role in helping farmers with limited resources here and around the world. The use of supplemental bST allows dairy farmers to produce more milk with fewer cows, thereby providing dairy farmers with additional economic security as well as providing related environmental benefits. We encourage you to explore this web site to learn more about POSILAC.
Now, Mindfully.org tells a different tale about artificial cattle hormones. Look:
Twenty-two consumer groups including the Physicians for Social Responsibility have endorsed a ban on artificial growth hormones in dairy cows. They cite studies that indicate treated cows produce milk with an increased second hormone, IGF-1, a hormone which some studies have associated with cancer in humans.


Rick North, director of Oregon's safe food campaign for Physicians for Social Responsibility says, "We don't have 100% proof. But there is a lot of scientific data that gives us great cause for concern."

The Food & Drug Administration has reviewed those studies as recently as the year 2000 and says there is no health impact from the milk of treated cows and that milk is the same from artificial hormone-treated cows and un-treated cows.
This graphic from Mindfully.org shows How Posilac is Made:



The Frankensteining of milk is just one of the many reasons I avoid dairy.

Iron, No Meat Needed

Most nutritarians only eat meat once a week or less, so, are they getting enough iron? Yup, they certainly are. Veggies are loaded with iron. Take a look at this:


Now, Sally Squires of The Washington Post examines the issue of iron without the meat. Here’s some of her article from The Lean Plate Club:
Dietary iron comes in two forms. One is in red meat, poultry, seafood and other animal products. Known as heme iron, it's absorbed more efficiently and more easily than the iron found in plants, from dried beans to spinach.

So what can you do?

Eat cereal fortified with iron. One cup of instant fortified oatmeal has 10 milligrams of iron -- about 60 percent of the daily value. Eat a half-grapefruit or sip a half-cup of orange juice with it, since Vitamin C helps boost absorption of iron.

If you are a pesce vegetarian -- that is, you eat some seafood -- then you've got a lot of options, including oysters and clams. Just six oysters provide more iron than three ounces of chuck steak. And six ounces of clams -- about three-quarters of a cup -- have more iron than three ounces of beef tenderloin.

And if you don't eat seafood, then load up on dried beans and greens. There are delicious ways to do this. One cup of lentils packs 35 percent of the daily value of iron. Kidney beans are also a rich source of iron.
Okay, here is an interesting tidbit about iron, too much can actually be problematic. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Certain minerals are toxic and if consumed daily with even as little as 5 to 10 times the recommended daily allowances (which is found in some supplements) can have detrimental effects. These minerals with a narrow therapeutic range are primarily chromium, selenium and iron.
This worrying about iron if you don’t eat meat, reminds me of the mindless blathering about protein. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
There is protein in all foods, ESPECIALLY VEGETABLES, not just in animal products. The fact is, protein deficiency is not a concern for anyone in the developed world. It is almost impossible to consume too little protein, no matter what you eat unless your diet is significantly deficient in overall calories. If it is, you’ll deficient in other nutrients as well.
Take me for example. The only animal I eat is some fish a few times a month and here are my protein and iron levels:
Iron: 73
(reference range; 45-175 mcg/dL)


Protein: 7.5
(reference range; 6.2-8.3 g/dL)
Oh! And I bench-press more than my bodyweight, so yeah, I’m not too worried about protein and iron. What do you think?

The Food Pyramid of the Insane

Health-blogging has taught me a lot of things, most notably—misinformation is everywhere! Like this:


I wonder what life is like in la-la land. It’s got to be very cubby, like low-carb devotee Gary Taubes. Remember this:


In fairness, it’s not like the national food pyramid is much better. See for yourself:


One tells you eating a lot of refined grains is healthy and other saturated fat! Both are BAD ideas, more from Dr. Fuhrman:

Saturated fat is the element of the modern diet that shows the most powerful association in these medical research studies with high cholesterol and premature death from heart attacks.1


White flour and other refined grains such as sweetened breakfast cereals, soft drinks, other sweets, and even fruit juices are weight-promoting and not only lead to diabetes, but can raise triglycerides and cholesterol levels, increasing heart attack risk.

Tell you what, ignore both those shaky foundations and get hip to a REAL food pyramid. Check it out:


Works for me, these photos are from my kitchen. Take a look:





Yes, at this point, I eat, sleep, and breathe nutrient-dense vegetable-based eating!

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Health Points: Tuesday

The number of children who got fat during the two-year experiment was half the number of kids who got fat in schools that didn't make those efforts.

"It's a really dramatic effect from a public health point of view. That's the good news," said Gary Foster, director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University and lead author of the Philadelphia schools study being published today in the April issue of Pediatrics.

The bad news: There were still plenty of new overweight kids in the five schools - over 7 percent of them became overweight compared with the 15 percent in the schools that didn't make changes.
The study, done with mice, found that lower doses of estrogen were safer, while moderate and high doses increased the risk of kidney and heart problems.


And although the findings were in rodents, they may provide a glimmer of insight for humans as well.

"It brings to our attention the fact that HRT [hormone replacement therapy] is not something we totally have to dismiss," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "There might be a way to give this more safely to women."
Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Thursday that its private-label Great Value milk is now being sourced only from cows that have not been treated with artificial growth hormones, such as recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST).


The retailer said its Sam's Club chain also is offering milk selections from suppliers that have pledged not to treat cows with rbST.
People suffering from the addiction—usually those righteous raw foodists, vegetarians and vegans—obsessively check labels, avoid junk food, plan menus and often eat a healthy diet so they can feel "pure." Some even make fun of McDonald's customers.


It gets worse. While an anorexic tries to severely limit calories, an orthorexic might shun foods with artificial ingredients, trans fats or high-fructose corn syrup. Orthorexics also are generally unconcerned about their weight and do not feel fat. Their diet may make them feel virtuous.
Exercise during pregnancy has cardiovascular benefits not just for the mother but for the developing fetus as well, according to research presented Monday at the 121st annual meeting of the American Physiological Society, part of the Experimental Biology 2008 scientific conference.


The results of this pilot study "imply an exciting potential benefit of maternal exercise on fetal cardiac autonomic nervous system regulation," Dr. Linda E. May from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, Missouri told Reuters Health.

The autonomic nervous system controls the body's involuntary activities, such as the beating of the heart, blood pressure, breathing rate, and functions in the internal organs.
Not surprisingly, those with a bedroom TV were more apt to watch it a lot, clocking four to five more hours in front of a television per week, the researchers said. Twice as many of the teens with a bedroom TV were classified as heavy TV watchers -- at least five hours a day -- compared to those without one.


Girls with a bedroom television reported getting less vigorous exercise -- 1.8 hours per week compared to 2.5 hours for girls without a TV. They also ate fewer vegetables, drank more sweetened beverages and ate meals with their family less often, the researchers said.

Boys with a bedroom TV reported having a lower grade point average than boys without one, as well as eating less fruit and having fewer family meals, the researchers said.
Oteha Valley primary school, north of Auckland, has banned birthday cakes as part of a larger fat crack-down by the area's Ministry of Education.


Here's why cakes are a problem: Oteha Valley has a large number of pupils born in September and October. As a result, there's the potential for up to four cakes to arrive per week in some classes. Parents were starting to believe they were required to provide a cake for their child's birthday. Since this was both untrue and unhealthy, the school has advised parents in a newsletter to stop sending cakes to school.
During the study, the type 1 diabetics gained weight gained an average of 10.3 pounds and type 2 diabetics gained an average of 4.0. The weight gain could not be explained by a slowing of the body's metabolism, decrease in physical activity, or increase in sugar in the urine, leaving the authors to conclude that it was primarily due to overeating.


They also report that accurate assessment of calorie intake was "severely hampered by the underreporting of food intake, with (reported calorie) intakes being insufficient to meet even (the body's lowest) energy requirements."

Obesity, Throat Cancer, Refined Carbohydrates

“Both primary-care physicians and obesity-treatment specialists fail to make an impact on the long-term health of most of their patients,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. Apparently so, because the increase in the throat cancer parallels the obesity rate. Reuters reports:
The rising incidence of throat cancer, also referred to as cancer of the esophagus or esophageal adenocarcinoma, may be related to Americans' increasing intake of total and refined carbohydrates and subsequent rise in obesity rates…


…The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma increased over the review period and "strongly correlated" with carbohydrate consumption. This cancer is also known to be strongly associated with gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), which, in turn, associated with obesity and a high carbohydrate intake, the investigators report in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
What a surprise, refined carbohydrates are to blame. Refined carbohydrates—processed foods in general—are bad news. Here Dr. Fuhrman explains why manufactured food isn’t doing your health any favors. Take a look:
Refined sugars cause us to be malnourished in direct proportion to how much we consume them. They are partially to blame for the high cancer and heart attack rates we see in America.
Think about it, if instead of eating lots of cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables, you choose a lifetime of nutrient-deficient processed food—why would you be surprised if you get throat cancer or any other form of cancer for that matter? Duh!

Pass on the Processed Chicken

Here’s more reason not to eat processed food, the gunk lurking in various chicken amalgamations. Jim Foster of Diet Blog is on it:
This product from Australia - Inghams Chicken Steaks - note the "100% Chicken Breast" at bottom right? Let's compare this with the ingredients.


"CHICKEN (51%), WATER, FLOUR (WHEAT, RYE, SOY), SALT, THICKENERS (1404, 412), "... and the list goes on

…KFC chicken Strips From KFC: "Juicy, 100% all-white meat chicken breast".

Let's take a look at the ingredients (buried deep within the KFC site):

Chicken Breast Strips Containing up to 43% of a Solution of: Water, Seasoning (Soy Protein Concentrate, Salt, Rice Starch, Carrageenan, Dextrose, Onion Powder, Dehydrated Chicken Broth, Maltodextrin, Spice Extractives), Sodium Phosphate. Breaded with Wheat Flour, Salt, Spices, Monosodium Glutamate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Garlic Powder, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil, Calcium Silicate (as Anticaking Agent), Modified Corn Starch, Gum Arabic, Natural Flavor, Extractives of Turmeric, and Extractives of Annatto
Now, I’d NEVER eat either of these, but the point is clear. Stay away from manufactured food and stick with what Mother Nature intended—agreed?

Energy Drinks, Not for Kiddies

Personally, I think energy drinks are dumb, over-hyped, snake oil, and, some new research has determined that energy drinks are especially bad news for kids. Howard Cohen of The Miami Herald reports:
The drinks, with their high caffeine content, have caused concern among health professionals — especially when kids consume them. Studies have linked excessive caffeine in children to elevated heart rates, hypertension, anxiety, headaches and interrupted sleep patterns.


Last month, four students at Falcon Cove Middle School in Weston, Fla., were taken to the emergency room of Memorial Hospital West/Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital with racing hearts and body sweats. They said they shared a can of Redline…

…The attention surrounding the Weston incident — the students recovered — prompted Broward, Fla., School Board members to consider banning energy drinks from school campuses. This potential move was welcomed by Davie, Fla.-based Redline CEO Jack Owoc, who has offered the district $25,000 toward enacting a ban. Owoc feels that minors should not be taking these drinks.

Pediatricians agree.

"There is no real therapeutic benefits associated with these energy drinks," said Dr. Steven Lipshultz, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "If you're a 200-pound adult, an 8-ounce bottle of something that contains 250 mg of caffeine may not be a big deal, but if you weigh 60 pounds and are getting the same dose" it's a problem. "We dose medicines based on weight and size. Caffeine's a medicine and nobody has done anywhere the clinical studies needed."
They sell so many of these at my gym. I don’t understand why people feel they need them. If you eat healthy and stay active you’ve got TONS of energy!

Veggie Burgers...Healthy or Salty?

Martha Edwards of That’s Fit wants to know, are veggie burgers healthy or not? See for yourself:
Of all the burgers out there, I think the general consensus is that veggie burgers are the healthiest of the bunch. They're low in saturated fat, and fat in general, plus they're lower in calories than regular beef or chicken burgers. As a non-vegetarian, I always get the same reaction when I order a veggie burger at a restaurant: 'Huh? Are you on a diet or something?' But I suspect that what veggie burgers lack in calories and fat they make up for in add-ons like cheese and sauce. But then again, I could be wrong…


…The reason for the high amount of calories? Like I said, it's the add-ons -- particularly the cheese and the sauce. Order yours without any add-ons but veggies and your saving yourself a whole bunch of calories.
Personally, as far as veggie burgers go, calorie-content is the last thing I worry about. Check out the nutrition facts of these popular brands:

Boca Meatless Burgers Original



Garden Burger The Original



Amy’s All American Veggie Burger

Disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, soy sauce powder, salt, smoke flavor, and sea salt? I’m more worried about the salt, than the calories. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Most of the processed soy products can be tasty additions to a plant-based diet, but they are generally high in salt and are not nutrient-dense foods, so use them sparingly. In conclusion, the soybean is a superior food, containing the difficult-to-find omega-3 fats. Beans in general are superior foods that fight against cancer and heart disease, which is why you will benefit from using a variety of beans in your diet.


Studies have shown soy's beneficial effects on cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors. However, there is no reason not to expect the same results from beans of any type--it's merely that more studies have been done on soy than on any other beans. There are numerous studies indicating that soybeans are rich in various anti-cancer compounds such as isoflavones. Most beans are rich in these beneficial anti-cancer compounds, and many different flavonoids with anti-cancer effects are found in beans of various color. I always recommended the consumption of a broad variety of phytochemical-rich foods to maximize one's health. Beans are no exception--try to eat different types of beans, not just soy.
From time to time I’ll eat a veggie burger, but I don’t consider them healthy. I’d just sooner eat a veggie burger, than an artery-clogging regular burger—you know?

Monsanto, Not Your Friend

I don’t trust big business—for example, The Largest U.S. Beef Recall—and Monsanto, a major distributor of genetically modified seeds and pesticides, is one dangerous bully. More from Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele of Vanity Fair:
Monsanto goes after farmers, farmers’ co-ops, seed dealers—anyone it suspects may have infringed its patents of genetically modified seeds. As interviews and reams of court documents reveal, Monsanto relies on a shadowy army of private investigators and agents in the American heartland to strike fear into farm country. They fan out into fields and farm towns, where they secretly videotape and photograph farmers, store owners, and co-ops; infiltrate community meetings; and gather information from informants about farming activities. Farmers say that some Monsanto agents pretend to be surveyors. Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records. Farmers call them the “seed police” and use words such as “Gestapo” and “Mafia” to describe their tactics…


… Most Americans know Monsanto because of what it sells to put on our lawns— the ubiquitous weed killer Roundup. What they may not know is that the company now profoundly influences—and one day may virtually control—what we put on our tables. For most of its history Monsanto was a chemical giant, producing some of the most toxic substances ever created, residues from which have left us with some of the most polluted sites on earth. Yet in a little more than a decade, the company has sought to shed its polluted past and morph into something much different and more far-reaching—an “agricultural company” dedicated to making the world “a better place for future generations.” Still, more than one Web log claims to see similarities between Monsanto and the fictional company “U-North” in the movie Michael Clayton, an agribusiness giant accused in a multibillion-dollar lawsuit of selling an herbicide that causes cancer…

…Monsanto was founded in 1901 by John Francis Queeny, a tough, cigar-smoking Irishman with a sixth-grade education. A buyer for a wholesale drug company, Queeny had an idea. But like a lot of employees with ideas, he found that his boss wouldn’t listen to him. So he went into business for himself on the side. Queeny was convinced there was money to be made manufacturing a substance called saccharin, an artificial sweetener then imported from Germany. He took $1,500 of his savings, borrowed another $3,500, and set up shop in a dingy warehouse near the St. Louis waterfront. With borrowed equipment and secondhand machines, he began producing saccharin for the U.S. market. He called the company the Monsanto Chemical Works, Monsanto being his wife’s maiden name.
You HOPE that government can step in and protect us from monsters like this. Then again, they’ve already dropped the ball on the whole cloned meat thing: Coming to a Menu Near You: Char-Broiled Clone Burgers.

TV: Kids See Junk Food, You Say No!

According to a new report, children are exposed to tons of junk food during Saturday morning television. More from WebMD:
Nine in 10 food ads aimed at kids sell high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar, or low-nutrient foods.


The finding comes from a study of 27.5 hours of children's programs that ran on a single Saturday morning -- May 7, 2005 -- in Washington, D.C. During that time, advertisers inserted more than four hours of ads, half of which marketed food or restaurants to kids.

Ameena Batada, DrPH, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and colleagues analyzed the nutritional content of the advertised foods. Restaurant ads were considered to promote unhealthy foods if more than half of the restaurant's children's menu items were high in fats, salt, sugar, or were low in nutrients.
“Parents are entrusted with the responsibility of securing the selection of healthy foods for the family,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. Just because they see it on T.V. doesn’t mean you have to buy it—right?

Smarter Babies, Mom Eat Fish?

“Fish, mollusks and shellfish, and sushi.” What are they? If you answered seafood—you’re right—but they’re also four of the foods Dr. Fuhrman suggests avoiding when you’re pregnant. Here’s the entire list:
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine, including secondhand smoke
  • Alcohol
  • Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs
  • Herbs and high-dose supplements, vitamin A
  • Fish, mollusks and shellfish, sushi (raw fish)
  • Hot tubs and saunas
  • Radiation
  • Household clear, paint thinners
  • Cat litter (because of an infectious disease called toxoplasmosis caused by a parasite found in cat feces)
  • Raw milk and cheese
  • Soft cheese and blue-veined cheeses such as feta, Roquefort, and Brie
  • Artificial colors, nitrates, and MSG
  • Deli meats, luncheon meats, hot dogs, and undercooked meats
Makes you wonder why on earth research would insinuate that eating fish is good for pregnant moms. Reuters reports:
Researchers found that among 341 3-year-olds, those whose mothers ate more than two servings of fish per week during pregnancy generally performed better on tests of verbal, visual and motor development.


On the other hand, tests scores were lower among preschoolers whose mothers had relatively high mercury levels in their blood during pregnancy.

And mothers who regularly ate fish during pregnancy were more likely to have such mercury levels than non-fish-eaters were, the researchers report in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The findings add to evidence that fish can be brain-food, but underscore the importance of choosing lower-mercury fish during pregnancy.
Why risk the mercury at all? Just because some fish is “low-mercury” doesn’t mean it’s mercury-free. Again, why roll the dice if you’re pregnant. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Higher levels of mercury found in mothers who eat more fish have been associated with birth defects, seizures, mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and cerebral palsy.1 This is mostly the result of women having eaten fish when they were pregnant. Scientists believe that fetuses are much more sensitive to mercury exposure than adults, although adults do suffer from varying degrees of brain damage from fish consumption.2 Even the FDA, which normally ignores reports on the dangers of our dangerous food practices, acknowledges that large fish such as shark, swordfish, and yellowfin and bluefin tuna, are potentially dangerous. Researchers are also concerned about other toxins concentrated in fish that can cause brain damage way before the cancers caused by chemical-carrying fish appear.
It seems more responsible to do with out the fish, than chance it—what do you think?


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Salmonella in the Cantaloupes

It’s true, some Honduran cantaloupes have tested positive for salmonella. More from David Mitchell of ThePacker:
The FDA issued an import alert March 22 after traceback evidence linked product from Honduran grower-shipper Agropecuaria Montelibano with a salmonella litchfield outbreak that caused 50 reported illnesses in 16 states between Jan. 18 and March 5.


Meanwhile, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a health hazard alert on the same day, saying the product had been linked to nine illnesses in five provinces.

Agropecuaria Montelibano and Honduran government officials protested after the U.S. blocked imports of the melons, saying the FDA had no physical evidence.

FDA spokesman Sebastian Cianci, however, said the agency started to escalate its melon sampling as reports of illnesses increased. The positive test for salmonella freetown was taken from an import sample of Agropecuaria Montelibano’s product on March 12, he said.
Sad, but don’t let it stop you from eating these super foods. Dr. Fuhrman loves cantaloupes. He talks about them:
Cantaloupes are another vitamin powerhouse. With only 56 calories a cup, one gets a huge amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene as well as folate, potassium, fiber, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6.
And, Kimberly Garrison of The Philadelphia Daily News lists cantaloupes as one of her fruit faves. Here’s her list:
  • Pineapple: High in magnesium, vitamins C and B1.
  • Watermelon: High in vitamins C, A, B6 and B1.
  • Papaya: High in vitamin C, folate and potassium.
  • Strawberries: High in vitamin C, magnesium and fiber.
  • Blueberries: High in vitamin C, magnesium and fiber.
  • Blackberries: High in vitamins C and E, potassium and fiber.
  • Raspberries: High in magnesium, vitamin C and fiber.
  • Cantaloupe: High in vitamins A and C, and potassium.
  • Avocado: High in vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium and folate.
  • Mango: High in vitamins A and C, potassium and beta-carotene.
All of those are great! But, back to cantaloupe, show them some love and try this quick and easy recipe. Check it out:
Cantaloupe Slush
1 Cantaloupe
2 Cups ice
6-8 dates
Blend the ingredients together in a Vita-Mix or other high-powered blender or food processor until smooth. The same drink can be made with peaches or nectarines. Date sugar can be used instead of the dates.
Thank goodness good weather is coming. Off-season cantaloupes leave a lot to be desired—hooray for spring!

Vytorin Bad, Statins Good?

Vytorin is a bust, so, doctors are urging people “to turn back to statins.” Yeah, great idea! More from the Associated Press:
Millions of Americans already take the drug or one of its components, Zetia. But doctors were stunned to learn Vytorin failed to improve heart disease, even though it worked as intended to reduce three key risk factors.


"People need to turn back to statins," said Yale University cardiologist Dr. Harlan Krumholz, referring to Lipitor, Crestor and other widely used brands. "We know that statins are good drugs. We know that they reduce risks…"

…The study tested whether Vytorin was better than Zocor alone at limiting plaque buildup in the arteries of 720 people with super high cholesterol because of a gene disorder.

The results show the drug had "no result. In no subgroup, in no segment, was there any added benefit" for reducing plaque, said Dr. John Kastelein, the Dutch scientist who led the study.
Why are we so caught up with statins? It’s not like statins are some miracle. They’ve got loads of problems. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
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.
Alright damn it! Let’s talk side effects. Here are the know side effects of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
The cholesterol-lowering effects of vegetables and beans (high-protein foods) are without question. However, they contain an assortment of additional heart disease-fighting nutrients independent of their ability to lower cholesterol.1 They fight cancer, too. Cancer incidence worldwide has an inverse relation with fruit and vegetable intake.2 If you increase your intake 80%, the risk of getting cancer drops 80%.
Now here’s a novel idea. Put down the cheeseburger, toss the statins out the window, and go for a jog—sheesh!
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Quick, Hide the Tainted Meat!

Get a load of this. Unless you get sick, the USDA is NOT going to tell you about potentially tainted meat. The Associated Press reports:
Under pressure from the food industry, the Agriculture Department is considering a proposal not to identify retailers where tainted meat went for sale except in cases of serious health risk, The Associated Press has learned.


Had that been the rule in place last month, consumers would not have been told if their supermarkets sold meat from a Southern California slaughterhouse that triggered the biggest beef recall in U.S. history.

The plan is being considered as the USDA puts the final touches on a proposed disclosure rule. It had lingered in draft form for two years until getting pushed to the forefront in February, when 143 million pounds of beef were recalled by Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. in Chino, Calif., after undercover video by an animal-rights activist showed workers abusing crippled cows.
Now, remember what Dr. Henry I. Miller Senior of Stanford University had to say about the controversial issue of cloned meat:
The question of whether consumers will eat cloned meat is moot. Since there won't be any labeling to identify meat derived from clones.
Clearly, the livestock industry cares about America. Do cattle farmers line their stables with the Bill of Rights too?

Health Points: Tuesday

The Mayo team examined the cardiovascular health of 233 retired NFL players, aged 35 to 65. They did this by measuring the internal diameter of the carotid (neck) artery and by assessing levels of plaque deposits that can block blood flow.

The researchers found that 82 percent of the retired players under age 50 had abnormal narrowing and blockages in their arteries greater than the 75th percentile of the general population. That means these retired players may be at increased risk for high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke.
The superintendent, Jody P. Weis, a former F.B.I. agent, came in last month as a reformer vowing to clean up the nation’s second-largest police force, and has already diversified the ranks and bolstered community relations. Now Mr. Weis, an exercise enthusiast, has shocked more than a few people with talk of mandatory fitness tests and maximum body-fat allowances (only after a year’s physical education and with exceptions, of course)…


“…I hope it’s not his opinion that this force is in bad shape as compared to others,” said Mark P. Donahue, president of the Chicago local of the Fraternal Order of Police. (Police departments across the country have long struggled with the problem of overweight officers; a chief in Florida lost his job in 2006 after sending a memo to his officers titled “Are You a Jelly Belly?”)
The requirement was supposed to take effect Monday, but a restaurant trade group has challenged it in court. The city Health Department said Thursday it was postponing the regulation's start date until April 15 because the court ruling is expected soon.


Health officials say the measure will combat obesity by forcing diners to face the caloric consequences of their orders. But the New York State Restaurant Association says the rule violates the First Amendment by forcing businesses to put what amounts to a message on their menus.
State health and agriculture officials said today that two recent cases of salmonellosis in Minnesota have been linked to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken entrees. The implicated product is Milford Valley Farms Chicken Cordon Bleu with a stamped code of C8021. This product is sold at many different grocery store chains.


This the fifth outbreak of salmonellosis in Minnesota linked to these types of products since 1998. The findings prompted the officials to urge consumers to make sure that all raw poultry products are handled carefully and cooked thoroughly, and to avoid cooking raw chicken products in the microwave because of the risk of undercooking.
People who are 35 or younger who keep smoking are far more prone to die from a heart-related event, have a repeat heart attack or need future treatments to clear blocked arteries compared to those who stopped smoking.


The study makes clear that smoking not only promotes a first heart attack, but poses heart risks in younger patients who have survived one, researchers said. The report was presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Chicago.
Patients with heart failure are especially vulnerable to influenza and most doctors recommend they get flu shots, but a study suggests these annual jabs may not offer them full protection, U.S. researchers said on Saturday.


They found heart failure patients in a study had lower immune responses to the vaccine compared with healthy people of similar ages, leaving them more vulnerable to infection.
Officials in southern China sealed more than 4,000 boxes of possibly contaminated milk and the manufacturer recalled another 2,700 boxes after children became sick on drinking the product, Xinhua news agency said on Saturday.


A total of 119 children, some in day care centers, fell ill on drinking the milk and 75 of them were hospitalized for two days, China's official news agency said.
Buy Local Groceries
It takes less fuel to transport locally grown or produced fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, and dairy products than it does to transport foods over long distances. As such, less pollution is produced and less fuel is used to transport local food products.


Make Smart Fish Choices
Fish populations and the health of aquatic ecosystems are at risk from overfishing, bycatch (organisms that are inadvertently killed as a result of fishing practices), and the wastes produced by fish farms. Programs such as Vancouver B.C.’s Ocean Wise Program helps locals choose sustainable fish options. This Program was launched in 2005 by the Vancouver Aquarium to work with restaurants and markets to help them buy ocean-friendly fish. The program is also intended to help consumers purchase sustainably-harvested fish and to avoid fish on the endangered list.