Bigger Belly Means Greater Death Risk


When Dr. Fuhrman wrote Eat to Live he pointed out that obesity is a major detriment to long term. It sets you up for a whole mess of health problems. Here’s an excerpt:
Obesity is an important predictor of chronic ailments and quality of life than any other public scourge. In a recent survey of 9,500 Americans, 36 percent were overweight and 23 percent were obese, yet only 19 percent were daily smokers and 6 percent heavy drinkers.

With time, the ravages of obesity predispose the typical American adult to depression, diabetes, and hypertension and increase the risks of death in all ages and in almost every ethnic and gender group. The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that 300,000 deaths annually are caused by or related to obesity.
Clearly he’s onto something. A new study has determined that a large waist circumference is linked to an increased risk of death. Reuters reports:
"People should not only look at their weight, but also consider their waist," Dr. Annemarie Koster of the National Institute on Aging, the lead researcher on the study, told Reuters Health.


Being overweight or obese is clearly bad for one's health, but the best way to gauge whether a person's fatness is putting them at risk has been "controversial," Koster and her team write in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Body mass index, or BMI, has been the standard measurement used, they add, but the way fat is distributed throughout the body -- especially at the waistline -- may be even more important than how many excess pounds a person is carrying.

To investigate the relationship among belly fat, BMI and mortality, the researchers followed 245,533 men and women participating in the National Institutes of Health-American Association of Retired Persons study. Study participants ranged in age from 51 to 72 at the study's outset, and were followed for nine years.

Among men, the researchers found, those in the top fifth based on their waist circumference were about 22 percent more likely to die during the study period than men with trimmer waistlines, independent of BMI. A similar risk was seen among women.
Why are some many Americans obese? In his new book, Eat for Health, Dr. Fuhrman believes that people are simply making the wrong food choices. Take a look:
Many people suffer from medical ailments because they were never taught about their bodies’ nutritional requirements. We eat entirely too many low-nutrient foods, which gives us excessive calories without enough nutrients. Our nutrient-deprived body then craves more food, and the availability of calorie-rich, low-nutrient foods enables us to eat ourselves to death. A diet based on milk, meats, cheese, pasta, bread, fried foods, and sugar-filled snacks and drinks lays the groundwork for obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders, and autoimmune illnesses.
Here’s an experiment. Go to the supermarket and count the number of people in the produce isle and then the snack food isle. Let me know what happens.

Glamour Magazine: 20 Cancer-Fighting Foods...

Check out Glamour Magazine’s list of foods that combat cancer:
Spinach
Kale





Collard greens 
Arugula
Dandelion greens
Curry


Broccoli
Broccoli sprouts
Cabbage
Bok choy
Cauliflower


Watercress
Swiss chard
Blueberries
Blackberries


Raspberries
Strawberries
Cranberries
Red grapes



Tomatoes

This list is certainly more encouraging than America Hates Good Food.

Mangosteen, Super Food?


I thought Mangosteen was Frankenstein’s cousin from the islands, but apparently, a mangosteen is an antioxidant-packed tropical fruit. Slashfood fills us in:
Mangosteens, or juice drinks made from them, are very popular in Japan right now because they're supposed to be high in antioxidants and ward off cancer in mice (though that hasn't been tested in humans).

Mangosteens are originally from Thailand, but they're difficult to export from the region because they are so preishable. Also, the tree can only be grown in tropical climates. Those factors make even pureés made from Mangosteens pretty expensive anywhere outside of Southeast Asia.
That cancer claim is a bit iffy. Dr. Fuhrman wouldn’t agree. He explains:
Juices and extracts of exotic fruits and vegetables such as mangosteen, gogi berries, Chinese lycium, acia, Siberian pineapple, cili, noni, guarana, and black currant are touted as wondrous super foods with a myriad of health claims. Certainly, eating exotic fruits from all over the globe can add valuable phytochemical compounds with the potential for beneficial effects. I see no reason why these fruits and their juices should not be used as part of a varied diet with a wide assortment of phytonutrients. Broadening our variety of health-supporting nutrients from exotic foods has value in building a strong immune defense against cancer.


The confusion arises when marketers claim that the juices can cure cancer or kill cancer cells on the basis of studies that show that some component in the juice or other part of the plant has been shown to kill cancer cells. Just because a concentrated chemical derived from a food can kill cancer cells in a test tube does not make that food a cure for cancer.
I’ve never had a mangosteen, have you? Certainly looks interesting.

My Thoughts on Dean Ornish's Cancer-Prevention Claims


Dean Ornish, M.D. has always been and still is a pioneer of lifestyle medicine in America. His most recent papers add to the growing body of evidence that shows dietary excellence and other healthful habits like exercise, yoga and meditation have a profound beneficial effect on the body.

It is not just heart disease and prostate cancer, but high blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer and lung cancer. It is headaches, allergies, autoimmune diseases and pain syndromes too. We are not going to win the war with more money spent on drug research looking for a magic pill, the money is in prevention and we must educate the public to take action now. We have an unconscionable expensive and relatively ineffective health care system in America that relies on drugs that reinforce to the population that disease is predominantly genetic and not within their control. This just fuels food addiction, poor diet choices and poor lifestyle as people no longer take personal responsibility for their own health. As politicians argue the best way to pay for the mess we have created through our dependency on physicians, medicines and surgeries, we ignore the best answer—lifestyle and nutritional medicine. It works more effectively than drugs for most diseases, and it is practically free.

Not to toot my own horn, but I have been hollering this from the rooftops for twenty years. I and others are also involved with some exciting studies in progress, but many excellent studies have been done already and many more will follow, but you don’t have to wait until mainstream doctors give up their prescription pads, you can take control of your health destiny now and protect yourself so you can have a healthful and more pleasurable long-life. The best health care is proper self care and nutritional excellence.

I may not agree with everything Dr. Ornish advises, but these are small issues. The main thing here is Dean Ornish is making it easier for all of us to convince the skeptics. More people than ever before are joining the bandwagon to take control of their health destiny via a healthier lifestyle and better food choices and saying no to doctors and prescription drugs.

Training Helps Cancer Patients


A Dutch study insists that physical training should be part of a cancer patient’s rehabilitation. Reuters reports:
After being treated for cancer, people showed significant improvements in physical function and vitality for up to three months after completing a 12-week training program. They also felt healthier, Dr. Bart van den Borne of Maastricht University and colleagues found.

Adding cognitive behavioral therapy to the mix didn't result in additional improvements, van den Borne and his team report in the medical journal Psychosomatic Medicine, but they say it's too early to conclude that this type of counseling has no value for patients.

More and more people are surviving cancer, the researchers note, but as many as 30 percent say their quality of life has been reduced and that they could use help with both physical and psychosocial issues.

To investigate what type of rehab program might be most effective, van den Borne and his colleagues randomly assigned 209 patients who had completed cancer treatment to a physical training program, or to physical training plus a weekly cognitive behavioral training session, or to a waiting list.
Exercise, always a good idea! Be sure to check out DiseaseProof’s exercise category.

FDA: No More "Cancer Cures"


The Food and Drug Administration has warned 2 dozen companies to stop selling fraudulent products that claim to cure or prevent cancer. HealthDay News reports:
"Health fraud has been around for years, and it is a cruel form of greed," David Elder, director of FDA's Office of Enforcement in the Office of Regulatory Affairs, said during a morning teleconference Tuesday. "Fraud involving cancer treatments can be especially heartbreaking."

The warning letters, sent to 23 U.S. companies and one Canadian and one Australian company, cover 125 unapproved products with labeling claims to cure, treat or prevent cancer. "These claims are unproven, unreliable, and they are unkind to the patient who is seeking help," Elder said…

…Elder said: "As a result of these warning letters, FDA expects prompt and complete corrective action. Firms that don't heed the warnings we have delivered, and other firms marketing similar unapproved products, may face further regulatory action from the agency."

According to the FDA, the fraudulent claims found on the products include:
  • "Treats all forms of cancer."
  • "Causes cancer cells to commit suicide!"
  • "80% more effective than the world's number one cancer drug."
  • "Skin cancers disappear."
  • "Target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone."
  • "Shrinks malignant tumors."
  • "Avoid painful surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or other conventional treatments."
I like this move by the FDA. There is a lot of unsubstantiated hocus pocus out there. Check out Dr. Fuhrman debunking these ineffective anti-cancer remedies:
You know, one could make the argument, that the way modern medicine is setup, “is a cruel form of greed.”
Tags:

Science, Progress, and Profits...


Julie’s Health Club passes along a new study that claims pharmaceutical ads “bias” medical journal content. See for yourself:
Doctors often rely on medical journals to stay updated. But the more drug ads a journal contains, the less likely that the journal will also contain articles about dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals and herbs), according to a small pilot study that reviewed a year’s worth of issues from 11 major journals…

…More research is needed because "the ultimate impact of this bias on professional guidelines, health care, and health policy is a matter of great public concern," concluded lead author Kathi Kemper, director of the program for holistic and integrative medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
It gets worse. Get a load of this report by NBC News, “More profit than progress in cancer research.” Here’s a bit:
As I do every year at this time, I have been covering the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the world’s biggest gathering of cancer specialists. At least 33,000 medical professionals registered for this year’s meeting. The number of attendees has been climbing yearly for decades, an indication of the enormous growth of the cancer treatment industry.


In the massive commercial exhibits area, drug companies vie to attract attention for their treatments and diagnostics. Many of those products sell for tens of thousands of dollars a year for each patient and bring in billions of dollars for their manufacturers.

During conference session breaks the seemingly endless hallways of Chicago’s monstrous McCormick Place Convention Center become gorged with doctors walking at slightly crooked angles. The gait results from each carrying a conference bag filled with the huge printed programs, books of study abstracts, as well as the drug company handouts they accumulate. Those doctors, considered "thought leaders" whose prescribing patterns influence other doctors, score invitations to drug company parties at some of the cities most elegant restaurants and clubs.

In the midst of this annual frenzy, it's appropriate to ask a question that has become a cliché of medical journalism: Are we winning the war on cancer?
This doesn’t surprise me. Doesn’t surprise Dr. Fuhrman either, his thoughts:
Pharmaceutical companies—not independent medical or scientific researchers—control the vast majority of research and clinical trials. We have lost the judgment and rationale of independent experts and now depend on drug companies to honestly report the risks and benefits of drugs they manufacture and sell. This is like asking the fast-food industry to be in charge of our nutritional advice. The medical studies that drug companies pay for and publicize are heavily biased in favor of the drugs they sell. The economically powerful pharmaceutical industry and the large chemical-food conglomerates wield undue influence on government and the media. Accurate nutritional information is rarely reported because the media cannot produce stories that go against the interests of their advertisers. Instead, the media is quick to report on drug company press releases--self-serving propaganda announcing new anticancer "breakthroughs" that reinforce the myth that we are winning the war against cancer.
Seems tyrannical—makes me angry!

Wednesday: Health Points

An analysis of adult eating habits in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that eating apples and apple products could greatly reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.

Researchers who looked at the NHANES data found that regularly consuming apples, applesauce or apple juice reduced the overall risk of metabolic syndrome by 27 percent.

An estimated 36 million Americans suffer from metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X or insulin-resistance syndrome. It is linked to heart disease and diabetes and is characterized by hypertension, increased waist size and abdominal fat and elevated c-reactive protein levels.
"These data show that probiotic supplements modulate immune responses...and may have the potential to alleviate the severity of symptoms," Claudio Nicoletti and colleagues at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, Britain, reported in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy.


Probiotics contain live micro-organisms, so-called good bacteria that colonize the intestine. They are sold as supplements but are also found naturally in many fermented foods, including yogurt and certain juices.

Humans normally carry several pounds of bacteria in their intestines and they are key to digestion, immune system function and possibly play other beneficial roles. They can also out-compete "bad" bacteria that may cause disease.
Research shows that may not be a great idea. In a recent study, British researchers conducted a review of the medical literature going back to the 1950s in search of scientific evidence supporting the claim. They found none. Then, after a biochemical analysis, they compared the contents of colas and other sodas with over-the-counter oral-rehydration solutions containing electrolytes and small amounts of sugar.


The soft drinks, the authors found, not only contained very low amounts of potassium, sodium and other electrolytes, but also in some cases as much as seven times the glucose recommended by the World Health Organization for rehydration. “Carbonated drinks, flat or otherwise, including cola, provide inadequate fluid and electrolyte replacement and cannot be recommended,” they said.
The study, published in the American Medical Association's journal Archives of General Psychiatry, also found the heavy cannabis users earned lower scores than the nonusers in a verbal learning task -- trying to recall a list of 15 words.


The marijuana users were more likely to exhibit mild signs of psychotic disorders, but not enough to be formally diagnosed with any such disorder, the researchers said.

"These findings challenge the widespread perception of cannabis as having limited or no harmful effects on (the) brain and behavior," said Murat Yucel of ORYGEN Research Centre and the University of Melbourne, who led the study.
Convenience stores across the state and the smokers who will be paying the price are angry about the change, but health officials hail the tax increase as a success. Cigarette taxes will raise a total of $1.3 billion for the state budget in fiscal year 2008-2009, including the new tax.


"Isn't that something - to say that I'm excited about a tax increase? But I am," said Dr. Richard Daines, the New York health commissioner. "This is a public health victory. We know one of the really effective tools to get people off of their nicotine addiction is to the raise the price."

Smokers will be paying $2.75 per pack in state taxes, a jump from the previous tax of $1.50. Before the new tax, the average price of a pack of cigarettes was $5.82 statewide, and about $8 a pack in New York City, which levies its own taxes, Daines said. The new retail price for a pack in the city could now soar past $10 depending on the store.
Very preterm infants who are fed human milk that is supplemented with fatty acids show signs of improved intellectual development, or "cognition," at 6 months of age, researchers in Norway report in the medical journal Pediatrics.


During pregnancy, fatty acids are transferred to the fetus by placental proteins and incorporated into cell membranes, Dr. Christian Andre Drevon and colleagues explain. However, premature infants are relatively deprived of two fatty acids -- docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid -- because human milk supplies less than the fetus receives in the womb.

Drevon, at the University of Oslo, and colleagues examined the effect of adding docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid supplements to human breast milk, which was given to very low birth weight (VLBW) infants (birth weight less than 1500 grams, or about 3.3 lbs.). Infants with major birth defects or cerebral hemorrhage were excluded from the study.
True or false?
  1. Brussels sprouts are a type of cabbage.
  2. Brussels sprouts provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection for your body.
  3. Brussels sprouts are low in fiber.
  4. Phytonutrients in Brussels sprouts help the body to defend against diseases.
  5. Folate is one nutrient that can't be found in Brussels sprouts.
  6. If you need a good night's sleep, eating Brussels sprouts for dinner can help because they contain tryptophan, which is sleep-promoting.
  7. Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamin A.
Their findings, confirmed in two studies the researchers did on mice, were published in the June 2 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.


Researchers have long known that inflammation caused by infectious agents, such as Helicobacter pylori and hepatitis C, produces cytokines -- chemicals that can foster cancerous cell proliferation and suppress cell death. This increases the risk of stomach and liver cancers. They had also suspected that the inflammation pathway could also induce cancer, as the body's response to infection includes a release of reactive oxygen and nitrogen that can damage DNA.

Normally, the DNA damage would be repaired by the cells. But, if the DNA repair system is not functioning properly, the damage could induce cell mutations that can lead to cancer, according to the new study.

Bacon: Bad Just Got Worse!

Now I’ve seen it all. Someone actually figured out how to bacon MORE unhealthy! Presenting, canned bacon. Via MREdepot.com:


Please don’t tell me our soldiers are actually eating this garbage! Just look at bacon’s poor nutrient scores. From Dr. Fuhrman’s Food Scoring Guide:



And remember this report linking stomach cancer-risk to processed meats, like sausage, smoked ham, and bacon. Here’s a bit:
A review of 15 studies showed the risk of developing stomach cancer rose by 15 to 38 percent if consumption of processed meats increased by 30 grams (1 ounce) per day, the Karolinska Institute said in a statement…

…The institute said processed meats were often salted or smoked, or had nitrates added to them, in order to extend their shelf-life which could be connected to the increased risk of stomach cancer, the fourth most common type of cancer.
And of course Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of over-consuming animal products:
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.
I wonder who gets up in the morning and says, “Gee, I could really go for some canned salt and fat!” Yuck