Exercise Helps You Poop!

Exercise does A LOT of things. Gives you a six-pack, broader chest, toned butt and even a good poop! New research claims regular exercise can RELIEVE symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, specifically constipation.

The study appears in the International Journal of Sports Medicine. Reuters reports:

Dr. Amanda J. Daley of the University of Birmingham in the UK and colleagues recruited 56 adults (mostly women) with doctor-diagnosed IBS for a study lasting 12 weeks.

The participants were randomly assigned to usual care (i.e., a "control" group) or to an exercise program, consisting of two 40-minute one-on-one exercise consultations designed to provide exercise skills, knowledge, confidence and motivation -- the goal being 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week.

The researchers chose this type of intervention, they say, because it has been found to boost exercise in other patient groups, and because it could be more easily integrated into current healthcare practice than supervised programs.

After 12 weeks, the exercise group chalked up significantly more weekly exercise than the control group and they reported significantly greater declines in symptoms of constipation.

What a relief! Now, I’ve said it before, but it’s HARD to make a case against exercise. For example, That’sFit passes along news that EXERCISE helps lower type-2 diabetes risk and it’s already been shown that exercise improves heart health.

Now, if you’re pressed for time and can’t make it to the gym, try exercising at the office. Exercise is too HEALTHY to skip!

Pools: Outdoor and Indoor Boost Kids' Asthma-Risk...

It’s getting a little late in the season, but a new study in the European Respiratory Journal has determined outdoor pools INCREASE children’s asthma risk. Researchers blame prolonged exposure to chlorine vapors; Reuters reports.

Actually, this backs up a previous study about indoor pools. Researchers linked inhalation of chlorine byproducts to lung damage in infants and possible asthma later in childhood. It appeared in the journal Pediatrics; via Reuters.

Keeping excitable kids out of the pool might be hard. Maybe limit their time swimming instead. After all, growing bodies MUST be kept safe from toxic environments.

American Kids, Drugged Up!

We pop A LOT of pills! Especially antibiotics, Americans LOVE to overuse antibiotics. And flu shots too! Every flu season MILLIONS of people rush to free clinics and doctor’s offices. Not realizing that a healthy body can easily beat the flu.

That’s why I WASN’T surprised to read that a new study in The Journal Child and Adolescent Psychiatry claims American children are prescribed more antidepressants and stimulant medications than children in Europe—via Julie’s Health Club.

According to Dr. Fuhrman, psychiatric disorders—like depression—can be successfully treated with superior nutrition and light therapy. So, there are options BEFORE the pill.

Healthy Schools in America

That's an EVIL looking lunch, but it’s probably very typical. Remember, a new report just determined that the USDA, which distributes food schools, actually supplies food of POOR nutritional-quality; too much processed meat and cheese.

To make matters worse, many schools undermine their own efforts to improve cafeteria food by installing more and more vending machines. With tight budgets abound, vending machines have become HUGE money-makers.

Meanwhile, schools in Europe are lobbying to distribute FREE fruit in schools. So, improving school food and health MUST be possible!

It is. Health magazine has just compiled a list of America’s healthiest schools Check out what these schools are doing to get healthy. Take a look:

  • West Babylon Senior High, West Babylon, New York: The student obesity rate dropped 2 percent in just one school year—and continues to decline.
  • Amory Middle, Amory, Mississippi: "We have become Dance, Dance Revolution," principal Cheryl Moore says. "We traverse the rock-climbing wall, play ping-pong, power walk, and much more."
  • Rawhide Elementary, Gillette, Wyoming: Rawhide's strong health component begins in kindergarten and covers nutrition, personal safety, drug-abuse prevention, and lifetime fitness.
  • Anthony Elementary, Leavenworth, Kansas: Lunch is eaten in classrooms amid a family atmosphere that emphasizes conversation. "The noise level is low, making this the ideal time for teachers and students to build positive relationships," principal Janine Kempker says.
  • Richmond Elementary, Appleton, Wisconsin: We've found that educating children about making healthy food choices has influenced the choices that are being made at home," principal Bobbie Schmidt writes.
  • Mountain Valley Middle, Mexico, Maine: Kids and teachers eat nutritious breakfasts in their classrooms. Through this innovative approach, piloted last year, students begin their days more attentively and learn conversation skills and table manners from their role models.
  • Miami Springs Middle, Miami Springs, Florida: Former principal Gail Quigley, EdD, says. "We don't serve dessert or fried food, and we offer a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables."
  • Lakewood Elementary, Cecilia, Kentucky: Lakewood's students get this message loud and clear in all facets of the school's Nutrition, Fitness, and Health curriculum.
  • W.C. Britt Elementary, Snellville, Georgia: This school keeps its students engaged with taste tests, farm visits, school gardening, community-health-related plays, annual visits from local dentists, and more.
  • South Elementary, Pinson, Tennessee: The school has established a Life­time Fitness and Wellness Center, an on-site facility that's open not only to students but to faculty members and families, as well.

Now, improving school food is win-win. It has been show that eating healthy foods, despite being MORE expensive, does help school children perform better. However, Dr. Fuhrman suggests a simpler answer, establish healthy eating habits at HOME and have kids brownbag their lunch.

Where to Eat Your Iron...

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services lists low-fat diets as a POSSIBLE reason why someone might develop an iron deficiency; citing the prolonged reduction of animal foods.

But animal products AREN’T the only sources of dietary iron. Many plant foods are PACKED with iron. Dr. Fuhrman points to broccoli, kale and spinach as excellent sources of iron—even BETTER than red meat!

Now, FitSugar has compiled a GREAT list of iron-rich foods. Here are a few examples: 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans has 3.4 mg of iron; 1/2 cup of tofu contains 6.2 mg of iron; and a 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato has 9 mg of iron. They also include super foods like flaxseed and asparagus.

It’s certainly better than EATING cast-iron pots!

Fast Food In, Mediterranean Diet Out!

Once upon a time the Mediterranean diet WAS healthy. People ate lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, beans and some fish and they spent many hours working in the fields, but that was a LONG time ago.

As fast food hits Mediterranean countries, like the island of Crete, many are fighting an uphill battle against disease and obesity; The New York Times reports. And according to Dr. Fuhrman, Cretans WERE healthy, lean and virtually free of heart disease, but now they eat mostly meat and cheese and are fat, just like us!

Honestly, BLAME the Western lifestyle—BAD diet and NO exercise—as the Western diet continues spread across the world it leaves behind a wake of unhealthy habits, period!

Gastric Bypass Linked to Bone Loss

Weight-loss surgery is risky! A previous report showed an INCREASED risk of depression and suicide with weight-loss surgery. And now, new research by Columbia University reveals a connection between gastric bypass and deficiencies of calcium and bone loss.

The study appears in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. More from ScienceDaily:

"Our research shows that deficiencies of calcium and vitamin D absorption occur following gastric bypass surgery," said Dr. Shonni J. Silverberg, professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York, N.Y., and coauthor of the study. "When analyzing hip bone density, we found that those who lost the most weight also lost the most bone."

In this study, researchers evaluated 23 morbidly obese men and women who underwent gastric bypass surgery. Dr. Silverberg and her colleagues measured serum calcium, vitamin D, and parathyroid hormone levels before surgery and at three, six, and twelve months after surgery. Researchers also measured bone mineral density before and after surgery using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). One year after weight loss surgery, patients had lost an average of 99 pounds and had significant declines in hip bone mineral density (both total hip and femoral neck measurements).

"The calcium and vitamin D deficiencies may be due to the alterations in the gastrointestinal tract that take place during these procedures," said Dr. Silverberg. "These deficiencies may be restored if the amount of calcium and vitamin D supplementation is increased appropriately."

Now, this only a FRACTION of the potential complications! Dr. Fuhrman also lists gastritis, dilated pouch, incisional hernia and vitamin B12 deficiency as other possible consequences of weight-loss stomach surgery. Seems like A LOT of risks to me!

There’s a simpler. You know it already—diet and exercise! Exercise keeps us moving, but a diet change is REALLY crucial. Some foods, like green vegetables, actually allow you to eat MORE and still lose weight. No scalpels needed!

Stroke: Soybeans Help Arteries

Beans are GREAT and not just because they make you fart and farts are funny!

Seriously, Dr. Fuhrman calls beans nutritional POWERHOUSES and he recommends eating them everyday. And Reuters reports that eating beans, like soybeans and chickpeas, can improve artery health in stroke patients.

Now, even though soybeans beans are awesome. Its NOT wise to base your diet on soy, Dr. Fuhrman insists a bio-diverse diet is key; i.e. lots of DIFFERENT fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans.

Plants Cancer-Proof Your Body!

Doctors DON’T emphasize diet enough and here’s a great example of it. At 31David Servan-Schreiber was diagnosed with a brain tumor and told he had 6 MONTHS to live—via Julie’s Health Club.

Now, after surgery and chemotherapy and 15 YEARS LATER he believes a vegetable-heavy diet is the ultimate cancer-fighter! Even though his doctors told him a change in diet, "Won't make much of a difference."

For starters, CONGRATS David! What an awesome story. Clearly, fruits and vegetables are champions of health. Dr. Fuhrman strongly advocates vegetables’ potent anti-cancer effects and Glamour Magazine’s list of cancer-fighting foods was comprised ENTIRELY of plant foods!

Like David Servan-Schreiber, Dr. Fuhrman also claims it ALL comes down to NUTRIENTS! Fruits and vegetables provide the key nutrients our bodies need to ward of disease, especially cancer.
 

Guys, Obesity Lowers Fertility

We already the United States is FAT and getting FATTER and that obesity costs this country A LOT of money, but it just got WORSE! New research in Fertility and Sterility claims being obese may diminish a man’s fertility; Reuters reports.

Now, obesity doesn’t only affect men’s potency. Women are also at risk! Last year a study determined that obesity may prevent eggs in women’s ovaries from becoming healthy embryos; more from the AFP.

NO guy or gal wants to hear that. Good thing new research has determined that exercise can reduce fat, in this case, fat in the liver. Another clear-cut example that exercise is ALWAYS a good idea! So, eat healthy, exercise and check out these tricks to living to 113—via That’sFit.

Salt Ups Blood Pressure

Salt is NOT your friend. According to Dr. Fuhrman salt is one of the foods ransacking America’s health. Salt is EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING! It’s a HUGE money-maker for junk food producers.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that another study is linking salt to hypertension pressure. At the American Heart Association's 62nd Annual Fall Conference of the Council High Blood Pressure Research scientists reported that cutting salt helps control high-blood pressure; Reuters reports.

We’ve seen this before, just a couple months ago a study by Harvard Medial School revealed salt’s negative impact on blood pressure. Bottom line, AVOID salt! Stick with fruits and veggies for optimal heart health. Oh! And Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest is a GREAT substitute for salt.
 

To Choose a Snack...

Real quick! You can only choose one: a banana, an apple, a candy bar or a waffle. What do you want? I’d pick banana. If you said the candy bar or the waffle—GET OUT! Although, new research did reveal most people would go for the candy bar or waffle.

The study appears in Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. LiveScience reports:

Dutch researchers asked 585 participants to pick between four snacks: an apple, a banana, a candy bar and a molasses waffle.

About half of the participants indicated they would choose the apple or banana.

But when presented with the actual snacks a week later, 27 percent of those who had said they'd pick a healthy one switched to the candy bar or waffle. And more than 90 percent of those who had initially made an unhealthy choice stuck with it.

The researchers figure that while we are in control of our intentions, our actual choices are often made impulsively, even unconsciously.

"A substantial gap between healthy snack choice intentions and actual behavior was demonstrated," said study leader Pascalle Weijzen of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. "Despite that gap, the results suggest that individuals who plan to make a healthful choice are more likely to do so than those who plan to make unhealthful choices. Because more than 50 percent of the population seems to have no intention at all of making a healthful choice, identifying tools by which this group can be motivated to choose a healthful snack is strongly needed."

It’s distressing, but HARDLY surprising. Just look at the typical buffet. There’s mostly crap food with only a few healthy options—there’s a reason for that! Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, MANY people are hopelessly addicted to foods like sugary and fatty foods.

Well at least some attempts are being made to improve people’s eating habits. That’sfit passes along news that hospital food is on the upswing. Also, school-based programs seem to be boosting children’s fruit and vegetable consumption; from HealthDay News.

And this report by Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times points to a few examples of people shifting to healthier diets. Hey, at least it’s getting better!
 

Surprise, Living Healthy Helps Women Live Longer

This report is a no-brainer, but still worth a mention. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital have determined that women living healthfully have a DECREASED risk of premature death.

The study appears in The British Medical Journal. Reuters is on it:

Dr. Rob van Dam and a team from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital followed 80,000 nurses for more than two decades.

The women kept detailed records of their diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, weight, smoking and disease history. Over the study period, 8,882 of the women died, including 1,790 from heart disease and 4,527 from cancer.

Some 28 percent of these deaths could have been avoided if the women had never smoked, the researchers said.

And 55 percent of the deaths could have been avoided if the women had never smoked and exercised regularly, eaten a healthy diet low in red meat and trans-fats and maintained a healthy weight, they said.

Smoking played the biggest role in causing premature death, and alcohol consumption played the smallest, they said.

I’m no scientist—just a BIG dummy—but I’m pretty sure this would apply to men too. But ladies, your health is important. Take obesity. Not only will it ruin your figure, but being overweight can boost your risk of pancreatic cancer.

Oh, and make sure you EXERCISE! Previous research suggests exercise can help ward off breast cancer. And if you’re looking for a good workout, consider using kettlebells; from The Washington Post.

Toxic Lead is Everywhere!

Our environment is polluted. Toxins lurk around EVERY corner. Take lead for example. It’s in vitamins, left over fishing tackle, artificial sports turf and garden hoses! Makes me MAD, I love fishing, sports and gardening!

And here’s something really disturbing. Previous reports have linked exposure to lead as a child with CRIMINAL behavior later in life. So, if you’re concerned about lead. CBS provides this list of lead’s hiding places. Take a look:

  • Plumbing
  • Home renovations
  • City gardening
  • Ceramic dishes
  • Hunting or fishing supplies
  • Art supplies

The report also claims lead can weaken bones and raise blood pressure. No doubt, people of all ages need to watch out for toxins, but especially kids. Dr. Fuhrman insists parents must be careful NOT to expose their kids to toxic compounds.

Brain-Shrinking and Veggie Diets

That’s how I ensure I get Vitamin B12. That nutritional yeast—in my pantry right now—is 133% Vitamin B12 per serving; serving size is 1 1/2  tablespoons and I eat that much AT LEAST once a day. I put it in my chocolate pudding.

I mention this, because this LOOPY report just came out, suggesting that eating an animal product-free diet shrinks people’s brains. Dr. Fuhrman had this to say about it, “Duh, they are telling people NOW that B12 deficiency damages the nervous system and brain. What a revelation! The headline that a veggie diet shrinks the brain is simply a distortion.”

The research appears in the journal Neurology. The Courier Mail reports:

Vegans and vegetarians — such as Heather Mills — are the most likely to be deficient because the best sources of the vitamin are meat, particularly liver, milk and fish.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anaemia and inflammation of the nervous system.

Yeast extracts are one of the few vegetarian foods which provide good levels of the vitamin.

The link was discovered by Oxford University scientists who used memory tests, physical checks and brain scans to examine 107 people between the ages of 61 and 87.

When the volunteers were retested five years later the medics found those with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 were also the most likely to have brain shrinkage. It confirms earlier research showing a link between brain atrophy and low levels of B12.

Now, Dr. Fuhrman recommends taking a multi-vitamin to get B12. Actually, he sells his own multi, called Gentle Care. So you don’t HAVE to eat animal products if you don’t want to, but if you eat a vegetable-based diet with SOME animal products, consider these diet tips from Dr. Fuhrman. Take a look:

  • Get enough daily sunshine in a southern climate to obtain vitamin D needs.
  • Consume a small amount of kelp regularly to ensure sufficient iodine intake.
  • Consume some animal products such as nonfat dairy or fish at least every other day to assure B12 needs are met.
  • Eat flaxseed or walnuts every day to potentially meet omega-3 fatty acid needs.
  • Eat enough fresh green vegetables, seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), and beans to ensure adequate intake of zinc and other minerals.

Works for me! I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian. I eat fish. So I know, given the hefty amount of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds I eat—plus the yeast and occasional seafood—I’m getting all the nutrients I need. However, if you are a vegan or vegetarian, Dr. Fuhrman insists there is legitimate concern for vitamin-deficiency—be mindful of it.

But don’t get confused. Fruits and vegetables ARE nutritional superstars! In fact, some vegetables—like kale, spinach and broccoli—have MORE protein than steak.

Oh, and don’t call me stupid because I don’t eat meat!

UPDATE: The yeast might be tasty, but Dr. Fuhrman STILL recommends taking a B12 supplement. So, I've got some Gentle Care to buy!

BPA, Where Will it Turn Up Next?

Bisphenol A is NOT your friend and lately news report after news report has BLASTED the toxic compound used in making plastic—which appears in BABY bottles of all places—that’s why some families are SUING baby-bottle makers.

Now, if baby bottles seem like a BIZARRE place for a TOXIC compound to show up. Get a load of this list of Hidden Sources of BPA. Via Julie’s Health Club:

  • Pizza boxes made of recycled cardboard
  • Recycled paper
  • Credit card receipts at the gas station and your local restaurant
  • Wine (fermented in BPA-resin lined vats)
  • Beer (likewise)
  • Rubbermaid polycarbonate-lined baking tins used by Subway
  • Pop (soda) cans
  • Organic canned tomatoes
  • Common plastic cups used in college cafeterias
  • Blue-tinted hard plastic 5-gallon drinking water bottles

And yet, people still buy this stuff! Maybe that’s because BPA interferes with brain cells. Although, the senate did want to ban to BPA, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration actually ruled that BPA is safe—INSANE!

At least Canada has their heads on straight. They declared BPA as dangerous. Not to mention, a new report claims everyday plastic products are linked to all sorts of human diseases; from Reuters.

Pistachios Lower LDL Cholesterol...

Nuts are powerful foods! Study after study shows nuts not only lower cholesterol, but also protect against age-related diseases; like heart disease and cancer. And now, new research by Pennsylvania State University claims PISTACHIOS can lower cholesterol.

It appears in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. WebMD reports:

First, participants spent two weeks on a standard American diet rich in full-fat cheese, oil, and butter and lacking pistachios.

Next came a month on a low-fat diet without pistachios, another month on a healthy diet that included one daily serving of pistachios, and a third month eating a similar diet with two daily servings of pistachios, with two-week breaks between each type of diet.

Participants got all their food, packaged into appropriate serving sizes, from the researchers. And they stuck to their assigned diets pretty well, the study shows.

Average LDL levels fell when participants ate pistachios -- not enough to get their LDL levels into the optimal range, but enough to get it out of the "borderline high" category.

LDL cholesterol level dropped by 9% during the month that participants ate a daily serving of pistachios and by 12% when they had two daily servings of pistachios.

This story first broke in May, with researchers suggesting that one or two handfuls of pistachios can LOWER cardiovascular risk by reducing LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels; via HealthDay News. Dr. Fuhrman recommends walnuts for heart health too.

And, other nuts, like pecans and almonds, help strengthen bones, improve glucose control and provide key vitamins and minerals. That’s why I’m NUTS!

Fruits, Veggies Cut Colon Cancer in Men

Humans NEED plants! Eating plant foods has been shown to REDUCE the incidence of breast, stomach, prostate and other cancers. And University of Hawaii researchers have just determined that fruits and vegetables may lower men’s risk of colon cancer.

The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. More from WebMD:

Based on those answers, the researchers concluded that men who ate the most fruits and vegetables were 26% less likely to develop colorectal cancer than men who ate the least.

No decrease in risk associated with fruit and vegetable consumption was seen for women.

There is some suggestion that the female hormone estrogen and estrogen therapy helps protect against colorectal cancer. If this is the case, it might help explain why women would derive less benefit from eating fruits and vegetables than men, Abraham Nomura, MD, PhD says.

When the researchers analyzed data from only women who took estrogen therapy, they found no difference in colorectal cancer risk among those who ate the most fruits and vegetables and the least.

Leafy green vegetables are particularly amazing! Cruciferous vegetables—like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy and cabbage—contain PHYTONUTRIENTS with potent anti-cancer effects. From Dr. Fuhrman:

  • Halt the growth of breast cancer cells.
  • Dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  • Prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells.
  • Inhibit the progression of lung cancer.

Also, check out why Dr. Fuhrman calls green vegetables KING!
 

USDA Offers Kids Poor Nutrition...

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Child Nutrition Commodity Program distributes food to more than 94,000 public and private schools. A good idea, but here’s the problem. A new study gives the nutritional-quality of this food a FAILING grade!

The California Food Policy Advocates and Samuels & Associates conducted the research. Here’s a bit, via TreeHugger:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently provides school districts with more than 180 different commodity food items per year valued at approximately $1 billion, which makes the commodity program the largest single source of foods for schools. The nutritional quality of the foods ordered by schools through the commodity program, however, is particularly alarming. While commodity foods comprise only 20 percent of the school meal, they set the tone for the entire meal. For instance, many meals are planned around the high-fat foods ordered through the commodities program, turning them into pizza, chicken nuggets and other processed foods…

…Dietary Guidelines for Americans should be reflected in School Meal Initiative Standards, and schools should have to meet them. Efforts to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables and decrease the amount of meats and processed foods purchased for school meals would contribute to providing students with much healthier foods.

Yeah, cheese and processed food are NOT nutritional superstars! Now this is really scary. Take a look at the food distribution. From The Federal Child Nutrition Commodity Program Nutritional Quality Report:

When 82% of the food supplied is meat and dairy, OFCOURSE nutritional-quality is going to be a total flop. That much meat and cheese is a dangerous no-no. Dr. Fuhrman is a staunch advocate of LIMITING these foods for optimal health, bodyweight and lifespan.

Also, consider the environmental factor. It takes WAY more resources to produce milk and meat than it does fruits and veggies. You’d think the department of AGRICULTURE would know this!

Heart Beating like a Piece of Lard!

This shocked me! Well, not really. This guy ate a horrible diet. Comprised entirely of saturated fat—TOTAL insanity! Recently he had surgery that saved his life. Check out the video on CNN. Be careful, it’s a little graphic, but very eye opening.

Here’s another video. This time the Adventist Coronary Health Improvement Project urges us to eat better. MORE fruits and veggies! Beware, it gets graphic too.

Now, avoiding a clogged heart is easy. Dr. Fuhrman suggests a vegetable-based diet—RICH in plants and LOW in animal products—can prevent and reserve heart disease.
 

Food Photos, Curb Eating

Usually diaries are reserved for dirty little secrets, love crushes and forget-me-nots, but new research by the University of Wisconsin-Madison claims that photographic food diaries may help people control their weight.

The study appears in the International Journal of Consumer Studies. Kate Devlin of The Telegraph reports:

To test if encouraging slimmers to photograph everything they eat might also encourage them to change their diet, scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison asked 43 people to record what they ate for one week in pictures as well as in words.

When the volunteers were later quizzed the photo diary appeared more effective at encouraging them to change their eating habits to more healthy alternatives.

The photographs also acted as a powerful reminder of any snacking binges, the researchers found.

"I had to think more carefully about what I was going to eat because I had to take a picture of it," was a typical response from volunteers, the scientists found.

Prof Lydia Zepeda and David Deal, the researchers who carried out the study reported in New Scientist magazine, found that written food diaries were often filled in hours after the meal and were not as powerful in creating an impression of how much food had been consumed.

Well, I guess this would only work if you eat GOOD stuff—who wants pictures of gross food! Reminds me of a previous study that suggested recalling what you previously ate triggers you to eat less food later—via Diet-Blog.

You won’t hear Dr. Fuhrman telling you to snap shots of your meals, but he will tell you WHAT you eat matters, like how eating veggies actually allows you to eat MORE and still lose weight.
 

Hospitals Miss Colon Cancer

Troubling news, new research claims that two-thirds of U.S. hospitals FAIL to check colon cancer patients well enough for signs that their tumor is spreading. Being that colon cancer is a MAJOR killer in this country, you’d think they’d be a little more thorough about it!

The study appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The Associated Press reports:

It's a fairly simple thing we can do to try to improve care for our patients," said lead author Dr. Kyle Bilimoria, of Northwestern and the American College of Surgeons.

Colorectal cancer is the nation's second leading cancer killer, set to claim almost 50,000 lives this year.

Some 148,000 Americans are diagnosed annually. For many, the node check can be crucial. Whether cancer has entered these doorways to the rest of the body is an important factor in long-term survival - and thus helps doctors decide who gets chemotherapy after surgery and who can skip it…

…To check enough nodes, surgeons must remove enough of the fat tissue by the colon where they hide, and pathologists must painstakingly dissect that tissue to find the tiny nodes.

Surgeons frequently tell of getting a pathology report of four clean nodes and asking the pathologist to find more, "and lo and behold, one of those additional nodes turns out to be positive," Bilimoria said.

Now, great news! If you’re worried about colon cancer, consider this. Dr. Fuhrman recommends an Immunochemical Fecal Occult Blood test. In fact, he sells them on his website. It’s a simple, less invasive test, but it can yield IMPORTANT results. Such as—via DrFuhrman.com:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s.
  • Diverticulitis or angiodysplasia of the colon.
  • Non-cancerous polyps or colon cancer.
  • Occult bleeding of the GI tract from aspirin or other drugs.
  • Bleeding hemorrhoids or fissures.
  • Contamination of the stool with blood from menstruation or urinary bleeding.
  • Earliest detection and prevention of colon cancer.
  • Detection of precancerous stages.

Granted, a poop test is not the yummiest thing in the world, but a quick test once a year, sure beats missing a diagnosis—you know?

For more on colon cancer, check out DiseaseProof’s colon cancer category.

Man Stuff: Lifespan, Prostate Cancer, Diabetes...

Despite popular opinion, being a man involves MORE than just watching football, mowing the lawn and scratching your butt. Actually, men—especially our health—can be downright complicated. Yes, I said it. Men, complicated.

Take type-2 diabetes for example. A new campaign by the American Diabetes Association is aimed at better educating men on diabetes. Megan Rauscher of Reuters reports:

Men with type 2 diabetes know the basics about the disease and its main complications - heart disease, blindness, kidney failure - but they seem to know very little about the issues that affect their quality of life, like depression and sexual dysfunction, according to results of a survey released today by the American Diabetes Association.

The survey also shows that men are "really uncomfortable talking about these issues with their physician" -- yet are hungry for more information, Dr. Richard M. Bergenstal, Vice President, Medicine & Science at the American Diabetes Association noted in a telephone interview with Reuters Health.

To bridge the information gap, the American Diabetes Association today announced the launch of a multifaceted nationwide campaign to spotlight the often overlooked physical, emotional and sexual health issues affecting the roughly 12 million American men with diabetes.

And lifespan, why do men die sooner than women? WebMD offers up 6 tips that might help keep the men in your life around longer—not sure if that’s a thing good or not. Here are two great suggestions:

Speak frankly with a doctor: Leave embarrassment in the waiting room. Women are taught at an early age to be candid and open with their doctors. Symptoms that can be uncomfortable to talk about - such as erectile dysfunction - can be tied to more serious ailments such as diabetes and heart disease. Men, despite cultural tradition, should also request breast checks…

Keep a close eye on young males: The reckless nature and lifestyle of adolescents make them prime targets for injury or death. Females develop a more evolved sense of judgment and decision making at an earlier age then males. Add to that the cocktail of testosterone and other hormones and, biologically, males possess a potentially lethal internal recipe. Monitoring their activities and setting careful limits is vital. "Boys have been compared to a Porsche without brakes," Marianne J. Legato, MD says. "They take risks, are idealistic, intense, and believe they're invulnerable..."

Now, as a short guy, this particular piece of news ACTUALLY relieved me. New research in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention claims that taller men have a greater risk of developing prostate cancer. The Well blog is on it:

Researchers from four universities in England studied more than 9,000 men with and without prostate cancer and found that the tallest men had a 19 percent higher risk of developing prostate cancer than shorter men. Using the shortest men as a baseline, the study showed that risk increased 6 percent for every additional 4 inches in height. The report, published in the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, showed an even stronger association between height and aggressive cancers.

“Compared to other risk factors, the magnitude of the additional risk of being taller is small, and we do not believe that it should interfere with preventive or clinical decisions in managing prostate cancer,” said the study’s lead author, Luisa Zuccolo, of the department of social medicine at the University of Bristol. “But the insight arising from this research is of great scientific interest.”

Dudes, we got a lot going on! But here’s the good news. Avoiding diabetes, prostate cancer and dying prematurely is NOT that hard. Dr. Fuhrman will tell you. It all starts with diet. Eating a vegetable-based high-nutrient diet will make you a Superman.

Although, I’d prefer to be a Batman!

Exercise and Video Games Trump Obesity

According to Dr. Fuhrman obesity and its sequelae cost the United States over $100 billion each year—so why suffer? Just eat right and exercise! Especially since new research shows that EXERCISE seriously kicks obesity’s butt.

The study appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine. More from Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters:

When we looked at the Amish who were the most active, there is suddenly no effect of that gene," said Dr. Soren Snitker of the University of Maryland, whose study appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The findings, which suggest physical activity can overcome a genetic predisposition for obesity, may help inform the debate over whether changes in diet or physical activity will make the biggest difference in fighting obesity.

Consumer groups have pushed for laws such as July's moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in certain Los Angeles neighborhoods, while the food industry often maintains that a lack of exercise is more to blame.

Researchers focused their study on a group of 704 Old Order Amish men and women in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a religious group whose members often do not drive cars or have electricity in their homes.

Snitker said the group offered a unique mix of activity levels, with some farmers in the community still using horse-drawn plows while others holding more conventional jobs, including factory work.

Now, get this. Another study—this time in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine—claims that active video games are a great way to work out; Reuters reports. Go figure, exercising in the digital age!

For more, check out Disease Proof’s obesity and exercise categories.

Skin Cancer Could Lead to More Cancers...

If you go to the beach, you’ll see plenty of sun-toasted people just itching to get skin cancer. Here’s the problem with that, a new study claims skin cancer can increase your risk of developing other cancers—yikes!

The research appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. WebMD reports:

Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer. Past research has shown that people who have had non-melanoma skin cancers have a greater risk of developing melanoma.

Researchers, led by Jiping Chen, MD, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute and Anthony Alberg, PhD, MPH, at the Medical University of South Carolina looked at data from 19,174 people listed in a Maryland county (Washington County) cancer registry.

They followed people with and without nonmelanoma skin cancer for more than 16 years from 1989 to 2005, to see the risk of developing other types of malignancies (non-skin cancers). What they found was:

People who had been diagnosed with either basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer had double the risk of developing another type of cancer when compared to those with no history of the disease.

Now, according to Dr. Fuhrman, “People who eat a cancer-promoting diet will always be at risk of multiple cancers. The important message here is that skin cancer is caused by a low micronutrient diet in combination with the increased free radical damage from sun exposure.”

That’s why Dr. Fuhrman recommends eating tons of cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables. Broccoli in particular has been shown to ward off skin cancer. And in related news, scientists have mapped the genetic pathways for brain and pancreatic cancer.
 

High Fructose Corn Syrup, a Stupid Surprise

The Corn Refiners Association has gone insane! On the heels of the FDA’s announcement that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is natural, they’ve actually started running ads that PROMOTE HFCS, calling it a “sweet surprise.”

Serious Eats is all over it, have a look:

The ads ask what's so wrong with a little HFCS? The complexities are hardly known or explained—people just know to avoid it. In one commercial, a girl picnics with her boy and offers him a popsicle. He declines. It's not you, it's the high fructose corn syrup, babe. Instead of taking offense, she merrily explains that HFCS is made of corn, has the same calories as sugar and honey, and is totally fine in moderation.

But what does "moderation" mean? SweetSurprise.com never elaborates on dosage on the site's "High Fructose Corn Syrup Quick Facts" page. While consumers have a vague idea of "moderation" (not too much), HFCS creeps into salad dressings, juices, ketchup, breads, and even "whole-grain" breads, which can complicate attempts to be moderate.

In the second pro-HFCS commercial, two moms chat at a kid's birthday party, surrounded by sugar-high munchkins. One supports the pouring of a generic, junky-looking fruit punch drink, while the other disapproves. You don't care about poisoning your kids with that stuff? Don't you see how hyper it's making them? But when put on the spot, the HFCS-hating mom doesn't know how to explain herself.

Like the commercial before it, the Corn Refiners Association reminds consumers that they don't know a lot about the sweetener—they just know to hate it. The commercial claims that the ingredient is safe, despite the chemically-scary name. High-fructose corn syrup is just made of corn—the same corn responsible for happy things like cornbread—and is nutritionally comparable to table sugar and honey.

Honestly, how is comparing HFCS to sugar a good idea—its all crap! And saying “consume in moderation” is silly. If Americans understood moderation, we wouldn’t all be fat and sick. Instead, try eating stuff a little MORE nutrient-dense than sugar!

Take soda for example, usually sweetened with HFCS, its strong link to obesity has been well documented Just check out Center for Science in the Public Interest: Liquid Candy.
 

Make Room for a Gym

Before I joined a gym, I spent HOURS exercising in my parent’s basement. In fact, as a kid I bought a weight bench, weights, punching bag, rowing machine, pull bar and my parents bought a treadmill. Having your own mini-fitness center is SUPER convenient.

And recently, Jacki Donaldson of That’sFit cleaned out her garage and setup her own little gym. Here’s a bit:

We finally cleaned out our garage the other day and dug out from piles of debris a bunch of workout equipment. My husband bought it all not long ago, we used it for a bit, and then it somehow got buried. Boxes sat on the weight bench. Swimming towels hung from the pull-up bar. And the weights, well, they were painted with a layer of dust. No more is this the case, though. Nope, our garage looks more like a gym now than it does a storage unit and all four of us Donaldson folks are pretty inspired by the fitness potential lurking just outside our kitchen door.

Strength training has always been my weakness when it comes to exercise. I love to run, walk, and swim but I typically lack motivation for building muscle. Our new home gym is helping. Today, I ran a 3.5-mile loop around town and topped things off with a mini-garage workout. Did the same yesterday after my swim. Plan to keep on doing it. My husband, somehow lean and fit without much purposeful exercise, was out in the garage last night. I caught him doing loads of pull-ups -- how does he do them so effortlessly? -- and after his full routine, he was drenched in sweat. The most promising effect of our garage renovation, though, is how it's got our kids pumped up about pumping up. Five-year-old Danny tells us he wants to be a wrestler when he grows up. "That's why I'm working out," he says. And Joey, seven years old and a master at a perfect push-up, is working pretty hard too. His dad spots him on pull-ups, and I saw him cranking out some bench press reps last night too.

I think having some fitness equipment at home is a GREAT idea. If you’re committed to staying fit, it’s a perfect way to beat the guilt when you don’t feeling like going to the gym—know what I mean?

Also, Reuters reports that exercise can cut cancer-risk. Another reason to get moving!

It's Okay to Tell Parents Their Kid is Overweight

Wow! I figured telling someone their child is fat would get you a punch in the nose, at the very least a dirty look. Not so, according to a new study, there is NO harm in telling parents their kid is overweight. In fact, it may inspire them to get healthy.

The research appears in the latest Pediatrics. Reuters reports:

To investigate, they surveyed children and parents six weeks before and four weeks after they were measured at school. The children were in year 3 (6- to 7-year-olds) and year 6 (10- to 11-year-olds). About half of the parents invited to participate in the study agreed to do so.

Among the 358 children included in the study, 83 percent were at a healthy weight, 13 percent were overweight, and 4 percent were "very overweight."

Before the measurements, only 39 percent of parents with overweight kids recognized that their child was overweight, while 61 percent said the child's weight was "about right."

After the measurements, 49 percent of parents of overweight children said they had made dietary changes and 48 percent reported changes in physical activity, compared to 12 percent and 10 percent of parents of healthy weight children, respectively.

After measurement, normal-weight kids showed increased body esteem, while body esteem for the overweight children did not change.

I think it all depends on HOW you say it, but actually telling someone has got to be better than passive-aggressively printing weight or BMI on report cards—especially since some report cards are sponsored by McDonald’s!

Although, what do you do if the parents are also overweight? You might be dodging a punch after all!
 

Brainy Work Makes You Eat More...

Do you do physical work or intellectual work? If you said intellectual work, you might have a problem. A new study claims that people who have brainy jobs are stressed out and more likely to consume excess calories—i.e. SNACK!

The research appears in the latest edition of Psychosomatic Medicine. ENN reports:

The research team, supervised by Dr. Angelo Tremblay, measured the spontaneous food intake of 14 students after each of three tasks: relaxing in a sitting position, reading and summarizing a text, and completing a series of memory, attention, and vigilance tests on the computer. After 45 minutes at each activity, participants were invited to eat as much as they wanted from a buffet.

The researchers had already shown that each session of intellectual work requires only three calories more than the rest period. However, despite the low energy cost of mental work, the students spontaneously consumed 203 more calories after summarizing a text and 253 more calories after the computer tests. This represents a 23.6% and 29.4 % increase, respectively, compared with the rest period.

Blood samples taken before, during, and after each session revealed that intellectual work causes much bigger fluctuations in glucose and insulin levels than rest periods. "These fluctuations may be caused by the stress of intellectual work, or also reflect a biological adaptation during glucose combustion," hypothesized Jean-Philippe Chaput, the study's main author. The body could be reacting to these fluctuations by spurring food intake in order to restore its glucose balance, the only fuel used by the brain.

Now, I’m sure EVERY job causes stress. So you better find a way to unwind. According to Dr. Fuhrman you’ve got to relax and its important to establish an emotionally satisfying environment.

As for the excess eating that occurs due to stress, sounds a lot like toxic hunger. For more on toxic hunger, check out Dr. Fuhrman’s guest post on Diet-Blog: Overcoming Toxic Hunger: A Major Cause of Obesity.

BPA Can Stupid You Up!

More bad press for bisphenol-A (BPA), the toxic compound used in making hard plastic. Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine claim that BPA interferes with brain cells, possibly causing “learning impairments” and depression.

The study’s published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. More from Medical News Today:

Unlike previous studies that looked at the effect of BPA on rodents, the team examined the effects in a primate model. They also used lower levels of the chemical than in past studies. "Our goal was to more closely mimic the slow and continuous conditions under which humans would normally be exposed to BPA," said study author Csaba Leranth, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences and in Neurobiology at Yale. "As a result, this study is more indicative than past research of how BPA may actually affect humans."

Over a 28-day period, Leranth and his team gave each primate 50 micrograms/kg of BPA per day, adjusted for body weight, the amount considered safe for human consumption by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The team also administered estradiol, the major form of hormonal estrogen that modulates nerve cell connections in the brain. Best known as one of the principal hormone products of the ovary, estrogen has also been shown in past studies to be synthesized in the brain, where it aids the development and function of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.

The team then used an electron microscope to count nerve cell connections in the brain. They found that BPA inhibits creation of the synaptic connections in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, areas of the brain involved with regulation of mood and formation of memory.

Scary stuff—I’m stupid enough! Actually, I’m getting more and more concerned about plastic. Just check out my new water bottle. Metal baby! Take a look:

 

Maybe all this trepidation over plastic is part of the reason why many schools are ditching lunch trays to get green—via CNN.

Baby's Weight Gain May Lead to Hypertension

A new study by University of Bristol has determined that babies who gain weight rapidly during their first few months after birth are more likely to develop high blood pressure as adults—hypertension is often called the “silent killer.”

The research appears in the latest Hypertension. More from Reuters:

They found that those who gained weight more rapidly in the first five months after birth and again from about age 2 to 5 were more likely to have high systolic blood pressure.

Immediate weight gain after birth also was linked to higher adult diastolic blood pressure, they found.

Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries while the heart contracts. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart relaxes between beats.

"When trying to understand why some people get high blood pressure in later life, we need to consider a life course approach that considers early life as well as adult life risk factors such as dietary salt and obesity," Yoav Ben-Shlomo of the University of Bristol in Britain, who led the study published in the journal Hypertension, said in a statement.

I like the concept of a “life course” approach. Falls right in line with Dr. Fuhrman’s thinking. Here’s what I mean. Feeding your toddler French fries is a BAD idea! Healthy eating for the whole family is a GOOD idea.

And nixing salt is a smart move too. Salt is definitely one of America’s food addictions and can fuel toxic hunger. Now, as for obesity, obesity makes us sick in SO many ways and here’s a new problem, undiagnosed cases of diabetes.

The Harvard Medical School claims that while obesity increases diabetes-risk, it does NOT increase the likelihood individual's diabetes will be diagnosed—it’s in Diabetes Care.

Do Low Cholesterol Levels Cause Cancer?

I thought it was important for me to construct a public reply to a recent medical study that reported both high cholesterol and low cholesterol were associated with higher cancer rates because too many people are still confused about this, including the scientific research community. This is because so few people have performed a comprehensive, in-depth review of the scientific research on nutrition and cancer, so they base their decisions on a narrow and incorrect interpretation of the literature. This recent article and the comments by the media and even by physicians and scientists illustrate pervasive ignorance and confusion about human nutrition.

The study in question was published in the August 26th issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).1 It showed that people whose LDL cholesterol was below 2.8 mmol/L (109) had a higher risk of certain cancers (primarily lymphatic and blood cancers) and people whose LDL cholesterol was above 3.9 mmol/L (152) had a higher risk of certain cancers (primarily breast and digestive tract) as well.

My book, Cholesterol Protection For Life, covered this issue in more depth. In it, I explained that certain illnesses, especially cancer, lower cholesterol levels by decreasing the liver’s ability to produce cholesterol and that having a low cholesterol in spite of an unhealthy (high) cholesterol-promoting diet could be an early sign of an undiagnosed cancer. The types of cancers that have been reported to cause low cholesterol levels include lung, liver, lymphatic and hematopoietic cancer, the same cancers associated with low cholesterol in this study.2

My book, Disease-Proof Your Child, reviews the science and explains that cancer is predominantly caused many, many years before it first appears (over 40 years) and that cancerous cells are present in the body for over 10 years prior to diagnosis, when the clump of cancerous cells eventually become large enough to be viewed by the human eye or when the first signs or symptoms appear. This study only followed people for less than 5 years. They recorded the cancers that occurred in the last 2½ years of the study.

The findings were not surprising, but consistent with the main body of literature on this subject. We would expect people who are eating a diet that promotes high cholesterol would have higher cancer rates, because the same diet-style that promotes high cholesterol and heart disease also promotes cancer. We would also expect to find that very low cholesterol was also associated with more cancers occurring because some people in the cohort would have undiagnosed (occult, early stage) cancer that would eventually become diagnosed in the last 2½ years of the study. Their low cholesterol was a sign of early (undiagnosed) cancer, not a cause of their cancer. These people have low cholesterol in spite of not earning low cholesterol with nutritional excellence. Their cancer caused the low cholesterol, not the other way around.

What I stated in Cholesterol Protection For Life is that a low cholesterol that is earned through adherence to a diet rich in vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts and other health-promoting foods will protect you against heart attacks and cancers, however if you have a very low cholesterol that you did not earn via healthy living and a healthy diet, it might be a sign that a disease is present that lowers cholesterol, such as cancer.

To conclude, don’t be alarmed if your cholesterol is low, if you have earned it. Low cholesterol earned through high vegetable consumption and a micronutrient rich diet is linked to protection against all cancers, and populations eating a vegetable-centered-diet earn low cholesterol levels and have dramatically lower rates of cancers along with lower heart disease rates.3 This does not have to be such a confusing subject. Its simple, the prescription is nutrition for improved health and a longer life!

To learn more, check out DiseaseProof's cancer and cholesterol catagories or visit the library at DrFuhrman.com.

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School Food, Bad and Prices Rising...

Kids have an unlikely place to buy salty snacks and high-fat foods—school! Research by the CDC showed that U.S. schools ARE selling less junk during lunch periods, but in some districts, vending machines continue to undermine efforts.

The study appears in the latest issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. WebMD reports:

"But progress is being made," says Howell Wechsler, EdD, MPH, director of CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health. "We see quite a few states where the number of schools selling junk food in vending machines is very low."

The CDC's 2006 data, alarming as they are, show progress. In a substudy of high schools in 25 states and nine cities, the percentage of high schools selling junk food during lunch periods dropped from 53 percent in 2004 to about 37 percent in 2006.

Yet there was no change in the percentage of high schools selling junk food before and after the lunch bell rang.

Why do schools sell food that harms kids' health? Money, Wechsler tells WebMD. Sales from vending machines, canteens, and snack bars come directly to schools without strings attached by state or city school systems.

Faced with increasing financial pressures, schools are tempted to make deals with the junk-food devil. However, the success of some schools should help others resist this temptation.

The increased cost of food is becoming a HUGE issue! According to The New York Times schools in NY and NJ are raising the price of school lunch to make ends meet; as much as 50 cents in some places.

And to make matters worse, junk foods—like Yoo-Hoo chocolate drinks—are major profit generators, which explains why schools are so hesitant to give them up. On the other hand, a healthy diet DOES help kids perform better. What to do?

I think the answer is obvious—pack a lunch! Dr. Fuhrman insists packing a lunch is a great way to ensure your kids are eating healthfully at school. Oh! And here are some great tips for a healthier and greener lunch—via PlanetGreen.

Heart Health: Take the Stairs, Eat Nuts!

Eating right and exercising is critical. In fact, research just showed that running is a GREAT way to improve heart health, but if running isn’t your thing. Try taking the stairs!

A new study claims that simply walking up and down the stairs can reduce waist size, body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. Ben Hirschler of Reuters reports:

Philippe Meyer of the University Hospital in Geneva studied 69 employees of the university with a sedentary lifestyle, defined as less than two hours of exercise a week and fewer than 10 flights of stairs climbed a day.

After not using elevators for 12 weeks, they increased their use of stairs to an average of 23 stories ascended or descended a day from five before, with a resulting sharp increase in fitness levels.

"This suggests that stair climbing at work may have major public health implications," Meyer told the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology. "However, the results of the pilot study need to be confirmed in a larger randomized controlled trial."

Pretty cool! Certainly we ALL can try to take the stairs more often. Remember, aerobic exercise combats metabolic syndrome, a known contributor to cardiovascular disease.

Here’s more good news. That’sFit passes along some info on how nuts—in this case, pistachios—lower heart disease-risk. Now, Dr. Fuhrman advocates eating plenty of nuts and seeds; they contain plant proteins and plant sterols that naturally lower cholesterol.

Speaking of heart health, check out this interview with Dr. Fuhrman’s friend Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. Via 90.3 WCPN: How To Eradicate Heart Disease.
 

Flu Shots and the Elderly, Hit and Miss

A new study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine has determined that flu shots DO protect against the flu, but DON’T cut death-risk in the elderly. Reuters reports:

In prior studies, an impressive 50 percent reduction in death from any cause had been noted in elderly people who got a flu shot, but some researchers were skeptical of this degree of benefit, suggesting that it may have been the result of the "healthy user effect." The new study supports this line of thinking.

The study included more than 700 elderly people, half of whom had gotten a flu shot and half of whom had not. After controlling for a variety of factors that were largely not considered or simply not available in previous studies, the researchers concluded that any death benefit "if present at all, was very small and statistically non-significant and may simply be a healthy-user artifact that they were unable to identify."

"The healthy-user effect," study chief Dr. Sumit Majumdar of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada explained in a statement, "is seen in what doctors often refer to as their 'good' patients -- patients who are well-informed about their health, who exercise regularly, do not smoke or have quit, drink only in moderation, watch what they eat, come in regularly for health maintenance visits and disease screenings, take their medications exactly as prescribed -- and quite religiously get vaccinated each year so as to stay healthy. Such attributes are almost impossible to capture in large scale studies using administrative databases.

Now, Dr. Fuhrman is NOT totally against the flu shot—especially for the elderly or people with compromised immune systems—but there are better ways to prevent the flu; like eating a nutrient-dense diet and practicing good hygiene.
 

Trans-Fat, Colon Cancer Linked!

More proof that trans-fat is health-destroying garbage. New research in the American Journal of Epidemiology contends that trans-fatty acids are linked to pre-cancerous colon growths—boosting colorectal cancer-risk. Reuters explains:

To investigate a possible link, they looked at 622 people who had colonoscopies at University of North Carolina Hospitals in 2001 and 2002. Study participants were interviewed about their diet, physical activity and other health issues within 12 weeks of having the screening test.

People in the top fourth based on trans-fatty acid consumption, most of whom took in 6.54 grams daily, were 86 percent more likely to have colon polyps than those in the bottom quartile for trans fat intake, for whom median intake was 3.63 g, the researchers found. There appeared to be a threshold effect, with no increased risk seen for people in the bottom three quarters of fatty acid consumption.

Among the 38.5 percent of study participants found to have colon polyps, average trans fatty acid intake was 4.97 g, while most consumed 4.12 g. Average intakes for people who were free of the colon growths was 4.42 g, while the median was 3.61 g.

These results suggest that consumption of high amounts of trans-fatty acid may increase the risk of colorectal polyps, the researchers write, adding that the findings also back current recommendations to limit trans fat intake.

Trans-fat is pretty simple to figure out—unhealthy, cheap and lasts a long time—NOT for eating! In fact, not too long along ago New York City banned the stuff. Not mention Dr. Fuhrman associates it with cancer and heart disease.

Now, in addition to avoiding trans-fat, a recent study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology claims weight-loss may also reduce the risk of colorectal growths—via Reuters. Okay, so no trans-fat and stay slim, simple—right?
 

Arsenic in the Water, Lead in the Vitamins, and More...

Not exactly the most pleasant batch of news, but important nonetheless. In Bangladesh, India 70 MILLION people are involuntarily exposed to ARSENIC when they consume local water and rice. ScienceDaily reports:

It is estimated that for every random sample of 100 people in the Bengal Delta, at least one person will be near death as a result of arsenic poisoning, while five in 100 will be experiencing other symptoms.

Now, researchers have created new low-cost technology to provide arsenic-free water to millions of people in South Asia currently exposed to high levels of the poison in groundwater.

Leading an international team, Queen’s researchers have developed a trial plant in Kasimpore, near Calcutta, which offers chemical-free groundwater treatment technology to rural communities for all their drinking and farming needs.

Now, problems like this are NOT limited to developing nations. For example, well water in northeast Oklahoma has tested positive for E. coli—it killed a man and sickened dozens—via The Washington Post.

But it gets worse. The FDA just determined that many popular brands of vitamins contain lead. That’s right, LEAD! The Daily Green lists them all, here’s one set. Take a look:

Greatest Exposure, Ages 0-6

  1. Nature's Plus Animal Parade Shake (Powder)
  2. Superior Multi Age (Powder)
  3. Nutraceutical Pedia Power (Tablet/Capsule)
  4. Physio Kids Multilogics Chewable (Tablet/Capsule)
  5. Ola Loa Kids (Powder)
  6. Nature's Plus Animal Parade (Tablet/Capsule)
  7. Vita-Big-Kids (Tablet/Capsule)
  8. Wonder Laboratories Formula Nineteen (Tablet/Capsule)
  9. Clinicians Choice Chewable Daily Multivitamins (Tablet/Capsule)
  10. Dynamic Health Multi for Children (Liquid)

Least Exposure, Ages 0-6

  1. Twinlab Infant Care (Liquid) *
  2. Natrol Liquid Kids Companion (Liquid)*
  3. NF Formulas Liquid Pediatric (Liquid)*
  4. Windmill Bite-A-Mins (Tablet/Capsule)
  5. Kids Liquid Dolphin Pals (Liquid)
  6. My First Flintstones (Tablet/Capsule)
  7. Natural Wealth Children's Chewable Multivitamins Plus Extra C (Tablet/Capsule)
  8. Uno Diario Ninos (Tablet/Capsule)
  9. Flintstones Plus Immunity Support (Tablet/Capsule)
  10. Natural Wealth Children's Chewable Multivitamins (Tablet/Capsule)

* denotes vitamins that contained no lead, in FDA testing.

Scary stuff! Eliminating toxins from our environment is an ever-important issue and obviously, one we—and the rest of the world—still have to work on.

For more, HealthandMen discusses dangerous chemicals and Mark’s Daily Apple offers 8 ways to Reduce Your Chemical load—both are worth a look.